Holy Trinity Rover Scouts

Holy Trinity Rover Scouts

History 1924-1938


Many thanks to David Fry for the following -

Holy Trinity Scout Troop held its 100th anniversary in 2018. How the boys of Yeovil’s Holy Trinity parish lived between the First and Second World Wars was significantly different from today. With strong allegiance to King and Country, as well as Yeovil as home, Scouting was an emerging movement. Its principles were expressed in Baden Powell’s Scouting Today which reflected an outdoor life associated with the British Colonial Army in the South African Boer War (1899-1902).

My grandfather married a house servant and moved to Yeovil to live in Peter Street where my father was born in 1918. My father was in the Holy Trinity choir and joined the Cub Scouts in 1927 (age range 8 -10). He went up to the Scouts from age 11 to 17, and at 18 my father moved to the Rover Scouts which had been running informally since 1924. A Crew Log was started when the Rovers were formally established in 1936. The run-up to the Second World War appears to have curtailed Rover activity from August 1938 when entries ceased. This is the time at which Territorial Army recruiting was beginning and Rovers were likely to be the sort of young men that volunteered.

I was born in Peter Street in 1948 but moved to Sandhurst Road in 1952. I joined the St Mary’s (Holy Trinity offshoot) Cub Scouts in 1955. I then joined Holy Trinity Scouts (Town) in 1959 and moved to their Senior Scouts in 1963. I gained Queen Scout and left for University in 1966. During my time as a Scout, much of the activity was still based on Scouting for Boys, such as cooking on open fires at camps for all meals and fire lighting without paper. Like my father, I built a bridge out of poles and rope.

A copy of the Rover Crew Log along with period photos, reproduced below, provides a historic insight into a period when life was much simpler, more formal, with less expendable income. Despite the deprivations of the 1930’s recession, the Log portrays much enthusiasm for Scout and Church life. The Log refers to a Whitsun Camp in 1937 at Ringstead Bay near Weymouth, with “excellent weather and some splendid bathing”. One of the few events from this time that my father mentioned was the Rovers swimming several miles out to sea for the sheer fun of it. Not something likely to be contemplated today unless properly controlled. No Health and Safety then! A number of the Crew Members at the time of the Log were present at Church and Scout events as I was growing up. 


Holy Trinity, Yeovil, Group of Boy Scouts
Rover Crew Log.

May 1937

Separate Log Section initiated, by Rover Leader: R. Giles and Scribe, W.E. Giles.

Retrospective (1924 – 1936)

In March 1924, the Patrol Leaders (PL’s), seconds and scouts of requisite age and stature were formed into an experimental ‘Rover Crew’ under the leadership of Henry Priddle as Rover Mate. As a mark of esteem to the founders of the Holy Trinity Troop of Boy Scouts, (Rev E A Barrett) the crew was named the ‘Barrett Crew’. The original members were: Henry Priddle (Rover Mate), Walter Priddle, Reg Priddle, Cliff Dover, Roland Wensley and Bill Giles.

The ‘Squires’ (novices) continued for a considerable period in their original formation holding somewhat informal meetings, reviewing interesting talks on a diversity of subjects, and generally holding together as part of the group. With changes of leadership and continually fluctuating membership, the Crew continued without definite status being obtained for the rather lengthy ‘experimental’ period of nine years. However, much useful work was done during the time by these elders, in connection with troop activities of all description.

On 23 April 1933 (St Georges Day), Scout Master Reg Priddle received the Rover Leader’s Warrant, and the first investiture was held, at which the following Squires were officially appointed Rovers: Walt Priddle, Jim Jennings, F Hains, L Hains, Roy Dover, Norman Dover, Aubrey Whensley, Stan Ricketts and George Marsh.

Thus Holy Trinity Group could now boast an official Rover Crew of one Patrol. Activities continued much as before, little tangible work being done as Crew, but invaluable help being provided to the Troop. For a considerable period, the Rovers ran a Sunday afternoon service in the church, which they conducted entirely by and for themselves. A useful sum of money was collected, which was eventually devoted to churchyard improvement.

MMarch 1936 saw the biggest step forward, when the Rovers occupied a separate ‘den’, a separate fund, and generally ‘set up house’ on their account. Reg Giles was appointed Rover Leader at this juncture, although his warrant was not granted till the following February, because of his age. The ‘den’ was a room at the Leader’s house. The personnel at this stage were; Reg Giles (Rover Leader), Jim Jennings (Rover Mate), Sid Harding (Treasurer), Fred Ricketts (Secretary), Wref Sartin, Stan Fry, Norman Dover, Ron Ellis, Bert Norman, Ron Ponsford, Ron Ellis, Rev PA Allan (a few weeks), Chas Chambers (ten weeks, a visiting Portuguese Kings Scout) and Douglas Harris.

