by Melvyn Gallagher
November 11th was Remembrance Day when the fallen and wounded from all our wars are remembered. Originally started after the 1914-1918 war, from which nobody who fought is now alive. It was when the Boy Scouts first proved their worth both on the home front and in the fighting too, with Scout hero Jack Cornwell gaining the Victoria Cross aged only 16. In those days boys of that age could fight at sea and many lied about their age when enlisting.
B-P had foreseen the coming of war and it has been suggested that the paramilitary training of his early Boy Scouts was to provide "cannon fodder" when the time came.
In B-P's military training book of 1914 "Quick Training for War" he states 'The whole raison d'etre of the Boy Scouts Movement is to develop character by direct and practical steps and if these should be of any use as suggested to a military instructor he has only to refer to the handbook "Scouting for Boys" to see that the games and practices by which they may be inculcated'.
When war did come in 1914 the Boy Scouts gained respect from the authorities and public alike, giving air-raid warnings, helping in hospitals, raising funds for charities, guarding the infrastructure and running the Coastguard Service as can be seen on the many postcards of the period.
By the time you receive this Bulletin another year will have nearly passed by so on behalf of all the Committee we wish all members a Happy Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous 2012.
Postcard 1910 showing Boy Scouts learning to fire a navel gun above the front cover of "Quick Training For War". Note the Boy Scout at top left.