1918 – Suffolk Chronicle And Mercury
Registered at birth as CLIFFORD MONGER.
Born: 24th September 1880, Mistley, Essex.
Baptised: 20th November 1881, at All Saint’s Church, Wrabness, Essex. Parents: George Edward & Emily Martha Monger.
Died: 4th May 1917; age 36; KiA. Previously reported missing.
Residence: 773, Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.
Employed: as a Carpenter – Journeyman, at Messrs. Cubitt & Gotts Builders, Westerfield, Suffolk.
Enlistment Location: Ipswich; Date: June 1916.
Rank: Private; Service Number: 23643
Regiment: Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
Formerly 180371, Royal Engineers.
Medals Awarded: Victory & British War.
Pas de Calais,
1881 Wheatsheaf Inn, Wrabness, Essex.
Clifford Monger was 6 months old and living with his parents & sisters.
George Edward Monger, 30, an Innkeeper, born Harwich, Essex.
Emily Martha Monger (nee Ablitt), 26, born Capel St. Mary, Suffolk.
Rosa Ethel Monger, 4, born Stratford, Essex.
Mercy Agnes Monger, 2, born Mistley, Essex.
1891 Wheatsheaf Inn, Wrabness, Essex.
Clifford was 10 years old and living with his mother, siblings & cousin.
Emily, 35, a Licensed Victualler.
Edward Allen Monger, 8, born Wrabness.
Sidney George Monger, 6, born Wrabness.
Filbert Alexander Monger, 3, born Wrabness.
Florence Roofe, 13, born London.
The marriage of Clifford’s parents had failed. On the 1891 census, Clifford’s father George Monger was living at 2, Main Road, Harwich, Essex, he was living on his own means.
1901 265, Spring Road, Ipswich.
Clifford was 21 years old, a Carpenter. He was living with his mother, siblings, step father & step brother. Clifford and his siblings still living at home were now known by the surname Ellis.
Mark Philip Ellis, 43, a Publican – own account, born Mile End, Middlesex.
Emily Ellis, 44.
Mercy Ellis, 22, a Servant – Domestic.
Edward Ellis, 19, a Painter.
Sidney Ellis, 14, a Carpenter.
Philbert Ellis, 13.
Cecil Mark Ellis, 7, born Ipswich.
In 1901, Clifford’s father George Monger was living at 46, Church Street, Harwich, Essex, he was a Shoemaker.
1911 ‘The Angel’ 5, Ballygate, Beccles, Suffolk.
Clifford was 30 years old, a Carpenter – Building. He was a lodger at the public house – 43 year old, George Thomas Strowger – Inn Keeper.
In 1911, Clifford’s wife, and children were living at 741, Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.
(Clifford’s widow Matilda with children Lilian, Reginald and May. Clifford’s stepfather, Mark Ellis was a potato merchant prior to becoming an innkeeper – and there is a basket of potatoes on display in the front window!)
On the 15th September 1901, at the Register Office, Ipswich, 21 year old, Clifford Ellis, a Carpenter, of the Elm Tavern, Spring Road, Ipswich, married 21 year old, Matilda Green, of the John Bull Inn, 482, Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, born April 1882, Hintlesham, Suffolk.
They had 7 children:
Lilian Ethel Lucy Ellis, born 1902, Ipswich.
Horace William Ellis, born 1903 – died 1905, Ipswich.
May Violet Ellis, born 1904, Ipswich.
Reginald Clifford Ellis, born 1907, Ipswich.
Ivy Winifred Rose Ellis, born 1910, Ipswich.
Clara Elizabeth Ellis, born 1912, Ipswich.
Lionel George William Ellis, born 1917, Ipswich.
Soldiers’ Effects to Matilda Ellis – widow.
Battle for Bullecourt
(The loss of Pte 23643. Clifford Ellis 2nd. Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment)
Source : Battleground Europe
BULLECOURT – Graham Keetch
ISBN 0 85052 652 3
Extracts from Chapter 4 – Second Battle of Bullecourt
Paragraph The 7th Division page 98.
2nd. May 1917
It was the 22nd Brigade (7th Division), which was given the task of capturing Bullecourt after the failure of the 62nd Division. The brigade moved into Mory on 2 May with orders to be ready to support the coming attack if necessary. Two battalions, the 1/RWF (Royal Welch Fusiliers) and the 2/HAC,(Honourable Artillery Company) were in Mory, with the two remaining battalions, the 2/Royal Warwicks and the 20/Manchesters, at L’Homme Mort south of Ecoust-St.-Mein and Mory Copse respectively.
