Piffy FF White

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District Commissioner Captain P. F. F. White M.C. and District Cubmaster Mrs. M. L. E White

Capt. Piffy F. F. White, M C, who is acting as O.C. to the Cape, Orange Free State and Natal Boy Scout contingents, proceeding to the Imperial Jamboree, is known in South African Scouting circles as one of the most efficient officers we have in the movement.

Arriving in South Africa from Ireland in November 1899, he served in the Boer War continuously till October 1902, gaining two medals with five clasps. In June 1906, he joined the Chief Mechanical Engineer's Department of the Railways at Bloemfontein; Early interesting himself in work amongst boys, he was appointed captain of the Bloemfontein Boys Brigade. Two years later Capt. White was attracted to serious work among boys by a paper read at the Durban Y.M.C.A. Conference by Mr. Oswin Bull, M.A. Seeing the great possibilities of our Movement as a result of reading the first official handbook, 'Scouting for Boys' he organized the Bloemfontein Division in November 1909, started the Orange Free State Scout Council, and was appointed Chief Scoutmaster the following year. That the work of the founder of Scouting in the Free State is appreciated is shown by the fact that he is still an Honorary Scoutmaster for Bloemfontein and a member of the Council.

It is interesting to note that Lieut. C. C. Wood, RFC., who recently gave his life in an attempt to save a woman from drowning off Hammersmith Bridge, was one of the first seven Scouts trained by Capt. White in Bloemfontein.

Transferred to Pretoria at the beginning of 1911, he infused new life into the Movement in that city, and succeeded in increasing the number of existing Troops from 2 to 11. Here too, he was appointed D.S.M. The late Hon. Denis Buxton was a member of his own Troop for some time. For three years Pretoria was represented by him on the Transvaal Scout Council.

Transferred to Cape Town, Capt. White took over the 7th Cape Town (Gardens) Troop in May 1914, since when the Troop has steadily gained strength and established its place in the forefront of Scouting in the Peninsula, ranking as one of the 'show' Troops of Cape Town. Losing the premier position by 10 points in 1917 the Troop has gained the Gordon's' Shield for the two years since as the most efficient all-round Scouting Troop in the Peninsula. In addition, the only 600 days War Service badge gained in the Union is held by one of "Seventh's" Leaders.

As a member of the 5th S.A. Infantry, Capt. White went through the East and Central African Campaigns, where he was promoted Captain, mentioned in despatches, and gained the Military Cross. On his return from active service he was appointed D.S.M. for Cape Town, and represents Mossel Bay on the Cape Scout Council. He is now Capt, and Adjutant 2nd Battalion R. and H. Regiment.

Mrs. M. L. E. White, who has taken up the Movement no less enthusiastically than her husband, was the first warranted Lady Cubmaster in the Union. She identified herself with Scouting when she took up the treasurer-ship of the 7th Cape Town Troop in 1914, which position she has filled since with the greatest credit.

In 1915 Mrs. White organized the Gardens Pack of Wolf Cubs, which has more than added to the reputation of the Troop to which it is attached, The Pack showed its all-round efficiency by winning the Edwards Shield in 1919, being the first year Of competition.

Mrs. White is taking over three Cubs to the 1920 Jamboree to represent Cubbing in South Africa. It must indeed be a pleasure both to Capt. and Mrs. White, who have so closely identified themselves with the Boy Scout Movement, to be able to take part in the great International Scout meeting. It is a fitting reward for work done unselfishly and energetically, and one wishes them a safe journey, a pleasant stay, and shall it be quick return? We feel sure that those who come into contact with these two enthusiasts in England, will learn no less than Peninsula Scouting and they will gain from their observations over there.

Records from the May 1950 'Scouty News' show that 'Piffy' and 'Snowy' were still active in Scouting in the Durban area where they were both ADC's.

'Piffy' passed away on the 8th June 1964 in East London where he had been living for some time. At his funeral service, the coffin was covered the Scout flag and his Scout hat.

Ack: On Trek, June 1920 and Cape Western Scouter July 1964