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Their Name Liveth for Evermore
Carshalton's First World War Roll of Honour
By Andrew Arnold
The History PressCopyright © 2014 Andrew Arnold
All rights reserved.
Carshalton before the War
The original settlement of Carshalton had sprung up along the road between Sutton and Croydon, later on spreading to the north and south. By the early 1800s it was developing faster than other villages in the area, including Sutton, a trend that continued until the turn of the century. During the Edwardian period it was still relatively small, but expanding rapidly, covering 2,926 acres in 1914. In 1901 the population stood at 6,746; by the time of the 1911 census it had nearly doubled to 11,634. When war broke out it is likely to have been approximately 13,000. There were 2,247 inhabited buildings, with an average of 5.18 people living in each and, whilst overcrowding was present, it was not rife. The main residential areas were situated south of the railway line. The most built-up area was Mill Lane and the roads around it, with their rows of terraced houses. The area north of the railway line was mainly taken up by larger houses with big plots of land. Alongside palatial mansions such as The Oaks and Carshalton House (now St Philomena's Catholic High School for Girls), Carshalton had a number of other fine family houses such as Honeywood, Bramblehaw, Strawberry Lodge, Shepley House and Barrow Hedges.
The presence of the River Wandle meant that water power could be harnessed for industry. Several watermills were developed (ten by 1842) for processing commodities such as snuff and corn, providing some industrial work for local residents. The 1911 census recorded 3,055 men and 1,735 women engaged in work, the predominant employment being building work and agriculture for men (including lavender and watercress growing) and domestic service for women.
The High Street formed the hub of the community with a diverse array of shops serving the needs of the local population. They included Woodman's butchers, a general store, Comyn's chemist shop, Wardill's cycle shop and garage, the London and Provincial Bank, a timber and builder's merchant, a saddler, a corn merchant, a hairdresser and tobacconist, a grocer's, a watchmaker and optician, a draper, 'Holts library, stationery and fancy warehouse', a children's outfitter, the post office and a dairy. At the eastern end of the High Street, Carshalton Public Hall had been built in the 1870s and was later converted to a skating rink before being requisitioned by the military during the First World War. Those in need of liquid refreshment could visit one of the local pubs, many of which still exist today, including The Greyhound, The Sun, The Windsor Castle, The Fox and Hounds and The Coach and Horses. At least two of the local landlords would lose sons in the war.
A leisurely stroll could be taken in the 19 acres of Carshalton Park, or, for those of a more active disposition, Carshalton Lawn Tennis Club had been formed in 1912. Carshalton St Andrews football club had been founded in 1897 and they played at Wrythe Green. Mill Lane Mission had been founded in 1903 for boys to play football at Carshalton Park, and later changed its name to Carshalton Athletic Football Club. The St Andrews team merged with the club in 1908.
The structure of the historic All Saints church dominated the skyline of the area. A programme of enlargement commenced in 1890 overseen by architect Sir Arthur Blomfield, whose nephew Reginald Blomfield would go on to design war memorials such as the Menin Gate in Ypres. The rector of the church, Revd G.B. Vaux, acted as referee for many of the Carshalton men who applied for an officer's commission during the war. In addition, the village was served by Emmanuel church, Park Lane; a United Methodist chapel in North Street; the Church of the Good Shepherd in Stanley Park Road; the United Methodist Free Church in Ruskin Road; and a non-denominational chapel, West Street Hall, in West Street. The education of local children fell to a number of schools including Carshalton College, Barrow Hedges School, St Philomena's and a national infant school in Mill Lane. Law and order was maintained by the presence of a police station at the junction of West Street and Pound Street.
Carshalton was connected to Croydon by the tramway which ran down Park Lane, along Ruskin Road and onto Carshalton Road, before terminating on Westmead Road. Carshalton's first railway station opened in 1847, at the site of what is now Wallington station; the current Carshalton station opened in 1868. Carshalton Beeches station was built in 1907 to cater for those living in the new houses to the south of the village. Sewers had been installed in 1899, and gas street lighting lit the area at night. Medical needs were met by Queen Mary's Hospital for Children (opened in 1909), a large facility with over 1,000 staff and patients, and Carshalton and District Hospital on Rochester Road (also known as Cottage Hospital), which had opened in 1899. Village matters were governed by the Urban District Council which operated from the building in The Square, built in 1908, that until recently housed Carshalton library. This building also served as the fire station.
On the northern periphery of Carshalton, the area known as 'the Wrythe' formed a distinct entity geographically and socially. It formed the backbone of working-class Carshalton, and the people who lived there were fiercely proud. It was made up of just four main roads – St Andrew's Road, St John's Road, St James Road and William Street – yet men from these four roads were to contribute over 10 per cent of the men from Carshalton who enlisted during the war, and would account for 15 per cent of the casualties. Many of the families were closely related and the effects of the war on them was typical of many communities up and down the country. After the war the Wallington and Carshalton Advertiser wrote about the area:
There is something very distinctive about the people there. They are very clannish, very proud of their record in the war, and very sensitive as to the way in which the Wrythe is spoken of by Carshaltonians who happen to reside in other parts of the parish. In this respect the Wrythe and Beddington Corner are very much alike. They are both outposts of their respective parishes, little communities which resent any attempt on the part of neighbours to patronise, criticise, or advise.
