60th Cambridge: The Leys School

Cambridge District Scout Archive

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.

A brief mention of a pupil joining in a scouts around the Great War hints at an early unregistered troop. This non specific reference is a long way from proof.

The 60th was formed in 1933, the Scout HQ in the grounds opened in 1934 by Lord Hampton from Scout HQ, but as a troop/ group it was not registered with Cambridge District until 1937. No specific reason for his delay is recorded. 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’.

Initially it only took older boys and when it was established opened a ‘Junior Troop’ in 1936, coming into line with standard ages for Scouts. The two troop often came together for events. The Junior and Senior troop maintained different scarves.

The Troop was active camping at home and abroad. A full list of camps 1935 -1964 is seen on the 60th page. They sent a fair number to National and International events.

The school was evacuated to Scotland in 1940, the school having been requisitioned, and six years of very outdoor based scouting around Pitlochry began.

See WW1 and WW2/ Highland Exile

During this time the troop was very active, formed new sections (Air scouts and War Service Patrol) and gave significant support to the local troop. The 60th did not contribute to the post war collection of war service details by District, sitting in two Districts and detached from Cambridge generally. Post war records say six members of the troop on the Roll of Honour; four have been positively identified. A fifth may be Rev Alfred Sadd who is not clearly shown to be a member of the school troop, but was a Scout. During this time two Rovers died whilst hiking in the hills above Pitlochry.

See WW1 and WW2/ Rolls of Honour/ New

The 60th provided a significant number of officers (49 of 74 in the forces) and individuals received a significant number of awards for gallantry (MC’s, OBE, MBE’s)

See Structure/ District / Early establishment support/ Scouts military gallantry medals

It was the 60th that begun the placing of wreath on the tomb of Sgt Dillaway in the American Cemetery.

See Elsewhere

After the war the Sea Scouts were formed and worked with the 1st and 12th at Banhams Boat Yard.

Two leaders in particular are frequently mentioned, Mr. Ayres, later ADC Senior Scouts (and presumably more) who was awarded Silver Wolf in 1974, and Maurice Howard who received Silver Acorn in 1977.


The Troop gently distanced itself from Scouting forms, in particular disbanding the patrol system, and by 1972 the then headmaster became reluctant to pay full capitation fees. The troop was finally closed in 1979, but was clearly not operating for some time before that. Remaining documents suggest considerable attempts were made by District to keep the troop active and engaged. The reasoning behind the shift in emphasis is unknown, but Maurice Howard, deputy head and a significant force in the troop had retired in 1965.

JWR Archivist Dec 2020