Category Archives: People

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

Rifleman Cyril E. King

Born 8th October 1919, Cyril E. King was living with his mother Ellen at 9 Swains Road, Mitcham, according to the 1939 Register. She was born 26th September 1898. With them was his sister Winifred E., born 6th March 1921.

In an article from the Mitcham News & Mercury from 13th October, 1944, he is referred to as possibly being a P.O.W.

No military records have been found on Ancestry/Find My Past.

1944 : A War Prisoner’s Story

From the Mitcham News & Mercury from 13th October, 1944

GIVES COMFORT TO FRIENDS

You have Nothing to
Worry About

UNIQUE MEETING AT TOWN HALL

Mothers and wives of Mitcham men who have been Prisoners of War in Germany, some of them for over five years, crowded round Sergeant Maurice Malfin, Commonside East, Mitcham, when he attended a meeting of the Borough’s Prisoner-of-War Relatives’ Association at the Town Hall, on Saturday. They were eager to get news of life in the prison camps and were glad of the opportunity of talking to a man who had so recently been an inmate of one.

The story of how Sergeant Malfin returned to this country after being in German prison camps for five years has already been told in the “News and Mercury.” Then he sent a message to cheer the relatives of men who are still out there. on Saturday he repeated it.

“If you have relatives in Germany or Poland, you have nothing to worry about. They are all doing reasonably well,” he told the Association.

He had to answer many questions about the food in the camps. That the men were well fed was due entirely to the Red Cross, he said.

“Since January, 1941, with the exception of three weeks, I have received a Red Cross food parcel every week,” he said. “In addition, we got plenty of potatoes by fair means or foul, mostly foul. The Germans did not give us much food, and without the Red Cross we should have been sunk.”

He compared his own camp, 21D, which is still the home of several Mitcham men, with Mitcham Common. It housed 15,000, and took an hour to walk round it. It was a good camp and had a first-class library containing thousands of books.

Replying to a question about examinations, Sergeant Malfin said the men could sit for any examination they like, and a number had qualified for various professions while in the camp. Sports, games and theatricals were organised.

“You should see some of the Tommy girls on the stage out yonder. You could not tell the difference between them and West-End chorus beauties except that they are a bit skinny around the back,” he said.

He paid tribute to the Poles, who, he said, had often risked their lives to give them food.

The chairman (Alderman J. R. Beaumont) received a cheque for £27 and 3s. from Mr H. A. Penny, raised by a competition at the “Three Kings” Hotel. Mrs Walls handed him £1 15s.

After the meeting women whose menfolk are still in Stalag 21 D showed photographs of their sons and husbands and asked if he could identify them. Sergeant Malfin recognised Private Harry Powell, whose home is in Langdale Avenue, Mitcham, and who had been a prisoner for over four years. Although he did not know Rifleman Cyril E. King, Swains Road, Tooting Junction, he picked out another man on the photograph, who turned out to be one of Cyril’s chums.

William Pizey

Born 11th March, 1913.

He married Jean Cowley in the last quarter of 1938.

In the 1939 Register he was living at 4 Grenfell Road, as a removal goods motor driver, with his wife Jean, born 22nd March, 1914.

He died on 23rd July 1970. From his will, his address was 50 Ashbourne Road, Mitcham, he left £2,350.

His son in October 2019 said:

My father James Pizey served on Salisbury plane testing the ammunition and supervising the pay. His brother Bill served in Burma was a Chindits soldier. They both had their homes in Mitcham. Their father, my grampa, served in the First World War. All survived.

Robert Linthorn Parker

From the 1939 Register, Robert L. Parker was living at 45 St. James Road. He was born on 14th October 1895 and was a Furniture Warehouseman. He lived with his wife Helen, born 16th December 1894, and their son Robert E., born 15th April 1920, a turner in an engineering factory. In the 1964 and 1965 electoral registers Robert and Helen are still at this address.

His granddaughter said in October 2019 that he served in WW2 and lived in St James Road.

However while there aren’t any records online for Robert Linthorn Parker, there are some for Robert Parker and R.L. Parker, but at present it is not possible to see which of these he is.

He died in the first quarter of 1981, and the registration district was Wandsworth.

Sir Isaac Wilson : Death of a Benefactor of Mitcham

From The Mitcham News & Mercury, 29th September, 1944, page 4:

SIR ISAAC H. WILSON
Death of Benefactor of Mitcham

REGARDED WEALTH AS AN
OBLIGATION

Mitcham mourns the death at the age of 82 of Sir Isaac H Wilson, The Birches, The Cricket Green, a well-loved personality whose generosity has brought lasting benefits to the people of Mitcham.

