Category Archives: Wars

Carshalton Road

Road that is the start of the A237 and runs south from the junction with Commonside West, Cedars Avenue and Croydon Road, heading towards Carshalton.

On the west side there is a junction with Cranmer Road and Willow Lane, and on the right just after this is the entrance road to Mitcham Junction railway station and the Mitcham Golf Club. The road goes over the railway and tram lines on a bridge that was rebuilt and widened in the mid 1950s. On the west side of the road and part of the southern slope of the bridge is an access road leading to Aspen Gardens. Further south from here, and set back from the western side of the road is a line of houses that were originally called Rumbold Villas and Tramway Terrace. They are separated by two roads Drake Road and Arney’s Lane. At Beddington Corner is the Goat pub on the corner with Goat Road.

After Beddington Corner, the road is now called London Road and the A237 continues to the A23 at Coulsdon.

Carshalton Road at junction with Croydon Road. The house was one of the Blue Houses. From a Percy Mayhew postcard, from Merton Memories, photo reference Mit_19_1-19

The guide post (marked G.P.) that is on the south side of the tram line in this 1910 OS map is the one seen in the photo.

1910 OS map

The junction with Croydon Road was changed to a roundabout in 1955.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 24th February 1955

ROUNDABOUT

Work is to start soon on making a traffic roundabout at the busy junction of Croydon Road with Carshalton Road, on Mitcham Common.

The Transport Minister has approved a grant of up to £4,427 towards the cost of the roundabout. Coun. D.J. Hempstead, Highways Committee chairman, said last week that it was hoped that work would be speedily undertaken.

The bridge over the railway line was widened at the same time, the work having been started in 1939 but was interrupted by the war.

On the east side of Carshalton Road, south of the railway station, was a WW2 anti-aircraft gun site. It was cleared in the early 1960s.

1955 OS map showing the Gun Site.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 13th July 1962:

At last – Gunsite is to go

One of Mitcham’s biggest eyesores, the Gun Site, Carshalton Road, Mitcham Common, is at last to be cleared at a cost of about £13,000.

Work on clearing the site is expected to start in about two months time.

The Ministry have approved a tender of £10,800 submitted to them from the Conservators and have further agreed to bear the cost of replacing trees on the site.

WELCOMED

A further cost of £2,000 fees will be included in the work.

This news is welcomed not only by the Conservators but by Mitcham Council and the public.

The Gun Site is one of the few remaining war relics in Mitcham and local people have been pressing for years to clear it.

The conservators hope to replace it with a grass landscape with trees.


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

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.

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