The World Jamboree of Boy Scouts 1929

The Prince of Wales and the Chief Scout
From The Times of London, 1929
The Prince of Wales talking to Iraqi Scouts
From The Times of London, 1929


ARROWE PARK, Aug. 1, 1929

The Jamboree camp was honoured to-day by a visit from the Prince of Wales, who is staying in camp to-night. He is Chief Scout for Wales, and this evening he visited the camp theatre. The other outstanding event of the day was the conferring on the Chief Scout, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, of the honorary degree of LL.D. by the Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool University (Mr. H. J. W. Hetherington).

A morning of brilliant sunshine and high winds repaired some of the damage that had been done in camp by the soaking rain which fell almost throughout the night. It is not always possible for the most careful pitcher of tents so to arrange his pegs and guy ropes, and so to dispose his ground sheets and blankets, that he may with success defy the sort of weather that the eccentricities of an English summer are able to produce. The rain last night came down in solid streaks, like the rain depicted in Japanese colour prints. It was as persistent as it was penetrating, and even those Scouts whose beds were warm and dry were kept awake by the drum beats of the rain on their "bivvies," a sound as irksome as any that may be heard between supper and breakfast time.


It was therefore a sodden, though by no means a depressed, camp that – welcomed the morning. Blankets and beds were dragged out into the refreshing sun and drying wind, timber wisely conserved in such spots as were dry was rapidly chopped up for tinder, and, where a hundred camp fires smoked, Scouts gave thanks and broke their fast in summer weather. The totems had made light of the conditions. Nothing alters their habitual characteristic grin or frown any more than these dripping nights dilute the high spirits of the 50,000 youngsters who are gathered about their carven physiognomies. Thus they were ready with bands and banners for the opening of the day’s programme, and they marched up to the rally ground in admirable order, leaving behind them encampments that were fit to be scrutinized by the most exacting and least human of Scoutmasters—if the combination of adjectives can ever apply to any who hold that office.


At noon the camp was opened to the public, who came in great numbers to study scoutcraft, to wish—many of them —that they were young enough to share in the fun, and to see the programme of entertainments. This began with a march past of colour parties bearing the flags of all the nations represented here, the Chief Scout taking the salute. These paradox, though episodes and spectacles may be repeated in them, never love their force in their emotional appeal. National pride, rightly enough, is symbolized as flag after flag, held high, passes round the arena and is dipped at the saluting base, but insistence on nationality begins and ends there. There is no challenge in the gesture, and the spirit of brotherhood suffer3 no violence. To-day the Albanian Scout who carried with proper and obvious pride his country’s colour wore national costume, and drew a personal cheer from the throng.

After the procession the ceremony of conferring the degree on the Chief Scout took place. The University delegates, with Sir Robert Baden-Powell wearing his scarlet robes over Scout uniform, took their places on a platform in front of the grand stand, and we may doubt whether so great an audience ever before witnessed such an event in the open air. Tremendous cheering greeted its consummation, and the Chief Scout, for once in a headdress other than the familiar broadbrimmed felt hat, returned, m a procession led by the mace-bearer with commendable gravity, to the grand stand. One notes with satisfaction that even a Doctor of Laws may show his knees if he happens to be a Scout. The Public Orator of the University (Professor E. T. Campagnac) in a notably happy address, said:—

"It is the pride of the University to praise famous men. It is her privilege to bid them welcome to her society, and for celebration of their coming to offer them garlands, woven not from her modest flowers but from their own bright honour. To-day we greet and acclaim and take to ourselves a man illustrious in the arts of peace and of war, a model of chivalry, a pattern of courage and of courtesy, a visionary who has brought noble dreams to noble fulfillment, a practical idealist. Soldier and sportsman, writer and sculptor, traveller in many lands, he has learned in the lively school of experience to turn romantic hope to assured reality. and has given unity to his many gifts by dedicating them in love and loyalty to his God, his King, and his country. The world has been his university, but England is his home.

