Category Archives: Wars

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

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.