10th FIFE (1st Cupar) Scout Group

B-P always claimed that Scouting started itself. There are only a few records of this actually happening as records were not kept or have long been lost for many groups.

The Cupar Group has been very fortunate in that the local newspaper contained three letters in three consecutive weeks detailing the start of Scouting in Cupar in May 1909

The letters are as follows:


Boy Scouts in Cupar

A correspondent writes:

" At the smoking concert of Cupar Territorials last Thursday evening, the days when Cupar could claim two full-pledged companies of infantry were recalled with pride, and Springfield warriors boasted of the day when fully forty strong, they marched to Cupar to drill; and bemoaned the state of affairs now-a-days when Cupar and Springfield together could only provide between them a half-company, it will greatly hearten our Territorial Authorities to know that the old-time military spirit "is not dead, but sleepeth" and awakening is taking place in an unexpected quarter - albeit the right quarter - amongst the boys of the town.

The knowledge of this fact was only revealed to me the other evening as I happened to be in the vicinity of the East Road, when opposite the lane which leads to the bowling green, I noticed first one and then another dark shadow glide swiftly past, and in a few minutes, there was a collection of about a dozen youngsters whose ages would average from twelve to fourteen, whisper together, resembling an Indian "pow-wow". Two lads of somwhat maturer years seemed to be leaders of the silent assembly, and from them, the younger members appeared to be taking advice.

About nine-thirty, an hour late enough for young lads to be about, the meeting broke up and in twos and threes, they orderly and quietly betook themselves townward. Each one, I noticed, carried a long thin pole with a pointed end, and not a few, perhaps they were officers or superiors, wore ribbon decorations.

Who will say that in this little band, we have not the embryo of a Cupar Boys' Brigade, and later on, the rank and file of a flourishing, complete - not half - Territorial Company?

We shall see."


The Boy Scout Movement in Cupar

( to the Editor)

Sir, - On reading your paper the other day, I was more than pleased to see your attempt to revive the interest in the subject of Boys' Brigade and Boy Scouts. There is scarcely a town or village in the country without some form of organisation and I used to wonder "why not, Cupar".

I mentioned the matter to several townspeople, and was told that ' we had a Boys' Brigade; but, like everything else, it fell through.' I could not understand this at first, as I felt assured it was not for lack or interest on the part of the boys. I have seen hundreds of them follow the volunteers for miles and take a keen interest in all that was done. After a conversation with one of the NCO's of the late Militia Staff, I came to the conclusion that the Brigade died, not for want of interest on the part of the boys, but from a dearth of voluntary instructors.

Now I say again, ' Why not Cupar?' - Either Boys' Brigade or Boy Scouts or a combination of both.

The Boy Scout Movement is, I believe, a splendid one, outside altogether of the military point of view, to the country in having our boys trained in duties: the value of the training to the boys themselves would make it well worthwhile. The discipline and drill, could not fail to be good for them, and from a health point of view they would be much better out in the open country in the evening or on a Saturday than hanging about dusty street corners, From a moral stand-point, they would be better in the country than picking up bad language at street corners. Then, the educational advantage would be considerable. They would be taught, at least, the rudiments of Military Topography (The science of map making) and also how to read a map, or verbal or written instructions in a strange country. This is a subject that is being taken up by the Educational Department and is useful to a man in any station of life. They would also get a better knowledge of nature than they would obtain from all the lessons on that subject ever taught in a classroom.

There should be plenty of men in Cupar with the necessary knowledge, if they could be persuaded to give part of their leisure time to the work.

Personally, I would be willing to do everything in my power to help; and should anyone with more influence than I, care to get a start made in the matter, they will find that I will be perfectly willing to respond to any reasonable demand on my spare time.

I think I am qualified to give instruction in most of the branches likely to be required.

Trust you will find a space in your paper for, at least a part of, this rather long letter.

I am, Sir, etc.

W. M. Wallace

Janitor Bell Baxter School Cupar

10th May 1909


The Boy Scout Movement

Sir - Some people in Cupar seem to think that there are no Boy Scouts in the town, but such is not the case.

There are two patrols of Boy Scouts under the supervision of two capable young men. Boy Scouts are not merely a set of boys who go about wearing uniforms and calling themselves "Scouts" but boys who are taking it upon themselves to be true Britons and grow up to defend the Union Jack as such.

There are no swearers or smokers in the Boy Scouts. Every Boy Scout abhors smoking and swearing as the worst of crimes. I heard of a gentleman who thought a lot of Boy Scouts till one day he ' saw a good many smoking' round some corner. These boys could not be real Scouts, or Britons, either, for no Boy Scout would do such a humiliating thing.

I hope my letter will find a place in your columns, and you will greatly oblige -

I am, Sir, etc


The local schoolmaster, Mr Lewis Graham, together with the School Janitor, Mr William Wallace officially became the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster respectively, a week later. In the next six months Mr Lewis Graham and Dr Dewar, a local Doctor and our first Group Chairman, went on to help found the Fifeshire Boy Scout Association.

On 21st March 1910, General Robert Baden-Powell opened the Boy Scout Bazaar in the Corn Exchange, Cupar.

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