THE SECOND Chief Scout, succeeding Robert Baden-Powell, was born on the Isle of Wight.

The army officer was the godson of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, was born in Freshwater and went on to live a varied life, holding many important offices.

Arthur Herbert Tennyson Somers-Cocks, the sixth Baron Somers, was born on March 20, 1887, to Herbert Haldane and Blanche Margaret Standish.

He had an elder sister, Verena, who was one year older.

Arthur had a very troubled early life. His father died aged 32 in 1884 and his mother died on the same day one year later.

After his mother’s death, when he was only eight years old, he was sent to Mulgrave Castle and boarded there.

Aged 12, he succeeded the title from his uncle and became Lord Somers.

It was during his school life, and later in the army, that Lord Somers befriended Baden-Powell and developed his life-long interest in scouting.

He was educated at Mulgrave Castle, Charterhouse and New College, Oxford.

He joined the 1st Lifeguards, but cut short his army career to farm in Canada.

With the outbreak of war in 1914, he returned to rejoin his regiment and was subsequently attached to the Tank Corps.

He retired from the army in 1924, having become actively interested in scouting two years previously.

Somers was appointed Governor of Victoria in 1926, in succession to Lord Stradbroke.

Aged 39, he was (and remains) one of the youngest holders of the office.

It was said he “had charm and natural gaiety which won him popularity... warm and generous, he had a genuine interest in people, as well as a high sense of duty and leadership... a shrewd and successful governor.”

A Freemason, he was initiated in the House Brigade Lodge 18 years before he arrived in Victoria, Australia, and served as the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria between 1927 and 1932.

Following the expiry of Lord Stonehaven’s term as Governor-General in October 1930, Somers — as the longest serving state governor — was called upon to act as Administrator of the Commonwealth until Sir Isaac Isaacs took office in January 1931.

In 1926, Lord Somers was also appointed Victoria State Chief Scout.

He led the 8,000 British scouts to the World Jamboree in Holland in 1937.

During the following winter, he travelled the country visiting scouts and talking at scout conferences.

He also undertook the task of putting the movement on a sound financial footing with the launching of a National Scout Fund in 1938.

When war was declared, Lord Somers gave an immediate lead in support of the National Service.

He recommended that scouts wear their uniforms and set the example when, for the first time in history, scout uniform was seen in the House of Lords.

He was elected Chief Scout on January 29, 1941, following the death of Baden-Powell, and travelled long distances to attend rallies and conferences, despite his failing health.

He died on July 14, 1944.

Lord Somers’ early life on the Island started in Freshwater.

He was brought up in The Briary, Middleton, Freshwater.

The Briary still stands today, although it is not the original one built in 1873 that Lord Somers lived in.

Unfortunately, in the early 1930s the house’s roof caught fire and was seriously damaged.

The first fire team on the scene was the Freshwater Rover Scouts Fire Brigade.

The Rover Scouts had an arrangement with Newport Fire Station, who lent them old equipment, that they would attend fires from their headquarters — the Black Hut at School Green — and try to stem the fire until the firefighters from Newport could reach the scene.

Despite a shortage of water, the local lads contained the fire to a central chimney stack and saved many valuable items from inside the building.

According to a newspaper report, the local fire brigade from Newport had difficulty getting to the scene due to a heavy load of men and equipment.

They also had difficulty negotiating the steep hill at Carisbrooke.

By the time they arrived on the scene flames had allegedly reached a height of 30ft.

It was also remembered by the locals that the hose pipes had so many holes in them that very little water actually reached the scene of the fire, although the gardens had a refreshing shower.

Damage was estimated at £7,000 (enough to purchase about 20 normal family houses at the time).

The house was rebuilt and was much smaller than the original and far less grand.

In 1938, a Fire Brigade Act came into being, compelling all parish councils over a certain size to provide a suitable fire brigade.

A new Ford V6 with a Drysdale pump was purchased by Freshwater and Totland parish councils and the Rover Scouts were offered the job of manning the appliance, but the parish council insisted that as it was such a valuable machine, a councillor should be officer in charge.

Mr Rawson was the chosen man but made it clear that it was in name only and he would like the scouts to carry on as usual.

For the first time, the scouts were in uniform and riding a real fire engine.

The new station was at Kingsbridge, where the Tennyson Ambulance is now housed.

For a call out, a fire siren was mounted on the roof and each fireman’s house was fitted with a bell.

They were operated from the local manual telephone exchange.

The siren was cut out at 11pm by a time switch at the fire station and only the bells sounded.