What does an only child do to find friends when he lives in one town in which he was not born and attends school in another town which is six miles away?
He joins the Wolf Cubs at the age of nine in 1952 to improve his social life and gain a few playmates.
By joining I was following in my father's footsteps. There were no cubs in his day so at the age of eleven he joined a Midlands Scout Troop in 1914, becoming a Patrol Leader and an adept First Aider, Woodsman, Tracker and Cook.
4th Newton Abbot Wolf Cub Pack
I am standing in the back row on the end right.
I progressed through the Wolf Cubs completing the training and earning badges for all of the tests, the first being 'how to thread a needle and sew on a badge'.
My memory is a little hazy but I do know that we had to learn to march and to keep in step, otherwise a loud voice would shout out "Lloyd, do you have two left feet?"
Oh the ignominy I felt when that was said.
Eventually it was no trouble at all to keep in step with the others.
Life progressed and eventually I passed on to become a Boy Scout (or sprout) in the 4th Newton Abbot Scout Group and in 1954 the troop attended The Devon Jamboree which was an international gathering from about ten different countries.
There were two amusing incidents that lightened up my boring stay there. One was when The Chief Scout's jeep knocked down the entrance of a local troops gateway and the second when a Scandinavian Scout fell into the latrine and was taken to hospital.
However I was very glad that I attended the jamboree and experienced all of the dumbing down by the seniors, for that gave me the impetus to join the local the 1st Newton Abbot Sea Scouts.
In those days they met in a room above the Seven Stars Public House and on my second meeting I was initiated into the fine art of imbibing beer!
After a few weeks of learning the skills of drinking we relocated ourselves to Hackney, near Kingsteignton on the upper estuary of the River Teign and handily enough only a stones throw from The Passage House Inn.
Now this fine hostel stocked not just beer and ales but that grandest of West Country Liquor - Rough Cider/Scrumpy, as well as delicious platefuls of crab sandwiches.
Jack Hayward was the landlord, a most amenable man, who was always ready to have a laugh and not ask any silly questions regarding age.
The 1st Newton Abbot Sea Scout Group.
This time I am in the back row and the fourth from the left,
my sailors hat was too small and made me look as if I had a high forehead.
Myself with my back to the camera being ferryman to the photographer
and his son sitting in the stern.
Tuesday evenings were our regular Scouts' night of tuition, learning various knots and what they were used for, first aid, tracking, identification of birds found in the estuary and at sea, their calls and coastal navigation.
We were taught to estimate the height of a tree by its shadow and to find north using a wrist or pocket watch - point the hour hand to the sun and the numeral six on the face is north.
The Sea Scouts were able to do all that the Land Scouts could do and lots more besides, including unarmed combat.
A four man racing gig where I am the bow oar, my position,
regardless of the type of craft that we were rowing.
Whether it was a naval cutter or whaler, Mel was the bow oar.
Our boat crew did well at the regattas. One year we came first in the West of England Whaler Championship at Dartmouth and we also won the Ships in Harbour race.
Dartmouth College, or to use it's full name Brittania Royal Naval College, was our second home during the summer for two weeks, where we held our Summer Camp in a variety of tents.
Lots of fun was had by all and sundry.
I can honestly say that joining the Sea Scouts gave me great pleasure for several years of my life.
Messing about in boats, whether rowing or sailing, is a very healthy life with lots of exercise that keeps a person fit and mentally alert.
I could write a book about all the goings on however, I'm sure your imagination and a few earlier hints can fill in the dots - if only our parents had known !