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A badge, a mystery and 'The Voyage of The Calgaric'The Badge, actual size

In the year 2000, an antique dealer friend of mine, knowing of my interest in Scouting, gave me a little silver badge, shown here actual size. He thought the badge might be to do with Scouting because it contained the initials "BP", and had very small fleurs-de-lys in the top corners. Little did I know at that time the significance of the badge, or where my researching its history was going to lead

The Badge
The badge has a pin on the back and
was designed as a brooch or lapel badge

THE word underneath the wavy lines is "Palanga" and the date "1933". I had to admit that, at the time, neither meant anything to me. I started to research the badge on the Internet. I typed "Palanga+Scout" into a search engine - very satisfying! Palanga is on the Baltic Coast of Lithuania. And B-P visited it when on a tour of Baltic and North Sea Countries in 1933.

BUT who was the "AS" whose initials feature alongside those of B-P on the badge? I searched on "Palanga" by itself and came up with general information from the present-day tourist information office of the city. I was just giving up when I read about a monument to Antanas Smetona, 'The Father of Lithuania'. Further research on Smetona revealed that he was much interested in youth works, pro all things good and anti all things Nazi. He tried to oppose both Communism and Nazism, and as a result had to escape to Switzerland. He eventually went to live in the US, where he died in a house fire in 1944. This surely must be the "AS" whose initials match those of B-P's?

A little more searching and I felt I had 'cracked it'. A picture of B-P and Antanas Smetona standing side by side flanked by Madame Smetona and Lady Baden-Powell.

Antanas Smetona & Baden-Powell.

So I nearly had the mystery of the badge unravelled - or so I thought!

NEXT, I thought that the stylised symbol 'floating' on what I took to be the sea must surely be meant to represent the White Star liner, SS Calgaric which took B-P off on that tour of the Baltic and North Sea countries in 1933.

Early in 2001, I was scrolling through the eBay Logo Website of auctions of Scouting memorabilia, (eBay is the world's biggest online auction house) when I came upon an image of a Lithuanian Scouting Medal. Hoping that this might have a link to the Cruise of Calgaric, I opened up the auction page, but was disappointed to find that there appeared to be no connection.Lithuanian medalThen I recognised the symbol in the centre of the medal. It was the same as the one I had thought represented the Calgaric floating on the symbolic sea on the little silver badge.

I wrote to the seller of the medal to see if he could shed any light on the symbol, but other than knowing it was definitely a Lithuanian Scout Medal, he could not. This was a mystery which would not be solved for some considerable time.

Girl Guide parade

NOW, I thought, the only part left to piece together was the number "XV", which appears at the centre top of the badge and that, I felt, must relate perhaps to a 15th National Jamboree held in Palanga in 1933. I did not have any real evidence for that, until I saw the picture shown here, which is a photograph of part of the parade of 15,000 scouts, which B-P reviewed along Palanga's famous Baltic strand. (Well it's famous now!) The particular section under review are Girl Guides. These Scouts and Guides came, I surmised, from a large Jamboree held locally. Obviously 15,000 is too many to have come from one small area!

Further research led me to discover what, I feel, is the true significance of the Roman numeral "XV". President Smetona signed the document declaring Lithuania to be a republic on February 16th, 1918. My little badge was presented in 1933 and is commemorating the 15th (XV) anniversary of the republic.

Mrs Rose Kerr
Mrs Rose Kerr, author of The Cruise of The "Calgaric" pictured on board the ship, reading Baden-Powell's newly-published Lessons from the 'Varsity of Life

WELL, that was as far as the World Wide Web could take me at that time. A little later in the year, I was looking through some past catalogues from a dealer in Scouting Ephemera when I found a book listed called The Cruise of The "Calgaric". This was written by Mrs Rose Kerr, who was at the time The International Commissioner of the Girl Guide Association, and was published by The Girl Guide Association in 1934 in London.

A quick email confirmed that the book had now been sold, that it was quite well known in Scouting literature, (though not, unfortunately, by me!) but apparently was quite hard to come by. Repeated searches yielded nothing until I visited the Website of Really a search engine in its own right, Abebooks lists thousands of antiquarian book sellers across the world and millions of old books: and you have guessed it - just before Christmas 2000, a coffee-table sized book, The Cruise of The "Calgaric", thudded through my letter box.

