Serial No. 1479
1st Light Horse Regiment
Reginald Ellis - Information
Reginald was the youngest child of Joseph and Ada Ellis. He was born in the Camden area in 1898, where the family had resided for some time before relocating to Balmain. Reginald attended school in Balmain and trained to be a farmer. When the war commenced, Reginald was residing with the family on Oxford St, Balmain and working as a general labourer. He decided to join his brothers in arms, enlisting in the AIF on the 20th of July 1915 in Liverpool. He claimed he was 21, when in fact he was just 17. He became a Trooper with the 1st Light Horse Regiment, and departed Sydney onboard the HMAT Mashobra on the 4th of October 1915 for war service.
Reginald landed in Egypt where he was taken on strength to the 1st Light Horse at Tel-el-Kebir. However, upon his arrival in Egypt, Reginald proved to have a disciplinary problem. On the 2nd of January 1916, he went absent without leave, until apprehended on the 10th of January. For this infraction, he was awarded 15 days detention which was amended to 9. In April, he went AWL again and was charged with striking a comrade at Tel-el-Kebir Camp. He was then transferred to the infantry, and shipped to the 5th Training Battalion in England in early June. At the time, Reginald’s older brother, William, known as Bill, was also stationed in England for training. However, his behaviour failed to improve. At Perham Downs in late June, he was charged with insolence and refusing to obey an order. The following month, at Rollestone, he went AWL for 11 days, and was charged with malingering, possessing a false pass and giving false information to the Military Police. His brother was charged with similar acts in August. Sadly, at this time, their parents divorced. Joseph moved to 26 Cross St in Forest Lodge and Ada moved to 412 Elizabeth St in Strawberry Hills. In September, Bill was shipped to the Western Front to join the 18th Battalion. Reginald was then transported to the Western Front in France to reinforce the 18th Battalion in March 1917, reuniting with Bill. At the same time, the Germans were withdrawing to the Hindenburg Line, a new defence fortification. This resulted in a series of attacks including the Second Battle of Bullecourt. During this assault, Reginald went missing in action on the 3rd of May. An investigation was launched and his unit was questioned. They turned to Bill, who explained that he was fighting alongside his brother, early in the attack at Bullecourt on the 3rd of May, but were later separated. He feared the worst and went on to say that he was most likely killed. Another witness iterated that Reginald had been wounded and was later killed by an artillery shell. With no further information to be found, the army concluded that he was killed in action on the 3rd of May 1917. Reginald’s name is now recorded on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux in France.