9th 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.

Rev. Charles Travers Wood, SM, DC, CC and the most significant mover in Cambridge Scouting pre WW2 was SM of the 9th for nearly all its history.  He compiled the following History in 1931 which was transcribed by Jonathan Yates in 2002.  It is entered here in full ahead of more mundane details.  It is what C T Wood considered important to record at the time.


MR. LEONARD SPILLER (now a London Vicar and a H-Q. Commissioner for Sea-Scouts) is our foster-father: he came up to Queens’ College in 1909 and brought us the germ of the Scouting fever. Many of us were scorners and disbelievers for a time: but that winter seven Queens’ Undergraduates started a Troop in Barnwell.

On May 20th, 1910 (by permission of the College), I invited all Cambridge Scouts to a Memorial Service for King Edward VII in the College Chapel. Next week the Choir boys were formed into two Patrols and attached to the 1st Cambridge Troop, which had as its first S-M. Mr. R. WRIGHT of Queens’; and in the summer H. WHITBY (now Captain in the Indian Army) and S. METCALF (killed in the War) went to Camp near Mr. WRIGHT’s home in Derbyshire. He was a splendid S-M., and great was our loss when, soon afterwards, he was killed by falling down a quarry in the dark. The first Scout on our register is E.ELLIS, who I am glad is say is still in Cambridge.

In the summer of 1910 the Queens’ Patrols were formed into a separate Troop as the 9th Cambridge, under S-Ms. G. H. CRUMP (afterwards D.S-M.) and M. G. FERGUSON. My own first warrant was as Chaplain to the Troop and is dated June 23, 1910.

On May 20, 1911 the Chief came for a Rally on the Rifle Range: the 9th gave a display of camp cookery. Just before the Chief came to us, the Scout carrying several appetising dishes on a tray tripped up, and the contents spread over the earth – but “be prepared ” ! They were hastily shovelled back into their dishes, adhesive lumps of earth were poked below the surface by eager fingers, and fortunately the Chief did not eat any of them!

In June 1911 (the Coronation year) came our first Troop Camp at Houghton, near St. Ives; but alas! it was cut short by a tragedy. HARRY BENTON, a former Choir boy, was helping us in Camp; in my absence, he went to bathe and got cramp; Mr. WALTER SEARLE, of Pembroke College, a visitor acting as A. S-M., tried to save him, and both were drowned.

On July 4, 1911, came the Royal Rally in Windsor Park, when the King reviewed 35,000 Scouts; five of our Troop were present. In October Mr. G. B. RIDDELL of Queens’ became S-M. and the Troop improved rapidly under his care.

In 1912 at a District Competition the bread making prize went to P-L. R. MOORE! In the same year Mr. B. SIMMS and Mr. H. S. MORTON (afterwards D. S-M., killed in the War) became A.S-Ms. Next year came our first First-Class Badge, won by BASIL LEVETT; and at a local Rally the Troop built its first Bridge (single lock-trestle).

In July 1913 five of the Troop went to the national Scout Rally at Birmingham. Then came our first Camp at West Runton, never to-be-forgotten, in splendid weather; it was attended by the Long Stanton Troop, of which I became S-M. soon afterwards.

Our second Camp there in 1914 was with S-M. A. D. HAMER of Queens’ (killed in the War, a week before the Armistice); Mr. BASIL MAINE (Organist) was our chief Visitor. The Camp ended only three days before war was declared.

From that time on I was S-M. of the 9th. At first we met in an empty room in College (some will remember dissecting a rabbit there!) In 1927, when I was also S-M. of two other Troops and D.S-M. as well, we moved our H.Q. to the Albert Institute in Grafton Street. That year General SMUTS visiting Cambridge, inspected the Troop; and on June 13th the Chief came to a large Rally on Sheep’s Green. He was three hours late in arriving, because the Germans had dropped a bomb on the front of his train just before it left Liverpool Street Station. The 9th built a double trestle Bridge over Snob’s, the best they ever achieved.

At that time week-end camps were all that was possible, with tents camouflaged by paint. In 1917 however I took a number of Cambridge Scouts to camp on Mr. Chivers’ ground at Impington to pick fruit for him, -strawberries (ugh!) and gooseberries.

In 1918 about eighty of us went to Fotheringhay for about six weeks to pick flax for the Government. I shall never forget it, for it was the year of the new and terrifying sort of influenza,-and, in spite of our open-air camp life, we had as many as forty ill-very ill-at the same time, and could scarcely get hold of a Doctor. Mr. G. W. MARTIN came to help and did valiant things.

In June 1918 the Troop had done its most memorable trek-camp ;–Friday evening, Cambridge to Hemingford; Saturday afternoon, back to Oakington (where I took Sunday Services in Scout uniform, and HORACE PETTITT lost his bacon to the bantams); Sunday evening, back home: total, thirty miles, and three of US, MANSFIELD, J. KINGSLAND, and H. ROOKE were eleven years old. P-L. FRANK, LLOYD became A.S-M. that year.

