Following the outbreak of the World War II, Scouts became active in various ways in the District to help the War effort, undertaking chores such as collecting medicine bottles, razor blades, Rose Hips and waste paper. Voluntary duties included acting as hospital orderlies, police messengers, A.F.S. Duties, window cleaning at the two British restaurants in the town, acting as escorts at Rest Centres, distributing ration books and fire watching. In addition, Hinckley Scouts where expected to report to the former Work Council in
London Road on Saturdays to be briefed by Sam Malpus, who was organising the collection of waste paper.
Waste paper collection earned us the coveted Service Badge, a red and gold cloth emblem worn on the Scout shirts over the left pocket. Overall, about 70 tons of waste paper was collected, for which the District received around £200. When war broke out, there were only six groups operating in the area, which had grown to eleven by 1947. At the end of the war, we learned that the money earned from the collection of waste paper was in a special fund. This account was specifically earmarked for the purchase of a District Camping Ground - always referred to as a Camping Ground and not Campsite as it is today.
So, with £200, the quest began for a suitable site. Meanwhile, £50 had been forthcoming from a legacy donated by Mr Peach. Grants also came from the County Council (£50) and from King George the VI Jubilee Fund. Profits from a Scout week held in 1949 helped to swell the funds and part of an early Bob a Job week proceeds were also collected. In November 1952, an area of 15.942 acres of mixed scrub and woodland came on the marked and was acquired by HDSC for £192. The location – O.S.140/453018 – Fox Coverts.
Two people in particular where responsible for the sheer hard work and dedicated commitment required in this formidable project. They were DC Bill Seal and ADC George Wilson. Later, Ken Reece's expertise and Bill Seal's water divining skills ensured that water was always available. Ken Reece sank two wells where Bill Seal instructed and these wells became the only source of water supply to the site for many years.
Although the land was purchase in 1952, it was another four years before the site was officially opened. In the interim, much work was being done by groups, friends of Scouting and business people who gave materials freely in support of whatever project was being undertaken. Eventually, on a very hot day in June 1956, the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Lord Cromwell declared the Camping Ground open.
In 1956, a pair of wooden gates were erected at the entrance to the site and dedicated by the vicar of Holy Trinity, Reverend L S Collis. They were presented to the District by Mr and Mrs E Melson in memory of their 25 year old son Robert Peter Melson, ex-1st Hinckley Scout, who was killed in 1955 while serving with the Royal Engineers in Cyprus. The 'Bob Melson' gates now form the entrance to the Campsite Chapel.