Our Scout Column

Cambridge District Scout Archive

This column was printed in the Cambridge Chronicle and University Journal, a local weekly paper, between 1915 and 1923.  It appeared weekly or monthly at different times and the content fluctuated between a mere reiteration of Headquarters Gazette material and regular reviews of local activity.

It ran for seven distinct periods under at least four names.

Scout News                            1st January 1915 –                                By Pathfinder (once The pathfinder). One Column was signed AFH, Pathfinder, presumably the regular contributor.  This period included articles by John Morrish (later Murrish). It is confirmed in Feb 1915 that pathfinder is a Scout.

Scout News                            3rd March 1915 – 27th Aug 1915         Hawk eye  The identity is conformed as SM W R J Copplestone as he departs for the army.

Scout News                            September 1915 – November 1916     This period contained little troop news but extracts from HQ Gazette.  A strong Woodcraft element is seen in this period. The column did not use a readily identifiable column header at until this period, and other Scout news sits alongside the largely regular column.  Author ‘Wolverine’, probably John Murrish.  Towards the end of this period C T Wood DC wrote one column and contributed to others.  In one of these he acknowledges that J Marrish (a typographical error) was to go at the end of November.  Whilst not quite linking John with Wolverine it is nevertheless clear.

Our Scout Column                 3rd September 1919 – June 1920        Revived having ‘lapsed for a somewhat lengthy period’, it also occasionally went under the names Our Scouts and Scout News.  Scout news and practical camping advice was published alongside lengthy discussions on Woodcraft.  Some of this was pointedly American Woodcraft and not the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry.  The author was ‘Hawk eye’ another Woodcraft enthusiast and probably responsible for both Scout and adjacent Woodcraft columns.  The columns argued that there was ‘no divergence of ulterior motives’ between the movements.  During this period the two adjacent articles occasionally filled two full columns.

The articles in this period also connected in spirit both Scouting and Schools, or at least the idea of a school spirit that was an ideal for both public and private education.  A heated discussion on the proposed obligation to switch troops with schools was echoed in the local press alongside these columns.  A smaller identifiable theme is knowledge of the activities of the 22nd Cambridge.

Our Scout Column                 Nov 24th 1920 – February 1922          ‘Revived’ under a new author, later identified as A G Hutchinson, known as ‘Scoutmaster’.

Travellers on the Trail        1st March 1922 – 21st February 1923 reappeared as Travellers on the Trail a weekly column dedicated to Scouting and Campcraft.  These were also by A G Hutchinson, no longer ‘Scoutmaster’.

Scout News                            28th February 1923 –October 1923   Continuous but it reverted to the original column name.  It carried no author or non de plume. No further columns were recorded in 1923.


  • Pathfinder                  1915 – Mar 1915          AFH (possibly identified)
  • Hawk eye                    1915 – Aug 1915         SM Copplestone
  • Wolverine                   1915 –  Nov 1916         John Murrish
  • Hawk eye                    1919 – 1920                 (presumably Copplestone)
  • Scoutmaster               1920 – 1922                 A G Hutchinson (Arthur George)
  • Un accredited            1922 – 1923                 also A G Hutchinson
  • Un accredited            1923 – 1923                 unclear

S M Alan F Hattersley SM 11th Cambridge, History Teacher, emigrated to Natal province 1916 and became fonder of Scouting in the province. Later wrote Lone Scouting

SM Copplestone                      Assistant Master at Higher Grade School, who built the 6th Cambridge Troop to 100+ Boy Scouts and 30 Wolf Cubs, a  quarter of the school.

Both Pathfinder and Hawk eye are, of course, names used by John Fennimore Cooper for the lead in the Leather stocking tales.  This is notable for the protagonist appearing under several pseudonyms.

SM John Murrish                     See under People/ Individuals/ Cambridge Scouters Wolverine was a name given to John by Ernest Thompson Seton (see Elsewhere) founder of Woodcraft.  It is very likely indeed that John was the author.

A G Hutchinson           SM of the 11th Cambridge and for a time of the 6th Higher Grade School ‘Hutch’ had previously been SM of the 13th on his return from war service.  ‘Scoutmaster’, his non de plume, did not advertise his role at the time of the articles with the 11th or the 6th but the frequency with which the 11th appeared in the reports is evidence of a close knowledge of every doing of this busy troop.

A G Hutchinson

After February 1922 the column was detached from the District and the contributor was no longer an SM.  His use of the column to criticize the District in a manner deemed harmful eventually caused a rift.

He stopped using the non de plume Scoutmaster but no other was used.  That being so it is unclear if the last change of name to Scout News indicates a change in authorship.  By March 1923 details of ‘Warrants issued and cancelled’ were published.  The reversion may indicate an alteration in the relationship between the author and the District or a change in author. He appeared as a turn in a 23rd Cambridge Winter entertainment in 1923 and retained his friendship with Fred Feary long time SM of the 23rd.

Little of the resignation is recorded in District records but the columns from November 1920 to August 1923 have been collected in a scrapbook now held in the Archive and include the Cambridge Journals response.

During the middle period it offered to print pictures of Troops and the ten were portrayed, the last being 12th in September 1921 which was announced as being the 9th in the series.

They were in order

  • 11th Cambridge
  • 2nd Cambridge
  • 9th Cambridge
  • 17th Cambridge
  • 7th Cambridge
  • 22nd Cambridge
  • 7th Cambridge District (Harston)
  • 1st Cambridge
  • 8th Cambridge
  • 12th Cambridge

The ‘7th Cambridge District’ was not a formal group photo in the same format.

These photos are available by Troop under Structure/ Groups/… .

After 1923 the local papers did not carry a regular Scouting column and many of the everyday events became just that and not worthy of reporting. Larger events were reported upon but, presumably, without a Scouter collecting the small details of weekly events they were not worthy of inclusion. Other similar organisations such as the Girl Guides and the Boys Brigade were similarly without regular reports. The weekly Cambridge Chronicle and University Journal had a village news but these did not record weekly Scout events.

JWR Archivist Oct 2019