A World Scout Jamboree Album
1937 – 5th World Scout Jamboree, Vogelenzang, Netherlands
1947 – 6th World Scout Jamboree, Moisson, France
1998-99 – 19th World Scout Jamboree, Picarquin, Chile
These photos may seem a little out of place, but I couldn’t resist adding them. They are photos from 3 different World Scout Jamborees.
The photos of the 5th & 6th Jamborees have an interesting story. The negatives appeared on eBay in December, 1999. They were described as 78 black & white negatives of the 5th World Jamboree. Bidding was sight unseen. Hoping for an original photo of Lord Robert Baden-Powell I stuck my neck out, and won.
The negatives arrived in a very old glassine & cardboard negative holder. “5th World Jamboree” was written on the spine.
I quickly realized negatives from 2 World Jamborees were present. First it was obvious from the film & their sizes. The 5th Jamboree photos were a large 6×9 cm size. The later photos were 6×6 cm. They were on a better type of film and in better condition. The final confirmation came from a close examination of the photos. Many of the 6×6 negatives clearly showed the 1947 badge.
I sent a note to the seller asking for more information. I was very curious about the original photographer. They told me they had bought the negative book from an antique store somewhere New York State, & resold it on eBay. They had no idea of its author or history.
It is a shame to say, but all that is left of the unknown photographer is this, his work, and his shadow in the 1947 of 2 Scottish Scouts.
I was not disappointed with the negatives. I also found a negative of Lord Baden-Powell. It was at the 1937 Jamboree where the 80 year-old Baden-Powell said his goodbyes to the Scouting movement he founded.
The photo of Baden-Powell was probably a grab shot. It is not particularly good, but it is the real deal scanned from the original negative still in my possession. His face, obscured by shadow, has been lightened a bit, the overall contrast improved, and a few spots touched up. I’ve given away maybe 4 prints of this. To my knowledge those prints and this website is the only light of day that image has seen in decades.
There is also a posed photo of the Chief Guide, Olave, Lady Baden Powell. Unfortunately a fingerprint on the negative has disfigured her face. I have no experience at the physical restoration of negatives. I can do a little digitally, but I deemed it best to reproduce it as is.
Many of the photos show Scottish Scouts. Some of those list names. The photographer was obviously associated with the Scottish troop of Dundee.
Where I can figure out the subject I will describe it and offer comments. The photos are also arranged by related subjects.
How the negatives wound up in New York is a mystery. Did the photographer move to New York? Were his negatives sent to a relative where they wound up in an antique store? The explanations are myriad. I don’t suppose we will ever know.
I have improved contrast where possible, and removed or lightened a few spots and scratch lines. I have also cropped the compositions to enhance the subject by removing parts of the sky, the foreground, or both. This has made some of the photos look like panoramas.
As much as we may like to think these are photos of another time, they are more like photos of a lost world. The 1937 photos show people and places that were consumed by the Second World War. Anyone in these photos, if still alive, is now very old. It is easy to imagine that many of the youngsters here were lost to the war that began only two years later.
The 1947 photos are a little closer to us in time, but they show people and places that have been changed by age and the relentless pace of modernization. The culture and ethic of that time and those who attended this Jamboree is long gone.
Even the 1997-98 Chilean Jamboree photos show another time, place and culture. The BSA Scouts I was involved with were just kids then. I knew them when they were in middle school and high school. They were present for the beginning of the internet age. In those days if you browsed the internet it was with a 32k or 64k modem. There was no wireless, no smart phones, no iPads, no Facebook, no texting. Digital cameras were still toys. From Chile it took us as long as 10 minutes to get a landline phone connection to the West Coast of the U.S., 5 hours behind us.
The U.S. Scouts who attended the Chilean Jamboree are now in their late 20s and early 30s. The few I still keep track of are university graduates, engineers, officers, or former officers in the military. Some now have children of their own.
