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History of 1st Fressingfield

1st Fressingfield was established in 1908 and has been active ever since. It was a very early Scout Group to be created after the movement originated in 1907. We are also one of the oldest surviving groups in the country.

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This page is an ongoing project. If you have any contributions (photographs, stories, memories) for this page, please contact scouts@ciarancarr.co.uk or get in touch through the website. Thank you!

Fressingfield Scouts are trying to contact anyone who was involved with Scouting in Fressingfield in the past. The Old Boys, and Girls, Network is an informal group with the simple aim of meeting up, reviving memories and catching up with old friends and colleagues. If you would like more information, please view the Word document below.
 


1908 – 1929

Foundations of Scouting:
As summarised in the Perthshire Advertiser in March 1908, ‘Scouting for Boys’ was based on General Baden-Powell’s experience of “the corps of boys who did valuable auxiliary work during the defence of Mafeking”. Scouting was never military-focused, and was often referred to as “Peace Scouting”. Scouting was intended to “render boys resourceful, reliable, brave, loyal, unselfish, helpful to others, thrifty, in fact men of the best type; and by developing their powers of observation and general usefulness to make each boy become that valuable person known as a ‘handy man'”. Scouting was free from sectarianism, politics and ‘snobbery’, with a freedom of religion and open to all, regardless of class or creed. Much of this remains true today, over 110 years later.

1908 (December): The earliest records of 1st Fressingfield are found in an entry for “R. Raven-Hart [of] Fressingfield Vicarage” receiving a warrant as Scoutmaster. It is dated December 14th 1908, and was issued in Harleston (the nearest market town). Whilst they did not record which troop the warrant was for, based on the Scoutmaster in question as well as the mentioning of Fressingfield Scouts as early as January 1909, it suggests that this relates to the establishment of 1st Fressingfield.
 


Our First Scoutmaster

Major Roland James Milleville Raven-Hart, OBE

Roland James Milleville was born in 1889 to parents William Roland Raven (born 1862, died 1919) and Edith Hester Marie O’Neil Fairbrother (born 1861, died 1898). His birthplace was Glenalla in County Donegal, Ireland.

His role in Scouting was the Scoutmaster of the Boy Scouts of Fressingfield, for which he established, as well as the District Organizing Secretary during 1908-1911. This latter role saw Raven-Hart travel to different areas to encourage the formation of additional Scout groups. An example of a talk is shown below at Leiston, and another occurred in Wrentham.

He is mentioned in the Headquarters Gazette as becoming an “Honorary Surgeon” in 1910, as well as being issued a Scoutmasters warrant in May of the same year (this may have been for his father, since R. Raven-Hart had been granted a warrant in December 1908).

Roland left Fressingfield Scouts around 1911 to pursue his military career, and was replaced by his father, William as Scoutmaster.

He attended London University serving in its Officers Training Corps under Lieutenant Colonel D.S. Capper before joining the Suffolk Regiment, becoming a signalling officer.
During the Great War 1914-1918, he served in the French Army and was later awarded an OBE (announced in June 1919) “For valuable services rendered in connection with military operations in Egypt”. Roland was also engaged in World War II where he is listed as one of 766 Argentinian volunteers who served with the Allies in World War II; he is described as a Pilot Officer RAFVR (Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve).

Appropriately, he enjoyed canoeing and published many books on the matter.

Roland James Milleville Raven-Hart died in 1971.


1909 (January): Secretary of Local and District Committees in the Scouting Headquarters Gazette, showing “R. R. Hart, Fressingfield” as the secretary for “Fressingfield and districts around”.
 


1909 (July): An article from the ‘East Anglian Daily Times’, dated July 5th 1909 features the Scoutmaster of Fressingfield (Mr. R. Raven-Hart) delivering a speech, resulting in a desire of “starting a body of Scouts [in Leiston]”. A summary of a similar extract can be found below, as well as the original article.


Growth of Youth Organisations Summary © Pip Wright. All rights reserved. With thanks (http://www.pipwright.com/Newspapers_in_Suffolk_1901_1914.htm)


Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).
 


