Cambridge District Scout Archive
Boxing was a standard sport in 1908 when Scouting for Boys was first published. It was listed as one of the ways of developing strength and in both 1919 and 1938 was listed as skill in the Master at Arms badge. It was decided to allow it to lapse in Cambridge in 1945.
For Wolf Cubs the Boxing competition ran from 1923 to 1932 when it was stopped following IHQ publishing of an ABA report. The trophy had been donated by C-L de Beaumont, DCM.
Wolf Cubs had three weight categories
- Heavyweight > 6 st c. 39 kg
- Middleweight 5 st – 6 st
- Lightweight < 5 st c. 32 kg
The recorded winners were
- 1927 8th Harvey Goodwin School Pack
- 1931/2 8th Harvey Goodwin School Pack
Scout Boxing Trophy competitions are referred to from 1923 with gaps in the records for 1928 and 1929. It was not run in 1935 and 1941.
Boy Scouts had many weight categories from 5 st to 11 st in 1927
but had restricted the categories to the following by the 1930’s.
- < 5 st c. 32 kg
- < 5 st 7lbs
- < 6st c. 39 kg
- < 6 st 7 lbs
- < 10st c. 63 kg
The recorded winners were
- 1925 8th Harvey Goodwin
- 1930 9th Cambridge (Queens’ Choir)
- 1931 9th Cambridge (Queens’ Choir)
- 1932 8th Harvey Goodwin
- 1933 8th Harvey Goodwin
- 1934 23rd Cambridge
- 1936 29th Cambridge
- 1937 29th Cambridge
- 1938 29th Cambridge
- 1939 7th Cambridge
- 1940 12th Cambridge
1916 5th Cambridge (Perse) Annual Display included ’The blindfold boxing raised roars of laughter; all found something in it to delight them, even down to the crusty someone who was overheard explaining to a very young Greek scholar the meaning of the verb .’
‘σϏϊαμαεϊν’. It means ‘To fight in the shade’.
I had originally added (As written) – the word was missing. I believed this gap was a deliberate omission to avoid offence, but it is evident that the lack of Greek alphabet on the typewriter was the reason. The original exists – I hope that my reading of the printers font is correct.
1917/8 Eric Curwain, 14th Cambridge recipient of Cornwell Badge, stood willing to receive hard knocks in a boxing match with a 30 year old colonial Cadet, receiving the Troopers approval for his bravery. Eric was about 17 at the time. This was quoted in his recommendation for the badge.
1920 ‘We owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Grain, who has most kindly placed at our disposal his expert knowledge of boxing, and taken a class for Scouts at the Albert on Saturday evenings at 6. We wish more Scouts took advantage of such a chance to learn. The fee is only 1/- for the season. We hope to arrange a District Boxing Competition about next March, with Mr. Grain’s help’. Reveille
1920s 7th Cambridge (County School) Court of Honour records the proposed purchase of boxing gloves, and boxing as the main physical fitness activity on their Friday meetings. Others were to go swimming or do gymnastics. They entered in the Scout boxing competitions.
1928 7th Cambridge paid 14/9 for a pair of boxing gloves from the Scout Shop.
1932 IHQ stated ‘Cub Boxing is discouraged’ ‘ABA strongly recommends boys under 12 should not …’ ‘Boxing is likely to be harmful to the boy.’ District Minutes
1934 56th Cambridge (Haslingfield) received Boxing lessons, later entertainments presented to the village had boxing displays and competitions.
1939 5th Cambridge (Perse) Congratulate…Jennison on his very good performance at the Association Boxing Contests…’
1944 ‘Mr Ellwood reports he had found the Boxing Ring’. The event was not held that year District Minutes
1945 No entries received. Agreed Boxing to be allowed to lapse. Troops cannot get instructors
Nov. Scout Boxing still proposed if sufficient entries.
1946 District circulated Youth Organisation Boxing Tournament details
Boxing as organised by the Local Scout association appears to have faded following the war. The difficulties with loss of meeting places, loss of instructors and loss of older boys to Council run youth services that started at this time may all have played a part. The numbers participating in each competition are unclear and enforced stops give pause to consider the effort required to benefits gained. Many lessons were learnt during the war and other ways towards fitness may have entered the skill set of the Scouters, and seemed more of the moment.
JWR Archivist Jan 2019