HISTORY OF SCOUTING AT COLLEGE – PART 2
Post-war Scouting: 1946-1968:
The war ceased to exist in 1946, and in January a scattered portion of the College was re-instated in Mount Lavinia. At the request of the Warden at the time, Mr. W.I. Muttiah undertook to organise the Scout Troop in Mount Lavinia, as Group Scoutmaster of 16th Colombo Scout Troup. Mr. Muttiah is looked upon as an able individual who had a perfect personality in terms of being a Scout Leader, who taught the Scouts at the time that it was quality of work and skills that mattered and not the number of badges a Scout had. As there was no Cadet Corps as yet, there were quite a number of boys who wished to join Scouting. Scouts who were trained under Dr. Hayman in Gurutalawa played an anchor role in re-building the Troop. C.H. Mendis who was among them was the first to qualify as a First Class Scout and was appointed the first Troop Leader of this “fresh” Troop which consisted of six patrols (the Leaders of which were C.J. Hapugoda, S. Kangari, U.K. Salgado, S.C.M. Fernando and M.A. de Silva). Mr. Henry Paul took over duties as the new Scoutmaster.
The first camp was made possible by a donation of Rs. 40 to cover transport cost by Mr. T.V. Carron of Kalubowila at the request of Mr. C.M.P. Wanigatunga, an old Scout of 16th Colombo of pre war vintage, who went on to become Chief Scout Commissioner.
At that time the Scout Troop had no funds at all to its credit and no material of any kind – not even a piece of string! The first opportunity to earn some money came the following year when the Troup undertook the Sale of Ice Cream at the Royal Thomian Cricket match. From such humble beginnings, the Troup continued to progress in spite of many ups and downs. A regular source of income became the Annual Scout Concert, which was entirely a 16th Colombo Scout affair, produced and directed by the G.S.M. Mr. Muttiah, and all the plays without exception were provided by members of the Troop and the Cub Pack, who were also responsible for putting up the stage and seeing to the sale of tickets. The first of such Scout concerts was said to have been held in 1948 while the Annul Scout Concert in 1956 brought a handsome return of Rs. 634, the highest to date.
Annual Parents’ Days were organised in this era which was a highlight event in the school calendar. The first one of these was held in 1948 and was well attended. In 1949, the “Chips-for-Jobs” (a.k.a. Job Week) campaign was launched by the C.L.A. to help the Troops to earn their own funds to run their Scout activities. The highest earnings of the Troop were in 1957 – the Birth Centenary year of the Founder and the Jubilee Year of World Scouting.
With all these initiatives, the Troop was able to manage its own income and expenditures, thus being the only entity in College to operate without financial support from College. This is the case even today as well. To further strengthen this status (in 1956) and to accommodate many boys now anxious to become Scouts following a very successful National Scout Week campaign in September – a second Troop was formed with Mr. R.J. Aruliah as Scoutmaster of the “A” Troop and Mr. V. Vitharana as Scoutmaster of “B” Troop.
Around the same time, the first ever Group Committee was formed, with Mr. C.H. Davidson as the Chairman and Mr. R.J. Aruliah as the Honorary Secretary along with some senior members of the staff and parents. Mr. C.H. Davidson as Chairman fulfilled a long felt need of getting the Scouts of 16th Colombo official recognition at S.T.C. and the Queen’s Scout Badge was accepted as a qualification when considering boys for position of responsibility in their House or School.
One of the first projects that the Group Committee undertook was to build a new Scout Room to accommodate the increased number of Scouts. The Warden at the time, Rev. Canon R.S. De Saram was generous enough to allocate a portion of land for this, and the new building came up within the span of a year with a lot of hands on assistance from the Scouts in whichever way they could, under guidance of Mr. G.E. Jayakody as Director of Buildings. The New Scout Room was declared open by Mr. Charles Dymoke-Green, the Asst. Chief Commissioner on Parents’ Day on the 5th of March 1958.
The standard of Scouting too improved after this new addition and this was now seen as an activity to be taken up by every student, especially as Scouting promoted self development and personality development which was specifically needed in a post-war era. In 1949, Mr. Maurice A. De Silva became the first King’s Scout and Mr. N.K. Mutucumarana became the first Queen’s Scout of the Troop in 1951. Both of them assisted the Troop to continue the standard of at least having one Queen’s Scout per year which bore fruits in the coming years. Some of the many Queen’s Scouts who followed were K. Thiyagarajah (1952), N.C. de S. Samarasinghe (1953), M.R. Kumarasamy (1954), L.W. Rasiah (1956) and J.B.G. Jonson (1956). C.D. Jayakody and R.C. Wanigatunga (1957) were also among then both of whom represented the country at the 9th World Scout Jamboree held in Birmingham U.K. This list of Scouts achieving excellence in Scouting at 16th Colombo continues to date only being replaced by the President’s Scout Award of recent times.
A big step forward in Scouting at S.T.C. was the formation of the Rover Scout Crew in 1965, to cater to the needs of Scouts who had left College in but wished to continue to support the Troop. Mr. Lionel De Silva, Scout Field Commissioner, volunteered to be the first Rover Scout Leader of this crew. In 1968, the Coming-of-Age Rover Moot was held at the Small Club Grounds organised by the 16th Colombo Rovers.
Compiled by: Sidath Gajanayaka