Tag Archives: 1941

Sergeant Thomas Oakley Burgess D.F.M.

Thomas Oakley Burgess was born in the last quarter of 1919, and in the 1939 Register his parents, Thomas Henry and Bertha Emily Burgess, lived at 73 Church Road, Mitcham.

As Leading Aircraftsman, Thomas Oakley Burgess, service number 551290, he served with 12 Squadron R.A.F., and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal in 1940.

BURGESS, Thomas Oakley. 551290 Leading Aircraftman, No. 12 Sqn. (Imediate)
L. G. 21/6/1940. Wireless Operator/Air Gunner. Air2/4097.

On 19th May 1940, L.A.C. Burgess was Wireless Operator/Air Gunner in Battle L.5536 of which
Pilot Officer J.J. McElligott was pilot and 580646 Sergeant B.C. Long was Observer. The aim on this mission was to bomb troops de-bussed in the area Mont Cormet – Neuf Chatel – Chateau Porcein – Ecly – Germaincourt – Fraillcourt. At 11.10 hours, the pilot had just dropped his bombs on the village of St. Fergeaux and was turning for home when the Battle was attacked by six Me.109’s about four miles South West of Ighel. They were engaged by the rear gunner and the Air Observer opened fire on three of them with the third gun as they passed underneath the Battle. The Me.109’s made further attacks and the rear gunner continued to engage them. By this time, the pilot had been severely wounded in the right shoulder and arm and the port tank was on fire, but he managed to bring the aircraft down about six miles South West of Juniville, an area occupied by the French. L.A.C. Burgess, who was admitted to hospital with shrapnel wounds, told Sergeant Long, the Air Observer, that he was sure he had shot down one Me.109. The crew were cared for by Lieutenant Cambourne of the 7th Demi Brigade, Cuirassee. Sergeant Long was interviewed late by a French Colonel at Neuf Lize who told him that it was certain that one Me.109 had been brought down and that he thought a second had crashed some distance away. This evidence has been confirmed through the French Mission. The pilot of the aircraft died of the wounds received in this action but the Air Observer was unhurt. It is considered that L.A.C.
Burgess showed a great courage in sticking to his gun, though probably already wounded, and
skill in disposing of one, and possibly two, of the enemy in the face of such superior odds.

2nd June, 1940.

Gloucester Citizen – Friday 21 June 1940

THREE AIRMEN OF TWENTY WIN D.F.M.

The exploits of three 20-years-old airmen who have been awarded the D.F.M. were described in an official announcement last night.

The men are Corporal James Anthony Drummond. of Salisbury; Leading Aircraftman Thomas Oakley Burgess, of Mitcham, Surrey; and Aircraftman 2nd Class Edward Joseph Evans, who was born at Ironside, Salop.

Corporal Drummond engaged a large formation Messerschmitt 109’s, shot down one and damaged others. Leading Aircraftman Burgess and Aircraftman Evans, both of whom are wireless operator-air gunners, also fought superior forces of Messerschmitts. Each brought down one and damaged others.

Burgess received shrapnel wounds. All three are described as having shown great courage and skill.

Squadron Leader Cyril Elton Kay, O.B.E., Royal New Zealand Air Force, has been awarded the D.F.C., was announced last night.

Squadron Leader Kay, in extremely difficult conditions and in face of heavy opposition, bombed and machine-gunned important targets in the forests south of Bourlers and Abileux in a night raid this month.

The announcement speaks of his daring, determination and outstanding ability.

As Sergeant he was a Wireless Operator and Air Gunner with 12 Squadron when he died on 7th July 1941, aged 21. His Wellington aircraft type II, number W5360, was shot down and crashed at Kervel-en-Guilers, France. All of the crew died.

Norwood News – Friday 26 September 1941

Mitcham D.F.M. Reported Killed

Sergt T. D. Burgess, R.A.F., Church-road, Mitcham, who was awarded the D.F.M. for bravery and who was decorated by the King in March, is now reported killed.

Note that his middle initial is given as ‘D’ instead of ‘O’.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record.

Mitcham and District Poultry Club

Norwood News – Friday 15 August 1941

A special meeting of the Mitcham and District Poultry Club was held on Tuesday, when Mr. Barnett, of 1 Stuarts-place, tendered his resignation as secretary owing to private reasons.

The committee was reorganised, and the following officers elected:

Chairman, Mr Coulby, 24 Rewley-road, Carshalton;
vice-chairman, Mr. Garrard. 35 Pitcairn-road, Mitcham;
secretary, Mr. D A. Perry, 39 Alexandra-road, Mitcham;
assistant secretary, Mr. Kemp, 48 Steers-mead, Mitcham;
treasurer, Mrs. Perry, 39 Alexandra-road, Mitcham.

Additional committee members appointed were : Mr. Mayo, 18 Masons-place, Mitcham, and Mrs. Archer, 18 Wilson-avenue, Mitcham.

Application has been made for acceptance as members of the Scientific Poultry Breeders’ Association Ltd., and applications have been made in an endeavour to obtain permits for the purchase of various poultry appliances. It is hoped the next meeting will be held some time early next week, but in the meantime inquiries and applications for membership may be made to any of the above officers.

New members are cordially invited.

Husband and wife killed in air raid in firm’s basement in London

From Norwood News – Friday 17 January 1941, page 2

HUSBAND AND WIFE KILLED IN RAID
Took Shelter at Premises Bombed in London

Mr. and Mrs F. J. Roberts, Spencer-road, Mitcham, have been the victims of enemy action.

