Scouts back together again

FOUR boy scouts who have not met as a group for 57 years have been reunited after seeing an old scouting picture in The Hunts Post. John Hinsby, a retired draughtsman, now 71, contacted the paper to say he could tell us the names of all seven scouts in a

FOUR boy scouts who have not met as a group for 57 years have been reunited after seeing an old scouting picture in The Hunts Post.

John Hinsby, a retired draughtsman, now 71, contacted the paper to say he could tell us the names of all seven scouts in a picture of the Peewit patrol taken at their summer camp in Torquay in August 1950.

The photograph was published in recognition of 100 years of scouting in Huntingdonshire.

Two of the seven on the camping trip have since died and one was not available for the photograph.

However, the grand reunion on Monday involved brothers Ray and Keith Baxter and their long-lost scouting pals John Hinsby and Norman Hopkins.

And it turned out that they all still lived fairly close to each other.

Most Read

John Hinsby lives in Brampton while Ray, 72, a retired aircraft engineer, lives in Eaton Socon and Keith, 69, who worked for a builder's merchants, lives in Little Paxton.

Norman, who was the troop leader and is now a retired carpenter, is the oldest of the group at 73.

He lives in Great Paxton and still helps out with a scout troop in Kettering and has been to Romania with the scouts 50 times. All four are now grandparents.

Mr Hinsby said: "My daughter Martine looked at the photograph and she said: 'You all look so happy' and we were, they were great days. In those days people didn't go away on holiday - you would just stay with relatives or go out for the day.

"It [the camping trip] was the first time I had been away without my parents. Our scout leader Harry Miles was one of the first scouts when 1st Hunts Hartford was set up 100 years ago. He took us on the train to Devon. He would have had to get us across from King's Cross to Paddingdon, all on our best behaviour, no one got lost."

Mr Hopkins said: "They were great days and we all recall them. There were 30 young people and I can't remember one argument. We certainly didn't swear. We wouldn't have known what swearing was and we all had large knives.

"We learned semaphore and we can still remember it today."

The four remembered that Mr Miles' wife Evelyn would go with them on the camp to help with the food and first aid. However, the scouts had to cook their own meals over a camp fire and work for their badges.

They stayed in ex-army bell tents and learnt about first aid, tying knots, all about birds, trees and flowers and went tracking.

"They were great days - and all of us are still smiling," John said. But most scouts left after four years when they reached 15.

Keith added: "We left school then and discovered girls."

The picture belongs to Mr Hinsby, who was 13 when it was taken.

His mother kept it along with a letter he sent home to his sisters

Barbara and Jill.

He wrote: "It is nice here when the sun shines. Last night we went to the pictures to see The Wooden Horse and then stayed in Torquay to see the illuminations. They were lovely.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter