Nellie lived with her family on Ebury Bridge Road in Central London. The surroundings of their farmhouse would be unrecognisable today, during 1930's this area was farmland despite its proximity to Victoria Station, Sloane Square, Chelsea Barracks and Buckingham Palace! Never the less the protocol was the same for everyone during World War 2, when the air raid siren sounded.
Nellie had a reputation for sitting on the farmhouse step where she would howl and howl. The neighbours would shout at her to stop barking but she wouldn't. This started to happen more regularly until someone recognised that Nellie would start to bark before the air raid siren sounded. And indeed it was true. Nellie's amazing hearing let her hear approaching enemy planes before the siren was sounded. Everyone came to recognise her gift and would leave their homes and make for the shelter as soon as she started howling. Mrs Wyatt recalled that a number of her neighbours were elderly so this extra time to get themselves to safety was vital.
Mrs Wyatt is pictured here as a 5 year old girl, with her pet Nellie elevated on her chair! She remembers this little Manchester Terrier x Fox Terrier fondly, especially his brown velvet ears and is very proud of this little dog. A neighbour at the time, who was also a volunteer at the Blue Cross (previously know as Our Dumb Friends League), nominated Nellie for a Blue Cross Medal. Mrs Wyatt remembers getting a letter in the post when she was 10 which included Nellie's medal (main picture).
The medal is inscribed simply and beautifully ...
Presented to Nellie whom during the war by her wisdom gave warning of approaching danger
Mrs Wyatt now lives in Witham and shares her life with a very large, very handsome and well behaved black Labradoodle called Max!
We would like to thank Mrs Wyatt the sharing her story with us.