Independent Scout Organisations.
By far the greatest turmoil in the history of the Scout movement was the great scout schism of December 1909, which led, if only for a short period, to two movements competing world wide. The British Boy Scouts became the only organisation left from the World schism, but their membership of some 40,000 dwindled to around 40 Troops in the 1920s. The Association changed its name in 1932 to "The Brotherhood of British Scouts". Membership further reduced to 1 troop by 1970. Although during the 1920s in the UK, further discontent led to the Woodcraft movements and the short lived Alliance of Independent Scouts, the Boy Scouts Association had maintained an equilibrium avoiding further schism. There had been vocal protests, such as in 1956 when an upper age limit of 24 was imposed on the Rover Scout Section (17+ age group). The protests died down, especially in areas where such an imposition was ignored and where the dictum 'once a scout' expanded to 'once a Rover Scout, always a Rover Scout', had taken root. A local example of this was the 11th Harrow under the leadership of the Reverend Montague J Eyden (1903-1988), Group Scoutmaster. Mont had been involved in Scouting for many years and had demonstrated his enthusiasm for Rovering having founded the St Stephen's House Rover Crew in 1932, as an Ordinand at Oxford #1. David Beaven a member of the St Stephen's House Rover Crew in 1979 had been a member of the 11th Harrow and reported the fact that Rovers had continued in the 11th Harrow beyond 24 years of age. Further collaboration to this was given by Mrs Patricia Holmes, who stated that her husband, Frederick Noel Holmes was a member of that Crew, and that it had continued past the official dissolution of the Rover Scouts #2. Official membership returns, included such Rovers, who were not Scout leaders as 'Service Auxiliaries'.
The picture was to alter ten years later in 1966 when sweeping changes were introduced at every level of the organisation B-P had founded in the United Kingdom, and phased in over a five year period 1966-1971. The Report initiating the changes was titled 'The Advance Party Report' #3. Considering the public image of the 'Boy Scouts' to be juvenile, the word 'boy' was dropped from the title, and long trousers were introduced as part of the improved 'adult' image they sought to adopt. Other changes saw the removal of many of the local options on uniform, ie, option to wear Stetson (Scout hat) removed, and the Beret becoming the only headgear allowed. A long sleeved shirt restricted to a single colour, rather than a local choice of one of four colours. Scout Leaders could no longer remain as Scout leaders, or wear uniform beyond 65 years of age. The Rover Scout section (17-24) and Senior Scout section (15-18) were abolished in favour of a single section 'Venture Scouts' (16-21) lowering the upper age limit. The 10 Scout Laws equated by some as Moses' Decalogue were replaced by 7 Scout Laws reframed in conformity to the new thinking. The traditional names for the awards were amended. Scout Standard replaced Second Class, Advanced Scout Standard replaced First Class. 'Wolf Cubs' based on Kipling's Jungle Books were outdated and replaced by 'Cub Scouts'.
Examples of Troops ignoring the changes will be hard to find. With such a revolution it was almost impossible to escape the changes at a local level. John Clifford in charge of a Troop sponsored by a Roman Catholic Church managed to retain a traditional image until 1984, when "hassle and pressure from Scout HQ" brought an end to the isolated stand. John did not conform but transformed his energies into running an 'Adventure Club' #4.
By 1968 following the changes brought about by the Advance Party Report, the membership totals went down by some 26,049 members and 3,420 leaders #5. The movement as in its original guise as envisaged by 'Scouting for Boys' was (with the exception of independent scouts), over. The last two decades have seen the redemption of lost numbers, by the addition of a new section, Beavers, for 6-8 years of age. Whilst the Advance Party Report sought an adult image, the reality has been that it is ceasing to be a youth organisation, and identifies by membership more as a childrens organisation. The average age of membership has decreased to the point that the majority of its membership is under 11 years of age, reversing the position held before the Report! Perhaps not unconnected with the changes, in 1967 the year after the Report, the very book that had given birth to the movement 'Scouting for Boys', had begun its declining sales, to become by 1979 "an historical curiosity" #6.
The Baden-Powell Scouts Association (BPSA) / World Federation of Independent
In 1969, a pressure group within the newly named 'Scout Association', 'The Scout Action Group' sought to retain a traditional stance for those Groups choosing so. Mid 1970, SAG issued 'The Boy Scout Black Paper' which contained many of their arguments. Failing in their aims, it was this group that on the 20th September 1970, formed the 'Baden-Powell Scouts Association'. For 11 years (1979-1990) through internal arguments the B-P Scouts divided into two separate Associations, each claiming the right to the Association's name and Charity number. Reconciliation eventually came about in June 1990 #7. Having begun with a few troops in 1970, the Baden-Powell Scouts slowly expanded, even within the two separate halves to nearly 70 Groups in 1994. . In the late 1990s the BPSA of England created the World Federation of Independent Scouts. Despite the gains within this World organisation, a series of scandals involving sexual offences against young people tarnished the reputation of the Baden-Powell Scouts Association in England with the jailing of a number of leaders in 1987, and 1999 for paedophile offences. This caused a severe decline in Troop numbers to circa 40 Troops in 2001. Although such as the main Association in England, has not entirely been free from such events, the very scale of those involved in comparison to the small UK membership is a cause of concern.
Federation du Scoutisme Europeen (FSE).
