Person Male Born 27/12/1888 Died 6/11/1940
Auxiliary fireman killed in the bomb attack on Henry Cavendish School, Balham.
Andrew Behan has kindly carried out further research: Auxiliary Fireman Victor Michaelson was born as Israel Victor Michaelson on 27 December 1888 in Northampton, Northamptonshire, the eldest son and the second of the seven children of Harris Michaelson and Rebecca Michaelson née Bloch (1861-1927). The 1891 census shows him living with his parents, two siblings, his paternal grandfather, two nurses and a general domestic servant at 1 Lea's Villas, East Park Road, Northampton and his father's occupation is recorded as a Financial Agent. In the 1901 census he is recorded as Isaac Michaelson, living with his parents, six siblings and a female servant at 13 Park Avenue, Handsworth, Staffordshire. His father's occupation was recorded as a Fancy Goods Manufacturer. On 4 February 1907 his father, who had been born in Mitau, Kurland, Russia (now called Jelgava, Latvia), was granted United Kingdom Naturalisation status and the records show that the entire family were living at 8 Minster Road, West Hampstead. In the legal documents he is again called Israel Victor Michaelson and his father's occupation was shown as a Money Lender.
On 27 April 1907 he sailed aboard the S.S. New York from Southampton arriving in New York, U.S.A. on 7 May 1907. He was shown on the manifest as Victor Michaelson, a Clerk travelling as a Steerage Passenger, the fare having been paid by his father, to visit a friend in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
On 10 February 1910, as Victor Israel Michaelson, he married Fanny Goldberg at The Central Synagogue, Great Portland Street, Marylebone. His occupation was shown as a dentist and he was living at 19 Sutherland Avenue, London, W9 whilst her address was recorded as 31 Harcourt Street, Dublin, Ireland. They had two children, Esther Sybil Michaelson whose birth was registered in the 1st quarter of 1911 in Willesden and Maurice S. Michaelson whose birth was registered in the 1st quarter of 1912 in Willesden. The 1911 census confirms that he was living, as Victor Michaelson, at 31 Torbay Road, Kilburn, together with his wife, shown as Fannie Michaelson, their daughter, Sybil, and a German female domestic servant. His occupation was given as a Financial Office Manager.
On 20 September 1915 his wife petitioned for divorce, this was uncontested and a Decree Nisi was granted on 2 October 1915 with the Final Decree being made on 26 June 1916. She was granted custody of the two children, but in the legal papers, the son was now named as Stanley Moses Michaelson. In the sworn affidavit his wife claimed that he had assaulted her on a number occasions and that he had committed adultery with numerous women. She stated that the assaults had taken place at their homes; on 10 May 1910 at 24 Putney Hill, Putney, on 15 July 1910 at 31 Torbay Road, Kilburn, on 1 December 1911 and 10 September 1912 at 42 Dartmouth Road, Cricklewood and on 20 June 1913 at 238 Stockwell Road, Brixton. It also alleged that adultery had taken place with a Daisy Cooper at Abingdon House, Piccadilly, on a number of days in October and November 1913. The final straw would appear to have been that he committed adultery with an unknown woman on 15 September 1915 at Fischer's, Hotel, Clifford Street, London. On 26 September 1915, six days after she petitioned for divorce, he sailed aboard the S.S. Cameronia from Liverpool arriving in New York on 6 October 1915. The manifest showed him as Victor Michaelson and listed his occupation as a Traveller. He claimed the purpose of his journey was to visit a friend, a P. M. Simpson at 36 Yonge Steet, Toronto, Ontario, Canada and that his nearest relative was his mother, Rebecca Michaelson of 207 Maida Vale, London.
In 1918 he married Justina Winifred Halliwell in Willesden and they had five children; Pamela Michaelson, born 29 June 1919; Joan Michaelson, born 28 April 1920; Barbara Michaelson, born 2 February 1922; Harris Michaelson, born 7 February 1924 and David Michaelson, born 12 January 1931. Electoral registers from 1932 to 1935 show him as Israel Victor Michaelson and together with his wife they were living at 163 Green Lanes, London, N16 but by the time of the compilation of the 1939 England and Wales Register he is shown as Victor Michaelson residing with all the family at 6 St Nicholas Mansions, Trinity Crescent, London, SW17. His occupation was given as a Advertising Agent, whilst that of his wife was a Gown Saleswoman. His eldest daughter was a Shorthand Typist and his two other daughters were Theatrical Artistes. His elder son was a Motor Engineer and his younger son was still at school.
He died, aged 51 years, on 6 November 1940 as a result of enemy action at AFS Fire Station 86W, that was located in the Cavendish Road School, Balham. The school was rebuilt after the war following the bomb damage and is now the Henry Cavendish Primary School, Hydethorpe Road, Balham. He is also commemorated in the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour, located just outside the entrance to St George's Chapel at the west end of Westminster Abbey, London. His name appears on the National Firefighters Memorial at the junction of Carter Lane and Sermon Lane, London, EC4 and in The Firefighters Memorial Trust's Book of Remembrance.
Andrew writes: "The information about the divorce is available to subscribers on the ancestry.co.uk website and these Divorce Court papers, (which, like census returns, are always withheld for 100 years), are now therefore in the public domain. By not contesting the divorce he was in effect admitting all the claims by his wife to have been true."
Whilst checking the different names that Michaelson used Andrew discovered that as Victor Michaelson he enlisted in the Army Service Corps on 31 March 1915. He gave his address as 221 Brixton Road, Brixton, and from his enlistment papers we now have the dates for birth of his two children: Esther Sybil Michaelson was born on 13 December 1910 and Maurice Stanley Michaelson was born on 4 December 1912. His service number was 0900159, but he was discharged on 29 May 1915 under Paragraph 392(iii)C of King's Regulations as not being likely to become an efficient soldier. We wonder if his inability to know his own name contributed to this impression.