Ellis, David Henry

David Henry Ellis was born in the December quarter of 1920 (St.Geo.H.Sq*. Vol. 1a Page 696).

* The district St.Geo.H.Sq. is an alternative name for St George Hanover Square, and it spans the boundaries of the counties of Middlesex and London.

His brother Harold D. Ellis was also born in the June quarter of 1923 in the same Registration District St.Geo.H.Sq*. Vol 1a Page 625).

They were the sons of Seth Henry & Jessie Ellis (nee Shaw) who married on the 6th of June1915 at the Parish Church at Shirebrook, Derbyshire, but the marriage was registered in Mansfield.   The district Mansfield spans the boundaries of the counties of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. (Mansfield Vol.  7b Page 231):-

Page 108 No. 216 6th June 1915 Seth Henry ELLIS, 36,Bachelor, Labourer, Pontblyddyn, Henry ELLIS, Labourer & Jessie SHAW, 33, Spinster, Domestic Servant, Shirebrook, Robert Arthur SHAW, Tailor. (After Banns).   Witnesses: – Charlotte JAMES & Amelia Victoria ELLIS.

I am thinking that Seth was in the area because of work, he was a Coal Miner on some censuses:-


David Henry’s father, Seth Henry Ellis, had been born circa 1878 and was baptised in the Pontblyddyn Parish Church on the 5th January 1879, the son Henry & Mary Anne ELLIS, Leeswood, Collier.   He lived with his parents and large family in Leeswood, until, on the 1901 census he is seen living at 101, Chirk Green, Chirk, Denbighshire, with his brother Thomas, wife Amelia and their 2 children, Amelia, 3 and Tom, 1.   Also living there was his brother Edward, who was 26, and like Seth Henry, 22, worked as Coal Miner, below ground.

In 1906, Seth Henry was to lose his father Henry, who was buried in Pontblyddyn Churchyard on the 19th of December 1906, age 64 years.

The next time we see Seth Henry is on the 1911 census, when he is living with his sister Mary Hannah and her husband John Roberts and their daughter, Phyllis Mary, age 1, at Bar View, Whiston, Yorkshire.   Living with them was a niece, Constance Ellis, 4, who had been born in Leeswood and also Seth Henry, now 32 and single, working as a coal miner (Hewer).

John Roberts, 28, and a Miner and Mary Hannah Roberts, (nee Ellis), 26, had married in the Pontblyddyn Church on the 5th of August 1907, and John’s address on his marriage certificate was Treeton, Yorkshire, his father was Owen Roberts, a Stoker.   Mary Hannah’s address was Leeswood and her father was Henry Ellis, Collier.  Their witnesses were Jessie SHAW & Seth Henry ELLIS

So, Seth & Jessie had known each other for many years before they married in 1915, Jessie Shaw was born circa 1881 into a large family, her parents were Robert Arthur & Eliza Shaw (nee Humphreys), who had married at St Paul ‘s Parish Church, Deptford: –

Page 43 No. 86 29th May 1870 Robert Arthur SHAW, Full age, Bachelor, Tailor, of this Parish, William Henry SHAW, Baker & Eliza HUMPHREYS, Minor, Spinster, of this Parish, James HUMPHREYS, Tailor.  Witnesses: – Thomas PERCIVAL & Elizabeth Jessie? WONK?? – (Her X Mark)

However, on the 1891 census, the family were split up and Robert Arthur Shaw, 42 and a Tailor& Eliza Shaw, 37, a Caretaker were living at 8, Knaresboro Place, Kensington, Brompton, London, with two young children, Matilda K., 2 and Hannah 10 months old, whilst their many other children were living at 65, Britannia Road, Fulham, London.   An Eliza Shaw age 20, Dressmaker and 8 other siblings, including Jessie, now 10 and a scholar, were living without a Head of the household, Eliza was described as ”Daughter.”

I believe that by 1901 Jessie was living at Broxhead, Headley, Hampshire, in the household of Katherine Louise Barbour, and her two children, also a Governess, Nurse and 6 servants, one of whom was Jessie SHAW, age 19, Single and a Kitchen Maid (Domestic) born London, Parish not Known.

Jessie’s father died in 1905 and on the 1911 census, which was written by the Enumerator, as Eliza

could not read or write. (Mother’s signature – X), Eliza tells us that she had given birth to 17 children, but sadly 4 had died.   She was living with her son Allan, 15, who was an office boy for a Dairy was living at 153 E Block, Guiness Buildings, Chelsea. S.W (3 rooms).

As stated before, Seth Henry & Jessie Ellis (nee Shaw) had married on the 6th of June1915 at the Parish Church at Shirebrook, Derbyshire and the first time we see them as a married couple on a census was the 1921 census, which was taken on the 19st of June 1921.  They were living at Ter Y Fron, Mold, Hawarden, Flintshire.   Seth Henry Ellis was head of the household, age 42 years and 8 months old and a General Farm Labourer for William Whittingham, Dairy Farm at Hafod, Penywern, Mold.    His wife, Jessie Ellis was age 39 years and 6 months old, born in Chelsea, London and doing ‘Home Duties.’    David Henry Ellis was 7 months old; he had been born in St. George’s Hospital, London.   The census form was signed with an ‘X’ and the Enumerator must have filled it in, he was Jos. G. Rogers.

