Help searching Private William Ellis

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by SteveLunt, Oct 31, 2020.

  1. SteveLunt

    SteveLunt Active Member

    Im not sure as its on his Death Cert including his service number

    His Service number comes up with zero on any sites I have access to (or even google) thats even without a name, Pioneer Corp have quite a number of Wiliiam Ellis listed that I could see but mostly 1920's

    Not quite sure why a death cert would be falsified in that way, his burial records show he was a Soldier too
  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Unless he had been discharged prior to his death, he should be commemorated by CWGC but he clearly doesn't appear to be. This is something that can still be amended if you are able to locate sufficient supporting evidence. This would really mean the service records, confirming that he was still serving at date of death.

    It was not unusual for early-war enlistments to be compulsorily transferred to where they would be better suited, something that didn't really take place with new recruits until the enlistments into the General Service Corps in 1942. It could be that he physically didn't make the grade for overseas service and was therefore transferred out.
  3. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    There were I'm sure many points in a soldiers career, or his units history where mens suitability for a role or type of service was reviewed & transfers to other units made. Just taking the 5th & 6th Loyals as an example:
    5th Bn: April 1940 Transfer to 20th Ind Inf Brigade for poss overseas service, 1941conversation from Motorcycle Battalion to Reconnaissance Regt & embarking for Middle East (diverted to Far East)
    6th Bn: 1941Converting to Reconnaissance Regiment, overseas to India/Burma 1942
  4. SteveLunt

    SteveLunt Active Member

    Ive been given this information today (via the RPC link posted previously)

    We have his date of birth recorded as 15 Aug 08
    and know that he enlisted at Bolton into the Recce Corps on 11 May 39
    transferred to the Pioneer Corps on 2 Jan 42.
    He was placed on the reserve on 4 Aug 43

    It would seem from the Above that he was in Prison after these dates at some point

  5. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The Reconnaissance Corps wasn't formed until 1941.
    Owen likes this.
  6. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Can't be confirmed with out service records or inquest papers or newspaper report of it, but this info is a good fit with a soldier who joined either 5th or 6th Loyals as a TA soldier, remained with them while they converted to Recce Corps, but was transferred to the Pioneer Corps a few months before they went overseas. As Rich suggests in post 22 maybe not fit enough or suitable for overseas service. The standard for admittance to the peace time TA at a time when they were trying to double their strength, would have maybe been less stringent than for a man later going to India, Singapore or Middle East.
  7. SteveLunt

    SteveLunt Active Member


    I have now recieved William Ellis service records from the MOD, not understanding some of it, seems he was still a soldier when he committed suicide in Prison, still no idea why , or why he was imprisoned

    Some elements redacted, and the covering letter said "Please be aware that in accordance with the rehabilitation of offenders act 1974 legislation any spent discipline records / convictions that may have been held ill have been redacted / removed

    Interestingly one sheet has his wife and childrens details redacted, and on the second sheet (which is a copy ) they are not redacted

    Attached Files:

  8. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Looks to me that he was discharged to W (T) Reserve in 1943 ie still on the strength of the army and liable to recall but diverted to “war work”.

    MOD still seem to be applying the redacting of service records - that was advertised last year - in a less than consistent manner.



    Image 5 makes mention of him serving a prison sentence in 1941 ie Posted Y list whilst in prison April 1941.
    Last edited: May 10, 2022
  9. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    The last image (no.5) refers to a posting to Great Barr, B'ham and here is why:
    Reading the account briefly there is confusion over when, as May 1941 and July 1942 are both given.
    From pg. 33:

    A blogsite refers to:
    From: US Base Pheasey Estate
  10. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Pleased that you now have the service record.

    My reading of the parts you have posted is that he was in the 6th Bn Loyals, then transferred to 2nd Bn Recon Corps with the rest of the 6th Loyals when they converted to the Recon role.

    What I don't have the knowledge to comment on is wether his transfer to the Pioneer Corps in January 1942 could have been while he was still in prison (it does not mention a Y list or similar), although it may have been prompted by the 2nd Recon preparing for deployment overseas & having a clearing out of all men who could not go with them. The 2nd evntually arrived in India In June 1942.

    Could the posting to No 12 Centre have been that it was the nearest/largest Pioneer unit to Winson Green, or to his parents home address ?

    Did you ever have any luck with Birmingham City archives, hoping they are now reopened after the pandemic. My local library certainly has, they have restarted a charge for overdue books !


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