Tag Archives: Beddington

Arthur Ernest Plowman (1898-1917†): missed from the roll

On the centenary of Ernest’s death I thought I’d reblog this, particularly as I’ve now developed his Lives profile and a few more sources have become available with the digitisation of material held by Sutton and Croydon Archives.

The Sutton material confirms that Arthur John Plowman and Kate Groves married at Beddington Parish Church on 19 December 1896. Arthur John was 24 and a packer, Kate was 21. Arthur John was the son of John Plowman (deceased), a gardener. Kate’s father was William Groves, a coachman. Arthur John was living at 6 Bridle Path, Beddington, while Kate’s address was 2 Railway Approach, Wallington. The next Sutton record is Ernest’s baptism, showing he was baptised at Beddington Parish Church on 5 June 1898, son of Arthur John and Kate Plowman who were then living in Wallington. Arthur John’s occupation is again given as packer.

The Croydon records are school records, I’ve not found Ernest’s, but there are two for Doris. She was first admitted to the Parish Church Infants School on 26 August 1907. The address of 4 Ainsworth Road matches other records for the family. Her date of birth is given as 24 April 1902. Her second school was the Parish Church Girls School, to which she was admitted on on 29 August 1910. The family address is again recorded as 4 Ainsworth Road, her father’s name is given as Jack Plowman. She is in a block recorded as transferring from the infant school. She is further marked as having transferred to Mitcham Road School following her last attendance on 6 September 1912. Date of Birth is again 24 April 1902, though mistranscribed as 24/06/02. It seems Doris never married and died in the Borough of Merton in the first quarter of 2002 – she has proved difficult to trace in the 1939 Register however.


Updated 10 May 2013: After the initial version of this page appeared on 9 May 2013 Andy Arnold reminded me of the Croydon Roll of Honour, which has filled in a few more details, and allowed me to correct a couple of details. The update has also allowed me to correct a number of typos.

Arthur Ernest Plowman was at least the third generation of his family to ring at Beddington. He had progressed far enough in ringing to take part in a quarter peal on Easter Day 1916 (23 April), but he had just turned 18 so was liable for conscription. He attested on 10 May 1916, though he may not have actually begun his training until later that year. He was posted to a Base Depot in France on 29 March 1917, just short of his 19th birthday. On 15 April he was posted to a frontline…

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Thomas Arthur Talbot (1880-1947), Beddington

Though this post is appearing on 1 July, the anniversary of the opening of the Battle of the Somme, that is purely coincidental. There is no evidence that Thomas Arthur Talbot’s service even took him outside the United Kingdom.

He is listed as one of the Beddington ringers on the roll, but had also rung at both Croydon towers. He appears to have been the ninth of nine children of Joseph Talbot and Emily (nee Dann). They married at Paddington Parish Church (St James’s Paddington) on 16 February 1859. Joseph was a coachman living at Hyde Park Garden Mews and Emily a needlewoman living at Hyde Park Square. Both were the children of domestic servants themselves. As they lived in a mews houses when in London, I’ve not been able to establish which family they worked for, the births of their children are split between Hyde Park Garden Mews (they are in either 46 or 47 at successive censuses) and Hertfordshire, predominantly Great Berkhamsted, but one child was born in Chorleywood. The first of Thomas’s siblings, Emily Mary was born in London on 23 January 1860. She was followed by Catharine Anne in early 1862 (Chorleywood), Hannah in mid 1863 (London), Joseph David in mid 1865 (Great Berkhamsted), Louisa in late 1867 (Great Berkhamsted), Alice in late 1870 (Great Berkhamsted), Ellen Ada in late 1872 (Great Berkhamsted), Amy Elizabeth in mid 1875 (Great Berkhamsted), and the baby of the family, Thomas himself in early 1880 (Great Berkhamsted). He was baptised in Great Berkhamsted on 8 February 1880. It is possible there were other, short-lived, children who do not appear in any of the censuses.

By 1891 his father had retired and the family were living at 54 Borough Hill, Croydon. The household at the 1891 census comprised Joseph (59), Emily (56), Emily Mary (31), Catharine Anne (29), Joseph David (26), a warehouseman, Amy Elizabeth (15), Thomas himself (11), at school, and also a lodger, recorded as Henry J Rumble. It seems he may have been normally known by his middle name as James, and that it was he who introduced Joseph David and Thomas to bellringing. Certainly James Rumble and Joseph Talbot are recorded ringing together from 1892.

