60th Cambridge: A Short History

Cambridge District Scout Archive

We have enjoyed ourselves, we are enjoying ourselves and we shall enjoy ourselves’

A ‘Pitlochry Scout’ quoted by R P Ayres who added ‘This is the spirit of the group’.

This is the only group to be labelled 60th Cambridge. The Leys is a boarding and day school founded by the Methodist churches in 1875.


The Leys Scout Troop (60th Cambridge) was started in September 1933 by Reg Ayres.   An appeal to Public Schools to start Scout Troops and provide leaders was issued in 1927 and again in 1932 at the Conference of Headmasters.  A Troop was recalled as ‘being in the mind of many’ before the arrival of this experienced Scoutmaster.  Reg Ayres attended a Public Schools Scout Course in 1926, some years before he joined the school, and it was expected that on joining he found a troop at the Leys.   The principal aim of the Scout Troop was ‘the extension of this world friendship and the supply of Scoutmasters to all classes of the community’.

The Troop, later called the Senior Troop, was initially for boys in their final year at school -Scouts usually start at 10 or 11.  The District records do not have details of the first registration and they first appear in local lists in 1937, although it is clear that they were engaged in District events ahead of that date. No specific reason for this anomaly is recorded. Although District numbers are reused this was the only group to be labelled 60th Cambridge.  As a closed or controlled group it only admitted boys from the school and was under the guidance of the headmaster.

A Scout HQ (30′ x 15’) was opened at the school in 1934 by Lord Hampton Scout Commissioner (Deputy Chief Scout). 

G M MacFarlane–Grieve ADC, C T Wood CC, Lord Hampton Dep. Chief Scout, Reg Ayres GSM

The troop had the hut, a campfire circle, wooden shelters, and fire places on the far side of the playing fields. Separate and similar buildings were later opened alongside for the Junior Troop and the Rover Crew.

The Junior Troop was started in 1936 under Maurice Howard, and, with the Senior Troop, covered the standard ages for Scouts. The two parts were known as Junior and Senior, split for some activities and with separate Scout Masters but often united.  Unusually, they had separate scarf colours but were both registered as 60th Cambridge.

A brief mention, in a biography of an ex-pupil, of joining in scouts around the Great War hints at an earlier unregistered troop. It is very likely a reference to the Caldicott School in Hitchin which acted as a Leys Prep School.

St Faith’s did not have a Wolf Cub/ Cub Scout pack in the years since becoming the Prep school for the Leys.  St Faith’s did host the 21st Cambridge Scout Troop between 1916 and 1925.  Little is known about this troop and no pack is listed.

Early years      1933 – 1939

Under Reg Ayres the troop started with a full set of Scout held roles; QM (Uniforms), QM (Equipment), Troop Secretary, Court of Honour Secretary, Log Keeper, Librarian and Reporter, alongside Scout Masters and Patrol Leaders. The first Court of Honour also listed Treasurer, Fire keeper, QM (food), Glee master and Ambulanceman.  Some of these suggest a Woodcraft focus on symbols and clans. 

The Woodcraft approach was strong directly after WW1 and resurgence was seen in the early 1930’s, but was generally considered to generate barriers and to make Scouting less accessible.  This may have been less of a concern within the closed group at the school.   Later records suggest that most of these offices did not remain in place in the 60th and that the woodcraft focus did not prevail.

Unlike most new troops it started with a mature and capable group of boys well able to take on these roles.  For much of the early years it ran with three patrols of 6 – 8 members. It is not known if these numbers were limited. An early entry ‘campfires should not be treated as rags’, demonstrates the early setting of expectations, but also of the pre-existing ethos of the school. Many other troops will have moved towards this expected behaviour in stages.

The Troop was quickly active camping at home and in 1934 camping in Luxembourg. A list of major camps 1935 -1964 is seen on the 60th page. They sent a fair number to National and International events, the earliest being the 1935 World Rover Moot in Sweden and the 1937 World Scout Jamboree in France.

Although two members attended the International Rover Moot in 1935 it was not until 1938 that a Rover Crew was formed.  Reg Ayres was GSM, SM and Rover Leader, a role he appears to have retained until after retirement and indeed the formal end of Rovers.  The Rovers were described as a departure from school scouting which may suggest either a scouting focus outside the school, as with other Crew, or a hope to retain Rovers beyond school attendance.  Strong school and Scout loyalty is evident in the number of members who returned to attend commemorative events.  A strong loyalty to Reg Ayres may also be inferred.

