The 9th Finchley has been in existence at least three times. On all occasions they have been associated with St. Luke’s Church, Mountfield Road, Finchley N3.
It is known that when the 10th Finchley were registered in 1914 they were told that the next available number was 10. Numbers 1-8 were already in use and number 9 was reserved for a Group that was to open at St. Luke’s Church.
With a lack of old records there is no further mention of the Group until they appeared on the 1921 census. At that time there were 22 Scouts and one Scouter. A year later there were 26 Scouts and 2 Scouters; L H Carpenter being the Scoutmaster and H B Carpenter an Assistant.
In 1923 the number of Scouts had increased to 30 but H B Carpenter was no longer assisting; by 1924 the number of boys was down to 16. Shortly after then the Group closed and they do not appear on the next few census returns.
The next reference to the 9th Finchley appears at the start of 1929. In January the District Commissioner states that a new Group is starting and urgently needs leaders and a month later the application for registration is approved. During the same month warrants are approved for Mr H Pullen and Miss D Stevens as Scoutmaster and Assistant Cub Master respectively.
By September there were 26 Cubs with 2 leaders and 9 Scouts with 1 leader. Numbers held steady for a while but there were a couple of changes to the leaders: Miss D M Dix had become the Cub Master in December 1930 and D M Sommerville her assistant the following March. There is also a note in a District report that says the Cubs held a summer camp during 1930 at Dunwich in Suffolk.
Over the next couple of years the number of Cubs dropped dramatically and in 1933 they closed down. However, the Scout numbers held steady and the annual District report says they are making good general progress and despite not holding a summer camp, they had held several weekend ones.
Apart from census returns over the next three years, no other references have been found until they are mentioned in the programme for the official opening of the Camping Ground in 1936. Jointly with the 6th Finchley they perform an arena display called ‘Grand Opening of the Bath’. The Rev. G K Hackett, the vicar at St Luke’s is recorded as the Group Scoutmaster but it is not known when he took on that role.
The Troop had a very good spell over the next few years; during 1936 they gained 50 proficiency badges and held a summer camp in Lynton, Devon. During 1937 they held several weekend camps, a summer camp at Seaford and won the Cadogan Shield. By 1938 the number of Scouts had increased to more than 20 and the number of leaders to 3, including John Denyer as the Scoutmaster.
In April 1938 the Group changed the colour of their scarf from Green to Royal Blue; the reason is unknown. In June they took part in the Good Turn Rally with an arena display called ‘Just Hopping About’, and according to the District’s annual report they held a very successful concert, played several football matches, made a visit to RRS Discovery, and in addition to Easter and Whitsun camps held a number of patrol camps.
After the WWII started there is no further mention of the Group apart from a notice saying that John Denyer had been killed in 1943 while on active service with the RAF.
With no census returns being available again until 1943 it is not possible to say exactly when the Group closed.
It is not until December 1957 that the 9th Finchley is mentioned again. A note in the minutes book of the District Executive Committee states that there is the possibility of new Pack starting at St Luke’s, with ‘Mac’ Caithness expected to be the Cub Master. ‘Mac’ had been involved with a number of Groups in Finchley since he moved from Doncaster where he had been a Scout, and had always wanted to have a Pack of his own. He was considered to be an experienced Scouter and had the promise of a lady helper.
In the January of 1958 the Rev N Tuddenham, vicar at St Luke’s held a meeting for all interested parties and during February the District Executive agreed to the registration of the Group and confirmed that the colour of the scarf should be Royal Blue and Green, with Green being on the right.
The Pack met in the Church Halls and by the end of March there were 21 Cubs. In addition to ‘Mac’ there were 3 assistants: Beryl Neagle, Tony Shrimpton and Jean Caithness (‘Mac’s daughter).
The District AGM report stated “We welcome the renewal of Scouting activities at St Luke’s Church. A Cub Pack has been started with the very experienced ‘Mac’ Caithness as Cub Master, and the help and co-operation of the Vicar and Church Committee, we look forward to what we feel sure is going to be a very successful Group”.
More to follow.