The Hongkong Telegraph.
Wednesday, May 25, 1932.
EMPIRE DAY IN HONGKONG
SCOUTS AND GUIDES DO THEIR PART
Colourful scenes were witnessed at Government House and Flagstaff House yesterday, when Empire Day commemoration rallies of Girl Guides and Boy Scouts were held The day also marked the 21st. anniversary of the founding of the Guide movement.
A distinguished gathering had assembled at Government House when the Guides were massed for inspection by His Excellency, the Officering Administering the Government, the Hon. Mr. W.T.Southorn.
Every Guide troop was represented. The girls presented a charming picture, the brown dresses of the Brownies and the white dresses of the Guides contrasting effectively with the green lawns and the blue waters of the harbour in the background.
After the inspection the girls, seated on the lawn, were addressed by Mr. Southorn.
"This is a great week", said His Excellency, "and today is the greatest day of the week.
"First it is a great worldwide Guide week, the week of your twenty first birthday. You have now come of age as a movement, though it will take some of you a good many years to reach the mature age of twenty one. The international sisterhood started by Lord and Lady Baden Powell has proved its worth and now stands firmly established as one of the finest influences for good not only in the British Empire but in the whole world.
"Secondly it is a great local Guide week for you are on Thursday next to see the laying of the foundation stone of your Guide Headquarters by your very good friend. His Excellency Major General Sandilands. Now we do not pretend to compare the achievement of raising the funds for your Headquarters with the wonderful achievement of the raising of the funds for your Headquarters in London - but you must all be proud to think that in these hard times you have raised no less than $8,500 towards the cost of your new Headquarters here.
"Funds have flowed in from all sides, Chinese friends, Portuguese friends, British friends and many others, not only from Hongkong, have subscribed liberally and their generosity bears eloquent tribute to their faith in the Girl Guide movement. I congratulate you most heartily and trust that the new Headquarters will be a happy meeting place for you all from the oldest guide to the youngest brownie and I hope you will someday invite me to come and visit you there.
Voices: "We will!"
"And thirdly" continued Mr. Southorn "this is the greatest day of the week for it is Empire Day - the birthday of Queen Victoria who presided over the destinies of England for over sixty years and watched the United Kingdom with its few colonies grow into the British Empire. It is very fitting that Empire Day should be linked up with Queen Victoria and with the Girl Guides for the great Queen embodied the Guide principles of service for others and loyalty to the State.
Knitting Empire Together.
"Today, throughout the Empire, we are making special efforts to bring the units of our scattered Empire more closely together. One way of doing this is by stimulating Empire trade and to this our Empire Products Fair is dedicated, but that is perhaps more a matter for grown up people.
"You young people have your own special share in the work of the Empire today. We are passing through a troubled period of the world's history, far more troubled than most of us in Hongkong can realize, and I commend to you the Prince of Wales' stirring appeal to the youth of the Empire to supply the courage, the faith, the originality, the cheerfulness and the inspiration which are needed to combat the depression and the apathy which are today the principal enemies of progress.
"And this is where the Girl Guides come in. A Guide is helpful, a guide is cheerful, a guide is always prepared, and here you have the very qualities the Empire needs and it may yet be that the Girl Guides with their brothers the Boy Scouts will be the means of bringing back prosperity to the Empire and with it to the world. For the Guides will not be satisfied merely with a prosperous British Empire. They embrace every country, they are a sisterhood of the word, a great international peace movement which knows that no part of the world can be wholly prosperous till the whole world is prosperous. We want you to be loyal to the Empire but we want you at the same time to be friends with all the world.
"We have another special reason for our gathering here today, for the Colony Commissioner will shortly present to the winning company the Prince of Wales' Banner which has been won by the 1st. Kowloon Company, and to the runners up the Dyer Cup which has been won by the 5th Hongkong Company. I understand that the competition was very keenly contested and that you had this year the great advantage of an examination by an exceptionally highly qualified guide from England, Miss Rachel Warren, whose work for the guides here has I am sure been very much appreciated. I offer heartiest congratulations to the 1st Kowloon and 5th Hongkong Companies on their success.
"We welcome you all here today; we invite you to sample an Empire tea and we hope you will carry away happy memories of Empire Day 1932."
At the conclusion of His Excellency's speech a pretty scene was witnessed when a Brownie came forward and pinned a dainty buttonhole in the lapel of Mr. Southorn's coat. Later, Mr. Southorn reciprocated by handing to the little girl a doll, dressed as a Brownie - the first purchase from the Guide's stall.
The Colony Commissioner, Mrs. Southern presented the Prince of Wales banner to the 1st Kowloon Company, winners of the recent competition and the Dyer Cup to the runners up, the 3rd Hongkong Company.
An Empire afternoon tea was served to the children, after which games were played on the lawn.
At Flagstaff House.
His Excellency the General Officer Commanding the Troops, Major General J.W.Sandilands, entertained the Boy Scouts at a rally in Flagstaff House grounds.
Over 400 boys from various troops, including the Sea Scouts, were present for the inspection. At the conclusion of the inspection, Major General Sandilands presented the Prince of Wales banner to the Sea Scout, winners of the inter troop competition.
A letter of commendation was presented to Patrol Leader Johnson Kong for meritorious work done during a fire at Mongkok.
A warrant as Cub mistress was presented to Miss Rhodes and assistant scoutmasters' warrants were handed to Laing Lai of the 13th. Hongkong troop, Leung Ying-fai of the 3rd. Kowloon and Lee Ching-yue of Queen's College troop.
Addressing the Scouts, Major General Sandilands said:
"It is a great pleasure to find myself in a position to entertain the Boy Scouts of Hongkong on Empire Day at Flagstaff House.
"I fully realize that such a fine turnout of Scouts, as we have on parade today would not have been achieved without a considerable amount of hard work by the Scout Commissioner and his officers, I would like to offer these gentlemen my thanks and appreciation.
"Today is what we call Empire Day. It is the anniversary of the birthday of Queen Victoria, who ruled Great Britain for 64 year and it was during her reign that the British Empire came into its own.
"Lord Meath was responsible for May 24th being celebrated as Empire Day. The main thought underlying his scheme was to bring home to the British children of the world their responsibilities in the future as British Subjects. It had no connexion with glorying in the vast possessions owned and ruled by us.
"In fact his idea closely resembles what the Boy Scout and Girl Guide movement stands for, which is to turn the children of the world into good and loyal citizens, regardless of nationality, creed, and social status.
"Many of the boys on parade today are not British subjects, but we look to them to uphold the dignity of the Scout movement and to do everything within their power to ensure that the Colony of Hongkong may continue to be just as proud of them, as we are of our own British Boys."
The Scout Commissioner, the Rev. Mr. Waldegrave, and the Assistant Commissioner, the Rev. Mr. Halvard, were among those present.
Refreshments were served, and games were played on the lawn, the Scouts having a thoroughly good time.