Zeppelin Loss

By kind permission of John King, Author

The Zeppelins did not always return to Germany unscathed. The night of 2/3 September 1916 has been over-dramatized and over-written but nevertheless from Grove Park that night it was possible to see from the red glow in the sky where a Zep had been brought down at Cuffley in Hertfordshire; and one could hear the cheering of people around London.

However, not all local people took raids seriously. In one house in Grove Park Road, the cook and housemaid were told to come down from their quarters on the third floor to shelter in the cellar. They retorted, ‘No thank you, Sir, we can see nicely from up here’.

In another house in Chinbrook Road, the children were made to sit under the table unless they were asleep in bed — in which case they were left there!

The Scouts continued their activities through 1916, although in the Spring they lost their Scoutmaster when he was called up under the Derby scheme, which was an attempt to increase the numbers of volunteers and avoid conscription. Henry Garner became Acting Scoutmaster. One of the Scouts’ difficulties was the lack of a permanent base. This was eased during the summer of 1916 when Dr Larkin — Dr Lansdale’s partner who lived at Craven House next door to William Thomson in Chinbrook Road — allowed the use of the coach house cottage at the back of his house as their HO. The Scouts continued making themselves useful in the war effort, supplying free labour on “work immediately connected with the war”. On 30 September they gave their first public display on the tennis lawn of Craven House — several of the big houses had their own tennis lawns. The programme included Swedish Drill, signalling, ‘baiting the badger’, ‘cock fighting’, pillow fight and other activities. Another resident Dennis Gaskain, helped the troop by donating a kit cart ‘of the latest pattern’. On 8th December a concert in aid of the troop was held at the school in Baring Road. The troop by this time numbered twenty.

Back to Grove Park in the First World War

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