Eleventh World Jamboree

Tragedy struck in 1963 when on July 28 of that year, a Sunday, a United Arab Airlines plane plunged into the sea off the coast of Bombay in India, killing all the 24 members of the Philippine contingent en route to the 11th world Jamboree in Marathon, Greece. The contingent, consisting of 20 boys and four leaders, left Manila the day before on a KLM flight to Hong Kong where they boarded the ill-starred plane that was supposed to bring them all the way to Greece via Bangkok and Bombay. The crash took place on the Bangkok to Bombay leg of the Journey.

The tragedy grieved the whole Philippine and the entire Scouting World. At the Plains of Marathon in Greece, the Jamboree opened as scheduled on Thursday, August 1 but with all the flags flown at half-mast in the traditional gesture of mourning. President Macapagal sent condolences saying, “The Boy Scouts died in the line of duty. Their noble death shall inspire the youth and the nation”. Indian President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Indonesian President Sukarno, Pope Paul VI has sent their condolences.

Boy Scouts of Philippines officials who left ahead of the main delegation and three boys who volunteered to go to Greece after being left behind because they could not raise their plane fare on time represented the Philippines at the Jamboree.

After the tragedy, the Ala-Ala Mausoleum img_world11jamcirclewas built in North Cemetery to perpetuate the memory of the Scouts and Scouters. In Quezon City, There are also streets named Boy Scouts Avenue, Marathon Street and 11th Jamboree Street to remember that incident. There are parks, chapels and monuments erected in honor of some of the boys in the provinces where they came from. Parents and relatives of the departed continued to meet and exchange stories of their young boys that eventually lead to the formation of the 11th World Jamboree Foundation.

The 24 Scouts and Scouters are not just streets, monuments or markers but are still symbols of Scouts who live by their promise to fulfill their duties. They remain as shining example of young people embedded with the values and virtues worth emulating by all. Let us relive their fond memories.

BSP