The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Ronald Edward
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- 'D' Company
- Place of Birth:
- Wagin, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- George Christie Ellis
- Mothers's Name:
- Olive Ellen Ellis (nee King)
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Fitter’s Assistant
- Kranji War Cemetery, Plot 3, Row C, Grave 19, Age 21.
- Cause of Death:
- Died of Wounds. Wounded in action 10/1/1942. Soldier received a gunshot wound to his right arm and shrapnel wound to his chest. Admitted to 2/13th Australian General Hospital in a badly shocked state, where an amputation of his arm, 2 inches below the shoulder joint was conducted.
- Place of Death:
- 2/13th A.G.H. at St Patricks School
- Date of Death:
- Martia Road Military Cemetery, Katong, Protestant Section, Grave No 6.
Ron Ellis was the eldest of 6 children born to George Christie Ellis and Olive Ellen King of Wagin. George and Olive married 1917 Katanning. They had fours sons and two daughters.
Ron enlisted 17th May 1941 and joined the 2/4th Reinforcements boarding the ‘Aquitania’ to sail to Singapore on 16th January 1942.
Soldier was wounded in action on 10.2.1942. Soldier received a gunshot wound to his right arm and shrapnel wound to his chest. Admitted to 2/13th Australian General Hospital in a badly shocked state, where an amputation of his arm, 2 inches below the shoulder joint was conducted.
LATE Pte. RON ELLIS, No. 16 Platoon
Heroism at Singapore
An interesting letter has been received by Mrs. G. Ellis, of Wagin, containing news of her late son, Pte. Ron Ellis, who was recently reported as having died of wounds at Singapore.
The Letter comes from a very reliable source, and having seen the original for ourselves, we can vouch for its authenticity. However, as permission has not been given by the writer to publish her name, we will not disclose the source of the information. The letter is sufficient to show that Ronny Ellis, during his tragically short period of actual service, proved himself to be a real Australian soldier, with everything that it takes to be a hero!
Efforts are now being made by local Authorities to see that the action of the late Pte. Ellis, in rescuing an officer under heavy enemy fire is reported to and recognized by the Military Authorities.
The letter received by Mrs. Ellis reads as follows: –
‘Dear Mrs. Ellis,
You will no doubt be very surprised to receive this letter from a stranger, but as my brother fell in the same battle as your son Ronald, and I have been able to gain some details – particularly in relation to your boy – I am taking the liberty of writing this to you in the confidence that it will bring you pride and some consolation. I feel sure that you will want to know all that can be found out, as much as I have wished to learn about my brother’s death, but without success.
The news I have for you was given me by a Corporal of the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, who escaped from Singapore near the end of the battle, and has been back in Perth some three weeks. I, of course was anxious to learn if he knew anything of my brother, but, unfortunately, as they had been in different Companies, they were unknown to one another. However your son Ronald was known to the Corporal, and I am glad to be able to tell you that your son’s courage and devotion to duty were all that anyone could hope.
In the Cpl.’s own words, “Ronnie saved my life”.
As related to me, it appears that about a dozen men were endeavouring to carry out a retirement, when they found that they were caught on three sides by Japanese troops and were consequently forced to swim a river to escape. Discarding all equipment, they entered the water and endeavoured to reach the opposite bank. All succeeded in doing so except the Corporal, who is a bad swimmer and he got into great difficulties in midstream. Thereupon, your son returned to him and assisted him to the far bank, all the time under dangerous fire from the enemy. It was a great example of absolute unselfishness and fearlessness and, I am sure will be a source of great pride to you.
The above occurred on Monday, February 9th and the Corporal was with your son until Wednesday the 11th, when they lost touch with one another. I understand that it was on the next day that your son was reported to have died. Please accept my sincere sympathy in your sad loss, and I know that you will understand that I can enter fully into your feeling of sorrow and loss, as my brother fell on the next day and I did truly love my brother ________
Yours sincerely, _______________
“I think the man who wrote this was Richard Annear who lost his brother trying to escape. Dick was No. 16 Platoon with Ron. The man who supplied the info could be George Quinn No. 13 Platoon, but more likely was Roy Semple, No. 15. He was wounded 9/2/1942 which tallies with information about Ron. He (Roy Semple) was also wounded 14/2/1942 tying to escape with Dick Annear. Ron was also from the bush and probably not a good swimmer.”
It is not known in which newspaper this story was reported; however the date ‘1942’ is clear.