|The Jamboree Book,
1st World Jamboree, Olympia, England
THE Boy Scouts of the United States of America responded to the invitation to visit the Jamboree by sending 301 Scouts and 59 Officers.
The boys were selected from every State in the Union, including even a representative from far-off Hawaii. The appreciation in Government circles of the importance of the mission on which the Boy Scouts were sent was shown by the co -operation which was extended to the delegation by the United States Government.
The American delegation assembled in New York and embarked on July 6th, on the United States Army Transport "Pocohontas." This vessel, which during the war made nine trips and transported over 20,000 United States troops overseas, was placed at the disposal of the Boy Scouts by the United States Government.
After an exciting but thoroughly enjoyable trip the "Pocohontas" reached Southampton on Friday, July 16th, where it was met by representatives of the British and American Scouts in London together with the American Consul and other officials.
The trip up Southampton Water to the Docks was a triumphal progress. Every ship flying the Stars and Stripes was cheered and every British ship that was passed cheered them in turn. Amid enthusiastic scenes the Scouts, with their officers, were landed at the Empress Docks.
A special train carried the delegation to London arriving at Waterloo at midnight. It had originally been intended to have accommodation for the boys in Richmond Park but the Camp unfortunately was not ready. However, through the kindness of the Y.M.C.A., a billet had been prepared at Mildmay Park and eight char-a-bancs and 18 taxicabs were waiting at the station to convey the party there.
The week following the Scouts’ arrival was spent in seeing the sights of London and in rehearsing for the exhibition at Olympia. The visitors found that their pocket money went as fast in England as in America but they soon learned to count their shillings and pence.
One of the notable events of the week was the unveiling of the Lincoln Statue in the Square facing Westminster Abbey. The Hon. Elihu Root, a former Secretary of State, representing the American people, presented the statue to Great Britain and the gift was accepted by the Rt. Hon. David Lloyd-George, Prime Minister, on behalf of the British nation. The American Boy Scouts, by forming a cordon around the statue, assisted the police in handling the large crowd and the Denver Band had a prominent place on the programme of events.
The same day the moving of the camp from Mildmay Park to Richmond gave a splendid example of the efficiency with which the Scouts are able to manage difficult tasks. The first detachment left the camp at Mildmay Park at 9 o’clock and by noon the camp was established in Richmond Park with sentries on duty.
On Sunday, July 25th, a special corridor train, the first private special train run over the lines of the Great Western Railway since the War, took the Scouts to Stratford-on-Avon. The train left early in the morning and arrived about noon, being met at the station by the Mayor and Corporation and a Guard of Honour composed of local Boy Scouts. The party was so large that arrangements were made for half of the party to do the sight-seeing while the other half had luncheon. When those who had lunched first had finished their meal they started their visits to the historic old spots leaving their places at the table to their hungry comrades. Visits were made to the house where, in 1564, Shakespeare was born, to the beautiful old church, and the Memorial Theatre.
At 2.30 the boys boarded their special train for Warwick, arriving there at 3:15. With their own band at their head the Boy Scouts marched to Warwick, where guides took the visitors in groups through the Castle’ here everything of interest was viewed from the deepest dungeon to the topmost turret, not omitting the gorgeous peacocks that strutted on the lawns. After tea the boys entrained arriving in London at 9.30.
On Tuesday, the 27th, the Scouts were the guests of the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress at the Guildhall and a hearty welcome was extended to the visitors on behalf of the City of London. Subsequently a visit was made to the historic Tower of London.
On Thursday, August 5th, the boys were the guests at a dinner and dance at the Washington Inn, St. James’s Square, London, under the auspices of a committee of Americans. Before the dinner a performance of an Indian Dance was given on the lawn in front of the inn.
The boys struck camp on Monday morning, August 9th, and entrained for Dover. They embarked on a special cross-channel steamer at Dover and arrived in Boulogne at noon.
From Boulogne, where they became the guests of the French Government, they began a tour of the battlefields of France, which included a trip to Paris. Upon the invitation of the Belgian Government a visit was made to the principal cities of Belgium and a day was spent at the Olympic Games at Antwerp.
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