WW2               1939 – 1945

Pictures show Leys Scouts digging air raid trenches in 1938 and providing a blackout for the scout huts.  In the 1939 Log of the Summer Activities of the 60th Cambridge Rover Crew four German refugees were ‘welcomed into the fellowship of the Crew, bandages rolled for the war areas in China, Swedish Scouts were guests for the weekend and the new Rover Den opened.  Scouts practiced sending semaphore signals concerning air raid casualties and the volunteer victims ‘were brought to safety relatively unscathed’

Highland Exile

The school was evacuated to Scotland in 1940, the school site having been requisitioned, and six years of ‘very outdoor based’ scouting around Pitlochry began. A log book entry of October 1940 gives ‘It must be said that the Rover Crew and Troop were not disappointed with the new surroundings.’

The first Troop meeting in Scotland, on October 11th 1940, took advantage of the hotel grounds and thick undergrowth.  The Troop had no hut and little equipment but this forced them to adapt to outdoor scouting and the scouting became ‘predominately practical’.  The countryside invited hiking, Cambridge by contrast having ‘little inducement to walk for walking sake’.  An Air Scouts Patrol was initiated and a War Service Patrol whose members trained in Civil Defence, communications and pioneering to meet the needs of those days. However, the Troop found, as did many others, that potential recruits preferred to join schemes of a direct military nature.  Patrols of Air Scouts and War Service Scouts were formed to stem this move away.  Troop numbers grew again from 1944. 

The weather is often mentioned, the rain, the frozen rivers and ‘exceeding Scout pace’ to get down to the warmer valley on a bitter day in the hills.  The countryside provided many opportunities for pioneering work and wide games.  Comment is also made on the strongly seasonal nature of scouting at these latitudes. 

The collecting of sphagnum moss is recorded, presumably as organised war work.  The moss was used for wound dressing in both wars.   The harvesting of potatoes is listed as war work. The Crew and Troop supported the 1st Perthshire (Pitlochry) Group to remain active.  It was the oldest Troop in Scotland. The Civil Defence Badge gave Senior Scouts the opportunity to join with the local Air Wardens and Fire Service on special manoeuvres.

In 1945 they returned to Cambridge, to school buildings and both junior and senior headquarters which had been requisitioned. Pitlochry and the Cairngorms were replaced by the Cam and wide games in Grantchester. Many of the boys had never seen Cambridge.

Much of this period is recorded in ‘Highland Exile’, a booklet about the 60th in Scotland produced immediately after the war.

In the Leys history ‘The Leys in the Era of World War’ an extra detail omitted from ‘Highland Exile’, is revealed.   After describing the quiet and beauty of the district comes the sentence  ‘However, the dangers of the area were soon apparent in the most tragic way when two six formers were killed when they slipped and fell into a gorge of the River Braur in the lent term of 1941 whilst on a scouting exercise.’  The Scouts were Stanley Fitch of Sudbury and Donald Simms of Cornwell.

War Service

A summary of Cambridge Scout War Service was completed in 1945/6.  Some details from the school were included.  The Leys recorded 49 commissioned as officers from the 74 leaders, Scouts and Rovers in the Forces.  A significant number of awards for gallantry (MC’s, OBE, and MBE’s) were recorded.  SM M F Howard received an MBE for work at Bletchley Park and John (Jack) Smith-Hughes an OBE for work with the SOE in Crete.  His escape from capture on Crete initiated this later involvement.

Roll of Honour

The 60th Cambridge were not fully included in the Cambridge District post WW2 collection of War Service details, being temporarily detached in Scotland and in another District.  A reference from a post war Rover reunion states six of the Group were killed but gives no names.  Alfred Sadd, an active Scouter, who was killed in the Pacific, was not a member of the 60th and only four are known to have died on active service. From a report to the 1946 District AGM by R P Ayers it is clear that Rovers Stanley Fitch and Donald Simms who died in the accident in Scotland were counted in the six. 

 A more formal review at the 21st anniversary states four died, as named below.

  • William Turner Pickles                       RAF 18/12/1942 109972
  • Alan Doughty Shuckburgh                 RAF 13/10/1941 903834
  • Norman McLeod                                 RAC 14/5/1944 284866
  • Anthony Frederick Hallett                   RNVR 30/6/1941  

A record of members of the 60th Cambridge who fell in the war was placed in the Troop Headquarters. 