The following rules, in addition to those of the Boy Scouts Association, were agreed upon; regular weekly meetings, 2d per week subscription, monthly corporate attendance at Holy Communion, 75% attendance to return membership, and privilege of attending annual camps. 2/6d entrance for members joining after formation. Shortly after the formation of the ‘improved status’, Rover Fred Rickets was awarded ASM’s warrant and Sid Harding received ACM’s warrant. Both continued their Rovering activities.

The first corporate task to be undertaken - care of the churchyard.


First Camp. August 1936.

Present; Reg Giles, Sid Harding, Wref Sartin, Stan Fry, Reg Ricketts, Ron Ponsford, Norman Dover, Bill White and Bill Giles (a visitor).

During the first year, the following ceased, for various reasons, to be members; Ron Ellis, Bert Norman and Ron Ponsford. One of the original members of the ‘experimental crew’, Bill Giles, returned to Yeovil from Chard and resumed membership on 19 January 1937. Appointed Scribe.


January 1937

A Free and easy month, Tuesday evenings being chiefly spent in games and light discussions. The last meeting of the month was addressed by the vicar (Rev J A Lloyd Armstrong) on the subject of ‘Rovering and Religion’. The Address was followed by a half-hour of questions.


February 1937

Tuesday 2nd - Address by the vicar on the ‘Essential of Marriage’. Questions.

Sunday 7th - Walk to Brympton. Inspection of House Church.

Tuesday 9th -  Vicar concluded his talk of last week.

Sunday 14th - Walk to Limington.

Tuesday 16th - Discussion at addresses at two previous meetings.

Sunday 21st - Discussion and suggestions re Coronation. Bonfire to be erected in cooperation with St Michaels Rovers.

Sunday 28th - Walk to Montacute and inspection of St Michael’s Mount.


March 1937

Tuesday 2nd - Talk on internal combustion engines by Rover Fred Ricketts.

Tuesday 9th - Reg Giles gave a talk on various aspects of glove-making.

Sunday 14th - Walk to Thorne Coffin and inspection of the church.

Tuesday 16th - Discussion regarding the possibility of a separate camp for Rovers, with ideas for a potential trip.

Sunday 21st - Walk to West Camel and inspection of Church. “The tea that was not”.

Tuesday 30th - Free and easy.


April 1937

Sunday 3rd - Walk to Yetminster, an inspection of the signal box by permission of Station Master F Ricketts. An excellent tea was provided by Mrs Ricketts, done great justice to. Doug Harris ‘did his stuff’ on the cider.

Tuesday 6th - Reading by Wref Sartin and Stan Fry.

Tuesdays and Saturday’s April 13th to May 11th - Preparing wood at Clifton Maybank for the Coronation Fire at Mudford Rd, and building same.


May 1937

Wednesday 12th - Coronation Day. Reg Giles and Sid Harding attended the Mayor’s parade and service in the church. Fred Ricketts assisted with the sale of programmes.

Whitsun, Friday 14th to Monday 17th - Weekend camp at Ringstead Bay, attended by R Giles, J Jennings, S Harding, S Fry, D Harris, W Sartin and F Ricketts.

A very Happy camp, in excellent weather. Principal events; Steak and onions and slumber. The return journey from a visit to Weymouth was remarkable for the number of dogs upset by the Male Voice choirs. Some splendid bathing was enjoyed.

Saturday 22nd - Assisted with Girl Guides’ Coronation Rally.

Tuesday 25th - Reminiscences of Whitsun Camp. Discussion regarding Summer Camp. Rota worked out for churchyard duties. The decision to cancel Sunday walks in the Summer.


June 1937

Tuesday 1st - General Knowledge Paper, prepared by R Giles. Interesting and ‘enlightening’ replies. The decision to purchase some camp gear for Rovers’ use out of funds. Discussion regarding member’s programme for summer evenings. Bridge-building at Newton. The crew formed into two patrols, named Kangaroo and Curlew, in recognition of first two patrols in the Troop.

Monday 7th - Commencement of bridge building at Newton. Did Frig (Stan Fry) enjoy his bath?


Bridge building at Newton, June 1937


Tuesday 9th - Special effort at the churchyard.

Tuesday 15th - Bridge building and axemanship at Newton.

Monday 21st - Another big evening at the churchyard.

Tuesday 22nd - Newton again. Quite proficient these days.

Sunday 29th - Some physical excesses, and leap-frog that disturbed the poultry.


July 1937

Monday 5th - Churchyard efforts continued, to get clear before camp.

Tuesday 6th - A pleasant stroll.

Tuesday 12th - Final clearing at the churchyard before camp (Yarmouth, Isle of Wight).

Monday 13th - Cleaning and preparing camp gear.


Walking while at camp on the isle of Wight, July 1937.


After camp, it was observed that the general funds needed replenishing and it was decided to hold a dance. After a lengthy discussion, it was agreed that the most likely place to prove successful would be Yetminster. The dance committee was Messrs Harding and Ricketts.

