Author Archives: Wade

Albert Thomas Till, Medical Officer for Health at Mitcham

16th July 1936. Dr Till, with the Mayoress, Mrs Davies, at a ‘Welfare Centres ‘ garden party at Park Place. Clip from Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_​Hospitals_​4-1

In the 1935 Medical Directory he is listed as living at 43, Mitcham Park.

In 1924 he obtained his degree as Batchelor of Medicine / Batchelor of Surgery and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; and post-graduated with Dental Public Health in 1931 at the University of London. He was a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Public Health, and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

He was the Medical Officer at the Mission Hospital in Mahamba, Swaziland; and the Resident Medical Officer at the Victoria Hospital in Damascus, Syria.

He authored Dental caries in native children, published in the South African Medical Journal in 1927; Some observations on influenza in 1933 and Liquid paraffin, a cause of loss of weight in children, in 1934, both in the Journal of State Medicine.

He was appointed Mitcham Medical Officer for Health in 1937.

Injured during bombing raid on 12th November, 1940, at 31 Mitcham Park, he died the same day at Wilson Hospital. He was 40 years old.

From Norwood News – Friday 15 November 1940, page 2:

Obituary
TRAGIC DEATH OF DR. TILL
Medical Officer of Health at Mitcham

THE tragic death of Dr. A. T. Till, Medical Officer of Health for Mitcham, has cut short a promising career at the comparatively early age of 40 years.

He was a native of South Africa, and came to Mitcham 3 1/2 years ago, when he was temporarily appointed for six months’ trial to succeed the late Dr. Fegen, who then was a part-time officer of health. By the end of his term, Dr. Till had given such complete satisfaction, that be was unanimously given the full-time post of medical officer. That he justified that confidence is recognised everywhere. Year by year he endeared himself more and more to the Council, his colleagues, and the ratepayers generally, and he came to be regarded as one of the most popular of Mitcham’s public servants. Unostentatious at all times, Dr. Till wielded a great influence throughout the borough, and improved the health services to a remarkable extent.

A prominent Council official paid him this tribute: “Dr. Till was a first-class officer,” he said. “Exceedingly capable, and most popular with the whole of the public services. Ever ready to give advice, it could be absolutely relied unon. The Council has lost one of its best and most conscientious officers.”

A sad coincidence is that normally he would have been on duty elsewhere on the night of his death, but he had arranged an exchange with a professional colleague. During the war period, Dr. Till had been in charge of the ambulance and first aid posts. In addition to his ordinary duties, and he worked unceasingly for the benefit of the public services.

The Mayor (Ald. E.J.D. Field) is calling a special meeting of the Council for to-morrow (Saturday) to pay tribute to Dr. Till’s memory, and to place on record an appreciation of his services.

Dr. Till leaves a widow and daughter to mourn their irreparable loss.

Commonwealth war Grave Commission casualty record.

In his will, he left £909 3s. 7d. to his widow Emily Annie Till (around £50,000 in 2019 values).

Sources:
Wellcome Trust; London, England; Collection: The Medical Directory, 1935; Reference: b21330724_i13766260

A Romance of Evacuation

From the Norwood News – Friday 24 August 1945

A ROMANCE OF EVACUATION

Bridegroom 75, and Bride 77

LATEST tenants at Mitcham’s hut town at Wide Way, are a 77-years-old bride and her 75- years-old bridegroom. The wedding at Mitcham Parish Church of these two old-age pensioners was notable for several reasons. First, the bride arrived with no-one to give her away, and then it was found that the bridegroom had been equally forgetful — he had not brought a best man.

The quandary of Mrs. Flora Sarah Farr, Rodney-road, Mitcham, and Mr. Hadyn Douglas Sanders, Bruce-road, was solved by Mr. A. E. Champion, who in nearly fifty years as parish clerk has attended thousands of weddings and has unriddled many such knotty problems.

He not only became best man but persuaded Mr. Joseph Stevens, gallery keeper, who happened to be in the vicinity, to give the bride away. All four members of the bridal party who assembled before the vicar, the Rev. G. S. Lubbock, were over seventy years of age.

The ceremony over, Mr. and Mrs. Sanders sought a wedding luncheon at several local hotels. but it being Sunday they were unsuccessful, and so they went to their new hut home, where the bride opened a tin of corn beef.

EVACUATION ROMANCE.

