Cambridge District Scout Archive
Frederick Lawrence McCallum (Jock) Dawson was generally known as Jock within Scouting. His published papers are as FLM Dawson.
Born on 10th October 1918 he was educated at Mill Hill School and Gonville and Caius where he read zoology. In 1939 he headed an expedition to Iceland, the report ‘The Cambridge (Myvatn) Iceland Expedition, 1939’ being published in the Geographical Journal of June 1940 (Vol. 95 No. 6). The expedition was curtailed by the start of WW2. Jock was deemed unfit for military service and went to Edinburgh to study to be a vet. After training he worked for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and at some date moved to live at the White House in Hadstock, Essex, south of Linton, a listed Grade II building. He is recalled as working on infertility in cows at the White House from around 1950. See https://archive.hadstock.org.uk /wp-content/uploads/ 2021/06/Crocky.pdf. Jock’s involvement in a BBC programme on Iron Age ploughing with cows is also recalled.
Details of his Scouting history are slight. Known dates are given but clearly extended beyond these dates:
- 13th Cambridge He was mentioned as supporting the 13th Cambridge during the war.
- 1st Hadstock, South Cambridgeshire/Granta He was founder (refounded? ) and SM/ SL of the Hadstock Troop in 1951 and ran into the ‘70’s (date unclear) Also GSM (ref 1966) /GSL
- ADC Special Activities 1967
- County Scout Team 1967 (General Duties – 1969)
- ADC (General Duties) 1982
- ADC (VS) City 1982 ‘City’ had a function as a covering body as the large Cambridge District split into Cambridge South, Cambridge North and Cambridge Crafts Hill.
David Moate of the 7th (see 7th DVD by Ken Drake and John Woolfenden) credits Jock with organizing Venture Scout Endurance Test. This was an overnight hike and known dates are 1976 – 78 but possibly earlier./ later.
Paul Young recalls him becoming ADC VS on retiring, but whether from work as a vet or at 65 (in 1983) as a SL is unclear. It is clear that he was involved at District and County ahead of this date.
Jock had a small stud of horses and ran ‘hacks’ for Scouts, Rovers and Ventures. It is almost certainly his horses that were used in a Morley Competition in the 1960’s. As a vet he was instrumental in finding a cure for equine VD. As a thank you Scouts gained free entry to Newmarket Stud Museum.
I have not come across a photograph of Jock in Scout uniform and few anywhere. His wife, Lettice, was Hadstock CSL and awarded the Silver Acorn. Jock was awarded Silver Wolf in 1978.
He ran the only mounted Scout Troop in the Country at Hadstock. Pictures can be found at https://archive.hadstock.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Jock-Dawson.pdf in A Life of Service: A Tribute to Dr Fredrick Dawson by Paul Young, a former scout.
The Troop, and it is generally described as a Troop not a Group despite the presence of a Cub Pack, is stated to have been revived in 1951 as a Mounted Troop in Susan Cohen’s The Scouts (2012). She ‘they were in demand to give displays at fetes and carnivals, raising money for good causes with their demonstrations of mounted drill and first aid, jumping and trick riding.’ Newspaper reports of 1956 recall one such event. In 1966 Jock wrote an article for The Scouts Pathfinder Annual and in the same year the Girl Guide Annual quoted the troop as an idea for Guides. Another relates Senior Scouts from Enfield
Geoff Oliver I spent many happy hours riding at his farm we went on several long rides in the surrounding bridal paths. We also went over jumps. I’ll dig out the pictures. I took the 28th Scouts to camp in one of his fields; Jock inspected the camp one morning on horseback! The horse was a white cart horse called George. The only other horse names I can recall were Nibbles, who would take a playful bite when being saddled and Youslaf (spelling?)An ex race horse it went fast, I fell off at least twice!
Malcolm Robinson Many years ago as part of my wood badge training I opted to try horse riding at Jock’s place. Suffice it to say it was fun but I did not get to become a jockey….well those who know me will rightly consider me a bit too tall. So I did hill walking and later on canoeing instead.
John Vincent One of his Scouts, John Vincent, went on to become one of Australia’s greatest horse trainers. He acknowledges Dr Dawson in an interview here https://www.johntapp.racing/gallops/2019/4/2/steve-hart-catches-up-with-john-vincent-former-stud-manager. He tells of 30 km hacks to camp with the equipment being brought by van by Lettice and was very appreciative of his opportunity to work with ponies, coming from a poor background.
Another recalled him as being ‘an impressive man with a huge military moustache, obsessive and gruff but very thorough in all that he did’. This young Scout found him helpful and skilled when teaching them to ride and jump but ‘distant and authoritarian’ and recalled the work as ‘cheap labour’. This may have reflected the gripes of those working to demonstrate their suitability to join the troop, something related by John Vincent. It is informative that he considered Jock to be a military man. He did not recall Jock ever conducting any scouting ceremonies.
Jock died in 1989. The memorial in Hadstock graveyard reads
FREDERICK LAWRENCE CALLUM [(JOCK)] DAWSON 1918 – 1989 Husband, Father Grandfather Ph.D., M.R.C.V.S. Scout Leader and Commissioner
LETTICE CAROL DAWSON 1920 – 1993 Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Teacher Lay reader. Cub Scout Leader and Commissioner
JWR Archivist Oct 2022