Young Knights of the Empire

by Sir Robert Baden-Powell


Law 2. A SCOUT IS LOYAL to the King, and to his officers, and to his parents, his Country, his employers, and to those under his orders. He must stick to them through thick and thin against anyone who is their enemy or who even talks badly of them.

There was a Scoutmaster in the East End of London who when the war broke out felt it his duty to give up the splendid work he was doing amongst the poor boys of the East End in order to take up service for his Country.

Scoutmaster Lukis--for that is his name--felt bound, by his sense of loyalty to his King and his Country, to give up the life he was then living and face the dangers of soldiering on active service.

But the example which he set in loyalty was promptly followed by some eighty young fellows who were his Scouts or Old Scouts.

Their loyalty to him made them wish to follow their leader wherever his duty led him. So they became soldiers like himself and all went together to the Front.

A day came when the trenches which they were holding were heavily shelled. The danger was great and the losses were heavy, and finally a piece of shrapnel struck Captain Lukis in the leg and shattered his thigh. Two of his East London Boy Scout's sprang to his assistance and tended him with devoted care. They waited for a lull in the firing and finally between them they carried him, although exposed to a deadly fire, to a place of safety. While so doing one of them was hit and severely wounded.

But the spirit of the lads was splendid. They cared nothing for their own safety so that they got their beloved Scoutmaster out of danger. That was loyalty.

Loyalty means faithfulness. Your dog is faithful to you and sticks to you even though you may beat him. He overlooks your faults and your unkindness and remains loyal to you.

Loyalty begins at home.

Some boys are always thinking that their parents are wrong or unfair to them. If you think that your parents have any faults, don't look at those faults. Be loyal to your parents; remember only that it is thanks to them that you are alive and able to be a Scout.

Obey your parents, believe in them, and respect them; if you can at any time help them, do so. By doing these things you are being loyal to them. By being loyal to them you are carrying out that commandment of the Bible which says: "Honour thy father and thy mother." Be loyal, also, in the same way-by obeying and thinking no evil and by backing them up-to your Patrol-leader, your Scoutmaster, and your schoolmaster. If you are a working boy carry out the same idea towards your foreman, your manager, and your employer.

On taking up your work, you have agreed to do a certain amount for a certain wage, and it is loyalty on your part then to stick to that agreement and to give good work in return for your pay.

If, on the other hand, you are a well-to-do boy and come to have a servant or a man working under you as you grow older, you should equally be loyal to him. Remember that in taking him on you expect a certain amount of work from him for the money you give him; if you find that he gives you more work than you agreed for, you will be acting loyally to him if you then increase his wage: but never go back on your agreement, and do not try to make more money out of him than you meant to do when first making the contract. So, too, if you are a Patrol or other leader, and if those under you get into trouble through carrying out your ideas, be loyal to them; own up that it was through your fault that they did wrong.

Whatever line of life you may be in, be loyal to God, to your King, and to your Country.

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All Boy Scouts know of Sir Ernest Shackleton, a brother peace-scout of the Empire--and a first-class one, too.

On one of his voyages of exploration to the South Pole he was very nearly successful in getting to that point, he was within ninety-seven miles of it, in fact, when his food supplies gave out, and he and those with him were in great danger of starving, and had, most unwillingly, to turn back to regain their ship.

They had left the ship when they had got her as far south as was possible through the ice; they then went on foot over land and sea, all hard frozen and covered with snow, and they took their food with them, and stored depots, or what Scouts would call "caches," to use on their return journey. For weeks they struggled along over difficult ground.

One day in January, although they had cut down their rations and ate as little as possible (so little indeed that they were getting weak), they found that they were coming to the end of their food, and they must either turn back or go on and die, in which case the record of their work would have been lost. So they planted a flagstaff with the Union Jack on it, and left a box containing a notice that they had annexed the land for Great Britain and King Edward VII.

They took a long look with their field-glasses in the direction of the South Pole to see if any mountains were to be seen, but there were none. And then they started on their desperate tramp to the ship.

They made a number of interesting and useful discoveries. They came upon mountains and glaciers of ice, and mineral rocks of coal and limestone.

And they found tiny insects which are able to live in the ice, and when they boiled them, they did not kill them!

They found that the penguins, the great wingless birds which sit up and look just like people, enjoyed listening to a gramophone, which they set going for their benefit.

But their journey back was a very anxious and trying experience for them.

In order to guide them they had planted flags here and there along their path, but storms came and blew them down, and it was, therefore, most difficult to find their way from one food depot to another. They did it largely by spooring their old tracks.

