Western Cape Scout Groups - Country Districts

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Please see Scout Groups in South Africa for a list of all the current Groups in the Western Cape

Scouting spread to South Africa only a few months after its birth in Britain in 1907. Initially several troops formed in and around the suburbs of the larger cities like Cape Town and the country towns were quick to follow. However, with transport and communications being what it was in these early days, all Troops beyond the City limits in the Cape, were classified as 'Country Troops' and formed their own District.

The Paarl troop was started in 1909 when a Mr. Swan – a Post Office Official – got together a group of boys to meet and camp on the banks of the Berg River. 1st Somerset West was also formed in 1909 by a few eager boys who formed a Patrol. They studied 'Scouting for Boys' until they reached First Class Standard, and then each boy 'adopted' a new recruit. Early documents show that Worcester was started in the same year. The 1st Mossel Bay Scouts were formed in 1910. Records also reveal there were even Troops in towns like Beaufort West, Bredarsdorp, Ceres, Caledon, Malmesbury, Oudtshoorn, Port Nolloth, Riversdale, Wellington and Villiersdorp.

Many of these groups that were once 'distant cousins' are still very active. New groups have been formed in towns that have shown economic growth and expansion, but sadly there are almost no Scouts in the smaller towns and villages.

Over the years boundaries have changed and in 2022 we had the following Districts:

  • Helderberg District that includes 1st Somerset West, 2nd Somerset West, 1st Strand,1st Gordons Bay, 1st Hermanus and 1st Stellenbosch
  • Outeniqua District that includes 1st Mossel Bay, 1st George, 1st Sedgefield, 1st Knysna and 1st Plettenberg Bay

The migratory population of many country towns meant that leaders would come and go resulting in these groups fading and then being resuscitated.

Alphabetical list

The following is an alphabetical list of the Country Groups, both past and present and a short history sourced from the very limited documentation in the Scout Archives.

Beaufort West (1940/50's) - The decade of the 1940’s was one of the high points for the Troop having attended the 1944 Country Rally in Worcester and the 1945 Jamborally in Stellenbosch. In 1946 the Jamborally was held in Oudtshoorn and their skills and enthusiasm were such that they were the winners Scoutcraft Trophy with Carl "Serpent" Rayner as the Chief Judge. Camp fee was £1.1s (R2.10) and highlights were a trip to the Cango Caves, meeting the Polish Scouts, a Swimming Gala and the Campfire. Later documentation mentions that in 1958 a new Local Association had been formed and in December of the following year 1st Beaufort West Scout Hall was opened and that they had about 25 Scouts. The Group remained active during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Caledon (1940's – 1960's) - Earliest records for this group come from the personal scrapbook of the Assistant Scoutmaster Mr Donovan Magennis. During the 1940’s and 1950’s the Group flourished, and attended the 1944 Country Rally in Worcester, the 1945 Jamborally in Stellenbosch and 1951 in Wilderness. But like many troops they had their ups and downs and it was recorded in September 1967 that the Troop closed. The Pack however seems to have carried on until 1970. Read more ...

Ceres (1940 – 1970's) - Although there is little documentation, there seems to have been a Troop active in the 1940's through to the 1970's. However, from a Scouting perspective, the town was well known after 1942 when the local Chemist and Scoutmaster, John Henry Fox 'Scorp' obtained permission from the Ceres Municipality for the Scouts to use the nearby Wit Els campsite. 'Scorp' Fox was the first warden, a position he held for 16 years until 1958.

Conville (George) (1980) - In the early 1980's a Scout Troop was formed in Conville in an effort to give young boys the opportunity to use their free time constructively. The reception of the group among the community was better than expected and it was reported that around120 boys had joined. Read more ...

George (1912 – Active) - The troop were amongst the first to be established in the country. The first meeting of the George Troop was held on 12 December 1912 and records from 1914 have Mr Edward Johnson as their Scoutmaster. Read more ...

Gordons Bay (1972 - Active) - The group was started on 1st September 1972 by their Group Scoutmaster Mr Eddie Glass, who held this position for over 10 years. The Cub Pack started in August 1973 and Mrs. Virginia de la Hunt was their first Pack Scouter. The group is located in in Somerset West. Read more ...

Hermanus (1933 - Active) - The Group appears to have had a stop/start existence, with the earliest records indicating that the Group was initially started on 1st March 1933. Current activities can be found on their Facebook Page

Hornlee (Knysna) (1980's) - In October 1980 the Cape Town based Field Commissioners Chris Hendricks and Martin Lewis travelled to Knysna and approached Mr James Hector, who had previously been a member of the movement, to form a Scout Troup in Hornlee. With the help of the local school principals and ministers a group was formed. Consequently, the investiture of the 1st Hornlee Scouts Troop took place on Saturday 4th April 1981 at the Hornlee Community Centre when twenty-one scouts and four cubs were invested. Michael Spies was invested as the first Scout Master and Mr James Hector as Group Scout Master. Glenda Bruinders and Olive Neldrit were the Pack Scouters in charge of the Cubs. The Regional Commissioner Mervyn Schmidt from George officiated. Sadly, the group didn't last very long.

Knysna (1952 – Active) - The 1st Knysna Sea Scouts were founded in 1952. Current activities can be found on their Facebook Page

Malmesbury (1914 - 1964) (1970/80) - The earliest reference of a Scout Troop, from records in the Scout archives, mentions that in February 1914 the Scoutmaster was Mr F Ninow. With an active committee the group grew to having both a Cub Pack and Rover Crew and seems to have been active until the mid-1960's. During the 1970's/80's a group was active in the suburb of Westbank. Read more ...

Mossel Bay (1910 – Active) - The 1st Mossel Bay Scouts was formed in 1910. Current activities can be found on their Facebook Page

Paarl (1909 – Active) - Scouting in Paarl dates back to 1909 when a Mr. Swan – a Post Office Official – got together a group of boys to meet and camp on the banks of the Berg Rive and this led to the formation the1st Paarl Troop. It was officially registered in February, 1910 which makes it one of the oldest troops in the country. Read more ...

