# 2001
George the boxer and in 1996

George Edward Rawkins

1911 - 2004

Born 23 June 1911 in Battersea London, his Father Frank Rawkins aged 29 worked on the railway.
His Mother was Jane Rawkins (nee Ball) aged 27.
The family seemed always to be on the move, born in Wiltshire Frank Rawkins moved to London after 1901.
Other moves to Battersea, Raynes Park, Ascot and Guildford occurred.

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1911 Census

Here is the census return for the year before George was born
Their address at this time; 5 Musjid Road, Battersea. Now SW11 2NA
Name Relationship Age Occupation Birth Place
Frank Rawkins Head 29 Railway Porter Idmiston
Jane Rawkins Wife 27   Coventry
Florrie RawkinsDaughter  3   Battersea

Dad left school at 14, the normal age in those days School Reference.

Always a keen sportsman he was a good athlete, played amateur football for the "Guildford Pinks". In 1938 he left the "pinks" and became a professional boxer.

He worked also as a carpenter for Holfords in Guildford and seemed to work over a wide area, Guildford, Basingstoke, Reading, Henley etc.

In 1939, six days after war was declared, he married   Dorothy Edith Alexander, a marriage that was to last 64 years. I gather that there should have been a guard of honour of Boxing Gloves outside the church but many of the men had already been called up for war duty and could not attend.

George aged 28 married Dorothy Edith Alexander aged 26,on 9 Sept 1939
in the Church of St. Peter, Cranbourne, Windsor Forest.
George was a "Carpenter" Living in Woodside Cranbourne. His father was Frank Rawkins, a Railway Guard
Dorothy also lived in Woodside Cranbourne. Her father was Alfred George Alexander a Labourer.
The witnesses were ? ? Wates and Alfred George Alexander.

When war was declared he applied for the RAF but because he had a reserved occupation he had to become an employee of Vickers Armstrongs at Weybridge working as a carpenter on Wellington Bombers.
Over the years he became the foreman of the Production Carpenters department at Weybridge working on all aircraft types; Wellington,
Viking, Viscount, Vanguard, VC 10, BAC 1-11 and Concorde.

The carpenters department was involved in the early days of Glass Reinforced Plastic it was then that he found he had a serious allergy to epoxy resin. He was probably one of the first to have drops of various resin mixes placed on this arm to see the reaction. There was a time when I only had to mention Araldite and he would get very uncomfortable.

One other noteworthy item from his time in the Carpenters, would be the way "Aircraft Honeycomb" was cut. Some aircraft structures were made from a sandwich of aluminium sheets on the outside and aluminium honeycomb in the middle. Cutting the thin honeycomb material with conventional cutters did not work, the material would just collapse. The Americans used to fill the honeycomb with water, freeze it and then cut it. Imagine the mess and bother just to shape a panel.

Whose idea it was I do not know but at Weybridge the honeycomb material was cut with a toothless Bacon slice cutter at very high speed.

In the 1960's be became general works foreman of the Weybridge factory with some 11,000 workmen as his responsibility. A job I think he enjoyed because of his friendly way with people.

He retired from factory work in 1971 but continued working in his garden for another 30 years.

That garden ... let me back track a bit. In 1941 he paid 708 18 6 for the house and an extra plot of land Now remember please, there is a war on, what did he want with an extra piece of bramble covered land that used to be part of the moat around the Grange ( a large house nearby). I think that is what the developer thought and was happy to get rid of it for 50.

Read about the full history of the house that he lived in from 1939 to 2004 History of number 70

My first memories of that garden would be of a row of trees across the garden near the house, 20 yards of lawn a then a working vegetable garden from
the air raid shelter to the end, with chickens, rabbits and cabbages.

The property was 100 yards from front gate to the bottom of the garden and gave him a place to work to hide and to think. He said that his dad made him like gardening. In my latter years I can look back on Sunday mornings moving the chicken house on wooden rollers like the Egyptians moved their rocks for the Pyramids I was only eight or so. Later, still at school, I help design and I made the moveable chicken run frames from Dexion and wire netting. There was no pressure there just help and encouragement.

When I left home in 1969 he (I should say they here Mum as well) helped and came over once a week to mow the lawn or just help.

He was an active member of the Weybridge retired club, continued driving until he was over 80. When mum had to go into hospital and he was asked, "If there was anything he needed" his reply was, "Perhaps a packet of carrot seeds".

In 1989 George & Dorothy celebrated their 50 wedding anniversary. The day started with a renewal of their marriage vows at the same church in which they were married. and ended with a large gathering of friends and family in Guildford.

He had hip problems, he said that was his knees. Anyway he was clearing a few things in the garden and had a bonfire going. For some reason he could not feel the fact that his boots were on fire, may be just too slow. He was out of action for a while, not serious. Then the winter then his replacement hip operation. He was never to go in the garden again.

They coped, had a loo and wash basin installed downstairs and just got on with life. The details I'm not too sure, shopping, pension and banks etc. I think was via the help of neighbours etc. It's all a bit of a blur now.

Things got to a head at the end of 2001 they are both in hospital and now not coping and the hospital is getting fined 50 a day for "bed blocking". I asked for a "live in" nurse at their home.

This worked so well and gave them both another two years of enjoyable life together.

George died on 4 May 2004 in a nursing home in Petersfield.
Dorothy lived another two years

Oh, that extra plot of land that he paid 50 for in 1941.

It was sold to a property developer in 2006. There is a video here that shows the building site in its various stages.

