|1st World Jamboree,
Olympia, London, England
THEN there were the Overseas Contingents. The first of these to arrive. was that from New South Wales. They numbered eight, under D.S.M. F. W. Eddes. A.S.M. R. Field, one of the party, was presented by the Governor of New South Wales with the Order of the Silver Wolf on the eve of his departure for England, he having quite recently saved the lives of three children who were in imminent danger of drowning. His Majesty the King was particularly interested in this contingent and ordered that they should be placed on duty at Buckingham Palace at an Investiture and afterwards be presented to him. An interesting feature in connection, with this contingent is that it travelled the longest distance to the jamboree, having come over 16,000 miles round the Cape before reaching England.
The boys from South Africa, numbering in all 186, made a splendid show, their uniforms being most picturesque. The boys from the Transvaal wore a distinctive strip of Leopard skin round their hats and the rest a Gold Springbok Head on diamond springbok skin sewn to the shirt. Their display in the arena was one of the best, earning full marks at the first performance because of the fact that it had been unrehearsed. They arrived in two contingents, the first going into camp at Sidcup until the Old Deer Park had been made ready, the other proceeded direct to Richmond. Both contingents were present at two Investitures at Buckingham Palace and were afterwards inspected by the King.
During the Jamboree the South Africans sprang a little surprise on the Chief Scout.
It was intimated to him at one of the afternoon performances that his presence in the arena would be appreciated, and on his arrival with Lady Baden-Powell, who brought with them the Chief Cub and the Chief Brownie (Peter and Heather) he found the contingent drawn up in a semi-circle and anxious to make a presentation. This consisted of a leopard skin rug for Lady Baden-Powell, a live jackal for Peter, and a charming little Chesterfield ottoman that should delight the Chief Brownie’s heart for years to come.
Three South Africans never saw the Jamboree after all. One because he had to undergo an operation for appendicitis as soon as he arrived and two others were laid up with chicken-pox.
All the South Africans said they were amazed at the bad weather in England. The climate Was such as they are quite unused to, but the most amazing thing of all to them was the length of daylight here. They were accustomed in their own country to darkness at about 6 p.m. and to be able to read without artificial light at 10 p.m., was to them little short of marvellous. It is a fact that many of the South Africans had never seen the sea, and the thing that worried one little lad from the Transvaal most was how on earth they were going to get the whole of his contingent on one boat!
These South African Scouts were made up as follows :–
The Cape Province Contingent numbered 10 Officers, 40 Scouts and 3 Wolf Cubs, the latter being the only ones to come to the Jamboree from overseas. Capt. P. F. F. White, M.C., was in charge, and Mrs. White, the only lady officer from overseas, came too, in charge of the Cubs. One of the assistant Scoutmasters of the party, Mr. C. Sims, lost both of his legs in a railway accident some time ago, and his Cape Province Troop, with an eye to the "good turn" that every good scout does to another, set to work to raise a fund to bring Sims to the Jamboree. So successful were they that not only were they able to afford the disabled scout his heart’s desire, but they also raised enough money to supply him with that which he most badly needed, a pair of artificial legs. As a result of a photograph in a London illustrated paper, Norway cabled, offering to supply the artificial limbs. This had to be gratefully refused, however, as the money had been already subscribed. Most visitors to the Jamboree will remember Sims, a jolly South African, who managed to get about exceedingly well in a mechanically propelled bath-chair. How many times he was photographed, Sims said he had really forgotten. As for his autograph, none appears to have been more sought after. The party brought with them a lion cub, a fine healthy little fellow who spent his days sleeping in the Zoo. Before leaving, the lion was presented to the Curator for inclusion in the Edinburgh Zoo.
Natal sent 35 Scouts with S.M. G. Colin Grace in charge. One of the Scouts had a wooden leg, but this did not seem to impede him in any way, for he was as active as any, and said he did a lot of trekking with it in South Africa.
From the Orange Free State S.M. J. Huber (Silver Wolf, in charge) brought 12 scouts. They were to have brought a springbok, but it died.
From the Transvaal came nine officers and 58 Scouts in the command of Mr. F. H. Hodgkinson (Silver Wolf). This contingent brought two jackals and a monkey for the Zoo. The collection would have included a springbok, but that died in South Africa. The contingent paid a visit to the Mansion House during its stay in London, and took the opportunity of presenting a magnificent pair of elephant tusks to the City of London on behalf of the Transvaal as a token of thanks for the hospitality that London had offered to the Transvaal soldiers wounded during the war. The tusks were exceedingly fine specimens, measuring 6 feet in length and weighing just 100 pounds An interesting feature of this contingent lay in the fact that while speaking to them the Chief Scout discovered that some of the boys were sons of Boers who had fought against him in Mafeking.
From Jamaica came 24 Scouts in charge of D.S.M. McCorkell. They were accompanied by Mr. A. N. Crosswell, Assistant Commissioner. These were a splendid lot of fellows, and had an immense time, both at Olympia as well as on the voyage there. It should be mentioned that the boys came to England and returned to their native country at the expense of Messrs. Elders and Fyffes, the well-known shipping company, who carried them free of cost as a contribution to the funds. They were to have come to Avonmouth, and a big programme, including a civic reception, was arranged for them at Bath. But "the best laid schemes," etc., and the ship took them to Liverpool instead, So goodbye to civic receptions and all the other jollities that had been arranged. From Liverpool they proceeded to Sheffield, where they joined up with the Sheffield Scouts, and came to London with them later. The Jamaicans will long be remembered for their remarkable displays of the native customs of the Arawak Indians with native songs and dances. Their mascot was an alligator, which had to be kept in a tank with water at an even temperature Of 75 degrees. By a clever arrangement of gas jets under the tank the reptilian visitor was enabled to have a very comfortable time.
