The China Mail.
Hongkong, Saturday, September 6, 1924.
PRINCE UNDER CANVAS.
IN CAMP WITH BOY SCOUTS OF EMPIRE.
The Prince of Wales on August 2 slept under canvas with 12,000 Boy Scouts, drawn from every part of the Empire, to take part in the Imperial Jamboree.
The march of the 12,000 on the previous day into a huge border round the Stadium, their yelling rush to the centre, and their forest of poles, crowned with hats, raised three times for the King and once for the Duke of Connaught, who performed the opening ceremony, together with their roar of song in the National Anthem - were impressions not easily forgotten.
From India came Scouts with turban-swathed heads; Burma was followed by Canada, Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Crown Colonies, and the Irish Free State, Northern Ireland was represented and Scotland and Wales and the counties of England.
SCOTTISH BOYS' DANCE.
The great arena in which has been held so many wonderful events has witnessed few as stirring as the dancing of 1,000 Scottish Scouts. When hundreds of Scouts bearing Empire flags had made a coloured border round the huge lawn the Highland pipers of the Scottish Scouts marched to the middle of the field. Then with a great howl the thousand dancers dashed on to the field and formed into scores of circles, the biggest round the band and smaller ones all over the arena.
At first the circles danced in a clockwise direction; then, in one second, every foot was stilled. Next, every circle was moving in a counter clockwise direction, while later the circles were lost altogether and every boy was dancing individually, followed by parties that linked arms and threaded through each other. Finally the circles reappeared, and so the dance went on.
Scouts from Harrow and Ealing gave an historical event in Canadian life, in which hundreds of Indian costumes were used; while tumbling, pyramids, gymnastics, and acrobatics showed a few of the hundreds of practical uses of the Boy Scout movement.
Seated on a platform of pine logs before a campfire, smoking his pipe and wearing a blanket around his shoulders, the Prince of Wales on the night of August 2 joined in the songs and choruses of the Boy Scouts.
It was the end of a strenuous day during which the Prince had played a leading part, and the informal sing song around the fire at the camp near the Stadium obviously appealed to him.
The Prince lit his pipe and, turning to the Chief Scout, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, he asked: "What about a song?" And the songs came. Led by the sweet voiced Welsh choir, who thrilled with their national songs, other groups took up the choral challenge. There, in the darkness, were sung the songs of the open air.
Scouts from India rivalled the Welsh lads with a stirring song, "Oh, What a Happy Land is India" with the catchy chorus. "Bom-bom-bom-Bombay." But when some silver voiced English boys sang "My Nut brown Maiden," the Prince, beating time with his pipe, joined in the chorus, and when "Widdicombe Fair" was sung by the Wessex contingent he led the singing, leaving Lord Glanusk and Sir Robert Baden-Powell to join in the chorus.
Then from out the darkness came the weird cry of the Scouts:
Tee lap she bah,
Teu lah she basha,
Cora bella, cora bella, ching, ching a china,
A Cora (louder), a Cora (yell it), a Cora, Serama, Serama, Serah.
It was a surprise and a delight when the Prince left his seat just before the end of the concert and joined in a wild Highland reel in the light of the Ieaping flames.
Then, at the call of the bugle, there was a trail to the tents.
The Prince, who was one of the last to Ieave the campfire, walked to his quarters, consisting of a small oblong tent, one section containing a table, six wicker chairs, and a hanging oil lamp. Partitioned off was the bedroom, with an iron bedstead, a tin washstand, two cane chairs, a small table with a shaving glass, and an oil lamp.
Reveille at six o'clock on the following (Sunday) morning found the Prince up with the earliest. The camp was gay with healthy youngsters splashing at their toilet, while the Prince, in shirt sleeves and shorts, enjoyed a morning pipe.
Every Scout was keen on putting a final polish to his equipment in anticipation of the great Sunday morning service in the Stadium, attended by the Prince and 15,000 boys, conducted by the Archbishop of York.
The congregation was spread out like a great khaki carpet, the gaudy neckerchiefs of the boys making a brilliant pattern, while the vivid banners made a canopy of colour.
By means of loud speakers, the service was heard distinctly in all parts of the Stadium, particularly the address of the Prince of Wales,
The Prince said:
You are the future Empire men, and it is up to you to carry out your Scout Law and be prepared for these great possibilities which, at the same time, will offer you a great opportunity. The best way to prepare yourselves is to go on with your scouting and gain all you can in health and strength both of body and mind.
If you go forward in the spirit that has brought you here today, you will not only find many of the difficulties of your life less formidable than they might appear, but what is more important, you will also be setting an example in unselfishness that cannot fail to be a blessing, to the community in which you reside and to the Empire as a whole.