Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell (Smyth)

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Lt. Gen./Sir Robert Stephenson Baden-Powell (Smyth), 1st Baron Baden-Powell, OM, GCMG, GCVO, KCB

Birthdate: (83)
Birthplace: London, Greater London, UK
Death: Died in Nyeri, Central, Kenya
Place of Burial: Nyeri, Central, Kenya
Immediate Family:

Son of Reverend Baden Powell (Cornthwaite); Rev. R. Baden-Powell; Henrietta Grace Powell (Smyth) and Henrietta Grace Baden-Powell
Husband of Baroness Olave St. Clair Baden-Powell (Soames)
Father of Arthur Robert Peter Baden-Powell, 2nd Baron Baden-Powell; The Hon Heather King (Baden-Powell) and The Hon Betty St Clair Clay (Baden-Powell)
Brother of Agnes Baden-Powell; Henry Warington Smyth Baden-Powell; Sir George Smyth Baden-Powell; Augustus Smyth Powell; Francis Smyth Baden-Powell and 5 others
Half brother of Charlotte Elizabeth Powell; Baden Henry Powell; Louisa Ann Powell and Laetitia Mary Powell

Occupation: Lieutenant-General and founder of the scout movement, Lietenant General in British Army, writer, founder of the Scout movement
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell (Smyth)

Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell (pronounced /ˈbeɪdən ˈpoʊ.əl/) OM, GCMG, GCVO, KCB (22 February 1857 – 8 January 1941), also known as B-P or Lord Baden-Powell, was a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, and founder of the Scout Movement.

After having been educated at Charterhouse School, Baden-Powell served in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa. In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, Baden-Powell successfully defended the town in the Siege of Mafeking. Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance and scout training in his African years, were also read by boys. Based on those earlier books, he wrote Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by Pearson, for youth readership. During writing, he tested his ideas through a camping trip on Brownsea Island with the local Boys' Brigade and sons of his friends that began on 1 August 1907, which is now seen as the beginning of Scouting.

After his marriage to Olave St Clair Soames, Baden-Powell, his sister Agnes Baden-Powell and notably his wife actively gave guidance to the Scouting Movement and the Girl Guides Movement. Baden-Powell lived his last years in Nyeri, Kenya, where he died and was buried in 1941.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baden-Powell


OM GCMG GCVO KCB


UK Army List 1914

  • First Name: R S S, Sir
  • Surname: Baden-Powell
  • Nationality: British
  • Rank: Lieutenant General
  • Gallantry Awards: Knight Commander of the Bath
  • Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
  • Service: British Army
  • Regiment: 13th Hussars
  • Battalion: Reserve of Officers
  • Seniority Date: 11/1/1914

UK Army List 1916

  • First Name: R S S, Sir
  • Surname: Baden-Powell
  • Information: Colonel of the Regiment. Retired Pay. Reserve of Officers.
  • Further Information: [R],
  • Rank: Lieutenant General
  • Gallantry Awards: Knight Commander of the Bath
  • Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
  • Service: British Army
  • Primary Unit: 13th Hussars
  • Archive Reference: 1916 Army List
  • Seniority Date: 26/11/1911

UK Army List 1918

  • First Name: R.S.S., Sir
  • Surname: Baden-Powell
  • Nationality: British
  • Information: Colonel, 13th Hussars.
  • Rank: Lieutenant General
  • Gallantry Awards:
  • Knight Commander of the Bath
  • Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
  • Service: British Army
  • Regiment: 13th Hussars
  • Battalion: Reserve of Officers.

Gazetted Awards and Mentions in Despatches

  • First Name: Robert Stephenson Smyth, Sir
  • Surname: Baden-Powell
  • Information: Retired Pay.
  • Rank: Lieutenant General
  • Gallantry Awards:
  • Order of Christ
  • Knight Commander of the Bath
  • Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
  • Gazette Info: Gazette Issue 31586. Order of Christ, Grand Officer. The following is among the Decorations and medals awarded by the Allied Powers at various fates to the British Forces for distinguished services rendered during the course of the campaign. His Majesty the King has given unrestricted permission in all cases to wear the decorations and medals in question. Decorations conferred by The President of the Portuguese Republic.
  • Gazette Date: 03/10/1919
  • Gazette Page: 12415
  • Service: British Army

Gazetted Awards and Mentions in Despatches

  • First Name: Robert (Baronet)
  • Surname: Baden-Powell
  • Rank: Lieutenant General
  • Gallantry Awards: Legion of Honour – Commander
  • Award Details: Award received from France
  • Gazette Date: 17/04/1923
  • Gazette Page: 2810
  • Unit: Commands and Staff

