Philip was one of 3 Welsh Scouts who were in Troop B.
1959 WORLD JAMBOREE
Memories by Philip Walters
The 10th World Jamboree was to be held in the Philippines in 1959, and I was extremely keen to attend. These Jamborees are normally only held every four years, and with the age range from 15 to 18 you are only usually eligible for one such event.
However the 1957 JIM which I along with 250 other scouts from Wales was lucky to attend, was a special 50th anniversary of the start of Scouting, held at Sutton Coldfield,, England, and this had whetted my appetite for Jamborees. 300 scouts from Wales applied to attend the Philippine Jamboree to be held at Makiling Park, just outside Manila. All applicants underwent special selection with interviews and tests by several commissioners. The numbers were brought down to 50 and then to 15. The finalists had a special selection weekend at the Scout Campsite at Miskin Mill, and I, together with two other scouts, was selected to represent Wales at the 10th World Jamboree.
The cost of £300 per head was raised by the Welsh Scout Council from the Welsh Counties and Scout Districts.
The whole of the UK contingent,.105 Scouts and leaders flew in a chartered aircraft.
BOAC Jet Prop BRITANNIA
We stopped for re-fuelling at Rome, Damascus, Bahrain, Karachi and Delhi, where we stopped for a break, after 24 hours of flying. We were taken on a bus tour of
Delhi and had a buffet dinner in the grounds of the Indian Scout Headquarters.
We spent the night sleeping on the floor, and after breakfast left for Manila via Kula Lumpa.
Boarding at Dehli. When we arrived at Manila we were given to a local family to spend a few days with, before we went to the Jamboree. Two of us went with two ex-pats working in Manila, but during the night I was violently sick. I had picked up the dreaded ‘Delhi Belly’.
The house where we were hosted
I was transferred from Manila this house the home of Mr & Mrs Dunnett, he was the manager of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, and had a very large and beautiful home, with a live in Maid and cook, and a full time gardener.
Two other scouts had also picked up the food poisoning, and the three of us were pampered back to good health.
By the time we were fit again, the rest of the contingent had set up camp at the Jamboree, and we were taken to the official opening with the British Ambassador in his official car, with the union pennant flying. A new road had been built from Manila to the Jamboree, but it was closed when we were going to the official Opening, as the Philippine President Marcos and his wife were to travel along the road. I remember the police stopping our car from using the road, and the ambassador arguing with the police and eventually instructing his driver to proceed down the road.
The Banners of the previous Jamborees lining up for the Official Opening by President Marcos
We arrived in time to meet the rest of our troop, and to march into the arena for the official opening. At the end of the opening we tramped out of the hot arena, arm in arm with scouts from other countries.
We were housed in patrol tents but had to sleep on bamboo beds, so that we were not affected by the snakes and other insects. You can imagine that there was not much room in the tent with six beds in it, and you had to crawl over the bamboo beds to get to your own.
On arriving back at the camp, I found our site was on a Plato carved out of the side of the foothill of the mount Makiling.
Our campsite on the right, an American troop on the left and the Sarawak site in the centre.
Our troop leader, who we called ‘Guv’ was from Brighton. He was not at all impressed with the toilet arrangements, which were back to my first camp, and consisted of an open pit. By the time I arrived he had arranged an ‘Elsan’ in a Hessian enclosure, for our troop.
In the mornings after breakfast and flag break and inspection, we normally spent the time, doing the usual camp chores of fetching the provisions from the store, and collecting wood and water for the fires, etc. to cook our dinners on.
The weather was very hot and quite humid, and one of the favourite meeting places was at the Pepsi Cola stalls, placed around the roadways, where there were bottles of Cola served ice cold from troughs filled with ice.- (We drank Cola because we were unable to get fresh clean water)
Japanese Arena Shinto display
After dinner cooked to the arena where each country put on a display, with 69 different countries attending, and all putting on a display, there were 8 or 9 displays each day some in the arena, and some on the stage. The Japanese had a very large contingent attending, and their display of a Shinto festival was probably the most impressive.
