|Birth Day:||February 22, 1857|
|Death Date:||Jan 8, 1941 (age 83)|
|Birth Place:||London, England|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Lord Baden-Powell died on Jan 8, 1941 (age 83).
He first experienced scouting during his childhood, when he avoided school by tracking and hunting game in the wooded areas of his hometown.
Baden-Powell was born as Robert Stephenson Smyth Powell at 6 Stanhope Street (now 11 Stanhope Terrace), Paddington, 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, and his third name was his mother's maiden name.
Baden-Powell was a son of The Reverend Professor Baden Powell, 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. After the Rev. Prof. Powell died in 1860 his widow, to identify her children with her late husband's fame, and to set her own children apart from their half-siblings and cousins, styled the family name Baden-Powell. The name was eventually legally changed by Royal Licence on 30 April 1902.
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 Dispatches. Baden-Powell's skills impressed his superiors and in 1890 he was brevetted Major as Military Secretary and senior Aide-de-camp to the Commander-in-Chief and Governor of Malta, his uncle General Sir Henry Augustus Smyth. He was posted to 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 was introduced for the first time to the Montana Peaked version of a western cowboy hat, of which Stetson was a prolific manufacturer, and which also came to be known as a campaign hat and the many versatile and practical uses of a neckerchief.
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".
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.
The siege was lifted on 16 May 1900. Baden-Powell was promoted to major-general and became a national hero. However, British military commanders were more critical of his performance and even less impressed with his subsequent choices to again allow himself to be besieged. Ultimately, his failure to properly understand the situation and abandonment of the soldiers, mostly Australians and Rhodesians, at the Battle of Elands River 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 South African War had seen the largest British Army ever to leave Britain, and with the end of that War on 31 May 1902 "active Service" effectively ceased. Baden-Powell was given the role of organising the South African Constabulary, a colonial police force, but during this phase Baden-Powell was sent to Britain on sick leave, so was only in command for seven months. 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. Also during this appointment, Baden-Powell selected the location of Catterick Garrison to replace Richmond Castle which was then the Headquarters of the Northumbrian Division. In 1907 he was promoted to Lieutenant-General but was left on the inactive list. Eventually he was appointed to the lowly command of the Northumbrian Division of the newly formed Territorial Force.
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, including Charlotte Mason's House of Education. Following his involvement in the Boys' Brigade as a Brigade Vice-President 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 started spontaneously, 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. In 1912, Baden-Powell started a world tour with a voyage to the Caribbean. Another passenger was Juliette Gordon Low, an American who had been running a Guide Company in Scotland, and was returning to the U.S.A. Baden-Powell encouraged her to found the Girl Scouts of the USA.
In 1910, after being rebuked for a series of what were regarded as publicity gaffes, one suggesting invasion by Germany, Baden-Powell retired from the Army. Baden-Powell later claimed he was advised by King Edward VII that he could better serve his country by promoting Scouting.
Baden-Powell's father often sketched caricatures of those present at meetings, while his maternal grandmother was also artistic. Baden-Powell painted or sketched almost every day of his life. Most of his works have a humorous or informative character. His books are scattered with his pen-and-ink sketches, frequently whimsical. He did a large unknown number of pen-and-ink sketches; he always travelled with a sketchpad that he used frequently for pencil sketches and "cartoons" for later water-colour paintings. He also created a few sculptures. There is no catalogue of his works, many of which appear in his books, and twelve paintings hang in the British Scout Headquarters at Gilwell Park. In 1911 and 1912, he had fishing holidays in Norway. There was an exhibition of his work at the Willmer House Museum, Farnham, Surrey, from 11 April – 12 May 1967; a text-only catalogue was produced.
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. 100,000 Scouts had each donated a penny to buy Baden-Powell a wedding gift, a 20 h.p. Standard motor-car (not the Rolls-Royce they were presented with in 1929). There is a display about their marriage inside St Peter's Church, Parkstone.
On the outbreak of World War I in 1914, at the age of fifty-seven, Baden-Powell put himself at the disposal of the War Office. No command was given to him. Lord Kitchener said: "he could lay his hand on several competent divisional generals but could find no one who could carry on the invaluable work of the Boy Scouts".
In addition, when Olave's sister Auriol Davidson (née Soames) died in 1919, Olave and Robert took her three nieces, Christian (1912–1975), Clare (1913–1980), and Yvonne (1918–1995?), into their family and brought them up as their own children.
Some early Scouting "Thanks Badges" (from 1911) and the Scouting "Medal of Merit" badge had a swastika symbol on them. This was undoubtedly influenced by the use by Rudyard Kipling of the swastika on the jacket of his published books, including Kim, which was used by Baden-Powell as a basis for the Wolf Cub branch of the Scouting Movement. The swastika had been a symbol for luck in India long before being adopted by the Nazi Party in 1920, and when Nazi use of the swastika became more widespread, the Scouts stopped using it.
