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45th Renfrew & Inverclyde

The 45th Renfrewshire (13th Greenock) was first registered on 26th May 1920. It lapsed shortly afterwards and was re- registered on 18 February 1922. They met in the halls of Orangefield Baptist Church and took their scarf colours from the Church name.

Since those early days, thousands of boys have worn the famous Orange & Green neckerchiefs that made them proud to be members of the 45th Scouts

The first Scoutmaster was Mr John Smith. The Cubmaster was Mr Crawford Black, chairman of Thomas Black & Sons. In 1926 the Troop ceased to function however the Cubs continued. By this time the Cubmaster was William Collins helped by Assistant Cubmasters – Charles Main and James J Swan.
In October 1933, the Troop was restarted with the Cubs and Scouts meeting in the Murdieson Street Hut, The GSL was Jim Swan and the SL was Sandy MacKay.

The first Scout was William McKenzie who became a Patrol Leader then an Assistant Scoutmaster. Regretfully, William was killed in action in March 1945 while serving with the RAF in World War 2.

In 1935, Sandy Mackay resigned and Jim Swan took over as SL. By 1936, the Group was meeting in Robertson Street Scout Headquarters. The Wolf Cub and Scout Log Books for 1936 – 1937 have been preserved and are still available.

Camping was always an important activity. In 1936, the Troop made its first Summer Camp abroad. This was to Bruges in Belgium. It proved to be such a success that two years later, in 1939, a camp was held in Holland not long before the outbreak of World War 2

In April 1942, seventy Cubs and Scouts celebrated the group’s Twenty First birthday with a grand event in the Lady Alice School. Akela called the roll of boys on active service.

During the war, the Troop thrived on a multitude of activities, among them building air raid shelters and providing a messenger service to the Civil Defence.

42461Starting in 1946 and for many years, the Scouts held annual reunions for current and former members in the HQ on Boxing Night. It was remarkable how well these meetings were attended perhaps demonstrating that, like old soldiers, Boy Scouts never die– and don’t even fade away

Jim Swan’s Christian commitment was always an influence on the Troop. In 1949, the practice of attending Sunday Evening Services in different Churches began. It gave the Scouts an insight into the variation in styles of Worship. Following the Service, the Scouts returned to the Hut for supper. In 1965, a Service was held, appropriately enough, in Orangefield Baptist Church to celebrate the Troop’s 4,500 attendance of members at Evening Services.

Throughout the 1950’s, a strong Rover Crew was in existence. The Crew was led by David Chalmers who inspired by his love of camping and mountaineering took part in an Antarctic Expedition. He left on the 1st January 1956 and returned in September 1959. On his return, he set up the Clan Tent Company initially specialising in the manufacture of tents & sleeping bags.

1956 saw the start of Good Friday Services held at 7 o’clock in the morning. Initially, these Services were taken by Rev. Jim Runciman and upon his retirement by Rev Alec Chestnut. Both ministers, in turn were Chaplains to the Group. An early breakfast was laid on for the older boys going straight to work (in the shipyards etc.) after the Service Again these Services were popular for many years with a considerable number of old boys turning up.

During the 1950’s 60’s and 70’s the troop held Summer Camps in places such as Aberdeen, Blairgowrie, Ettrick Bay, Luce Bay, Arduaine, Glenfarg and Newtonmore. In 1957, the Troop attended the Jubilee Jamboree in Birmingham.

In 1959, the Troop celebrated Jim Swan’s 40 years of involvement by presenting him with a large photograph of himself. The photograph was signed by the Scouters and Scouts of the Troop. This photograph currently hangs in the District HQ in Finnart Street.

1965 saw the celebration of the 45th’s – 45th anniversary. A Dinner Dance was held in the Lorne for parents & friends with the Troop and Pack being in attendance for the early part of the evening.On behalf of the Parents, Mr Crawford Black presented new colours to the Troop. These were accepted by Jim Swan.

Everton Camp played an important part in scouting activities. The 45th site was well occupied over a long number of years. Sleeping out under the stars was always enjoyable. One feature of the site was a substantial Clachan built by Patrol Leader Ian Spence assisted by the boys. The Camp Skipper, Bertie Morrison, thought that the forest had been cleared to provide the timber.

In 1970, Jim Swan retired and fulfilled an ambition to carry out missionary work. For two years, he undertook voluntary work in the Cape Province, South Africa. Not surprisingly, he started a Scout Troop. This was assisted by a monetary donation from the 45th Troop.

On his return to Greenock, he kept a keen interest in local Scouting. After a short period, J.J. developed an illness and sadly died on 21st February 1975.

Following the long leadership of Jim Swan, succeeding Scout Leaders were Alex Buchanan, Willie Stewart, Ian Donaldson, Douglas Parks and Joe Caruthers.

The Troop’s Diamond Jubilee was marked in November 1980. former members clubbed together and David Chalmers presented a cheque. Also, a patrol tent was was gifted by the directors of Black & Edgington, this was presented by Ian Spence, grandson of John Smith, a founder member and first Scoutmaster of the Troop.

In the mid 1980’s, initially the Pack and then the Troop ceased to function.
Below are photographs of the Pack and Troop taken in 1970 at the time of the retirement of Jim Swan.

45th Renfrewshire Pack.jpg

45th Renfrewshire Troop.jpg

For more photos of the 45th, please click on to the Troop Log Book.

Please note that there are a selection of albums to view.


Comment from John Wilkie (nee McKenna)
Time February 16, 2007 at 8:06 pm

What about photos of the football winning team of 1976 when we beat the 80th at the Battery Park? We won 3:1 with goals from Mick McLoone, Billy Sellars and Stevie Rooney.

The photo has been found. It can be viewed in the Photo Gallery at the 45th Scout Sub Album

Comment from Pictures
Time December 7, 2008 at 9:55 am

I have found some pictures of the Scout Group pre world war 2. My fathers’ name was Charles Price, who was both a scout and a leader at a later stage. I am living in Corby now but still travel to Greenock where I still have family, and can bring them up if you would like to have copies.

Comment from johnstevens
Time June 22, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Thank you for the nice article…

Comment from Harry Lee
Time March 5, 2010 at 10:49 am

I was a member of the old 45th Cub pack that met in the hall on the corner of Robertson Street and Brisbane Street. I left when I was 12 years old to join the 75th down at the Old West Kirk.

Comment from Harry Lee
Time March 5, 2010 at 10:51 am

I forgot to mention in my last communication that our leaders at the 45th were John And Margaret Dick.

Comment from Jennifer Buchan
Time March 15, 2010 at 9:47 am

The 45th is now alive and kicking in the beautiful Quarrier\\\’s Village. We reformed as 45th Greenock and District (1st Quarrier\\\’s Village) in September 2008, starting with a Beaver Section and a Cub Section was added in October 2009. At present we have 30 Beaver Scouts and 15 Cubs, one third of whom are girls and the children represent 8 different primary schools in the area.

Comment from Andrew Chalmers
Time August 28, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Hello there – like the site, wondered have you got any photo’s of my Father – David Chalmers. If so that be great if you could let me know, or even put 1 up on this site.

I hope to raise enough Money for Chair (Bench) in Memory of my Dad in the Battery Park – opposite the old Clan Tent Company.


Andrew Chalmers

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