Tuesday, 2 May 2017

First Boy Scouts Meeting at Bedford

X464/62, Postcard, c.1916 [Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service]
Wednesday 2nd May 1917: The first public meeting of the Bedford Boy Scouts took place at the Town Hall, under the chairmanship of the Mayor. There was a large attendance in the Hall, including a gathering of Bedford headmasters. The meeting was called in order to revive interest in the movement, in the hope that it would result in a considerable increase in Boy Scouts. The proceedings commenced with the singing of the National Anthem and the saluting of the flag. The Mayor then spoke about the benefits of the Scout movement in training the young to be good citizens and in instilling discipline. The Scouts had done much good work so far, helping to promote war entertainment and also helping to collect thousands of eggs for the benefit of wounded soldiers. An inspection of the Scouts by Lord St John then took place. He addressed the boys, stating that it was not his duty to praise the Scouts but to find fault. However, the Scouts had so improved that it was difficult for him to find any fault. The Scouts still had much to do and it was their chief duty to do good for someone else every day, even if it was just by smiling.

It was reported that there were roughly 20,000 Boy Scouts in the Army and the training they had previously received stood them in good stead. Parents were encouraged to support their sons by turning up to church parades. During the evening, songs, recitations, ambulance displays and an exhibition on the parallel bars were given by members of the different troops.

Source: Bedfordshire Standard 4/5/1917

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