Topic: Thomas Henry Ellis

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Thomas Henry Ellis (Service no. 2/2609) was a World War One soldier with links to Spreydon, Springston, and the Halswell War Memorial.

Thomas Henry Ellis Thomas Henry Ellis was born in Springston on the 8th of November 1892.

His parents were Maria (nee McClelland) and Charles Henry Ellis. At the time of his enlistment, he was living with them 44 Hoon Hay road in Spreydon. He had a sister, Rachel, who was a year older, and a brother, Hugh Warrick, four years younger.

Before the war he worked as a Storeman for H Quane and Co, in Lichfield Street, and had previously worked for Royd Bros and Kirk.

In his free time he dedicated himself to hockey and was a member of the senior team of the Selwyn hockey club. He attended the Springston Methodist church and was known as an 'old boy' of Springston. 

Thomas had hazel hair and light brown eyes, stood at 5 foot 7 (173cm) and weighed in at 176 pounds (79.8kgs) when he was medically examined with 53 other men from the district on the 6th of July 1915 (The Press). 

Thomas’s record reckons from the 20th of October, 1915, when he left Christchurch for Trentham military camp, near Wellington. Thomas and other Halswell locals, Harry Cox and B. J. O'Shaughnessy, traveled up together. Harry and Thomas were in the Artillery: Thomas was a gunner with the New Zealand Field Artillery, 5th battery, 2nd brigade. After training in Trentham, Thomas was sent to the Suez on the Maunganui, leaving on the 8th of January and arriving in Egypt a month later on the 8th of February, 1916. Thomas spent a couple of months in Egypt before leaving for France, via Alexandria, on the HMT Eboe on the 7th of April.

He was wounded in the field on the 19th of September, with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. He was treated at the XV Corps Main Dressing Station, which was formed at Dernancourt just a few weeks earlier, in August 1916. 

He was then transferred to 36th Casualty Clearing Station, which was part of the casualty evacuation chain, further back from the front lines of battle. This was a place where soldiers were either treated so that they were well enough to return to duty, or to be evacuated safely a base hospital. Thomas’s wounds, though, were very bad, and he passed away the next day, on the 20th of September, 1916. He is buried at the Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-l'Abbe, Somme, France. 

At the Methodist Church a memorial service was held for those who had recently died in battle, and tribute was payed to Thomas, as well as other local men: Lieutenent Sheridan, Sergeant Hubert Steel, Corporal Bryce Chamberlain. He was also remembered at a meeting at the Methodist schoolroom (Press, 10 Oct 1916). 

Thomas Ellis is remembered on the Halswell War Memorial

After the war, his sister Rachel married a returned soldier Charles James Forbes in 1919. Brother Hugh married Madge Rider in 1921. His parents moved to 164 Redruth Ave in Spreydon, where his father Charles passed away in 1935 (age 74). Maria passed away at Rachel's home in Tennyson street in 1944 (age 73). They are buried in the Sydenham cemetery.


Related Resources

Thomas Ellis' record on Cenotaph 
Thomas Ellis' military personal file from Archways, Archives New Zealand
Photo from Free Lance, Volume XV, Issue 794, 17 September 1915, Page 20

Commonwealth War Graves Commision, Heilly Station Cemetery
Commonwealth War Graves Commision, XV Corps Main Dressing Station
'Medically Examined' The Press, Vol LI, 7 July 1915. 
'Casualities' The Sun, Vol III, 2 Oct 1916. 
'Roll of Honour' The Press, Vol LII, 4 Oct 1916.
'Methodist Church', The Press, Vol LII, 10 Oct 1916.  
'Deaths' Press Vol LXXX, 25 Nov 1944 
Sydenham cemetery burial record for Charles and Maria Ellis. 

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Thomas Henry Ellis

First Names:Thomas Henry
Last Name:Ellis
Place of Birth:Springston, Canterbury, New Zealand