Reg Ayres

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Silver Wolf

Reg Ayres had attended a Public School Scout Course in 1926, some years before he joined the Leys school.  Ahead of his arrival it was expected that he would start a troop.  He was already deemed an experienced Scoutmaster, and the troop was opened in September 1933.

60th Cambridge (Leys School)

  • GSM    1933 – 1959
  • SM       1933 – ?          Senior Troop
  • RL        1938 – 1971

ADC Rovers           

ACC International

Under his leadership as GSM and SM the troop grew rapidly.   Under Reg Ayres the troop started with a full set of Scout held roles; QM (Uniforms), QM (Equipment), Troop Secretary, Court of Honour Secretary, Log Keeper, Librarian and Reporter, alongside Scout Masters and Patrol Leaders. The first Court of Honour also listed Treasurer, Fire keeper, QM (food), Glee master and Ambulanceman.  Some of these suggest a Woodcraft focus on symbols and clans.   Many of these roles quickly faded from the records.

The Troop was quickly active camping at home and in 1934 camping in Luxembourg. A list of major camps 1935 -1964 is seen on the 60th page. They sent a fair number to National and International events, the earliest being the 1935 World Rover Moot in Sweden and the 1937 World Scout Jamboree in France.

Reg was with the school during its relocation to Scotland during the war and was involved in supporting the continued existence of what was the oldest Troop in Scotland, 1st Pitlochry.

International trips started again very soon after the end of WW2.  Reg was instrumental in these excursions and was later ACC International.  Although most of his Scouting career is based around the very large and successful 60th his interest, knowledge and skills in international Scouting links and trips were made available to wider Scouting.  He was clearly involved in wider Scouting.  In 1950 he was acting as a substitute to the DC and an incomplete compilation lists him as ADC Rovers in 1955 and 1956. Certainly he was visiting other local Rover Crew in 1952 and recorded as ADC Rovers by the 13th in 1953.

A Leys Rover Crew was formed in 1938 and Reg became Rover Leader – a role he held until after his retirement and after the formal end of Rovers in 1967.  Rovers continued to meet at Reg Ayres’ house until at least 1971.

The Rovers were described as a departure from school scouting which may suggest either a scouting focus outside the school, as with other Crew, or a hope to retain Rovers beyond school attendance.   A strong loyalty to Reg Ayres may also be inferred.

Reg handed over the role of GSM in1959 and retired from the school in 1968.

Reg Ayres centre – 1946/7

It is with his retirement and that of the SM Maurice Howard (Deputy Headmaster) that Scouting within the school morphed and detached.  In the final discussions the Chief Scout, Sir William Gladstone, wrote directly to the Headmaster, describing the troop as ‘one of our best scouting schools’.  This success was based firmly on Reg Ayres.

JWR Archivist Oct 2022