Ida Violet May Dewson was born and brought up in Enfield, Middlesex. He married in 1921 and went on to have two children. During the war Ida lived in King Edward Avenue, Chelmsford. It was there that she was killed in May 1943 during the 'Chelmsford Blitz' when the property was badly damaged by a bomb which struck a neithbouring house.
Violet was born in Enfield, Middlesex in 1901, the daughter of George Edward Dewson (1874-1959) and Mary Ann Deborah Dewson (nee Thomas) (1877-1926). Her parents had married on 8th January 1899.
Ida was baptised at St. Andrew's Church in Enfield on 20th May 1901. At the time her father was employed as a carpenter and lived at 12 Harman Road, Enfield, an address he would remain at until after the Second World War.
Ida's siblings included George Edward Dewson (1899-1968), Ethel Florence Dewson (1904-1989), Henry Nathaniel Dewson (1909-1994), and Francis Leslie Dewson (1911-1997).
In 1911 the census nine year-old Ida, then recorded as 'Violet', was listed with her parents and four siblings still at 12 Harman Road. Her father was then a gas fitter.
In 1921 Ida married George Kendal Machell (1893-1954) in the Edmonton District. He had served in the Royal Engineers during the First World War where he saw service in the Middle East.
Ida and George had two children: Kendal George L. Machell (1922-1997), and Maureen C. Machell (born in 1926).
By 1943 Ida and her husband were living at 9 King Edward Avenue in Chelmsford (a site now covered by County Hall). Her husband was the manager of The Essex Fencing Company and an air raid warden based at the Shire Hall wardens' post in Chelmsford (post E10).
In the early hours of 14th May that year 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 dropped a large number of high explosive, incendiaries and parachute landmines which caused extensive damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties in the town, and led to the deaths of more than 50 people. It was known locally as the 'Chelmsford Blitz'.
Among the dead was 42 year-old Ida, killed at home by a 250 kg high explosive bomb which scored a direct hit on the rear portion of number 10, a two storey brick dwelling on the south side of the road.
The blast left numbers 9, 10 & 11 all so severely damaged that demolition was thought necessary, while numbers 12 & 13 were seriously damaged. The photographs (right) show how by 1947 the sites of 9, 10 & 11 King Edward Avenue had been cleared of the damaged properties.
Number 11 was occupied by Cecil Bocking, a chiropodist and an Inspector in the Special Constabulary. After the raid he was searching through the ruins of his house when he heard a voice calling ‘Hello boy’ hello, boy!’ from beneath the rubble. Somewhat startled, he dug through the debris and discovered his 20 year-old African Grey Parrot still alive and unharmed save for a covering of dust and plaster. Mr. Bocking had assumed that the bird had been killed.
Ida was subsequently buried at the Lavender Hill Cemetery in Enfield on 22nd May 1943.
A Chelmsford newspaper reported:
"THE LATE MRS. I. V. MACHELL.—The funeral took place at Lavender Hill Cemetery, Enfield, Saturday, cf Mrs. I. V. M. Machell, wife of Mr. G. K. Machell, of King Edward Avenue. Mrs. Machell, who was 42, was killed by enemy action. Her husband is manager of the Essex Fencing Co., and a warden at the Shire Hall Post.
Ida Violet May MACHELL (nee DEWSON), Civilian
Killed in an air raid on King Edward Avenue, Chelmsford. Aged 42
The mourners were : The husband; L/Cpl. K. G. L. Machell, R.E., son ; Miss M. C. Machell, daughter; Mr. G. E. Dewson, sen., father; Sgt. G. E. Dewson, R.A.F., and Mrs. Dewson, brother and sister-in-law; Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Camplin, brother-in-law and sister; A.I. F. L. Dewson, R.N., brother; Mr. A. E. Machell. brother-in-law ; Mr. H. F. Pash, C.C. (chairman, and representing Messrs. J. Brittain Pasb and Essex Fencing Co.), Deputy-Pos* Warden J. R. C. Sutterby E Group atid Post No. E.10), Mrs. C. and Miss J. Baker, Mrs. E. and Miss I. Gillings, Mr. E. R. G. Gillings, Mrs. V. Gibbs, and Mrs. Field.
Floral tributes included those from the staff of J. Brittain Pash and the Essex Fencioa Co., Ltd.; Group Warden, Deputy-Group Warden, E Group, and the wardens at Post E.10 ; and old friends at Bush Hill Park, Enfield."
Later in 1943 Ida's husband was commended by the Chief Constable of Essex County Constabulary for his good work as a warden during the raid.
In 1945 Ida's widowed husband married for a second time. He died fourteen years later.