Harry Ellis

Harry Ellis was born in Lawford in September 1885, probably at his parents’ home on Wignall Street.

Arthur Ellis was Coach Painter and Trimmer originally from Felsted.  He had married Caroline Baalham from Lawford in 1876, and they made their home there.  Arthur and Caroline had at least 6 children together – Harry being the youngest - before Caroline’s death in 1887, at the age of 32. 

In 1890 Arthur Ellis married again to Jane Golding from Colchester.  Arthur and Jane would have at least 9 children together, of whom 8 were still alive in 1911.

The Ellis family moved to Little Bromley at some point between 1899 and April 1901.  There they lived on what was called for a time Back Road but is now called Ardleigh Road.  After leaving school Harry found work as a Farm Labourer. 

In early December 1914, Harry volunteered to join the Essex Regiment, and by August of 1915, had been posted to the 11th Battalion of the Essex Regiment.  He went to France with them at the end of August 1915. Within a month of arriving, the 11thsuffered heavy losses during the Battle of Loos. Over the next two and a half years, Harry and the Battalion would be involved in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and the Battle of Cambrai in 1917.

Harry was captured on 22nd March 1918, the second day of the massive German March Offensive.  The 11th Essex had been fighting to the south of the village of Morchies and successfully held their positions until the evening, when they were ordered to withdraw after the Germans broke through to their north. 

Transported to Germany, Harry was interred in the large Munster II and Friedrichsfeld Prisoner of War Camps.  He later appears to have been put to work by his captors – most likely in industry – and so would have been moved to a smaller camp.   

Harry died of what was termed a lung infection – most probably the Spanish Flu - on 27th August 1918, at the Bertha Hospital in Friemersheim.

He was buried in the civil cemetery at Friemersheim, but after the War it was decided that the graves of those Commonwealth servicemen who had died in Germany should be brought together into four permanent cemeteries. Harry’s was one of those bodies which was reinterred, and he now lies in the Commonwealth War Graves plot of Cologne Southern Cemetery.