From 1887 the spiritual needs of the Wrythe community were served by St Andrew's Mission church, situated on the corner of Wrythe Lane and Brookfield Avenue. However, the church was never consecrated and it closed in 1962, later to be demolished. The Cricketers public house was a focal point for the local community and its landlord a prominent figure both within the Wrythe and the wider community of Carshalton. The pub also acted as the headquarters for Carshalton Athletic Football Club, which was to be deeply affected by the war. Play stopped during the war due to the shortage of players and Wrythe Green recreation ground where they played was put to agricultural use.CHAPTER 2
Carshalton War Memorial
As in towns and villages across the country, after the war ended the civic leaders of Carshalton turned their thoughts to how to commemorate the area's fallen. As early as April 1916 the Urban District Council had discussed what form a memorial should take, one suggestion being a memorial fountain in Carshalton Park. In January 1919 the local newspaper reported that a committee had been appointed and a proposal put forward for the erection of a permanent memorial, as well as the provision of an enlarged hospital. As prominent local figure Hugh Peirs emphasised, they wanted 'something which would look well a hundred years hence'.
Unfortunately, the records of the war memorial committee do not appear to have survived, though the updates in the newspaper suggest that several schemes were considered prior to the current memorial. The memorial was paid for by public subscription, and there was enough money left over to contribute to the construction of the war memorial hospital as well – an indication perhaps of how deeply the local community had been affected by the war.
The design of the memorial has more than an echo of Edwin Lutyens' Cenotaph that dominates Whitehall in London. The Cenotaph (literally 'empty tomb') was first unveiled as a temporary structure in 1919, and made permanent in 1920. It was deliberately non-denominational, and it would be interesting to know if the Carshalton committee also took a conscious decision to erect a non-religious structure. Many memorials are located in the grounds of the local church, but the location by Carshalton Ponds was probably chosen as it was more prominent, and at the time quite a tranquil location given the relative absence of traffic. The design contrasts with other war memorials in the area which are religious, such as Sutton's, which features a cross and angels mounted at each corner of its plinth, and Wallington's, which has a cross cut into the obelisk. The inscription on the memorial – 'Their Name Liveth Forevermore' – does, however, have religious origins.
The memorial was unveiled on Sunday 13 March 1921 bearing an inscription of 237 names. An account of the unveiling appeared in the two local newspapers; both are worth quoting at length as they help to paint a picture of the feelings and emotions of the time. The Wallington and Carshalton Advertiser reported:
The memorial takes the form of a tomb, the design of which is based on a fine 18th century example. This surmounts a simple base and platform, the whole composition forming a dignified monument free from any ornate features and depending for its effect entirely on its proportions and simple lines. It is of Portland stone, and has on each side panels containing the names of upwards of 200 men of Carshalton to whose sacrifice the memorial stands as a permanent record, and which is expressed in the quotation over each panel: 'Their name liveth for evermore'.
With appropriate symbolism, the memorial has been placed on the banks of the pond in the constantly moving waters of which it is reflected. A margin of stone flagged paving affords the public every opportunity of reading the names, and a raised platform is provided for flowers.
The memorial has been executed by Messrs. Burslem and Son, Tunbridge Wells, from the designs and under the supervision of Messrs. Bouchier, Tatchell and Galsworthy, architects, of London.
The unveiling was performed by Major-General Longley, officer commanding the Woolwich district, of which Carshalton forms a part, who was received by Major Lovelock (honorary secretary of the War Memorial Committee). His approach was signalled by a fanfare of trumpets by the buglers of the local Boy Scouts, whose colours were draped in black.
At each corner of the Cenotaph was a soldier standing with arms reversed, on the right was drawn up a contingent of the East Surrey Regiment from Kingston, and on the left was a party of Territorials from Sutton.
Dr Pealing (Chairman of the Cenotaph Sub-Committee) said:
'Major-General Longley – on behalf of the Carshalton people I have to ask you to unveil our memorial to those men from the parish who died in the Great War. We are proud of the fact that the men of our village did not hesitate when they knew their country to be in danger, but proudly gathered together, rank on rank, to the number of nearly 1,000 volunteers, in answer to the bugle call of war. In all Carshalton sent more than 2,000 men to fight their country's battles, and of all of those valiant hearts who hopefully marched away 237 never returned. Upon that rising ground across the water where now stands our Parish Church the first inhabitants of this village, barbarous in customs, pagan in their religion, raised a mound above the body of their dead chief. It was the first Carshalton memorial to a dead hero, and throughout the changes of time and the difference of faith that spot has always been and always will be hallowed ground.
