When information was
received at Imperial Headquarters that His Majesty the King would receive
the Oversea Scouts at Buckingham Palace on July 28th the first thought of
the Staff concerned was how many of them could avail them there was
sufficient time to send information to Funchal to meet the Saxon, on which
they were travelling. The Union Castle Line was approached with a view to
instructions being sent to the captain of the ship to tell him of the
importance of the occasion, and selves of the privilege. Quite a few were
already in the Motherland and others would arrive in good time, but there
was one party from Southern Rhodesia due on the very day itself.
How to secure the
presence of this contingent was the problem. Luckily, letters were written
to the Scoutmaster in charge advising him to have everything ready to
The result of these
communications was twofold. First of all, the captain of the Saxon sent a
wireless message that unless he was in any way delayed, he would arrive at
Southampton at 6 a.m. On the 28th. Secondly, a radiogram was received from
the Scoutmaster, asking for articles of Scout Kit, and giving the sizes of
In the event of bad
weather or fog delaying the party’s arrival, it was even suggested that
aeroplanes might be used to convey them from Southampton.
Railway gave orders for a carriage to be put on the mail train which would
leave for London previous to the special boat train. The prices of the
tickets and the dock dues were prepaid and the Customs Officers asked to
pass the Scouts’ baggage without hindrance:
On the evening of
July 27th a member of Imperial Headquarters Staff, with a Rover Scout, went
down to Southampton, taking parcels of clothing from the Equipment
Department, and at 5:30 a.m. the next morning they were waiting on the quay
for the Saxon to come alongside.
On the quay were
Southampton Scouts with their Commissioner, Mr. Paris, ready to help with
The Saxon came
alongside at 6 a.m., and the moment the gangways were in place, the
Headquarters’ representatives went aboard and found the Rhodesian Scouts and
Cubs at breakfast. After the meal, the clothing was distributed and then the
baggage, which had been previously collected on deck in readiness, was put
ashore and carried to the train even before the mail bags. Sandwiches were
then distributed for consumption on the journey, to fill any gap left from
the early breakfast.
As soon as the
train started the compartments became veritable tailors’ shops badges had
to be taken off old shirts and sewn on to new. Thread, scissors and needles
were passed along from carriage to carriage, and so the work continued until
the journey’s end.
The train arrived
at Waterloo at 1:05 a.m. The Scouts’ and Cubs’ baggage was taken to its
destination by Rovers, while the Scouts and Cubs themselves went off to have
a wash and a cup of tea each.
A charabanc was
waiting to take the party to Buckingham Palace, and as it was a dismal
morning, with rain falling heavily, coats and waterproofs were hastily
The Royal Riding
School was reached at 10:45 a.m. and the Rhodesian party were able to
discard their coats and get into their places with ten minutes to spare,
before His Majesty’s arrival, after a journey of over 8,000 miles.