Johann Mölleken & Henrietta Muehlenweg


Johann Mölleken

The Mölleken family originates from Hiesfeld, Dinslaken, Rheinland, Prussia (now Germany). Records show that they were living in Hiesfeld from at least the 1500s. Over the years, the Mölleken family has spread around the globe to locations including America, Brazil, Canada, England and New Zealand.

My second great grandparents were called Johann Mölleken and Henrietta Muehlenweg. Circa 1862, Johann and Henrietta along with their daughter, sailed from Prussia to England armed with a gun and a sword. They probably arrived at Sunderland before moving on to Hull.


Henrietta Muhlenweg

Johann and Henrietta perhaps left Prussia due to political and economic pressures and they might have been bound for America to join Johann’s relations. They may have decided to postpone the final step of their journey but decided to settle in England. A family rumour is that Johann had murdered somebody in Prussia and had to quickly flea the country. Johann is the only Mölleken to have settled in England.

Johann and Henrietta issued four children together. One died in Prussia and the surviving three were called, Henriette Elise, Johann Hermann and Johann.

Belgian pin fire pistol (made circa 1861) - 31.08.12 (15)

Johann’s pistol

The name Mölleken, in England, underwent a process of anglicisation, firstly changing to Molleken and finally Mollekin. In other countries, such as in America and Canada, the name simply became Molleken. Notable people with the surname of Molleken, with whom I’m related to, include Brent Moelleken, Dustin Molleken, Lorne Molleken and Patrick Mölleken.

Johann Mölleken

JGM, Annie Stacey & Johann Mölleken (1)

John G, Mollekin, Annie & John Mollekin

My great grandfather, Johann Mölleken (known as John Mollekin) was born in 1866 in Hull, approximately four years after his parents, Johann Mölleken and Henrietta Muehlenweg, had arrived in England after emigrating from Prussia.

John married twice, issuing six children with his first wife, Jennie Slingsby (who died in 1905), who were called, Hilda Annie (1894 to 1974), Gwendoline Henrietta (1896 to 1896), John Gilbert (1897 to 1979), Dorothy (1899 to 1992), Jennie (1903 to 1993) and Enid May (1904 to 1904).


MOLLEKIN. – January 13th, at 112, Mersey-street, the dearly beloved wife of John Mollekin. Friends please accept this (the only) intimation. Interred Western Cemetery, Spring-bank, Tuesday, the 17th.


Saint George’s Church

John married again, to a widow called Annie Walters (nee Stacey), in 1907 in Saint George’s Church, Sheffield. John adopted Annie’s son, Samuel Leslie Walters.

John established his own construction company in Hull some time in the 1890s. In the 1895 Kelly’s Directory for Hull, John is trading as a Joiner under the name of, ‘Mollekin & Smith’. I’m not sure who the ‘Smith’ is, but I know that the family were friends with a Schmidt family. John’s first marriage was in fact witnessed by a Elise Schmidt and his niece married a George Andrew Schmidt.

John built a number of streets in Hull and named a couple after his children. Two of these were called, Dorothy Grove and Gilbert Avenue. Dorothy Grove and Gilbert Avenue were demolished circa 2011.


Les Mollekin

According to his daughter, Dorothy, John ‘fell to pieces’ upon the death of his wife, Jennie, in 1905. This event combined with the burden of looking after four children seemed to contribute to the demise of John’s business. Within one month of Jennie’s death in February 1905, John appears on the payroll of his brother in law’s firm, Slingsby Machinery Merchants.

By 1907, John had left Hull and was residing in Laughton en le Morthen near to Rotherham. Around this time, John’s brother, Hermann (known as Herbert) had been contracted to build houses in Laughton en le Morthen so it is probably safe to assume that it was around this time that John began working with/for his brother. It is not known when John stopped working with Herbert, but in the 1940s my father remembered him working for a joinery company in Rotherham.

John like my father took a keen interest in cricket and would play the game with my father even when he was in his 70s. John was also a keen a supporter of Rotherham United.

When my father was twelve, John gave to him a Belgian pin fire pistol and steel sword that had belonged to John’s parents, presumably to protect them on their voyage to England and potential threats in a foreign land.

Johann Mölleken & Annie Stacey (1)

John & Annie

It is stated in John’s obituary that he was the first President of Kingston Hull Rovers Football Club. There are numerous newspaper articles published in the late 19th century and early 20th century that make mention of a President called ‘Mr’ Mollekin, but usually no Christian names were given. A couple do state ‘H’ Mollekin and one published in 1898 (published below) states that Herbert was elected President whilst John was elected Vice-President. Herbert moved to Pontefract circa 1896 and became President of their football club. But it is not clear when and which brother held which responsibilities at Hull Kingston Rovers other than in the aforementioned 1898 article. It is worth noting that Herbert Mollekin wasn’t the first President either, so it may be that John was.