In 1952/3 Frederick Von Perko founded a group known as the 'Europa Scouts' in Austria. His aim was to encourage the unity of European Scouting along strong Christian lines. The inspiration for Perko was the fellowship, both in Scouting and of a common Christian faith he received at the 1951 Bad Ischi Jamboree, when Scout leaders from many different European countries camped together.
Perko shared in joint camps with German Scouts and at one of the camps a French Scoutmaster Jean Claude Alain, who led an exiled Russian Orthodox Group, came into contact with Scout leaders who had formed the 'Bund Europaischer Pfadfinder'. In November 1956, Alain formed an alliance with the BEP under the title, 'Federation du Scoutisme Europeen'. These original groups were joined by further FSE groups founded in France (1958), Britain (1959) and Belgium (1960).
In 1960 the FSE only consisted of a few groups in each country and, in Britain's case representation was by a single troop holding its meetings in the Co-operative Hall in Kentish Town London. Peter Chambers, the founder of the British FSE had come into contact with the organisation in Germany in 1958, where he became an Assistant Scoutmaster. On his return to England, he founded the Kentish Town FSE Group, which was officially registered in January 1959. One sign of unity in the Federal arrangement was that, besides the National Commissioners, a Federal Commissioner was elected representing the organisation as a whole #8.
In 1965 the British FSE was challenged by the Boy Scouts Association over the use of names and titles protected by the 1926 Chartered Associations (protection of name and uniform) Act. Further than the 1926 Act went, the Boy Scouts Association even questioned the use of the word 'scout' by the British FSE. Chambers gave an undertaking to the Legal Secretary of the Boy Scouts Association that the FSE would no longer use the term 'Scout' substituting 'Explorer' instead. Other terms within the Scout scheme were changed as well. 'Tracker' instead of 'Cub', The designs of proficiency badges were to be altered, so as not to be copies of the Boy Scout Association's. Law and Promise were to be rewritten, so as not to be a copy of the Boy Scout Association's #9.
The FSE in England made little progress until the late 1960s, when 'breakaway' troops from The Scout Association joined. Although the British FSE's own history states that they "did not make any attempt to attract 'breakaway' groups" to the FSE #10, a public meeting was called on the 10th January 1970 to attract new membership due to the dissatisfaction with the Advance Party Report #11. The potential for growth in this way had already been established by the fact that three ex-Scout Association Scout leaders had already joined (in 1969) and were running Troops within the FSE #12. By the mid 1970s the FSE in England had grown to around 20 Groups #13 stabilising at this number through the following two decades.
The unity of the European Scout movement was more apparent than real, centring around the issue of whether the FSE should be exclusively Christian or not. Arguments spanned eight years 1953-1961. Early on the Europa Scouts had gone their own way. In 1962 the main Association in France 'Scouts de France' (the Catholic organisation) had begun their equivalent of the British Advance Party Report, thus the FSE became a means of continuing traditional Scouting. On 21st August 1962 at Treguier, the French FSE relaunched with new vigour as the 'Scout et Guide d' Europe', along the lines of the original Europa Scouts. The German FSE sought to introduce a Constitution in April 1962, but the French refused to sign. In November 1962 the original 1956 Federation agreement was dissolved. The following March on the 15th the 'Contrat Federal a Paris' was signed, by the four member countries, France, Germany, Belgium and Britain. From now on the FSE was only open to Christians. Peter Chambers signed for Britain with a reservation 'That the English section of the FSE embraces all faiths'. Not all of the French FSE agreed with the new direction and in 1962, a schismatic organisation was created, FSE-Province d'Alsace. By 1968 the membership of the French FSE had passed the 10,000 mark, and had become the leading force in the FSE #14.
The Dutch FSE was registered in 1971 and joined forces with the British FSE in April 1972, seeking to change their own constitutions to allow non-Christians as members. The French Federal Commissioner suspended the Dutch Association and Peter Chambers, National Commissioner of the British Association. In the Federal Assembly of 1974, with a new British National Commissioner, Roy Howgate, relationships improved. It was in this year that the membership of the French FSE had risen to 25,000. Much of this success can be attributed to the fact that the FSE had the tacit support of the Catholic Church and that it was a definite Catholic movement. In 1975 the French sponsored the European Conference on 'Christian Scouting in the Western World', (CESCO). As other FSE signatories were not consulted the German organisation, the BEP called a Federal Assembly, however without the correct notice.
The French Federal Commissioner expelled the German Association. The German's called another Assembly with the correct notice for January 1976 at Marburg. The French FSE did not turn up, although the FSE-Alsace were present. At this meeting, free from the French domination calls were made to restore the 1956 aims. The French Federal Commissioner called a Federal Assembly for February. As incorrect notice was given to the parties that met in January, they did not turn up, or regard the meeting as legitimate.
Member Scout organisations of CESCO, not part of the original FSE, were included in the FSE, as a result of the February Assembly. The French FSE had gone to Vienna and gained rapprochement with the original Europa Scouts. The member countries of the FSE were Switzerland, Austria and Italy, along with groups representing the original four countries. The FSE in both Belgium and Holland had split in two, pro-French and anti-French #15.
The Confederation of European Scouts (CES).
