Scouts join nation in remembering the fallen
Today Scouts throughout the United Kingdom join people around the world in remembering the sacrifices of ordinary people who served in extraordinary ways in two world wars.
Remembrance Day takes place on 11 November every year, the date the Armistice was signed to mark the end of World War I. At schools, workplaces and public locations, people stop at 11am to keep silence in remembrance for two minutes.
On Sunday, services of remembrance will be held to observe silences, and Scouts continue to be heavily involved in the organisation and observance of these events. This is, however, just one of several ways in which Scouts learn about the sacrifices made in times of conflict.
Remembering one of their own
Last month, Scouts from the 12th Cambridge Scout Troop travelled to Amsterdam to pay their respects at the graveside of Flight Sergeant Leslie Jaggard, a former member of the Group. After some research, Scout Leader Graham Steed discovered that Jaggard had served with the Royal Canadian Air Force, but was shot down over the Netherlands and buried in the New East Cemetery in Amsterdam.
After a short ceremony at the grave, where the Scouts laid wreaths, Steed observed: ‘As a leader with a Troop of 32 lively, enthusiastic Scouts it is rare to go more than a few minutes without needing to get the young people quiet again. However faced with the graves of 323 young men, some as young as 18, the silence was over whelming. The most noise was when one Scout found another Scout grave, that of a Leader from the 84th Glasgow Scout Group.’
500 minutes silence
In Tynemouth, Scouts decided to take their remembrance up a notch by completing a five hour silence in aid of the Poppy Appeal. The idea, which came from the Scouts themselves, was to spend a minute in silence for every British military life lost since 2001 on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Scout Leader Michael Dale MBE, who organised the sponsored event, said ‘The Poppy Appeal is such a worthwhile cause and I think it has taken a bit of a back seat in past years. The British Legion helped me when I left the forces a few years ago, I know the fantastic work they do for not only serving soldiers but also retired ones and their families, in some cases for many years after they have left.’
Scouts will also be involved in remembrance events at the Cenotaph in Westminster on Sunday, and at local events the country over, either by selling poppies, laying wreaths or giving readings at services.
The Poppy Appeal raises money for the Royal British Legion, the charity that provides welfare and support for current and former members of the British Armed Forces. Among those who launched the appeal this year was 6-year-old Beaver Scout, Poppy, from Battersea.