Between the 1910s and 1940s, John and his family resided at ‘Rossmoyne’, 81 Rotherham Road, Maltby. After the death of his second wife, John lived with his children and their families. John died at 13 St. John’s Road, Rotherham in 1948, five years after his second wife, Annie, had died. He’d just completed a game of dominoes with his son in law, climbed the stairs to his bedroom, sat on his bed and died.

Stanley Mollekin (3rd from left) & Johann Mölleken (right corner) (Copyright Ann Mollekin)

John (top right hand corner)


The interment took place on Wednesday of Nurse Annie Mollekin, wife of Mr. J. Mollekin, of 81, Rotherham Road, Maltby. She was 81 years of age, and a native of Derbyshire, but had resided in Maltby over 30 years. She had been a nurse for 50 years, and did valuable work for St. Dunstan’s and other organisations. A service was held in the Parish Church, conducted by the Vicar. The mourners included Mr. J. Mollekin (widower), Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Mollekin (son and daughter-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. Webb, Mr. and Mrs. Shearing and Mr. and Mrs. J. Webster (sons-in-law and daughters), Miss Muriel Webb (grand-daughter), Mrs. G. Hardy (Bulwell), Mr. J. Whitaker, Mr. and Mrs. H. Mollekin, Mrs. A. Pearson, Mrs. G. Brown and friends. Floral tributes were sent by ‘Husband and Son,’ ‘Flossie and Walter,’ ‘Jack, Edith and children,’ ‘Fred, Dorothy and Hilda,’ ‘Jennie, Jack, Fred and Leslie,’ ‘Grandchildren, Rotherham,’ ‘Grandchildren, Wickersley,’ ‘Donald, Douglas and Dorothy,’ ‘Nieces and nephews (Merseyside),’ ‘Bert and Daisey,’ ‘Nieces and Nephews (Maltby),’ ‘Dot, George, Doreen and auntie (Bulwell),’ ‘Marion, Percy and children.’

Walliker Street

Walliker Street, Hull

Below is a selection of newspaper articles that pertain to John including his obituary.


At the Hull County-court this morning, before Judge Bedwell, John Mollekin, joiner, Walliker-street, brought an action against William Neman for £2 12s 6d for goods supplied. Mr Fieldman was for the plaintiff, and Mr Locking for the defendant. The plaintiff supplied the defendant with timber, worked up into doors, &c., amounting to £20 12s 6d. The defendant paid £13 on account, and there was a dispute as to the balance, the plaintiff making admissions as to the payment of the £13, while the defendant contended that he had paid the plaintiff £15. A number of informal receipts were produced. Mr Holdich suggested that the plaintiff, on one visit to the defendant, said there had been a mistake, and he gave a receipt for £10 instead of £5. He suggested the plaintiff stole this receipt and destroyed it, and that the books had been altered to agree with the new account. His Honour gave judgment for the defendant, beyond the sum paid into Court (£2 12s 6d and costs). Costs to defendant.

Rotherham Road, Maltby (no. 81) - 29.04.07 (5)

Rossmoyne, Maltby


A “breeze” was threatened at the onset of last night’s annual meeting of the Kingston Rovers F. C., which was well attended at the Forester’s Hall, by the ex-president, Mr Ward, suggesting that certain matters mentioned in the secretary’s report were a reflection upon the late officials. It was impossible for a former treasurer to make out a detailed report, because at that time they were simply professional footballers working under the amateur cloak. He also desired to know why he and his partner had not received copies of the report. Perhaps it was that they were not wanted.

President H. Mollekin denied that there was truth in Mr Ward’s views, and mentioned that the report under notice was the secretary’s, not that of the treasurer.

Belgian pin fire pistol (made circa 1861) - 31.08.12 (15)

John’s Belgian pin fire pistol

The secretary’s report was unanimously adopted, and the treasurer, Mr G. Whitaker, reported that the income had been £1,845 18s 0½d, and the expenditure £1,861 19s 5d being a balance of £16 1s 4½d on the wrong side. The income from gates etc., was £1,743 8s 6½d. Two years ago the subscriptions were £24 11s 6d; now they stood at £102 9s 6d (applause). As to the expenditure, the players’ wages were £602 4s, and other expenses including guarantees, £719 2s 9½d. It was the first time, said the Treasurer, they had been able to publish a true sheet.

On the motion of Mr R. T. Hudson, seconded by Mr H. Walker, it was decided that in future the annual subscriptions to the club be 10s 6d, 7s 6d, and 5s, to admit to the North Stand, the South Stand, and the field only, respectively.

The meeting agreed, on the proposal of Mr H. Walker, seconded by Mr S. Hill, that the club be managed by the president, four vice-presidents, hon. secretary , hon. assistant secretary, hon. treasurer, and a committee of seven members, the captain and vice-captain to be members of the same.


John with grandson Doug

Mr C. H. Savage moved that a second team be run by the club. He believed they could get good men in the city, and would find such a team beneficial to the club.

The President thought it would be advisable to leave the matter to the committee, as the ground would not last for double the number of matches. The ground was not fit.

