Rev. Alfred Sadd

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Scout and Missionary

From Maldon, Essex Alfred went to the Leys (Cambridge) in 1923 aged 14 and later Cheshunt theological college, Cambridge.  He was involved in student Missionary campaigns.  The Rev Alfred Sadd did a great deal of preaching locally and is recorded as working as near Huntingdon. 

Alfred was instrumental in starting a Sea Scout Troop and is wearing a Scout lapel badge in the photograph below.  The group has not yet been identified, probably being Maldon Sea Scouts, his home town.  The 1st Cambridge Sea Scouts, which re registered in 1928, is the most likely local troop for him to be involved with but no clear link with this Troop or any Crews or Groups in Cambridge town (as opposed to University) has been made. He joined the Cheshunt College Crew of the Cambridge University Rovers (31st Cambridge) and his enthusiasm was likely central to 50% of that College joining.

From Gilwell collection

He became a missionary for the London Missionary Society and went to the Gilbert Islands in 1934, ‘where the sea to a large extent dominates the life of the islanders and where the Scout Troop is a valuable part of the Missions activities.’  LMS records ‘He habitually introduced himself as “Hello I’m Sadd, but I’m not”.’ 

He elected to stay with the islanders when the Japanese invaded and he was beheaded by the Japanese on 25th October 1942 aged 33.   Twenty one prisoners from New Zealand and Australians died on that occasion. Executions of members of the local population were not given in contemporary records of the event.

The Kiribati Scout Association, formally Gilbert and Ellice Islands, record the death of a British scoutmaster during the Japanese occupation.  This is Alfred Sadd who worked with the 1st Gilberts Scout Troop and Crew.  Further details are given in ‘The Left Handshake’ by Hilary St George Saunders. 

Senior Scouts in Cambridge were told the story in 1949.  The story if not the name was recollected in 2018 by older Scouters.

The photograph above is from the 1938 Rovers Course at Gilwell Park. He he is listed as being from the Gilbert Islands alongside others from Belgium, Holland and India.

An aricle in The Scouter of December 1948 describes Scouting on the Gilbert Island post war. It mentions the Medal of Merit received by SM Tuitonga Merang, ‘for his conspicuous bravery and loyalty and when his Commissioner the late Rev Alfred Sadd, was captured by the Japanese’. It does not mention the cause of his death.

JWR Archivist July 2019

See also Left hand shake p 151-153

Note T. H. Sadd, a scouter from the Blackwater Estuary, Essex, helped the Whittlesford Sea Scouts in 1937. See Goodson Watch.