1909 (November): Secretary of Local and District Committees in the Scouting Headquarters Gazette, showing “S. Carter” as the secretary for “Fressingfield”. Thereby showing that the Raven-Hart left this role during the year.
 


1909 (December): At the end of the first year, Fressingfield and Hoxne Boy Scouts joined for an award ceremony. Here, esteemed guests attended to present the First and Second Class Badges (amongst others). The badges were awarded for achieving the following:

Second Class Badge

  • Fulfil one month, after passing the “Tenderfoot Test”
  • Basic First Aid
  • Practise Semaphore or Morse Code
  • Walk 1/2 mile within 25 minutes
  • At a “Scout’s Pace” (running/walking), travel a mile in exactly 12 minutes
  • Build, light and cook over a campfire using 2 matches only
  • Manage money in a bank account
  • Know the sixteen points of a compass


First Class Badge

  • Swim 50 yards
  • Send and receive a message by Semaphore or Morse Code
  • Partake in a 14 mile expedition over two days, and write a report
  • Advanced First Aid
  • Cook and prepare wild game
  • Map skills (identify map symbols and take compass bearing)
  • Use an axe
  • Estimate distances, area and capacity to within 25% margin of error
  • Train another boy in the Tenderfoot Skills, so that he passes.

Taken from “Scout Tests and How to Pass Them”


Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).


1910 (August): The first known camp which took place since our formation occurred in the Summer of 1910. Organised by the Southwold Troop, the camp featured many competitive challenges between several Scouting parishes and troops. Unfortunately from the following report, it appears our contingent did not win any of the events!


Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).


Our Second Scoutmaster

Canon William Roland Raven
William Roland Raven was born in 1862 to parents John James Raven (born 1833, died 1906) and Fanny Harris (born 1835, died 1928) in St Mary’s Bungay, Suffolk. In 1889, he married Edith Hester Maria O’Neil Fairbrother (born 1861 in Rathmullen, Co. Donegal). They took her mother’s maiden name “Hart”, and affixed it to his surname, resulting in the Raven-Hart commonly seen. They had two children: Roland James Milleville Raven-Hart (an intrepid intelligence agent, pioneering radio engineer, adventurous canoeist and diligent translator of historical texts – and later OBE) and Hester Margaret Emily Raven-Hart, born in 1889 and 1890 respectively.

His role in Scouting was the Scoutmaster of the Boy Scouts of Fressingfield, a role which he took on after his son left the group to pursue military interests.

William read at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he became a Rev. Canon.

William Raven-Hart died on 20th November 1919 in Hartismere.


1911 (November): An appearance of the Fressingfield Boy Scouts was made in Harleston during Autumn 1911, where they displayed their signalling abilities. Also mentioned is both “Rev. W. R. Raven-Hart and his son”, confirming that both father and son were involved with Fressingfield Boy Scouts. Both were attending a meeting promoting the formation of Harleston Boy Scouts.


Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).


1912 (January): The Fressingfield Troop’s signalling abilities was further displayed two months later during an evening full of performances including a play, song renditions, violin solos, and dances. Patrol Leaders Etheridge and Saunders were key performers in the Friday event.


Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).


Fressingfield Scouts – c.1920s (Unknown)


1930 – 1949

1937 (July): Fressingfield Boy Scouts made another appearance at Harleston Sea Scouts, this time to help with their fundraising efforts. A boxing tournament was held where Stanley Mower and “Arty” Meadows were amongst Fressingfield’s representatives. The former Scout’s fight ended in a draw, with the latter Scout’s ending in defeat (due to the opponent’s “much longer reach”).


Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).


1950 – 1969

Uniform Changes:
In 1952, the beret was introduced as an alternative to the traditional “lemon-squeezer” style hat. By 1957, it had become the standard Boy Scout headwear. For Cubs, from 1968 the Wolf Cub Badge which was worn on the front of the cap was replaced with a gold fleur-de-lys.

1963: Members of 1st Fressingfield participated in the County Shield Competition where they were assessed on 12 categories throughout the course of the weekend. We came 21st out of 24 troops, with 313 points.


1964 (May): The following year, the Fressingfield Scout Troop travelled to Gilwell Park – the Scouting Headquarters – for a week-long camp. The camp warden remarks that we ran “a very good camp”. Leader signatures include the names Dr. Chase and Charlie Vincent.


