Here's a map of Eynsham from the 1940s. The A40 has now been built from Oxford to Witney but there's still some big gaps in the village where housing estates are now. At some time during the decade, the wooden Scout Hut was moved from Queens Lane to Back Lane, opposite where the HQ is now (see below). Click the picture to see more maps of Eynsham and the surrounding area over the last century.
Mrs Sheppard, nee Oakley (The original Eynsham Cub Leader from 1922-1934), recalled that several ex-Eynsham Scouts were killed during the war. The first to die was Harry Burden who stood too close to an aeroplane propeller. Graham Whelan was the first to be killed in France and Mr May, Mr Quainton and Mr Stait were also killed.
Roy Parsloe wrote us a letter from his home in Taunton with some memories and photos if his time in Eynsham Scouts including his trip to the French Jamboree in 1947, the things he did in the village as a boy/young man, and a rather unfortunate incident with 'red tape'. He is a regular at the annual reunion.
"I was lucky as a teenager and young man to live in Eynsham and attend the City of Oxford School for Boys. Thus unlike many, I actually had two growing up experiences! I gained a great deal from being in the Eynsham Scout Group as I once outlined when asked to speak at one of Derek Parkers excellent reunion evenings. In the war years and up to 1952 when I left the village, the Scout Troop was really for us the life and soul of Eynsham. I was also a member of the Eynsham Boys Club and on occasions they used the Scout Hut for their meetings.
To name just a few of our benefits, we attended camps at Caversham on the River Thames near Reading twice, Rhyl in North Wales, Weymouth, Torbay at Paignton and Goodrington Sands, Isle of Wight twice at Sandown and Shanklin where I got my 1st Class Journey badge. I went to the World Jamboree in France, Gang Shows by the bucket load, Band Parades leading every conceivable event and the Band welcoming war heroes home after the war, which will never be forgotten. We once forgot that the dinner was cooking while the Senior Scouts thrashed the Rovers at cricket and we beat the Rovers in the troop football cup final 7-2, we went on County Flag Weekends at Youlbury and did very well, and I always remember looking up to Dickie Parker as the best footballer and troop leader I served under.
The end of my association was a bit of a bitter pill to swallow. Unknown to us Seniors there had been criticism that the Troop did not collect enough badges on our arms for the District Commissioner to tick the right number of boxes to use today's jargon. I was elected as spokesperson to meet their comments. At 19 I did not have a world of experience but it was pretty clear to me that if 20 Rovers were to be talked into giving up their 2 weeks annual holiday to help to look after the teenagers and younger children at their annual camp, it had to be in a favourable location as you cant get much further away from the sea than Oxford. So I defended Jack Douglas, Slogger Floyd, Jammy James, Jack Green, Derek et all, but alas, the 'red tape bureaucrats' would have their way. I have no doubt that Billy Harris and co were good, honest people, but I'm afraid it wasn't for me.
Anyway, I was leaving school for National Service, during which I had the most wonderful time playing sport and teaching my peers in the Royal Educational Corps. Leaving home and giving up my mums apron strings was no problem for me. I'd been doing it for years with annual scout camps and been through the sequence of being sent to Jack Douglas and Jammy to ask for 'Sky Hooks' to hang the brailing pegs on and a 'Wig-Wam' for smoke grinding for the fire! I was remember a very keen 11 year old at the Caversham Camp!
I grew up in a day when loyalty was the in word so everyone accepted that school came first. I played rugby till Christmas, then cross country and athletics till Easter, but Saturdays were basically free so I played football for Eynsham. In January 1948 I scrapped into the 1st team when there were injuries, but I always realised and accepted that those who played all season deserved first choice. The next 4 seasons were great fun. I played football for the 1st XI when space was available, played 3 seasons for Witney and Distric XI and played cricket for Eynsham after term finished from mid July to September.
