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Sergeant William Ellingham was the son of Arthur and Annie Ellingham of Jubilee St, Luton. He won the Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1915 for Conspicuous Devotion to Duty near Ypres. His letter home to his parents telling them about the award was published in the North Buckinghamshire Times. He was killed in action on 18th August 1916, aged 28.
The 1911 Census shows that William was a professional soldier serving as a bandsman with the Northumberland Fusiliers and stationed at Pontefract. He would probably have been called up to the British Expeditionary Force in August 1914 and this is confirmed by his Medal Index Card which shows that he won the 1914 Star.
Private Ellingham wrote home on 15th June 1915 and his letter was later published in the local press.
I am still getting on all right. I do not know if you have seen it in any of the papers yet but I have been fortunate enough to get the Distinguished Conduct Medal for good work at Ypres. I had the ribbon pinned on yesterday by Major-General Haldane. I don't know when the medal will be presented, but I shall send it home to you as soon as I get it. We are having a few days rest now, but by the time you get this letter we shall be having an exciting time, and you may hear some good news in a day or two. At least I hope so. In fact, we all do. The weather is fine and we hope to be able to give a good account of ourselves before long. Things are turning out as well as can be expected under the circumstances.
The citation for his DCM appeared in the London Gazette on 30th June 1915 and reads as follows:
For conspicuous devotion to duty as a linesman, notably near Ypres, between 23rd February and 4th March 1915. His unvarying cheerfullness and readiness to go up the line, under any conditions of weather and however heavy the sniping, has set a fine example to the other signallers.
Ellingham was later promoted to Sergeant. He was killed in action in France on 18th August 1916 and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. His name also appears on the Roll of Honour Board from Hitchin Boys' School.