The World Jamboree of Boy Scouts 1929

Nigeria at the Jamboree From Industrial Middlebrough


ARROWE PARK, Aug. 5, 1929

An enormous holiday crowd from Liverpool, Birkenhead, and the surrounding district visited the Boy Scout Jamboree Camp to-day. The conditions underfoot must have been known to many of them in advance, but few can have imagined what they were really to experience. In all the rain that has fallen during the past week we have never had a light shower. Every fall has been a drenching downpour. For the whole of that time, moreover, 50,000 persons have been living in the camp and walking about its roads and grassy spaces. Motor-cars have travelled here and there, and motor-lorries have carried stores and gear from point to point. All this movement on the sodden surface has churned it into mud of the thickest and stickiest variety. Conditions in this place of peace are far too much like those of war time.

Many of the Scouts, whose cheerfulness in the difficult circumstances is exemplary, have abandoned shoes and stockings and splash about in the mire barefoot. Others spend a prodigious amount of their leisure in cleaning boots. Parts of the main roads where traffic is heaviest have become practically impassable. There the mud is thin and watery and deep. Yet, in spite of the adverse circumstances, the life of the camp goes forward on its well-ordered way. Encampments are tidy, fires are lit, food is cooked, the programme of entertainments suffers little interruption. The floundering troops sing as they pick their way from place to place. Camp fire parties get wet and dry by turns. The mud, whatever else it is is material for a new joke every day, but the report that we have become known as the "Mudboree" is without truth. In the event of the camp becoming untenable, the authorities are ready with a scheme for billeting some thousands of the boys in the neighbourhood, but so far it is not necessary to take that step. The Scouts themselves would be terribly disappointed if it were, for half the fun of the Jamboree is in living under canvas and cooking one’s rations oneself.

In this very testing weather it would hardly have been surprising if, out of a population so large as ours, there were a great many cases of sickness. So far, however, the hospital list is small, and such cases as there are are cases of minor ailments and hurts.

Cheerful occupants of one of the wards in the Jamboree hospital.


While the Scouts have methods of adapting themselves to the muddy conditions, the public are less prepared. To-day in thousands they have picked and wallowed their way about the camp, ruining footwear, falling in a few oases into drifts, and slipping in hopeless haste from one submerged path to another. But they have made the best of it like the boys. The Scouts themselves have had to go about their duties in circumstances of alarming publicity. It is something of an ordeal to cook dinner for ten in the open under the critical eye of a Wallasey housewife; but, after all the methods of the range are not those of the camp fire. Such criticisms of camp cooking as there have been have been kindly and more than one Scout has probably picked up a few excellent hints in the matter of getting the best value out of a cauliflower. Occasionally one has heard truly amusing comment, as when a visitor, catching sight of a Scout waiting in costume to take his place in The Pageant of Joan of Arc, given this afternoon, remarked on "the astonishing uniforms of some foreign Scouts."


Representatives of Newfoundland, the oldest English colony.
Members of another British colony — Trinidad


This afternoon Scouts from the Dominions paraded on the lawn in front of Arrowe Hall, and were presented by the Chief Scout with totem poles carved by Mr. Don Potter. The wood for the poles was oak from Gilwell Park 1,200 years old, and the symbolical figures were admirably carved. The Scouts who received them have a memento to carry away that is essentially British, as the Chief Scout reminded them. Among other gifts that he has himself received, the Chief Scout was given yesterday by the Scouts from Malta a statuette of a knight of Malta in armour with his own arms on the shield.

This afternoon the Scouts of France gave The Pageant of Joan of Arc. The leading part was taken by Mlle. de Holhac, a French Cubmaster; and choral music was sung during the action by a choir of French Scouts and Guides. The pageant was admirably dressed, the costumes having been lent by various French historical societies, and it was one of the most impressive and successful of the spectacular entertainments that have been given. The Tricolour with the French Scout flags led the procession of players into the arena to the music of "La Marseillaise." We saw Joan first tending the sick and wounded back from fighting the English. Then, having heard the voices that declared her destiny, we saw her set out for Chinon to meet the Dauphin. We saw him crowned at Reims and the delivery of Orleans. Then came the fatal English ambuscade and the martyrdom at Rouen. The programme, printed in French, concluded with the words:—"Apotheose, 1429-1929. Jeanne d’Arc est le modèle de toutes les vertus qu’aiment les Scouts du monde entier. Et pour les Francais elle est la sainte de la patrie." ("The Ideal, 1429-1929. Joan of Arc is the model for all the virtues admired by Scouts around the world. And for the French she is the patron Saint").

The pageant was produced without scenery and with very few properties, but so skillfully that the tragic episode lived, and the presentation, made in dumb show, but with colour, vivacity, and a background of song, was poignantly unfolded scene by scene.

A musical interlude in the Danish camp.


As the days go by additional ornamentations appear at one camp or another. The Japanese, who like everybody else have their national flag flying above their encampment, have now added two flags in the form of carp, the fish which in Japan is the symbol of manly vigour. These flags, which are tubular, are flown head to the mast . The wind fills them out and — a lively representation of a huge swimming fish is the result. On the day of the Boys’ Festival in Japan such flags are flown above houses where there are boy children. At the south end of Kingsway there is to be seen the "Gateway of Devon " made of natural heath. Several of the Lancashire camps have gateways built out of the equipment of cotton mills, and the French have put up two maypoles in red, white, and blue. In the crippled Scouts’ handicraft exhibition there is an interesting collection of articles, of which many, exemplifying the skill and patience of the makers, are for sale.

The novel table of the Russian contingent.


Reprinted from The Times, London, 1929

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