A Duke’s Tale from Thurnscoe soldier

Philip 'Ena' Elwell with his book.
Philip 'Ena' Elwell with his book.

A retired Seargeant Major who grew up in Thurnscoe has penned a book about his time in the forces. Philip ‘Ena’ Elwell spent 31 years in the Army with the former Duke of Wellington’s regiment.

His book ‘A Dukes Tale’ takes readers through from when he joined up aged 15-and-a-half to his exploits in the world’s troublespots.

Former Thurnscoe High School pupil Philip, 58 said: “I served in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Germany and Gibraltar, plus exercises in Norway. I also trained forces in Namibia and Latvia, and helped train British officers.”

His deployments in Northern Ireland came at the height of the Troubles – and he has some hairy stories. He had a commendation for his actions in 1974, when he was a Private.

He said: “The book covers the jobs I was doing, how I got promotions, births, deaths and marriages. There are also all the friendships and funny stories that go with a life in uniform.”

Philip, who was a full-time soldier for 24 years, rising to the rank of Warrant Office II – or Sergeant Major – was also a TA Sergeant Major for the Dukes at Endcliffe Hall, Sheffield for seven years.

He has been caretaker at the base for the last 14 years.

Philip, was brought up on on Derry Grove and whose family still live in the Dearne, decided to chronicle his life. And the nickname? “When I was a junior, a Sergeant Major said to me, ‘You’re just like Ena Sharples, always talking’ – and the name stuck’,” Philip revealed.

Copies of A Dukes Tale, priced £10 each, are available from Philip by calling 07787 703070, or emailing him at philipelwell@yahoo.co.uk.