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Scouting Days

I became patrol leader of the Lion Patrol. Mr George Ryland, a great personality as sportsman and artist, tutored Sydney Burrows and myself to box for the Troop. Sid was our heavy-weight. A temporary ring was set up in our Scout Hall, with Mr Jim Thorn school master and wife, School master Mr Fry and wife, the Vicar and others, taking an interest.

Sid was matched against Bert Dyer (later to become Champion of Warwickshire). I was matched against a Bill Taylor (no relation), he was sparring partner to Bert Dyer. Unfortunately Sid had a proper hiding. Banty beat Bill Taylor, who complained that I was fighting, not boxing! Mr Thorn said “We never thought you had it in you, Banty”. Having had another win, we went to the Drill Hall in Grosvenor Street to challenge the Highbury Troop. My opposite number never turned up. Being disappointed, I asked Mr Ryland to let me have a go at their heavy-weight, a scout from the news-agent’s at the bottom of Grosvenor Street named Iles. Mr Ryland said “He will kill you, Banty”. Head and shoulders taller than me, he taught me my lesson and gave me a thrashing! Scouts, pushing my cycle home with me saturated in blood, could not stop my nose bleeding. Mother said “No more of this, my boy, or you will go in lodgings!” From then on, I could take care of myself but did not pursue a boxing career.

George Ryland was a good rugby player and did a lot for Schools Rugger.

I played for Charlton St Mary’s, Soccer, but not for long, I didn’t make the grade as a footballer. ‘

Our summer camps were always at Pershore or Bredon. The senior Scouts had to go the day before to pitch camp. A large hand-cart was always hired from Davis in Cleeveland Street. With the cart loaded with bell tents, pots and pans, bully beef, and bicycles on top, taking it in turns to ride the bikes, we pushed the cart to Bredon or Pershore! For the use of the grounds near the river, we had to do a days fruit picking for the farmers. Early morning we took fishing rods down to the river at break of dawn, sitting in a punt which had been newly tarred with sand sprinkled over! We all got stuck to the tar and spent a long time using the oil cans out of our cycle kits to get the tar off our rears. One farmer was so pleased with the amount of fruit I picked, he wrote to my parents with a view to taking me to live with him. I was always a worker. During the first World War, there were mock battles in the field opposite Mr H.O.Lord’s place, Lilleybrook House, where the Misses Violet and Ruby Lord, Officers in the Red Cross, bandaged our sham wounds. As scouts we attended the Charlton Kings railway Station and lent a hand to the Red Cross each time the wounded boys from the Western Front arrived by train. Ambulances took them to the various temporary hospitals, Moorend Park, The Priory, and other buildings.

Shooting at the Rifle Range in the Workingmen’s Club, I won lst prize for two years running. Mrs Griffiths of the Oaklands, Battledown, who was known as the Scouts’ Fairy Godmother, always gave the prizes. We camped each year in two bell tents on her lawn. Each morning, it was home to breakfast, then on to Martyns to work.

Extract from Charlton Kings Local History Society Spring 1990 Volume 23 pages 40-41 Author: E J Fear

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