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World War I Address
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Soldier or Civilian
Sgt William Ellingham, one of the first Lutonians to be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, was killed in action on the Somme on August 18th, 1916. He was a son of Arthur and Annie Ellingham, of 8 Jubilee Street, Luton, and served in the 1st Northumberland Fusiliers.
In November 1915 Sgt Ellingham, then a lance corporal, came to England on leave and married Mabel Louisa Ward from Castleford in the Yorkshire town on November 5th. He had been stationed at Pontefract, Yorks, in 1911 and it was while there he probably met Mabel.
Sgt Ellingham had left the Colours only two months before war broke out, and was immediately recalled to his regiment at Newcastle. He went over to France early in August 1914 and had been in the fighting line ever since without a scratch, despite terrible ordeals during the Mons retreat when he was missing for some time. He had completed his term of Army service some months before his death and had then been expecting to come home to assist in drilling recruits.
William Ellingham was still a private when he learned in June 1915 that he had gained his DCM for conspicuous devotion to duty as a linesman, notably near Ypres, between February 23rd and March 4th, 1915, and had set a fine example to other signallers.
The medal was pinned on his chest at a public meeting in Castleford attended by prominent citizens of the town and with the band of the 1st York and Lancaster Regiment playing. Major Watson pinned on the medal and presented him with a purse containing £20 and his bride-to-be with a bouquet of flowers.
He was also congratulated on behalf of the North Eastern Railway, with which he had been closely connected for a time. He had made his home in Castleford.