Scout Shop

I came upon this framed photograph of John Chambers and Ken North dated December 13th 1976. This is exactly 50 years since the first opening of the Equipment Store, as it was known.

District Badge Secretaries had predated the shop as the source for Scout badges; the earliest reference possibly being 1913 and certainly 1916 when a Miss Laidlaw began her 13 years in this role. Her role overlapped the early days of the shop and in about 1929 S.W. (Waggles) Edwards, first manager of the Equipment Store, took on the role. This later passed to W T Thurbon in 1933 for nine or ten years and then passed to Ken North on his discharge from the Army on grounds of ill health in 1943.

The photograph has been added to the Equipment Store page.


John Sweet

I have re read John Sweet’s ‘Scout Pioneering’ and it is a very practical set of instructions on how to develop pioneering skills within a pack and troop. This appreciation is echoed by Geoffrey Budworth, co founder of the International Guild of Knot tyers, who considers John to be the best writer on scouting knots.

More importantly he thinks about the teaching both in terms of the projects but also how the cubs, scouts and leaders react.

Further he puts pioneering into perspective as a teaching aid, one that was and largely remains the preserve of Scouting.

His merits as a skilled pioneer should warrant his inclusion, where this not a Cambridge District Scout based website. However, the District was fortunate to have John as Field Commissioner for several years (by 1959 – 1969) and invited him to be AGM speaker in both 1965 and 1978. The Abington Spring Bridge is named for the site of its first creation and both Ely and Thorrington are name checked in his work.


History of the 13th

I have taken a moment to step away from the Evercircular letters and am working through Minutes, Troop reports and camp records from the 13th. These cover many of the years from 1931 – 1951.

Many other records remain in their HQ which I will work through at a later date.

Covering WW2, I can see from a preliminary skim, they have many details that will flesh out existing reports.

The records will be returned to the 13th for safe keeping and, I hope, someone to compile a more complete history than I can commit to at present.

One other item failed to shout its presence from the wall – this flag which is brown, as was their original scarf, and has since faded into this uniform shade. The scarf and the flag were altered about 100 years ago. I struggled to take an adequate photograph in the available light and will try again. The flag was in use in the 1930’s. It may be the original.


New likeness

This photograph of William Dillaway has been provided by the American Battle Monuments Commission, Cambridge.

They are collecting photographs for as many of those buried as possible and have a long term plan of displaying them in at the 75 anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

The first of the resumed annual visits, as requested by his twin brother in 1946, was carried out in recognition of Eagle Scout William, all American Scouts memorialised at the Cemetery and all those who died in the war.


New posts

I have added a new category, Evercircular letters, and put the first of the pages from this source.

Whilst it is totally based within WW2 (and I have placed it immediately after Local History, the last category of which is WW1/ WW2) it appears to deserve a section of its own.

A great deal of work remains on this unique survival. I will publish a full list of participants and names when it is completed.


Evercircular Letters

This survival is proving to be a very interesting piece on young men scattered by the war. It has generated a dozen pieces before I have finished the first read through and will provide several more before I can get to the Scouting nub of the whole.

The Evercircular letters were a correspondence between Patrols of Rovers and Scouts, largely from the 23rd Cambridge, who had been broken up by the Second World War. The information garnered is feeding into the existing pages and will stand alone as an unusual open correspondence between friends.

It has taken several weeks, interspersed by camps, to get this far. I will complete the first work and probably rest on the whole, to step away from my small enthusiasms and see the wider picture.

I know of one existing relative in Cambridge who will be interested in the letters. If you know of any more please bring this to their attention. I will bring out a complete list of correspondents and the far wider list of people mentioned when I have completed the first reading.


Advice taken

I have found in my niece an intelligent soul who has given me a few bits of advice on the site which I will put into action now I am back.

The sub section ‘Demographics’ which unsurprisingly gets very few views, will be relabelled Trends, which is both a more accurate title and, I hope, a more inviting one. I have always thought some of the information in this section is very interesting, but have awaited its discovery in vain.

I will start a Gallery of pictures with minimal information. These will be linked to articles but will also stand alone for a more casual viewer.

More changes later and back to the Evercircular letters next week. This too may require a whole section.