Lowestoft memorial to scouts who drowned in 1914 Broads accident listed to mark historic anniversary

Six scout members died in the sailing boat disaster on the River Waveney at Somerleyton on June 1, 1

Six scout members died in the sailing boat disaster on the River Waveney at Somerleyton on June 1, 1914. Survivor Stanley Wood died in the Battle of the Somme two years later. Picture: Supplied. - Credit: Archant

It stands as a lasting tribute to the tragedy which saw a group of sea scouts drown in a Broads boating accident in 1914 – and to its equally poignant postscript.

The base of the memorial in Carlton Colville. Picture: MICK HOWES

The base of the memorial in Carlton Colville. Picture: MICK HOWES - Credit: Archant

Now, more than a century on, the Carlton Colville Scouts Memorial has been given newly protected status, in recognition of its historic significance.

The monument is one of several across the UK to be given enhanced protection by Historic England, to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

It was selected because the sole survivor from the tragedy died two years later, while fighting in the Somme campaign.

His name, Stanley Wood, was later added to the memorial, so that he could be commemorated alongside his friends.

The sea scouts funeral procession approaches Carlton Colville St Peters Church with the route lined

The sea scouts funeral procession approaches Carlton Colville St Peters Church with the route lined by scouts at salute. - Credit: Archant


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He had been with four fellow sea scouts and two scout masters from the 1st Carlton (St Mark's) troop when disaster struck as they returned home by boat from a week's camp on the Duke's Head hills on June 1, 1914 – little over a month from the start of the First World War.

The group were on the Waveney at Somerleyton when the vessel capsized as they tried to raise the sail. All but one were trapped beneath the upturned boat and drowned.

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They were scoutmaster Thornton Lory, 32; assistant scoutmaster Sidney Scarle, 19; naval instructor James Lewington, 30; and scouts Reginald Middleton, 14; Arthur Beare, 14; and Sidney Thrower, 15. Wood was able to swim clear.

When the funeral was held for the six victims a few days later at St Mark's Church, it attracted a large congregation. But the turnout was small in comparison with the crowds who joined more than 300 scouts to line the route – as the funeral cortege passed in six horse-drawn hearses from the church to the cemetery at Carlton Colville.

Stanley Wood in his army uniform. Picture was taken in approximately 1915. Picture: Tony Browne/Broa

Stanley Wood in his army uniform. Picture was taken in approximately 1915. Picture: Tony Browne/Broadland Memories - Credit: Archant

Wood was killed, aged 19, on July 19, 1916, during the Battle of Fromelles – a subsidiary of the Somme offensive. His body was never found, but his name was added to the Suffolk monument.

The memorial, which can be found in the churchyard on St Peter's Road, now has a grade II listing. In total, seven memorials were granted the status, with eight more having their protection upgraded.

Lowestoft Scouts district commissioner Mel Buck said: 'It is great to see that the memorial has been identified nationally with this status. The memorial is really important to us as it allows us to remember our former scouts – along with the fact that some of them also went on to fight for our country.'

Inquest findings

An inquest heard that, apart from Lewington, the remaining Sea Scouts had been 'indifferent swimmers'.

It also heard that the boat had been overloaded and not well stowed.

Wood was too ill to attend the proceedings.

Soldier was never found

Stanley Wood joined the Suffolk Regiment but became a lance corporal with the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.

After his death, his body was not recovered. Within the last decade, the remains of several unidentified British troops killed at Fromelles have been found, and several have since been identified, using DNA techniques.

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