Tynemouth Scouts In World War One

Scouts had been active in the borough of Tynemouth since 1909 and the Groups that were active then did get involved with the war effort. At the time Whitley Bay was part of Tynemouth District however Wallsend was not.

The 1st Christ Church Troop

The 1st Christ Church Troop, or 1st Tynemouth as they are now known, were at camp in Plessey at the beginning of the war. There records have an entry dated the 15th of August 1914 which states "War declared, camp broken up".

An account of the camp was written up in February 1915 and describes the Scout Master having to hurriedly leave camp when the mobilization order was issued so the camp was abandoned. But rather than go home they started to work under the direction of their Assistant Scout Master, ASM H Ball.

Their log book records "A number of their Senior Scouts were sent to Tynemouth to be attached to the Brigadier General's staff to work as orderlies while others delivered recruiting and similar notices."

"Several were on duty at the workhouse, Preston Road which was then a military and naval hospital. These Scouts were on day and night duties. They also went and gathered bed coverings and other necessary articles for the use of the hospital."

Tynemouth District 1915 Annual General Meeting

The 1st Christ Church Troop were by no means the only ones working for the war effort. The District AGM report from 1915 details the type of work the Scouts were doing:

Many of our officers and scouts expect to be called to serve their country in various ways and we are pleased to know that all responded to the call willingly.

We have on active service with HM forces our Commissioner Col Scott, DSM Dryden, SM Caruthers, SM Marks, ASM Renton, Robson, Lyle, our secretary Mr Thompson, 18 scouts and 60 old scouts while those left at home have served in various ways ie guides, dispatch riders, naval hospitals, in the billets, relief work, typists, special constables, and coast guard work.

We can not pass over these various duties done by our scouts without a word of praise to the 1st Tyne Troop (sea scouts) who have been continually on duty at Tynemouth Castle and Seaton Sluice helping the coast guard in their actions work; also 2nd Whitley Bay Troop for their valuable service as a troop for 5 months working with the coast guard in patrolling night and day that lonely stretch of coast away by Ross L(unreadable) in North Northumberland and they are still represented there in this work as one of their scouts is in charge of scouts from the Midlands.

The various military and naval heads are at one with praise for the work done by our scouts.

Tynemouth District Executive Commitee Minutes

As well as the 1915 AGM report there is a lot of information to be found in the District's exec committee minutes. The following text was copied from those minutes for various dates between the start and the end of the war. Any words in italics have been worked out as best as possible however they were very difficult to read and may be wrong.

30th Oct 1914

War service badge. It was decided that SM’s their own application for these direct.

Acting divisional officer of HM Coastguard of Sunderland wrote in answer to our application for oilskin for scouts on coast guard work that the admiralty do not supply these items. No action taken.

22nd Jan 1915

Secretary reports having received notice from headquarters to instruct SM to return carbines to Birmingham (note added: WW Green, gunmaker) also stated having passed this to SM Addiscott.

28th May 1915

SM Leighton reported having been requested by Hon secretary to undertake work re distribution of circulars on behalf of north east coast armament committee, SM Leighton was thanked by association and appointed SM in charge of all war service, it was further agreed that any scout being called upon to serve his attendance to count for war service badge.

Secretary was instructed to write commanding officers in association area asking their cooperation to prohibit scouts from entering billets unless with sanction of SM Leighton as association representative in charge of this department of service.

25th Jun 1915

SM Leighton presented a report on war service of scouts. SM Addiscott voiced his objection as to circulation sent to commanding officers after which report was accepted. Also that the headquarters of this branch of work should be circulated through local forces as many branches of service did not know where to apply when service of scouts was wanted.

30th Jun 1916

Orders received from the war office merely notified the counties in the eastern military command in which scout camps are forbidden; Northumberland is one of the prohibited areas.

6th July 1916

SM Jackson reports having taken up police duty and states the CO of Duke of Wellington would be pleased to give a shield as a memento of the work as done by the scouts.

31st Aug 1916

Allotments. Correspondence was read with the Boro. Surveyor as to terms of an agreement – these terms were generally approved.

28th Sep 1917

A challenge shield was given by Col McLeod, officers and men of the Duke of Wellington’s Regt in recognition of scout services as Assistant Military Police – it was presented to the association for competition in the southern division and had been won for the first time by the YMCA Troop in ambulance, swimming, signalling and musketry test and had been presented on 21st Sept by Gen Kelly.

Allotments. Plans of the various plots were handed to the troops concerned viz. YMCA, EPO, Preston Coll, N.Shields. It was also reported that Mr Armand who had been wrongfully working the ground had been ordered to quit by the Boro. Surveyor.

22nd Feb 1918

The president referred to the possible compulsory cadet corps in connection with secondary schools and it was decided that should any move be made in this direction we encourage a scout cadet patrol.

The president reported that an old scout of Percy Main had won the Military Medal and should any public presentation be notified to the secretary he was to advise.

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