We provide fun, challenge and adventure to over 1400 young people in North Lancashire – #SkillsForLife
We provide fun, challenge and adventure to over 1400 young people in North Lancashire – #SkillsForLife

Lancashire Scouts at the Jamboree 1937



VogelenzangHERE we are in Holland, in the tent-town of the fifth World Jamboree of Boy Scouts. We shall not readily forget the enthusiastic send-off which you gave us from our home towns. Civic heads and district commissioners, parents, and friends, we thank you all.

We are determined to have a good time in Holland and foster the spirit of brotherhood and good fellowship which our beloved Chief, Lord Baden- Powell, stressed so much at the march-past this afternoon. It was a marvellous spectacle. Twenty-four thousand Scouts from 31 different nations marching round the vast arena before thousands of onlookers – what a thrill?

Signet Ring – photo by Andrew Varley, 1st Barnsley

The Friendly Dutch

The Scouts in their respective contingents, preceded by national flags and carrying patrol and other emblems, marched in lines of 12, to be received with round after round of hearty hand-clapping. “The Dutch are most friendly and hospitable,” reads the handbook. So far we vouch this is true. Our reception to-day bears out this statement. All our inquiries have been most patiently answered, even if at times we do speak “double-Dutch.”

As the contingents  marched past the Royal Box, where Queen Wilhelmina and the Chief Scout smiled and saluted greetings, the Scouts cheered wildly, waving their hats. After the march past, thousands of scouts charged in the arena en masse in a characteristic Scout “rush-in”. It was a wonderful and inspiring sight.

The weather has been kind so far. It was warm this afternoon with bursts of sunshine. It is cooler now and a breeze is blowing. As I write these notes, preparations are being made for dinner. We had a snack meal at 11 a.m., as we had to move off to the reception ground for the opening ceremony. Our tea tonight at 5.45 will be boiled beef, potatoes, lettuce and stewed prunes and custard.

Our contingent is 180 strong and divided into five troops – we are in sub-camp five and adjacent to each other. Barrow Scouts Troop 134, are in charge of Scoutmaster H. E. Hannan; Troop 135, Lancaster, with two or three scouts from Grange and Blackpool, are in charge of District Commissioner T. W. Helme; Morecambe and  Lytham St. Annes in command of Scoutmasters Harper and Whittles; Preston 137 Troop is under the leadership of Mr. Fitchie, who incidentally is the county secretary; and the Wyre Troop, 138 District, under Scoutmaster H. A. Ricardo.

The Scout Special

On the “Scout Special” from Preston which left at 10 35 on Thursday, we were joined by the North-East Lancashire contingent. At Wigan we collected 73 from South-West Lancashire. Coaches of 116 from the LIverpool area joined our train at Warrington. At Peterborough we picked up another 10.

Sleeping in the main was confined to the famous Lancashire “forty winks.” Passing Rugby at 2 10 a colleague was highly amused to read: “Let sleeping dogs lie” as we passed through the station. We embarked on the “Princess Juliana” at Harwich at 7 30 a.m., and immediately breakfasted – porridge, buttered rolls, and jam. But, talking of meals, pride of place so far goes to the delicious Dutch coffee given to us on arrival at the Hook of Holland, coffee served in cardboard cartons.

We had crossed in a slight drizzle, which cleared soon after we began our voyage. The ship rolled somewhat and caused a few queer feelings inside, although the sea could not be described as rough. Many passed the time after the first novelty of sailing had worn off, in reading and sleeping. On our arrival “Hock Van Holland” was the first thing we saw, a new fruit warehouse on the quay. The time was 3 23 p.m. Our first impression was of landing in a place dotted  with warehouses, and electric railway lines – a place best described as typically Heysham, with a touch of Glasson Dock rurality.

As the boat neared the quay “Riding Along on the Crest of a Wave,” “Tipperary” and other songs burst forth from the crowded decks. An electric train whirled us to our destination past industrial and agricultural centres. Dutch folk on the station and at doors and windows of the houses cheered and waved. The children welcomed us with a call of their own which sounded very much like “Oi. oi, oi, hoy.”

Vogelenzang, our camping ground has an area of 325 acres, and is approached by a long drive over which is the camp emblem – Jacob’s staff. This is a primitive form of sextant as used by the early Dutch navigators on their voyages round the world.