It was the 60th that begun the placing of wreath on the tomb of Sgt Dillaway, an American Scout leader, at the American Cemetery, an act requested by his twin brother.

Post WW2      1945 – 1960

The ‘newly formed’ Senior Scout’s Log gives a starting date of 26th September 1944, and indeed Senior Scouts were planned and some active ahead of 1947, the usual date given.  These ‘Senior Scouts’ were a National initiative.  The Leys Senior Troop of 1933 was a local initiative which developed into the school Junior and Senior Troops.  Any actual change in the pre and post war relationship between the Troop and Senior Scouts is not evident in the records. The 1957 School Year Book Review records that the Senior Sea Scout and Senior Land Scouts were formed in 1947, which may be an assumed or formal date to align with the national date.

The Senior Sea Scouts were formed in 1947 and worked with the 1st and 12th Cambridge at Banham’s Boat Yard under D E S Hayward, an Old Leysian.  The involvement of Derrick Pearce of St Faith’s, an experienced Sea Scout Leader and founder of the 13th Ipswich Sea Scouts is clear.  He is named as involved, to some extent, for at least the first fifteen years of the Sea Scouts and was ACC Sea Scouts for Cambridgeshire.   

The group was very active throughout this period as evidenced by the camps and the turnout for the 21st anniversary meal.

21st Anniversary meal

1960 – 1970

An extensive note suggests that the troop was, if not at a low ebb by the standards of many troops, at risk of floating without a coherent overall plan.  Derek Baker became a leader in 1959.  Reg Ayres had handed over GSL role in 1959 and Maurice Howard stepped back in 1955, although did return a few years later.  The Senior Scouts and Senior Sea Scouts were unified under Derek Baker which might suggest a lack of a skilled Sea Scout leader and a consequent softening of the distinctions in training. Derek later stepped into the role of GSL.

The years 1966 – 67 appear to have been the point at which the collective approach altered.  Maurice Howard, deputy head, retired in 1965, Reg Ayres in 1968 and Derek Baker left in 1966.  Senior Scouts became Venture Scouts in 1967.  The relationship between the Troop and Senior Scouts is unclear during the last years and then altered with the start of Venture Scouts in 1967.  Rovers continued to meet at Reg Ayres’ house until at least 1971, although no longer a Scout Association section. 

Scouting continued to flourish and one measure of this is that in the three years leading up to 1970, fifty nine Venture Scout badges and seven Queen’s Scout badges were presented.  Richard Armstrong remained as an active leader and organized ‘Strong’ expeditions but the role of GSL swopped rapidly between masters.   John Harding recalls taking over after 1970, although he was not a Scout Leader. 

Eight of nine Queen’s Scouts presented to the Admiralty Inspecting Board of 1963.  Of the nine, five had been accepted to do voluntary service overseas.

The final years           1970 – 1977

The Troop gently distanced itself from scouting forms, in particular disbanding the patrol system. ‘Well regulated minds and improper moments: A history of the Leys school’ by Geoff and Pat Houghton suggest that the Leys approach to Scouting had altered ten years before the end, that is in 1967.

In the last years, from around 1970, the troop met without uniform or parade and was lead by John Harding a teacher but not a Scout Leader.  The 1970 Yearbook states ‘In many ways the Leys anticipated and pioneered the suggestions of the Chief scout’s Working Party. (The Advance Party Report) ‘In outline the changes took Leysian scouting away from patrols and badges and, abolishing the distinction between Troop and various Senior Scout sections, achieved a coherent programme for the whole organisation.‘

By 1972 the headmaster became reluctant to pay full capitation fees.  The stepping away from required forms was believed to have been agreed at County level by Derek Baker and to have been challenged at the departure of the unnamed County contact.  This may have been Oswald Bell, County Commissioner, who left the role in 1972.  He was an ‘Expert Educationalist’ and wrote concerning how to retain the relevance of Scouting.  He may have considered giving permission expedient or agreed to it as an experiment.

Remaining documents suggest considerable attempts were made by District to keep the troop active and engaged. The Chief Scout, Sir William Gladstone, wrote directly to the headmaster Alan Barker in 1973 encouraging quality over quantity and suggesting at least a Venture Scout Unit. He described the Leys as ‘one of our best Scouting Schools’.  They were on first name terms having taught together some years previously.