Because of the nature of the places and the events all of the photos shown here are snapshots. Some are posed snapshots. All were intended to be mementoes of the time and nothing else. Many of these photos remain as snapshots, but some are portraits.
A great portrait is made when a camera captures a person’s soul on their face. When that happens the photo shows you the person shining through space and time, and all of the technical aspects of a portrait fall away to dust. When I say some portraits are great or wonderful I’m looking at their face.
The 1937 poses of the young Scouts in front of the Dundee Gateway & the 3 Norwegian Scouts are two of these. The pose of the Scout in front of the Chinese Camp, while possibly exaggerated, reflects a persona both serene and confident.
Of the 1947 negatives the photo of the two Scouts from India is my favorite. Some of the group portraits are equally as good. The India photo originally had the black hat of a passerby. I have digitally removed the hat.
I am the photographer of the last group of photos. It is from the 19th World Scout Jamboree held in Chile from December 27, 1998 to January 6, 1999. If they are any good that will be up to you. The transparencies are scanned from Fuji Velvia film, shot hand held with a Canon A2E & a 24-85mm variable aperture zoom lens.
At the District, Council, Regional & National levels The Boy Scouts of America is run by adult volunteers called Scouters, and professional staff members.
At the troop level Scouting is supposed to be run by the boys with adult supervision. Unfortunately it is often the other way around.
Also unfortunately, Boy Scouting in the United States has become controversial in the last couple of decades. Without getting into anyone’s politics or agendas, I believe if the troop is run properly then the leadership experience and the self-confidence it inspires in the boys will last them all their lives.
That is the positive aspect about Scouting many people overlook, forget, or choose not to recognize.
If you are still reading this my congratulations. This last section is the technical part.
To scan the negatives I used a Nikon Super Cool Scan 8000 film scanner. The few negatives scanned in the early 2000’s used the Nikon version 3 or 4 software. That was when it still operated on my old Macintosh Computer with a PowerPC chip.
In early 2013 I decided to scan them all. By this time the scanner was in the attic and I had no software to interface with the scanner to my Mac. I bought VueScan 9 in the 64 bit Professional version, hooked it up and it all worked fine.
The software is on a MacBook Pro that was new in Nov., 2009. It has a 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4 GB of 1067 MHz DDR3 Ram, & a 750 GB internal hard drive. The hard drive was added in 2011 replacing the old 250. I need to put another 4 GB of memory into the machine.
Other software would have worked just fine. I am not recommending one software title over another, it just so happens I am using this one.
The current version of VueScan is very intuitive. At first I began scanning as B&W negatives. The scans are at 4000 DPI against the actual size of the negative. The maximum density of the scanner is also 4000 DPI.
While scanning I experimented with the various menu options available to me in the VueScan software. Eventually I started to scan the black & white negatives in the 48 bit color mode. Scanning in color allowed the option to edit the file with Silver Efex Pro II. If the file was scanned as black & white the Silver Efex option was not available.
Scanning a 6×9 negative as 48 bit color would yield a file of over 680 megabytes! That is a huge file so I dialed it back to 24 bit color. My 6×6 negatives come in at about 200 MB & the 6x9s about 50% larger. Those are still large files, but a whole lot easier to handle. The entire file of all the Scouting scans takes about 20 gb of hard drive space.
A problem with the Nikon scanner developed & eventually got out of control. Once the scanned area is done the scanning head moves a fraction of an inch down the negative to the next part of the photo. When it did this the scanner shivered or moved slightly. The effect on the scan itself is well seen in the first photo shown from the 6th World Jamboree. The scan line lightens and the scanned area shows a variation in contrast. Once the scan head moves on the effect repeats. This got so bad I eventually gave up on the old Nikon scanner and went to an Epson flat bed scanner.
Photos from 1937, The 5th World Jamboree, Vogelenzang, Netherlands
Arena & Common Area photos
Dundee Gateway. This gateway will also appear in one of the great portraits below. The 3 cities noted on the gateway are almost 200 miles apart being on either the east or west coast of Scotland. This is a guess, but it leads me to believe Dundee represented most if not all of Scotland at this Jamboree.