Many Shops

Innumerable wooden bridges, specially constructed span the dykes. There is a market of shops, post office, bank, restaurant, theatre for displays, and the arena. “Jamboree Post” is our own exclusive daily paper. English newspapers are available, the day after issue, I believe. Each sub-camp has erected its own gateway, built with logs and ropes. Some are over ten feet in height, and are decorated with flags.

Visitors are pouring in to-day after the official opening and are allowed to tour the camp sites. Various camp fire displays and other events are features of a programme which promises to be very attractive. We are perfectly happy, tremendously busy getting straightened out after our arrival last night, which didn’t leave us much time, except to attend to the immediate necessities of pitching tents.

At 2 p.m. a convivial spirit exists – Jamboree, the thing we’ve talked and dreamt about for months. I hope to tell you something interesting each day about the North-West contingent.

SUNDAY, August 1st.
RELIGIOUS observances have been held to-day, which our Scouts have attended. Towards noon the roads approaching the camp have been thronged with visitors and as I type these notes they are strolling around keenly interested in everything that is going on. The children carry pencils and notebooks. Sometimes with a muttered word in Dutch they request our autographs. I must have signed 20 this morning. Our Scouts, as well as signing for the Dutch children have collected many signatures of foreign Scouts.

We are spending the afternoon in the construction of useful camp gadgets, and roping off our enclosure. Our main entrance gateway, which bears the inscription “North-West Lancashire” is taking shape and will soon be in position, as will our improvised flagpole, from which a flag will flutter. The flagpole, 30 feet high, is the work of the Morecambe Scouts.

Scouts Amused

Dutch Scouts are parading our arena at the moment and have just executed an amusing dance round our new flagpole. The gateway is a fine effort by representatives of all the North-West troops. Our visitors include camping commissioners whom we have met previously at Jamborees.

Reveille brings the camp to life at 7 a.m. and we are in bed with lights out at 10 p.m. Communal prayers are at 9 a.m. for our own contingent.

The weather is still favourable though the sun has not so far been generous. A freshening breeze is blowing at the moment. Camping conditions are excellent, and everyone is fit and well and in the best of spirits. We are getting the camp shipshape without having to contend with rain, which is a big advantage.

Each scout has now received a copy of the “Campbook,” which is a veritable mine of information. Like Mrs. Beeton’s cookery book, it gives details on the preparation of the various menus. The events of the Jamboree are detailed, a map of the whole camp and other useful data are included.

In the forword, the Chief writes:- “Brother scouts, I need hardly tell you the main object of a Jamboree is to bring scouts together from different countries and to get to know each other, and to make friends with each other. Will you do that for me?”

“Don’t Stick to Pals”

“Remember that the days of your camping together slip by very quickly, so don’t lose any time about it. Don’t stick to your own pals in your troop or even to your own fellow countrymen. You can see them at any time. But get hold of some of the fellows from other countries, and compare notes with them – as to what their country is like, how they do their scouting, what are their favourite pursuits and hobbies – and so on. When you have made friends in this way, talked and exchanged souvenirs, note their names and addresses so as to keep up your acquaintance later on by post after you have all gone to your homes.”

“In a very few years you will be men of your country carrying on its industries or commerce, or politics. If you are then good friends with the men of other nations it will be all the more helpful to your trade and dealings with those countries. “Though you may be only boys together in camp, you will have this great opportunity- Through making friends with one another- for carrying out the highest duty that lies open to anyone, namely that of helping to bring about God’s Kingdom of peace and goodwill among men. Such is the ideal towards which we are striving. We believe this Jamboree will do much towards its attainment. And in the doing there is real enjoyment – good fun, as we are already experiencing in the two days we have been here.

So from the Nederland we bid you “Goeden dag” (good day). “Akela”

Lancashire Daily Post 04 August 1937


To Hand Over Wedding Gift to Royal Couple


(By our Special Correspondent with the North-West Lancashire Contingent)

BLOEMENDAAL (Holland), Tuesday.

SCOUT ARTHUR McChrystal (aged 14), of Freckleton, near Preston, is a proud boy.

At a march-past in the arena to-morrow, the whole British contingent will parade. After that they will present to Prince Bernhard, for himself and Princess Juliana, a 1720 silver tankard, once the property of Queen Charlotte, as a wedding present from the British contingent.

Arthur McChystal will make the presentation. Headquarters asked for the smallest Scout in the British contingent. Arthur is the second smallest Scout, but the fact that he possesses the King’s Scout badge influenced headquarters to select Arthur for the honour.

The sub-camp of which we are part had a camp fire last night. Items were contributed by North-West Lancashire Scouts to what was a jolly evening. Scouts W. E. C. Hill, F. M. Bennett, J. Wilkinson, and Patrol-Leader C. G. Wilkinson, of the 20th Lancaster (Friends) gave “A Scene in Spain” – an encounter with a bull – which caused much fun.

Scouts Entertain

Scouts Hannan, Myers, Arnold, Kellett, and G.S.M. F. Wilson of Troop 134, Barrow, contributed “The Robbers’ Den,” and Scouts Mercer and Palmer, of Troop 137, Preston, an amusing recitation with actions about an armless man. The British Scouts gave a new yell:-
Vogel .. En .. Zang
North, South, East, West
We can’t speak Dutch
not very much

Preston were bathing in the sea yesterday. The sea is reached by ‘bus. A three-mile journey from camp. At the market-places in towns visited there is a babel of tongues. But there is one word and one song which everybody understands. The word is “Change.” Muttering “Change,” Scout accosts Scout. A bargain is struck, and souvenirs, usually badges, are exchanged.

Colourful Sight

It is a lovely summer morning. The sun is shining, tempting many to have a sun-bath for the first time since we came. Others are playing football, writing or reading. The morning mail has just arrived. Cooks are preparing dinner. A bathing party have left.

The camp presents a colourful spectacle – the clothes-lines are adorned with multi coloured towel designs, the bedding airing in the sun. Khaki uniforms, the green and yellow bordered scarves of the North-West contingent, the blue jerseys of the Sea Scouts from Morecambe, bathing costumes, berets from the market shops, the flags of the Dutch and other contingents around us, the bridges, gateways, and tables constructed of logs of wood.

Cameras have been in evidence this morning.

The visitors will soon be making their tour of inspection. They are admitted each day at noon. A cheer has echoed round the sub-camp as the Dutch Chief Scout passed in his car – Vice-Admiral J. J. Rambonnet.

An aeroplane is cruising overhead. Air liners pass over every day. “The Jamboree Post” camera man has appeared.

After morning inspection and prayers several group photographs were taken by our own Scoutmasters. The maroon has just sounded noon and as this means the cooks should have something ready, we must leave you. Life in the open sharpens the appetite – and we must eat.


Lancashire Daily Post 05 August 1937




The contingent, especially the Preston Scouts, read with interest the report in Wednesday’s “Lancashire Daily Post” of the brave rescue  by Jack Barrett, who saved a boy from drowning in the Preston-Lancaster Canal the previous night. His Scoutmaster, Mr. W. Fazackerley, and seven colleagues of the St. Thomas’s troop (13th Preston) send their congratulations.

Scout Arthur McChrystal, Freckleton, near Preston, who was selected to hand over the British contingent’s wedding gift to Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard, has had tea with the Poles. Arthur went as the representative of the British contingent at an international tea party given by the Scouts of Poland. Arthur had a very happy time, which compensated somewhat for his disappointment on Wednesday, when he missed the presentation.

Arthur now has two small figures of a boy and girl dressed in Polish costumes. During the party a Polish aeroplane flew over the camp, dropping a Scout hat to which was attached a message of goodwill.

With regard to Wednesday’s presentation, although Arthur was there to time such were the Dutch precautions owing to the presence of Royal visitors (Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Bernhard) that a hitch occurred between the Dutch authorities and the Jamboree staff.

Lord Somers, Deputy Chief Scout and leader of the British contingent, handed over to Prince Barnhard the silver tankard in place of Arthur.

North-West Lancashire was as disappointed as Arthur, but regrettable as it was, of you were here among the thousands of Scouts and visitors, you would realise the immense difficulties of organisation. Our contingent and Arthur have accepted the unfortunate circumstance with a true spirit of Scout philosophy – ” a Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties,”

Ice-Cream Specialists

Morecambe, Lytham, and Garstang are together as a troop. Scoutmaster Harper of Lytham, and his boys tell me they have consumed all the ice-cream in Amsterdam!