 The 1977 School Annual report gives ‘The last seven years have followed very much the pattern as before, with a IVth Form basic training group followed by a Venture Scout Unit and  a smaller Queen’s Scout unit in the Upper VIth.  Successful camps to challenging destinations continued during the 1960s and 1970s to Dartmoor, Scotland, the Alps and the Pyrenees and then, most spectacularly, to Spitsbergen in 1976.  Surviving photographs show little evidence of Scout uniforms on many of these trips and rarely even a Troop scarf.

And in the end

The troop cut formal links in 1977 and the District finally recorded the Group closed in 1979, but knew it was not operating for some time before that date.  ‘Well regulated minds and improper moments: A history of the Leys school’ states ‘The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme provided a substitute activity.’’. This appears to have been run within the school by the CCF.

Sections and Leaders

No definitive list exists and the dates at which the section leaders took on the roles becomes increasingly unclear.  The dates and roles of M F Howard’s return to support the Group is also unclear.

As discussed above the Junior Troop/ Senior Troop split was initially a local initiative which later became, post WW2, a standard option. 

The dissolution of the distinction between Junior and Senior Troop sections recorded in the 1970 Year Book (see above) suggests that after c. 1967 the Sections were just Scouts and Venture Scouts.

GSM/GSL        Group Scout Master/ later Leader

  • 1933    GSM    Reg Ayres       
  • 1959    GSM    A T Pepper
  • 1962    GSM    Rev A W Hopkins
  • 1965    GSM    L G D Baker     (Derek)            Left the Leys 1966
  • 1966    GSM    J A Slade
  • 1967    GSL      T M Ham                                 In post 1970
  •             GSL      Constantine
  •                         J Harding                                 In the role but not a scout Leader

Senior Scouts                         1933 – 1947 and 1944 – 1967

  • 1933    SM       Reg Ayres                   
  •             SM       M F Howard    returned to run Land Senior Scouts  at some point after he stepped away as a Section leader in 1955 – but in part after 1963
  • 1962    SM       L G D Baker     (Derek)            Left the Leys 1966

Junior Scouts             1936 – 1947 and Troop 1947 – 1977

  • 1936    SM       M F Howard    (absent WW2)
  • 1955    SM       A T Pepper
  • 1959    SM       R D Armstrong until at least 1963

Senior Scouts ended in 1967 with the National reorganisation and Venture Scouts started.  The school division into Junior and Senior troops which became the National format of Scouts/ Senior Scouts ends at this date. 

Scout Troop               1967 – 1977

  • c.1970             John Harding   (not a Scouter)

Air Scouts Patrol       1941 – 1944?

A patrol was formed whilst the Troop was in Scotland.  Air Scouts started in 1941 and the 60th patrol began in that year. They ran until at least December 1944.   The 60th was not included in the Cambridge District census during these years.  They did not record any Air Scouts on their return in 1946.

War Service Scouts   1942 – 1945

A patrol is mentioned in the pamphlet Highland Exile.  War Service Scouts only ran between the dates above and how long it lasted in the 60th is unknown, but Leys Fortnightly record entries from 1942 and 1943.  Nationally remaining War Service Scouts became the new Senior Scouts Section in 1945/6, but few remained after 1944.

A new ‘Senior Patrol’ was recorded in September 1944, but with the 60th‘s pre existing Senior/ Junior format it is difficult to be sure that if this was a very early example of the new system or a return to the old In-house  format.  It was the start of the period when Scouts no longer moved in large numbers to Cadet Corps and both Air Scouts and War Service Scouts came to an end.

Senior Sea Scouts      1947 – c.1967

  • 1947    SM       DES Hayward
  • 1959    SM       L G D Baker     (from 1962 SM all Senior Scouts)

The Sea Scouts claimed Admiralty recognition in all but one year. ‘Recognition’ by the Admiralty is limited to around a hundred Sea Scout Groups in the Country and subject to a yearly inspection.  To achieve it so consistently is a mark of pride.  In 1967 the 60th stated that they were ‘unlikely to seek Admiralty recognition again’.   Individual census returns for all Groups differentiating Air Scouts, Sea Scouts and Scouts ended in 1966.  

J Derrick (Skipper) Pearce was Bursar at St Faith’s but did not appear to hold a formal role with the 60th Sea Scouts.  He was, however, often present, lead several expeditions and loaned the 60th boats from the Group he founded, 13th Ipswich Sea Scouts.  He became Cambs. ACC (water Activities).

Rovers Scouts                        1939 – 1971 +

  • RSL      1939    Reg Ayres       

Founded on 4th May 1939 the Crew continued beyond the date when Rover Crew formally ended in 1967.  Reg Ayres retired from the school 1968 and Rover Crew meetings were held at his home until at least 1971.  These last meetings seem to have been inspirational visits and talks rather than a fully active Crew and occurred alongside the decline of formal Scouting at the Leys. 

