Scouts

Tommy was a member of the North Ormesby Methodist Scout Troop, also known as ‘The fighting 31st!’ He had all the gear – scout shirt, shorts, socks and even the scout hat. I was just starting out as a cub. Mam dyed one of my jerseys bottle green and sewed on the badges I had been awarded. I loved the cubs, even the church parade where we got to march in formation from the side street around the corner and up the church steps with the flags flying. I also went on a few weekend camps.

I remember one particular camp. Mam finished packing my kit, handed me the cost of the bus fare to Great Ayton and a few coppers to spend. The last item in was the pack of large blanket pins that would transform the grey army blanket into a sleeping bag.

Along with the other cubs I was off to join the scouts of the 31st North Ormesby Troop who had been camping at Pinchingthorpe for the previous three nights. The scouts usually arrived at the site before the cubs, to set up the camp. The scouts had pushed a Hetherington handcart holding all the camping equipment the 7 miles from North Ormesby to the camp site.

Hetherington was a local cabinetmaker at the bottom of ‘Shorty Bank’ who specialized in the manufacture of coffins. He also hired out an assortment of extension ladders and ‘ancarts’ (handcarts). Handcarts were ungainly two wheeled carts, with a large flat bed and a pair of handles, or shafts. Loads were required to be well balanced to prevent the handcart from tipping forward or being too heavy on the rear. They did a great business as most people living in Doggy1 (as North Ormesby was locally known) had no vehicle. Hand carts were used by tradesmen or for other heavy items needed to be moved.

Handcart

The cubs were allocated a large communal tent. My older brother Tommy was already at the camp when we arrived and he escorted us boys to our tent. That night, after a nourishing pannikin of stew, the troop went on a spotlight walk through the woods. A short distance into the trees we were confronted by an eerie sight. A dead rotting tree glowed fluorescent green in the dark. Some of the lads hacked off souvenirs of the spongy timber to take home.

Each new cub was initiated. This involved being held by hands and feet, then lowered on top of a prickly gorse bush. The trick to escape was to roll slowly off sideways.

Teresa Brewer – ‘Music Music Music’  1950
Put another nickel in
In the nickelodeon
All I want is loving you and
Music, music music

Next: Bobby

Previous: Ganging up

  1. https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/nunthorpe-naughty-north-ormesby-known-12276182