Mitcham, St Peter and St Paul

Mitcham, St Peter and St Paul, sent seven ringers to war, one of the larger contingents. Three did not return. Mitcham had long been one of the strongest towers in the area, and was a driving force behind the formation of the Surrey Association in 1880. There seem to have been particularly strong family links at Mitcham. One of those killed in the war, Douglas Walter Drewett, was the son of the Master – James Douglas Drewett (also from 1913 Master of the Surrey Association) – and he was the son and grandson of Mitcham ringers. Douglas was the secretary of the tower. Stanley Smith’s father, William was also a ringer (and the steeplekeeper, responsible for maintenance of the bells).

  • Private Douglas Walter Drewett † Killed 3 October 1918, Pontruet — 1st Battalion, Cameron Highlanders.
  • Private Benjamin Arthur Morris † Killed 28 November 1917, Cambrai — 4th Battalion, Coldstream Guards.
  • Private Stanley Smith † Killed 18 March 1917 — 9th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment.
  • Gunner Albert John Calver — 341st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (Territorial Force).[Middle initial given as G in original roll. Served India, receiving Indian General Service Medal with Clasp, Afghanistan and North West Frontier 1919. 341st Brigade would have been his training unit.]
  • Private Sydney Amos Foster — 8th Battalion, Rifle Brigade; Army Ordnance Corps; 11th and 12th Battalions, the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment); 97th Battalion, Training Reserve [renamed from 12th Queen’s]; 18th Battalion, the Queen’s; 3rd Infantry Labour Company, the Queen’s; 111th Labour Company, Labour Corps. [Arguably the black sheep of the association. He transferred from the Rifle Brigade to Army Ordnance Corps to serve with older brother Albert Edward. Sentenced to 2 months imprisonment with hard labour after involvement with theft and selling on of army blankets. On release from prison, re-enlisted falsely stating previous service with Reserve Cavalry Regiment and thereafter served with a clean record, including service on the Western Front.]
  • Private William Henry Joiner — the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment).
  • Battery Quarter Master Serjeant Frederick John Tilley — 74th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Awarded Meritorious Service Medal.

Drewett and Morris are commemorated on Mitcham War Memorial, the Smith family lived in Wimbledon (where the main memorial does not carry any names). Reports in The Ringing World suggest that there was a plaque to all three in the ringing chamber at Mitcham, but sadly it seems this was destroyed by the fire in the tower in the early 1950s (large metal pins can still be seen in the wall which may have supported it). Drewett also has a commemorative tablet in the body of the church.

Information about the present ringers can be found on the Surrey Association website.

4 thoughts on “Mitcham, St Peter and St Paul

  1. Pingback: Mitcham, St Peter and St Paul – including the black sheep of the association? | halfmuffled

  2. Pingback: Serjeant Major John Webb (1883-1918†), “leading light of the Benhilton ringers” | halfmuffled

  3. Pingback: Army-Navy peal 1914: Frederick Augustus Holden (1884-1931) | halfmuffled

  4. Pingback: Soldiers’ Effects Registers | halfmuffled

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