The first mention of Thomas Talbot ringing is from 1895, at St John’s Croydon, where he helped out on the tenor for a peal of Oxford Bob Triples. Though it is the peal of Grandsire Triples (again at St John’s) that is marked as his first peal on 22 March 1898. This also marked his election to the Surrey Association of Church Bell Ringers. In 1900 he rang a peal at St Peter’s, South Croydon.

At the 1901 census the family were still at 54 Borough Hill, the household now comprising Joseph (68), Emily (65), Emily Mary (41), a dressmaker, Alice (30), a nurse domestic, and Thomas (21), now a carpenter. Also present were Louisa Crawley (33, nee Talbot), already widowed and with children Louisa E (4) and Arthur J (2 months). Henry J Rumble was still lodging with the family too.

Up to 1904 Thomas appears annually, so slightly more, in ringing reports, with his first connection with Beddington from 1901. On 9 February 1907 he married Agnes Annie Kenyon at Holy Trinity, Selhurst. Their first child, Marjorie Annie, followed later the same year. In 1908 he makes his first appearance as a ringer for some time, returning to St John’s, Croydon, to ring a quarter peal with his brother which was a farewell to the conductor, E Bray, who was about to move to Eastbourne.

His mother, Emily, died around the same time, aged 73. A second child, a son, Edward George, arrived late in 1908, followed by Dora Lilian in early 1911. By the 1911 census, Thomas Arthur (31) and Agnes Annie (25) were living at Broadmoor Cottages, Wotton, Dorking with their three children. Dora had been born in Wotton. Thomas is shown to be a self-employed carpenter, so they may just have been living there temporarily while he worked on a job.

The outbreak of war doesn’t initially seem to have made much difference. It was only 11 December 1916 that Thomas attested, probably under the Derby Scheme. He joined the Royal Engineers where his civilian carpentry skills could be put to good use. He attested at Woolwich, and the entry in the recruitment register shows that he was 35 years, 11 months old, 5’8.25″ tall, weighed 129 lbs and had a 34.5″ chest. The family were then living at 6 Ravensworth Road. No other trace of his military service has been definitely traced. There is no medal index card for Thomas A Talbot in the Royal Engineers (he does not appear to have given his middle name at enlistment), though there is only one Thomas Talbot with no middle initial who served with them: however his rank is given as sapper, and the roll shows Thomas as a corporal. Given his age it is quite possible that he served only at home however.

Following the war, the family seem to have settled in Beddington, and Thomas begins to appear regularly in peal and quarter peal reports once again. From Remembrance Day 1923 his son, Edward George, also begins to appear regularly and became quite a well-known ringer.

Thomas died on 21 October 1947 in Wallington. He had been living at 4 Camden House, Guy Road. Administration of his estate was granted to Edward George and Marjorie Annie (now de Freitas), it’s not clear why Dora is not named. His estate was valued at £1679 11s 11d.

Stephen Walter Godin (1899-1926)

Stephen Walter Godin, listed as a Beddington ringer, was initially one of the harder men on the roll to pin down. Census searches immediately found two candidates for the S Godin listed on the roll, Stephen Walter Godin of Croydon and Stephen Walter Godin (some sources have him as Stephen Walker Godin) of New Malden. Neither far from Beddington, but no obvious direct connection with it either. Research in military record suggested that the New Malden man served as an officer in the Royal Naval Air Service and RAF. While there are some errors in the units given in the original roll of honour, this seemed to rule him out as the roll stated that S Godin served with King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

Eventually my policy of trawling through the wartime issues of The Ringing World paid off, with a report of S Godin “one of Beddington’s youngsters” ringing his first quarter peal for Palm Sunday (1 April) 1917. The Croydon man would have been just under 18 at that time, the New Malden man 34. It was then relatively easy to piece together the remaining details – though it has not been possible to confirm service with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

Stephen Walter Godin’s parents, Ernest Godin (25) and Edith Lucy Tullett (22), married at St Peter’s, Croydon on 19 December 1897. Ernest was an upholsterer, the fathers of both bride and groom had already died. Ernest’s address is given as 14 Duppas Hill Lane, Croydon, Edith’s as 22 Duppas Hill Lane. Ernest’s father (also Stephen Walter Godin) had been an upholsterer too, Edith’s a railway porter. Stephen (their first child) was born in late 1899, he was baptised on 24 December 1899, but unfortunately the register does not note his actual date of birth. The family were then living at 74a Frith Road, where they still were when the 1901 census was taken on 31 March 1901.

A younger brother, Frederick Ernest, was born in late 1903; and a sister, Edith May, in mid 1908. By 1911 the family had moved a short distance to 30 Frith Road. It is not clear exactly when Ernest started ringing, now why he went to Beddington, rather than the parish church of St Peter’s Croydon. They did not live that far from Arthur Ernest Plowman and his family, who was about 18 months older than Stephen, so it may simply have been that they were friends. There does not appear to be any record of Ernest Godin ever having been a ringer.

The 1917 quarter peal seems to be the only record of a specific piece of ringing by Stephen, no trace of a peal has been found. In the normal course of events he would have been called up later that year, no entry has been found in the Surrey Recruitment Registers (these are not complete). There is no medal index card (or any other surviving military record), this would suggest that any overseas service must have been after the Armistice.

While he does not seem to have been a prolific ringer, he seems to have been a steady Sunday service man. He died aged only 26 on 24 June 1926. He was buried on 28 June, and the following day a half-muffled peal of Grandsire Triples was rung in his memory. All eight members of the band were aged under 21 (the ages proudly listed in the peal report range from 16 to 20). The conductor, George Jennings (20) was ringing his 25th peal.

Albert Boxall (1891-?)

Albert Boxall was the seventh or eighth of nine children: one sibling died in infancy and it’s not been possible to establish whether they were older or younger. His parents, Alfred Boxall and Sarah Budgen, married in the Brighton registration district early in 1877 or late in 1876. The first child, Alfred Anthony was born in early 1877 in Brighton. By the 1881 census the family had moved to Cowfold, Sussex, and a second child, Ellen Blanche was born around the same time. Alfred senior was then 26 (born Leigh, Surrey) and working as a coachman. Sarah was 24 (born Portsmouth, Hampshire).

Another move followed soon after, to East Molesey, Surrey. Another son, Walter, was born in 1882. Three more sisters followed, Eliza Mary in 1884, Rose Alice in 1887 and Florence Emily in December 1890. At the 1891 census the family were living at Bell Road, East Molesey. Alfred senior is now listed as a gardener domestic. Albert himself was born later in 1891, around 7 December judging by the report of a peal on that date in 1912 which was rung to mark his birthday. There is a long gap to the final child, Lilian, who was born in 1898 – perhaps this suggests the child who died in infancy was born in this gap.

By 1901 the family had moved to Wallington and were living in a cottage belonging to the Old Manor House, though Walter had married and was living in Hampshire, while Ellen was working as a live-in cook elsewhere in Wallington. Alfred senior was still working as a gardener. It’s not clear if Alfred had been a ringer before this final move, or if it was only after he arrived in Wallington that he learnt. Albert seems to have followed in his footsteps however. By the 1911 census the family are shown at 2 Manor Road (this may well be the same house as in 1901), with Alfred still a gardener. Albert (now 19) had become a fishmonger.

It is from late 1912 and onwards that the principal evidence of Albert’s ringing comes, peals in November and December, and a few more pieces of ringing in 1913 and 1914. There are a few possible reports later on, but they simply list A Boxall, whereas earlier reports are clear as to whether it is father or son that’s intended.

According to the original roll of honour, he served in the Suffolk Regiment, but I have been unable to find any corroborating evidence. There is no medal index card for any A Boxall with overseas service in the Suffolk Regiment, and there too many others to choose from to make a definite identification.

Arthur Ernest Plowman (1898-1917†): missed from the roll

Updated 10 May 2013: After the initial version of this page appeared on 9 May 2013 Andy Arnold reminded me of the Croydon Roll of Honour, which has filled in a few more details, and allowed me to correct a couple of details. The update has also allowed me to correct a number of typos.

Arthur Ernest Plowman was at least the third generation of his family to ring at Beddington. He had progressed far enough in ringing to take part in a quarter peal on Easter Day 1916 (23 April), but he had just turned 18 so was liable for conscription. He attested on 10 May 1916, though he may not have actually begun his training until later that year. He was posted to a Base Depot in France on 29 March 1917, just short of his 19th birthday. On 15 April he was posted to a frontline unit, 13th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, and seems to have joined them at Izel-lès-Hameau, just under 20km west of Arras on 17 April. The battalion had already been heavily involved in the opening phases of the Battle of Arras and in the early hours of 23 April would rejoin the fray – a rather different day to that which he had enjoyed just a year before. After just under a week of hard fighting he was reported missing, and subsequently his death was officially presumed to have taken place on 29 April 1917. His body was never found, and he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial to the Missing.

Arthur Ernest Plowman (who appears to have been known as Ernest) was born at Wallington, Surrey on 15 April 1898. His parents, Arthur John Plowman and Kate Groves had married in the latter part of 1896. Arthur was from a Beddington family, Kate had been born in Newbury, Berkshire. Arthur was already a bellringer at Beddington, following his own father, John Plowman, who had been a ringer from about the time a new ring of bells was installed in 1869 (he was elected to the College Youths in 1878). John died at the age of just 41 in 1893.

By 1901 the family had moved the short distance to Croydon, where they were living at 11 Westfield Road, but Arthur was still a regular ringer at Beddington. The 1891 census shows that Arthur had originally been an apprentice compositor at a printers, but by 1901 he is described as foreman packer rubber goods. As the 1911 census lists him as a despatch clerk in the cycle and motor trade, the rubber goods were presumably inner tubers, tyres and the like! In 1902 a sister arrived for Ernest, Doris Kate. By 1911 the family had moved again, but an even shorter distance to 4 Ainsworth Road, Croydon. Ernest was educated at the Welcome Hall school in Scarbrook Road, effectively an overflow from the Parish (now Minster) Church School.

At some point Ernest learnt to ring, travelling with his father to Beddington. The report of the quarter peal in which Ernest rang the tenor to Grandsire Triples, while his father rang the treble, describes him as “one of Beddington’s youngsters”. Just under three weeks later he would join up, he was recorded as being 18 years 1 month, 5’6″ tall, weighing 131 lbs and having a 35″ chest with 3″ expansion, a painter [this is possibly a mistranscription for printer, see below], born Wallington, attested Croydon, and living 4 Ainsworth Road, Croydon. There is a hint that he did not actually start training immediately, the register entry is marked to say he went to 30th Training Reserve Battalion, but the former 10th (Reserve) Battalion, East Surrey Regiment did not adopt that name until 1 September 1916. The Croydon Roll of Honour states he enlisted on 1 September 1916, which would fit with that being the actual date of his call up. Here his occupation is given as “apprentice to printer’s machine minder”.

His posting to France on 29 March 1917 was followed just a month later by his death.

A report in The Ringing World in December 1918 does mention his death in passing – it is principally a report of the funeral of Serjeant Major John Webb of Benhilton but as some of the ringers at the funeral came from Mitcham and Beddington their own casualties are also given a mention.

However, for some reason, when the Association’s roll of honour was finally drawn up, Ernest was not included. This was despite a statement at the AGM in January 1917, “the number of new members elected during the past year had been four only – against the 50 who had been called too the colours since the outbreak of hostilities. The names of those 50 do not cover the number of ringers of the Association who have exchanged the rope for the rifle, and the Master appealed to the representatives of the towers to see that a complete record was kept, whether members of the Association or not, in order that a complete and permanent record might hereafter be prepared.” (Ringing World 2 February 1917 p37).

A century on, it seems just he should also be listed amongst the losses to ringing in Surrey. He should also be added to the Central Council for Church Bell Ringers roll of honour. He is listed in the Croydon Roll of Honour. The Wallington War Memorial apparently lists H Plowman, it is possible this should be Ernest, there was a Horace Plowman living in Wallington in 1911, but there does not seem to be a matching CWGC entry.

Beddington page updated

Reviewing my research notes, I realised that I had omitted Corporal T A Talbot, Royal Engineers from the Beddington page entirely the other day. Also that the situation regarding S Godin, though still far from certain, that two men living nearby in 1911 (though not apparently related) were both called Stephen Walter Godin. The older of the two, from New Malden, was 28 in 1911 and working for the family ship broking firm, he appears to have been commissioned into the Royal Naval Air Service and subsequently the RAF so it is unlikely to be him. The other, the son of an upholsterer, was only 11 in 1911 which make explain why there does not appear to be a medal card to help tie down the service. Godin was not a common name in the UK, so hopefully some evidence will emerge from ringing records to help further.