1966 (April): All sections parading through the village for St. George’s Day. Boy Scouts from other parishes were also in attendance as can be identified with some of the colours and scarves. Eye Scout Leader, Richard (RAB) Parker can be seen in the 2nd picture down on the left (wearing glasses).



1967 – 1978: Stewart Cousins reflects on his time at 1st Fressingfield.


1970 – 1989

 
1973 (March): One of the two annual jumble sales held, as quoted in Stewart Cousins Memories “I’ve always adopted an economical method of running the troop. Apart from subs we held two jumble sales in Sancroft Hall each year which kept the group afloat.


1973 (June): Fressingfield Cubs winning the District Sports Event in Saxmundham for the first time, lead by GSL Charles Vincent.


1974 (November): An invite to the Chief Scout Award Presentation Ceremony, held at Goodwin Hall.


1974-1977: Camping pennants of participation at County Camping Competitions awarded to Fressingfield Scouts, over four consecutive years.


Fressingfield Scouts – 1976. Combined Scout Camp at Matlaske, lead by Stewart Cousins



1977: Fressingfield Scout Group became part of Leiston’s Scouting district (Suffolk Scouts) as boundaries are redrawn due to Eye and Fressingfield becoming the resulting members of Mid Suffolk District. Pictured are: GSL Fressingfield, Charlie Vincent; District Treasurer/Secretary, Andy Stratfold; GSL & SL of Eye and ADC Scouts Mid-Suffolk, Richard (RAB) Parker; ASL Eye, Michael Burton; SL Fressingfield, Stewart Cousins; ASL Fressingfield, Michael Knights; DC Mid-Suffolk and Leiston Districts, Jim Crowter.
 


1978 (March): Stewart Cousin, (SL 1967 to 1978)’s wedding. (Left) Fressingfield representatives at the service. (Right) Guard of Honour with Fressingfield one side and Saxmundham on the other as Stephanie was a Leader there along with her Father.


1978 (May): We organised a couple of camps this year, both at Horham Hall, the first took place during the summer half term Tuesday 30th May to Saturday 3rd June. There were 2 Patrols of 5 Scouts with 2 leaders and a helper, the weather was hot and sunny. The patrols did their own cooking on fires and were responsible for their Patrol area. Click below to read the full camp report.
 


 

 

Fressingfield Cubs – 1978. Cub weekend camp in a sand pit at Chillesford during the summer. GSL Arthur and CSL Ruth Brown organised, and Michael and Sharon Knights went to help.


 

Fressingfield Scouts – 1979. A camp at Overstrand, North Norfolk. On top of the hills above the village with a wood the back and sides. Scout Leader Trevor Andrews is pictured left front.



1979 (June): A joint Scouting and Guiding fundraising barbecue evening, raising £125 between them (approximately £500 in 2021). The Scout group ran side shows and “It’s a Knockout” contest.


1979: GSL Arthur Brown running his first camp as GSL with fathers and sons at Weybread.
 


Fressingfield Scouts at NorJam 1983, held at the Norfolk Showground. The Fressingfield Leaders are Brian Jones (right) and Graham Redelsperger. The Sea Scout Leader is believed to be Dave Benett from 1st Dickleburgh. The badge the Scouts are wearing, and more information can be found here.

Fressingfield Scouts – 198X. At the Fressingfield Village Fete, running a ducking stool with leaders Graham Redelsperger and Brian Jones.


1990 – 2005

Uniform Changes:
In 2002, a major uniform change was seen across all sections. The Beaver Scouts moved from grey sweatshirts to turquoise, the Cubs changed to dark green sweatshirts, whilst the Scouts and the newly formed Explorer sections wore button shirts, teal and beige in colour respectively.


2002 (November): At the close of 2002, 1st Fressingfield became part of the Southern Norfolk District, in line with Scouting boundaries changing. We remain part of Southern Norfolk District to this date.


2006 – Present

100 Years of Scouting:
2007 marked the Scouting Centenary, with the 21st World Scout Jamboree held in the United Kingdom. A torch was also lit at his grave in Kenya, 150 years after his birth, and was carried through 8 countries before arriving at Brownsea Island, UK. The flame continued until the 21st WSJ.