Medal Index Cards

findmypast Transcription

  • First name(s) B F S
  • Last name Baden-Powell
  • Service number -
  • Rank Major
  • Corps Staff, Scots Guards
  • Service record Rank: Major, Corps: Staff
  • Service record 2 Rank: Major, Corps: Scots Guards
  • Archive reference WO372/16
  • Archive reference description Campaign Medal Index Cards and Silver War Badge Cards
  • Country Great Britain
  • Image link http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D4694412
  • Record set World War One British Army medal index cards
  • Category Armed forces & conflict
  • Subcategory First World War

Lieutenant General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, OM GCMG GCVO KCB DL (22 February 1857 – 8 January 1941), also known as B-P or Lord Baden-Powell, was a British Army officer, writer, author of Scouting for Boys which was an inspiration for the Scout Movement, founder and first Chief Scout of The Boy Scouts Association and founder of the Girl Guides.

After having been educated at Charterhouse School in Surrey, Baden-Powell served in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa. In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, Baden-Powell successfully defended the town in the Siege of Mafeking. Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance and scout training in his African years, were also read by boys. In 1907, he held a demonstration camp, the Brownsea Island Scout camp, which is now seen as the beginning of Scouting. Based on his earlier books, he wrote Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by Sir Arthur Pearson, for boy readership. In 1910 Baden-Powell retired from the army and formed The Boy Scouts Association.

The first Scout Rally was held at The Crystal Palace in 1909, at which appeared a number of girls dressed in Scout uniform, who told B-P that they were the "Girl Scouts", following which, in 1910, B-P and his sister Agnes Baden-Powell formed the Girl Guides from which the Girl Guides Movement grew. In 1912 he married Olave St Clair Soames. He gave guidance to the Scouting and Girl Guiding Movements until retiring in 1937. Baden-Powell lived his last years in Nyeri, Kenya, where he died and was buried in 1941.

Early life Baden-Powell was born as Robert Stephenson Smyth Powell at Paddington in London, on 22 February 1857. He was called Stephe (pronounced "Stevie") by his family, He was named after his godfather, Robert Stephenson, the railway and civil engineer; his third name was his mother's maiden name. After Baden-Powell's father died in 1860, to identify her children with her late husband's fame and set her own children apart from their half-siblings and cousins, his mother styled the family name Baden-Powell (the name was eventually legally changed by Royal Licence on 30 April 1902.)

Baden-Powell was the son of The Reverend Baden Powell, a Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford University and Church of England priest and his third wife, Henrietta Grace Smyth (3 September 1824 – 13 October 1914), eldest daughter of Admiral William Henry Smyth.

Baden-Powell had four much older half-siblings from the second of his father's two previous marriages and full siblings Warington (1847-1921), George (1847-98), the often ill Augustus (1849–63) and Francis (1850-1933), three others who had died very young before Baden-Powell was born, Agnes (1858-1945) and Baden (1860-1937).

Baden-Powell's father died when Baden-Powell was three. Subsequently, Baden-Powell was raised by his mother, a strong woman who was determined that her children would succeed. Baden-Powell would say of her in 1933 "The whole secret of my getting on, lay with my mother."

Baden-Powell attended Rose Hill School, Tunbridge Wells. He was given a scholarship to Charterhouse, a prestigious public school. He played the piano and violin, was an ambidextrous artist, and enjoyed acting. Holidays were spent on yachting or canoeing expeditions with his brothers. His first introduction to Scouting skills was through stalking and cooking game while avoiding teachers in the nearby woods, which were strictly out-of-bounds.

Military career In 1876 Baden-Powell joined the 13th Hussars in India with the rank of lieutenant. He enhanced and honed his military scouting skills amidst the Zulu in the early 1880s in the Natal province of South Africa, where his regiment had been posted, and where he was Mentioned in Despatches. During one of his travels, he came across a large string of wooden beads. Although Baden-Powell claimed the beads had been those of the Zulu king Dinizulu, one researcher learned from Baden-Powell's diary only that he had taken beads from a dead woman's body around that time, and indeed the bead form is more similar to dowry beads than to warrior beads. The beads were later incorporated into the Wood Badge training programme he started after he founded the Scouting Movement. Baden-Powell's skills impressed his superiors and he was brevetted Major as Military Secretary and senior Aide-de-camp of the Commander-in-Chief and Governor of Malta, his uncle General Sir Henry Augustus Smyth. He was posted in Malta for three years, also working as intelligence officer for the Mediterranean for the Director of Military Intelligence. He frequently travelled disguised as a butterfly collector, incorporating plans of military installations into his drawings of butterfly wings. In 1884 he published Reconnaissance and Scouting.

