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Colonel Sir Henry Walton Ellis. Born

Friday, 29 November 1782

Born this day in 1782 Henry Walton Ellis was born to Major-General John Joyner-Ellis and his wife Sarah [nee Walton].
Henry was the first of their children and was christened at Saint Nicholas Church Worcester. The babies christening took place almost a year after his birth on the 6th of October 1783. His actual place of birth is given variously as Kempsey nr Worcester, Cambrai in Northern France and Cambray in Cheltenham.
 

Although Sir Henry never married he did have children. Both his sons were born to Elizabeth Gore. The youngest, Henry drown sailing to India. His second son, Francis Joyner died at Moumein as a Major in the 62nd Reg't.
The Duke of Wellington had arranged for commisions for both boys.

Commisioned as an Ensign in the 89th Reg't at birth, the Reg't was disbanded that same year and the baby was put on half pay.

1789. Ensign 41st Reg't [Full pay].
1791. Lieuntenant. [age 9].
1793. Captain Lieutenant. [age 11].
1795. Captain Lieutenant 23rd Reg't.
1796. Captain. 
1804. Major.
1807.Lt' Colonel.
1814. Colonel.
1815. 2nd January. K.C.B.
 

Colchester 16/01/1808.
An official letter was delivered via the Drum-Major to the 23rd's [Acting] Commander Major Pearson ordering the Reg't to march in three divisions to Portsmouth. The 1st division to march on the 17th, second on the 18th, third on the 19th.
All officers and men on leave [which included L't Col' Ellis] were to join their Reg't at Portsmouth. 

Martinique 00/02/1809.
After a failed attack on some redoubts defending Fort Desaix, Sir George Beckwith asked L't Col' Ellis wether he thought the 23rd could successfully take such positions. Ellis was 'slightly' offended at such a question and replied.."Sir, I shall take the flints out of their [RWF] firelocks and they shall take them !".
Beckwith abandoned the attack and the French withdrew in the night.

A New look 20/07/1808.
It was announced that the use of queues was to be ended and that the hair was to be 'cut close'. The Col was one of those who 'was by no means pleased with the measure'. It seems that he and other officers cut off their plaits at a dinner. 
The Adjutant reported to Lt Col Ellis that, 'the men were in a state of ferment'. Ellis called out a company, put them in open order, had benches from the barracks placed behind them in the square, ordered foraging caps off then called in half a dozen 'hair-cutters' to remove the mens hair to the neck. The operation was carried out in silience. The 'ferment' ended, and the 'un-official wearing of a 'flash' began.

Report 14/06/1809.
From the half yearly inspection report by Sir George Prevost.
'This battalion was commanded by Lt' Col' Ellis, an intelligent, active and zealous officer..'
Prevost also noted that during the 6 months covered by his inspection Ellis had held 32 courts martial in which 101 men were tried. 5 sergeants and 3 corporals reduced, 36,550 lashes ordered, yet only 5,950 inflicted. Ellis remmitted 5 out of every 6 ordered !

Report 00/07/1810.
'The 23rd has been commanded by Lt' Col' since the begininng of 1808. He is an officer of promising talents, uniformly zealous in the discharge of his duty and judicious in the enforcement of military discipline and well versed in manoeuvres which have been prescribed for the use of the Army by His Majesty's command, and in consequence the Battalion has due progress in its field exercises.' [Sir George Prevost].

Albuera 16/05/1811.
Lt' Col' William Myers commanded the Fusilier Brigade until he recieved a canister ball in his theigh. Command then went to Ellis.
During this battle Henry Ellis was shot through the right hand losing the ends of his third and little fingers. An enemy marksman  was thought to be taking aim at Sir Henry. A fusilier warned his colonel of the danger, then shortly after shot the enemy soldier dead.
At this battle 23yr old Lt' Harrison had been with the baggage guard, but anxious to be in action with his reg't rode up to Ellis. The Col' told him to "bring the drums up and all the spare hands he could collect from the bagage."

Aldea de Ponte 27/09/1811.
Captain Courtland was struck in the stomach by a passing cannon ball which then went on to take the legs from three fusiliers.
Ellis asked who the wounded officer was and on being told said.
"Ah well. Never mind Captain Courtland, you die on the bed of honour."
"Ah", replied the Cap't. "Poor honour for my dear wife and children."
Ellis ordered the soldier looking after him to stay by and see him properly buried.

Badajoz 17/03/1812 - 05/04/1812.
During the construction of the trenches Lt'Col Ellis was hit in the forehead by a musket ball fired by the defenders.

Battle of Salamanca 22/07/1812.
Lieutenant Colonel Ellis, whilst commanding the Fusilier Brigade was twice hit by enemy fire.

Battle of Sorauren 28/07/1813.
Described by Ellis as. "The battle of the 28th of July was a beautiful display of military manoeuvres; the enemy formed his columns in the most perfect order and advanced to the attack with a rapidity and impetus apparently irresistable. I was in immediate support of the 7th Cacadores, who were the advance piquet, and consequently recieved the first shock of the enemey's columns. My people only thought of fighting and at once checked their progress. Our supports on both sides were brought up and the contest continued with various success until 4'o'clock, when the enemy withdrew leaving only his voltigeurs to our front. We had three divisions upon us - the fourth, fifth and seventh; the two former were chiefly opposed to the 40th [also the 27th and 48th] who made two unheard of charges; indeed the whole day was a succesion of charges." Ellis was wounded in the action.
In a report  he wrote that hi battalion was, 'only the semblance of one, as with the losses in action, sick,and attendants on the wounded, I am reduced to one hundred and sixty bayonets.'

Battle of Toulouse 10/04/1814.
The division that Ellis troops were in were to take command of the town, not to be in the initial assult. To his front the Col' could see a fort and was desperate to attack it. He even sent a message to Wellington asking to be allowed to do so.
The Duke himself came to the Col' with the reply, "Colonel Ellis, I wish you would obey my orders for your Regiment !"

Worcester 26/12/1814.
Colonel Sir Henry Ellis was given the Freedom of the City of Worcester at a ceremony at Worcesters Guildhall. A silver gilt cup was also presented 'as a Tribute of Respectdue to him for his gallant Conduct during a period of upwards of fifteen years arduous Service in the Defence of his Country.'


Waterloo 18/06/1815.
During the afternoon a musket ball struck Sir Henry in the right chest. Despite this injury he remained On his horse at his post until the loss of blood caused him to leave. He asked that an opening be made in the square and calmly rode to the rear. Whilst trying to cross a ditch he fell from his horse. Found by a surgeon from the 23rd RWF he was carried to a near by farm building to recover. Unfortunatly sometime in the night the building took fire.
The Colonel, although rescued from the blaze died of his wounds on Tuesday 20th. His last words were, "I am happy, I am content, I have done my duty."
Two Fusiliers spoke of him immediatly after his death.
" He is dead; but why should you care ? You cannot forget how oft he caused your back to be bared."
"Sir, I deserved the punishment, else he would never have punished me." [Bursting into tears].

Grammont 20/08/1815.
Ensign Bakewell of 27th Reg't was billeted with a physician in the town [now called Geraardsbergen].
During the evening the family asked after Col' Ellis, who had stayed with them some time before Waterloo. Thety expressed genuine sorrow at hearing of his death