My voyage of discovery entered fresh waters!

Miss Brook's photograph

Some time after the purchase of my first copy I was tempted to buy another, again through the services of Abebooks. Why would I want another? Well, this book was advertised as having additional photographs. On acquiring the book I found in it an invoice for it from the Girl Guides Association, (who called it The Baltic Cruise Book) made out to its new owner, a Miss Brooks. In the book there is a listing of all participants, so it was an easy task to establish that Miss E Brooks was, in 1933, the District Guide Commissioner for Wolverhampton, West Staffordshire. She had painstakingly used photo corners to add her own snapshots to the book and there was also included an envelope containing larger pictures, including the photograph here, showing B-P (note his in 1933 Godollo World Jamboree badge), Sir Percy Everett and an unknown (to me) Scout official. Sir Percy Everett was one of the most enduring characters in Scouting, he had been with B-P on Brownsea Island and was destined to become the Deputy Chief Scout.

There was also an original of the B-P family photograph, shown a little further down this Page.

SS Calgaric

I learned from my first copy of the book that The Chief Guide, Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, had been on visit to Poland in August 1932. She was very impressed with what she found and remarked to a colleague, a Miss Mander, that all British Guiders would also benefit from such a visit. "If only I could take a whole shipload of them and bring them over...." The quick response was, "Why not?"

From these chance remarks, the concept of a voyage to the Baltic and North Sea Countries by Scouters and Guiders was quickly brought to fruition. It took B-P himself to persuade the White Star Line to find the good ship Calgaric - specially brought back from Canada - when previously no other ship had been available. Shown here is the company's publicity drawing of the ship.

Right from the start Scouts were involved - though the start date of the cruise was only a few days after the World Jamboree in Godollo Hungary, so their numbers were not as many as might have been. There was room for only 655 passengers and very quickly over 1000 subscribers were found. They came from every rank of Scouting and Guiding, representing nearly every English Scout and Guide County.

B-P and family

Anybody over the age of 16 could go and though there were Senior Scouts and Rangers, it has to be said that the most common 'rank' was that of Guide Captain. This in part may have been due to Guides being more available (Guides did not attend the Godollo Jamboree), and partly because the concept of the voyage was that of The Chief Guide. Also, perhaps, senior ranks were more common because the cost of the voyage would have been prohibitive for younger Guides. In addition, there were representatives from the Commonwealth countries as well as three Swiss Guiders, one American and one French Girl Scout Leader.

In the end the party consisted of approximately 100 Scouters, 475 Guides and 80 non Scouts and Guides - presumably the husbands and wives of the participants. Divided into sexes, there were 85 men and 570 women. (The reason why there were 100 Scouters, yet only 85 men on the voyage, was that some of the Wolf Cub Akelas were, of course, women.)

The applicants were no doubt attracted by the fact that both The Chief Scout and Chief Guide together with their family were going to be present throughout the entire voyage, which was to last 17 days, visit 9 countries and travel 3,424 miles.

The picture on the right, taken on board the Calgaric, shows The Chief, Lady Baden-Powell and behind them their children (l to r) Heather, Peter and Betty whom, in her later years, I was fortunate enough to meet.

Calgaric's flags

THE voyage had to be planned giving careful consideration to the political situation of the day. Though the ship passed through the German Kiel Canal, it was decided before the voyage began that no one would disembark in Hitler's Third Reich. Later on the ship cruised between the Danish mainland and islands, but again no port of call was made because the then-current regime did not allow any adult to wear a uniform! This must have been a very bitter pill to any of those on the voyage who had attended the 2nd World Jamboree at Ermelunden in Denmark only nine years previously.

One difference between the sexes soon showed up in the planning. The Scouters, it was said, would not come if they had to wear anything but Scout Uniform: The Guiders were adamant that they would not come if they could not wear their own clothes on board. In the event both sexes were appropriately dressed at all times!

THE ship left Southampton on the 12th of August 1933 under flags of the Scout and Guide movements that had been specially made for the purpose.

Street opening

Whilst the voyage did attract some publicity in Britain, it was not headline news. This was in marked contrast to some of the countries visited, where its effect was truly astounding. In Lithuania, for example, a public holiday was declared in honour of B-P's visit. And it was in Lithuania that the little badge responsible for this article originated.

Palanga was the main holiday resort of Lithuania, and the contingent was taken there the twelve miles from where the Calgaric docked in special buses. B-P opened a street named in his honour (shown in the photo on the right) and his party then went on to meet a local member of the aristocracy, Countess Tyszkiewicz, and call at the official summer residence of President Antanas Smetona.

LATER the party were taken in open horse-drawn coaches on a very exciting ride along the Baltic strand. The party had disembarked close to some sand dunes when a trumpet sounded: "Wolf Cubs and Brownies gave a yell and rushed in to form a semicircle, each waving a small flag." The small flags were of different colours but together made up the flag of Lithuania. The trumpet sounded again "...hundreds of Guides rushed in from the left and hundreds of Scouts from the right, helter-skelter, yelling and cheering and throwing their caps in the air."

Silver Wolf

This immense concourse formed a horseshoe, punctuated by the bright colours of the Lithuanian flag. Both National Anthems were played and some of the British party were put to shame by the Lithuanians who apparently knew all the words, in English, to the three verses of our National Anthem! President Smetona addressed the multitude and told them an old Lithuanian story concerning the national emblem - the three-lobed ruta or wild lily: The country had been invaded by pirates who destroyed all plants with exception of the lily which was now the badge of the Lithuanian Guides, and of course symbolised freedom. If you examine the image of the little silver badge at the start of this article, and now knowing what you are looking for, you will be able to find the wild lilies. Another part of the mystery unravelled!

President Smetona then presented B-P with a special Silver Wolf. I wonder whether this is the above normal-sized Silver Wolf, shown above, belonging to The Founder that I saw at Baden-Powell House on the Scouting Heritage Tour. Knowing now what I have discovered, I would hazard a guess that it is.

The 'Table'
The description of the 'world's largest table' had caused me to speculate on exactly what was involved, but it was graphic enough for me to recognise this untitled image in yet another eBay lot as being one part of it

After the presentations, the Lithuanians performed a march-past which included, thanks to a quick-thinking Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, all of the British Contingent. The march led between the sand dunes and into the pine forest where an enormous Jamboree was encamped. A thousand people were seated at the world's largest table, which had been landscaped out of the earth, with a 'tablecloth' of fine silver Baltic sand and decorations of moss, pebbles and stones.

At the centre of the table was pine tree and 'spokes', dug into the surface of the 'table', radiated from it. Each spoke seated 50 people. At the head of one spoke was B-P and President Smetona. Their tablecloth was emblazoned with the initials "BP" and "AS" - just as on the little silver badge.

After the meal, the contingent visited the sub-camps of the Jamboree before returning the ship. All concerned were of the opinion that this day was the "high watermark of the cruise". The Lithuanian hosts gave each participant a lasting memento of their visit, "... a special medal ... bearing on it the emblem of the rising sun, with the date and the initials of the President and of The Chief Scout." This so accurately describes the little badge that was the reason for the research that led to this article, that I feel its origins have finally been traced.

AFTER leaving Lithuania, each member of the party with their own commemorative badge, the voyage continued with equal success through the remaining countries of Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Norway. Almost two years after I began my quest into the significance of the little silver badge, I was fortunate to be able to obtain from an auction two documents that shed some light on this last part of the cruise.

The Menu for August 20th was for the day the cruise visited Helsinki. The ship was met by a delegation from the three Finnish Scout movements - one for Finnish-speaking Scouts, one for Polish-speaking Scouts and the third open to all. The 'cruisers' disembarked and, a little distance from the city of Helsinki, a march-past and rally took place in a local park. The Chief Scout visited the national hero, Field Marshal Baron Mannerhein, who had saved his country from Russian and German invasions, whilst the rest of the party went sight-seeing in the 'White City of the North'. The visitors were entertained for lunch with a 'delicious smorgasbord' and then later on had tea in a fine café during which a charming incident took place. A small Wolf Cub marched up to the Chief with a very big book and demanded "Chief Scout please to write here." The Chief Scout teased "But what if I don't know how to spell my name?" The Wolf Cub was crestfallen "I can no more English." but he was soon put at his ease. The Chiefs were taken back to the Calgaric in open carriage, garlanded with flowers and the ship departed into a magnificent sunset behind one of the islands. Despite the two splendid meals mentioned above, dinner was served on board as usual.

