Robert Stephenson Smyth Powell

Founder of  Scouting
Birth name  :Robert Stephenson Smyth Powell
Born : 22 February 1857 Paddington , London, England
Died : 8 January 1941 (aged 83) Nyeri ,  British Kenya
Allegiance : United Kingdom
Service/branch : British Army
Years of service : 1876–1910
Rank : Lieutenant-General
Commands held : Chief of Staff,  Second Matabele War (1896–97)5th  Dragoon  Guards
 (1897)Inspector General of Cavalry (1903)
Battles/wars : Anglo-Ashanti Wars Second Matabele War Siegeof Mafeking Second
 Boer War
Awards :

  • Ashanti Star (1895)
  • Matabele Campaign,  British South Africa Company Medal  (1896)
  • King's South Africa Medal  ( 1902)
  • The Boy Scouts Association  Silver Wolf
  • Boy Scouts of America  Silver Buffalo Award  (1926)
  • Boy Scouts International Committee  Bronze Wolf  (1935)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Dannebrog, Denmark (1921)
  • Großes Dankabzeichen des ÖPB (1927)
  • Großes Ehrenzeichen der Republik am Bande (1931)
  • Goldene Gemse (1931)
  • Knight Grand Cross of the  Order of Orange-Nassau  (1932)
  • Member of the   Order of Merit (1937)
  • Wateler Peace Prize  (1937)
  • Knight Grand Cross of the  Order of St Michael and St George
  • Knight Grand Cross of the  Royal Victorian Order
  • Knight Commander of the  Order of the Bath

Spouse(s) : Olave St Clair Soames
Children : Arthur Robert Peter Baden-Powell , Heather Grace Baden-Powell,  Betty St Clair Baden-Powell
Other work : Founder of the international Scouting Movement; writer; artist
Lieutenant-General  Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell,  was a  British Army  officer, writer, founder and first  Chief Scout  of the world-wide  Boy Scout  Movement, and founder, with his sister  Agnes , of the world-wide  Girl Guide / Girl Scout Movement. Baden-Powell authored the first editions of the seminal work  Scouting for Boys, which was an inspiration for the  Scout Movement .
Educated at  Charterhouse  in Surrey, Baden-Powell served in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa. In 1899, during the  Second Boer War  in South Africa, Baden-Powell successfully defended the town in the  Siege of Mafeking . Several of his military books, written for military  reconnaissance  and scout training in his African years, were also read by boys. In 1907, he held a demonstration camp, the  Brownsea Island Scout camp , which is now seen as the beginning of ScoutingBased on his earlier books, particularly Aids to Scouting, he wrote  Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by  Sir Arthur Pearson , for boy readership. In 1910 Baden-Powell retired from the army and formed  The Boy Scouts Association .
The first   Scout Rally  was held at   The Crystal Palace  in 1909, at which appeared a number of girls in Scout uniform, who told Baden-Powell that they were the "Girl Scouts", following which, in 1910, Baden-Powell and his sister  Agnes Baden-Powell started the  Girl Guides Movement . In 1912 he married   Olave St Clair Soames . He gave guidance to the Scouting and Girl Guiding Movements until retiring in 1937. Baden-Powell lived his last years in  Nyeri , Kenya, where he died and was buried in 1941. His grave is now a  National Monument.

Forebears (Parents)

Baden-Powell's father was the Reverend Professor  Baden Powell , a prominent  mathematician  and  theologian , whose family originated in Suffolk. His mother was Henrietta Grace, daughter of Admiral  William Henry Smyth  whose earliest known Smyth ancestor was a Royalist American colonist; her mother's father Thomas Warington was the British  Consul  in  Naples  around 1800.

Early life

Baden-Powell was born as Robert Stephenson Smyth Powell at 6 Stanhope Street (now 11 Stanhope Terrace),  Paddington  in London, on 22 February 1857. He was called Stephe (pronounced "Stevie") by his family. He was named after his godfather,  Robert Stephenson, the railway and civil engineer and his third name was his mother's maiden name.
Baden-Powell was the son of The Reverend  Baden Powell ,  Savilian Professor of Geometry  at Oxford University and Church of England priest and his third wife, Henrietta Grace Smyth (3 September 1824 – 13 October 1914), eldest daughter of Admiral  William Henry Smyth . After Powell died in 1860, to identify her children with her late husband's fame, and to set her own children apart from their half-siblings and cousins, his mother styled the family name Baden-Powell. The name was eventually legally changed by Royal Licence on 30 April 1902.
Baden-Powell had four older half-siblings from the second of his father's two previous marriages, and six full siblings  Warington  who had all died very young before he was born.
Baden-Powell's father died when he was three. Subsequently, Baden-Powell was raised by his mother, a strong woman who was determined that her children would succeed. In 1933 he said of her "The whole secret of my getting on, lay with my mother."
Baden-Powell attended  Rose Hill School ,  Tunbridge Wells . He was given a scholarship to   Charterhouse , a prestigious  public school . He played the piano and violin, was an   ambidextrous  artist, and enjoyed acting. Holidays were spent on  yachting  or  canoeing expeditions with his brothers. His first introduction to Scouting skills was through stalking and cooking game while avoiding teachers in the nearby woods, which were strictly out-of-bounds.

Military career

In 1876 Baden-Powell joined the  13th Hussars  in India with the rank of lieutenant. He enhanced and honed his military scouting skills amidst the  Zulu  in the early 1880s in the   Natal province  of South Africa, where his regiment had been posted, and where he was  Mentioned in Despatches . During one of his travels, he came across a large string of wooden beads. Although Baden-Powell claimed the beads had been those of the Zulu king  Dinizulu , one researcher learned from Baden-Powell's diary that he had taken beads from a dead woman's body around that time and indeed the bead form is more similar to dowry beads than to warrior beads. The beads were later incorporated into the  Wood Badge  training programme he started after he founded the Scouting Movement. Baden-Powell's skills impressed his superiors and in 1890 he was  brevetted Major  as Military Secretary and senior  Aide-de-camp  to the Commander-in-Chief and Governor of  Malta , his uncle General Sir  Henry Augustus Smyth . He was posted to Malta for three years, also working as intelligence officer for the  Mediterranean  for the Director of Military Intelligence. He frequently travelled disguised as a  butterfly collector , incorporating plans of military installations into his drawings of butterfly wings. In 1884 he published Reconnaissance and Scouting.
Baden-Powell returned to Africa in 1896, and served in the  Second Matabele War , in the expedition to relieve   British South Africa Company personnel under siege in   Bulawayo . This was a formative experience for him not only because he commanded reconnaissance missions into enemy territory in the  Matopos Hills , but because many of his later Boy Scout ideas took hold here. It was during this campaign that he first met and befriended the American scout  Frederick Russell Burnham , who introduced Baden-Powell to stories of the  American Old West  and  woodcraft  (i.e.  scoutcraft ), and here that he wore his signature  Stetson  campaign hat and  neckerchief  for the first time.

Baden-Powell was accused of illegally executing a prisoner of war in 1896, the  Matabele  chief Uwini, who had been promised his life would be spared if he surrendered. Uwini was sentenced to be shot by firing squad by a military court, a sentence Baden-Powell confirmed. Baden-Powell was cleared by a military court of inquiry but the colonial civil authorities wanted a civil investigation and trial. Baden-Powell later claimed he was "released without a stain on my character". Baden-Powell was also accused of allowing native African warriors under his command to massacre enemy prisoners including women, children and non-combatants.

