48th Cambridge: Outline History

Cambridge District Scout Archive

There are only two recorded iterations of the 48th Cambridge in District records, the second of which included a name change.  The Group moved out of Cambridge District in 1983 but continues to run.

The 48th has only been used in Comberton. No earlier Scout Groups are recorded in Comberton.

  • 48th Cambridge Comberton Day School         1931 – 1934
  • 48th Cambridge                                               1964 – 1975
  • 48th Cambridge (1st Comberton)                     1975 – date

48th Cambridge Comberton Day School      1931 – 1934                            13293

Registered on 3rd November 1931

  • Rev Edward W Buswell           GSM
  • Janet Elizabeth Willers           Lady SM
  • R S Sturdy                               SM       Trinity
  • A P Husband                           ASM     St John’s
  • J W Thomson                          ASM     Trinity Hall
  • Mrs J E Jackson                       Hon SM                      

It recorded 10 Scouts in 1934 AGM, presumably from 1933 as it only returned Census details for 1932 and 1933.   The Group was controlled by the school.

Lady SM Janet Elizabeth Willers of Chesterton married in July 1933.  She was named on the original document along with Rev Buswell.  It is most unusual for a ‘Lady SM to step into role at this date. Many did so during WW1, and many became CM’s, but very few became Scout Masters, and then with special permission. She presumably stepped away on marriage, a usual but not inevitable step.  The university support is recorded on the 1935 AGM list, however the troop was listed as closed in 1934.

The Group did not transfer to any of the new Districts formed from the very large Cambridge District in 1935, South Cambridgeshire, North Cambridgeshire (later East Cambridgeshire later Mid Cambridgeshire) or the later addition West Cambridgeshire.

In 1933 the Group was the only one allocated to ACC Macfarlane Grieve. All the ADC’s had a number of groups under their care ahead of the division of the county. Macfarlane Grieve lived at Toft and as such was very local. This fact alone removes the suspicion of it requiring particular oversight.

48th Cambridge (Comberton)                          1963 – 1984                            36456

Registered on 27th May 1963 this Group returned census details from 1964 – 1973 (1974 are missing).

  • Cubs    1964 – 1973
  • Scouts 1964

The Group is open and at this date met at the school

48th Cambridge (1st Comberton)                  1975 – date                             36456

In 1975 the name changed but the HQ number did not, signifying no major alteration in the Group.  It is not clear whether this was a formal change or if a second Group was envisaged at this date.

  • Cubs    1975 – 1984
  • Scouts  1983 – 1984

The Group became part of Cambridge: Crafts Hill District in 1984 and census returns and records were no longer retained by Cambridge District.

  • (Catherine) Elizabeth Gardner-Smith             CSL      1963 – 1978 (last known date)

The CSL Elizabeth Gardner-Smith was also ADC C North Cambridge, an administrative sub division ahead of the second split of Cambridge District in 1984.  As a pack only group for almost all her role she is the second woman to effectively lead the Group.

Gardner Smith (nee Leeke) was the second wife of Percy Gardner Smith, who had been vicar in Comberton until 1922 when he became Dean of Jesus College and moved to Chesterton.  In later life they returned to live in Comberton.  She received a Silver Acorn in 1974, which suggests a longer Scouting history than the eleven years at Comberton.  She is said to have worn a hair curler as a woggle; if not always the tale suggests that she was not quite conventional.  Born in 1912 she was 65 in 1977/78 and may have retired at this date.

1st Comberton

The group is now listed as 1st Comberton on the Crafts Hill District website, but variations of the name can be found on line.  It received lottery finding as 48th Cambridge (1st Comberton) in 2013 and 1st Comberton (48th Cambridge) was used by the chair in 2021.  County listed it as 48th Cambridge (Comberton) in 2021.

It is not known if a formal name change has taken place.

JWR Archivist Aug 2022