Vyvian Eric ELLEM


ELLEM, Vyvian Eric

Service Number: 6497
Enlisted: 31 July 1916, Lismore, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 15th Infantry Battalion
Born: Southgate, Grafton, New South Wales, Australia, 7 October 1899
Home Town: Grafton, Clarence Valley, New South Wales
Schooling: Alumny Creek Public School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Carter/Labourer
Died: Hit By Shell, France, 30 March 1918, aged 18 years
Cemetery: Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps
Euston Road Cemetery (Plot IV, Row I, Grave No. 5), Colincamps (Plot IV, Row I, Grave No. 5), France, Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps, Picardie, France
Memorials: Alumny Creek School & District WWI Honour Roll (NSW), Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Grafton Primary School Great War Honor Roll
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World War 1 Service

31 Jul 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 6497, Lismore, New South Wales
21 Oct 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6497, 15th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
21 Oct 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 6497, 15th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Boonah, Brisbane
30 Mar 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6497, 15th Infantry Battalion, Dernancourt/Ancre

Help us honour Vyvian Eric Ellem's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

Vyvian Eric ELLEM was born in Southgate, Grafton, New South Wales on 7th October, 1899

His parents were Reuben ELLEM & Mary Eleanor MESKELL who married in Grafton on 28th July, 1880

Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Pte 6497 Vyvian Eric Ellem, 15th Australian Infantry Battalion
Under a light breeze the poppies wave and dance in harmony through which, more than a hundred years ago, here in the Somme, a whole generation of young men fought and fell, who did their duty with honor and were and still are the pride of their country.They were young and so brave and all decided to do their best to defend peace and freedom, for the future of humanity and side by side, in these lands of remembrance in the north of the France, they gave their youth and their courage in the trenches, they gave their today for our tomorrow and together they shed their blood.Gone but not forgotten, they rest today in peace on the soils of a friendly country, under the shadows of their white tombs between which, with vigor and strength, the poppies will not cease to grow to remind us of the sacrifices and the courage of those millions of men who did so much for us and for whom I will be forever grateful.

Today, on this spring day, under a bright sun, I would like to honor the memory of one of these young men, one of my boys of the Somme who fought with courage and gave his life for our tomorrow, I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Private number 6497 Vyvian Eric Ellem who fought in the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion,B Company,and who was killed in action 103 years ago, on March 30, 1918 at the age of 19 on the Somme front.

Vyvian Eric Ellem was born on October 7, 1899 in Southgate, Grafton, New South Wales, and was the son of Reuben Ellem and Mary Eleanor Ellem (née Meskell), of Prince Street, Grafton, New South Wales and who were married on the 28 July 1880 in Grafton.Vyvian was educated at Alumny Creek Public School, New South Wales and before the outbreak of the war he worked as a cater and labourer.

Enlisted on July 31, 1916 at Lismore, New South Wales, in the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion, B Company, 21st Reinforcement, he embarked with his unit from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A36 Boonah on October 21, 1916 and sailed for England where he arrived on January 10, 1917 at Plymouth and was sent to Codford to receive his training in the 4th Training Battalion.Three months later, on April 10, 1917, Vyvian embarked with his battalion from Folkestone and sailed for France where he was disembarked at Etaples the next day, On April 11.

Soon after, Vyvian was sent to the Somme battlefields and on April 16, 1917, he was taken on strength in the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion. Three months later, on April 16, he was transferred to the 4th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery.Six months later, on October 1, 1917, while on active service, he was absent without leave from 9pm to 10:30 am and was sentenced to three days in prison.After this unfortunate incident, Vyvian fought with great courage in the Somme and on 23 February 1918 he was granted leave to England.A month later, on March 9, he returned to the Somme front and was once again transferred to the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion attached to the 4th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery and once again fought with great bravery.

Unfortunately, it was in the Somme, near Hebuterne, north of the town of Albert that three weeks later, on March 30, 1918, Vyvian met his fate. On March 30, 1918, while he was in a shelter, a high explosive shell struck and killed Vyvian instantly.He was buried for the first time three days later, on April 2, 1918 at fifty yards to the left of Hebuterne church with two of his comrades then they were exhumed and buried with honors and respect in Colincamps, Somme.

Today, Vyvian Eric Ellem rests in peace with his friends, comrades and brothers in arms at Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps, Somme, and his grave bears the following inscription "He answered his country's call, fought and fell, now he sleeps with God".

Vyvian, you who were so young, you served and fought with honor and bravery for your country and for all that you have done for my country, on these sacred grounds of the north of France on which you fell, I would like, with gratitude and respect, with all my heart say thank you.you who have seen and endured so much in the muddy trenches alongside your friends and mates on the battlefields on which so much blood was shed, we will be forever grateful to you because today we live in a world at peace for which you and so many young men like you have fought and fell, men who, like you, had as only youth, the horrors of a world at war in which they lost their innocence under downpours of lead and steel that poured out day and night thousands of cannons and machine guns mowing at an unrelenting rate, a whole generation of men whose dreams and hopes were shattered through barbed wire and shell holes of these young men, many were barely 20 years old and went to war without knowing what awaited them on the battlefields, many had a childish heart but under fire, through the howls and roars of cannons and shells, they became men, men who knew the price and value of life, men who saw death every day and who saw their friends, their brothers, their fathers who fell in bloodbaths, their faces in the mud of no man's land.these young men whose backs were bent under the weight of their weapons, under the weight of their bags, walked with exceptional courage, dragging the mud under their shoes and their heads lowered under their helmets, they lived with fear in the hollow of their stomach and put their faith in god that they prayed for this war to end. beyond the fear that was in their hearts, they served with dedication and honor, with bravery and perseverance under an outburst of violence and it is together , side by side, for justice and freedom they went over the top, standing with admirable courage under rains of bullets and steel, meter by meter, with coolness and gallantry, all showed what a young and proud generation was able to do by being united, together they fought and suffered on the deadliest of the battlefields but they overcome this hell together, they fought for the men who were by their side, they fought ent with conviction and determination and moved forward with the love of their country, their families and their loved ones who gave them the strength to hold on and move forward until the end, until their last breath after a last act of courage and love for all that mattered to them. Brave among the bravest, these men who served together, in a last charge, with heroism, fell with the pride of having done what was right and of having served their country with honor, with their hearts on the soils of a friendly country which is also theirs and which, with love and the greatest care, will keep their memory alive as I would by watching over them so that in our hearts, forever young, they never cease to live.Thank you Vyvian,for everything. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember him,we will remember them.