Most people who see the Scouts and other youth organisations at Remembrance commemorations assume that they are there in respect of the service of other organisations. Few realise they are also paying tribute to their own members who lost their lives on active service on the home front during both world wars. Frank Davis was one such Scout.
The Blitz during World War Two (WW2) took a heavy toll on many areas, especially around key targets like railway lines in our cities. With most adult men away on active service, the task of supporting these communities fell to those too old or too young to fight. Boys were expected to grow up fast and do their part.
The 11th Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Scouts were one such group. Helping the ARP, the boys would deal with incendiary bombs, put out the fires and dig people out of rubble while raids carried on around them. This was a task certainly not without risk.
Frank Davis was an active member of the unit. On the 8th December 1940 he was working with his fellow scouts as an Air Raid Patrol Warden and Messenger. There had been a particularly intense air raid and bombs fell on the area, attempting to take out the railway line and damage the docks.
Late in the evening a bomb dropped on the Holy Trinity Church. Initially Frank survived the bomb but one of his friends remained trapped inside in the rubble. Without caring for his own safety Frank rushed back in to help. Tragically as he saved his friend, Frank was killed.
Frank was honoured posthumously with the Scout Association's Bronze Cross, presented by General Sir John Shea. Other awards were given out the same day to 6 other individuals and to 2 Scout troops in March of 1941.
Sadly on the 8th March 1941, two further Scouts were killed in a bombing raid that hit the Port Buildings on Southwark Park Road, Bermondsey, London. Henry John Edward Hughes, known as Harry, was a friend of Frank. Also dying and buried with his friend was Ernest Victor Fricker. Both boys were also 17-years-old when they died.
The Scout Association, led by Birmingham Scouts, are currently fundraising to establish a permanent memorial to all the Scouts around the world that have shown exceptional service and courage. The memorial will be built at The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire and will be a permanent tribute to the efforts of those like Frank, Harry and Ernest featured here along with many others including Jack Cornwall whom we have already featured in this project. If you wish to find out more or contribute to the project, please visit: The Scouting Memorial Project
- Bryane Jones - https://social.shorthand.com/mrbryanejones/jyzHYSzpec/scout-frank-davis
- London Family History
- The Scouting Memorial Project - http://www.tsmp.org.uk/
During Remembrance 2015, The Gravity Youth Project will be publishing a number of stories, biographies and reports that reflect the contribution made by children and young people to our freedom, our communities and society as a whole. In the the spirit of The Poppy Appeal, they remember the service of both the fallen and the living. Check back daily until 11th November for the latest update and please, share your favourites with your friends online.
We will remember them.
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