The Great War Part 202, June 29th 1918

The Organisation o f Youth in the War 341 MARCH-PAST OF THE YOUNGEST MEMBERS OF THE SENIOR SERVICE. Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss K.C.B. First Sea I-ord inspecting units of the Boys Naval Brigade on the Horse Guards Parade in May 1918. Inset above :Sir Rosslyn Wemyss speaking to one of the youngest of the boys of the brigade which in the first three years of the war had sent over a thousand boys both to the Navy and Army and five hundred into the Mercantile Marine. U U Similar duties were carried out in a minor degree, according to their distance from the theatre of war by Scouts in the Overseas Dominions and in foreign countries. Scouts were used as orderlies and buglers by the police in London and other centres for air-raid duties. For their services in connection with recruiting during the early days of the war the Scouts received the apprecia­tion and thanks of both Lord Kitchener and his successor, Lord Derby as Secretary of State for War. In common with cadet and other boys organisations, the Scouts Association arranged for the training of elder boys in military duties in anticipation of their being called up for service. But they went farther in that they carried out the instruction at no less than nine schools of training in the preliminary knowledge necessary for the air service. In country districts the Scouts did much useful work in the collection of eggs for the use of hospitals and in food production by helping the farmers and others. They also made themselves useful in the distribution of War Bonds and other Government circulars. B y their own efforts they raised a handsome sum of money chiefly by working for it since no begging or touting was allowed. They were thus enabled to send seven motor-ambulances to the front and to setup and equip and man six recreation huts for soldiers in France and Italy. The variety and value of their war services is fairly indicated by the testimonials received from the heads of the many different departments which they served. A popular branch of the Boy Scouts organisation was that of the Sea Scouts boys specially trained in boat handling and the Sea Scouts elements of seamanship. A t the moment mobilised when war was declared a large force of these was assembling with a view to a great camp in the Isle of Wight for regattas and practical training. They were thus mobilised when the call came for their services and within a few hours they were on their way to uptake duty at all the coastguard stations from John o Groats to Land's End. Their normal organisation in “patrols ”of six or eight boys under a senior or ”“patrol leader lent itself specially to this distribution a patrol being assent a self-contained unit to each station. The Royal Naval Coastguardsmen were thus immediately relieved and enabled to join the Fleet for service afloat. To the boys were assigned the duties of watch-keeping Thus telegraph and telephone wires railway bridges and culverts waterworks marine cables etc. had to be watched and guarded and within a few hours this duty was being effectively done by troops or patrols of Scouts in every part of the country. They faithfully carried out their charge on demand of the chief constables day and night until military forces were available. It is a remarkable fact that as a result no interruption of communications occurred at this eventful time. Mr. Lloyd George wrote:" I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that the young boyhood of our country represented by the Boy Scouts Association, shares the laurels for having been pre- Official praise pared with the old and trusted and tried and thanks British Army and Navy. For both proved their title to make the claim when the Great War broke upon us alike thief in the night.” A t the Admiralty War Office and other Government departments Boy Scouts whose training had specially fitted them for it were taken on in numbers as orderlies and messengers. The extension of military establishments in many districts caused a further demand for their services, which was effectively supplied b they Scouts. In many cities the Scouts headquarters were transformed into stations for supplying messengers to the police hospital, and municipal authorities.
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