The 5th Gosport Sea Scout Group holds a distinctive position in the local Scout movement in that it grew out of a Wolf Cub Pack. In most cases the process has been reversed, the Cubs following the Scouts, but this unusual origin has enabled the 5th Group to appreciate its Cub Scout Pack to the full.
Today the Group still relies on the Pack for its main source of recruits for the Scout Troop. We have established traditions similar to those of the Senior Service, with which we are closely linked especially as we are one of the 103 Groups in the country to be Admiralty recognized. This distinction was conferred on us in 1948. We are inspected annually by the Admiralty's representative and if we failed to measure up to the standard demanded, we would drop to the bottom of the list of the two thousand Sea Scout Troops throughout the Country, each of which would appreciate Admiralty recognition.
The Wolf Cub Pack was formed soon after Baden-Powell established the Cubs to cater for the hundreds of young boys anxious to join his new movement. It was registered with Local Association in 1916 and with Imperial Scout Headquarters in 1919. Some years elapsed before the Scout Troop was formed under the Rev. Mr Holland of Elson. Meetings were held in St Thomas's Church Hall, Elson and the Troop members wore distinctive red neckerchiefs. (Purple neckerchiefs first recorded 1925).
World War II, with its evacuation and conscription, threatened to bring about the demise of the Group. Through the early years of the war the Troop remained together as little more than a patrol being run by Edgar Habens (who was then 15 years old) and Peter Connor. Mr. George Long became District Cubmaster, and all Cubs remaining in the area were merged together into a District Pack, run by Mr. and Mrs. Long and several Cubmasters. In 1944 the outlook became bright again, Mr. Long was appointed Group Scoutmaster, Edgar Habens became Acting Scoutmaster and Mr Jim Mew, Assistant Scoutmaster. The Troop grew again into six patrols with six Scouts in each. Two years later the District Cub Pack was disbanded and Mrs. Long became Cubmaster of the revived Group Pack. Mr. Habens joined the Services. The year 1948 was most significant for the Group. Mr. Mew took over as Scoutmaster, with Mr. Leslie Johnson and Mr. Frank Martin as his assistants. The strength was about 80 boys. But the most important feature was the re-forming of the Parents Association, which began work without delay to raise money to renew equipment. Also in this year the Troop gained Admiralty recognition.
Mr. E. Morling took over as Rover Scout Leader in 1950, and Mr. L. Jonson became Scout Master (Senior Scouts), in charge of a Troop 17 strong, and including six Kings Scouts. Mr and Mrs Long were both awarded the Medal of Merit for outstanding service to the Movement and in 1952 Mr. E. Morling, the then Rover Crew Leader was also accorded the honour. Mrs. Long was appointed District Cubmaster and continued her duties with the 5th Pack until 1954, when she found her District commitments were too great, and Mr. S. Edwards assumed charge of the Pack. Mr. Long, who had been associated with the movement for 25 years, became Assistant District Commissioner for Gosport in 1953, and a further change in Group Officers followed. Mr. Martin took over as Group Scoutmaster and had the assistance as Assistant Cubmasters of Miss. J. Arm, Miss. M. Cobnor, Miss. B. Rendle, Miss. J. Gorman and Mr. Ernest Habens. Mr. Mew resigned on taking an appointment abroad, and Mr. Brian Temple succeeded him, holding office for two years, when his Assistant Scoutmaster, Mr. Brian Worsam took over. Although Mr. Worsam's work took him frequently from the District, he did good work in keeping the Troop up to Admiralty standard, and had an excellent second-in-command in Mr. Alan Simms. The Group also owed a debt to Mr. M. Paine, who looked after the Troop's boats at Hardway.
A Gosport Journal reporter visited our Headquarters shortly after construction in 1980, where he saw "the Scouts under instruction in first aid, the rule of the road at sea, knots and splicing. They were also being taught elementary seamanship with the aid of a model whaler, and map reading". He also met some of the persons who had helped the Group to attain its present status.
A Mr. Martin surveyed the (then) position. There were 35 Scouts on the books, he said, and the average attendance was 30. The Rover Crew had only five members, but 15 were serving in the Royal Navy either as officers or ratings. Already this year five boys have become Naval Artificers. "I think we keep the Navy going" he remarked with a smile (associated photographs with this article clearly show that 5th was a Sea Scout Troop at this time).
September 2009 saw a composite Patrol consisting of Patrol Leader Robert, Thomas, George and James win the Emelyn Trophy - the first time the troop has won this competition in its 80-year history.
2010 continued the success when over the weekend of 6/7 Feb 2010 the Troop shone at the RN Sea Scout Swimming Championships. Our team of swimmers - Naomi, Jake, Ben, Harry and Robert won the coveted Otter Shield trophy. This particular award presented to the Scout Association in 1910 for swimming and lifesaving has been competed for every year since. It came to Gosport for the first time and appropriately in our Centenary Year.
July 2014 saw the Group mourning the passing of Bill Hyde. Bill had been with the 5th Gosport since the mid 1970s, as Group Vice Chairman, and was one of the key people responsible for building the 5th Gosport's HQ. This was recognised with the Medal of Merit in 2000 and a Bar to the Medal of Merit in early 2014.
Early 2015 saw the Group decide to extend the Headquarters by knocking through the wall between the Main Deck and the Boat Shed, which involves building a new Boat Shed on site and to the south of the existing building; planning and fundraising for this is on-going.
May 2016 saw the Group mourning the passing of Barry Martin. Barry was a member of the Group since 1975, and served as Chairman of the Executive Committee for twenty years and was instrumental in making the Group what it is today. The Group will be forever grateful that he gave so much of his time, wisdom and expertise in his time with us.
Acknowledgements: The Group is indebted to Phil Sandall for gathering most of the information on this page.