The history of the 28th Bournemouth.
The Scout Group was founded at Wesley Church, Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth in 1915. The first Scout Master being Mr.C.L. Cruise assisted by Mr. F. Pepin and Mr. R. Colborne. The Chairman being Mr. Harold Salt a well known Solicitor.
This was of course in the early part of the First World War and times were difficult. However, the Cubs and Scouts were in camp at Ensbury Farm in 1917 and a long report appeared in the local paper.
Mr. Salt had now assumed the office of Scout Master as Mr. Cruise had gone to the War. In 1919 men began returning from the War to civilian life and the Group was able to form a Rover crew for the Senior boys. Camps being held at Old Milton and Barton on Sea. Camping equipment being transported on a trek cart pushed from the H.Q. in Holdenhurst Road to the Camp site.
The 1920’s saw the establishment of the Group and a strong following in all sections. The Cubs, Scouts and Rovers all camping together for their annual camps under the eye of Mr. Salt (and his wife and maid!)
It is recorded the camps were held at Seaton, Salisbury and Corfe Castle among other sites. Camping was in Bell tenants with a marquee for dining and as large numbers were involved help was obtained to assist with the cooking. The Group put on evening entertainments in the marque at night and the Camp fires were much enjoyed as a number of the group had considerable ability to entertain.
Amongst its scouting activities the Group put on an annual concert and the names of R.Woolford, H. Pepin and J.W. Hazell appear frequently in this connection.
The Group participated in all the usual scouting activities through the 1930’s and a 21st Anniversary Reunion was held in March 1936. A supper of ham, beef, tongue, trifle, fruit jellies, biscuits and cheese and lemonade is recorded on the programme and entertainment by members past and present. Lantern slides were shown and enjoyed by all which was just as well as the storm clouds were gathering and the outbreak of the Second World War loomed in 1939.
The outbreak of the War caused considerable disruption in the Group as Leaders and Helpers were called up for service in the Forces and for essential War Work. It became impossible to keep the Group going through the years of War though the members kept in touch.
In November 1944 a meeting was held to resuscitate the Group and Albert Young a former Scout and Assistant Scout master with the 28th from its inception became Scout Master and the Cub Master was Mr. C.Drew.
It was difficult to obtain uniform and equipment much improvisation was engaged in, training took place amongst other places in Talbot Woods and at convenient open spaces still much littered with debris of War.
With the ending of hostilities there was a slow improvement in conditions but food rationing was a headache. However camps were held at Rampleys Farm in the New Forest, at Corfe Castle, Axminster, Devon and Mere in Wiltshire. Extra food and ex-army equipment being “scrounged” where possible.
Mr. Young was helped by the senior boys and ex-scouts and latterly by Mr. R. Farn on his release from the Forces.
The Group participated in district and town activities with success in football competitions and first aid. The camping ground at Butchers Coppice was restored to full use and advantage was taken of the opportunities presented there.
On the retirement of Mr. Drew and Mrs. Drew as Cub Masters, Mr.John Hazell took on the Cub Pack and on the retirement of Mr. Albert Young in 1952 Mr. Robert Farn continued with the troop as Group Scout Master and Harold Young on his release from National Service became Assistant Scout Master.
In the following years the troop camped at Wimborne, Mere and Lulworth and sites in County Durham.
Leadership in the Group was beginning to become a problem and the congregation at Wesley was diminishing slowly.
In 1966 saw great changes in the Scout Movement as a whole and we said goodbye to shorts and the uniform was standardised to a large extent, training was updated and new badges introduced to reflect the changing interests of boys and conditions.
In 1966 the Group held a reunion to celebrate the founding of the group and this was well attended, ex members coming from many parts of the country. On the retirement of Mr. Farn, Harold Young continued as Scout Leader soon to be joined by Mr. M. Glassey a former member of the Group as Assistant.
Camps were held at South Petherton in Somerset, Fifehead Neville and the Lulworth Estate.
In the 1970’s saw dramatic changes at Wesley because of diminishing support and the ever increasing burden of maintenance. It was decided to demolish the front half of the premises and the area was then converted to a car park.
These were difficult years for the Group but in spite of the problems, the reduction in accommodation and facilities, the work with the boys continued. The Cubs under the Leadership of Mr, J, Greenwood and then Mr. P. Morton assisted by Mrs. Brown.
Support was given by parents and a committee was formed to raise funds., Mr. N, Crew, Mrs. C. Allington and Mrs. M.Randall being office holders and valuable workers. Wastepaper collection was introduced and fund raising events such as Take-a-part-a-car were held and enjoyed by all.
Summer camps for the Cubs were held principally at Butchers Coppice. The Cub Pack prospered under the Leadership of Mrs. S. Brown and on the introduction of Beavers a colony was formed for the younger boys.
Regrettably the Church premises were becoming a popular target for vandals and had deteriorated badly over the years.
The 1980’s saw the growth of parents support and as a result new Leaders joined as uniformed members namely Mr. M. Randall and Mr. B. Allington joining the Cub section. Mr. A. Fudge and Mr. A. Ewells joining the Scout section as experienced Leaders.
An ever widening programme was introduced in training and new ideas for fund raising by the Group Committee. Camps were held in the West Country and locally for the Scouts and Cubs.
The church premises became an increasing target and the Group was dismayed by a fire started on the premises in a large quantity of wastepaper collected by the Group.
The Cubs and the Group as a whole were sad to lose Mrs. Stephanie Brown, and Mr. Fudge and Mr. Ewells from the Scouts. However their places were taken by Mrs. S. Baverstock and her husband Colin and Mr. and Mrs. Paul Brayshaw for the Cubs. Mr. Barry Allington took on the Leadership of the Scout section and was assisted by Malcolm Randell. The Beavers were led by Mrs. Sue Cooke.
It now became evident that the Church would have to close because of falling congregations and the liability of the building itself. The Group was therefore faced with the prospect of closure or finding other premises. A meeting of all Leaders was held and the unanimous decision reached that the Group should continue as an entity and the tradition of service to the youth of the area of Springbourne should continue if possible.
Enquiries were made and following initial discussions with the Vicar of St. Clements Church the Group moved to new premises at that Church in 1990. The activities of the Group continued and Venture Scouts were introduced, Mr. Ewells returning as Leader.
Camps were held in France and locally.
Mr. N. Werrey-Easterbrook joined the group as an Assistant Scout Leader and subsequently Miss C. Elvey also joined as an Assistant.
By 1992 the Group was finding that the imposition of a heavy rent for the premises at St. Clements, and certain other restrictions were proving irksome, particularly as the Church no longer had a Vicar and was being administered by the Parochial Church Council.
Feelers were put out by the Chairman of the Committee Mr. Peter Birkett and by good fortune contact was made with Major Geoff Blurton of the Salvation Army. A warm welcome was given to suggestion of the Group transferring to their halls in Palmerston Road, Boscombe. Further discussions were held and in 1994 the transfer was made and the Group is now affiliated to the Salvation Army officially. The accommodation and storage of the Group being well catered for and the reception of all sections by the Salvation Army has been encouraging and friendly.
The future looks good and is faced with confidence with the support of well trained and devoted Leaders and enthusiastic boys and girls.
The Group has come a long way from the early days of Camp fires and Bell tents to the internet, space travel and new opportunities.