The FSE organisations attending the Marburg Assembly were expelled by the French Federal Commissioner. A position regarded by those organisations as unconstitutional. The organisations represented at the Marburg Assembly banded together in December 1977 with proposals to form a new European Federation, which was launched in November 1978 'The Confederation of European Scouts', with Britain and its 600 members being the second largest member. The members of the CES originally in the FSE still regard themselves as FSE groups and are known by that title in their home countries. For example, the CES in Britain, is known as FSE, The British Association of the European Scout Federation #16.
Crucial to any argument, that the British FSE was not a reactionary organisation due to the Boy Scouts Association's Advance Party Report, is the fact that it was founded in 1959, i.e. 7 years before the Report. The British FSE's own official history seeks to convey such an impression. The confession in their history that "The FSE did eventually start to admit 'breakaway' groups" #17 is a clue to the British FSE's real identity post 1974. In 1975 there was no single group or any leaders in membership of the British FSE that could trace their membership back into the 1960s. The first two National Commissioners, Peter Chambers (1959-1972) and Roy Howgate (1972-1974) had also ceased to be members. By 1979, Paul Hindle, National Commissioner (1974-1978), the person who had done much to develop the British FSE beyond its original London base, was no longer a member. Two of the late 1960s groups had left to become independent groups; the Newham Explorer Scouts led by Roy Howgate, flourished in Newham as an independent group, and the 27th Bermonsie led by Charlie Morris and then by his son, Peter Morris, ceased in the late 1970s. A further group that joined in 1971 left to become a strong independent group, 207th Sheffield (Bents Green Methodist), until its fortunes changed when in January 1993 it joined the Baden-Powell Scouts Association. Against these losses were gains made in 1975 through defections of groups from the Baden-Powell Scouts Association due to leadership quarrels. Other gains were made from The Scout Association with such as the 2nd St Ives Sea Scouts, renamed 7th/8th Cambridgeshire St Ives Sea Scouts. The post 1974 leadership until very recently knew nothing of the undertaking Peter Chambers had made in 1965 over the nomenclature of the Association and returned to the use of such titles as 'Scout' and 'Cub', and amidst the Peterborough County Court arguments over title to property in relation to the St Ives Group, the Scout Association challenged the use of the title 'Sea Scouts' which had been protected by an Order in Council issued in 1967, under the Chartered Associations (Protection of Names and Uniforms) Act 1926. The Leader of the Group stated in reply that they had used the term 'FSE Sea Scouts' to differentiate themselves, but the Court did not accept the subtle prefix of 'FSE' and issued judgement against the Group using the title 'Sea Scouts' #18. The case at Peterborough County Court, Marsh and Others v Johnson and Others was the first example of the use (and successful use) of the 1926 Act against a rival scout association, organised for bone-fide purposes.
The National Rover Scout Council.
In 1970 Dr Geoff Tattersall of the 207th Sheffield (Bents Green Methodist) Scout Group had sought to rescue Rover Scouting, whilst his group was still in membership of The Scout Association. He had contact with members of the Scout Action Group and the FSE. On the weekend 21st/22nd November 1970, Dr Tattersall chaired a National Rover Scout Council in Sheffield to establish an organisation to encourage and register Rover Scout Crews and Lone Rovers. The Council was to be independent of both the FSE and the B-P Scouts, as already an element of rivalry existed between the latter two organisations. This was not helped by the fact, that the then Chairman of the B-P Scouts, the Reverend Bill Dowling (a URC Minister) had been a member of the FSE but had been expelled. The Council came to nought, because the Rovers who displayed an interest were usually Scoutmasters as well, and supported the organisation with which their Group was registered. By May 1970 the 207th Sheffield had been expelled from the Scout Association because it maintained the original uniform. A further attempt was made by Dr Tattersall, December 1971/January 1972 to set up a semi-independent Rover Section within the FSE, the 207th Sheffield now carrying the additional designation of 1st Yorks F.S.E. Dr Tattersall had been asked by his new Association to draw up a draft constitution for a Rover Section. This allowed for independent Rover Crews to join, or Rover Crews as part of groups not in the FSE. Whilst a strong Rover Section did emerge within the FSE, no Crews outside the FSE were in membership and soon afterwards, the Sheffield Group left the FSE to become an independent Scout Group.
The British Scout Federation / The Outlanders.
At the beginning of 1978 Ian Nicolson (1st/2nd & 6th Hampshire) and Fred Torr (2nd/3rd Nottinghamshire) left the FSE with their Groups to form 'The British Scout Federation' which was renamed in 1979 as 'The Outlanders', a term B-P used for those who could not make the full Scout Promise. Early 1979 the Outlanders was registered as a Charity. The original design of the badge that the British Scout Federation had chosen for their symbol, was the Jacob's Staff, inside the outline of a fleur-de-lys. The Staff had been the emblem of the 1937 World Jamboree, the last Jamboree Baden-Powell attended. The Outlanders continued with a plain Staff removed from its fleur-de-lys. A third group joined as an affiliated group in March/April 1978 - 1st Chesterfield which had been a Baden-Powell Scout Group and had become an independent group. Contact with this Scout group was provided by Roy Worthy who had joined the new organisation and who had been a Province Commissioner in the FSE living in Chesterfield. Worthy's membership was short-lived only surviving until Jan/Feb 1979. Contact was lost with the Chesterfield group due to Roy Worthy's resignation. Fred Torr died June/July 1979, leading to the loss of the Nottingham Group. The remaining group continued the Outlanders as a separate organisation until 1988, when it merged with the British Boy Scouts for a period of 6 years until 1994 when it re-established as an independent organisation under Ian Nicolson's leadership.