In regard to troop 138 (Wyre District) Commissioner Ricardo attended the Gilwell reunion on Friday evening. Some four hundred were present and it was stated that there are between six and seven hundred Gilwell members camping at the Jamboree.

“Northern Counties’ Jamboree, Raby Castle 1936.” Does that bring back memories to some of you? Lord Barnard is here. There has been a reunion of the scouters of the Raby Jamboree today. Many pleasant reminiscences were exchanged over the tea table. District Commissioner T. W. Helme, Lancaster, attended.

There has been a meeting here of the four divisions of the Lancashire Scout county. The outcome of it is that the new county badge approved by Imperial headquarters for the Jamboree, will be recommended for the whole of Lancashire instead of the old one, which has been in use for some years. The feeling for the change was unanimous. The change is one of size and detail rather than design.

The camp fire in our own camp  on Saturday night for British Scouts was an enjoyable affair. Lieut.-Col. P. D. C. Johnston, of West Cumberland, who is in charge of our sub-Camp 5, declared the camp fire open.

The Rev.  E. A. Sampson Egremont, was an ideal leader, and under his conductor-ship the choruses were sung with fervour. Short sketches were contributed by Wiltshire, Liverpool, Bristol, Northumberland, and Eton College 145, and our own boys – P.L. Palmer of Ulverston, Battle, of the 1st Lea, Burks, of the 16th Preston: Oakley, of the 55th Preston: Farnworth, of the 16th Preston (Gonzaga): and Wilson, of the 13th Preston (St. Thomas’s). Barrow performers were Arnold, Bartley, and Johnson of the 7th Barrow (St. John’s), and Kellett, of Dalton Church Troop.

A Dutch girl’s opinion of the Jamboree is ” The arrangments are marvellous. British Scouts are nice and polite.” Thank you.

Mouth Organ Band

A feature of this was a mouth organ band of Scouts of 60 strong. We had two representatives in this band – Rover J. Newby, of the 4th Lancaster Rovers, who is attached to our sub-camp headquarters, and P.L. C. G. Wilkinson, of the 20th Lancaster (Friends).

On Saturday, there was an all-British display in the arena. I may be prejudiced, but I enjoyed it more than anything I had seen in the form of displays during the Jamboree. The national dances and displays of other nations have been very interesting, but this all-British show was educational in many ways and interspersed with a lot of real good fun.

I made casual contact yesterday with a Belgian Scout who knows Barrow and Furness Abbey. He was delighted.

The South Africans are here. Lancaster entertained the contingent to lunch on July 24th as they passed through the city on their tour of England. Incidentally, the Australians and Rhodesians were guests of the Preston Association about the same time – and they, too, are here in camp.

A Lancashire camp-fire story:-
Customer: This bun tastes like soap.
Waiter: Naturally, it is a bath bun.

The Sea Scouts left camp, together with 400 other Sea Scouts of various nationalities and marched to the Dutch “Water Kamp.” On Sunday they boarded the “Princess Juliana,” a ship of thirty-five tons, and took in tow a long line of twenty Sea Scout Kayaks. The brass band on board kept playing lively tunes. After three hours sail down the river, Lake Kaag was reached, and there they were welcomed by hundreds of boats, yachts etc., blowing sirens. Hundreds of people cheered and waved while the Dutch Sea Scouts lined the decks and welcomed the visitors. It was a marvellous reception.

The Scouts went ashore and the packed lunch was very welcome. After lunch Lord Baden-Powell came ashore amid cheering while the band played the British National Anthem. A salute of guns was fired. A display by Dutch Sea Scouts followed.

A most amazing feat was by eight kayaks with a crew of two in each. The Scouts turned their craft over at a given signal and stayed under water for five minutes.

There was also a life-saving display from a submerged car. It was a glorious hot day and at the cafe drinks and ices were in big demand, so much so that the stock was almost exhausted.

At 4 30 p.m. the Sea Scouts boarded the “Princess Juliana” again for the return voyage, which was made without any untoward happening. Among them were Scoutmaster Norman Todd of the 5th Morecambe and Heysham and five members of the troop.


Lancashire Daily Post 10 August 1937