100 years of Scouting in Hampshire. Beginnings
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The first Scout troop to be formed in Hampshire would appear to be 1st Lymington in 1908. The second oldest troop is believed to be 1st Eastleigh, formed in 1909, and this was soon followed the same year by 7th Bassett and 14th Highfield in Southampton.
5th Romsey Troop
The Chief Scout, General Sir Robert Baden Powell toured Hampshire Scout troops in 1910. There were at that time 22 Local Associations comprising 104 troops totalling 2,965 members across the County. Almost half of those members represented Hampshire at a Royal Review of Boy Scouts at Windsor in July 1911.
Baden Powell inspecting troops
The first County Commissioner for Hampshire was Sir Harry Crichton (Colonel The Honourable, H.G.L. Crichton ADC), appointed in 1909. The Marquis of Winchester, Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, became President of Hampshire Boy Scouts Association in Nov 1910 and the Earl of Northbrook was made Vice President.
First County Rally 1912
The first County Rally of Hampshire Boy Scouts, attended by the Chief Scout General Sir Robert Baden Powell, took place on Southampton Common in October 1912 where 2700 Scouts were inspected. Expenditure and receipts for the event amounted to £94.0.1. We are very fortunate in having archive film of this great event which demonstrates amongst other things the agility and enthusiasm of the County’s Boy Scouts through their various displays and competitions. The film was shown twice nightly for a week at The Empire, Bugle Street, Southampton.
To view a clip from the film online, visit the web-page below.
A Patrol Leaders Camp was arranged for one week at Lymington in May 1913. Each Patrol Leader was to pay five shillings for the whole week or half that for the weekend. Tents, food and eating utensils were to be provided but each Patrol Leader had to bring with him: 2 blankets, 1 spare uniform or suit of clothes, 1 top coat, 1 spare shirt, 2 towels, 2 spare pairs of stockings, bathing drawers, 1 spare pair of boots, tooth brush, soap, blacking brush and hair brush.
Patrol Leaders Camp, Lymington 1913
A second County Rally was organised for 4 July 1914, exactly one month before the outbreak of what was to become the First World War. The Government recognised the contribution which Scouts could make to the war effort and Boy Scouts became messengers to the army and conveyed mobilisation and billeting notices among other things for which, after 100 days, they were awarded a War Service Badge. Winchester’s Boy Scouts were actively engaged in wartime activities at this time.
1st Winchester Troop with soldiers on Hook railway station
Numbers of Scouts across Hampshire declined during the early years of the Second World War. In Winchester District, for example, they fell to around 106. However, they rallied against the odds for numbers to climb up to 335 in 1942, with Scouting competing with the likes of Sea and Army Cadets and the Air Training Corps. By 1949 the numbers had reached pre-war levels again.
Scouts collecting scrap for the War effort
The first official ‘Bob a Job’ week took place in April 1949 partly in aid of collecting for ‘Starving Europe’. Many fund raising initiatives followed including annual Bob a Job weeks as well as Scouts contributing to local and national appeals. The Gang Show, a favourite activity amongst Scouts, made an appearance for the first time in Winchester District in 1955. By the close of the 1950s Scout numbers in the District stood at 229 Cubs, 240 Scouts and 57 Senior Scouts.
Major Goodman, District Commissioner, 1964
There are currently 27 Scout Districts in Hampshire. With over 16,000 members across the County, Hampshire is the largest Scout County in the Country.
To find out more about Scouting in Hampshire and what activities are planned to celebrate the Centenary visit the Hampshire Scouting website