Biography of Lord Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell
by
Andrew Cousineau

Mrs. Esterline, 4th Grade
28 April 2007

Abstract: Lord R.S.S. Baden-Powell was the founder of scouting. I will give you a brief account of his life. Although I may leave out some details, being as my report is 5 pages long. This is his life story.

Early Life
Lord Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell was born on February 22, 1857. He was the 12th child of 14. He enjoyed watching his older siblings do many things. Mr. Baden-Powell learned many things from watching his older siblings and possibly from his younger siblings. He was lucky in my opinion that he lived near a good school, some woods, and that he was able to go there. I think he took and used of all the luck he got.

Mr. Baden-Powell had standard schooling but also trained himself. Mr. Baden- Powell attended the local school, called a charterhouse. He also took advantage of the near-by woods which were strictly forbidden by his school masters. Most of the time in the woods he would pretend to be a trapper. When he caught a hare or other type of small game such as a chipmunk, which was not very often, he would skin it. He learned he did not like to skin animals, especially with a small fire, so as to avoid Indians in the form of school masters. Mr. Baden-Powell learned many things and in many ways. For example, he later thanked himself for the coordination he gained from learning to dance while skillfully jumping from rock to rock with Zulu warriors close behind.

Mr. Baden-Powell had many fun experiences during his childhood. He enjoyed things such as boating, setting animal traps, acting, and many other things. The young Mr. Baden-Powell usually hoped to find a ship and win a fortune in salvage. Later in his life Mr. Baden -Powell still enjoyed hunting. He did many sports of which pig-sticking was the most interesting to me. In this sport three or four riders form a "party." Beaters drive the pig out of his lair in the jungle, and the party then races after him. For the first three-quarters of a mile he can generally outpace them. The honors then go to the man who can first come up with and spear him. But, as soon as the boar finds himself in danger of being overtaken he either "jinks," darts off sideways, or else turns around and charges his pursuer. A spear-thrust, unless delivered in a vital spot, has little effect beyond making him more angry. Then follows a good deal of charging and snorting on both sides and sometimes the boar wins.

Mr. Baden-Powell was raised by his mother. His father died when he was 3 years old. Luckily for Mr. Baden-Powell, his father's character was attacked about 9 years after his father's death. This taught him about his father and what his father did. He also met some of his father's friends who taught him loads of information in a wide variety of subjects. He wanted to be a train driver, this was the ambition of 99% of the young boys at the time. One of the reasons Mr. Baden-Powell wanted to be a train driver was his god father was an engineer on a train.

In conclusion to this section all evidence says that Mr. Baden-Powell led an interesting life even in youth. I hope that you like what I have written so far. Keep reading though, the best is yet to come. Mr. Baden-Powell was good at many things by the time he completed school, but nothing at all if you compare it to what he knew when he died in 1941.

Military Career
Mr. Baden-Powell's military career was filled with many exciting adventures. From the start in 1876 he was an officer. He entered in to the army as the result of a joke. He was on a boat with friends when someone showed him a newspaper article which talked about a person with the same name who had passed the exam for the Army. When Mr. Baden-Powell saw his name in black and white he thought that it would be fun to try to enter the Army. He used the newspaper article as proof that he had passed the exam. During the first part of his career in the Army he wrote a book on Reconnaissance which became the basis of the exam for promotion. When it was his time to take that examination the examiner asked him if it was his book. When he admitted that it was he was allowed to pass without completing that portion of the exam.

He started his career in the military as a 2nd Lieutenant in the13th Hussars. He was stationed in India. Being in the13th Hussars, in my opinion, was a good start as he would serve as either a scout or the cavalry for the duration of his military career. He quickly advanced through the ranks, and almost every rank he got brevet promotion before promotion from that rank.

