Cambridge District Scout Archives

Epidemics, ‘the widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time’, were a feature of life before mass preventative and curative medicine.  The ‘community’ could be a school, village or wider area.  The first of these listed was part of the worst in pandemic in history.  With many people dying the worry was that this too would be fatal for some of the Scouts.

Cambridge Archives

1915 5th Cambridge ‘Saturday evening parades were held on Jan 23rd, February 17th and March 27th. “Influenza, measles and lighting restrictions prevented more frequent meetings”

1918    In 1918 we had five weeks picking flax for Government aeroplanes at Fotheringhay, seven hours a day: there were about 70 of us at a time in Camp, — nearly 100 came at one time or another. Even the ‘flu, horrid though it was, failed to spoil the show: who will ever forget Mr. Martin and the gargling parade, ‘

In 1918 about eighty of us went to Fotheringhay for about six weeks to pick flax for the Government. I shall never forget it, for it was the year of the new and terrifying sort of influenza,-and, in spite of our open-air camp life, we had as many as forty ill-very ill-at the same time, and could scarcely get hold of a Doctor. Mr. G. W. MARTIN came to help and did valiant things. C T Woods

C T Woods’ album

(This outbreak killed between 50 and 100 million worldwide c. 3% of the world population by some estimates)

1920    ‘On Saturday, December 6th, we held a District inter-Patrol Despatch Race. Measles and work cut up a lot of Patrols: still the small number of entries was most depressing.


1946    60th were prevented from attending the (Chief Scouts Rally in Cambridge) by an epidemic.

1947    Senior Scouts arranged a wide game with Senior Scouts from Little Hadham.  It was postponed owing to outbreak of infantile paralysis in the village.

1951    Sixer and Seconds party numbers down because of Influenza epidemic.

JWR Archivist Jan 2019