Friday, 16 March 2012

Scouting Days

An entry to Sepia Saturday. "Using old images as prompts for new reflections".

 My father (right) and his life long friend Cyril Pratt enjoying camp life in the Crake Valley sometime around 1938.  Both were actively involved in the Scout Movement for many years and when distance separated them they wrote entertaining letters to each other, Cyril always peppered his letters with amusing little drawings and always signed off with his scout name and symbol of 'Morning Star'.   My father loved to write and some of his memories of these days remain
 "Scouting Days. Just a few memories of Alf Pugh, July 1927 to 1933"
Scoutmaster 1927 to 1942 including Group S.M. and District S.M.
in an exercise book of his time in the 9th Barrow in Furness (1st Emmanuel) Boy Scouts .  He would have been 21 when he was scoutmaster in 1927, the picture he uses is when he was 25.  He had been a scout for a large portion of his life at this time.  They tell of weekends spent in rain and sunshine, and more rare,  the excitement of having a whole week's holiday away.  The journeys to camp, taken by train or bicycle and the transportation of all the gear could be as eventful as the days spent in camp.
Flookburgh Camp July 30-Aug 6 1933 which my father wrote about as  "Disturbers of the Peace" when the troop spent part of the night chasing cows away from their cookhouse attracted by food and water but making so much noise as they  munched the potatoes and drinking  water that the scouts had been alerted to potential disaster.
Seascale Camp, 1929. Twenty nine Scouts, cubs and officers spent a week under canvas. They travelled there by train but the weather (torrential rain) had been so bad that the farmer had not expected them and had not come down in the truck to collect the equipment. Tumbling into the waiting room a plan of attack takes place.
"Three of us follows get into bathing togs, ready for operations, Bob and I splash up to the farm to inquire about the transport which should meet us. An ark would be the thing. The rain assisted by a heavy wind is fairly lashing it down. Up the hill bent double against the wind we go, mind those puddles, which? There's only one now. On we splash, at last, the farms. Cheers. The farmer is very surprised to see us."

The farmer offers them to camp down in his Dutch Barn which they find great fun and set up the tents in the field the next day.
  Bob Green, Tom Butcher, my father Alf Pugh (seated) whose scout name was 'Lone Pine' because he was tall, hence he is sitting down.

There are many amusing stories but also descriptions of the beautiful surrounds, birds and wildlife. Two years are notable for their absence, which are those of the Scout Jamboree in England in 1929 which I know my father attended, perhaps this was in another book, since lost. I have a small wooden engraved drinking bowl with Hungarian writing and the date 1933 which is when the Jamboree was held in Hungary. Was this bowl given in 1929 in anticipation or did a member of the scout troop go to Hungary. There is a group portrait
I know was taken in England because it is a post card.  The uniforms all look different but all that is written on the back is 1933.  I recognise my father's friend and Patrol Leader Rodney Whittle on the right who I never met (he was killed in the war) because he is the exact image of his sister.  He scout name I seem to remember was Otter because he was an amazing swimmer, totally in his element in the water.
Here is some of the places they liked to swim in what they called Caribou Creek and Otter Pool which was a mill dam.  I wonder if some of the troop got their swimming badges here.  Lastly as short extract taken from 1930 when there was a what my father describes as wonderful week under canvas and describes the meaning of  Emmanuel Scouts words  "expressions elucidated" 



Wendy said...

What an amazing collection of photos and letters. Thanks so much for putting this together. You've done a wonderful job.

Christine H. said...

I feel as if I hit the scouting jackpot here! Wonderful photos and the letters are heartwarming. Those guys obviously formed strong bonds through scouting.

Bob Scotney said...

This sort of record of scouting eventsmust be priceless. Great post.

Wibbo said...

Wonderful notebook and photographs.

Postcardy said...

Your father's pictures and descriptions are great. Even the handwriting is beautiful. My father never wanted to talk or write about any of his experiences.

barbara and nancy said...

It's amazing that you have all these treasures. My favorite part was your father's funny dictionary.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

What a treasure! Loved the photos, stories and your Dad's beautiful handwriting. What struck me was how special those times were and how they developed life long friendships.

Thank you for sharing this with us.

Kathy M.

Little Nell said...

This week’s theme is tailor-made for you. Your father’s wonderful stories and pictures are to be treasured indeed.

Tattered and Lost said...

Incredible collection of ephemera. And stunning handwriting.

Alan Burnett said...

Another fascinating post : both the images and the descriptions are dripping with social history. Your fathers' notes just add that extra dimension and transport us all back across the decades.

Kristin said...

Nothing beats photos with their own words.

Sallie ( said...

Wonderful collection; your father was a good writer as well as a good scout!