Tag Archives: Home Guard

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.

Home Guard Photos to Identify Part 1

There are some group photos on Merton Memories of the Mitcham Home Guard during WW2. Most of the men are not named. Individual photos are shown below. If you can identify someone, please leave a comment with the number that is shown under the photo.

 

Photo Reference Mit_War_6.4

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02 Identified as Cyril KEATING. He was born in 1900 and ran away to join the Navy in the 1914-18 war.

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19 Identified as George William CEILEY. Fought in the First World War, was prisoner of war for the last six months 1918. Awarded the silver oak leaf. His son was also in the Home Guard but volunteered for the Navy on his 18th birthday in September 1942 just before this picture was taken.

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53 Identified as Fred WILKINSON

Framfield Road

Framfield Road is off the west side of Streatham Road opposite The Driftway. It leads into St James’s Road. The reason for the name is unknown, however next to it is Uckfield Grove, and the town of Uckfield in Sussex has a town of Framfield two miles to the east of it.

Possibly built around 1928 as in that year mortgages were provided by the Mitcham Urban District Council, under the Small Dwellings Acquisitions Act, for houses valued at £625 each.

As approached from the Streatham Road end, the houses on the left are arranged in blocks of six, numbered odd from 1 to 107. On the right side the houses are numbered even from 2 to 88. Extra houses were built on plots near the St James’s Road end that had garages. A number of houses have since been divided into flats.

The Royal Mail website says that there three postcodes in use in this road, namely CR4 2AL, 2AU and 2AW.


News Items

From the Manchester Evening News – Monday 11th January 1943, via the British Newspaper Archive

Home Guard Fell in River At Night

While two Home Guards were patrolling on the Thames quayside at Wandsworth, one of them, William Edward Field (41), of Framfield Road, Mitcham, fell into the river in the darkness and was drowned.

At the Battersea inquest to-day the Coroner (Mr. Hervey Wyatt) recorded a verdict of accidental death. He said that Field’s companion, Ernest William Horsman, who climbed down a wire and made two unsuccessful rescue attempts, had every reason to congratulate himself on his fine effort to help his friend.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry for W.E. FIELD, he was in the 52nd County of London (Wandsworth Gas Co.) Battalion of the Home Guard. He was the son of Edward and Daisy Field, of Mitcham and husband of Elsie Catherine Field, of Mitcham. Although his grave is in the London Road Cemetery, it is not in the ‘War Graves’ section that has the graves of the local Home Guard that died in 1941. It is in plot 9, which is near the Victoria Road entrance.

Edward Pullen gets MBE in 1961 but missed DCM in 1916

Benninga Margarine Factory

Mortimer Road

Listed in the 1963 Borough of Mitcham List of Factories.

Dutch company that set up factories in Hull and Mitcham during the 1930s to avoid import tariffs.

1965 Winding Up

BENNINGA (MITCHAM) LIMITED
At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Members of the above-named Company, duly convened and held at 20 Cannon Street, London E.C.4, on the 12th day of August 1965, the following Special Resolution was duly passed ; ” That the Company be wound up voluntarily, and that Mr. Peter Ewen, of 17 St. Helen’s Place, London E.C.3, and Mr. Stanley Shaw, of 13 Wood-cote Close, Kingston, Surrey, be and they are hereby appointed Liquidators of the Company for the purposes of such winding-up.”
(364)
A. J. Penfold, Secretary.

Merton Memories Photos
1938 delivery of equipment from Amsterdam via Hull
Undated, possibly of offices
Staff photo
Home Guard drilling at factory


This 1962 ad lists brand names of their products:

1962 ad

Text of ad:

Ask your Grocer for
BENNINGA’S
PRODUCTS
THE BEST THAT MONEY CAN BUY

B.B.M. & WAYSIDE
MARGARINES
BENNINGA’S LARD
COOKING OILS
GREEN CIRCLE DRIPPING
VITSU SHREDDED SUET

Are manufactured by:
BENNINGA (MITCHAM) LTD.
(Incorporating Juvit Ltd.)
MITCHAM — SURREY
MITcham 3061 (7 lines)

Established 29 years — good for a century

BBM was Butter Blended Margarine


Aerial photos of whole site before demolition

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and of the ‘tunnel’
Benninga Tunnel 01

Benninga Tunnel 02

Benninga Tunnel 03

Benninga Tunnel 04