PEARSON Nevill Corrie, Signalman. 2327369.
Royal Corps of Signals.
Died 13 February 1942, age 22.
Nevill Corrie Pearson was born in Hastings, Sussex in 1919 (GRO reference: Jun 1919 Hastings 2b 26), the son of Joseph William and Florence Eva (née Taylor) Pearson.
Nevill's father's occupation was noted in the 1911 census as a boot maker on his own account working from his home 55, Howarth Street, Old Trafford, Manchester. Both of Nevill's parents were recorded as being aged 24 years old when they married on 10 June 1916 in St. Anne's church in Sale, Cheshire. (Nevill's father was actually aged 27 having been born on 5 January 1889 to Joseph Corrie and Alice Ann Pearson).
By 1921 the family had moved south to Surrey and were at living at 7, New Cottages, Horton Hill, Epsom. When Nevill's sister Mavis Margaret was born the following year, they were living at 144, Horton Hill. This may well have been the same cottage as renumbering of roads, in Epsom, was implemented in the 1920s.
Nevill and his family moved several times within the Epsom district and were recorded as living at the following addresses:
1925/27: - 15, Court Farm Gardens, Manor Green Road
1928/29: - 23, Ebbisham Road
1934: - 22, Hook Road
1935/37: - "Lyndhurst", Grosvenor Road
1938/39: - 8, Hamilton Close
While Nevill's sister Mavis worked as a typist for the Post Office during WWII, Nevill enlisted and became Signalman 2327369 in the Royal Corps of Signals.
During the Japanese invasion of Malaya, the Japanese crossed the Straits of Johore and landed at the mouth of the Kranji River on 8 February 1942. On the evening of 9 February they launched an attack during which fierce fighting, including hand-to-hand combat, ensued for several days until the official surrender by General Percival on 15 February. During this fighting, Nevill was attached as a signalman to the 29th Construction Section of the Malaya Command Signals. After the surrender of Singapore, the Japanese established one of their Prisoner of War camps in Kranji.
Nevill's final resting place after his death on 13 February 1942 is unknown but he is remembered on Column 45 of the Singapore Memorial
, which stands in Kranji War Cemetery. Kranji War Cemetery is 22 kilometres north of the city of Singapore, on the north side of Singapore Island overlooking the Straits of Johore.
Photographs courtesy of Bert Barnhurst © 2014
After his death, Nevill's distraught parents approached their local church, St. Barnabas in Temple Road, Epsom and requested that they had some sort of memorial in the church for their dear son. A candlestick was eventually purchased by themselves, at the cost of £14 16 shillings (around £500 in 2014), as a lasting memorial in St. Barnabas church to Nevill. Whether it was engraved with his name was not recorded in the account book entry.
St. Barnabas Church Account Book, 1 January 1946
In January 2014 I enquired as to the whereabouts of the candlestick, and received the following reply from the vicar:
"I cannot find any reference in the old inventories to any silver candlestick (or sticks)'. There are several brass candlesticks but not any inscribed or recorded as being in memoriam or gift in the name of Pearson."
On 2 September 1947, the St. Barnabas Parochial Church Council (PCC) announced that the Town Clerk had sent them a circular stating "that a Roll of Honour was being prepared consisting of those living in the Borough at any time who had lost their lives by Enemy action. The list would include members of the Forces and any others connected with the Forces and also civilians." It was noted that the vicar, Father Anderson, would make enquiries and send to the Town Clerk the names of members of his parish who had given their lives.
Extract from St. Barnabas Church PCC minutes, 2 September 1947
Nevill Corrie Pearson's name was included in his list and can be viewed in the WWII Book of Remembrance http://www.epsomandewellhistoryexplorer.org.uk/WW2Book.html on display in a cabinet in Epsom Town Hall.
The following year the St. Barnabas PCC also agreed that they would request that a friend of Mrs. Colgate produce a WWII Roll of Honour, similar to the one that Phyllis Chipperfield had painted for the WW1 Roll of Honour. It was to be framed and hung at the back of the church where the WW1 Roll of Honour was displayed. The final memorial contained the names of eighteen St. Barnabas' parishioners who had died during the hostilities.
St. Barnabas WWII Roll of Honour
Reproduced by permission of Surrey History Centre
On 21 June 1948 Nevill's father Joseph, aged 59, died. Probate records show that he had been living at 9, Hamilton Close, Epsom and that his effects had been valued at £244 19 shillings. In the 1955 British Telephone Directory, Nevill's sister Mavis was listed as still living at 9, Hamilton Close, Epsom but by 1957 she and her mother had moved to 45, Temple Road, Epsom, which is almost opposite St. Barnabas church.
Nevill's widowed mother died on 1 June 1963 at the Royal Isle of Wight County Hospital in Ryde. Probate of her effects valued at £156 15 shillings was granted to her unmarried daughter Mavis. Mavis was still living at 45, Temple Road, Epsom in 1979.
Epsom Electoral Registers
British Telephone Directories
St. Barnabas PCC Minute Records and Account Books
Reverend Michael Preston
Researched and written by Hazel Ballan © 2014
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