Field Trip Photos
1947 – 6th World Scout Jamboree, Moisson, France
Arena & Other Common Areas
Cooking in camp.
Non Scout Photos
These were two of the negatives. They do not seem to be Jamboree related except they were mixed with all the other negatives. They show Leo & Eddie (Buber – not sure of that) visiting Dundee, Scotland. They both wear uniforms of the Koninklijke Marine, the Royal Dutch Navy.
1998-99 – 19th World Scout Jamboree, Picarquin, Chile
We flew out of LAX on December, 26. There were at least 2 Jamboree troops on the LAN Chile flight, our troop and another out of the San Francisco bay area. The jet, a Boeing 767, was only 3 weeks old. It still smelled new. With a short stop over in Lima we arrived in Santiago, Chile the next morning.
In a few hours we had travelled well over 70 degrees across the surface of the earth. L.A. is about 34 degrees north of the equator & 118 degrees latitude. Santiago, Chile is about 33 ½ degrees south of the equator & 70 degrees latitude. The time zone difference was 5 hours ahead of California.
We arrived, got on our bus and travelled mostly overland to the Picarquin Jamboree site. I remember a Home Depot near the Santiago airport. I vividly remember Coca-Cola signs everywhere, even on top of the traffic signals.
When we arrived we began to set up camp. From memory the Jamboree events began the 28th. The internet says Jamboree began on the 27th. The 27th could have been a set up day. It certainly was for us.
The Jamboree site was in the foothills of the Andes. It had just turned summer there. The area and weather seemed to be so much like a summer in Southern California that it was hard to believe we had travelled anywhere at all. I remember being on one of the hills in the Parque Metropolitano, looking out over Santiago, & believing I could have been in Griffith Park looking at Burbank & Glendale.
Unlike the days, the difference at night was very noticeable. The moon seemed to be upside down along with the constellations we could recognize. Further to the south were stars I had never seen before, and the Magellan Clouds.
One of the things that happened at the 19th World Jamboree.
Just before assembly on the morning of our 2nd day at Jamboree the Scouts from our troop were playing a pile on game. They called it British Bulldog. The pile of people in the game looks an awful lot like a rugby scrum, which is perhaps how it got its name.
The game is forbidden in Scouting because it often leads to serious injury. Of course that doesn’t seem to stop the Scouts who think they are made of steel and try to ignore any limitations on their fun.
Every few months one of the Scouts will get what they think is a bright idea to play this game. If the Scoutmasters are otherwise engaged then it is played. If no one is hurt then everything is fine and the game is played again at a later date. This probably happens into perpetuity. But if someone is hurt then look out! Of course months later they forget and play it again.
This day and its result was typical. One of our boys suffered a broken wrist. Our 3rd Assistant Scoutmaster quickly got him stabilized wrapping his wrist and arm in an improvised cast. The cast was a piece of cardboard folded twice lengthwise. The resulting cardboard triangle was made large enough to fit around the Scout’s forearm. Where the long edges of the cardboard met it was taped together. The cast & arm was supported from the neck by the Scout’s Jamboree neckerchief, which worked great as a sling. As the day wore on we got admiring comments on the ingenuity of the cardboard cast, but that was cold comfort.
I was 2nd Assistant Scoutmaster for our troop. Prior to the Jamboree I was in charge of keeping all of the passport information straight. At the Jamboree I was in charge of medical issues. I learned about the injury moments after it happened when some of our Scouts ran back to camp reporting the news. Arriving on the scene I found our Scout getting stabilized and dealing with his pain.
A few moments later I got this snap of our 1st Assistant Scoutmaster & our “lucky” Scout.
The Scout was a bit perturbed with the situation he found himself in. He easily understood we had to get more permanent help than a cardboard cast. He said he could walk with no trouble so from our campsite we walked a mile or more across the entire Jamboree site to the first aid tent.