The romance of Mr. and Mrs. Sanders began when a party of Mitcham old people were evacuated during the flying bomb raids to a country mansion at Great Barrington, Oxfordshire. Their first meeting was last summer, when they packed into cars at the Mitcham Citizens’ Advice Bureau for their journey into the country. During their nine months stay at the mansion Mr. and Mrs. Sanders sat next to each other at meals, and took walks in the country lanes together. When they returned to Mitcham they decided they would like to continue the companionship and arranged to get married. Both were so anxious to keep the wedding quiet that they did not tell their families the date on which it was to take place. “We were sure that it would leak out and that there would be someone we knew at church who would be able to act as witnesses. But no-one turned up and we had to rely on the good offices of Mr. Champion,” said Mr. Sanders.

Mr. Sanders lost his home in an early blitz, when his wife, son and daughter were killed. As a bombed-out person he qualified for a hut. Both he and his wife like their new home. Mr. Sanders managed to save enough furniture from the ruin of his old home to make the hut comfortable. Its walls are hung with pictures of his family, of whom he is very proud. Among them are portraits of his mother, Grace Armitage, who achieved fame as an actress in the latter part of the last century. His sister, Grace Noble, following in her mother’s footsteps, also became an actress and won renown in Australia.

Mr. Sanders’ father was an opera singer and appeared at Covent Garden, but his early death brought hardships to the family who had chosen Tooting as their headquarters. His mother continued her career and sang at a Manchester theatre on the night her son, Haydn, was born — to help bring up her family of four boys. As soon as he was old enough Haydn went out to work in the shoe trade.

“If there had been enough money for training I should probably have followed in my father’s steps and, become a singer,” said Mr. Sanders, “But as it was I spent a life-time in the shoe trade, starting at a Tooting shop and working in many parts of the country. Now, with Mrs. Sanders, I am going to enjoy a well-earned rest, free from bombs,” he said.

Notes

The original news article had the spelling Saunders instead of Sanders, which is the spelling used by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission (CWGC) website and records on Ancestry.

Mr Sander’s wife, son and daughter died during the Blitz, on 11th October, 1940, at 29 Bruce Road. Below are links to the CWGC casualty records:

His wife, Minnie Sanders, aged 69. His son, Reginald Frederick Sanders, aged 44, an A.R.P. Stretcher Bearer. His daughter Ella Marjory Dunn, aged 31, wife of Charles Dunn.

Flora Sanders died later that year. Her death is registered in the last quarter of the year, in registration district Surrey Mid Eastern, Volume 2a, Page 268.

Haydn Douglas Sanders died the following year, on 11th November 1946. His address was 35 Wide Way.

Hercules Ladies Athletic Club

From the Mitcham News and Mercury, 20th of October 1933, page 1

“Mitcham Odds and Ends”

RIFT IN THE LUTE

I am sorry to hear that trouble has arisen over the decision of the Mitcham Athletic Club at its recent annual general meeting, not to allow members under 16 years of age to vote at their meetings. This has been taken as a slight upon the young ladies who lately have flocked to the club in overwhelming numbers. Unfortunately it has led to the formation of another club, which may tend to cripple both organisations. Mr F.H. Priest, president of the Mitcham Athletic Club, informed me that every effort will be made to consolidate the Mitcham Athletic Club in the interests of young lady athletes.

HERCULES LADIES

Meanwhile, the new club, called the Hercules Ladies Athletic Club, has established its headquarters at Dahomey Road, Streatham. The officers are: Founders, Mr and Mrs R.O. Bale; committee chairman Mr R.C. Parr; honorary general secretary, ,Mr F.J.E. Meymes, 19 Crusoe Road, Mitcham; hon. Treasurer, Mrs F. Meymes; club captain, Mrs Bale; and trainer, Mr Bale. The club colours are navy blue with regulation tunic with scarlet facings. The object of the club, it is pointed out, is “furtherance of womanhood in athletics.” The club committee, in appealing to parents, states ”that Mrs O Bales (formerly Miss A.M. Stone, international runner and winner of many athletic events) is putting her whole efforts in turning their daughters into first class sport swimming, vide the club’s motto Factum non verbum (Deeds not words). “As solid foundations are essential, we feel that very careful attention given to girls under 15 years of age, will assure this being a first-class club eventually.”

THE LAVENDER MAN.

1933: Mitcham Boy Shot In Leg When After Rats

From the Mitcham News and Mercury, 20th of October 1933, page 1

Mitcham boy shot in leg

Accident When After Rats

Operation on Sunday

A number of lads were shooting rats with a small shotgun in Reader’s-yard, Lewis Road, Mitcham, on Saturday afternoon when George William Hutton (age 13), Lewis Cottages, Lewis Road, Mitcham, was accidentally shot in the right leg.

