Rover Crew in POW camps

Cambridge District Scout Archive

The extraordinary thing was that so many fellow prisoners did not know who were Rovers but would remark after some particular action “…that chappie must be one of those Rover blokes”.

The above is given in Bamboo Thumbsticks.

The Left Handshake by Hilary St George Saunders is a collection of Scouting war service and covers some Crew in POW. The text may be found on

The privately published Bamboo Thumbsticks has a number of tales from Services Crew in India and the Far East and some from Japanese POW camps. The Scouter review of March 1952 states the book talks of 60 Services Crew from ‘the Passes of North India to the Cocos Islands’. The one Cambridge Scouter known to be a member was Les Collis of the 25th.

See People/ Individuals/ Cambridge Scouters/ Leslie John Collis

This is the only period source that I am aware of that names some of the Rover Crew on Japanese POW camps. It does not name the Crew in Les Collis’s artworks. As such the references to Scouting in Innoshima and Boei Glodok (elsewhere Boi or Boie) POW camps located in the POW art given to Leslie Collis may stand as the only known reference to these Crew.

A more recent account and further links can be found at Johnny Walker’s


Not strictly a Rover Crew, but the only known local reference to a Scout Association in the Great War. G T Waldegrave was at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, A W Coombes has not been identified. The report comes from the Cambridge Press of 15th September 1915 via DSM Rev C T Wood, Dean of Queens’.

JWR Archivist Aug 2020