[The name recorded on the Hope Terrace Memorial is Harold Ellison but I believe this is a mistake. CWGC records only one man by that name (a flight sergeant in 101 Sqn, RAF) and he came from Rochdale. There are 73 other war dead with the Ellison surname but only one from the local area, so this is his story. My thanks to Darren Ellison, Albert’s grandson and Edward’s nephew, for help in confirming the family connections.]
Edward Ellison was born in 1925 in Preston. His father was Albert Ellison (b. 1891 in Preston), a club steward. His mother was Alice Deane (b. 1901 in Preston). Albert and Alice were married in 1924 and they had four sons: Edward, William (b. 1928), Robert (b. 1931) and Thomas (b. 1934). In 1939, the family was living at 24 Almond Street, Preston (the street no longer exists, it was off Ribbleton Lane). One of the brothers, Bob, later moved to Lourdes Avenue, Lostock Hall, so there is a genuine family connection to the village.
Edward turned 18 in 1943 so I presume that is when he enlisted. He joined the infantry and was assigned service number 14657667 and posted to 2nd Battalion of the Monmouthshire Regiment. After a long period of training in Northern Irelandand England, they landed in Normandy on 28 June 1944, twenty-two days after the initial D-Day landings and fought in the Normandy Campaign in the Battle for Caen. They next saw action in the Battle of the Falaise Gap in August 1944, where the battalion suffered heavy casualties. The battalion later advanced to liberate Merville and then crossed into the Netherlands. By October they had reached the Nederrijn and took part in the attack on 's-Hertogenbosch.
British infantry advancing in the Reichswald in the face of fierce German resistance, 25 Februrary 1945
In December 1944 they took part in the counter offensive against the German advances in the Ardennes forest. In January 1945 they moved to The Netherlands for a period of training prior to Operation Veritable, also known as the Battle of the Reichswald. They entered Germany on 8 February, taking part in a month's heavy fighting and suffering 300 casualties before being withdrawn for rest. Edward was killed during this fighting on 25 February 1945. He was only 19. He is buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, which is at Kleve, near the Dutch border.
Service Number: 14657667
Unit/Regiment: Monmouthshire Regiment, 2nd Bn.
Date of death: 25/02/1945
Cemetery: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery
Grave Reference: 50. A. 10.
Additional Information: Son of Albert and Alice Ellison, of Preston, Lancashire.
Albert Ellison, Edward’s father, served in the First World War. He was L/18059 Driver Albert Ellison. He enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery on 5 May 1915, aged 25, and at the time he was living with his parents at 57 Trafford Street, Preston. He was a cattle drover. He joined the regular army rather than the Territorials. In February 1916 he was posted abroad to join 56th Brigade. 56Bde had served in Gallipoli and were evacuated in January 1916 to Egypt, which is where Albert joined them. The brigade arrived at Alexandria on 14 January 1916 and then moved on to Port Said, arriving on 30 January. The brigade was now transferred to the 13th (Western) Division for operations in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) and landed at Ashar between 7 and 10 March 1916. The British and Indian armies were attempting to relieve the siege of Kut-Al-Amara but the garrison surrendered in April 1916. This was one of the worst Allied defeats of the War and was followed by a major reorganisation of the British and Indian forces. On 2 July 1916, 56th brigade was transferred to the 7th (Meerut) Division. The remainder of the campaign was more successful, culminating in the capture of Baghdad in March 1917. The brigade moved with the division from Mesopotamia to Palestine in early 1918 to support the British consolidation following the capture of Jerusalem the previous December. On 1 April 1918, the brigade was transferred to the 52nd (Lowland) Division at Moascar (Ismailia, Egypt) and subsequently moved with the division to France. The Division fought in the Hundred Days’ Offensive in August and September 1918 which led to the eventual defeat of Germany.
56th Brigade had the distinction of being one of very few units to have seen service in four different theatres of war, and Albert had served in three of them (Mesopotamia, Palestineand France).
Albert was demobilised on 19 March 1919.