Collection of Lost First World War Poems To Be Released 100 Years On

LONDON, OCTOBER 19, 2018 – A collection of lost poems from The Great War by the late Alick Lewis Ellis, a paramedic in WWI, is to be released as a book by his family.

Alick’s notebook of poems was anonymously handed into Dan Hill at the Herts at War Society in 2017, with a note saying it had been found during a house renovation and ‘may be of interest to you’. 

Dan tracked down Alick’s closest living relatives from the name and address at the front of ‘Field Dressings’, through the village Historical Society with whom the family still has a connection. ‘Field Dressings’ then made its final journey back to the Ellis family on Wednesday 26th July 2017, where it was presented to the family by Dan Hill.

Working with the Self-Publishing Partnership, the family has turned the notebook into a unique record of one man’s experience of the Great War.  They have journeyed to France and Belgium to revisit the places Alick would have been to and linked the experiences of their great-uncle to the lives of veterans today.

‘Field Dressings By Stretcher Bearer’ will be officially released on November 2nd at a launch event at The Museum of Military Medicine in Aldershot. The notes and poems chronicle the scenes he witnessed on the front line. 

 “This has been a journey of discovery for all our family and it hands on a tangible legacy to the next generation. In this centenary year of the Armistice, we are thrilled that it is one of many creative pieces that ensure we will never forget those who paid …and those who still pay…the ultimate sacrifice.”  Pat Russell, Great-Niece of Alick.

During more than 3 years of active service on the Western Front in World War 1, Alick’s first-hand experience of the horrors of battle at Gommecourt, The Somme, Arras, Ypres and Cambrai, led him to produce a series of compelling poems that will trigger an entire spectrum of emotions in the reader. 

While many poems reflect the sadness and pain that comes from witnessing so much death and futile suffering, Alick’s work shows he remained full of admiration for his fellow soldiers. In others, the gallows humour of the trenches will make the reader smile at times, while the hope and optimism of his few post war poems will be tinged with the sadness our historical knowledge allows.

The book will be raising money for two amazing charities –  Veterans With Dogs and Combat Stress and it will be released on November 2nd. More info:

Please email if you would like a copy of the book to review, feature or interview Alick’s relatives.

 About Alick.

Alick Lewis Ellis was born on 19th January 1887 to John and Susan Ellis of Terrington St. Clement in Norfolk, England. One of 10 children, he had 2 elder and one younger sisters and 3 elder and 3 younger brothers.

Little is known of his early life, but it is thought that he attended the local Terrington School with his brothers and sisters where he received a good but unremarkable education. The Ellis family had for several generations been shopkeepers, butchers or grocers and his parents were no different.

By 1911, Alick appeared to be following in the family tradition and was registered on the census as a self-employed grocer aged 24 in Greenhithe in Kent.

 He was resident there with his widowed sister in law May Ellis formerly married to Walter Percy Ellis, one of his older brothers. His younger brother Charles Wesley Ellis also lived in Greenhithe and was a grocer’s assistant.

Alick volunteered for Territorial Army service on 4th February 1915 with the 3rd London Field Ambulance of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), part of the 56th (1st London) Division, who were based at the Duke of York’s Barracks in Chelsea.

In October 1921, he was best man at his brother Clarence (Kal) Ellis’ wedding.

Please email if you would like a copy of the book to review, feature or interview Alick’s relatives.