Their bodies are buried in peace; but their names liveth for evermore.
Their Duty Done
A tribute to the men and women of the East Gippsland Region who Died as a result of their participation in World War One : 1914 - 1919
544 Private James William Ellison – Bairnsdale/Buchan Killed in Action 9 June 1916
James Ellison was born in Eltham to James (Snr) and his wife Emma in 1888. His sisters Margaret and Nellie where born in the following years and the family then moved to Buchan where sister Gladys was born in 1891 and Grace at Bairnsdale in 1893. When James finished his schooling he started dairy farming and established himself in the small community of Dairyville in the Upper Orara area near Murwillumbah in New South Wales. On a visit to Melbourne, probably to see his parents who were by now in Richmond, he was prompted to enlist. A friend had told him that if he went to a certain address, he would see an example of German ferocity with his own eyes. Ellison, prompted by a perfectly natural curiosity, followed his friend’s advice, though it is doubtful he was prepared to witness, according to the report, such an illustration of the depths of bestiality to which man can descend. In a small fruit shop in Fitzroy was a Belgian woman and her daughter who was about twelve years old. The woman had no ears and both the girl’s hands had been hacked off at the wrists and the wounds had barely healed. In his own words it was the most pitiful, and at the same time, the most ghastly sight I ever saw in my life. I was told that it had been done by a sword. After the evidence of my own eyes, I would believe anything of the Germans. At any rate it was enough to decide me to enlist without delay. He was the first man to enlist from Dairyville and was presented with a wristlet watch by the community at a farewell held in his honour. He enlisted just days later with the 17 th  Battalion on 28 February 1915 when he was 27 years old and single. He sailed out of Sydney the following May landing in the Dardanelles on 16 August and survived until the allies left the peninsula. He sailed from Gallipoli, via Mudros, to Alexandria on 9 January 1916. With hundreds of others he landed in Marseilles on 23 March and was killed in action less than three months later on 9 June. In his last letter home he said that he had borne what was literally a charmed life, having gone through the Gallipoli campaign without a scratch. He was buried at Brewery Orchard Cemetery, Bois Grenier near Armentieres in France and is remembered on the Upper Orara Hall honour roll.
Image from the Australian War Memorial H06506
….. the most ghastly sight he ever saw in my life