Cambridge District Scout Archive

The showing of Scout films was an adventure in the early days and noted in the records.  The advent of home filming technology brought local events onto the (local) screens.

The following are the records of named films shown and produced in Cambridge.  Records of other showings exist but not Scout specific films (as 1950 below).

In the list of new technology purchased by the District no record of projectors has been located.  An 8mm projector does exist in archive collection, vintage unknown.

From Mike Petty Collection Cambridgeshire History Facebook

1910 11 11 The People’ bioscope car arrived at the Three Horse Shoes Inn, Harston, on Monday evening and gave an excellent exhibition of pictures with gramophone selections. There was a large attendance & the military scenes especially aroused the enthusiasm of the local Territorials and Harston Boy Scouts

Cambridge Archive

1921 The great scout film in eight parts entitled ‘Be Prepared’ is coming to Cambridge in three days and will be exhibited art the Higher Grade School. In eight parts each 1000′ long. A description of the film was given the following week.

1921 A new Scout film ‘Tenderfoot Tim’ was announced in the Scouter column in Cambridgeshire Chronicle. It is recorded as being shown in Michaelmas Term by the University Rover Crew.

1932 A film by Rover Mate Peckfield ”The CUSG at work” was reported in the Rovers report at the AGM in 1932. (Cambridge University Scout Group)

1936 A film entitled ‘Us in camp’ was shown at the 1st Harston entertainment. Harston, previously part of 56th Cambridge Haslingfield, had recently moved into South Cambridgeshire.

1943                Cambridge (Mass) forwarded colour film.  Attempts to show the film were thwarted.  Discussed with Lumens, Histon Road.  Shown to Senior Scouts 1949.

The film was Camp Quintapoxet and IHQ ask permission to copy for the IHQ archives.  It had been sent to Cambridge District by Cambridge District, Massachusetts, as a token of support during the war.

1945                ‘An interesting programme of films was shown at Grafton Street HQ.  The chief feature was a film of local scouting ‘all in glorious Technicolor’ taken by Technical Sergeant V. Olsen an American stationed at a nearby airfield.  Prior to the war Sgt Olsen, who comes from near Cambridge Massachusetts, was running a scout Troop on Long Island, N. Y.  The film was silent but the audience far from it, well known local scouting personalities and troops, when they appeared on screen were greeted with cheers from their friend and jeers from their rivals. Verne Olsen

Scenes of the scout in a camp at the Cambridge Scout camp site at Abington and of last year’s St Georges Day parade with the Bishop of Ely inspecting troops on Parkers Piece were particularly interesting.’              District Minutes

  • 1948                Jubilee film shown
  • 1948                Knights of freedom show
  • 1949                Camp Quintapoxet shown to Senior Scouts
  • 1950                Unnamed films shown at AGM
  • 1951                Film on Sea Scouts at AGM
  • 1953                Knights of Freedom
  • Jamboree       Pan Pacific Jamboree Australia

1952 A film was also shown this year, the booking letters remain, and a local recording of St Georges Day Parade by ‘Squid’ Ellwood was anticipated.

1956                5th Cambridge             ‘E Mival – the film The Retrievers that he had produced himself with a small team of actors drawn from the troop; it was a finely judged piece of filming, continually exciting to the eye, and well acted too.’

1964 ‘It is interesteing to see Oswalds (by inference Oswald Bell) Troop in action in the film Happy Scouts. Oswald had some strange adventures including narrowly escaping being eaten by a crocodile! He has now risen to the high rank of DC for Cambridge.’ From 7th Cambridge Senior Scouts Log Book

1966                Combined Scout and Guide Group produced a film, ‘Seventy eight point three’.

Cambridge News 1966

1965 12th Cambridge were advertising the showing of a film of their activities of 1964 at the Annual Concert.

1976 +             Sir John Cockcroft VSU            Films were produced with the intent of informing Sir John’s widow, who had given permission to use his name, of the activities of the Unit.

Cambridge Scouts: Film links

The following Scouters participated in the events that were later filmed. These films were all on major distribution

  • Ian Morrison                           A Many Splendoured Thing                See Individuals
  • Bernard Porter Luscombe       Who Goes Next?, released 1938.      See Tales from Early Warrants
  • John (Jack)Smith-Hughes        Ill met by Moonlight 1957                See POW, Medals,   Was member of SOE who managed the kidnap of a German General on Crete  60th   Maj. OBE


JWR Archivist Jan 2019