The Hongkong Telegraph.
Thursday, September 30, 1920.
COL. BOWEN ADDRESSES HONGKONG TROOP.
The Boy Scout movement in the Colony has reached an interesting stage with the coming into existence of the First Hongkong Troop, which, in point of numbers and the extensive nature of its organisation, is the premier unit of the Hongkong Boy Scouts Association. Comprised of nearly ninety members, who are pupils of St. Joseph's College, the Troop will now be able to carry on as in former days with a full observance of Scout training in all its branches. When the call to rally came from the Commissioner, Lt. Colonel Bowen, the number of recruits exceeded the expectations of the organisers, and it only then required the assistance of several past pupils who still retain warm memories of their scouting experience with the late Troop, to put the force on a field basis. Names that are associated with the old scouting days will be again perpetuated in the new patrols, and these various units which will now be incorporated in the First Hongkong Troop will be known as follows: The Curlew, Owl Cuckoo, Raven, Peewit, Woodpigeon, Eagle, Hawk, Swift, and Swallow.
To reach the status of a fully-fledged Scout, which represents the highest ambitions of these "tenderfoots," a course of training in signalling and other accomplishments peculiar to scouting will have to be gone through, but it speaks much for the keenness of the boys themselves and the confidence of their leaders to lick their charges into form, that the period of training is expected to occupy not more than a few weeks, October 10th being set as the ultimate date whereat qualifications fall through for the "tenderfoot" badge, and a month later for the second class Scout badge.
As the organization of the force progresses, a senior Troop comprised of elder boys will in all probability be formed, while it is considered that the Troop will not be fully equipped without a bugle band, this being an essential part of the old Troops.
For the prompt organization of the Troop credit is due to the Chief Scoutmaster, Mr. L. A. Gutierrez, and his assistants J. Kodrigues, I. M. Alarakia, J. Guimguam and the senior patrol leader, L. Baptista. These are past pupils of the College, whose experience acquired in the time of the old Troop qualifies them for the leadership of the new force.
There was a strong muster of the members yesterday in the compound of the College when Lt. Colonel Bowen, in a brief speech initiated the boys into a knowledge of their duties with the new corps. He gave a summary of the history of Boy Scouting in Hongkong, mentioning the visit of Lt. General Sir Baden Powell in 1911 which gave rise to the movement in the Colony. The First Hongkong Troop came into existence in 1913, and its formation had been fully justified by its usefulness on various public occasions, but, unfortunately, interest in the movement came to a cessation in 1917 on his departure for England in connection with duties for his country. Whilst in England he had occasion to go to Winchester and was there asked to take charge of a Troop of Boy Scouts. The observations which he made when in this capacity confirmed some impressions he had formed of the work of the Troop in Hongkong, and those were that the Boy Scouts here were just as clever if not cleverer than their confreres in England, as he found out when the band of the old Troop came to be organized. He found that a week after its inception it was able to take part in a route march in connection with some religious functions. During its existence the old Troop had rendered very useful services to the Hongkong Volunteers with whom they were associated on one camping period. They had helped to carry ammunition and other equipment, and Major Wakeman's opinion when he was consulted was to the effect that the boy's had done more than was expected of them. Lt. Col. Bowen went on to exhort the boys to follow in the footsteps of the old Troop. He impressed upon them the necessity of not leaving any trace of their presence behind on a camping ground, supporting his remarks with the instance of the old Scouts, whose attention in this regard had won for them the commendation of the Commanding Officer of a Regiment whose ground in the military barracks they had made use of at one period.
In regard to the plan of operations for the coming season, Colonel Bowen informed the boys that the piece of ground behind the Detention Barracks, which in former days was used as camping ground by the old Troop, had been retained for the new force at a nominal rental.