Plettenberg Bay - Current activities can be found on their Facebook Page

Sedgefield - Current activities can be found on their Facebook Page

Somerset West

1st Somerset West (1909 – Active) - The Troop was formed in 1909 by a few eager boys who formed a Patrol. They studied 'Scouting for Boys' until they reached First Class Standard, and then each boy 'adopted' a new recruit. Read more ...

2nd Somerset West (1956 – Active) - On the 12th of October 1956, Mr. Carl Rayner, as Divisional Secretary, signed the papers for the 2nd Somerset West group to officially start. The original scout meeting place was at the All Saints Church Hall. 2nd Somerset West received the old 1st Somerset West scout scarf colours of Red and Yellow. Since then, they have moved to a Scout Hall on Drama Street which was officially opened on the 12th November 1971 by Mr. E. Glass, who was the District Commissioner at the time.

Strand - Current activities can be found on their Facebook Page

Stellenbosch - Current activities can be found on their Facebook Page

Villiersdorp (1962 - 1966) - The Troop was started in April 1962 with a Mr Smith as the Group Scout Master who travelled every Saturday morning from Cape Town to Villiersdorp to run the troop. A somewhat unique group from an administrative perspective in that the Scouts were mainly boarders at the De Villiers Graaf Primary School in Villiersdorp and the parents committee met in Cape Town. Running a troop at a boarding school meant that there was a 'migratory population' with boys often leaving at the year end to attend another school. Read more ...


Additional information from the Scout archives provides an insight into Scouting in the area.


Earliest records for this group come from the personal scrapbook of Mr Donovan Magennis. In February 1930 he came to work in Caledon and joined the local Troop of Scouts as their Assistant Scoutmaster. As a Rover Scout he had had lots of Scouting experience and his leadership was of great assistance. At the time the Scoutmaster was Mr C Moore and Cubmaster Miss Lotter.

Easter Camp, 1930

During the 1930 East week-end the 1st Troop of Caledon Boy Scouts went into camp at Diep River, on the farm of Mr. J. W. Metcalf, about eight miles from town. Twenty-three boys participated, under the charge of Scout Master Cyril Moore and Assistant Scout Master Don Magennis. The Scouts were lucky in having perfect weather until just before packing up to return home, when it began to rain very heavily. Everyone was very cheerful though and no one suffered any ill-effects from the wetting. The boys all thoroughly enjoyed the outing, which is part and parcel of their Scout training.

1st Caledon Scouts in 1930

Reveille sounded daily at 6.40 a.m. and physical exercise parade was at 7 a.m.; breakfast at 8 a.m.; kit and camp inspection at 10 a.m. with further duties till noon. Then followed lunch at 12.30 p.m., swimming parade at 3 p.m., tea at 4 p.m., games till 6 p.m. and supper at 6.30 p.m. This was followed by a camp-fire concert till 9.30 p.m. First Post was sounded at 10 p.m. and lights-out at 10.15 p.m.

The camp-fire concerts were a great success and the star performer was Madame Frederika (Scout Albertyn). Her ballet dances were wonderfully graceful and called for rounds of applause. The musical items provided by A. S. M. Magennis and Scout, D. Hitchcock were exceptionally good.

On Easter Sunday two short services were held, which were attended by all the boys.

The camp was a great success and it is hoped it is the forerunner of many more such enjoyable and healthy outings. If other lads but realised how much pleasure they were missing there would be crowds of new recruits for the Caledon Troop of Boy Scouts.

Scout Association formed and presentation to Mr. Don Magennis, 1932

1st Caledon Group c1930’s

In February 1932 a meeting of well-wishers of the Boy Scout movement was held, when it was decided to form a local association to promote the welfare of Scouting. After the local Scout Master had explained the objects of forming the association, a strong temporary committee was formed with instructions to call a public meeting of all interested.

After the meeting those present adjourned to the Scout Hall where a full parade was mustered to bid farewell to A.S.M. Don Magennis, who has been transferred to Paarl. Mr. C. Moore, the Scout Master, in presenting Mr. Magennis with a framed photograph of the troop, paid a tribute to his sterling qualities, and staid that scouting had progressed locally since he had become Assistant Scout Master. He then called on Miss Lotter (the Cub-mistress) to make the presentation.

Mr. Magennis suitably replied and said that he had 15 years of practical Scouting experience, and hoped to continue until he died. He would certainly join up at Paarl, and hoped he would be able to arrange joint camps.

Ack: Cape Times February 1932

Wolf Cub's Co-operation Rally, Caledon, 1936

The Town-Country Wolf Cub's Co-operation Rally which was held over the weekend 1 - 3 August in Caledon and proved to be a great success. Cub Packs from all over the Peninsula participated, the underlying idea of the event being to bring the Town and Country Cubs together.

On the Saturday evening a Campfire Concert was held when the youngsters staged some excellent turns. Quite a number of parents and friends were present and the various songs, music and play-acting were thoroughly enjoyed by all and heartily applauded. It is surprising to perceive how much talent these youngsters possess and how outstanding it is developed by means of this organisation the Cub Section of the Boy Scouts' Association. The Cub Commissioner, Mr. G. M. Peake ("Rama") was the Camp Chief and the 4th Rondebosch Boy Scouts acted as cooks.

On Sunday morning the Cubs attended divine service in the Dutch and English Churches and in the afternoon a "Cubs' Own" Service was held in the Caledon Park, when the Cubs renewed their Promise. The Promise was also repeated in Afrikaans.

On Monday, the Rally proper was held when the various Packs staged displays. It was opened by the Chief Commissioner, Mr. Cedric G. Withinshaw ("Woodpecker") who was accompanied by Commissioner A. E. Percy ("Grey Wolf").

Great praise is due to the Cubmaster of the 1st Caledon Scout Group, Miss M. Lotter ("Lupus") and her willing band of helpers for the excellent organisation, and also Mr. C. Abbot ("Wontolla") Cubmaster of the 4th Rondebosch Group who so ably assisted in the arrangements. The Cubs all remarked, Gee but there was lots of grub", an eloquent tribute.

Birthday card from Cubs
Birthday card from Scouts

In 1943, on the occasion of the 70th birthday of Dr Jan Dommisse, Cubs and Scouts from the Division sent him their best wishes.

The cards recorded the Group having 16 Cubs and 24 Scouts. Dr Dommisse was the Cape Western Divisional Commissioner from 1940 to 1955.

During the 1940’s and 1950’s the Group flourished, and attended the 1944 Country Rally in Worcester and the 1945 Jamborally in Stellenbosch and 1951 in Wilderness. But like many troops they had their ups and downs and it was recorded in September 1967 that the Troop closed. The Pack however seems to have carried on until 1970.

The name 1st Caledon was revived in 1988 in the Coloured suburb with Marge October as the Pack Scouter, but did not remain active for very long. There is also a record that in 1948 the 1st and 2nd coloured groups had 75 Cubs, Scout and Rovers

Group Scoutmaster
Timothy Bravington (1959)

Troop Scouters
Cyril Moore (SM 1930), Donovan Magennis (ASM 1930/32), Ronald Durston (ASM 1950), Theunis Du Toit (SM 1954), Robert Curle (ASM 1964)

Pack Scouters
Miss Lotter (PS 1930), Stephanie Muller (PS 1964), Richard Llewellyn (PS 1966), Jan Knos (PS 1970)


In the early 1980's a Scout Troop was formed in Conville in an effort to give young boys the opportunity to use their free time constructively. The reception of the group among the community was better than expected and it was reported that around 120 boys had joined. The parents had also set up a parent committee that would help raise funds.

At the inauguration of the 1st Conville Scout Group were District Commissioner, Mervyn Schmidt with his wife, Field Commissioners Charles Mehana, Chris Hendricks and Martin Lewis. From Knysna, the 1st Hornlee Troop was represented by Mr. James Hector and Mr. Hans Morgan and from Cape Town, Winston Adams the Area Secretary.

From the local newspaper cutting

A Scout Troop was formed in Conville in an effort to give young boys the opportunity to use their free time constructively. The reception of the club among the community was better than expected, 120 boys have already joined. The parents have also set up a parent committee that will help raise funds.

At a recent symposium organized by the Babs organization to discuss the gangs in the neighbourhoods, it was found that there were no extracurricular activities to which the boys and girls could belong. This suffering then gives rise to the formation of gangs that lead to all the violence in the neighbourhoods.

Representatives from as far as Dyselsdorp, Knysna, Mossel Bay, George and Pacaltsdorp came to a camp for the training of leaders in the Scout movement. The Scout Groups in Knysna, Dyselsdorp have already been established.


The first meeting of the George Troop was held on 12 December 1912. Records from 1914 have Mr Edward Andrew Johnson as their Scoutmaster and a brass plaque in the hall dated attests to this history. The troop therefore can be counted as being amongst the first to be established in the country. Since then, many hundreds of young Scouts have attended meetings in the Scout Hall. The Cubs were started or maybe restarted in April 1952.

The ground in Davidson Road on which the hall is built, had been used by the Scouts over the years and in 1957, Dr St Leger, a long-time resident of George who was very fond of children, bequeathed the grounds to the 1st George Boy Scouts.

The two stalwart Scoutmasters, who served faithfully for many years were Clay Whittal and Graham Savage and they kept the Scout movement alive in George.

From the local newspaper, the George News it was reported in 2012 that: -

Graham Savage and Clay Whittal spent decades with several generations of boys enjoying Scouting.

It was a jovial gathering of 1st George Scouts, their parents and former Scout members who in 2012 celebrated the 100th anniversary of the troop at their Scout Hall on Friday.

The leadership of two popular Scoutmasters was praised during the occasion.

The two stalwart Scoutmasters, who still serve faithfully today, were honoured for their indefatigable leadership. Clay Whittal (Badger) (77) and Graham Savage (Wolf) (63), have been at it for 34 and 27 years respectively.

Commenting on his involvement and that of Whittal, Savage said "We are just grateful that within our Scout group we were able to help to lay the basic building block of skills for later use."

Ken Gie, a former Scoutmaster said, "Every Friday evening, when most folk bolt home to rest after a hard week at the office, these gentlemen are down at the hall, supervising a bunch of boisterous boys, who learn, during their play time as well, important life skills not often found at home or school.

They organised camps which provided the opportunity for lads to fend for themselves in the bush (away from home comforts and nurturing mothers) and great friendships are formed while they realise the importance of their mates, when the odd hardship strikes. 1st George had, at the time, produced 12 Springbok Scouts, the highest award a young man can achieve during his Scouting career.

Gordons Bay

Pack and Troop in 1993

The group was started on 1st September 1972 by their Group Scoutmaster Mr Eddie Glass, who held this position for over 10 years. Initially the Scout Troop held their meetings in the Strand Girl Guide Hall in de Vos Street and then in July the following year, the Somerset West Methodist Church Hall. Mr. Ewen Brassey was the first Scout Master and Mr. Abey Willis the Assistant Scout Master. Towards the middle of 1973 the troop was 25 strong and in 1974 they launched its first boat "Sea Crest" a rowing boat at Gordons Bay harbour, which was donated by headquarters.

The Cub Pack started in August 1973 and had their first meeting in the Catholic Hall. Mrs. Virginia de la Hunt was the first Pack Scouter untill January 1979 and Mr. Garnet de la Hunt was the Assistant Pack Scouter. The Pack then used the hall of 1st Somerset West Group for a while and later the hall of the Somerset West Methodist Church. Towards the end of 1973 Mrs. Coleen Hunter joined as Assistant Pack Scouter, a role she held for the next 6 years. At the same time Mr. Ian Stockwell joined as Assistant Scout Master.

