Category Archives: WW1

Anti-German Riots after sinking of the Lusitania

Anti-German riots broke out on the evening of Wednesday 12th May, 1915, in Tooting and the next day in Mitcham, in response to the sinking of the ship Lusitania.

ANTI-GERMAN RIOTS

Bakers’ Windows Broken

Several Arrests

The scenes of violence which have marked the public feeling against enemy aliens which has been aroused as a result of the Lusitania crime broke out in the neighbourhood on Wednesday evening. At Tooting Broadway a crowd commenced to assemble about 8 o’clock, but for some time it reached very large dimensions. Towards nine o’clock the gathering became more dense, and it was obvious that the baker’s shop owned by Mr P. Jung was in danger of assault. The police, who were reinforced, did their utmost to keep the crowd on the move, and prevented any congregating immediately outside the shop. Meanwhile Mr Jung closed his business as a precautionary measure, but this move was only greeted with jeers. Shortly before ten o’clock a loud crash of glass told that at least one missile had found the mark, a success which was boisterously cheered. The police continued to force the crowd to the opposite side of the road, but the passing of the trams enabled the mob to make some advances, which, however, were fortunately checked.

Every now and again more glass was smashed, and eventually there was very little left of the huge plate-glass windows which have helped to make Mr Jung’s shop such an attractive place of business. When the police did actually see a person throwing he was promptly arrested. Some ugly rushes were the result, and it is a matter for congratulation that no very serious conflicts occurred between the police and the public.

While the guardians of the law were straining every endeavour to cope with the crowd at the Broadway, now numbering some 2,000, a few persons commenced paying attention to the Hygienic Bakery, owned by a German, and situated further down the High-street, opposite the “Mercury” Offices. The roller shutters were lowered, but some spirits more determined than the rest wrenched them away from their fastenings, and with considerable noise they fell to the ground. Without loss of time a brick was hurled at the window with an accuracy of aim somewhat remarkable for a member of the fair sex, who made the claim of having drawn first blood. Other bricks and stones followed in quick succession with more or less precision, and one windows had hardly a particle of glass left in.

THE “SPECIALS” ARRIVE

At about 11 o’clock a strong contingent of special constables appeared on the scene, and were accorded a very mixed reception. The Tooting section was strengthened by a force from Mitcham, numbering about 70, under Inspector G.J. Poston. They were divided into sections, and did most useful work in helping the regular police to disperse the crowds.

Other shops were attacked in Garratt-lane, and all suffered in a like manner and to a similar extent. Police remained on guard all night and the next day, and as soons as carpenters could be procured the premises were boarded up, and in some cases the German traders packed up their goods and chattels and cleared off with all possible despatch.

ANTI-GERMAN DEMONSTRATIONS AT MITCHAM

Early last evening a crowd, which gradually swelled until about 8 o’clock, when it numbered several hundred persons, assembled at the Fair Green for the purpose of expressing indignation at the recent murders on the high seas.

Proceeding in the direction of the Parade, the crowd halted in front of the jeweller’s shop tenanted by Mr J. B. Rompel, a naturalised German.

Their attitude was distinctly menacing, and but for the prescence of a large force of Special Constabulary they would, no doubt, have vented their feelings in no unmistakeable manner. After some jeering and hooting the police dispersed the crowd.

With the exception of one man, whose head was cut with a stone, no damage or injury took place.

Source: Mitcham and Tooting Mercury, Friday, 14th May, 1915, page 4.

A photo of special constable recruited during the First World War is on Merton Memories.

John Baptiste Rompel

From the Mitcham & Tooting Mercury, 11th September, 1914

From the Mitcham & Tooting Mercury, 11th September, 1914

Text of ad:

J.B. ROMPEL, watchmaker, jeweller, and optician,
3, Central Market, London Rd., Mitcham
(opposite old address)
AN ENTIRELY NEW & UP-TO-DATE STOCK now showing.

JOIN OUR CLUB. Full particulars in application.

The Central Market was opposite the Parade, between Raleigh Gardens and Tom Francis’s shop London House.

