By kind permission of John King, Author
The scouts encountered another difficulty in 1917 when they were required to vacate, for reasons unknown, the premises lent by Dr Larkin. Fortunately Mr Wilson of Amblecote Lodge was able to help by loaning his billiard room for parades. With the help of another resident A F Dandridge of Chinbrook Road, they were able to spend Whitsun weekend at Green Street Green. In the school holidays that summer they had a busy Cyclist Patrol while the cubs were also active under Cub Mistress Miss P Dandridge. Probably the highlight of the scouts’ outings was a visit to Joyce Green Aerodrome near Dartford where they met an Australian Scoutmaster who was also an RFC pilot. In September the scouts and cubs indulged in games at the Recreation Park at Sundridge Park. Before the end of the summer the scouts did succeed in finding suitable land behind the Rise and not far from the Searchlight Station, albeit at a moderate rent. There was no building but the scouts were not to be daunted and started to build their own hut from materials which they laboriously carted from a wagon at the railway station.
Between 24 September and 2 October 1917 London received the most concentrated aerial attack of the Great War. It was not every day and sometimes at night. Over sixty people were killed in London when Gothas with their powerful reinforcements, the Giants, dropped over 400 bombs. It was during these raids that people all over London took to sheltering in Underground Stations, railway tunnels and parks. It was probably then that some Grove Park people resorted to sheltering below the railway bridge at the station.
It was almost certainly in response to the first of these concentrated raids that the Vicar at St Mildred’s was to write in the October magazine as to what should be done if a raid occurred during a Sunday service. He wrote that he had consulted the Police who had suggested they would endeavout to send a warning to chapels and churches. Members of the congregation could then go home immediately or stay under cover. He hoped people would not be deterred from going to church, but he ended on a somewhat surprising note which suggested that community life was already changing. It was sad, he said, to witness how little the majority of the people valued their religious opportunity and God~s clear call. In the St Augustine’s magazine the vicar made a similar suggestion when he urged that all parishioners send their children to Sunday School.
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