Private Alfred Ell, 1st Middlesex


19838 Private Alfred Ell

1st Battalion Middlesex Regiment

Killed in Action 24 October 1918

Age 33

Buried at Romeries, France.

Son of George Ell, of London; husband of Lilian Daisy Ell, of 151, Offord Rd, Barnsbury, London N1.

Private Ell was killed during the actions prior to the Battle of the Sambre, just three weeks before the war ended.

On 23 October, the 1st Middlesex attacked the village of Forest near Le Cateau. Zero hour for the attack was 2am and at 2.45am a message was received by Battalion Headquarters from Captain Tate, commanding ‘B’ Company.

This said: ‘On outskirts of Forest. Everything going splendidly. Enemy retiring. Very few casualties.

At 4am on the 24th the advance was continued. The 1st Middlesex was on the left of the line and ran into lethal machine gun fire.

At 6.50am Captain Francis Boase Broad MC reported that the enemy’s machine-gun fire was extremely heavy, but he believed that, although he could not get touch, some of the Battalion were ahead of him, though the enemy also was in front.

At 7.25am he reported that he had ‘D’ Company with ‘C’ Company – a total of just 50 men.

At around 9.15am the battalion reorganised. There were just 90 other ranks present, with Captain Tate in command.

During the two days’ fighting Captain Broad, Lieutenant Alexander Kroenig-Ryan and 2/Lieutenant Richard Holland were killed. Lieutenant AAT Harris was fatally wounded. 2/Lieutenant CE Cade was reported missing.

Captain Broad was 23 and from Earlsgate, Watford, Hertfordshire. He had been a pupil at St Lawrence College, Ramsgate, Kent.

2/Lieutenant Holland was 22 and from Mitcham in Surrey. His parents lived at 96 Melrose Avenue.

Lieutenant Kroenig-Ryan was 24, the son of a vicar from Braintree in Essex and a graduate of Cambridge University. He had a wife, Mabel, and lived at Alameda House, Vange, Pitsea, Essex. He had originally served with 8th Battalion the Middlesex Regiment.

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