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Hellen Emma (Nellie) MitchellMember of the Women’s Police Service
Information will be 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): Hellen Emma (Nellie) Mitchell
Date and Place of Birth: 19 March 1867, St Mary Cray, Kent
Date and Place of Death: 3 December 1944, Zingara, Hannet Road, Leigh Beck, Canvey Island
Childhood: She had 10 siblings. Sadly, four of them Annie Elizabeth (1865-1865), Alfred James (1869-1869), Mary Jane Lydia (1870-1871) and William James (1872-1872) died in infancy.
Parents: James & Elizabeth (nee Palmer)
Parent’s occupations: Her father was a baker and confectioner.
Schools / universities attended and years of attendance: N/K
Occupation: Located on 1911 Jersey census employed as Domestic Servant.
Place of residence at Gretna: Women’s Police Barracks Eastriggs
Job title at Gretna: A police constable in the Women’s Police Force at H.M Factory Gretna.
Marital status: Never married.
Children: None known.
Travels: Helen visited America in while in her 20s.
Trivia / any other information:
Unfortunately whilst James and Elizabeth Mitchell had eleven children, four died in infancy.
Helen was born on 19th March 1867. Her name differs on certain documents. On one she is Ellen, also Helen and then Hellen.
Her father was a professional baker and confectioner in St Mary Cray, Kent where she grew up.
The 1891 census lists her as a nursery governess and whilst in her 20s Hellen visited America. By the time of the 1911 census she was living on Jersey.
What made her join the Women Police Service is not known but her name appears in the book ‘The Pioneer Policewoman’ by Mary A Allen as being one of the first to be stationed at HM Factory Gretna. Her WPS badge number was 45 and lived at Women’s Police Barracks, Eastriggs when the first electoral register for Gretna was issued. Hellen had her photograph taken in uniform whilst at Gretna.
In 1918 her mother passed away and she returned to her family to assist as house keeper. Her father and sister by now were living and working at The Post Office & Stores in Writtle near Chelmsford in Essex.
In 1932, the two sisters moved to a house on Hannet Road, Leigh Beck, Canvey Island and were there during the Second World War. The 1939 registration document shows a E Edwards also living with them at Hannet Road.
Whilst conjecture, an Edith Edwards had worked with Hellen on Jersey and an E Edwards served at Gretna in the WPS. This could be the same person.
Hellen passed away on 3rd December 1944, with her passing reported in the Chelmsford Chronicle for 8th December 1944.
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