The British Pathfinder Scouts Association (BPSA) / Rover Scouts Explorer
After a chequered career as a leader within the Scout Association, Steve Dudley-Coventry set up his own local organisation in Harrow, 'The Venturers'. After moving to Luton he joined the Baden Powell Scouts Association in 1992, leading the 1st Luton Sea Scouts, to become the 1st Luton Marine Scouts Jan-March 1993 in the BBS. He rejoined the BPSA mid 1993, before setting up 'The British Pathfinder Scout Association' in August 1993. Raymond Hampton who had also run his own Scout organisation -'The Fulham Explorers', had joined forces with Dudley-Coventry. The Pathfinders were joined by another group, 1st Phoenix Beaumont Scouts, Leyton (which had become a BBS group for a month). In September 1993, the Pathfinders were registered as a Charity at Law. The British Pathfinders was wound up in April 1998 after the death of Steve Dudley-Coventry, with badge stocks (the only assets that remained) being handed over to the British Boy Scouts. A remnant of Dudley-Coventry's outfit remained led by Raymond Hampton, known as the Explorers Association, or Rover Scouts Explorer Association.
Independent Scout Groups (ie single local units).
Further sub-divisions within independent Scouting were created, with several groups existing on their own. Details of eight such groups have emerged during the research for this book, but these only represent those groups who have had contact beyond their locality usually by membership of one of the independent Scouting Associations registered as charities. Most of these have already been noted.
Schismatic FSE Groups; 'The Newham Explorer Scouts' - circa 1974-2001, when following the arrest of the ex-Leader for paedophile offences, brought about co-operation of the organisation (with a Camp Site, in Berkshire, a farm in France, and an Office in London!) with the BBS. '27th Bermonsie' 1970-1979 ceased existence, '207th Sheffield Bents Green Methodist' 1970-1993 joined B-PSA.
Schismatic B-P Scout Groups; 'The 1st Waltham Forest Scout Group' founded in 1978 Independent 1981-present.
Schismatic BBS Groups; 'The 1st Bucks Rangers' August 1986-1988, formed from members of the Aylesbury BBS Rover Crew. Became a concern of one local paper as being 'Para Military' #19. The Group lasted two years before finally folding. '1st Phoenix Beaumont Scouts' founded July 1993, created from former Scout Leaders of the 1st Waltham Forest Scout Group. Joined the British Pathfinder Scout Association in August 1993.
Founded as true independents; 'The Dulwich Explorer Scouts' circa 1969 led by Bill Peto. The Troop joined the B-P Scouts at their formation in 1970, and folded in 1987. 'The Fulham Explorers' circa 1982, Queen's Road, Richmond, led by Raymond Hampton. 'The Venturers', circa 1986 formed by Steve Dudley Coventry in the Harrow District which lasted 6 years.
In the early 1970s further changes in The Scout Association and The Girl Guide Association in the UK led to further schism. Most of the original B-P Guild of Old Scouts, an allied, although, independent organisation #20, gave up this independence and was absorbed into The Scout Association as an integral part under the title 'Scout Fellowship'. However several Guild Branches did not join and have formed The B-P Guild of Great Britain.
Changes within the Girl Guides Association abolishing the Sea Ranger section brought about 'The Sea Rangers Association' now flourishing.
In 1988 the Scout and Guide Graduate Association, which had been recognised as an affiliated organisation to both the Guides and Scouts was de-affiliated by both Associations leaving it an orphaned organisation.
The Brotherhood of British Scouts from the 1970s-1990s.
The significance of the British Boy Scouts as an alternative Scout organisation had been eclipsed by the schisms of the 1970s. Even before this, with the lack of media attention, publications from within the Boy Scouts Association (post 1967 The Scout Association) could afford to dismiss the BBS as a closed chapter. In 1950 E E Reynolds could comment "a few isolated groups of the British Boy Scouts lingered for many years" #21. John Sinclair in the SAGGA Journal April 1968 commented on the BBS of the 1920s "it does not seem to have survived much longer" #22. By the end of 1982, no trace of the Lewisham BBS Troop was to be found. The redundant railway station that had provided the local Troop headquarters since the 1950s and the national Headquarters since 1971, had been vacated, and the large British Boy Scouts notice board that had proudly advertised their presence had been taken down.
This event did not however proclaim the demise of the BBS. On 3rd August 1983 the front page of the Nottingham Evening Post carried the heading "SCOUTS 'BARRED' FROM NOTTS CAMP" followed by a story about four BBS members being ejected from a Scout Association camp site. The debate about the ejection continued in editions 4th August and 8th August. Media attention revealed that the BBS had survived into the 1980s, but now based in Nottingham some 125 miles away from the Lewisham base of the 1970s.
The British Boy Scout's survival pre-dates that episode of 1983. In 1978, the Author was an Ordinand of the Church of England at St Stephen's House, Oxford, who had been a Boy Scout in the pre-1966 Boy Scouts Association. Found amongst items in the College Library was the Rover Crew Log Book, covering the years 1934-1966. This inspired the revival of the College Rover Crew previously wound up, due to the Advance Party Report that had abolished Rovers. The Crew gained contact and registered with the 'breakaway' Baden-Powell Scouts Association. The Secretary of the Baden-Powell Scouts at that time, Brian Tooley, wrote to the Rover Crew providing details of all the B-P Scout Groups, FSE Scout Groups, and other Independent Scout Groups in the UK. Because of this letter, the Author began the process of archiving information on all the Scout organisations, outside of the main Association. In April 1978, the Author travelled to Lewisham to locate the last remaining BBS Troop and met with Charles Brown, the Chief Commissioner of the BBS.
