Event    From 4/8/1912  To 4/8/1912

Walworth Boy Scouts Tragedy

Categories: Children, Tragedy

On Saturday the 3rd August 1912, the 2nd Walworth Troop of five adults and twenty-four young scouts sailed from Waterloo Bridge for Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey. They moored at Erith for the night and set off again early the next morning. The scouts were in sight of their camp, when, two miles off the coast, a sudden squall, caught and capsized them. Because of several acts of selfless heroism, (especially by their scoutmaster, Sydney Marsh), many lives were saved, but eight scouts and Frank Masters from the training ship Arethusa were drowned. The tragic loss of such young lives struck a chord with the nation and Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, arranged for a destroyer to transport the bodies back to London. 100,000 people were reputed to have attended the lying in state of the boys. Photographs of the mass funeral, show the streets lined with crowds eight deep.

One of the boys, Percy Baden Powell Huxford, though unrelated, had been christened in honour of the war hero, Baden Powell, who went on the found the scout movement.

A strange footnote to the incident, is that one of England's most successful footballers, David Beckham, would not have been born if Edward Beckham, who was to become his great-grandfather, had not been rescued from the waves.

Sadly this disaster was not unique. There is a memorial in Brussels to a very similar event in 1906. A training ship went down and over 30 young lives were lost.

Credit for this entry to: Alan Patient of www.plaquesoflondon.co.uk

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Walworth Boy Scouts Tragedy

Commemorated atInformation

Bert Barnes

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Skipper Gandolfi and Kim Mayo

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Walworth Boy Scouts Tragedy - lost statue

This monument, now lost, was paid for by public subscription. Our photo comes...

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Walworth Boy Scouts Tragedy - new memorial

{Left hand page of an open book:} To commemorate the scouts of the 2nd Walwor...

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Walworth Boy Scouts Tragedy - original memorial

The base can be seen in our photo immediately behind the 'open book' which is...

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