Is my great great grandmother's CWGC entry correct?

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Drew1940, May 11, 2014.

  1. Drew1940

    Drew1940 Active Member

    Hello Ladies & Gents,

    Please would you give me any help or advice about the following query I have? I hope this is the correct thread. I did ponder over a few different places where I could have put it. Apologies if wrong.

    I recently posted some pictures of my great great grandmother, Mary Anne Florence drew, who was killed by a parachute mine in 1940. See here:

    However, I am wondering if there might be a mistake in her commemoration. It is only a small point, so please forgive me for raising it, but I am interested to find out if it is accurate. I just noticed that there are two people listed as dying at 103 Merlin Grove that night, including my great great grandmother.
    15th Nov 1940.png

    However, I am pretty sure that my grandmother, who told me the story many, many times! ;) , would have told me if there was somebody else in the house with Mary Drew when she died. Yet my Nan never mentioned anybody else. I did hear that there was a mix up “at the morgue” when her son (my great grandfather), went to identify her. He was at first shown the wrong body. There was obviously some confusion, perfectly understandable given all the damage done, and I wonder if this incident might have been part of the same problem.
    An old friend of my Nan’s once wrote that Mary Drew was killed at no. 93 or 98 Merlin Grove, on the stairs. I am ashamed to say that for a long time I thought perhaps her memory was incorrect, but having now seen this other entry, I wonder if perhaps she was correct after all, and that the CWGC entry is wrong.

    Does anyone know how I would go about checking these details? I think there are no Censuses for 1931 or 1941, and even if there were, I could not look them up yet, and in addition, it will be a while before the 1939 Identity cards come online. Does anyone know of any other way I could check?

    Many thanks in advance for any help you may be able to provide,

  2. Doc

    Doc Senior Member

    old newspapers of the time???
    Drew1940 likes this.
  3. Drew1940

    Drew1940 Active Member

    I think I may have tried that, at least online, a while back, but certainly worth a try again. Plus, I imagine that a lot of the local newspapers will only be accessible in local libraries and places like that. So thanks very much for your suggestion. Great idea.

    I'm thinking that even if I find out that she lived at a different address, it still might take some convincing for the CWGC to make a change. They may argue she could have been at No. 103 for some reason, or something like that. I understand it can be hard to get them to change something. I understand why though.

    Many thanks again,

  4. Red Goblin

    Red Goblin Senior Member

    Hi Chris,

    A quick check suggests #98 as more likely - simply because Bomb Sight plots the parachute mine just to the south of Merlin Grove and therefore behind the even-numbered houses which, presuming them to have still been standing at the time, would have largely shielded the odd-numbered houses from its blast. With no precise dates for any of their bomb plots, however, it's hard to tell whether this one did or didn't fall on the 15th Nov '40 and what effect the HE bombs, plotted nearby, had already wreaked by then.

    And don't forget that folk were apt to visit their neighbours so that they could have just been caught away from home - so maybe, piecing these few crumbs together:
    * Mrs R lived at #103 but was caught out visiting Mrs D at #98
    * Before Mrs R died there, Beckenham Hospital would have naturally been more
    interested in her home address - perhaps thus sowing the seeds of confusion
    Or maybe, contrarily, Mrs D lived at #103 and had gone to borrow the proverbial cup of sugar from Mrs R at #98. And maybe #93 was a misremembered amalgum of those 2 other #s?

    Re newspapers, BTW, bear in mind that bad news was heavily censored lest it undermine public morale - esp. in the early years of WW2 when Whitehall was still seriously underestimating Joe Public's mental resilience to air attacks. Electoral Rolls and (phone) directories should at least clue you in to where each of these 2 widows called home.

    Maybe more later,
    Drew1940 likes this.
  5. PeteT

    PeteT Senior Member


    Just in case you are not aware, it is possible to get information for a deceased person from the 1939 National Registration Scheme Register (for a fee of course)



    Drew1940 likes this.
  6. Drew1940

    Drew1940 Active Member


    Thanks very much for all the info. There are a lot of things to think about and leads you have given me there. And impressive thinking re the location of the houses. You have made me think- The phrase my Nan used to describe the house afterwards was, "...blown to Kingdom come". It may be a bit speculative of me, but I was just thinking that I wouldn't describe the houses in the photos further down (No. 95 etc) as necessarily "blown to kingdom come". That might possibly suggest 98, as you wonder. Since 98-103 seem to be the most heavily affected.

    I suppose they could have been caught out visiting each other, I was just sure that my Nan would have said, but again, you have made me think and now I come to think of it, perhaps my Nan never knew. You would think one of my relatives at the time would have given them the correct address. Then again, this was in the days before internet and the like, perhaps they never knew the precise details of the memorial. I think its just because they are both described as "of 103 Merlin Grove" which seems to imply that they CWGC thinks they both lived there.

    Again, many thanks for the tip re electoral registers and phone directories. I think I did have a search a while back on FMP. But I will have a more thorough and systematic search through.

    Many thanks again for all your help, it is much appreciated.


    That is fantastic. I think I will get on to that and find out. I will post the details here if I find anything out.

    Many thanks to you too for taking the time to have a ponder about my query.


  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Hello Chris

    it was as stated before very common friends and family members being killed visiting at a single also possibly lodgers .
    a few examples below

    Wife of William Henry Atkins, of 23 Roxeth Hill. Died at 78 Bessborough Road.

    Husband of Susanne Hyatt, of 25 Alma Grove, Southwark Park Road, Bermondsey, London. Died at 18 Kingshill Drive

    Wife of Alfred Roberts, of 31 Roman Road, East Ham, Essex. Died at 18 Vancouver Road, Burnt Oak.

    other casualty




    Date of Death:





    Civilian War Dead

    Reporting Authority


    Additional Information:
    of 103 Merlin Grove, Eden Park. Daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Read, of Thurrell Square, Bethnal Green, London; widow of Charles Redington. Injured at 103 Merlin Grove; died same day at Beckenham Hospital.

    Drew1940 likes this.
  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    CL1 - you beat me to it

    The other person killed in the house - although it says she died in hospital was Jessica Reddington

    Mary Drew info:

    Jessica Reddington info:

    Both are shown as being in 103 Merlin Grove

    edited to add:
    On this day in this place there are 7 recorded civilian deaths
    Drew1940 likes this.
  9. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    Maybe the best way to find the actual address both people lived at would be to get their death certificates. £9.25 each at

    Assuming that they had the question Occupation and usual address, on the forms circa 1940s.
    I know that in 1958, that this was the case as I have seen my aunts death certificate, she died in Hospital nov 1958 and had been in that hospital since July 1946 yet it still gave her original address.
    Drew1940 likes this.
  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Reading Jessica Redingtons probate she was a widow as this point, so a possibility she was lodging there at 103. I cannot find a probate for Mary Drew, her death details show her spouse as F J Drew - it does not say if he was alive at this time.

  11. Red Goblin

    Red Goblin Senior Member

    Looking at the book extracts in your album, Chris, I reckon the damage shown there was instead done by this HE bomb virtually in #103's back garden. If both this and the parachute mine fell during the same raid then that's where the discrepancy may well lie - a useful next step perhaps being to see whether sufficiently precise timings may be got directly from TNA HO 193 (Ministry of Home Security: Research and Experiments Department, Bomb Census Maps) parts:
    * 5 - London Area: 11 to 18 Nov 1940
    * 13 - London Area: Night bombing only between 7 Oct 1940 and 6 June 1941 (as used by Bomb Sight)
    * 14 - London Area: Day bombing only between 8 Oct and 31 Dec 1940

    I don't reckon, BTW, the garden portrait was taken in Merlin Grove - the arrangement of buildings behind is all wrong for houses on either side of the road (esp. with them boasting gable end walls vs the hipped roof ends ruling the area except for the fancy gable-fronted semis lining Ernest Grove).

    Finally, for now, I think we can safely disregard those other 5 same-day Beckenham casualties as occuring 1km away at #s 53 & 58 Greenways (BR3 3NQ). It is, however, perhaps worth pointing out that Bomb Sight shows no bomb near enough to account for it. So maybe it was either an unplotted day bomb or something like an exploding gas main in the road between these facing houses ...


    PS: This may interest you - 1940-11-21 - Official letter of commendation after occurrence in Merlin Grove, 15 November 1940
  12. Drew1940

    Drew1940 Active Member

    Wow! Thank you all so much for all your excellent responses. There are so many leads and fantastic advice, that I do not know where to start. I am very grateful to you all.

    Clive & Tricky Dicky,

    Thank you very much for your information. I think I get your points about there being a difference between “died at... (such and such a place)” and “of...(such and such an address)”. It is a very perceptive point, thanks very much. But what is confusing me is Mrs Redington is described as “of 103 Merlin Grove” as well as “injured at 103 Merlin Grove”. Where as in the examples above the individuals are shown as being of a certain address but dying at a different one; Mrs Redington is described as being injured at 103 Merlin Grove but also being of 103 Merlin Grove. The description of Both Mrs Redignton and my grt grt grandmother as, “of 103 Merlin Grove”, implies to me that, in the eyes of the CWGC, they both lived at the same address, and that it was not a case of someone just visiting. If she was just visiting surely it would merely say “died at…”, and it wouldn’t say “of…” as well. However, as Clive says, perhaps she was a lodger.
    Does that make sense? its confusing me as I write! Apologies if I am missing your point. On the one hand, I am pretty sure my Nan would have said if there was someone else there (as my Nan lived in the same road at the time), but on the other I will admit that you can never be too sure, and it pays to look at all angles. Thanks for the memorial scans too. Very kind.

    Many Thanks


    Many Thanks to you too. I think getting hold of the death certificates might be a very good idea. I have never got one for that relatively recent period of history before, but from memory I think they do tend to give both residence and place of death details. Nice idea. That could be the key there!

    Red Devil,

    Thank you so much again for all your advice. You could well be right about Ernest Grove, since part of the family had a house there at the time (everybody was in the same area). The houses in the back are definitely a different angle to the ones in the bomb damaged photos. Very perceptive of you.
    The document you highlighted form Bromley Archives looks very interesting. I will have to get my Mum on the case with that, since I am so far away, I will keep you all informed with what it says.

    I think the article I posted in my gallery refers to the bomb as a “Parachute mine that fell on numbers 93 to 103 Merlin Grove, in November 1940” (It is in a caption under one of the pictures). And my Nan was always very clear on that point (though I admit people can get it wrong). Actually, the word she used was “Landmine”. I interpreted that to mean the same as parachute mine. Am I wrong there? Please excuse me if I am missing your point here. I checked the CWGC casualties and there was only one bomb that fell on Merlin Grove in November 1940. I think there was a V1 or something like that which fell in 1944. Could that be what HE refers to? Perhaps not, as I think your link just refers to the Blitz. I am only checking casualties on the CWGC perhaps I should follow up on some of the many leads that you suggested. These are just my immediate responses, but I will take your advice and try to get more info on the bombs that fell in that area.

    Many thanks again.

    Apologies if I am going on a bit, but I am very grateful for all your help and wanted to write back in full, as it were. You have all given me so many interesting and fascinating leads for me to follow up. I can’t thank you all enough.
  13. Drew1940

    Drew1940 Active Member

    I just re-read my original post and I can see that I was going on about two people dying "at" the same address. But what I really meant was that I was concerned about the fact that the two individuals are described as being "of" the same address. I think I was not careful enough about my use of words. It wasnt until Tricky Dicky and Clive educated me on the subject that I was able to fully express what I meant.

    My apologies,

  14. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Having re read the information attached to my post 8 - I note that Mary Drew was a widow, as was Jessica Redington.

    Perhaps from a family tree here would help as she may be related to Mary Drew, or as both were widows, Jessie may have been a lodger.

    Jessica Redington (nee Reed) married Charles Reddington in 1919 (Bethnal Green), he was born 1888 and died in 1937

    Frederick J Drew - born 1859 - died 1939

    Chris, perhaps you need to check out if there was a family relationship between Mary Drew and Jessica Reddington (nee Reed)
  15. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    As per RCG's suggestion, possible death registration entries:

    Name: Mary A F Drew
    Birth Date: abt 1864
    Date of Registration: Dec 1940
    Age at Death: 76
    Registration district: Bromley
    Inferred County: Kent
    Volume: 2a
    Page: 1812

    Name: Jessica Redington
    Birth Date: abt 1897
    Date of Registration: Dec 1940
    Age at Death: 43
    Registration district: Bromley
    Inferred County: Kent
    Volume: 2a
    Page: 1811

    The volume and page details are what you will need for application for copy D cert.

    Death certificates also should show who registered the death, usually a relative.

    An alternative is to email CWGC directly and ask them to re-check details, some errors are known to have occurred when records were computerised. They might not share with you any info they have on the other casualty, however if the online info is subsequently discovered to be incorrect, they will have to amend it.
    Drew1940 likes this.
  16. Red Goblin

    Red Goblin Senior Member

    Just to clarify ...
    ... and update:
    I now reckon the garden photo was taken at 32 (or possibly 31) Ronald Close - see attached analysis aligning background houses with a choice of those to the E on either side of the N-S leg of Ernest Grove. Does that make sense or do I get the booby prize?
    photo background analysis.gif
    Drew1940 likes this.
  17. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Chris don't worry you carry on ,it is important you find out as much as you can.
    As dbf said the cwgc may have more info.
    If you go to their website and click on contact us it will run through a number of options to complete your query.Once they have details of your query they will get back to might take a while for them to reply.

  18. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Chris, I have found the following in the Probate indexes:

    Charles William Redington of 103 Merlin Grove, Eden Park, Beckenham died 22 April 1937 at King’s College Hospital, Denmark Hill. Probate London 4 June to Jessie Redington widow. Effects 279 2s.

    Jessica Redington otherwise Jessie of 103 Merlin Grove, Beckenham, Kent, widow died 15 November 1940 at Beckenham Hospital, Beckenham, Administration (limited) Llandudno 31 March to Henry John Hedges accountant and Flora Lavinea Hedges (wife of the said Henry John Hedges). Effects £393 16s 11d.

    So it looks like they had been at Merlin Grove for some time. Do you know the two families were connected? Could there have been two flats?

    Electoral Registers 1931 and 1932 show that there is a Charles William and Jessie Redington at 10 Devonshire Road, Mitcham. Not necessarily the same couple, but a possibility.

    Happy hunting.
    Drew1940 likes this.
  19. Drew1940

    Drew1940 Active Member

    Thanks very much again everyone for such interesting and informative help.

    Tricky Dicky,
    Again, first rate advice. I had done a Drew tree, but admittedly had not searched for other wider connections to the Drews. I will do so now, following your advice. They were all from Dublin and came over to England around 1901. They settled first in North London and then moved south (must have been in the 1920s to 30s). I was not aware of any Mitcham connection (Reddington/Reed), but it will be fun searching.

    Thanks a lot dbf for making it easier for me to get started with that. It will take about two weeks for those to reach Japan. I will of course update this thread.

    Red Devil,

    Very impressive work with the photos. Top Prize i should think! Thanks lot for taking the time to do that. How did you do it by the way? Google Earth? I have never been able to do anything like that with it! I'm in awe. Only thing that makes me hesitate is that I heard my Nan mention Ernest Grove many times, but never Roland Close. But your analysis is very convincing. Wow! Unless I am mistaken Ernest Grove seems to extend in a T shape, I wonder if there could also be a chance of it being round the corner. Inspired by your efforts I will see if there are any more photos of the houses around there. Thanks again.
    Good news by the way. My Mum has already got on to Bromley Archives about that document you found and is going to photograph it tonight. Ill let you know what it says.

    Clive & dbf,

    Thanks again, I will also contact the CWGC. I am very grateful for you taking the time to think about this an continuing to help me.


    Very compelling evidence you have found. It's from an earlier period and is not at all connected with these events and as such it seems to confirm independently that Jessica Redington was living at 103. If there is a mistake it looks like it could be with my Grt grt grandmother's entry. Though I still have a lot of work to do following up on people's advice and confirming that. It is another good point that you make about the fact that they could have been flats.

    I have a lot of work to do following up on such excellent advice from everyone. I cant believe how helpful everyone has been taking time to look into my query. Thank you very much.

  20. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Chris

    Just a note when searching - I found that Reddington or Redington can be spelt either way, so make sure you leave any search 'open' for similar names, otherwise you may keep finding the searches come back as a zero result.

    Good luck with your quest and let us know the outcome.


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