He was listed in the 1915 commercial directory as a watch maker in the ‘high street’, London Road. The full name was given in the 1911 commercial directory. He is listed in the 1925 street directory as watchmaker at 3 Central Market. In electoral register of autumn 1926, this address was changed to 278 London Road, when that road was renumbered. His last entry at this address was in the 1934 electoral register. See also his ad in 1929 Where to shop in Mitcham.

From Ancestry:

He was born in Hessen Nassau, Prussia (Germany) on 13th September 1872, as Johannes Baptiste Rompel. His parents were Johann and Barbara Rompel. He was naturalised as a UK citizen in 1911.

He married Nellie Louise Court on 8th March, 1903, at the parish church. His wife was born in Oxford, and she lived at 12 High Street. Her father was William Court, confectioner. His father, deceased, Johann Carl Rompel, was a veterinary surgeon. John Rompel was living at 42 Kings Road, Mitcham, when he married.

John Rompel died on 26th December, 1935, aged 63, at Kingston hospital. His home address was 4 Melrose Avenue. He left £1,563 1s 9d. to his wife. Adjusted for inflation, this is equivalent to £100,000 in 2018.

His wife died on 19th March 1954, aged 74. She left £1,813 in her will, which is around £50,000 in 2018 values. Her probate record shows she was living at 4 Melrose Avenue, Mitcham, and died at Grange Nursing Home, Morden. She left her money to Cecil Howard Mason, departmental head.


In 1915, his shop was approached by an angry crowd protesting at the sinking of the Lusitania.

ANTI-GERMAN DEMONSTRATIONS AT MITCHAM

Early last evening a crowd, which gradually swelled until about 8 o’clock, when it
numbered several hundred persons, assembled at the Fair Green for the purpose of
expressing indignation at the recent murders on the high seas.

Proceeding in the direction of the Parade, the crowd halted in front of the jeweller’s
shop tenanted by Mr. J. B. Rompel, a naturalised German.

Their attitude was distinctly menacing, and but for the presence of a large force of
Special Constabulary they would, no doubt, have vented their feelings in no unmistakable manner. After some jeering and hooting the police dispersed the crowd.

With the exception of one man, whose head was cut with a stone, no damage or
injury took place.

Source: Mitcham & Tooting Mercury, 14th May, 1915.

Rose Nursery

Weatherboarded cottage in Tramway Path.

There are two photos of this cottage on the City of London ‘Collage’ collection, both with the year of 1977, so perhaps it was demolished after that.

Image courtesy of Collage - The London Picture Library - http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

1977 Image courtesy of Collage – The London Picture Library – http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

Image courtesy of Collage - The London Picture Library - http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

1977 Image courtesy of Collage – The London Picture Library – http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

From the 1911 commercial directory:

Arthur George & Ephraim SIMMONS, florists, Tramway path, Lower Mitcham

The 1915 street directory names the cottage:

Tramway Path, from London Road, Lower Mitcham

George THOMPSON, florist (Station Nursery)
Ephraim SIMMONS, florist (Rose Nursery)

The cottage is shown on this 1953 OS map:

1953 OS map

1953 OS map

An area in the south ward called Simmons’ Land was recorded in UDC minutes of 1917 as being of 13 acres. This land was used for allotments during the war. From the minutes of the Mitcham Urban District council, volume III, 1917 to 1918, 19th June, 1917, page 52.

Agnes Clarrissa Simmons, the daughter of Arthur George Simmons, married Private Percy John Hale in February 1916. She lived with her parents in Elmwood Road.


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


Minutes of meetings held by the Mitcham Urban District Council are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.

Harold Francis Bidder D.S.O.

Lt. Col. Harold Francis Bidder, D.S.O. (1917), M.A., F.S.A.

Second son of George P. Bidder, Q.C., of Ravensbury Park, Mitcham.
Born 1875; educated St. Paul’s and Trinity College Cambridge.
Married in 1918 to Vivian, eldest daughter of late H. M. Rush, of
Edinburgh; 2 sons, 1 daughter.

Barrister at Lincoln’s Inn 1899.