The Menu
Chilled Spanish Melon
Soups Consommé Impériale
Potage Cherville
Fish Boiled salmon, Cucumber, Dutch Sauce
Sparling Frite à la Bouisson
Entrées Larded Calf's sweetbreads, Chantilly
Fricadelles à la Florenza
Joint Fore and hindquarters of lamb, Anglaise
Vegetables Garden Peas
Rice Pilaw
Vegetable Marrow
Boiled, browned and Chambury Potatoes
Roast Aylesbury Duckling, Apple Compôte
Salad Espagnole
Sweets Pouding Mathilda
Fraises Arlesienne
Glace Choux au Choc

It is exceedingly fortunate that those hardened Scout and Guide campers knew how to rough it!!


Saturday, August 26th was the penultimate day of the Cruise and to counter the inevitable sadness of the forthcoming partings, the ship was put into the party spirit. At 2.30p.m. on the Boat Deck the second Gymkhana of the voyage was held with individual and 'County' events such as 'Steering the Ship' and the Human Potato Race, and the inevitable 'Aquatic Spar Fighting' held over the swimming pool.

This was followed by fancy dress dinner where much ingenuity was shown - the 'Old Irishwomen with her pig' deserved special mention. Then came the final 'camp fire' which included stories by Sir Percy Everett. He was a most popular figure, ever ready with a yarn and able to compose witty campfire songs himself but he was to be outclassed, I think, by the following ditty, sung to the tune of Bring back my Bonny to me:-

There's a man who was Scouting at Brownsea
On this cruise he has worked might and main
And we're sure we can count on Sir Percy
If ever it happened again.

And indeed they could!

Lady Baden-Powell presented prizes to the winners of the Gymkhana events, these took the form of autographed photos of the Chief Scout and Guide and autographed copies of the Chief's latest book Lessons from the Varsity of Life. Where are those autographed copies now?

The following day the Chief Guide and B-P spoke to the cruisers. Lady Olave Baden-Powell said that the cruise was not to be allowed to be an end; its participants must go out and infect others with its spirit. B-P, in moving terms, spoke of the unbelievable way the party had been received on is shore visits and the wonderful contribution each and every Scout and Guider had bought to the cruise.

FINALLY, the Calgaric visited Oban, Scotland before docking at Liverpool on August 29th, 1933, where the party was met by the Lord Mayor. Later, and in marked contrast to the other ports of call, there was no one to greet B-P on his arrival at Euston Station in London and other Scouting passengers from the Calgaric had to rush from one end of the platform to the other to become the receiving party!

Like Scout Jamborees, the voyage was not merely to do with comradeship, sister- and brotherhood amongst the participants. In the forward to The Cruise of The "Calgaric" B-P talks about the voyage as an "Argosy of Peace" and to be the first of a series of such cruises. It is true to say that in each of the countries visited the there were more Scouts and Guides involved in the reception of the Calgaric cruisers than then there were participants on board and, as is evidenced from the newspaper cuttings, the significance of the cruise was pointed out on a daily basis both back at home in Great Britain and in every county visited. It was indeed a positive force for the good of World Peace, at a time when it was most desperately needed. And it was not to be a 'one shot' attempt. In the epilogue, Rose Kerr, author of the book, concludes with these words:


WHAT second cruise? Yet another Cruise of the Calgaric? Was there a third or a fourth cruise? I did not know, but such was the power of the little silver badge, that it led me on to acquire a scrapbook written by Ada May Dagge of Foz do Douro, Portugal, who was a participant on the voyage of the Orduña that left Liverpool with over 400 Scouters and Guiders, again including Mrs Rose Kerr, author of The Cruise of The Calgaric, in August 1938. Naturally I thought this might be 'the second cruise', but then a short time later, I discovered that in 1934, the Chief Scout and Guide with a party of Scouters and Guiders cruised the Mediterranean Counties in the SS Adriatic. This, in fact, was the second cruise referred to above, and the Voyage of the Orduña the third and, as it turned out, the last of the Scout/Guide Cruises.