The Pack was very active participating in most of the District and Area events and just seven months later in March 1974 they held their first camp at Gilcape in Eerste River. The following year their progress and enthusiasm were acknowledge when the Pack received the 'Star Pack Award'.

At the start of 1976 Mr. Garnet de la Hunt became District Commissioner and for the next 8 years, Mrs. Marion Findlay became their Assistant Pack Scouter. Entering the Edward Shield in that year their skills were put to the test when they came 7th out of 53 teams.

In November 1976 the Group hired the Kiosk in the Nature Reserve from the Municipality for R10.00 per year and sold coffee, tea, cool drinks, ice-cream and chips. Staffed at the weekends by parents the gross profit at the end of the first year was R2000. This continued to be a major fund raiser until early 1984 when the braai places were taken away and business fell away.

Mr Neville Coxon, Assistant Divisional Commissioner for Sea Scouts, officially opened their new Scout Hall on the 26th February 1977 and the ceremony was attended by more than 50 parents and friends.

Neville Coxon opening the new Hall
New Hall Opening Parade

In May the Group's first Newsletter appeared and was aptly named 'The Bosun Call'. In 1979 the troop held its first Summer Camp, participated in Kontiki and achieved 10th place out of 50 Troops in the Gordon Shield Competition.

In late 1980 the yacht Flying Cloud was bought for R600 with trailer. It was launched and kept at the naval base at Gordons Bay and sailed regularly from there.

Mr. John Floyd "Jaguar" who was first Assistant Scoutmaster then Scoutmaster in 1981 became Group Scoutmaster for the next 5 years. In July Geoff Howard became the group's first of their Springbok Scouts and he then became Assistant Scoutmaster for one year.

The outdoor activities weren't all Sea Scout orientated as the Troop participated in competitions, camps, hiking including an '86 Father and Son hike on the Boland Trail. They did however combine these activities with a camping and sailing down the Breede River near Swellendam.

At the end of 1981 Virginia de la Hunt resigned and Marion Findley became Akela with Patty as the Assistant Pack Scouter. The Pack achieved 3rd place at the '83 Edward Shield. Marion was Akela for five years and resigned in 1986 and Patty had moved to Scotland. The Cubs then attended the 2nd Somerset West Pack meetings and 12 Cubs attended camp with them. Sadly, the Pack's numbers dwindled down to only 3 boys, however in 1987 upon the return from Scotland, Patty Flannagan reopened the pack in their own hall and numbers soon built up again.

Childrens Parade with Khaki and Navy shirts

The investiture of 15 boys was also the ideal opportunity to change to the all-navy uniform. The eagerness was reflected in the Pack being awarded the Gold Star for 1988. In November the pack took part in the local Childrens Parade on their bicycles.

In July '89 the Pack won the District Cross County and in November they camped at Gordon's in Glencairn. By the middle of 1990 there were 40 Cubs and a waiting list. Pack activities were many; Kontiki to visit the Scouts, Edwards Shield Competition, Tricelle camp in Stellenbosch and a hike up Paarl Rock to mention a few. Sadly, at the end on 1991, Patty resigned after 11 years of dedicated service to the Pack.

In 1989 Leo Grutters became Scoutmaster and he built up the troop from 7 to 15 boys. With most of the Area's Sea Scout activities taking place at Sandvlei, the group started building their own boat shed at the base which was completed in March 1990. When Leo resigned in August '91 both Craig Stephenson and Peter Drawton stepped up and kept the enthusiasm going.

Kontiki was probably the single most important fixture on the Troop's calendar and the 1993 preparations were indeed hectic when the Troop Scouter Peter Drayton had to step down due to work commitments. This left Cobus Diener and Andy Rumbelow scurrying around, but they coped admirably roping in parents to ensure a very successful event.

Patty Grutters, Nora Grose and Kathy Diener

Pack Scouters during 1993 were Nora Grose (Akela), and assistants Patty Grutters and Kathy Diener. They would take the Cubs to visit all the excitement of Kontiki and 'whet their appetite' for future Scouting activities.

With the Helderberg Nature Reserve in their 'backyard', many of the local groups made use of the site with Troop, Pack and District events being held there. The 1st Gordons Bay Scouts and Cubs also made good use of the site for many and varied activities.

All the hard work put in by the Committee, Troop and Pack was acknowledged when they were awarded the Group Gold Star. Putting the troop up to a challenge of note, was when they entered the tough 1994 Rayner Trophy. Much experience was gained and they came 19th out of 26 teams. At the end of the year 4 Scouts participated in the tough Senior Scout Adventure in the Cederberg. Towards the end of '96 Cobus Diener took up the reins of Scoutmaster. The first and still running in 2023, annual 'Bubbling Billy' District competition was held in September 1997.

Like many groups they had their ups and downs and with Scouters coming and going so too did the Cubs and Scouts numbers fluctuate. During 2002 with Cubs numbers down and with no Akela the Pack was now meeting with the 2nd Somerset West pack. Alice Mennen who after a 13-year break, restarted cubs in their own hall with just 6 boys and 6 Girls. The Scouts too weren’t much better with 6 Boys and 4 Girls.

By the middle of 2005 progress was back on track with 20 Scouts with Phil Manning as Group Scoutmaster and 20 Cubs with Louise Spagnuolo as Akela. The following year Roger Smith became Troop Scouter with help from Nick Britz and Michelle Hatting. Craig was now running the troop. The annual Cub Fund day was held at the Monte vista Scout hall and 25 Gordons Bay Cubs attend. The years activities ended with 4 Scouts and Michelle attending the Senior Scout Adventure in the Cederberg.

At the beginning of 2013 the Cubs were meeting with 1st Somerset West, but at the start of the 2nd term they were back in their own hall and by year end the pack had earned a Silver Star Award. Scouts were now under the leadership of Mr. D Putterill.

Nearby Radloff Park was often used for various activities and well suited for compass and mapping training.

