Another spy

Ian Morrison (I E M Morrison) was picked, like Coombes Tennant published yesterday, as a name that had no clear University links but might be traceable.

He is a Cambridge child, moving here when he was three, but also attended the University (Trinity College) and was warranted as ASM for the 53rd Cambridge. Ian moved on to combine his journalistic job with that of ‘information operative’.

He was injured three times during the war, wrote books on the Far East, had a love life that inspired a Hollywood film and a song and died reporting on the Korean war.


A H S Coombes Tennant

This Cambridge Scoutmaster falls into the categories of POW, Gallantry medal winner and Spy. He was picked as a local name that might be readily traced and ended up as a Cambridge double first of many attributes and experiences.

Henry, on the run.

We have no records regarding his work as an Assistant Cub Master, but his origins, his family and his life was full.

See Individuals/ People/ Cambridge Scouters

Second only to a V.C.

Not found on the Gilwell Rolls of Honour a student of Pembroke College and ASM of the 41st Cambridge, Pembroke College Choir Troop, Malcolm Joseph Clow, one of the last recipients of the Albert Medal before it became the George Cross.

Kings Scout, participant at Arrowe Park Jamboree, Cambridge swimming Blue, he died near the end of the Second World War.

From the Imperial War Museum and is reproduced here under a non commercial licence.
© IWM (Art.IWM ART LD 3222)

Given for “for acts of the greatest heroism or for most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger”, not in the presence of the enemy, to members of the British armed forces and to British civilians.  Only 70 were ever awarded.

See People/ Individuals/ Cambridge Scouters


Who did what

The identification of the names that have surfaced during this research, in particular through the ‘Early Warrants’ and the ‘Evercircular letters’ work, generally falls into the categories of ‘we can find them’ and ‘we can’t find them’.

We can (generally) find those attached to the Church, the Military and the University. Unusual or double barrelled names help.

We have trouble identifying local names, or, if identified, of discovering their stories. The category ‘Tales from the Early Warrants’ comprises, to date, martial exploits. Teachers in higher education can often be traced, through their papers or headships. Those in local Primary and Secondary education are harder to track, particularly if they work at a school not given to school magazines or publicity.

Running lists of Professors, Mayors, Bishops, Chief Constables and others who reach the top of their field – a disproportionate number this being a University town – risk hiding the work done by those whose jobs do not stand from the crowd.

It has been refreshing to spend some hours locating Scouters who were wages clerks, typewriter mechanics, packers of processed food and builders labourers.

Researches tell of the last daughter at home with the long lived widowed mother, working as a Master dressmaker; a Commercial Artist who was later in secret war work in Liverpool and hinted at making engines; the tailors assistant who was a member of the photographic society and got his pilots licence in 1939.

It is difficult to unpick the nuances in the status of a cashier at a drapers in comparison to a wages clerk. The bare bones of the job title give the job the same worth whether it carries responsibility for two or two hundred. And if you are of an age when you cannot appreciate the relative cost and mechanical complexity of a typewriter the role of typewriter mechanic is also hard to comprehend – he went on to repair aeroplanes in WW2.

None of this has yet brought forth exciting snippets and it is difficult to foresee a systematic collection of roles through these methods. But none of the names, usually Scouters with a long active service, has come back with the entry ‘Unpaid domestic duties’.

We do, however, have the page on Structure/ Trends/ Leaders 1945 – 1953 which was gathered at the time by W T Thurbon.

All grist to the mill – and a few slight leads that may unpack an adventure.


A Goodbye Mr Chips moment

From the Early Warrants list we have uncovered a Cambridge University student who died in the Great War but was not entered on the University War List. The Cambridge University War List is a list of any who had attended Cambridge University and fought in the war.

A pilot who received one of the first 600 pilots licences in the UK in August 1913 and elected as a member of the Royal Aero Club in July 1914; Leonard died in training in October 1914. He was belatedly added to St Catherine’s Roll of Honour. His name will be forwarded to the Gilwell Roll of Honour.

See People/ Individuals/ Early Warrants/ Tales from Early Warrants

I am aware of the martial bias in these tales, but perhaps that is inevitable given the date. Many have defied ready tracing beyond the gazette entries of promotion. Their later lives often move gently into still waters. Those in the military, church and university are generally easier to find and this is reflected in the growing notes attached to the list.


Early Warrants

Following the previous post I have put together the start of a number of small tales drawn from the list of Early Warrants held by Gilwell archives.

The stories are informing the larger articles but will be presented here as stand alone pieces as I trace them to a fair certainty.

Some lives are likely to remain obscure – ‘H Halls’ abound and rarely come with labels of ‘Scout in Cambridge’.

See Tales from People/ Individuals/ Early Warrants/ Tales from Early Warrants


Also ran

Following up the later histories of those on Gillwell’s list of early Cambridge Warrants (pre WW1) has lead to some new candidates of for the Rolls of Honour. These have been added to the appropriate page under Local History/ WW1 WW2/ Rolls of Honour.

Others were listed as gaining Gallantry Medals, and these have fed into the page considering the frequency of holders joining Scouting and coming from Scouting – to no clear cut conclusions. See – Structure/ District/ Early Establishment Support.

It would be odd if some of the Cambridge students, at least, had not moved towards the top of their professions, Professors, Bishops and the like, and these have fed into unpublished lists which may inform later pages.

And a small subset of Prisoners of War is emerging. Some died in captivity. I had written ‘none were rewarded with medals for Gallantry’ but one has emerged who was – at least for escaping and getting home. These inevitable but unfortunate individuals tend to get lost in the records – these are rarely places from which stories or histories emerge.

But at least one (now two) Cambridge Scouters did participate in action most worthy of note from prison. The story of the Great Wars ‘Great Escape’ can be found under People/ Individuals/ Early Warrants/ Tales from the Early Warrants.