See Richard (our GSL) top right as a Patrol Leader on a Viking camp (c.1960)
B-P prepared a farewell message to his Scouts, for publication after his death.
The message follows…
“Dear Scouts – If you have ever seen the play “Peter Pan” you will remember how the pirate chief was always making his dying speech because he was afraid that possibly when the time came for him to die he might not have time to get it off his chest. It is much the same with me, and so, although I am not at this moment dying, I shall be doing so one of these days and I want to send you a parting word of good-bye.
Remember, it is the last time you will ever hear from me, so think it over.
I have had a most happy life and I want each one of you to have as happy a life too.
I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness doesn’t come from being rich, nor merely from being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so you can enjoy life when you are a man.
Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one.
But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. “Be Prepared” in this way, to live happy and to die happy- stick to your Scout Promise always when you have ceased to be a boy – and God help you to do it.
Scouting was started by Lord Baden Powell in 1907 and that was the same year that 1st Walton was registered with Scout Headquarters as ‘Boy Scouts’. In 1910 it was the formation of Sea Scouts although it was some years before we made the change.
Wolf Cubs were formed in 1914 and immediately there were boys wanting to join as they had seen what the older boys were doing and naturally wanted to have the same fun and enjoyment.
It wasn’t until 1982 that Beavers made the headlines and the group started with the youngest section which nationally today has the largest numbers of all sections.
There were a variety of places where the Scouts met over the first years – church halls, schools, above shops, and so on. The present HQ was built as a boys club and stood closed for a time when there came a chance to have a permanent home.
At the time the building stood alone surrounded by fields with access from Sunbury Lane called Accommodation Road. Where Thamesmead Estate now stands the field had dray horses grazing for the firm of timber merchants Gridley Miskin where Jewsons are now. These horses would bring timber from barges moored at the wharf at the end of Felix Road to the yard in Terrace Road. The area grew with the housing surrounding the HQ as it is today, is and has been where youngsters have joined the group.
It was the generosity of Frank Miskin that secured the building for the group.
This year of 2012 the Group is making great strides to move the HQ from the present site to the river end of the recreation ground. To provide direct access to the river at towpath level with pupose built accommodation above to suit a modern Sea Scout Group with boys & girls in Beaver, Cub, Scout & Explorer sections.
Richard Holley, Group Scout Leader. December 2012.
Notes on its history (retyped by Jeremy Cook, Viking BSL 2007)
The Scout Hut (as far as it is known in the early days) was built in the field to the West side of Terrace Road. This field belonged to Grindley Miskin, timber merchants and importers. So far as is known, the building was given by the Miskin family, of ‘Hillrise’ Manor Road. A member of the Miskin family was one of the first Scoutmasters. The Hut was complete with gas lighting, gas fires, water, and sanitation was provided. Gridley Miskin owned the fields stretching from Terrace Road to the Surrey river bank. The horses, heavy draught animals, were kept in the fields. They also owned wharves and timber sheds close by on the Surrey bank. The Hut was erected soon after the First World War but this date might be corrected after further research.
In the 1930’s there was quite extensive building of houses by the local authority in the Felix Road area and Grindley Miskin’s fields became a Council recreation ground. Steps leading down to the Thames river bank were built and a wall and flower beds and shrubs were provided at the top of the steps. No other development as a recreation ground took place apart from the errection of soccer goals posts in the area nearest to Terrace Road. Thus the Hut stood more or less in the middle of the fields, but close, on one side, to the newly built houses.
By the late 1920’s the Group consisted of the Troop, the Wolf Cub Pack and Rover Scout Crew. It is on record that the Troop was represented at the 21st Birthday Jamboree, at Arrowe Park, Birkinhead, in 1929. One of the Scouts so representing 1st Walton was Leonard Brazier of Cottimore Lane. The Group was always know as ‘1st Walton-on-Thames B.P. Scout Group’. There was another Group in the town (Troop, only) known as ‘B.B. Scouts’ (British Boy Scouts) and these were a breakaway group, not recognised by the Official ‘B.P.’ (Baden Powell) organisation.
In the early 30’s too, the Group was commencing to struggle owing to the shortage of leaders; still a continuing problem in the Movement, even today. Some names that be called to mind, as Leaders, in those days were: Cyril Stennings, ‘Son’ Laver, Len Brazier.
When the writer of these notes joined the Wolf Cub pack in October, 1933, the Cubmaster was a Mr. Jack da Costa and Cyril Jennings and ‘Son’ Laver were still with the Group. A Mr. Ted Tolhurst, of Churchfieild Road, was the Rover Crew and he assisted him with running the Pack. Despite any problems, the Pack and Troop were all represented in local competitions and other activities.
