Cambridge District Scout Archive
Kenneth Percival George North was born in 1912 and died in 1985. He started in Scouts aged 11 in 1923 and was active until his death. Much of his active Scouting was with the 13th Cambridge but he had started with the short lived 3rd Cambridge (St John’s Wellington Street Mission 1923 – 1924) and was later engaged as a leader with 42nd St Barnabus and 43rd Ditton Fields where he recalled that in 1931 ‘I used to cycle along what we knew then as first Ditton Lane by ‘The Globe’ public house, the major part of this being only rough footpath, no lights at all. I used to pick up one Cub and transport him on the back carrier, this was quite hard going for me as I was not tough even in those days.’
He was with the 13th by 1926 and Ken became involved in District level Scouting, joining T G Room’s PL Council at the District HQ and becoming scribe.
Ken became a Kings Scout and relates his struggle to achieve the 50 yards swimming requirement. Many of his badge chits survive; he kept his chits for Kings Scout, 1st class (same date as he had all the badges necessary) Photographers (signed by Harry Isaac Jarman working out of Newmarket), Entertainer (E H Church) Cyclist (re-pass) Public Health man (W B Gourlay) Ambulanceman (W B Gourlay), Pathfinder (H R Mallett) and re-passed all 1929 – 1930 This is not the complete list as he also records passing Bee Farmer early in his Scouting life , his father keeping bees as a hobby. Ken describes Pathfinder as the hardest badge he took.
He records supporting Scouts to achieve their own badges, cycling the measured mile for the Scout Pace test.
- ASM 42nd (St Barnabus)
- ACM, ASM & CM 43rd (Fen Ditton)
He worked as a clerk in St John’s College, rising to head clerk in the kitchens. He was also involved in Red Cross first aid, listed as working with BRCS and VAD in the first months of WW2. He was involved in coordinating the Blood Donor leaflet distribution of 1939.
Equipment Store/ Scout Shop
Ken (then of the 43rd) started in the Equipment Store, then at the Grafton Street District HQ, in 1934 which he ran for a period single handed. The shop was open five days a week 16.30 – 21.30 and Ken received 2/6 a night. Ken was asked to make it a (financial) success – it had been operating at a loss since opening in 1926. With more rigorous bookkeeping and stock choice this was achieved and the shop moved to profit and forwarded considerable amounts of money to District from 1937.
Ken stepped away from section work as he took on the shop full time (after work). At the same time he became a member of the District Executive. Whilst never a Rover he was loosely connected to the 23rd Crew.
Ken was accepted into the army as a Clerk in the Royal Army Pay Corps despite his very poor health but was later hospitalized and discharged as unfit in 1943. During this time he was part of the ‘Evercircular Letters’ that circulated between Rovers, largely from 23rd and 13th Crew, in the Forces. Ken’s role in the Equipment Store gave him a significant presence. He was part of the ‘Narvik’ letter.
He returned to the shop in 1943 which rebuilt into profit and by 1948 was again contributing to District. By 1978 the shop provided 38 pence for every Scout subsidizing the District Capitation which was only 5 pence each.
John Chambers and Ken North in the Perne Road Scout shop at the 50th anniversary in 1976.
Ken North receiving one of his awards.
- MM 6/8/1947 signed Rowallan
- MM Bar 2/11/60 MacLean
- SA 23/4/73 Gladstone
- SW 23/4/78 Gladstone
- Guides Thanks Badge
Ken stepped down from the Scout Shop in 1977 aged 65, the requirement at the time.
Ken later compiled
- ‘From Tenderfoot to Silver Wolf – Being my memoirs of 55 years spent in Scouting 1923 to 1978’. This is a 32 page memoir and full of many events, names and details.
- 70 Years of Scouting in Cambridge District 1908 to 1978 (1978)
Alongside his earlier contributions:
- Addendum to AG Hutchinson’s ‘Sixty Years on the historical records of the 13th’ (1975)
- Entries in Narvik Evercircular letter (WW2)
JWR Archivist Dec 2022