Service Details
Given Name:
Service No:
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South African Service Corps
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Date of Death:
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Date of Birth:
Cause of Death:
Died of heart failure, at Johannesburg
***Submitted for War Grave Status to CWGC, awaiting acceptance
Son of Mrs. C. Eley, of Boston, Lincolnshire, England. Elmer George Ellis was his parents' eldest son. He was born on August 31st, 1870, at the 'Red Cow Inn', Wide Bargate, Boston, Lincolnshire, England, where his father was the licensed victualler. Elmer, and his brother, Tom, immigrated to South Africa, and it was here that Elmer enlisted as a Private in Durban "C" Company, 11th (Rand Light) Infantry (service no. 114.), having been employed as an engineer fitter in civilian life. He lied about his age on enlistment, reducing it by six years. He was posted to German West Africa and, at the end of November 1914, the Boston local paper reported that he was with the Engineers Corps of the Rand Light Infantry, on the west coast of Africa. He served there from late August 1914 until the end of July 1915. On December 5th, 1915 he was attested into the 8th Regiment, South African Infantry (service no. 2643), and became part of the 2nd Brigade, South African Expeditionary Force, and served in German East Africa. In mid-1916 Elmer became ill with malaria; in June he was in hospital at Kondoa, in July at Mibayuni, and then, on October 23rd he was reported as being dangerously ill with the disease at Morogoro, and was sent to Dar-es-Salaam for treatment on the 27th. He was placed out of danger on October 30th. On November 15th he arrived in Durban on H.M. Transport Aragon and, three weeks later, he began three months recuperation leave, being discharged from the regiment at Durban on February 6th, 1917. During this leave he seems to have stayed with his brother at his home at 1045, Umgini Road, Durban. Elmer was taken onto the strength of "A" Company, South African Service Corps (Motor Transport), on March 14th, 1917. He was stationed at Roberts Heights and here his malaria struck twice, once in April, and again in May. However, Elmer left Roberts Heights for Nyasaland on July 19th, 1917, going by rail by way of Beira. He had various postings in that country, at Ngaka, and at Zomba, and was transferred to "B" Company on October 21st. Elmer was promoted to Corporal on September 16th, 1918. It is not known if he was engaged in any actions against the enemy during his military service, but he left Limbe, Nyasaland, on January 26th, 1919, and arrived at Pretoria on February 4th. Back at Roberts Heights, Elmer had further bouts of malaria and was on the danger list again in March. He was on demobilization leave from March 17th, 1919, during which time he lived at the Langham Hotel, Pretoria. He was discharged from the Army on May 14th and he died, from heart failure, at the Engineers' Hotel, Marshall Street, Johannesburg, six months later. Elmer was unmarried and at the time of his death his mother had remarried in the name of 'Eley.'
South Africa
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Grave Reference:
E.C. 6126. No headstone.

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