The Bumper Book of Scout Stories 1929 – I saw this for £10 in an online sale, and was attracted by the cover and good black and white line illustrations.
It has some some good detail of early Boy Scout uniforms and equipment c. 1920s such as the signallers on the spine, the bugler on the title page and the colour frontplate showing scarf and patrol shoulder flashes.
I thought it might have some suitable thrilling stories as further possible scenarios for my scout Wide Games on the tabletop project.
It also shows other scenes of Scout life outdoors, such as tent pitching, cooking and some stereotypical town and country characters they might encounter – all good ideas for the Wide Games scenarios.
The shocking fate of Ronald (a ballad poem in doggerel rhyme) is typical of the moral tone of these instructional stories.
The stories are much in the same mystery and thrilling yarn tradition as Enid Blyton and the early 1920s / 1930s Hardy Boys books in America, including a similar black and white illustration style.
Stereotypical characters include thieving gypsies and lounging smoking dapper young men about town up to no good, every bit the opposite of a good honest scout.
The first story ‘The Forsaken Camp’ finds the two scout characters Micky and Cory finding an eerily abandoned scout camp with all the kit left behind and food supplies gone. This injects a note of mystery and almost sci-fi or supernatural events into the opening pages. The tents and kit have then vanished after the two scouts’ quick search of the surrounding woods … “Looks as if everyone has been spirited away”
An eerie start, only to be resolved by thieving gypsy stereotypes and a bad case of food poisoning behind the Forsaken Camp in the first place. (Whoops – plot spoiler!)
I was hoping for a resolution that was something a little more X-Files / Boy Scoutes versus Zombies …
Anyway these books should have some interesting plot ideas for further scenarios.
A quick trail of old scouting books for sale online reveals more interesting covers and illustrations.
Available on eBay, this attractive cover shows Scouts with a trek cart
The trek cart reminds me that I have a Phoenix 43 ( S and D models) trek cart to make up.
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN (1970s Cub Scout, Bronze Arrow retired), 9 June 2019.