BOY SCOUTS, 1929-1963|
The 4th Bulawayo (Technical) Troop, the first school troop in Bulawayo, was registered on 1 December 1929. The Registration Certificate was signed by R. E. Robins, and it is still in the possession of the School (Gifford). There are very many gaps in the early records of the Troop, but it would appear that the first scoutmaster was Mr. A. R. Innes and that the Troop met in the B.A.C. Pavilion. In 1931 while Mr. Innes was on leave, Mr. Zacharias, who was assistant scoutmaster of the 2nd Bulawayo (Raylton) Troop, took over. In 1935 Mr. C. Sweetman was the scoutmaster, and he took the troop on a camp to the Victoria Falls.
In the immediate post-war era, the Troop was the holder of the Barnet Trophy which was awarded for rifle-shooting. At the end of 1949 Mr. F. le Roux left to start a troop at Queens Park, and Mr. Franklin took over. By 1950 the troop had forty-two boys, and in that year they won the scouts’ gala. That was the year that the Chief Scout, Lord Rowallan, visited Rhodesia, a memorable event for the boys as the Troop joined in a parade held at the Drill Hall to meet their Chief. Also at this time, Patrol-leader P. Piggot led a patrol in the Assegai Competition for all-round out-door scouting and the Troop gained fourth place.
In 1956 after a lapse of about four years, scouts were re-started at the School by Mr. A. Sandwith, but he did not stay long, and, rather than see some thirty-two boys having to give up scouting, Mr. E. R. Lafrentz took over the Troop. After two years the School had the biggest troop in Bulawayo, and Mr. Mike George and Mr. F. Butler, both Old Technicians, joined as assistant scoutmasters, and so the Troop went from strength to strength.
In 1959 five boys, patrol leaders E. Arnott,M. Algeo, and P. McGaw, with scouts B. Marshall and M. Solberg, represented the Troop at the Central African Jamboree held in Salisbury.
In that year the Troop again won the scouts’ gala.
At that time we were meeting in the gym, but we had no place in which to store our equipment, and so Mrs. Hart (the Headmaster’s wife) and Mrs. Lafrentz, with a small committee of day-boy mothers, set about raising money to build a small "Den" for the Troop which was to be used for the storage of equipment and for the holding of Court of Honour meetings. 1960 saw the building of the Scout Den at the south end of the gym, Mr. Ross Kerswell who had been a boarder in Russell House before it became a "Tech" hostel, did the brick-work; he was assisted by Johnnie Nollentze who was an Old Tech. boy. Mr. R. Pate, the carpentry master, put on the roof and put in the ceilings and hung the door.
At this time the troop did a lot of camping over week-ends at Gordon Park in the Matopos, and helped a great deal in developing the area that became known as the Bowl. Rations were drawn from the hostel kitchen and the boys did their own cooking over an open fire. Some of the meals left a lot to be desired: they varied from a burnt offering to a bloody sacrifice, but to the boys it was always a better meal than they would have had in the hostel. The cook matrons, I am sure, would have had other ideas.
In 1961 the Troop won the Assegai Competition; the patrol consisted of:-
Patrol Leaders J. Ralph, and H. Solberg, R. Ralph, T. Coulson, K. Parsons and R. Kissack.
But, numbers in the Troop began to fall because of fewer boarders in the hostels. 1962 saw the Troop with its first Queen’ Scout, Mike Alego, though numbers continued to fall till the end of 1963 when, because of the lack of boys wishing to become scouts owing to all the counter attractions being offered at the School, the Troop went into recess.
E. R. LAFRENZ 1977
Ack:- www.angelfire.com/nb2/matabele/gifford/gifford.htm Jubilee magazine