Boy’s Bush Craft And All That

It’s rather sad to hear that Boy Scouts troops are having some difficulties surviving these days. Some troops have had to close due to a lack of leaders. Times do change, but organizations will always go through ups and downs.

The Helensburgh Scout Troop was first formed by Rev. Smee about 1915. He was the Church of England (Anglican) clergyman in Helensburgh at the time. He was the scout master for about seven years. His enthusiasm and devotion firmly established the scout movement in the Burgh. Other Church of England ministers followed as scout masters: Revs Peate, Creighton, Gee and Kennedy. Helensburgh young people also rendered sound leadership: David Cox, John Illingsworth, Charlie Edwards, Geoff Cox, Toby Collins, George Finney, Dickie Smith, were just some of the early leaders.

There were a number of times in the past when the troop was disbanded, usually due to a lack of leadership. Yet, within a few years the troop was reformed and again flourishing. This should remind us that the closing down of a Scout troop is not necessarily the end of scouting in that particular suburb.

The Scouts first met in the Church of England “School Hall”, a timber building that was demolished in 2010. The scout hall was first built in 1938 by Herb Fackender, Harry Snead, and Tom Fenton and his Helensburgh relief workers, on a corner block of land up from the Anglican church hall. It was burnt down in 1942 and rebuilt that same year. This old hall did service until the new hall was built in the 1980s.

Along with the scouts, Helensburgh had its own Cub Pack. Some of the early leaders of the cub pack were Hazel Haartley, Bertha Eccles, Thelma Green, Connie Illingsworth and Kath Johnson.