Much of this early account of the group's history is based on old paper-based record keeping and printed photo logbooks etc. in our archives. As this type medium has generally diminished, much of the group's later history can be found on various social media platforms. One of these is Facebook starting with May 2014 through to February 2022, and also on Instagram.

Springbok Scouts

1948* Wood John
1981 Howard Geoffrey
1990 Mandy Michael
1991 Mitchell Bruce
1996 Phyfer Murray
1997 Davidson Murray Brian
1999 Denton Matthew Wayne
2001 Diener Nicholas
2003 Burchell-Burger Craig
2016 Durie Joshua Ian
2021 Putterill Caitlin Jean
  • King Scout

Group Scouter / Scouter in Charge
Eddie Glass (1972/81), Mr. John Floyd (1981/83), Lee Espinosa (1986/90), Leo Grutters (act 1990) Nora Grose (1993), Cobus Diener (2000)

Troop Scouter
Ewen "Taps" Brassey (1972/3), Harold Clingham (1973/4), John Campbell-Codner (1978), John Corny (1978/82), John Floyd (1982), Ken Piercey (1985/87), Brian Lihou (1987), Leo Grutters (1990/91), Peter Drayton (1991), Andy Rumbelow (1993), Cobus (Wrasse) Diener (1995), Mark Hoffman (2000), Roger Smith (2006), D Putterill (2013)

Pack Scouter
Virginia de la Hunt (1973/81), Marion Findley (1982/86), Patty Flannagan (1986/91), Nora Grose (1992/3), Kathrine Diener (1995/2000), Alice Mennen (2002), Louise Spagnuolo (2005\7), Ronell Wiid (2007/15)

Kontiki Competition in the 1990's


The earliest reference of a Scout Troop, from records in the Scout archives, mentions that in February 1914 the Scoutmaster was Mr F Ninow and that he was followed by a Mr B Martin. A Malmesbury newspaper cutting dated Saturday 25 October 1919 reports that:-

The first Annual General Meeting of the Malmesbury Local Association took place on Wednesday in the Town Hall, the mayor Mr PG Nelson presiding supported by Mr Roberts the resident magistrate. The retiring committee presented a report which showed the movement had made progress there being 60 Scouts and 16 Cubs on strength.

Mr Schorn was reluctantly compelled, owing to pressure of public business, to resign as Scoutmaster, the meeting electing Mr Henderson to the position with Messrs Pretorius and Webster to assist. Mr Nelson was re-elected President, Mr Roberts as vice president and Messrs Corder and Bradford as Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Both of these gentlemen have done exceptionally good work during their period of office, and are still keen to do much more.

Mr Wathes, the organising secretary, present by invitation, gave a short address on the principles of the movement congratulating the association on the progress they were making. Every boy in Malmesbury he said could be either a Scout or Cub. On Thursday afternoon there was an inspection of the Wolf Cub Pack and in the evening the 56 Scouts will be on Parade.

Malmesbury Cubs 1943
Malmesbury Scouts 1943

A minute book in the archives gives some indication of the Group's activities and starts with a committee meeting that was held on 27th July 1939 where it was mentioned that the Troop had entered the Gordon Shield. In 1943 on the occasion of the 70th birthday of Dr Jan Dommisse the Divisional Commissioner or Hawkeye as he was known, most of the groups in the Cape Western Division sent him a birthday cards. Malmesbury sent one from the Scouts listing the Scouters, Scouts and a photo, and the Cubs did likewise listing the Pack Scouters, Cubs and a photo. A magnificent album of the many cards is in the possession of his descendants.

In January 1944 there were 25 Scouts and they camped on Mr Hewett's nearby farm for 10 days. A basic Den was built on the farm Highlands and they also camped at Worcester. A 'Roll of Honour' revealed that 22 ex-Scout were on active service in the Second World War. In early 1946 the owners of the hall they had been using changed and they were turned out. Bokomo then gave them the use of a shed of theirs, but this was not always available.

The troop regularly attended the annual Country Jamborally that was primarily designed for the Scouts from beyond Cape Town's suburbs. For many years the Camp Chief was Frank "Kudu" Quinn and the Chief Judge Carl "Serpent" Rayner. The Troops that participated included, Villiersdorp, Beaufort West, Caledon, Strand, Worcester, Stellenbosch, Wellington, Paarl and Malmesbury. In 1947/48/51, 1st Malmesbury won the Country Athletics Trophy.

In the mid 1950's minutes indicate that the Rovers were quite active and that the Scouts had free use of a Den in Riebeek Street thanks to a Mr G A Bonnin, the committee secretary and treasurer. At the beginning of 1958 they started using the disused Apostolic Church Hall in Loedolf Street, which was then offered to the Scout to buy. A joint Scout and Guide committee was started and in 1959 they bought the hall.

In early 1964 an attempt was made to re-establish the Scouts when the Scoutmaster from Paarl came over for a few meetings and the Malmesbury Scouts travelled to Paarl for a few meetings, but transport was a problem and this too petered out. The Annual General Meeting of November 1964 was the last entry in the minute book and possibly the group closed down soon afterwards.

Although very little information is on record, there was a group in the suburb of Westbank approximately from the middle 1970's to late 1980's Christy Franse and Henry Carlse were their GSM's and Rachel Leng, Rhoda Brink and Margaret Lucas their Pack Scouters.

Group Scoutmasters
Mr Vernon Penberthy (1931/49), Mr Cedric Napper (1949/52) and (1959)

Mr F Ninow (1914), Mr B Martin, Mr Schorn (1919), Mr Henderson (1920), Mr Cedric Napper (1936/49), Mr S W Walters (1949), Willis Watney (1957/58), Mr A Duggen (1959/61), Mr Petzer (1962)

James Eagle (1938/40), Mr J Donaldson (1940/46), Miss Smuts (1946), Mrs Joyce Joubert (1959/63), Mrs du Plessis (1964)

Rover Scout Leader
Mr Cedric Napper (1952/59)

Ack: Minute book of 1st Malmesbury Committee


Scouting in Paarl dates back to 1909 when a Mr. Swan – a Post Office Official – got together a group of boys to meet and camp on the banks of the Berg River on the Frater Estate. Scout Bull Frater remembers camping on his father’s farm with a group of boys and this led to the formation the1st Paarl Troop. It was officially registered in February, 1910 which makes it one of the oldest troops in the country. One of the first ever combined Scout camps in South Africa was held on the Frater Estate premises near the wool washery and the Troops participating were – 1st and 2nd Claremont, 1st Paarl, 1st Observatory and 1st Simonstown.