Chorus of Voices: Let’s have a new ground (hear, hear).

A Voice: Turn the club into a limited liability company.

The President: The committee are alive to your interests.

Mr Cotes seconded the Secretary’s proposal, which was adopted.

The officers appointed were: – President, Mr H. Mollekin; vice-presidents. Messrs R. T. Hudson, W. Roadhouse, J. Mollekin, and J. Newton; hon. secretary, Mr. E. Brinham; hon. treasurer, Mr. G. Whitaker; captain, Mr. A. Kemp; vice-captain, Mr A. Starks; and committee, Messrs B. R. Wilson, H. Walker, G. Gibbs, G. Batty, J. Lovell, C. Bell, and C. T. Savage.


A meeting of the Hull Corporation Works Committee was held this afternoon, Alderman Lararard presiding.

St. Johns Road, Rotherham (no. 13) - 24.09.06 (6)

13 St. John’s Road, Rotherham (demolished)

It was stated that a Local Government Board inquiry would be held shortly into an application for power to borrow £17,000 for Hedon-road paving, £900 for lavatories in the Market-place, and £6,094 for land at Stepney-lane.

The Medical Officer and City Architect were instructed to report as to whether the City Land Syndicate, Limited, could build on the football field adjoining the Cottingham drain, which it was now proposed to law out as a street.

The following plans were passed: – J. Mollekin (Amended), eight houses, Haltemprice-street and Hawthorn-avenue.

Other plans were also passed for other builders but this article was abridged by Craig Mollekin.


The following list of plans approved by the Hull Works’ Committee gives an indication of the position of affairs in the building trade of Hull: –

J. Mollekin, six houses, Liverpool-street.

Other plans were also passed for other builders but this article was abridged by Craig Mollekin.


Grange Lane Cemetery, Maltby - 07.09.12 (1)

Maltby Cemetery

The death occurred suddenly yesterday week of Mr. John Mollekin, aged 81, late of Maltby, at 13, St. John’s Road, Rotherham, the home of his daughter, Mrs. J. Webster.

In his younger days Mr. Mollekin was a builder at Hull. He was the first president of Hull Kingston Rovers Rugby Football Club, and was also a keen cricketer. He came to reside at Maltby 36 years ago and his wife died there in 1943.

The interment took place on Tuesday in Maltby Cemetery following a service at Wickersley Parish Church conducted by the Rev. W. Sorby Briggs.

The family thank Mrs. P. Grounds for her kindness and generous help; also relatives, friends and neighbours for kindness, sympathy and floral tributes.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Elmore, Doncaster Road, Rotherham.

The Cat’s Paw & Hilda Annie Mollekin

John & Hilda Mollekin

John & Hilda Mollekin

Hilda Annie Mollekin, the daughter of John Mollekin and Jennie Slingsby, is my great aunt and sister of my grandfather, John Gilbert Mollekin. She was a Nurse but later specialised in Chiropody which she practised from her home. Hilda was born in Hull in 1894 and with her family moved to South Yorkshire where they were residing when the 1911 Census was conducted. However, she returned to Hull, to live and work. Why she chose to return to Hull when the rest of her family were living in South Yorkshire, I am unsure, but I do know that some of her extended family were residing in Hull at the time.

My father used to visit his aunt, Hilda, at her home in 15 Holderness Road (Hull), when he was a child and his father maintained links, occasionally holidaying with her. My father remembered that Hilda, who never married, had a lodger, who would lay in a bed in the front room, looking out of the window all day. My father recalled that this ‘lodger’ who was called Mr Altman was disabled and couldn’t walk. Mr Altman was German and would tell my father all kinds of stories which he enjoyably listened to. One was of how he was living in England but was forced to return to Germany to fight in the First World War. A couple of people have contacted me in recent years stating that they remembered Mr Altman looking out the window every day and that he was a well known man in Hull.



Hilda’s aunt was called Henrietta Elise Mölleken who was born in 1857 in Prussia. Henrietta’s family had settled in Hull and she married a butcher called Charles Harry Köhler in 1884. Henrietta, Charles and their family had moved to Birkenhead by the time the 1901 Census was conducted where Charles had set up a butchery business. By 1911, the family were living in Belfast where Charles was continuing with his business. Charles and one of his daughters died in Belfast and the rest of the family seemed to return to Birkenhead. The newspaper article states below that Hilda had an Irish friend. I know that my grandfather, John Mollekin, used to often visit Ireland with my grandmother and my aunt, Beryl and when he became a widower, continued with these visits. John was a friend of the Irish Prime Minister, Éamon de Valera, with whom he enjoyed playing golf. Which friend/s or even family that were living there after 1911 or even now, I have no clue.

Hilda died at 15 Holderness Road in 1974.

Below are a couple of newspaper articles that pertain to Hilda and they made the front page in Hull. Hilda was a very a ‘prim and proper’ person and I can only assume that she was very naive in her actions.