'Today in a brighter and happier belief in the future state we have raised another memorial to the dead heroes of this village. We cannot inter them here with the honour that is due to them. Peacefully their bodies lie upon the battlefields of three Continents, and we have here an empty tomb. But this spot will ever be sacred and always associated with grateful memories of those men who left their homes and loved ones, who laid aside their hopes and ambitions and cheerfully marched out into the great unknown.
'The memorial is erected upon ground given by the Urban District Council for the purpose, and will be taken over by them and carefully tended.
'I will now ask you, sir, to unveil this memorial and to reveal for all time the names of those Carshalton men who fought and died for their King and country.'
Major General Longley: 'I unveil this memorial in the honoured memory of the men of this place who gave their lives for their King and country in the Great War. Let us consider for a moment all that this implies. Let us think also of those whom it commemorates – what they did for us and our children, of how they died in the performance of duty to preserve the liberty and freedom of the world. When we reflect on the truth of the words inscribed on this memorial we shall lose some of our sadness and be tinged instead with a glow of pride and satisfaction that those who have been taken from us have added to the glory and power of the country and the freedom of the world.
They do not die who fall in freedom's name
Their souls live on, a pure and holy flame.
This memorial will remind us who are living and those who come after us of the splendid sacrifices made by our brothers, fathers, and sons for the glory of the place they held so dear, and may we all be inspired by their noble example.'
Dedicatory prayers were then read by the Rector of Carshalton (the Revd W.R. Corbould), after which Major Lovelock read a list of the names of the fallen. Three volleys were discharged by the firing party, and The Last Post and Reveille sounded by the buglers brought an impressive ceremony to a conclusion.
Representatives of the local branch of the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers were present under Major Miller, DCM, and headed by two children, Allan and Ernest, the sons of the late Private Baker (East Surreys), who carried a wreath, which was placed on the Cenotaph on behalf of the federation. Mr F.W. Bird headed a procession of war widows from the Wrythe carrying a large Union Jack surmounted with a laurel wreath, and a floral wreath, which was also placed at the foot of the memorial, while among others who placed their tributes were the Rev. J.E. Jasper and Couns. R. Brownsmith, J.P., and W.E. Davis.
Before and after the ceremony peals were rung on the bells of the Parish Church.
The Wallington and Carshalton Times' report was more motionally charged:
Carshalton never lags behind. At Duty's call her sons were amongst the first citizens who became soldiers and the first soldiers who became heroes. Those heroes were the foremost in the thickest of the fight, bore the brunt of the early days of the war, but unyielding, wrote in letters of precious blood, 'Victory'. They did not wait to ask themselves what would be the fruits of that victory; they did the one great thing which lay before them – duty in, above and through, and left all thoughts of right adjustments abroad and at home, and even in little Carshalton, to the politicians. The world knows how well they did their duty, how bravely they fell for their country. On Sunday was unveiled on an ever sacred spot a memorial token of thankfulness to God and in gratitude, in honour, in love, to those who made the supreme sacrifice of their lives. Engraved on that cenotaph, as reverently as on a tomb, are the names which will never be forgotten so that posterity shall lay laurel wreaths upon it to the memory of the best, the bravest, the flower of Britain's sons. Many in the future will die unknown: these names will ever be great ones to think of or speak upon. If it be that their victory in the war prove to be the victory over war, there will have been real glory attained. In the old days were beacons round the coasts to guide the ships: these monuments throughout Britain today are the beacons that must guide men to everlasting peace. While our eyes read with mingled sorrow and pride the wording of the cenotaph, our hearts read into it a decade of broken spirits, but with stout resolution and determination may our minds see in and by it only two final words, 'never again!' Then though in the homes none stood to gain, yet in the end of wars the district, the nation, the world will be the better.
Sunday was indeed a day of mourning for the bravest and the best of Carshalton's honoured sons. The great and silent messenger to posterity, which will grace the quietude and seclusion of the green lawn on the side of the lake, was unveiled in the afternoon in the presence of two thousand bereaved and sympathisers. Each name was read aloud and each struck home a sorrowing note to wounded hearts. On every hand could be seen tears running down the cheeks alike of those whose loved ones were among the fallen heroes and those whose hearts were melted with another's sorrow. One could see the tide of generous sorrow working a passage from men's big hearts to the eye and stealing in silent without their leave, the mark of nature by which sincerity is shown; others shedding tears by the tenderness of feeling at the warm round drops of softness from the mother's or widow's heart.
Excerpted from Their Name Liveth for Evermore by Andrew Arnold. Copyright © 2014 Andrew Arnold. Excerpted by permission of The History Press.
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Table of Contents
1. Carshalton before the War,
2. Carshalton War Memorial,
3. Other Memorials,
4. The Second World War,
5. The Men,
6. The Roll of Honour,
7. The Western Front,
9. Mesopotamia, Egypt, Palestine and Salonika,
10. The War at Sea,
11. The War in the Air,
12. Other Deaths,