Category Archives: Wars

Private Lawrence Douglas Hawkins

Born 24th March 1924.

He was a messenger for the 57th Surrey (Mitcham) Home Guards, then at 18 he joined up and became a machine gunner in the 7th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, service number 14415852.

Reported as missing believed to be a Prisoner of War on 1st June 1944, during the Allied Invasion of Italy.

He was a Prisoner Of War at Stalag VIIIB, later renumbered Stalag 344, Lamsdorf. For more details on this camp, see the website www.lamsdorf.com. He was part of “The Long March” – the movement of POWs westward as Soviet forces approached. He marched for four months from Poland through Southern Germany, around a thousand miles through the coldest continental winter of the 20th century in the clothes they were standing in.

His story is told in an Amazon Kindle e-Book Lambeth to Lamsdorf : Doug Hawkins’ War

Robin Green, the book’s author, wrote that Doug Hawkins spent his early life in Lambeth and Mitcham. Doug’s son said in a review of the book:

Doug was my dad.

He never really spoke of his war experiences until my mum died in 2001.

He played bowls with the author and one day when my dad was recalling some of his war time memories and especially the Long March.

Robin offered to write it down. Over many weeks they met at Dad’s home and I know Robin’s research was extensive, including talking to Dad’s regiment who were able to corroborate where necessary.

Robin finished his work before Dad’s memories were lost due to dementia.

In the 1960s, Lawrence D. Hawkins lived with his wife Mavis at 193 Morden Road, Mitcham.

He died in 2016 in Basingstoke.

Bertram J. Cullum, Mitcham Home Guard

Born in 1904.

Bertream Cullum, in the 57th Battalion, Mitcham Home Guard. Photo taken 1944, this clip is from Merton Memrories, photo reference Mit_War_6.1

He was the brother of Lance Sergeant Victor John Cullum.

His youngest brother Sgt. Douglas Cyril Cullum, who lived in Waddon, was shot down & killed over Germany 12th December 1944, aged 19.

Photo by courtesy of Margaret Purnell

See Air Crew Remembered and the Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record.

Lionel Maurice Tylee

Born on 1st October 1925.

Enlisted 1st June 1944 with the Queen’s Royal West Surrey, service number 14775009.


Source: Surrey History Centre; Woking, Surrey, England; Surrey Regimental Rolls; Reference Number: 7791/1/2/15

He transferred to the Buffs on 20th September 1945, service number 8899.

He married Lilian E. Stiles in the first quarter of 1951.

In the 1960s, they lived in Paxton Court, Armfield Crescent, Mitcham.

He died in 2002, aged 77.

Corporal Dennis Ernest Browne

Born in 1925, in Greenwich.

His father William John Browne, had served with the RAF during World War 1. (From the Royal Air Force Muster Roll 1918, his service number was 107218)

In the 1939 Register he lived with his parents William John Browne, born 13th January 1883, a printer, lived at 81 Gorringe Park Avenue, with his wife Caroline Alice, born 4th February 1888, and his brother William J.T., born 13th December 1915, a commercial traveller.

He served with the 1/6th Battalion, The Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey), service number 14654147.

He died on 8th August 1944, aged 19.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th October 1944, page 1:

How Cpl. Dennis Browne
Met His Death

Was promoted on field

News of the gallant deed that resulted in the death of Corpl. Dennis Browne, youngest son of Mr and Mrs WJ Browne, Gorringe Park Avenue, Mitcham, whose death in action in Normandy was reported in the “Mercury” in August, comes this week from his company officer.

On August 8th April Browne’s company was ordered to attack an objective. The enemy withheld his fire until the Britishers were 15 yards away and then opened out with machine-gun fire.

“I saw Corpl. Browne run forward alone in an attempt to take the position single-handed. He fell two yards from the position,” writes his officer.

His officer, who recovered Corpl. Browne’s body, add “I trust that the manner of his passing will consolation be of some consideration to his parents, as one and all, from C.O. downwards paid tribute to a very gallant deed.”

