Gordon Shield

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The Gordon Shield was presented to Scouting towards the end of 1914 by the Gordons Institute as "An Annual Competition against Cape Peninsula Scouts". Since then (the first competition being in 1915) it has been held every year apart from 1936 and 2020, through two World Wars, and today it is still the most popular Western Cape Competition on the Scouting calendar.

History of the Gordon Shield

The Gordon Shield as existing today was donated to the Boy Scouts Association in 1914 by Mr. W.G. Haines of the Gordons Institute as "An Annual Competition against Cape Peninsula Scouts."

Gordons Club boys - dumb-bell drill session
Gordons Club with Mr. W. G. Haines in the centre

Mr. W. G. Haines was deeply interested in training boys who lacked the advantages of good family homes, and he started a boys' club named "The Gordons". He particularly stressed mental, moral, and physical training. He also offered his services as a gym instructor to the boys of the St. Michael's Home, an orphanage in Tamboerskloof.

Feeling that these boys missed contact with boys outside the home, he ran joint training sessions for the Gordons and the boys of St. Michael's.

Both the Gordons Club and St. Michael’s Home grew very rapidly. St. John's Hostel at the top of Kloof Street was established for the older boys, the juniors remaining at St. Michael's. The Gordons became the Gordons Institute and covered a wide field of activities.

The Scout Gordon Shield was first competed for on Saturday 19th September 1915 at the Rifle Range in Clee Road, Observatory. The Competition was for First Aid and open to teams of five each. 2nd Cape Town (Y.M.C.A.) were the first ever winners. The following year the Competition was held covering signaling and shooting. Since then it has been held every year except 1936 and 2020, through two World Wars, and today is still the most popular Western Cape Competition on the Scouting calendar.

In 1917, the Competition became a Patrol Camp, run on very similar lines of Gordon Shield Competitions as it is today, and there have been no fundamental changes to the actual competition to this day.

One main change, however, came in the early 1920's. A team who were absolute champions in signaling and signaling methods, lost all the 40 points for that test because of a misunderstanding, yet they still came second in the whole Competition by two points. It was then decided to give every test the same value – 5 points instead of one carrying 5 points and another 40. Thus there remained a fighting chance to win all through the various tests.

The tests, mainly on a Camp craft basis, covered the whole of the work for Tenderfoot, Trekker, Second Class, First Class and any proficiency badges held for the Competition. The unit of competition was a 'Standing Patrol', and except for certain exceptions the allocation of tests and duties were in the hands of the Patrol Leader. We are quite sure that the Gordon Shield is and was always a test of the Patrol System.

Teams have always been eight boys (in more recent years girls) from each Troop. At times, the Troop picked the best 8, even if they were all Patrol Leaders, but their ranks assumed for the Gordon Shield were one PL, one Second, and numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. All members of the team then wore the same Patrol Colours, and the leader carried the Patrol Flag for those Colours.

The sites of the competitions varied, and some were even real strenuous hikes. In one competition, competitors met judges at the Grand Parade, Botanical Gardens, Kloof Nek, Woodhead Reservoir, Maclear's Beacon, Constantia Nek and Hout Bay. Standing camps have also been held at: The Glen (Camps Bay), The Homestead (Oranjezicht), Gilcape (Diep River), The New Gilcape (Eerste River), Pinelands, Parow and Ramsay Park (now in the middle of the Cape Town International Airport).

From time to time, particular Troops have won the competition for several years in succession, and then in many instances have gone down and never staged a come-back. Others have usually been among the first ten at most times. The competition has always proved a 'base of measurement' for Troops and Patrols against the implementation of their working Patrol System, with skill and Scout knowledge also playing a major role.

History of the Centre Plaque

By J. Lumsden

ONE Sunday in 1909 six boys in Mr. W. Baker's Second Claremont Troop of Scouts took part in two separate incidents which were destined to make Scouting history.

