The World Jamboree of Boy Scouts 1929

H. M. The King,
A patron of the Scout Movement



The Jamboree camp has been very excited to-day, and with good reason. The King, who is Patron of the Boy Scouts, has expressed his sympathy with the movement and his approval of the Jamboree, not only by honouring the Chief Scout, but by sending a special message of welcome, which the Prince of Wales read this afternoon to the 50,000 comrades with whom he had spent the night in camp. General Dawes and Marshal Lyautey visited the camp this afternoon, and the sun has been shining with real summer warmth.

This morning the Prince was up early. After breakfast, he left his tent at 8 o’clock, and began a tour of the camp, partly by car, but largely on foot. The Rovers from Wellington College formed his bodyguard. He went to the hospital, where one or two casualties have been "rented, and thence from one camp to another. All the way he WAS greeted with cheers, howls, yells, and other sounds expressive of delight and enthusiasm. Cooks neglected their fires, and orderlies, for the time being, their tasks. The Prince delighted the leaders of several European contingents by talking with them in their own languages. He was obviously pleased and impressed with everything he saw and heard, and his presence, while it has gladdened and encouraged those upon whose able shoulders rests the vital responsibility of maintaining the Scout Movement, has also deepened the zeal of every lad in camp, and made even the youngest Wolf Cub more careful for his vows.


The Prince in his tour saw a good deal more than the rows of tents, the kits, the kitchens, and the totems. He saw the great arena (empty, but ready for this afternoon’s rally), the post office, the shops, the messes, and the rest. He saw here and there a simple altar covered with a purple cloth under a canvas awning, or others, more simple still, built merely of logs. He saw Scouts from the East, forgetful of caste distinctions, mingling on terms of the utmost friendliness—Scouts who, but for the fact that they are Scouts, would hardly have looked at one another, much less lived together as members of a single great community. Indications of how many and how diverse are the races and colours represented here impress one daily, and one of the most remarkable is to be found at the branch of the National Provincial Bank in the shopping street, where foreign money is exchanged. There on the counter I saw this morning francs, gulden, kronen, pesetas, dollars, travellers’ cheques, marks, pengo, leva, zlotys, pesos, rupees, diner, and a mass of British Imperial currencies. In the transactions in this hut The Times list of exchanges plays an invaluable part. Some day, when Scout law is truly universal and difficulties like the gold standard have disappeared, a common currency displaying the familiar fleur-de-lis may make shopping abroad easier than it is to-day.


The Prince of Wales, after playing nine holes at golf, lunched in mess, and this afternoon, representing the King, arrived at the Grand Stand in the rally ground at half-past 2. A very large number of visitors for the time being augmented the population of the Scout city. The Prince, who was wearing a boondoggle given him this morning in the American camp, took his position on the saluting base, and the great march past began. Led by their banners, contingent after contingent swept by, each, though a section of the corporate body, displaying its individual nationality by something distinctive in uniform, by the manner of saluting, by display of national dress, or in some other way. The warmth of the greeting given by the onlookers to the marching boys was reflected in the fact that the smallest contingents always got the loudest cheers. Two Scouts came from the Gold Coast;

Lithuania and Cyprus, too, were scantily represented. So was Russia; but there was a particular and unique appeal in the spectacle of these small bands marching in procession with the big contingents from France and Denmark and elsewhere, and people were not slow to show that they felt the forge of it. The sunshine added beauty to the colour in flags and banners, and the pageant of the youth of the world went triumphantly on until the Prince of Wales, acknowledging the last salute, had watched the procession for nearly an hour.

The March Past during the visit of the Prince of Wales, who is seen taking the salute.

Next the arena was cleared for a display of massed folk dancing by 3,000 British Scouts. Then there should have followed the " urge forward " of 35,000 British Scouts into the arena. It did, in fact, take place, but mass movement is notoriously infectious, and presently almost the entire gathering of Scouts, waving hats and flags and poles, and yelling at the top of their voices, dashed towards the grand stand. What they did there can be described only as a demonstration.


At length, when quiet was restored, the Prince of Wales addressed the throng and read the following message from the King:—

I heartily welcome the Boy Scouts who have travelled from their homes, far distant in the British Empire and in many Foreign Lands, for the coming of age of the Boy Scout Movement. This is a unique assemblage representative of the Youth of all the Great Nations of the World, and I ask them to remember that it is chiefly upon the coming generations that the future peace of the world depends.

I warmly thank all those taking part in the Jamboree for their kind message and trust they will thoroughly enjoy their stay in this country and carry away with them happy and beneficial experiences. I am keenly disappointed that it is impossible for me to be present on this memorable occasion, but I am glad that my eldest son is with you all as my representative.

