Scout International Relief Service

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Proposed in 1942 and started during the last years of the Second World War the International Relief Service comprised teams trained to offer support across countries affected by war.

The International Relief Service was staffed by many organisations. The Guides, Red Cross etc. staff other teams.   Seventy one men and twenty six women Scouters took time off work to join the Scout teams.  The teams had largely disbanded by September 1946.

Scout sections worked in Greece, Italy, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. Four Scout Units worked in NW Europe, No’s 3, 102, 106, 122 working in refugee camps and hospitals.  One team worked in the concentration camps.

Cambridge Archive

18/6/1945       SM R H Ellwood (1st Cambridge) working for six months with Scout Relief Team Overseas                        District Minutes R Ellwood listed as GSM 1st Cambridge in ‘Post 32’ list.

1946                AGM    Reported as working in Germany

Mr F P Ellwood (SM 12th Cambridge) spoke on SIRS at the AGM (his brother?)

H Q Archives

R H Ellwood worked in NW Europe with Section 102. From the dates he may have been a replacement member of the team.  He was listed as living at 101 Windsor St Cambridge after his return but did not appear to be active in the reunion newsletters.

He wrote the following piece whilst on service Feb 1946 Sec 106 Newsletter No. 8

Unnamed SIRS team.  The Scout badge can be seen on the battledress.  Whilst not members of the Armed Forces they were given ranks to enable them to operate within the hierarchy of the Army.

See also

  • The Least of These      John R Monrel
  • Life is a Mountain       Miss Olive Buckman
  • World scouting            BSA 1947

JWR Archivist Feb 2019