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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916

CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916

Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916

Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916

Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

Sgt 17818 Keith Harley Ellis

  • Age: 27
  • From: Darlaston, Staffs
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 19th Btn
  • K.I.A Tuesday 11th July 1916
  • Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
    Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.
Sgt 17818 Keith Harley ELLIS, 19th Battalion KLR.

Keith Harley Ellis was born in Darlaston, Staffordshire in 1890, the fifth of six children and the younger of two sons born to James Ellis and his wife Mary (nee Jones). Keith was baptised at Darleston Parish Church on 30th April 1890 when his parents lived at 57 Pinfold Street, Darleston and his father is shown as Sergeant Instructor.

The 1891 Census shows the family are living at 14 Alfred Street, Darleston. Keith is a new born under 12 months. His father, James, is 45 years of age, born in Whitchurch, Shropshire in 1846. He is recorded as a Colour Sergeant, Instructor of Volunteers with the South Lancashire Regiment. His mother, Mary is 33 years of age, born in Newcastle, Staffordshire. Keith has four elder siblings all born in Staffordshire; Bertha E. aged 7 born Newcastle, Sidney N.H. is 6 born in Lichfield, Eulalia G.E. is 5 born in Darlaston and Mabel is 3 also born in Dalaston. The family employ a 14 year old servant, Rose Blandford. 

In 1901 the family have moved to Liverpool and live at 22 Byford Street, Liverpool. Keith is now 10 years of age and his father, James, is now declared as being 54 years of age and an army pensioner, while his mother is shown as aged 44. His siblings are shown as; Bertha aged 17 is a biscuit packer, Sydney is a 16 year old general labourer, Eulalia is 15 and works in a biscuit factory, Mabel is 13 and Mary is 4 and was born in Liverpool. Also declared in the household is an Aunt, Sarah Sharman born in Darlaston.  

By 1911, both parents had died and Keith, aged 20 years and a shipping clerk, is living with his elder brother, Sidney, a self employed window cleaner, and their youngest sister, Mary at 50 Byford Street, Liverpool.

Keith enlisted in the 19th Battalion of The King’s Liverpool Regiment as Private 17818, at St George's Hall in Liverpool on 02nd September 1914. He gave his age as 25 years and 142 days, occupation clerk, b.Darlaston, Stafford. He was described as being 5' 7" tall, weight 119lbs, chest 35", with a sallow complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. He stared his religion as Church of England and gave his sister Eulalia G. E. Ellis, as his next of kin, her residence shown as 241 High St, Wood Green, London.

Formed on 07th September 1914 the 19th Battalion trained locally at Sefton Park and remained living at home or in rented accommodation until November 1914. They then moved to the hutted accommodation at Lord Derby’s estate at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 19th Battalion alongside the other three Pals battalions left Liverpool via Prescot Station for further training at Belton Park, Grantham. They remained here until September 1915 when they reached Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain.

On 19th September 1914 he was promoted to Corporal and on 04th March 1915 to Sergeant.

He went to France with his Battalion on 7th November 1915, earning all three medals.

Between 26th May and 6th June 1916 he was on leave in the United Kingdom, returning to his unit on 7th June 1916.

One month later, on 11th July 1916, he was reported Missing in action at Trones Wood and subsequently assumed to have died on that date.

The murderous fighting that went on inside Trones Wood rendered it impossible to put specific dates on some of the casualties which is why many of the 17th Battalion losses have been bracketed as killed in action between 10th – 12th July 1916. The conditions are best described in the following passage from Everard Wyrall’s book The History of The King’s Regiment (Liverpool) Volume II.

 The remembrance of Trones Wood in July 1916 to those who passed through it is of a noisome, horrible place, of a tangled mass of trees and undergrowth which had been tossed and flung about in frightful confusion by the shells of both sides. Of the ghastly dead which lay about in all directions, and of DEATH, lurking in every hole and corner with greedy hands ready to snatch the lives of the unwary.  The place was Death trap, and although the attacks were made with great determination,   the presence of snipers who could not be detected and often fired into the backs of our men made the clearing of the wood impossible.

On 7th December 1917, his effects were to be sent to his registered Next of Kin, his sister, Mrs Eulalia Pugh, of 36 The Willows, Liverpool, who had previously lived at 36 Hunt Street, Liverpool and 241 High Street, Wood Green, London.

Like so many others, Keith's body was not reovered or was subsequently lost as he has no known grave and is commmemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.

On 01st August 1932 the Prince of Wales and the President of France inaugurated the Thiepval Memorial in Picardy. The inscription reads: “Here are recorded the names of officers and men of the British Armies who fell on the Somme battlefields between July 1915 and March 1918 but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.”

Keith's sister Eulalia was married to another Liverpool Pal; Private 17450 Thomas Pugh, also of the 19th Battalion K.L.R. Having suffered the loss of her brother less than three weeks before, her husband Thomas was killed in action at Guillemont on 30th July 1916. Thomas Pugh just like Keith Harley Ellis is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme in France.

Soldiers Effects for Keith went to his sisters Eulalia G. Pugh, Mabel G., Mary A.E., no Pension has been record found.


Killed On This Day.

(108 Years this day)
Tuesday 18th July 1916.
Pte 27346 John Mawdsley
34 years old

(106 Years this day)
Thursday 18th July 1918.
Cpl 106108 William Alexander Unsworth
38 years old