It was suggested that we should get some games of chess as during the winter months it would not be as easy to work outdoors and as several members were taking part in the Opera, it was thought that the Crew should be run more as a club for a few months.

5 November – The Rover Scouts Dance at Yetminster Hall.

We were very grateful for the help rendered by the people of the village, especially Mr and Mrs Jervis and Eric. The four lady helpers, and Mr Bastable who provided the milk gratis. Also to Mr Fred Giles, who very competently judged the Waltzing competition for us. The evening was a surprisingly successful one, both socially and financially.


19 to 22 January 1938

The Opera ‘San Marino’.
In July 1937, it was noted in the parish magazine that Trinity Scouts' next production was to be San Marino "a tuneful comic opera by Stanley Guise and AJ Silver... offering a wide scope for colourful settings... there was plenty of humour, and the music was admirable."


A scene from 'San Marino'. January 1938.


... and another scene.


After the Opera, our Tuesday evenings were spent playing chess etc and attending to the business necessary.

February 1938

On Tuesday, 15 February, a special meeting was called, at which Rev PA Allan took the chair. Several important items of business were discussed, including subs, attendance, uniform. It was also discussed whether or not we should continue our help to the West Coker Scouts, whether they were deriving any benefit from it. Our leader then explained that it would be necessary for us to alter our den since he would shortly be wanting his room. However, he approached Miss Paynter and arranged for us to have the Guide Hut for the winter evenings at a very low charge.

March and April 1938

1 March - Our evening was spent getting used to our new quarters. It was on this evening that we heard the news that our Rover Leader has been presented with a daughter, and that his wife Nancy was doing well.

Throughout March and April we spent very pleasant evenings at the den, with again gentle reminders about our subs, uniform and more especially our Cooperate Communion.

April 24th - a parade was “commandeered” and a service held in our own church, attended by representative bodies of Scouts from our Local Association.

May 1938

May 2nd - The evening, the last indoors for the season, we welcomed to our Crew Mr Jack Oxenbury. This was the last day of the Scouting Year. Our Treasurer read his accounts, showing a very favourable financial position, and officers were filled as follows; RL RC Giles, RM Jim Jennings, Treasurer Det Harris, Secretary W Sartin and Scribe SG Fry.

Saturday, May 25th - The following members of the crew RJ Giles, S Harding, D Harris and S Fry cycled to the Oxenbury Estate with the intention of building a shack for the forthcoming event at Yarnfield Gate. In spite of the rain and many discussions, we were fortunate in getting the frame work erected, after which we retired for tea in the company of the grateful friends Mrs Oxenbury and family. After tea the members of the crew were interested in various games, while waiting for rain to stop. Eventually we started for home, after a few repairs of the RL's cycle, we arrived at Yeovil about 9-30.

Monday, May 30th - Signalling in great style, and arrangements for Whitsun camp.

June 1938

Whitsun, 4 to 6 June
Camp held at Ringstead Bay
Members who attended were, R. Giles, D. Harris, J Oxenbury, J. Jennings, W. Sartin, S. Fry.
J Oxenbury very kindly took grub in his car also R Giles, remainder being tough cycled. We were fortunate by having much sun at whit, and it takes a lot of sun to compare with the whit, of course remembering the Captain it is possible. So a real sporting and enjoyable weekend was spent, everyone returning sunburnt.

Thursday, June 9th - The talented members of the Scouts and Rovers made a Journey to Castle Cary, to entertain the public with a few camp songs, in aid of the Boy Scouts Appeal Fund.

Saturday and Sunday June 18th and 19th - Weekend camp spent at Whitevine for a practice of shack building. Sunday morning a rush as usual getting to Corporate Communion, after which the initiation of J Oxenbury took place. Followed by an hour's swimming at the baths. Sunday evening was spent by the boys entertaining Mrs Oxenbury, Mr and Mrs Robins and company. High spots were W Sartin piano accordion. J Oxenbury violin, for which he has a well developed chin.

One of the 'shacks' made at Whitevine, June 1938.


July 1938

Monday, July 4th - Painting of tent poles.

Monday, July 11th and 18th - Overhaul of camp gear.

July 22nd and 23rd - Haymaking at Whitevine under the supervision of P. Oxenbury.

July 25th - Packing of camp gear.


August 1938

Annual Camp at Boscastle, Cornwall


The home-made bridge supports seven Rover Scouts at Boscastle in August 1938.


Monday, August 8th - Cleaning of pots pans, tent drying etc

Monday, August 15th - A meeting held at the Parish hall when by the G. S. M. produced a favourable balance sheet of the annual camp. Also, the arrangements were made to book the Boscastle site for the annual camp of the troop’s 21 year 1939.

Monday, Aug 22nd - A walk to Odcombe. On entering the village boys made no hesitation of having a little refreshment at the Rising Sun.