24-30 November 1914: Battersea Council Staff Casualties

Battersea Borough Council met on 25 November. Amongst the reports presented to the council was a list of free uses of the Grand Hall in the Town Hall, two of the four were in aid of Belgian refugees – a dance and whist drive and a concert. Another concert was in aid of the Mayor’s Local Fund, so both causes continued to attract attention and funds from the local population.

The meeting also saw the first official reports of Council staff killed in action. At this point 58 men were serving in some way, 30 of those in the Army and Navy and the rest in the Territorial Force or the National Reserve, leading to 18 temporary appointments having been made across the Council. The first death to occur had actually taken place on 18th September. Arthur Ernest Finchley was 26 and lived with his family on Cabul Road. He was one of 8 children and the 1911 census lists him as an Army Private, although he was working for the Council as a labourer in the works department in 1914. In 1911 one brother was a Navy stoker and another was an Army driver, while two of his sisters and another brother worked in a Card Box Factory – possibly the Corruganza in Garratt Lane. His father John was a night watchman for the Council.

The other reported death was that of Able Seaman Arthur Charles Powell, who was a jointer’s mate at the Electricity Generating Station and was killed on HMS Aboukir.  At the time his family were living in Vauxhall, according to the 1911 census he had a wife and two young daughters.

The Council decided that a Roll of Honour should be prepared and exhibited in the Entrance Hall of the Municipal Buildings.  This is currently in storage and will be restored to the former Town Hall, now Battersea Arts Centre, when their capital works project is completed in 2016.

Battersea Borough Council minutes, ref: MBB/1/15

Commonwealth War Graves Commission: www.cwgc.com

1911 census available on Ancestry

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