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Scout Movement aka Scouting has as its motto “Be Prepared” which incidently the first two letters is the same of the Scouting founder Lord Baden-Powell’s name. Lord Baden- Powell was a Lieutenant General in the British Army in 1907 when the Scout movement started.
Get paper writing help from Best Paper Writing Service. Eight years after the Scout Movement got underway in England, Richmond College started her Scout troop in October 1915 sequel to a to a lecture by Mr. F. G. Stevens, then Chief Scout Commissioner of Ceylon, on “The Scout Movement and its Possibilities” to the whole school on 26th July 1915. It was the enthusiasm of Mr. F. R. A. S. Amerasekera that started scouting in the College. Unfortunately Mr. Amerasekera died soon after and Mr. Vincent J. Mendis took over scouting as its second Scoutmaster with Mr. S. C. Wickremaratne as Assistant Scoutmaster.
The enthusiasm for scouting was so high that by November 1915 there were 70 scouts who has passed the Tenderfoot Test. With the ever increasing demand by the students to join the Scout Movement it became necessary to split the Troop into two divisions as 2nd Galle and 3rd Galle Troops. Mr. R. O. Eade the first Vice Principal of the school became Scoutmaster of the 3rd Galle Troop, with Mr. F. A. de S. Adhihetty as the Assistant Scoutmaster although he was involved with cadetting as well.
In 1916 a Cub Pack was formed for students under the age of 12 which later on became the 3rd Galle Troop. The 2nd Galle Troop built for themselves a strong and picturesque little club-house of wood and cadjan, and located in a corner of the playing field near the Hanover dormitory. The then Commissioner, Southern Province, in his annual report said the 2nd Troop has built a club house for themselves showing considerable skill and ingenuity. The Chief Scout, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, wrote congratulating the Troop on the endeavour.
In April 1916 the Troop had its first two King’s Scouts, and they were the first two Scouts in Ceylon to win these distinctions. By the time the Troop completed its third year of existence, there were 37 King’s Scouts.
Muhandiram F. A. Wickremasinghe gifted a beautiful home for the scouts, a two storeyed clubhouse In October 1917 built in the Kandyan style of architecture (similar in shape to the old one built by the Scouts themselves) and was opened by Sir Anton Bertram. Sir Baden-Powell sent this short letter to Mr. Mendis in 1917:
“London, March 7, 1917
I have long wanted to visit Galle, because I have a fad for all the Richmonds I can find in the world! I have so far been to eight. But now I want to come to Galle all the more since I have heard how well all the Scouts, especially the Richmond College Scouts, are doing there. I want to see the Club-room they have built; to congratulate them on the different kinds of war work they have done so well, and to urge them after having made so good a name ” to stick to it,” and to carry on and do big things. Well done ! All success to you.
Robert Baden Powell”
Mr. J. Vincent Mendis left for Madras in 1917, where he was awarded “the Silver Wolf” for his services to Scouting. ‘The Silver Wolf” was also conferred on Mr. Small a few years later. When Mr. Mendis left, Mr. E. F. C. Ludowyk (Sr.) and Mr. A. W. Dissanaike took up duties as Scoutmaster and Honorary Scoutmaster, respectively. After them up to 1926, Messrs. A. F. de Saa Bandaranaike, W. W. Fernando, St. L. H. de Zylva and A. W. Kaluarachchi were Scoutmasters; Messrs. Adhihetty, Wickremaratne, T. C. P. Fernando and H. C. N. de Lanerolle were Assistant Scoutmasters; and Messrs. R. S. Wickremasinghe and V. M. Gersse were Cub-masters. The Vice-Principal, Mr. R. J. Seal, also attached himself to the Troop, while Mrs. Seal worked with the Cubs.
For a short period in 1932-33 Scouting at Richmond “sank into oblivion.” Then in 1934 the Troop was reorganised under the leadership of Mr. J. N. Goonetilleka, an Old Boy, who undertook the task in spite of his own work as a lawyer and his duties as District Commissioner of Scouts. Another reorganisation took place in January 1937. A Scout Council was formed, which controlled the affairs of the Troop and the Cub Packs.