Hull Court Sequel to Seizure of Irish Sweepstake Receipts


Two Men and Woman Fined for Sales of Tickets

Hilda (middle)

Hilda (middle)

A SEQUEL to a police raid on a Liverpool garage was heard at Hull Police Court to-day when three persons – a certified midwife, a Corporation employee, and an insurance agent – appeared before the Stipendiary Magistrate (Mr J. R. Macdonald) and were fined for selling Irish Hospitals Sweepstake tickets.

During the hearing of one case Mr MacDonald declared: “It is up to your friends who put you up to this thing to pay your fine. You have been the catspaw and the monkey ought to pay.”

(Note. – The Stipendiary was alluding to the origin of the word catspaw, which comes from the fable of the monkey using the cat’s paw to take chestnuts out of the fire.)


First to appear was the certified midwife, Hilda Mollekin, of Queensgate street, and she pleaded guilty.

Mr A. G. Harrison, prosecuting, said when the Liverpool police carried out a raid on a garage some of the receipts found were addressed to “various people in Hull.”

Mollekin, said Mr Harrison, was one of these people. Thirty receipts were found in the envelope addressed to her.

When seen by Detective-Constable Robinson, continued Mr Harrison, Mollekin said she received three books of tickets for the Derby from a friend in Ireland without asking for them, and went on to explain how they had been disposed of.

The detective said Mollekin had a previous good character.


Helena E. Köhler, Dorothy Mollekin, John Mollekin & Hilda Mollekin in Jersey - October 1957

Helena E. Köhler, Dorothy Mollekin, John Mollekin & Hilda Mollekin in Jersey – October 1957

Mollekin to-day told the court: “I just received the tickets from Ireland – I did not apply for them. I am very sorry it has happened – I know what will happen to the next lot of tickets that comes along.”

Mr Macdonald asked Mr Harrison how much Mollekin had “made” out of the sales, and was told “about £3.”

Mr Macdonald commented that for “poetic justice” the fines imposed on people for such offences should go to the support of our own hospitals.

Mollekin denied that she had made anything out of the sale. She explained that one book was “a family syndicate,” so she could make nothing out of that; and that half of a book went into the fire.


”I actually sold three tickets,” she said. “There were 30 tickets. Six went into the fire. I kept the other book.”

Mr Macdonald said he felt that perhaps Mollekin had made nothing out of the sale, and imposed a fine of £2, and ordered her to pay the costs, which included 1½gns. solicitor’s fee.

He then made the remarks with regard to the catspaw and monkey.

Hilda's Business Card

Hilda’s Business Card


Three summonses relating to the sale of Irish Hospital Sweepstake tickets were dealt with by the Hull Stipendiary Magistrate, Mr. J. R. MacDonald, to-day.

Opening the case against Hilda Mollekin, certified midwife, of Queensgate Street, Mr. A. G. Garrison (Town Clerk’s Department) said in May the Liverpool police raided a garage and found sweepstake receipts, several being in envelopes and addressed to Hull. Thirty receipts were addressed to Mollekin, who, when interviewed by Detective Robinson, said she received three books on the Derby from a friend in Ireland without having asked for them.

Asked how much profit Mollekin had made, Mr. Harrison replied that it would be about £3.

The magistrate said that poetic justice would be done if the fine could go to a Hull hospital.

Mollekin said she did not make anything out of the books. She sold only three tickets.

15 Holderness Road (demolished)

15 Holderness Road (demolished)

She was fined £2 and costs.

William Thurlow, Corporation labourer, of Regent Street, summoned in respect of the 24 receipts said he kept most of the tickets himself and sold the balance to friends. He was fined 20s. and costs.

George Cyril Canty, insurance agent, of Linton Avenue, was summoned in respect of 48 tickets.

Mr. T. L. Widdy, defending said Canty got 20 books altogether, but only sold 48 tickets. There was no complete book sold. He made nothing out of it. He was fined £2 and costs.

John Gilbert Mollekin

Jack circa 1900

Walliker Street

18th August 2015 marks the 118th anniversary of the birth of John Gilbert Mollekin (known as Jack) who is my paternal grandfather. Jack was born in Walliker Street, Newington, Hull, to parents, Johann Mölleken and Jennie Slingsby. His father was a Master Joiner who built several streets in Hull including Dorothy Grove and Gilbert Avenue (named after his children and demolished circa 2011).

Jack’s sister, Gwendoline, died on his 7th Birthday and he lost his mother, five months later to Pulmonary Phthisis. Jack’s father had five children to bring up alone and consequently his construction business suffered, so he began working for his brother-in-law’s company before moving to the Rotherham area circa 1906 in order to help with his brother’s building activities.

Upon leaving School, Jack worked for the Mollekin building company based in Maltby as a bricklayer until circa 1915 when he trained to become a Signalman on the Railways, a job that occupied him until he retired, working in Wincobank and Rawmarsh.

Home Guard

Jack avoided serving in World War One because when he attempted to enlist, it was deemed that he was underweight, the Enlistment Officer joking that he could only be used as a bore brush for the guns.

