Ellis James Gray (1888-1917)
Labourer, Central Parks
Ellis James Gray was born in 1888 at Marlesford, Suffolk to Leonard, a coal carter, and Eliza Gray. In 1901, at the age of 13, Ellis had become a bookstall boy living at Campsea Ash, Suffolk along with his mother, father, who had changed profession and become a plate layer with the Great Eastern Railway, his brother and two sisters. In 1911 he was working as a gardener assistant (domestic) at Balls Park, Hertford, a mid-17th century house set in 63 acres of land. Sometime before the outbreak of war Ellis joined the Office of Works and was working in the Central Parks as a labourer.
In August 1917 Ellis was serving in 13th Kensington Battalion, London Regiment near Ypres, Belgium as part of the Battle of Passchendaele. In the afternoon of the 15th his regiment was ordered to move up to the “Halfway House”, an area just behind the front line to the east of Ypres. At 2.00 am on the 16th they reached their objective and “settled in ... although gas and rather heavy shelling was encountered on the way up”. At 10.00 am the battalion was ordered to advance through Chateau Wood and they fought their way forward, although they were heavily counter-attacked. During the afternoon shelling was exceedingly heavy on their positions with three direct hits being received on the battalion. Private 491614 Ellis James Gray was one of 72 ordinary ranks in the battalion who were killed that day.
He is buried in grave number I.G.14, Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Belgium.