Baden-Powell returned to Africa in 1896, and served in the Second Matabele War, in the expedition to relieve British South Africa Company personnel under siege in Bulawayo. This was a formative experience for him not only because he commanded reconnaissance missions into enemy territory in the Matopos Hills, but because many of his later Boy Scout ideas took hold here. It was during this campaign that he first met and befriended the American scout Frederick Russell Burnham, who introduced Baden-Powell to stories of the American Old West and woodcraft (i.e. scoutcraft), and here that he wore his signature Stetson campaign hat and neckerchief for the first time.

Baden-Powell was accused of illegally executing a prisoner of war in 1896, the Matabele chief Uwini, who had been promised his life would be spared if he surrendered. Uwini was sentenced to be shot by firing squad by a military court, a sentence Baden-Powell confirmed. Baden-Powell was cleared by a military court of inquiry but the colonial civil authorities wanted a civil investigation and trial. Baden-Powell later claimed he was "released without a stain on my character." Baden-Powell was also accused of allowing native African warriors under his command to massacre enemy prisoners including women, children and non-combatants.

After Rhodesia, Baden-Powell served in the Fourth Ashanti War in Gold Coast. In 1897, at the age of 40, he was brevetted colonel (the youngest colonel in the British Army) and given command of the 5th Dragoon Guards in India. A few years later he wrote a small manual, entitled Aids to Scouting, a summary of lectures he had given on the subject of military scouting, much of it a written explanation of the lessons he had learned from Burnham, to help train recruits. Using this and other methods he was able to train them to think independently, use their initiative, and survive in the wilderness.

Siege of Mafeking, Baden-Powell returned to South Africa before the Second Boer War and was engaged in further military actions against the Zulus. Although instructed to maintain a mobile mounted force on the frontier with the Boer republics, Baden-Powell amassed stores and a garrison at Mafeking. While engaged in this, he and much of his intended mobile force was at Mafeking when it was surrounded by a Boer army, at times in excess of 8,000 men.

Baden-Powell was the garrison commander during the subsequent Siege of Mafeking, which lasted 217 days. Although Baden-Powell could have destroyed his stores and had sufficient forces to break out throughout much of the siege, especially since the Boers lacked adequate artillery to shell the town or its forces, he remained in the town to the point of his intended mounted soldiers eating their horses.

The siege of the small town received undue attention from both the Boers and international media because Lord Edward Cecil, the son of the British Prime Minister, was besieged in the town. The garrison held out until relieved, in part thanks to cunning deceptions, many devised by Baden-Powell. Fake minefields were planted and his soldiers pretended to avoid non-existent barbed wire while moving between trenches. Baden-Powell did much reconnaissance work himself. In one instance, noting that the Boers had not removed the rail line, Baden-Powell loaded an armoured locomotive with sharpshooters and sent it down the rails into the heart of the Boer encampment and back again in a successful attack. During the siege, the Mafeking Cadet Corps of white boys below fighting age stood guard, carried messages, assisted in hospitals, and so on, freeing grown men to fight. Baden-Powell did not form the Cadet Corps himself, and there is no evidence that he took much notice of them during the Siege. But he was sufficiently impressed with both their courage and the equanimity with which they performed their tasks to use them later as an object lesson in the first chapter of Scouting for Boys. The siege was lifted on 16 May 1900. Baden-Powell was promoted to Major-General, and became a national hero. However, the British military commanders were more critical of his performance and even less impressed with his subsequent choices to again allow himself be besieged. Ultimately, his failure to properly scout the situation and abandonment of the soldiers, mostly Australian diggers and Rhodesians, at the Battle of Elands River (1900) led to his being removed from action.

Briefly back in the United Kingdom in October 1901, Baden-Powell was invited to visit King Edward VII at Balmoral, the monarch's Scottish retreat, and personally invested as Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB). The Order of the Bath is the fourth-most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry.

Baden-Powell was further sidelined from active command and given the role of organising the South African Constabulary, a colonial police force. He returned to England to take up a post as Inspector General of Cavalry in 1903. While holding this position, Baden-Powell was instrumental in reforming reconnaissance training in British cavalry, giving the force an important advantage in scouting ability over continental rivals. In 1907 he was promoted to Lt. General but left on the inactive list. Eventually he was appointed to the lowly command of the Northumbrian Division of the newly formed Territorial Force.