In 1941 the Troop entered into a new life. The Troop is regained its glorious traditions and the past distinction of being the best Troop in the East Asia. The Troop reached these expectations when in 1945 at the Island-wide competitions in connection with the National Scout Week, Richmond won first place in Physical Education and second place in Health Education.
In 1946 the Troop won the Island’ Merit Challenge Flag awarded to the best Troop in the Island. H. E. the Governor presented the Flag in Colombo to Richmond Scouts.
From 1940 onwards, Messrs. G. W. S. de Silva, T. Samuel, C. S. Gunaratnam, J. Jesudason and Gunasoma F. Nanayakkara have been Scoutmasters.
Messrs. A. S. Wirasinha, L. A, Fernando, Kingsley de Silva, S. D. Horshington, Roy de Silva and B. T. Wimalasuriya have been Assistant Scoutmasters. Messrs. H. M. Samaraweera, P. D. O. Christopher Wickramasinghe and W. S. Fernando, Miss Theckla Perera, Miss V. de Silva and Miss Kamala Nanayakkara have been in charge of the Cubs in various years.
At the Southern Province Rally in 1948, the Richmond Scouts for the second time in succession won the Challenge Flag for the highest aggregate in the competitions. At the Southern Province Rally in 1956 Richmond won the Mayor’s Flag offered to the best troop in Galle, District. Two Scouts from Richmond represented Galle district at the Indian Jamboree in Jaipur.
The Richmond troop had the distinction of winning the Gulam Hussain Flag presented to the troop having the highest number of Queen’s Scouts in 1958 and 1959. Twenty-five Scouts of Richmond gave a Guard of Honour to Lady Baden Powell who came to Galle in 1958. Richmond won the Gulam Hussain Flag for the 3rd time in succession in 1960 and won the Gulam Hussain Flag for the 4th time in 1961.
1962 was another historic year for the 2nd Galle (Richmond) troop. It had the distinction of winning the Island Merit Flag for the best Scout Troop in the Island. The troop won the Gulam Hussain Flag again for the 5th time and the Community Services Shield. The College troop was led by the Troop Leader Piyasiri Amarasinghe and he was also the Troop Leader of the Galle District Schools Contingent that participated at the Golden Jubilee Jamboree held in Colombo in 1962 .
In 1963 the Gulam Hussain Flag was won for the 6th time. At the Galle District Golden Jubilee Jamboree the Richmond troop was adjudged the best troop in Galle District. The prizes for the best entrance and all-round efficiency were won by the troop. The Richmond Scout troop celebrated its Golden Jubilee in a very fitting manner on the 3rd of February 1965. The Golden Jubilee Jamboree which was held in the College grounds was attended by Scouts from all parts of Ceylon. A Souvenir was also edited, which gave a vivid review of the glorious traditions and past distinctions.
From the Golden Jubilee Jamboree held on Richmond Hill, Sneath Grounds in 1965
Speaking of Richmond Scouting the late Mr. H. D. A. Gunasekera who was the Group Scout Master cannot be forgotten. He served the group for over 17 years, devoting most of his leisure for scouting. He was a District Scout Master, and the Chief Organiser of the Golden Jubilee Jamboree.
The Group had its first four President’s Scouts in 1973. Richmond has contributed her share of District Scout Commissioners; Mr. T. R. Rajavasam, who was a Queen’s Scout during his days at College was the District Scout Commissioner in 1976. Former Scout Masters Mr. P. D. O. Christopher Wickremasinghe and Mr. G. Windsor too became District Commissioners. Mr. D. K. Ponnamperuma the Group Scout Master became an Assistant District Commissioner in 1976 and went on to become the Commissioner.
As of today the Scout Group has a Cub Pack, a Rover Crew and Junior and Senior Scout troops. The Scout Troop in its long history of 96 years has tried to follow the highest ideals and direct the interests of the scouts into various channels that would be the best fit of each one. In this endeavour the true spirit of scouting has never been forgotten. What the 1st Scout Master wrote in his report remains true today, i.e., “To be Scouts is really to live and act in the spirit of Richmond”.