Jack at Wincobank West Junction in 1929

Jack married Edith Mary Pinder in 1925 and together issued three children who were called, Beryl Marjory, John Malcolm and James Barrie. They originally lived in Bramley, Rotherham before moving to a modern house on the newly erected Listerdale Estate in Wickersley, circa 1930.

Jack’s daughter, Beryl, married an American Serviceman in 1945, moved to Tennessee and died the following year. Jack’s wife died in 1952 following a series of strokes.

During World War Two Jack served in the Home Guard. My father recalls this era in Wickersley in this entry.

Jack’s daughter, Beryl, gave birth to a daughter (Linda) shortly before she died and although Jack communicated with Linda’s family on a regular basis via letters, Jack didn’t actually get to meet her until 1963 in America. Jack met and married a lady whilst in Tennessee although this marriage was short-lived.

Norwich City F.C. Official Matchday Magazine – 15.09.79

Jack’s father was a Rotherham United supporter, as was Jack, my father and myself also. My family has been supporting Rotherham United since before Rotherham United’s old ground, Millmoor, was erected and I recently discovered that the meaning of the German/Prussian name ‘Mölleken’ roughly translates to ‘Little Miller’. Rotherham United is known as ‘The Millers’. In the 1970s, Jack went to live with his sister-in-law, Evelyn Pinder (nee Wakefield), in Cromer, Norfolk. This meant that Jack could no longer easily support Rotherham United in attendance so began supporting his local team which was Norwich City.

Jack’s grave

On Saturday 15th September 1979, Jack, with a friend, went to watch Norwich City at home in Carrow Lane play Nottingham Forest. Norwich City won the game, 3 goals to 1. Scorers for Norwich were Kevin Reeves (39 minutes), Justin Fashanu (42 minutes) and Keith Robson (57 minutes). John Robertson scored the goal for Nottingham Forest in the 84th minute. John Bond was the manager of Norwich City and I actually met him in 1990 when he was the Manager of Shrewsbury Town. Some time between the 84th minute of the game and the final whistle, Jack passed away, just after saying to his friend, “No more goals will be scored”.

Jack in 1925

I only have a couple of cameo memories of my grandfather as I was just 3 years old when he died. One memory is of when my father was knocking a chimney breast out of a bedroom at home in Swinton and I was jumping up and down on a bed. I remember repeatedly and excitedly asking my father when ‘Grandpa’ was arriving as I knew he was on his way to visit us. When he came through the bedroom door, I bounced off the bed into his arms. Another memory is of when we were both waiting for dinner to be served. We were in the front room at home and on a silver tiered cake stand, on a table between us, were an assortment of tarts etc. I tried to reach for one but my Grandpa stopped me. Both of these memories may even have been from the same day.

On the 2nd September 1989, almost 10 years after my grandfather had passed away, my father took me to Millmoor for the first time to watch Rotherham United draw with Walsall Football Club.  A twist of fate also took me to Rotherham United’s new ground (New York) on the 33rd anniversary of my grandfather’s death on Saturday 15th September 2012, with my brother and sister-in-law, to watch Rotherham United beat Torquay United 1 goal to 0.

John Gilbert Mollekin – 18th August 1897 to 15th September 1979.

Thanks are owed to Ali Morse for sourcing a newspaper report of the Norwich City versus Nottingham Forest game and to Peter Davies for reproducing the photo of Jack as a child.

Operation Hurricane

Operation Hurricane

Operation Hurricane

In an entry on this site, I wrote about how a couple of my cousins died as civilians during the Sheffield ‘Operation Crucible’ Blitz of 1940. In contrast, in this entry, I write about how three of my German cousins died as civilians during World War II. To set the background as to how I lost English and German cousins in World War II, I’ll explain that through the paternal side of my family, my ancestry can be traced back to Rhineland in Prussia (now Germany). My second great grandfather, Johann Mölleken, came to England with his family circa 1860.

My second cousin, twice removed is called Emilie Mölleken and she was born in 1906 in Hiesfeld, Dinslaken, Rheineland, Prussia. In 1932, she married Friedrich Gerhard Van Laak. Together, they issued three children called Fritz (born 1932), Erwin (born 1934) and Heinz-Dieter (born 1937).

Friedrich Gerhard Van Laak owned a house painting and pharmacy business in Hiesfeld. With tax-payer’s money during World War II, the basement of this store was developed into an air raid shelter. This basement therefore always had to be accessible.



In the early hours of 14th October 1944, the Royal Air Force launched a massive 1000 bomber air raid, codenamed ‘Operation Hurricane’ on the German city of Duisburg in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The route of the bombers took them over Hiesfeld. At 08:46, Hiesfeld air defence made a direct hit on a four engined Avro Lancaster heavy bomber flying in at 52,000 meters altitude. Consequently, a second Avro Lancaster was also affected. The two bombers were due to hit the Hiesfeld air defence and their numbers were NF928 and JB297.

A reporter filmed this event out of another aeroplane. Because of the great quantity of bombs and the half full tanks of fuel that the bombers were carrying, the force of the explosions ripped the bombers apart and the cascading large and small debris scattered for miles in and around Hiesfeld. Several witnesses described how aeroplane and body parts fell from the smoke filled sky. Fires broke out across the entire of Hiesfeld. This was followed by sporadic bomb explosions. Several unexploded bombs also scattered around aimlessly. At several points dead Avro Lancaster crew members were found with unopened parachutes still on their backs.

Avro Lancaster

Avro Lancaster

The Van Laak store was hit by falling aircraft debris and was completely destroyed by subsequent fire. In the air raid shelter underneath the store were twenty three civilians, all of which were killed. A fire-fighter, who was recovering the bodies there, reported that the lungs of the causalities were burst due to the huge explosion and pressure wave. They were found with bloody foam at the mouth but otherwise, their bodies were unharmed. The shelter did not collapse and so all of the causalities were found, still sat down. The inputs and outputs of the air raid shelter were filled in, during the explosion. Paint buckets caught fire and exploded which hampered the rescue attempts.

Near to the Van Laak store was a greengrocer’s store and people had gone to buy cabbage that morning. Once the air raid sirens sounded, the people fled into the Van Laak air raid shelter.

Sadly, Emilie and two of her children (my third cousins), Erwin and Heinz-Dieter were killed in the blast. Their eldest child, Fritz (still alive at the time of writing) survived because he was in School.

All 14 crew members of NF928 and JB297 were recovered and buried in the cemetery of Dinslaken. In 1947, they were reburied in the Imperial Forest Cemetery of Kleve.

Special thanks are owed to my cousin, Hermann Mölleken, who provided details of this tragic account.

Van Laak grave (

In a twist, the granddaughter of my second great grandfather (Johann Mölleken) was killed as a result of German bombing in Liverpool in 1941. Her name is Hilda Augusta Tudball (nee Köhler) and is my first cousin, twice removed. Unfortunately, Hilda does not seem to appear in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database (yet) but thanks are owed to her granddaughter, Victoria Carr, for informing me of how she died.

Further information regarding the Mollekin/Mölleken family can be found at and

Coronation Festivities In Maltby


Herbert Mollekin (centre)

Below are a couple of newspaper articles regarding 1911 Coronation festivities arranged by Herbert Mollekin in Maltby, South Yorkshire. My grandfather, John Gilbert Mollekin, could remember this occasion. John would only have been aged thirteen but remembered everybody being dressed in dinner suits and there being plenty of champagne flowing.


CORONATION FESTIVITIES, – Messrs. Mollekin and Co. builders and contractors, are going to entertain about 350 of their workmen, wives and sweethearts at Maltby. Sports, dancing, etc., will take place, and at five o’clock tea will be provided. A large marquee is to be erected to hold 500, and a special floor to be put in for dancing in the evening. There will also be a fireworks display. All the workmen from Moorthorpe, Grimethorpe, Frickley, Hemsworth and Maltby will be invited. A special train from South Elmsall will be run if found necessary.

Herbert Mollekin with chauffeur


To celebrate the Coronation of the King 250 of the employees of Messrs. Mollekin, of Maltby, were entertained in truly handsome fashion on Thursday by Mr. Mollekin. The large field behind his residence afforded ample scope for sports. A large marquee was erected to accommodate the guests to a sumptuous dinner, and served for dancing to the strains of Messrs. Graley’s celebrated string band from the city of Leeds. Mr. Mollekin proposed the loyal toast, which was enthusiastically received by the company. The toast of their worthy host, proposed in felicitous terms by Mr. Norman Gibbs, and seconded by Mr. J. Woolhouse, was feelingly responded to by Mr. Mollekin, who thanked them all most heartily for their good wishes so happily expressed by his friends who were responsible for the toast.

Coronation lamp in Conisbrough

A pleasant interlude in the proceedings was the presentation to Mrs. Mollekin of a pretty and valuable gold pendant, and a silver cigarette case to Mr. Mollekin by Mr. C. Farrar on behalf of the employees. Mr. Farrar referred to the excellent spirit pervading the gathering, and said he was pleased to have an opportunity of meeting them under such auspicious circumstances, and on their behalf presenting to Mr. and Mrs. Mollekin those tokens of their esteem and regard. The gifts were duly acknowledged by the recipients. Prizes to the winners of the various events were distributed, and everything was done on a most lavish scale for, the enjoyment of the numerous guests, one of whom (Mons. P. N. Horeau) had travelled from Bordeaux in order to be present. Harmony prevailed throughout, and the cordial relations between the firm of Messrs. Mollekin and those who work for them was pleasingly evident in all that was said and done during the day.

Herbert Mollekin

Herbert Mollekin (centre)

Herbert Mollekin (centre)

Johann Hermann Mölleken (known as Herbert Mollekin) is my great grand uncle and was born in Sunderland, in 1863, to parents, Johann Mölleken and Henriette Muehlenweg.

