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Edward William Ellis was born in Lamberth, Surrey in about May 1871.

He first enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in London on 14th August 1894 when he was 23 years 3 months old. He had signed up on a short service engagement of 3 years with the Colours and 9 years in the Reserve. He stated his former occupation was a printer and was given the number 4523. His mother was recorded as his next of kin – Susan Ellis of the Midland Station Hotel at St Albans.

Edward was described as being 5ft 4in tall and weighing 124lbs. He had grey eyes, dark brown hair and was of fair complexion with scars on his head and what the examiner described as ‘dots’ on his forearm – presumably tattoos.  At the start of his career he served with the 2nd Battalion. He then spent 3 years with the 1st Battalion in Ceylon from January 1896 to February 1899, where from August 1896 he was awarded good conduct pay.

From Ceylon, Edward sailed to South Africa. He spent 355 days fighting the Boers before being wounded in action at Graspan.

On 31st January 1900 he was invalided to Netley where he remained for 9 months before rejoining the Depot in the October. It was during this period of recovery he received his second good conduct badge. In January 1902 Edward was appointed Lance Corporal and retained this rank when he transferred to the Reserve six months later. He completed his reserve service and first stint with the Army in August 1906 having served a total 12 years. He was awarded the Queens South Africa medal with a single clasp ‘Belmont’.

On 20th May 1902 Edward had married Alice (nee Cottam) at Saint Paul’s in Preston. They had two children, Thomas born on Christmas day 1902; and Emma Louisa born on 16th May 1908.

On 3rd September 1914, nearly a month after War had been declared, 43 year old Edward Ellis was recalled to the Colours as a Special Reservist. He was again working as a printer and was living with his wife and children at 9 Emmett Street, Preston. He was now given the number 3759.

Edward sailed out to France to join the 1st Battalion in the field on 29th November 1914. During his first major action in France, 21st – 22nd December 1914 at La Bassee he was captured by the Germans and taken as a prisoner of war.

On the 23rd January 1915, Alice wrote a letter to the Infantry Records Office;

Dear Sir,

Will you kindly inform me of the whereabouts of my husband – 3759 Pte E. W. Ellis 1st L.N.Lancs Regt. C Company, who went into action on the night of December 21st at Ypres. A companion of his in the same company who has been wounded told his wife that Ellis failed to answer the roll call two days after the battle: you will imagine my anxiety.

Thank you in anticipation, I remain yours obediently,

A. Ellis

Edward died of nephritis (inflammation of kidneys) at Wittenberg POW camp on 20th April 1915. This was during the height of the Typhoid endemic at the camp. The following article appeared in a local newspaper;


Edward would be entitled to the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal. Alice would also receive a memorial plaque and scroll in recognition of her husband’s sacrifice.

Rank: Private
Service No: 3759
Date of Death: 20/04/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Paul McCormick
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One Response to 3759 PTE. E. W. ELLIS. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Julie Holmes says:

    Thank you for this information Edward Ellis was my Husbands Great Grandfather.

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