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Eileen Russell OdellMember of the Women’s Police Service.
Information supplied through Research Project led by Nigel Crompton.
Full name of worker at H.M. Factory Gretna (and any other names they are known by) : Originally born Ethel Frances Prewer. She then changed her name to Violet Patricia Neville. Later she changed her name to Eileen Russell Odell. She has also been described as Mrs Mott.
Date and Place of Birth: 24 January 1877 Eastbourne, Sussex
Date and Place of Death: 25 April 1958 Kingston, Surrey
Childhood: 4 siblings and 1 half-brother. William Henry Russell (1867-1939), Helvetia Mary Malabar (1869-1898), Mabel Sarah (1872-1885), John Lionel (1875-1917), and half-brother Frederick James (1864-1929).
Parents: William Henry & Margaret (nee Russell)
Parent’s occupations: William was a master gunner in the Royal Artillery.
Schools / universities attended and years of attendance: N/K
Occupation: Concert agent, impresario
Place of residence at Gretna: N/K
Job title at Gretna: Police Officer at the Women’s Police Service
Marital status: Married 4 times.
1st – John Scott Davidson Loney – 1895, Woolwich. Died in 1902.
2nd – Harry Gilbert Peyton Beville – 17 Sept 1902 London. Divorced April 1910.
3rd – Edward Seymour Odell – 24 June 1911, Glasgow. Divorced.
4th – Stanley Charles Mott – 1920, London
Children: 7 children, including 2 sets of twins.
Trivia / any other information:
It appears Eileen was originally born Ethel Frances Prewer in Eastborne, Sussex to William & Margaret Prewer. William was a master gunner in the Royal Artillery but died in 1880. His first wife Elizabeth had died in 1865 having given him one son, Frederick James. William married Margaret Russell in 1866. The family moved often due to William’s postings.
Eileen or Ethel was married at least four times and had children with 3 of her husbands, plus at least one that resulted in divorce.
Her first marriage was to John Scott Davidson Loney a career soldier. He was a Company Sergeant Major but appears to have had a military courts martial during the Boer War, resulting in a five year sentence, ending up in Portland Military Prison at the time of the 1901 census. He was discharged ‘in ignominy’, losing all rights and medal entitlement, dying in 1902 by which time two children had been born.
When she married Harry Gilbert Beville in 1902, her name had changed to Violet Patricia Neville, widow.
The widow reference was correct, but the name change was possibly due to John’s misdemeanors or for theatrical reasons.
On marrying both Harry Gilbert and Edward Seymour Odell, she gave her father as Francis Henry Russell and her mother as Helen Violet Margaret, but we cannot find any marriage. Also, the father’s profession is given as Colonel in the Royal Horse Artillery. Again, no indication of a Colonel Russell serving in the RHA could be found. Additionally, on the 1911 census a place of birth is given as Kildare, Ireland, but no confirmation of this has been found either. Her profession is concert agent.
She was divorced from Harry on 5 Dec 1910 on the grounds of adultery, marrying Edward Odell on 24 June 1911. However in 1912, Edward filed for divorce from Eileen again citing adultery but with Rt. Hon. Charles Benjamin Bright McLean, Lord Aberconway as the co-respondent. The petition was dismissed but it appears Edward and Eileen were divorced as in 1920 she married Stanley Charles Mott, who at the time was managing a film company. This again is strange because two children had been born in 1918 and in 1919 in the Bioscope magazine Eileen is described as Mrs. Mott. The article suggests she had an operatic voice, performing in Dresden at the commencement of the Great War singing in Wagner operas. It also says she visiting America, playing parts in films.
Why she became a police officer at Gretna or what happened to her children whilst she was at HM Factory is not known. Her name appears on the petition sent to Winston Churchill, the Minister of Munitions.
The 1939 shows Stanley and Eileen living in different parts of London and whilst still married, not living together. She passed away on 25 April 1958 in Surrey.
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Photo source: The Bioscope magazine – October 1919.