Was promoted two days before

This incident occurred two days after Corpl. Browne had been promoted in the field. He had always been keen on soldiering. At 15 he joined the King’s Rifle Cadets, 16 he became a Home Guard and joined the Army before he was 18.

In civil life he was in the wire room of the “Daily Express.”

He was educated at Gorringe Park School, and was a member of Mitcham Boy Scouts.

He is commemorated at Bayeux Memorial, Calvados, France.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record

Serjeant Cyril Lewis Bain

Cyril Bain (on left) with his friend Ernie Simpson (on the right). This photo taken in back garden of Ernie’s mother’s house in Church Road, and was provided by Ernie’s son.

Born in Glamorgan, Wales, on 8th February 1914.

In the 1939 Register he is shown as single, working as a varnish packer, and living in Lansdell Road, Mitcham. As his friend Ernie Simpson (in the photo above) worked at Hadfields paint factory in Western Road all his life, it is likely that Cyril worked there too.

He enlisted on the 20th June 1940, and it is likely he married just before that as his marriage to Emily Martin was registered in the July-September quarter in Wandsworth.

He served with the 1/5th Battalion, The Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey), his service number was 6097793.

from the Surrey History Centre; Woking, Surrey, England; Surrey Regimental Rolls; Reference Number: 7791/1/1/29

He died, aged 28, on 25th October, 1942, during the Battle of El Alamein. He is commemorated at the Alamein Memorial in Egypt.

In his will, he was listed as living at 23 Dahomey Road, Streatham, London SW16. He left £262 16s. 7d. to Alexander McDonald Bain, a police constable.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record.

Son of James and Susan Bain; husband of Emily Clara Bain, of Streatham, London.

Leonard Sydney Budd

Leonard Sydney Budd was born at Inglemere Road, Mitcham, on 16th October 1905, and baptised at age 7 on 13th July 1913 at St Alban, Streatham Park.

He married Ivy E. Bolton in Wandsworth in 1931.

In the 1939 Register he was living with his wife Ivy, at 43 Warren Road, Mitcham. He was a bus conductor. She was born on 23rd June 1909.

He served with the RAF, service number 1429872.

His grandson said:

My grandad, Len Budd, also served in the RAF in WWII in Italy. Born 16 October 1905 at Inglemere Road, Mitcham
I think he was posted to Seattle, then Staffordshire before Italy

Leading Aircraftsman Gregory James Ash

He was born 16th November 1904 and baptised on 15th January 1905 at St Crispin’s, Bermondsey. His parents were James Richard and Ellen Ash.

At 22, he married Elizabeth Harriett Burnett, 22, on the 23rd July 1927 at Christ Church, Bermondsey, Southwark. His father was a compositor.

It is likely that they then moved to Mitcham, as his name is shown on the electoral register in 1928 at 199 Manor Road, not far from its junction with Rowan Road and Wide Way.

In the 1939 Register, Gregory James Ash, born 16th November 1904, was a printing clerk, and lived at 199 Manor Road, Mitcham, with his wife Elizabeth Harriet Ash, housewife, born 28th December 1904, and their daughter Margaret, born 19th March 1931.

He served in the Base Signals Repair Unit of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, service number 1249162.

On 7th November 1944, he was onboard the ship HM Landing Ship Tank (LST) 420, with around 230 RAF personnel, when it was sunk by a mine outside Ostend, Belgium.

From the ww2Talk forum:

LST-420 left Dover on 7 November with a party of airmen, trucks and supplies for RAF personnel in Belgium. It was unable to enter the port of Ostend because of a severe storm and the captain decided to return to England. The ship was still within sight of Ostend when it hit a mine, split in two, and sank. Fourteen officers and 224 other ranks were lost. Only 31 were saved. It was the greatest loss of lives on a British landing craft during the war. Many of the casualties were buried at Ostend and at Blankenberge cemeteries in Belgium. Above the wreck today is a marker buoy “LST 420.”

He is buried in the Blankenberge Town Cemetery, West Flanders, Belgium. A photo of his grave can be seen on the Find A Grave website.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record.