In 1910 Mr. A.E. Percy succeeded Mr. Swan as Scoutmaster. Another early Scoutmaster was Mr. Wemer Decker, who first joined the troop in 1910 as a Scout and went on to attained the Kings Scout Badge. After leaving the troop he became Scoutmaster in 1913 taking over from Mr. Percy and later became Group Scoutmaster. Much of the group's history is recorded in a scrapbook of his filled with newspaper cuttings and photographs. There were trips to Robben Island, camping in the mountains and annual concerts in the Town Hall.

Like many Troops, they had their ups and downs and in 1918 the troop strength fallen away and was down to a few boys. When the revival took place is not known but in 1941 Mr. Decker was back as Scoutmaster succeeding a Mr. Hahn. Records indicate that in 1921 a Scout Hall was built in Hof Street and the Foundation Stone laid by the then Mayor of Paarl Councillor F. G. Roux, today the Hall can be found at 193 Bonaparte Ave. The May 1932 records showed that the troop had again dwindled down to only seven active scouts, but this soon changed and by September Scoutmaster Donovan Magennis reported that there were now 16 Cubs, 33 Scouts and 3 Rovers.

During the war years of 1940/5 the troop remained active participating in Divisional events like the Long Street Swimming Gala and Gordon Shield. Camping, both Patrol and Troop was popular at the many sites alongside the Berg River. Campfires and hikes on Paarl Mountain were often with the Girl Guides. A number of the Scouts passed the wartime National Service Badge. During this period their Scoutmaster was W Decker. The Cubs too were active being mentioned for a number of acts in the May 1941 variety concert in the Town Hall.

In February 1960 the Paarl Post reported that Don Magennis was to revive the Paarl Scouts, but there was no indication if the Troop had ceased to function. The revival certainly had excellent results and towards the end of 1961 there were 72 Scouts and Cubs.


The Troop was started in April 1962 with a Mr Smith as the Group Scout Master who travelled every Saturday morning from Cape Town to Villiersdorp to run the troop. It was a trip of approximately 100 kilometres and in those days, it probably took around 2 hours one way. A somewhat unique group from an administrative perspective in that the Scouts were mainly boarders at the De Villiers Graaf Primary School in Villiersdorp and the parents committee met in Cape Town. Their flag, which in those days came all the way from England, was presented to the troop on Saturday 17 November and the following Sunday a very successful Church Parade was held at the English Church and was attended by several parents.

The group had a good relationship with the 2nd Claremont Scouts in that the committee held many meetings their Scout Hall and their first camp was a joint effort between the two troops. The week-long camp was held in Kommetjie and was a great success with 15 Villiersdorp boys attending. A campsite within walking distance of the school, known as "Rooi Pad' was made available to both them and 2nd Claremont by a local famer a Mr Le Roux. It was an ideal setting with a stream running through it.

The boys were soon experiencing true Scouting, with a number of hikes, some being overnight and logbooks of the trips being produced. In addition to the normal badge work, a Senior Scout from Claremont examined of the boys for tests and was a great help with the advancement and badge passing. To keep the parents informed of the troops' progress and activities, the Group Scout Master published a quarterly magazine called the Protea.

At the October 1963 Annual General Meeting, the Group Scout Master reported that he was unable to find a local man to run the Troop as Scout Master or even an Assistant Scout Master. This however did not deter the Troop from holding their annual Summer Camp and 19 of their Scouts teamed up with 15 from 1st Hermanus to have a most enjoyable camp in Hermanus. Many tests were passed including 5 boys that completed the one-mile swim.

First quarter 1964 saw 28 very keen Scouts in the Troop and by May a Cub Pack with 12 boys had been formed under the leadership of Mrs van der Velde the Akela of 6th Rondebosch Pack. Also, in May a Scouts Own Service was held on the farm 'Radyn' supported by parents and the Worcester Scouts.

The 1966 Summer Camp was again held in Hermanus, and this time only 5 Scouts from Villiersdorp joined up with 5 Scouts from 4th Observatory. Sadly, from the committee minutes for June it was reported that the Troop was now down to only 8 boys and the Cubs even less. Consequently, it was considered no longer worthwhile going all the way to Villiersdorp and the group closed down. Running a troop at a boarding school meant that there was a 'migratory population' with boys often leaving at the year end to attend another school.

1st Somerset West

This early record of Group’s history is sourced from very limited documentation in the Scout Archives. The ScoutWiki is however all about collaboration, so please feel free to add to this group’s rich Scouting history.

The Troop was founded in 1907 by a few eager boys who formed a Patrol. They studied Baden-Powell's book "Scouting for Boys" until they reached First Class Standard, and then each boy 'adopted' a new recruit. From such small beginnings the Troop flourished and grew in numbers and in Scouting knowledge and skill.

In 1950 the 1st Somerset West Group amalgamated with the Van der Stel Troop. Previously the official colours of the scarf had been yellow and red, but with this amalgamation the Group adopted the Van der Stel colours of a grey scarf with a dark green border, and initially retained the red and yellow in the form of a small patch at the apex of the scarf. By 1956 the Troop and Pack had grown to such an extent that the 2nd Somerset West Group was founded. They took the original old 1st Somerset West colours of yellow and red and the 1st retained their grey and green scarf. In the 1970’s there was also a 3rd Somerset West.

