Nellie Lodge was the adopted daughter of a Galleywood couple. She was fatally injured when their bungalow in Skinner's Lane, Galleywood was destroyed by a German bomb in October 1940. Her parents were killed outright in the incident.
Nellie LODGE, Civilian
Died at St. John’s Hospital, Chelmsford from injuries received in an air raid on Galleywood. Aged 13
The two bungalows were demolished and half a dozen other properties in the vicinity suffered extensive damage. Skinner's Lane was blocked by debris, gas and water mains were badly damaged and telephone and electricity cables were severed.
Rescue services were quickly on the scene and almost immediately rescued three people from the rubble and discovered two more who were dead. Others were believed trapped so efforts went on through the night to reach them.
The rescuers, who were to receive widespread praise for their efforts, managed to recover the last of the victims by around 3 a.m.. Four people had been killed and five others injured, including two seriously.
Three of the dead lived at ‘Rosedale’ in Skinner's Lane. They were 65 year-old George William Smith, his 55 year-old wife Alice Louisa Smith and 29 year-old Nellie Elizabeth Owers. Mrs. Owers was married to Walter Owers of Stepney in east London and had ironically moved from there to Galleywood ‘to be safer’. She is believed to have been pregnant when killed. The other victim was 70 year-old Elijah George Saveall of the adjacent bungalow ‘Maylin’. He was well known and highly respected in the village, having spent his whole life there. For more than thirty years he had been associated with the Galleywood Methodist Church and for many years he had been a gardener for Mr. P. Buckton until illness had forced his retirement 12 months previously. Mr. Saveall was married with a son and daughter and his daughter daughter was one of those people injured in the bombing and detained in hospital.
13 year-old Nellie, who was recovered alive was to die as a result of her injuries the next day at St. John’s Hospital, Chelmsford. On 2nd November 53 year-old Charles Herbert Francis was to succumb to his wounds at the Chelmsford & Essex Hospital. Mr. Francis had been injured at ‘Rosedale’.
All the victims’ funerals took place at St. Michael’s Church, Galleywood, with the building filled to capacity on each occasion. The first funeral was Mr. Savaell’s, held on 4th November, followed by George William Smith and Alice Louisa Smith’s, Nellie’s and Nellie Elizabeth Owers’ on 6th November 1940, and finally, Charles Herbert Francis’ on the 7th November 1940.
All six are remembered on the Galleywood war memorials at St. Michael’s and the 2010 memorial at Keene Hall in the village centre.
Nellie was born in the Chelmsford registration district in 1927.
By 1940 she was living at 'Rosedale', Skinner's Lane in Galleywood, as the adopted daughter of George William Smith (1874-1940) and Alice Louisa Smith (nee Oddy) (1890-1940).
Her parents had married at St. John's Church, Moulsham on 20th April 1908. At that time her father was a 27 year-old horseman who lived in Springfield. His bride was nine years younger and lived in Mason's Arms Yard in Moulsham Street, Chelmsford. Previous to that her mother had gone to Canada as a 12 year-old in 1902 and had a Canadian-born son in 1905.
On the rainy evening of 30th October 1940 Nellie was at 'Rosedale' in Skinner's Lane, Galleywood with her parents and several others, when at 9.20 p.m. an enemy aircraft, hidden by low cloud, released several high explosive bombs. Both 'Rosedale' and neighbouring bungalow ‘Maylin’ felt the full force of the bomb explosions which were felt some way off.