Saturday, September 16, 2017

14th Colombo Celebrate their Centenary Scouting

14th COLOMBO Scout Group
It was in 1917, that Acting Principal. Rev.Percy T. Cash M.A. B.Sc., founded the Scout Troop at Wesley - registered as 14th Colombo. He was the first Scout Master, and was assisted by Mr.S. Wijesooriya, a Kings Scout from Galle; who was the Instructor. That year the College had a strength of 64 Scouts forming 98 Patrols. the keenness of the Scouts was demonstrated, as before long there was 5 Kings Scouts.It was in March 1918, that the Troop made its first public appearance when they formed a Guard of honour to to the Colonial Secretary, the Hon. R. Edward Stubbs, when he presided at the College prize Giving of that year. Then again, a big event was the celebration of the Troop's Anniversary on the 25th of July 1918, with the Director of Education Mr. E.B. Denham distributing the badges and opened the 14th Colombo Scout den. On that occasion he was welcomed by the Deputy Colonial Scout Commissioner, Mr. Vernon Grenier and the Scout Master Rev. Percy T. Cash. The occasion was presided over by the Rev. Henry Highfield, Principal, who was back from furlough.
Over the years that followed, the 14th Colombo grew from strength to strength actively participating in the National events and also in the rare Jamborees held here as well as abroad. It was in the early 1940's that J. E. de Silva, the Scout Master and Kings Scout T. M.N. Mahmooth attended the World Jamboree in Agra, India. The name of J. E. de Silva is synonymous with Scouting at Wesley, a keen Scouter who made scouting and the regular camps occasions of great experience and no doubt enjoyment. Mr. J.E. de Silva had a flare for outdoor life and he inculcated it among the Scouts. Wood work, Pottery, Sculpture, Art, Leather and Rattan work were taught to the Scouts apart from getting them interested in other hobbies, particularly those that had an award. It was a great privilege to be trained by this all time great Scout Master. As subsequent Scouters the names of Messrs. I. G. K. Chandrasena, Shelton Peiris are among the many who were trained Scouters and from time to time took command of the 14th Colombo. The 14th Colombo was fortunate to associate men of the calibre of Ratnam Abraham and Lionel Silva and Cyril Ferdinands. There were many many more who had helped in the growth and the maintenance of the highest ideals in Scouting.
In this connection we must remember the Rev. James Cartman, Wesley's vibrant Principal who was responsible in getting the Troop reorganised after the return to the College at Karlsrhue after the war. The war years had completely disorganised the Troop and loyal scouts had left the school. The Rev. Cartman not only organised camps but had also visited these camps. Both Scouts and Scouters looked forward for his visit with a car load of goodies. Patrol Leaders like Fred Abeyesekera, M. Ahamat, Leonard Pieris, Gordon Amerasekarare but a few who put back the 14th Colombo on the rails.My association with the 14th Colombo goes back to the latter part of 1972, just after the late Group Scout Master George Peiris was in control. He was a Head Quarters Commissioner and a parent who had been involved from 1970. Ill health did not permit him to continue with the activities of the Troop as much as he desired. It was during this stage that the movement was rejuvenated by Mr. A. H. G. Ameen of 28th Colombo - now an Attorney-at-Law. We owe a great debt of thanks to Mr. A. H. G. Ameen the 6. S. M. who infused a spirit of activity. He was followed by Sarath Fernando, who was the Troop Leader who did yeoman service and had to leave on being commissioned into the Army, and now serves as a Brigade Commander. One recalls the very exciting camps to various parts of the island when as Troop Leader, I together with Sharir, Elmo, Shankar, Ben and Riya was involved in the planning as members of the Court of Honour of these camps. We yet remember the camp spirit and the unity that scouting stands for. The College Chaplain, the Rev. John Trevanna was also associated with the 14th Colombo prior to the seventies. It was during this time the very last Queen's Scouts -A. K. Nazimudeen and Rohana de Silva won this award. The award has now been replaced by the Presidents Award which had been regularly won by our Scouts.
When I took over in 1978 after course of Scouters training, I closely followed the footsteps of Sarath, taking full charge of a very lively Scout Troop. They were very keen. We participated in all National and District events and also in the college events particularly the guards of Honour at the Prize Day. I have been associated with the Troop for 18 years as its Scouts Master apart from my association as a Scout. the following Scouts; Madhu Siriwardena, Gishan Mendis, S. H. M. Zabith, Nalin Ariyaratne. Roshan Weerainghe, Shane Philips, Thakshila Codawatte, Poojitha Rajapakshe, Samira Kulatunge, S. M. S. Azmaan, and Nadun Alwis participated in foreign jamborees. I would like to mention here, the services rendered by Mrs. Lakshmi Amaratunge, Akela who was associated with the Cubs dating back to 1960's. Mrs. Moline Philips who assisted Mrs. Amaratunge since the 1980's succeeded her as Akela in 1993. She is now a District Cub Akela.
It was my privilege to be able to organize over the 18 long years many camps which were set up in very many parts of the island. Many of the interesting camps were to Anuradhapura, Horton Plains and the Sinharaja Forest. It seemed to be we were in a world of our own. These camps had certainly given the practical approachto the challenges a scout faces in life, which on test, the keen and the alert are awarded the Presidents Award of which the Troop have many. There was also the stiff training and the keen competition at the Scouters Wood Badge Course, the holders of which are, Riya Azoor, Sarvanraj and yours faithfully!
The Troop, their Patrol Leaders, many assistant Scouters and I have logged many memorable events, nostalgic now as we look back! I shall be failing in my duty if I do not mention for record, the names of former Scouts who served as ASL's from time to time; Sarvanraj, Fawaz, Madhu Siriwardena, Prasanna Gunawardena, Murtaza Mamujee, Roshan Weerasinghe, Shane Philips, Terence Christopher, Samira Kulathunge, Adrian Vanheer, Pradeep Priyanga and Ranjeewa Senanayake, and Riya Azoor, on whose shoulders has fallen the responsible mantle of Scout Master and of course every single member of our Troop, who when called on duty had given of their best without exception.As Scouts we must remember that we need not wait for a special call but be always alert to the demands made to express and demonstrate our training and experience so always "Be Prepared."

