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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.


Almost in Time to be Too Late.

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 disembark hurriedly.

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 hats required.

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.

The Southern 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 baggage.

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 donned.

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.

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.
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Baden-Powell at the World Jamborees
Links to the World Jamborees, 1920-1937
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Copyright © Lewis P. Orans, 1997
Last Modified: 8:43 PM on July 1, 1997