Baden-Powell Photo Gallery
The "Posse of Welcome"
B-P inspecting Local Wolf Cubs and Indian Scouts in Aden
during his African tour in 1934
Photo E. N. A.

From: R. H. Kiernan, Baden-Powell, 1939

Baden-Powell describes his visit to Aden while on his African Tour in 1934:


Aden is a bare, rocky mountain—an old volcano—sticking up in the sea, and connected with the mainland by a long spit of sand. In many ways it is like Gibraltar. For one thing it flies the Union Jack, and, like Gibraltar, we found it not only defended by big guns, but also it had a large garrison of the Royal Air Force. In addition to this there were in the harbour no fewer than twenty vessels of the Royal Navy. The British "Police Force" was strong here.

Here, too, were three great liners on their respective ways to India, Australia, and East Africa, besides several tramp steamers, including one Italian. Her crew must have been interested to see all the excitement that their country had created by attacking the Abyssinians….

Fortunately, we British objected to the Italians making this war on the Abyssinians, so the natives in other places look on Britain as their friend, and the danger of their breaking out against us is not now very great. Still, it was good to know that Britain, like the Scouts, was determined to "Be Prepared."

We did not have a rally of the Scouts at Aden because we had had one here exactly a year ago, at our last visit. But there was a Posse of Welcome (as we call a Guard of Honour) of four boys from each Troop, and a very fine, smart-looking lot they were.

Also, there met me a party of Deep-Sea Scouts from the warships. There were about twenty of them in this squadron. Big, hefty fellows they were, dressed in their Rover Scouts’ uniform, which the Naval authorities allow them to carry with than on board their ships. They had visited most parts of the world in the course of their service India, Ceylon, China, Japan, Malay States. They evidently enjoyed their life at sea, almost as much as I do when voyaging over these warm summer seas and looking in at strange foreign ports.

Ashore, at Aden, one sees every kind of Eastern native, and crowds of them, Arabs, Somalis, Indians, Greeks, Jews. With these are camels everywhere. Camels carrying loads, camels pulling carts, camels carrying riders, and others dragging water-tanks—and every camel walking as slowly as he possibly can and looking most contemptuous and superior. Long strings of them come in from hundreds of miles inland, bringing goods and firewood for sale, and going back again with other goods bought from the merchants in Aden.


The town of Aden is right inside the crater of the old volcano, and thus is surrounded on all sides by high cliffs. It is a blazing-hot place anyhow, and with these high black walls all round it, which keep out any sea-breezes that may blow, it is all the more mightily hot.

The Europeans and the garrison do not live in the town, but on the hills overlooking the sea, where they do get a little cool air—sometimes!

When I first went there, years ago, they had no fresh-water supply, so had no gardens. There was a public square laid out with paths, and in the afternoon, after the heat of the day was over, the gardeners used to wheel out a lot of shrubs and bushes growing in tubs. These they dotted about to form a garden for the people to stroll about m in. the cool of the evening or the early morning. Then the "Gardens" went back into their sheds to avoid the shriveling heat of the day.

From Baden-Powell, African Adventures, 1937

The ribbon at the left displays the colors of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George. It is an honour conferred mostly on officials in colonial affairs, foreign-service officers, diplomats, and others who have performed important duties in Commonwealth countries. Baden-Powell was created a Knight Grand Cross of the Order (G.C.M.G.) in 1927 by King George V.

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Last Modified: 10:30 PM on May 16, 1997