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WATKINS, Alfred Charles was born on 9 October 1866 in Marylebone, London. His mother was already widowed at 44 with seven children. Watkins joined the Company's service early in 1894 as a shorthand writer. On 1 January 1899 he left his clerical duties to learn the practical aspects of the catering trade, working in the Trocadero Kitchens as butcher, fishmonger, pastry cook and the many other occupations. His early mornings were spent in the various London markets from where Lyons bought their fresh commodities. From the kitchens of the Trocadero he progressed to train as a waiter thence to the banqueting department to learn the skills of catering for large numbers. From here he undertook further training in the many outdoor catering events and in some of the larger restaurants such as the Throgmorton. He returned to the Trocadero Restaurant as a manager in 1902 where he remained until 1922. In 1922, in recognition of his work, he was appointed a Employee Director and retired in 1933. He died one year after his retirement on 11 January 1934.

 

 



WATSON, (Jack), John Bernard Robert MC, was a sales manager with Lyons Bakery Ltd between 1958 and 1982 when he retired. Following the merger with Allied Breweries Ltd, and subsequently Pedro Domecq of Spain, Jack became a councillor with the newly formed Allied Domecq Pension Fund. This Benefit Counselling Service was discontinued in 2006.
Jack Watson, as he preferred to be known, was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, on 14 January 1917. He joined the Army in 1939 and served with the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry and then the South Lancashire Regiment which later became the 13 (Lancashire) Battalion, the Parachute Regiment. On 6 June 1944 (D-Day) he was dropped into Normandy and was initially deployed at Pegasus Bridge and in the liberation of Ranville. He lost 25 men in subsequent skirmishes in an attempt to capture a dominating feature known as Hill 13.
In the early part of 1945 he took part in the Battle of the Ardennes and on 3 January 1945 was commanding ‘A’ Company as it led the assault into Bure, Belgium. There were 28 immediate casualties but Watson, completely disregarding the enemy fire, ran up and down the line rallying his men and enabled the attack to be launched. When the Germans counter attached with Tiger tanks he organised teams with Piat anti-tank weapons and beat them back. Watson kept up his assault on the German positions and eventually cleared the village. As a result of his determined attack he was awarded the Military Cross.
In March 1945 Watson was parachuted in again during the crossing of the Rhine and in command of a company pushed eastwards towards the Baltic. After the war he served as a Company commander in England and Palestine. He gained a regular commission and served as adjutant of the 1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment in Austria and the Canal Zone. He retired in 1958.
He led the annual Airborne Normandy Pilgrimage visiting a number of locations in Europe. In 2005 he was appointed a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur and was subsequently made an honorary citizen of Bure and Tellin in the Ardennes and of Ranville, Normandy.
Jack married Laura Eyre in 1938 and they had one son and four daughters. Jack Watson survived his wife and died on 12 April 2011 aged 94. He was a most likable and modest person, always readily prepared to help others. He was a true gentleman. .

 

 


WIJZE Louis de (1922–2009) was a Dutch Director in the subsidiary company of Homburg B.V. whose factory and head office was situated in Cuijk, in southern Netherlands . Louis was born on 30 May 1922 in Boxmeer and the family moved to Nijmegen in 1932. On 18 November, at the age of 20, he and his family were arrested and deported by the Germans to the Dutch concentration and transit camp Westerbork in the north-east of the Country. In March 1944 he was transferred to Auschwitz , Poland , and given the registration number 175564. Just before the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army, Louis was one of the ten thousand or so prisoners forced to march on foot to other concentration camps. They are now known as 'the death marches'. After three days Louis took his chance to escape and succeeded in making contact with the American Army. On his return to the Netherlands after the war it became clear that only Louis' sister Kitty had survived the holocaust; all other members of the De Wijze family had perished in different concentration camps.
After the war Louis de Wijze became the owner of his father's meat company. In 1949 his company merged with Homburg and Brinke culminating in the formation of a new company named Homburg B.V. Louis became a Director of that larger company until his retirement in 1984 and was mainly responsible for the innovative and successful research and pig-breeding facility which became known as Fomeva. Homburg B.V., and its subsidiaries, was acquired by J. Lyons & Co Ltd in 1972.
Sixty years after the liberation of Auschwitz (2005) Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands invited Louis de Wijze to accompany her, together with Mr. Balkenende ( the Prime Minister of the Netherlands), to the Auschwitz Memorial Day in Poland.
Louis de Wijze died on 20 July 2009 at his home in Berg-en-Dal at the age of 87 where he had lived since 1963. He was married to Netty née Huisman and just before he died they celebrated their diamond wedding. As a survivor of Auschwitz and author of some books ( Only My life – A Survivors Story ) on the Hollocaust Louis became one of the symbols of the Dutch Jewish Second World War history. Dutch television, radio and press gave wide coverage of his death. On Louis' special request his funeral took place at the Jewish Cemetery of Vierlingsbeek (south of Nijmegen ) and close to the grave of his grandfather Samuel de Wijze. It was the first funeral in that old cemetery since 1941. He leaves six children.