In 1935 the Pack was taken over by Mrs. Amy Gregory whose home was in Dudley Road. She was Akela of 4th Walton (St. Mary’s) which was attached to our local Parish Church. Mrs. Gregory made a marvellous job of keeping both Packs going and seemed quite able to divide her time between both Packs. She was supported in all this by her husband, George, who was S.M. and G.S.M of the 4th Walton.
The Group struggled, also, financially and, in 1937, after summer camp, which was at Ford, in Sussex, it was decided, for a number of reasons that the Troop would close down and, all being well, would re-open as a Sea Scout Troop. To the best of the writer’s recollections, the Cubs Pack remained operative. However, the trustees of the building allowed the use of it by a recently formed boys’ club. This situation existed until mid or late 1938, when the Troop was re-activated and the Group renamed ‘1st Walton on Thames Sea Scout Group’. It was some years before ‘Viking’ was put into the official Group Name. The Troop Scouter at the time of the temporary closure was Harry Baigent whose home was in Cottimore Avenue. He also took charge of us when we re-activated. We had much help, training wise, in our early Sea Scouting, from 1st Molesey Sea Scouts, especially from their Scouters, Keith Revis.
By early 1939, the new 1st Walton Sea Scout Group was up-and-going and it was only the outbreak of War in September 1939 that gave it the same troubles that almost all Groups had. Our gig, ‘Lady Luck’ was damaged beyond repair, later in the war but it had been in use up until 1941. Se was damaged at her moorings, in the Backwater, near Walton Bridge.
In the Blitz in the Autumn of 1940, a direct hit by a German bomb, close to the front door was a severe blow although, luckily, the large door step acted, in some measure, as a blast wall for the building. Walls were shaken and there was extensive roof damage but, although unusable at this time, the Hut was not a write-off. The writer of these notes was on duty as a messenger in the Auxilliary Fire Service, that night, two members of 1st Walton being on duty that night. When ‘Raiders passed’ was announced, we both cycled down to the Felix Road area to see what happened to the Scout Hut. The Group Scoutmaster at this time, was Eric Ball and he was also Rover Scout Leader. His wife, Doreen, was running the Pack. He organised a working party on the Saturday to tidy-up as best as we could. The other A.F.S. Messenger on duty with me, on the night of the bombing of the Hut, was Andrew Mackenzie, who later joined the Royal Air Force as Air-crew. I remember that night that the hut was hit was a Thursday.
We kept the Troop going by meeting in certain member’s houses, etc. Another of our Scouters was in Civil Defence was Norman Horwood, from Weybridge. He served in the Fire Service. The most active Troop Scouter, until he joined the Royal Air Force, was Alan Beech, also from Weybridge. Two of our Rovers were Bill (Shorty) Keeble and Terry Collins. Bill later joined the Royal Navy and Terry became a glider pilot with the Airbourne. Terry was taken prisoner on one of the airbourne landings and spent some time as a P.O.W. in German hands.
In 1942, the Hut had been repainted and was re-opened at a special ceremony. The person performing the re-opening of the building was Haydn Dimmock, Editor of ‘The Scout’ magazine, the Movement’s weekly for boys. The item, reported in ‘The Scout’ magazine, by Hadyn Dimmock, was headed ‘Week-end at Weybridge’ and the re-opening and the bombing were mentioned in some detail.
After the war, with the return of Leaders from the Forces, the Group again built up. Terry Collins took over the Troop. There was a new G.S.M. We gradually built up our own fleet of boats, especially canoes. 1st Walton became a very active Group. There were, of course, occasional Scouter shortages but not serious ones and we now had no problems recruiting boys. By the late 50’s and leading into the 1960’s, we seem to have got over all problems. We had a Troop, Pack and Senior Scout Troop. Rover Scouting, in the Movement, as a whole was being reorganised with new age-ranges but we did, later, in the 60’s form a Rover Crew.
By the early 60’s, we could say that our Leader situation was strong. We had a G.S.M. (later G.S.L.) We had a Lady C.S.M and these Assistants, backed up by Cub Instructors. We has an S.M. and three A.S.M.’s. When the writer of thise notes left the Group, in 1966, on change of occupation, this was the situation. The Group was active and thriving.
William H Cook, Petersfield.
(Leader at 1st Walton 1959-1963)
from Bill Cook (27th March 2004) retyped by Jeremy Cook, (no
relation) Viking SL, 2013
Back in the
real ‘dim & distant’, I am sure we used to have in the Hut (in the 1930’s)
a framed picture of ‘The Brotherhood’ which showed a Wolf Cub, Boy Scout and
ago, when I was at the Firs, I acquired a copy when I bought a 1931/32 copy of ‘Boys
Own Papers’. The picture was a free print, given away in the edition. I believe the edition was January 1931 (or 1932) I eventually gave the book to Brighton Toy Museum. However, I removed the picture and photocopied it, carefully putting the photocopy in the magazine before parting with it. I have the original copy from the publication, framed, here. If you would like a photocopy (it colours well) I will let you have one. My U.S. friends took a copy back to the States.