Three of these Scouts rescued a man from drowning at Fish Hoek on the Sunday afternoon, and for this meritorious deed, they were each awarded the Medal of Merit., the first award of its kind in the country since the Scout Movement started in 1908.

But it is the story of the other three boys that remains fresh, because they were photographed while hiking home after a weekend spent at Kommetje, and the scene inspired a firm of London metalworkers to make a plaque of this picture.

To-day, similar plaques on competition Scout shields are scattered all over the world – but interest locally centres on the fact that this picture is on the Gordon Shield, and awarded each year to the winners of the local Blue Ribbon of Scouting. This year's competition, by the way, is taking place to-day and to-morrow.

Another interesting association with this picture is that it was taken by Arthur Elliott, whose collection of historic negatives were kept for the nation and now form part of the Archives.

Scoutmaster "Bill" Baker was a special friend of Arthur Elliott, and both were interested in photography. Arthur Elliott had a way with children, and several of his famous camera studies involved children. It was natural, therefore, that in a time when the Scout Movement was still young, he should see in three boys an ideal subject for his art.

On the Saturday Mr Baker's son, Joe, with two of his fellow Scouts, Bill Seaton and John Jordan, set out for a week-end hike and camp at Kommetje.

Returning home along the Kommetje road, half-way to Fish Hoek, these boys were hailed by a man carrying a camera, case and tripod. Joe Baker recognized the man as Arthur Elliott, and after taking an individual photograph of each boy, he then took one of the group. These pictures of Scouts on a hike were in all ways authentic, as they had but paused a moment from their active Scouting to oblige a photographer.

They were wearing blue jerseys and shorts with the Scout hat, and they carried a staff. On Joe's pole was flying his flag of rank as a patrol leader.

The pose was a favourite one of Baden-Powell's and Joe Baker must have seen in the Scout magazines.

When prints had been made, Arthur Elliott took them along to his fellow photographer, and asked him whether he liked them. "Bill" Baker had the Scout knowledge, and was asked whether the pictures were a true reflection of Scout boyhood. The result was that Arthur Elliott gave Mr. Baker the negative of the three boys, and a print was sent to the "Scout Magazine" in London, where it was reproduced.

The story of how it came back to South Africa might seem to strain credulity, but it is true and vouched for by Mr. Baker, who is still connected with Scouting.

Evidently the picture reproduced in the "Scout Magazine" attracted the attention of a firm of metal workers, who, at the time, were making trophies for the Boy Scouts. They obtained the print and soon afterwards Joe Baker of the Second Claremont Group appeared in bronze on a Scout trophy.

On day Mr. "Bill" Baker and another Scout leader were talking to the later M. Haines, who was interested in youth work and started the Gordon's Institute. "You're interested in boys," said Mr. Baker's colleague. "Why don't you do something for the Scouts?"

Mr. Haines promptly accepted the challenge. "I will," he replied. "I will give you a trophy."

So an order for a Scout trophy was sent to the London Scout Headquarters and passed on to the regular makers of these things. Thus it happened that Joe Baker, in bronze, came back to South Africa on the Gordon's Shield.

There are other posed pictures and statuettes of a similar type, and I know that the Withinshaw Trophy, for instance, was that of a pose by a Cornish boy. But, although the order merely stated, "a Scout shield," and the makers were given a free hand, the one dispatched turned out to be the one inspired by Arthur Elliott's photo on the Kommetje Road.

The photograph taken in 1909 became a shield for competition in Cape Town in 1915, and when the trophy was first presented Joe Baker received a special invitation to attend and hear the story of his hike over again, as by that time he was over the age for competitive work as a Boy Scout.