Charles Brown told the Author, that he had been contacted by the British Federation du Scoutisme Europeen (FSE) sometime in the mid 1960s about the FSE joining the British Boy Scouts. Peter Chambers wished to use a Fleur-de-lys as a BBS Badge, but Charles Brown showed the same reluctance to adopt a Fleur-de-lys as the Battersea Leaders did to Sir Francis Vane. The difference was that the FSE Leader, was not in membership of the BBS, and was only negotiating the request prior to the FSE's potential membership of the BBS. Brown was not aware that there had been a BBS Fleur-de-lys as an additional membership badge, and had refused the request and discontinued all contact. Brown was later contacted by the Baden-Powell Scouts Association in the early 1970s. The B-PSA leaders considered Brown's troop at Lewisham as a potential troop for their own organisation, but he had maintained isolation #23. It was this isolation that prevented the BBS from experiencing any new growth in the early 1970s. With only a single troop in the BBS, Charles Brown may well have feared being swamped and losing control. In addition if the BBS had been taken over by, or absorbed into, either organisation as an additional troop, it would have robbed the BBS of its own unique history and identity.
The fact that the Reverend Arthur Couratin had been the Group Scoutmaster to the Lewisham troop when it belonged to the Boy Scout's Association (1930-1935) and left to become the Chaplain, and subsequently, the Principal of St Stephen's House Oxford from 1936 onwards, provided a common link that made Charles Brown open to contact with St Stephen's House Rover Crew. Because of this, the St Stephen's House Rover Crew (30th Oxford) affiliated to the BBS 19th April 1978 #24, withdrawing from the Baden-Powell Scouts Association. As a result of an influx of members from other colleges the Crew became registered as a University Society 'The Oxford University Rover Crew' #25 and for a short period was a corporate member of 'The Oxford University Scout and Guide Group' registered within the Scout Association ! #26 As is the way with University Societies the Rover Crew came to an end in 1981. However one non University member revived the Crew in 1989 as a Church Scout Group in Cowley Oxford. In 1981 whilst at a Parish in London, the Author founded a further Rover Crew under the BBS, the North/East London Rover Crew. The members of the Crew trained jointly with the 1st Waltham Forest Independent Scout Group #27.
Charles Brown continued with a Troop in Lewisham until July 1982 when he retired to Canterbury. In May of the same year, the Author became Vicar of Holy Trinity Church in the Team Ministry of Clifton Nottingham. This quickly became the base of a Girl Scout Troop and two Rover Crews. Whilst at Nottingham in the following year, on June 27th 1983 the Author was appointed Chief Commissioner of the BBS, Charles Brown becoming the Grand Scout. After 10 years of retirement from an active role as Scoutmaster, Charles Brown died on the 23rd November 1992 at 81 years of age. Invited by the Chief Commissioner, Ted Scott succeeded Brown as the Grand Scout. This fact would have pleased Pooley, had he been alive. Charles Brown followed on from Manning as Grand Scout and had been his protege. Both had been in close contact with each other, isolating Pooley. Manning and Brown's BBS would have been viewed by Pooley as too secular, whilst Pooley's BBS was too sabbatarian for Manning and Brown #28. Ted Scott had been a close friend of Mr Pooley caring for his welfare in later life, and represented more of what the BBS had been under Pooley's leadership. The Grand Scout's position, being one of honour, and the Chief Commissioner's, being that of the day to day running of the Association had been restored, as it had existed under Lord Alington and Pooley.
From 1983 onwards the BBS, hitherto - just surviving, found new life, if somewhat fragile. In 1985 an Independent Scout Group, the 1st Waltham Forest affiliated with the BBS but under its own constitution. By 1994, the Group had lost its headquarters, and was wound up. In 1988, 'The Outlanders' an independent Scouting organisation formed by ex-FSE members led by Ian Nicolson, merged with the BBS for a period of 6 years, until 1994 when it re-established its independence. Further troops were founded onwards; Aylesbury (1986-1989), Forest Gate (1987-1990) Oxford (1988-1995), Lydbrook (1989) and Crymych, Dyfed (1996-1999) Gussage St. Michael, Dorset (2001). These troops (with the exceptions of Oxford and Crymych) followed the path of the career of the Author, the troops withering away after he had moved on, due to a lack of leaders committed to continuing the BBS. Oxford had the benefit of a committed Rover Scout who continued a BBS presence until sadly he died of cancer. Crymych was raised as a new Troop by a Scoutmaster who once ran the 22nd Waltham Forest B-P Scout Group, bud died suddenly in 1999. From 1992 onwards, other troops came over from the Baden-Powell Scouts Association due to disagreements with the B-P Scout Leadership in the following locations; Norwich, Birmingham, Liverpool, Dormansland (Surrey), Reading, Newcastle, Derby, Brierley Lancs, with only Reading and Brierly surviving to 2001 #29. The total troop number rarely expanding beyond 6 at any one time.
