Scouter Nicknames

Cambridge District Scout Archives

The archives are largely formal and records eschew such frivolity as nicknames.  It is in memoirs that we find nicknames; invoking the camaraderie, introducing the characters, acting as a recall mechanism for the author and generally adding colour.  Such written recollections are few. Robert Baden Powell was known as the Chief (at the 1917 Cambridge Rally, his arrival delayed by an air raid, the messenger ran up calling The Chiefs here, The Chiefs here’) and elsewhere as The Founder. In some older records in the Gilwell Archives this is denoted by a capital F.

The only the most active have nicknames that are sufficiently well known to be clear for publication across a district.

Cambridge Archives

‘Scouts have a great gift for deflating their leaders. When in the late 1920’s William Wolfe received a warrant as A.S.M. (Assistant Scoutmaster to you moderns) I was at the 23rd H.Q. and wishing to speak to William, said to one of our younger scouts “Will you ask Mr. Wolfe if he can come and see me for a moment”. Alas for my efforts to maintain William’s new dignity. The scout walked to the connecting door and shouted at the top of his voice “Clacker, Bill wants, you.”                   W T Thurbon   The Archaeology of Scouting 1978

T G Room Grafton St Gazette, Rovers     Ruffingham
‘Bunny’ Bennett13th CambridgeBunny
H W  ‘Corbeau’ Rook 9th and Balsham (French for Raven)   By 1951 it had become Corbo of the 51st, although at the same date he signed his letters CorbeauCorbeau
E H Church  District Chairman ‘known to the irreverent as’ Daisy 
W A Mackrow 12th  (aboard the Adventurer)  Skipper
(elsewhere)    In a 2020 interview he was called ‘Uncle Mac’ throughout. He signed himself Mac in informal letters. Pronounced ‘Mac’ +’Crow’ Mac or Mack
or Uncle Mac
A Hutchinson SM 13th (1919 – 20)  11th and 6th (1921 -22)Hutch
Miss F E Isaacson  28th      CM 1930 – 1970’s (Leader name Iki [not Ikki])Ikey (Eye Key)
Miss Irene (Rene) Long 42nd     CM 1930 – 1960’s Longey or Longy,
Miss Akela
G MacFarlane Grieve 5th   SM GSM Dist Treasurer  Uncle Mac
Malcolm MacFarlane5th SL / SSM Overlapped with MacFarlane Grieve (above)Max or MaxiFarlane
Brigadier Duchesne CC        c.1955 – 1969 Dutch
H G F Cann  43rd and 26th Skip
T. S. Hele, (Thomas Shirley) CC or C President pre ’53 and Vice Chancellor of the University 1943 – 1945Timmy
W L Wheeler 14th     Chiefy
‘Happy’ Davis Named in CSG and elsewhere (Initialls H A P)Happy
S W Edwards     first worker at Scout shop    Waggles
George Westcott Martin  7th Cambridge  Sec of L A  Georgey*
Arthur Oliver     23rd, 28th, Fellowship  (possessed grey white hair very young)Snowy
John Wolfenden 7th CambridgeFlea
Sidney Elwood (or Ellwood)Cambridge Scouts’ Boat Club Squid
John HolmesAs listed in District directory Smokey
Colin TaylorAs listed in District directory Ding
Tony FowlerCrafts Hill DC 1981Chick
Ivor Meadows23rd and 44th SM, later GSLFlywheel
F A J McKenzieDC 11th Signed himself Mac c 1952 for District lettersMac
W D StokesField Commissioner signed himself ‘Bill the field’ 1975Bill the field
Colin TaylorMM in 1982Ding
R P RichardsDC South Cambridgeshire – being tall with a white goatee signed himself Uncle Sam and was referred to as such in some informal HQ letters to CountyUncle Sam

*C T Wood (CC) wrote ‘To all of us he was ‘Georgey’ (Not to his face, no fear!)’ . Mackrow signed himself Mac, and Happy was the name signed to an article.

In a communication to District reference was made to ‘the two Macs’, reflecting their very significant place outside their Groups.

The following transition from Scout to Scouter was recorded on 1931 by the 13th Cambridge.

Florence Issacson was always known as Ikey, and signed herself as Iki in the very early list of Seeonee Pack members. This was clearly pronounced as I-key, and neither spelt or pronounced Ik- ki as is perhaps more usual. Whether it was picked for an association with her surname is unknown.

This selection of Cambridge nicknames are generally shorn of explanation, however, from the Evercircular of the 23rd Rover crew on Active Service come the following standard nicknames. The Evercircular were for a small known readership and these common nicknames were not likely to be confused with others.

  • Gnr W H Miller Dusty
  • Clark Nobby (‘Nobby found a Rover Crew in Aden‘)

Similarly within (the 7th) photo albums we find ‘Ginger’ and ‘Dicky’, neither yet sufficiently distinct District personalities to stand outside the troop by that name.

Outside Cambridge

These names are used in National literature and the individuals widely known because of their prominent rolls

  • John Colquhon (HQ)                                                                            Koko
  • ‘Tiny’ Chamberlain     Travelling Commissioner                                     Tiny


Nicknames in youth are not often recorded by the adult reporters of events.  The following have survived.

  • ‘Snake’ Davis               2nd Cambridge             Morley Trophy winner 1933   Snake
  • Brian (Cabbage) Greenwood 13th Cambridge 1931 Cabbage

John Wolfenden is still known as ‘Flea’, a name bequeathed in his youth.

JWR Archivist Mar 2019