Category Archives: WW1

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

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.

Gunner Robert Reader

Robert Reader enlisted in at Scotton Camp near Catterick in Yorkshire (now called the Catterick Garrison).

He was a gunner with the Territorial Force Battalion, 372nd Battery, Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery Regiment, service number 636288.

He died on 21st January 1918 in Mesopotamia, and is buried at the Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, plot I row A grave 6, in Iraq.

His name is on the north side of the Mitcham War Memorial on Lower Green West.

Source:
Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record

His age isn’t shown on his grave details, but a Robert Reader, aged 29, was married to Amy Stacey, aged 30, on 17th November 1912, at the parish church in Church Road. His address at that time was number 4 Lewis Road, and hers was at number 2.

Assuming this is the same Robert Reader, then he died at the age of 35.

Tyrell’s Poultry Farm

A poultry farm that was in Gorringe Park.

According to Eric Montague, writing about St Barnabas church in his Mitcham Histories : 2 North Mitcham, page, 109:

During preparation of the site for the new church what remained of Gorringe Park stables, then known as Tyrell’s Farm, was demolished.

He also said that a clock, removed from one of the old farm buildings, was installed in the church tower through the generosity of Joseph Wilson and his wife, who were living at Gorringe Park House at the same time as the church was built.

The 1904 street directory describes Gorringe Park Avenue as walked from the London Road:

…. here is Bruce Road
Charles FROST (Gorringe Park Lodge)

Christ Church Church Room

Christleib T. LIPSHYTZ (Gorringe Park House)

The Surrey & Sussex Poultry Farm Limited

Arnold & Arnold, veterinary surgeons (Gorringe Park)

The spelling of the surname differs in the 1910 electoral register, which shows William TYRRELL at Poultry farm, Gorringe park. Henry TYRELL is shown at 5 Thirsk Road.

The 1911 street directory, also described from west to east, now shows William Tyrell poultry farm:

…. here is Bruce Road
St Barnabas District Mission Church

St Barnabas’ Men’s Club (W.G. WOODWARD, hon. sec.)

Reverend Christleib T. LIPSHYTZ (Gorringe Park House)

William TYRELL poultry farm

Arnald & Arnald, veterinary surgeons (Gorringe Park)

This can be compared to the 1911 OS map:

1911 OS map

The assumption then is that field numbers 574 and/or 575 were the locations of the poultry farm, with 571 being the vets.

The path that is shown between Gorringe Park House and the poultry farm is followed today by the course of Edenvale Road, as shown on the georeferenced OS map on the NLS website:


During World War 1, three members of the Tyrell family were called up and went to the Military Service Tribunal to ask for exemption. Reports of the tribunals in local newspapers have been summarised by the Merton Historical Society

3rd March 1916

“My business, run under agreement, cannot be run without my supervision,” wrote Mr. Albert Tyrell, aged 31 years, keeping a poultry farm at Mitcham, and who is a pig breeder and butcher at Streatham.
Claim for exemption was disallowed.

Leonard Tyrell, 28, a poultry farm keeper and pig breeder, whose mother is dependent on him, claimed total exemption but was only given a month.

8th September 1916

John William Tyrell, 23, a pig and poultry dealer, was quite unable to get anyone to carry on his business if he went. This was his fourth Tribunal appearance. His father, aged 58, suffered from a strained heart, and had been medically certified as unfit for heavy manual labour. The Chairman thought there was no reason why he should not turn to and do what he could; we were all now doing things that once we had given up doing. One more month, to be final.


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

1914 : Helmet maker gets into trouble

From the Mitcham & Tooting Mercury, 21st August 1914

A helmet maker named William Tilley (42), of Sibthorpe-road, Mitcham, celebrated his sudden increase in business by getting drunk on Saturday. He was fined 5s. and 4s. costs by the Croydon Magistrates for being drunk and disorderly on the London-road, Mitcham. He said he worked for contractors who supplied the Government and the Metropolitan Police, and he wished he could be onboard ship with his son, “doing what they were doing for the war.”

There is a Charles T. TILLEY on a war memorial in St Mark’s church, Mitcham, and ‘C T TILLEY’ is inscribed on the Mitcham War Memorial, but no further details are known.

The 1910 electoral register has the following Tilleys:

George TILLEY : 2 Yew Villas, Leonard road, Lonesome
John TILLEY : 6 Victoria Terrace, Lansdell Road
Stephen TILLEY : Firework Road, Eastfields
William TILLEY : 11 Prussia Place

Walter Mays Ltd.