Venture Scouts          1967 – 1977

  • VSL      1967    R D Armstrong (at the Leys 1959 – 1990)

A note from 1977 suggests that the possibility of reopening a VSU was considered.  Nothing appears to have become of this.  R D Armstrong was involved in a Scout trip in 1973 and the last Scout event may have been in 1977, although little is reported between these dates.  The group closed in 1977.

Wolf Cubs/ Cub Scouts

The Leys does not have boys of Cub age.  Caldicott School, Hitchin, which acted as the Leys prep school, had a Troop which started in 1912.  It has no known local Hitchin registration or number. The Leys magazines for 1915 – 1918 report Troop and Wolf Cub activity at Caldicott and the Caldicott Troop was present at the opening of the Leys Scout Hut in 1934. The connection altered when the Leys gained the local St Faith’s as a Prep school in 1938.  St Faith’s did not host a Wolf Cub/ Cub Scout pack in the years since becoming the Prep school for the Leys.  It was, however, the base of Derrick Pearce, Sea Scout Master, and District records list many meetings held at the school.

Some Leaders

The Section Leaders and Group Scout Leaders are listed above.  It is almost certainly incomplete.

Centre row: Derrick Pearce / Hugh Davies / Reg Ayres/ Maurice Howard/ unknown SS

From 1946/7

Derrick Pearce Hugh Davies Reg Ayres Maurice Howard
Sea Scouts        Sea Scouts      GSMSM
Silver Wolf 1966 Silver Wolf 1974Silver Acorn 1977
ACC Sea ScoutsASM ’46 – ‘55ACC InternationalDistrict Chairman
St. Faith’s   

Notable leaders

  • Reg Ayres (RPA)                      Silver Wolf  ADC Rovers
  • Maurice Howard MBE                        Silver Acorn, District Chair, Awarded the MBE for his work in Bletchley Park during WW2.
  • (James) Derrick Pearce          MBE was a teacher and Bursar at St Faith’s school after WW2.  An active Sea Scout he had started 13th Ipswich Sea Scouts in 1929 aged 20 and was GSM.  He was later ACC Water Activities for Cambs. District and County and helped at the 60th.  On return to Ipswich he became CC of Suffolk.  He was awarded the Silver Wolf in 1966 and MBE for Scouting in 1967.

The following Old Leysians predated the 60th but became involved in Scouting.

  • Donald Winnicott                    Noted Psychologist  SM of 19th Cambridge (Wesleyan)
  • T W Helme                              County Commissioner, Lancashire and Silver Wolf  
  • Alfred Sadd                             District Commissioner, Gilbert Islands, Malden Sea Scouts, University Rover Crew.
  • Rev J Gordon Bennett             District Commissioner Medak India.   As a Missionary he promoted Scouting in India.  He was Chaplin at the Leys before going to India and later involved on return to Cambridge during the early years of the troop.

Scouts becoming leaders

In 1962 The Leys Fortnightly, No. 1396, gave a list of sixty nine Leysians known to have become leaders.  This list was acknowledged to be incomplete.  The original intention of the Group was to provide leaders and this suggests that they achieved this aim.  We lack a comparison, the only locally comparable school Troop, the 5th Cambridge (Perse), did not compile a similar list.

One Silver Wolf awarded to Thomas Wilson Helme, CC Lancashire, was recorded in the list.  The SW was awarded at this time (1940) for International work and an even rarer achievement than those later achieved by Reg Ayres and Derrick Pearce.

A few notable Scouts

JCF Cregan, JD Fisher and FCF Newman were all awarded MC’s WW2.  A fourth is recorded but no name attached in the post WW2 collection of details by District.

JN Raffe, TS Rogers, KC Rowe were awarded Military MBE’s and John (Jack) Smith Hughes a Military OBE.  KC Rowe and J Smith-Hughes were involved in clandestine warfare, Smith-Hughes with the SOE.

Many ex Rovers returned to talk on their adventures around the world.  As recorded above many went on to Service overseas.

Court of Honour

An active and capable Court of Honour that required only minimal guidance from the Scout Master was the aim of scouting.  Where sound CoH minutes remain the history usually shows a successful group. 

