Coast watching: WW1

Cambridge District Scout Archive


The 1st sent about 16 Scouts in all to the important and responsible work of Coast-guarding. For a time they had a complete patrol in Devonshire; we congratulate them. The Balsham, troop also may be proud of its record, for six members won the Coast-guarding decoration. The 9th also sent one Scout to the Suffolk coast.’  Reveille 1920

1st sent 16, Balsham 6 and 9th 1 Coast watching in Ramsgate, Kent and Challaborough, Devon.’ WTT Archaeology of Scouting           

5th Cambridge (Perse) also records taking part in Coast Guard on the East Coast.

The following clipping from the Headquarters Gazette of January 1916 stands alone.

The Headquarters Gazette was the original HQ periodical which became in turn ‘The Scouter’ and later ‘Scouting’.

Centre standing is SL Melbourne (as identified by records from the 1st Cambridgeshire Collection)

Professor Howard Marsh supported both the 1st Cambridge Sea Scouts and the 1st Cambridge District (New Cherry Hinton)Troop – (based at St John’s Church Hills Road) Troop which was known as Col Howard Marsh’s Own. The ‘Col.’ was an Honourary title of the RAMC recognising his contribution in Surgery. His wife gave active support to the Sea Scouts during the War in the absence of their leaders.

A painting of Scouts on Coastguard duty ‘Coastwatching’ by Ernest Stafford Carlos can be seen at Scout Heritage Art Collection

Should powers of imagination fail a visit to any of the many remnants of lookout posts around our coastline will quickly disabuse any thoughts of the perpetual summer evenings conjured by the painting and the bare knees and arms in the photograph above. The peajacket and tucked in scarf of the officer are closer to the reality.

See also Scouts in WW1

JWR Archivist Feb 2019