Wednesday, 19 May 2010


Scouting for Boys was first published in six fortnightly parts between January and March 1908. In no time at all there were Scout troops at Dawlish, Newton Abbot, Ashburton and Exmouth. In those days they were referred to as the Baden-Powell Scouts and as well as Scoutmasters there were Quartermasters. The Dawlish Troop was called ‘the Haldon Troop’ and the Newton Abbot troop was called ‘the Haytor Troop’. All these scouts planned a Field Day together on Dawlish Warren in the first week of June 1909.

The business of the day was to play a Wide Game called ‘Flag Raiding’. This game is described by Baden-Powell in Scouting for Boys. It requires some scouts to hide and defend their flags while other scouts creep about and try to capture them. The rules are quite complex.

The Warren must have been the best place in the world. Where better for little lads to wriggle around than in and out of those glorious sand hills between the river and the sea? In the event the Ashburton troop were not able to turn up but the others must have had fun galore creeping about, finding ‘enemy’ positions, attacking, writing reports, sketching and mapmaking, snatching flags.

The dark thought though is that these same little lads, crawling about in the sunshine, had a Great War looming over them like a giant’s boot.

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