32nd Greenock & District
The 32nd Psalm: ‘I will instruct thee and teach thee, in the way which thou shall go’
The Group who have always had a Headquarters in Mearns Street, Greenock, first registered with Imperial Headquarters on 9th March 1915, under the command of the Rev J.D.McCulloch of the Mearns Street Congregational Church. The Troop started with 5 boys but did not grow to any great strength until a new leader in the form of William ‘Paw’ Shearer took over in 1917, while many young men were at war. Never at any time during the Great War was the Troop suspended.
In 1918, many Scouts completed War Service by assisting as Orderlies at the Military Hospital, Smithton (now Ravenscraig Hospital), which was used to treat the wounded from France. Others took part in Coastal Defence, known as ‘Submarine Watch’.
After the First War ended, the Troop expanded, establishing a campsite at Chrisswell Farm, near Inverkip. Everton Camp was also popular.
In 1922 a mothers committee was formed to support the troop and regular ‘concert parties’ were held in the Mearns Street Church to raise funds to purchase a ‘hame o’ their ain’. These concerts (later to be known as Gang Shows) peaked in 1930 when the week long variety show topped an audience of just over 1,000 !
In 1927, enough funds had be raised to build the old Headquarters at 27 Mearns St (now the site of the Kingdom Hall ). The building took exactly 1 year to the day to complete. On 23 March 1928 the H,Q was officially opened. Various Civic and Scouting leaders attended. The Troop proudly assembled outside their old Mearns St Congregational Church for a final photo shoot before entering their new premises, which would be their home for the next 52 years
In 1932, Cub Scouts were introduced under the able leadership of Miss Nessie Moggie, leader for many years
On 12th March 1936 the Group had it’s ‘coming of age’ Celebration for over 200 young people and parents and old boys, in the Lorne Tea Rooms, Westblackhall St, Greenock . The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Medal of Merit, for ‘outstanding services’ to Scouting to ‘Paw’ Shearer by County Commissioner Arthur Muir. Binoculars were presented by the boys. The story was covered that evening by the Greenock Telegraph
It was not long before WW 2 started, and between the war years, 22 members served in the forces. 3 were wounded, 3 were taken prisoner by the Japanese and 1 won the Croix de Guerre. Several Scouts back home in Greenock assisted with Civil Defence duties as they did 25 years earlier.
Assistant Scout Leader Malcolm McKenzie paid the Supreme sacrifice in Egypt in 1942.
On 28th February 1947 a Testimonial Dinner was held at H,Q in honour of ‘Paw’ Shearer who had by now been both Scout Master (SM) and Group Scout Master(GSM) for 30 years. 3 years later on 26th January 1950, the Grand old man of the 32nd, William Shearer died. A Shield was donated by the family to be used for the District Orienteering competition. It is still in use today.
James King, Ian Menzies and then David Gray led the group for many Years, following in the footsteps of Mr Shearer, both as SM and GSM till early 1981. The troop in that time achieved much, in the form of Shannon cup camping winners and regular mountain climbing and hill walking under the famous J.J. Swan ‘Kanutakit’
David’s wife Edith was Cub Scout Leader for most of that time. In the 1950’s and 60’s the troop had many successful summer camps in Ireland and the North of Scotland.
On Friday 15th October 1965, the group celebrated our Golden Jubilee with a dinner dance for 120 in the Tontine Hotel. New troop colours were presented that evening. The group continued to go from strength to strength.
During the 1970’s the troop was led by James Hardie, who died tragically, aged 26 years in a car crash on Boxing Day 1980, with assistant Leader George Webster, then aged 19 years. Jim Hardie was a great source of inspiration to many scouts, particularly to the author of this piece. In 1981 the Hardie/Webster Trophy for Camping was dedicated in memory of Jim and George, replacing the Shannon Cup, then in it’s 70th year.
John Wallace was Group Scout leader for almost 20 years following on from David Gray. John was instrumental in purchasing the ‘new’ H,Q at 21 Mearns St in 1981. John was presented with the Silver Acorn for outstanding services to Scouting in 1995.
During 1981, following the death of Jim Hardie, the troop had at least 2 leaders for a brief time before being taken over by David McCallum for the next 24 years. During that time the troop grew in great strength in numbers with the troop having a consistent annual membership of around 50 scouts. David received a Commendation from the Chief Scout in 1996 and; the Medal of Merit, for ‘outstanding services’ to Scouting in 2002. Many foreign summer camps were run between 1981 and 2000 and many Scouts were given the opportunity to attend world Jamboree from 1986 to the present day.
In 2003 a patrol led by P.L Mark Sinnamon,(now an Explorer Scout Leader with the Group) became Scottish Camping Champions. Never before had a group of lads from Greenock achieved such a goal.
In 2005 the group celebrated 90 Glorious years, with, amongst other events a visit to the groups present meeting place at St Patrick’s Primary by Depute Secretary of State for Scotland, and local MP David Cairns. Over 140 young people attended this evening organised and led by former Cub Leader and now GSL Carol McCallum. In that same year girls were admitted to the group, with David and Carol’s daughter Linzi being the first girl to join in the 90-year history of the group. Group membership now stands at around 150.
Click on the image below to enter the Photo Gallery. Having entered the Gallery, there is six albums to view.