After  Rhodesia , Baden-Powell served in the Fourth   Ashanti War  in  Gold Coast . In 1897, at the age of 40, he was brevetted   colonel  (the youngest colonel in the British Army) and given command of the   5th Dragoon Guards  in India. A few years later he wrote a small manual, entitled Aids to Scouting, a summary of lectures he had given on the subject of military scouting, much of it a written explanation of the lessons he had learned from Burnham, to help train recruits. Using this and other methods he was able to train them to think independently, use their initiative, and survive in the wilderness.

Baden-Powell returned to South Africa before the  Second Boer War  and was engaged in further military actions against the Zulus. Although instructed to maintain a mobile mounted force on the frontier with the   Boer   republics , Baden-Powell amassed stores and a garrison at Mafeking. While engaged in this, he and much of his intended mobile force was at  Mafeking  when it was surrounded by a Boer army, at times in excess of 8,000 men.

Baden-Powell was the garrison commander during the subsequent  Siege of Mafeking , which lasted 217 days. Although Baden-Powell could have destroyed his stores and had sufficient forces to break out throughout much of the siege, especially since the Boers lacked adequate artillery to shell the town or its forces, he remained in the town to the point of his intended mounted soldiers eating their horses.

The siege of the small town received undue attention from both the Boers and international media because  Lord Edward Cecil , the son of the British Prime Minister, was besieged in the town. The garrison held out until relieved, in part thanks to cunning deceptions, many devised by Baden-Powell. Fake minefields were planted and his soldiers pretended to avoid non-existent  barbed wire  while moving between trenches. Baden-Powell did much reconnaissance work himself. In one instance, noting that the Boers had not removed the rail line, Baden-Powell loaded an armoured locomotive with sharpshooters and sent it down the rails into the heart of the Boer encampment and back again in a successful attack.

Contrary views of Baden-Powell's actions during the siege argue that his success in resisting the Boers was secured at the expense of the lives of the native African soldiers and civilians, including members of his own African garrison. Pakenham stated that Baden-Powell drastically reduced the rations to the native garrison. However, in 2001, after subsequent research, Pakenham decidedly retreated from this position.
During the siege, the  Mafeking Cadet Corps  of white boys below fighting age stood guard, carried messages, assisted in hospitals, and so on, freeing grown men to fight. Baden-Powell did not form the Cadet Corps himself, and there is no evidence that he took much notice of them during the Siege. But he was sufficiently impressed with both their courage and the equanimity with which they performed their tasks to use them later as an object lesson in the first chapter of Scouting for Boys.

The siege was lifted on 16 May 1900. Baden-Powell was promoted to  major-general , and became a national hero. However, the British military commanders were more critical of his performance and even less impressed with his subsequent choices to again allow himself to be besieged. Ultimately, his failure to properly understand the situation and abandonment of the soldiers, mostly   Australians  and   Rhodesians , at the  Battle of Elands River  led to his being removed from action.
Briefly back in the United Kingdom in October 1901, Baden-Powell was invited to visit   King Edward VII  at  Balmoral , the monarch's Scottish retreat, and personally invested as  Companion of the Order of the Bath  (CB). The Order of the Bath is the fourth-most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry.

Baden-Powell was further sidelined from active command and given the role of organising the  South African Constabulary , a colonial police force. He returned to England to take up a post as Inspector-General of Cavalry in 1903. While holding this position, Baden-Powell was instrumental in reforming reconnaissance training in British cavalry, giving the force an important advantage in scouting ability over continental rivals. Also during this appointment, Baden-Powell selected the location of  Catterick Garrison  to replace  Richmond Castle which was then the Headquarters of the   Northumbrian Division . In 1907 he was promoted to Lieutenant-General but was left on the inactive list. Eventually he was appointed to the lowly command of the   Northumbrian Division  of the newly formed  Territorial Force .
In 1910, after being rebuked for a series of what were regarded as publicity gaffes, one suggesting invasion by Germany, Baden-Powell retired from the Army. Baden-Powell later claimed he was advised by  King Edward VII  that he could better serve his country by promoting Scouting.

