The Speaker at today’s Forum making his eighth visit was Mr Eric Forster with the intriguingly titled “Why Geoffrey Layton hated Boy Scouts”.

The talk started back in 1933 when Mr Forster contacted rheumatic fever and was confined to his bed for a year. His illness and confinement led to his life long interest in collecting and he discussed particularly his interest in pottery and postcards which led on to an interest in tanks.He then gave us a potted history of tanks from the First World War including advising about tank banks ( a means of selling war bonds to raise monies) and a later year’s visit to Scarborough saw him looking for a tank postcard in a shop but coming across a funeral card for fourteen members of the E/13 submarine who died in 1915 having been grounded on a Danish sandbank and fired upon by the German Navy. The Commander of the E/13 was Geoffrey Layton and he was interned in Denmark but convinced his submarine had been the victim of a faulty compass openly revoked his parole certificate in Denmark and made his escape back to Newcastle in the U.K. Regrettably he was mistakenly attacked as a potential spy by a Boy Scout there looking to achieve his National Service  badge hence the title of this talk but recovered and was able to confirm after tests that the E/13 compass was faulty, was exonerated , regained high office and continued a distinguished career in the Royal Navy.

The talk concluded with a Harrogate tale from some year’s past about this particular talk being advertised in a Church Hall and the concern it created at the funeral of another Geoffrey Layton!!—serious but an amusing coincidence with the passing of time.

The vote of thanks was given by Peter Staples.


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