In 1888, Hebert married Bertha Kennington in Hull. Together, they issued sixteen children, who were called, George Herbert (1889 to 1970), John Ernest (1890 to 1974), Bertha Lily (1892 to 1927), Harold (1893 to 1893), Alice Ada (1894 to 1942), Harry Leonard (1896 to 1976), Mabel (1897 to 1974), Dorothy May (1898 to 1970), Albert Sydney (1899 to 1976), Gertrude Ivy (1901 to 1931), Stanley (1902 to 1989), Sybil (1903 to 1993), Edward Arthur (1904 to 1904), Norman Frederick (1906 to 1990), Claude (1908 to 1968) and Jack Everatt (1910 to 1963).

Herbert was a prolific house builder and was considered to be a good employer by his workers. Further details regarding Herbert’s building activities can be read here.

Below is a newspaper article which gives an insight into Herbert’s life and achievements.

Herbert Mollekin in Nice (left)

Herbert & Bertha in Nice




The death took place in a Sheffield nursing home on Monday night of Mr. Herbert Mollekin, of The Grange, Maltby. He had been in a critical condition for some days.

The news of Mr. Mollekin’s death caused profound regret throughout South Yorkshire, for he was well known both as a builder and a Turf personality. A typical self-made man, he started his career as a working joiner, his energy and enterprise winning for him an enviable position in the building industry. The firm of Mollekin and Sons may, in fact, claim to be one of the largest building contracting firms in the district. He was a Northerner, but spent the greater part of his early days in Hull and Pontefract. Leaving joinery and becoming a bricklayer, he went to Pontefract, where he first worked as a builder.

Hebert at the Doncaster Races with the Earl of Scarborough

Hebert at the Doncaster Races with the Earl of Scarborough

It is now over twenty years since he went to Maltby and carried on his trade, his business enterprise being eventually rewarded. He always took a keen interest in Maltby, both as a business man and as a resident. He was virtually responsible for the rebuilding of practically the whole of Maltby, and there are many other mining villages throughout a wide area which have developed municipally under his hand. He started about 1910 to build the model village at Maltby, and although the progress of the scheme was impeded by the War, Mr. Mollekin took it up again afterwards. When sinking operations commenced at Thurcroft about the year 1913, he secured building work there, and again achieved the distinction of establishing almost an entirely new village.

He also built Rhodesia village, near Shireoaks; Council houses at Rawmarsh, Thurcroft, Blackwell, and South Normanton. Other contracts executed by him included the new elementary school at Thurcroft, the Technical Institute at Dinnington, and the new-type elementary school at Bramley.

Herbert Mollekin (right)

Herbert Mollekin (right)


Mr. Mollekin was also widely known through his career on the Turf. His association with Melton Vasey, his trainer and chief advisor, was a most satisfactory one, although it commenced only in 1922, when he made his debut as an owner. He was a very popular figure at all the northern meetings, and particularly at York, Manchester, Pontefract, Ayr, Newcastle and Redcar. At all these he had taken valuable prizes, and although he was not so successful at Doncaster, he was always well represented at all three meetings. He and Melton Vasey did a great deal to establish training in Doncaster and to increase its importance as a centre, apart from it’s importance as a meeting place. He commenced in a very modest style in the sport which claimed his undivided enthusiasm. He followed his horses wherever they were and the success of his first purchases, Balzac and Pickwell encouraged him to extend his operations. While he never gave a great amount of money for his horses, he and his trainer had a remarkable knack of picking up things cheaply. One of his most prolific winners was Miss Connie, which he purchased at the Doncaster September sales for £100 and which won him in stakes something like £5000, including the Old Newton Cup at Haydock Park and a £1000 race three years ago. The horse, Amazement also proved a successful investment, for he bought it out of a selling race at Doncaster and it afterwards took the Gosforth Park Cup and the Carlton Handicap. King Willow came very close to taking the season’s first big race at Lincoln several years ago when it ran 3rd to Tap in. It will be recalled that five years ago a number of horses at Belle Vue got loose, including a number of Mr. Vasey’s charges, King Willow being rather badly kicked, while another, Soval, upon which Mr. Mollekin and Mr. Vasey had set high hopes, was badly injured. Foul play was suspected and the affair caused a remarkable sensation in racing circles. It was always thought that someone had deliberately set the horses loose. Mr. Mollekin offered a substantial reward, but the culprit or culprits were never traced.

The Grange

The Grange


Keen perception was illustrated in the purchase of Mr. Vasey, on behalf of his patron, of four yearlings at the Newmarket Sales. Abbott’s Luck, which cost 100 guineas; Abbott’s Son, 80 guineas; Corn Sheaf, 60 guineas; and Tracite, 35 guineas. All won races. Abbott’s Luck taking the Corby Plate, worth £500, at Carlisle, and a £1,000 race at Manchester.

