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59th Greenock & District

The 59th Scout Group, although existing since 1914, was registered with the Scout Association as the 59th Renfrewshire Group in 1923, to become one of the first open sponsored Groups in the town. Meetings were held in a wooden hut, built by the Scouts themselves, which stood where the McPherson Hall now stands. The Church was then known as Trinity, later St. Andrew’s, and now Ardgowan Parish.
We have been providing scouting from the same location ever since.

Not much is known about the Group’s history by the present leadership, so we have used what little nformation we have, or found, to give a flavour of the Group’s activities. We are grateful to Robert Platt, former Scout Leader, for supplying us with some background information and photographs. Most of what we do know centres round the Scout Troop, and Cubs and Beavers are only from recollection.

Most of the following is taken from Troop Log Books (1957-1970) which are on display at the Centenary Exhibition, and also Scout Notes and extracts from Gang Show Programmes. We are also grateful to Ian Halliday, Ian McCrorie and Robert Platt, for providing further input.

1930 – The Scoutmaster was Mr J. Turner and the Cubmistress was Miss I. Cameron

1934 – The Leader in Charge was Rev John McNaughton, minister of Trinity, and the
Cubmistress was Miss I. Cameron. There was also a Rover Crew run by
Mr T.D. Brown.

1948 – Scoutmaster – Mr D. Graham ; Cubmistress – Mr A. Skinner and
ACMs – Miss May McDougall and Miss Betty Nelson

1953 – Scoutmaster – Mr I. Halliday ; Cubmistress – Miss Elinor Colquhoun and
ACMs – Miss Eleanor McGregor and Miss Irene Stewart

1955 – The dedication of Cub Colours took place in Trinity Church on Sunday 30th
October, the address being given by Rev Arthur J. Allan, B.D.

scout pix 2.jpg1957 – GSM – Ian Halliday ; SM – Andrew Robb and ASM – Colin Ferguson ;
Cubmistress – Miss Mairi Cameron
Summer Camp was held at Bruchag Farm, by Kingarth, Bute
During the 1957/8 session, SM Robb moved to Warrington, so the Troop
operated for a period without a Scoutmaster.

1958 – GSM – Ian Halliday ; SM – John Nicol and ASMs – Ian Duncan and
Ian Jamieson ; Cubmistress – Miss Mairi Cameron
scout pix 1.jpgSummer Camp was again held at Bruchag Farm, by Kingarth, Bute.
Andrew Robb came along to assist at the second week, and brought with
him some members of the 3rd Warrington Scout Troop, to which he was
now attached.
Due to pressure of work all the current Patrol Leaders had to leave.
John Nicol volunteered to take on the role of Scoutmaster.

1959 – A Parent’s Night was held on 6th February.
A summer camp had been planned for Dolash Cairns, near Newton Stewart,
but it had to be cancelled at the last moment.
In September, John Nicol left Greenock for university, and GSM Ian
Halliday stepped in to run the Troop.
In November, Ian McCrorie became a Cadet Assistant Scoutmaster, having
become a Queen Scout.

1960 – Several weekend camps were held during the summer.
In October, ASM Ron Conway joined the Troop, having previously been
involved with the Troop in Inverkip.
A Parent’s Night was held in December, in the form of a Scouting Display.

1961 – ASM Geoff Bamber joined us from the 6th Renfrewshire / 1st Gourock Troop
No Summer Camp due to lack of leaders
Ian McCrorie was at some point appointed Scoutmaster.
On 6th October, it was confirmed that the Summer Camp to Denmark, which
had been discussed over the last year or so, would take place in the summer
of 1962.
On the night of 20th October, the flag was flown at half-mast, as a mark of
respect for Commander A.C. Nicol OBE, father of former Scoutmaster, John
Nicol, who died on 14th October.
At this time, there was a real drive to improve the number of badges won,
Something that had been lacking for a while.

1962 – The passing of the Group Chaplain was noted in the log on 19th January.
GSM Halliday issued information regarding the trip to Elsinore in Denmark,
recommending the use of a Group Passport (This is in the logbook)
A full report of this camp (incl pictures) is in the Log Book.
A Parent’s Night was held on 12th October at which Ian Halliday showed
slides of the trip.
By this date, David McQuat and Eric Kirkpatrick had become ASMs.
Rev R.K. McKechnie became Chaplain, and the Quest Emblem featured

1963 – Jim McEachran became an Assistant Scoutmaster
The Summer camp was to Laggendorain Farm on Iona.

1964 – In March, Ian Halliday retire from scouting, owing to pressure of work and
church business.
The Summer Camp was at Blairmore Farm.
During the summer Ian McCrorie decided to “retire” from scouting, and
Geoff Bamber took on the role of Scoutmaster, and Moray Coull became
an Assistant Scoutmaster.
On October, Alan Jeyes came from the 70th to be an Assistant Scoutmaster.
A Coffee Morning was held on Saturday 16th January, at which the District
Commissioner J J Swan presented Ian Halliday with a gift “an 18th Century
Map of Renfrewshire” for his services to Scouting.
Troop numbers declined, and joint activities with the 7th (Union Church)
whose numbers were also low, took place regularly

1965 – The summer camp was held at Templar’s Park, Aberdeen. It was a joint
camp with the 7th with both Geoff and John Allan (Skipper of the 7th)
running it. Moray rigged up a Camp Telephone System linking up all the tents.
In October, Moray Coull resigned as ASM, and moved to the 7th.
Over the winter months, work commenced on the building of a canoe in
Mr & Mrs Denholm’s attic.

1966 – The canoe frame was lowered from the attic, using sheer-legs and block
and tackle, to have its skin fitted.
On 2nd July, “Fred” as the canoe was named, was transported to the
RWSABC at the Esplanade where it was examined by Captain Pearson and
George Davidson who gave it their seal of approval. It was then taken for a
paddle around the moorings there.
This year’s Summer Camp, a joint one with the 7th, was held at Skelgill
Farm, near Keswick, in the Lake District.

In 1967, following the publication of the Advance Party Report, the title “master” was
replaced by “leader”.

172431967 – CSL – Miss Mairi Cameron (wife of Douglas Brown, Scout Leader of the 1st) ;
SL – Geoff Bamber and ASL – Stewart Smyth

John Allan, Scout Leader of the 7th, with whom we have joint meetings, appointed District Commissioner for Port Glasgow.
A joint camp between the 7th/59th and 2nd Kronborg Troop from Elsinore in Denmark took place at the Rob Roy Campsite, Balloch.

To the left above is a 1966 photograph of the Pack with Akela – Mhairi Cameron and Guide – Angela Bamber.

1969 – By January 1969, Sam Thomson has taken over as Scout Leader.
A Summer Camp took place at Co Wicklow in Ireland
By September, Chris Foster had joined as an Assistant Scout Leader.

1970 – In January, the death of Bertie Morrison, former Camp Skipper at Everton, is
reported. This may well have been the remains of his car, which was buried at Everton.

March or April – 8 Scouts took part in National Orienteering Competition at Gilwell Park. Although not winners, they had an enjoyable time.
In April’s Church Newsletter, Sam Thomson welcomes Mrs Jessie Crawford as the new Cub Scout Leader, and thanks Miss Jane Freer for acting as Akela while the vacancy existed.
Senior Patrol Leader Crawford Fisher became the Troop’s first recipient of the
Chief Scout’s Award, with more to follow shortly.
The 59th won the Drummond Vase, First Aid Competition.
In May, the church newsletter reports 20 Scouts and 14 Cubs.
The Summer Camp took place at Frylands Wood, Surrey.

1977 – CSL – Miss M. Conn ; SL – Brian Scott

1978 – CSL – Miss S. Meek ; SL – Brian Scott

1984 – CSL – Jim MacGilp ; SL – Campbell Collins

1986 – BSL – Carol Wainwright ; CSL – Jim MacGilp ; SL – Campbell Collins

1988 – BSL – Carol Wainwright ; CSL – Jim MacGilp ; ACSL – Elizabeth Pinkerton

1989 – BSL – Carol Wainwright ; CSL – Jim MacGilp ; ACSLs – Elizabeth Pinkerton
and Pamela Small

1990 – ACSL – Elizabeth Pinkerton, CSL – Jim MacGilp ; BSL – Miss Karen Erskine ;
and ACSL – Pamela Small ; SL – Robert Platt (not in picture)

1991 – 16th May – The Chief Scout’s Award was presented to Chris McGowan and Iain
Mackay by Mr Ian Wilson, Chief Executive of Inverclyde Council. In September,
they became the founding members of our Venture Unit. Paul Edgar was VSL.
At this time, Stewart Jesson was an ASL.
On the 25th of October, the cubs took up the challenge of flying their flag in an
Unusual place – Cloch Lighthouse, Gourock.

1992 – As Robert was a keen climber, he managed to instill his enthusiasm in a number
of members of the Troop. Many opportunities to share in the experience came their way.
In January the Troop tackled Bein Bhuide.
In February …. Buchaille Etive Mhor etc, etc…..

The cubs too were busy, this year tackling the environment, with a clean up of the beach at the Battery Park.

1994 – A Group Family Camp was held at Everton from 17th to 19th June.

On 28th September, Robert Platt was presented with the Medal of Merit, by the
Scottish Chief Commissioner, Dorothy Kinloch.

1995 – Two Venture Scouts, Donald McLaren and Christopher Bryceland attended the
World Scout Jamboree in The Netherlands.

1995 – GSL Ian Black tendered his resignation due to heavy Scouting commitments as
Area Commissioner.
In October the Troop held an expedition weekend to Glen Goe and Glen Shiel
On 11th November, the Troop visited the Coastguard Station at Navy Buildings.

1996 – Gordon Skelton and Nigel Martin were ASLs

1997 – In October, PLs David Jamieson and Nicholas McNellis, along with APL Brian
Murphy, were presented with the Chief Scout’s Award by Scottish Chief
Commissioner Andy Matthew, at a ceremony in Paisley. PL Martyn McCready
was unable to attend to receive his award.

