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Remembered Today:

Is This The Same Man?


John Beech
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Morning All

Got an odd one here from my research into the 46th (North Midland) Divisional Train, and would be interested in the views of others.

I have found a man who served with No.1 Company by the name of Samuel Henry Robert Ellis. He enlisted on 4th August 1914 and was originally numbered 127, but in 1915 he was renumbered 3400 and he has a 1917 TF renumbering of T4/244052. He originally signed on for four years’ service, with the Territorial Force. There are some pension records and service records available which show his intended home address as 209 Hallam Street, West Bromwich. There is a Samuel Henry Robert Ellis living at 214 Hallam Street on the 1911 Census with his parents Henry and Sarah and who is listed as a glass blowers helper. This address corresponds with his Attestation Form. There is also a birth registered in Third Quarter 1892 in West Bromwich which equates to his given age. On his service record, his NOK is given as his mother Sarah

He entered theatre on 1st March 1915, and joined No.1 Company, 46th Divisional Train from H.T Base, Le Havre on 22nd September 1915. He returned to the UK in November 1915, and in January 1916 he joined the 3rd Line, North Midland Divisional Train

He went back to France in June 1916 and served with No.1 Company until January 1917 when he returned to the UK. He spent the period 29th January 1917 - 17th March 1917 in hospital in Nottingham with tonsillitis, and following his illness, was discharged on 25th September 1917 at Southport - Kings Regulations 392 (XVI) Sickness. His Silver War Badge is No. 249405. On discharge he was aged 25 years and 5 months.

All fairly straight forward, but then it gets a touch confusing. If you look at his MIC, he is shown as Driver S H R Ellis, but the details shown match the above. His 1914-1915 Star Roll entry shows him as T4/244052 Driver S H R Ellis, but his SWB Roll entry shows him as Sidney Henry Robert Ellis, although the entry is on the same roll quoted on Samuel’s MIC so I assume this is a typo. However, I can find no British War Medal and Victory Medal Roll entry for S H R, Samuel or Sidney Ellis, under any of his numbers, but medals were issued to a T4/244052 Driver John William Ellis.

The Medal Roll entry shows this man as being discharged 1st March 1919 as being no longer physically fit for war service. The Medal Roll and MIC for him quotes an original serial number of 257, which my research has shown was issued to Driver Ernest Dyson who was later renumbered T4/244051. This is not the only instance where the original service numbers were used more than once by different companies, so is perhaps not too surprising, Dyson served with No.2 Company. There appears to be no SWB for John William Ellis under either number.

This raises several questions. John William Ellis has no date entered theatre, so assuming it is post 1916 and that he enlisted sometime after the war started, is it possible that he was given Samuel Ellis’ number to reuse after Samuel was discharged, and the name is coincidental?, but if so, where is the British War Medal and Victory Medal entry for Samuel? and why does John William Ellis have an earlier three digit number? Is it also possible that after Samuel was discharged in 1917, he re-enlisted as John William Ellis, and this having been identified, his British War Medal and Victory Medal were then issued in this name but with his number ie T4/244052? Or is it simply a case that a mistake was made in the issue of serial numbers which was not corrected when medals were issued?

Neither MIC has any additional information about the medal naming, nor does the Medal Rolls themselves. Frustratingly, I cannot find a service or pension record for a John William Ellis to answer my queries.

Regards

John

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Comparing the medal rolls I think it is a clerical error. To me it appears the Christian names of Samuel Robert Henry ELLIS T4/244052 and John William EARL T4/244053 have been "muddled up". In the 1914-15 Star Roll they are both stated correctly, as above, but in the BWM and VM rolls the Christian name Samuel Robert Henry appears with the EARL surname and the Christian name John William appears with the ELLIS surname.

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Hi HarryBrook

Thanks for your suggestions which is very plausible. I didn't want to assume anything without at least raising the query first

Strange though that he should be issued a second MIC without anyone spotting the error and the surviving records don't explain why this quotes a three digit number not allocated to Samuel

Will check against Earl's available records

Regards

John

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Hi HarryBrook

Had another look at the Medal Rolls and the forenames have certainly been changed. However, the Roll does show the 257 number which wasn't allocated to Samuel and makes mention of discharge on 1st March 1919 which is mentioned on the MIC but which also doesn't apply to Samuel

Regards

John

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