Reg Ayres founded the Group with a fully functional Court of Honour, and with older and able boys who quickly engaged in most of the roles allotted.  Those with more ceremonial function, such as Fire Keeper, dropped from the records.  These roles may have provided little to minute or may have faded as being out of keeping with the spirit of the school, the Group or the times.  Many of these records remain, as do those for the later Junior Scouts and Rovers. 

Camps and Overseas trips

Under Reg Ayres the Troop was camping at home and abroad within a year.  The attached lists of the major camps up to 1954 and a contemporary review of 1968 give details. 

The Scouting aims of international friendship are evident as are the interactions. Even when finding that they were sharing Hostels with the Hitler Youth, the records show mutual interest rather than antagonism.  Scout uniform is minimal or non-existent in the 1938 photographs of the Rhineland trip, a time when scouting was banned in Germany.

The Scouts organised annual Easter Camps to mountainous regions which soon developed into a pattern which included biennial ‘Strong’* camps to Loch Assynt, in Scotland.  These were named after Richard Armstrong, 1959–90, who organised most of them.  A reunion 50 years after the camps demonstrates the feeling attached to the experience.

The Scouts within the School

The preexisting shape of the school around year groups influenced the form of the Troop from the start as described above.  The school ethos is also evident in the initial aim: ‘extension of this world friendship and the supply of Scoutmasters to all classes of the community’.

The frequent reference to Old Leysian support on camp is worthy of note.  The Troop never looked to outside support, but generated through scout or school loyalty sufficient internal backing. The one partial exception was the steady involvement of Derrick Pearce from St Faith’s, although he is not recorded as having even an ASM role specifically with the troop.

The finances and facilities available to the troop removed the need to raise funds within the community and facilitated a greater focus on the scouting, the early move to camping and international travel.  The ready provision of three separate buildings for Troop and Crew HQ’s is most unusual.

In 1935 the very large Cambridge District allocated Assistant District Commissioners to oversee subsets of Groups.  The 60th was linked with two other large school Groups the 7th County School and the 5th Perse School.  The ADC was Malcolm MacFarlane-Grieve, a long term Scouter at the Perse.  The Leys troop occasionally camped at his home, Toft Manor, and with the 5th and 7th held joint entertainments for several years, the earliest known being in 1935.

It is recorded that the shorter school terms and the nature of a boarding school made participation in District competitions difficult.  Some records exist of involvement in District and County events, particularly in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  The Group had greater than proportionate success in these events.  The intelligence base of the Troop and the in-house activities described would suggest no lack of potential and the external reports from Admiralty Board and elsewhere support this expectation.

The overlap with the CCF or Officers Training Corps is not fully unravelled. Attendance in the CCF has been compulsory in some periods, if only for a year.  The CCF was later to become the home of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.  In some periods the Senior Scouts had two Patrols labelled CCF, presumably using scouting skills in camping and expeditions as a training resource.  This overlap is seen in the Headmasters request that Derek Baker stepped in to support the Troop.  He had been involved in CCF and the Exploration Society. 

This intervention, in 1960, acts as a reminder that as a closed or controlled group it was very much part of the school and the activities it provided were both part of what the school advertised and, to some extent, subservient to the school needs. 

The Scouts within the Town

The older Scouts and Rovers were often lauded for work as ‘leaders in social service in the city’ but other than Concerts at old peoples accommodation details of these roles are largely missing.  Certainly they were very active during the 1953 Floods, locally sorting donations and filling sandbags at the site of the floods.

If the school was occasionally distanced from wider scouting activities this was not always so.  In 1939 the school hosted a District scouts Own in the Chapel ‘which made us realise again the necessity of unity and brotherhood these days.’   The school also hosted a regional Rover Moot.

The leaders Reg Ayres, Maurice Howard and Derrick Pearce of St Faith’s were fully engaged with District and County roles and all were rewarded with the Silver Acorn or the rarely given Silver Wolf.  Derrick Pearce was to receive the MBE for services to Scouting in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.


The 60th Cambridge (Leys) was a very successful Troop that in the end stepped too far or too fast beyond the boundaries of Scouting.  Seemingly always closely intertwined with wider school patterns, and limited by school terms and needs, it arguably did best when involved in District.  It did not survive as a Scout Group far beyond the end of the involvement of its founding fathers Reg Ayres and Maurice Howard.

The generous access to the archives by Alison Lainchbury, Leys Archivist, was central to compiling this record.  Her knowledge and understanding of the school history and attitudes has been invaluable.

A great deal more could be added.

JWR Archivist May 2022