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8 January 1941 - Robert Baden-Powell dies in Nyeri

"Every day a good deed" was his life's motto. Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scout movement, roamed London as a child. In the mid-19th century, he followed animal tracks in Hyde Park, drew maps and knew the starry sky. Later he explored the poor districts of the English capital.

In 1876, the 19-year-old goes to the military academy. As a British soldier he is deployed in India, Malta and the Balkans. He fights in the Boer War in South Africa and increasingly doubts serving without question. During his stays at home, he becomes involved with young people.

Helping others

In 1907, Baden-Powell organises a tent camp on the British island of Brownsea. 21 boys are to get to know nature, observe animals and sit around the campfire. One year later, BP - as his followers call him - founds the Scout movement and publishes a kind of manual with rules. "We help other people," it says.

Its aim is to turn middle-class boys into personalities: "Individual character is important for the attitude of the nation." That is why the Scout movement is "non-military, non-sectarian, apolitical and classless".

Community in tent camps

Baden-Powell left the army in 1910, but the lieutenant general could not completely detach himself from the military. The scout leaders are called officers, the scout boys wear a uniform of short trousers, shirt, hat and badge. They have fixed rituals and swear an oath.

The concept of his youth movement is a kind of experiential education: "The boys love the fellowship in tent camps with games and handicraft exercises." The concept catches on. In 1920, a meeting is held in London with 8,000 young people from 27 countries. Hundreds of German scouts also take part.

Female scouts too

As the Scout movement grows, so does Baden-Powell's family. In 1912 - at the age of 55 - he married Olave Seams, who was more than 30 years younger. The couple had three children. Olave becomes leader of the female scouts.

"The only successful way to train young scouts is to be a good role model for them," says Baden-Powell. He receives numerous international awards and is made a baronet of the British high nobility.

In 1939, Baden-Powell retires to Kenya with Olave. He died in Nyeri on 8 January 1941 at the age of 84. He left 34 books and the message: "Once a Scout - always a Scout!" to the current 40 million Scouts.

Robert Baden-Powell, Founder of the Boy Scouts (Date of death 08.01.1941 WDR 2, Deadline 08.01.2021, Duration 04:15 Min. Available until 06.01.2031 WDR 2