The Jamboree Book, 1920
1st World Jamboree, Olympia, England
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Welsh Scouts Show Life-Saving at a Colliery Disaster
From: The Jamboree Book, 1920, Boy Scout Association


ABOUT 400 Scouts from Wales were at Olympia during the’ jamboree, of whom 124 were competitors.

The bulk of the visitors were camped at Richmond, though some were scattered over London.

The competing teams were as follows:—

Scenic display-"Colliery Smash"-24th Swansea (Wesley) Troop. This display was entirely designed, made and shown by the Troop, of whom 37, all under 18, entered the arena. The display, taking in all 14 minutes, included the erection of a colliery pit-head, 40 feet long and 30 feet high-the entry of the miners-a violent underground explosion-a rush to the rescue by Scouts encamped near-and the erection of a single-pole derrick 40 feet high over the smoking pit-head, whereby Scouts were lowered into the colliery, the patients raised up, including insensible miners and a severely hurt "stretcher case." It was an excellent demonstration of emergency scoutcraft.

The 29th Swansea (Bishopston) Troop demonstrated a Trek Cart on a new principle, which could be made into a tent, 16 feet by 11 feet in 2 minutes. The eight members of this team were all under 14 years of age and performed in the arena unaided.

In the Tug-of-War, Wales entered two teams, but a lack of weight prevented the Wales "B" Team, drawn from the Swansea Valley Association, pulling over the Swiss Team. The latter, in fact, reached the finals, to be beaten by Denmark.

The other team, Wales "A," although heavier, lacked training and were pulled over by England "A" in heat 4. The Welsh team was a composite one, largely drawn from East Glamorgan, and lost by two pulls out of three, after a gallant effort.

In the Foot Obstacle Race the Welsh "A" Team lost to Norway in the first round, but a very gallant effort by the "B" Team, who ran four times in one day, nearly equalised this. The "B" Team, drawn from West Glamorgan, met Norway in the finals, after defeating all the others they were drawn against. Unfortunately, one of the Welsh team had an accident and failed to finish, so that points were equal.

It is worthy of record that Scout Cecil Mason, 3rd Swansea Valley, who ran six times, finished first on each occasion, and also assisted his team in the Trek Cart Race.

In the Trek Cart Race, Wales entered three teams; the "A" team losing to America "A" in the first round, and "C" team to Middlesex. The "B" Team (3rd Swansea Valley Troop) were more successful. Beating Durham in the first round, the Kent "B" in the second (these latter were most unfortunate, as their trek cart broke down), the Welsh Team just defeated America by 6 seconds in the next round. They then met London "E" and won by 20 seconds in the semi-final, to come against Denmark. The Danish team’s original time was 2 minutes (due to their great skill and in some measure to a rubber-tyred trek cart) and by the semi-final they had reduced this to I minute 50 seconds. The Welsh Team had in the same space reduced their time with a rather heavy pattern of ordinary troop cart from 3 minutes 20 seconds to 2 minutes 17 seconds.

In the finals, the Danes did the course in 1 minute 46 seconds, and the Welshmen in 2 minutes 2 seconds. Both these times were really wonderful, and the Danish Scouts are to be congratulated, not only on their well deserved win, but also on the wonderful display of encouragement that they gave to their opponents’ team in its gallant effort.

In the Boxing, Wales won the two heaviest weights; R. Harry (.3rd Swansea Valley) getting the 11 stone and J. Davies (22nd Cardiff) the 9 stone 6 lbs. Two "runners-up" and five "special commendations" for plucky fighting were also awarded to Welsh Scouts, and a special certificate for valuable assistance rendered was presented by the Chief to Miss V. Williams, Hon. Secretary, Port Talbot Association.

In the Marathon 100-mile Cycle Competition, the Welsh Team (1st Baglan Troop) were disqualified. Failing to read the conditions properly, they started from Bristol at 3 p.m. on August 2nd and finished in Olympia at 8 p.m. on August 3rd, camping on the way outside Marlborough. But the competition was intended to last 48 hours and to include two nights in bivouac. The,

speed of the Baglan Team and the excellent condition of their kit and cycles was not enough, however, to outweigh the serious fault of missing one night’s camp.

Besides the arena competitive displays, there were also several Welsh entries in the Working Models and Handicraft sections, and a continuous show of wood-working and carving in the Annexe by the 8th (Alexandra) Swansea Troop. This Troop claims to have been the first Welsh troop to do war service having been employed in calling up Reservists in August, 1914. The Troop also holds several awards for life-saving. All things considered, the Welsh Scouts made a very creditable appearance.

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