Atherton, Ellis

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Ellis Atherton

32515, Private, 10th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Killed in action, 16 August 1916, aged 41
No known grave (Thiepval Memorial, France)

CWGC registered (Son of the late Thomas and Mary Ann Atherton; husband of Annie Atherton, of 38, Mowbray Rd, Llandudno, Carnarvonshire)

Ellis Atherton was born at Tywyn, a hamlet in Llanrhos, in 1875. He was the son of Thomas Atherton, a railway worker, and Mary Ann Atherton (née Jones). In 1881, the family lived at Maesdu Crossing (the site of the present bridge over the railway). Ellis was the youngest of the six children recorded which included his sister Anne, the future mother of Thomas John Atherton Williams (qv). On a date, unknown, Ellis moved to Tylorstown in Glamorganshire.

On 21 November 1894, Ellis Atherton joined a Militia battalion of the Welsh Regiment at Pontypridd. His regimental number was 7186. He served with the Welsh Regiment until 7 May the following year when he transferred to the 4th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, presumably on returning to North Wales.

On 16 September 1899, Ellis Atherton married Annie Roberts at Llanrhos Parish Church. Both gave their residence as “Castle Farm”, Llanrhos. Two years later, Ellis was serving time at Llanbeblig Prison and described in the Census as a labourer in a brickworks. Ellis was discharged from the Militia in November 1904 with a character of “indifferent”. Newspapers of the time reveal that Ellis was repeatedly in trouble with the law and appeared before the magistrates for the 24th time in September 1910. The 1911 Census records the family living at 7 Cyll Terrace, Great Orme, Llandudno. There had been seven children of the marriage, four of whom had died; the three surviving children being: Ellis (b 1902), Emma (b 1904) and Thomas (b 1906). Mary Ann Atherton was born later that year.

On 8 September 1914, Ellis joined the Special Reserve of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and given the regimental number 6018. He attested that his age was 38 years and two months and that he had previously served in the 4th RWF and had been discharged on the termination of the engagement. He did not admit to any instance of previous “penal servitude”. On 30 October 1914, Ellis was discharged “in consequence of not being likely to become an efficient Special Reservist” on account of varicose veins. Another daughter, Elizabeth Atherton was born in April 1915.

Ellis Atherton joined the RWF for the third time on 5 July 1915. His engagement was for “Home Service”. He joined the 12th Battalion at Kinmel Camp with a regimental number of 32515. The 12th Battalion had formed as a New Army “Service” Battalion in October 1914 but in April 1915 had become a Reserve Battalion and moved to Kinmel Park near Rhyl, training soldiers and subalterns as reinforcements for other battalions. Although Ellis had initially been found fit only for “home defence”, he was posted to France. Embarking at Southampton, he joined No 5 Infantry Base Depot at Rouen on 24 July 1916. Though he had originally been destined for the 19th RWF, he was reposted to the 10th RWF and joined the battalion at Méricourt l’Abbé in a draft of 53 other ranks on 30 July 1916, a day after the birth of his son Richard.

On 15 August 1916, the battalion marched to Talus Bois near Maricourt. The following day, it moved into “Casement” and “Dublin” Trenches. The war diary records that the casualties for that day were three other ranks killed and four wounded. In the following three days, the battalion took over 300 casualties. Ellis Atherton is recorded as being killed in action on 16 August 1916. He was aged 41 and has no known grave.

Annie Atherton and her children, Thomas, Elizabeth and Emma (as Emma Hughes) were all living at 38 Mowbray Road, Llandudno in 1939. Annie Atherton died in 1973.

Known memorials:

  • Thiepval Memorial, France
  • Landudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno

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