First Boy Scouts of the World

Who was the first Boy Scouts in this World ? I would say “The first Boy Scouts” definitely are the Makeking Cadet Corps.

When the defence war of Mafeking broke out, Boer forces started to surround Mafeking and an attack on the town was imminent, Baden-Powell mustered all the available man-power to take up the stand. The town has 300 males of all shapes and varying degree of fitness, most of them are “white collar” which have never seen a rifle before, the area needed to be defended was approximately 5 miles around and contained 600 white women and 700 Natives.

Baden-Powell’s chief-of-staff, Major Lord Edward Cecil, quickly formed a Cadet Corps of 20 boys. mafekingcadetstheir leader was the 13 year old Warner Goodyear, who became their Sergeant-Major. The boys took their new job with pride, instead of running around collecting used or parts of shells, they now actually participated in the war, and were soon a recognised part of the town defences. The corps was quickly grown from 18 to 38 boys (some said it was 40).

The cadets delivered messages by donkey, later on when not much donkey was left in town, They used bicycles instead. Quick often they had to delever messages by bicycle under heavy fire, in some case shells were whistling around.

In one famous story, Baden-Powell warned one of the boys that he could get hit, and he replied “I pedal so quick, sir, that they’ll never catch me.” When the town ran out of stamps during the siege, they needed a special design to print new stamps. Since all the letters were delivered by the cadets, the new design showed the leader of the Cadet Corps, Warner Goodyear, warner_2 seated on his bicycle. warnergoodyear_1After the siege, the special Mafeking stamps became collectors’ items all over the British Empire. Warner Goodyear, died in 1912 in a sporting accident at the early age of 26.

Instead of “doing a good turn daily”, the Mafeking Cadel Corps were “doing a good turn in every moment”, they were definitely the First Boy Scouts in this World.

 

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