Florence 'Florrie' Ethel Maud Whiley was born in 1886 and married in Norfolk in 1909. Her first husband died three years later and she married again to a man ten years her junior in 1918. She was killed during the 'Chelmsford Blitz' in May 1943 along with her husband when their home in Goldlay Road was destroyed by a German bomb

Florence was born in Gorleston, Suffolk in 1886, the only known child of Sydney William Whiley (1856-1903) and Susannah Whiley (nee Neal) (1862-1895).

In 1891 the census found five year-old Florrie living with her parents at 50 Upper Bells Road in Gorleston where her father was a general carter. Her mother died in 1895 and her father remarried to a widower the same year. The 1901 census recorded Florrie with her father, step-mother and three half-siblings at 48-9 Balls Road in Gorleston. At the time her father was a self employed general carter.

In 1909 Florrie married Gorleston-born Edward James Shaul in Norfolk. He had served in the Royal Navy since 1901. In 1911 the census listed her, aged 25, living with her neice Laura Bullock at 9 Nile Road in Gorleston. Three years later Florrie's first husband was killed after being washed overboard from H.M.S. Sandfly.

She married London-born George William Sims in Norfolk in 1918.

By 1943 Florrie and her husband were living at 45 Goldlay Road in Chelmsford and he was working as a grocery manager. 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, the Luftwaffe, 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.

Among the dead was 53 year-old Florrie who was killed there along with her 47 year-old husband and  Lily Harriet Lidbetter when a 500 kg high explosive scored a direct hit on 45 & 46 Goldlay Road. Two widows were killed by the bomb at  number 46 Goldlay Road; Alice Snow and her daughter Elsie Ida Gledstone.

On 20th May 1943 Florrie and George were buried in an unmarked grave (number 5530) at Chelmsford Borough Cemetery. Their funeral service was conducted by Rev. W. S. Brownless of St. John's Church, Moulsham.


Florence Ethel Maud SIMS (nee WHILEY, previously SHAUL), Civilian.

Killed during an air raid in Goldlay Road, Chelmsford. Aged 63