Ceylon was represented by a King’s Scout, H. Tenuwara, who remains in England to serve an apprenticeship, and arrived in time to carry the flag in the Grand Procession. This sturdy little man from Ceylon evoked a hearty cheer at every march past, greetings of which he apparently took not the slightest notice.
Gibraltar sent 27 Sea Scouts and 22 Land Scouts, under S.M. E. H. Wilder, M.B.E., R.N., who was accompanied by Major 0. H. Pedley, O.B.E., J.P. These little fellows brought a pipe band, and gave an excellent entertainment with dumb-bells, bar-bells, and signalling. A little Moorish donkey that they intended to bring to the Zoo unfortunately died before they came away.
The Maltese Contingent were very proud fellows. They came all the way from Malta on H.M.S. "Resolution. In all there were 38, including six Sea Scouts. Six of the boys were English, but strangely, only three bad been in England before. They were in charge of D.S.M. Rev. J. G. Blair, who was accompanied by the Hon. Edgar Bonavia, C.M.G., a Commissioner. A very interesting fact in connection with this contingent is that one of the Scouts, P. L. E. O’Neill, saved a boy from drowning in the River Thames at Richmond within 24 hours of his arrival. This in itself is not strange, because Boy Scouts make a habit of that sort of thing, but it is a remarkable fact that this lad living in Malta had never seen a river in his life before. For his bravery he was awarded a Medal of Merit, which was presented to him in the Arena by the Chief. They had as a mascot a dog, which made heaps of friends in the Zoo.
The Malay Peninsula was represented by P.L. S.R.M. Naidu. This little fellow had entered for the boxing competition but, unfortunately, he met with a slight accident, which prevented him from taking part.
"Where is Canada ? I don’t see Canada," was the Duke of Connaught’s comment at the private opening. He was quite right. Unfortunately, there were none there, which caused universal disappointment this side. One hundred were to have come, but the Dominion Council considered that representatives from only one or two provinces would be undesirable, so at the last moment none were sent. Canada, however, was represented, in the procession by Scout A. Lines (Ontario), Scout Jack Marriott (Manitoba), and one or two others. Mr. A. T. Mackintosh, Assistant Commissioner (of Manitoba), was also present unofficially.
India provided the only little tragedy of the piece. A contingent had made all arrangements to come to England to see the jamboree and the youngsters furthermore, were coming at their own expense. The savings of a lifetime with the rupee at 1s. 4d. were all going to be "burst" on this great trip. But the jamboree came and the jamboree went and there were no Boys from India. But they did arrive on the 16th August on the P. & 0. Liner "Morea." Their photograph, appears on below. Still, India was represented by 15 Scouts, including eight Wolf Cubs, who were collected in this country by Lieut.-Col. W. P. Pakenham-Walsh, R.E. One of the Wolf Cubs, the only representative of Persia, was a jolly little chap, and he was nicknamed "the Shah."
New Zealand was represented by one Boy Scout only, Scout C. Reade, who said afterwards that he had had a magnificent time, and he left with the New South Wales Contingent for Belgium, where he was the guest of the Belgian Scouts.
Various Dominions and Colonies sent representatives who were unable to send any boys. Barbados was represented by the Bishop of Barbados, Egypt by Col. G . G. Ewer, Mesopotamia by Capt. Corry (of the Indian Army) and the Sudan by Capt. B. H. Withers, Assistant Commissioner.
All the Overseas Contingents were later inspected by the King and Queen, Princess Mary and the Duke of York at Buckingham Palace on August 10th.
Their Majesties were received with a Royal salute and a Scout bugle call. The lads from overseas were ‘ arranged in column formation facing the King’s door. The Chief Scout was present, together with a number of the principal Scout officers from various colonies and foreign countries.
Their Majesties passed along the line of these officers and talked with all of them. The conversation with the Belgian officer was carried on in French, while to a French officer the Queen expressed her regret that they had been unable to see the jamboree. "I am told it was a most wonderful and interesting sight," said her Majesty.
Among the contingents were representatives of South Africa, Mesopotamia, Gibraltar, Malta and Jamaica, One lady was on parade, namely, Mrs. M. L. E. White, District Cub Master for Cape Town. The King remarked that he had already seen the South African contingent at one of his recent Investitures, and noticed then how very smart they were in appearance. He was glad to find that they were a fair sample of the whole body which he now saw on parade.
The Cape Colony and Transvaal Scout contingents were the largest among the South Africans, but Natal and Orange River Colony also were represented.
During the inspection, which was made in great detail, two members of the Cranford troop who were on duty as orderlies were presented to His Majesty, who was reminded that these lads were among those who had done duty at various Court functions, while one of them had received from His Majesty a memento in the shape of a combined matchbox and whistle.
The King shook hands with these two lads, and the Queen asked to see the matchbox-whistle. Her Majesty remarked that it was evident the owner was putting it to excellent practical use.
The King and Queen stood near the King’s door and watched the overseas visitors march off in column, after which they bade farewell to the various Colonial and foreign officers, to the Chief Scout and the Commissioners, and passed within the Palace.
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