Donald Frederick Stiles was the son of a greengrocer and moved to Chelmsford from Southend as a toddler. During the war he served in the army and was killed in Italy in June 1944. His home was in Goldlay Avenue.
Donald was born in Southend in 1920, the son of Writtle-born greengrocer Frederick Stiles (1892-1939) and Dorothy Louise Stiles (nee Barratt) (1894-1975). His parents had married the previous year. Donald had a younger brother, Gordon Henry Stiles (1922-1984).
Donald's father died at the Chelmsford & Essex Hospital on 8th February 1939 following an accident the previous day. The following week's Essex Chronicle reported:
"CHELMSFORD FATALITY FRUITERER'S ACCIDENT WHILE CYCLING - CAR DRIVER EXONERATED. Mr. Coroner L. F. Becclc licld inquest the Shire Hall on February 10 on Mr Frederick Stiles, aged 47, a fruiterer and greengrocer, ol 17 Goldlay Avenue, Chelmsford who passed away in Chelmsford Hospital on Feb. 8 following injuries received when he was accidentally struck by a car driven by Mr. Michael Taunton, of Woodlands Ingatestone, while cycling along Baddow Road. Mr. F. N. Wingent represented the car driver, and Mr. C. F. S. Spurrell the relatives the deceased.
Mrs. Dorothy L. Stiles, the widow, said she last saw her husband at 3 p.m. on the day of the accident. He had good sight and hearing, and was an experienced cyclist. He was apparently coming home when the accident occurred.
Norman G. Shevil!, Swiss Avenue, Chelmsford, stated that at 10.35 p.m. on the evening of Feb. 7 he was standing on the pavement in the Baddow Road near the telephone booth on the same side as Goldlay Avenue, when he heard a crash. On looking towards Chelmsford he saw a car stopping and man falling from his bicycle. Witness did not see the actual collision. He went to the cyclist, who was lying about third of the width of the road from his near side, opposite Goldlay Avenue.
Dr. F. E. Camps deposed that death was due to fracture of the skull, cerebral contusion, and hemorrhage.
Donald Frederick STILES, Private, 5th Battalion, Essex Regiment
Killed in Italy. Aged 24
P.s. Bridge said there were blood marks in the road 7ft. Bin. from the cyclist's near side, almost opposite Goldlay Avenue. The bicycle (produced) had the rear mudguard damaged, and the front wheel was slightly buckled The lighting of the road at the spot of the accident was very good. The glass of the front near side headlamp of the car was smashed, and the rear near side wing was dented.
P.c. Withey also gave evidence. Mr. Michael Taunton, the car driver, said he was on his way home to Ingatestone. In Baddow Road his speed was 25-30 miles per hour. About 50 yards from Goldlay Avenue he saw the cyclist going in the same direction, and he palled out to pass him. When the cyclist was six to seven feet in front he swerved, first to his near side and then to his right, giving witness the impression that he was going to turn right. Witness swerved away to avoid him, then heard glass breaking. When the collision occurred the cyclist was in halfturn towards Goldlay Avenue. Mr. Stiles gave no signal that he was going to turn.
The jury returned a verdict of Accidental death, and exonerated Mr. Taunton from blame.
Donald's father left an estate of £868 1s. 6d. and probate was granted to his widow of 17 Goldlay Avenue in Chelmsford.
During the Second World War Donald served as Private 6016313 in the 5th Battalion of the Essex Regiment. Aged 24, he was killed on 11th June 1944 in Italy. At the time of his death Donald's mother was still living at 17 Goldlay Avenue, while his brother was a stoker in the Royal Navy.
Today he lies at Cassino War Cemetery in Italy (grave VIII. F. 2.).
Donald left an estate worth £183 15s. 7d.