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We Remember ... Heroes of the Faith at St. Michael's - Rev Thomas Henry Croxall

1893 – 22 March 1958

After a career which included six years in India at Allahabad and Cawnpore, Rev. Croxall became Vicar of St Michael’s in 1939. He therefore led the Parish through some of its most difficult days. Judging from his bright, humane and apposite ‘Parish Notes’, he was a fine leader. Paper shortages forced him to replace the former large Parish Magazine with a monthly News Sheet in January 1940. The response was positive. ‘Far better than the conventional magazine’ wrote one correspondent.

As well as forthcoming events, the Notes always contained a letter from the Vicar and often a commentary on how the War was affecting the Parish and the surrounding area. His Note of November 1940 drew attention to three recent bombing casualties (though fortunately the ladies concerned were not seriously hurt) and the boarding up of the East Window and he thanked the volunteers at the local food-centre, serving those who had lost their homes. Remarkably, he noted that the Parish had lost almost half its population ‘through necessity or wise choice’.

There was also room for lighter subjects. Revd Croxall ran an occasional series on the Romance of local place names. In one (May 1943) he reports that the street signs of Compton Crescent and Hazledene Road were erroneously interchanged when the streets were built. Certainly, as Revd Croxall remarked ‘..the Crescent is straight as a die, and the Road the shape of a crescent.’

To add to the Revd. Croxall’s problems, his wife suffered a prolonged illness in early 1943, possibly connected with the birth of their daughter Esther. Fortunately the March edition announced that she was on the road to recovery and in April the Bishop of Kensington visited to baptise Esther and other babies of the Parish.

Revd Croxall’s Parish Notes illustrate how difficult life was during the Second World War and the fortitude and good humour with which many people faced those difficulties.