Monday, 17 June 2013

Robert Daniel Ivall (1902-1992), fireman

Robert Daniel Ivall was a great grandson of Robert Thomas Ivall (1812-1865), the elder brother of David Ivall (1816-1867), my great great grandfather. This profile of Robert’s life contains information from his son.

Robert was born on 19th June 1902 in Catford, SE London, the eldest of three children born to Robert Thomas Owen Ivall (1876-1953) and Florence Sarah Ivall nee Durnford (1876-1974). Parish records for the baptism of Robert Daniel Ivall in 1902 at St Thomas’s, Charlton, give the family’s address as 12 Springfield Park Crescent, Catford. Robert’s father was a fireman who was based at Rushey Green (1901-3), Dulwich (1903-7), Eltham (1907-8), Greenwich (1908-9), Charlton (1909-10) and Perry Vale (1910-14) fire stations. The 1911 census shows Robert Ivall (aged 35, a fireman) his wife Florence (35) and children Robert (8), Florence (7) and Daniel (5) living at 199 Perry Vale, Forest Hill in SE London.

Robert joined the Merchant Navy when aged 16. His service record shows that he joined as a deck boy, was 5 foot 8 inches tall, with fair hair and green-grey eyes. He was in the Navy for 2 years, until 1920. 
Photo of Robert from his Merchant Navy record

Robert applied to join the London Fire Brigade in 1921, when aged 19. His father had followed the same career path, as would his brother Daniel. Robert started work as a probationary fireman on 24th November 1921, on 68s 6d per week, based at 60 Waterloo Road, London.

In 1928, Robert married Cecilia Rosina Merriott in Lambeth. He was aged 26, she was 24. They had a daughter (Marie Cecilia) in 1930 and a son (Daniel Robert) in 1931. The 1932 electoral register shows Robert and Cecilia’s address as the Fire Station, Eltham High Street. Soon afterwards, they moved to 39 Montrose Avenue, Welling (where Robert was still living in 1984). 

Robert’s service record shows that he transferred to Shooter’s Hill fire station in 1935, then to Dockhead, Bermondsey (in 1936), Lewisham (in 1937), Plumstead (in 1938) and Deptford (later in 1938). In 1938 he was promoted to become a Sub Officer (on 95s per week) at Pageant’s Wharf fire station in Rotherhithe. Robert was transferred back to Dockhead in 1939 and during “The Blitz” he had a very tough time fighting the dockland fires. He was promoted to Company Officer (on £350 pa) in 1942. A Company Officer is in charge of a crew of firefighters and their apparatus. He was later in charge of a temporary fire station at Lombard Wall School in Charlton. After that Robert was in charge of another temporary station at Rangers House on Blackheath. In 1948 he was appointed as Station Officer in charge of Plumstead fire station. Robert left the fire brigade on 31st January 1950 after serving for 28 years. He then worked as a Clerical Assistant in the Pay Office at Woolwich Barracks and subsequently at the Civil Service Pay Office in Foots Cray.
Robert and Cecilia Ivall

Robert was a well-liked, even tempered and hard-working family man.  He was an avid reader of non-fiction works and loved recounting stories of his own experiences in life. He took a keen interest in growing vegetables and tending his greenhouse. His main outside interest was walking which he did at every opportunity. In later life he gained many friendships with members of his local church.

Cecilia Ivall died in 1979 aged 75. Robert died on 13 February 1992 at St Vincent’s Orthopaedic Hospital, Hillingdon aged 89. He was buried in Plumstead Cemetery in the same grave as his wife. His parents are buried nearby.
Gravestone of Cecilia and Robert Ivall

1 comment:

Mac said...

I knew Bob Ivall very well. I was a near neighbour in Montrose Ave and a member of the London Fire Brigade. I was a regular visitor to his home and did little jobs for him if the need arose. We had plenty of long chats about life in general and I was aware of his strong Christian faith. Unfortunately I had left the UK a couple of years so was unable to attend his funeral. Rest in peace Bob. I often think about you.