by Riza Azoor 

Wesley College Scout Troop 1960 to 1964 

Mr. Wilfred Wickremasinghe and E. L. Rodrigo had a lot of followers from the primary school. No amount of coaxing by my friends would entice me to join the Cub pack while in the primary, nor the Scout Troop when I passed on to the middle school, grade 6 or Form 1, as we preferred to be known as. My friend who shared the double desk, Anurudha Jayawardane just could not convince that scouting was one great group adventure. But, as always, necessity made me change my mind.The 14th Colombo Troop had registered to participate at the Colombo Scout Camporee. It was June of 1960. They had one last minute problem; the Parrot patrol had one member sick and could not make the mandatory 8 to compete in the competitions. So two of the best scouts, Anurudha and Mohan Abraham dragged me to join the troop. I had the option to switch back if I did not like the experience of the 3-day camp at Bullers road, at then Divinity school grounds. Mr. R. E. Abraham was the chief Scout Master. R.E. was one of the best scoutmasters who could motivate to take up a challenge. 

Memories of the 14th Colombo
by D.F.Abeysekera 
The 14th Colombo was a way of life to us-a way of life that meant, thinking for oneself; accepting leadership and responsibility; coming out fighting against odds; making the best of a situation; ascertaining the interests of a group; looking at the cheerful side of things; breathing the cold, crisp air of the mountains; getting up at dawn in icy winds; losing one's way in the thick mists of the mountains; testing the tang of salt air; regulating one's life to the pulsating, throbbing life of the immense ocean; burning 1one's breakfast of Quaker Oats and Green Peas-or knocking down a tin of Golden Syrup in one's tent! The smell of wood smoke in one's hair: eyes tearing-the peeling of onions; figuring out a clove hitch from the sheep shank-or square and diagonal lashing from the timber hitch and the fisherman's knot! Crane fires and trench fires- signaling-getting soaked to the skin in the rain; trekking through forests and climbing like the chamois-up hill and down dale-being fashioned to be rugged and self reliant to think of others

