4th Bermondsey Scouts Beaver patrol WW2 log book December 1939

In this month’s wartime entries for the Beaver patrol, 4th Bermondsey (London) Scouts, we have more fun and games from their log book:

IMG_1910Friday 1st December 1939

BEAVER PATROL MET AGAIN ON THE FOURTH NIGHT AFTER THE FULL MOON 1st DECEMBER 1939

First Aid

The meeting started with a first aid courses given by the Big Chief Ted. He had a busy time seeing that his Chiefs were up to scratch.

Semaphore 

Chief Schnozzle Durante [Jack] stood on the table looking very beautiful. He was given two flags and he commenced signalling to the Chiefs. All the braves received the message correctly and the thieves car was as good as caught.

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Code 

Chief Robin Hood [Ted] gave us a code, and after much fun and laughter the code was copied and Chief Robin Hood checked it.

Chief King Canute went early. He didn’t go for the waves to wash his feet, but to stop two thugs hunting his squaws. (Good hunting Chief Canute).

Morse

We then copied the morse alphabet into our books. The Chiefs will now have  another way of communicating with each other.

Game 

Big Chief Robin Hood gave us a game in which we had to name a town, country, river or whatver Chief Robin gave us. We were giving the letter I and had to name a flower. (Just then the Mightiest Chief of all entered).  Everyone thought of the flower Iris and the Mighty Chief blushed like the Setting Sun. (Ah! Romeo)

We had prayers and the Mighty Chief reminded us of a pow-wow next Thursday, and of the hike to test our scouting knowledge.

Chief of the Un-named Patrol closing down. [Signed: George]

Code NSW – MVVQ FNJE HFF

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Thursday 7th December 1939 entry 

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The Big and Minor Chiefs of the Beaver Patrol meet for Pow-Wow and instruction again 

The Big Chief Ted was determined that we should learn his Code so he gave a villainous chuckle and told us to put our message in code. There was a puzzled look on Big Chief Stan’s face and a “Coo Crikey” from Big Chief Checker, but after a lot about Iceland  would have made the cat laugh (Ha, Ha, Ha) of pencil scratching (and head scratching) the messages were written. The efforts to send Semaphore would even have made Great Chief Skip laugh, so you can imagine the efforts.

Then the Minor Chiefs settled down to a little mapping. The mappers Big Chief Ted and Jack did not seem to appreciate the fun we had trying to find locks and churches on a map that did not, at first, appear to have any but after a lot of searching we managed to find the sum of 1 lock and the stupendous total of 1 church with a spire.

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At the reading of Big Chief George’s log  [Ed note – see previous entry 1st December 1939] we were assured by Big Chief King Canute that he had very good hunting indeed with his Squaws.

Then there was the weekly game and to hear Big Chief Checker’s questions about Iceland  would have made the cat laugh (Ha, Ha, Ha)

At the end of a rather gay evening we had the promised Pow-Wow , but unfortunately the Pow-Wow was not so promising. So the Grand High Chief Skip decreed that his lesser Chiefs should find a little more material, and then abandoned the Pow-Wow until the following week. The Big Chiefs then saluted each other good night and departed to their teepees.

Until the Moon rises again “ore” the Prairie [Signed: Big Chief Eddy]

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Thursday 21st December 1939 

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The Beaver Patrol Met by the Light of the Great North Star on the 21 day of the 12 month in the year 1939

The meeting started with Semaphore under the instruction of Petit Chief George but the flags caught in the decorations for the Braves’ breakfast and the chiefs were worried by the streamers dangling in front of their eyes.

As Big Chief Ted did not come there was no programme made out but Big Chief Jack bravely carried on.

After that the Chief[s] tried to become submarine commanders and there was many a puzzled brow as they missed the mines on their way to sink the enemy warships.

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Then we arranged the seats for the braves’ breakfast and the place of honour was taken by the biggest of all Chiefs Skipper. There were no games at this meeting I am sorry to say but it was a very good one.

Till the sun rises over the gasworks. Chief Stan.

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Editor’s note: Grand High Chief Skip appears to be the Scoutmaster or Skipper. It seems like the Big Chiefs mentioned might be the older scouts or Patrol Leaders, who are running activities for the braves or younger ordinary scouts?

B. P.S. Blog Post Script – Brave Bermondsey Scouts in WW2 

Meanwhile within a year in Bermondsey, during the 1940 Blitz (as mentioned in this log book), our Bermondsey boys and other scout troops were also serving the war effort.  As you will see in later Blitz posts in the Patrol diary, the boy scouts of the 4th Bermondsey Troop played their part.

There was a scouting memorial service in 2015 to a Bermondsey boy scout Frank Davis from the 16th Bermondsey Troop who was killed on rescue duty during the 1940 Blitz – the picture shows on the lawn made with leaves the traditional cub scout tracking sign of a circle with a dot in the middle for “I Have Gone Home” as shown on BP’s grave. Beaver Patrol would no doubt be delighted to know that scouting in Bermondsey goes on and is now inclusive of girl scouts as well.

I shall send a link for these diaries to the Brave Scout website involved, once transcribed and typed up.

Home Page

https://www.southwarknews.co.uk/news/long-lost-family-gather-to-honour-ww2-boy-scout-who-gave-his-life-to-save-a-friend/ 

There is also a 1941 Pathe Newsreel of Bermondsey and Rotherhithe scoutmasters and Frank Davis’ parents receiving  awards from the Chief Scout (sadly not Baden Powell as he was by then ill in Kenya and died in 1941). https://youtu.be/V7tCz5DsDyM

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 1970s Boy Scout (Bronze Arrow, retired) 6 April 2021

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