When the attack by the 62nd Division was underway, the 2/Royal Warwicks and the 20/Manchesters were ordered up to positions on the railway embankment south of Bullecourt, the remaining two battalions moving up from Mory to replace them.
At around mid-day, the decision was taken to use the brigade to replace the 62nd Division. It was ordered to attack Bullecourt with two Battalions. ………………… The plan required the attack to be launched by the 1/RWF and the 2/HAC, who would move up through the lines of the two battalions on the embankment. If the first objective was secured, the 20/Manchesters and the 2/Royal Warwicks would then move up to the second objective. The assault was at first scheduled for 6.30 p.m., but later delayed until 10.30 p.m. In daylight, the 1/RWF and the 2/HAC and waited for zero hour.
The attack is described in the Divisional History:
‘Their advance had apparently been detected by the Germans, for directly they went forward heavy machine gun fire opened upon them from front and flank; they pressed forward nevertheless, only to find the wire, though effectively cut, still presented a troublesome obstacle, being tangled up in coils which were difficult to negotiate. However, both battalions succeeded in forcing their way into Tower Trench, and cleared it after a stubborn hand-to-hand tussle, capturing about 50 prisoners. Some of the later waves of the HAC pressed forward into the village and were even reported to have reached the second objective, while the Welch Fusiliers tried to form a defensive flank facing north-west…there was a gap to the right: it appeared later that the Australian battalion which should have co-operated had suffered so severely from a heavy bombardment that it had had to be relieved, and in consequence Germans, making use of this gap, assailed the HAC in flank. The HAC put up a good fight, but they had Germans in front and in flank and even some behind, who had come out of dugouts that had escaped the moppers-up. The Welch Fusiliers were not less severely pressed, and in the end neither they nor the HAC could maintain their hold on Bullecourt:
by 2.30 a.m. on May 4th, it was reported that both battalions had been thrust out of the village. Accordingly instead of the Warwickshires and the 20th Manchesters starting the second stage of the attack at 2 a.m., they had to be put in at 3 a.m. to repeat the first phase. As they were forming up they were caught by the German barrage and lost heavily: the 20th Manchesters indeed were much scattered and disorganised, and Colonel Smalley could not collect enough of them to make much of an attack. It was 4 a.m. before the attack could be launched, and it was hardly surprising, seeing how
badly both units had suffered from the barrage, that they hardly fared even as well as their predecessors. The Royal Warwickshires started quite well: like the Welch Fusiliers they got into the front trench and even penetrated into the village only to be dislodged by counter-attacks. The majority of the survivors fell back to the embankment, but about 50 men with 3 officers managed to hold on in Tower Trench where it crossed the Longatte road and a company of the Manchesters got in further to the right, S.E. of the village. During the day various conflicting reports came through…not till the early afternoon was the situation more or less cleared up as a result of a reconnaissance by Captain Hunter of the Brigade staff. His report showed that about 80 Welch Fusiliers were inside the German wire near the Crucifix but had not reached the front trench: the party of the Royal Warwickshires astride the Longatte road was still holding on, but that was all. The front trench, though full of dead, both British and German, appeared to be unoccupied. The HAC, except for a few men still on the railway embankment, were back near Ecoust reorganising, the 20th Manchesters were doing the same near Ecoust station; but losses had been heavy and the 22nd Brigade was in no condition to repeat the attack
It seems probable that it was during this action that Pte.Clifford Ellis lost his life.
A final attempt to occupy Bullecourt was made by the 2/Royal Warwicks and the 1/RWF in the early evening. That it was forced back by heavy machine gun fire showed that the enemy was still firmly in control of the village.
Sources for further reading :
Royal Warwickshire Reg. War Diaries, 2nd.Battalion period of the 1st — 9th May 1917.
Arras – A Battle to Far . by Don Far
Liddell Hart’s, History of the World War.I – The Halt and Lame Offensive – Arras. Apr. 1917
Clifford is also remembered on the war memorial at Rushmere St. Andrew, Suffolk.
Family note from Keith:
George Edward Monger’s family lived in Harwich, Essex, they operated three barges that hauled stone from the Stour/Orwell Estuary to Faversham, Kent. The family also had properties in Eastgate Street, and Church Street, which included a Stone Merchants Yard, and a Ship’s Chandlery.
During the Second World War, Clifford & Matilda’s two sons, Reginald and Lionel went to France with the British Expeditionary Force. They both survived the evacuation of Dunkirk. Lionel was then sent on to Africa and served as a Desert Rat under Montgomery.
Help, extra information and photographs courtesy of Mr. Keith Gilbert.