WWII Memorial Group to Air Gunner A.W.Ellis RCAF
WWII Memorial Group to Air Gunner A.W.Ellis RCAF - 1939-45 Star; Defence Medal; Canadian Voluntary Service Medal with Overseas Clasp; 1939-45 War Medal; and Memorial Cross, George VI (SGT. AIR GUNNER A.W. ELLISR190987). MC is officially engraved, the medals are unnamed. Original ribbons, mounted to a suspension with swing bar pinback, light contact, better than very fine. Accompanied by his Statement of Service in the Canadian Armed Forces (dated March 3, 1988) and a CD containing forty-eight pages with copies of his Service Award Computer Card, Attestation Paper, Service Records, Report on Flying Accident or Forced Landing Not Attributable to Enemy Action, Province of Ontario Certificate of Death, Official RCAF Casualty Notification, Will and Separation Deed, plus three photographs: two of Ellis in uniform and one of his Identification Card. Footnote: Arthur William Ellis was born on November 18, 1911 in Toronto, Ontario, the son of Arthur Albert Ellis and Margaret Ellis (nee Taylor) of Toronto, Ontario. Although he had no brothers, he did have three living sisters (Margaret, Kathleen, Eileen), with a fourth sister, Gertrude, having died on June 11, 1935. His education included: Earl Grey Public School (1920-1927) and Danforth Technical (1928-1929, taking Industrial courses). Ellis played hockey extensively, even as an adult. In his civil life, he had five occupations prior to his joining the RCAF: as a Salesman for P. Krieger in Brantford, Ontario as a Salesman (1936-1937), as a Factory Worker with Mallincrodkt Chemical in Toronto, Ontario (1937), in Mining with Matachewan Cons. Gold Mines (1938-1939), in Mining with Buffalo Ankerite Gold Mines (1939-1940) and as an Engineering Supervisor with General Engineering (1940-1942). Ellis married Lillian Horne on April 27, 1939 in Toronto but the relationship did not last, as the two separated in 1941. In the Separation Deed, dated September 18, 1941 at Toronto, they mutually agreed to live separate and apart from each other, with Arthur Ellis agreeing to pay Lillian $10 per week for maintenance and support. While with General Engineering, Ellis filled out an application to join the RCAF. In his RCAF Interview Report, dated August 28, 1942, his Assessment Educational Standing Ability to Learn Personal Background Officer recommended for Aircrew (Air Gunner); his Medical Officer stated that he had a "Good physique. Good A.G. material, mature, an easy genial manner. Good responses, manner & attitude. Desirable material." and recommended him for Aircrew (Air Gunner) and possible commission; and his Interviewing Officer stated that he was "30 3/4 years old. Mature and assured. Easy pleasant manner. Happy-go-lucky temperament. Stocky build. Plays hockey extensively - Mercantile League (T.H.A.) Strong and healthy looking. Desirable A.G. material." and recommended him for Aircrew (Air Gunner) and possible commission as well. He signed his Attestation Paper on August 28, 1942, at No. 11 Recruiting Centre in Toronto, naming his next-of-kin as his mother, Margaret, stating that he had no previous military service, that he was separated from his wife, Lillian Ellis (nee Horne) and that his occupation was that of Supervisor, his form stamped "SPECIAL RESERVE". He enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force on September 15, 1942 in Toronto as an Aircraftman 2nd Class, enrolling in the Aircrew Course at No. 1 "M" Depot, Toronto on October 28, 1942 and having his Identification Card issued on October 30th. His Statutory Declaration, dated October 28, 1942 at No. 1 "M" Depot RCAF Toronto, as an Aircraftman 2nd Class, stated that he married on April 27, 1939 in Toronto and that he was legally separated on September 18, 1941, having had no children. He also stated that he signed a Dependents' Allowance for his wife Mrs. Lillian Ellis, to be paid c/o the lawyer's office in Toronto. He was transferred to No. 8 Manning Depot, Souris, Manitoba on January 5, 1943 and while there, was hospitalized for six days, from February 15 to 21. He saw another transfer, this time to No. 17 SFTS (Service Flying Training School) at Souris on March 7, 1943 and after three months, transferred again, to No. 2 A.G.G.T.S. (Air Gunner Ground Training School) at Trenton, Ontario, where he was to take the Air Gunner Course, from May 3 to July 23, 1943. In his RCAF Training School Report, dated July 23, 1943 upon completion of the course as an Air Gunner, it was noted that he was an "Average student, fair practical knowledge, hard worker, good discipline. Average A.G. material." and was also