They were in the habit of sheltering in the basement of Mr. Roberts’ business premises in London, and when these were bombed, both Mr. and Mrs. Roberts were killed. Mr. Roberts was well-known and respected in Mitcham.

He was secretary of the penny-a-week collection scheme on behalf of Wilson Hospital, succeeding Mr. Allen, the founder. In this capacity Mr. Roberts rendered good service, and his efforts were much appreciated.

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record for Francis James Roberts, aged 46, his wife Mary Roberts, aged 48, and their son David Iowerth Roberts, aged 15, states that their address was at 19, Spencer Road, and that they died on 11th January 1941 in the premises of Elder & Fyffes, Bow Street. This company imported bananas, and was renamed the Fyffes Group in 1969, according to Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History.

The 1939 register shows that Mr F.J. Roberts was a Printing Dept Supervisor at the firm.

1941 : Figges Marsh Keeper Albert Edward Ball

From Norwood News – Friday 17 January 1941, page 2

Obituary
FIGGES MARSH KEEPER

Mr. A. E. Ball’s Death After Air Raid

MITCHAM Council employees were represented at the funeral, on Thursday, of Mr. Albert Edward Ball, who had been keeper at Figges Marsh recreation ground for many years. He died at Rectory-lane, Tooting, following an air raid, after making a good recovery from a long illness. He had previously been bombed out of Pitcairn-road, Mitcham.

Sixty years of age, he had been employed by Mitcham Council for nearly 20 years, and was a popular figure on Figges Marsh.

It was his great delight during his illness to receive letters from children who frequented the recreation ground before they were evacuated.

The loss of his only son four years ago told greatly on his health. He leaves a widow and two daughters.

His last wish was that his thanks should be conveyed to Dr. Lahiff for his kindness, and to his colleagues for their sympathy during his illness.

The funeral took place at Old Mitcham Cemetery, the arrangements being carried out by Mr. Albert Stringer, Mitcham.

C.E. Spence

Newsagent and stationer who had a shop from around 1914 at number 5 the Broadway,
which was later renumbered as 323 London Road, as shown in this ad from the 1934 Official Guide to Mitcham:

1934 ad

Text of ad:

The Mitcham Circulating Library
Also SUBSCRIPTION LIBRARY

in connection with
MESSRS. W. H. SMITH & SON
2d. Volume – – No Deposit.

C. E. SPENCE

ARTISTIC PRINTER :: STATIONER
BOOKSELLER AND NEWSAGENT
BOOKBINDER :: PICTURE FRAMER
FANCY NEEDLEWORK :: TOYS

(Agent for Pullar’s Dye Works).

323 London Road, LOWER MITCHAM

In the 1913 directory, the newsagent is listed as John James KENYON. In the 1915 directory it is C.E. SPENCE.


From Ancestry:

In the 1939 register, Charles Edward SPENCE, stationer newsagent, born 1872, lived at 323 London Road with his wife Fanny E.M.B. SPENCE.

He died in 1941 and left £590 4s. to his widow Fanny Emma Mary Broadridge SPENCE.

From Norwood News – Friday 24 January 1941

NEWSAGENT FOR MANY YEARS

Mr. Charles Spence

THE death of Mr. Charles Edward Spence, well-known bookseller and newsagent, 323 London-road, Mitcham, has come as a great shock to his many friends and acquaintances.

Mr. Spence. who was 68 years of age, originally came to Mitcham from Cheam, where he had been associated with the Mitcham and Cheam Brewery.

For 26 years he was a prominent tradesman in Mitcham, and around him made a very large circle of friends and customers. He was a member of the Mitcham Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. Spence being on the Social Cornmittee.

Mr. Spence has been in the choir at St. Dunstan’s Church, Cheam, since boyhood, and it was in the graveyard of this church that the funeral took place.

Numerous floral tributes included one from the Tooting and Mitcham Newsagents’ Federation, of which he was an active member, testifying to the esteem in which he was held.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr. Donald S. Drewett, Upper Green, Mitcham.


Auxiliary Fire Service graves in London Road Cemetery

London Road Cemetery, Mitcham, CR4 3LA (Google map).

In the Commonwealth War Graves section, plot 14, of this cemetery there are three gravestones for Auxiliary Firemen who died at the Surrey Theatre, on 10th May 1941.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website doesn’t include the details of these graves in their list of the war graves at this cemetery, because, as commented below, they are not classed as full war graves. The three gravestones in plot 14 are shown below, the sequence being from left to right as viewed from the path, which leads from the entrance in Victoria Road.

E. G. Pepper, aged 32

E.F. Robinson, aged 35

C.A. Elliman, aged 37

A pdf plan of the the layout of this cemetery is available from Merton council’s website.

Lilian Bullock – obituary

From the Mitcham Cricket Club Yearbook for 1977 :

Mrs Lilian Bullock who died last November in her seventy ninth year – just eighteen months after retiring from the Kings Head, had been in poor health for some little time.

By her death the Club has lost its only lady Vice-president and a very good friend over many years, as Lil took a great interest in the catering side of the Club affairs and really enjoyed supervising the formidable array of helpers in her earlier days.

Lil and her late husband Burn came to the Kings Head in 1941. When he died in 1954 she carried on managing and created a wonderful “crickety” atmosphere about the place which showed particularly during the Club’s Cricket Weeks, the frequent visits by many County players undoubtably added to that feeling.

Thanks to Lil’s kindness the Club had come to regard the “Head” as its second headquarters especially during the close season when the Pavilion was not too inviting.

Lil was very pleased when the brewers decided to rename The Head to the “Burn Bullock” in memory of her late husband. She leaves one daughter Stella and one grandson Nicholas.