History of Ship 24
Ship 24 Photos, 1945
Ship 24 first began as the senior scout patrol of Boy Scout Troop 24 (chartered in 1923) under Scoutmaster Bateman Hardcastle. It is the oldest Sea Scout Ship in the United States today. The name “Jolly Roger” dates to the 1920’s when someone remarked the black neckerchiefs worn by the youth made them look like pirates. A Skull and Crossbones was added to the number “24” to form the distinctive logo that serves as the unit patch to this day.
The old ship has a distinguished as well as long history. During WWII over a hundred ship 24 youth and adults served in all branches of the armed services. Ship 24 set the standard in competitions. It achieved regional flagship status in 1941, 1946, and was a National Standard Senior Scout Unit 1947. That same year the S.S.“Grandcamp” exploded in Texas City causing the worst industrial disaster in US history. Ship 24 assisted in the relief efforts. In 1950 after 30 months of building by the scouts & leaders the ship launched its fourth and largest “Jolly Roger”; a 32-foot skipjack sloop later pictured in Boys Life Magazine.
Bateman Hardcastle (the founding Skipper) retired in the early 1960’s and handed over the reigns to Henry Hooper a former ship 24 Sea Scout. Due to the small numbers of youth in the area, he moved the unit from the Houston Heights to its present location at St Stephens Methodist Church. Henry was active in the ship as a youth and adult for nearly 40 years. In 1974, the current Skipper was a Sea Scout in Ship 24 under Henry Hooper. At least two Council Commodores, also served as the Skipper of the sss Jolly Roger.
In 1996 the unit was given an old rescue boat from the tanker “Stolt Viking”. It was converted to a new Sea Scout training vessel attracting new youth and adults. “Jolly Roger V” has earned honors afloat and on the trailer in various parades. It has traveled overland twice to Pensacola Florida for summer sailing trips. In July 2002 “Jolly” was towed to New England and sailed at Mystic Seaport then later by the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor for “Scoutfleet 2002”. “Jolly” (as she is known to her crew) is seen regularly on the waters of Galveston Bay and nearby waters training Sea Scouts in seamanship and small boat handling.
In May 2004 Ship 24 was awarded the National Flagship Trophy as the most outstanding Sea Scout unit in the United States for 2004.
Skippers of the Jolly Roger
First Skipper Second Skipper
Skipper Bateman Hardcastle Henry Hooper