Uniforms at World Boy Scout Jamborees

Figure 1.--Scouts were selected from each country and one English Cub were selected for this photograph from the First World Jamboree. The resukting image is very telling. Racism was still very pronounced in the world, and not only in Europe and Niorth America. Very few others images taken in the 1920s woukld have shown this level of racial harmony.

I am just beginning to collect information on the World Scout Jamborees. I believe the first one was held in England during 192?. There probably would have been one held earlier had it not been for World War I (1914-18). The first World Jamborees were held in Europe, but they have since been held all around the world. Shortly after the start of Scouting in 1908, its rapid and unexpected spread in countries outside the British Isles caused Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the Founder of Scouting, to realise that a get- together of Scouts of all nationalities must sooner or later be organised. But any ideas he may have had were stifled by the outbreak of Wprld War I in 1914. Scouting officials had hoped in 1917 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the first Scout Camp on Brownsea Island. As the War was ranging throuhhout Europe in 1917, Scout officials decided that an 'Imperial and International Jamboree' be held as soon as circumstances would permit. When an Armistace was reached in November 1918, Scout officials decided to hold the Jamboree 2 years later in 1920. Incidentally, a similar position was reached when it was decided to hold the 6th World Jamboree in 1947, 2 years after the World War II.

1st World Jamboree: England, 1920

The first Jamboree was quite an occasion, nothing like it had ever before been attempted, and it took a lot of courage by B.-P. and his team of organisers to make it the success it undoubtedly turned out to be. The 1920 Jamboree would bear little resemblance to the World Jamborees of today. The most outstanding difference would be that the first Jamboree was held indoors at Olympia in the heart of London. The Scouts taking part, 8,000 from 34 different countries, gave displays daily in the great Olympia arena which had to have a foot of earth and turf laid especially to enable the Scouts to pitch tents! A camp site in the middle of the metropolis is hard, if not impossible, to find, and a camp of 5,000 Scouts was, therefore, set up in the Old Deer Park at Richmond, whilst the rest slept at Olympia ready for the following days' performances. In the great side halls at Olympia, various exhibits were on show, even a tent was something of a novelty in those days, and demonstrations of handicrafts by Scouts and Wolf Cubs went on non-stop. So it was that the first World Scout Jamboree was more of a display and exhibition than a get-together camp. What had begun as a Scout celebration turned into a great demonstration of international goodwill. Towards the close of the Jamboree, a tribute was paid which was not a scheduled part of the programme. In the great arena packed with Scouts and in the presence of many thousands of spectators, B.-P. was spontaneously acclaimed by the boys as 'Chief Scout of the World'--a title which no government or King could confer and one which lapsed on his death.

The 2nd World Jamboree: Denmark, 1924

The 2nd World Jamboree was held near Copenhagen, Denmark in 1924. The Jamboree camp lasted for seven days and was followed by seven days of remarkable hospitality in the homes of the Danes. Five thousand Scouts from 34 nations assembled for a week under canvas, the first time such a 'huge' camp had been planned. A special Rally was held which was honoured by the presence of Their Majesties, The King and Queen of Denmark. The Jamboree proved a great success and once again Scouting had shown the world something new.

3rd World Jamboree: England, 1929

The 3rd World Jamboree was held at Arrowe Park, Birkenhead, England in 1929 and this celebrated the 21st Anniversary of the publication of 'Scouting for Boys'. Thirty-five countries were represented by 30,000 Scouts, plus another 10,000 British Scouts who took the opportunity to camp in the vicinity. It was certainly the greatest assembly of international youth the world had ever seen up to that time. Two things stand out from the Arrowe Park Jamboree - the numbers and the mud! It rained so much that the clay soil could not absorb the water and the site soon resembled a sea of mud!

4th World Jamboree: Hungary, 1933

The 4th World Jamboree was hel at Gödöllö, Hungary in 1933. It was attended by over 26,000 Scouts representing 46 countries. Its setting was the great park at Gödöllö. It was notable for the excellent weather which was enjoyed and the assembled Scouts were thankful for the shade which the trees of the Royal Forest afforded. Scouts who attended this gathering remember particularly the sight of B.-P. making his rounds on the camp site on a magnificent brown charger. It was also most noticeable that the whole Hungarian nation had cooperated to make the event a success. The Fourth World Jamboree was held in Budapest Hungary. Ominous trends were notable. Italy had banned Scouting in the 1920s. Russia in 192?. The Soviets established their own competing youth movement, the Pioners. Some Russians attended as immigrants. The new German NAZI Government absorbed the Scouts in the Hitler Youth movement. The numbers attending reflect both the strenth of the natioanl Scout associations and location near to Hungary. Total participation was only 25,792.