awarded his Air Gunner Badge. While at No. 2 A.G.G.T.S, he saw a short posting to No. 3 Bombing & Gunnery School at MacDonald, Manitoba that June, achieving the rank of Leading Aircraftman on June 12th, later named Temporary Sergeant on the completion of the course on July 23rd, designated Air Gunner (Special Group). He was now considered ready for overseas service and was transferred to No. 1 "Y" Depot at Halifax, Nova Scotia on July 23, 1943 and placed in the RAF Trainee Pool on August 25th. Ellis embarked Halifax on August 26th, arriving in the United Kingdom on September 1st. He was taken on strength of 3 PRC on September 2nd, transferred to No. 15 Operational Training Unit on August 24th, then transferred to what would become his final posting, with No. 26 Operational Training Unit on September 21, 1943. While here, he was attached to Group 92 Bomber Command. He was aboard a Wellington III DH.440 with Hercules engines, the aircraft having had an accrued flying time of 546 hours, 40 minutes, carrying a crew of six, including R190987 Sergeant Arthur William Ellis (Air Gunner), 1148277 Flight Sergeant Arthur Merridew (Pilot), 1388746 Sergeant Stuart Wilson (Navigator), Australian 419461 Sergeant Nicholas Doherty (Air Bombadier),1579075 Sergeant Eric Wilfred Brown (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner and R208832 Sergeant William Edward Martin (Maintenance Unit/Air Gunner), when the aircraft exploded in mid-air near RAF Station Foulsham in Norfolk on December 11, 1943. killing all six crew members. In a Report on Flying Accident or Forced Landing Not Attributable to Enemy Action, dated December 12, 1943 at RAF Station in Foulsham, Norfolk, it stated that the accident occurred at 2:10 hours on December 11, 1943, one and half miles N.N.W. of the airfield, while the aircraft was on a non-operational, nighttime cross-country training exercise, stating that the "Aircraft crashed into the ground whilst on a night cross country". The accident was investigated by A.I.B. and noted that the bodies exhibited "Multiple Injuries, causing instant death." A Court of Inquiry was to be set up to fully investigate the cause of the accident but no other documentation exists here, to prove that one was executed. In a letter to his mother from the Wing Commander, Commanding, RAF Station Foulsham, dated December 28, 1943, it stated that Ellis lost his life during a flying operation near Foulsham, Norfolk, England on December 11, 1943. The Wing Commander wrote, "Your son was taking part in a night cross-country exercise on the night of the 11th December 1943. When his aircraft was in the vicinity of R.A.F. Station Foulsham, Norfolk, for reasons at present unknown, but which are being investigated, it disintegrated in the air. There was apparently no opportunity for any of the crew to bale out, and from the doctor's report, there is no doubt that your son's death was instantaneous, and that he suffered no pain." Ellis' funeral took place on December 16th at 2:00 PM at RAF Regional Cemetery, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, where he was buried with four other members of his crew, his funeral conducted by the Canadian Padre, Squadron Leader the Reverend Batty with full service honours accorded, complemented by the Last Post and Reveille sounded at the graveside. He also forwarded her photographs taken at the gravesite. Ellis died at the age of 32 and is buried in Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire, England, Grave 14149. The Official RCAF Casualty Notification, dated December 17, 1943 at Ottawa, Ontario, stated that R190987 Arthur William Ellis, Air Gunner (Sp. Gr.) was ""Killed" 11-Dec-43 as a result of a flying accident (overseas)(near Foulsham, Norfolk, England)". In his Will, dated October 28, 1942 at Toronto, it stated that "I Give, Devise and Bequeath unto my mother, Mrs. Margaret Ellis of Toronto, Ont. my Whole Estate." and that in the event of his mother's death, the Estate was to go to his sister, Mrs. Kathleen Shepard of Calgary, Alberta. His Estates Branch document, dated January 11, 1944 at Toronto, was filled out by his father, Arthur Ellis, his father stating that his son's employment was as a "Munitions Worker" before enlistment and that he did not know if a Will existed, although Ellis had one on file with the RCAF. His Service Award Computer Card indicates that he was entitled to the Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-1934 and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp. His mother, Margaret, received his Memorial Cross, which was delivered to the Chaplain on April 1, 1944.