The 13th celebrates
Lancaster Guardian April 1975
THE BOYS of the old brigade are celebrating tonight the Golden Jubilee of the longest established Scout Group in Lancaster—the 13th. And the highlight of the evening will be the presentation of a bar to the Silver Acorn to Frank Hayton, who has served 49 years with the Group.
In a log which he kept faithfully until 1941 Frank records:
The 13th was formed in 1925 by the Rev J. R. M. Dale, the Minister of the Presbyterian Church, Lancaster. He obtained a Scoutmaster, Stafford Kinloch, with Tom Chalmers as Assistant, and gathered together boys belonging to the church and others. The first camp was held at Denny Beck, near Halton in August.”
At tonight’s dinner, in the Strathmore Hotel, Morecambe, will be Jack Denwood, who joined the Group in 1926 as Assistant Scoutmaster, and Joe and Bob Atkinson who were Scouts of that era. They met each week in their Troop room, which at that time was on the first floor of the Lancaster Guardian offices, of which Scout Frank Hayton writes:
“The room was cleaned out and decorated and made into a very presentable H.Q.”
No doubt one member of the dinner party will remember all this decorating, for Mr G. F. W. Malham was the Scoutmaster who directed the job. He also took the Troop to camp at Littledale in 1929 and that same year went with them in a “charabanc” to the World Jamboree in Arrowe Park, Liverpool. That was a busy year for Skipper Malham, who also formed a Rover Crew in the 13th with John Hodgson among its members.
In 1931 the Group lost its popular Skipper when he went to work in London; numbers dwindled, getting down to four faithfuls. Then the following year, Rover Scout Frank Hayton pulled the remnants together, found them a meeting place in a tiny disused wash-house, and the spirit of adventure soared once more.
“In August 1933.” records the log. “The World Jamboree was held in Budapest, Hungary. and no less than seven representatives went from the 13th — Joe and Bob Atkinson, Geoff Shackleton, A. Johnson, D. Holt, A. Maudsley and N. Atkinson, together with the District Commissioner T. W. Helme. who had become a member of the Rover Crew.”
Now the Troop was flourishing with Joe Atkinson as Scoutmaster, assisted by Frank. The Cub Pack, formed by Miss Haythornthwaite in 1926, was reformed in 1935 under R. A. Atkinson and the Rover Crew converted a cottage, “Artleden” for their adventure weekends.
The following year Frank became Scoutmaster, and the Troop continued their list of successes, winning the District Swimming Shield for the tenth time.
At the meeting of the Group’s Council in 1938 it was reported there were 70 enthusiastic members in the 13th. But the Group funds stood at £2 5s 1½d. At this low financial ebb Frank took over as Group Scoutmaster. Herbert Pyke became Scoutmaster, with Maurice Sharpe and Norman Rawling as his assistants. In that year a Senior Patrol was formed by Frank, one of its members being Graham Fulton, the present Group Scout Leader.
The war. The 13th helped with the arrival of the evacuees, and trained to carry on without their leaders, for by 1940 the expected happened and ten of their older members had joined the services. But the depleted crew still camped at Artleden, and the Group still won the swimming shield.
Any surviving members of Garstang Home Guard may still retain mixed feelings about the 13th Rover Crew, For in 1941, acting as “fifth columnists” the Rovers routed the Home Guard In a weekend’s exercise.
Records Frank: ‘The Crew camped at various points around Garstang and collected practically all there was to know about the Home Guard. One patrol even gained a permit from a HG officer to pass through all his manned positions; another acquired maps of the district from a HG; .another patrol hid under a bridge for 35 minutes before “blowing it up” with the HG standing on top. Major Withers of the Garstang Home Guard congratulated the Crew on their efforts, but it is imagined that the Garstang HG will in future hold a great respect for the 13th Rover Crew.”
Under Frank’s direction the 13th survived the war years, and continued to be led by him until the Scout Movement was reorganised In 1967, when Graham Fulton took over as Group Scout Leader. But such a man as Frank was too good for retirement, and he was persuaded to stay on the Group Council, on which he still serves.
Under Graham there are now some 40 members in the 13th who meet in the basement of High Street Congregational Church. The Troop Leader is Bill Green, the Pack Leader Mrs Janet Curwen.
Present and past members will be meeting this weekend at Littledale where the Scouts and Cubs will camp, and hold an open day on Sunday.
That will give a chance for the boys of the old brigade to tell the youngsters of today some of their adventures when funds stood at two pounds odd, bare knees and big hats were the order of the day — but the spirit of Scouting was just the same.