Klaus Chung writes, “December 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of attack on Pearl Harbour. Here is a wartime story by Henry Ku (’56) contributing to HK Scouting magazine.”
The year was 1966.
There were 7 of us that went up at the St George’s Day Rally that year, the largest contingent of Queen’s Scouts from one single Group. It was also a resounding come-back after a 5 year drought for 11th Kln.
Not until X’mas Group camp late ’65 were the seven of us able to gather around, and over strong tea after campfire finally managed to have a sit-down chat. Only then did we realize that most of us have completed the requirements and waiting for district & HQ processing, the rest were a hair from it. That night, the realization that the pursuit was at last over, and that we may well be making history, put us into a giddiness that kept us from falling asleep, tired as we were.
On April 24, George Law (DC Yaumatei, himself a 11th QS) visited us on the field and said 4 words “Well done, thank you”, exact same words Father C said back in February. They probably didn’t know how much that meant to us boys.
We checked each other for uniform correctness, and went over to the form-up. Sir David Trench actually went through all three ranks and handed out certificates to each.
Salute, left hand shake, right hand receive…and just like that, 2 years+ of blood and sweat affirmed.
Right turn, QSs forward, march off, and it was done. That was my first milestone. I was barely 17.
Fr Cunningham was standing by the Group Colour, waiting for us to return. I remembered side-glancing smilingly at 大享, took a breath, with chests up, we marched purposefully up to the White & Blue, overwhelmed by feelings of elation, pride and satisfaction.
With that memory still intact, exactly fifty years have elapsed.
I remembered and kept the first promise I ever made on my honour, and stayed the course. Now in the autumn of my years, I came to realize what a profound influence it did cast, and what it is amongst a brotherhood I am privileged to be counted.
“Dared to be different, independent, self-reliant, alone”
My dear friends, go forth, I hope you have as rewarding a journey in the years ahead.
Oct 29 1967 Sunday
Four columns, 3 to a rank, in close formation, Gray uniforms a hundred strong……it was the largest contingent of 11th Kln scouts ever to march out of 56 Waterloo Rd.
Four Troops, the strongest we have ever been, marching smartly through the streets of Causeway Bay, on their way to SoQuanPo Stadium for the annual celebration of the Feast of Christ the King.
The Seniors on point, in full strength that day, more than half have QS on their sleeves, and even more Bushman’s Thongs on the rest of their shoulders. In another year, all those that were there marching that day would be a QS too. They were the pride of our Group, the resurgence of confidence and esprit de corp.
The two Junior Troops, the core strength of us, representing the hope of our future years. No slouch these boys – having won 5 banners and trophies in Competitions colony-wide among them thus far in ’67.
Bringing up the rear, the newly formed Air Scouts with their gray berets and gold insignia, the first Air Scout Troop in Hong Kong, and the first time their unique uniforms were shown to the public and other Scout Groups.
Up Caroline Hill Rd, as we turned the last bend, the stands of the stadium came into view.
Headed into the wind, the Colour bearer let loose the silk, and the White & Blue, golden tassels streaming, unfurled.
Even the last rank of the formation could see the Group Colour snapping in the breeze on point up ahead, and felt the power of the columns of Gray marching in cadence.
200 meters to the gate across the road, we paused, and heard the thundering of a hundred pair of feet marking time on the pavement, and felt the tremour.
And then we surged ahead, a flying wedge, led by the White & Blue into the stadium.
The 11th Kln fielded the largest contingent that day, half the length of the football field honour guarded by a long line of Gray, proudly in support of ‘Ad majorem Dei Gloriam’.
I was there, together with the hundred in 11th Gray, and just like them, full of pride and confidence.
And out of this line of Gray, within 5 years, until the uniform changed, 32 Queen’s Scouts were to emerge.
I remember that to this day, some 47 years ago……MY 11th Kln Group, still mine’s.
Our White & Blue, long may it stand proud and strong.
To those Fathers who came away from Ireland and ended up at 56 Waterloo Rd, we honour and remember you.
For boys in their formative years to learn what dedication, devotion to duty, and a man for others meant, it was a life gift. Thank you…
I ran one of the largest Scout Troops (with over 100 Scouts and Leaders) in Toronto in the 1970s and 1980s. I had 9 Assistant Scout Leaders, 1 Scouter-in-Training and 2 Troop Leaders. My assistants each specialize in an area, including backpacking, winter-camping, canoeing, rock-climbing, wildness survival, pioneering, orienteering, sailing, CB radios communication, and activities programming. I even had a young medical doctor (Head of Emergency Section of Scarborough General Hospital) as an Assistant Leader. We shot white-water rapids with canoes. We built igloos and actually slept in them at -20 C.
We drove and camped across Canada many times. We even went to compete in orienteering meets organized by the US Military Academy at West Point, New York. Scouting in Canada is much more diversified and fun.
(Re-posted from Fellows of 11th Kowloon – edited)
黄麖仔 Dec 1962
X’mas Group Camp
Campfire !! first time for the new members of Antelope Junior B.
Long after the embers are out, the patrol back in the tent trying to sleep, smelling like smoked meat, the excitements lingered.
Lying between Robin and 飛機仔, whispering under the snores of Vincent our PL, we quietly hummed the newly learned camp songs, still amazed that 古惑佬 and 陸本强 were able to lit the huge fire with only 1 match and just saplings and wood shavings, others giggled at the silly skits and looked forward to the next one.
3am in the morning, 少爺仔decided he needed to pee, tripped over Henry Huang, fell on us and woke Vincent up.
Fifty two years ago.
Tonight, I heard the crackling fire all over again, watched the flames until they turned into embers just like 52 years ago, and was amazed that the memories of that night came flooding back.
6 hours, one cord of firewood, best $5 I’ve ever spent…and those fond memories that were tucked away somewhere, re-emerged again.
By the blazing council fire’s light,
We have met in fellowship tonight.
Round about the whispering trees
Guard our golden memories
And so before we close our eyes in sleep,
Let us pledge each other that we’ll keep
Scouting friendships strong and deep,
Till we meet again.
To be young then, in the seasons of plenty…….
Henry Lam was PL of Antelope (my) patrol, JB. He and James Chui Wing-Cheung led us (me, GooWarkLo, Luk LeyTong, Ah Ding et al ) to the Senior’s competition for the Prince of Wales Trophy….., and we ended up getting totally LOST in Tai Mo Shan in the dark……
Once again, Goo Wark Lo saved the night! James used the army phone to get help. The army instead sent for a small jeep from the Tai Po Police Station. The officer/driver of the jeep was quite mad that we bunch of ~16/17 year olds would cause them so much trouble (for the rescue), coming up the steep zigzag road in pitch darkness……
Both policemen were swearing……..; until GooWark Lo recognized the driver as one of his dad’s junior colleagues years back…… Then they stopped swearing and treated us like brave little scouts!
We lost the trophy to the top team. We got second place instead.
(There were only two patrols in that year’s competition!).
I often wonder why incidents like this that happened more than 50 years ago would be so vivid, and yet I didn’t even consider the event in any way “traumatic”. It was just plain FUN !!!!
Staying up at a Taipei hotel waiting to fly over to Tokyo tomorrow morning for a week long tour,
Vincent Lee of Edmonton (2014/11/03)