World Jamborees: 1933 Report

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1933 - 4th World Jamboree, Gödöllö, Hungary

Jamboree Badge

2 – 16 August / Participants 25 792 / Countries 48 / South Africans 59

On the 7th July 1933 the South African Contingent assembled on the Parade in Cape Town and from there they were accompanied by a Scottish band through the streets to the harbour.

That afternoon the 60 Scouts sailed for England en route to Hungary onboard the Armadale Castle leaving behind 3 Pathfinders (Black Scouts) who had been refused passports. Hungary had been chosen for its pleasant climate and much work had gone into preparing the site.

The South African contingent

In charge was Commissioner EP Willard.

The voyage took 18 days and upon arrival in England, on the 24th July they spent a few days sightseeing before departing for Hungary. This was done mostly in small groups by the London Rover Scouts. The Contingent also visited Gilwell Park where it was entertained by those in charge.

They went by boat to Ostend and then by train through Cologne and Vienna to Budapest and the campsite on the banks of the Danube River. The Jamboree ran from the 2nd to 16th August with swapping and fraternising being the keynotes of the Jamboree.

The South African Contingent returned to England on the 18th August and spent a few days on a bus tour of England and Wales. After the bus tour all but eight members left to visit relations or friends. The remaining eight boys went camping to Bognor Regis and were entertained for a period of five days.

The entire Contingent reassembled again in London on the evening of the 30th before departing on the 1st September onboard the Warwick Castle arriving in Cape Town on the 18th September.

The Emblem

Jamboree Pennant

The Emblem of the Jamboree was the miraculous White Stag of Hungary. According to tradition, sometime in the dim and distant past a white Stag appeared to the two brothers Hunor and Magor while on a hunting expedition.

Unable to catch up with the Stag they were lured farther and farther until they finally arrived in the friendly, fertile and peaceful place known today as Hungary.

The White Stag of the Jamboree was to lure Scouts from many parts of the World to the friendly and peaceful site of the Jamboree Camp.

The Jamboree

Report by Jack Morom of Wynberg

"The King's horses, Herr Hitler, swastikas, the Blue Danube, and rugby football and all..."

When the Scouts arrived at Wiesbaden a squad of Hitler's New Boys' Association met them with cries of "Heil Hitler:" "We started to swap souvenirs," says Morom. "Everyone tried to get Hitler's armband supplied to his band with his badge on it. Many of us succeeded." His diary is full of references to "Hitler's people." Hitler's brass bands wakened them at dawn at receptions on German railway stations.

In Budapest Hungarian girls lined the streets and threw flags and biscuits to the marching Scouts.

'Del Afrika' (South Africa) marches past at the head of the British Empire contingent

The Big Rally
The big rally on the parade ground was a sight which Morom says he will never forget.

"We were formed up into lines of eight abreast to be reviewed by the Chief and the Hungarian regent.

The Hungarian anthem was played while the Chief, the Regent and his bodyguard rode round on horseback and inspected the different National Flags. It was wonderful to see all those hundreds of flags, dipped to salute the Great Chief.

Our contingent gave the South African war cry as we passed the royal box."

The Danube
The Scouts went "rubber-necking" round Budapest and saw the beauty of the river which inspired so many of Strauss's famous waltzes. They seemed to grow weary of sightseeing for the diarist says: "I have seen enough statues and memorials to last me for the rest of my life.

The Magyar (Hungarian) influence on the scouts' diet is revealed by Scouter Morom's mention of a typical supper: Rolls, Polony, Sausage, Cheese and Mineral water.

In the evenings Scouts of all nations sat round camp fires and sang traditional songs. The Springboks were a success with a native war dance which introduced the death of Piet Retief.

Rugger Match
They also demonstrated Rugby to the Hungarians and played an English team, losing to them by 3 points to 5, a defeat which the "unofficial", Springboks later avenged.

Scouter Morom's diary describes the great final march past in which he headed the British Empire contingent.

When the Scouts visited the Budapest Cathedral the organist played "Die stem van Suid Afrika" in honour of their visit.

Other highlights were trips to the fruit growing areas and to Lake Balaton a large inland sea.

Report by Douglas Cornell of 2nd Rondebosch

The South African Contingent at Waterloo Station in London

Swapping and fraternising - these were the keynotes of the fourth International Jamboree in Hungary this year. The spirit of the League of Nations and an international trading market was curiously intermingled.

The first experience of this swapping was at Cologne, where we stopped for a short time on the way across Europe. Then at every other stop on the uncomfortable journey to Gödöllö we learnt more and more of the art of trading.

Eventually, when the train crossed the Austrian border at Passau, there could have been scarcely one kit that did not contain Nazi armlets and a swastika. The journey across Germany also gave us an insight into the German national fondness for "parading." Every little town turned out its brass band to play us through, while everyone in sight stood rigidly to attention. On this journey we lived on boiled eggs, rolls, Polony and soda water. Fortunately, that particular part of the trip lasted only 34 hours.

It is said that everything, good or bad, has its use, and certainly the discomforts of the day and two nights in a carriage of the German State Railway were useful, for they helped us prepare for what was to come. During the time we spent in Gödöllö, we learnt that patience is one of the cardinal virtues, and that a few things come to him who waits (if he only waits long enough).

Even on the march from the station to our site, we learnt several things, including a new war cry, and the instinctive inquisitiveness of the Hungarian youth. Arriving at our camp, well nigh exhausted we threw down our kit, and attempted to rest. One might as well have tried to move a mountain unaided, for within an hour our site was alive with Hungarians, all anxious to see what strange beings came from South Africa, or, as they say, Del Afrika.

