Published By John Davies
David William Ellis was born in 1885 at Llanyblodwel, his father was Richard, a general labourer, his mother was Elizabeth. They would have 5 children: Jane, (David), Richard, John and Edward. They lived at Little Vicarage at Llanyblodwel. By 1895 father Richard had died and the family had moved to Selattyn and were living ‘Behind the Cross Keys’ – likely number 2 Church Lane. David was working as a joiner and carpenter and later as a jobbing builder. In October 1908 David married Mary Ann Pedder and they went to live in Gobowen on Preeshenlle Road (lane), they would have two baby girls Agnes, born in June 1909 and Doreen, born in March 1912. At about this time they moved to Sheffield, living at 7 Eltham Road, it is probable they had moved for David’s work. David enlisted at Sheffield in December 1914, joining the Royal Engineers, Territorials – duly signingwaiving his right not to serve overseas. It is probable too that at this time Mary and the 2 girls returned to Oswestry and went to live at ‘Ferndale’ Gobowen (CWGC gives house as ‘Arndale’) and after David’s death moved to 40 Oak Drive, Oswestry.
As a joiner/carpenter he was suited to the REs. He was promoted Lance Corporal on 28 August 1915 and full Corporal about 3 weeks later and then, 3 weeks later still, went over to France on 10 October. Details of his service overseas are scant. Based on later evidence he was gassed in 1915, possibly at Ypres during the German Offensive that Spring and spent time in hospital. He was also admitted to Field Ambulance for dental work, that was in January 1916. The following June he was promoted Sergeant and the next month was transferred for duty in England at Chatham, RE Depot. In September he was promoted again to Staff Sergeant (Foreman of Works) and was attached to 12 Labour Bn Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry and was posted to Italy in General HQ RE, Italy.
By the end of the war he was back in England, his health was not good. He was examined at Park Hall Military Hospital on 11 October 1918. At the examination he said that he had been slightly gassed in 1915 but had had no illness whilst in service until about 12 months ago when he began to feel ill and had been getting worse very gradually ever since. He complained of being tired and exhausted after exertion, he had headaches and dizzy spells. He was discharged underas physically unfit as a result of war service. His health continued to deteriorate and he died on 8 January 1919. He was given a full military funeral, the service was held at the Wesleyan Chapel in Gobowen, officiated by minister the Reverend T Little. The funeral cortege – honour party, bugler and mourners – processed to St Barnabas Church yard at Hengoed. David is also commemorated on Selattyn War Memorial and on Sheffield Roll of Honour.
On 1 March 1916 he was awarded the– according to his obituary he was the first Selattyn man to win the MM. His medal citation records that at La Brique, in 1 March 1916, ‘shewing great personal courage in collecting and getting under control a working party that had been dispersed by shellfire and organising and leading a search party for wounded men’…..7 wounded men were brought in. He was presented with the medal by Brevet Colonel JK McClintoch at a ceremony at Park Hall on 15 December 1918.
David’s brother Edward was also killed during the war – Private 230341 Edward Sidney Ellis, 10 King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. – he is not on the Memorial Gates but is on both Selattyn War Memorial and Cambrian Railway War Memorial.
See also – buried at Hengoed Driver T4/057472 Ernest Bennett, Army Service Corps. Died 3 May 1918, St Barnabas’s Church at Hengoed, Oswestry