Recollections of 10th Warrington at the 1957 World Scout Jubilee Jamboree
by David Gibson.

The ultimate camp that I ever attended was without doubt the 1957 World Jamboree in Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, on the north side of Birmingham. Jamboree ‘JIM’, (Scout) Jamboree, (Scout Leaders) Indaba and (Rover Scout) Moot marked the 50th Jubilee of Scouting from the 1907 camp at Brownsea Island. Attendance was limited so it was an honour to be chosen. The 10th Warrington attendees were part of the South West Lancashire Contingent ‘Mersey Troop’ and we were one of the troops who arrived at the Jamboree a few days before it opened and were part of the welcoming party, particularly for overseas Scouts. It was a great way at fifteen years of age to learn about international co-operation and that Scouting more than any other organisation crosses social, economic, ethnic and religious borders.

Mersey Troop at Bridge Foot before leaving for the Jamboree. On the right side of the Mayor is Dick Latham, Group Scoutmaster at 28th (Penketh Methodist). I think he was in charge of Mersey Troop at the Jamboree, I am in front of Dick Latham and Alfie Butler is to my right. To the left of the Mayor is 10th Warrington scout Cyril (Squirrel) Wilkinson.

The organisation was superb for a camp of 35,000 Scouts, Rover Scouts and Leaders with endless events, an amazing supply chain of rations and the opportunity to meet so many of our Brother Scouts from around the world. The experience had a lasting impact on me personally as I have never forgotten how it gave me a view of the world beyond what were then my limited horizons. Meeting boys from other countries and particularly with other languages made me appreciate the importance of communication skills. I know that it later influenced my career and helped me through my working life, in the same way that Scouting taught me teamwork and co-operation. I also remember what ‘Skipper’ Dumbill used to tell us, ’You only get out of life what you put into it’, and ‘Do the best you can and not the least you can get away with’.

Keith Emery, me and a face I recognise but can’t put a name to at the Jamboree.

I mentioned earlier the supply chain of rations at the Jamboree. We were all issued with a booklet (which I still have) listing the menus for every day we were there and the rations we had to draw each day. Every ‘Troop’ was made up of four patrols of eight so the booklet specified the daily rations for 32 people along with the meals that they were designed for. The menus were designed for outdoor living and large appetites and comprised a cooked Breakfast, Lunch, afternoon Tea and Dinner.

South West Lancashire Contingent gateway, the design resembles a pit headgear reflecting the mining industry, the name is etched in Glass representing the Glass industry.

The Sutton Park was laid out in five sub-Camps in addition to the Indaba and Moot which were separate camps. All the camps were named after previous Jamborees, Mersey Troop being in the Vogelenzang sub-Camp. I was not the only family member to attend ‘JIM’ as my father was part of the catering section of Godollo sub-Camp. There was an Arena, a hospital, press camp, theatre, a shopping centre, exhibition centre, religious facilities and refreshment kiosks. It was no doubt a mammoth undertaking to plan, organise and assemble the Jamboree facilities, and to dismantle it all afterwards, and without the technology we are used to today. There was also an ‘overflow’ camp at Tile Hill for scouts who just ‘turned up’ at the Jamboree as visitors.

Godollo sub-Camp working party in front of the camp gate. Harry Gibson is third from the left in the second row (standing)

The images below are pages from the Jamboree Official Guide including the Jamboree song and some pages of events, and also from the catering book with menus, stores quantities and cooking instructions.


Photos of the Jamboree courtesy of another ex-10th scout; John Bingham


Finally, here are a couple of links to film of the Jamboree on YouTube

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls