1940 – 1970

The Troop carried on as normal through out the war although numbers were obviously smaller as leaders were called up into the forces and the Cubs and Scouts were evacuated. The Scouts helped the war effort by doing things such as collecting paper and glass in a trek cart and collecting rose hips to make rose hip syrup. Following air raids they went round and helped to roll up telephone lines that had been knocked down by bomb blasts. One former Scout even remembers pretending to be an incendiary bomb by hiding and rattling a tin for the WRENs to try and find.

The older Scouts helped the Home Guard on field exercises and learnt things such as how to take cover and how to move quietly. One former Scout can remember dark goggles being worn to simulate working at night.

On Tuesday the 30th of September 1941, a major air raid took place over the Tynemouth borough causing 61 deaths and widespread damage mainly to the eastern half of North Shields and in particular to the railway station. A single high explosive bomb hit the Preston Colliery public air raid shelter between Regents Terrace and Queen Alexander Road killing two people. One of those killed was the air raid warden, George Greenacre, who was supposed to be off duty that night but had swapped shifts with a friend.

Following George’s death, the Cub Pack closed. George Pilgrim, the Scout Master, took over as the Group Scout Master, a job he was to carry on with for 32 years. In 1944 one of George’s two son’s, Leslie Greenacre moved on from being a Patrol Leader and began help at the Troop as an Assistant Scout Master.

On the 1st of January 1944, a new Rover Crew was established and George Pilgrim took on an extra role as the Rover Scout Leader, the Rover Scouts was the section Scouts moved up to when they were too old for the Troop and their activities made the name Ritson’s Own well known in Scout circles. Many of that Rover Crew went on to form the Ritson’s BP Guild of Old Scouts in 1960 to continue supporting Scouting.

In 1947 George Pilgrim took on another role when he became the Assistant District Commissioner (Scouts), he did this up until 1958.

In 1948 the Cub pack re started. Edgar Lambert was the Cub Master with Arthur Davis, a former Rover Scout, as his Assistant Cub Master. Arthur stayed with the Group until 1953 when he emigrated to America. The Troop also got two new Assistant Scout Masters this year when James R Rogers and H Wallace Rowley, a former Scout started to help.

In 1953 Charles S Hunter started as Assistant Cub Master. He was joined four years later by a new Cub Master, Kenneth Clark who stayed for a year and was then replaced in 1958 by George Banks.

Later in the year, Andrew Allen joined the Pack as the new Assistant Cub Master, outside of Scouting Andy went on to be the controller of programs for Tyne Tees Television.

In 1959 Robert W Robson took on the role of Scout Master, leaving George Pilgrim free to act as Group Scout Master alone. In March of that year, George Pilgrim and Bob Robson, by order of the council, had to demolish the Ambulance hut by hand so that the electricity board could extend Billy Mill sub-station onto the ground where the hut stood.

The Group was offered a piece of ground near Netherton Avenue, but for various reasons it was turned down, but now that the hut was gone the Group had to find somewhere else to go. The Scouts moved into a hut at Tynemouth Haven which had been used as an oil store by the army, who had been based in the priory during the war, while the Cubs moved into the Balkwell community hut, on the other side of the Coast Road.

Later in the year, Bernard Carr, known to everyone as Barney, joined the Group as the Senior Scout Master having moved house and leaving his old Group in Gateshead. The Senior Scouts was a replacement for the Rover Scout section. Barney worked for a building firm and managed to get materials to help maintain the old army hut, which was not in the best of conditions. It was in such a state, the door was locked at the end of the night by hammering six inch nails through the door frame, which where then prised out again at the start of the next meeting.

In November 1960, the 3rd Tynemouth (Ritson’s Own) BP Guild was formed. It was described as being “a gathering of old Scouts who wish to continue supporting their group in a role other than as a leader”. Our BP Guild ran until 1977 when the members voted to disband, but reformed immediately as the Ritson’s Guild. The Ritson’s Guild was made up of former leaders and parents connected with the Group, they still continue to support the Group as well as the District today.

On the 25th of October 1960 the Group Scout Leader, George Pilgrim, sent a letter to the Town Clerk of Tynemouth, asking about the group getting the use of a piece of Corporation land near the site of the original hut. Letters were sent back and forth for a number of years.

Meanwhile in 1962, two new Assistant Cub Leaders started with the Pack. David Mowbray and Thomas Barker both stayed with the Pack for three years. A year later, in 1963 the Scout troop got two new Assistant Scout Leaders. William Bogie joined the Troop and stayed for four years, while Barney Carr, the Senior Scout Master also started helping at the Scout Troop, he stayed a bit longer.

Later that year, a lease was signed for the land near the original hut, which was at the rear of Tynemouth Squash Club, but in 1967 it was changed and a new lease was signed for a piece of land at the side of it, the site we now occupy.

During 1964 there was quite a lot of activity in the Group. Audrey Nichol took over as the Cub Leader, while Erica Smith and Michael Pearson a former Scout, both started as Assistant Cub Leaders. The Cubs weren’t the only ones to get new leaders as James (Jim) Robertson started as an Assistant Scout Leader, followed a year later by Jeffery Peterson.

Since the lease was originally signed in 1963, fundraising had been going on pretty much all of the time. The idea was to raise enough money to build a new headquarters. Bob Robson’s sister Betty Mercer, decided to get a little caravan on the Spanish battery and began selling cups of tea and coffee and pies to holiday makers on a Sunday. She was helped by her husband Harry and a policeman called Sergeant Rowley, as well as some of the Scout’s parents. The Scouts used to help by going out along the beach trying to get customers. Another fund raising activity was weekly whist drives in the local YMCA, once again run in the main by Betty and Harry.

In 1968 Barney Carr took over from Bob Robson as the Scout Leader, Bob became an Assistant Leader in the Troop and also took on the job of District Scout Leader.

Building work had begun on the new headquarters and on the 17th of September 1969 the present headquarters was formally opened by the County Commissioner. It was purpose built from scratch by members of the Ritson’s Guild, Leaders and Scouts who were in the Troop at the time. As a reminder of the past, bricks from Preston Colliery were put on either side of the front door and a painting was put just inside the main entrance depicting St Luke’s Mission, the army hut next to Billy Mill, the colliery and the hut at the Haven.