Overseas visitors 1918 – 1972

Cambridge District Scout Archives

This is a far from complete list of Scouts visiting Cambridge. It specifically does not cover refugees from both world wars. However, the first listed Serbian and Belgium Scouts are refugees.

Cambridge Archives

1918    Serbian Scouts (Rover age) with Cambridge Flax pickers at Forthinghay Camp, later reported as being instrumental in developing Scouting in Yugoslavia. These were refugees and many Belgium refugees are reported at the same time

1923 Cairo Five Scouts from Cairo visited Cambridge and Ely. (Our Scout Column 1/8/23)

1924 11 Scouts from New Zealand visited Cambridge for three days

1924    African Scouts (see below)

Gilwell Archive c 1924

1930’s  Two Czecho – Slovakian Scouts with C T Woods at Queens.  They were walking around the world.           C T Woods album

1933    84 Australian Scouts

1935    Jamaican Scout entertained at YMCA

Australian Scouts’ visit 1937

1943    Letter from Secretary of Young Czechoslovakia

1944 A number of African Scouts attending Cambridge University were encouraged to form a patrol. They declined, preferring to act as lone scouts and mix with the existing troops in town. They were from Sierra Leone, Gold Coast, Zanzibar and Nigeria. They did put on an African evening at the request of Professor Duff, County Secretary.

1946    French Scout stayed in Cambridge and sought contact with local groups

1947    Polish Scouts visited (from Poland or refugee scouts settled in UK?)

1947    Party of NZ Jamboree scouts visited

1947    Les Troubadours du Scoutisme Français visited with French Choral music (swimming meeting cancelled)

1949    Polish Scouts at Bottisham would be under LA (when difficulties sorted)

  • 35 Polish Scouts
    • Greek Rovers
    • French Scout
    • Finnish Scouts cancelled
    • Belgium Scouts invited to camp with 5th


  • Norwegian
  • Greek
  •  Danish
  • French


  • Greek Scouts ‘very arty’

1950    Six mattresses were purchased for Grafton Street HQ, and six blankets obtained.  A hospitality committee was formed.  Parachute rations donated by BRCS were kept for those who arrived late without supplies.  This was a time of rationing and shops closed early.  Further equipment was purchased for hospitality at Grafton Street HQ.

Polish scouts

The post war references to Polish Scouts above are probably those formed by refugees in Britain.  The Polish Scout Association sought links based on being the original Polish Association and retaining their identity.  This was disputed by the World Scouting and the new Polish Scouts forming in Poland.  The Polish Scout Groups would not join the local Scouts.  They did not become part of the local Association.  Within the same year a Scouter with a Polish name was warranted in the District.  

1953    Australian 16 Scouts were part of the Coronation Jamboree at Sandringham and hosted by the 23rd.

1957 16th International Scout Conference held in Cambridge with representatives of 53 Countries attending.

1972 European Friendship Year for Scouts. Sixty German Scouts camped at Abington

JWR Archivist Jan 2019