Category Archives: WW2

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.

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.

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.