The 14th Colombo was all this and more to us. o People were a predominant feature of the 14th Colombo and People meant life in all its complexity. One hardly realised then that one was growing up and being attuned to the World and human relationships-Life itself, One met a great variety of persons-the stolid dependable types, the casual indifferent and inactive ones (whose sojourn in the Troop was short-lived) the calm, and excitable types-and out of this medley grew the 14th Colombo (ordinary, average people) into an interdependent community at Wesley. And thinking of persons one cannot but recall the Revd. James Cartman (Carty as he was affectionately called) who spent many a day with us at camp, in Bouna Vista, Galle, in particular riding the waves with us, and taking part in an improvised game of water polo. J.E. (J. E. de Silva, GSM later, to be known to the Scout World as "Blue Feather) on whose dedication and keenness rested the 14th Colombo for over 20 years. A man of varied talents, loved by us for his fairness and integrity, Kenneth de Lanerolle familiar figure on Visitors Day giving us the inspiration to get more involved, and to be dedicated to the ideals one cherished. B. R. Blaze "Bruised Reed" SM 1947-1948, a talented man with a great sensitivity and feeling for Nature and its immense grandeur. I often recall his "Shakespeare for Scouts"

i. The Daily Good Turn How far that little candle throws its beams So shines a good deed in a naughty World

ii. A Word in Season Good name in Man and Woman, dear my Lord Is the immediate jewel of their souls Who steals my purse, steals trash But he that filches from me my good name, Robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed.

Shelton de Silva (now the Revd. S. A. de Silva) S. M. for a short time; Cyril Ferdinands (Troop Leader) my predecessor, the high pitched Soprano, a constant source of merriment in camp!- Shelton Peiris, a born Leader and one time Senior Prefect of Wesley, took over as SM at a time when the Troop was literally without a Staff Adviser consequent on the. departure of "J.E." to Royal, in March 1949; Edmund Dissanayake, yet another former Senior Prefect, acted as ASM. Of my contemporaries, I think particularly of Hilary de Alwis (Director Browns Group of Companies) Ranjit Seniviratne, Engineer Walkers, Durand Goonetillêke (DO) Electrical Engineer, the late Gordon Amarasekera, fondly known as "Python" Leonard Perera (he was a capable scribe) Dr. C. S. Chang, Neville Weerasekera, General Manager of the Ceylon Petroleum Refinery, J. E. Gunasekera (Attaya Junior) Attorney-at-Law, Matale; Dr. Maharoof Ismail of the M.R.I., Jauffer Sadique, Chief Assessor, C.M.C., D.B.C. (Balu) Mack, now in Australia, who excelled as a sportsman for the University of Sri Lanka and the Navy, G.B.S. Seneviratne, reported to be doing free lance journalism in the U:K., Srilal Karangoda, Motor Engineer, Mahinda Upasena buyer for the Iraq Government, A. P. Batuwitage, Gladwin Wijeyara tne (of Jonathan & Co.,) W. G. de Silva, the famous "Camp Dog" (now turned a very responsible Pharmacist) to whom the loss of many tin of corned beef was traced, and who growled and barked like a real one, that dark and mist-wrapped night at camp in Bandarawela, as he was lassoed and tied to a tree, by Shelton Peiris, S. M. whose hands were also bitten in the ordeal! The late Revd. Maxwell de Alwis, Dan Ahmat, Neil Joseph (now in Australia), Dr. Bernard Peiris, Department of Agriculture, Peradeniya, B. A. P. Mendis, Wyville and Orville Mottau, the late Maxwell Rodrigo, Errol. Juriansz (Excise), M. Lameer H. M. Ghouse, D. P. Sirisena, M. Faleel A. B. Corner, D. P. Ekanayake (Air Ceylon ) P. B. Herat, 'R. .Jayatunge, and M. Samsudeen (later to be "Selvyn Sam" the Singer!) Harold Matbysz, Brian Jacotine, Gladwin de Silva, Alan Ratnarajah, E. G. de Zylwa, Neil Algama K .D. Zoonoob, were the Seniors of the time.

No comments:

Post a Comment