Luton Scouts Archive
6th April 2016
The Ray Aldous Story
As an eleven year old in 1944 I joined what was known as the Boy Scouts becoming a member of the 7th Luton Troop. My father, who was a Sea Scout in his youth, soon became a fund raiser and stayed with the group for the rest of his life.
I became a Scout then a Senior Scout until at the age of 18 I was “called up“ for National Service and conscripted into the R.A.F. I was posted to the Suez Canal zone of Egypt where I was surprised to find `Scouts` who were the sons of Officers and Airmen.
I joined the 2nd Gt. Bitter Lake group as an assistant Scout Master putting over all the things I had learnt as a Scout. Scouting in Egypt was different to what I was used to. Hiking and other out-of-camp activities were restricted. But I managed to join the married families swimming party thanks to a member of the troop who stated, “He`s our Scout Master and he is teaching us to swim”.
There were 10 Groups in the British Scouts Egypt District scattered along the 100 miles of lakes and canal and we would travel to the neighbouring camps for joint activities.
I remember being invited to send Scouts to the coming-of-age jamboree held in Cyprus. I was also there as a member of the Rover crew. It was a seven day camp but there was a hiccup about our return. Apparently, our return travel had not been booked so we had to remain in Cyprus ‘on duty’ for another 12 days. We were attached to the Army barracks in Nicosa who looked after us providing us with food etc…
We remained at the campsite looking after ourselves. We kept ourselves busy and the Rover crew were tasked with erecting a very large marquee on a stretch of concrete a feat we accomplished with some difficulty. We then became waiters serving food and drinks for the afternoon. We were rewarded with a mighty feast.
In 1953 we held our summer camp 5,000 feet up in the Troodos mountains. It was wonderful. The boys had the opportunity to practice Scouting skills that they had never tried before such as mountaineering and abseiling.
To mark the coronation of the Queen there was a large parade held and yes my troop were again involved this time distributing the order of service to the NCO`s & Officers wives viewing the parade.
Again I was ordered to be part of the armed guard being tasked with organising a boat trip for the school children to a Royal Navy frigate moored in the lake.
My final activity was attending the Chief Scout`s rally at Ismalia. He was visiting Cyprus and came to see us in Egypt as part of his tour. A month after returning to the UK in 1954 I had the pleasure of meeting the Chief Scout again at the County camp in Ampthill.
I re-joined the 7th Luton (now renamed Sell`s Seventh) and continued my Scouting as Scout Master later ADC Scouts then settling into public relations a role I am still involved with today after 63 years of active service.
The pinnacle of my scouting career last year was being awarded the MBE by Her Majesty The Queen for services to Scouting, an honour I still find hard to believe one year on.