Captain Stanley Venn-Ellis

Captain Stanley Venn-Ellis
The son of Alderton’s Rector, The Rev. Henry and Mrs. Ada Venn-Ellis, Stanley was
born in about 1876. The family then lived in Carlton, Bedfordshire, where Stanley’s
two younger sisters were also born. By 1891 Stanley’s father was Vicar of
Stowmarket and Stanley had already started his career in the Royal Navy, serving as
a Cadet on HMS Britannia at the age of 15.
He married Katherine Beaven in August 1900, she was the daughter of the Hon.
Robert Beaven, Prime Minister of Canada. His father had been Rector of Outwell,
near Wisbech, before becoming Rector of Alderton in 1911.
Venn-Ellis had risen to the rank of Captain by the time of his death, aged 40, in 1916.
He was in command of the armoured cruiser HMS ’Defence’ at the Battle of Jutland,
31st May 1916, when she was the flagship of Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Arthbuthnot.
The ‘Defence’ was firing at the damaged SMS Wiesbaden when she was hit by two
heavy salvoes in quick succession.
HMS ‘Defence’ blew up almost instantaneously, with the loss of her entire crew, 903
Stanley Venn-Ellis is commemorated with his men on the Plymouth War Memorial,
and in Alderton Church.
William Henry O’Sullivan, Ships Corporal was also serving on the HMS Defence. He is
commemorated on the Hollesley War memorial.
The wreck of his ship was discovered in 2001, amazingly intact.