Submitted by Neil Duncan of the 8th Darlington (Cockerton Green) Scout Group.
Lieutenant-General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, OM, GCMG, GCVO, KCB, DL was born in 1857 and had a long and illustrious military career, as well as having a profound impact on civilian life for generations of young people.
Baden-Powell spent most of his military service in India and Africa where he honed his Scouting skills and began writing training manuals which would later be the basis for the Scouting Movement from 1908. One of his most famous commands was during the Seige of Mafeking in 1899 when a small garrison held out for 277 days and a ‘Cadet Force’ was drawn up take over small but important jobs to allow the adults to fight. These Cadets gain an honourable mention in the opening chapter of Scouting For Boys.
He returned to England to take up a post as Inspector-General of Cavalry in 1903. From 1908-10 he was in command of the Northern Territorial Army. During this appointment, Baden-Powell selected the location of Catterick Garrison to replace Richmond Castle which was then the Headquarters of the Northumbrian Division. His plan was brought to fruition following the outbreak of the First World War. The original concept was for a temporary camp to accommodate 2 complete divisions, 40,000 single men in 2,000 huts.
On the outbreak of World War I in 1914, at the age of fifty-seven, Baden-Powell put himself at the disposal of the War Office. Lord Kitchener said: “he could lay his hand on several competent divisional generals but could find no one who could carry on the invaluable work of the Boy Scouts”.
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Jane Metcalfe visited the museum and outlined the story of her father, John Smith. He was born in Dundee, Forfar in 1883. After working as a boilermaker, he joined the Royal Engineers on 1 September 1909 and remained in military service until 31 January 1930. He spent time at Catterick Camp one hundred years ago at the time of the garrison’s founding. During the First World War John served in Egypt, before being transferred to the British Expeditionary Force in France. He became a Lance Corporal, and was promoted to Sergeant in April 1917. His record was ‘Exemplary’, and he was described as ‘Extremely honest, sober and reliable. A good organiser and very good in charge of men.’ 1852361 Sergeant John smith was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War medal, the Victory medal, the General Service medal and the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.
John was born in October 1876, the eldest son of Warrin and Ellen Mitton of Hawes. His father Warrin was both a joiner and a farmer. John married a girl from the Leyburn area, Mary Teresa, in July 1905 and had two daughters. Before joining the Army he spent four years as a postman in Raydaleside and previous to that, for about 14 years, a rural postman at Finghall near Leyburn. It was while he was there he got married. On leaving Finghall the people on his round presented him with a marble clock, pipe and a pouch containing some money. Needless to say he was a very well liked postman! He played for Hawes football team for many years, and for two years the club secretary. He was a fine billiards player and a member of Hawes Church choir. John was described as a cheery likeable chap. John enlisted at Leyburn joining the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment and embarked for France at the end of July 1916. On April 7th 1917 the Battalion readied itself for the Arras Offensive which was due to start on the 9th. Private John Mitton was killed on that opening day. He was 40 years old. John is buried in the Neuville-Vitasse Road Cemetary, SE of Arras.
Mrs Pat Fazey visited the museum recently. She is originally from Yorkshire but has lived in Newent, North Gloucestershire for the past 17 years. We helped Pat research Private Pickering who was probably a distant cousin several times removed. John Mason Pickering was born in the third quarter of 1877. By the time of the 1881 census he is 3 years of age and living with his parents John and Ann in the hamlet of Newbridge in Pickering. His father is a quarry labourer and he has 4 sisters, Rachel, Mary, Elizabeth and Grace. In the 1881 census he is aged 14 and working as a “farm Servant at Brook farm in the Pickering area. The farm is run by the Banks family. In 1904 (January to March) there is a record of marriage to an Edith Emily Cruce in the Eccleshall Bierlow district of Sheffield. In the 1911 census John and Edith are residing at West Thorpe, Hoylandswaine near Pennistone. Aged 34 he is still working as a farm labourer. The couple have two daughters, Hilda Pearl aged 6 and Ruby Annabelle aged 1 and before 1914 they have son John. Before enlisting in 1914 John Mason is working as a quarry labourer. He disembarks, with the 2nd battalion, in France in December 1914. He is killed in action at Neuve Chapelle on the 12th of March 1915 and is buried in the Cabaret-rouge British cemetery Souchez. He was awarded the Victory and British War medals along with the…