Dagge, Ada May.Founder of the first British Boy Scout Group overseas. Diarist of the last 'Peace Cruise'
ADA May Dagge was a significant personality in Scout and Guide History. In 1910, she formed the 1st Peninsula Boy Scout Group in Oporto, Portugal which became a founder member of British Boy Scouts in Foreign Countries, an organisation which still exists today under the title British Groups Abroad. In 1912 Miss Dagge formed a Guide Company in the same city and added a Wolf Cub Pack in 1933.
In the early days much advice, information and encouragement was received from Headquarters from the then Chief Commissioner, Lieut. General Sir Edmund Elles, G.C.I.E., K.C.B. The group prospered and Miss Dagge was invited to be present at the Royal Review of the Scouts held at Windsor in 1911.
During the 1914-18 war Miss Dagge came to England to help with war work, but returned to Portugal to resume her Scouting. She was present at the First World Jamboree held at Olympia in August 1920, and received her Akela's warrant in the same year.
Miss Dagge, to her regret, had to give up active Scout work in 1923, but still continued to take great interest in the movement. On the invitation of International Scout Headquarters in 1931 she attended the 6th Biennial International Scout Conference in Vienna–Baden. Together with Lord and Lady Baden-Powell and their children, she also took part in the third Scout and Guide Cruise on the Orduña in 1934, keeping a journal of the cruise which forms the basis of the Milestones article, The Voyage of The Orduña
I am indebted to Tony Dunn, British Groups Abroad Historian for the above information.
British Groups Abroad can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dimmock, Frederick Haydn. 1895-1955Long-serving editor of The Scout
HAYDN Dimmock, or 'Dim' as he was known to his Scout friends, was a central part of the Scout Movement between the two World Wars and rose to the heights of a much-respected editor of The Scout. Indeed, much of Dimmock's life seems to be bound up, one way or another with Scouting and Magazines.
Dimmock was persuaded by a schoolmaster in 1909 to read an edition of the The Scout and rapidly became hooked on Scouting. That was not really surprising as, prior to seeing any official literature, he was given to wearing a broad-brimmed hat with Scout membership badge in his buttonhole. The magazine encouraged him to form his own patrol. After his family moved from Enfield, in Middlesex, to Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, he joined the local troop and shortly afterwards he was asked to assist in producing the group Magazine. The family had to move again, returning to Enfield in 1910, where the local Scoutmaster was the legendary P B Nevill, who was connected with Roland House. Dimmock was impressed by the group, but not overwhelmed, and was soon volunteering his own talents as the editor of a new troop magazine, The Stalker. So good was this magazine that it was extended, with Dimmock still in editorial control, as the local District magazine, printed by Scouts on their own printing press. The sales of this magazine, said his County Commissioner, interfered with those of the Headquarters Gazette ! Arrangements were made for Dimmock to meet Percy Everett, who was the Scout Headquarters link with Pearson's, The Scout magazine's publishers, and its editor 'Uncle' Elwes. By 1918 Dimmock had become the Editor of The Scout, a position he was to hold until 1954, a total of 36 years. During this time Dimmock played a central part in the development of the Scout Association and worked closely with most of its central personalities, including B-P, up to his leaving England for the last time to go to Africa in 1938.
In his book, Bare Knee Days, Dimmock tells of visit he made in 1928 to the Carlton Theatre, London. He very much enjoyed the show called Good News mainly thanks to the energy and charisma of the lead actor, one Ralph Reader. (There is to be a future Milestone's article on Reader and the Gang Shows.) Later Dimmock wrote to Reader and the two met over lunch in the Scout Restaurant in Imperial Headquarters. Dimmock recalled correspondence he had had with Reader when the actor was Boy Scout, about a sick rabbit! Talk soon got round as to how Reader might become involved with Boy Scout productions and he was speedily introduced to those responsible for the pantomimes at Roland House and then to the Holborn Rovers. Ralph Reader, in his book It's been terrific recalls this meeting, "Long before I left him I knew I wanted to be back with the greatest youth movement of all." So Dimmock played a central rôle in introducing Ralph Reader back into Scouting, and was at least partially responsible for the subsequent Gang Shows that have been such a feature of Scouting in London and wherever Scouting is to be found.
HAYDN Dimmock's other main passion in life was that of steam trains, and part of his genius was an ability to combine his interests. It was Dimmock who was responsible for the 'Train Cruises' of the 1930's. Perhaps it was his interest in trains that persuaded him to accompany E E (Josh) Reynolds on his 1944 visit to the Scout International Relief Service teams (SIRS), set up by Reynolds, which were working in Europe - mainly with 'Displaced Persons' - as the Nazis were forced into vacating their former occupied territories. If it was, he must have found it somewhat frustrating. Their booked train failed to leave London for four successive days. Not that Dimmock did not deserve to be present at any meeting of SIRS, his fund-raising ideas enabled the £30,000 required to start the organisation to be raised in one day.
Thumbstick badge. The inscription reads: 'The Scout National Speedster Championships 1939'
He is credited with devising 'Bob-a-Job Week', though this was not in the form I knew it as Wolf Cub until 1949, which was a feature of Scouting until it was discontinued in 1970. B-P was vehemently opposed to any form of 'begging', even the selling of 'flags' on 'flag days', a fund-raising ploy used by all other charities of the day. In 1914 B-P's publisher Pearson, who was always a philanthropist, had started to go blind, and wanted to raise money for Braille publishing. He sent for Dimmock, then a junior on the staff of The Scout, and the idea of Scouts raising money by working for it, albeit in this case for a charity, was born.
Another innovation credited to Dimmock was the 'Soap Box Derby', which was started in 1939. In truth the idea started in America, but when Dimmock adapted it for British use, he decided that the cart should be self-propelled and they were usually pedal-powered, as opposed to the freewheeling downhill racers of the United States. The vehicles had to made by the Scout Group, with marks being given for design. There is still an annual 'National Grand Prix', held in a different location each year, which attracts many thousands of spectators.
DIMMOCK'S dedication to Scouting was well-recognised and his many friends were delighted when he received the M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire) in the 1951 New Year's Honours List.
Dimmock's 'trade' was writing, which he did with a sense of humour, as is illustrated by the title of his autobiography, Bare Knee Days. He also wrote many Scouting stories aimed at Scouts, The Jamboree Journey and Always a Scout being the best known. He was also an excellent speaker and much in demand at County events well into the 1950's. The Chief Scout at the time, Lord Rowallen, who wrote Dimmock's obituary for the The Scouter in May 1955, remarks on 'Dim's' powers as an "orator par excellence", as far as Scouts themselves were concerned at camp fires, PL's conferences and Scouts' Owns. This is a most fitting tribute as it emphasises Haydn Dimmock's greatest achievement, an ability to relate to the boy and create for him a world that would capture his imagination and that of hundreds of thousands like him.
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