You will now have realised that I have the greatest affection for not only the village of Eynsham, but in particular the scout troop that gave me so many wonderful opportunities to establish my life pattern." Roy Parsloe
The boys were engaged in various forms of National Service. During the winter of 1939-1940 they collected waste paper which was sent for salvage. Several of the Rovers were called on active service and the remainder of the crew were unable to assist with the troop as long hours were being worked. The band was short of members but continued to play at parades. The group held Whist Drives and Dances to raise funds and did an annual concert.
Assistant Scout Master Douglas became Scout Master, Rover E Floyd became assistant Scout Master and Boss Perkins rejoined the Group.
The Scouts had a long weekend camp at White Horse Hill attended by nearly all the Troop.
Proficiency Badges gained 1940-1941
Patrol Leader D Douglas - Ambulance, Swimmer, Fireman, Cyclist, Civil Defence.
Patrol Leader R Hanks - Ambulance, Fireman, Pathfinder, Handyman, Civil Defence.
Patrol Leader R Whitlock - Ambulance, Fireman, Cyclist, Mason.
Patrol Leader J Douglas - Ambulance, Freeman, Cyclist, Swimmer, Civil Defence.
Senior Patrol Leader H Turner - Cyclist, Handyman, Civil Defence.
Senior Patrol Leader R Price - no badges yet
Senior Patrol Leader R Floyd - Ambulance.
Senior Patrol Leader B Edwards - Swimmer
Scout R James - Civil Defence.
Scout A Green - Artist
Scout L Betterton - Swimmer, Athlete, Civil Defence.
2 National Service Badges were also obtained.
The 1st Eynsham Scout Group were listed as....
Group Scout Master - Mr W J Harris, Scout Master - Mr J Douglas, Assistant Scout Master Mr E Floyd, Troop Leader H Green.
The Patrols were....
P.L. R Whitlock, R Floyd, R Titchell, R Dennis, R Green, R Nash, N Pratley, E Prowton, C Evans.
P.L. D Douglas, B Edwards, L Betterton, T Green, M Flynn, R Chester, D Edwards.
P.L. R Hanks, H Turner, K Hawtin, W Sime, W Tyzach, B Whelan, R Betterton, P Timms, R Geary.
P.L. J Douglas, R Price, R James, R Grant, W Douglas, J East, F Blackwell, J Nash.
The Rover Scout Leader was H S Fowler and his Assistant was Mr Russell. The records list the following Rovers as "away with H.M Forces".... C Ainsley, H W Ainsley, P Bailey, G Batts, E Coats, D Dormer, R Harling, E Howard, M Perkins, W Perkins, E Russell, H Russell, W Russell.
The Acting Cub Master was Mrs Oakley.
On January 8th 1941, B-P sadly passed away aged 84 and the troop attended a special service at the church in his memory on 19th January. The Scout Master read the lesson and the Vicar gave a sermon on the Chief Scouts life.
In 1941 (or possibly 1945), the old wooden scout hut in Queens Lane had to be moved to make way for a house that the owner Mr Goodwin wanted to build on the land. The Scout Group searched around the village for another site and were given some land by Mr Coates on his farm in Back Lane, almost opposite where the Scout H.Q. stands now. They obtained estimates from builders to move or build a hut but they couldn't afford it so they dismantled it piece by piece and transported it on a wooden cart to its new home where it was re-built. This huge task was started on Whit Saturday and the hut was ready for use by the end of June. It had a small grassy area in front of it and the Rover Scouts, who had commandeered the small meeting room for their own exclusive use, added an outside toilet. The main hall was heated by a wood or peat burning fire. It was officially opened by Mr Ince the District Commissioner at an event attended by the committee, parents and the boys on 23rd October. During that evening, Patrol Leader R Hanks was awarded his First Class Kings Scout and All Round Corals.
The Scouts had a long weekend camp at Henley attended by most of the troop.
Mr Jack Green was with the troop again and Scout Master Douglas was presented with the National Service Badge.
The band turned out on several occasions and preparations were made for a concert in 1942.
The Alvescot Group came over and did a Gang Show in the Institute (now Social and Sports Club) and shared the proceeds with the group.
Three more boys became First Class and Kings Scouts and Harold Turner also gained his All Round Corals.
