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Sitter in 3 portraits
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Sir Alan Edward Ellis
by Walter Stonemanbromide print, 14 October 1949NPG x167388
by Walter Stonemanhalf-plate glass negative, 14 October 1949NPG x190389
by Walter Stonemanhalf-plate glass negative, 14 October 1949NPG x190390
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Ann Smith (archive assistant)
20 October 2017, 15:22
Sir Alan Edward Ellis is the subject of ongoing research at Cotesbach Educational Trust in South Leicestershire. He is one of a number of Brasenose College, Oxford, undergraduates who feature in a photograph album housed in Cotesbach Archive. Findings so far are as follows:
Alan Edward Ellis KCB QC (1890-1960)
Alan was born in 1890 in Norwood in Surrey and was baptised on 5th February1891. He was the third son of Sidney Ellis, a wealthy stockbroker, and his wife Caroline. He attended Cheltenham College where he excelled in Greek and played as forward for the College football team in his final year, 1909-10. In that year, he won an open scholarship to Brasenose College, Oxford. Alan performed in the College production of the Mikado during Michaelmas Term 1910 (his “excellence as Pooh-Bah” being noted by the College magazine) and was a member of the Brasenose cricket, football and boating teams. He represented Oxford University in the tug-of-war team that competed against Cambridge at the Royal Naval & Military Tournament at Olympia in May 1914, described as a cadet lance-corporal and weighing in at 13st 24 ounces. He graduated with a BA (2nd class) in classics in the summer of 1914. When war was declared in August, Alan immediately applied for a commission in the12th Battalion London Regiment ‘The Rangers’. Initially, members of the battalion had no uniforms and were billeted at home, but they moved into White City as their depot on 21st October 1914. Officers took the opportunity of playing a football match in the stadium and Alan played half-back. The battalion left London on the 19th January 1915 for training and coastal duties in East Anglia and did not embark for France until February 1917. By this time, Alan had been promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to Captain. Returning to England after the war, he studied law and became a barrister, spending twelve years at the Chancery bar and eventually joining the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, work for which he was awarded a KCB in the 1948 Birthday Honours List. In the same year, he became President of the Brasenose Society. A Parliamentary Counsel colleague, Francis Bennion (in a lecture given at Queen’s College Cambridge in 1982) remembered Alan at about that time: ‘He had a round, rubicund countenance and constantly wore a tattered office jacket that was falling to pieces. When visitors came for conferences I was ashamed of him. He smoked a pipe of which the bowl was so burnt down that the smouldering tobacco perched insecurely on a flat plane of briar. In retrospect I love him dearly. The Fish was a kindly, vague (but astute) bachelor who quite soon vanished into retirement.’ Alan lived out his last years at a house in Pont Street, Chelsea, and died on the 28th August 1960 at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London.
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