The World Jamboree of Boy Scouts 1929


ARROWE PARK, Aug. 6, 1929

Whoever may have feared that the small boy would lose half his boyish characteristics when put into a khaki shirt and shorts and taught to find his way about and behave generously to other people could have cleared his mind of any such notion by visiting the Jamboree camp. Whatever happens Scouts will be boys, and every hour produces satisfactory evidence of the fact. It also shows that boys are very much alike the world over, and the boyish characteristics most often displayed here are an insatiable appetite for ice cream and a deeply rooted passion for "swapping." "Swapping " is carried on, one would think, whenever two Scouts of different nationality meet, which is only another way of saying that it is practically continuous, and there is very nearly as great an exchange of autographs as of anything else. Publicly, uniform lives up to the meaning of its name so far as individual troops of Scouts are concerned, but in the comparative privacy of their encampments one may see Scouts arrayed in composite uniforms representing half a dozen different countries. There must be a good deal of spare kit in some haversacks to make these exchanges possible, for Scouts are never seen on parade in anything but orthodox uniforms.


Scouting, which is essentially service, embraces philanthropy in some of its most useful and practical forms. This fact was amply illustrated this morning, when a conference was held on work among the blind, deaf, crippled, and mentally defective Scouts. One after another speakers from the many countries represented at the Jamboree made their contribution to the general inspiring story of help for the afflicted and of the development of the Scout movement and the spread of the Scout spirit among them.

The Deaf and Dumb Troop receive their daily instructions

It was reported, for example, how at the Bampton State Institute for criminal mental defectives a Scout unit was long ago formed and is constantly increasing in numbers. The Scouts live together in one house, they have a brass band, and show the utmost keenness. It is now being considered whether they shall be allowed out on parole. They win efficiency badges and generally comport themselves in a Scout-like manner. At a recent rally boys from this unit took first, second, and third place in all the sporting events.

There was also a blind troop at the Jamboree. They are seen here at breakfast.

Mr. H. M. Lochhead, of Edinburgh, the blind Scoutmaster, described , the mechanism and method of using the compass devised for the blind. An Egyptian delegate spoke of educational schemes in his country, and an Indian stated that the Scout movement had been successfully started in many prisons in some of the large cities in India. A boy of 13, "culpable to an extreme degree," had gained his discharge through the effect of scouting upon him. Abbe Sevin described how troops of Scouts and Guides had been organized at Berck in hospitals where boys and girls are treated for tuberculosis. We heard that two years ago a troop for cripples was started in Sweden, and an important point to remember in the training was so to arrange and devise the various efficiency tests for badges that they should be suitable and applicable for the Scouts concerned. The Danish delegate, who stated that his parents were deaf and dumb, has started a troop for Scouts so afflicted, and has found that it is essential to treat the lads as far as possible as if they were normal. The Armenian representative spoke of the difficulty of organization in a country whose people were scattered by massacre and war. The report from South Africa showed that Scouting had been taken up in hostels opened by the Government for boys who had committed minor offences. "Loaned" Scouts went from hospital to hospital teaching Scout law to the blind. deaf, and dumb.

An interesting point made by the Japanese delegate was that, owing to the popularity of massage in Japan, the blind there were nearly always sure of an occupation. Most impressive was the report of the work among English cripples conducted by Sir Stephen Montagu Burrows.

The Chief Scout has solved the mud problem by using a horse, but it does not yet appear that Scout cavalry is to be organized. He rode to the saluting point for the march past to-day and was loudly cheered. The entertainment on the rally ground which followed the march past was generally agreed to have been one of the most impressive that has been seen thus far. It need hardly be said that there was heavy rain, with thunder and lightning, when the programme began, but conditions later improved. The Danes to the number of 1,200 first entered the arena to give a display of gymnastics. Their show would have been a success if it were only necessary to record that every Scout kept his hat. As a matter of fact it was a very fine demonstration indeed. The Scouts wore only white shorts, caps, and shoes, and were directed by an instructor on a raised platform. Gymnastics are practiced generally in Denmark, and the Danes this afternoon went through a series of exercises that every Danish schoolboy is in the habit of doing. They moved with excellent precision on the slippery surface and gained loud and well-merited applause when, to complete a movement, they suddenly lay flat on their backs and raised their feet in the air. There was something of the essential savour of the Scout spirit in that unhesitating, backward plunge into the mud which everybody present appreciated. Squads then went through various evolutions and played gymnastic games, and finally the entire 1,200 Scouts massed themselves in front of the grand stand and sang "God Save the King" to the music of their own band.

After this the Isle of Man Scouts gave a historical pageant showing the opening of the first recorded meeting of the Tynwald Court in 1066. The ceremony actually took place about nine days before the Battle of Hastings. A simple story was unfolded in the pageant, which was very well dressed, and a suitable successor to that of Jeanne d’Arc given yesterday by the French.

Dorset Sea Scouts gave a representation of the rescue of a shipwrecked crew, and the Australians showed us, first, an aboriginal camp, and then a mining camp following a rush of diggers. Scouts from Middlesex did bridge building, the Welsh a play, West Cumberland wrestling, lariat throwing, rope spinning, and folk dancing, S.E. Lancashire a pageant of Boyhood through the Ages, Poland The Festival of St. John’s Eve, Sweden a gymnastic display, and France an epic of Vercingetorix. Camp fire sing-songs were held as usual later.

Sturdy members of the American contingent


Reprinted from The Times, London, 1929

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