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Thread: "Boy Scout founder Lord Baden-Powell 'executed PoW'"

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    Account Closed weefatbob's Avatar
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    "Boy Scout founder Lord Baden-Powell 'executed PoW'"

    From BBC News:

    "Documents suggesting that Boy Scout founder Lord Baden-Powell illegally executed a prisoner-of-war have been sold for £3,740."

    Link to article

    "A Scout is to be Trusted"? It claims the Chief had been promised his life if he surrendered. Still, who knows in the "fog of war" what was going on?

    Bob

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    Account Closed Raksha's Avatar
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    I too saw this, originally in the Telegraph and then picked up by the Daily Mail. As this happened before Scouting was even thought of, I think that they are raking over very very old coals and that if they wanted to do a proper job they would investigate every single soldier, sailor and airman since records began and pull them to pieces as well.
    Modern sentiments do not equate to the sentiments and morals of the time. Thats my ten pence worth..

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    Escouts Team MikeJ's Avatar
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    I read the link that Bob put up, and I have to say the BBC article was really unclear, mind you as Raksha says it was 11 years before B-P even thought of Scouting, so its largely irrelevant in my opinion.
    Mike Jury
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    This old chestnut raises its ugly head from time to time. I last heard it in the late 60s when I was a Scout. Every so often, something comes along and a new generation of journalists get hold of it and make what they can of it! It is very easy for us to judge it with 21st century indignation but it happened in a very different world with a very different set of attitudes and morals. It is at the very least, difficult for us to pass any sort of meaningful judgement on this. That it happened is not in doubt, that the 'old-boy network' of the then Empire closed ranks about it is also undisputed. Whether or not it was justified or necessary, or prudent or just plain wrong, from our position in history over 110 years later, it is impossible to tell.

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    Senior Member chris@8th's Avatar
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    I shall await the news that somebody has decided to apologise for this, as seems to be the modern day trend. I'm not trying to belittle any action that has gone on in the past, but really, if all those involved are long gone, what is to be gained from looking at "impossible to comprehend" historical actions and judging them with modern day morals?
    Chris

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    Member Grumps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raksha View Post
    Modern sentiments do not equate to the sentiments and morals of the time. Thats my ten pence worth..
    - and yet the fundamentals of Scouting as laid down by BP (faith requirements for example) are still upheld.
    In fact I've heard the 'What would BP do?' argument used a few times.

    I doubt there is any basis to these claims. If there was it would all have hit the fan long ago.

    And here's a thought - what if it were true, and starting the Scout movement years later was an atonement? Or BP's effort to start a better world?
    Last edited by Grumps; 10-12-2009 at 10:20 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumps View Post
    I doubt there is any basis to these claims. If there was it would all have hit the fan long ago.
    The incident happened, without a shadow of a doubt - recorded historic fact. Far less clear is B-P's role in it. There is only hearsay evidence of what was actually said, if anything, by B-P either in the days prior to the execution or after it. At this distance in time we will never know for sure so, as with the previous times this story has hit the headlines, it will never be proved one way or the other whether B-P personally gave then broke his word and, as before the story will die away for another 40 years - and quite right too!

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    Member Grumps's Avatar
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    Dramatist - you have it right.

    Dare we hope the purchaser was someone who wanted the papers to destroy them and bury the thing for ever?

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    How can we today, sitting at home, or in our offices in a relatively safe, relatively democratic and relatively free UK, in a Europe where conflict between traditional enemies is now unthinkable, make a judgement on an incident that happened over 100 years ago.

    Conflict brings cruelty - as we have seen in Iraq and doubtless will do in Afghanistan. Sometimes the people on the spot make decisions that we at home find repulsive.

    In almost every conflict there have been the shootings of prisoners - I understand that during WW2 the Germans feared being taken prisoner by either Scottish or Australian regiments, as they had a convenient solution to dealing with the logistics of prisoners. They very often took no prisoners...

    This story is just another disenfranchised type trying to blacken the ideals of Scouting.
    Ewan Scott

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    Member Grumps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    How can we today, sitting at home, or in our offices in a relatively safe, relatively democratic and relatively free UK, in a Europe where conflict between traditional enemies is now unthinkable, make a judgement on an incident that happened over 100 years ago.

    We can and should make those judgements, always in the understanding that we apply todays values to a different age. Thereby we advance: by always setting new standards we cannot achieve we urge the next generation to try.

    What cynic was it who said 'We study the mistakes of history so that we might repeat them'?
    Last edited by MikeJ; 10-12-2009 at 12:14 PM. Reason: Fixed quoting

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    We can and should make those judgements, always in the understanding that we apply todays values to a different age. Thereby we advance: by always setting new standards we cannot achieve we urge the next generation to try.
    That's interesting. Unfortunately most people apply today's values to the past. We may judge that in today's society such an action may well be unacceptable, but we should not judge that in the past it wasn't the right thing to have done at that time. Some things are incontravertably wrong there is no question about that, the actions of Pol Pot's regime ( that is close to Godwinising) and we can run through the ages and identify a number of ills by modern standards which were the norm in the past.

    Should we vilify those who lived by a different measure in a different time? Or should we recognise that they were the product of their time and situation. The danger with the latter being that we might then justify actions in Central Europe as being a product of time and situation (which historically speaking, they were).
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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    Member Grumps's Avatar
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    Bushfella -
    shouldn't we avoid vilifying and justifying by todays standards?

    That doesn't preclude vilification when standards of that time would have found the actions vile.
    And justifying wars -well sadly there are just wars. Usually both sides claim their fight to be just.
    Declaring war to stop genocide is one thing; declaring war to prosecute genocide something else. Both might sides might claim justifcation by their morals but history will come to judge differently.

    Some morals, when seen with historical perspective, appear perverse - but how many of us query the prevailing consensus?

    To clarify - none of the above waffle applies to BP and the original thread. Apologies for threadjack to Weefatbob

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    Senior Member scoutastic's Avatar
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    Post capture morality is a relatively modern phenomenon; only a few years before then the newspapers carried bloodthirsty accounts of how Indian Mutineers were dealt with after capture and the overwhelming response was "good show"...

    If true, and it probably was, it was well within the standards of the time - though 1896 would have been right at the tail-end of such behaviour it must be said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoutastic View Post
    1896 would have been right at the tail-end of such behaviour it must be said.
    If only that was true! .......... Abu Ghraib prison?

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    Senior Member scoutastic's Avatar
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    sorry, I should have said 'at the tail end of such behaviour being accepted and acceptable'. You're right to be picky.

    The Baghdad human pyramid display team is, as you say, a modern example of behaviour well outside what is acceptable and I'm glad they were sent-down for what they did. They shamed us all.

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