Gong for a Burton.
Councillor David Charles Burton Royal Signals & Mayor of Barnet 1977-78
The Man David Charles Burton was born on 19th January 1909 in Highgate, London. Little is known about his early life except that after school he worked as an accountant on the Stock Exchange. His religious denomination was Congregational and in 1932 aged 23 he married Violet Mary Anne living at 82 Roding Road, Clapton, London. On 5th April 1938 aged 29 he joined the Territorial Army, Royal Signals at Albany Street, London and was embodied on 24th August 1939. His service number was 2052899 and he was described as 5’.11½”, weighing 154lbs, chest of 27” with a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. He had a 2” scar on his right eyebrow, small scars on both knees a mole on the back of his neck and two 1” scars on his skull. For a time he was attached to the 334 Battery RA (Barnet) TA. During the course of World War Two he was promoted to Sergeant and on 31st March 1944 reverted to War Substantive Corporal. On 11 Sep 1944 he was promoted again to unpaid acting Sergeant and on the same date granted the rank of paid acting Sergeant. He spent the last two years of the war in Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) and was at the ‘Little Red House’ in Rheims when peace terms were negotiated and signed by Generaloberst Alfred Jodl at 0241h on 8th May 1945. He was awarded the 1939-1945 Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal War Medal 1939-45 and
Efficiency Medal ‘Territorial’ and was transferred to Z Class Reserve on 8th December 1945. His address during the war was Tye Cottage, Upper Tye, Great Cornard, Sudbury, Suffolk and it is likely his wife lived there as it seems the house in Roding Road was bombed as he received five war damage contribution payments for the years 1941 - 1945 totalling £13.7s.6d. He also received post war credit for the years 1941 - 1946 totalling £62.12s.5d. After the War he continued his career as a Stockbroker and became a partner with Pym, Vaughan & Co moving to Barnet in 1953 and was elected onto the London Stock Exchange the same year. He was involved with the local Conservative Party being elected as a Councillor in 1968 representing Woodhouse Ward and later Friern Barnet in London. He retired in 1971 and for some years following continued travelling to the City to visit the Stock Exchange one day a week and was appointed as a General Commissioner of Taxes. In the same year he became Deputy Mayor of The London Borough of Barnet and in 1977 aged 68 was elected the 13th Mayor of the Borough and awarded Her Majesty's Silver Jubilee Medal. On the Council he was Chairman of the influnetial Development & Estates Committee and served on the Establishment & Allotments Committee. He was also chairman of the Countryside Commission for the green belt land on the borders of Hertfordshire & Barnet; financial trustee to the Finchley Charity & Woodside Home. He was Chairman of the Governors of five local primary schools and a Governor of Woodhouse, Friern Barnet, East Barnet, St. Michael’s, St. Mary’s CofE and the Sacred Heart Schools. Other committees he served on during his time on the council included Finance, Estates Budgetary Control sub-committee, Carnival shows & sports. In his spare time he was a regular golfer and a past president of North Middlesex Golf Club and a member of the North Middlesex Cricket Club a game which he played until he was 46. He was also Barnet’s delegate to the South East of England Sports Council and ran the London Boroughs’ Golf Competition. He was a keen gardener and president of Friern Barnet Central Allotment Holders Association and Clapton Park Working Men’s Club. He lived with his wife Vi and had one daughter Vanessa, they lived at 52 Myddleton Park, Whetstone, London and he died at Finchley Memorial Hospital aged 84 on Tuesday 8th June 1993 after a long illness. His cremation was held on 17th June 1993 at Southgate Cemetery.