In 1927, at the Swedish National Jamboree he was awarded by the Österreichischer Pfadfinderbund with the "Großes Dankabzeichen des ÖPB.
Baden-Powell was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on numerous occasions, including 10 separate nominations in 1928. He was awarded the Wateler Peace Prize in 1937. In 2002, Baden-Powell was named 13th in the BBC's list of the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide vote. As part of the Scouting 2007 Centenary, Nepal renamed Urkema Peak to Baden-Powell Peak.
In 1929, during the 3rd World Scout Jamboree, he received as a present a new 20-horsepower Rolls-Royce car (chassis number GVO-40, registration OU 2938) 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 that was used to purchase the car.
In 1931 Baden-Powell received the highest award of the First Austrian Republic (Großes Ehrenzeichen der Republik am Bande) out of the hands of President Wilhelm Miklas. Baden-Powell was also one of the first and few recipients of the Goldene Gemse, the highest award conferred by the Österreichischer Pfadfinderbund.
In 1931, Major Frederick Russell Burnham dedicated Mount Baden-Powell in California to his old Scouting friend from forty years before. Today, their friendship is honoured in perpetuity with the dedication of the adjoining peak, Mount Burnham.
Baden-Powell's father died when he was three. Subsequently, Baden-Powell was raised by his mother, a strong woman who was determined that her children would succeed. In 1933 he said of her "The whole secret of my getting on, lay with my mother."
Nazi Germany banned Scouting, a competitor to the Hitler Youth, in June 1934, seeing it as "a haven for young men opposed to the new State". Based on the regime's view of Scouting as a dangerous espionage organisation, Baden-Powell's name was included in "The Black Book", a 1940 list of people to be detained following the planned conquest of the United Kingdom. A drawing by Baden-Powell depicts Scouts assisting refugees fleeing from the Nazis and Hitler. Tim Jeal, author of the biography Baden-Powell, gives his opinion that "Baden-Powell's distrust of communism led to his implicit support, through naïveté, of fascism", an opinion based on two of B-P's diary entries. Baden-Powell met Benito Mussolini on 2 March 1933, and in his diary described him as "small, stout, human and genial. Told me about Balilla, and workmen's outdoor recreations which he imposed though 'moral force'". On 17 October 1939 Baden-Powell wrote in his diary: "Lay up all day. Read Mein Kampf. A wonderful book, with good ideas on education, health, propaganda, organisation etc. – and ideals which Hitler does not practice himself."
The Silver Wolf Award was originally worn by Robert Baden-Powell. The Bronze Wolf Award, the only distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, awarded by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting, was first awarded to Baden-Powell by a unanimous decision of the then International Committee on the day of the institution of the Bronze Wolf in Stockholm in 1935. He was also the first recipient of the Silver Buffalo Award in 1926, the highest award conferred by the Boy Scouts of America.
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 World Thinking Day by Guides to remember and celebrate the work of the Chief Scout and Chief Guide of the World.
In 1937 Baden-Powell was appointed to the Order of Merit, one of the most exclusive awards in the British honours system, and he was also awarded 28 decorations by foreign states, including the Grand Officer of the Portuguese Order of Christ, the Grand Commander of the Greek Order of the Redeemer (1920), the Commander of the French Légion d'honneur (1925), the First Class of the Hungarian Order of Merit (1929), the Grand Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog of Denmark, the Grand Cross of the Order of the White Lion, the Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix, and the Order of Polonia Restituta.
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 and people of the Happy Valley set. The Paxtu cottage is integrated into the Outspan Hotel buildings and serves as a small Scouting museum.
Baden-Powell died on 8 January 1941: his grave is in St Peter's Cemetery in Nyeri, Kenya. 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 after she died in 1977, her ashes were taken to Kenya by her grandson Robert and interred beside her husband. In 2001 the Kenyan government declared Baden-Powell's grave a National Monument.
A contrary view expressed by historian Thomas Pakenham of Baden-Powell's actions during the siege argues that his success in resisting the Boers was secured at the expense of the lives of the native African soldiers and civilians, including members of his own African garrison. Pakenham stated that Baden-Powell drastically reduced the rations to the native garrison. However, in 2001, after subsequent research, Pakenham decidedly retreated from this position.
In June 2020, following the tearing down of Edward Colston's statue in Bristol by protesters in response to the killing of George Floyd, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council announced that a statue of Baden-Powell on Poole Quay would be removed temporarily for its protection, on police advice amid fears it was on a "target list for attack" by protestors because they believed that he held homophobic and racist views.
Lord married Olave St. Clair in 1912. Lord and Olave had three children together.
Currently, Lord Baden-Powell is 165 years, 9 months and 5 days old. Lord Baden-Powell will celebrate 166th birthday on a Wednesday 22nd of February 2023. Below we countdown to Lord Baden-Powell upcoming birthday.