Charles "Badger" Miles
MY TIME IN SCOUTING 1939 TO 1959
'Charlie' was born on the 10 March 1930 and in his 85th year contacted the Scout Heritage Team to discuss donating some Scout memorabilia to our Museum and Archives.
In the following 'Scouting biography' he says that his memory for dates, names and places are starting to fade a bit and asks to please forgive any oversights. (Introduction by the Editor)
My scouting life started in 1939 as a cub at 1st Bellville. The Scout Hall next to the river at the old library. (Today I believe it is called Elizabeth Park) It was next to the Girl Guide Hall. My Akela was Nat Collins and I do recall that I was a bit of a rebel because I did not like the hats. The turned up side was to me too girlie-fied. I did a short stint in Touwsriver during the war years and of which I do not remember much. On returning Bellville I was in Scouts. My Scoutmaster was Badger whose name I took when I became a Scouter. My Patrol Leader was Alistair Jobson to whom I eventually became second for a short time. I looked up to my Troop Leader who was Neville Koenig (No relation to Pickles Koenig of later years)
Though remaining a Scout I then had to do compulsory ACF (Active Citizen Force) army training where I finished my stint while doing a Officers course. I married young at 20 and became a ASM (Assistant Scoutmaster) to Pickles Koenig at 1st Bellville. My fellow ASM was Panther Roberts. He died very tragically in a mountain accident, Panther and I did many campfire stints together.
On moving to Constantia I joined up with Bob Nuns who was the District Commissioner for CP 10 in the North. Jock Handley was ADC to Bob. As ASM to Bob Fraser ( Another Bob) we went about very successfully with the development of 1st Bergvliet which has subsequently became a very strong group. A very strong Cub Pack was the reason for this.
I was then moved and given the task of starting the 1st Wittebome Troop which at its young stage requested to become a closed church Troop. Bob Nuns granted their wish whereupon I moved with some of the Scouts from the Plumstead/Constantia Groups. This lot grew very strongly under the excellent support I received from the Chairman George Booyce and his wife Ivy. Regretfully the 1st Wittebome troop failed as a Church Closed Group. The strong troops at that time were the three Wynberg Troops.
This was also the era of the then Gang Show. This is where chaps like Impie Bryant, Dudley Langman, Clarrie Muller and again Jock Hamdley came to the fore. Clarrie Muller was the Musical Director and subsequently became one of my ASMs. My younger brother who had by now become a Scout (Pat Miles) was one of the "Four Little Fellas" in the show. The show also had a very good tour.
Many joint camps took place with Constantia and Bellville in the Tokai Forest and Klein Steenberg area which I believe is now very built up and developed. Along the way I was made District Scout Master (DSM) in CP 10 under Bob Nuns. Though the Green and White plume in my hat was very nice, I still missed the hands on activity in actual scouting.
A request had come into Scout HQ to start a troop in Durbanville. It was then that Bob Nuns released me to start the Troop 1st Durbanville.
Again we were very fortunate in having the very strong support of an excellent Committee. The Chairman and his wife and Ted Clayton (The renowned springbok cyclist with the Binneman brothers) proved to be a very formidable committee.
The 1st Durbanville troop and pack first met in the garage as their scout den. It was situated in the garage of Mr Barnaby Brinkworth in Plein Street (just off Wellington Road.) With tremendous growth and support we moved ahead. Our D.C. for the area was Reg/Terry Hepworth. I was fortunate in managing to persuade Mr A. J. (Alf) McCarthy to donate a prefab building as the Groups very own Scout Hall. This was by McCarthy Contractors and it was erected in 1956 in Queen Street on a piece of land kindly given to the Group by the Durbanville Municipality. The father of one of the Scouts Mr John Marais, who was a building contractor, assisted with the erection and in particular the foundations and brickwork.
While I was there 1st Durbanville had a strong pack and troop. It consisted at the start of three patrols namely Buffaloes, Eagles, and Lions. It boasted at that time two Queen Scouts namely Michael Crooke and Pat Miles who later became joint Troop Leaders. There were many joint ventures with other troops in campfires, camps, hikes and other scouting activities and were good at fostering the scouting brotherhood.
1st Durbanville were very competitive and always performed well at the Gordon Shield, Rayner Trophy and in fact won the S.W.D. Shield. The former Gilcape in Eersteriver was a very popular hunting ground for successful ventures and camps and were awarded many camp certificates. My personal idol was 'Hawk Eye' Fred Dommisse the Cape Western Divisional Commissioner.
I was at that time the only Scouter who himself did all the 1st class journeys which he set. We had many breakfast hikes from Durbanville to a nearby destination, cooked breakfast and hiked back to Durbanville doing STA's on the way. Other achievements of 1st Durbanville is that it ran a very successful adaptation for handicapped scouts and fostered a very good relationship with the Voortrekkers as we also did Afrikaans for Afrikaans speaking scouts. We had many good going up ceremonies with the Leaping Wolf from cubs to scouts.
We ran a very effective Court of Honour which when necessary dealt with matters of the Troop. If disciplinary action was needed it would never take the form of being so severe as to ban the offender from meetings or any scouting activity. On the contrary it would take the form of a good deed to the aged such as visiting or mowing their lawns or Hospital visiting. It would be of such a nature not in any way affect their school work.
I was always assisted by a very good friend Tony Runkel who had been a scout and was now my ASM. He was very popular and the boys liked him very much.
Along the way I managed to do a Cub and a Scout "Prelim" and then eventually my Scout Wood Badge of which I am still very proud. In every respect I had the greatest appreciation of my wife Yvonne support and it was the saddest moment in my life when she passed away. And there my story ends.
Badger Charlie Miles.
Western Cape Scout Heritage 2015