First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Memories of an All Clear Boy of G Division Metropolitan Police

When the First World War started, during the initial air raid that we experienced, we took cover in the church hall. My sister played the piano. Up to day tunes to cheer people up but the minister wanted her to play hymns. The next raid we took shelter in the G Division Police Station, Kings Cross Road W-C-1.

In 1915 I was in the Scouts that was why I became an "All Clear" bugler. When the air raids started, the raids' warning was given by the police on bikes blowing their whistles, carrying plackards on their chests and backs which said "take cover".

Later on my family took cover in the coal cellar which was under the pavement but I kept on at the police station as an all clear bugler. The scouts became active after the raids. We went in an ambulance with a policeman and kept blowing two notes on the bugle

I remember when a bomb dropped in Kings Cross, the amazing thing was that out of the blue the Salvation Army came from nowhere, giving out tea from their vans. Throughout the war we scouts collected newspapers for the war effort. Also we went on Kings Cross railway and in our small way we helped the forces as much as we could. We received a couple of awards.

In 1915 I think it was Lt. Robinson who shot a Zeppelin down and how we all cheered.

At the end of the War, I and three others blew the last "All Clear" on the steps of the police station and then my family took our piano into the street for a knees up. Afterwards we enjoyed ourselves in Trafalgar Square until past midnight.

In 1919 the buglers went to Shepherds Walk, City Road, London, and had a photo taken with the Inspector of Police and a notice board saying,

"All Clear. Boy Scouts who rendered valued services to the public during the air raids over London from 31st May 1915 to 11 November 1918."

Then we made our way to Buckingham Palace.

In 1919 or 1920 the scouts' bugle band and girls' ambulance drum and pipe band were at the opening of the war memorial at Euston Railway Station. Your nan, Ruby, had a photo taken of her wielding the mace. It appeared in the newspapers with the headline,

"The Silk Stocking Flapper".

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