Joined 9th Battalion, Royal Sussex regiment in 1899, and served in South African War 1899-1902 and in Great War 1914-19 in France.
Lt. Col. Machine Gun corps 1917

Associate member of Chartered Surveyors’ Institute,
J.P. (1926) Surrey.

1 Brick court, Temple, E.C.4 (Central 1687) ;
The Malt House, Nettlebed, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon (Nettlebed 260).

Source: Kelly’s Handbook to the Titled, Landed & Official Classes, 1952 from Find My Past (subscription required)

According to Eric Montague in his book Mitcham Histories : 10 Ravensbury, pages 42-3, among his interests was archaeology, and he started the excavation of the Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Ravensbury in 1891. He continued with this after WW1 and finished it in 1922.

He became the first president of the Merton and Morden Historical Society when it was formed in 1951, a position he held for 20 years until his death at the age of 92.

WW1 Recruits from Church Road

From the Surrey Recruitment Registers:

Arn AITKEN of 77 Church Road, aged 25 Years, Baker. Volunteered on 7 February 1915 to the Army Service Corps.

A E ALLAN of 333 Church Road, Merton, aged 18 Years 6 Months, Beltmaker. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 1 March 1916 to the Machine Gun Corps (training Centre).

A H ANGLISS of 128 Church Road, aged 18 Years, Munition Worker. Joined on 29 January 1916 to the East Surrey Regiment.

M BATEMAN of 233 Church Road, aged 30 Years, Fireworks Maker. Volunteered on 26 November 1915 to the East Surrey Regiment (10th Batn).

C BATT of 361 Church Road, aged 31 Years 4 Months, Labourer. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 10 December 1915 to the Dep Lab Comp.

A G BEARD of 4 Abbey Terrace, Church Road, aged 22 Years 6 Months, Foreman. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 28 February 1916 to the East Surrey Regiment (4th Batn).

T BEVAN of 18 Church Road, aged 40 Years 3 Months, Gardener. Conscripted on 11 December 1915 to the 301st Labour Coy (5th Batn).

O L BIRCH of 36 Church Road, aged 25 Years 5 Months, Slaughterer. Conscripted on 28 February 1916 to the Royal Horse & Field Artillery.

D J BISHOP of 229 Church Road, aged 24 Years 11 Months, Printer. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 11 December 1915 to the Royal Engineers.

E H BLAKE of 114 Church Road, aged 28 Years, Packer. Conscripted on 18 July 1917 to the Royal West Surrey Regiment (3rd Batn).

Vic BROADBRIDGE of 82 Church Street, aged 19 Years, Labourer. Volunteered on 12 February 1915 to the Royal Engineers (sapper).

F J BULGAR of 223 Church Road, aged 20 Years 10 Months, Fitters Mate. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 21 February 1916 to the Royal Engineers.

T BURGESS of 73 Church Road, aged 34 Years 8 Months, Painter. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 12 December 1915 to the Royal Engineers.

G W CARR of 7 Horathon* Cottages, Church Road, aged 39 Years 7 Months, Brick Maker. Volunteered on 6 February 1915 to the Military Mounted Police Corps. * could be Hawthorn?

G S CARTER of 62 Church Street, aged 20 Years 1 Months, Apprentice. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 31 January 1916 to the East Surrey Regiment (3rd Batn).

H W CARTER of 62 Church Road, aged 25 Years, Paper Ruler. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 27 January 1916 to the East Surrey Regiment (10th Batn).

T S CARTER of 62 Church Road, aged 22 Years 11 Months, Clerk. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 14 January 1916 to the Huntingdonshire Cyclists (2/1st Batn).

E C CRESSWELL of 1 Benedict Cottages, Church Road, aged 26 Years, Labourer. Conscripted on 26 July 1917 to the Middlesex Regiment (5th Batn).

H W ELLINGHAM of 124 Church Road, aged 30 Years 5 Months, Labourer. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 9 December 1915 to the East Surrey Regiment (11th Batn).

F A FOX of 118 Church Road, aged 33 Years, Collector. Conscripted on 11 December 1916 to the Royal Field Artillery (no 7 Res Bdge).