Other of his horses which did well were French Martin, Bold Wase, Poet’s Dream, Savage Lass, Rock Ruby, Battery Smoke, Baalbeck, and Balglick, while Dryhead, bought out of a seller, won the Batthyany Stakes, worth £500, at Lincoln. Hard Rock, which Mr. Mollekin bred himself, was his nomination for this year’s St. Leger, and had already been well spoken of. Noctiluce was still another good winner; while Great Speech also took first place several times. Last season Silver Castor, which cost only £50, won three good races.

Mr. Mollekin took a keen interest in his Tickhill Stud, where he had a number of good class animals in training.

Broomhall Place

Broomhall Place

Six of Mr. Mollekin’s sons are engaged in the business, one of them, Mr. Jack Mollekin, spending a short time under Mr. Vasey but increasing in weight put an end to his competitive riding. Mr. Jack Mollekin is now in charge at Tickhill.

Mr. Mollekin also leaves six daughters.


The funeral took place at Maltby yesterday. Prior to the interment in the Maltby Churchyard, there was a service in the church, conducted by the Rev. H. R. Everson (Vicar).

Ivy's grave

Herbert’s grave

The family mourners were Mrs. Mollekin (widow), Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Mollekin (son and daughter-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. E. Mollekin (son and daughter-in-law), Mrs. H. Nicholson (daughter), Mr. and Mrs. E. McGlade (son-in-law and daughter), Mr. and Mrs. Harry Mollekin (son and daughter-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. H. Brooks (son-in-law and daughter), Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Mollekin (son and daughter-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Mollekin (son and daughter-in-law), Miss Ivy Mollekin (daughter), Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Sadler (son-in-law and daughter), Messrs. Fred, Claude and Jack Mollekin (sons), Mr. Jack Mollekin (brother), Mr. and Mrs. Skerrow (brother-in-law and sister-in-law), Mrs. Pearson (sister-in-law), and Mr. H. Crompton (son-in-law). Others present were Mr. Joe Taylor (stable jockey), Mr. Melton Vasey (trainer), Mr. T. Frost (Bawtry), Mr. Herbert Fox (Doncaster), Messrs. J. T. Downing and K. Downing (Sheffield), Mr. Chas. Farrar of Doncaster (representing the West Riding County Council Education Architects’ Department), Mr. C. N. Hodgson (Rotherham), County Alderman E. Dunn, J. P. and Mr. Hugh Ross (representing the local branch of the Yorkshire Miners’ Association and the Maltby Urban Council). Mr. F. Roebuck (clerk to the Council), Mr. M. R. Jones (surveyor) and Mr. R. G. McNaught (assistant surveyor), Mr. H. C. Harrison (representing the Doncaster Rural District Council), Messrs. H. Barnard, G. Fitton, and E. Nelson (Tickhill stud employees), Messrs. E. H. Lockwood (representing the Maltby Show Committee), Mr. T. Fawcett (Doncaster), Mr. and Mrs. T. B. Buckley (Maltby), Mr. F. Lidgett, Dr. E. E. Dufty, Mr. and Mrs. R. P. Marsh, Mr. G. H. Ashforth (Rotherham Builders’ Supply Co.), Mr. George Fox (Yorkshire Amalgamated Products), Mr. W. Catchpole (Maltby Metallic Brick Co.), Mr. Gilbank (gardener at The Grange), Messrs. E. Raper, A Fisher, and A. Stables (representing the Maltby Cricket Club), Messrs. H. Cutts and C. Daniels (Maltby Salvation Army). A large number of employees of the firm of H. Mollekin and Sons also attended, among them being Mr. F. Hunter the oldest workman who has been with the firm for thirty years. Messrs. J. Beeden, G. Lawrence, J. Wrigley, B. Reid, G. F. Clarkson, W. Goodacre, H. Wingfield, M. Wilding, N. White, F. P. Arker, H. Box, R. Longbottom, G. Smith, J. Wood, G. Brown, and T. Hunter. Wreaths were sent by the following, Mrs. Mollekin and children, Mr. and Mrs. Sadler, Mr. and Mrs. Skerrow, Mr. and Mrs. Pearson, Mr. H. Crompton and grandchildren, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Booth, Mrs. Brooks, Mr. and Mrs. R. P. Marsh, Mr. C. Chambers, Dr. and Mrs. Dufty, Mr. and Mrs. T. Fawcett, Mr. and Mrs. J. Crowther, Mr. and Mrs. Melton Vasey, Mr. and Mrs. J. Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson and family, Mr. and Mrs. Hunter, Ald. And Mrs. Dunn, Mr. and Mrs. Doyle, Mrs. A. H. Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Booth (Worksop), Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong, Mr. and Mrs. Middleton, Mrs. Berwick, Mr. Stoepling and family, Mrs. Morgan and children, Maltby Branch of the Y.M.A., Directors of the Maltby Metallic Brick Co., Yorkshire Amalgamated Products Limited, Maltby Show Committee, staff of the Tickhill Stud Farm and the employees of Messrs. H. Mollekin and Sons.

This post was originally published on Mollekin Portalite on 15/06/2011.