On the outbreak of World War I in 1914, at the age of fifty-seven, Baden-Powell put himself at the disposal of the War Office. No command was given to him. It has been claimed  that   Lord Kitchener  said: "he could lay his hand on several competent divisional generals but could find no one who could carry on the invaluable work of the Boy Scouts ". It was rumoured that Baden-Powell was engaged in spying and Baden-Powell claimed that intelligence officers spread this myth.

Scouting movement

On his return from Africa in 1903, Baden-Powell found that his military training manual, Aids to Scouting, had become a best-seller, and was being used by teachers and youth organisations, including  Charlotte Mason's  House of Education. Following his involvement in the   Boys' Brigade  as a Brigade Vice-President and Officer in charge of its scouting section, with encouragement from his friend,  William Alexander Smith , Baden-Powell decided to re-write Aids to Scouting to suit a youth readership. In August 1907 he   held a camp on Brownsea Island  to test out his ideas. About twenty boys attended: eight from local Boys' Brigade companies, and about twelve   public school  boys, mostly sons of his friends.

Baden-Powell was also influenced by   Ernest Thompson Seton , who founded the  Woodcraft Indians . Seton gave Baden-Powell a copy of his book The Birch Bark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians and they met in 1906. The first book on the Scout Movement, Baden-Powell's  Scouting for Boys  was published in six instalments in 1908, and has sold approximately 150 million copies as the  fourth best-selling book  of the 20th century.

Boys and girls spontaneously formed Scout troops and the Scouting Movement had inadvertently started, first as a national, and soon an international phenomenon.  A rally of Scouts  was held at  Crystal Palace  in London in 1909, at which Baden-Powell met some of the first   Girl Scouts . The Girl Guides were subsequently formed in 1910 under the auspices of Baden-Powell's sister, Agnes Baden-Powell. Baden-Powell's friend  Juliette Gordon Low  was encouraged by him to found the   Girl Scouts of the USA .

In 1920, the   1st World Scout Jamboree  took place in   Olympia  in West Kensington, and Baden-Powell was acclaimed   Chief Scout  of the World. Baden-Powell was created a  Baronet  in 1921 and  Baron Baden-Powell , of Gilwell, in the County of Essex, on 17 September 1929,  Gilwell Park  being the International Scout Leader training centre. After receiving this honour, Baden-Powell mostly styled himself "Baden-Powell of Gilwell".

In 1929, during the  3rd World Scout Jamboree , he received as a present a new 20-horsepower  Rolls-Royce car (chassis number GVO-40, registration OU 2938) and an Eccles  Caravan . This combination well served the Baden-Powells in their further travels around Europe. The caravan was nicknamed Eccles and is now on display at Gilwell Park. The car, nicknamed Jam Roll, was sold after his death by  Olave Baden-Powell  in 1945. Jam Roll and Eccles were reunited at Gilwell for the  21st World Scout Jamboree  in 2007. Recently it has been purchased on behalf of Scouting and is owned by a charity, B-P Jam Roll Ltd. Funds are being raised to repay the loan that was used to purchase the car. Baden-Powell also had a positive impact on improvements in youth education. Under his dedicated command the world Scouting movement grew. By 1922 there were more than a million Scouts in 32 countries; by 1939 the number of Scouts was in excess of 3.3 million.
At the  5th World Scout Jamboree  in 1937, Baden-Powell gave his farewell to Scouting, and retired from public Scouting life. 22 February, the joint birthday of Robert and Olave Baden-Powell, continues to be marked as  Founder's Day by Scouts and   Thinking Day  by Guides to remember and celebrate the work of the Chief Scout and Chief Guide of the World.

In his final letter to the Scouts, Baden-Powell wrote:
I have had a most happy life and I want each one of you to have a happy life too. I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness does not come from being rich, nor merely being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so you can enjoy life when you are a man. Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one. But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. "Be prepared" in this way, to live happy and to die happy – stick to your Scout Promise always – even after you have ceased to be a boy – and God help you to do it.

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