Holy Trinity, Penn, Burials and Memorials

 

David Blakely 1929-1955

Holy Trinity, Penn, New Churchyard, Plot 48.
David Moffat Drummond Blakely, (17th June 1929 – 10th April 1955), received notoriety when he was murdered by Ruth Ellis, and from the newspaper coverage that followed. He was born in Ecclesall, Sheffield, the son of a Scottish doctor from Glasgow and his Irish wife from Ballynahinch. His parents later divorced. He was educated at Shrewsbury , but did poorly there, his only real interest being racing cars. After his National Service in the Highland Light Infantry, whose insignia appears on his tombstone, he tried for a career in hotel management, but he was fired from that career, so concentrated on his playboy lifestyle, and his beloved HRG racing car, HLO 168, replaced by the ‘Emperor’ in 1954, in which he took 2nd place at Brands hatch on Boxing Day, 1954. Both cars were serviced and race prepared by Len Gibbs at Slade’s Garage, in Penn.

David Blakely lived with his mother Anne and her husband, Humphrey Wyndham Cook, (who she married in 1941), at The Old Park, Hammersley Lane, Tylers Green, which had been the WW2 retreat of Walter Delamare and his wife Elfrida.  The original house was pulled down in 2008 and replaced by a very contemporary house.  Humphrey Cook made a generous donation to the New Churchyard appeal in memory of his wife Anne, and she is remembered on the 1978 completion plaque inside the New Churchyard wall.  Humphrey and Anne Cook are both buried in the New Churchyard, Plot 30.

David Blakely would drive Ruth Ellis to Penn, but never let her meet his family. They  often drank together in The Crown Inn, opposite Penn Church, or at the Red Lion.

He met Ruth Ellis in 1953, when she was the manager of the Little Club in Knightsbridge, and entered into an intimate relationship with her. Not only was he openly unfaithful to her as she was to him, he was physically abusive, too. On Easter Sunday 1955, he was leaving the Magdala public house in South Hill Park, Hampstead, North London, when Ruth Ellis ambushed him, firing at him with a .38 calibre Smith & Wesson revolver from her handbag and fired five shots at Blakely. The first shot missed him, the second caused him to fall to the ground, and she fired three more while standing over him. At this point, she held the gun to her head, fired the gun but it jammed. She dropped the gun and it fired the sixth shot from the .38 Smith and Wesson, which ricocheted off the pavement wounding a lady bystander in the hand.

At her trial, Ellis pleaded “Not Guilty.” She testified of Blakely, “He only used to hit me with his fists and hands, but I bruise very easily, and I was full of bruises on many occasions.” However, she admitted that “It was obvious that when I shot him I intended to kill him.” She was found guilty, and became the fifteenth woman, and the last, in the 20th Century to be sentenced to hanging until dead. Thomas L. Jones has written “The misfortune of Ruth Ellis was not just that she killed a man. Nor was it that his death resulted in her being hanged, the last woman ever by the British judicial system. The real tragedy of Ruth Ellis was that she died for the love of a man who did not deserve it.”

Adapted and enlarged from the Bio by: Iain MacFarlaine on Findagrave

Ruth Ellis is buried in St Mary’s extension churchyard in Old Amersham.