Tag Archives: Morden Road

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.

1962 : 250 year old find in Ravensbury Park

From the Norwood News – Friday 5th October 1962

250-year-old Ravensbury Park find

WHILE reinforcing the banks of a backwater in Ravensbury Park, Mitcham, Mr. William Bloodforth, parks foreman, came across a large wooden pipe, which he believes is over 250 years old.

The section of the pipe which he uncovered is clamped together with six iron bands.

One theory is that the pipe, about two feet in diameter, was used to drain dye or bleach from a silk factory that might have been on the site where the rubber factory now stands, facing Morden Road.

If the pipe did carry dye it may have drained into the River Wandle about 600 yards away.

Mr. Bloodforth thinks this is unlikely as the backwater is higher than the Wandle bed.

A huge plane tree, ai least 250 years old, is growing in the path of the pipe which is only inches beneath the bed of the backwater.

“I shouldn’t think that the pipe was put there after the tree had been planted.” said Mr. Bloodforth.

It was while he was “riveting” the banks that his spade came across the wooden pine.

“I thought it was a coffin at first and was looking for the bones,” he said.

°It must have been here before the backwater. The mud, of course, has preserved it beautifully.” he went on.

The pipe may never have been discovered if Mr Bloodforth had not taken the opportunity to do the banks while the water is cut off due to the road works in Morden Road.