Baden-Powell of Gilwell

Chief Scout of the world.

He is known to this day around the world as B-P. During his 83 years, he devoted himself to the service of his country and his fellow men. This soldier, famous for fighting for his country, would become a worker for peace through the brotherhood of the world scouting movement. Robert Stephenson Smith Baden-Powell was born in London, England, February 22, 1857. He was the eight child of the family of ten children of the Reverend Baden Powell, a professor at Oxford University. He would be only three years old when his father died. The family was very poor after the death of his father and he received his education when he gained a scholarship to Charterhouse School in London. As a youth he was eager to learn new skills. He played the piano and the fiddle, he acted, he practiced manual endeavors such as bricklaying, and he began his interest in the arts of woodcraft. He joined the army and was commissioned straight into the 13th Hussars. He distinguished himself with service in Africa, India, and Malta. He worked his way up the line of command and by age 43 he became a Major-General. He wrote a book Aids to Scouting to help train youth for responsible jobs for the army. By the time he returned to England in 1903 he found that his book was being used by youth leaders and teachers all over the country. In 1907 he held an experimental youth camp at Brownsea Island in Dorset. Scouting was established with the enjoyment or these first camping youth! In 1908 Baden Powel had to set up an office to deal with the large number of inquiries which we pouring in concerning the movement. Some enquiries were even being received from girls! He retired from the Army in 1910 on the advice of King Edward VII who suggested that B-P would provide a more valuable service to his country by working with the scouting movement than he could ever hope to do as a soldier. In 1912 he married Olave Soames. She would be the mother of their three children and would become involved with the Girl Guide/Scout movement becoming the World Chief Guide. It was in 1920 that B-P had become the World Chief Scout. And at the 3rd World Jamboree, in 1929, it was announced that he had become Lord. He took the honor of Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell, Gilwell Park being the International Training Center. In 1938, suffering from ill-health, he returned to Africa, to live in Nyeri, Keyna. He died, January 8, 1941. He is buried in a simple grave within sight of Mount Kenya. His headstone reads : "Robert Baden Powell, Chief Scout of the World". Also inscribed on the stone is a circle with a single dot in the centre. This is the trail symbol for the end of the trail, I have gone home. View his grave at the following site.

Posted on Wednesday March 29, 2000.