The Guards Depot

James B. Mollekin

James B. Mollekin

The 28th July 2017 marked the 65th anniversary of my father joining the Coldstream Guards. This was at a time when men were conscripted to join the Armed Forces, although as my father always pointed out, he wasn’t conscripted, but joined voluntarily; even serving an additional year, leaving in 1954.

I don’t remember how or the specifics, but even after my father had left the Coldstream Guards, he was in reserve for a number of years, almost going to Egypt to fight in the 1956 Suez Crisis. I seem to recall that he was actually on an aeroplane that was turned back at the last minute.

JBM (left)

James Mollekin (left)

My father had been a member of the Army Cadets as a teenager, along with his brother, John, and he took the decision to join the Army when he was aged 17. I think this decision was partly influenced by him losing his sister in 1946 and his mother had been in ill health for a couple of years, passing away just nine days before he joined the Guards.

My father’s first regiment of choice had been the Grenadier Guards, but his application failed so he applied for the Coldstream Guards instead. A medical examination revealed a heart murmur, but after some deliberation, it was determined that it would not affect his ability to join the Guards.

JBM - Sergeant Chandler's Squad, Coldstream Guards, Guards Depot, Caterham - October 1952 (1)

James Mollekin – October 1952

My father told me a number of stories regarding his time in military service; I wish I’d written them all down. But I do remember tales of him floating in the Red Sea during his time in Egypt, waiters bringing him Stella Artois when relaxing on the beach there, befriending the local Arab population (one loaned him a large knife for a while), missing out on ‘Trooping the Colour’ due to an injury to his foot sustained during training, which disappointed him greatly. I believe he was serving in Egypt when Queen Elizabeth II was Coronated. He also helped to sandbag Mablethorpe when there were devastating floods there in 1953. I even remember a tale of when he sneaked his dad and friend into his barracks in London for an overnight stay. In his spare time, my father would help wash pots in the Ritz or Savoy hotel.

JBM - Jordan - March to July 1953 (1)

James Mollekin in Jordan – 1953

Below is a piece of writing written by my father regarding his arrival at the Guards Depot in Caterham for the first time:-

I got off the bus, opposite to my intended destination. If I had any lingering doubts that it was right, the notice on the roadside, quickly dispelled them, as it was painted in bold black letters, “The Guards Depot, Caterham.”

I walked in to the entrance to the Depot, which was a stone built building of turn of the 19th century origin, and stopped at a wire gate.

JBM (left) - Egypt - March to July 1953

James Mollekin (left) in Egpyt – 1953

A tall sergeant appeared from the office, and came to a halt in front of me. I gave him my identification papers from the recruiting office in Sheffield, which he accepted without comment. Then I was startled to hear him bellow in the recesses of the office, “orderly, take this man to the waiting block.” A long lean guardsman emerged from the guard house, at a run. He came to a shuddering halt in front of the sergeant and stood erect with his arms at his sides. Then the sergeant commanded “double march left right,” and I was running behind the orderly, with my suitcase in my hand. I was to find that this mode of motion was the norm for all recruits at the depot.

No communication took place with the orderly and I, and I pursued him, at a frantic pace to the company stores. There I was issued with: bedding, four blankets, two sheets, a mug and knife, fork and spoon.

Medal for Suez Canal Zone 1951 to 1954

Medal for Suez Canal Zone

From there the orderly guided me to the waiting room, not at the same demented pace, but a slower one, as a concession to my new found burden from the company stores.

There were a few other recruits in the waiting block, so called because the new recruits were based, before they were assigned to their first squad.

There wasn’t much time left in the day, travelling down from Rotherham, meant it was afternoon before I got there. My memories of the first day are vague for some of the detailed happenings, but after tea in the cookhouse, it seemed to be quickly time for bed.


Burton – Rowbottom Wedding

Burton - Rowbottom - 80 Years

George Arthur Walker

Griffin Road, Swinton - 24.07.13

Griffin Road

George Arthur Walker, born in 1895 in Swinton, South Yorkshire, is my second cousin, thrice removed and son of John William Walker and Annie Eliza Gregg.

In 1923, in Mexborough, George married Agnes Vickers.

Below are a number of newspaper articles pertaining to George’s death.


FOUND DEAD. – Mr. George Arthur Walker (77), of 14 Griffin Road, Swinton, was found dead at his home by his wife early on Tuesday afternoon. The Sheffield Coroner, Dr. H. H. Pilling, was informed, but no inquest is to be held.


Saint Margaret’s Church



WALKER. – The death occurred on November 14th of Mr. George Arthur Walker (77), of 14, Griffin Road, Swinton. Cremation took place at Rose Hill, Doncaster, following a service in Swinton Parish Church. Father L. E. Harris officiated. Mourners were Mrs. A. Walker (widow), Mr. and Mrs. F. Bradshaw, Mr. and Mrs. A. Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. P. Gillespie and Paul, Mr. and Mrs. B. Walker, Mr. and Mrs. L. Barratt, Mr. and Mrs. K. Whitton, Mr. and Mrs. T. Whitton, Mr. and Mrs. T. Young, Mr. G. Best, cousin Joyce and husband, Mrs. Bradshaw and Carol, Mr. W. Wilkinson, Mr. and Mrs. T. Cooper. Floral tributes were from the family, and donations in lieu of flowers, received from friends and neighbours, are to be given to Rawmarsh and District Welfare Committee. Funeral arrangements were by C. T. Butterfield and Sons, Wood Street, Swinton (phone 2158), and Adwick Road, Mexborough (phone 3168).


WALKER – Mrs. A. Walker and family wish to thank Dr. Bhatia, Mrs. Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Rodway, Police Constable R. Lee, friends and neighbours for kindness shown in their recent sad bereavement. Thanks also to Father Harris for the service and to Messrs. C. T. Butterfield and Sons for their sympathetic and efficient funeral arrangements.

Sunday School Teachers Married

Doncaster Road Congregational Church, Rotherham - 19.08.07 (1)

Doncaster Road Congregational Church

Kathleen Westwood Early, born in 1914 in Rotherham, is my second cousin, twice removed and daughter of Ernest Albert Early and Catherine Westwood.

Below is a newspaper article published shortly after Kathleen’s marriage to John Kenneth Empson. It is of interest to note that Kathleen was employed by George Jarvis, who is related to me via my maternal ancestry (but is not related to Kathleen).




The marriage took place in the Doncaster Road Congregational Church, Rotherham, on Saturday, of Miss Kathleen Westwood Early, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Early, of “The Kloof,” Broom Crescent, Rotherham, to Mr. John Kenneth Empson, only son of Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Empson, of Lord Street, Rotherham.


The Kloof

Both bride and bridegroom were teachers at the Doncaster Road Sunday School.

The service, which was conducted by the Rev. Victor E. Watson (minister), was choral, the hymns, “O, Perfect Love” and “O, Love Devine” being sung. Mr. Colin Sanderson was the organist.

The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a gown a peacock blue crepe marocain, a brown and beige silk velvet hat and gloves to tone. Her bouquet was of bronze chrysanthemums.

The bridesmaid was Miss Connie Burgess, who wore a dress of floral silk georgette, a blue velour hat and mittens to tone. She carried a bouquet of pink chrysanthemums.

The best man was Mr. Norman Chaddock and the groomsman was Mr. Laurence Simpson.


Premises of George Jarvis

A reception was held by the bride’s mother at her home.

The wedding gifts included a cheque from Mr. Jarvis, by whom the bride was employed, and a loom bedroom chair, cushion and bedspread from Mr. Jarvis’ staff.

The future home of Mr. and Mrs. Empson will be at Tibshelf, Derbyshire, where the bridegroom has recently secured an appointment.

EMPSON – EARLY. – On Saturday, November 6th, 1937, at the Doncaster Road Congregational Church, by the Rev. V. E. Watson, Kathleen Westwood, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Early, of “The Kloof,” Broom Crescent, Rotherham, to John Kenneth, only son of Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Empson, of Lord Street, Rotherham.

John William Walker & Annie Eliza Gregg

Brameld Road, Swinton - 11.05.11 (1)

Brameld Road

John William Walker, born in 1866 in Gawber, Barnsley, is my first cousin, four times removed and son of Richard Walker and Sarah Ann Mellars.

In 1895, in Swinton, South Yorkshire, John married Annie Eliza Gregg.

John and Annie issued one child, called, George Arthur Walker.

Below are obituaries for John and Annie.


Wathwood Hospital, Wath - 20.03.11

Wathwood Hospital


WALKER. – The funeral took place on Monday at Swinton of Mr. John William Walker (74), of 17, Bramald Road, Swinton. The Rev. E. F. Bungay officiated. Mourners were Mrs. J. W. Walker (widow), Mr. G. Walker, Miss D. Walker, Mr. Blackbourn, Mr. and Miss Gregg, Mrs. Outram, Mrs. Collins, Mr. Hutton, Miss Hague and friends. The funeral arrangements were carried out by C. T. Butterfield and Sons. Tel. 2158.


Griffin Road, Swinton - 24.07.13

Griffin Road


Mrs. Annie Eliza Walker, believed to be Swinton’s oldest resident, died in hospital on December 31st at the age of 99.

Her son, 77-years-old Mr. George Arthur Walker, of 14, Griffin Road, died on November 14th of last year. Mrs. Walker lived formerly in Brameld Road.

The funeral took place from 14, Griffin Road. A service was held at Swinton Parish Church, Fr. L. E. Harris officiating.


Saint Margaret’s Church

Mourners were: Mrs. Agnes Walker (daughter-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. F. Bradshaw, Mr. and Mrs. A. Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. Gillespie, Mr. and Mrs. B. Walker, Mary Bradshaw. Floral tributes were from the above relatives and friends. Funeral arrangements were by C. T. Butterfield and Sons, Wood Street, Swinton. ‘Phone 2158 and Adwick Road, Mexborough. ‘Phone 3168.