Scouting movement On his return from Africa in 1903, Baden-Powell found that his military training manual, Aids to Scouting, had become a best-seller, and was being used by teachers and youth organisations .Following his involvement in the Boys' Brigade as Brigade Secretary and Officer in charge of its scouting section, with encouragement from his friend, William Alexander Smith, Baden-Powell decided to re-write Aids to Scouting to suit a youth readership. In August 1907 he held a camp on Brownsea Island to test out his ideas. About twenty boys attended: eight from local Boys' Brigade companies, and about twelve public school boys, mostly sons of his friends.

Baden-Powell was also influenced by Ernest Thompson Seton, who founded the Woodcraft Indians. Seton gave Baden-Powell a copy of his book The Birch Bark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians and they met in 1906. The first book on the Scout Movement, Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys was published in six instalments in 1908, and has sold approximately 150 million copies as the fourth best-selling book of the 20th century.

Boys and girls spontaneously formed Scout troops and the Scouting Movement had inadvertently started, first as a national, and soon an international phenomenon. A rally of Scouts was held at Crystal Palace in London in 1909, at which Baden-Powell met some of the first Girl Scouts. The Girl Guides were subsequently formed in 1910 under the auspices of Baden-Powell's sister, Agnes Baden-Powell. Baden-Powell's friend Juliette Gordon Low was encouraged by him to found the Girl Scouts of the USA.

In 1929, during the 3rd World Scout Jamboree, he received as a present a new 20-horsepower Rolls-Royce car and an Eccles Caravan. This combination well served the Baden-Powells in their further travels around Europe. The caravan was nicknamed Eccles and is now on display at Gilwell Park. The car, nicknamed Jam Roll, was sold after his death by Olave Baden-Powell in 1945. Jam Roll and Eccles were reunited at Gilwell for the 21st World Scout Jamboree in 2007. Recently it has been purchased on behalf of Scouting and is owned by a charity, B-P Jam Roll Ltd. Funds are being raised to repay the loan. Under his dedicated command the world Scouting movement grew. By 1922 there were more than a million Scouts in 32 countries; by 1939 the number of Scouts was in excess of 3.3 million.

At the 5th World Scout Jamboree in 1937, Baden-Powell gave his farewell to Scouting, and retired from public Scouting life. 22 February, the joint birthday of Robert and Olave Baden-Powell, continues to be marked as Founder's Day by Scouts and Thinking Day by Guides to remember and celebrate the work of the Chief Scout and Chief Guide of the World.

Personal life Olave Baden-Powell In January 1912, Baden-Powell was en route to New York on a Scouting World Tour, on the ocean liner SS Arcadian, when he met Olave St Clair Soames. She was 23, while he was 55; they shared the same birthday, 22 February. They became engaged in September of the same year, causing a media sensation due to Baden-Powell's fame. To avoid press intrusion, they married in private on 30 October 1912, at St Peter's Church in Parkstone. The Scouts of England each donated a penny to buy Baden-Powell a wedding gift, a car (note that this is not the Rolls-Royce they were presented with in 1929). There is a monument to their marriage inside St Mary's Church, Brownsea Island.

Baden-Powell and Olave lived in Pax Hill near Bentley, Hampshire from about 1919 until 1939. The Bentley house was a gift of her father. Directly after he had married, Baden-Powell began to suffer persistent headaches, which were considered by his doctor to be of psychosomatic origin and treated with dream analysis. The headaches disappeared upon his moving into a makeshift bedroom set up on his balcony.

In 1939, Baden-Powell and Olave moved to a cottage he had commissioned in Nyeri, Kenya, near Mount Kenya, where he had previously been to recuperate. The small one-room house, which he named Paxtu, was located on the grounds of the Outspan Hotel, owned by Eric Sherbrooke Walker, Baden-Powell's first private secretary and one of the first Scout inspectors. Walker also owned the Treetops Hotel, approximately 17 km out in the Aberdare Mountains, often visited by Baden-Powell. The Paxtu cottage is integrated into the Outspan Hotel buildings and serves as a small Scouting museum.

Baden-Powell died on 8 January 1941 and is buried at St. Peter's Cemetery in Nyeri. His gravestone bears a circle with a dot in the centre "ʘ", which is the trail sign for "Going home", or "I have gone home". His wife Olave moved back to England in 1942, although when she died, her ashes were sent to Kenya and interred beside her husband. The Kenyan government has declared Baden-Powell's grave a national monument.

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Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell (Smyth)'s Timeline

1857
February 22, 1857
London, Greater London, UK
1913
October 30, 1913
Age 56
Battle, East Sussex County, England, United Kingdom
1915
June 1, 1915
Age 58
Battle, East Sussex, England
1917
April 16, 1917
Age 60
Hawkhurst, Kent, England
1941
January 8, 1941
Age 83
Nyeri, Central, Kenya
????
Nyeri, Central, Kenya