Sheffield Scout Archives




John 'Woody' Wood-Smith

"John Wood-Smith, affectionately known by all as 'Woody', started his Sheffield Scouting career in 1945, when he was appointed Commissioner in charge of Hillsborough Division. Prior to this, he had been actively engaged in Scouting in Scotland. He was very proud of the 28th Edinburgh Group, which he founded in 1928, and recently he had the joy of attending the Troop's 60th Anniversary celebrations in Edinburgh.

During the war, he served for a number of years in the 69th Battalion of the Home Guard based in Sheffield. In 1946, he was appointed as a specialist Commissioner for the Scout Section in Sheffield, and led a strong team of District Scouters from the ten divisions in Sheffield. During his Scouting in Scotland, Woody had devoted much of his time to the training of the older boy, who in Scotland received training different from the junior section. It was, therefore, an obvious decision to ask him to become specialist commissioner for Senior Scouts in Sheffield upon the creation of this new section in 1949.

This was a task for which he was most ably equipped and it was not long before we saw the introduction of an Initiative Competition for the Senior Scouts of Sheffield, based on the skills developed during their training and for which Mr Eric Holmstrom presented a Silver Eagle to be competed for annually. He soon enlisted the help of John Sanders and George Borwick who were appointed District Scoutmasters for Senior Scouts, and the trio worked as a team developing weekly training sessions for special courses held in the grounds of the Police Headquarters then situated in Endcliffe Vale Road, also in the basement at Trippet Lane Headquarters, training courses at Hesley Wood, and activity weekends in remote places around Sheffield. 'Woody' was able to play a really active role in the development of the Senior Scout Section and saw many boys achieve their Queen's Scout award. He always maintained a high standard, and he won the admiration and affection of hundreds of Scouters and Scouts. In 1955, he was awarded the Silver Acorn for his outstanding services.

In 1958, he succeeded John Pritchard as A.D.C. Scouts for Sheffield, but sadly had to retire owing to indifferent health. He went to live at Filey, but he maintained regular contact with his old friends in Sheffield, always following closely the activities of the Venture Scouts, especially the Holmstrom Trophy Competition. He visited the Sheffield Scout HQ only a few weeks before his death. His joyful enthusiasm and dedication will long be remembered, and our deep condolences go out to his dear wife Cicely".

From a Tribute in Scout News by George Borwick