In addition to the acquisition of new Troops, contact was re-established with membership of the BBS from as far back as 1909. The continued interest has not been generated from the new Headquarters but has continued in such areas as Cirencester, where in April 1982 an 'Old Boys' reunion was held during the period they had thought the BBS had finished. A further reunion was held in September 1985 with the new Chief Commissioner as a Guest.
The founding of the Aylesbury Troops brought to light a challenge from the
Girl Guides Association. In March 1986 the Aylesbury British Girl Scouts
circulated pamphlets as part of a recruitment drive. The back of the leaflet
contained the statement, "The British Girl Scouts were founded in 1909".
Not long afterwards a letter was received from the General Secretary of the
Girl Guides Association;
"The Girl Guides Association's Archivist can find no justification for your claim that 'The British Girl Scouts were founded in 1909', and we ask you either to substantiate the claim or to withdraw it." #30
An initial reply sought the reason for their request and in April a second letter #31 was received re-enforcing this request. In May a four paged reply was forwarded citing all the documentary evidence for the claim #32. The demands ceased as no reply to this letter was ever received, thanking the BBS for generously sharing the results of its research !
This is in direct contrast with The Scout Association, where the Headquarters personnel when in direct contact with the Author, have been more than courteous and helpful. Access to their Archives was essential in recovering many of the historic details on the British Boy Scouts. Liaison over individuals who should not be allowed to work with children has also been beneficial. However, activities over and beyond the need to protect young people seem still exist, as is evidenced by the recording of intelligence on scout leaders of other scout organisations independent from their own. An internal memo between Tony Bolton a field Commissioner and Nigel Stevenson, the Association Secretary, details intelligence on the Author in his move from a Parish in Aylesbury to Durning Hall an East End Settlement #35;
"Rev'd Michael Foster.
You have recently queried any news of the above gentleman.
Early this year, he applied for, and was successful, the post of Deputy Warden at the Durning Hall Community Centre, Forest Gate...
Mr Foster........makes no secret about his connections with 'The Brotherhood of British Scouts'. Indeed, he has a Land Rover, which is usually parked at Durning Hall, which has 'British Scouts' #33 emblazoned all over the sides!.
Mr Foster makes no attempt to form any alternative 'Scout' activity at Durning Hall, but would of course, have all the necessary facilities there to print and publish his magazine,
When he applied for the job, the present Warden queried with our GSL #34 Mr Foster's claim to be connected with the 'Scouts', and through me was able to explain the position. So the interviewing panel, and the Board of Management all clearly understood his connections have not been with the established Scout Association.
If there are any developments I will let you know." #36
The Order of World Scouts.
Contacts with Scout Leaders abroad re-awakened an interest in the Order of World Scouts. In addition to individual members abroad in such countries as the United States of America, Ireland and Hawaii., Scouting organisations connected to the BBS, exist together under the banner of the Order of World Scouts; Australia, Canada, and Italy, with enquiries from Mexico.
Scouts of Australia.
In Australia mid-1986 an un-incorporated organisation was formed known as the 'Independent Scouts' with a membership composed entirely of Queen's Scouts #37. One of its aims was to promote reforms within the main organisation. The organisation sought to advance the view that each local group was legally autonomous from the Headquarters. In 1986, with an enlarged membership the organisation became known as the 'Independent Scouts of Australia'. In February 1988 the Association, having registered the name 'Independent SCOUTS OF AUSTRALIA Incorporated', sought to incorporate under the laws of the New South Wales Territory. However the incorporation awaited a new National Corporation Law, and on the 24th June 1992, the Association was incorporated as Scouts of Australia #38.
The 'Scouts of Australia' gained contact with the BBS in the UK, in 1990 via the publicity given to the BBS in Tim Jeal's biography on Baden-Powell published in 1989. On 22nd April 1991 Robert Campbell of the 'Scouts of Australia' was made a Commissioner in the BBS, followed on the 6th June by the appointment as Chief Commissioner for the BBS & BGS in Australia. The day following the incorporation, 25th June 1992, the "Scouts of Australia" and "Each and every member of the Scouts of Australia" were made members of the British Boy Scouts and British Girl Scouts Association. In this way a counterpart organisation to the BBS in the UK was re-established in Australia.
Order of World Scouts in Canada.
Eight years on from the re-introduction of the BBS to Australia, the BBS began a revival in Canada. In 1996 the BBS had created its own Web Site on the Internet. This modern tool of communication, has meant that information on the BBS, and the Order of World Scouts is available to anyone world wide, with access to a computer and telephone line. Via the Internet, contact was made with Scout Leaders in Canada who were dissatisfied with the breakaway Baden-Powell Scout s Association of Canada. On the 27th August 1999, Bill Nangle was appointed BBS Chief Commissioner for Canada. Bill alongside other leaders formed the 'Canadian Independent Scout Association'. By November 2000, the differences between many of these leaders and the B-PSA had been healed with the creation of a Canadian Federation, 'The Canadian Federation of Independent Scouting' to which the Candanian BPSA and the new CISA belonged. In April 2001 the CISA had joined the B-PSA World Federation. However, loyal Leaders to the BBS, led by Bill Nangle remained in Canada under the banner of the Order of World Scouts.
