Lance Corporal Gerald Edgar Ellis, 20916

  • Batt - 8
  • Unit - Leicestershire Regiment
  • Section -
  • Date of Birth - 14/9/1895
  • Died - 01/10/1917
  • Age - 22

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Source: Michael Doyle Their Name Liveth For Evermore: The Great War Roll of Honour for Leicestershire and Rutland.
Gerald was believed to have been shot at the same time as Sergeant Albert Essery M.M. during the Battle of Polygon Wood. Before the war he had been a General Labourer. The War Diary for the 1st October 1917 records. FRONT LINE. The night was extremely quiet, the absence of hostile shelling was particularly noticeable. At 5.30am a heavy hostile barrage was placed on the front line, and 100 yards west of the road in J.10.a. central. This was maintained until 6.00am when it became evident that a hostile counter attack on the 9th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT was in progress. The S.O.S. was sent up by the 9th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT on the right, also by this Battalion, and a heavy barrage was placed on and in front of the enemy lines. Heavy Lewis gun and rifle fire was immediately brought to bear on the threatened flank. A few minutes after 6.00am, a message was received from the 9th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT that the enemy had gained possession of their front line. About 6.30am, small parties of the enemy were seen about JOIST FARM J.10.d.2.0. moving by short rushes towards our right front line Company and threatening to turn the right flank of the Battalion. Heavy Lewis gun and rifle fire was opened on the enemy, who suffered casualties and were unable to make any progress down the slope towards the front line. About this time the intensity of our barrage lessened, and towards 7.00am ceased altogether. Between 7.00 and 10.30am the enemy made repeated attempts to advance against the open flank of the Battalion, but was driven back on each occasion by rifle and Lewis gun fire. During this period it was found that the 9th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT had been reinforced by two Companies of the 7th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT and were holding the line of the road running north and south in J.10.a. A defensive flank was formed from the right flank of “B” Company J.10.d.35.50. to Battalion HQ at J.10.c.5.5. The right support Company (“A”) moved up to the road and linked up with Battalion HQ on the left, and the left Company of the 9th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT on the right. At 10.15am Captain J. B. MATTHEWS with the left support company (“D”) moved from its position J.10.a.3.2 in order to make a counter attack against the enemy holding the high ground in the vicinity of JOIST FARM. Unfortunately Captain J. B. MATTHEWS M.C. was killed instantly by a sniper when making a personal reconnaissance preparatory to the attack, and at 10.30am the hostile artillery put down a heavy barrage on the east side of POLYGON WOOD consequently this counter thrust did not materialise. This heavy hostile barrage was kept up until 1.00pm at which hour the shelling ceased, but no further hostile attack took place. At 2.00pm small parties of the enemy were seen moving about the south west edge of JETTY WARREN, but were dispersed by rifle fire, Shortly afterwards a hostile machine gun opened traversing fire along the road in J.10.c. central, and Lt. Col. UTTERSON D.S.O. was hit in the arm by a bullet. At 3.10pm a determined effort was made by the enemy 10 or 12 strong to move down the slope from JOIST FARM towards Battalion HQ but the attempt was stopped by rifle fire from the Battalion HQ concrete emplacement, the enemy retiring and leaving several dead behind them. No further attempt to advance was made by the enemy and the remainder of the afternoon passed quietly. At 6.10pm the S.O.S. signal was put up by the Brigade on the right and an exceptionally heavy barrage was placed on the enemy lines by our artillery. No hostile attack developed and at 8.00pm the barrage ceased. At 8.05pm the enemy attempted a counter attack against the ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS on the left. The S.O.S. was again sent up and a second barrage of an hours duration was placed on enemy lines. The counter attack was beaten back with loss to the enemy. The remainder of the night passed quietly and at dawn a protective barrage was formed by our artillery lasting for 15 minutes.

Leicestershire Project Findings
  • Conflict - World War I
  • Cause of death - KILLED IN ACTION
  • Place of death - Polygon Wood, Ypres
  • Burial Place - Panel 50 To 51, Tyne Cot Memorial - Buried On Battlefield Where He Fell
  • Birth Place - Ridlington, Rutland
Research from Michael Doyle's Their Name Liveth For Evermore
  • Unit - Leicestershire Regiment
  • Cause of death - KILLED IN ACTION
  • Burial Commemoration - Tyne Cot Mem., Zonnebeke, West Vlaanderen, Belgium
  • Born - Ridlington, Rutland
  • Enlisted - Leicester
  • Place of Residence - Rearsby, Leicestershire, England

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