2006 (January) – Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne became Group Scout Leader of 1st Fressingfield.


Our Current GSL

Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne joined the group in 2006, and his Scouting biography can be seen below (Executive Committee Biography)

As Group Scout Leader I have had the exceptional pleasure of leading a great Scout Group at 1st Fressingfield, I also have responsibility for our active and renowned Explorer Scout Unit. I have been involved in scouting for around 15 years and have seen significant and sustainable growth in the Group. Previous experience includes Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme assessor, Norfolk Youth & Community worker and for almost 20 years as a Commissioned Officer with the TA&VR commanding Army Cadet Units. Professionally I am a qualified teacher, experienced Headteacher and currently the CEO of the Consortium Multi Academy Trust, operating nine schools across Suffolk and Norfolk.

In September 2019, Andrew was recognised for his “Outstanding Contribution to Volunteering”, commenting: “I am very grateful and honoured to receive this reward and publicly thank the dozens of other adult volunteers that support our excellent Scout Group.”

During Andrew’s current tenure, the group has grown significantly – both in terms of numbers, and opportunities available to the young people and volunteers alike.

1st Fressingfield is almost 7 times larger since Andrew joined in 2006.


c. 2009 (September) – Explorer Unit is opened up, providing Scouting to young people between the ages of 14-18.


2012 (February) – A second Scout Troop (Pioneers) was formed, offering a further 25 places to the group. Upon opening, GSL Andrew told the EDP: “The Pioneer Troop will take part in a range of activities and will provide a ‘back to basics’ style of scouting”. An additional Cub Pack and Beaver Colony have also since been opened as part of the group’s expansion.


2013 (April): 1st Fressingfield Explorer Unit travel to Kenya for their Explorer Belt Expedition. Similar expeditions ran in 2016 and 2019 (to date).



2014 (April): 1st Fressingfield Explorers are awarded the Queen Scout Award. Marc Aalders-Dunthorne, Callum Barber, Jordan Sach, Pav Procner and Lewis Craig were all awarded the top achievement for Explorers and Network Scouts.


2014 (May): 1st Fressingfield Explorer Unit travel to Iceland for their “Ice and Fire Expedition”. A similar expedition was run in 2017.


2015 (March) – Falklands War Hero Simon Weston gives a talk in aid of 1st Fressingfield, a year after kicking off a “New Headquarters” campaign, in an effort to raise £300,000.


2018 (June) – Yoxford and Peasenhall School Scouting Section Formed. Y&P School Scout Section, in partnership with the Consortium Multi-Academy Trust opened a satellite Beaver Colony and Cub Pack at Yoxford & Peasenhall Primary. These sections form part of the school curriculum and operate in school time (Friday afternoons), providing the opportunity to around 60 new members.


2018 (August) – 1st Fressingfield return to NORJAM for the first time in 30 years. 3 Leaders, 2 Explorer Young Leaders, and 14 Scouts spent the week at the Norfolk Showground. Our allocated sub-camp was the ‘60s and we all dressed up in ‘60s costume for the closing ceremony, read below for the full report…


2020 (March) – During the Covid-19 pandemic, 1st Fressingfield Scout Group never stopped. As a group, we switched to provide virtual scouting overnight. We launched the “Camp and Cook” mission, ran a very successful Virtual (V-Camp), engaged in the District’s ‘BOXJAM’ event, amongst many other engaging activities. During our annual open evening, UK Chief Commissioner Tim Kidd OBE, delivered a speech recognising the tremendous efforts by the leadership team.
 


Our New Headquarters!

More coming soon!


Acknowledgements

Information has been collated from a wide variety of sources and some of them are listed below for further reading. We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this page, with a special thanks to the following:

Sources
http://brookspeters.blogspot.com/2012/06/cruising-with-major.html
https://swling.com/blog/tag/roland-raven-hart/
https://irishwaterwayshistory.com/people/major-rowland-raven-hart-and-his-canoeing-in-ireland/

Scouting provides a second family to lots of young people. It’s a safe place where they can aspire and grow.'
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls