Category Archives: Wimbledon

William Henry Johnson VC and other updates

Today sees the centenary of the Victoria Cross action by Serjeant William Henry Johnson, 1/5th Sherwood Foresters, the only bellringer to win the VC. He rang at Worksop Priory and there’s a programme of events in Worksop today including peal attempts at the Priory and St Anne’s. I’ve also written a blog post about him for The National Archives’ blog (with a bit of a plug for Ringing Remembers at the end and starting with Worksop’s original Armistice Day ringing).

Preparing that post has meant I’ve not really had chance to write up Douglas Walter Drewett a Mitcham ringer who was killed in action a century ago today, though I’ve started doing a little work on his profile in Lives of the First World War.  Sadly Drewett’s second son appears to have been a Far East Prisoner of War in the Second World War, he made it home but died in 1950.

Ongoing work in Lives has meant that I’ve now identified J Weekes of Bletchingley and S Howard of Wimbledon who had previously proves elusive.

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St Mary’s, Wimbledon – the last tower on the roll

St Mary’s, Wimbledon, sent three ringers to war. Fortunately all returned – though as yet two are not definitely identified. Richard Rapson is easy enough to find in censuses, a 33-year-old plumber living on Norman Road in Wimbledon. The records of the Royal Marine Engineers with whom he served are not yet digitised (or even name-indexed), but can be found in a sub-series of ADM 157. W de Vulder is also easy enough to find – but unfortunately there are two (brothers), Willis Austin de Vulder and William Ewart de Vulder. The roll indicates he served with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, but the only military record found is a medal index card for a W A de Vulder who served with the East Surrey Regiment. Most difficult of all is Sergeant-Major S Howard of the Royal Air Force. There are no really convincing census candidates and his service record is yet to be traced.