5th World Jamboree: Holland, 1937

This Jamboree is remembered more particularly as the last Jamboree B.-P. was able to attend before his death in January 1941. Queen Wilhelmina opened the Jamboree and before her were assembled 27,000 Scouts from 51 countries - including 8,000 from the British Commonwealth. B.-P. was 81 when he attended the Jamboree and in his message to Scouts of the world, he said: "I ... am nearing the end of my life. Most of you are at the beginning , and I want your lives to be happy and successful. You can make them so by doing your best to carry out the Scout Law all your days, whatever your station and wherever you are ... Now goodbye. God bless you all! God bless you!" It was as though he knew he would not be able to attend another Jamboree and was giving his blessing to the Scouts of all nations. Wehave not yet developed details on this important Jamboree, but there is a page on Flemish Scouts at the Jamboree.

6th World Jamboree: France, 1947

What B.-P. could not have known was that in such a short time the world would again be plunged into conflict. The Scouts throughout the world thought of their Jamborees which should have been held in 1941 and 1945. It is significant that with the end of war in 1945, plans were immediately laid for a Jamboree to be held in 1947, and France, so recently liberated, invited the Scouts of all nations. Despite the overwhelming difficulties which confronted the organisers, the 'Jamboree of Peace' was a tremendous success. 25,000 Scouts from more than 70 countries gathered on the flat, rather open site on the banks of the River Seine providing the refreshing fact that not only had the Scout Movement survived the years of war, but that it had emerged stronger and more virile than ever. Little was it realised at that time that within a few months our brother Scouts of Czechoslovakia and Hungary would be suppressed.

7th World Jamboree: Austria, 1951

This Jamboree, held four years later, took place in a country still suffering from long years of hardship. For this reason, the 1951 Jamboree in Austria was termed the 'Jamboree of Simplicity'. The site was a golf course set amongst the picturesque mountains in the Salzkammergut region, not far from the little town of Bad Ischl. The Jamboree was organised by voluntary Scout Leaders in their spare time and the Austrian Scouts worked on the site for two years to save costs and ensure the amenities of a Jamboree Camp Site. Numbers were limited to 15,000 and none will forget the first night when, as a welcoming gesture, the Austrian Scouts lit beacons on the tops of each of the mountains surrounding the site. All in all it was a tremendous achievement by a country still under military occupation.

8th World Jamboree: Canada, 1955

This was the first World Jamboree to be held in the western hemisphere. The setting was a beautiful rolling parkland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada. 11,000 Scouts attended this great gathering which was notable for the number of contingents which crossed the Atlantic by air to attend--1,000 from Great Britain alone. The most outstanding feature, however, was the tremendous hospitality accorded to the Scouts by the people of Canada. Not only did they raise money to help Scouts from the 'soft currency' areas, but they welcomed and lavished friendship and understanding wherever they met.

9th World Jamboree: England, 1957

To celebrate the Jubilee of the Movement and the Centenary of its Founder, B.-P. , a combined Jamboree, Scouters Indaba and Rover Moot was held in Sutton Park - a beautiful natural park of 2,400 acres. 33,000 Scouts from 90 countries camped for 12 days in weather which ranged from a heat wave to a storm which flooded parts of the huge camp site. Many thousands more took the opportunity to camp in the surrounding countryside. Opened by HRH Prince Philip, the Prime Minister, Mr Harold MacMillan, and closed by the World Chief Guide, Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, it was the first Jamboree held in England to have its own commemorative postage stamps. One special aspect was the overwhelming hospitality offered to the participants by the people of the UK, both before and after the event.

10th World Jamboree: The Philippines, 1959

The 10th World Jamboree that took place in 1959 at Makiling Park.

11th World Jamboree: Greece, 1963

In the Jamboree, that was organized in Greece for the first time in the middle of August of 1963 at Skinias near Marathon, Attica, 14,000 Boy Scouts from 85 countries of the world participated. On the occasion of this grand event, more than 30,000 visitors from all over the world and more than 300 foreign journalists and reporters visited our country.

12th World Jamboree: United States, 1967

The 12thbWorld Jamboree was held in the United States during 1967. It was the first World Jamboree to be held in Asia, it was attended by 12,000 Scouts from 69 countries.

13th World Jamboree: Japan, 1971

Set on the foothills of Mount Fuji, the 13th World Jamboree will be considered by many to have been aptly numbered, for it attracted an unwelcome visitor in the shape of Typhoon Olive! The 20,000 Scouts, including 437 Scouts and Venture Scouts and 49 adult Leaders from the UK, found themselves amidst a sea of black mud and buffeted by high winds for close to three days! Conditioned previously by camping in 'typical British Summer weather', many of the UK Scouts were able to last out the trying conditions and help their less fortunate neighbours in the waterlogged 800 acre camp site. Despite the typhoon, the Scouts managed to carry out many of the planned activities, includng a World Scout Forum, expeditions up Mount Fuji and an International evening with displays of national skills, dancing and song.

14th World Jamboree: Norway, 1975

We do not have any information on the 14 World Jamboree in Norway yet. We do have an image of the Zimbabwe/Rhodesia contingent at the Jamboree. The boys are all smartly outfitted in the tan uniform with a blue jacket we have not seen earlier.

