March Last Post

Today in the heavy rain, we held a short ceremony with just under 40 people in attendance. We remembered Dennis Edgar Hayes, service number A/6038. Son of Georgina Hayes, Dennis was a member of the Royal Canadian Regiment and died on 3rd March 1944, aged 25. He is buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery.

There were around a dozen adult Scouters from Woking District in attendance.

Paul McCue read the poem ‘Soldier’s Dream’ by Wilfred Owen. Our bugler was Mrs Ruth Moore and our Standard Bearer was Mrs Sue Stallard. Photographs by Tony McCallum of WyrdLight Photography.

Afterwards we went round to the Trench Experience for some refreshments.

February Last Post

Today, with snow and ice on the ground, relatively few made it to the short Last Post Ceremony. Members who had a considerable distance to travel were discouraged from coming. As such, there were around 15 of us, and our Standard was not on parade. We followed the short ceremony.

We remembered Private Richard John De Mansfield Absolon from the Parachute Regiment, service number 24547055. Private Absolon was killed in the Falklands on 11/12 June 1982. He was a scout / sniper with the 3rd Battalion and was tasked with gaining information on the enemy deployed in defensive positions in the Mount Longdon area.

On the night of 11/12 June, with his partner, he led B Company on to Mount Longdon in the first assault to capture the position. He was tragically killed by mortar fire the next morning. He was awarded the Military Medal and was from Weybridge, Surrey.

We had Standards from the Artists Rifles and the Maverick Explorer Unit. Our bugler was Mrs Ruth Moore.

Afterwards we had refreshments at The Trench Experience.

Credit: and Kevin Barker (photos).

January Last Post

Today in the relatively mild temperatures, just over 30 people attended the January Last Post. We were without our padre, and so performed the short ceremony.

We remembered two individuals; Private Walter George Woolford of the 1st Battalion, Canterbury Regiment and Pilot Officer Brian Alphonsus McConnell DFM.

Private Woolford was aged 31 when on the 6th January 1919 it is believed he was a victim of the Spanish influence epidemic. He was a New Zealander from Auckland.

Pilot Office McConnell was a member of the Royal Australian Air Force and was a navigator in a mosquito fighter-bomber with the 464 (RAAF) Squadron flying from RAF Hunsdon, Hertfordshire. He was aged 21 when he died on 6th January 1944.

Both are buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery.

Our Standard bearer was Mrs Sue Stallard, Paul McCue read the poem and Individual Remembrances and Antony McCallum was our photographer.

Afterwards we went round to The Trench Experience for refreshments.

December Last Post

Today with around 35 people attending, we performed the long ceremony.

We remembered Bombardier J Feeney. Bombardier Feeney was in the 161st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, the ‘Scarborough Pals’. He was the husband of Lilian Feeney, of 170, Forbes Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. However he wasn’t an Australian and had enlisted in the British military.

He died 100 years ago today on 2nd December 1918, after the war and it is unknown whether that was due to injuries sustained in the war or from the Spanish influenza that swept the globe.

He was 26 years old and is buried in plot XII. C. 21A in Brookwood Military Cemetery.

Our padre was Bert Steed, the Last Post was sounded by Mrs Ruth Moore, the BLP Standard was paraded by Mrs Sue Stallard and the poem and individual remembrance was read out by Paul McCue.

Afterwards we went round to the Trench Experience for refreshments.


Remembrance Sunday at the Menin Gate

Members of the Brookwood Last Post were at the Menin Gate, Ypres today for the eleven o’clock ceremony. The BLP Standard was paraded by John Pain as part of the Woking District Scout contingent that have been coming to BLP ceremonies over the past few months in preparation.

The ceremony was as humbling as expected and we felt honoured to be there for the historic ceremony marking 100 years since the end of World War One.

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November Last Post

Today we held our third November Last Post with many representatives from Woking District Scouts covering all sections including Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers. Also present was the 1st Claygate Scout and Guide Band who provided all the music and the sounding of the Last Post and Reveille.

115 of the Woking District Scouts are to leave on Friday for a trip to Ypres for the weekend of Remembrance and will lay a wreath at the Menin Gate on Saturday 10 November. On November 11, the Scouts will form part of the Poppy Parade and parade through Ypres Market Square prior to joining the ceremony at eleven o’clock. The BLP wishes them well.

Between 250 and 300 people were in attendance as Paul McCue read out a biography of Lieutenant Roland Dowlen, French Section, Special Operations Executive (SOE). Dowlen was also a Scout Master with the 22nd South Poplar Scout Troop immediately before WWII. He was a much-admired and well-respected troop leader, who would be remembered and honoured many years later by the boys in the troop. One founder member, Kenneth Kneeshaw, recalled:

“At one time the troop was at camp and one boy from each patrol was designated to cook the breakfast for his patrol. Roland was sitting by the fire where a boy was cooking sausages in a large Dixie lid. Suddenly the contents caught fire. The boy dragged the lid from the fire but in doing so he tipped the hot fat and contents over Roland’s leg. Roland said nothing, he merely rolled his sock down, poured cold water over the affected part and the incident was never mentioned again.”

Dowlen joined the British Army Service Corps in September 1941. He joined the SOE at the beginning of April 1942 and underwent training at STS 5 Wanborough Manor, near Guildford, Surrey.

Dowlen was sent to France on the night of 17/18 March 1943 as a Wireless Telegraphy (W/T) operator. He was captured, mid-transmission, at Vaux on 31 July. He was taken to KZ-Flossenburg concentration camp on or around the 4th April 1944 and almost a year after his arrival was executed on 29 March 1945. He is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing 1939 – 1945, Brookwood Military Cemetery.

The Rev. Rob Bennett officiated over the ceremony and Mrs Sue Stallard was our Standard bearer. The Mayor of Woking, Cllr Will Forster attended and laid a wreath, before District Commissioner, Mrs Liz Pocknell laid a wreath on behalf of Woking District Scouts, and Mr Angelo T Munsel, Superintendent of the American Battle Monuments Commission laid a wreath.


Afterwards we went round to the Trench Experience where there was a fire and hot drinks.

(C) Sections of the text, Paul McCue, November 2018. Photos by Lucy Longley, Surrey Scout Media Team.