ACROSS the county, 811 youth members of the Scouting association, from six-year-old Beavers to 18-year-old Explorers and 206 uniformed adult leaders, are embarking on events to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.
A commemorative badge competition is open to all uniformed members of Monmouthshire district scouts, with the inclusion of the words “Monmouthshire Remembers 1918-2018” being the only dictation to an otherwise open space for creativity. All entries will be returned by the end of the month and shall be judged by members of the British Royal Legion, who will manufacture the winning design onto badges, in time for the armistice centenary in November. The winning designer will also have the opportunity to meet members of the Royal Legion to talk about their art work.
A larger scale event, will see every uniformed member of the Monmouthshire district creating by hand, a ceramic poppy, with each representing a Monmouthshire resident who has lost their life in conflict over the past 100 years. Each poppy will be stamped with the name of a fallen serviceman and the date they fell and will act as a symbolic piece used to demonstrate the human cost of war. Following local Remembrance services, there shall be a district scout event held on 18th November at Raglan Castle, where these poppies shall be a poignant focus. They shall remain in circulation at significant venues throughout the year until Remembrance day next year, when it is hoped they will be on public display somewhere in Cardiff.
Monmouthshire district scouts are in the process of securing the support and co-operation of primary and secondary schools across the county, who are being asked to release children during the last week of June and beginning of July. Three hour slots are being co-ordinated, during which time local comprehensive schools will host youth members wishing to create and in some cases fire, their ceramic poppy.
For the younger members of the association the two World Wars are studied in history lessons, yet many have personal family connections with present day service personel, some of whom have lost their lives in conflicts since the Great War.
The Scouting association has a long standing connection to the British services, with their founder Robert Baden-Powell holding the rank of Major-General in the British army. Baden-Powell served in India and Africa between 1876 and 1910 and amongst other decorations for service, was invested as a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB), which is the fourth most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry. At the age of 57, Baden-Powel put himself at the disposal of the war office at the outbreak of WWI in 1914, but he was not given a command. There are thought to be rumours that this was due to Lord Kitchener saying at the time that “he could lay his hand on several competent divisional generals, but could not find anyone who could carry on the invaluable work of the Boy Scouts.”
So as members of the scouting association across Monmouthshire embark on these commemorative events, it is hoped that the sacrifice and human cost of conflict and war is made a present and personal reality, which will remain in the hearts of generations to come.