The 1940s

Back to the 1930s

1940 – 1944

Woodlarks Ball held at Farnham in April.

Woodlarks Guide Company formed from the crippled evacuees now billeted in
various local homes and met in the camp buildings. ‘

Two Guides were on the permanent staff, while Woodlarks was used until May

Toy making classes ceased.

Land Army occupied the site for 2 or 3 months in the summer.

Two Guide camps were held in August.

In December 1940 the site and buildings were requisitioned by Surrey
County Council for a London Elementary School.

In 1941 Sir Percy Everett became Chairman, following the death of Mr R.C

In June 1943 the site was de—requisitioned (Rent and compensation paid)
In 1943 six camps for active girls were held.

In 1944 three training camps and seven active girls-camps were held (
including some Dutch and French girls)

IWoodlarks was “adopted” by Farnham Guides and Rangers.


A year of recovery, recuperation and preparation.

Buildings and equipment cleaned and overhauled, grassland put into good

heart, and paths reopened in the wood.

Much equipment replaced by new, including gifts (worth £400 at least) from

Canadian, American and British Red Cross and Surrey W.R.V.S.

The constitution was revised to provide for a Council and a small
Executive Committee, the Chairman of Council being C.F.C Steward (‘Bosun’
of the Woodlarks Crew.)

The evacuation scheme in 1939/1940 had drained the funds, but the rent for
the requisitioning, plus subscriptions, brought them back into credit.

No appeals had been made during the war, but much work now needed to be
done – road to be repaired, buildings painted, new tents purchased, and a
permanent cooking shelter built.

Seven camps held for active Guides and Rangers, plus two training weekends
for Guiders.

The first post-war handicapped camp held, being Epson Manor whose camp,
due in September 1939, had been cancelled.,

Duties of arranging and booking camps taken on by Miss B.


Road improved and surfaced, and new paths in the woods.

New lock-up shelter for chairs beneath equipment hut, new cooking shelter
(brick with concrete floor and brick fireplace) started v estimated cost £150.

New equipment bought (ex-service supplies etc.) and new tents at £100,
plus, gifts (e.g. blankets worth £175).

Swimming bath fund opened (£1500 target); Rovers cleaning the site,
cutting laurels back etc.

Woodlarks Notes started in September, as method of keeping in touch
between camps, for sale at 1/6 per annum. (later 2/—(10p)). First
issue gives list of Woodlarks Rover Crew at that time.

Eight camps (210 campers) including three active camps. Also the 3000th

Help obtained from Red Cross, St. Johns, Hospital Car Service, also
American Girl Scouts, Senior and Junior Scouts.

St. Benedict’s Hospital girls started coming — first two, then a whole

Cloth badges produced (no ties since clothing coupons would be needed)


A year of recovery and great development.

Swimming bath started in March, using old static water tanks that had been
made into eight garages!

New cooking place in use, with electricity in cook-house, larder and
bathroom. ‘

Land and cottages acquired for Workshop.
Woodlarks pamphlet for newcomers produced.
Grant of £100 from Uncle Mac’s BBC Christmas Appeal.

Christmas reunion started, with visits to Covent Garden and Sadler’s Wells
by parties of 50 and 60(this lasted for about seven years).

An article about Woodlarks appeared in The Lancet.

Woodlarks Art Club started by Margaret Allen, also Pen Pushers Club,
Philatelic Society and Birthday Club.

Enquiries were received from Holland and the U.S.A.

The Purley Chain Gang working parties started (1st Coulsdon Crew with
Harry Martin) (see article in Woodlarks Notes”-‘ March 1954) Nine
camps held, including 3 male. L.C.C had the whole of June and July for
camps from four London Special Schools.


Swimming bath opened 28/7/1948 by Miss Kathleen Marshall, deputising, as
his sister, for S.H(later Sir Sidney) Marshall J.P., M.P., Chairman of
Surrey County Council.

The bath was 50 ft by 22 ft, 6 ft 6 inches at the deep end and 3 ft 6
inches at the shallow end. It held 32.000 gallons of water, and had a
diving board and a purification plant, and-a side extension with a ramp (
the latter being the idea of a camper, Eleanor “Beetle” Woodall). ‘The
floor was made from garage floor plates, and the sides from 125 plates
from eight garages which had originally been surplus water tanks and cost
£12 each. Also used were 2500 bricks from the blast wall of the Black
Lake Hotel.

The total cost was about £825 including £450 for the purification plant.

A grant of £600 was obtained from the Ministry of Education, and the rest
was covered by collections etc. Technical advice-was given by a Colonel
of the Royal Engineers.

The work was done almost entirely by Rovers, Toc H etc – helped by
handicappeds in wheel chairs who formed a human chain to move some bricks.
There is a record of 2250 hours of voluntary work, including help from the
Surrey Rover Moot. The bath had a water fountain, incorporating an
Anderson Shelter and dustbin lids, concrete seals, concrete surrounds and
a dressing room. One of the first swimmers was ‘Uncle’ Alec Pratt (then
67, and with no legs, whose Invacar had broken down on the way from

Repairs to road and cookhouse chimney. Also a new big sink.

Twelfth Night Dance was held at Bourne Hall, and Christmas Reunion at
Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

One bath replaced by a shower.

Food parcels received from Canada, USA, Argentina, Africa, N.Z. and

Woodlarks Rover Crew now extended to seven counties, some with County

C.F.C Steward resigned as Chairman of Committee (? ill health).

Article appeared in the “Nursing Mirror”

Charges for camps:-

Run by Woodlarks – 2/—(10p) per day per person (including food)
Others — scale of charges for rent, tents,
palliasses, cutlery, blankets etc. totalling about 2/6p
(12p) per head per week.

Very good article in December 1948 Woodlarks Notes about the co—operation

between Grey Heron(Mrs Strover) and ‘DOK’ of the Dutch Extension Guides
and their “Woodlarks” Site near Arnhem.

Two pigs were kept and fed on swill during each camping season from 1948
to 1950.

Nine camps held.

Fête held, raising £118.


Workshop opened.

Exchange camp with Dutch Extension Guides — 12 Dutch joined the Worcesters
at Easter and 11 English went to Holland in July.

Monthly working parties by Woodlarks Crew.

Film of Woodlarks (St Benedict Camp) shown on T.V.

Metal pin Woodlarks badge produced — 3/6d.

Visitor – helper from Canada at men’s camp — to learn, for possible
setting up of something similar in Canada. Made an Hon. Crew member.

Eight camps. (Including first one for handicapped Brownies).

Art Club “died out”
Reunion party at Covent Garden and Sadler’s Wells.

Twelfth Night Dance held at Farnham.

The 1950s