American Scouters are great collectors of Scouting and BP ephemera.
Scout uniform was the common one of Khaki shirt, dark blue shorts and black stockings (with two green bands) Cub uniform was with a green jersey. The Group scarf in the 1930’s was navy blue, but slightly lighter that navy blue – not as light as royal blue. I am certain the official colour was navy blue. Cubs wore the same colour shorts and stockings as the Scouts.
I believe that the original Group scarf was grey with a red cord border. There was one floating round my house for years and I am almost certain it was an original old 1st Walton scarf from the 1920’s.
When the Sea Scouts were formed, we had the scarf as is nowadays but there was a white swan motif embroidered at the point. I don’t believe such scarves were worn after the war years.
from Bill Cook (27th March 2004) retyped by Jeremy Cook, (no
relation) Viking SL, 2013
from ‘The Scout Magazine’ 1942 (or early 1943) re. 1st
Walton Bomb Damage
I was in the Isle of Man at the time it was published and it would been taken about this time for the Group to have got the ‘war damage’ payment.
is wrong on one point, I am certain. To the best of my knowledge, NO Scouts were near at the time of the bombing. Andrew McKenzie and myself were on duty at
the Auxiliary Fire Station at the Halfway, Walton. One of the Firemen stationed at the Halfway, lived in Felix Road area and when the bombing report came through, the exact
location was not given, only the fact that it was in the Felix Road area. The Fireman was allowed a quick trip home to see if his family was ok and he gave us the information that it was the Scout Hut that had received the hit. The bomb fell just short of the main doorstep, so the doorstep took much of the blast. As far as I can remember, Andrew
and myself were the first to see the Hut and this was in the early hours of the
next morning. I do not remember any reports of any Scouts (or anyone else) being close when the bomb fell.
Log book ‘Weekend at Weybridge’
by F. Haydn Dimmock, retyped by
Jeremy Cook, (Viking Leader since 2005)
It was a Liquorice Allsorts weekend at Weybridge when I went there recently.
The first instalment, a nice packet in shiny cellophane dropped from the
fold of the towel in the bedroom I was occupying in my host’s house as I went
to wash my hands before lunch on the Saturday. The second instalment was handed
to me at the conclusion of the Cub Rally in the afternoon, and for the rest,
well, I discovered packets and boxes under the bed, under the pillows, in the
wash basin and so on.. What a sacrifice of sweet rations! What a treat for a
But I got more than sweetmeats at Weybridge. I found a real spirit among
the Cubs and Scouts there and enthusiasm among the Scouters.
My first task, and an extremely pleasant one, was to declare re-opened the headquarters of the 1st Walton Troop. The building had been badly damaged by a bomb which fell close by.
Fortunately, two Scouts who happened to be near escaped unharmed. I told the Scouts that just as their building had been repaired, after damage by the guns, so the countries which have been invaded will be restored to their rightful people, who will be helped back to health and happiness.
The Wolf Cubs of the district put on a good show of games and dances, and before we broke up to go to tea, I gave them a yarn. It was good to see several Scouts working with the Cubs, take the places of Cubmasters who had gone into the Services.
In the evening, I met the PLs of the district in another fine headquarters beside the river. This was their first conference, and because it was so successful is not likely to be the last. With more experience the Leaders will “open up” more than they did the first time.
So that the Leaders might know one another each rose in turn and announced his name, Troop and nickname, if any. This is a good idea for first conferences.
On Sunday morning there was a Scouts’ Own and though we had no heating in the Church Hall and we sang the hymns unaccompanied, it was a most enjoyable service.
The Guides of the district also attended.
The Guides and Scouts joined forces in the afternoon in the presenting a programme of plays at the little playhouse in Walton. There was a large audience of parents and friends. The Scouts put on a play of St. Francis of Assisi, which was quite well acted. The main Guide contribution was a Nativity Play.
There was one performer who did not appear before the footlights and was an understudy. But for her the performances would have been possible. The electrician who normally
operates the stage lighting had been called away, so his wife, who never worked the switchboard before, and with only a rough chart drawn up by her husband, stepped into the breach an put on a fine performance with her lighting effects,
Just another case of someone doing a grand job behind the scenes.
My hosts for the weekend most generously invited the Scouters of the district to come to their home on Sunday evening for an informal talk and a splendid number came along. In the midst of our discussions an air raid alert sounded and one or two of the company had to leave for civil defence duties.
What did we talk about? Why, you, of course. That is to say we yarned about Scouts and
Scouting, present and future, and while the A.A. guns kept up a symphony of sound to remind us that the only escape from war is to defeat the powers of evil and through the good in the hearts of men to build a world in which love and concord abide.