A Brief History of 1EP Scout Group

1900's

The Group originated in 1908 with four or five boys advertising in the local paper for a Scout Leader. All these boys were inspired by Baden Powell’s “Scouting for Boys” that he wrote at the windmill on Wimbledon Common.

The advertisement was answered by two people, a homeless man who wanted to know how much he would be paid, and by Mr Delcomyn who at that time was helping at another Scout Troop. The Troop prospered under the leadership of Mr Delcomyn and in 1909 he purchased “The Red House” on West Hill, SW18 for their gymnastics, band practice and concerts etc. It was around this time that the Boy Scout Organisation had been formed and the troop was officially registered and the official name became 62nd South West London.

The troop continued to prosper and with all the Scouts younger brothers ‘hanging’ around the hall, Mr Delcomyn saw the necessity to cater for the younger boys and in 1912 he started what was probably the first Cub Pack, and named them Junior Scouts. The Cubs uniform was identical to those of the Scouts, jumpers, shorts, scarves etc but wore a sailor’s hat instead of a wide brimmed hat. This changed 62nd South West London from a Scout Troop to a Scout Group.

In 1914, like many other troops, we lost a large number of Scouters to the various armed forces; but with the help of elder Scouters, fathers and several mothers the group continued in its activities. During the war, in addition to the usual Scouting activities, the Group supplied “patients” to R.A.M.C for their training, collected paper for the war effort, did guarding at the reservoirs to prevent damage by saboteurs and also trained and supplied buglers for the air raid warnings. They also entertained wounded soldiers at the Gifford House hospital.

1920's

Towards the end of 1918, owing to an unfortunate disagreement with the local Scout Association and the District Commissioner, the group left the B.P. Scout Organisation and the name changed to 1st East Putney. This didn’t have a detrimental effect on the numbers and in fact the group continued to increase, so in 1922 Mr Delcomyn had a new HQ built in Oxford Road SW15 on the site of an old chapel that had burnt down. The new building contained a gym, club room, two small rooms and caretaker’s quarters.

In 1924 the group had grown to an impressive 200 boys plus a dozen or so Scouters. The increased numbers meant that the Scout Troop had four sections each under the leadership of a section officer with junior officers where possible. Each section had four patrols and each patrol was headed by the Patrol Leader who was 18yrs old or more.

By 1928 several groups and one whole district had left the B.P. Scout Movement and it was therefore decided to form the Independent Scout Alliance under the presidency of Lord Allington. Their aims and ideas were identical to those of B.P, but it was necessary to have their own badges made. The large numbers of members made many activities possible such as concerts and even our own swimming gala held at the swimming baths. The club room was open every night so boys could go in and play billiards and other games.

1930's

In 1933 two of the Scouters, Mr France and Mr Gaunt decided to form a Rover Scout Crew, what we know today as Venture Scouts. The first Rovers were invested by Mr Harley the District Commissioner (D.C.) and Mr Mealand the gym instructor became the first Rover Scout Leader. It was around this time that the Group returned to the B.P. Scout Movement and this was shown by a change in the uniform.

World War II

In 1937 Major French resigned as Scout Leader and was replaced with Mr H. Bennett who originally joined the group as a Cub. The following year Britain declared war against Germany and the 2nd World War was to last for the next 7-years. As in the 1st World War many Scouters were called up for service and many of the boys were evacuated away from London to the safety of the countryside. The HQ in Oxford Road was let to a company called Carbon Arc Pool, and therefore the Scout meetings were held at the Group Scout Master’s (G.S.M) home in Park Side, Wimbledon Common.

During the war years Mr Delcomyn virtually ran the group single handed, despite being in his late 70’s, and although our HQ had been requisitioned and in the face of countless difficulties he maintained a small troop even enlarging the troop to an Air Scout Patrol. Some of the boys occasionally camped in his garden at weekends and summer holidays, sometimes making a hurried retreat to the cellars when the air-raid sirens demanded.

Post War

In September 1945 after the war had ended, the gym room of our HQ was returned to us so the G.S.M opened Cub Pack meetings on Mondays and held the Scout Troop meetings on Thursdays. The following year Mr H. Wallace returned from the front line and he took over as Scout Leader. Mr Mealand also returned to lend a general hand and at this time the whole HQ was given back to the group. Mr Fordham was the next to return and this meant a change to the Scouters. Mr Fordham became Scout Leader and Mr Wallace became assistant Cub Master. Slowly Scouting life returned to normal with camps and shows being scheduled again.

1950/60's

Sadly in 1955 Mr Delcomyn died at the age of 91, ending a life dedicated to Scouting and young people. Amazingly he remained Group Scout Master until his death. Mr Readings took over the G.S.M’s responsibilities, with Mr Fordham remaining as Scout Leader and Mr Wallace taking charge of the Cub Pack. The leadership remained unchanged until 1964 when Ken Lloyd became Akela and Mr Legg took over the Scout Leader role.

1970's

Unfortunately the Scout Troop numbers dwindled to nine or ten boys and so in 1971 Ken Lloyd replaced Mr Legg as Scout Leader and Mr Trigg took the role of Akela. Soon after the Troop was once again rising in members and growing successfully.

In July 1972 1EP Scouts were lucky enough to own their own coach and they ventured in to Europe for their summer camp, the first of their four “Euro-Tours”. This was a very exciting trip for all concerned and during the camp they visited Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Due to the success, further Euro-Tours were planned for 1974, 1976 and 1978. Also in 1972, Mr Byrne replaced Mr Trigg as Akela.

An important feature of the group at this time was our newsletter “The Leader”. This was the brain child of Richard Heyes who was also the editor.” The Leader” was introduced to pass on information to parents and advise them of the group’s future activities as well as having news articles of previous events. When Mr Heyes died in 1974 Mrs Mary Sharp took over the editorial duties. In the same year, the first photographs were printed in “The Leader”.

Also in 1974 we had another change of Akela and Mr Sharpe replaced Mr Byrne. This was a successful period for 1EP and the group was highly respected within the district. In September the group organised a celebration for our Group Scout Leader Mr Readings, to mark fifty years of scouting with 1st East Putney.

Previously Rover Scouts had ended with the start of the war and so in 1975 1EP began a Venture Scout Unit for young people aged 16-25 under the guidance of Mr Waller. This year also saw the introduction of a Canoe section after a canoe was given to the group as a gift. Mr Earle volunteered to run the section and having increased the number of canoes it became a thriving group activity.

In 1976 Mrs Yvonne Readings was awarded the Medal of Merit as a token of appreciation of 30-years scouting with 1st East Putney. It was also the year of the Cub Scout Diamond Jubilee, but the groups celebrations were saddened by the loss of Mr Readings. Having been with the group for 52 years he was given full scouting honours at his funeral at Putney Vale Crematorium.

Written by Andrew Sharp (1976).

Revised by Paul Holloway (2008) with assistance from an article by, “The Leader” and various archive materials.


1974-Present Day to be added soon...