Arthur Henry ELLACOTT
Rank: Private
Number: 1140
Unit: 1/5th Battalion YORKSHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 20 May 1915
Age: 21
Cemetery: Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium

Driffield is a large village in East Yorkshire and a number of Stockport families originated from there and had moved Cheshire when a Driffield man set up a new cabinet making factory in the town. Arthur's father was a cabinet maker and had come to live at 279 Wellington Road South, Stockport, some time between 1901 and 1914. In 1901, when the census was taken, William was living at 75 Shady Lane, Driffield with his wife, Lousisa and their 5 children. Apart from six year old Arthur, there was Reginald (8), Emily (4), James (2) and Jane (10 months).

Arthur's service number suggests that he might have been a pre-War member of a Yorkshire Regiment Battalion of the Territorial Force. The fact that he enlisted at Driffield, rather than Stockport, supports this and also suggests that he had perhaps not been living in the town for too long. When War was declared on 4 August 1914, the Territorials were mobilised and invited to volunteer for overseas service. Arthur will have returned to Driffield to do just that.

The 5th Yorkshires landed at Boulogne on 18 April 1915 and undertook further training for another month. On the 19 May, "A" and "B" Companies went into the front line for the first time, near Sanctuary Wood, to the east of Ypres. They were attached to other battalions to receive instruction in trench warfare. The next day, "C" and "D" Companies relieved "A" and "B" and they started to receive their instruction. The Battalion suffered its first casualties. Two men were killed. One was Arthur. One of his comrades, a Sergeant E Stephenson, wrote home to Driffield to recount Arthur's unfortunate end which resulted from his inexperience.

"I am writing this in the front line trenches, with the Germans about 200 yards in front... We have had a few more killed, including young Ellacott; he was shot by a sniper when he was looking over the parapet of the trench. He was instantly killed. It must have been an explosive bullet. They very seldom wound you up her; they put you right out and if you ever put your hand up they make you a present of a "souvenir".

No doubt this proved to be a very salutary early lesson to "keep their heads down" for the new soldiers. His family was later told that Arthur had been buried in a small cemetery in a wood (presumably Sanctuary Wood) and that a cross bearing his name had been erected. The cross also inscribed "He gave of his best". Over the course of the War, the location of the grave was either lost or it was destroyed by shellfire. Arthur is now commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing.  

In November of 1916, the local Driffield newspaper reported that Reg Ellacott had been wounded whilst serving with the East Yorkshire Regiment. He appears to have survived the War.

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