Sir Isaac died on Tuesday in the Wilson Hospital, his £120,000 gift to the borough, which with Cumberland house and Mitcham Garden Village remain lasting testimonies to the spirit of a man to whom wealth was regarded as an obligation to the less fortunate rather than a privilege to himself.

In fifteen years his benefactions to the borough have been in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million pounds, but his greatness of heart was something not to be measured in terms of money. He was not a rich man who gave of his wealth has a salve to conscience. Certainly he felt it a duty to spend his money well, and the only return he asked was the increased happiness of the people. Although he has done more for Mitcham than any other man, he was loved for his own sake rather than for his gifts. He was simple kind and modest; he hated publicity, and did not care for constant reminders about the good he had done his adopted town.

QUIET DAILY VISITS

He liked a quiet life, and latterly since ill health had restricted his activities his greatest pleasure was to visit the Wilson Hospital and Cumberland House, a thing he did almost daily when his health permitted. He was the most welcome of all visitors at both places. There was no member of the staff who was not pleased to see the familiar figure coming up the drive, for if his step was slower of recent years, he had always a smile for his friends, and a happy twinkle in his eye.

Much has been written of Sir Isaac’s romantic rise from his obscure native village of Milton, Cumberland to a position of wealth and influence in the world. He was the youngest and only surviving member of a family of four brothers, sons of a yeoman farmer, who went out into the world to seek their fortunes in the building trade, and then spent the fruits of their labours on charity. They spent their youth working on their father’s farm, and later Sir Isaac became a draper’s apprentice.

BUILDING DEVELOPEMENT

He left the drapery business to join his brother, Joseph, in London where the two brothers developed large areas of Fulham, Mitcham and Tooting Junction. The other two brothers, Thomas and John, made fortunes building working class houses in Newcastle, and when they died Sir Isaac inherited several hundred thousand pounds.

The Wilson Hospital, the foundation stone of which was laid by his first wife, who was also a native of Cumberland, was Sir Isaac’s first benefaction to the borough. In November, 1928, it was opened by the Princess Royal. Later Sir Isaac enlarged the hospital adding two wings and installing up-to-date equipment.

THE GARDEN VILLAGE

On part of Cranmer green he built Mitcham Garden Village, the replica of his native Village, where the borough’s old inhabitants may live rent free. His next to gift to Mitcham was Cumberland House, the modern convalescent home at the rear of his own home which cost £60,000. This has been taken over by Surrey County Council. The cost of upholding the home by voluntary methods would have been an enormous charge on Mitcham, and Sir Isaac agreed that the best scheme was for the County Council to accept responsibility. Sir Isaac assured the future of the Wilson hospital by conveying to the trustees property in the district to the value of £45,000 as an endowment for the hospital. He also gave a home for the nurses.

Mitcham was not the only recipient of his generosity. His native village of Milton and neighbouring districts benefited by more than £20,000 from his generosity. This was spent on building cottages for the poor.

The death of his only daughter a considerable time ago was a great grief to Sir Isaac. Later he lost his wife, who, he said, had been the inspiration of the gift of the hospital. His only granddaughter, Mrs Black, lives on the Cricket Green, a few doors from Sir Isaac’s own home. Hs two grandsons are serving with the Forces.

CHURCHMAN AND CONSERVATIVE

For many years he played a prominent part in the town’s life. Earlier in his life he took an active interest in St. Barnabas Church where he was a churchwarden for some time. He was a staunch Conservative and for a time was president of the local Conservative and Constitutional Club. He was a keen educationalist as well as a Justice of the Peace until recently. For some time he was Chairman of the Mitcham Bench.

Formerly a member of Surrey County Council he was also a member of Mitcham Council until last year, when failing health caused him to relinquish many public posts.

In 1937 he became a Freeman of Mitcham, and in June, 1939, was knighted for political and public service in Mitcham.

Sir Isaac accepted honours gracefully, and continued his work in the same efficient and unassuming way.

A GREAT READER

For years Sir Isaac has been Mitcham’s best friend. He invested his money in the borough’s happiness, and both he and the people have drawn generous dividends. His figure, familiar to all who frequent the Green, will be sadly missed. He lived a simple life and of recent years rarelt went out of the borough.

His chief recreation was reading, and for the last ten years he has read little other than books about millionaires, successful businessman and industrialists, or men who, like himself, had risen from obscurity to a place in the world. Following The Fortunes of Lord Nuffield, Henry Ford, the Cadburys and others, he sought comparisons with his own success, and compared their manner of spending their fortune with his own.

The bombing of the Wilson Hospital, which was closed for some time, was a great blow to him, and the town will be glad that he lived to see it repaired and at work again.

Sir Isaac Wilson