Looking to the Future, The British Boy Scouts and other
It is difficult to predict the future with any accuracy, but the phenomenon of Independent Scouting is a growing one, both in the number of organisations and membership. Amongst these organisations there is a lot of cross fertilisation.
Joint camps have been commonplace. In the early 1970s the Sea Rangers Association for a period shared a joint insurance scheme with the B-P Scouts. In the mid 1970s an Independent Scout Press was founded, 'ISO', which began publishing an Independent Scout Magazine 'Action Scout' which provided a platform for discussion and dissemination of ideas #39. Various meetings have been held from time to time between the independent Groups, the B-P Scouts and FSE. A tripartite meeting was held in Lydbrook on the 28th September 1991 between the BBS, B-P Scouts and FSE. In February 1992 discussions were held between the B-P Scouts Association and the BBS to consider amalgamation under the BBS title. The proposals were aborted in January 1993 #40. In September 1995, and November 1996, FSE Officials attended a meeting of the BBS Commissioners and Scoutmasters for a joint discussion on mutual co-operation.
The future for a single united independent organisation of traditionalists, whilst not beyond the bounds of possibilities is a remote one, as the tendency has been to sub-divide. The reason for this is a pragmatic one. As an organisation gets larger, the level of leadership and control becomes more remote from those who may be keen on taking an active part at this level, especially if they have exercised or been near to exercising leadership in this way. There is a correlation between the size of an organisation and its level of bureaucracy. It was the issue of the emerging bureaucracy of the Boy Scout movement that helped created the British Boy Scouts in 1909. The debate about democracy within the Scout Association continues to be a live issue, with occasional discontent being voiced #41.
Any rapprochement between the independents and The Scout Association is certainly remote. Whilst The Scout Association can accommodate the latest fashions in its striving for modernity, its management and structures cannot cope with pluralism. Equally the traditionalists will be reluctant to identify with an organisation moving further away from the image of scouting they know and understand.
The Scout movement world-wide demonstrates much the same picture. Despite the cartel operated by the World Scout Organisation, some 80+ independent organisations exist world-wide, with the list still growing #42. Although the independent Scouts in the UK are small in number, given the membership of the FSE in Europe alone, the combined membership will exceed the previous membership of Vane's World Scouts #43. However this no longer represents the same element of rivalry as the World Scout Organisation now claims a membership of some 16 million #44.
As with the domestic situation in the UK, within this world community of 'schismatic' organisations there is contact between organisations. The FSE and CES already provide pan-European co-operation and the FSE have an affiliated Association in French Canada. The Baden-Powell Scouts Association has similar links with Troops in Denmark, Ireland, Australia, Canada and Russia, under the title of the World Federation of Independent Scouts. The BBS has individual membership overseas #45 in addition to the counterpart Scout organisations in Australia, Canada and Italy #46. However both in Australia (early 1990s) and Canada, legal action by the main Associations has prevented the B-P Scouts using the term "Scout" in their titles.
The sometime Editor of the Independent Scout magazine 'Action Scout' foresaw the possibility of some informal alliance between independent Scouts world-wide that will not compromise the autonomy of the organisations concerned #47. If this were to become a reality, a further alternative single world scout organisation will exist after a gap of eighty years since Vane's Order of World Scouts. However pluralism has seen the continuation of Vane's Order, followed by the addition of world organisations for both the B-P Scouts and the FSE.
#1 St Stephen's House Rover Crew Log Book 1934-1979 BBS Archives.
#2 From information given to the Author by David Bevan whilst members of the Rover Crew in 1979, and from Mrs Holmes on Friday 18th April 2008, when being interviewed by the Author, following her bereavement. The Author was preparing a Eulogy for Noel Holmes' funeral, and the detail came out 'en passant'.
#3 The Boy Scouts Association 1966.
#4 AS ISO, Autumn 1988, Pages 12 & 13. AS ISO, Autumn 1989, Page 9.
#5 Daily Express 1st October 1968.
#6 Jeal, B-P, Page 396.
#7 B-P News Issue No. 60 September 1990 ISSN 0267-7849.
#8 The Author acknowledges that the historical details of the Federation du Scoutisme Europeen, and the Confederation of European Scouts (below) given here only form a sketch outline, and apart from a few details little results from original research. An adequate account would require fuller treatment and as such is beyond the scope of this present work. One of the difficulties with the British FSE is that, in its brief history, its first 3 National Leaders have ceased to be members of the organisation. In 1978, I managed to trace one of the ex-National Leaders who was reluctant to discuss the FSE's history with me, but said he would send me details. These never arrived. The details of the account presented are culled from; Woodsmoke, Issue 14 Volume 1/76, Page 18. AS ISO Issue 12 First Series, ISO Nov 76/Jan 77, Pages 4-6. AS ISO 3rd Series Issue 1 Spring 1988 Pages 12-14. AS ISO Issue 2 Autumn 1988 Pages 17-19.
#9 Confidential internal memo G G Pierce to A W Hurll Legal Secretary The Scout Association 27th January 1965 GGP/BM Scout Association Archives.
#10 FSE Handbook Volume three, Constitution and Administration 1975, Page 1. FSE Handbook Volume three, Constitution and Administration 1979, Page 36.
#11 Letter from Geoffery Paget-King President of the FSE to interested parties, 1st January 1970. Copy in BBS Archives.
#12 The leaders were The Reverend W C Dowling, Mr Roy Howgate and Mr Charlie Morris. Information contained in letter as above (#11).