WALKER – Mrs. A. Walker and family wish to thank doctors, nurses and staff, Wathwood Hospital for their kind care and attention to Mrs. Walker; also family and friends for floral tributes and Messrs. Butterfield for arrangements. – 14, Griffin Road, Swinton.

A Masbro’ Wedding

Saint Paul's Church, Kimberworth Road, Rotherham - 26.08.07 (2)

Saint Paul’s Church, Masbrough

Francis Burton, born in 1906 in Rotherham, is my second cousin, twice removed and son of Francis Burton and Sarah Ann Hudson Sturman.

Below is a newspaper article pertaining to Francis’s marriage to Marjorie Brothwell.




The marriage took place in St. Paul’s Church, Masbro’, on Saturday, of Miss Marjorie Brothwell, only daughter of Mr. J. H. Brothwell, of Masbro’, Rotherham, to Mr. Francis Burton; eldest son of Mr. Francis Burton, of Wellgate, Rotherham. The ceremony, which was choral, was conducted by the Rev. A. Puddicombe (Vicar).



The bride, who was given away by her father, wore an ankle-length gown of ivory satin and lace cat on Medieval lines. Her veil (lent by Mrs. F. Marsland) was fastened to her hair with a coronet of orange blossom, and was embroidered with lovers’ knots in each corner. She carried a bouquet of pale pink roses and lilies of the valley.

Miss Edith Burton (sister of the bridegroom) and Miss Barbara Simmons, the bridesmaids, had ankle-length dresses of floral georgette, and wore white picture hats. Their bouquets were of multi-coloured sweet peas and fern. The dame of honour was Mrs. W. G. Drew. The best man was Mr. Leonard Burton (brother of the bridegroom), and the groomsmen were Mr. Leslie Brothwell (brother of the bride) and Mr. Leonard Jervis (cousin of the bridegroom).

Cross Keys, Moorgate Street, Rotherham - 24.11.08

Cross Keys, Rotherham

A reception was held by the bride’s parents in the Cross keys Hotel, Moorgate. The bride’s mother wore a dress of brown georgette and lace, and the bridegroom’s mother chose a gown of black crepe-de-chine. The former had a spray of pink sweet peas and the latter carried pink carnations.

The honeymoon is being spent at Scarbro’, whence the bride travelled in a fawn coat over a lemon and brown frock with fawn hat and skin shoes.

To the bride the bridegroom gave a dressing gown and hand bag, while to the bridesmaids he gave crystal necklaces. The bride’s gift to the bridegroom was a dressing gown. The wedding gifts included a library cabinet from the staff of Messrs. Darwins, Ltd., where the bride has been employed for the past eight years.

Frost – Hughes


Alan Frost & Jean Hughes

Jean Hughes, born in 1929 in Kimberworth, Rotherham, is my fifth cousin and granddaughter of Sam Holmes and Ada Burton.

Below is a newspaper article published shortly after Jean’s marriage to Alan Frost.


FROST – HUGHES. – At Masbro’ Independent Chapel, September 6th, 1952, by the Rev. W. Silver, B.A., B.D., Jean, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. Hughes, 323, Kimberworth Road, to Alan, youngest son of Mrs. A. Frost, of 7, Woodhouse Road, Sheffield, and the late Mr. F. Frost.

Kimberworth Road, Rotherham (opposite Ferham Park) (Copyright Colin Leonard) - 1970

Kimberworth Road



Formerly night staff nurse at the Rotherham Hospital, Doncaster Gate, Miss Jean Hughes, S.R.N., only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. Hughes, “Sunfield,” Kimberworth Road, Rotherham, was married to Mr. Alan Frost, 7, Woodhouse Road, Sheffield, at the Masbro’ Independent Chapel.


Masbrough Independent Chapel

The Rev. W. Silver officiated, assisted by the Rev. C. H. Grant.

The bride, given away by her father, wore a gown of white velvet and a full-length veil of net edged with Nottingham lace held in place by a crown of pearls and diamantes, and carried a bouquet of red roses and fern.

Doncaster Gate Hospital, Rotherham - 19.08.07 (4)

Rotherham Hospital

The attendants were Mrs. Jean Fisher, S.R.N., a friend of the bride, and Miss Ann Frost (niece of the bridegroom), who wore deep red velvet dresses with white lace Dutch bonnets and mittens, and carried bouquets of white carnations, and there was a small bridesmaid Jean Fairest (cousin of the bride) who was dressed in blue velvet and had a white lace Dutch bonnet, and carried a bouquet of red roses, white carnation and blue cornflowers.

The best man was Mr. Bernard Frost (brother of the bridegroom and the groomsmen were Mr. Eric Somerton and Sergts. G. Bates and J. Blackburn, of The Boys’ Brigade.