Richmond Park camp evacuated
By Doug Kirby (Richmond At Home & At War project volunteer)
Mr and Mrs Belville and their daughter lived at number 10 Fife Road, East Sheen. It was originally known as Durrand Lodge and is now called Denmore. It was one of the original three houses built in Fife Road, next to Sheen Common.
On the 17 November 1915, The Rangers (12th London Battalion) and all the other battalions evacuated the army camp in Richmond Park because it became too wet and boggy when Beverley Brook flooded. The Rangers were billeted in houses in the East Sheen area and began to use East Sheen Common as a training ground.
The Belvilles, opened up a free canteen for the soldiers. They used the pavilion on Sheen Common and, in all weathers, served tea and cakes to the men at about 10.30am.
Before leaving for Salisbury in January 1916, The Rangers presented Mrs Belville with a bronze statuette of a Ranger with the following inscription on the base;
‘Presented to Mrs Belville by the Officers, NCO’s and men of the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, 12th London Regiment (The Rangers) in gratitude for her great kindness to them during their stay at East Sheen – November 1915 to January 1916.’
The statuette, with pedestal, was about 14 inches high.