Patrol Names: Cambridge Connections

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Senior Scouts were given the names of eminent men to pick as Patrol names; Venture Scouts and Explorer Scouts have chosen their own Unit names, sometimes selecting historical characters. The following Cambridge connections have been identified.

Senior Patrols                        1949

The Boy Scout association published two books of Patrol names for Senior Scouts in 1949.  Each listed six names.  These have all been seen to have been used in Cambridge from the 40’s and 50’s except Stevenson.  Five more were added. 

  1. Francis Drake             
  2. David Livingstone       
  3. Charles Darwin          
  4. Orde Wingate           
  5. Gino Watkins              
  6. George Leigh Mallory
  7. Walter Raleigh                       
  8. James Cook
  9. George Stevenson
  10. Wilfred Grenfell         
  11. Robert Falcon Scott    
  12. R J Mitchell                
  13. Eric Liddel
  14. Guy Gibson                 
  15. Lord Somers
  16. Hon Roland Philips
  17.  Edward Wilson          

Several of these have notable Cambridge University connections

3          Charles Darwin:                                  Christ’s College, Cambridge.  A statue of Darwin as a young man is situated in the grounds of Christ’s College.

Darwin College, a postgraduate college at Cambridge University, is named after the Darwin family

5          Gino Watkins:  H G ‘Gino’ Watkins      Trinity College, Cambridge                        Lead inter-war journeys to the Arctic.  Members of his parties learnt to roll their canoes in the Cam, ‘a very difficult skill, previously known only to the Eskimos’

6          George Mallory          Magdalene College, Cambridge,       History and stayed in Cambridge for a year writing Boswell the Biographer (1912).   In 1923, he took a job as lecturer with the Cambridge University Extramural Studies Department. He was given temporary leave so that he could join the 1924 Everest attempt.

8          James Cook                 There is also a monument to Cook in the church of St Andrew the GreatSt Andrew’s Street, Cambridge, where his sons Hugh, a student at Christ’s College, and James were buried. Cook’s widow Elizabeth was also buried in the church and in her will left money for the memorial’s upkeep.

11       Robert Falcon Scott     The Scott Polar Institute was founded as a memorial.

17        Edward Wilson            Gonville and Caius College

7          Walter Raleigh            The piece in ‘Senior Scout Patrol Names’ Pt II was written by the Rover Scout Leader of the Cambridge University Crew, John Parry PhD. 

Many of these names have fallen from the collective memory.  That they were not always so is evidenced by the Arctic weather clothing ‘Grenfell cloth’, once widely advertised.

Venture Scout Units

Sir John Cockcroft Venture Scout Unit 1967/8

This new Venture Scout Unit gained permission from Sir John’s widow to use the name and met with her several times a year to report on the events of the unit.  They designed a scarf with a representation of a hydrogen atom on the back.

Sir John Douglas Cockcroft, OM, KCB, CBE, FRS was a British physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1951 for the first artificial splitting of an atomic nucleus with Ernest Walton, and was instrumental in the development of nuclear power.  A student at St John’s College, Cambridge he later worked at Cavendish Laboratories under Rutherford.  He was the first Master of Churchill College, Cambridge.  He died 18th September 1967 Cambridge.

No other Cambridge Venture Scout Unit took the name of a person.  In Granta (South Cambridgeshire) Bodica was usedA queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire in AD 60 or 61 she died shortly after its failure. Cambridge was at the borders of her tribal lands. This spelling is one of many used.

Explorers Scout Units

The latest Explorer Unit has taken the name Flamsteed Explorers.  John Flamsteed was the first Astronomer Royal and attended Jesus College, Cambridge.

JWR Archivist Jan 2019