1st Midsomer Norton Scout Group

Oct. 1933    First committee meeting of new Group held in the Den, a hut at the Standard Check Book Company at Station Road. A balance of £4-4s-11d. in current account. Building fund stood at £2-11s-8d., plus a loan from Mr. W. Harvey, Group chairman, of £40. Parents of Cubs were asked wherever possible to provide own uniform, but where impossible to make a contribution of six shillings towards cost.

Oct. 1934 First Garden Party at home of Mr. Edgar Heal raised £21-10s-9d

Oct. 1935    Mr. L. Shearn resigned as Scout Master, Group unable to find Rover Scout Leader. Decided to close Troop temporarily, with all Scouts to return badges

Oct. 1936 Reported that Troop had restarted with Mr. A. Paget Scout Master and Mr. H. Edwards Assistant Scout Master. The Cub Pack restarted under Mr. F. Pool and Mr. C. Miles and also a Rover Crew with Mr. L. Shearn as Leader.

Sept. 1937 The Scout Hut in Station Road was sold to Standard Check Book Co. for £130, £100 of which was 66 preference Shares in the Company. The Company also agreed to allow the Scouts free use of the hut for 5 years.

The War and Beyond 1937 - 1957

And so the Group continued until the start of the Second World War when, not unexpectedly, the attention of many adults involved with Scouting became diverted to more important matters. In October 1940 the military requisitioned the Scout Hall at Station Road and the Group met for a while at Edwards Chemist shop near the Parish Church.

The minutes of the Group meetings has just one entry for this period:

27th August 1945 — It was reported that Mr. Gwyther had run the Scout Troop single-handed for the past few years."

John Church, who in 2013 still helps with one of our Cub Packs, was a member of the Troop at the time and recalls the period.

In the first half of the 40's the Scoutmaster of the 1st Midsomer Norton was Eddy Gwyther. Both he and his wife, and their son Brian (also in the Troop) were keen cyclists. Mr. and Mrs. Gwyther rode a tandem despite the fact that Eddy only had one hand! Brian had learning difficulties with a speech impediment but could play the piano extremely well. The Gwyther's lived in Northmead Avenue, I believe they moved from London at the outbreak of war for Eddy to work at Purnells”.

“Scout meetings were held in the main hall of the High Street School. The Troop scarf was maroon.” ”At this time the Troop could boast of a Drum and Fife Band. I have no idea where the instruments came from, maybe Eddy brought them from London. I think Mrs. Gwyther could well have taught the scouts to play the flute”.” I well remember a Church Parade at Oakhill when the whole Troop cycled there complete with drums tied on their backs”. “The drums tended to drown the sound of the fife during the march to the church so the non-musicians in the Troop whistled to help out the flautists”!

“When I went to Norton Hill School 1 joined the 3rd Midsomer Norton. I believe Eddy returned to London at the end of the war and the 1st Midsomer Norton lapsed for a short while until it was restarted by Stan Bruce and then I rejoined the 1st Midsomer Norton Again”.'