The Story The medals awarded to 2052899 Sergeant David Charles Burton, Royal Signals were purchased from E-Bay on 15th June 2007. They were listed virtually as they appear and included some photographs of the recipient both during World War 2 and later as Mayor of Barnet. Also with the lot were his soldiers pay book, post war credits and an extract from the 1977 Silver Jubilee Medal Roll confirming that he was entitled to the 1977 Jubilee Medal although this was not with the group. Interest having been aroused the seller’s other medals were viewed on E-Bay and being sold separately were a matching set of miniatures including a Silver Jubilee Medal, enquiries with the vendor confirmed they were also Burtons. Unusually the vendor suggested the auction could end early if an offer was made, which it was and a few minutes later the full sized and miniature group had a new custodian! The only additional information the vendor could offer was that the recipient had been a friend of Margaret Thatcher’s and given the locality of Barnet to Finchley and the year this was highly likely. It was very quickly established that David Charles Burton had in fact been Mayor of the London Borough of Barnet during the Silver Jubilee year. His will was extracted on a visit to London and photographs of the house he lived in at the time of his death taken on 5th July 2007. An executor from his will, Mr P J Britten was contacted and provided some basic additional information but could not be much further help. Another visit to London saw the extraction of his wife’s will which gave details of their daughter and a number of other friends who were beneficiaries at the time of her death in September 2003. David Burton’s daughter was written to at the address appearing on the will but no answer received. A quite spontaneous visit was subsequently made to Hendon Town Hall on 20th August 2008. So spontaneous that no detail or paperwork was taken only a ‘working memory’ of the group. Having made the arduous journey to Hendon it was discovered the Town Hall had closed one week previously for major refurbishment! Next visit was the library adjacent but they were unable to help and suggested going to the Local Studies and Archive Centre in Mill Hill. A telephone call and half hour bus journey later resulted in a wealth of information being revealed. The archives had microfiche records of the local newspaper, the Hendon Times and several copies of the Barnet Civic News. Three hours of poring through various papers and fiches provided several cuttings from his year in office and extremely useful additional information from his obituary and the Civic News. During the return journey Hendon Town Hall was visited again and following a conversation with a local Government Officer inside, it was possible to have a quick look around the Council Chamber which was in the process of being stripped for the refurbishment and photographs taken of the Past Mayors name board within. Having copied all his latest information a more comprehensive account of David Burton’s life was built up enabling a detailed biography to be produced. A further perusal of Mrs Vi Burton’s will revealed another beneficiary that still lived at the same address in London. She was contacted during August 2008 and confirmed that she had kept in contact with Burton’s daughter, Vanessa Page. She was reluctant to provide her address or telephone number but agreed to forward a letter on to her which was posted on 28th August 2008. This is where the research stands at present and it will be interesting to see if it is possible to make contact with his daughter and to arrange a visit.
Alfred Jodl signing the capitulation papers at Rheims
The main Instrument of Surrender was signed at Rheims, France, at 02:41 hours on 7 May 1945. The signing took place in a red brick schoolhouse that served as the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). It was to take effect at 2301 hours Central European time on 8 May, 1945. The unconditional surrender of the German armed forces was signed by Generaloberst Alfred Jodl, on behalf of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (German language: High Command of armed forces) and as the representative for the new Reich President, Grand AdmiralKarl Dönitz. Walter Bedell Smith signed on behalf of the Western allies, and Ivan Sousloparov on behalf of the Soviets. French general François Sevez signed as the official witness.This Instrument of Surrender applied to all military forces on land, at sea, and in the air who were at that point of time under the control of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW). Although the military commanders of most German forces obeyed the order to surrender issued by the German Armed Forces High Command not all commanders did so. According to the report of Germany's Deutsche Welle of May 8, 2005, the situation with this first "Instrument of Surrender" was similar to German surrender in the World War 1, where in November of 1918 the surrender treaty was signed by a civilian politician and a relatively unknown