Tag Archives: 1942

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.

Lance Sergeant Victor John Cullum

Photo courtesy of Margaret Purnell

Born in the first quarter of 1908.

He married Florence Harwood in 1931. In 1939 they lived in 29 Franklin Crescent, Mitcham.

His daughter Margaret Purnell said :

My dad served with the RA 1939-1946. He managed to escape with others from Singapore during the Japanese invasion of Malaya in 1942.

He was a Mitcham man from 1931 to 1973.

The British Army Casualty Lists 1939-1945 show a Lance Sergeant V. J. Cullum, Royal Artillery, service number 2040217, captured 15th February 1942. This is from The National Archives, reference WO 361/2058, POWs Far East Master Roll 1942-1943 (ABC).

His wife received the standard letter saying that he may have been captured, or is missing:

His daughter said that he wasn’t captured …

… although the army thought that was the case at the time.

Extract from my dad’s diary

’14th Feb 1942: – managed to leave the docks on HMS Penang, a small coastal boat. Under heavy gunfire for 2 hours for a long distance out. In the meantime, Singapore Docks were blazing furiously. They were pushed into Hold by Officers, sitting on drums of Kerosene. “Going to be unlucky if hit”. Got stuck on sandbank 2 hours out. Captain orders “Take to Lifeboats”. Our boat was holed by shell splinters, took all our time to keep afloat. Commandeered a Chinese Junk – “Penang” signaled to come back, had slid off bank. Mechanics had to take over engines. I volunteered with Rattue for Bofors gun duties; was glad to get out of Hold…………………….

They eventually docked & camped at Colombo March 10th 1942. Most of them were ill with various ailments. Back in the UK, my mum received a letter

“V.J.Cullum missing dated March 15, presumed dead” and telling her to get her papers in order. She received a telegram from my dad at the same time saying that he was safe….

The telegram he sent his wife:

In the Battle of Singapore, Britain surrendered on 15th February 1942.

Lance Corporal George Philpott

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

Lance-Corporal George Philpott, Riverside Drive, London Road, Mitcham, a tailor’s cutter and trimmer at Gieve’s, Piccadilly, before the war, now wields a blacksmith’s hammer at Suez, and has Egyptian strikers, whose only language is Arabic, at his anvil.

In peace-time he was a keen motor and polo cyclist, and hoped to get a job as despatch rider when he joined the Army, but they sent him to Longmore to train as a blacksmith. Later, he worked at Wilmot, Newport and London. While working at the Albert and King George V docks London, he claims to have had a wonderful time, because he was so near home, and able to visit his father and brothers frequently.

Of his job Lance-Corporal Philpott says: ”It’s interesting work, and I quite like a change, but I shall go back to my own trade after the war. Only, maybe, If I get absent-minded, I might begin to cut clothes with a hammer and chisel.

DANGER AT THE DOCKS

“We came to the Middle East in May, 1942,” he said,” and I was posted straight to Suez, where we are now. When the push was on a detachment of us went to Mersa Matruh and Tobruk, to work on the docks there. We repaired cranes and installations destroyed by the Germans before they left. There were air attacks when we were at Tobruk and at Benghazi. Most of the troops were quartered outside the town, but we got the full benefit, because we had to stay right on the docks, and whenever a ship came in, the attacks were redoubled.”

Lance-Corporal Philpott is in charge of the blacksmith’s shop for his present Company, and has Egyptian strikers at his anvils. Language is something of a difficulty but he has picked up enough Arabic to make himself understood, and he can give measurements in Arabic. Work is hard and the climate difficult, being very hot, indeed, in summer; but pressure is less than it was when the Allies were invading Sicily. Then the Company worked long hours, and nobody got any off-day during the week.

“My Army experience has been interesting,” he says. “I have seen things I shall never forget. I do not regret my Army service for a moment.”

BROTHER THERE, TOO.

His brother, Frank, is also in the Middle East. He too was a keen motorcyclist, and was more fortunate than his brother, for he became a despatch rider. Their younger brother, Ronald is a member of Mitcham Army Cadet Corps.

KEEN CYCLIST

L-Cpl Philpott, a member of Tooting Cycling Club, was one of the club’s top scorers. He played in their bicycle Polo team and holds several medallions awarded for his part when the club won competitions. His brother, like his father, is a keen racing cyclist, and won several prizes on the road; he held the 25-mile record of the Tooting Cycling Club in 1931, his time being 1 hour 3 minutes 53 seconds.

