The 'Tong' Family

1928 - Joan Edna
1938 - John Henry
1940 - Lewis
1945 - Jean Anne
1947 - Sandra
1953 - Christina
1964 - Deborah Jayne
1966 - Alison



Arthur Frank Tong
1903 - 1979


Arthur Frank Tong  


July 13, 1903 120 Bull Close Road, Norwich
Died: November 1, 1978 33 Cavell Road, Norwich - age 75
Buried: 1978 Earlham Cemetery, Norwich
Parents John Henry Tong
Ann Elizabeth Turrell


Ethel Daisy Read  


April 08, 1909 Salhouse Road, Sprowston, Norwich
Died: March 27, 1983 West Norwich Hospital, Norwich. - age 74
Buried: 1983 Earlham Cemetery, Norwich
Parents Walter Samuel Read
Susannah Elizabeth Buck formerly Goffin



January 08, 1927 St James Church. Norwich





Date of birth:
Birth Place:
Ethel Ann Elizabeth Tong 1927 Norfolk & Norwich Hospital - 302 Sprowston Road, Norwich
Joan Edna Tong June 22, 1928 Norwich
John Henry Tong - ? January 24, 1930 - ? Norwich - Died at birth - ?
Paddy Hazel Tong January 13th 1931 Norwich
Arthur Patrick Tong September 09, 1932 Norwich


File Information:

1903: July 13, Birth of Arthur Frank Tong of 120 Bull Close Road, East Wymer, Norwich
Mother: Ann Elizabeth Tong formally Turrell
Father: John Henry Tong - Aerated Water Bottler
Registered: August 5, 1903
Entry 363 - information from file certificate

1903: Sep 30th - Baptism at St James with Pockthorpe, Norwich - Entry 633
Arthur Frank Tong son of John Henry Tong a Coal Porter nd Ann Elizabeth his wife of 120 Bull Close Road, Norwich

1911: Census - 120 Bull Close Road, Norwich - The surname had been transcribed as 'LONG'
John Henry Long - Head - age 46 - Coal Porter - born Charring, Kent
Ann Elizabeth Long - Wife - Married 18 years - age 40 - House Duty - born Norwich
John Hearld Long - Son - age 13 - At school, News Boy - born Brighton, Sussex
Lillian May Long - Dau - age 12 - At school - born Brighton, Sussex
Arthur Frank Long - Son - age 7 - At school - born Norwich, Norfolk
Edna Maude Long - Dau - age 4 - At school - born Norwich
Gladys Gertrude Long - Dau - age 1 - born Norwich, Norfolk

U.K. Parish Register Baptism Information
Search Record Details

County Norfolk
Place Norwich
Church St James with Pockthorpe
Register Number 633
Date Of Birth 13 Jul 1903
Baptism Date 30 Sep 1903
Forename Arthur Frank
Sex M
Father Forename John Henry
Mother Forename Ann Elizabeth
Father Surname TONG
Mother Surname  
Abode Bull Close Rd
Father Occupation Coal Porter


It is more than likely that as a young boy granddad went to the school on Bull Close Road known as Magdalen Gates School, whether he completed all his schooling there is not clear, it could be that as he became an older pupil he went to a more senior school such as the George White School on Silver Road or maybe even St Augustine's School on the cross roads of St Augustines Street, Aylsham Road, Bakers Road, Waterloo Road and Magpie Road. St Augustines was distroyed by enemy bombing in 1942.

The family story goes that granddad got into some kind of trouble when he was about 14 and was either sent to a home, borstal or some kind of institution. The mass slaughter of the First World War (1914-18) produced a shortage of skilled tradesmen from which most of the technical corps of the army recruited, as a measure to address this short-fall it was decided to establish a school to train and prepare teenage boys for service. Granddad was trained by the army as a Carpenter, Joiner did he take an opportunity to get a trade from them or was he made an offer he could not refuse, for as I understand it some boys where given a chance to turn their lives round.

(Age 17)
August 20, Enlisted: Royal Engineers: Service number 1861076:

Regular Army - Certificate of Service.
Army No: 1861076
Surname : Tong
Christian Names: Arthur Frank
Enlisted at : Norwich
Enlisted on: 1920: August 20
Corps of which enlisted: Royal Engineers
Service with the Colours showing Transfers, if any to other Corps.
Length of Service
Royal Engineers Home (British)
2yrs - 45days
Royal Engineers Turkey
0yrs - 345days
Royal Engineers Gibraltar
2yrs - 322days
Royal Engineers Home (British)
0yrs - 18days
Certificate of Transfer to the Army Reserve.
Date of Transfer: 1926: August 19
Rank: Sapper
Cause of Transfer: Para 262 (1) Reg Expiration of Period of Colour Service
Corps from which Transferred: Royal Engineers
Service with Colours: 6 years
Date of birth: 1902
Height: 5ft 4½i ins
Complexion: Fresh
Eyes: Grey
Hair: Dk Brown
Marks or Scars: None
Certificate of Discharge.
Date of Discharge: 1936: August 19
Rank: Sapper
Cause of Discharge: Termination of Engagement - Para. 510 (V111) K. R. 1935
Corps from which Discharged: Royal Engineers
With Colours: 6 years
In the Reserve: 10 years
Royal Engineers Cap Badge

(Age 19)
March 31, Army Certificate of Education - Third Class
This is to Certify that No; 1861076 Sapper A. Tong, Royal Engineers passed at an Examination held in March 1922 at Porton (Porton Down, Wiltshire) under the Authority of the Army Council.

Below are extracts from granddad's Certificate of Service Book

Certificate of Character
"This soldier served with the Colours, during the period the Employment Sheet (AF.B 2066) was in abeyance (i.e. , between August 1914, and October, 1922) which accounts for the absence of entries on this page for that period.
Date of Assessment
Military Conduct
Nature of Employment
General Characteristics
(intelligence, honesty, sobriety, trust- worthiness, initiative, energy,
self-reliance, etc) and qualifications for civil employment.
13/09/1922 Fair At his trade Fair Tradesman
18/05/1923 Good Carpenter Works well , but is a little unreliable
22/08/1923 Good Carpenter Works well , but is a little unreliable
01/10/1923     Gibraltar, 2nd Class Education Certificate
Trade: Carpenter and Joiner
21/10/1924     A good hard working Tradesman and a keen young Sapper
10/10/1924 Good On the works under ? Could do better but has improved. Smart and keen when interested. Plays Hockey, Football and Water Polo well a an excellent swimmer
23/06/1926 Good On the Works, at his trade under ? Improved to class 2 Carpenter and Joiner 09/03/26. Is a smart intelligent Sapper with considerable self reliance and has plenty of energy.
      Gibraltar 24/06/1926


(Age 19)
1922: October 4, - Posted to Turkey for - 345 days

1923: Granddad caught on camera in a street scene
could be Turkey or Gibraltar

(Age 20)
September 14, - Posted to Gibraltar for - 2yrs 322 days

(Age 22)
April 1, - Royal Engineers Old Comrades Association
Arthur Tong became a member

(Age 23)
: January 23, - Manchester Unity of Odd fellows (Friendly Society) - Gibraltar District
We the undersigned, being the Elective Officers of the Loyal Friends of Gibraltar, Lodge No 5253 do hereby Certify that Bro A.F. Tong has served the office of Vice Grand of out Lodge to our satisfaction; we therefore recommend the said member as a fit and proper person to receive the signs, & of a Past Vias Grand - more to come hopefully as I have emailed the Odd fellows to see if they have any information in their records.

(Age 23)
April 24, - Manchester Unity of Odd fellows (Friendly Society) - Gibraltar District
Arthur had risen to Noble Grand - Local Chairman

(Age 23)
April 30, - 6.56pm - The Eastern Telegraph Co Ltd, Gibraltar from Norwich dated April 30, time 4.15pm
To Sapper Arthur Tong of the 1st Company Royal Engineers Gibraltar.
Father passed away today Friday - John (Arthur's brother)

Arthur kept a leaflet from his stay in Gibraltar, which I have found quite amusing, it reads.....
Pêra No 344, - opposite Singer's Sewing Machines
==== Lie, swear, steal smoke or drink ====
But when you lie, lie in the arms of a pretty girl when you swear swear by your country
and when you steal steal away from bad company
But when you want a good drink or smoke
Go to the finest Bar in Pera, No 344
"The Comrades Bar"

As a small boy I recall my grandfather had his own chair in the front room of 33 Cavell Road and I have strong memories of sitting on his lap with my grandfather speaking to me in Spanish, I don't recall his fluency but I do recall he would repeat the words time and time again. I should have paid more attention. I have always had a love for the language maybe this is where it started.- Ray Taylor

(Age 23)
August 2, - Posted to Britain for discharge procedure

(Age 23)
August 7, A Final Assessments of Conduct and Character on Leaving the Colours
Military Conduct: Very Good
Testimonial: A very smart intelligent Sapper who can put plenty of go into his work, Self reliant, energetic. A successful all round athlete being practically good in the water. Sober and reliable, is a Class 2 Carpenter and Joiner and holds a second class Army Education Certificate.

