Hongkong Daily Press.
Hongkong, Thursday, September 18th, 1924.
PRINCE'S TRIBUTE TO SCOUT MOVEMENT.
ROUND THE CAMPFIRE.
THE PRINCE'S HIGHLAND REEL.
The Prince of Wales went into camp at Wembley Paddocks, recently, and spent a delightful time with his 12,000 brother Scouts from all parts of the Empire. Ceremony of all kinds was thrown aside, and there was a happy informality about this comradeship, which was marked by all the eager spirit of youth. His Royal Highness, who wore the Scout uniform and carried his stave, took part in the evening in a grent campfire "sing song." It was remarkable scene, indeed, when these thousands of lads squatted round a blazing heap of pine logs, and in the glimmering twilight began to sing in a mighty chorus, quite spontaneous and unrehearsed, a number of homely old folk songs. The Prince himself had a rough seat fashioned from the trunk of a tree, and he lighted his pipe and entered into the enjoyment of these boyish revels with as much ardour as any of them.
But the most delightful incident of all came at the end of this musical programme. Group of Scottish Scouts lined up to perform an eightsome reel, and at once the Prince, who is one of the keenest of dancers, asked that he might be allowed to join with these happy Highlanders. Laying aside his slouch bat and his pipe, he accordingly went into the circle, and he and seven lads from Aberdeen made up one of the sets, which danced a long and tireless reel to the skirt of the pipers and to the accompaniment also of many a shout and a "whoop." It was dark by this time, but the dying embers threw just sufficient light on this interesting scene to reveal the Prince, his face wreathed in smiles, joyously moving round and round and in and out with the "Kilties." When it was over he coufessed that he was breathless!
A FAMILY AFFAIR.
The "sing song" was entirely a family affair, and the public were not admitted to it, though they would have found it a romantic and wonderful sight. It was a held in a large, sloping field on the far side of the camp, some distance away from either houses or highways. Shortly before, nine o'clock the Scouts came down to line, in a close solid pack, the outside of a circle about 50 feet in diameter, and in the middle of this half a dozen boys kept the fire well stacked and its flames shooting upwards. The long grass was very damp from the rain, and more than once a new downpour threatened for the skies were starless and cloudy. The Scouts, nevertheless, spread out their ground sheets and squatted, and very quaint and picturesque they looked there, with their many coloured scarves knotted, pirate fashion, over their heads. They stood when the Prince, attended by Sir Robirt Baden-Powell and Lord Glanusk, arrived on the scene to the strains of the escort of pipers, and from 12,000 throats there came a great shout of welcome and the lusty singing of "God Bless the Prince of Wales."
And then the concert began. Some section outside the circle would strike up a familiar song, and sing it in good tune and with a hearty good spirit; and if there was a chorus it made a joyful ensemble for all the squatters. No sooner had one air finished than another began. The Sussex lads trilled the charms of "Sussex by the Sea"; tbose from the West told how Uncle Tom Cobleigh and others rode the grey mare to "Widecombe Fair"; those from Yorkshire revelled in the broad dialect of "On Ilkley Moor baht At," while those from Liverpool obliged with a simply delightful rendering of "London's Burning." These were just a few numbers only.
SCOUTS' "GOOD NIGHT."
When, later on, the Prince had finished the reel he returned to his tree stump on the narrow platform and made a little speech. He said that that camp of Empire Scouts was the biggest that had ever been held, and he asked them to raise three cheers, "three of the best cheers you have ever given," to the Chief Scout, to whom they owed that evening and "the whole inception and inspiration of Scouting." Then he commanded " Hats off!" and the vast concourse gave their three cheers, followed by three grand cheers for His Majesty, and finally they sang "God Save the King." His Royal Highness, again with his escort of pipers, then walked over a muddy cart track to his tent on the higher ground of the camp, and behind surged thousands of boys cheering without restraint and bidding their Royal campmate "good night." Outside his tent, the interior of which was most simply furnished and dimly lighted by a hanging lamp, they lined up and serenaded him with more cheers and "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow."
Before the "sing song" the Prince of Wales had attended the late afternoon "Jamboree" in the Stadium, and here he saw something of the work and play of the Scouts of the Empire. From the Royal box he witnessed a delightful pageant illustrative of the life of the Australian aboriginals and of the arrival on that Southern continent of Captain Cook, and also a second picturesque pageant of Sussex through the ages, an historical drama of stonemen and Druids, Saxons and Normans, sturdy yeomen and smugglers, which was in many respects an historical drama of England. He also saw about ten different groups of boys enter the field and perform a variety of exercises and games. But the great spectacle was the grand finale, for which the Prince went on to the arena with the Chief Scout and stood immediately in front of a squad of Sea Scouts guarding the Union Jack. Then there filed before him about 2,500 Scouts from almost every corner of the British Dominions, all of whom dipped their banners as they passed his Royal Highness.
YOUTHFUL LOOKING PRINCE.
The Prince, who is the Chief Scout of Wales, looked remarkably youthful in his uniform, and he won the hearts of all by his smiles and the cordiality and ease of his bearing. He smiled even despite the rain which poured down pitilessly upon the parade. It was indeed, unfortunate that the weather should have been so unfavourable, but nothing whatever could have marred the enthusiasm of the occasion, and not even a deluge could have detracted from the impressiveness of the scene when, at the sound of a bugle, the Scouts broke away and, with a wild cheer, raced pell-mell over the slippery turf to the centre of the Stadium. Surrounded thus by his brother Scouts, his Royal Highness called upon them to raise their hats on their staves, hold these aloft, and give three rousing cheers to the King. The echo of that grand acclamation must have been heard all over Wembley, and it was inevitable that immediately afterwards the forest of staves was again in the air, and the massed troops were giving a similarly fervent salute to the Royal Scout himself.