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Looking back on world jamboree.

Lancaster Guardian 20 August 1937:

Alderman T. W. Helme, Lancaster, Assistant Dist. Commissioner of Boy Scouts, writes here in response to an invitation, of incidents at the World Jamboree in Holland.

The North-Western Lancashire contingent of Boy Scouts on their return from the World Jamboree held in Holland, confessed to having had a great time.

Alderman T. W. Helme, the assistant County Commissioner, in a statement to the “Guardian” said: –
“My direct interest was with the North West Lancashire contingent of 180 Scouts, with 20 English-speaking Scouts from Cairo, making five troops of 40 each. There were three Scouters and one Q.M. attached to each troop, coming from as far as Barrow in the North and Lytham in the South.

“The Jamboree was divided into 10 large sub-camps, and we were in sub-camp V. under Col. P. C. D. Johnston, County Commissioner for Cumberland, and our immediate neighbours were the Eton Scouts. We had an oblong-shaped camp and pitched along the sides, leaving a good open space for games, parades, inspections and camp fire in the centre.

“Camp routine was reduced to an minimum to give all as much free time as possible. Rations were drawn at 7 am, breakfast at 8; inspection at 9; parade for notices and prayers at 9.30. We took our turn to see the camp surrounds etc., were kept free of litter, as the public were admitted at noon and daily. Food was plentiful and good.

“Two things made this Jamboree a great success. All our Scouters pulled together, and the weather was excellent. I’m sure everyone enjoyed it. I was told at BHQ that the sickness ratio of the British contingent of 8,000 was half that of the whole camp.

“Our sub-camp was visited by many notabilities. First and foremost the Chief himself, who stopped at our gateway; and others included Prince Bernhardt, of Holland; the ever popular Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden, now elected chairman of the international Scout Committee; and Lord Somers, Deputy Chief Scout.

“The three final days were devoted to visiting places in Holland where we were most hospitably received and elaborate plans made for our entertainment.

“As in Hungary we were struck with the beautiful swimming baths in all centres. I took a little party one day to Haarlem, where we found both covered and open-air baths in the one enclosure, with everything that one could desire. We visited Den Hilder, the naval base in the north, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other places.

“The final march past and ‘B P’s’ stirring message of farewell, will, I am sure, never be forgotten by anyone present. I hope as a result that we shall have done something to carry out his wishes, to lead happy, useful lives, and to promote peace on earth.

“It is a very different matter to form one’s opinions of other nationalities by direct contact than to accept those of others by hearsay. We had ample opportunities.

“During this fortnight Dutch visitors were very interested in our cooking methods, those adopted varying in the different contingents. For example, if we dug pits like the Hungarians and made elaborate ovens in them, we should probably have them flooded out. They camped under trees; we seek the sun. The Dutch kitchens were surprisingly small and neat.

“Camp fires were popular. At the largest one, visitors came in great numbers, 25,000 being present. One item at the camp fire was a mouth organ band of 300 British Scouts.

“The market was a popular rendezvous, complete with bank, post office, laundry, restaurant, etc. etc.. There was also a large theatre which I never had time to visit.

“We had many re-union parties given by BHQ, Gilwell Wood Badge Scouts, Lord  Barnard (for a Scouters wh0 went to Raby Castle last year), the Dutch sub-camps, and also our own sub-camps. Of course there were many private ones as well.

“I was constantly meeting Scouters who have camped in this area, of whom we get a large number each summer. We found prices high, as was to be expected. Sugar is, I believe, eightpence a pound, owing to duty. I was surprised the Dutch don’t use suet. Our menu had a few items which were novel to many English boys abroad for the first time. For a quick meal with no time to cook we found tins of what we should call Irish stew were good when warmed up. Powdered milk was issued for emergencies. We burnt one dixie of porridge through not handling powdered milk properly – its stuck to the sides! Food packing is more elaborate than ours; jam was in red tins with brass handles, and we learnt that the Dutch do not make jam at home.

“I hope this Jamboree will stimulate friendly relations, and counteract unrest amongst the nations. If we could get the spirit of this camp into the governing powers of each country represented the world would be changed. Many of those present will be the men of the future. I also hope it will help us to learn what is attractive in others which we do not possess, notably ability to speak other languages. To find a need for it is to create the desire.

“We had every reason to feel satisfied by comparison with other nations, as regards morale and fitness, but we have much to learn, and a gathering of this sort is the most helpful way I know. I shall be surprised if the song “Jamboree “ does not become very popular in all future Scout gatherings.

Jamboree Closes

Lord Baden-Powell appealed for peace and goodwill in his farewell speech to 28,000 Boy Scouts after their final march past.
After he had presented the Jamboree totem, the Jacob’s Staff, an old instrument used by the Dutch navigators, to all the leaders of the national contingents, he said: –

“I have handed to representatives of each country this totem to take home as an emblem of Goodwill.

“The time has now come for me to say ‘good-bye’. I want you to lead happy lives. You know that many of us will never  meet again in this world. I am in my eighty-first year and am nearing the end of my life. Most of you are at the beginning, and I do want your lives to be happy and successful. You can do it by doing your best to carry out the Scout Law all your days, whatever your station and wherever you are. I want you to preserve this badge of the Jamboree on your uniform. I suggest that you keep it and treasure it and try to remember for what it stands. It will be a reminder and an inspiration of the happy times together in camp and by observing the significance of the totem it will help you in your quest to help bring about God’s reign of peace and goodwill.

“It will always remind you of Holland. It will help you to be equipped to carry out the Scout Law all your days and to spread even further our Scout ideals of goodwill and of the helping hand of fellowship to all we meet. My message to you is to spread friendship and brotherhood throughout the world. Goodbye, and God bless you all. “

Amongst the distinguished visitors to the Jamboree were HRH Queen Wilhelmina, who opened the event on July 31st, and HRH Princess  Juliana, who attended the final campfire with Prince Bernhardt.

The Royal interest in the Scout movement will prove an inspiration, not only to the Scouts of Holland, but also to those Scouts of many nations who were Holland’s guests.

Lonsdale Scouts