A S FROST of 174 Church Road, aged 37 Years 9 Months, Dairy Man. Conscripted on 1 June 1917 to the Royal Engineers (training Depot).

John FRY of 223 Church Road, aged 24 Years 4 Months, Groom. Volunteered on 9 February 1915 to the Army Service Corps.

G H GARNER of 227 Church Road, aged 25 Years 9 Months, Gardener. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 11 December 1915 to the Royal West Surrey Regiment (3rd Batn).

W B GILBERT of 177 Church Road, aged 23 Years 7 Months, Varnisher. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 9 December 1915 to the Royal Fusiliers (16th Batn).

T. HAWKINS of 215 Church Road, Merton, aged 29 Years 11 Months, Locomotive Driver. Volunteered on 16 January 1915 to the Army Service Corps.

H HILLIARD of 201 Church Road, aged 19 Years, Labourer. Volunteered on 20 September 1915 to the Royal Garrison Artillery.

A T HOARE of 67 Church Road, aged 28 Years 11 Months, Drayman. Conscripted on 14 February 1917 to the Army Service Corps (ht).

W HOPE of 14 Lime Villa, Church Road, aged 18 Years 5 Months, Gardener. Conscripted on 19 March 1917 to the 25th Training Reserve Batn.

G HUNT of 101 Church Road, aged 23 Years, Spreader. Conscripted on 13 March 1917 to the Royal Horse & Field Artillery (no 4).

Arth Willm JESSOP of 53 Church Road, aged 24 Years, Painter. Volunteered on 12 January 1915 to the East Surrey Regiment.

W KILLICK of 103 Church Road, aged 36 Years, Carman. Conscripted on 18 June 1917 to the Army Vetinary Corps.

G KING of 19 Church Road, aged 18 Years, Clerk. Conscripted on 30 September 1916 to the 22nd Training Reserve Batn.

W LANGRIDGE of 110 Church Road, aged 23 Years, Belt Maker. Conscripted on 11 December 1915 to the Middlesex Regiment (5th Batn).

G LAWFORD of The Bull Church Road Mitcham, aged 35 Years 11 Months, Publican. Conscripted on 1 March 1917 to the Royal West Surrey Regiment (labour Coy).

G R MARSH of 146 Church Road, aged 19 Years 6 Months, Stableman. Volunteered on 1 June 1915 to the Army Veterinary Corps.

H T MARSH of 146 Church Road, aged 32 Years 1 Months, Distiller. Conscripted on 28 February 1916 to the Royal Fusiliers (6th Batn).

T W MARSH of 146 Church Road, aged 18 Years 1 Months, Servant. Conscripted on 30 May 1916 to the 103rd Training Reserve Batn.

G MCMULLEN of 11 Church Street, aged 18 Years 1 Months, Fitters Mate. Conscripted on 15 February 1917 to the 29th Training Reserve Batn.

E E MOUNT of 116 Church Road, aged 18 Years, Colour Mixer. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 21 February 1916 to the East Surrey Regiment (11th Batn).

J H L MOUNT of 132 Church Road, aged 27 Years 1 Months, Fitter. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 11 December 1915 to the Army Ordinance Corps.

A F MUGGERIDGE of Benedict Terrace, Church Road, aged 25 Years, Balata Worker. Conscripted on 9 December 1915 to the East Kent Regiment (3rd Batn).

C O’DOHERTY of 60 Church Road, aged 33 Years, Metal-worker. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 11 December 1915 to the East Surrey Regiment (10th Batn).

A O PARSONS of 235 Church Road, aged 30 Years 9 Months, Shoe Repairer. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 11 December 1915 to the East Surrey Regiment (3/5th Batn).

F A PARSONS of 217 Church Road, aged 22 Years 10 Months, Belt Maker. Conscripted on 8 April 1916 to the Norfolk Regiment (3rd Batn).

A T PENEGAR of 223 Church Road, aged 18 Years, Munitions. Conscripted on 1 August 1916 to the 22nd Training Reserve Batn.

R S PHILLIPS of 137 Church Road, aged 31 Years 9 Months, Bricklayer. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 6 December 1915 to the Royal Engineers.