That first meeting with Hungarians rather tried our temper, and then, to wind up a perfect day, we were issued with a Magyar version of Irish stew and rye bread. Immediately we got out our food schedules, and began to call down imprecations on the Hungarian authorities, who had arranged the supplies. It took time for us to realise that European ideas on many things did not tally with our own ideas, and by the time we had learned to accept all things philosophically, we had invented a new yell which ran as follows: S! T! A! R! V! I! N! G! WHO ARE? WE ARE! US! US! US!

The food might have been suitable for those accustomed to it, but for us Springboks, and indeed for all the Imperial Scouts, who had been accustomed to variety, and especially fresh fruit and vegetables, it was torture to exist on paprika, salami, Hungarian stew or rye bread.

All the same, there was always enough to fill part of the gap, and as long as there was something beneath the belt we soon forgot the taste. At times, however, it was difficult to endure listening to various nations praising the merits of their national dishes.

There were countless other things besides food to hold our attention; so many, in fact, that often we had scarcely time to gain an impression, and actually most of the impressions we did gain were not lasting. Attendance at a Jamboree naturally meant that we met numerous nationalities, for there were no fewer than 42 countries represented, with a grand total of 20 000 Scouts.

From all parts of the globe they came to represent their countries, maybe five from one country and 500 from its neighbour. Some Scouts had to travel for weeks, some for hours, but a kindly providence guided them all safely to Gödöllö, where they were destined to amuse and interest one another for a fortnight.

We met and swapped badges, equipment, addresses and ideas with Scouts who wore the kufia of Iraq, the maple-leaf of Canada, the white duck uniform of Japan, and the kilts of, Scotland and Ireland. Within a few days we were accustomed to signing anything, from a strip of newspaper margin to a gold-embossed visiting card. The cries of "Aaah! Del-Aafrik-a-a-a!" no longer brought protests to our lips. We had caught the spirit of the Jamboree, and now could settle down to enjoy every further minute of our stay in Hungary.

One of the curious facts about the Jamboree was the strange understanding, which seemed to grow up between all nations. An Englishman could go into the Polish camp, make himself thoroughly at home, and probably come out loaded with gifts. Hereditary enemies became reconciled, and during the whole Jamboree there was scarcely a note of discord. Certainly such gatherings do much to promote world peace, and it seems fitting that when the Jamboree came to a conclusion there was scarcely a complete uniform left in any kit.

It was all the "swapping," the fraternising, and the eternal battle against autograph-hunters and newspaper boys, which helped us to forget the minor and the major discomforts of the Jamboree, and as we marched through the Olympia Gate for the last time, there was not one of us who did not regret that we would never enter that gate again.

The Jamboree was over, but all of us would retain memories of it through our lifetimes. We climbed aboard the trains, shook the Hungarian dust from our feet, to the cry of – Dust, Atchoo, Dust.

Pathfinder Ban Surprise

Why they cannot go to Hungary Jamboree
Explanation by Mr. P. G. W. Grobler Minister of Native Affairs
Cape Argus 5 July 1933

(Black Scouts) Too young for contact with Europeans

THE Minister of Native Affairs, Mr. P. G. W. Grobler, explained to-day why three members of the Pathfinders or native Boy Scouts - have been prohibited from sailing with the other Scouts on Friday to attend the international Jamboree in Hungary - a decision which has created surprise and not a little criticism in Scouting and other circles. In a statement to Reuter's Pretoria correspondent Mr. Grobler said the step had been taken in the interest of the natives as well as of the European population.

It was no question of unfair treatment of the natives. The young natives would have gone overseas at an age when they are easily impressed by new surround¬ings, especially as they would be entirely removed from the South African background.

They would naturally become im¬pressed by the social contact with Euro¬peans, from which they are debarred in South Africa. They would lose regard of the relationships which exist in South Africa in the interest of both races.

When growing up they might exploit such experience as they might have overseas. Such exploitation again could lead to agitation.

For these reasons the authorities had deemed it advisable not to allow the representatives to leave.

The Minister said he had received representations from the Bishop-elect of Pretoria and of Captain White on behalf of the Scout Organisation to allow the departure of the natives. The three natives who had been elected to go were Fred Oliphant of Pietersburg, Samuel Ramalakane of Pretoria and George You of Rosettenville.

Efforts to secure a reversal fail
Statement by the Chief Pathfinder
Cape Argus 5 July 1933

Bloemfontein, Tuesday.
Mr. J. D. Rheinallt Jones, Chief Pathfinder, has issued the following statement:

"The headquarters of the Pathfinder Movement, which is a branch of the Boy Scout Movement, greatly regrets having to announce that after all other arrangements had been completed, the Union Government has prohibited the departure for Europe next Friday of Pathfinders who had been chosen to represent the Pathfinders, of Southern Africa at the Scout Jamboree to be held in Hungary next month, when Scouts of all nations, including native Scouts from other parts of Africa, will meet.

Strenuous efforts have been made to secure a reversal of this decision without result. Pathfinder headquarters deplores the painful situation that has thus been created and fully realises that the position demands of all Pathfinders the fullest exercise of those habits of self-control and courtesy and of obedience to the authority of the State which the Movement cultivates.

Every Pathfinder is now called upon to adhere as faithfully as he can to the ideals of the Movement as expressed in its laws. Pathfinders can rest assured that Pathfinder Headquarters will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the Pathfinder Movement, as a branch of the Boy Scout Movement, will be represented at the next succeeding meeting of Scouts of the world." - (Reuter.)

S A Scout Heritage

See Also