There follows a few texts written by me at the time of his death and subsequent funeral:-

An e-mail sent to friends and family:-

Hello, It is my sad duty to inform you that my Dad, George Rawkins passed peacefully away in his sleep during the early hours of 4 May 2004. He would have been 93 at his next birthday, 23 June. This also ends a partnership of nearly 65 years, for Mum and Dad where married for just over sixty four and a half years. They both live at Steep House Nursing home in Petersfield.

The home phoned me last Thursday to say that Dad had a chest infection and they were treating him with antibiotics. I should have been a bit suspicious then because he never took any medicine, saying "how can taking something in my mouth effect my eye" or whatever bit was wrong with him.

I think he lost the spirit and fight.

Certainly when I last saw them, just before we moved to Freshwater, he was not the Dad that I once knew, he just wanted to sleep. I received a phone call from the nursing home at 09:00 Tuesday morning to say, as I have said, that he passed away at 04:15.

He was the last of the six children in his family and already words like invincible, tough, a fighter have been used.

I prefer to remember him as Fair, Just, Unselfish and above all A Gentleman.

A sportsman who played by the rules, for whom winning was not as important as playing.

2004 has not been a good year for Dad starting it in hospital which he coped with but for the fact that he and Mum were in separate wards. The move to the home was sold to him with the knowledge that they would have a room together. But he never got on in the home and Mum, now increasingly in a world of her own, gave him little feedback.

A few days later:-

I think that I have sorted a few things out now. I saw Dorothy today and she knows that Dad has gone but she does not understand. She will not be at the funeral, the nursing home think that she is too weak .

The Doctor has put as the cause of death "Old Age" which I thought was nice, he lived life to the full and just ran out of steam.
For those of you able to come but have not been able to see the local newspaper ;
Following Dads wishes he will be cremated at St Johns Brookwood The service will be at 4:00 PM on Friday 14 May 2004

My thoughts about the day of the funeral :-

What a day!! Came downstairs one of the cats is at the front door, this is not the normal thing. Let the dog out in the back garden the other cat is chasing a mouse, this is normal. Leave the dog out. Check e-mail go to get the dog in and he has gone!!

Get dressed walk down the footpath no sign, walk back and there he is. He runs to me then runs away. Walk after him, he is now on a bus route road ask paper boy yes down there. I can't find him so go back have breakfast whilst Maureen has a look. It's now 08:30 and we have to catch the 9:30 boat. Phone the police see next door and tell her etc.

Thick fog boat doesn't leave until 10:05 can't see the front of the boat but can see the sun above.

Arrive Guildford at 12:00 have to clean up the house find loo doesn't work so up in the roof to fix that.

Have lunch see people Becca and Jackie arrive, I get dressed.

Wait, coffin is ten mins late.

Chapel is full, nice service, see members of the family that I have not seen for years, many come home after. Now is the time to tell Rebecca about Oscar the dog, no news as yet. Lock up the house and just as we are leaving get a phone call Oscar is safe and well.

Leave Guildford at 20:00, get the 22:15 boat back. Dog is pleased to see us. Bed by 23:55 a day to remember!

The Funeral

The service for George Edward RAWKINS 14 May 2004
Music Going in "May be it's because I'm a Londoner"
Coming Out "Pack up all your cares and woos...." "Bye Bye Blackbird"
Hymns All things bright and beautiful
Praise my soul, the King of Heaven Reading

"Death is nothing at all ........"

George Edward RAWKINS

Dad was born in Battersea in 1911 (he would be one of 6 children) into a normal London working class family. His Dad worked on the railways so they moved about a bit. He became a carpenter building new houses and then did the snagging, fixing the bits that others had left undone. In his early years he was a great sportsman, Football, Athletics and Boxing in the amateur world. And then he turned Professional in the boxing world. By all accounts he did very well in all that he did. Still working on the buildings he purchased the house that he lived in until recently. He did a deal with the boss and did all the woodwork on his own house. This way he was able to choose the best wood and made sure of a proper job When war was declared he was painting the new house a week later George and Dorothy were married 9/9/1939. There should have been a "guard of honour" with boxing gloves, but that was cancelled due to the war.

He tried to join the RAF but was told that as carpentry was a reserved trade he had to work at Vickers Armstrongs, the aircraft factory in Weybridge After the war he moved up the ranks and became foreman carpenter, he did much work for the Forman and Staff benevolent Fund there and ended his working life as General Works Foreman with some 11,000 workmen as his responsibility.

What with "Dig for Victory" etc. and a nice bit of land the garden, rabbits, chickens and eggs became part of his life. Not content with a few eggs he had over 60 hens and sold eggs throughout the factory. And greens, one row would have been enough he planted 10 rows and gave them away.

He was a Freemason and once more he took to this to the full, eventually becoming Master.

In 1971 aged 60 he retired but was sent to work in the garden by Mum. Two people in the house in the daytime was one too many!

In 1979 Rebecca was born and she had her Gramps to look after her.

He was not perfect, stubborn to the end, not taking his medicine when told to.
He lived a full life and I am proud to be his son!

He leaves:-

He is the last of those six children born so many years ago.

Maureen's Card
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,  
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

Terry's Card
The tools in your hand
The grain in the oak
The men in the mill
The world of sport
The workers in the factory
The plants in your garden
Your fraternal colleagues
Your friends
Your family
Your wife

We will all miss you so very very much

This page was updated on 4 April 2018
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by Terry Rawkins