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Lancaster Rover Scout’s Ordeal

Lancashire Evening Post 10 January 1939


A TERRIFYING experience of being lost on Littledale Fells, near Caton, last week-end came to light today, when it was learned that William Buchanan (19), a Rover Scout in the 13th Lancaster Troop, and a son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Buchanan, of 6, Regent-street, Lancaster, spent a night in a disused barn on the fells after wandering for hours in the darkness.

On Sunday afternoon Buchanan, with other Scouts, attended a church parade at Littledale Church in connection with a Rover Den at Littledale.

After the service several of the Rover Scouts started to climb the crags on Littledale, setting off in pairs.

Buchanan got separated from the rest of the party, and as dusk fell he failed to find the footpath back to the “den” and was roaming about for several hours until he found some shelter.

When the Rovers found that Buchanan had not returned to the “den” for tea they organised a search party, and the police, who were informed, also took part in the search in the early hours of Monday morning.


About 9.30 a.m. Buchanan was found by some of his colleagues lying in a disused barn.

Mr. A. Buchanan, father of the youth, told a “Lancashire Daily Post” reporter that when his son did not return home as usual on Sunday night he became anxious and went to Littledale Fells to help in the search. His son was wandering about for hours trying to find the path leading from the fells to the “den”, but he became lost in a wood and was groping about in the darkness for several hours until he came to a disused barn where he tried to sleep.

The Rover Scouts, said Mr. Buchanan, scoured the fells all night, and when his son was found he was in a daze and did not appear to know where he was.

After being given a hot drink and a stimulant he recovered, and did not appear to be any the worse. He was able to resume his work as a clerk at a local institution to-day.

According to the 1939 Register William A Buchanan was born 7 Jun 1920 – Turton, Bolton. His occupation is listed as ‘Institution Case Clerk’.

St. Anne, Littledale