Cambridge Scout Leaders: 1945 – 1953

Cambridge District Scout Archives

W T Thurbon, long time Secretary and Badge officer, prepared an analysis of Scouting Leaders in Cambridge for the years 1945 – 1952.

The similarities, leader recruitment and turnover, are the first points that strike those with the same problems today.  The differences become evident with closer study.  All the figures are from W T Thurbons study; ‘Present’ means 1952/3


For the average 27.5 groups the District needed 33 new leaders to bring the numbers to the minimum and thereafter 18 new leaders a year to maintain this minimum.

These minimums were two leaders

What they had on average was:

Female leaders were two thirds of Cub Packs and not in any other section.           

Honour lies in honest toil:  years as leader

The average length as leader for those leading was 7 years, for those past leaders 4 years.

At 50, everyone has the face he deserves: years as leader

Where did they come from?

The right hand column is a comment on current involvement

The percentage of teachers is surely far smaller today.   In 1953 only six were senior members of the University, a statistic that WTT commented upon. Cambridge had a very strong level of involvement from this group before WW2.  (A senior member of a College: one responsible for academic work and government of the College.) Of the 21 colleges with male students five Masters and six Deans were involved in the Scout Council or as Officers of the District.

Where did they go?

The right hand column is a comment on current involvement

Those who left did so for a mix of reasons; some that have not changed, some that are disappearing and some that have gone.

The end of National Service in 1960 removed one reason for leaving.  Marriage during these years often carried an expectation that the wife would leave work in anticipation of children or ‘to look after the home’.  As a reason for leaving this diminished; domestic, under which we can consider care of elderly relatives, has probably increased.

Cambridge Archives

1941    Resigned         Miss Pugh (CM) 2nd on marriage

1950    Warrant ACM 28th to Mrs E M Peachy (formerly Miss Mason)