Mountrath man’s scouting life

Fifty years of continuous membership of any organisation is an achievement in itself, but Archie Raeside has gone one better and written a detailed memoir of his years in the Irish scouts, creating a valuable future archive.

Fifty years of continuous membership of any organisation is an achievement in itself, but Archie Raeside has gone one better and written a detailed memoir of his years in the Irish scouts, creating a valuable future archive.

“This Scouting Life” is the second book penned by the Dublin man who now lives in Mountrath. His first was an account of his experiences as one of the first Irish soldiers to serve in The Congo. Both are offshoots from Archie’s continuing handwritten memoirs of his fascinating life.

Feedback has been very positive already, Archie reports.

“A few people have rung me and sent me cards, telling me they couldn’t put it down, and other nice remarks,” he said.

Archie joined the 35th Dublin as an eight year old cub in 1947, and during his life has held positions of Venturer Leader, Group Leader and founder and National Director of Air Scouts in Scouting Ireland, continuing his participation during his nine years in the Irish Army.

Though retired, he is a lifetime member of the 35th Dublin, and regularly gives talks about air scouting. Among the biggest changes he witnessed was the organisation becoming all inclusive.

“The fact that it’s no longer just for Catholic boys, but now embodies everybody, is a good thing. One of the first girls into the Air Scouts in Weston Aerodrome was my daughter Bernadette. The way the programme is done has changed too, taking children from as young as five year old beavers right up to leader level. It is still as popular as ever, with over 46,000 scouts in Ireland now,” Archie says.

His family carried on the interest in scouting, with his sons Martin and Archie jnr, his daughter Bernadette and daughter-in-law Hilary all going on to be leaders. and his grandchildren Conor, Eoin and Aoife now proud scouts too.

“Archie jnr was one of the first Air Scouts at twelve, he now flies a 747 for British Airways,” his dad noted proudly.

The book was launched at Dublin’s Mansion House last month by the CEO of Scouting Ireland John Lawlor, who spoke of his lifelong friendship and admiration for Archie.

“Archie has a great gift as a story teller whether in his scout life or his Air Corps and army experiences in the Congo, and the book is full of great scouting stories.” he said.

Chief Scout Michael John Shinnick spoke of Archie’s dedication to scouting at local and national level and his pleasure in being invited to the book launch, also attended by Archie’s wife Bernie, his family, friends and many scouting colleagues.

“This Scouting Life” is published by The History Press and is on sale in Easons, retailing at €15. It is also available on the Amazon website in book and e-book format,