A PUTLAND of 221 Church Road, aged 28 Years, Warehouseman. Conscripted on 2 March 1917 to the Middlesex Regiment (29th Batn).

A E QUIN of 247 Church Road, aged 33 Years 6 Months, Packer. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 4 December 1915 to the East Surrey Regiment (3rd Batn).

G ROBINS of 55 Church Road, aged 31 Years 8 Months, Barman. Conscripted on 12 December 1915 to the 301st Labour Coy (5th Batn).

H SANDWICK of 168 Church Road, aged 26 Years, Carpenter. Conscripted on 10 February 1916 to the Royal Engineers.

E SAVAGE of 30 Box Tree Cottages, Church Road, aged 35 Years 4 Months, Carman. Conscripted on 10 December 1916 to the Royal West Surrey Regiment (Labour Coy).

W R SEARS of 376 Church Rd Merton, aged 25 Years 3 Months, Iron Worker. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 16 February 1916 to the Durham Light Infantry (5th Batn).

A F SIMPSON of 79 Church Road Mitcham, aged 29 Years 6 Months, Fitter. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 11 December 1915 to the Army Ordinance Corps.

J T SIMPSON of 130 Church Road Mitcham, aged 29 Years 11 Months, Fitter. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 11 December 1915 to the Army Ordinance Corps.

C STACEY of 255 Church Road, aged 39 Years 11 Months, Carman. Conscripted on 11 December 1915 to the Royal Sussex Regiment (4th Batn).

James Bruce STEVENS of 209 Church Road, aged 18 Years, Firework Maker. Volunteered on 19 February 1920 to the East Surrey Regiment.

V G STOKES of 40 Church Street, Mitcham, aged 19 Years 1 Months, Labourer. Volunteered on 15 June 1915 to the East Surrey Regiment.

W STROUD of 33 Church Road, aged 33 Years, Carman. Conscripted on 7 November 1916 to the No 1 Reserve Horse Transport.

H STRUDWICK of 168 Church Road, aged 26 Years, Carpenter. Conscripted on 10 February 1916 to the East Kent Regiment (3rd Batn).

A E TAPPING of 6 Handene Cottage, Church Road, aged 37 Years 6 Months, Bricklayer. Volunteered on 9 January 1915 to the East Surrey Regiment.

W W TEDDER of 127 Church Road, aged 39 Years, Grave Digger. Conscripted on 11 December 1916 to the Royal Fusiliers (6th Batn).

J TULLICK of 379 Church Rd Merton SW, aged 18 Years 10 Months, Varnish Maker. Joined on 1 June 1915 to the Royal Fusiliers.

J T A WARD of 75 Church Road, aged 18 Years, Labourer. Conscripted on 15 May 1917 to the 18th Training Reserve Batn.

J H WEIGHT of 140 Church Road, aged 30 Years, Leather Worker. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 12 December 1915 to the Middlesex Regiment (27th Batn).

S WELLER of 86 Church Road, aged 27 Years 4 Months, Bricklayer. Volunteered on 3 November 1915 to the Royal Engineers.

T WEST of 341 Church Road, aged 19 Years 3 Months, Gas Fitter. Volunteered on 19 May 1915 to the Royal Engineers (sapper).

Joseph Orange, Colourman

As reported in the Mitcham & Tooting Mercury of 1st December, 1916, at the Military Service Surrey Appeal Tribunal, Mr J. Latham, varnish maker:

appealed for Mr Orange (38). He was engaged at colour grinding, and they were only half through a contract. They also did work for the Indian Government. A little investigation showed that Mr Orange was really a good “oddman,” and the firm had not another oddman like him. Mr Orange also was quite sure it was impossible for himself to be replaced. It had been tried with old men of 65 and even with feminine material, but the thing could not be done.

The appeal was disallowed, and Mr Orange had to go by 31st December. He was conscripted on 10th December 1916 to the Royal Flying Corps.

Born in Rotherhithe, he was listed in the 1911 census as living in 5 Albert Terrace, Palestine Grove, with his wife Eliza, 33, daughter Florence, 9, and a son, also called Joseph, aged 7.