Cambridge District Scout Archive
Wide Game, Field Day, Night Attack Activities: all terms for activities that range across large areas. If not entirely interchangeable the terms have an underlying element of free ranging application of scouting skills in the field.
Field Day was originally a military term and moved into school use for days outside the school grounds. It was used as a term in Scouting before the use of ‘Wide Games’ became general.
The following quotes register the shift of terminology in the Cambridge Archives. Many other similar activities are recorded without using these terms.
The term wide game does not appear as often in those events organised for older Scouts or Rovers. Generally significantly larger in scale and planning these events are often known by the name of the competition. The distancing from the term ‘game’ is in keeping with the age of the participants and the shift of emphasis from team competition to a personal challenge.
Nov 19th 1910 Red Force (7th and 10th) defended the magazine at Baits Bite Lock. Blue Force (1st, 8th, 9th and Newnham Patrol of the 1st District) Marched back and dismissed at Guildhall. (from The Scout)
1911 A rocket (powder magazine) defended by the 8th and 1st Cambridge District. 1st Cambridge located and fired the rocket, followed by a short display of fireworks (from The Scout)
1912 About 150 Boy Scouts took part in a convoy scheme at Histon. The idea was that a Blue Force, about 40 in number, was besieged in Histon village by a Red Force of over 60 Scouts, while a Blue relief column from Cambridge, some 40 strong, divided into two parts, each with a trek-cart, endeavoured to relive them. The relief party, under Scoutmaster Curzon, advanced via Milton but met with serious opposition at Impington. A detachment of the Red Force was sent to hold the level crossing on the Histon-Girton Road but was ambushed. After the ‘Cease Fire’ the scouts had tea at Histon Institute 12 02 23h Mike Petty
1912 Field day Grantchester 1, 10, 12, 15, 16th (from The Scout)
1918 Queens College Record 2008 Vere Stoakley recalls a game in which items were hidden in a field to be located by the troop. The object placed under a dried cow pat was not located.
1918 ‘In 1918 we held an Association Field Day, long before we called them wide games, and marched to Babraham. In 1919 we went to Quy and ran gold dust through Quy Water. I think the 23rd were on the Bush rangers side.’ Archaeology WTT
1921 District Minutes ‘After an animated discussion on the last nights attack the meeting ended.’
1933 Association wide game organised on Croydon Wilds (Croydon cum Clopton) District Minutes
1934 A number of wide games are detailed in the Harston log books of 1934 – 1937. One in particular replaced capturing the opposition by the use of ‘grenades’, a hundred flour bombs. At the time this was between the 48th and 56th Cambridge, before the 1st Harston budded from the 56th.
1947 Senior Scouts arranged a wide game with Senior Scouts from Little Hadham. It was postponed owing to outbreak of infantile paralysis in the village.
1950 Senior Scout ‘Night Operation’.
1958 54th Cambridge Wide game against St Luke’s (14th) ‘set your flag in the woods and defend it using catapults, peashooters and water pistols as weapons.’
Nothing closer to a photograph of a wide game exists in the archives.
JWR Archivist Feb 2019