1st Chipping Sodbury Scout Group

1st Chipping Sodbury Scout Group scouting in Chipping Sodbury, Yate & Wickwar since 1914

History 4a

From "Headquarters Gazette", April 1916:

A Typical Day in a Scout Hut at the Front

by W. H. M

Early morning a big shell dropping somewhere near breaks your slumber and tells you that another day of the war has opened.

You rise about seven, and after a hurried breakfast, which you cook yourself, you begin to clear up the hut, arrange the chairs and tables, wash up the mugs, and prepare the counter for its onslaught.

This may begin at about ten or even earlier, and then you and the other helpers have a steady stream or more or less weary warriors asking for coffee or tea, and cakes, and cigarettes, etc So behind the counter you "stand and deliver" until about 2 p.m., when perhaps it is necessary to close for half an hour or an hour to allow the workers to recuperate for the afternoon and evening.

At 3 p.m. you begin again, and then often right on till about eight in the evening you serve, and talk, and cheer, and watch for the threefold sign of the Brotherhood.

Sometimes the evenings are varied by a Lena Ashwell concert party, or the regimental concert party, or a lecture or entertainment.

And on Sundays or other times the Leader or a chaplain will have a service in the hut, and generally on Sunday morning the men are given the opportunity of a celebration of the Holy Eucharist to give them strength and courage for the fray. Then at night when the hut has closed, and the place has been tidied, and supper finished, a short chat and a letter or two will bring us to midnight, and we retire to rest looking forward to a repetition to-morrow.

It may seem a dull routine, but really it is not. It is such a privilege and joy to work for others, and both officers and men are so grateful for the huts. Think what it means to a soldier just out of the trenches, to be able to seek and find a warm, cosy clean and cheerful hut where he may go and read or write in no little comfort, and where he may obtain refreshments, and a cheery smile (not to be despised) by a friend behind the counter.

Or another variation may be a request from the C.O. to keep open al night for the benefit of some troops passing through, and all willingly give up their sleep.

Then, less than a mile behind the line in Belgium, stands the Scouts' marquee. It is quite as big as a hut, and run on the same lines. The only real difference is that the wind sometimes has gay sport around it, and gives one sleepless nights waiting for a special puff to lift in from its moorings. But it's all in the fun! And the Scout mottoes and flags and picture, and uniform, lend it such a "smiling" appearance. Even so, the Scout message stands firm to the whole world at the very centre of its heart-throbs.