#13 The Scout Association, internal memorandum 'Baden-Powell Scouts and European Scout Federation' from Mr J Olden, Public Relations Officer to Commissioners. 9th August 1984. Numbers reported by the FSE to a joint meeting with the BBS, 31st November 1996 at Longbridge, Birmingham placed the numbers to just below 30 Groups, and expanding.
#14 AS ISO Issue 12 First Series, Nov 76/Jan 77, Pages 4-6.
#15 FSE Handbook Volume three, Constitution and Administration 1979, Pages 35-37. Woodsmoke, Issue 24 Volume 4/78, Last 3 pages (pages un-numbered).
#16 Official Letterheads. Copy in BBS Archives.
#17 FSE Handbook Volume three, Constitution and Administration 1975, Page 1. FSE Handbook Volume three, Constitution and Administration 1979, Page 36.
#18 See Daily Express Tuesday November 14th 1995.
Details of the challenge over the use of 'Sea Scouts' gained from discussions between Martin Johnson, Leader of the St Ives Group and the Author 5th February 1996 and 28th August 1996. The final Summary and Judgement given by the Judge was heard at Kings Lynn Court.
A previous use of the Act had been against an individual. The Scouter published for Scoutmasters by the Boy Scouts Association contains for February 1934, this note under Headquarters Notices, "Chartered Associations (Protection of Names and Uniforms) Act. A person was lately proceeded against under the above Act; for falsely representing himself to be a Scoutmaster. He was fined the full penalty of 10 or two months imprisonment".
#19 Aylesbury and Wendover Times February 20th 1987.
#20 The Boy Scouts Association, Policy Organisation & Rules 1959, Appendix A Page 137. Note on The B-P Scout Guild.
#21 Reynolds, ScM, Page 64.
#22 Sinclair, SAGGA, Page 3.
#23 The information on the contact between the BBS, the FSE and the B-PSA was provided by Charles Brown in an interview with the Author May 1978.
#24 Letter of Affiliation in BBS Archives.
#25 see 'The Oxford Handbook' OU Students Union 1978 Page 117; 'The Oxford Handbook' OU Students Union 1979 Page 201.
#26 Membership card for Trinity Term 1978 in Crew Log Book. BBS Archives. Due to complaints of the University Scout and Guide Group members this arrangement was not renewed for the following term.
#27 In 1972/3 the 22nd Walthamstow Sea Scout Group left the Scout Association to become the 22nd Waltham Forest Sea Scout Group within the Baden-Powell Scouts Association. In 1978, 3 Leaders left this Group to form the 1st Waltham Forest Scout Group, within the Baden-Powell Scouts Association. This Group became an Independent Group in 1981. The 22nd Waltham Forest Group still exists as part of the Baden-Powell Scouts Association.
#28 In 1978, Brown considered altering the BBS Handbook, and omitting the statement stating that the BBS was against Sunday Hikes and Games. In this Brown would have reflected Manning's opinions. Brown stated to the Author that Pooley had been against the Scouts being involved in such activities on a Sunday, and that he had ignored this for many years.
#29 Details issued from time to time in The British Scout ISSN 0266-2264.
#30 19th March 1986.
#31 28th April 1986.
#32 21/5/86 Much of the 'substantiation' appears in Appendix 1 of this History under 'Girl Scouts'.
#33 More correctly 'The British Boy Scouts' on both front doors and the National Peace Scouts on the rear door.
#34 There is a Scout Association Group based at Durning Hall.
#35 Memo dated 1.11.88 circulated to E W Hayden - Deputy Chief Executive Commissioner, J Fogg - Public Relations Officer and G Coombe - Archivist 4th November 1988. It is acknowledged that there is a need to have up to date information on individuals who will place young people at risk, as well as specific and general archival information on kindred societies and their leaders, both of which provide a public service. The Author suspects that the intelligence gathering as in 1933 with the use of an agent and of recent years, goes beyond this.
#36 See the end of Chapter 5.
#37 The highest award for Scouts is the Queen's (or King's) Scout Badge. Holders of the award are known as Queen's (or King's) Scouts.
#38 From information provided by the Scouts of Australia 1st May 1994.
#39 Action Scout (12 issues Summer 1973-November 1976), Scout Action Monthly (SAM 5 issues 1980), Present Series Action Scout (Autumn 1988 onwards).
#40 Independent Scout Conference File, and B-PSA Discussions File, BBS Archives.
#41 see The Secret of the Galosh Maker Scout and Guide Graduate's Association News and Ideas March 1985 Page 1 ISSN 0141-8866.
#42 List in The British Scout, ISSN 0266-2264 December 1988, Pages 13-15. Almost the same information is included in AS ISO Issue 4 Spring 1989, Pages 40 & 41.
#43 30,000 members claimed for the FSE in France alone. AS ISO 3rd Series Issue 1 Spring 1988 Page 14, quote from L'AURORE 23rd June 1980.
#44 Nagy, 250 Million, Page 214.
#45 The British Scout, ISSN 0266-2264 December 1984 Page 3.
#46 The British Scout, ISSN 0266-2264 June 1991 Page 2, January 1993, Page 2, November 2001, page 1.
#47 See comment in AS ISO Issue 4 Spring 1989, Page 41.
© The Reverend Michael Foster 2001
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