Handling the Volume of Mail – 1914-1918

Handling the Volume of Mail – 1914-1918 Written by Pam Preedy. In the first half of the 20th century the Royal Mail and the Post Office counter service, which provided essential services such as dealing with stamps, and paying the old age pensions, were all incorporated and came under the title of the General Post Office. Even before the First World War, the Post Office employed over 250,000 people, handling 5.9 billion items of post. At that time there were up to four deliveries a day. A letter posted in…

Basham Brothers Missing, 1942

Basham Brothers Missing in Action It must have been bad enough having one son go missing in action, but it must have been almost unbearable having two.  This article featured in the Bromley & District Times local newspaper, reporting on two brothers who were reported missing after the fall of Singapore in 1942. The brothers were the sons of Benjamin and Rose Basham of Bromley.  Bennett Thomas Basham was married to Constance Elsie (of Thorpe Abbotts, Norfolk) who was living with his mother during the war. Both brothers were members…

Cross Country Run, 1942

Air Training Corps take part in Cross Country Run A.T.C. in Hard Test Forty-two members of the Bromley Squadron of the Air Training Corps took part in a cross-country run at Hayes [Bromley] on Sunday morning.  It was organised by Flying Officer W.M. Ogden, who is in charge of the sports side. The course was a four-mile one, starting from the top of Station Hill by the fountain, then going across the Common to Croydon Road. along to the Fox at Keston and Leafy Grove then down the hill to…

Mr David Waite in Singapore

Missing in Singapore David Stanley Waite was the son of Harold & Margaret Waite of 22 Woodlands Way, West Wickham.   He married Margaret Greenhalgh in Bromley in 1934. After studying at the London University School of Journalism, he worked for several years in Fleet Street, and was for some years on the staff at the Kentish Times.  In 1935 David left England for Japan where he joined the Straits Times as a sub-editor.  He was then only 25 years old. He wife Margaret, joined him in Singapore and they had…

Dunkirk: The RAF support the evacuation

Dunkirk: The RAF support the evacuation Written by Pam Preedy. By 26th May, 1940 Britain faced “a colossal military disaster . . . the whole root and core and brain of the British Army” (Churchill) had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) went to help defend France. For eight months while economic sanctions were imposed on Germany, little actual warfare occurred (the Phoney War). Then, on 10th May, 1940 Germany invaded Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Three panzer corps…

Bromley High Street

Bromley High Street Written by Pam Preedy. Bromley High Street has been constantly changing through time. Shops come; shops go, reflecting changing tastes, fashions and time. The market started life in 1205, granted by King John at the manor of Bromley and became a feature of Bromley life. I remember it; a busy market at Station Road car park by Bromley North Station. In 2012 it was relocated to the High Street. The Glades changed the landscape behind the High Street and opened on 22nd October, 1991. When it was…

Romans in Orpington: Crofton Roman Villa

Romans in Orpington: Crofton Roman Villa Written by Pam Preedy. Just next to Orpington Railway Station is a hidden gem, Crofton Roman Villa. We know that Britain was conquered by the Romans. Julius Caesar came twice; in 55BC when he stayed for three weeks and again a year later when he stayed for 12 weeks. The Romans did not return for nearly 100 years, but Britain was a prize beckoning them; they anticipated rich rewards. According to Julius Caesar, “The Britons have a huge number of cattle, they use gold…

Ronald Frederick Leonard Tong

Pilot Officer Awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross  Pilot Officer R.F.L. Tong Among a number of awards approved by the King is the Distinguished Flying Cross to Pilot Officer Roland Frederick Leonard Tong, Royal Air Force, Volunteer Reserve, No. 57 Squadron. Born in Bromley in 1917, he is the son of Mr and Mrs P.C. Tong, S, Upper Park Road, and an Old Boy of the county School, Hayes Lane. Afterwards he was on the staff of the West Minister Bank (Lower Sloane Street branch).  He enlisted in June 1940, and…

Thomas Holloway

Sergeant Thomas Holloway Chislehurst Sergeant’s Letter Sergeant Thomas Holloway, R.A.F., of 11 Church row, Chislehurst, who has been a prisoner of war in Germany since May 1940, has written home to his mother in Chislehurst giving of how he and his new found friends spent Christmas Day in a German prison camp. In his letter he said that they had a grand time on Christmas Eve decorating their hut and setting up a fine Christmas tree adorned with fairy lights, tinsel, and the usual decorations. About 250 communicants attended a…

Interview with Pam Preedy

Interview with Pam Preedy Interviewed by In Life Magazine At the age of 74, local historian Pam Preedy has published her first book, Living through the Great War at Home: How the People of Bromley Faced the Challenges of War.  Pam has always been interested in history, but the trigger to enter into print was a course she took with the Oxford Continuing Education department on local history. Pam said: “I had come to believe that as far as history went, Bromley was one of the most boring towns in…