WILLANS, Harry CB, CBE, DSO, MC, TD (1892-1943). Major-General (16877), 28th Bn., London Regiment (Artists' Rifles) and General Staff, died in a flying accident in the Middle East on Friday, 5 February 1943, age 50, and is buried in Tobruk War Cemetery, Libya. Born in 1892 at Hendon, Middlesex, he was the son of James Tetley Willans and Henrietta Mary Willans (nee Rob), and the husband of Dorothy Joan Willans (nee Beale), who lived variously in London, Purley, Stevenage and Tunbridge Wells. Harry was educated at Aldenham School, Elstree, between September 1907 and July 1910 and was co-opted onto the Governing Body of the School on 4 February 1942 but was only able to attend one meeting of the Governing Body before his death in February 1943. By 1913 he was an Articled Clerk and at this early time was already a Territorial in the Artists Rifles which, according to the Lyons Mail of March 1938, he joined as a private in 1911. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1921. Harry Willans was serving in the ranks of the Artist Rifles in 1914 and was selected to become a Second Lieutenant in the 1st Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment. In August 1914 he landed in France as a Lieutenant, attached to the 5th Division. His regiment fought at many of the well-known battles of the First World War including Cateau, Marne, Aisne, Bassée,Ypres, St Julien and the Somme Offensives. By 1918 he had been awarded the Military Cross and by 1919 the Distinguished Service Order. He was promoted to Captain and moved to the Reserve of Officers. After the war Harry Willans became the General Manager of the Association for Promoting the General Welfare of the Blind. Not wishing to lose touch with the Army he rejoined the Artists Rifles again but because the pressure of work prevented him from devoting as much attention as he wished to soldiering, he served for a period in the ranks. He was also Assistant Secretary of the British Commonwealth Union. In 1933 he become a Lieutenant-Colonel commanding a Territorial Battalion and in the same year joined Lyons' Tea Agents Department where he worked until the outbreak of war. In August 1939 Willans was gazetted to a London Division as Major-General which he commanded until 1940. On 8 June 1939 (in the King's birthday list) he was made a CBE. By the end of 1940 the Army Council decided to encourage and expand the Welfare Directorate and to allot to it additional functions. In pursuance of this policy Major-General Willans was appointed Director-General of Welfare and Education in December 1940. The fact that Willans was made Director-General of Welfare and Education is of special significance as indicating the importance attached by the Army Council to war-time education in the Army. In the New Years Honours List of January 1942 Harry was made a CB. Willans spent some four weeks in December 1942, and January 1943, touring India and the Assam front. On his return journey, and after spending a few days in the Middle East Command, he met with a fatal accident at El Adem, an airfield near Tobruk, on 5 February 1943. Harry Willans had two daughters, both of whom served in the ATS during the Second World War.



WRIGHT, Frederick (1904–1963). Frederick Wright was born into a large family – mainly boys who were connected with a taxi business – on 11 Oct 1904 in Fulham, London. He joined J. Lyons in 1921 and trained as a baker and subsequently worked in several sections of the Bakery Department at Cadby Hall. He met his wife Florence Dormon in the mid 1920s, when she was working in the French Pastry Department. They married in 1932 and had two children: John (16 May 1934) and Brenda (30 November 1938). During the 1939–1945 war Frederick was a member of the Cadby Hall Fire Brigade, which boasted a fire appliance which was kept in a corner of Cadby Hall yard. At the end of the war, he transferred to the Bakery Wholesale Rounds Department both as a driver’s assistant and driver. He later returned to the Bakeries at Cadby Hall where he became a foreman of the Sponge Cake Department. Later he transferred to the Swiss Roll Department as General Foreman. Frederick Wright was an enthusiastic support of Fulham Football Club. He excelled at darts, winning a singles trophy in 1938 and also the Lyons Club’s J. H. Allen Cup for the pairs championship. Frederick died of melanoma on 12 January 1963 aged 58.
Frederick Wright’s brother, George Percival, studied at the London School of Economics and married his tutor, Barbara Wootten, in 1935. It was her second marriage; her first husband having died of wounds in 1917. Barbara Wootton was created a life Baroness in 1958. She became Deputy Speaker in the House of Lords in 1967.