1998 – Early in the year the cubs held a Burns Supper.

The leadership in the Cubs and Beavers changed, with Jim MacGilp moving to Helmsdale, Karen Erskine to Aberdeen and Pamela left due to other commitments.
BSL – Miss Claire McGarrity ; CSL – Mrs Elizabeth Pinkerton ;
SL – Robert Platt ; VSL – Andy McKechnie
On the weekend of 12th & 13th September, the Group held its 75th Anniversary
Camp at Everton.

1999 – In June, the Troop held a Father & Son camp at Everton.
Tracy Howe took on the Beavers, assisted by Jacqueline Templeton.

At some time in the late 90’s David Reid became an ASL.

By 2004, both Tracy and Jacqueline had left.

In 2005, Robert Platt decided to retire from the Group, which was a great loss. ADC (Scouts) Bernard McGuinness stepped in and ran the Troop, until June 2006, when Liz Pinkerton’s son William, a former 59th Beaver and Cub, and 70th Scout came back into scouting as our Scout Leader and Ronnie Mackay, the outgoing District Commissioner, offered to come in as GSL. For some time, Liz had been running the Beaver Colony, since Tracy left us, and at a BBQ at Lunderston Bay, a parent, Heather Morris said she
would have a go. She is now our Beaver Leader. As the Group now had 4 young people who were of Explorer Scout age, it became necessary for us to have a leader oversee them. Jonathon Webb, now an ASL, is undertaking this task. As our number is still small, seven, they meet with the North Face Unit (mainly 32nd), on a Wednesday night, and assist with the different sections of our Group on a Thursday night.

In February 2007, the Beavers and Cubs invited the “Zoo Man” to come along to their meeting and bring some of his friends – a snake, a duck, a rabbit, a rat, grasshoppers, mice, gerbils, and hamsters.

Below is photographs of the Cub Pack and Scout Troop taken in 1970.

Other photos will appear at a later date.

59th Renfrewshire Pack.jpg

59th Renfrewshire Troop.jpg


Comment from G.Bamber
Time March 18, 2008 at 7:55 pm

The 59th made Scouting history in Scotland by being the first land Scout Troop to be allowed to go to the Sea Scout Boating Centre at Lochgoilhead. This was thanks to my Dad’s Admiralty connections. Captain Pound, the founder of the Centre was surprised to find that land Scouts enjoyed messing about in boats. This must have been 1962 or 63. The rest is history as they say.

Comment from G.Bamber
Time March 21, 2008 at 9:56 pm

There is a camp missing from the list. I think the year after the Danes came here we went and camped in Denmark.

The camp at Balloch featured Moray Coull’s new improved telephone system with every tent having a switchable link to every other tent. this involved miles of coaxial cable.

During the period of cooperation with the, 7th John Allan and I planned to combine the Troops as the 7th/59th keeping both cub packs as they were and using the facilities of both churches. Unfortunately JJ Swan the DC would not agree.

I also had hopes in the early 60s of making the 59th into a Sea Scout Troop. Hence the canoe building. Fred was an acronymn standing for Fiftyninth’s Experiment (in) Divergency.

Comment from Robin Russell
Time September 19, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Was browsing this am and came across your site. Brought back memories from too long ago at Kilchattan Bay camp with Ian McCrorie, Robin Hunter and a host of others my memory does not remember. Robin and Ian where PL at that time and I was a seconder in the Curlew Patrol Allan Robb was the leader and Doc Halliday was the GSM. I have a couple of pix that may or may not be of interest not sure were to send them.
Ian had tried to teach me to sing to no avail.
Sometime we had a visitation from a NZ group of scouts who had been at the world jamboree and we were able to host them and show them some of the sights of Scotland. I wonder if anyone kept in contact?

Comment from Donald Adey
Time March 24, 2010 at 10:45 pm

I recall the joint activities with the 7th well. The summer camp to the Lake Distict had us travelling as England won the World Cup – much moaning on the bus 🙂 More importantly we missed the last Royal Review of the Fleet which was held on the Clyde during those weeks. Murray Coul did have an excellent and amusing telephone system (plus a great train set in his loft). The trip to Denmark saw us sitting on the boat train to Harwich and poor Geoff being told as they checked the steamer tickets

Comment from Simon Clegg
Time August 19, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I am trying to identify several old Scouting photos in an album. I have three that are labelled Week-end Camp at Auldhouse with 59th Glasgow, May 1961. Please can you find out for me who the 59th were with that week-end and then I will know the identity of the other Scout Troop members in the album? Thank you.
Simon Clegg. Ex 175.

Comment from John Robb
Time April 8, 2015 at 5:52 am

The first picture, Andrew Robb, is my dad who dies too young 25y years ago in his mid 50s. I haven’t seen this photo before and would love to get a copy of this and any others to show my mum in Glasgow, my brother in Edinburgh and my son, a cub scout in West Vancouver, Canada.

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