Earlier this year 3rd St Albans approached the Heritage team for inspiration as they sought a name for their new Scout Troop. As the group had already used the names of their founders for other sections I researched the First World War Roll of Honour to see if the group had lost any former Scouts or leaders during the conflict. One name stood out, former Scout 19 year old Humphrey Stockdale was killed in September 1918. To mark the centenary of his death he is remembered by the newly formed 3rd St Albans Stockdale Scout Troop.
To help the Scouts understand the origins of their Troops’ name I visited their meeting to explore Humphrey’s story. In addition we found out more about remembrance, in particular the symbolism of the poppy and how the War impacted Scouting.
Using digital resources including the 1901 and 1911 census reports, the Imperial War Museums Lives of the First World War and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission websites I was able to track Humphrey’s life. One of the most poignant records was found in the Scouts Heritage Collection, as it was written by Humphrey rather than about him. Humphrey visited the Scout run Recreation Hut at Etaples in April 1918 and signed the visitors’ book.
The Scouts unleashed their inner detectives and worked their way through these records to find the link between Humphrey and themselves. The last record showed the words Humphrey’s parents chose to appear on his grave “Most willing and always brave”.
During the meeting the Scouts used analytical, teamwork, communication and practical skills to explore this topic and completed elements of three different badges showing that heritage can be more than a history lesson.