Ellison was born in Chertsey, Surrey in 1917 to John Murray Woods and his wife, Margaret Edith Constance Owen. His father died in 1939.

He was educated at Eton and Matriculated in 1935. He visited the United States with his mother that summer, returning on 13 September. They lived at 32 South Eaton Place, SW1. He graduated in 1938.

Prior to the outbreak of war, Ellison had joined the RAF but resigned his commission of Pilot Officer on 30 March 1940. He was commissioned to the 3rd Battalion, The Irish Guards on 1 October 1940.

In 1942, he married an American, Aileen Boyd Coster. They had a son.

He was shot by a sniper on 3 August 1944.

He is buried in Sir Charles de Percy War Cemetery Plot V. G. 14.

He is commemorated on the Memorial at Worth near Sandwich, Kent. [His family had lived at Barton House in Worth.]

In 1946, his widow married, Douglas Dodds-Parker, a second cousin of Ellison Woods. After a distinguished wartime career in the SOE, he became the Conservative Member of Parliament for Banbury from 1945 until 1959 and for Cheltenham from 1964 to 1974. He was knighted in 1973 and died in 2006. Aileen Dodds-Parker died on Monday 13 June 2011 aged 91.

From War Diary, 3rd Battalion Irish Guards, 4th August, 1944:
“COURTEIL: The Bn held a position astride the road just to the west of Courteille. All coys were subjected to fairly heavy shelling and the two forward coys exchanged S.A. fire with enemy who were dug in not more than 100 yds in front of them. At Stand-To this morning, Bn HQ was itself attacked by enemy approximately a platoon in strength. This attack was broken up by a section of the Carrier platoon and Capt W.R.R.S. Bruce with a captured Browning mounted on his carrier - the enemy suffered heavy casualties. Casualties suffered during the day were four ORs killed and 16 ORs wounded, and were mainly caused by shelling and Mortar fire.”
“That day (the 4th), the 3rd Battalion widened its positions Southward. The forward companies were under constant small-arms fire from the Germans who were dug in not more than a hundred yards in front of them. No. 2 Company were ordered to send two platoons a mile south to join and protect the Armoured Brigade’s battery of self-propelled anti-tank guns who were operating on the fields and tracks east of Beaulieu. Captain Ellison Woods had just arrived to take command of the Company and this was his first action. He walked up to a gateway to take a look at the fields and was killed by a sniper. Captain A. Hendry took over command and the Company reached a low hill (Point 176) where they were joined by the self-propelled battery.