Nelly was born in 1887 in Oswestry, the daughter of Railway Station Master Salisbury Robertson Grigg (1860 – 1947) and Margaretta Jane (1862 – 1940). The family was living at 12 Welsh Walls in 1911.
Nelly joined the Shropshire 40 VAD in July 1917 and served at Pentre Pant Hall as a medical and surgical nurse. She worked 2 days a week for 6 months, then alternate weeks for 8 months as Nelly had to look after her ill mother.
Nelly was awarded a Scarlet stripe and served until 24th December 1918.
Nelly married William F Hales in 1921 but was widowed by 1945; her mother left her money in her will that states that she was a widow at the time.