Fighting Fires

Cambridge District Scout Archive

The following reports have been collated by Mike Petty and shared through Cambridgeshire History Facebook page.

1910 08 19

Two fires have occurred at Linton this week. Monday’s was the most serious with two cottages next to the Green Hill being burned down. The engine was brought up smartly from its home under the rooms of the Constitutional Club and a host of helpers lined up from the well and passed filled buckets from hand to hand to keep the ever-thirsty engine supplied. Unfortunately over-zealous individuals took their buckets straight to the cottage and tackled the flames themselves, thus the engine was allowed to get dry. A patrol of ten Boy Scouts was brought to the scene and seated on the roof of an adjoining house the Scoutmaster directed a stream of water on to the flames. 10 08 19g

1910 08 26

Meanwhile the enterprising photographer who produced a series of picture postcards of the recent blaze has been hard at work keeping pace with orders. Several Boy Scouts who gave distinguished assistance have ridden over from Cambridge to purchase cards, one of which depicts the Scoutmaster seated on the roof of an adjoining building and directing a jet of water onto the flames. 10 08 26e

1910 10 21

A serious outbreak of fire took place on the premises of John Jarvis, horticultural builder of Hills Road, Cambridge and a large carpenter’s workshop which backed on to the stables of the Warwick Hotel was burnt to the ground. It had been filled with wood and a fire was always kept burning to boil down glue. The brigade was soon on the steam but the engine had such a short run it did not have a chance to get up steam. When the water did come the flames had abated. A group of those ever-invaluable little mortals, the Boy Scouts, rendered valuable assistance in keeping back the crowd and helping with the hoses 10 10 21

1913 02 21

Linton boy scouts extinguished a fire at the Crown Inn. At the close of their weekly meeting one the patrol leaders were putting out the lamp when it fell to the ground. The paraffin poured out, ignited and flared up so that the flames reached the ceiling. Scoutmaster Barber ordered the boys to fetch the fire engine but Patrol Leader W. Dison threw sacks on the floor and jumped on them, extinguishing the blaze. Two lads’ overcoats were seriously scorched

1911 04 04

Training he received in the Cherry Hinton Boy Scouts allowed Herbert Stone of the Wood Pigeon Patrol to save his two little brothers and his little sister from being burnt to death at Rydal Villa, Hartington Grove. The window curtains caught alight in their bedroom and spread to a chair containing the youngsters’ clothes, then to a chest of drawers. Herbert stamped and beat the flames out just in time: the iron work of the large double bed in which the three little ones lay asleep was scorched, as was the counterpane. His hands and feet were scorched and large holes were burnt in the feet of his stockings 11 04 14

1912 09 27

A hay stack and some straw belonging to Thomas Steadman, butcher, Elsworth, was destroyed by fire. Mr John Judson, who was thatching the stack, accidentally caused the blaze by placing his pipe, which he had been smoking during his dinner interval, in his pocket without having first knocked out the burning tobacco. On resuming work he laid his coat on the straw and was soon horrified to discover that the stack on the top of which he was engaged was well alight. Mr Judson did his utmost to beat out the flames, and in doing so burnt his face. Two nearby corn stacks were for a time in serious jeopardy but were fortunately saved by the smart action of a party of Boy Scouts on their way to Elsworth. 12 09 27k

1914 09 11

Fire. On September 2 a fire occurred in a meadow (at Duxford) belonging to Mr. A. Keeble, burning a hay stack and straw stack, both of which were entirely consumed. The fire was supposed to have been caused by children playing with matches. Fortunately there were plenty of willing helpers, including Boy Scouts, and the Whittlesford Fire Brigade also attended, so that the fire was confined to these premises. At one time it looked very dangerous to the adjoining thatched cottages. – 1914 09 11 CIPof

1911 03 24

Histon Troop of Peace Scouts was inspected by Sir Francis Vane, President of the British Boy Scouts who said the Histon Troop was not only the First of All in England, but the First of All in the world (great applause). War is an awful thing and the Peace Scouts were an order whose role was to rescue and save, not destroy. Their ambulance work was performed with enthusiasm, the Morse signalling was good and the Swedish drill excellent. But they should be given training in Fire Brigade work so they could assist in passing buckets of water in an emergency. 11 03 24e

1932 08 26

A stack fire which broke out near Coldham’s Lane attracted a crowd several hundred strong. It is believed to have been started by one of the many courting couples who frequent the place. Mr A.H. Doggett of Rectory Farm, Cherry Hinton said: “The fire was not caused by internal combustion, nor by lightning. Couples come here and lie about. I don’t mind so much as long as they don’t damage my property”. Boy scouts from Fen Ditton worked with police and farm hands to prevent the flames spreading. 32 08 26e

JWR Archivist Dec 2020