I don’t know how or why Seth & Jessie came back to the area.   However, they are seen on the 1939 National Register, which was taken on the 29th of September 1939, living at Park Cottage, Ter Y Fron, Mold, Hawarden, Flintshire.   This source tells us the dates of birth in the household, Seth H. Ellis had been born on the 23rd of October 1878 and he was a Cowman, his wife Jessie had been born on the 31st of December 1880 and like most married women on this register who did not have a job, was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   David Henry’s brother Harold D. Ellis had been born on the 9th of March 1923 and was a Second hand to a Haulage Driver and single.

I do not know anything about David Henry’s childhood, or teenage years, nor when he enlisted in the Royal Air Force, but he found himself in India at the end of the war as a Corporal working with No. 3 Embarkation Centre in India and at first I thought that he had become, because of his work helping R.A.F. personnel return home after the war, somehow involved with the R.A.F. Mutiny, as this was in the early months of 1946.

Royal Air Force mutiny

The Royal Air Force Mutiny of 1946 was a series of demonstrations and strikes at several dozen Royal Air Force stations in the Indian Subcontinent in January 1946. As these incidents involved refusals to obey orders they technically constituted a form of “mutiny”. The protests arose from slow demobilization and poor conditions of service following the end of World War II. The “mutiny” began at Karachi (RAF Drigh Road) and later spread to involve nearly 50,000 men over 60 RAF stations in India and Ceylon, including the then-largest RAF base at Kanpur and RAF bases as far as Singapore.[1] At its height, the 1946 strike extended beyond South-East Asia through the Middle East to Egypt and North Africa, and as far west as Gibraltar.[2]

The protests lasted between three and eleven days at different places and were peaceful. The main grievance of the men was slow demobilization of British troops to Britain, use of British shipping facilities for transporting G.I.s, and other grievances. For their part, the British Government argued that the amount of shipping available was insufficient to permit immediately repatriation of the large numbers of personnel eligible. However, later declassified reports have shown that British troops were deliberately retained in India to control possible unrest over the course of the independence movement, and the grievances of the RAF men may have also included significant political views and sympathy with the communist Party of India.[1]

The initial protests in Karachi took the form of a collective refusal to prepare kit for inspection and going to the parade ground at the normal time but in casual khaki drill rather than the “best blue” uniforms required when on morning parade.[3]

The issues causing the RAF unrest were ultimately resolved, and some of the airmen involved faced courts-martial. However, the precedent set by this event was important in instigating subsequent actions by the Royal Indian Air Force and later, the Royal Indian Navy in February 1946 in which 78 of a total of 88 ships mutinied. Lord Wavell, Viceroy of India, commented at the time: “I am afraid that [the] example of the Royal Air Force, who got away with what was really a mutiny, has some responsibility for the present situation.”[4]

Socialist History Society

MUTINY IN THE RAF – the Air Force Strikes of 1946

The RAF Strike – India, 1946



Library Synopsis

In 1946 more than fifty thousand British airmen serving overseas staged the biggest mutiny in air force history. They were angry at the slow rate of demobilisation and suspected they were being kept abroad to quell any nationalist movements in India and the Far East. They were also angry at the contrast between their appalling living conditions and those of…

(Sadly the website did not archive the rest of the synopsis)

However, I hope that he was safe during the Mutiny, but he was to become very ill and died on Acute Anterior Poliomyelitis on the 2nd March 1946 and was buried on the 4th March, 2 days later.

This was written by someone on the website – (I Requested a Photo 29/07/21)

Corporal David Henry Ellis, RAF was killed in service at the end of WW2. His widowed mother Jessie and younger brother Harold Douglas Ellis mourned his death in Caergwrle, Flintshire, Wales – with his father Seth Henry Ellis having passed in 1943. (This must have been written by someone who knew the family as Eliza and Harold were living in London in 1939 and they thought, perhaps, that he had been involved with the Mutiny.)

David Henry was buried on the 4th of March 1946 at Sewri Cemetery, Bombay, India, according to the British India Office Deaths & Burials – Sewri, Bombay.   However, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission reburied David Henry in the Kirkee Cemetery on the 29th of November 1956, when they brought in many servicemen’s bodies from Bombay (Sewri) Cemetery and others from the western and central parts of India their permanent maintenance could not be assured.

David Henry Ellis in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 – ELLIS, David Henry of 19, Bryn Yorkin, Caergwrle, Denbighshire died 2nd March 1946 on War Service.    Administration, Ipswich 26th August to Jessie ELLIS, widow.

David Henry was remembered by his family as they put his name forward to be added to the Hope WW2 War Memorial, he must be remembered for his sacrifice, as if he hadn’t been in the R.A.F. throughout the war in India, defending us, then he would not have caught the terrible virus that is Polio.

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