Henry (usually ‘Harry’) David Ellis came to Chelmsford as a boy around 1898 and later worked as a hairdresser. He joined the army and died of wounds in February 1918.
Harry was born in South Weald in 1890 the son of carpenter John Ellis (born around 1849 in Heybridge) and (Mary) Kate Ellis (nee Mynott, born in 1853 in Maldon).
The couple had married on 27th November 1874 at Heybridge. At the time Harry’s father was a wheelwright of Heybridge, and the son of John Ellis, wheelwright. His mother was also of Heybridge, and the daughter of David Mynott, a gardener. Seven years later the couple had been resident at South Weald.
Harry’s elder siblings were Katie Elizabeth Ellis (born 1876), Ethel Maud Ellis (born 1878), Alice Rebecca Ellis (born 1879), Ernest Arthur Ellis (born 1881), Frank William Ellis (born 1884), Agnes Mary Ellis (born 1886) and Rosina Josephine Ellis (1889-1963). His younger ones were Lilian Gertrude Ellis (born 1892) and Ethel Mary Ellis (born 1897). The children were born in Heybridge, South Weald or Brentwood.
One year-old Harry was living with his parents and six siblings at Melton Road in South Weald at the time of the 1891 census, when his father was employed as a carpenter.
A decade later the 1901 census found Harry’s parents and younger siblings, at 5 Redcliffe Road, Chelmsford. Harry’s father was a carpenter and brother Frank Ellis was an apprentice armature winder at an electrical works (probably at Crompton & Company in Chelmsford).
In 1911 the census listed 20 year-old Harry boarding in the household of the tobacconist and hairdresser dealer Frederick William Seymour at 50 The Grove, Bedford, Bedfordshire. Harry was employed as a hairdresser. Meanwhile Harry’s parents, two sisters and a boarder were living at 5 Redcliffe Road.
Harry married Honor Heard at the Church of Our Lady Immaculate in New London Road, Chelmsford on 2nd January 1915. She had been born on 1st July 1892 in Broomfield, the daughter of Sidney Heard. The couple had a son, Eric D. Ellis, born in 1916. Harry’s father died the following year, on 30th October 1917 aged 67.
Harry lived and enlisted in Chelmsford and served in France as Corporal 16897 in the 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment. More most of the war it formed part of the 88th Brigade in the 29th Division and fought at Gallipoli, the Somme, Monchy-le-Preux and Cambrai.
On 4th February 1918 the battalion, then near Passchendaele in Belgium, was transferred to the 112th Brigade in the 37th Division. It withdrew to billets at Wardrecques, moving on 16th February 1918 to a support position at Hooge Crater, near Ypres and then to the front line at Essex House five days later.
ELLIS, HENRY DAVID,
Corporal, 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment
On 22nd February 1918 the Essex County Chronicle carried the following family announcement:
“Ellis. - In ever loving memory of a dearly loved husband, son and brother, Cpl. H. Ellis, Essex Regt., son of the late John Ellis of Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, who died of wounds in France, Feb. 18th, 1918.
“Could we have raised his dying hand; Or heard his last farewel;, The blow would not have been so bad; To those who loved him well.
From his wife, mother, brothers, and sisters.”
Harry is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford, and on the War Memorial at Church of Our Lady Immaculate in New London Road, Chelmsford. He is not commemorated on the war memorial at St. John’s Church in Moulsham Street.
In 1919 Harry’s widow, Honor, married Charles F. Allcock in Leicestershire. The couple later lived at 20 Church Gate, Loughborough, Leicestershire. Honor died in Cambridgeshire in September 1989, aged 97.
Harry’s mother died on 21 March 1943 aged 89. Both she and her husband are buried in the graveyard of the Church of Our Lady Immaculate, Chelmsford (pictured).
It was during this period, on 18th February 1918, that Harry died of wounds at Rouen, in Normandy, France. It is unclear where or when he had been wounded but Rouen was a the location of many military hospitals to which casualties were brought from the front line. Harry was aged 27, and today lies at St. Sever Cemetery Extension in Rouen (grave: P. VI. K. 6A).