Scouting Heros Minute
Read more accountings of Scout bravery during WWII in The Left Handshake
The Scout Slogan is to Do a Good Turn Daily. In our hectic, action-packed lives, it seems difficult to make the time to actually follow through on that slogan. I often ask scouts to describe a good turn they did in the past week and more often than not, one can not be named. Other times, trivial things such as opening a door or taking the trash out for a parent are cited with a hopeful plea for acceptance in the voice.
We are fortunate that we live in a time and place where we need to make an effort to find a good deed to do. Other scouts have found themselves with far too many opportunities. These are a few instances where scouts did extraordinary deeds because the need was there.
In World War II England, 14 year old Derek Belfall lived in Bristol which was often subjected to air raids from Germany. Being too young to join the service, Derek volunteered to be a messenger delivering critical communications between defense offices.
During one night's raid, at the height of the bombing, Derek was dispatched with a message. He delivered it successfully. While returning to his post, he found a house beginning to burn from the incendiary bombs so he stopped to put out the fire. Traveling on, he heard cries from another house, rushed in, and saved an injured baby. Riding a bit farther, an exploding bomb wounded Derek and he was taken to the hospital.
As they laid him on the bed, he murmured, 'Messenger Belfall reporting. I have delivered my message', and then he died.
A refugee train traveling from Belgium to southern France was loaded with passengers including many Scouts when it ran head on into another train. Many of the scouts were riding in the baggage car so women and children could sit in the passenger cars. The scouts saw the other train coming and jumped from the train just before impact.
As the other passengers fled screaming in panic, the Scouts worked to stop the panic and help the injured. Scouts worked at the rescue while two doctors aboard the train were so panic-stricken they were useless. Younger Scouts recovered as much luggage as they could - in many cases it represented all the possessions the passengers owned. Older Scouts removed the casualties and nursed the wounded. Eventually, two ambulances arrived, but the driver of one fled at the horror of the scene. A Scout took his place, even though he had never driven a car in his life, and brought the injured safely to a nearby hospital.
Jean Pierre Comboudon was a 16 year old French Scout, living just outside of Paris. He joined the Red Cross and made himself useful in rescuing the victims of bombings. When the Allies invaded to drive out the Germans, his town's food supply was cut off and people began to starve. Jean Pierre was given some cash, two trucks, and a motorcycle in an effort to find food. In fields and farms around the area, he retrieved 12 tons of vegetables for his townsfolk.
When the supply ran low, he went further out, this time collecting 30 tons of food. This food kept his town's 25,000 people alive until American forces reached them.
Jean Pierre also rode his motorbike during the fighting, rescuing wounded soldiers from the front lines and delivering them to medical care. He was credited with saving the lives of an American, two French soldiers, and, even a German! He also infiltrated a position held by a group of German SS troops, who were convinced that they would be massacred if they surrendered, and were prepared to fight it out to the end. Jean Pierre convinced them that they would be safe, and so prevented a very bloody battle.