A Crucial Role
Food wasn’t the only resource which needed to be grown. Flax was a very important crop; it could be used to produce a tough canvas like cloth which could be used for jobs such as making tents, equipment and even covering aircraft wings.
The bravery of Scouts undertaking war work on the Home Front and those who had joined the Armed Forces was recognised during the First World War. Former Scouts were awarded at least 21 Victoria Crosses, the highest military decoration awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy” to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces.
It was the bravery of one former Scout, Jack (John Travers) Cornwell, which led to the development of Scouting’s highest award for bravery, the Cornwell Badge, still in use today.
A painting inspired by commemorative images of Jack Cornwell, VC. 1900-1916. Commissioned to mark the centenary of his death, 2 June 1916.
A pilot for a junior section of Scouts called Wolf Cubs was launched in January 1914 and proved an instant success recruiting 10,000 Cubs in the first year. In 1916 during the darkest days of the War Scouting took the decision to formalise Wolf Cubs membership of the Scouting Movement, the section continued to grow and by 1918 over 37,000 boys had joined. This success may in part be due to the unprecedented numbers of mothers taking up jobs to help on the Home Front. As today, Cubs would have been a perfect activity to keep boys occupied and safe after school.
Cubs played their part on the Home Front by knitting comforts for troops and stuffing pillows with newspaper. They also learnt skills that would be helpful around the home including peeling vegetables, cleaning shoes and basic housework, no doubt a great help for working mums.