Mr. Baker is still in our midst, as young in spirit as he looks on the Gordon's Shield, which is being competed for again this weekend. [1]

Gordon Shield Winners

Year Venue Chief Judge Winners Photo
2023 Hawequas Joseph Hansen 3rd Pinelands
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2022 Hawequas Monét van Antwerpen 6th Rondebosch
2021 Held simultaneously at Hawequas and Glencairn due to Covid-19 rules Michael Ketterer (Hawequas)
Jason Raad (Glencairn)
6th Rondebosch
2020 Not held due to Covid-19
2019 Hawequas Simon Grantham 1st Claremont
2018 Hawequas Conrad Thomas 1st Claremont
2017 Hawequas Nimmy Abrahams 1st Bergvliet
2016 Hawequas John Fraser 1st Monte Vista
2015 Hawequas Charles Prince 2nd Fish Hoek
2014 Hawequas Richard Storey 1st Monte Vista
2013 Hawequas Nimmy Abrahams 1st Pinelands
2012 Hawequas Ingrid Webster 2nd Somerset West
2011 Hawequas Ubayd Bapoo 2nd Somerset West
2010 Chrysalis Academy Tokai Mario Penso 2nd Fish Hoek
2009 Hawequas Nimmy Abrahams 2nd Fish Hoek
2008 Hawequas Ingrid Webster 2nd Fish Hoek
2007 Hawequas 2nd Fish Hoek
2006 Hawequas Peter Meyer 2nd Fish Hoek
2005 Hawequas Nimmy Abrahams 2nd Fish Hoek
2004 Hawequas Jeremy Cheney 2nd Fish Hoek
2003 Hawequas Andre Foot 2nd Fish Hoek
2002 Hawequas Buzz Macey & Denzil Roberts 1st Durbanville
2001 Hawequas Nigel Forshaw 2nd Bergvliet
2000 Hawequas Rex Koning 2nd Bergvliet
1999 Hawequas Denzil Roberts 1st Pinelands
1998 Hawequas Errol Kotze 1st Pinelands
1997 Hawequas David van Eck 1st Pinelands
1996 Hawequas Buzz Macey 2nd Bergvliet
1995 Hawequas Craig Mullett 2nd Bergvliet
1994 Errol Kotze 3rd Pinelands
1993 Hawequas Albert Snyman 1st Durbanville
1992 Hawequas Buzz Macey 1st Durbanville
1991 Errol Kotze 2nd Hout Bay
1990 Buzz Macey 1st Durbanville
1989 Errol Kotze 1st Durbanville
1988 Stellenbosch Errol Kotze 1st Durbanville
1987 Gilcape, Eerste River Jerry Wilding 1st Durbanville/2nd Somerset West
1986 Gilcape, Eerste River Errol Kotze 1st Pinelands
1985 1st Durbanville
1984 Gilcape, Eerste River Richard Goldschmidt 1st Monte Vista
1983 Gilcape, Eerste River Lionel Cohen 4th Rondebosch
1982 Gilcape, Eerste River Brian Figaji 1st Somerset West
1981 Gilcape, Eerste River 1st Somerset West
1980 Gilcape, Eerste River Lionel Cohen 2nd Somerset West
1979 Gilcape, Eerste River Lionel Cohen 1st Pinelands
1978 Gilcape, Eerste River Lionel Cohen 1st Pinelands
1977 Gilcape, Eerste River Lionel Cohen 1st Somerset West
1976 Gilcape, Eerste River Lionel Cohen 2nd Rondebosch/1st Pinelands
1975 Gilcape, Eerste River Lionel Cohen 2nd Rondebosch
1974 Gilcape, Eerste River Lionel Cohen 1st Durbanville
1973 Gilcape, Eerste River E J 'Impie' Bryant 1st Pinelands
1972 Gilcape, Eerste River E 'Fatty' Rutter 1st Claremont
1971 Gilcape, Eerste River E 'Fatty' Rutter 1st Claremont/1st Parow
