Major-General Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, OM, GCMG, GCVO, KCB

Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell of Gilwell, was a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, and founder of the Scout Movement. He was born 22nd February 1857, at 6 Stanhope Street (now 11 Stanhope Terrace), Paddington in London, son of Reverend Baden Powell, a Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford University, who already had four teenage children from the second of his two previous marriages. After attending Rose Hill School, Tunbridge Wells, he was awarded a scholarship to be educated at Charterhouse School, after which he served in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa. In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, Baden-Powell successfully defended the city in the Siege of Mafeking. Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance and scout training in his African years, were also read by boys. Based on those earlier books, he wrote Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by Pearson, for youth readership. During writing, he tested his ideas through a camping trip on Brownsea Island that began on 1 August 1907, which is now seen as the beginning of Scouting.

After his marriage with Olave St Clair Soames, Baden-Powell, his sister Agnes Baden-Powell and notably his wife actively gave guidance to the Scouting Movement and the Girl Guides Movement. Baden-Powell lived his last years in Nyeri, Kenya, where he died in 1941.

[Source: Wikipedia - Robert Baden Powell - follow link for full biography]

Extract from "British Commanders in the Transvaal War 1899-1900" published by W.D. & H.O. Wills Ltd:


Was born February 22nd, 1857, his father being a well-known professor at Oxford. From his earliest days industry, natural ability and frankness of spirit never failed to gain a high place for him in the affections of his companions. And so it is at present, for a correspondent from the beleaguered town writes:—"To see B.P.' go whistling down the streets of Mafeking deep in thought, pleasing of countenance, bright, and confident, is cheering and heartening. Had any man in whom the town placed less confidence been in command, disaster might have befallen Mafeking, and if we are able to place the name of Mafeking on the roll of the Empire's outposts which have fought for the honour and glory of Britain, it will be chiefly because Baden-Powell has commanded us."

He has had a varied experience since he entered the 13th Hussars in 1876, first coming into prominence as a campaigner in the Ashanti Expedition of 1896. Popular satisfaction was created by his promotion to the command of 5th Dragoon Guards to act in Rhodesia, but all previous achievements have been eclipsed by his gallant defence of Mafeking, already referred to, against great odds.

His pamphlet, entitled "Aids to Scouting," was of such intrinsic value that the German Government gratuitously put a copy into the hands of every German soldier.

Last updated 5 February, 2009
Personalties Menu

Copyright © 2005-