Several more Rovers were called up. Patrol Leader Hanks was promoted to Troop Leader and a new patrol "The Beavers" was formed on 4th May. The Peackock Patrol changed their name to "The Bulldogs".
The Troop gave one of their best shows in Eynsham then travelled to several nearby villages with it to raise money for various causes including Warship Week, Red Cross, Aid to Russia, etc.
Hearing that the First Aid Mobile Squad were in need of members and was in danger of closing, five members of 1st Eysham Scouts offered their services and P.L. J Douglas, P.L. H Turner, T.L. R Hanks, A.S.M. Floyd and S.M. Douglas were enrolled.
National Service Badges were awarded to all scouts in the troop who had not already got one and R.S.L. Fowler.
The Band played at a St. George's Day Parade at Christchurch Cathedral in Oxford and also at a grand rally in the University Rugby Ground.
The Scouts had a lweekend camp at Wallingford attended by all the troop and Mr H Douglas also attended.
Scout Master Douglas was awarded the Certificate of Merit by the Chief Scout.
The Troop were visited by Rover Scout Ainsley who was home on leave after two and a half years with The Royal Navy and Assistant Scout Master Howard who was also with the Royal Navy along with several other Rovers.
An inter patrol competition was held during the summer months. The "Squirrels" (P.L. Turner, S.P.L. Hawtin, and scouts R Betterton, Whelan, Timms, Geary) narrowly beat the "Beavers".
Almost all of the London Evacuees in the village had returned home so the numbers in the troop decreased a little.
The Scouts camped at Maidenhead.
The annual concert was "Chorus Girls".
The Scouts camped at Caversham.
The annual concert was "The Circus".
Senior Scouting was started in October with two Patrols - The Kestrals P.L. Hawtin and The Eagles P.L. Seeney.
Rover Scout Don Good became Assistant Scout Master. The Patrols were reorganised and the new Patrol Leaders were Derek Parker (Beavers), H Hardwick (Bulldogs) and Roy Evans (Squirrels). The Hounds was discontinued.
The Field Commissioner Mr H Berthert visited the Troop in November and Ron James became Troop Leader.
Scout Master Douglas spent eight days at a Training Course at Gillwell Park.
The picture was taken at some time before the 2nd World War (any help on the exact date appreciated) and shows a parade in Acre End Street. Some of those marching have been identified for us. The Scoutmaster at the front is Bill Harris, Pete Dormer is carrying the Union Flag, Jack Fowler is to the left of Bill. Also in the picture are Ernie Floyd, Bert and Cyril Ainsley.
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The band were still in demand being asked to play at many home coming celebrations for soldiers returning from World War II.
The Scouts camped at Deans farm near Caversham and many passed their Camping Standards.
The annual concert was "Gipsy Scene".
Rover Scout Leader Fowler returned to the group in August after a very successful Army career becoming Captain.
The Scouts camped at Weymouth.
The annual concert was a "Victory Gang Show".
The Group was reorganised. George Batts became Scout Master after the war although the exact date is not yet known.
The Scouts were approached by The British Legion who wanted to help with the Carnival and become partners. F Douglas said this offer was accepted as many of the Rover Scouts who used to help were no longer active members of the group. A new committee was formed with A.S.L. Jack Fowler in the chair, C.M. Margaret Betterton and Reg Barber as Secretaries, and A.S.M. Ernie Floyd as Treasurer.
A Brass Band Contest was organised by F Douglas and others. The stage was erected by H & F from Botley and a Rose Bowl was given as a top prize by Mrs Donalson.
The Scouts camped at Shanklin on the Isle of Wight.
Derek Parker and Roy Parsloe went to the Jamboree in Moison, France as part of the Oxfordshire Contingent, paid for by the group (see slideshow).
The Scouts camped at Paignton.
The Scouts camped at Shanklin seen in the picture here. Click it to see the 1st Eynsham Wolf Cubs and some of the Eynsham Rovers football team who lost against the Eynsham Scout Seniors in the challenge cup 8-2.
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