1970 Gilcape, Eerste River E 'Fatty' Rutter 2nd Pinelands/1st Claremont
1969 Gilcape, Eerste River E 'Fatty' Rutter 5th Observatory
1968 Gilcape, Eerste River E 'Fatty' Rutter 1st Pinelands
1967 Gilcape, Eerste River E 'Fatty' Rutter 1st Claremont
1966 Gilcape, Eerste River E J 'Impie' Bryant (No info available)
1965 Gilcape, Eerste River E J 'Impie' Bryant 1st Claremont
1964 Gilcape, Eerste River E J 'Impie' Bryant 1st Pinelands/1st Strand
1963 Gilcape, Eerste River E J 'Impie' Bryant 2nd GASP
1962 Gilcape, Eerste River E J 'Impie' Bryant 7th GASP
Standing: Huck Endersby, Graham Paulson, Andrew Farlam, Vic Morris, John Linklater. Front: Redvers Robb, Tom de Roo, Michael Benedict.
1961 Gilcape, Eerste River E J 'Impie' Bryant 2nd Kenilworth
1960 Gilcape, Eerste River E J 'Impie' Bryant 20th Cape Town
1959 Gilcape, Eerste River 2nd Rondebosch
1958 Gilcape, Eerste River E 'Fatty' Rutter 10th GASP
1957 Gilcape, Eerste River 6th Rondebosch
1956 Gilcape, Eerste River 4th Rondebosch
1955 Gilcape, Eerste River A Maspero 2nd GASP/7thGASP
1954 Gilcape, Eerste River A Maspero 4thRondebosch/2nd Muizenberg
1953 Gilcape, Eerste River A Maspero 7th GASP
1952 Gilcape, Eerste River Carl "Serpent" Rayner 2nd GASP
1951 Maynardville, Wynberg Carl "Serpent" Rayner 7th GASP
1950 Maynardville, Wynberg H L 'Sandpiper' Stern 7th GASP
1949 Gilcape, Diep River H L 'Sandpiper' Stern 4th Rondebosch/7th GASP
1948 Gilcape, Diep River H L 'Sandpiper' Stern 2nd GASP
1947 The Glen, Camps Bay H L 'Sandpiper' Stern 2nd GASP
1946 The Glen, Camps Bay 2nd Rondebosch
1945 Gilcape, Diep River Frank 'Kudu' Quinn 2nd GASP
1944 Gilcape, Diep River Carl "Serpent" Rayner 2nd Muizenberg
1943 2nd Muizenberg
1942 Gilcape, Diep River Frank 'Kudu' Quinn 2nd Muizenberg
1941 Gilcape, Diep River Carl "Serpent" Rayner 2nd Muizenberg
1940 Gilcape, Diep River J H Johnson 1st Mowbray
1939 2nd Muizenberg
1938 Retreat 4th Rondebosch
1937 2nd Muizenberg
1936 No competition
1935 4th Rondebosch
1934 1st Claremont
1933 2nd Muizenberg
1932 Pinelands 2nd Muizenberg
1931 Pinelands 2nd Muizenberg
1930 Pinelands 7th Cape Town
1929 Pinelands 4th Rondebosch
1928 Pinelands 7th Cape Town
1927 4th Rondebosch
1926 1st Claremont grounds
1925 4th Rondebosch/1st GASP
1924 2nd Woodstock
1923 Ramsay Park, Bellville P O Wathes 4th Rondebosch
1922 1st Woodstock
1921 2nd GASP
1920 The Homestead, Oranjezicht 1st GASP
1919 Due to the Spanish Flu Epidemic and various other causes, the competition was not held. The Shield was, however, awarded on the results of the recently completed Scout Exhibition 7th Cape Town
1918 7th Cape Town
1917 The Homestead, Oranjezicht 1st GASP
1916 Groote Schuur Estate Capt. J. J. Walsh, District Signalling Officer 3rd Claremont
1915 Belmont Estate Rondebosch Dr. Bennie Hewat, M.P.C., and Major St. Leger 2nd Cape Town YMCA

See also

  1. Argus, 3 May, 1947