The Naming of The 12th Winchester “Green Jackets” Scout Group
It is the start of the Second World War. There has been a stalemate between the British and the German army, until in May 1940 there is a massive offensive by the German Army against the British, French and Belgium allies, and we lose the first battles of the war, many soldiers, and most of our army’s equipment.
Operation Dynamo at the end of May 1940 sees over 300,000 men of the British Expeditionary Force and many thousands of our Allies evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk.
This “Miracle of Dunkirk” is in a large part made possible by the efforts of the 3,000 British soldiers who held Calais for many days against impossible odds. Many of them are from the Rifle Brigade, nicknamed The Green Jackets, who have their HQ in Winchester at the time.
When ammunition runs out and Calais falls to the Germans the Rifle Brigade survivors are taken Prisoner and are marched across Europe in dreadful conditions to POW camps were they spend the next 5 years in great hardship.
Like everyone in the country, the Scouts are doing their best for the war effort, and the Scouts of the 12th Winchester Group organise themselves to collect £80 donations (£4000 in current money) for the Regimental Prisoners of War Fund, set up by Major JR Abbey in 1940.
In recognition of the great efforts of our Scout troop, towards the end of 1943 under Group Scoutmaster Gordon(Jammy) James, our Group was granted an honorary affiliation with the Rifle Depot, and we changed our necker colours and insignia to model those of the Rifle Brigade. We still use those colours today, and continue to proudly turn out to lay a wreath at the war memorial every year with past and present soldiers of The Rifles on Remembrance Sunday, whatever the weather.