The 1939 Register shows the occupants of 62 Riverside Drive:

James I Philpott, born 19/02/1881, Newsagent’s Warehouseman
Florence A Philpott, born 28/02/1884, housewife
George Philpott, born 31/01/1910, Uniform – Tailor’s Trimmer
Esther F Philpott, born 28/07/1911, Packer – Confectionery
Grace Philpott, born 17/06/1912, Packer – Confectionery
Gladys Philpott, born 13/07/1915, Chain Store Supervisor

Source: The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/1372H

A relative on the Facebook group Mitcham History wrote “As he and his brother Frank volunteered for service, they both thought that their skills in civilain life would be put to use. Instead they were both posted to North Africa. George was trained as a blacksmith, somewhat different to a military tailor! He was posted to the London Docks to repair cranes, then was shipped out with them.”

Stoker 1st Class Frederick George Aimes

Frederick George Aimes was born on 20th March, 1901, in Brixton.

Working as a wood sawyer, he joined the Navy at 18 years old on 12th May 1919, serving on the Vivid II.

He married Ivy Ethel May Stone in 1924.

In 1934 he received the RN Long Service and Good conduct Medal.

He lived with his wife Ivy Ethel May at 4 Poplar Avenue, Mitcham, between 1930 and 1939.

1953 OS map

He joined HMS Hermes on 24th August 1939 and died when his ship was sunk by Japanese aircraft on 9th April 1942 in the Indian Ocean.

The sinking of HMS Hermes was reported in the Portsmouth Evening News – Friday 10 April 1942:

Portsmouth Evening News, 10th April, 1942, page 1.
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

CRUISER CLAIM UNTRUE
Tokio Boasting

The aircraft carrier H.M.S. Hermes has been sunk ten miles off the coast of Ceylon. An Admiralty communique states that she was sunk by air attack and that a large proportion of her crew (complement 660) may have reached land.

It is known that an earlier Japanese claim to have sunk two cruisers is quite untrue.

The Hermes (10,850 tons) completed in 1924, was the first vessel specially designed as an aircraft carrier.

The Japanese are to-day laying claims to more successes in the Indian ocean. Tokio asserts that yesterday two cruisers, a destroyer, a patrol vessel, and six otherships were sunk while a third cruiser was damaged. The claims included 46 Allied aircraft shot down.

There is no confirmation of these claims.

The Admiralty communique states:- “The Board of Admiralty regrest to announce that the aircraft-carrier H.M.S. Hemes (Capt. R.F.J. Onslow, M.V.O., D.S.C., R.N.) has been sunk by Japanese air attack of the coast of Ceylon. No further details are known, but it is probable that a large proportion of the ship’s company of HMS Hermes have reached land, as she was only about ten miles off shore when she was sunk.

Sunk near Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as it was called then, the wreck of the ship has attracted divers. The website Dive Sri Lanka has accounts on 8 expeditions to the wreckage over a period from 2005 to 2014.

Sources
The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 1126
Service

General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 2a; Page: 704
Marriage

Ancestry.com. UK, Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 147
Long service medal.

Ancestry.com. Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1962 Reference: CC802/47/6Residence at Poplar Avenue

The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, London; Admiralty: Royal Navy Seamen’s Services Continuous Record (CR) Cards; Class: ADM 363; Piece: 437.
Service Record.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission

Service Number D/SS 120797

Died 09/04/1942

Aged 41

H.M.S. Hermes
Royal Navy

Son of George and Connie Aimes; husband of Ivy Ethel May Aimes, of Mitcham, Surrey.


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

Cameo Cafe

Cafe/restaurant that was at 8 Upper Green East until 1940, then at 197 London Road.

1937 ad

In September 1940 the cafe was badly damaged from the bomb that destroyed the Mitcham Methodist Church. It was reopened at 197 London Road. Mrs Isobel POPAY ran the cafe from 1934 to 1942, when she died, aged 62. Source: Norwood News – Friday 22 May 1942, page 8.

This 1953 photo shows Mitcham Baths on right and further along, on the same side of the London Road, the block numbered 195 to 201. A ‘restaurant’ sign can be seen on the second from the far end property, this is number 197. This clip is from a Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_​Streets_​Lon_​38-47

An ad for an assistant cook in Norwood News – Friday 03 March 1961 showed its phone number was MIT 3359. The 1954 telephone directory shows it at 197 London Road. From around the mid-1980s to 2012 this shop was Ossie’s Taverna.

