Category Archives: World War Two

29 September 1939 – National Registration Day

Eighty years ago on 29th September, in the first month of the Second World War, every one in the country was recorded on a form, issued and completed to each household, and the data was used to create National Identity cards. The form recorded the address, first and last name, gender, marital status, date of birth, and occupation.

The completed records give us a snapshot of who was living in the villages at the beginning of the war and often mentions what war work they undertook, although anyone who is still living has their record blacked out.

There is a “Cosy Tea Rooms” near Gostelow’s Butchers, and at Ship Meadows (where Longmarsh View was constructed after the war), had a group of showmen and their families staying on it along with several public works contractors.

At St John’s Jerusalem, Sir Stephen’s wife Lady Bridget and their daughter Miranda were at home, with a parlourmaid, housemaid, kitchenmaid and cook, and some other visitors including children. Sir Stephen himself is recorded as being at the BBC at Langham Place, alongwith four other colleagues, and was described as Controller BBC (Public Relations).

Strangely there is another entry for St John’s, after Cedar Lawn, which shows Miranda again as well as 15 blanked out entries. At Cedar Lawn, which is where Cedar Drive was built, the owner, Miss Russell, formerly of St John’s, had two ladies living with her who were described as “Official Helpers for Evacuated Children”.

At the top of Devon Road, at Hill Cottage, there are 28 blacked out records, so presumably there were 28 evacuees billeted at the house (which is boggling as the house is not that big….), and other houses in Devon Road do have large numbers of blanked out entries, which may mean that there were a large number of evacuees billeted with residents,

In Hawley, the Bull Hotel (now the Hawley Kitchen) had a number of fitters (armament workers) staying, and at Hawley Manor Mrs Mabel Temple Johnson, described as an invalid lived with her daughter Rosemary Wright, a maid, a lady’s maid as well as two more Official Helpers with Evacuated Children, although apparently not a large number of evacuated children.

The Vicar Caryl Sampson, was living at the Vicarage with his housekeeper, and was also described as Billeting Officer for Sutton at Hone, and seems to have had some evacuees living with him.

Remembering Dunkirk – 75 years later

The War Memorial lists three men who were lost during the evacuation of Dunkirk in May and June 1940

Douglas John Macpherson was born in Hawley,  joined the Royal Navy in 1926, and married in November 1934 at St John’s to Florence Amy Docksee, and the couple had two children. At the time of his death, Douglas’s family were living in Bexley.

Douglas was serving on HMS Boadicea, which had been in Chatham for a refit since the beginning of May 1940, and on the 9th June HMS Boadicea set sail for Le Havre, France to assist in the evacuation of British troops. On the 10th June, the warship was severely damaged by Junkers Ju 87 “Stuka” dive bombers that knocked out her engines and boilers. Douglas was an Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class, and so was probably killed during the raid.  He was buried at Alverstock Cemetery, Gosport.

HMS Boadicea

HMS Boadicea during WWII – Imperial War Museum

Richard Swaffer was serving as a Driver in the Royal Army Service Corps, and died during the retreat, his date of death is given as between 31st May and 1st June 1940.  He is buried in the De Panne Communal Cemetery in France.

Donald Eastburn Waterman was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 140 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, having been a member of the Honorable Artillery Company before the war.  His father was Bertie Waterman, a well known Dartford Auctioneer, who lived in Wilmington (Donald is commemorated on the Wilmington War Memorial), and his mother helped raise funds for a Comfort Fund for troops in Wilmington. Donald was married, and he and his wife Chloe were living in Sutton at Hone in 1939.

Donald died between the 28th and the 31st of May and is buried in Dunkirk Town Cemetery. His death was not confirmed until October 1940.