55th Cambridge

The following is from Ken Drake 2019

The 55th Cambridge was originally founded/opened/registered or started on 15th December 1932 at Arbury Road Baptist Church and it was a sponsored group. Its HQ number was 14963. The scarf worn by the group was light blue with a dark green border. During the war the Pack never met at the Arbury Road Baptist Church and became peripatetic meeting at various places such as De Freville Prep School, at the end of De Freville Avenue, in November 1940 and St Luke’s Church School in December 1941 as well as on Chesterton Recreation Ground and Alexandra Gardens, which were near to St Luke’s School, during the summer months.

The Wolf Cub Pack at this time was led by Miss Beryl Tabbit and she was finding it difficult to find a permanent home and the offer of one by the 12th Cambridge was probably just what she wanted. The 55th Cambridge therefore amalgamated with and/or was absorbed by the 12th and ceased to exist as a separate Cub Pack on 17th September 1943. This coincided with my 11th birthday and I joined the County School Scouts (7th Cambridge). I am not aware that the 55th Scout Troop was in existence at this time or indeed when it closed.

The only photograph I am aware of is that taken of the Cub Pack on Chesterton Recreation Ground by my father, Mr Oliver Drake, who actually taught Beryl Tabbitt when she was at the Romsey Junior School.

WW2
Back row: Assistant Cub Master Eda Sale, cub holding the flag, Cub Master (Akela) Beryl Tabbit
2nd Row 1 Alfred Green 2 Robin Langley 3  4 Ken Drake  5   6    7 John Impey
3rd row 1 evacuee from London 2  3 David Cator 4 Tony Nolan 5   6    7     8 evacuee from London
Front Sitting Row 1  2  3  4   5 

I am intending to let both the County Archives, now at Ely, and the Cambridgeshire Collection at the Cambridge Central Library, have copies of this photograph together with supporting information.

Before we left Cambridge in 1957 my wife and I both attended the World Scouter Indaba at Sutton Coldfield which was part of the World Jamboree celebrating 50 years of Scouting. Then we went to Gilwell to attend a Cub Wood Badge Course. We couldn’t be more heavily steeped in Scouting.

When my wife Viv and I left Cambridge in 1957 to move to Bedford to enable me to start my teaching career at Bedford Modern School we had little idea how much of the next few years we would spend Scouting. I immediately took over running a very large and active Scout Troop at the school and Viv started to help with running a very large Cub Pack in the Prep School. However, we had just moved on to what was then a new estate on the outskirts of Bedford called Putnoe. The very recently opened Putnoe Heights Methodist Church had no activities for young people – indeed it had only been open for a few weeks. Obviously there was a need for something so Viv and I started up a new Wolf Cub Pack. The number of the group was given to us as 105th Beds (Putnoe) but we had the choice of what colour scarves we should wear. After a little thought we made our decision. The main part of the scarf would be light blue to represent Cambridge University where I had studied and the border would be green to represent Scouting. Sound familiar? Yes, it was the same scarf I had worn as a member of the 55th Cambridge which was of course another reason for choosing it. Viv attended the Cambridge and County High School for Girls, now Long Road Sixth Form College, and guess what their school colours were – yes light blue and green!

In 2007 we were invited back to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 105th Beds (Putnoe) Scout Group. We were invited to meet them in camp as well as at their HQ where the celebrations were held. They were still going strong and very much enjoying their Scouting and it was really great to see them still wearing their light blue and green scarves fifty years after we first started the Group. Sadly the Bedford Modern Scout Group was closed decades ago.

From Ken Drake Nov 2019

See also: Structure/ District/ Raising the Wind/ 55th Accounts

General History/ Equipment/ Flags, Poles and Finials

JWR Archivist Mar 2019