(Age 23)
: August 19, Certificate of Transfer to the Army Reserve.
Rank: Sapper
Cause of Transfer: Para 262 (1) kings Reg, Expiration of Period of Colour Service
Crops from which transfer: Royal Engineers
Service with Colours: 6 years
Year of birth: 1902 - did Arthur lie about his age?
Height: 5ft 4 ½ inches
Complexion: Fresh
Eyes: Grey
Hair: Dark Brown
Marks or scars: none

(Age 24)
January 8, Marriage at St James Church, Norwich
Arthur Frank Tong, age 24, Bachelor, Carpenter of 120 Bull Close Road, Norwich
Ethel Daisy Read age 17 Spinster, Boot & Shoe Operator of 120 Bull Close Road, Norwich
Father: John Henry Tong (Deceased) Carter
Father: Walter Samuel Read (Deceased) Carpenter
Witnesses: Edna Maude Wiseman & George Wiseman
Entry: 207 - information from file certificate

(Age 33)
: August 19, Certificate of Discharge
Rank: Sapper
Cause of discharge: Termination of engagement, Para 510 (V111) K.R. 1935
Corps from which discharged: Royal Engineers
Service on date of discharge:-
(a) With Colours: Six years
(b) In Reserve: Ten years
Total Service: Sixteen years.

(Age 34)
September 2, Norwich Cemetery - Certificate od Grant No: 7110
Arthur Frank Tong of 33 Cavell Road in the City of Norwich - We have a Certificate Certifying that Arthur Frank Tong has reserved a burial plot number 315 in section 6 on the plan in Norwich Cemetery.
Certificate of Grant No: 7110 - Both parents had died, father in 1926 and mother in 1931 so at the moment we can only assume that this plot was for Arthur - it would be interesting to find who is there!!!

(Age 35)
November 5, - Local Certificate of Anti-Gas Training
This is to certify that Arthur Frank Tong has completed the 'Course of Anti-Gas Training' held under the auspices of 'Norwich City Police' and have acquired a sufficient knowledge of Anti-Gas measures to act as a 'Member of a Public Air Raid Precautions Service'. Nature of course attended - 'Modified Full Course' - signed M. Wain, Chief Constable
Cert no: 26

(Age 36)
February 1, - Air Raid Precautions - Local Certificate of Anti-Gas Training
This is to certify that Arthur Frank Tong of 33 Cavell Road, Norwich has completed the 'Course of Anti-Gas Training' held under the auspices of 'Norwich City Police' and have acquired a sufficient knowledge of Anti-Gas measures to act as a 'Member of a Public Air Raid Precautions.
Name of Course attended - Anti-Gas Course
Cert no: 137

1939: Census - 33 Cavell Road, Lakenham, Norwich
Arthur F Tong - born July 13th 1902 - Carpenter and Joiner - Government Contract - Air Raid Warren
Ethel D Tong - Wife - born April 8th 1909 - Unpaid Domestic Duties
Closed Record - Likely to be Ethel Ann Elizabeth Tong
Closed Record - Likely to be Joan Edna Tong
Closed Record - Likely to be Paddy Hazel Tong
Arthur P Tong - Son - born Sep 9th 1932 - At School

(Age 41)
: September 27, 1942 - December 31, 1944
The Home Guard - In the years our country was in mortal danger Arthur Frank Tong gave generously of his time and powers to make himself ready for for her defence by force of arms and with his life if need be. Signed George R.1.

(Age 75)
November 1, Death of Arthur Frank Tong - Carpenter (Builder) Retired of 33 Cavell Road, Lakenham, Norwich
Cause of death: Coronary Thrombosis, Coronary Insufficiency and Multiple Myeoma
Name of Informant: Ethel Ann Elizabeth Taylor, daughter of Tenby House, Beeston Lane, Rackheath, Norfolk
Registered: November 1, 1978
Entry: 278 - information from file certificate

1979: March 29, Gordon G. Barber - Funeral director - To Mrs. E.D. Tong
Re: The Late Arthur Frank Tong of 33 Cavell Road, Lakenham, Norwich
To Supplying Rose Tree & Plaque at Earlham Crematorium - £42.66

My Memories of our Grandparents
During the 2nd World War my grandfather worked for Boulton & Paul in Norwich: He told us that they were attacked by a German plane and when they fled the factory the plan sprayed them with machine gun fire as they ran up the road for cover. I recall that he had a couple of the shell cases - it was......

