Selhurst in wartime


OC Brian Roote has provided the following:

On the outbreak of WWI the Boys' School had been in The Crescent for a year. In spring 1915 the school was requisitioned for use as a war hospital. Other schools which were also called up were Davidson Road, Ecclesbourne Road, Ingram and Stanford Road. The pupils were distributed amongst other schools nearby. Selhurst boys were sent back to the Polytechnic building in Scarbrook Road where it had been housed prior to its move to The Crescent. This move was very unpopular.

A school cadet force was formed in 1915 and attained a membership of 160 in the first few months. It was under the command of Cadet Major Arthur Hillyer and was designated 1st Cadet Battalion of the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment

No pupils were killed in 1914, owing to the fact that many were too young to enlist and fighting had just begun. The picture changed dramatically as the war dragged on (see database accessible here).

In WWII the school was evacuated to Hove but when it was realised that an invasion was possible the next choice was Bideford in July 1940.

Some parents were unwilling to allow their children to leave Croydon but they also expected the authorities to provide some schooling. In March 1940 the  Education Committee decided to open the Girls'  School building and some of the staff were called back from Bideford. A steady trickle of pupils was  returning from Bideford and in the end  the whole school was reunited in The Crescent in September 1942.

In 1944 the first V1 flying bomb fell on Croydon and a temporary member of staff Mrs Ashton was killed when one fell in Saxon Road. The homes of many of the pupils were damaged. In 1945 Mr Turner left and Mr  Wheeler, who had joined the school staff in 1906, was appointed Headmaster of the Boys' School in his place.

So Selhurst’s war  history came to an end.

There are photos here of the schools as a war hospital in World War I.

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