A name synonymous with the early years of the group is Pat Sleigh. He joined Cubs in 1923 went up to Scouts in 1926 and became a Rover in 1934. He was their Scoutmaster from 1935 to 1940 and then was on ‘Active Service’ during World War 2. After returning from the war in 1946 he again became their Scoutmaster and held this role until 1951. Pat then became their Group Scoutmaster for nearly 10 years until 1960 and the following year he was appointed Assistant District Commissioner. Pat was awarded the Medal of Merit in 1980 and the 60-year Bar to this Long Service Medal in 1984.

In 1940 Dr Jan Dommisse (Hawkeye) took charge of the Cape West Division, and for his 70th Birthday in 1943 many groups including 1st Somerset West Cubs, Scouts and Committee sent him their best wishes. During the period 1941/45 the group was skilfully managed by Mr J Grewe who was both Scoutmaster and acting Cubmaster.

In the March 1952 edition of the group’s magazine, they recorded the opening of their new Scout Hall near the railway station where it remained their home for the next 20 years. At the 1971 Annual General Meeting it was announced that the Railways were expropriating a large part of the Scout Hall grounds and that the group had been able to lease a large piece of land in Lourensford Road where a new Scout Hall will be built.

Errol Kotze
Errol Kotze

Their Scoutmaster for much of the 1970’s was Errol Kotze. He built the 1st Somerset West into one of the top Troops in the Western Cape, winning several competitions including the Rayner Trophy, Gordon Shield and Tonkin Trophy. His enthusiasm was unbounded with the Troop enjoying several adventure camps planned and organised by Errol and his team of Assistants who were all infected by his leadership skills and imagination. He acquired a small bus and organised trips for Senior Scouts every year. These included trips to game parks, Fish River Canyon and Zululand. Errol gave the boys fun and adventure and at the same time encouraging them to grow mentally, physically and spiritually. He didn't tell them what not to do, but rather as Scoutmaster opened a world of good and right choices for them to decide and hopefully achieve their God-given potential.

Scout Hall Relocated

At the 1972 AGM the Chairman reported that the main effort of the new committee has been moving the old Scout Hall to our new premises on Lourensford Road which we are leasing from the Somerset West Municipality. This move occurred during the 1972 September school vacation and involved a large number of Scouts, committee members and parents. Here too Errol was paramount in moving the old Scout hall from behind the railway station to where it now stands and worked indefatigably with the Group Committee and is today is a lasting memorial to his devotion to the Scout Movement. Various mothers also helped to maintain their morale by supplying innumerable cups of coffee throughout the day. Slight changes were made to the layout of the Hall to accommodate a sixth Scout patrol. At the same time the site was fenced. Although some finishing touches were still required, all who had seen the result of their efforts agreed that the old Scout Hall had been given a new lease of life. There were now 6 Scouters, 43 Cubs and 54 Scouts totalling 105 members for the group.

The 1st Somerset West Rover Crew was formed in 1972, and they still found the time to assist with the running of the Group. The following year the Rovers came 2nd in the Hawkeye Trophy competition that was held at Langebaan. They attended SARSI 73 which was held in Cape Town and included a formal dinner at the Savoy Hotel in Somerset West and was attended by Col. de Wet Venter, Mayor of Somerset West. Later in the year they joined forces with 2nd Somerset West Rovers and then call themselves the Somerset West Rover Crew. The Group now had 58 Scouts, 50 Cubs and 9 Rovers.

Eleven Scouts participated in the 1973/74 Cederberg Adventure and 43 scouts and 7 scouters attended the annual summer camp which was held at Jutland in Elgin. The High standard of the Troop was acknowledged when in 1974, three Senior Scouts, Marius Broeksma, Anthony van Heerden and Peter Barnard represented the Troop and Cape Western Division at the first ever inter-Association adventure week-end held at Hermanus during June. This was the first time that Black and White Scouts had camped together in this country and it was indeed an honour to have three of their Seniors among the sixteen Scouts selected from the Cape Western.

The group’s all-round high standard was acknowledged when they were awarded the Tonkin Trophy for 1975 and in 1981/82/83. In July/ August the troop was represented at the 1975 14th World Scout Jamboree in Sweden by Tony van Heerden and Errol Kotze. Another highlight for the Scouts was in September when 12 Scouts and 4 Scouters went on a Pony-Trekking expedition in the mountains of Lesotho.

Cubs 'Did their Best'

To celebrate the 1976 Diamond Jubilee of the Wolf Cubs, and to pay tribute to its founder, Lord Baden-Powell, the 1st Somerset West Pack invited a pack of Coloured Cubs from the Cape Corps at Faure to join them in their meeting. Mrs Ada Smith, Akela of the 1st Somerset West Pack said: "Cubs complete with Akela and three assistants as well as their Scoutmaster and two assistants, were made welcome by our boys and the Old Wolves. Refreshments and games added to the general fun that was had by all. The First Somerset West Pack presented the Faure Pack with the Group scarf as a memento of the visit”.

Towards the end of the Nineteen Seventies both the Cubs and Scouts were winning many District and Area competitions. Scouts won the Gordon Shield (1977, 81and 82), Rayner Trophy (1981 and 1982). The Cubs too were on top form winning the 1978 District Cub Competition in May and the District Cross Country in August. In 1979 the 'Old Mutual' swimming pool was the venue for the Divisional Swimming Gala and here the Pack came away as winners of the competition, which included some fun items like the pyjama race.

Into the Nineteen Eighties

The nineteen eighties continued to be rewarding for the whole group and this was acknowledged with the receipt of annual Gold Star awards. By October 1982 the pack had grown to 44 Cubs and were well managed by a competent band of Pack Scouters who were: Akela Anna Evans, Bagheera Bernice Green, Rikki Pauline van Heerden, Baloo Jenny Douglas, Chil Pat Mostert, Kaa Judy Rossiter and Kim Pricilla Coetzee. The previous Akela Ada Smith had kept her warrant and also helped out occasionally. In February 1984 Bernice Green took over as Akela as Anne Evans had left to start working full time.

