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Scout Hut History

The land on which this Headquarters stands was donated to 12th Eastleigh (1st Bishopstoke) Scout Group by Frank and Jesse Campbell Scott Dibben in memory of their son, Lieutenant Peter Farquhar Dibben killed in action in Italy during WWII.

Lieutenant Peter Farquhar Dibben (service number 224558) of the Royal Engineers was killed on 8 November 1943 and buried at Minturno War Cemetery, Italy. He was aged 23 years at the time of his death and was the son of Frank and Jesse Campbell Scott Dibben, BSc (Canterbury).

Photograph courtesy of The War Graves Photographic Project

On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Allied objectives were to draw German troops from the Russian front and more particularly from France, where an offensive was planned for the following year. Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance, but by the end of October, the Allies were facing the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line, which stretched from the river Garigliano in the west to the Sangro in the east. Initial attempts to breach the western end of the line were unsuccessful and it was not until 17 January 1944 that the Garigliano was crossed, and Minturno taken two days later. The site for the cemetery was chosen in January 1944, but the Allies then lost some ground and the site came under German small-arms fire. The cemetery could not be used again until May 1944 when the Allies launched their final advance on Rome and the US 85th and 88th Divisions were in this sector. The burials are mainly those of the heavy casualties incurred in crossing the Garigliano in January. Minturno War Cemetery contains 2,049 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War. The cemetery was designed by Louis de Soissons.

The first Bishopstoke scout troop was founded in 1909, and the second in 1928. 1st Bishopstoke Scout Group was formed by amalgamation of the two existing troops in 1947, headquartered at the current location.

In October 1967, the Headquarters which had been recently renovated, was destroyed by an 80 ft beech tree falling across it. 1n 1968, the newly rebuilt HQ was destroyed by a fire. Rebuilding work was begun in 1974, stage 2 of this project consisting of a toilet and store was completed in 1987. The toilets were subsequently refurbished with Lottery funding in 2008.