THE cruises of the Adriatic and Orduña became a challenge for further research, which has led me not only far and wide, but back to the very beginnings of Scouting. Both of these cruises have become Scouting Milestones.


SO, here was a gift that in financial terms was probably not very significant - and even now is not worth a fortune - but how interesting it proved to be! I wonder just how many people there are in the world who would have the time, the inclination and the means to find out just what this little badge signified. Its history has been traced from what became a Communist Eastern-Block country into what I hope is now a properly organised Scouting Archive. My antique dealer friend had sharp eyes to find it in the first place - he said that the only clue that the lot he was looking at might have anything to do with Scouting was a single Girl Guide badge!

Gediminas Cross
The Grand Cross of the Order of Gediminas

But it was to be a long time before the final piece of the puzzle dropped into place.

In June 2002, I was very pleased to receive an email from Lew Orans, author of the excellent Pine Tree Web Scout History Website, who was kindly responding to my request for more information concerning the mysterious symbol at the centre of the little silver badge. Lew pointed out that the Grand Cross of the Order of Gediminas, presented to B-P one year before the voyage in 1932, also carried the same symbolic device.

An exchange of correspondence followed, resulting in an exultant mail from Lew:-

"Being a stamp collector (though inactive for some years)...I came across an explanation of our symbol. On a web page devoted to out-of-use Lithuanian postage stamps, I found...the following explanation: The small a stylised drawing of Gediminas Tower in Vilnius. Gediminas was Grand Duke of Lithuania in the 14th century...It seems the stylised symbol of the castle is a particular 'logo' both for the Grand Duke, the city of Vilnius, and, at times, the historic power of Lithuania (when most of the Baltics, Poland and Ukraine were part of the Grand Duchy).

"Grand Duke Gediminas, historically is a national hero in Lithuania, because he extended his country's influence with treaties and was then forced to defend his country against attack from Teutonic and Livonian knights."

Wonderful! Thanks to Lew and the power of the Internet, the mysteries of the little silver badge and a highly symbolic device had finally been unravelled. To sum up:

  1. The place name, the date, the wavy lines symbolising the voyage from overseas were soon deduced
  2. The initials "AS" alongside "BP" stood for Antanas Smetona, president and founding father of Lithuania
  3. The Roman numeral XV, representing the National Scout Jamboree on the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Lithuania
  4. The Lithuanian national flower, the three-lobed rutas whose symbolism was explained by President Smetona in his welcoming speech to B-P and the 'cruisers'
  5. And finally, the perplexing symbol, which I took to represent a ship sailing on the seas, but my Web Designer thought might represent a castle, was identified at last.

IN, September 2004, I was able purchase an actual Calgaric particpant's Log Book written by Mrs Gladys M Godson, a Girl Guide Commissioner from Lincolnshire, in a hard-covered notebook provided to all the Guiders on board for that purpose This of course provided a wonderful addition to the officially printed book by Rose Kerr, The Cruise of the Calgaric

Later on, deep joy, I was given electronic copies of Betty Baden-Powell's own log book by her son, B-P's grandson, Robin Clay. In September 2007 I acquired yet another participant logbook written by Miss Mary Wilcox a Guide Captain from Oxford. This excellently written document like the others contained many photographs some of which were taken by Miss Wilcox herself, others were 'official' numbered photographs taken by the Ship's Photographer which could be purchased on board - and and there were many newspaper cuttings and photographs and postcards bought in the places visited. The log books also contain Calgaric artefacts programmes- menus- invitations which, if originating on board, were printed by the ship's printing press, but there were also invitations and keepsakes given the host countries at every port of call. The participants' own descriptions will enable further descriptions to be added to the voyage to this Page.

Milestones has gone on its own cruise of discovery, from knowing absolutely nothing about the cruise whatsoever, to achieving the historian's dream of having several authentic eyewitness accounts on which to base an accurate account. I look forward to achieving this in due course.

The table below (with its separate Scroll Bar) is a listing of all known artefacts and ephemera. It goes without saying that should you have knowledge of additional items (and there are sure to be some) Milestones would be pleased to include them on this list with acknowledgement. Those items followed by an asterix are illustrated on this Page.

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