The Scout Movement was started in 1907 by Lord Baden-Powell and his ideas quickly spread throughout the country. Many groups were being formed and it is around this time that a group of boys decided to meet in a house in Clarendon Road to form their own Scout troop. The meeting place was provided by the mother of one of the boys who allowed them to use her bedroom where, oddly enough, the 1st Luton was ‘born’.

New members joined the group and adults joined to become scout masters. Other troops were started later in the area but few survived.

A large bugle band was formed in the troop and in 1910, the 1st Luton went to Silsoe to form a Guard of Honour for King Edward VII at a large rally. They were also invited to the national rally in Windsor Great Park in 1911.

By 1913 the 1st Luton had moved its headquarters a number of times and had grown to over 150 members in the troop. It had also formed a drum corp to support the large bugle band.

When war came, many of the older boys and scouters went away, never to return.

The 1st Luton was the only scout group in Luton to survive all the way through the war. Those not old enough to fight were used as messengers, orderlies at the Wardown War Hospital (now Wardown Park Museum) and to marshal the railway bridges in the area.

In 1916, Mr. Tansley took the job of Scoutmaster. He held this post for 12 years and was the man responsible for rebuilding the troop after many members had been lost. He introduced Cyril Welch, a patrol leader to the group who in 1919 received his King Scout Badge personally from Lord Baden-Powell at the Bedfordshire rally which was held within the grounds of Luton Hoo. The group also won the county scout competition in Ampthill Park the same year.

The group continued to do well throughout the 1920’s, in 1924, we again won the Bedfordshire county competition.

In 1929, the scoutmaster, Mr. Tansley who had led the group for 12 years lost his wife and then his two sons through illness within a short space of time and was forced to resign.

Clem Brown, a young assistant scoutmaster took charge of the group but resigned shortly after. Without leadership the group began to have problems. A headline in the Luton News even reported that there were problems!

The assistant district commissioner, ‘Beano’ Bennett took charge. However he had problems running the group because he was additionally leading the 2nd Luton at the time who also couldn’t get a leader. This became such a big problem that in December 1929, the Luton News ran a story stating that if no leader could be found, the group was to close.

Cyril Welch, who had become the Scoutmaster of 13th Luton, suggested that the 1st, 2nd and 13th scout groups should be amalgamated to form one troop. This happened and Cyril took charge of the group. In his personal notes from the first meeting, he said:

“I went to the first meeting taking my boys with me. I had 16 lads. There were about 20 of the 1st and 18-20 of the 2nd – what a mob!! The stable (H.Q) was dimly lighted by hurricane lamps and paraffin wall lamps. One could just see from one end to the other where all these boys were packed … the floor was dangerous, all holes and lose boards everywhere. I don’t know how an accident was avoided.

Of the 1st, about 4 had uniforms, of the second about 3, it was just impossible to make a go of it as it was.

I had a friend who acted as Assistant Scoutmaster for a few months to help me and he had a vapour lamp – now we could see what we were doing and avoid the holes in the floor!”.

Gradually the three units became one, the uniform being influenced by each. Today, we can still see this in the group neckerchief. The blue and gold colours coming from the 13th and the green triangle in the corner coming from the 1st. The uniform remained grey, the predominant colour of the uniform of the remaining boys.

The old stables in Chapel Street which had been the headquarters were demolished and so the group moved to new premises in Leagrave Road.

In February 1933, the cub pack was formed and was led by Miss Janes. She later married Horace Sharp, the assistant scout leader under Cyril Welch.

In 1934, the troop went to Ampthill Park where they met Baden-Powell and his wife. They were also chosen to represent the county at the Hatfield Rally the following month where once again Baden-Powell was present. Apparently, Baden-Powell actually recognised the group and came over for a chat!

In 1937, the group attended the Dutch Jamboree where Cyril Welch met his future wife whilst on a visit to Utrecht. In the same year, the 1st Luton started its Rover crew for the older members and moved headquarters again, this time to George Street West.

As in the 1st World War, many members went away for World War 2. This time, three didn’t return – Reg Carter, Ron Adams and one other, not known by name.

The Air Scouts were formed in 1941 and the 1st Luton started a patrol. A newsletter was sent to those who were on active service and interest in the group was maintained.

In 1942 it was decided to form a patrol of Sea Scouts within the troop, their first public appearance being at the St. George’s Day parade in April. The first two Sea scouts in the group were Peter Toyer and Mr Kindred.

By 1943 there were enough members of the Sea Scout patrol to apply for Admiralty recognition which was granted in November of the same year.

The Sea Scouts became a very successful patrol, taking a large proportion of the troop’s membership. As a result, the air and land sections of the group were phased out by 1949.