Sunday, February 12, 2017

10298 Pte Ernest Kelsey, Royal Fusiliers; later SE/31883 AVC

Private Ernest Kelsey was a patient at Beechland House Newick in 1917.  His entry in Nurse Oliver’s album reads:

The happiest hours of my life,
Were spent in the arms of another man’s wife,
My Mother.

Pte E J Kelsey
22 Royal Fusiliers

He shares this page in her album with Sergeant H Hunter and 11066 Band Boy John William Pate, Dragoon Guards.

He is probably the same Private Kelsey who is mentioned in The East Sussex News of Friday June 29th 1917.  The paper reports:

The contestants were Major Grantham’s team of officers of The Royal Flying Corps from Brook House (Chailey) Convalescent Hospital and Miss Cotesworth’s team of NCOs and men from Beechlands (Newick) Convalescent Hospital, and the former gained an easy victory by 50 runs. 

The same match had also been reported on five days earlier in The Sussex Express which said that the event had taken place:

… at Balneath Manor, the residence of Major W W Grantham, between officers of the Royal Flying Corps from Brook House, the new convalescent Hospital, and a team from Beechlands Convalescent Hospital.  Those from Brook House were easy winners.  Needless to say, Mrs Grantham entertained the company present to tea.

Ernest John Kelsey was born in the market town of Bedworth in Warwickshire in about 1882.  He was a hatter by trade and appears on the 1911 census, aged 29, and still living in the family home with his brother and two sisters, all in their twenties.

No service record survives for Ernest but his medal index card gives the number 10298 for The Royal Fusiliers and SE/31883 for the Army Veterinary Corps.  The Royal Fusiliers regimental number dates to December 1914 whilst the AVC number is much later and dates to about the 8th or 9th October 1917, a couple of months after Ernest signed Nurse Oliver's album.  As he was only entitled to the British War and Victory Medal he was presumably wounded - or fell sick - overseas with the Royal Fusiliers, returned to England, transferred to the AVC, and then went back to France. 

Ernest Kelsey survived the war and died in late 1944 or 1945, his death registered at Nuneaton in the first quarter of 1945.

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