1st August, 1940. At about 3.15pm a single enemy raider dropped bombs which fell at Boulton and Paul's Riverside Works, causing a great blaze in the Joinery department and the office. The first incendiaries to fall within the city boundary were dropped during this raid. Several workmen and others were killed. Many windows were broken around by King Street and Foundry Bridge, and before leaving the raider machine-gunned the streets. No warning was given.

My mother recalls that he also worked at Melton Constable where railway carriages were made. She said that she would get up early, light the fire and clean his boots for him before he went to work. He would then bike to work, whether it was all the way to Melton Constable or to Thorpe railway station and then by train we are un-sure. He also did some work for Willmott’s Stores on Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, for sometime with Gill Builders.

I have vivid memories of my grandparents house on Cavell Road the back and front gardens were laid with vegetables but in the middle of the back garden was an Anderson Air Raid Shelter. My grandfather would often allow me down it to find the toads, it was creepy and damp. My mother tells me the family would sleep there most nights after 1942 when Norwich was being bombed at night, she also said she would watch and count the planes going out on their bombing missions and then returning with their losses.

My grandfather was a very skilled carpenter and would make us all sort of things out of wood; I remember jigsaw puzzles, toys, display shelves and things which resembled the Rubik Cube. He made me an engine once and said that I would never get it apart he was not very happy when I did. He would make everything in his shed which was in the back garden. The shed was full of amazing things and smelt of wood and creosote it also had a secrete, my grandfather would distil whisky there. He once showed me how to cut a piece of wood and it amaze me how he could do it with a cigarette in his mouth and the smoke slowly flowing over his eyes.

My nanny was very superstitious, I recall my dad finding 2 glass fishing net buoyancy balls on a beach and giving them to her so she could look into them like a crystal ball. She would never turn away gipsy’s selling their wares as she was afraid they would put a curse on her. Granddad had no such fear as one day returning home he found a group of gipsy’s sitting in the back garden drinking tea, nanny had given in to their request, he stopped them in their tracks and threw them out in no uncertain terms and told them never to return. He was notorious in the neighbourhood and most people did not take him on, being an Army Boxer meant he was no pushover. I did not discover this till years later when I talked to a person who used to live there.

When my grandfather's father died in 1926 he was stationed in Gibraltar, on arriving in England there was a rail strike so he walked or by whatever other means from London to his home in Bull Close Road Norwich.

To me as a small boy the house was very scary there were pictures on the wall of Jesus holding a lantern and it looked like his eyes were following you round the room and a picture of the Last Supper over the kitchen table. There were two nice pictures though hanging each side of the fire place, they were pencil portrait sketches of nanny and granddad in their earlier years. They would tell me that the Boogie man lived in the in the kitchen cupboard and if I did not behave he would come out and get me. We had to sleep there one Christmas and I was terrified but looking back it was just a carry over from the Victorian way of life, my grandparents were really lovely and very interested in all of us, although if we played any games with my grandfather he always had to win, often twisting the rules to his benefit. He also liked a good argument and often would start them off but it never lasted long and things soon returned to normal. I also recall my grandfather making his own suite he had a tailors dummy in the back bedroom, he could really turn his hand to anything.

I recall getting locked in the toilet one day, I must have been only about 3-4 years old, the toilet was off the kitchen via a passage to the back door, I had slipped the lock and could not open it, I remember everyone shouting at me through the window. In the end I was rescued by a long piece of wood put through the window to slip the lock back.

We were there when Mrs Middleton who lived next door to the alleyway died and we had to wait as my nanny was helping to prepare her and lay her out. This was normal practice in those days as all the neighbours would attend to one another in times of need.

Now writing this I remember lots of times at Cavell Road all the Tong family would meet and walk down the road, pass The Cock Public House and on to Scotches Meadow to swim in the river and picnic it was then a favourite spot for the local people. At the Cock there was a stream where we often paddle but it was closed after a polio scare.

As I got older I would catch the bus from Magdelen Gates to my grandparents (the 89 if I recall) changing at Castle Meadow the second bus would drop us at the top of the road and we would walk the remainder of the way, we often would play on the steps which were at the top of the alleyway at the side of my grandparents house. As I got older still, I would bike and would go swimming with my Uncle Arthur at the Lakenham outdoor swimming baths.

It’s now doing this research that I wished I had given my grandparents more time. - Ray Taylor

If you have any memories why not share them with us.




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