Date of death: 10.01.1941
Regiment: Royal Air Force
Family information: Son of John and Sarah Ellerington nee Knapton
Service number: 525580
Corporal Charles Ellerington was serving on the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious when he was killed during an attack by German Luftwaffe Stukas on 10th January 1941.
At the time Aircraft Carrier HMS Illustrious was escorting a convoy on passage from Gibraltar to Alexandria, as part of Operation Excess, when the ship was subjected to a ferocious attack in the Straits of Sicily by German aircraft. They fought off waves of dive bombers in a sustained attack lasting 7 hours. The ship took 8 direct hits, being shattered by more and heavier bombs than any other carrier. Casualties were heavy with a final total of 126 dead and 96 wounded. The ship was escorted to Malta by destroyers HMS Hasty and HMS Jaguar. The Illustrious had been carrying 15 Fulmar and 18 Swordfish aircraft.
Charles Ellerington is commemorated on the Malta Memorial Panel 2 Column 2. The Malta Memorial commemorates almost 2,300 airmen who lost their lives during the Second World war whilst serving with the Commonwealth Air Forces flying from bases in Austria, Italy, Sicily, islands of the Adriatic and Mediterranean, Malta, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, West Africa, Yugoslavia and Gibraltar and who have no known grave. The Memorial was unveiled by The Queen on 3rd May 1954.
Pontefract & Castleford Express 24 November 1941 p6 (with photo)
“KILLED ON THE ‘ILLUSTRIOUS’
Word has been received from the War Office by Mr and Mrs J Ellerington of 12, Broomhill Avenue, Knottingley, that their elder son Corporal Charles Ellerington, attached to the Fleet Air Arm of the RAF, was killed on January 10th by enemy action while on the aircraft carrier “Illustrious” which had been the victim of repeated attacks by enemy air raiders. Cpl Ellerington was 23 years of age and had seen six years’ service with the RAF., 3½ of which were spent abroad. Before joining the Force he was employed at the glassworks of Messrs Bagley and Co., Knottingley, for some three years. He had served also on the HMS “Eagle” and had visited many parts of the world during the course of his voyages. He was regarded as a very promising young man and had many friends both in and out of the Service. His younger brother Jack, who is 20, is a rifleman in the Cameronians, and went to France with the BEF., and was evacuated from Dunkirk. His father served in France with the KOYLI in the Great War and lost a leg there.”
Charles was born in the second quarter of 1917 and his birth was registered at Pontefract. He was the son of John Ellerington and his wife Sarah (nee Knapton), who had married on 26th August 1911 at St Botolph’s Church, Knottingley.