He told his parents, and his father at once took him to Wilson Cottage Hospital.

On Sunday the boy was operated upon at the hospital, and over 50 pellets were extricated from the leg.

He has since made satisfactory progress.

Mrs Hutton, the boy’s mother, told a “Mercury” reporter that her boy managed to crawl home with his leg bleeding, and his father carried him to hospital on the front of his bicycle.

“My boy told us it was not anybody’s fault,” she added. “The shooting was accidental while they were walking together in the yard. The shotgun belongs to one of the other boys and went off when they collided with each other.”

Corporal William Henry Harding, D.C.M.

William Henry Harding was born on 5th November 1892 and was baptised on the 1st January 1893, at the Mitcham parish church in Church Road. His parents were William Henry and Phoebe Harding, living in Fountain Road.

The 1901 census shows their address as 43 Fountain Road, and the occupants were:

William H Harding, Head, aged 33, born 1868, flower seller
Pheoby Harding, Wife, aged 27, born 1874, flower seller
William H Harding, Son, aged 8, born 1893
Leonard Harding, Son, aged 9, born 1892

He joined the Army on 22nd October 1908, becoming a private in the 1st East Surreys, 3rd Battalion (Special Reserve). His service number was L/9806. He had said he was 18 years old, but was nearer 16. The Surrey Recruitment Registers show that physically he was 5 ft 3 and three-quarter inches tall, weighed 9 stone, and had grey eyes and brown hair.

He was stationed in Dublin, Ireland, when WW1 started.

Corporal W.H. Harding was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his outstanding bravery. He went into noman’s land and rescued his officer, 2nd Lt. Wilfrid Allen Davis. Cpl W.H. Harding was wounded but although he got him back, Lt. Davis subsequently died.

The entry in the London Gazette reads:

For conspicuous gallantry on “Hill 60,” when he beat off the enemy’s assault by throwing hand grenades, freely exposing himself though the trench was being heavily bombed.

Lt-Gen Sir John Roberts presented the medals.

Cpl W.H. Harding was also awarded the British War Medal, 1914 Star and Victory Medal.

He was discharged 22nd August 1917.

He died in 1954, aged 61.

Sources

Ancestry.com. Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912
Ancestry.com. British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
Surrey Recruitment Registers 1908-1933
London Gazette, Publication date: 29 June 1915 Supplement:29212 Page:6379

Sergeant Maurice Malfin

Maurice Lionel Valentine Malfin was born in 1906.

He married Vera Evelyn Tomlinson in 1934.

They lived at 193 Commonside East, Mitcham.

He served with the 1st Queen Victoria Rifles, service number 1863437.

He was captured in 1940 during the Siege of Calais, when the British Expeditionary Force evacuated at Dunkirk. The British Army Casualty Lists 1939-1945 refer to his regiment as the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (Queen Victoria’s Rifles).

Referred to in the Mitcham News & Mercury from 13th October, 1944 as having attended a meeting of the Borough’s Prisoner-of-War Relatives’ Association at the Town Hall. He had been a P.O.W. in Stalag 2D.

From the Norwood News – Friday 31 October 1941

Prisoner’s Parcels Being Received

Friends of Sergt. Maurice Malfin, Queen Victoria Rifles, whose home is at Common Side East, Mitcham, and who was taken prisoner at Calais last year, will be interested to know that he is still keeping well, and has been moved from Stalag 21 B to Stalag 21 A. The news is contained in a letter received this week by his wife, Mrs. V. E. Malfin, who believes that the new camp (Stalag 21 A) is situated somewhere in Poland, although her husband makes no mention of his whereabouts in the note. It was dated in August, and also contained a snapshot of himself taken with two others. Neither, from their uniform, appear to be comrades of the same regiment, however. The photo is, unfortunately, not suitable for reproduction.

Mrs. Malfin does not know whether her husband has just been one of the lucky ones, but he has been getting “prisoner parcels” through the Red Cross fairly regularly. He has received at least three parcels sent personally by his wife, and the cigarettes and books are definitely arriving.

Sergt. Malfin, who is 35 years of age, was “missing” for four months last year before news of his safety was received.

He died in Brompton Hospital on 15th July 1965, leaving £1,472 to his widow. In the 1965 eelectoral register they were still at 193 Commonside East