11 November (1918)…

Private George Edwin Ellison 11 November 1918 St. Symphorien Military Cemetery (P. Ferguson image, September 2006)

Private George Edwin Ellison
11 November 1918
St. Symphorien Military Cemetery
(P. Ferguson image, September 2006)

Private George Edwin Ellison
L/12643
5th (Royal Irish) Lancers

Son of James W. and Mary Ellison, George Ellison was born in York and raised in Leeds where today a memorial to him has been placed at Leeds Railway Station. The commemorative plaque, normally blue in colour, is olive green representing the British soldier uniform of the time. George was married to Hannah Maria Ellison and together they had one son – James Cornelius. George Ellison, age 40, is believed to be the last British battle casualty of the Great War.

Located 2 Kms east of Mons, Belgium, St. Symphorien Military Cemetery was established by the German Army for the burial of German and British troops killed during the Battle of Mons. The first British fatality of the Great War, 21 August 1914, is buried here – Private John Parr, Middlesex Regiment (grave 1.A.10) faces the grave of Private Ellison (grave 1.B.23). The cemetery remained in German hands throughout the war and it was not until after the Armistice that the burial ground was placed into the care of the Imperial War Graves Commission. St. Symphorien includes 284 German and 229 British burials, 105 are unidentified soldiers of the Great War.

George Edwin Ellison (Wiki Image)

George Edwin Ellison
(Wiki Image)

Much has been written about Private Ellison who was killed by a sniper while on patrol in a wooded area at 9:30 AM, ninety minutes before the Armistice came into effect. Private George Lawrence Price of the 46th Canadian Infantry is the last known British Empire soldier to fall at 10:58 AM. Ellison served throughout the Great War fighting at the Battle of Mons, Ypres, Armentières, La Bassée, Lens, Loos and Cambrai. Ellison’s brother, Skipper Frederick Thomas Ellison, age 40, of H.M. Trawler Towhee was killed 15 June 1917 when his vessel was lost in the English Channel and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Frederick left behind his wife Maud and two sons.

And so….

…this brings to a close this year’s inaugural November series. As I think upon all these images I have taken (and those not taken), all these wanderings – wondering …what stories remain to be told…I think one more thought about these 11 days of writing and what these soldiers endured through four years and 106 days of the Great War….Perhaps, just perhaps Ellison (11 November 1918), Wilkinson (10 November 1914), Cordner (9 November 1914), Wilcox (8 November 1915), Dolphin (7 November 1915), Merrill aka Stanley (6 November 1917), Allen (5 November 1914), Norris (4 November 1918), Davies (3 November 1915), Rogozinski aka Rosen (2 November 1914), and Foy (1 November 1914) would have me consider…all of the others…the ones I have not written about and so too the survivors but perhaps especially those soldiers whose graves are marked Known Unto God. We will remember them…we will remember them all.

This Day
11 November 1918
910 Fatalities

The Great War
21 August 1914 – 11 November 1918
994,309 Fatalities
Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

I have many times asked myself whether there can be more potent advocates of peace upon earth through the years to come, than this massed multitude of silent witnesses to the desolation of war. King George V. 1922 Pilgrimage (P. Ferguson image, September 2004)

I have many times asked myself whether there can be more potent advocates of peace upon earth through the years to come, than this massed multitude of silent witnesses to the desolation of war.
King George V. 1922 Pilgrimage
(P. Ferguson image, September 2004)


About The Author

pferguson
Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.

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