I joined 3rd. Waltham Abbey at the age of 11 in 1947/48 and remained until I went for National Services in 1956/58.
The Scoutmaster at that time, I believe was Ken Meekin of Broomstick hall Road. Group Leader was Bill Brown of Lea Road.
Other Leaders during my time were:-
Cliff Snell of Rounton Road - Mike Chapman Paternoster Close - David Cook - and a fellow who had a cobblers shop on Princefield Estate??
Brian Snell, a very good friend of mine until this day was Troop Leader at some time, until he became ill, and still lives in Waltham Abbey.
The Snell family were very strong supporters of the Scout and Guide movement. Ruth was Guide Captain.
I well recall many events organised jointly between Guides and Scouts. even bonfire nights with a bonfire at Abbey Farm followed by refreshments in the Farmhouse. Also many evenings producing craft items etc. for sale at Fetes and Bazaars to raise funds towards a new HQ.
We used to meet in the old Leverton School in Paradise Road, then the Parish Hall in Brooker Road (later the British Legion HQ).
I only experienced the new HQ when I attended a wedding reception there a few years ago.
I have memories of visits to Gilwell Park on a Saturday evening to enjoy a multi-cultural sing song around a camp fire. We also camped at Gilwell on several occasions though mostly at High Beech. All equipment being transported by Trek Cart.
I recall one very adventurous camp when we travelled by train to Burnham on Crouch, which meant changing trains in London complete with overloaded Trek Cart. Wonderful times!.
I also recall a group of us performing a sketch in the Albert Hall in London for one of the first, if not the first, of Ralph Reader's Gang Shows. I can still "Ride along on the Crest of a Wave".
During those years a large thick Scrap Book was maintained with write-ups and photographs of activities and events.
Most of my recollections have to be from memory which is not always reliable.
The two biggest influences on my life, I believe, were the Abbey Church Choir and the Scout movement. My two sons both enjoyed Cubs and Scouts, and during their time I was very involved with the scout management committee in this area.
Editors comment: Thank you John for your recollection of Waltham Abbey Scouting. If anyone can remember John and his family and has a story to tell, please feel free to send it to me. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
When I first joined the scouts an elderly gentleman ran the troop, I believe his name was Brown. We met once a week and I remember playing a popular game called British Bulldog. I remember being very annoyed at a fellow scout. We were asked to make a model of a scouting scene and I loved modelling. So at the next meeting I produced my model of a camp with three tents, a flag pole complete with flag, a model camp fire and other bits and pieces that made up the scene. The scout master was very impressed but less so because it was the only model submitted. So, he extended the make time by two weeks. To my astonishment a fellow scout, who will be nameless, copied my camp fire scene almost identically and waltz off with the modellers badge. Pity there wasn't a badge for strangulation!
Later the scout master was Ken Meakin. He was the leader that took us to the only camp I attended and I recall helping to drag the hand cart all the way to High Beech. I couldn't have been more that nine or ten years old. Sadly, I was not cut out to be an outdoors man. In fact I failed practically every badge we attempted. I was the only one that couldn't light a fire on a breezy hillside. My cooking was inedible and I seemed to be the only one that broke all the rules. I even managed to drop something in the latrine, I won't mention what!
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the experience, especially the camp fire songs - "three old witches on a churchyard wall", "I'm riding along on the crest of a wave" and another that had words like - "gooly gooly I youkiarmer" or something equally as silly. We had a large bell tent and if I recall 14 of us slept in that tent - there were two other tents. I can't recall the names of the other scouts but I do believe Brian Snell may have been one and some members of the Abbey Choir, to which I also belonged for eight years.
On another occasion we ran out of sugar so blackcurrant jam was used to sweeten a rice pudding. Needless to say the pudding turned out purple and unsweetened. I can't recall what happened to it, maybe someone eat it. The trekking exercise was fun. We had to follow the scout master who laid markers for us. We missed some and ended up at a girl guides camp but were soon chased off. Oh happy days.
If any members of the local community, past or present members of the Scout Association, knows of any relative history regarding Waltham Abbey Scout Group, please would they kindy forward their information on to Mr Ken Stanger