History

This photo found in our archives is believed to be attributed to our group, and the earliest group activity recorded, probably circa 1910 and at Brown sea Island.

On the beach (Undated)

This was our first Scout leader, Mr Howell, with his group photographed in 1910. Taken from a press cutting in a local paper circa 1935.

1st Byfleet troop 1926 – 1927

A Scout Troop was started in 1910 in Byfleet called Byfleet & Pyrford B.P. Scouts and they met in a corrugated iron structure referred to as the ‘Tin Tabernacle’ but, in fact was the Boys’ Club premises in Walnut Tree Lane – the site of our present headquarters. The Scout Master was a Captain Vivian Howell who was Captain of the local Fire Brigade – horse drawn in those days – and his house was on the site of a block of flats now called ‘Ferney Court’ in Chertsey Road. During the 1914—18 War an Eddie Cox, aged 12years and his Troop, were given two special jobs to do. One was to guard the Railway line from Byfleet through to the Basingstoke Canal- He said of this ‘ If anything had happened, we young lads armed only with our Scout staves – well, 1 don’t know what we would have done. But, we were given an important Job to do and we kept a sharp look-out’. The other job was to act as messengers for the Royal Flying Corps at Brooklands.

Later, another Patrol was formed by Miss Lucy Barnes whose father was Viceroy in India. Her home was called ‘Foxholme’ in Wisley and was situated near the Totem- Pole there on the common. Sue used to organise camps for the boys in this area. The boys also camped at Hayling Island taking the Trek Cart with them to the station, dismantling it and putting it in the Guards Van, re-assembling it at their destination. Sometimes the boys cycled to Hayling Island to get to camp. The earliest camp we can find is one in 1912.

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Letter from Henry Castlemaine

Godalming
SURREY
22nd December. 1980.

Mrs E. Hookins,
Byfleet

Dear Mrs Hookins,
Thank you for your letter of 19th Dec 1980 and I am most interested to have your reply, and we will deal with the various items as they come.

Captain Horn was crippled in the First W.W. and was confined to a wheelchair. He lived in Plough Bridge Bungalow, and his garden adjoined that of Clock House, where in those days lived Colonel Richardson who was famous as a most noted breeder of Airdale dogs. I regret I have no knowledge of the whereabouts of Captain Horn, but I should think he has passed on.

Delighted to know you have heard from my lifelong friend Les Webb. We were both in the “Seal” Patrol, and I have photographs taken from Hayling Island dated 1916! And Les is on them, both of them!

Dickie Pullen and I were great Pals and of course I remember very well his cousin Gordon and as for Tibbles Bowers- Mrs Hookins- what a land of memories you have opened up for me and to be quite honest I am at a loss to know how to thank you.

But wait a bit I know I will tell you some good news. I have found about 50-yes 50 old photographs and every one has strong connections with my 1st Byfleet, and furthermore I will see to it that they will be with you in good time for your show!

Have you approached Mr. H.T. Freeland (Bert ) yet? He used to live near my old home The Plough, I think it was Hopefield Road on Hopefield Gardens, it was alongside the Village Hall ie going towards St. Mary’s C of E School.

Now the sad part my wife is very ill and we are unable to leave her alone for very long, so I shall have to get someone to stay with her when I come up to Byfleet. But I have always lived by the great man’s words- “Be Prepared” so you may trust me when I say “I’ll think of something”.

May I wish you and yours-Yes, and The First Byfleet the compliments of the Christmas Season and The Whole of the Year to come.

Sincerely yours

Henry T. Castlemaine.

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In 1916 Wolf Cubs were formed nationally and in Byfleet. They were based around the Jungle Books of Rudyard Kipling, with the Cubs having their own distinct uniform, badges, motto, sign, salute, etc.

Pagham bay 1916 outside tents

Pagham Bay 1916

Wolf Cubs dealt with those too young to be Scouts, so what was to be done with those too old to be Scouts? Well, in 1917, just before the end of The Great War, B-P. set up a scheme for Senior Scouts, which changed its name to Rover Scouts the next year, for anyone over the age of 18, with Outdoor Adventure and Service as the mainstays of its programme.

A Major Soames was a Byfleet Scout Master for a time and it is reputed he was related to B.P.

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1927
Camping at Pagham Bay

1920s Hayling Island Pagham Bay

1931 1st Byfleet are registered as a Scout Group.

In the 1940’s Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who lived in the St Georges Hills area, was patron of Byfleet Scouts. He was a famous designer who designed Waterloo Bridge and the red post box. He presented to Byfleet Scouts a silver Bugle which we still have today.

1941 B-P. finally passed away on January 8th 1941. In his belongings was his last message to Scouts throughout the world paraphrased below:

Dear Scouts

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 a happy life too.

I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness does not come from being rich, nor merely 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 . ‘Be Prepared’ in this way, to live happy – stick to your Scout Promise always – even after you have ceased to be a boy – and God help you to do it.

Your friend,
Robert Baden-Powell

1946 The deeds to Holroyd Hut were passed to the Scout Master Mr. Evans, at that time the freehold was valued at £250.

Summer camp 1950 at Rowlands castle

1951 This year the summer Camp was at Avington Park – 28th July to 4th August.

1952 The group went to Tortington from 26th July to 2nd August.

1954 The Summer camp this year was at Great Foutway Farm, Fareham.

The Old Scout Hut
 This building lasted until the one we see standing today was built in 1966.

1963 In this year the Scouts camped in Wimbourne.

In 1964, the Boy Scout Association commissioned a working party (the Chief Scouts Advanced Party) to look into how Scouting in the United Kingdom should progress.

The General Report of 1966 made radical reforms to the Boy Scout Association which were carried out in 1967.
Firstly the Association’s name changed, dropping the Boy to become the Scout Association. The Cub section dropped the Wolf to become Cub Scouts; the Scout section also dropped the Boy, and the upper age limit was altered to 16; Senior Scouts and Rover Scouts were disbanded, to be replaced by Venture Scouts for the 16 to 20 year olds and the B-P Guild was set up for those members who wanted to participate in Scouting over the age of 20, but did not want to necessarily commit themselves to a leadership role.

Secondly the Scout and Scouter Uniforms were changed: out went the lemon squeezer hats and the shorts, and in came green berets, mushroom trousers, and green shirts for the Scouts, and fawn shirts for the Venture Scouts and Leaders.

Gallery of other old photos