Cruise – Southampton to Zeebrugge

Way back in 2018, Elaina spotted a short cruise on the Cunard Queen Elizabeth that she and Janet felt would be a nice occasion to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversaries. Then we thought, why not circulate the details to TSCC members. In the end, our party totalled 15 including Mark’s Aunt Audrey. The keenly awaited embarkation date eventually arrived and we all met up on board for dinner in the Art Deco inspired Britannia Dining Room on the Friday evening, all looking very pleased with ourselves in our dinner jackets and gowns. After the meal we enjoyed a show in the ship’s Royal Court Theatre followed by nightcaps in one of the ship’s many bars.

On the Saturday (the only full day of the cruise) the weather was rather dull and miserable and so four of us (Janet, George, Doreen and Barbara) stayed on board and had the whole ship to ourselves. We played cards in the Commodores Lounge, at which yours truly fared badly playing against these ruthless ladies whose card playing skills are finely honed through years of Monday ladies-who-lunch sessions.

Elaina and Ray braved the elements and ventured as far as Blankenberge (the nearest town to the port of Zeebrugge) which they said has some interesting shops. However, others took the train to Bruges and had a good browse around the picturesque town.

The Saturday evening saw us once again “dressed-up” to the 9’s for another fine dining experience. After the meal and strolling through the ship we heard the strains of traditional jazz and, following our ears, we arrived at the Golden Lion Pub where a band with very talented musicians was playing well known Dixieland tunes. We actually managed to pull up enough chairs to seat us all, no mean feat on a busy cruise ship. For some of us this was the highlight of the trip. It was also very nice to have the company of TSCC friends on the memorable, if rather short, voyage.

George Barber

Scouting in World War 1

Doing your bit! 

By 1914 Robert Baden-Powell’s Scout Movement had been in existence for six years. Its popularity had spread not only in Britain but across the world. Wide spread membership meant many boys and young men had gained a range of useful skills from field-craft and camp cooking to signalling and sailing. 

By 1914 Robert Baden-Powell’s Scout Movement had been in existence for six years. Its popularity had spread not only in Britain but across the world. Wide spread membership meant many boys and young men had gained a range of useful skills from field-craft and camp cooking to signalling and sailing. 

The fine prospects of a grand Scouting year in 1914 were darkened by the outbreak of war in August. What would happen to this young movement? Many thought it would collapse, but it was not so. Our Scouts were used to guard railway lines and tunnels. They acted as messengers, and “all-clear” buglers in air raids, as well as doing countless other jobs in hospitals, canteens and out on the farms. 

Guarding the shores 

One of the first roles that Scouts undertook was supporting the Coastguard. The fear of invasion by Germany was a very real threat so watching the coast, ports and estuaries was crucial work. 

Scouts were supervised by the coastguard but under the orders of their Patrol Leaders and were responsible for their own activities and actions. This was a very practical example of one of Scouting’s core practices, giving boys independence. As the photos below show activities included coast watching, sending signals and delivering messages. The Scouts weren’t paid but received a basic subsistence allowance. At first this work was undertaken by Sea Scouts who specialised in water based activities, however, as word spread other Scout groups volunteered to take part. 

The Home Front 

Boy scouts helped out with many jobs on the home front, this scout is delivering important messages for the War Office. 

During World War One food was scarce and these boy scouts are ‘doing their bit’ by helping to set rabbit traps. 

Boys helped with the heavy work on farms, as well as with growing vegetables in gardens, back yards and even parks. 

Scouts watched the skies for Zeppelin attacks and sounded their bugles to signal when an air raid was over. 

Girl Guides 

Secret agents 

Some reports say that Girl Guides carried messages for MI5, the British Secret Service, during the war years. 

The story goes that Boy Scouts were MI5’s first choice for this work, but they turned out to be too naughty and too talkative! 

Britain’s secret agents turned to the Girl Guides for help instead. 

Girl Guides carried important messages and helped deliver milk. Guides also parcelled up clothing, such as knitwear, to be sent to soldiers at the Front. 

Guides learned first aid so they could help with injuries. Guides in Scotland collected sphagnum moss, which was used to cover and treat war wounds. 

One 1917 newsreel shows Girl Guides marching in the street. Another shows them learning to send messages using small flags. The film goes on to show Girl Guides learning how to use a stretcher to carry an injured person. 

Wound dressing in World War I 

– The kindly Sphagnum Moss 

Millions of wound dressings made from Sphagnum, or ‘bog moss’, were used during World War I (1914-1918). Dried Sphagnum can absorb up to twenty times its own volume of liquids, such as blood, pus, or antiseptic solution, and promotes antisepsis. Sphagnum was thus superior to inert cotton wool dressings (pure cellulose), the raw material for which was expensive and increasingly being commandeered for the manufacture of explosives. 

Charles Walker Cathcart, an Edinburgh surgeon, organised collections of the moss throughout Scotland, and centres for its cleaning and preparation. 

Most collecting was done by women and children (often boy scouts or girl guides) working for long hours in cold, wet bogs. 

Cathcart’s model soon spread to Ireland and to areas in England, such as Dartmoor, where bog moss was abundant. 

The doctors and the nurses 
Look North with eager eyes, 
And call on us to send them 
The dressing that they prize 
No other is its equal— 
In modest bulk it goes, 
Until it meets the gaping wound 
Where the red life blood flows, 
Then spreading, swelling in its might 
It checks the fatal loss, 
And kills the germ, and heals the hurt- 
The kindly Sphagnum Moss. 

The world’s first Boy Scout –  who died a hero 

Images of Bob at the age of 15. 

At the tender age of 15 young ‘Bob’ Wroughton became the world’s first Boy Scout, and had a glittering career of success in front of him. Yet just seven short years later, he became one of the first to die in the killing fields of the First World War. 

After just a few weeks of the war, he had gained a gallantry honour, being Mentioned in Dispatches by the Commander in Chief, Sir John French. 

While out on patrol in the notorious Ypres salient in Belgium in October – just eight weeks after the war began – he was shot by a German sniper, and on the 30th of that month, he died from his injuries. 

Musgrave Cazenove ‘Bob’ Wroughton, at 22, not long before he was killed at the front. 

Silver Jubilee Celebrations

On a pleasant day in June, 51 members of the Club including four founding members, gathered in Mark and Jackie’s garden for a champagne strawberry tea (well Prosecco actually!) to celebrate the Club’s Silver Jubilee. Beyond the happy camaraderie, we enjoyed sumptuous sandwiches – and scones – and strawberries – and a celebratory cake baked and iced by Jackie. 

But the real icing on the cake was a wonderful little jazz band whose members were much the same age as the rest of us and who serenaded us throughout the afternoon with a jolly selection straight from New Orleans. All in all, a delightful afternoon. A big thank you to Jackie and those who helped with the set-up and preparation. Also many thanks to all those who were there at the very end and who amazingly managed to return the garden to its former state in little more than half an hour! 

By far the biggest event of the past three months was undoubtedly our escorted tour of Paris at the end of June. The 47 members and friends who boarded Eurostar unquestionably had a terrific time with masses of activities crammed into a long weekend: a coach tour of Paris by day and another by night, a visit to Versailles and another to Montmartre, dinner and a spectacular show at Paradis Latin for some, and a first class group dinner for those who opted out. And there was even free time to explore further or just chill out. Our hotel was in a superb location right next to the ‘Covent Garden’ of Paris with rows of restaurants where members could sit outside in the glorious sunshine and eat, drink and watch the Parisians promenade their way along the broad and colourful walkway between the restaurants. But the superstar of the trip was Andy – our Tour Manager. Andy was a self-taught encyclopaedia of Parisian knowledge and French history who had been escorting visitors for 30 years. On the coach he made full use of every single moment to help us learn, understand and get the very most from our time in Paris. When we again boarded Eurostar at Gare du Nord we were tired, but happy in the knowledge that we had together enjoyed four fantastic days in Paris. 

Mark Marriott