11th Cambridge – Outline History

Cambridge District Scout Archive

1910 – 1959

This Outline history has been prepared ahead of a fuller version anticipated from the significant records held by the 11th/9th.

The 11th Cambridge ran from 1910 to 30/5/1959 when it amalgamated with the 9th Cambridge to become the 11th /9th Cambridge.  The first date of registration was 30th May 1910.  The date of the first meeting is not known although the known ‘1908’ troops were all allocated lower District numbers.  The Cambridge District Association was founded in May 1910 and many troops registered in May 1910.

At the first National Registration in 1921 they were given the IHQ number 909.  In Cambridge numbers started from 900 and followed local numbering.  909 for the 11th suggest two groups were not active at this date – the 3rd and 4th Cambridge.

The Troop/ Group appears to be continuous from 1910, the uncertainty in 1934 probably being an administrative blip, most likely by the Group at a point of change.  It certainly held itself to be unbroken, holding its 40th birthday in 1950.

1910 – 1932    11th Cambridge          St Paul’s                                                         

For the first twenty two years it was known as ‘St Paul’s’, a Church situated on Hill’s Road.  The scarf was khaki and the shirts grey – an early colour-way that may have reflected what was available.  By 1925 the colours were yellow and black halves.  The troop first met at ‘the Institute’ in Coronation Street, now part of the Stephen Perse School, moving by 1921 to Tennis Court Road.  An associated school, St Paul’s, was also across the road in Union Road and later also Russell Street.  The pack, when it opened in 1922, met in St Paul’s School, Russell Street.

1913                11th Cambridge          St Paul’s

A secretary’s note gives

  • SM       C H Hills                                              Early Warrants list warrant 26/6/1911
  • ASM     W D Cole         (Queens’, Ridley)        Oct 1914                warrant   8/5/1912
  • ASM     E L Fuller         (Queens’)                    Oct 1914
  • ASM     A N Phillip       (Queens’)                    Oct 1914

And from the Early Warrants list at Gilwell also

  • J N A James     Pembroke        31/1/1913
  • A H Low           Sidney Sussex  29/5/1913


The troop is mentioned in the 1920 single issue magazine Reveille!  They gave three members to the District Band and are recorded as participating in the 1917 Rally in front of BP with Zulu war dances and a camp oven.  The display was denigrated in the press as ‘acting savages’ which was not in line with the spirit or intent which honoured the culture.

The troop specific entry gives            11th (St Paul’s). Jacko has become A.S.M. to Mr. Hooton. For a time he was too much depressed by his failure to prevent Evans spread-eagling in the Wrestling Competition to feel up to the new work. The Troop has won some well earned War Service Badges for Y.M.C.A. night work at the Station. You can’t keep them from swimming at any time of the year-during night-attacks in “fair weather”.

1921                                                                                                                            (IHQ 909)

The National Registration of September 1921.  At this date they had three leaders and 23 Scouts.

  • SM       A G Hutchinson
  • ASM     F M Fuchs
  • ASM     C E Palmer                  The ASM is later crossed through to give SM
  • ASM     S W Edwards               ‘Waggles’ Edward, later first ‘Equipment store’ (Scout Shop) worker

In this post war period the troop appears to thrived, camping in Dovercourt in 1921 and with an experienced SM and ASMs (from the photograph below)

  • SM       A G Hutchinson           (previously SM 13th also SM 6th) resigned 14/2/22
  • ASM     F Fuchs                       (also Bottisham)
  • Acting ASM S Odom                (associated with 13th)

Hutchinson was the author for a time of Our Scouts column in the local press and frequent small snippets of the 11th are regularly reported, alongside requests for information from other troops.  ‘Hutch’ was an enthusiast for a strong ritual woodcraft element in scouting, something that is not evident in the reports of troop activities.

