Group History

Our Founder - W.L.Wyllie

Wylie PortraitIn 1906 the marine painter W.L.Wyllie moved to Portsmouth. He was an eminent painter and exhibited at the Royal Academy. His main passion was the sea and he owned and raced a variety of yachts and dinghies. His house stood right at the entrance of Portsmouth Harbour. Alongside the house was a beach on which he kept his smaller boats.W.L. must have been a very charismatic man as no sooner had he moved in when the local children would flock around hoping to be taken out in the boats. He also gave simple lectures in seamanship and boat handling, both theoretical and practical.

In 1907 Lord Baden Powell the founder of the Scout movement had his experimental camp at Brownsea Island and published his work Scouting for Boys. The book was originally written as a text book for youth organisations but as children formed themselves into groups and looked for adults to lead them he realised that he had the start of a movement on his hands. In 1909 the first Sea Scout units were formed but W.L. had had his going before then. It was in 1912 that the group was finally registered with the Scout Association.

In 1931 W.L. died and he was accorded almost a state funeral. It was covered by all the major papers of the day. The 1st Portsmouth had the honour of rowing his coffin up to Portchester Castle where he was interred. There is a magnificent memorial stone to him there which in 2000 was refurbished by the Society of Nautical Research,( another organisation he helped found.) The Troop was then taken over by Mr Bert Copeland and Mr Jack Ashdown.

Photo Of Wyllie and Scouts Carrying a Scout Boat down the Beach (1920-1930)