Skip to main content

The Papers of Captain Robert Ellis

Reference Code: GBR/0014/ELLS

Scope and Contents

Papers comprising a draft memoir and official naval papers.


  • Creation: 1933 - 1948

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Meyric Ellis was born in Attock, India, 27 September 1901, the son of Thomas Peter Ellis and Rosetta MacAlister. He was educated at the Royal Naval Colleges, at Osborne and Dartmouth, and at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He married Vivian in 1938, with whom he had one son and two daughters.

He served as a Midshipman in the battleships HMS Centurion, 1917-18, and HMS Valiant, 1921. He was promoted Lieutenant, 1923, and specialised as a naval observer in the aircraft carriers HMS Argus, 1924, and HMS Eagle, 1924-6. He was an instructor at the Royal Air Force School of Naval Cooperation, 1926-8. He served in the aircraft carrier HMS Courageous, 1928-31, including a period as Admiralty Observer in the airship R.100. He was a student at the Royal Naval Staff College, 1932. He was a Staff Officer Operations to the Rear-Admiral commanding 1st Cruiser Squadron, 1933, and Battle Cruiser Sqadron, 1934. He was promoted Commander and worked in the Naval Air Division of the Admiralty, 1934. He commanded the destroyer HMS Delight on the China Station, 1935-7. He was Assistant Director, 1937-9, and Deputy Director, 1939-41, of the Naval Air Division of the Admiralty. He was promoted Captain, 1938. He commanded the cruiser HMS Suffolk, 1941-2, and was involved in the hunt for the Bismarck and in escorting convoys to northern Russia. He was Assistant Chief of Combined Operations, 1942-3, and Director of Combined Operations Division of the Admiralty, 1943-5, where he was responsible for assembling landing craft for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. He commanded the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth, including as Flag Officer of the Eastern Fleet, 1945, and the battleship HMS Howe, 1946-7.

He retired from the Navy in 1947 and pursued a career as a management consultant in the United States. He died at his home in Chappaqua, New York, on 24 December 1981.


10 archive box(es)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

Copies of the collection level description and catalogue are available at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, and the National Register of Archives, London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were given to Churchill Archives Centre by Captain Robert Ellis, 1977, and by his family after his death, 1983.


This collection level description was prepared by Sophie Bridges, January 2005. The papers were catalogued in 1977. Biographical information was obtained from Captain Robert Ellis' obituary in "The Times", 7 January 1982, and a curriculum vitae on the collection file. The catalogue was retroconverted by Madelin Terrazas in February 2011.


Ellis, Robert Meyric, 1901-1981, Captain

2005-01-11 12:25:05+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087