Private Robert Ellingworth, DCM, 459, Royal Engineers
Robert Frederick Ellingworth was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire in 1890, the son of Charles Ellingworth and his wife, Mary (nee Neale) who married in London in 1886. The Ellingworths had eight children, but three had died before April 1911. Like his father, Charles, Robert Ellingworth was a basket maker and in 1911 Charles and Mary Ellingworth were living in a seven-roomed house at Aylesbury with four of their five surviving children. The family had lived in the Aylesbury area since at least 1891. It seems probable that Robert Frederick Ellingworth's move to Ossett was associated with the local basket works operated by the Burdekin family at Flushdyke, Ossett.
Robert Ellingworth’s army service record has not survived but his medal card indicates that he embarked for France on the 23rd December 1914 with service number 459, but was later, probably in March 1917, allotted a new number, 532195. He was awarded the British, Victory and the 1914/15 Star medals.
His Distinguished Conduct Medal citation in the "London Gazette" for the 13th February 1917 reads:
"459 A./Sjt. R.F. Ellingworth R.E. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion of duty. He displayed great coolness and courage while with a wiring party. Later, he rescued a wounded officer and a man under very heavy fire."
Since the citation quotes service number 459, it suggests that the action in which he won the gallantry award was some time in 1916. His service number and his embarkation date suggests that he was with the Territorials or Reserve at the time war was declared. This is confirmed by a second medal card with his name and number indicating that before joining the Royal Engineers he was an Acting Sergeant with the 1st Home Counties Field Company, Royal Engineers (Territorial Forces), which joined 8th Division. This card also makes reference to his DCM with two references “DCM LG 1-1-1917. CIT 13-2/1917". These dates refer to the London Gazette entries for his citation.
The "Ossett Observer" 1 had this short note about Robert Ellingworth's award of the DCM:
"Ossett Basket-Maker Awarded The D.C.M. - Private Robert Ellingworth (27), of an engineers' regiment who for some time prior to the war resided at the bottom of Station-road, Ossett, and followed the occupation of a basket-maker, has been granted the D.C.M. and an Italian honour, for meritorious service on the battlefield. One of the incidents which gained him distinction was carrying a wounded officer from the battlefield under fire."
1. "Ossett Observer", 17th February 1917