County Venture/ Explorer Scout Unit Names

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Rover Scouts

Few Rover Scout Crew names have remained. Those that have are all from Cambridge District (see Structure/Sections/ Patrol Names in Cambridge). Other than the University College Crews, we have located Wolves and Wakes of the 30th and Wood Smoke of the 12th. It is of note that the name and the flag of the Wood Smoke Crew has been resurrected for the new Explorer Unit that has sprung from 12th Cambridge.

Venture Scout names

Venture Scouts ran from 1967 to 2003.  Not having located a complete list this is a growing compellation of named Venture Scout Units in Cambridgeshire.

It is a review of the names taken.  A list of Cambridge (North and South) VSU’s attached to groups, that is having a Group number, e.g. 14th Cambridge VSU, may be found in the VSU page.

Sir John Cockcroft 1968 –Cambridge South
Tithe5th & 7th1971 (8?) – 1997Cambridge South41636 
Fulbourn57th1980Cambridge South
Salamander 1999Cambridge South
Cam Valley1975 – 1979Cambridge North41524
Mullard VSU – 1993   Cambridge North44752 
Crafts Hill1976 – 1981Crafts Hill   41155
Belsar1982 Crafts Hill   43948 
Bullocks Haste1984 Crafts Hill   44433
Paddocks199- 1995+Crafts Hill   45401
South Cambs. 1976    + 1980 -1991Granta   37922
Fleam 1980Granta  43381
Rhee Valley 1980Granta  
Mercian 1980March
Crofter            (Crofters) 1980Newmarket
Fen Heath1980Newmarket
Bodica (Boadica) 1980Newmarket
Gog Magog swimming trophy1988    – 1991Cambridge North45055
Wisbech 1980Wisbech38714
  Bar Hill1981Crafts Hill 
Tower VSU                                                                        41618
Fitzwilliam VSU(Peterborough)
Hereward VSU  – 1991(Peterborough)44942
Hyperion VSU – 1992 45231 
Alpha VSU – 1993 4525  
Fen Runners VSU                    
1st Hereward VSU 
Mepal VSU    16/10/1991 closed 1997 Cam /Ely 45448 
  • The dates 1967 –   or 1967 – 1981 are known dates of start or ending
  • The dates 1980 are dates when they have been referenced.
  • Districts in brackets assumed
  • RA – VEN                     Committee of Ranger Guides and Ventures coordinating events for the two groups.

The names fall into a number of categories

  • Numbers                     These are not listed here but where a VSU was attached to a Group. This tells of a strong Group and a strong wish to retain a group identity.  Certainly the move was towards ‘District’ groups.
  • Group names              Evident in ‘village’ Groups such as Fulbourn and Whittlesey which stemming from a semidetached Group in a village were unlikely to pull Scouts from other areas.
  • District names             These VSU’s hold the name of a District:  Ely, Hereward, Fitzwilliam, Crafts Hill, South Cambs. and Wisbech.  Some uncertainty is raised with the listing of Hereward and 1st Hereward, the latter suggesting a Group name.
  • Geomorphologic         Based on a physical feature of the landscape, in a region without strong landmarks, they do not carry clear boundaries or historical regional pride.  Rhee Valley, Cam Valley, Fen Heath, Crafts Hill.   They overlap with physical features that have historic connections.   Crafts Hill has now disappeared beneath the new build Bar Hill, but is a centre for a District that wraps around Cambridge.
  • Historic names            Gog Magog and Fleam are physical features but are given worth by the associated history.  Bullocks Haste and Belsar are a connected pair, both being within the Crafts Hill District. 
  • Historic Individuals     Bodica (however it was spelt), Hereward (the Wake)
  • Humour Rhee Valley was founded at Bassingbourn Barracks and the VSL a serving member of the forces. He is described as having a sense of humour and the name has the secondary function of linking the Unit with the military (work it out).
  • Individuals                   Sir John Cockcroft
  • Mythological               Gog Magog and Hyperion both stem from the Gods, although the name may have been taken from features that had previously taken their names.
  • Mullard                       A strange category, Mullard Observatory is a man made physical feature in a gentle landscape, named after the company that funded the building of the radio telescopes.  The VSU is not named for a person, or a company, or an industry but the very obvious landmark and the associated achievements of the facility.  An equally obvious scrap yard would not have been considered.
  • Tithe                            Both the 5th Perse and 7th County Schools were on land that was originally Tithe Farm
  • Salamander
  • Mercian                      This is possibly a local name for those from March.  It was outside the borders of the Mercia Kingdom.
  • Crofter(s)                    I have no idea
  • Paddocks                     I have no idea
  • Hyperion
  • Fen Runners
  • Tower                          Not clear where this Unit came from

Explorer Scout Unit Names

Cambridge District Scout Archives

Cambridgeshire ESU names as of 2018 – present and past as located

Phoenix     Cambridge
Kanchenjunga        Cambridge
Avengers    11th/9thCambridge
Shackleton Explorers –  2018 Cambridge
Everest Cambridge
Milton Mud Muppets 50thCambridge
Hitchhikers                              Whittlesford & DuxfordCambridge
Twisted Firelighters 57thendedCambridge
Flamsteed   28th  2018 –Cambridge
Wood Smoke12th2019Cambridge
PantherCrafts Hill
Wildcats  Crafts Hill
Cromwell                                            St Ives Cromwell
Nulli Secundi   Sea Explorer    (Second to none) St Ives       Cromwell
Ramwell                                              Ramsey       Cromwell
Matrix    Ely
Tigers   Ely
Alpha 2016 –  Fenland
StoneX (Stonecross) Fenland
Mercian Fenland
Four Feathers  Fenland
?                            Hinchingbrooke
Pegasus Newmarket
Unicorn Newmarket
                                                            Castor  Peterborough
                                                            Helpton Peterborough
Wombat                                              Orton LonguellePeterborough
                                                            Str Peterborough
Freedom                                              Yaxley Peterborough

Where a very clear link to a Group is known it has been added. This is often geographical, as with W & D or 57th, or with an early association with the informal sponsor Group as 28th, but are not exclusive links except perhaps in the early phases.

The names fall into a number of categories

  • Numbers                     Not used for Explorer Units in Cambridgeshire
  • Group names              Although many ESU’s are closely affiliated to Groups the names have not been used with the exceptions of Milton Mud Muppets and on the Peterborough District website which directly links the units to the Groups.  Some names for the Peterborough Units attached to these Groups have been identified from old websites.
  • District names             Only Cromwell uses its District name.
  • Morphological         No local geographic features have been used.  The mountains Everest and Kanchenjunga have been used.
  • Historic names            Reference to Fen Tiger from Ely, Stone cross both a location and an historical artefact. The reuse of Wood Smoke , the Rover Crew name from the 12th Cambridge, falls into this category. (See general History/ Equipment/ Flags…)
  • Historic Individuals     Only the inspirational Shackleton and Flamsteed have been used.  Flamsteed, like the VSU Sir John Cockcroft, has a strong Cambridge link.  Cromwell falls into this category by default.
  • Individuals                   None
  • Mythological               Phoenix, Pegasus and Unicorn have been used; creatures, not as the VSU’s selected, Gods.
  • Aspirational                 Alpha (see also Alpha VSU but no continuity) Nulli Secundi  (Second to none)
  • Fun                              Hitchhikers, Twisted Firelighters, Milton Mud Muppets
  • Unknown                     Matrix, Avengers, (TV, Film references?) Four Feathers (Book ref?)

Mercian and Alpha are used by both Ventures and Explorers

JWR Archivist Mar 2019