Our post-war history is given in tabulated form below.

The Troop has now 154 members on its roll. Perhaps the best testimonial to its soundness is given by the number of Scouters whom it has produced:

  • for the 9th, Wilfrid Houghton, C. Mansfield, E. G. Collins, R. Cockell, J. D. Bremner, H. Rooke;
  • for Dry Drayton, B. Levett and R. Moore; for Barton, H. Rooke;
  • for the 4th, J. Kingsland;
  • for the 13th, D. Oakman;
  • for Fulbourn, H. Pettitt;
  • for Coton, P. Gamer.


S-M. R. Wright (accident); W. Searle and H. Benton (drowned); A.S-M. H. Morton and S-M. A. D. Hamer (war); L. South, drowned in war service with D. Bright; S. Metcalf (war).


  • Small Inter-Patrol Shield, and Swimming Trophy (given by S-M.)
  • Large Inter-Patrol Silver Cup (given by Mr. Pipe.
  • Silver Camp Cup (given by Mr. Wilfrid Houghton, in memory of the four Houghton brothers in the Troop).

GOLD ALL-ROUND CORDS: won by C. P. Mans, field, J. Kingsland, H. Pettitt and K. Pipe.

BUSHMAN’s THONG: won by K. Pipe and P. Garner.

KING’S SCOUTS: B. Levett, E. Smee, W. Houghton, F. Stoakley, C. Faircliff, A. B. Coe, G.Elwood, H. Pettitt, C. P. Mansfield, H. Rooke, J. Kingsland, F. Hubbard, D. Oakman, R. Cunnington, A. Harris, E. Fletcher, M. How, E. Gamlen, R. Houghton, J. F. Bremner, E. Hancock, C. Brown, K. Pipe, P. Garner, R. Lawn.

WAR-SERVICE BADGES: won by F. Lloyd, T. Stoakley, R. Moore, E. Smee, W. Houghton, G. Pinney, J. Robinson, F. Stoakley, C. Faircliff, A. B. Coe, H. Clark, G. Ellwood, C. Pell, H. Ellis, F.Cowles, S. Elwood.


  • Morley Silver Bugle in 1919 1921, 1924, and Morley Trophy in 1930.
  • Boxing Shield in 1930 and (tied) 1931.
  • Athletic Sports Shield in 1921, 1923, 1925, 1928, 1929, 1930.


  • 1919                Easter: trek to Quy and Newmarket. Summer: West Runton (with the 7th).
  • 1920.               Easter: Babraham (with our Serbian friend, A. Kostitch). Summer: West Runton (with 7th and 10th) Olympia jamboree in August.
  • 1921.               Easter: Longstowe (snow: burning accident to W. Blackburn). Summer: Harlech, with ascent of Snowdon. [Acting of play ” Vice-Versa
  • 1922.               Easter: Longstowe. [June Rally in Queens’ Grove with Chief Scout]. Summer: Wall-End Farm, Langdale, with ascents of ScaFell, etc., and rock-climb on Little Gully, Pavey Ark.
  • 1923.               Easter: Fotheringhay. Whitsun: Haslingfield. Summer: West Runton. [National Scout Conference at Queens’ College in March. Foundation of Scouts’ Rowing Club with 12 Scouts from the 9th, particularly S. Elwood, now in Head-of-River boat].
  • 1924.               Easter: Longstowe. Summer: VaI D’Iere Savoy. [Acting of play, “A Boy-Scout at the Court of King Arthur”].
  • 1925-1927.      Easter: Longstowe. Summer: West Runton.
  • 1928                March Rally in Guildhall with Chief Scout, and Sioux Chief Dr. Eastman]. Easter: Wyton Vicarage. Summer: Nook Farm, Rosthwaite.
  • 1929                Easter: Brent Pelham. Summer: West Runton. Jamboree at Arrowe Park, Birkenhead.
  • 1930                Easter: Waresley Park. Summer: Giffard Bay, jersey.
  • 1931                Easter: Croxton Park. Summer: Saint’s Bay, Guernsey.


TALBOT PRINTER CAMBRIDGE           (this version Jonathan Yates 14 Dec2002)



A very clear start date of 1910 which is backed by the local District number, 9th Cambridge. 

In May the troop was formed and attached to the 1st Cambridge under R W Wright in two patrols and known as Queens’ Own.  They became a separate troop over that summer and started to meet in College rooms.

Initially the College Choir was the troop and it is recorded that money to reward each chorister with a new hat was diverted to camp funds.  Later members from outside the Choir joined although it is not clear what the criteria for this was or at what point it changed. 

