"A place to call home"

“Our Show Again” was performed early in the year on the stage of Bishop Perrin hall. Boys from the Troop joined the Twickenham District cycling display team and performed at Wembley in the Middlesex Rally for the Chief Scout Lord Rowallen. The troop now 40 in number held a summer camp on Berry Head near Brixham in Devon. Fred “Kim” Benge became Group Scoutmaster following the resignation of both Skipper Pearce and Peter Woods. Bill Summerfield, Malcolm “Ginger” Coiley, Len Feathers, and Michael “Nips” Frith took part in the first London Gang Show to be performed after the war at the King’s Theatre, Hammersmith.

Early in the year much re-organisation of the Group took place. The newly formed Senior Scout section joined the Rover Crew to form a joint Air Scout unit led by Bill Summerfield as RSL. The first ‘Our Show’ comprising Ralph Reader Gang Show material took place in Easter week. Produced by Bill Summerfield, directed by Fred Hurll, both of Ralph Reader’s production team, the show was acknowledged as a huge success. The Cubs camped at Semaphore Hill, Hinchley Wood. It was Festival of Britain year and another ‘Twickeree‘ was held in Marble Hill Park. The joint Troop and Air Scout camp was held at Porlock in Somerset. Malcolm ‘Ginger’ Coiley was chosen to attend the World Jamboree in Austria.

Negotiations commenced for a site for a new HQ and a building committee formed. The Hinchley Wood campsite was well used throughout the year. The Air Scout section toured Belgium and Luxembourg on bicycles and the Troop camped in Jersey. Malcolm Coiley gained one of the first Queen Scout Badges after the accession of Queen Elizabeth II.

5 Air Scouts, Jeff Barnes, Geoff Benge, Mick Duckett, Len Feathers, Mick ‘Nips’ Frith, and Phil Yeend became Queen’s Scouts and attended the Windsor Parade. To celebrate Coronation year Ralph Reader’s pageant ‘Boy Scout’ was revived and staged at the Royal Albert Hall. The Group was chosen to provide ‘the Troop’ and Barry Summerfield ‘the Boy’. Because of the commitment Our Show was replaced by Coronation Capers in the playground of Bishop Perrin School. Geoff Benge helped to make the film ‘The Queen is crowned’ at the Coronation and another camp called Coroboree was held in Marble Hill. The cubs camped at Masters Field Eton, the Troop again in Jersey. An Air Scout skiffle group JASS later ‘the Nomads’ was formed. Planning permission was granted for the erection of a HQ on land at the rear of Evelyn Close.

On 14th February 1954 work commenced on the building of the 2nd Whitton Scout Headquarters. It was to take two years to complete. Scouting continued with ‘Our Show’ at Easter. Mabel Benge became Akela of both Cub Packs. Fred Benge was awarded the Medal of Merit. The Troop camped at Ilfracombe, the Packs again to Eton and the Air Scouts to the IOW and on the River Thames. The Air Scouts found a camp site near the river at Wraysbury. The Troop appeared on TV at the Earls Court Exhibition. 2nd Whitton members of the London Gang Show appeared before the Queen at one performance. Three more Queen Scouts were gained by Dave Mayne, David Baldwin and Keith Hicks.

Progress on the HQ was slow due to inclement weather. The Joint Air Scout Section were honoured to be asked to provide the Flag Bearer and Colour Guard for the Annual National St Georges Parade of Queen Scouts at Windsor Castle. Bill “Eagle” Summerfield, Keith Hicks, Jeff Barnes and David Catt-Camfield made up the Colour Party. RAF recognition provided opportunities for flying from Kenley airfield. David Catt-Camfield gained the Queens Scout Award. ‘Boy Scout’ was produced again. This time Roger Summerfield played the part of the Boy. The Cub Packs tried a new camping venue at the Salvation Army’s Sunbury Court. The Troop camped in Guernsey.

Our Show staged its last performances at Bishop Perrin School. History was made when Lord Peter Baden-Powell opened the new 2nd Whitton Scout Headquarters on Saturday 5th May. Uniformed Sections continued to grow, with 60 Cubs, 44 Scouts, 20 Seniors and 10 Rovers. The Troop won the Scout sports, and camped at Chalfont Heights and Twickeree. The Troop returned to Guernsey, the Cubs again at Sunbury Court. The Pack won the Swimming Gala.

This year the Group was celebrating its 21st anniversary and it was also Scouting’s Jubilee year. The Group provided 16 members to take part in Ralph Reader’s play of scouting ‘Great Oaks’ at the Golders Green Hippodrome. Only for the second time was Our Show not staged. A Jubilee Jamboree was to be held at Sutton Park near Birmingham. Three scouts were chosen to join the Middlesex contingent and 16 scouts and Senior Scouts joined the cast of the London Gang Show performing for the Jamboree campers twice daily at the Birmingham Hippodrome. The Group provided pre-camp hospitality for the British Guyana contingent. The Troop camped at Watcombe, near Torquay, and the Pack at Normandy, Surrey for the first time. On 24th October 1957 the Group was de-sponsored by the Vicar of St Augustines, the Rev. John Borrill. In November Group members in the London Gang Show cast appeared in the Royal Command Performance at the London Palladium.

Troop subs increased from 4d to 6d. Robert Frith was first winner of the new Edinburgh Cup, presented every six months for the scout showing best all round ability. ‘Our Show’ moved to St Mary’s Hall, Twickenham. Some of the Air Scouts appeared in Ralph Reader’s new pageant ‘Voyage of the Venturer’. ‘Twickeree’ was held at Marble Hill Park, where the Air Scouts staged a spectacular display with a full sized replica aircraft. Cubs won the swimming gala for the third year running. The Group gained its 21st Queens Scout Award. Pat Williams joined the Group as Senior Scoutmaster. Mabel Benge received the Medal of Merit. The Mobile Film Unit showed its first film of Twickeree. Graham Buckley represented the Group at the World Jamboree in the USA.

The Group magazine now called ‘Nulli Secundus’ was re-launched. The Air Scouts undertook a summer expedition to the South of France. Named ‘Operation Sunsearch’ the 12 day trip was quite an adventure. Using two minibuses the 18 strong group completed the 2000 mile round trip more or less intact, joining in a carnival in Nice, appearing on Monte Carlo TV, and visiting HMS Daring in the harbour there. The Troop now 68 strong, camped at Buckmore Park, Kent. Cubs returned to Normandy, Surrey. Bill Summerfield was awarded the Medal of Merit. Toni Eden opened the autumn bazaar. Father Royall conducted the Group’s first Carol Service. The troop appeared in TV’s ‘Billy Cotton Christmas Party’ and the Group’s Gang Show members in ITV’s Saturday Spectacular.

I want the public to know how Scouting continues to open young people’s eyes to a world of extraordinary promise and possibilities.'
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls