Sydney Frank Marlow

Sydney Marlow
Syney Marlow and the First Figi Scout Troop
Circa 1914


Sydney Frank Marlow was born September 9th 1891, the son of shop keeping parents George Henry and Williamena (nee Buston) Marlow of 62 Rosemary Street, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom.

The 1901 Census shows the family  living at 51 Rosemary Lane Mansfield, and in 1911 at 62 Rosemary Street Mansfield, where Sydney’s age is given as 19, and his occupation – Railway clerk.

He was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School for boys, Mansfield.

Scouts & Military Training

Sydney served as a scout leader with  a Mansfield Scout troop, having been issued with a Scout Leader Warrant in October 1912 (details are scarce on the troop that he was attached to).

He served for one and half years in the Officer Training Corps, and 2 years in the Mansfield Rifle Corps. 4 years in the 8th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters, Notts and Derbyshire Infantry Regiment.

1914 Journey to Figi

Sydney left London as a 2nd class passenger per the Orient steamship vessel ORSOVA on the 4th June 1914 for Sydney Australia, and arrived in Fiji late 1914 to join his elder brother Alf Marlow who had his own building company. Sydney is believed to have been a civil servant here in Fiji – any information on his employment in Fiji would be appreciated.

Scouting in Figi

He started scouting in Fiji late 1914, we have an excellent photo of Sydney F Marlow with the first troop from this period.

He is recorded as the Secretary of the Fiji Scout Association, in September 1915, in records held by Gilwell House London, [Scout Association Archives].


See above for his service for the period prior to him leaving the UK

He served 6 months in the medical unit of the Fiji Rifle Association

He was a member of the `1st Fiji Reinforcement, Fiji Defence Force

Left Fiji in April, 1916 as part of a group of European Volunteers for UK, (please note at this time the UK did not want others than Europeans volunteers from the colonies.)

He was attested in London on the 18th July 1916 as a Rifleman, service number R/30888 , Ist Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps

Killed in action on the 17th February 1917 at the Somme.

His remains were not recovered as was often the case in these major battles

He his commemorated as follows :-

Thiepval memorial France along with 70000 plus others missing in action, his name is inscribed on pier and face 13A and 13B

The Fiji Times Roll of Honour

The Book of Remembrance

The Colonial War Memorial Hospital Memorial Board, Suva Fiji.

His name is recorded on the new Memorial established on Vuya Road Suva Fiji, next to the new Parliament.

His memory honoured by Scouts

He was furthered honoured by the presentation of a Fiji Flag (Blue ensign with the coats of Arms of the Colony of Fiji) in his memory by 6 Fiji Scouts to a Mansfield troop in 1929. These 6 scouts attended the world Jamboree in the UK that year, the name of the specific Scout Troop is not known. We do know that the flag was presented by Fiji King’s Scout, Leslie Keys

He will now be recorded in the Scouts Roll of Honour, Gilwell House London that records the names of known scouts/scouters who gave their life in WW1,this is a direct result  of our research re S F Marlow.


We are informed by Gilwell House Archival section that there is a report they have on file that Sydney F Marlow met with Baden Powell when he was on a visit to Scout troops in Nottinghamshire area in 1912, it is believed that S F Marlow told Baden Powell that he was planning to go to Fiji and was asked by him to start Scouting there.


The following is from the records held by archives Gilwell House and reads as follows, we hold a copy of this extract on file.

Quote “Fiji, The Fiji Troop has made a good start with Mr S.F. Marlow (the Hon. Secretary) as Scoutmaster and Mr J. Brayton as Assistant-Scoutmaster.

H.E. the Governor, Sir E. Sweet-Escott, the Chief Scout, has interested himself much in the Troop, and Lieut.-Col. T. McOwen, commanding the Fiji Defence Corps, has been of great assistance in lending camp equipment and allowing the use of the Orile Hall.

Lieut.- Col. McOwen will, it is hoped. Accept the position of Commissioner, and the Rev. J. Jackson that of District Commissioner, of the Colony.”  Unquote

The above extract is from the, Scout Headquarters Gazette of September 1915


This is research in progress, the purpose of this project is to gather as much information as possible on the above named so that this information is available for the Centenary of Scouting in Fiji in the year 2014. The information herein has been gleaned with the assistance of many persons and organizations, to who we express our sincere thanks.

This information is subject to amendment as further information comes to hand.  If you would like to add a comment with new information  please feel free to do so,

Michael Thoms.

Comments about this page

  • Current information we have gleaned is that Sydney Marlow did belong to the 1st Mansfield troop, this troop went defunct at sometime prior to 1929 from the reports we have now. This original 1st Mansfield troop was started 12th January 1910 and was located at the Wesleyan Chapel on Bridge Street , now known as the Bridge Street Methodist Church

    By michael Thoms (12/08/2012)
  • I have read that the first Boy Scout Group in the U.K.was in 1907, it is understood that although the Boy Scout Groups were formed in 1907, none were registered then, and were first registered in February 1908. No single Troop is acknowledged to be the first.There is an entry in Robert Baden-Powell’s diary on the 4th February 1908 which mentions a Scout Group in Nottingham.

    By alan curtis (27/07/2012)
  • I correct one mistake above, I originally say that the Fiji flag was presented by 6 Fiji scouts to the Mansfield scouts, we have now established that only one scout and one leader traveled to the 1929 Jamboree, we have an excellent photo of the presentation and have identified the scout as Sea Scout Keys of the Suva unit. As stated above we have now a Fiji Times report of the time stating that the presentation was made to the 1st Mansfield group

    By michael Thoms (24/07/2012)
  • Have now found from copies of the local paper with Fiji archives that the flag was presented to the 1st Mansfield troop. Does anyone know if this troop still operates? would love to make contact as you can imagine Michael Thoms

    By michael Thoms (20/07/2012)
  • I have just had it confirmed from archive records that there were two (2) Fiji scouts that attended the 1929 World Jamboree in London, they were scoutmaster (scout leader) Alex McPhee of the YMCA Group and King Sea Scout Leslie Keys (First Suva Group), they traveled to England and back as units of the Australian Contingent, but wore their Fiji Uniform at the Jamboree. They presented the Naval ensign of Fiji to the Mansfield scouts in memory of S F Marlow and in return received a bronze model of a scout that became known as the Marlow Trophy, we have located the said Marlow trophy in the keeping of the scout Ben Jannif’s family in Australia, we have every expectation that we will have the trophy returned to Fiji for the centenary of scouting here in Fiji, once we have a photo of the trophy I will arrange to post a copy on this page. Ben Jannif as a scout one the trophy 6 years in a row and was then presented the trophy in perpetuity, Ben went on to assume the role of Chief Commissioner of Fiji later. It wold be my wish that we could also track down the ensign that was presented to the Mansfield scouts.

    By michael Thoms (27/05/2012)
  • Re the 1913 Mansfield map, [my earlier comment]  I inferred Bradder St, and Sibthorpe St were not shown on the map, sorry I did not see them. St Aidans Church is on the top of Victoria St, The Mansfield Stone and Brickworks is on the opposite side of the road along with Victoria Terrace. Between Sibthorpe St and Field Mill there were Quarries The Old Lord Byron pub is shown just after the viaduct and on the other side of the Maun.I remember seeing it in the late 1940s. it looked as it could fall down any minute.

    By Tom Shead (25/05/2012)
  • My thanks to Pauline for the info on the scouting in Mansfield, I have emailed the Chad newspaper to see if we can get some more info. Alan and Tom, your comments very interesting, I am also going to draw the attention of Scouting Archives , Gilwell house of this page as they are always interested in the history of scouting. The dates for the jamboree of 1929 was held at Birkenhead from the 29/7/29 to 12/8/29, so any visit by the Fiji scouts to Mansfield would have been in close proximity of these dates I presume. I am also researching our Fiji papers over the months either side to see if I can find any reference here to this adventure. Information we have is that the 6 Fiji scouts went with the Australian contingent, but wore their Fiji Uniforms, I note that Fiji is not listed as a country that was represented at the jamboree, and this would explain this omission.

    By michael Thoms (22/05/2012)
  • Re the Scout Hut mentioned above on Quarry Lane! In David Bradbury’s book[ Mansfield in pictures] there is a 1913 detailed map of Mansfield, it shows Quarry Lane and where Sibthorpe St is now. There is a building fronting onto Quarry Lane. where Field Mill football ground is now that was a cricket ground, and a Pavilion is shown in the area where Sibthorpe St was built. This book is in the local library and in local book shops.

    By Tom Shead (20/05/2012)
  • Scouting in Mansfield, according to the Chad newspaper (16 May 2012) is in their 103rd year. Was Sydney Marlow in the first troop? if so the question remains which one was this? A former Cub Scout Leader of the 2nd Mansfield (St. Peter’s Parish Church) group, told me that Scout group started in 1910. A wonderful photo in ‘Mansfield in old Photographs’ by the Old Mansfield Society, shows Mansfield Scouts camping at Windsor in 1911. There is an advert in the Mansfield Chronicle January 1916 for the ‘Baden-Powell Boy Scouts’ First Mansfield Troop, B. Royce Scoutmaster, and Old Meeting House Troop, Scoutmaster Chas B Mettham.

    By Pauline M (20/05/2012)
  • My thanks to all who have put up info on this site as we endeavor to learn more about the scouting years of Sydney F Marlow, it is the period of scouting in Mansfield that is the vague period,would love to be able to establish the troop he was warranted as a leader with Even if we could establish a bit more info about the presentation of the Flag and Marlow trophy may give us a lead in this regard. I can give you the dates of the Scout Jamboree they attended if it would be worth checking the papers around that time to see if there is anything in the press. Lastly a small correction, the suggested date of the meeting between S F Marlow and Baden Powell was 1914 as we are told by Scout Archives UK not 1912 as I originally wrote above Michael Thoms

    By ichael thoms (20/05/2012)
  • Further to the info above re: Sydney F Marlow and the Naval ensign presented in 1929 to Scouts in Mansfield. We cannot as yet identify which troop the presentation was made to. At the same time the Scouts of Mansfield presented a trophy that is a bust of Baden Powell cast in brass. This trophy was called the Marlow trophy in memory of SF Marlow and was for competition among Scouts here in Fiji. It was competed for and won for 6 years in a row by Scout Ben Jannif, at which time he was given the trophy in perpetuity. This Scout went on to be chief commissioner for scouting in Fiji and we have recently located this trophy with his family in Fiji

    By michael Thoms (18/05/2012)
  • In the 1930’s and some decades before, there used to be an old chapel type building situate on Quarry Lane. It was on the old ” Tip-pin”, between Bradder Street and Sibthorpe Street. It had a garden at the front which faced Quarry Lane, and to the left of it, nearer to Bradder Street, there was a large wooden building which housed some nice comfy armchairs and boxes that contained sports gear, cricket, and bowls etc. This wooden building one very severe winter, collapsed under the weight of the snow. It was never rebuilt and eventually taken away. The chapel type building was used in the 1930’s by a Scout’s Troop, and was always known locally as The Scout Hut. Also at that time it was used for Scout Jumble Sales. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you any more. Although I can tell you that the Scout Hut on Quarry Lane would have been only a 25 minute walk from Rosemary Street. How lovely it would have been if Mr. Marlow had been a member of that Troop of Scouts. Hope all goes well with your search. Alan curtis

    By alan curtis (18/05/2012)

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