The Abbey Cork Mills of Walter Mays Ltd was built on the site of William De Morgan’s pottery, Colliers Wood, in around 1890.

1950 OS map

Walter Carden-Mays born December 1865 in Camberwell. He married in 1888 and died on 21st January 1941 in Surrey. The ‘Carden’ part of the family name was dropped at some point, and his company was known as Walter Mays Ltd.

Listed in the 1925 street directory as Walter Mays Ltd. (Abbey Cork Works), 150 & 152 Byegrove Road.

1924 aerial photo. The site for Colliers wood underground station can be seen bottom right. The cork factory is on the left of the High Street.

1934 OS map rotated to show same view as aerial photo above


Ad from Flight Magazine of 1938 :

and directory listing from same:

WALTER MAYS, LTD., Abbey Cork Mills, London, S.W.19 (Liberty 3764).—” Everything in cork “; carburettor and oil indicator floats, gauge glass washers, gland packings, strut sealing corks, anti-vibration mats, composition cork jointing to D.T.D.219A, laminated and plain.

In an entry on Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History from 1939 about suppliers to the aircraft industry, cork joints to specification DTD 219A were widely used for petrol tank gaskets and packings.


The Stone Cottage of the Surrey Iron Railway stood on the Walter Mays Ltd site for over 150 years.


Mitcham Military Service Tribunals

As reported by the Mitcham and Tooting Mercury, 16th June 1916, an employer of a cork business in Colliers Wood, appealed for his son. Although not named, it is likely that the company was Walter Mays Ltd.

Exemption was asked for a skilled mechanic, by the owner of a cork manufacturing business in Colliers Wood. The employer said the man was very valuable in his present employment and he will be practically impossible to replace. A large proportion of their manufacturers were for government uses. He employed about 17 men of whom are only three were eligible. He pleaded that his son was capable of doing almost anything in the business and his departure might cause the closing down of the business.

Three months exemption.

In the Mitcham and Tooting Mercury, 2nd November 1917, the company and employee are named in an appeal.

Mr Walter Mays, cork manufacturer, of the Abbey Cork Works, High Street, Colliers Wood, asked for a exemption for Mr T.W.S. Cavey, age 41, B1, motor driver and mechanic, residing at Birdhurst Road, Colliers Wood.

Applicant: An exemption for so long as the man remained in his employment. He was engaged in delivering all Mr Mays’s important Government contract work. The average mileage was 250 miles a week.

Counc. Baker : I suppose it is all Government work that Mr Mays does?

Applicant: Oh, yes, it is most important.

The appeal was disallowed.

In the 1919 electoral register a Thomas William Sherrin CAVEY was living with his wife Florence Louisa in 28 Birdhurst Road. He died in 1950 as stated on the Find-A-Grave website, which also says he was a Music Hall performer known as Stirling Fred.


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

Edward Pullen gets MBE in 1961 but missed DCM in 1916

Local man in the Honours’ List

A MITCHAM First World War hero was made an M.B.E. in the New Year Honours. He is 64-year-old Mr. Edward Charles Pullen, Framfield Road, who will be given the award by the Queen.

He gets it for public service in the Inland Revenue Department — he is a staff officer at Somerset House.

His meeting with the Queen will make up for a disappointment he had in 1916 when he should have received the D.C.M. from King George the Fifth. When the investiture date arrived Mr. Pullen had influenza.

Mr. Pullen said this week: “This rather goes to make up for it”

WOUNDED

He earned the D.C.M. during the Battle of the Somme while serving with the Northamptonshire Regiment. His company was trying to win a German strongpoint at Thiepval.

All the officers were wounded or killed and Mr. Pullen, then a sergeant, took charge. Although himself seriously wounded, he led his men to capture the outpost and held it until they were relieved next day.

Between 1919 and 1929 he played for the Wanderers, forerunners of Tooting and Mitcham United.

Mr. Pullen retires in April when he reaches 65.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th January, 1961

His MBE award was published in the London Gazette on 27 December 1960 in supplement 42231, page 8906.

His DCM award was reported in the London Gazette of 24 November 1916 in supplement 29837, page 11559.

13537 E. C. Pullen, North’n R.

For conspicuous gallantry in action.

He assumed command of and led his company with great courage and initiative, capturing an enemy strong point. He was severely wounded.