Francis (Frank) Gidney at Cambridge

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Frank Gidney was the first camp Chief at Gilwell, an enthusiastic Scout who like many others who became active in the early years had started a scout troop in his school.  He is credited with starting many of the traditions and training schemes at Gilwell.

He attended Selwyn College Cambridge between 1911 and 1914.  No clear link to Cambridge Scouts has been located during these years. 

Frank is not on the list of Cambridge warrant holders for these years held by Gilwell archives nor has he yet been linked to any existing troop.  No members of Selwyn are named in this record.  The Dean of Selwyn, Rev T H Hennessy, sat on the District Executive Committee but the College was not directly linked to a troop, nor did it have a choir around which a troop could form. Selwyn was not a College with a named link to a London Mission.

He is listed as an Honourary Sm for the 31st Cambridge University Rovers in 1920 with his role as Camp Chief Gilwell added. Captain Gidney did return to Cambridge as Speaker at the Scoutmasters Club 27th November 1921, speaking at All Saints Parish Room and again at a Scouts Own on Sunday 28th at the YMCA Rooms Alexander Street. After dining with the DC his ‘yarn’ was on the ten day course at the Scoutmasters Training camp, Gilwell Park. He passed photographs around to mild discussion and gave ‘a splendid exhibition of Patrol Calls and the way they were taught at Gilwell Park‘. He ‘expressed himself firmly of the opinion that running a Troop on the patrol system was the only sure way of success‘. To this he added musical entertainment.

Frank was fully involved in the College rowing for all three years at Selwyn.

1914    Described as ‘Gidney, the technician who joined the Signals’ (History of Selwyn Rowing) he became Captain Rifle Brigade attached RE signals’ and GSO3.  The war ruined his health and he was to die aged 38.

JWR Archivist Aug 2019