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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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 Rawkins||Daughter|| 3 || ||Battersea|
| || || |
Dad left school at 14, the normal age in those days
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
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;
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
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
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.
My first memories of
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
and ended with a large gathering of friends and
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
that shows the building site and has a google map of the area.
follows a few texts
written by me at the time of his death and subsequent funeral:-
An e-mail sent to friends and
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
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
wanted to sleep.
I received a phone call from the nursing home at 09:00 Tuesday morning
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
invincible, tough, a fighter have been used.
I prefer to remember him as Fair, Just, Unselfish and above all A
A sportsman who played by the rules, for whom winning was not as
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
room together. But he never got on in the home and Mum, now
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
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
mouse, this is normal. Leave the dog out. Check e-mail go to get the
and he has gone!!
Get dressed walk down the footpath no sign, walk back and there he is.
runs to me then runs away. Walk after him, he is now on a bus route
ask paper boy yes down there. I can't find him so go back have
whilst Maureen has a look. It's now 08:30 and we have to catch the 9:30
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
but can see the sun above.
Arrive Guildford at 12:00 have to clean up the house find loo doesn't
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
Leave Guildford at 20:00, get the 22:15 boat back. Dog is pleased to
Bed by 23:55 a day to remember!
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
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
He lived a full life and I am proud to be his son!
- a Wife, Dorothy in
Steep House Petersfield
- a Son, Terry in the
Isle of Wight
- a Daughter in law,
Maureen in the Isle of Wight
- a Granddaughter,
Rebecca teaching in Wandsworth.
- many Nieces and
Nephews across the world
He is the last of those six children born so many years ago.
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your
May the sun shine warm upon
The rains fall soft upon your
And, until we meet
May God hold you in the hollow
of his hand.
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
We will all miss you so very very much
This page was updated on 9 Jan 2018
by Terry Rawkins