15th World Jamboree: Canada, 1983

'The Spirit Lives On' was the inspiring theme of the 15th World Jamboree held in Kananaskis Country, an area of provincial park, 4,000 feet up in the foothills of the Rockie Mountains, 80 miles west of Calgary, Alberta. 1,345 UK Scouts were amongst a total attendance of over 15,000 Scouts from nearly 100 countries. "The Spirit Lives On" was certainly in evidence in the great amount of international goodwill pervading the Jamboree and in the warm hospitality of the Canadians. The backwoods location was given added realism through the intrusion into camp of bears, moose and other wildlife from time to time!

16th World Jamboree: Australia, 1987

Held at Cataract Park, a specially constructed Scout tent town situated on a 160 hectare site near Sydney, this was the first World Scout Jamboree to be held in the Southern Hemisphere. Under the theme 'Bringing the World Together', 16,000 Scouts from over 80 countries attended the Jamboree with around 13,000 more in attendance on 'visiting day'. The 850 strong UK contingent included 18 Ranger Guides (the first time members of the Guide Association have been allowed to take part in a World Scout Jamboree), Mrs Betty Clay, daughter of the Founder, and 11 members of the Baden-Powell family, 9 of whom are direct descendants of B.-P. The opening ceremony of the Jamboree, which took place at midnight on December 31, 1987, was the first official event of Australia's Bicentennial Celebrations.

17th World Jamboree: South Korea, 1991

'Many Lands, One World' was the theme which brought together 16,000 young people from more than 130 countries in the beautiful Mount Sorak National Park. The location was a few kilometres from the disputed border with North Korea and some 200km, or six hours by road, from Seoul, the capital city. As part of its contribution, the UK transported a replica Brownsea Island camp to re-enact B.- P.'s 1907 experiment in Scouting. It became the most photographed and filmed event at the Jamboree. The Jamboree started with bad weather with rain and flooding providing major problems. The opening and closing ceremonies were masterpieces of showmanship, designed to rival those of the Olympic Games.

18th World Jamboree: The Netherlands, 1995

The 18th World Jamboree was held at Dronten, The Netherlands, August 1-11, 1995). It celebrated the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations.

Figure 2.--Many Scouts at modern jamborees like these Scouts at the 19th World Jamboree in Chile give little attention to uniforms.

19th World Jamboree: Chile, 1999

The 19th World Scout Jamboree was held in Chile from the December, 27 to January 6, 1999. Saturday 26th December 1998: It turns out that most of the Chileans after working none stop for days peparing for the Jamboree have gone home to their families for Christmas. It is Christmas day and 37º C. During the day more people start to arrive. Arriving Scoutd register and find out where we are camping. Sunday 27th December 1998: The participants start to arrive. Monday 28th December 1998: The day of the Opening Ceremony. 40,000 people gather together in the main arena to open the Jamboree. All these people with one thing in common. The atmosphere is just electric. Tuesday 29th December 1998 through to Tuesday 5th January 1999: The Tikal village holding about one third of the Jamboree participants. Scouts make lots of friends and experence the Jamboree. Thursday 31st January 1999: New years eve. The various national contingents celebrated their home New Year as the appropraite hour arrived. The many parties were fantastic as the Scouts had a good time singing and dancing together.

20th World Jamboree:, Thailand, 2003

Thailand was chosen for the 20th World Scout Jamboree in 2003. Scouting in Thailand is unique in that it is part of the school curriculum and receives strong support from the Thai government and people. Even the Royal Family are keen members. King Bhumibol (Rama IX) is the Chief Scout. The Jamboree will be a great gathering event, providing an opportunity for 30,000 Scouts from all over the world to spend 12 days camping together and attend interesting actvities which will be designed for them in self-development and social responsibility within the framework of the educational Scout method. The Jamboree will foster the progress and unity of World Scout Movement to the next millenium and will also strongly link it to the Asian cultures which open up to modernity, both in terms of activities and method used in cheerful and friendly atmosphere. The Jamboree will be held at Sattahip, Chonburi Province, 150 km south of Bangkok, Thailand on December 28 2002 to - January 8, 2003.

21st World Jamboree: England, 2007

The United Kingdom hosted the 21st World Scout Jamboree in 2007. The theme was “One World One Promise”. The Jamboree brought together some 28,000 young people – girls and boys, aged between 14 and 17 from more than 150 countries. About 12,000 adult leaders also participated. It was held July 27 - August 8, 2007 at Hylands Park, Chelmsford, 50 kilometres north-east of London. The 21st World Scout Jamboree was part of the world centenary celebrations of Scouting, honoring Baden Powell's founding of the Scouting movement. A British Scouter has sent us a photograph of some Russian and American Scouts at the Jamboree.


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Created: January 22, 2000
Last updated: 1:35 PM 7/18/2008