"In England his heart was fixed in whatever far campaigns he carried the livery of Mars. Under Minerva’s aegis he must needs serve England still, and has set himself to teach her children lessons which he himself has learned. He has taught them that for her sake they must win and keep athletic vigour of body and alertness of mind, and achieve that perfection of craftsmanship which gives to work a virtue religious and artistic. He has taught them that piety and honour, truth and tenderness, are to be proved in all the concerns of daily life, in town and country, in work and in play, alike in great and memorable deeds and in ‘little nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.’ For love of England ‘dear for her reputation through the world,’ he has united in a world-wide association her sons’ homekeeping in ‘ this sceptred isle ‘ or scattered in the uttermost parts of her Dominions. He has been their comrade and counsellor, the apostle and exemplar of a fervent and far-reaching patriotism. In the name of the Senate and of the Council, I present to you Robert Baden-Powell, Baronet, Knight Grand Cross of St. Michael and St. George, Lieutenant-General, Chief Scout, for the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causae, of this university."

Those who visited the Jamboree at Wembley will remember the admirable plays and pageants given by the Scouts in the Stadium there. Entertainments of the same kind are being arranged here at Arrowe Park, and this afternoon in the rally ground the Scouts of Derbyshire showed us some episodes from the life and adventures of Robin Hood, a hero of boyhood that youth will always welcome on any stage.

After this the Canadians in costume entered the arena as an old-time circus parade. Tumbling clowns were lavish in their antics. Another section of the party gave a display of Red Indian songs and canoes, and reproduced some of those ceremonies which have contributed so much to Scout lore. A medicine man played his tom-tom. There were chiefs and squaws and the blessing of the camp fire. There was the singing of the Omaha tribal prayer, which has been described as the Lord’s Prayer of the red man:—"Father, a needy one stands before thee. I that sing am he." There followed the peace pipe ceremony, given in part, and also part of the Sioux war canoe. Another entertainment was a display of pyramid building. Scouts from India and Lancashire contributed to the programme, and the Americans showed us some of their national games, while the Birmingham Scouts revived the games of ancient Rome.

The Prince of Wales passing through the Scottish camp during his tour of inspection.


The Prince of Wales, who arrived in camp shortly before 7 o’clock, flew to Hooton, and was there received by the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire. He drove on to Birkenhead, and was met by the Chief Scout at the borough boundary. A short civic ceremony took place at the Town Hall, and the Prince, after inspecting members of the British Legion at the Cenotaph, came on to Arrowe Park. His tent had been pitched on the lawn facing the hall, where are the quarters of the directing staff. The Chief Scout made a number of presentations, and the Prince received the directing staff, the foreign delegates to the International Scout Conference, and the Chief Scout’s commissioners Mr. Mortimer Schiff, one of the senior members of the banking firm of Kuhn Loeb and Co., of New York, who is a vice-president and international commissioner of the Boy Scouts’ Association, was received privately by the Prince and presented to him a cheque for £10,000 to establish a fund to be used by the Boy Scouts’ Association of Great Britain in the personal discretion of the Chief Scout for the promotion of international friendship among boys.

The Prince of Wales afterwards dined privately with the Chief Scout, having meanwhile changed into scout uniform.

He looked remarkably fit. The clouds which had been gathering throughout the late afternoon now grew more threatening, and the first of a series of heavy downpours fell at about 9 o’clock. Around some of the international camp fires thousands of people were gathered in the evening. Sing-song programmes were continued, although the performers must have been soaked to the skin. The Prince attended a short performance in theatre, where he received a stirring welcome, and later he returned to his quarters.



Reprinted from The Times, London, 1929

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B-P’s Honours included honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh (1910), the University of Toronto1(1923), McGill University, Montreal (1923), Oxford University (1923), the University of Liverpool (1929), and Cambridge University (1931)

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