We set out from Barry in what may have been a furniture van, as the back was high and enclosed. We were seated on old tea chests which were full of camp equipment. It was a shaky ride on the winding post war roads, and our only view. A few boys were sick but despite the long and weary ride we arrived safely.
It was my first camp. I was eleven and homesick as it was the first time I had been away from home. We slept eight in a khaki bell tent
which was ex-
1952 Jamboree Cymru -
Back Row L to R -
Middle Row L to R – Tony Hill, David Davies, John ReardonSmith, David Weddel, Clive Moore, Andrew Miles, Roger Forbes, Michael Banks, John Scott, Derek Males.
Front Row – Micky Richardson, David Reece, Keith Coumber, Bryan Marsh, Philip Fussell, Robin Grace, Bryan Luxton, Philip Walters
Patrols were issued with a hand axe to chop the firewood, which was not good idea as a number of boys cut and hacked themselves accidentally and had to be taken off to hospital to be stitched up. There was fierce competition between patrols for points which were awarded by the Jamboree Trading Centre, which were awarded for gadgets and much time was spent in making items such as plate racks which were useful on the campsite. Philip Walters was extremely keen on gaining points, and won a lot of points when he skinned cleaned and cooked a wild rabbit on a spit over a fire.
The camp was held in a hot July, and my mother who was heavily pregnant came the long way by bus to see me in camp on visiting day. We went for a picnic on the banks of a stony estuary and time passed too quickly. I was very dreamy and homesick and one morning I woke to find my Scout hat, jumper and trousers had been left out overnight on the tent roof and were soaking with the dew. The bully responsible for this jeered at me, and I said I had left them there myself but I knew differently. Still I survived the camp and some good friends and will always be thankful to the Senior Scouts like Lyndon Jones, Sam – John Wilkins, Malcolm Pratt and others who set a good example and always showed kindness to me.
I remember the Troop photograph shown being taken and still have my copy over half a century later.
I remember swapping scout badges with scouts from all over the UK. These were later sewn on my camp fire blanket which I would wrap around myself at our nightly camp fires for a sing song. .
One last memory I have of this camp is of walking into a glassy glade that hot summer just in time to see an older scout throw a stumpy log which hit and killed a rabbit outright. It was fascinating to see it skinned and roasted on a skewer over a log fire. That was a memorable experience.
My recollection of the rabbit incident was two men coming out of the woods, and into our campsite with two rabbits. They asked me if any of us would like them, and although I was very apprehensive I said yes.
The next morning with the help of my sheath knife and an axe, and the guidance of the senior scouts, I chopped off the feet with the axe, then I cut the rabbit skin underneath, and pulled back the fur and cut it off. I removed its innards. It was then put on a long stick and roasted over the embers of the fire. When it was cooked I took it to the ‘Trading Post’ where we were awarded points for our varying efforts, and I was given 180 points, which was an enormous number, and swung the camp competition to our Patrols way.
The skin was put out to dry, to make a fur cover for my sheath knife, but it started to stink, and I rest of the patrol made me bury it.
In Front of the Camp Gateway
Back row L to R – Lyndon Jones, Malcolm Pratt, Ted Phillips (Pilot) Ken Harris, Robin Fenton, Andrew Miles, Melvyn Chucas, David Giddings, John Scott, Viv Simpson, Andrew Miles, , Paul Gilbertson Jack Evans (Skipper) Andrew Wilkins, David Giddings, David Booth
Kneeling – Philip Walters, Robin Grace, Clive Moore, Roger Forbes , Philip Fussell, Michael Banks, Bryan Luxton.
Sitting – Keith Comber, Tony Hill, Bryan Marsh, Mickey Richardson , John ReardonSmith, David Weddel, David Davies
We were lucky in that the Troop had a large marquee where each evening the duty patrol or leaders would make a Dixie of coffee or soup. One evening all the leaders went off to a meeting, and the senior scouts were left in charge. As it got dark Robin Fenton started to light the paraffin lamp. This was similar to lighting a primus stove, with some mentholated spirit put in the trough, an set alight with a match, this would heat the nozzle and when pumped the paraffin would vaporise, and heat up the mantel, to provide the light. On this occasion the paraffin did not vaporise but shot out. Robin jumped and spilled the meths and paraffin all over him, and he was enveloped in flame. Some of the other seniors in the marquee acted as trained very quickly, and rolled him over and doused the flames. He was burned and had to be taken to the hospital, but his injuries were not too serious, and he was back in camp the following day. Incidentally it was ironic that his father was a fireman.
We were in a Sub-