During the Second World War, when Reggie and Ronnie Kray were children, their mother took them away from the bombing in London to Hampshire. Later Ronnie and his brother Reggie bought Hamble Manor Lodge, a small house in Hamble village, next door to the Manor House.

The brothers were regularly seen drinking in the Bugle Pub.

The twins were rumoured to have had dealings with the Southampton underworld and there are stories of a motor launch that was owned by them being abandoned in Southampton Docks when they were arrested in 1968.

“Mad Axeman” Frank Mitchell was said to have been wrapped in wire, weighted down, and dropped in the Solent after he was murdered by the Kray’s associates.

Some say their brother Charlie owned the Old Mill, Holbury and restaurants in Bedford Place.

However, there are family links locally with the Krays and the Royal Victoria Military Hospital at Netley.

The Hospital was a personal project of Queen Victoria, and when built was the largest hospital in the world.

Most of the buildings were demolished in 1966 and only the recently renovated Chapel remains today.

Paul McNeil’s research into the history of the hospital in Netley reveals several connections to the Kray twins.

The first Kray in Netley Hospital was John Kray; the Kray twins’ great grandfather’s brother who joined the army aged 18 in 1870.

His military career was a fractious one, with constant bouts of indiscipline and sickness.

He was admitted to Netley on April 30, 1877 for a mystery illness but doctors decided there was nothing wrong with him.

He deserted in 1879 and then voluntarily re-joined the army six months later. He was sent to the Far East where he spent the next 14 years.

Having failed to be recorded sick at Netley, John Kray managed six years worth of illness in India.

In 1884 John’s regiment was sent to the Sudan to fight the Mahdists who killed General Gordon in 1885.

There are four reminders of General Gordon in Southampton: his family home at 5, Rockstone Place; a memorial in Queen’s Park; Gordon Avenue in Portswood and the family tomb in the old cemetery on the Common.

James (Jimmy) Kray, the twins’ grandfather, had the chance of a reasonable start in life when he gained an electrical apprenticeship at a cable maker’s factory.

However, in his teens Jimmy fell in love with docker’s daughter Louisa Eliza Turner and, lying about his age, married her on May 5, 1901.

At the age of 16 he made her pregnant. He lost his job at the cable maker’s and worked the street markets of the East End where he sold flowers.

His family was growing with six more children including in 1907 Charles David Kray, the twins’ father, all living in one room.

Jimmy Kray joined the King’s Royal Rifle Company (KRRC) on September 14, 1914 but was wounded, shipped back and honourably discharged after treatment in Netley in 1916.

He was awarded the Silver War Badge to wear, a necessary precaution to show the civilians back at home that he had done his duty.

In the East End men who were thought to be shirking their duty at the Front risked receiving a beating.

The last Kray at Netley Hospital was Clement Henry Kray, a second cousin of the Kray twins.

Clement Kray had been doing well for himself before the First World War as a commercial traveller.

He joined the Honourable Artillery Company and took part in the Battle of Ypres and his unit was dug in around Kemmel, the highest point on the battlefield, which meant they were a prime target for a German attack.

On December 15, 1914, Clement was wounded and shipped back to England and put on a hospital train at Southampton Docks from where he was taken to Netley Hospital. Clement spent Christmas and New Year in Netley, but sadly died of his wounds on January 22, 1915.

Clement’s body was transported back to London by train for burial in New Southgate Cemetery.