POW’s and Escapers

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Cambridge Scouts engaged in two World Wars and many lesser conflicts and it is not surprising that some became prisoners of war.  These men, ex Scouts and Scouters from Cambridge District, generally slip into obscurity – confinement generally limits the behaviour that feeds the standout stories offered elsewhere on this site.

POWs were not included as a separate category in the post WW2 collection of war roles. See Local History/ WW1 WW2/ Colection of war service details 1945. Individuals were presumably counted in the numbers by service.

This record will grow as more come to light.  It is currently divided into two parts, WW1 and WW2 as these are the wars with known POWs.  No year has passed since the start of Scouting in which British Troops have not been involved in a war or action.

The following is a list; some have pages which give fuller details.


  • Bernard Porter Luscombe SM 3rd Cambridge            See People/ Individuals/ Early Warrants/ Tales from Early Warrants                        Attempted escape. 
  • W Shaw                                   Possibly Cambridge Scout       Died whilst in German hands
  • E G J Cooke ‘Our Scout Column’ in the local press reported in August 1916 that E G J Cooke, former SM, of the London Scottish, was a prisoner of war. An Edwin George Joseph Cooke of the London Regiment is recorded as marrying Hilda V Palmer near Cambridge in 1916. His home address in the POW records is Igham (not clearly identified anywhere – possibly Isleham). A ‘Pte Cook’ is later identified as being in Germany in ‘Our Scout Column’.


A H S Coombe TennantOflag VI B (Escaped)53rd – 1933
Christopher Mark Morrice ManJapan53rd – 1934
H Gordon   Germany
Bilbey SM    Japan
Leslie John Collis   Japan25th c.1934
Samuel Wilfred Whitley (brother of)Japan28thDied of cardiac beriberi  
Thomas Leonard Whitley (brother of)Japan28th
John (Jack) Smith-HughesCrete (Escaped)60th
  • A H S Coombe Tennant           See People/ Individuals/ Cambridge Scouters           Escaped from Oflag VI B and returned to the UK.         
  • H Gordon                       Listed in an incomplete card index as H Gordon (Germany, nr Hanover) he is assumed to be a POW.
  • Leslie John Collis          See Local History/ WW1 WW2/ Collection of war service details 1945     and Individuals
  • John (Jack) Smith-Hughes Captured. Escaped by submarine having acted as a guerilla, returned to Egypt and later returned to Crete as a member of SOE. Involved in the planning and kidnapping of German General.
‘Me’ is Les Collis

The Early SM of the 13th Maurice Mansfield Eastwell was a Major in the Cambridgeshire Regiment and listed as a Commandant of a Reception Camp. These were bases for the repatriation of British servicemen who had been Prisoners of War.

JWR Archivist Jan 2020