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Discipline and Obedience

Discipline and obedience are as important as bravery for Scouts and for soldiers.

The Birkenhead was a transport ship carrying troops. She had on board 630 soldiers with their families and 130 seamen. Near the Cape of Good Hope one night she ran on to some rocks, and began to break up.

The soldiers were at once paraded on deck. Some were ordered to get out the boats, and to put the women and children into them, and others were told to get the horses up out of the hold, and to lower them overboard into the sea, so that they might have a chance to swim ashore. When this had all been done, it was found that there were not enough boats to take the men, and so the men were ordered to remain in their ranks.

Then the ship broke in half and began to go down. The captain shouted to the men to jump over and save themselves, but the officer in charge, Colonel Seaton, said, "No, keep your ranks." For he saw that if they swam to the boats, and tried to get in, they would probably sink them too.

So the men kept their ranks, and as the ship rolled over and sank, they gave a cheer and went down with her. Out of the whole 760 on board, only 192 were saved, but even those would probably have been lost had it not been for the discipline and self-sacrifice of the others.

A British training ship, the Fort Jackson, full of boy-sailors, was run into by a steamer, but just as in the Birkenhead there was no panic or crying out. The boys fell in quickly on parade, put on their life-belts, and faced the danger calmly and well. And not a life was lost.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

Date of Creation


Learn A Continuation:

to the next page: Humility

Back in The Past:

to the previous page: Duty Before All

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