Lt Colonel Harry Mainwaring MC MA

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Harry Mainwaring was born on August 20 1919, going up to Queens’ College, Cambridge, in 1938 to read Theology; he intended to become a priest.  On the outbreak of war, however, he undertook officer training before being commissioned into the Royal Artillery. 

By the end of the war Mainwaring had been twice mentioned in despatches and won the MC for the following action and for his outstanding service on the campaign:

Mainwaring, his OP assistant, his driver and a captain in a recce regiment, carrying only small arms, crept through the narrow streets in an outflanking movement. Despite being greatly outnumbered, they rushed the gun crew from a cemetery side gate and dealt with them.

After the war he returned to Cambridge, where he switched from Theology to Economics. He had lost none of his Christian faith, but after his experiences in the war he did not feel that he could become a priest.

Having graduated Mainwaring rejoined the Army in the rank of major and served in the Royal Army Education Corps. His first assignment took him to Korea on a two-year posting. Aged 50 he took voluntary retirement as a lieutenant-colonel on the Regular Commissions Board, and for the next 15 years worked at the Cambridge Institute of Education.

Devoting himself to helping people to develop their potential, he took an active part in the Scout movement and, aged 65, retired as County Commissioner for Cambridgeshire.

Joined 11th Cambridge and quickly moved to become

‘a couple of years earlier a Maj H Mainwaring (Pronounced Main-waring not Mannering) moved rapidly through the warrants at 11th and  became ADC (Prior to leaving the Army?) He retired from the Army at 50 (that is in 1969)

  • DC in 1968  -1970
  • CC      1973 – 1979 (the figures and the quote above does not add up) Recorded as retiring as CC aged 65 (in 1984) but cumulative records suggest 1979.
  • Member of Advance report committee         ***       
  • Group Scoutmaster
  • Assistant Commissioner (Training of Scouters) for British Scouts in Western Europe,
  • Assistant Scout Master Cambridgeshire (11th /9th Cambridge).         

Trustee of Abington 1981 – 1997

In 2021 Tony Claydon recalled

‘I have very fond memories of Harry. A gentleman in all respects. One of my outstanding memories is bumping into him on a train journey back from London. I was reading the Advance party report. Harry came and joined me (He was part of the group that came up with the changes). I made some comment about the fact that some parts seemed rather restrictive. His response was ” Have you seen a scout publication in hard back.” My response was no . His response was ” That means that there is some flexibility in the them” Many other memories of the language camps at Abington. His attendance at the 11/9th Centenary celebration. I will try and put some more down and pass on. Not many of us left who can remember Harry ‘

Geoff Oliver recalls him as ‘a really good guy.’

Harry died 2014

JWR Archivist June 2019