This is how Sir Ernest Shackleton describes their doings on one particular day:

"We were thirty miles from our depot. Although we could see it in the distance, it was practically unattainable, for soft snow covered treacherous crevasses, and as we stumbled along in our search for food we seemed to get no nearer to our longed-for goal. The situation was desperate.

"Two of our party, utterly worn out and exhausted, fell in harness, but with the greatest pluck again pushed on as soon as they had temporarily recovered. It was with a feeling of devout thankfulness that we crossed the last crevasse and secured some food. Beyond a little tea we had had nothing for thirty-four hours, and previously to that our last meal consisted merely of one pannikin of half-cooked pony maize-not much foundation for work under such conditions, and with an extremely low temperature. Under these conditions we marched sixteen miles in twenty-two hours.

"On another occasion during that same journey we were all struck down with dysentery, and this at a distance of ninety miles from our depot. Though the weather was fine, we were all too weak to move, but here, as on other occasions, Providence came to our rescue, and strong southerly blizzards helped us along.

"From December 4th, 1908, to February 23rd, 1909, we lived in a state of constant anxiety, intensified by more acute knowledge gained from narrow escapes and close contact with death. Over and over again there were times when no mortal leadership could have availed us.

"It was during these periods that we learnt that some Power beyond our own guided our footsteps. If we acknowledged this--as we did--down among the ice, it is only fitting that we should remember it now when the same Power has brought us safely home through all these troubles and dangers. No one who has seen and experienced what we have done there can take credit to himself for our escape from what appeared to be overwhelming difficulties."

Sir Ernest Shackleton also praises the conduct of his officers and men as helping largely to their success. He says:

"We were all the best of comrades. Every man denied himself, and was eager to do his level best."

True Scouts, all of them.

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The month of October is full of glorious national memories for Scouts.

On October 21st, 1805, was fought the battle of Trafalgar, when the British Fleet, under Admiral Lord Nelson, attacked and defeated the combined forces of French and Spanish men-of-war.

It looked almost hopeless for a small fleet to attack so large a one; but Nelson made that grand signal which called on every man _that day to do his duty,_ and every man, like a true Scout, did his duty, even though in many a case it cost him his life.

Nelson himself showed the example, for he drove his ship in between two of the enemy's ships and fought them, one against two. He never attempted to take cover, but exposed himself to danger as much as anyone, and was killed at the moment of victory. The sailors of to-day still wear a black silk neckerchief round their necks as a sign of mourning for the great admiral.

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Then on October 25th, 1854, in the Crimea, in South Russia, took place two grand charges by the British cavalry-against the Russian cavalry.

One of these, the charge of the Light Brigade, every boy knows about, but somehow the charge of the Heavy Brigade is not so much talked about, although it was equally fine in its way.

I have been lucky, because I have served in two cavalry regiments, and both of them were in these charges one, the 13th Hussars, was in the Light Brigade, and the other, the 5th Dragoon Guards, was in the Heavy Brigade.

I don't mean that I was in the charges, too-no; I wasn't born then! But I am very proud to belong to two regiments that were there.

Hussar regiments are called light cavalry, because they used to have small, light-weight men who could ride far and fast to scout the enemy. Dragoons were heavy troopers on big, strong horses, who by their weight and long swords could deliver an overwhelming charge upon an enemy.

A Brigade consists of three regiments. Two Brigades make up a Division. So the Cavalry Division in the Crimea was made up of a Light Brigade and a Heavy Brigade.

On October 25th the Light Cavalry Brigade got the order to charge the Russian artillery, which was supported by the infantry and cavalry.

It was a hopeless task. The order had really been given by mistake. But that did not matter to men who were accustomed to obey. They charged, and, though it cost them a great number of gallant lives, they carried out their duty with such bravery and dash as to command the highest praise even from their enemies, and they won for British soldiers the name of being ready to sacrifice their lives to carry out their orders, even though the job looked hopeless. That is why Scouts to-day have as their motto the single word,


to remind them that if they get an order which it is a bore or even a danger to perform, their duty is to do as their brave fathers did at Balaclava, and carry it out cheerily and well.

Now I will tell you about the charge of the Heavy Brigade,

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You have often heard the British Army talked of as "the thin red line." Well, it got that title at Balaclava. Four hundred men of the 93rd Highlanders and a battalion of Turks were posted to guard the road leading to the harbour of Balaclava, when the Russians, some twenty thousand strong, proceeded to attack them. The Turks didn't like the look of things, so they turned tail and bolted but the brave Sir Cohn Campbell, who was in command of the Highlanders, said to them:

"My lads, remember there is no retreat from here. You must die where you stand."

