Ernest Alfred Dale was born in Springfield the son of a police officer who rose to senior rank within the Essex force. In 1901 he married in south London and went on to have a daughter born in Chelmsford two years later. After working as a commercial clerk he spent 32 years in a clerical position with Chelmsford-based engineers Crompton-Parkinson. Later he worked for the county council. He was killed, along with his daughter, during the 'Chelmsford Blitz' in May 1943 when his home in Upper Bridge Road was destroyed by a German bomb.
Ernest Alfred DALE, Civilian
Killed during an air raid in Upper Bridge Road, Chelmsford. Aged 63
Deceased filled the office of constable for 23 years up to 1887, when he was promoted to Sergeant. He was appointed Detective-Inspeetor 1893.
At the Adjourned Quar tor Session for the county held on May 22 1895 the late Inspector was awarded £5 for valuable services tor effecting the arress of a horse stealer. On Sept. 5.1828, he was awarded a merit badge and for his services in connection with a burglary at Ingatestone. He was commended by the Chief Constable for the skill displayed in elucidating the mystery surrounding the murder of Police-Sergt. Eves at Purleigh in February, 1893. On more than one occasion he was commended in London for cases of horse stealing. He leaves awidow and three sons - one a Police-Sergeant at Burnham-on-Crouch one on, thee Great Eastern Railway; while the younger is with Messrs. Crompton and Co. Chelmsford. The funeral rook place on Thursday afternoonat Holy Trinitty, Springfield."
In 1943 Ernest was living at 115 Upper Bridge Road. In the early hours of 14th May 1943 Chelmsford experienced what was to prove to be its heaviest air raid of the war. In a sharp attack that lasted for just over an hour, the German air force, the Luftwaffe, dropped a large number of high explosive bombs, incendiaries and parachute landmines which caused extensive damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties in the town.The raid led to the deaths of more than 50 people, including Ernest and his daughter. They were both killed at Ernest's home by a 250 k.g. bomb, probably intended for Crompton's nearby factory, struck the tarmac pavement outside 109 Upper Bridge Road, close to the corner with Cherry Garden Lane. The explosion, which left a crater 9 feet across by just 2 feet deep, caused extensive destruction.
On the eastern side of Upper Bridge Road, numbers 109, 110, 111 & 112 were demolished, number 108 was damaged beyond repair and numbers 100, 101, 104, 105, 106 & 107 seriously damaged. Across the road, 113, 114, 115, 116 & 117 Upper Bridge Road were all demolished, while number 118 was damaged beyond repair and numbers 119, 120, 121, 122 & 123 seriously damaged.
The explosion cracked the gas main in Upper Bridge Road and water from the adjacent water main entered and flooded the whole of the mains in the local area - some 281 properties were affected and the water was not cleared until 18th May 1943.
Blast from the device swept across the railway and badly damaged the offices at Crompton’s. However, the general production of electric motors, switchgear, instruments and generators at the factory was not affected
Ernest and his daughter were buried together at Chelmsford Borough Cemetery (grave 5488) after a service at St. John's Moulsham on 22nd May 1943. A Chelmsford newspaper reported:
"THE LATE MR. E. A. DALE. —The funeral took place at the Writtle Road Cemetery, following a service at. St. John's, of Mr. Ernest Alfred Dale, and of his daughter, Mrs. Mary Willis, whose deaths were recorded last week. Mr. Dale, who was 64, was the youngest son of Det.-Insp. Dale, of the Essex Constabulary. and was on the staff of the Essex County Council, previous to which he was for 32 years with Messrs. Crompton Parkinson, Ltd. Mrs. Willis was 32.
The mourners were: Mrs. Dale, widow Mr. B. Willis, grandson ; Messrs. W. and S. Dale, brothers; Mr. and Mrs. C. Ludlow, brother-in-law and sister-in-law; Mrs. H. Parker, Miss Hilda Dale, Mr. and Mrs. S. Ludlow, nephew and nieces ; Mr. W. Spinks and Miss L. Uridge, cousins; Mr. Crowe, Miss June Crowe. Mrs. Rule, and Mrs. Hillman. —The funerals were furnished by Messrs. A. J. Andrews and Son. 20 Duke Street."
Ernest's two surviving brothwrs died within four months of one another in 1951. His widow died in 1963.
Springfield Court where his father was police officer.
In 1901 22 year-old Ernest was resident with his parents at Lionfield in Springfield. Ernest was a commercial clerk; his father a police pensioner.
Later that year Ernest married Mary Ann Spinks in south London. Two years later the couple had a daughter, Vera Audrey Muriel Dale, born in Chelmsford.
In 1911 the census found 32 year-old Ernest living with his wife and daughter at 108 Upper Bridge Road in Chelmsford. At the time he was an engineer's clerk, for the electrical engineer's Crompton & Company in Chelmsford. He remained with the firm for 32 years before moving on to work for Essex County Council.
Ernest's father died in 1915. A Chelmsford newspaper reported:
"DEATH DALE. We regret to announce the death, at the age of 71, of ex-Police-lnspeclor William Dale, formerly of Springfield, Chelmsford, which occurred at Colchester on Friday, after a short illness.
The burly form of the Inspector was familiar many in all parts of the county. He was identified with the Essex Constabulary fo the long period of 36 years, rising by merit from the position of constable that of Detective-Inspector, for which he was thoroughly well fitted. and which he quite distinguished himself bringing many criminals justice who, but for bis acumen, smartness, and determination, would have escaped.
Deceased was a native of East Bergholt, and joined the Police in February, 1864, at the age of 22. He remained at Headquarters until 1865, and was stationed at Brentwood from January until May of that year, and Chipping Ongar from May until October in 1890. He then returned to Headquarters, where he remained until his retirement in 1900.
Ernest was born in Springfield on 6th April 1879, the youngest son of William Dale and Harriet Dale. On 4th November 1865 his parents had married at Althorne. At the time his father was a police officer living in Springfield; his mother was a servant living in Althorne.
Ernest's three brothers were: William Jabeza Dale (1867-1951) and Samuel Kettle Dale (1869-1951), and Henry Arrthur Dale (1874-1880).
In 1881 the census found two year-old Ernest living with his parents and two surviving brothers at 4 Springfield Court (now New Court) in Springfield. His father was a police constable. A decade later the 1891 census recorded 12 year-old Ernest living with his parents at