general. German Field Marshal Hindenburg could thus declare thereafter that the German army didn't really capitulate, and troops continued fighting. In Rheims, the treaty was signed by a mere general, Colonel Alfred Jodl, without the authoritative presence of a commander-in-chief. That wasn't enough for the Allies who still had bitter memories of the signing of the ceasefire at the end of the First World War. The personal signature of the German commander in chief, Field Marshal Keitel, was thus important to the Allies to avoid a repeat of any further such "revolution" and "betrayal" legends. The German Instrument of Surrender used by Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force at Rheims was modeled on the one used a few days earlier to allow the German forces in Italy to surrender. They did not use the one which had been drafted for the surrender of Germany by the "European Advisory Commission" (EAC).This created a legal problem for the Allies, because although the German armed forces had surrendered unconditionally, the civilian German government had not been included in the surrender. This was considered a very important issue, given that Hitler had used the surrender of the civilian government, but not of the military, in 1918, to create the "stab in the back" argument. The Allies understandably did not want to give any future hostile German regime any kind of legal argument to resurrect an old quarrel. Eventually they decided not to recognise president of GermanyKarl Dönitz, but to sign a four power document instead, creating the Allied Control Council.The largest contingent not to surrender in accordance with the capitulation treaty were Army Group Centre under the command of Field MarshalFerdinand Schörner who had been promoted to Commander-in-Chief of the Army on April 30 in Hitler's last will and testament. On May 8, Schörner deserted his command and flew to Austria and the Soviet Army sent an overwhelming force against Army Group Centre in the Prague Offensive forcing all German units in Army Group Centre to capitulate by May 11 (Soviet troops entered Prague on 9 May). Pursuant to this Instrument of Surrender, the German High Command issued orders to all forces under its command to cease active operations at exactly 23:01 hours Central European Time of May 8, 1945. Thus, this Instrument of Surrender legalized unconditional surrender of all armed forces under the German High Command, officially ending combat in Europe.The Soviet Union's only representative in Rheims was General Ivan Susloparov, the Military Liaison Mission Commander. General Susloparov's scope of authority was not entirely clear, and he had no means of immediate contact with the Kremlin, but nevertheless decided to risk signing for the Soviet side. However, he noted that it could be replaced with a new version in the future. Stalin was indeed displeased by these events. He believed that the German surrender should have been accepted only by the envoy of the USSR Supreme command, and insisted the Rheims protocol be considered preliminary, with the main ceremony to be held in Berlin, where Marshal Zhukov was at the time.
London Borough of Barnet
The borough was formed under the London Government Act 1963 in 1965 from the Municipal Borough of Finchley, Municipal Borough of Hendon and the Friern Barnet Urban District of Middlesex and the East Barnet Urban District and Barnet Urban District of Hertfordshire. The Act did not include a name for the new borough. A joint committee of the councils due to be amalgamated suggested "Northgate" or "Northern Heights".Keith Joseph, the Minister of Housing and Local Government, eventually chose Barnet. The place name Barnet is derived from the Old English bærnet meaning "Land cleared by burning". The area covered by the modern borough has a long history. Evidence of 1st century Roman pottery manufacturing has been found at Brockley Hill[ and Roman coins from the 3rd and 4th centuries were found at Burnt Oak. Both sites are on the Roman road Watling Street from London (Londinium) and St Albans(Verulamium) which now forms the western border of the borough. Hendon is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, but the districts of Barnet, Edgware and Finchley were not referred to possibly because these areas were included in other manors. In 1471 the Battle of Barnet was fought north of Chipping Barnet just within the present borough's boundary. It was here that Yorkist troops led by King Edward IV killed the rebellious "Kingmaker" Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and Warwick's brother, John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu. Individual articles describe the history and development of the districts of Church End, East Finchley, Edgware, Golders Green and North Finchley.
- 1939-45 Star: Unnamed as awarded.
- France & Germany Star: Unnamed as awarded.
- Defence Medal: Unnamed as awarded.
- War Medal 1939-45: Unnamed as awarded.
- Silver Jubilee Medal 1977: Unnamed as awarded.
- Efficiency Medal: 2052889 SJT.D.C.BURTON. R.SIGS
This page last updated 10 Feb 16