George Ellis was born at Stevenage in 1862 and Lucy Mary Elsom was born at Digswell earlier in the same year. They were married in 1885 and had three sons. In 1891 and 1901 the family were living in Mill Lane, Welwyn. In 1905 Lucy Ellis died and in 1911 the widower George Ellis was living with his sons George Arthur (22), John (19) and William (15) and a housekeeper in a house in Hobbs Hill. George was a carman for a coal merchant, and so was George Arthur. John was a shepherd.
George Arthur Ellis of the 4th Bn., Essex Regiment, was killed in action on Tuesday 27 March 1917 while serving with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. He is named on the Jerusalem Memorial in Israel, which commemorates some 3,300 soldiers of that Force from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa who fell in Egypt and Palestine and whose remains were not recovered. George Arthur was born on 3 June 1888 and was therefore 28 when he died. He was baptised at St. Mary’s, Welwyn, on 5 August 1888 and enlisted at St. Albans.
The second son, John Ellis, was killed in action on the third day of the Battle of the Somme, Monday 3 July 1916. His place of enlistment was Dovercourt in Essex. He was born in 1892 and thus aged 24 when he died serving with the 2nd Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial – the third victim of the slaughter on the Somme so commemorated from this small parish alone.
At the time of his two sons’ deaths George Ellis was living at Ayot St. Peter and this is presumably why George and John are commemorated on our War Memorial. Neither has a known grave.