Andrew Fenwick Menzies was a Scotsman who lodged in Chelmsford during the war. He was killed in October 1942 when a bomb aimed at the nearby Hoffmann's bearings factory exploded in the front garden of his lodgings in Henry Road, Chelmsford.
Andrew was born in 1917, the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Menzies.
In 1942 Andrew was lodging with Cyril Joslin at 45 Henry Road in Chelmsford, close to the massive Hoffmann's ball-bearings factory. He is thought to have been a worker at one of Chelmsford's vital engineering factories.
Hoffmann’s was a target for the German air force throughout the war. At 10.59 a.m. on 19th October 1942 a lone German Dornier Do 217E aircraft approached Chelmsford from the east at an altitude of around a thousand feet.
Taking advantage of low cloud and poor visibility the aircraft dropped to around a 150 feet to make a bombing run on Hoffmann’s approximately along the line of one of the factory’s railway sidings. Almost immediately Hoffmann’s light machine defences opened up on the raider, but other army posts were unable to fire their Bofors guns at the aircraft because of its extremely low altitude - the gunners would have been firing in the direction of nearby buildings and people.
The Dornier was able to release two 500 Kg SC high explosive bombs on the works, with delayed actions of about twenty seconds, and it also machine gunned the ground. With its bombs released the aircraft turned north-eastwards, circled to the north of Chelmsford and made off due east towards the coast, apparently unscathed.
Those on the ground were not so fortunate. One of the bombs scored a direct hit on the factory. It penetrated the roof and exploded in the recently completed Cage & Assembly Shop, (part of Hoffmann’s ‘C factory’, to the north of Rectory Lane). Four people died as a result of that bomb, six others were seriously injured, and 43 men and 16 women slightly hurt.
The other bomb deflected off the factory’s roof passed through a house in Henry Road (number 17), travelled some sixty feet across the road and into the front garden of number 45 Henry Road where it detonated. Five people were to die as a result. Among them was Andrew, killed at 45 Henry Road.
Two other people were seriously injured and two slightly injured by the bomb. Five houses were demolished outright (numbers 42 to 46), another nine were damaged beyond repair, a further six were seriously damaged and dozens more slightly so.
At the time of his death Andrew's parents were resident at Hallyards, Meigle in Perthshire, Scotland. Andrew was buried there on 24th October 1942.
Andrew Fenwick MENZIES, Civilian
Killed in an air raid at Henry Road, Chelmsford. Aged 25