Deep Sea Scouts

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Cambridge has no great link to the sea and, despite having Sea Scout troops little is recorded of Scouts joining the Royal Navy.  I cannot recall mention of any joining the Merchant Navy, but this is both a reflection of peace time practice and an evident bias against a service not labelled ‘fighting’.  This was despite a higher percentage death rate than the Army, Royal Navy or (overall) the RAF; although this is a post war understanding of the risk.

Sea Rovers are known within the University Crew and pre WW2 a number sailed to Sweden with a Deep Sea Scout and officer in the merchant marine.  He was not a Cambridge Scout. (see Structure/ University Scouting/ Voyage of the Moronel)

The numbers who went to sea altered significantly with the two World Wars and whilst few are recorded in WW1 significantly more are known in WW2.  Peripatetic by nature they are less well represented in the circular letters some troops maintained.

Deep Sea Scouts from Cambridge

We know of one Cambridge Scout who joined the Deep Sea Scouts, Ken Medcalfe of the 11th.  For a short period Ken lead the 11th ahead of his own call up in the Navy.  He was at the shore establishment HMS Ganges for training where he assisted at a local Scout Group.  Later he was with H M Rescue Tug ‘Jaunty’ and the minesweeper H M Trawler Hortensia.  He was engaged in ‘joint operations’ during the D Day landings.  

His Majesty’s Trawler Hortensia   (IWM)

Ken gains a mention in the 23rd Cambridge Evercircular Letter but like all mariners is not engaged in writing the letters.  Like many others Scouts he was a signaller.

JWR Archivist Mar 2023