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A Hale hero's memorial unites community

Date: 11 June 2013

A SPECIAL SERVICE marking 100 years since the passing of the last survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade has brought together the community of Hale, where the solider once lived.

It was with the same community spirit that the village of Hale gathered on 8 June 2013 to attend a memorial service for Mr William Ellis as that seen in 1883, when the village came together to collect flint and build St Mark’ church, Hale, where the service took place

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Mr William Ellis, a former resident of Upper Hale, served in the 11th Hussars throughout the Crimean War, and was awarded medals for service at Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastapol.

Hale's hero

Members of the King’s Royal Hussars, The Royal British Legion and the Chelsea Pensioners all gathered at the special service held at St Mark’s church, where many details from Mr Ellis’ funeral were recreated.

The Revd Alan Crawley, of the Parish of Hale with Badshot Lea said: “A man rang up out of the blue about four months ago and said he had discovered that a soldier who had fought in the Charge of the Light Brigade had lived, and was buried, in this area.

“We did some research and found details of the original funeral for Mr Ellis held 100 years ago. We decided to use the same hymns and music that were in the funeral in a memorial service.” He said.

"A great opportunity to bring the village together"

The Chelsea pensioners and some representatives from his regiment met outside his old house in Hale, and recreated the same procession to the church that took place at his funeral.

During the service, the pensioners laid wreathes in memory, and the Hale History Society mounted a small display at the back of the church.

“I thought holding a service like this one would be a great opportunity to bring the village together and build on the community feel of the area.

“Representatives from the forces came as well as some of Mr Ellis’ family from London and Kent and a lot of people from the local community, as we had advertised the service in the local paper.

“I am sure Mr Ellis would have been staggered to see his own funeral – and quite probably even more so if he knew we would be marking his life 100 years later.” Alan Crawley said.

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