Evercircular Letters: Introduction

Cambridge District Scout Archive

During the Second World War the Scouts and Rovers of the 23rd Cambridge (St Matthews) Scout Troop wrote to each other in a number of Evercircular letters.

The letters were coordinated by W T Thurbon (Bill) and included Fred Feary, who having been severely injured in WW1 was not eligible for call up.  Ken North, a peripheral figure largely working in the Equipment Store (Scout Shop), was included in the Narvik patrol.  Such support of members in the forces by a Group was strongly encouraged by the Scout Association.

Separate letters were also passed between individuals.  The flow of information clearly indicates these other lines of communication and specific reference to ‘owing letters’ is confirmation.

13th Cambridge

A strong link with the 13th Cambridge is found in the correspondents; Ken North (ASM) , A J Covell (SM), Mr R E Loades (SM), Syd Odom (SM), Mervyn Thompson are all mentioned in 13th records.

Narvik, Dunkirk and Crete or Cats

The two original Patrols are named Narvik and Dunkirk.  In April 1941 following the growth of the number of correspondent’s a third was started but no examples remain nor is it known if the name Crete, proposed by Bill (WTT) in the June letter (below), was adopted.  At this point the ‘Brains Trust’ was also identified, a group unlikely to be sent abroad and who were W T Thurbon, Fred Feary and A J Covell. These three participated in all three Evercirculars from this point.

19th June 1941

One reference to an Overseas Evercircular as CATS is found in August 1942 with one of WTTs unattributed quotes:

‘I’m the cat that walks by myself and all places are alike to me’.  (It is Kipling)

No ‘Crete’ or ‘Cats’ letters remain, it is not clear that they are the same.

The groups are later described as ‘Lone Patrols’, a standing term for isolated Groups unable to participate in District events.

See: Structure/ Sections/ Lone Scouts and Lone Patrols

The Evercircular letters in the Cambridgeshire Collection are the only known copies.  The envelope held within the library wrappings specifically states ‘Surviving Evercirculars’ and that they were ‘Circulated by members of the 23rd Cambridge Scouts serving in the Armed Forces between 1939 and 1944’. 

JWR Archivist Sept 2019