In a news item from the Norwood News – Friday 15 January 1932, the proprietor of the cafe was Mr Norton. The item was about an argument at a wedding reception that led to an assault, and went to court. From a comment on the Facebook Mitcham History Group, there was a function room upstairs that was used for wedding receptions etc.

1953 OS map showing the London Road. On the left hand side of the road is no. 224 ‘Day Nursery’, which is Eagle House. The block of 4 shops/flats north of the Public Baths shows No. 197 at the second from the far end. The entrance to the Baptist Church was built on in 1962/3.

An advert in the  Norwood News – Friday 19 February 1932 for a piano gives the address of the cafe as number 8 Upper Green East.


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

1942 : A former noted show-woman buried in Mitcham

DEATH OF MRS. AMY NORMAN
A FORMER NOTED SHOWWOMAN

ONE of the most interesting characters in the show world, Mrs Amy Norman, mother of Mr Tom Norman, who for fourteen years ran a “Housey-Housey” booth in Rugby, died at Rugby Emergency Hospital Wednesday night. She had been ill a fortnight, and was taken to the hospital on Sunday.

Born in a caravan at Loughborough in 1880, Mrs. Norman was the daughter of Mr Jim Rayner, a famous showman, who owned a mumming booth in which a different play was performed each night. It was here that Mrs. Norman began her career, playing in such melodramas as “Maria Martin,” and she also played in Shakespearean plays and was a wonderful dancer.

When she was fifteen she married the late Mr Tom Norman, who was known as the “Silver King” and the showman’s auctioneer. She lived all her life in a caravan, and most of her six sons and three daughters, all of whom, with the exception of one daughter, were in the show business before the war, were born a caravan. Since her eldest son, Mr Tom Norman, left Rugby about five years ago she has been living with some of her family in a caravan in Mr Durham’s yard in West Leyes. A short time ago Mr Norman was asked to prepare a script and invite his mother to broadcast some of her reminiscences.

The funeral will take place Monday at Mitcham, Surrey, where Mrs Norman’s husband is buried in the family grave.

Source: Rugby Advertiser – Friday 05 June 1942 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Private Geoffrey Chart

DEATH OF PTE. CHART.

—Mr. R. M. Chart. C.A., is so well-known for many years’ work as surveyor to the old Rural District Council and as County Alderman, that the sympathy will be wide for the loss he has sustained in the death at the front of his son, Pte. Geoffrey Chart, who joined up on the outbreak of the Boer War, and after the campaign was over started in business in Cape Town. When this war commenced he again joined the Highlanders, and last spring came back for a few days to his old home. He was wounded in action on Sept. 21st, and hopeful news was sent as to his recovery, but he died Sept. 23rd. He was 36, and leaves a wife and two children. Alderman Chart has three other sons serving.

Source: Surrey Mirror – Friday 12 October 1917 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

ALD. CHART’S BEREAVEMENT.

Pte. Geoffrey Chart, South African Contingent, whose death on Sept. 23rd from wounds received on the 21st is reported, was the fourth son of Mr. Robert M. Chart, St. Mary’s, Mitcham, Alderman of the Surrey County Council, and chairman of the Small Holdings and Allotments Committee.

Source: Surrey Advertiser – Saturday 06 October 1917 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

Rank: Private
Service No: 10196
Date of Death: 23/09/1917
Age: 36
Regiment/Service: South African Infantry, 4th Regiment
Grave Reference: I. E. 6.
Cemetery: Nine Elms British Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium.
Additional Information: Son of Robert and Florence Chart, of St. Mary’s, Mitcham, Surrey, England; husband of Margaret Chart, of Limebrook Cottage, Bingham Street, Bangor, Co. Down, Ireland.

The Nine Elms British Cemetery contains 1,556 Commonwealth burials from the First World War.

According to Eric Mobtague, in his Mitcham Histories : 1 The Cricket Green, page 105, St. Mary’s was the home of Robert Masters Chart from 1911 until his death in 1942. The house was near the old Methodist church, on the eastern side of the Cricket Green, and was demolished in the 1950s.

This image, part of a 1903 postcard, shows the old Methodist church and some houses next to it, which may include St Mary’s, where the road Chart Close is today.

c. 1903

c. 1903