We made many friends, and I had taken a hundred East Glam County Badges and Welsh Dragoons and spent much time haggling over badge swaps, so that when I came home there were numerous items to be added to my Camp fire Blanket. I even swapped a pair of Japanese wood shoes. In the evenings we would attend Camp fires held at different locations.
Our troop entertaining scouts from other countries
We were also invited by groups and various countries for hospitality.
The site was enclosed, with a main gate, manned by security guards from 8.00am. Unfortunately, because of the attraction of the Jamboree, the Philippine public were keen to come and see what was going on, and thousands would be walking through the site when we woke up at 7.00am.
The largest group at the Jamboree were as expected Philippine scouts. These were mainly aged from 11 to 15 years, which is due to the fact that scouting was based around the schools, and was an alternative to other subjects. They were very friendly and all spoke good English.
The Official Jamboree Closing Ceremony by the Lord Rowallan our Chief Scout
Ten days later the Jamboree was officially closed, with another great gathering of all the 12000 scouts in the arena, with great memories and having made friends with so from many different countries.
After the Jamboree the British contingent were put up with families and I was privileged to go back to the luxury of living with the Dunnetts. Where we were dined in the highest luxury, and even put our shoes outside the bedroom door for cleaning by the maid. Sometimes we were taken to the Country Club where we took part in various activities, other days we were taken on tours organised by the scouts.
The Philippines, a country made up of 4000 Islands, was very Americanised. In Manila they were strong Roman Catholics, and the taxis were old type jeep vehicles, highly decorated many with religious items. The country at this time was very expectant for the future, with its new President Marcos and his wife Emelda was going to take it to great heights.
One day we were taken to Corregidor on an American Army Landing craft.
This is an island at the entrance to Estuary to Manila, and practically control the occupation of the Philippines. During World War 2, one million soldiers, we were told were killed in the fighting for the island. Before we landed on the island, we were warned not to pick up anything as there was still a lot of unexploded ammunition still lying around.
On another day we were taken on a tour of the area visiting a number of villages, at one we witnessed a Cock Fight.
We returned stopping for a day at Hong Kong, which was lucky as I was able to purchase a new camera, to replace mine which had been stolen from my tent at the jamboree on the last day as we cleared up. There was much talk between the boys of buying ‘Transistor Radios’, the first time I had heard of such a thing as a these mini sized radios.
We went on a tour of Hong Kong with a ride to Victoria Peak on the Peak Tram, then back to the town for some shopping in the amazing streets of the city.
The next morning we went on the ferry and a coach tour of the New Territories.
At Castle Peak, we had a 10 course meal in the restaurant. At that time foreign foods were quite strange to us, and trying to use chopsticks for the first time I seemed to leave quite a lot from each course which consisted of:-(1)Fried Chicken Liver,(2) Prawns, (3) Sharks Fin,(4) Fried Chicken, (5)Steamed Fish, (6) Chop Suey,(7) Pork with Pineapple, (8)Oysters, (9) Yeung Chow Rice, (10) Fried noodle and Chicken Soup.
Philip being taught to use chopsticks by a Hong Kong scout.
We returned to the new Kai Tak airport, built out into the sea, and set off for home via Singapore, Calcutta, Karachi, Beirut Rome and Heathrow.
This World Jamboree was the pinnacle and my end as a scout.
I was fired up with enthusiasm of youth, that ‘scouting’ and world jamboree proved that people from all nations could live together in peace and friendship, and I was sure the world was going to be a much better place in the future, with no wars or conflicts.
How disillusioned I have become as time has gone by, that our nations leaders have not been able to achieve these ideals.
After the Jamboree I became an assistant Senior Scout Leader with the 6th Barry, and went on to serve as an extremely energetic leader for twenty years giving back some of the wonderful times and experiences I had been so lucky to take a part in..
Thank you Philip for sharing your memories with us and since are still in contact attending our Reunions when possible.
FOOTNOTE Philip has just finished putting together a website for his Scout Group History the 6th Barry Sea Scouts from 1933 to 1980 have a look it can be found on www.6thBarry.org