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 Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell

Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell

Paddington, City of Westminster, Greater London, England
Death 8 Jan 1941 (aged 83)
Nyeri, Nyeri, Kenya
Burial Nyeri, Nyeri, Kenya
Memorial ID 1271 · View Source
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British Army General, Boy Scouts Movement Founder. Born in London, England, he and his brothers would explore the English countryside, pretending to be sailors, explorers or soldiers. He attended the Charterhouse School, and joined the British Army in 1876, serving in India, Afghanistan, and South Africa. During the Boer War in South Africa (1899 to 1902), he was a Colonel and senior commander of the garrison at Mafeking, when it came under siege for seven months by the Boers. His spirited and successful defense of Mafeking, in spite of disease, famine, and enemy attacks, made him a hero in the eyes of the press and the British public. He was later promoted to Lieutenant General and made Inspector General of Cavalry, and was awarded the title of Lord of Gilwell. His experiences at Mafeking, in which young teenage boys were made into a "cadet corps" to carry messages, often under fire, thus relieving soldiers to serve at the front lines, convinced him of the worth of young boys in their patriotism and valor. Upon returning to England, he saw that British boys needed more physical training and outdoor experience than they were receiving in the then-existing youth programs, and in 1907, he started the Boy Scout movement. With the help of his sister, Agnes Baden-Powell, he organized the Girl Guides (in many countries, the Girl Scouts) movement two years later. Scouting quickly spread to other nations, and Baden-Powell quickly became influential in setting up scouting movements across the globe, while organizing the International Scouting Council. He would retire from the Army in 1910, to devote himself to being the "Chief Scout of the World." His original book, "Scouting for Boys," is a combination of his philosophy of life and of his experiences in the Army, and contains many tips about living outdoors that he learned from native tribesmen. Although his book is heavily tailored on his wartime African experiences, Baden-Powell organized the Scouts to be scouts in peacetime, to learn those life skills that would enable teenagers to grow into worthwhile men and women and a credit to their society, no matter what their occupation would become. A bachelor most of his adult life, on October 30, 1912 he married Olave Soames, who shared his work in the Scouting movement, and they were active in World War I; they would have three children. In 1938, he retired to Nyeri, Kenya, where he died in 1941. His decorations include the Order of Merit, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, Knight Commander of the Victorian Order, Knight Commander of the Bath, the title Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell, and numerous honorary doctorate degrees and foreign awards.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1271
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell (22 Feb 1857–8 Jan 1941), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1271, citing Saint Peter's Cemetery, Nyeri, Nyeri, Kenya ; Maintained by Find A Grave .