1924 Boys Scouts Imperial Jamboree

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I England holdt man en jamboree i Wembley for spejdere fra det britiske imperie. Den fandt sted 1. - 8. august 1924 og lå i forbindelse med det britiske imperies udstilling, der blev afholdt 1924-1925 for at fremme handelen med de 58 kolonilande[1]. Der deltog ca. 1000 spejdere fra 25 af commonwealthlandene og de britiske kolonier, og omkring 10.000 spejdere fra Storbritannien.

Det var til dato den største spejderlejr, og den sikrede en bred international repræsentation på jamboreen i Danmark ugen efter, da de mange udlændinge alligevel var 'i nærheden'.

Spejdernes opvisninger og ceremonier blev afholdt i Wembley Stadion. Spejderne havde slået lejr i nærheden i Wembley Paddocks under trange kår. Prinsen af Wales (tronfølgeren, den senere engelske konge Edward 8.) overværede en del af opvisningerne, deltog ved et lejrbål og overnattede faktisk i telt en nat i lejren. På andre tidspunkter blev lejren og opvisningerne besøgt af bl.a. the Duke of York (den senere engelske konge George 6., Dronning Elisabeths far) og forfatteren Rudyard Kipling, der på ulveungernes dag fik set optrin fra Junglebogen og hvordan bogens univers bidrog til at gøre ulveungernes arbejde spændende og interessant.

Although the Wembley Jamboree had a smattering of foreign Scout visitors, it was not a part of the world Scout history. It did, however, help to provide a wider variety of members at the Second World Jamboree in Denmark which immediately succeeded it. The site of the Jamboree was at Ermelunden, a few miles north of Copenhagen. Denmark is a comparatively small country with a comparatively small Scout population. Doubts were expressed beforehand as to whether it would be possible for the Danish Scouts to make a success of the undertaking. The main host was Christian Holm, President of Det Danske Spejderkorps, whose daughter became known as ‘Kim’, Friend of all the World. The three Scouters responsible for the preparation, organisation and administration had barely come to full manhood, but they made a brilliant success of a World Jamboree, through its atmosphere, friendliness and spirit. It could be characterised as a World Scout Party enjoyed by all. Ove Holm was the Organising Secretary and Administrator, Jens Hvass the Camp Chief, and Tage Carstensen in charge of all international aspects.

I christened them the ‘Three Musketeers’, and we have remained close friends ever since. Ove Holm, of whom I have already written, is the Chief Scout of Det Danske Spejderkorps. He was for many years a Member of the international Committee and Chairman of its Finance SubCommittee, and was awarded the Bronze Wolf in 1949. Jens Hvass, a State forester, is Divisional Scout Commissioner in North Jutland, and was for many years Commissioner for Training and a Deputy Camp Chief for that purpose. He conceived the idea of Jamborettes, and was awarded the Bronze Wolf in 1957. Tage Carstensen has retired from the legal profession and is a landowner in Jutland: he remained International Commissioner for many years and founded the Scout Blood Transfusion Service, which celebrated its Jubilee in 1957 and of which he continues to be Chairman. This is a record of which any country can be proud, and illustrates that Scouting is not just an incident in a man’s life, but, as often as not, continues with him for the whole of his lifetime. The Second World Jamboree was officially opened on August l0th by Rear-Admiral Carl Carstensen, acting as the personal representative of King Christian X. Although not connected with the Scout Movement before, he took to it as a duck to water. B.-P. said of him at the end that daily he had watched his blue naval trousers getting shorter and shorter. The two struck up a personal friendship, and it is reported that when B.-P. was on the Baltic cruise in 1933 he sent a telegram to the Admiral asking him to meet him. Carstensen was in attendance on King Christian. He showed him the telegram, and said: ‘My other Chief has sent for me.’ He went.