It has given me great pleasure to mark this signal event in your history by conferring a Peerage upon the Chief Scout. Ever since its inception he has been the mainspring of this Great Adventure, from its small and -almost humble beginning until to-day, when you number nearly two millions in your ranks. This recognition of his valuable services to the cause will be welcomed by all who realize the importance of training the world’s youth both in mind and in body. At the same time I am aware that the splendid achievements of this ennobling organization would not have been possible without the zealous and whole-hearted support given to the Chief Scout by his principal officers.

I wish God-speed to you all. May the Boy Scout Movement go from strength to strength in development and prosperity.

The King’s message was received with tremendous cheering. The Prince went on to address the Scouts on his own behalf. He said:—

"I am very glad to have been able to come to the Jamboree to see such a great gathering of Scouts, and I am particularly pleased that there are so many contingents from abroad and from British countries overseas. I have travelled abroad a good deal, and have seen Boy Scouts in practically every corner of the globe. It is not surprising that they should flourish in the British Empire, but it is rather surprising that scouting should have caught on as it has done’ in foreign countries as well. I remember, for instance, seeing a fine parade or Scouts in Chile, and this Jamboree proves that the idea which lies behind the Scout Movement is really a big thing which appeals to all sorts of people irrespective of their nationality.

"The British way of expressing the idea is to say, "Scouting breeds true sportsmanship." But sportsmanship is not an easy word to define. It means straight dealing and playing the game. It means self-reliance, and at the same time team work, playing for your side and not for yourself, winning without swank, losing without bad temper. It also means thoughtfulness and making allowances for others. It is an idea of loyalty and of service. The one thing it hates like poison is selfishness.


"British people have always believed in playing games, because they hold that games foster true sportsmanship by bringing people together in a common and unselfish interest. But it is not an easy job to bring people of different nationalities together to play games, and when they do meet, as in the Olympic Games, or at Wimbledon for tennis, it is a case of a very few people meeting at long intervals, and then only for a short time. Scouting is different. I should not like to say it is only a game. It is more than that, for it is a wide training in all sorts of useful crafts. But it can be and is practiced in the spirit of a great game, and you can all play it together, whatever your country, class, or creed. You meet together continually at your rallies and Jamborees. You pay visits to each other. Over 8,000 Scouts from Great Britain visited their brother Scouts in foreign countries during 1928, and the Scouts International Hostel in Switzerland received last year 1,400 Scouts of different nationalities who came together for climbing and "hiking."

"Every day scouting is growing and extending, and bringing into closer touch the youth of all nations, and as you work and play together at the many different forms of scouting you are sure to understand and to appreciate the other fellow’s point of view, even when it differs from your own. So I think tile Scout Movement is a great thing for individual Scouts, for the manhood of individual countries, and, more than all, for the development between different nations of understanding and good will in place of suspicion and selfish antagonism. So to the Scouters I would say that the time and energy that they are devoting to their work is not thrown away, for they are doing valuable service for their countries and for the peace of the world. And to you Scouts I say, ‘Go ahead, stick to your scouting, make yourselves as efficient as you can, be good friends with your brother Scouts from other countries, and when you are older do not forget the comradeship of your scouting days."’

The Chief Scout expressed the thanks of the Jamboree to the King for his message and to the Prince for his presence.

The message, he said, would inspire them to do better and better. The honour conferred on him was really conferred on every Scout. The King could not make every Scout a baron, so he gave the honour to the figure-head. Theirs was the biggest army in the world, but it was an army for peace. Then came another stirring scene, when the Scouts, raising their hats on their staves, cheered the King and the Prince of Wales and the Chief Scout himself.

The Prince’s speech has been translated so that every Scout at the Jamboree may read it.

In the Royal box the Chief Scout received from the Diplomatic representatives of the several countries concerned the First Class of the Cross of Merit of Hungary, the Order of the Phoenix of Greece, and the Order of the White Lion of Czechoslovakia. Massed Highland dancing by 1,500 Scottish Scouts, accompanied by their pipes, brought the afternoon programme to an end.

The Prince of Wales returned to London from Hooton in the evening by air, arriving at Hendon Aerodrome shortly after 8 o’clock.

Mr. T. W. Whitehead, of Dunblane, Perthshire, to-night, handed to the Chief Scout a cheque for £5,000 for the Association.

General Dawes, the American Ambassador, in a message sent to the American Scouts before leaving Birkenhead for London, urged them to cultivate friendship among the members of the other contingents in their organized endeavour for a common purpose, adding:—" The spirit of comradeship is the world’s best safeguard for peace."

Members of the South Africa Contingent.
Maori decorations were a feature of the New Zealand camp.

Arrowe Park, August 3, 1929

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