Category Archives: People

1908 : Crimean veteran’s funeral

Croydon’s Weekly Standard – Saturday 10 October 1908

THE VETERANS’ SALUTE.

The funeral took place at Mitcham of George Green, seventy-four, a Crimean veteran who fought at the Alma and Inkerman, and before Sebastopol. Green had been eight years in Holborn Union Workhouse at Mitcham. He was in receipt of a special compassionate pension from Chelsea Hospital, and when he had an opportunity of leaving he refused.

The old soldier was given a military funeral. The coffin was borne on a gun-carriage, and escorted by detachments of the Grenadiers, Scots, and Coldstream Guards. The rear was brought up by twelve veterans, inmates of the workhouse.

They lined up as his body left the grounds, six on each side, and each old man stood with his hand raised to the salute as the coffin passed.

Christmas in the Workhouse in 1849

From the Morning Advertiser – Tuesday 1st January 1850 via the British Newspaper Archive

PARISH OF ST. GEORGE, EAST. TO THE EDITOR OF THE MORNING ADVERTISER.

Sir,

— I perceive you mention the Christmas fare provided by the guardians of the different parochial unions in the metropolis. There is a slight mistake. On Friday, the last board day before Christmas, it will be seen the decrease should be 86, instead of 47, as stated by you, and the inmates were regaled with one pint of porter in addition to roast beef and plum pudding.

The children, 200 in number, are in a separate establishment at Mitcham, and were treated in like manner with the exception of porter, instead of which they were allowed fruit, &c.,and passed a very pleasant day. Only twelve months have elapsed since those children were removed from residence at Tooting. For the last nine months there has not been one child under the doctor’s care.

The Elms at Mitcham, where the children now are, is only a temporary residence, a large mansion with eight acres of ground, rented by the guardians of the Rev. M. Sibthorpe for a short period.

I beg to state that the guardians have determined not to allow the children of the parish to be placed in union with any other, but have passed a resolution to purchase freehold ground from 7 to 10 acres in the country, and build a permanent dwelling for them, and establish an industrial school, and keep them entirely under their own controul, and they consider that the only means of preventing a repetition of the dreadful consequences of last year, over-crowding in any establishment, and making themselves personally responsible for their future welfare.

Should you think any of this worthy of inserting in your paper, you will oblige Your obedient servant,

THOS. LIQUORISH,
A Guardian of the Parish.

Sergeant Thomas Oakley Burgess D.F.M.

Thomas Oakley Burgess was born in the last quarter of 1919, and in the 1939 Register his parents, Thomas Henry and Bertha Emily Burgess, lived at 73 Church Road, Mitcham.

As Leading Aircraftsman, Thomas Oakley Burgess, service number 551290, he served with 12 Squadron R.A.F., and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal in 1940.

BURGESS, Thomas Oakley. 551290 Leading Aircraftman, No. 12 Sqn. (Imediate)
L. G. 21/6/1940. Wireless Operator/Air Gunner. Air2/4097.

On 19th May 1940, L.A.C. Burgess was Wireless Operator/Air Gunner in Battle L.5536 of which
Pilot Officer J.J. McElligott was pilot and 580646 Sergeant B.C. Long was Observer. The aim on this mission was to bomb troops de-bussed in the area Mont Cormet – Neuf Chatel – Chateau Porcein – Ecly – Germaincourt – Fraillcourt. At 11.10 hours, the pilot had just dropped his bombs on the village of St. Fergeaux and was turning for home when the Battle was attacked by six Me.109’s about four miles South West of Ighel. They were engaged by the rear gunner and the Air Observer opened fire on three of them with the third gun as they passed underneath the Battle. The Me.109’s made further attacks and the rear gunner continued to engage them. By this time, the pilot had been severely wounded in the right shoulder and arm and the port tank was on fire, but he managed to bring the aircraft down about six miles South West of Juniville, an area occupied by the French. L.A.C. Burgess, who was admitted to hospital with shrapnel wounds, told Sergeant Long, the Air Observer, that he was sure he had shot down one Me.109. The crew were cared for by Lieutenant Cambourne of the 7th Demi Brigade, Cuirassee. Sergeant Long was interviewed late by a French Colonel at Neuf Lize who told him that it was certain that one Me.109 had been brought down and that he thought a second had crashed some distance away. This evidence has been confirmed through the French Mission. The pilot of the aircraft died of the wounds received in this action but the Air Observer was unhurt. It is considered that L.A.C.
Burgess showed a great courage in sticking to his gun, though probably already wounded, and
skill in disposing of one, and possibly two, of the enemy in the face of such superior odds.

2nd June, 1940.

Gloucester Citizen – Friday 21 June 1940

THREE AIRMEN OF TWENTY WIN D.F.M.

The exploits of three 20-years-old airmen who have been awarded the D.F.M. were described in an official announcement last night.

The men are Corporal James Anthony Drummond. of Salisbury; Leading Aircraftman Thomas Oakley Burgess, of Mitcham, Surrey; and Aircraftman 2nd Class Edward Joseph Evans, who was born at Ironside, Salop.