And the gallant fellows meant to do it if they had to die--but they were not the sort to say die before they were dead They formed a line--a "thin red line," as it was afterwards described--on a small rising ground, and received the first charge of the Russian cavalry with so well-aimed and deadly a fire, at close range, that it put the others off charging for a while.

The British Commander-in-Chief, seeing their danger, sent a message to the Heavy Brigade of cavalry, who were camped in the neighbourhood, to go to their assistance.

The "Heavies" were already parading just outside their camp, when suddenly there appeared over the rising ground, within half a mile of them, the head of a big force of Russian cavalry quietly advancing towards them. Rather a startling apparition when the squadrons were all moving out of camp to form up on parade.

But the General--General Scarlett--did not lose his head or hesitate for a moment.

The enemy were on the left flank of the squadrons as they were moving out. He ordered them to wheel into line to the left, and, without the usual first orders to "Trot" and then to "Gallop," he directed his trumpeter to sound "Charge!" and he at once turned his horse towards the enemy, and started, with his staff officer and orderly, at a gallop to lead the attack.


The Brigade saw what was wanted. They did not wait to form into one line--that operation would have taken time--but each squadron wheeled up, and, closing in towards its neighbour, galloped forward to back up the General in the charge.

The Scots Greys, in red tunics and bearskins, mounted on their grey horses, were in the front line with some of the Irish Inniskilling Dragoons, and close behind them came the 5th Dragoon Guards and the 1st Royal Dragoons, with their red tunics and shining helmets.

There were not more than three hundred of them altogether, while the Russian column amounted to some twelve thousand. 'It looked as if the British must be smashed up by such overwhelming odds.

[Illustration: This sketch map stows the positions of the British and Russian Forces in the charge of the Heavy Brigade at Balaclava.]

But the General knew that he must do his best to save "the thin red line" from being overridden, and the men knew that they had got the order to "charge," and it was their business to carry out the order, and not to look at the danger in doing it. So they charged.

The Russians were not less astonished than the British had been; instead of surprising the British, they were themselves surprised.

For a minute or two they hesitated. No officer gave any command, no one knew quite what to do, and in another minute the bolt burst upon them.

General Scarlett and his staff came--bang, _smash_!--right through their front ranks, followed immediately by the crashing weight of the Greys and the wildly cheering Inniskillings.

The shock of this charge rolled the foremost ranks of the Russians down underfoot as it ploughed its way into the centre of the column, and gave a sort of backward surge to the whole mass-for the Russian force was simply a big, square mass of men and horses.

Our charge, being made by a very small body, only broke into the central part of the Russian front, so the two flanks of their line wheeled forward like two arms to enfold it. But just as they were in the act of doing so they were caught by our second line of Royal Dragoons, 5th Dragoon Guards and Inniskillings; and were rolled up and ridden over in an awful confusion.

These heavy blows seemed to send the great Russian mass staggering backwards, when at this critical moment two more squadrons of Heavies, belonging to the 4th Dragoon Guards, suddenly plunged into the right flank of the Russian column, and completed its break-up.

It reeled again, and in a few minutes more was gradually melting and spreading over the hills behind in hurried flight from the battlefield. And the thin red line was saved.

The whole fight had lasted only eight minutes, the British loss was fifty killed and wounded, while the Russians lost about four hundred.

This battle, like Trafalgar and like many other British victories, showed that, with good, plucky leaders, backed up by men _who can be trusted to obey their orders,_ we could attack overwhelming forces against us and come out victorious every time.

Without discipline it could never have been done.

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Sir Christopher Myngs was one of the tough sea-dogs of the British Navy in the old days.

He was killed in action at sea in 1666. He had been wounded by a bullet in the throat, but he held the wound together with his fingers and went on fighting till a second shot struck him, and he shortly afterwards died of his wounds. He was a splendid leader, brave and strict, and beloved by his men.

His body was brought ashore to be buried in London, and at the funeral a party of sailors came up to the carriage in which Sir W. Coventry sat, and the leader of them, with tears in his eyes, asked him to beg of the King to give them an old ship which they might use as a fire-ship, and with which they might sail into the middle of the enemy's fleet and set fire to it.

They would, of course, all lose their lives in doing this, but they did not mind so long as they could avenge the death of their beloved leader.

It was a fine spirit of loyalty to their chief which led these simple seamen to do this, and their loyalty--not the spirit of revenge--is an example to all to be loyal to their chief in whatever line they may be. Don't look out for faults in him; note his good points, and stick to him through thick and thin, for the good of what you and he are doing together whether it is defending your Country or running a big business.

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