Once we did the entry paperwork a doctor examined the arm. A diagnosis was made and the staff prepared paperwork for the Scout to be treated at the hospital in Rancagua some 18 miles away.
A small convoy of ambulances serviced the Jamboree site. On the route they picked up, transported, & dropped off patients at the hospital or at the camp. Service varied, but was about every 30-60 minutes so as one ambulance was at the hospital another was at the camp. More were probably en route.
We walked to the ambulance to find they had room for my Scout and 6 or 8 other sick Scouts, but no room for me. That would not normally be a problem as I was quite well. But as Scouters at a World event we had been told in no uncertain terms NEVER to leave one of our Scouts alone outside of camp or on a tour.
The adult Scouter in charge of loading the ambulance was from Italy. He spoke Italian. His assistant was from The Netherlands, but fortunately spoke a little English.
In English I made it known in no uncertain terms that I was going to accompany my Scout to the hospital. In Italian he made it known in no uncertain terms that there was no room for me & I wasn’t going. The argument went back and forth before a compromise was reached. I could travel in the ambulance if I sat on the floor. I had no bench or chair, no restraint, not even something to lean against, but the road was good, the driver was a pro, and I was to meet him again.
We got to the hospital without incident. Each of the Scout patients in the ambulance was taken to a room to await medical attention. I stayed with my Scout and I was determined to get him the best medical care I could. I began handing out Scout patches to whoever walked by hoping to attract some attention.
This made no impression at all until I said the patches were from California. California is pretty much the same in English or Spanish. In Chile the name had an amazing cachet. Pretty soon all sorts of hospital staff were coming by to get a souvenir patch from California!
In the meantime I learned my Scout spoke Spanish as a second language. He spoke it with a decidedly California accent, but was well understood. Noticing I was wearing an Assistant Scoutmaster patch he told the staff I was “El Jefe Segundo”, the second chief or the second in command. This was true enough at our troop level. Except the hospital staff took it to mean I was second in command of the entire U.S. contingent. He didn’t tell them otherwise and I was unaware of the subterfuge until he told me on our way back to camp.
I have no idea if my patches or his story did any good, but a doctor eventually examined my Scout. He got his arm x-rayed, set, and put in a plaster cast. The doctor we saw did his residency in Connecticut. His English was rusty but quite passable.
Here is a photo of my Scout with his custom fitted plaster cast.
Upon release from the hospital we were told to come back in a week for a re-exam. A week later we walked back to the medical tent to get booked for an ambulance ride. I had no trouble getting a seat this time and we had the driver from our first trip. He had been impressed with my argument the week earlier and insisted I sit up front in the passenger seat as a reward. With my Scout translating, we had a great conversation during the trip to the hospital.
When the Jamboree was over and my Scout got home he visited his doctor for a check up. The care in Chile was so good the arm was left to heal in the plaster cast from Chile.
I’ve got over 25 photos here. As time passes & I scan more they will be added to this album.
There were many activity or workshop areas at Jamboree. World Jamborees have some large common events such as the opening & closing ceremonies. Typically Jamborees revolve around much smaller activities that allow Scouts from different countries to intermingle and get to know each other in a casual fashion.
Some of the activity areas were not indoors, but were covered by a red mesh netting to cut the sun & the heat. That is why some of these photos have a red tint to them.
After Jamboree much of the troop took a 3 day tour about 400 miles south of Santiago high in the mountains. We stayed in Villarrica and Pucon, at one point climbing on part of the Villarrica volcano. Despite the summer, the weather was cold. During most of the outdoor activities I froze. This photo was at a resort we stayed at in the Villarrica area.
Some of our troop. Most of them are in tee shirts & matching hats. A couple of them are wearing the USA Contingent windbreaker. Note the sub camp gateway in the background. It has about 5 flags. Each day it became more and more decorated with flags.
Near the Activity areas many countries’ Scouting organizations set up booths. These booths are exhibits, not a trade show type of thing.
I have the names of some of these people, but prefer not to publish them.