By kind permission of John King, Author
The pressure on Grove Park continued into 1915 but it must have pleased the Commanding Officer to read a letter in the Lee Journal on New Year’s Day. It was by a resident in Burnt Ash Hill who wrote about the splendid and orderly behaviour of the ASC men. The letter was signed by Ernest Burr who lived next door to the Modern High School, and he claimed that this was also the view of his neighbours. He concluded that one would not know that there was such a large number of soldiers nearby but for the noise of vehicles. By this time more local people were trying to assist the troops and a week later a concert was performed for them by the organist of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Lee with songs by the choir, before they departed for overseas the following day. A different pressure was that executed by the ASC vehicles on Grove Park Road. The need to strengthen the road was noted by Bromley Rural District Council on 19 January 1915.
Many of the new recruits arrived at Grove Park by train from London, local boys earning a small payment by carrying their luggage to the depot. It was probably not this extra traffic which, on 26 February, caused Relief Station Master Henry Galsworth of Heather Road to make a fatal mistake when he took a short cut from his office across the line to the resident Station Master’s house. His mission was to discover when Herbert Trigg would be resuming duty after sickness. He was struck by an empty train.
Before the war the vicar of St Augustine’s had also been the Chaplain to the Workhouse. When the army took over the building, it seemed logical that he should also become the Chaplain at the Barracks, which he subsequently undertook with all his energies. The members of the Church also helped by raising a fund to provide copies of the ‘Active Service’ pocket New Testament, bound in khaki, for those soldiers requiring them.
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