John Hayden Ellis, as a young merchant mariner went to live in Freemantle West Australia for a few years before the First World War. It was there that he married Annie, who had emigrated there in 1911 from London on the S.S. Otranto. Their first son, John (Jac) David Ellis, was born in 1917. Whilst Hayden Ellis was in Australia, he was awarded a Royal Humane Society of Australia Certificate of Merit, which reads as follows
…“It was resolved that the courage and humanity displayed by John Hayden Ellis of the Pilot Station, Albany, W.A., boatman, aged 27 years, who risked his life in attempting to rescue William Thomas West from drowning at Albany on November 9th 1913…entitles him to the Certificate of Merit of this society”. Part of the citation is as follows…. “West fell off the jetty into the sea, which was very rough and the tide running out. Ellis ran a quarter of a mile and went out in a boat to the rescue. He then dived into 16 feet of water, and reached West. He bought him to the jetty, but all efforts at resuscitation failed”.
The Humane society of Australia published a book in 1994 called 7,000 Brave Australians, which included the Ellis rescue. Recently his grandson John wryly observed “perhaps the title should be amended to 6,999 Brave Australians and a Mariner from Borth”. The family returned to Britain on the S.S. Orsova and moved back to Borth to live at White Lion House, today’s Beatrice, where another son, Thomas Ellis, was born in 1920.