The Vergelegen Estate was, by arrangement, available to the group and in 1984 the Cubs held their End of Year outing at the farm. A parent reported: “On the last day of the term, I had the pleasure of going with the Cubs on their end of year outing to Vergelegen Estate. Akela had arranged for Mr Pocock to show the boys the dairy and the milking of the cows before we set off on our hike to the big dam. It is quite a climb up the mountain but the breathtaking scenery over False Bay made it all worthwhile. We stopped for a picnic lunch under a big tree. The dam lay a short distance further along and on arrival, everyone made straight for the water. The two Scouts Andrew and Andrew who came along on the hike, soon took over and really entertained the boys as they enjoyed the swimming and games. Who would believe, that looking over the dam, in the distance one can see Table Mountain in all its glory”.

The nineteen nighties were again an active decade with the Cubs and Scouts attending most of the District and Area events. Many camps, hikes and outings were the norm, but advancement was also of note, with many of the Cubs attaining the Leaping Wolf and nine Scouts earning the Springbok Scout Award, these being the highest awarded in the Cubs and Scouts.

SCOUTS SA opened up for girls in 2000, and three years later two Girl Cubs were invested into the Pack. The following year in October history was made when three Girl Cubs went up to the Scout Troop.

Two thousand and seven was the centenary of the founding of the Scout Movement and on Tuesday, 1st August 2007 a large crowd of Cubs, Scouts and their parents arrived at the Helderberg Nature Reserve for a sunrise service to celebrate 100 years since the start of the movement. Arriving at dawn they watched the sun rise and day starting to break and remembered the first camp on Brownsea Island in 1907.

In 2008 Falicia Dalton took over as Akela as Gail Peckham left for the UK. Gail had been a Brownie and Girl Guide in KZN became Assistant Pack Scouter in 1986 and then Pack Scouter (1987/98) and again (2003/07) an amazing 17 plus years of service. Prior to the Meercat programme in 2009, the Pack was chosen to run an experimental programme for ‘Cubs’ younger than 7 years that were called Caracals.

District Commissioner
Eddie Glass (c1972), J ‘Spider’ Gardner (c1973), Garnet de la Hunt (1975/7), Pat Jennings (1981/ 1990), John Evans (act 1991/92), Rex Koning (act 1992/3), Margret de la Rosa (1993/2004), Ruth Bird (2006), Charles Britz (c2008/2010)

Assistant District Commissioner – Cubs
P A Jackson (Raksha) (c1982/2008), R Humphries (2009/11)

Group Scoutmasters
Ernest Boatwright (1951), Pat Sleigh (1951/60), Edwin Evans (1961), Johannes Breebaart (1962), John Gardener (1964), C Muller (1971), Ralph Gruenbaum (1971/3), Clive Walker (1974/6), John Evans (1979/84), Mike Douglas (1985/96), Deon Van Straaten (1996/9), Errol Kotze (1999)(2002/4), Gail Peckham (S-in-Charge) (2004/7), Derrick Black (2007/11)

Troop Scouters
Pat Sleigh (1935/40)(1946/51), J Grewe (1941/45), ( Kenneth Dixon (1952), Derrick Dixon (1953), Pat Sleigh (act) (1955), Alexander Malkin (1958), Edwin Evans (1959), Michael Bailey (1964), Neville Martin (1969), Errol Kotze (1971/79), Mike Douglas (c1983/4)(1990/3), Gary Olivier (1985), B Hughes(c1992), Robert Koker (1995), Derrick Black (2007/10)

Pack Scouters
J Grewe (Act 1941/45), Stella Muller (1953), Hilette Bester (1956), Mary Howis (1960), Arthur Case (1967), Olga Gardener (1971/4), Ada Smith (1975/6), Anna Evans (1981/84), Bernice Green (1984/7), Gail Peckham (1987/98), Yvonne Trimby (1998/2000), Anthea Hohls (2001), Penny Gilespie (2003), Gail Peckham (2003/7), Falicia Dalton (2008/10), Tootsie Lord (2008)

Springbok Scouts

DATE Surname Name King Queen Springbok Chief Scout's Award
1946 Bowker Brian Donald King
1947 Eastwood Michael James King
1950 Breebaart Johannes King
1958 Mayer Rayner Michael Queen
1958 Skibbe Reinhold Rudolph Queen
1960 Bailey Michael Beron Queen
1964 Kotze Errol Chief Scout's Award
1968 Te Water Brian Springbok
1968 Jackson Lionel Springbok
1970 Cedres Hendrik Springbok
1970 Clarke Carl Springbok
1970 Gardner Jerome Springbok
1970 Saunders Paul Chief Scout's Award
1971 Gardner Owen Chief Scout's Award
1971 Kruger Hendrick Springbok
1971 Malan Carl Springbok
1972 Kruger K Chief Scout's Award
1975 Van Heerden Anthony Chief Scout's Award
1977 Van Heerden Michael Chief Scout's Award
1978 Gerber Norman Chief Scout's Award
1978 Davies Norman John Chief Scout's Award
1980 Hughes Brian Chief Scout's Award
1982 O'malley Brendan David Springbok
1982 Hirst Mark Anthony Chief Scout's Award
1984 Hirst Gary Michael Springbok
1985 Green Duncan Alan Springbok
1985 Peckham Stanley Martin Springbok
1988 Symmonds Thomas Lynton Springbok
1993 Koker Robert C Chief Scout's Award
1995 Chasomeris Mickey Springbok
1995 Vamvadelis John Springbok
1995 Tillemans Stephen Denis Springbok
1995 Milne Buchan Garth Springbok
1997 Barham Auret Springbok
1998 Van Straaten John Springbok
1998 Barnard Benjamin Richard Springbok
1999 Peet Samuel Richard Springbok
2002 Nel Robert Springbok
2002 Buys Alex Springbok
2002 Eilers Peter Springbok