A look back at our past.

Acknowledgement is freely given that the majority of the information contained in the following is extracted from a much larger document covering the years up to 1968 which was produced in 1979 by a Mrs Pat Puttick who was a leader (Cubmaster) and Assistant District Commissioner for Cubs in Worthing District. Some further assistance has also been received from the Scout Association’s Records Office at Lancing in checking on some of the dates and other details concerning the histories of the various Groups.

A table of all the District Commissioners, past and present:

Major-General R E Vaughan 1922 -1924
Captain R D DeQChild 1924 -1930
Major W S Hooker 1930 -1933
Colonel H N Durrant 1933 -1937
Rev R Smith 1937 -1942
Mr F C Winton 1942 -1945
Mr C P Mason JP 1945 -1952
Mr Hubert A Puttick 1952 -1958
Mr Kenneth Suckling 1958 -1964
Mr Melville Docwra 1964 -1967
Mr Jack Garcia 1967 -1972
Mr Alfred E Tritschler 1972 -1974
Mr Roy H Edmonds 1974 -1979
Mr Derek Brittain 1979 -1983
Mr Len Knox 1983 -1990
Mr Timothy J Kent 1990 -1993
Mr Anthony Gilbert 1993 -1995
Mrs Winifred M Trott 1995 -1998
Mr Ronald E Pavier 1998 -1999
Mrs Angela M  Cooper 1999 – 2004
Mrs Judy Marshallsay 2004 – 2007
Mr Robin Strange 2008 – 2013
Mr Al Chartres 2014 – 2023
Mr Mike Hudgell 2023 – Present

The District through time:

It would appear that Scouting effectively started in Worthing on the 5th January 1912 although it is probable that many youngsters were already “playing the game” before that date. A Mr G V Paine, with the support of the Worthing Clergy, started a Group with a Headquarters at St. Edwards Hostel in Clifton Road but in June 1913 they moved to St. Paul’s Rooms in Richmond Road. It is no surprise that they became the 1st Worthing Boy Scout Group.

It also appears that a 1st Findon Group was started in October 1912 and that in September 1913 a Mr Linfield, who had been associated with 1st Worthing, started a 1st Goring Group.

There is little definite information about Scouting in Worthing during the 1914-18 war. It is known that on 3rd August 1914 Scouts from all three of the above Groups did duty at the Balcombe Tunnel during the movement of Troops and in September they assisted at the recruiting office and showed soldiers to their billets.

It is also on record that eight Scouts served at the Coastguard Station from mid-August until the end of the following January during which they were inspected by the Chief Scout, Robert Baden-Powell and Lady B.P.

A total of fifty Scouts from the area enlisted in the Army during the war.

In 1921 the local Association was reformed and on January 4th 1922 a warrant was issued by Scout Headquarters for the Worthing Local Association with the area “of Worthing, Goring by Sea, Findon and North and South Lancing….”. (Quote from an amended warrant dated December 31st 1924.)

On July 12th 1922 the first Sussex Rally was held in the Dripping Pan, Lewes which was attended by Robert Baden-Powell. Among several Appointments which he made that day was Major General R E Vaughan, C.B. as District Commissioner of Worthing No. 9 District. This was the first such appointment and has been followed by fifteen others up to the present day. It is interesting to note that the first four were all Army Officers (presumably retired) and that they were followed by a member of the Clergy.

Also in 1922 the 1st Worthing Group found a site for their own Headquarters in High Street and ex-Army hut was purchased in an auction at Shoreham Camp for £65 and erected. Other costs involved were Transport – £27: erection – £50; Painting – £17; Notice Board and Flag Staff – £11.

In the same period a separate section of the Movement for younger boys, called Wolf Cubs, began to be formed and meetings were started at St. John’s Mission Hall in Elm Grove.

By 1923 the 1st Worthing Scout Troop had a membership of 82 Scouts and these were split into three and two new Groups 2nd & 3rd Worthing created and at about the same time a further section called Rover Scouts for those above Scout age was added to 1st Worthing.

In September a hut was purchased for the Wolf Cubs and erected on the site of the 2nd Worthing Group Headquarters, but by 1924 the Wolf Cub members had risen to 48 so these were split to form Packs at both 1st & 2nd Worthing.

In 1924 four more Groups, 4th; 5th; 6th and 14th Worthing were started and in 1925 a further two, 7th and 9th Worthing. Of these the 5th and 14th only survived for a year or two, although the 14th did re-open later for a considerable period.

By 1933 fifteen Groups existed including two ‘Lancing’ Groups but the 1st Goring Group was temporarily suspended but restarted the following year.

In 1938 membership in the District had risen to 620 but in 1940 there were 942 although 286 of these were evacuees. Most Groups continued to operate in some way during the war and many Scouts were doing voluntary work such as paper salvage, erection of Morrison indoor shelters and messenger duty at the Control Room of the A.R.P. Service.

In 1942 it was recorded that 93 Rovers were on active service and that a total of 214 Morrison shelters had been erected.

1943 saw the introduction of a plan to form a new section for Scouts of 15 to 18 years called Senior Scouts and the 1944 census showed a membership of 736 with a further 91 on active service.

A survey carried out at the end of 1945 produced the following war service information. Killed 33. Missing 2. Wounded 5. Decorations:- 4 D.F.C.s 1 D.S.C. 1 Military Medal.

1951 saw work started on the replacement of the original huts at the High Street site and this was completed before the end of the year at a total cost of £2500.

By 1955 membership was up to 818 in 15 Groups, and by 1960 the total was 968. In 1961 a District Camp Site at Cote Street was formally opened.

In 1966 the Chief Scout’s Advance Party Report was issued and proposed many changes. Among these, ‘Boy Scouts’ and ‘Rovers’ disappeared and were replaced by ‘Venture Scouts’ with an age range from 16 to 20, and ‘Cubmaster’ and ‘Scoutmaster were changed to Cub Scout Leader and Scout Leader. Perhaps the most obvious change was the replacement of the well known Scout Hat with a Beret.

In October 1967 the first combined Scout and Guide Gang Show was staged at the Pavilion for four days under the title ‘Gee its a wonderful Life’. It was a resounding success and made a profit of over £4350. The Show has been staged every two years since then. It has been moved to the Easter Holidays and the run was extended to cover a full week from Saturday to Saturday.

In 1968, because of problems which had continued to arise in the use of the Camp Site at Cote the district decided to discontinue the Agreement for it’s use. Since that time many other proposals for District Camp Sites have been investigated but it was not until 1989 that another site became operational, this time at Bramber Castle, on National Trust property which had previously been used by the Guide Association. The Bramber site was given up in 1998 due to costs and under use.

There is now a gap in the history of the district. 

In 2012 4th Worthing was closed down.

In 2014 the District changed it’s scarf from Sky Blue to Cerise bordered with Black on the left and White on the right.

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