Corporal Drummond engaged a large formation Messerschmitt 109’s, shot down one and damaged others. Leading Aircraftman Burgess and Aircraftman Evans, both of whom are wireless operator-air gunners, also fought superior forces of Messerschmitts. Each brought down one and damaged others.

Burgess received shrapnel wounds. All three are described as having shown great courage and skill.

Squadron Leader Cyril Elton Kay, O.B.E., Royal New Zealand Air Force, has been awarded the D.F.C., was announced last night.

Squadron Leader Kay, in extremely difficult conditions and in face of heavy opposition, bombed and machine-gunned important targets in the forests south of Bourlers and Abileux in a night raid this month.

The announcement speaks of his daring, determination and outstanding ability.

As Sergeant he was a Wireless Operator and Air Gunner with 12 Squadron when he died on 7th July 1941, aged 21. His Wellington aircraft type II, number W5360, was shot down and crashed at Kervel-en-Guilers, France. All of the crew died.

Norwood News – Friday 26 September 1941

Mitcham D.F.M. Reported Killed

Sergt T. D. Burgess, R.A.F., Church-road, Mitcham, who was awarded the D.F.M. for bravery and who was decorated by the King in March, is now reported killed.

Note that his middle initial is given as ‘D’ instead of ‘O’.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record.

Flight Lieutenant Joseph Laurence Moore D.F.C.

Flight Lieutenant Joseph Lawrence Moore, service number 42071, served in 97 Squadron, R.A.F.

He died 25th June 1943, aged 22. He was piloting a Lancaster bomber (LM327-B) on a raid on Elberfeld, Wuppertal, Germany. His aircraft was shot down and all of the crew were killed.

From Norwood News – Friday 29 November 1940

Awarded the D.F.C.

Among the latest awards for bravery is that of Pilot-Officer Joseph Lawrence Moore of Mitcham, who has been granted the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Pilot-Officer Moore was born at Mitcham in 1921, and commissioned in the R.A.F. in May, 1939.

His parents now live at Ulverston, where he received his education at the local Grammar School.

In the London Gazette of 22nd November 1940, he is listed as being in 115 Squadron whgen he received his DFC award.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record, which says his parents were Thomas and Ella Oliver Moore, of Ulverston, Lancashire.

His parents were living at 10, High Street, Colliers Wood in 1921 according to the Electoral Register. At that time, Colliers Wood was part of the Mitcham Urban District.

See also the RAF Pathfinders website.

Bruce D.F. Searle

Norwood News – Friday 25 October 1940 :

BRUCE SEARLE

Bruce D. F. Searle, the 18-years-old son of Mr. W. G. F. Searle, Courtneyroad, Colliers Wood, a former member of Mitcham Borough Council, fell a victim to a raid. He was leaving a station after a Raiders Passed signal when a bomb fell, and the blast killed him outright as he was walking in the street.

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record shows a different spelling for his surname, SEARL, and his age differs as well.

Husband and wife killed in air raid in firm’s basement in London

From Norwood News – Friday 17 January 1941, page 2

HUSBAND AND WIFE KILLED IN RAID
Took Shelter at Premises Bombed in London

Mr. and Mrs F. J. Roberts, Spencer-road, Mitcham, have been the victims of enemy action.

They were in the habit of sheltering in the basement of Mr. Roberts’ business premises in London, and when these were bombed, both Mr. and Mrs. Roberts were killed. Mr. Roberts was well-known and respected in Mitcham.

He was secretary of the penny-a-week collection scheme on behalf of Wilson Hospital, succeeding Mr. Allen, the founder. In this capacity Mr. Roberts rendered good service, and his efforts were much appreciated.

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record for Francis James Roberts, aged 46, his wife Mary Roberts, aged 48, and their son David Iowerth Roberts, aged 15, states that their address was at 19, Spencer Road, and that they died on 11th January 1941 in the premises of Elder & Fyffes, Bow Street. This company imported bananas, and was renamed the Fyffes Group in 1969, according to Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History.

The 1939 register shows that Mr F.J. Roberts was a Printing Dept Supervisor at the firm.

1941 : Figges Marsh Keeper Albert Edward Ball

From Norwood News – Friday 17 January 1941, page 2

Obituary
FIGGES MARSH KEEPER

Mr. A. E. Ball’s Death After Air Raid

MITCHAM Council employees were represented at the funeral, on Thursday, of Mr. Albert Edward Ball, who had been keeper at Figges Marsh recreation ground for many years. He died at Rectory-lane, Tooting, following an air raid, after making a good recovery from a long illness. He had previously been bombed out of Pitcairn-road, Mitcham.

Sixty years of age, he had been employed by Mitcham Council for nearly 20 years, and was a popular figure on Figges Marsh.

It was his great delight during his illness to receive letters from children who frequented the recreation ground before they were evacuated.

The loss of his only son four years ago told greatly on his health. He leaves a widow and two daughters.

His last wish was that his thanks should be conveyed to Dr. Lahiff for his kindness, and to his colleagues for their sympathy during his illness.

The funeral took place at Old Mitcham Cemetery, the arrangements being carried out by Mr. Albert Stringer, Mitcham.