At the Paris Conference it had been arranged that Francis Gidney should act as Chief Judge of the International Scout Competition that was to be staged during the Jamboree. When the time came, I was asked to take his place, and arrived at Ermelunden on the night before the opening to find everyone working at full pressure and visualising a sleepless night. In the morning everything was ready. Compared with subsequent Jamborees, numbers were small, just over 5,000, but this is perhaps why it was all so successful. Fourteen countries had entered composite Troops for the World Scout Championship. It carried on right through the whole week of the camp and was a good test of scoutcraft and stamina. The items consisted of turn-out (including camp equipment), camp-craft, camp hygiene, camp routine (discipline, punctuality, good behaviour, etc.), camp-fire entertainment, songs and yells, folk-dancing, swimming, two separate indi vidual Scout contests in handcraft and ingenuity, a Patrol obstacle race and a 24-hour Patrol hike. It was a good all-over test of Scout ability and training, and of great value as a demonstration, particularly at this period of Scouting’s life. Everything was carried out in the best possible spirit; but it was decided, on my recommendation, at the 1926 Conference that the Championship should not be repeated, as it carried with it the possible dangers of over-nationalisation, the reverse of international goodwill and Scout Brotherhood. As is only too apparent from time to time, international sporting competitions suffer from these same dangers. The Championship was deservedly won by the Boy Scouts of America, whose Troop – in modern parlance – consisted of Scouts with a higher I.Q. than the others. Great Britain came second and Hungary third, with a good record of practical scoutcraft. My duties as Chief Judge were of a supervisory character, and as a referee when the Danish judges disagreed. I found I had also to watch some of their awards to the British Troop, so as to offset their natural assumption that British Scouting must be the best, as the Movement started in that country, and B.-P. was bom there. All this meant that I was continually about the camp and its neighbourhood all day, and most of the night at times. The Cambridge University Rover Scout crew observed this, and told me that any time I passed by their little camp there would always be something for me to eat and drink. And it was so. When I landed at Rangoon in 1952 I was met by a Burmese barrister who had been part of the Rover Scout crew at Ermelunden; he said that his job there had been to see that there was always a clean knife, fork and spoon ready for me. Others of that little band are also still connected with Scouting in one way or another.

B.-P. arrived in Copenhagen a day or two after the Jamboree opened. He was received by a welcoming parade of all the Scouts in the Stadium. Just as he began to speak, the rain came down in torrents and everyone was soaked. The nickname given him of Baden Mester (the Danish for Bath Superintendent) was only too descriptive then and afterwards. We returned to the camp to find it a lake, with tents down and standing water everywhere. The people of Copenhagen came to the rescue spontaneously, and practically everyone was carried off to a dry house for the night. My hike tent in the competition area was still standing. I slung my bedding out of a puddle on to the drier side and disappeared between the blankets, to wake twelve hours later with the sun shining and practically everything dry again. On the final Sunday the Scouts were inspected near the Royal Hunting Lodge by King Christian in pouring rain, and that after noon the Chief Scout of the World presented the Competition prizes (held by their winners for all time).

I have seen great numbers of Scouts in my life, B.-P. said,but I have never seen any as wet as you are!

Other memories are of the Gilwell Reunion – the first at an international gathering – of being carried off uncomfortably shoulder-high by the Egyptians, of the splendidly tuneful and colourful camp-fires under the beech trees in Ulvedalen, led so brilliantly in many different tongues by Sven Knudsen, and of the friendliness of everyone, Scouts, Scouters and visitors. It was a demonstration, more even than Olympia could have been, of the Law that ‘A Scout is a Friend to all and a Brother to every other Scout.’ If I have dealt at such length with the Second World Jamboree, it is because it was a prophecy of things to come, and well merited B.-P.’s final judgment: Copenhagen 1924 will always stand out in my mind as a tangible example of the Scout spirit in practice; as a big step forward in-International Scouting; and – above all – as a straw showing that the wind is blowing quietly, but none the less surely, in the right direction.

The Third International Conference was held in the Town Hall in. Copenhagen, when the Scouts were enjoying the hospitality of their Danish hosts in their homes. This, again, has been a feature of most, if not all, subsequent Jamborees, and adds greatly to their educational value. Thirty-two countries were represented at the Conference, which was also opened by Rear-Admiral Carstensen in his breezy manner. Two important resolutions were passed which were to guide and guard World Scouting down the years. These signposts still stand. First, and all-important: The Scout Movement has no tendency to weaken, but, on the contrary, to strengthen individual religious belief. The Scout Law requires that a Scout shall truly and sincerely practise his religion, and the policy of the Movement forbids any kind of sectarian propaganda at gatherings of mixed faiths. The second outlined an important matter of policy and procedure: This Conference desires to emphasise that in pursuance of the main object of the International Bureau, applications from national Boy Scout organisations for registration are not only welcomed, but cordially invited. To preserve the essential unity of the world Boy Scout Movement and to ensure that the world Movement shall have as its unalterable foundation the recognition of Scout Brotherhood, regardless of race, creed or class, certain conditions are essential. It is the sense of this Conference that the International Committee, in adjudicating on applications for registration, apart from compliance with ordinary conditions, should in so far as possible insist: (a) that where more than one organisation exists there shall be a federation based on the common Scout objective; (b) that there should be no discrimination as to admission to membership to fellow subjects or citizens for any reason of race, creed or politics. In the wording may be detected the hand or voice of James E. West, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America from its foundation. He acted as Chairman of the Conference Resolutions Committee right through to 1939, when he was elected a Member of the International Committee.

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