Mr. Baden-Powell's military career made him famous. I think that the Siege of Mafeking made him the most famous. There he held the city against numerous Boer assaults all though very heavily out numbered (about 5 to1). He had roughly 1,250 untrained volunteers and an armored train. He was up against about 6,000 Boer soldiers. Mr. Baden-Powell's men had 2 train loads of dynamite which he feared would be hit by a bullet or artillery shell that missed its target and kept on going. He sent the trains down the track and the Boer rifles opened fire towards the car thinking it was the armored train. A shot hit the dynamite, KABLOOMY! The resulting explosion killed many Boer soldiers. This was a very successful trick on Mr. Baden-Powell's behalf. The two biggest dangers to him were darkness and a 94 pound siege gun that the Boers brought to the front. Another trick of Mr. Baden-Powell's were his "mines." All they were was a harmless box of sand, but the trick was still successful as the Boers were more cautious about advancing. Mr. Baden-Powell also used grenades, one of his men who had a fishing pole would cast grenades with it. This had a longer range and was much more accurate than throwing the grenades by hand. Mr. Baden-Powell's men had about 800-900 men killed,wounded or missing in action compared to the thousands that the Boers lost.

Mr. Baden-Powell was made a hero in Britain after the relief of Mafeking. Evan those who could not keep track of all of the war celebrated that defense. It has been said that even Armistice Day for the end of WW1 or VE and V days signaling the end of WW2 had less of a celebration than that of the relief of Mafeking, but I doubt that very strongly. Mr. Baden-Powell was promoted to Major General after the end of the siege. So, now you can see that successfully holding the city during the Siege of Mafeking made Mr. Baden-Powell famous throughout the entire British Empire.

Mr. Baden-Powell was made Inspector-General of the cavalry in 1907. His job was to make sure that all the cavalry was in order. I think he did a fine job because he did surprise inspections unlike his predecessors. Also, he had been in the cavalry and knew what should be expected of them. This was the last military job that he did. He retired from the military in 1910 as a lieutenant general. Although in 1914, the start of WW1 he again put himself at the disposal of the British Army's war department. Mr. Baden-Powell was a great general and hero.

Birth of Scouts
Mr. Baden-Powell married about the same time he started Scouts. He founded Scouts in 1907. He felt that the energy of what he called the "lost boys" was put to waste until the scout movement. Scouts tries to get boys to use their energy in good ways. The idea for scouts came to Mr. Baden-Powell while he was in the Army. The cadets of Mafeking were invaluable because they freed the men to fight in the trenches by doing the men's chores. One member of these cadets rose to the rank of sergent major.

Mr. Baden-Powell had many reasons to create Scouts. First he saw "lost boys." He noticed that these "lost boys" had loads of energy. That energy got them into trouble unless it was put to good work. He wanted to guide that energy, but still let the boys have some fun. Scouts was his answer to guiding that energy.

Mr. Baden-Powell knew that if you called your program 'How To Direct Boys Energy' no one would join. Calling it Boy Scouts was a different story. A scout sounded heroic. As Mr. Baden-Powell stated, the whole movement was planned on the idea of being an learning game. It would be a recreation in which the boys would be encouraged strongly to educate themselves, instead of relying on others. He felt that had they called it what it was, a 'Society for the Propagation of Moral Attributes,' the young boys would not exactly have rushed to sign up for it. But calling it Scouting and giving them the chance of becoming a Scout, was another thing. The boy's normal 'gang' instinct would be met by making him a member of a 'troop' and a 'patrol.' Giving the boy a simple uniform to wear, with badges to be won and worn on it for proficiency in Scouting skills and you would catch the boy's interest. Under the term 'Scout' one could hold up for a young man's hero worship such individuals as backwoodsmen, explorers, hunters, seamen, airmen, pioneers and frontiersmen.