The newspaper also started to photograph the local troops.  The 11th was the first of these. Photograph from Dec 1920

1918 – 1923     Pack   St Paul’s 11th Cambridge                               (IHQ 288 and 5142)

Little is known about this pack other than a registration number of 288 (possibly later 5142) and a meeting place in Russell Street.  A registration of 31/5/1922 remains giving the pack as being controlled by ‘schoolmaster’, one leader Miss E Royal and 18 Cubs.  It failed to re register in this year and a late temporary registration was refused by HQ.

 A late registration date is not unusual at this time.  Many packs formed during the war had marked delays and in practice packs formed and were often only assessed when up and running.  However, the two registration numbers suggest an earlier formal registration.

1928                                                                                                                            (IHQ 7560)

A re registration in December 1928 at the start of the Group system would have been likely, but the records are missing.   The 7560 number recorded in 1930 and 1932, below, is in line with all the others at this date (9th – 7558, 10th – 7559, 11th – 7560, 12th – 7561).  If so the name change in 1930 and the amalgamation in 1932 were not deemed to have altered the fundamental nature of the Group.  Generally changes in sponsorship/ name did generate a new IHQ number on registration and being a ‘controlled’ group this would have been expected.

1930                                                                                                                            (IHQ 7560)

Registered a change of name to 11th Cambridge on 4th Dec 1930. The Group was ‘Open’ at this date.

  • SM       ? W Farrow

In 1930 they met in Panton Street having the IHQ number 7560 with a halved yellow and black scarf.  The troop was 14 strong.

  • SM       C Palmer
  • ASM     S Lethbridge
  • ASM     J L R Aldiss

Alan McKenzie started with the 11th in 1932, possibly ahead of the amalgamation with Emmanuel Congregational Church, and was invested in a hay loft, but it is not clear where this was.  F A J (Alan) McKenzie was to remain directly involved with the 11th and later 11th/9th for 77 years and became central to the spirit and continuity of the troop.

1932 – 1934     11th Cambridge          Emmanuel Congregational Church              (IHQ 7560)

Registered change of name and that the Group would be ‘Controlled’ on 30th June 1932

  • GSM    Ronald Cave

In 1931 – 1932 the 34th (Emmanuel Congregational Church) amalgamated with the 11th.  The short lived 34th Troop (1924 – 1931) brought with it orange scarf which was adopted by the 11th.  Supplied by an ASM from his student room curtains they were free and possibly plentiful.  The Troop is recorded by Alan McKenzie in 1966 as meeting at the Emmanuel Congregational Church around this date and registered asEmmanuel Congregational Church on 30/06/1932 with the IHQ number, 7560.   Emmanuel Church was situated beside Little St Mary’s, not a great distance from Tennis Court Road.  The 34th appears to have foundered with the departure of its student leadership base.

In 1933/34 the Group faltered, no census returns were made for 1934 or 1935.  The group was officially closed having no warranted leader. It would appear to have retained a core membership, administration or intent as a District note of 27/11/1934 stated ‘11th not ceased. To be re registered.’

1934 – 1935    (IHQ 16769)    +     1936 – 1959         (IHQ 17761)    11th Cambridge

The Troop was registered on 6th December 1934, this time with a new number (IHQ 16769), as 11th Cambridge but this registration closed at some point in the following year.  It was, however, in 1935 that the request by the 11th that the scarf colour ‘yellow’ be known as orange in the future, suggesting that it was still active. It was still listed as Yellow by County in 1936. The reason for this closure/ re registration is unclear.

A new registration 20/2/1936 (IHQ 17761), again as the 11th Cambridge, has remained in place until the present.  The IHQ number was not altered with the 1959 amalgamation with the 9th Cambridge.

Around this date the Troop started meeting at 11 West Road, home of the Lilley family.  Mr. Walter Eaden Lilley was chair of the Executive Committee before his death in 1934. The rooms were the upstairs of a garage, previously a stable possibly the hay loft described by Alan Mackenzie. Photographs show a plastered room, possibly servants quarters, and the walls painted with lists, one of Kings Scouts (two the second of which is probably F A J McKenzie) and another unclear list. The troop also gained permission to use the nearby shooting range beyond the existing Rugby Ground the other side of Grange Road. The house remains adjacent to West Road Concert Hall, the entrance of which sits on the stables.