1913                First camp at West Runton, Norfolk

1914 – 1918 D Bright (above) was probably Donovan Neville Bright

1920                A single issue magazine Reveille! was published in January 1920.  The author was probably C T Wood.  The entry on the 9th was

9th (Queens’ Choir). This Troop has had bad luck in the matter of A.S.M.’s: Levett, and Moore had to be spared for the Dry Drayton Troop: A.S.M. Lloyd, beloved of the 9th, went to take charge of the Scout-masterless Third; and now Mr. B. Snelson, whom we welcomed back from the war, has had a temporary break-down in health. The P.L.’s F. Stoakley and G. Elwood have been a great help. The Troop has done very well in Badge work. The Trek-Camp last Easter was great fun.

1921                9th Cambridge Queens’ College                                            IHQ 907

The first national registration was nominally in 1921 at which the troop recorded two leaders and 19 scouts. In practice these troop numbers may relate to up to two years before.

  • DC       C T Wood                                (as SM but not stated)
  • ASM     Ernest George Collins
  • ASM     AL Bickford – Smith               University College       later Hon ASM
  • ASM     J David                                    Queens’

The troop was meeting at Jesus Lane Sunday School in Paradise Street from 1917.  C T Wood had an association with JLSS that predated Scouting.  He was later to facilitate the purchase of the buildings as the District Scout HQ.  The troop was ‘Controlled’ by the Dean of Queens’, ie C T Wood.

In 1921 they were using both Queens’ College Choir/ Queens College as their title.  At the September 1921 National Registration it was as ‘Queens’ College’.

A local newspaper started to photograph the local troops.  The 11th was the third of these. February 1921.

C T Wood had a reputation of running a sporty troop and encouraged his Scouts being able to swim.  The early history of the troop detailed above would fully explain this particular focus.  This sportiness was to such an extent that at least one very able Scout elected to move to another troop.  Before 1933 they won athletics and boxing competitions, though not the swimming.  

1924    Absorbed elements of the 3rd Cambridge (St John’s Mission)

1928    9th Cambridge Queens’ College                                                        IHQ 7558

The paperwork is missing but at the formation of the Group system troops were re registered and new IHQ numbers given.  9th Cambridge (Queens’ College) became 7558, sitting between 7th IHQ 7556, 8th 7557 and 10th  7559. 

1930    Registering 29 Scouts it was meeting at JLSS, Paradise Street not yet District property although the adjoining Albert Institute, also once JLSS property was.

  • GSM                Rev. C. T. Wood
  • ASM                 R. C. Cockell
  • ASM                 C. P. Mansfield
  • ASM                 A. Lewis

1937 – post war

Still meeting at Paradise Street.  There is no evidence of winning district competitions after this date.

  • GSM                C T Wood
  • SM                   R C Cockell
  • ASM                 C J D Hooper
  • Act ASM          E Starling

1939 – 1945 Three names appear of the Roll of Honour

  • Stanley Cheesum Died in a laboratory accident on war work
  • William Brown Not yet positively identified
  • James Francis Bremner Son of the college head porter RAF

1947    Absorbed 36th Cambridge pack.  Until this date the Group did not have a Cub pack.  The following leaders have unclear dates.

  • ASM                 R Gibbons
  • CM                  Miss R M Tyrell
  • ACM                Mrs Beilby
  • ACM                Mrs Woodward


  • Scouts                          1910 – 1957 census returns
  • Air Scouts                    None from census reports
  • Sea Scouts                   None from census reports
  • War Service Scouts     None from census reports
  • Senior Scouts               None from census reports
  • Rover Scouts               1925 – 1926,  1932
  • Wolf Cubs                    1918 – 1921,  1948 – 1955

Near the end

After 1954 the troop met at the University Running Club, Granta Place.  C T Wood had been a cross country blue (1897) but it is not known if he maintained the connection or use of the building was coincidental.  The limited records for the District in the post war years do not give details of other leaders.  The Wolf Cubs folded in 1955 and the last troop census figures were submitted in 1957. 

It is of note that the troop did not participate in the 1957 50th anniversary events. C T Wood sent apologies but no explanation.

Amalgamation           11th/9th Cambridge                                 1959                (17761)

‘In 1960 Charlie Wood was in failing health. He rang Alan McKenzie, Scout Leader of the 11th Cambridge Scout Troop and asked if the two troops could be merged. The combined troop was to be known as the 11th/9th. Soon afterwards in March 1961 Charlie Wood died.’ (From Jonathan Yates History 2003) 

The 9th had been inoperative for 18 months at this date and HQ regarded this as a change of name not an amalgamation.  The date of amalgamation was 27/08/1959.          The HQ number of the 11th Cambridge did not alter with the amalgamation, something that tended to occur with fundamental changes in a group.

Charlie Wood was 86 at his death in 1961. 

JWR Archivist Jan 2023