Archibald Alexander Ely was born and raised in Chelmsford and worked as a printer. He was killed in action in March 1918. His home was in Evelyn Terrace, Barrack Square off Moulsham Street. A cousin died after being a prisoner of war.
ELY, ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER,
Private, 9th (Service) Battalion (County Tyrone), Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (formerly Essex Regt.)
Archibald is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford, and on the Pozieres Memorial, 6 kilometres north-east of Albert, Somme, France. The memorial relates to the March and April 1918 period when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by German forces across the former Somme battlefields, and the months that followed before the Advance to Victory, which began on 8th August 1918.
He is also remembered by the Moulsham Parish Memorial, St John’s Church, Moulsham, and at the London Road Congregational Church, Chelmsford. Archibald was entitled to the Victory and British War medals.
Archibald was born in Chelmsford in 1892, the only son of the carpenter and joiner Charles Ely and Eliza Ely. (nee Gooch) His father had been born in 1867 in Hatfield Broad Oak; his mother in 1864 in Hitcham, Suffolk.
The couple had married in Chelmsford on 16th June 1888 and three years later had been living at 46 Roman Road, Chelmsford, where Archibald’s father was a carpenter and joiner.
Archibald’s siblings (all Chelmsford-born) were Bertha Alice Ely (born in 1899), Edith Mary Ely (1898-1969) and Dorothy Minnie Ely (1900-1902).
The 1901 census recorded nine year-old Archibald living with his parents and three siblings at 4 Evelyn Terrace, Barrack Square, off
Moulsham Street, Chelmsford (now the site of the Candy Club). A decade later the 1911 census listed 19 year-old Archibald living at that same address, with his father and two sisters. He was a printer, while his father was journeyman joiner and his sister Bertha, a dressmaker. George Fisk, who is also commemorated at Chelmsford, lived at number 6 Evelyn Terrace at that time.
Archibald enlisted at Chelmsford and saw service as Private 32837 Essex Regiment. Having transferred, he was killed in action on 29th March 1918 while serving as Private 40800 in the 9th (Service) Battalion (County Tyrone) of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The battalion had landed in France in October 1915 and was attached to the 109th Brigade in the 36th (Ulster) Division. Archibald was aged 26.
On 10th May 1918 the Essex Weekly News reported:
“Mr. C. Ely, of 4, Evelyn-ter., Moulsham-st., Chelmsford, has received official intimation hat his only son, Pte. A, Ely, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, has been missing since March 21. Previous to the war Pte. Ely was for several years engaged in the office of the ‘Essex Weekly News’.”
A week later the Essex County Chronicle reported:
“Mr. C. Ely, of 4 Evelyn Terrace, Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, is informed that his only son, Pte. A. Ely, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, is missing.”
The 1918 register of electors listed Archibald’s parents at 4 Evelyn Terrace, Barrack Square, Chelmsford. His father died in 1939, aged 71; his mother four years later.
Archibald’s cousin Douglas Havelock Newman, who died after being a prisoner of war in Germany, is also commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford.