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Thomas Arthur House

Thomas Arthur House

Male Abt 1896 - 1940  (~ 44 years)

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  • Name Thomas Arthur House  [1, 2
    Witness at Marriage 29 Jun 1823  Register Office, Wandsworth, London Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    • sister's wedding
    Birth Abt 1896  Westminster, London Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5
    Born Abt Nov 1896  Westminster, London Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Birth Abt Nov 1896  St George, Hanover Square RD, London Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Birth Abt 1897  [2
    • age 27 at marriage
    Name Thomas House  [4, 5
    Residence 1901  56 Bessborough Place, Westminster, London Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Bessborough Place, Westminster
    Bessborough Place, Westminster
    Occupation 2 Apr 1911 
    Messenger Boy 
    Residence 2 Apr 1911  41 Bruce Road, Mitcham, Surrey Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Occupation 25 Oct 1924  [2
    Motor driver 
    Residence 25 Oct 1924  56 Addington Road, Canning Town, Essex Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Occupation 29 Nov 1940  [6
    Air Raid Protection ambulance driver 
    Died 29 Nov 1940  Erith, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Thomas Arthur House
    Thomas Arthur House
    Erith Pub Blast
    Thomas Arthur House
    Thomas Arthur House
    News Sopper article
    Thomas Arthur House
    Thomas Arthur House
    Newspaper Cutting
    Thomas Arthur House
    Thomas Arthur House
    Municipal Borough of Erith
    Notes 
    • In the photograph, Thomas House is believed to be the person on the left and the young man with his arm across his shoulder is the stretcher bearer, Henry Parry who died alongside him.

      Hat-tip to Graham Jansen for the following two articles:
      From the NEWS SHOPPER of December 31, 2003: Search for lasting tribute to hero
      As tributes to the war dead go, a patch of grass with a grave number on it is not the most prestigious. But for Graham Jansen, that is all there is to remember the grandfather he regards as a hero. Reported Linda Piper looks at Mr Jansen's quest to get his grandfather's ultimate sacrifice publicly recognized with a proper memorial . . .
      His grandfather, Thomas House, lived in Bullbanks Road, Belvedere. He had served with the Royal Horse Artillery during the First World War, but was too old at 44 to fight again when the Second World War broke out. So he became an ambulance driver instead.
      And it was while on duty during a bombing raid when hit the riverfront area of Erith on November 29, 1940, Mr House made his last trip with his ambulance to help the wounded.
      He and a 19-year old stretcher bearer, Henry Parry, made their way to the Riverside Gardens area of the town at 7:30pm.
      Suddenly, another bomb fell on the town, landing in the gardens whic had been laid over the site of the former Cannon and Gaze flour mill.
      Because of the thickness of the concrete foundations of the mill which lay under the gardens, the bomb could not penetrate the ground. Instead it caused considerable blast damage.
      The landlord of the Crown pub, in Erith High Street, was killed and so was his wife. The landlord of the Running Horses pub on the opposite side of the road was also killed, as well as two women and Mr House and Mr Parry. Around 20 others were injured.
      While Mr Parry's family agreed to a civilian war grave provided at public expense, Mr House's wife Flora decided on a private burial.
      "My mother told me he was very much against funds being used for non-essential reasons, possibly as a consequence of the war effort," said Mr Jansen. He thinks this is why his grandmother chose a burial with minimal fuss.
      As a result, after her death, the grave fell into disrepair and the council cleared the site. For Mr Jansen's mother, it was a double tragedy. She was an evacuee and was away from home when he died. She has no photographs of him, nor a grave to visit. It was after his own father's death last year that Mr Jansen began researching his father's war experiences and found out about his grandfather's death.
      He was shocked to discover there was not even a headstone on his grandfather's grave to record the circumstances of his death.
      Because the grave is still owned by Flora House, the family will have to pay to have the ownership transferred before any decision can be taken about a headstone.
      Mr Jansen, 29, who lives in Main Road, Longfield, has already successfully applied for his grandfather's National Service medal. He is also working with the Civilians Remembered Trust, which hopes to put up a memorial in East London to the civilian war dead, and to have his grandfather's name included.
      He is still looking for more information about his grandfather, especially his work as an ambulance driver and the circumstances of his death.
      He is also hoping to have a memorial plaque placed outside the Running Horses pub in Erith, which would carry the details of the bombing and the names of those who died, including his grandfather.

      From the NEWS SHOPPER of August 2, 2011: Second World War ambulance driver Thomas House gets medal 71 years after pub bombing

      After 71 years, the family of an ambulance driver killed in a Second World War bomb attack have finally secured a lasting tribute to him. Air Raid Precautions worker Thomas House, aged 44, of Bullbanks Road, Belvedere, was killed at The Running Horses pub in Erith when a bomb struck on November 29 1940.

      Back in 2003, News Shopper reported how Mr House’s grandson Graham Jansen discovered his grandfather had no headstone at his grave and was looking for a way to have him honoured. Mr Jansen, from Longfield, explained: “My grandfather was entitled to have a civilian war grave at Brook Street Cemetery, Erith, but for reasons unknown my grandmother requested an unmarked grave. “It seems she did not claim the medal at the end of the war either.”

      Now 46-year-old Mr Jansen has succeeded, after discovering he could apply for a Defence Medal for his grandfather, as he had qualified for civilian service. By applying through the Civil Contingencies Secretariat in Whitehall, Mr Jansen managed to get the medal and has now presented it to his mother, 78-year-old Valerie Smith from Joydens Wood.

      Mr House was buried without a gravestone He said: “It's taken 71 years but we got there in the end. “I really did this for my mum to be honest. She literally had nothing at all to remember him.

      “I am now in the process of contacting the family of Henry George Frederick Parry, the ARP stretcher bearer killed alongside my grandfather to see if they are aware he qualified for the medal.“ The ribbon colours on the medal are symbolic, with the flame, green and black symbolising the enemy attacks, British Isles and war years black-out respectively.

      The bombing
      Mr House had been on duty the night a bombing raid hit the riverfront area of Erith and took his ambulance to help the wounded. He and a 19-year-old stretcher bearer, Henry Parry, made their way to the Riverside Gardens area of the town at 7.30pm.

      Suddenly another bomb fell on the town, landing in the gardens which had been laid over the site of the former Cannon and Gaze flour mill. Because of the thickness of the concrete foundations of the mill which lay under the gardens, the bomb could not penetrate the ground. Instead, it caused considerable blast damage.

      The landlord of the Crown pub, in Erith High Street, was killed and so was his wife. Also killed was the landlord of the Running Horses pub on the opposite side of the road, as well as two women and Mr House and Mr Parry. Around 20 others were injured.
    Person ID I42422  ONS
    Last Modified 20 Oct 2020 

    Father William Sidney John House,   b. 13 Aug 1868, Wells, Somerset Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt Feb 1946, Mid E Surrey RD, Surrey Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years) 
    Mother Alma Ada Williamena Gale,   b. Abt Aug 1876, Salisbury, Wiltshire Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt May 1923, Croydon RD, Surrey Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 46 years) 
    Married Abt Feb 1896  St George, Hanover Square RD, London Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Family ID F12964  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Flora McAlister Campbell Macgregor,   b. Abt 1903,   d. 14 Oct 1967, Erith, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 64 years) 
    Married 25 Oct 1924  St Matthias, Canning Town, Essex Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Wedding of Thomas Arthur House and Flora McAlister Campbell Macgregor
    Wedding of Thomas Arthur House and Flora McAlister Campbell Macgregor
    Other known people on pic: Daisy House (i42374), Frank Goldsmith (i42362), Alma Harding (baby)(i109735), Lily Alma House (i42409), Violet House (i42423) (bridesmaid), bridegroom and bride, then on far right (with cigarette) brother, William House (i42434)
    Flora McAlister Campbell Macgregor and Thomas Arthur House Wedding
    Flora McAlister Campbell Macgregor and Thomas Arthur House Wedding
    Witness 25 Oct 1924  [2
    • Attribute Value: David McGregor
    Witness 25 Oct 1924  [2
    • Attribute Value: Miss L Armstrong
    Married Abt Nov 1924  West Ham RD, London Find all individuals with events at this location  [6, 7
    Children 
    +1. Living
    Last Modified 18 Dec 2013 
    Family ID F13663  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsWitness at Marriage - 29 Jun 1823 - Register Office, Wandsworth, London Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBirth - Abt 1896 - Westminster, London Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBorn - Abt Nov 1896 - Westminster, London Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBirth - Abt Nov 1896 - St George, Hanover Square RD, London Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1901 - 56 Bessborough Place, Westminster, London Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 2 Apr 1911 - 41 Bruce Road, Mitcham, Surrey Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 25 Oct 1924 - St Matthias, Canning Town, Essex Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - Abt Nov 1924 - West Ham RD, London Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 29 Nov 1940 - Erith, Kent Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Thomas Arthur House
    Thomas Arthur House
    Thomas Arthur House
    Thomas Arthur House
    Alma Ada Williamena Gale
    Alma Ada Williamena Gale

  • Sources 
    1. [S476] BMD register (England & Wales) - births - multiple sources.
      available online from various sources

    2. [S198] GOONS marriage challenge.

    3. [S50] Marriage cert.

    4. [S6] 1901 census.

    5. [S156] 1911 census - UK.

    6. [S699] Graham Jansen.

    7. [S475] BMD register (England & Wales) - marriages - multiple sources.
      available online from various sources