Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

'Alexandra Park at the Outbreak of War' as told by the 155th North London Scout Troop

I currently have in my care the archives of a local scout group, 155th North London, who were founded in 1913. It's a real treasure trove of stories and photos, from 1919 - 1956, and contains details of local events and locations. This is their account of the outbreak of war, written in 1940. If people are interested I have more stuff I can share.

I have transcribed the full account below.

ALEXANDRA PARK AT THE OUTBREAK OF WAR

BEING A SHORT ACCOUNT OF THINGS SEEN AND DONE AROUND THE ROVER DEN IN
S E P T E M B E R
*1940*

*

This will be the second time that the 155 has faced a time of war, with all its problems and peculiar difficulties of scouting, and this time without the special opportunities for services offered in 1914/1918. For the first and most obvious result of the declaration of war was the evacuation of all children from Wood Green. This evacuation, be it added, took place unexpectedly, forward Green was not in the list of London boroughs which were to be evacuated first.

On the Saturday, 2nd September, however, came the order that the evacuation of Wood Green boys and girls was to begin at 7.00 a.m. on the morning of Sunday 3rd September, and this scheme, like all the others was swiftly and successfully carried out.

The writer was informed of the declaration of war during Monday service at the Congregational church, where a handful of people, all those who could come owing to the exigencies of evacuation and a.R.P demands, met in the Church Parlour. The sermon, very short, was transferred to the first part of the service and just before Notices were due, the Church Treasurer came in with the news – heard over the radio – that we were at war. The service continued with intercessions and it was during these at the wail of sirens was heard. The service was brought to a close, and the congregation dispersed quietly homewards.

The memory of that walk home remains vividly in mind. It was a fine day and it was very difficult to realise the possible danger of the situation. Very few people seemed to be quite sure that it was an air raid warning, although in a few moments wardens were blowing their whistles and trying to get people under cover. There were of course no air raid shelters within the distance of about a mile.

Another vivid memory goes back to a few hours before the declaration of war, when the B.B.C. suddenly gave up it’s customary National and Regional programmes, and took to announcing Home Service and Overseas Service, the former of which was only available on to wavelengths. A flood of announcements, and the strange lack of news, despite the fact that there were news bulletins every hour.

Any impression of these days must conjure up those first nights of the blackout, with the Warden’s voice “Put out that light!”, and the stumbling over curbs, not yet fully painted white, and the trees and lampposts (that was before we came to know the position of every obstacle for miles round). The buses, too, so dimly lit that it was impossible to find out where they were going, or whether any one was sitting in the seat you were trying to take for yourself.

The crew, of course, shared in this general transformation. If it was not painted white, at least some members blossomed out into unusual clothing. The first time the three figures in police uniform turned up at the Den we wondered whether we had been mistaken for a Night Club or a Bottle Party, and it was not until we recognised the faces and forms of Jock, Doug, and Stuart, that the more conscience–stricken members of the crew were reassured. The blackout of the Den contributed to the illusion, and the fact that we were without Skipper was not reassuring either. 

Apart from those who like Bottom the Weaver were “translated“ (with the asses’ head of the LAW), others were translated to ‘furrin parts’, named obscurely “Somewhere in England”, or “Somewhere in France”. We missed Mac, Jack and Harold, and others disappeared for a season.

However, 155 was too good to lose, and those who are left rallied round, and soon we were almost the first crew to get back into working order, largely owing to the efforts of Geoff, he made himself a thorough nuisance to great effect. That story can be told later in this log.

Views: 197

Attachments:

Replies to This Discussion

If anyone has any memories of the group, or knows any of the members, I'd love to hear from you.

You may wish to contact Hornsey Historical Society. They may consider publishing some of the material you have. They would certainly give it a safe and permanent home and it would be available for research purposes.

Thanks for the log, my mother lived in Wood Green at this time and was evacuated (she was 13 at the time) but I know nothing more of this. My father (born 1926) I don't think was evacuated but was a scout at the time although I don't know which troop he continued scouting well into his adult life and periodically thereafter. He lived in Wellesley Road in 1939 but the family had moved houses including Weston Road. If you have a list of names to check my father was Frederick Brooks. Both my parents are now deceased, best Andrew

RSS

Advertising

© 2020   Created by Hugh.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service