The first Scout camp was at Brownsea Island. The first group or 'troop' of boys was divided up into 'patrols' of five, the senior boy in each being the 'Patrol Leader'. This organization was the secret of his success. Each Patrol Leader was given full responsibility for the behavior of his patrol at all times, in camp and in the field. The patrol stayed together during any unit of work or play, and each patrol was camped in a separate spot. The boys were put 'on their honor' to carry out orders. Responsibility and competitive rivalry were established, and a good standard of development was ensured throughout the troop every day. The troop was trained gradually in the subjects of Scouting. Every night one patrol went on duty as 'night picket,' or got his rations of flour, meat, vegetables, tea, etc., and went out to some assigned spot to stand guard for the night. Each boy had his overcoat and blankets, cooking-pot and matches. On arrival at the spot, fires were lit and suppers cooked, after which sentries were posted and the watch was formed. The picket was scouted by Patrol Leaders of other patrols and Mr. Baden-Powell, at some time before eleven p.m., after which the sentries were withdrawn and picket settled down for the night.

This was a typical game at the camp on Brownsea Island. In the afternoon they would have games, such as 'deer-stalking', where one boy went off as the 'deer,' with half a dozen tennis balls in his bag. Twenty minutes later four 'hunters' went off after him, following his tracks, each armed with a tennis ball. The deer, after going a mile or two, would hide and try to ambush his hunters. Each hunter struck with a tennis ball was counted gored to death. If, the deer was hit by three of the hunter's balls he was killed.

I hope you can see why Scouts was founded. Mr. Baden-Powell had to go through a lot to start Scouts. Scouting had many challenges. In one case someone said that the Scouting movement was designed to teach the boys to be soldiers, and to prove it they said that the symbol of the movement was a spear-head, the emblem of battle and bloodshed. Mr. Baden-Powell was asked what he had to say about that. He responded that the crest was the fleur-de-lys, or a lily, the emblem of peace and purity. But, it wasn't for that reason that Scouts took it. In the Middle Ages Charles, King of Naples, had the fleur-de-lys as his crest. It was during his reign that Flavio Gioja, the navigator, made the mariners' compass into a practical and reliable instrument. The compass card had the initial letters of North, South, East and West upon it. In Italian the North was "Tramontana." So he put a capital T to mark the North point. But in compliment to the King he made a combination of the letter T with the King's fleur-de-lys crest. From that time the North point has been universally shown on maps, charts, and compass cards by that sign. The actual meaning that Mr. Baden-Powell wanted boys to gain from the fleur-de-lys badge was that it points in the right direction (and upwards) turning neither to the right nor left, since these lead backward again. The stars on the two side arms stand for the two eyes of the Wolf Cub having been opened before he became a Scout, when he gained his First-Class Badge of two Stars. The three points of the fleur-de-lys remind the Scout of the three points of the Scout's Promise -- duty to G-d and king, helpfulness to other people, and obeying the Scout Law.

Growth of Scouts
Mr. Baden-Powell died in 1941. Just think about how much Scouts has grown since 1907. Scouting was world-wide when Mr. Baden-Powell passed away. There were at least 50 thousand to 60 thousand scouts, 3 branches, and 2,000 scout leaders. That is a long way from the 21 scouts in 1907, when Scouts was founded. Mr. Baden-Powell worked hard from 1907 to 1941 to secure scouting a permanent place in the world. He defended Scouts from bad reports by others. He also tried to get more boys to join Scouts. And, he used his fame to encourage boys to join Scouts. His efforts won him some of the highest Scouting awards for his work including: the Silver Wolf (British Scout Association), the Silver Buffalo (Boy Scouts of America), and the Honor Wolf, and Bronze Wolf (World Organization of the Scout Movement). These were all awarded to him for his service to scouting.

Mr. Baden-Powell sacrificed much of his time for Scouts and contributed to the growth of scouting. I personally think that no award can equal the amount of work and time that Mr. Baden-Powell sacrificed to make Scouts what it is today. In fact, if he had not kept working with the Scouts and scouting organizations, there would probably not be a Scout today. Mr. Baden-Powell said that scouting was the best thing he ever did. I fully agree and assume that my opinion is shared by millions of people around the world. I think that Baden-Powell is one of, if not the best, person Britain has ever had. Although Scouts has come a long way, I hope that it continues to advance. Scouts played a major part in Mr. Baden-Powell's life. Even though he did not live to see the valuable service to the world Scouts has done now Mr. Baden-Powell lived a very full life.

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