100 Years of Helensburgh Scouts

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scout_logo ONE of Helensburgh’s best known organisations, the Scout Movement, is now 100 years-old.

The Scout Association itself chose to celebrate its centenary in 2007, which was actually the centenary of the holding of an experimental camp on Brownsea Island, the largest of the islands in Poole Harbour, Dorset.

A senior figure in local Scouting, Sandy Kerr, says: “In 1908 ‘Scouting for Boys’ was published in fortnightly parts, and youngsters were enamoured of Baden Powell as a national hero.

“They were so captivated by his writing that they took matters into their own hands and formed patrols all over Britain, thus forcing the formation of the Scout Movement.”

The Helensburgh and Gareloch Times of December 21 1908 reported the formation of a patrol in the Vale of Leven, and two issues later there was a reference to a patrol being formed in Larchfield School at the start of ‘last term’ — presumably September.

On January 27 2009 the weekly paper contained a small article about a patrol of Scouts from Craigendoran carrying out a street survey of people seen smoking.

Says Sandy: “So Scouting has been taking place in Helensburgh for over 100 years, and is still being provided. What we need today are more adults prepared to help in a leadership capacity so that the movement can continue for many more years.”

Mystery surrounds two of the early Helensburgh Scout leaders, H.Dawson Baird, who died on October 28 1925, and D.W.Hunter Marshall, who died on August 21 1933.

A plaque which has hung in the John Street Scout Hall for many years states that they were “called to higher service” on these dates, and is “in thankful memory of their devotion to the 3rd Helensburgh Boy Scouts”.

“The local Scouts would like to know about the two leaders and the decision to honour them in this way,” said Sandy.

“None of the current leaders know anything about the plaque or the individuals named on it. It has been lovingly hand-crafted, and the maker’s name appears to be George W.Smith.

“Judging by the style of the piece in relation to other artefacts I have seen, my guess is that it was created in the 1930s. I know of similar work done at evening classes by my own relatives.”

He added: “Many people have given considerable service to the movement and to the 3rd Helensburgh Group, so I am curious to know why these two have been remembered in this way, and what the nature of their service to the Group was.”