In 1966 Alan McKenzie wrote that they had been meeting there for over 30 years. The troop presented Mrs. Lilley with a Gold Thanks badge in about 1936. The exact date of the presentation is not known, but it was in the shape of a Fylfot, which later became known as a swastika. It was awarded with a note from the Scout Association that it should not be worn outside the country (UK) ‘as it had been adopted for other purposes in certain European Countries. It should never be offered to a Jew.’ The form was changed in 1936 and the offer made that the badge could be exchanged.

It was with the death of Mrs. Lilley that the group needed a new meeting place.  They were to start meeting at Pound Hill, ahead of the building of Newnham Croft.



  • SM                   K F Medcalfe (took a warrant 1935)
  • ASM                 E W Carter      Died WW2 23rd Cambridge Rover
  • Instructor        R E Lofty Dick
  • Act ARSL          T Craske          23rd Cambridge Rover           

Roll of Honour WW2

  • H F Gigney       (Giggs or Gigo or Giggo) also 23rd Rover
  • E W Carter      ASM pre war and recorded as 23rd Cambridge Rover

A 1946 Victory Meal attracted 35 or 40 attendees which suggest a strong affection for a relatively small troop.  Conversely the relatively poor details supplied for WW2 collection of war service is possibly an indicator of the lack of continuity or depth in the leadership team during the war.  Troops with an active and connected sponsoring body had a ‘back up’ to the collective memory; the 11th no longer had this link.


Cubs                A Cub pack returned census figures for 1949 – 1952 and in 1956.  However, for the most part the 11th was without a pack.  This continued until the amalgamation with the 2nd Pack in 1968.  Cub leaders are listed at an unclear date (an amalgam of pre and post WW2 details) but no pack is recorded in the post 1950 list. They met at Little St Mary’s

  • CM      Mrs Thurbon
  • ACM    W O Austin

Air Scouts                    An Air Scout Patrol of 6 or 7 was run from 1941 – 1945.  Air Scouts started in 1942 and several groups in Cambridge opted to start a Patrol within their troop.

Sea Scouts                   A Sea Scout patrol as started at the same time 1941, Owl patrol electing to become Sea Scouts. Initially recording 6 members it dropped to 1 and restarting again for another year as six in 1945.

War Service Scouts     A 1942 District report states a War Service Patrol within the 11th but they did not enter census figures for this category in this or any year.

Senior Scouts               1947- 1948  and 1951 – 1958.  In 1955 they listed 4, in 1956, 7 scouts..

Rovers                         Rovers are recorded from 1935 to 1938 and again 1942 – 1944 and 1946 -1947.  Links to the 23rd, the pre-eminent Rover Crew in town at the time, can be seen in H F Gigney and the support by the 23rd in E W Carter who acted as ASM. 

During the war two further subsets were generated, the ‘Explorers’, probably a training Patrol but occasionally larger than a standard six, and the ‘Adventurers’ a group of all those over 16 whether current members or those in the forces. The Adventurers produced a magazine ‘Adventurers Only’, that mimicked current magazines and included some hand drawn pin-ups. A circular letter also existed alongside this to maintain contact with those in the forces. A troop magazine was also produced.


A list of camps was compiled for the years 1946 – 1976. Most years between three and five camps were completed, a summer camp of 7 – 9 days and many local camps. These included ‘Coton’ which was at Whitwell Farm, and Abington County site.  In 1948 and 1949 the camps peaked at 7 and 10 within the year, in some years only one or two camps.  It may be that these were retrospective recollections and not contemporaneous records – the small camps assumed but specifics forgotten.  The County camp (competition) was often recorded as were Morley Trophy camps.

Boys attended WSJ in 1947, 1951 and 1957, along with the Sandringham Jamboree of 1953.  The Troop did not camp abroad.

JWR Archivist Jan 2023