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The Boy Scouts Imperial Jamboree
Wembley, 1924

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To highlight the Imperial aspect of the Scout Movement the Boy Scouts Imperial Jamboree was held during the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924. The Scout Association published a "Souvenir Volume" as a remembrance of the occasion.

H. M. The King Reviews Empire Scouts.

WHAT might almost be regarded as the beginning of the Imperial Jamboree was the Inspection held at Buckingham Palace by H.M. the King on Monday, July 28th. It had been proposed that the Scouts should marshal at Marble Arch and then march through the streets to the Palace. Quadrangle. This plan, however, had to be abandoned owing to the heavy downpour, and the Scouts were brought from the various places where they were staying by motor charabancs to the Riding School.

The Review was timed for eleven o’clock, and just before that hour H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught, President of the Association, appeared, wearing morning dress and attended by Colonel Douglas Gordon, and on the stroke of eleven His Majesty, attended by Lord Hampden (Lord-in-Waiting), the Hon. (Holland Willoughby (Groom-in-Waiting) and Captain Sir Bryan Godfrey-Faussett (Equerry-in-Waiting), arrived by the garden entrance, being received by the Chief Scout (Sir Robert Baden-Powell), the Earl of Meath, Sir Alfred Pickford (Commissioner for Oversea Scouts), Colonel Erskine (His Majesty’s Crown Equerry), and others.

One of the contingents, the Rhodesian Contingent, had been specially rushed up from Southampton, in order to be present, but that is a story in itself and will be found elsewhere in this book.

Australia had the largest contingent of the 640 present, with the South African and Indian contingents next in order, other contingents present on this memorable occasion being those from the Bahamas, Barbados, British Guiana, Ceylon, Jamaica., Kenya, Malta, Palestine, Southern Rhodesia, Trinidad, Uganda, and New Zealand. Among those present was a veteran Scoutmaster from New Zealand –74 years of age—and at the other end of the scale five small Wolf Cubs from Rhodesia.

As His Majesty entered the Riding School, the Scouts were called to the "Alert" and the Standard Bearers dipped their flags, a courtesy which His Majesty, who was wearing a Scout Badge, acknowledged by raising his hat. His Majesty then passed down between each line of Scouts, shaking hands with the Scouters and talking with several of the Scouts, and in particular speaking to the little group of Rhodesian Wolf Cubs who had come so near to missing the great event. His Majesty’s conversation revealed his interest both in the lives of the Scouts themselves and in that of their countries, and for years to come in far-away and lonely corners of the Empire these Scouts and Cubs will yarn around their camp fires of the King’s kindly interest in them and their homes, and above all, in the great Movement to which they belong.

His Majesty then addressed the Scouts as follows : "I am very glad to have taken this opportunity of seeing you here to-day. I have been having a very busy time, but I could not bring myself to leave London without seeing you. I wish to congratulate you all on your smart appearance and’ your excellent discipline. I feel sure that your visit to England will be of very great interest to you and a happy recollection in after years.

"You will have a very busy time at Wembley, and I have no doubt that you will learn more from one week spent there than you could learn in school at home in the course of a whole  year. I started to go round the world when I was only about the age of some of you. I was only fourteen, and I can assure you that my experiences have been of the utmost value to me.

" ‘Once a Boy Scout, always a Boy Scout.’ These words were used by Lord Kitchener on one occasion when he was inspecting Boy Scouts. I think you know what he meant and what I mean, namely, that the promises you made when you joined the Boy Scouts you ought to keep for the rest of your lives. That will make you better citizens and a credit to the great Empire to which we are all so proud to belong.

"I hope the great Jamboree will be the huge success that I feel sure it will be. I am sorry I shall not be able to be there to see y you myself, but I understand that my son y intends to spend a day or two  with you. I now wish you the best of luck, a safe return to your homes and happy recollections of your visit to this country."

The close of the King’s address was the signal for hats on staves and three ringing cheers on the part of all the Scouts present. The Chief Scout followed with a few words in acknowledgment, asking the King to accept the gratitude and humble duty of the Scouts of the whole Movement.

As the King was leaving the Riding School, he caught sight of a party of Japanese Scouts, who had been invited as visitors to witness the ceremony, and be went across and spoke to them. His Majesty, having left, the Chief Scout addressed the Oversea Scouts, and said that he wanted to take the opportunity of welcoming them from all parts of the Empire. They had had a sight of the King and that constituted a good start for the jamboree. He was sorry better weather had not been turned on for them, but perhaps that was all the better, for bad weather tested their spirit, , which certainly appeared to him to be very good. He urged the Scouts to study this country as far as they possibly could. The time of their stay here would soon slip by, and he wanted them to endeavour to show the people of the Old Country what they were made of, as well as to learn something about the Old Country and its people. They had given a good impression already, and he wanted them to prove that they were real men in the making. It would all help the Empire and help them too.

He advised them to get as closely in touch with the English Scouts as possible, and to cultivate in every way the spirit of comradeship and brotherhood. They did not learn half enough about the Empire in their schools, but they would learn much about it from their visit to the heart of the Empire and from their association with English Scouts and with each other. He hoped they would take back home with them an account of what they found good in the Old Country. They probably would find that all was not good, but they could keep the bad parts to themselves and strive in every way to promote the good feeling which would go so far to bind together the different parts of the widely-scattered Empire.

He could tell them that the King and the Duke of Connaught were mightily pleased with what they had seen of the Empire Scouts that morning, and had not hesitated to say so very emphatically.

Hats were once again raised and hearty cheers were given for the Chief Scout. The Chief Scout, as he left the entrance to the Royal Mews to return to Headquarters, received a great ovation from the crowd of people gathered together in the rain.

The Boy Scouts Imperial Jamboree 1924.
Excerpts from "The Imperial Jamboree 1924":
The Boy Scouts Imperial Jamboree 1924. Held in conjunction with the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, the 1924 Jamboree brought together over 12,000 Scouts from the Commonwealth.
Baden-Powell Photo Gallery
Baden-Powell at the World Jamborees
Links to the World Jamborees, 1920-1937
The Baden-Powell Home Page

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Last Modified: 8:43 PM on July 1, 1997