BP's tour to South Africa in 1935

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The Chief's Tour 1935/6 - London to South Africa[edit]

The Chief in Kenya

The Chief Scout and Chief Guide, accompanied by their two daughters, Heather and Betty, as Secretaries, left Albert Dock, London, on October 19th, in the s.s. Mantola. Their first port of call was Marseilles, and here the Chief had hoped to participate in the obsequies of Marshal Lyautey, whose body was being taken from France to be buried in Morocco. Unfortunately, the Mantola arrived five hours late, owing to severe head winds.

France: At Marseilles the Chiefs attended a rally of Scouts and Guides 2,600 strong. They were very impressed at the good turn-out, and noted two special points of interest: one, that a large proportion of the Cubs had their Two Stars, and the other, that the Scouts in most cases had their staves individually decorated.

The Chiefs also visited the International Foyer, a Club-hostel for foreign Scouts. This hostel has been running for over three years, and in that time has entertained some 460 foreign Scouts in parties, and 150 individual ones.

Egypt: On November 2nd, the Mantola arrived at Port Said, and among those to greet them on the quay were three Deep Sea Scouts from H.M.S. Barham. There was a posse of welcome by some 200 Scouts and seventy Girl Guides; these included Maltese, Greeks, and French, as well as British.

From Port Said the Chiefs went by car to Cairo, 112 miles, and en route they were greeted by Scouts and Guides at Ismailia and Abbassieh, which is a station of the Royal Air Force.

Their visit to Cairo was a private one, so there was no rally, but the Chief Scout still managed to see one or two individuals.

The party arrived at Suez on the following day and here some forty-five Scouts and twenty-five Girl Guides, British, Maltese and Greeks, came out to the Maniola in a steamboat to give the Chiefs a parting cheer.

Sudan: On November 6th the Mantola arrived at Port Sudan. Here the Chief thought he had been able to give the Scouts the slip for there was no sign of them at the quayside, but no sooner had he stepped ashore than Scouts rushed in from their hiding places behind a train of trucks, all yelling their Patrol cries until a whistle called them to silence and on the alert.

The Chief was very impressed by this turn-out, and particularly by the fact that there was a representative Scout from each Troop in the Sudan; this meant that some of the boys came from places 1,000 miles away.

Later in the day the Chiefs attended a rally and campfire in the grounds of the High School. The campfire was a good one, and included comic dances and choruses, tumbling, with a good clown as foil, and short comic sketches, one performed in English. The Chief sums it up as an excellent show.

Aden: On November 10th the Chiefs arrived at Aden and they were met by, among others, four Deep Sea Scouts, representatives of the twenty Deep Sea Scouts attached to the Fleet which was at the time in Aden roadstead. The Chief remarks that he found these Deep Sea Scouts well turned out in Rover Scout kit and very keen. They had done a lot in visiting Scouts at the various ports they called at. They had meetings and frequent hikes together, and they also visited liners and other ships visiting the port in order to get in touch with any Deep Sea Scouts who might be on board.

At Aden there was a posse of welcome of four Scouts from each of six Troops: these were a very smart lot and included Arabs, Indians, Jews, etc. All members of the British Contingent of the World Rover Moot in Sweden will be interested to know that the Chief Scout received a wireless greeting at Aden from the s.s. Neuasa at sea. On board the Mantola the Chief Scout gave an address to the passengers on the Origin and Development of the Scout Movement.

The Chief inspecting Scouts and Cubs at Mombasa

Kenya: November 17th. The Mantola arrived at Mombasa and the Chiefs attended a rally of 250 Scouts and Cubs. In the afternoon they left Mombasa by rail for Nairobi a crowd of Scouts collected on the road running parallel to the line, some on foot, others on bikes, and they raced the train for the best part of a mile, cheering lustily.

At Nairobi there was a posse of welcome from a newly formed Rover Crew of European ex-Scouts. The Chief sums them up as "fifteen fine fellows." He was also interested to hear that a Crew of Indian Rovers is in course of formation.

On November 19th there was a rally of 900 Scouts, Cubs, Guides and Brownies. The Chief says it was a surprise to see so large and well-ordered a parade. Very smart in dress and well set up in physique in almost all cases.

There were two drum-and-fife bands (Hindu and Muslim), a comic scene of goatherds with a flock of goats attacked by a leopard, which is eventually stalked by hunters, slain and eaten. Fires were lit by friction, and there were interesting displays of pioneering and hand- craft

The following is an extract from the Chief's diary:

Left Nairobi in Governor's saloon for Uganda, with its four bedrooms, two baths, dining-room, sitting-room and piazza, cook, houseboy and butler, an excellent cuisine, electric fans, etc. So we know something of the hardships of travelling in Central Africa.

At Kikuyu the Scout Troop paraded on the platform to greet the Chief. These were African Scouts who had come from all parts of Kenya to learn handcrafts and agriculture. One or two who have left have started Scout Troops in their neighbourhood.

November 23rd. The Chiefs attended a rally at Budo in Uganda, consisting of 1,100 Scouts and Cubs and 500 Girl Guides, all Africans except two Indian Troops. The Chief says this was one of the most impressive rallies he has seen, at any rate, on this tour. No tents were used and each Troop built its own shack from things on the spot. Only twenty-four hours were allowed for the building and all was solidly done, each shack capable of accommodating at least two patrols and two Scouters. Each hut had its kitchen roofed in, a latrine and all the usual camp gadgets.

November 27th. There was a rally at El Doret, in Kenya again. The Chief says this was a very smart turn out and that many of the boys had travelled long distances, some over 100 miles and one 200 miles. The rally was a great occasion in the town and was well attended by the public. It was said that the judge had warned witnesses and counsel in court on the day of the rally to be brief, as the proceedings were to commence at 3.30, and the Mayor of the town had ordered the closing of shops for the same reason.

The Chiefs then set sail for South Africa.

See also[edit]

Baden-Powell's visits to South Africa