Pictures courtesy of DNW
Egypt (1) The Nile 1884-85 (Lieut: B. F. S. Baden-Powell, Scots Gds.);
QSA (5) Relief of Mafeking, Belmont, Modder River, Driefontein, Transvaal (Major B. F. S. Baden-Powell, Scots Gds:);
KSA (2) (Major B. F. S. Baden-Powell, Scots Gds:);
Khedive’s Star 1884
Provenance: Charles Lovell Collection, Sotheby 1977.
Relief of Mafeking is a unique clasp to the Scots Guards.
Baden Fletcher Smyth Baden-Powell was born on 22 May 1860, youngest, son of the Rev. Professor Baden-Powell of Langton Manor, Kent, and brother of, among others, Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting movement. Like his more famous brother he was sent to Charterhouse. He was commissioned a Lieutenant in the Scots Guards on 29 July 1882, and served with the Guards Camel Regiment in the Nile Expedition of 1884-85, in Egypt and Sudan (Medal with Clasp). In 1886 he attended German and Russian manoeuvres and reported to the British War Office. In the same year he was elected a member of Council of the Aeronautical Society. From 1888-91 he was in Queensland, Australia, as A.D.C. to the Governor, and while there took part in a punitive expedition to New Guinea. Promotion to Captain followed on 5 February 1896, and to Major on 24 June 1899. He served with the 1st Battalion of his regiment in South Africa during the Second Boer War, and was present at the battles of Belmont, Graspan, Modder River, and Magersfontein, Driefontein, the relief of Mafeking and other engagements.
He received special permission from the C.-in-C. to participate in relieving Mafeking where his brother, Colonel Baden-Powell was in command. The relief column was commanded by Colonel B. T. Mahone, and comprised of 900 selected troopers of the Imperial Light Horse, Kimberley Light Horse, Damant’s Horse, 100 infantry from the four Fusilier regiments that formed Barton’s Fusilier Brigade; four guns of “M” Battery, Royal Horse Artillery; two Pom-Poms; “C” Section, Royal Canadian Artillery; Rhodesia Regiment; Kimberley Mounted Corps; Southern Rhodesian Volunteers; New South Wales Citizen Bushmen; and 3rd Queensland Mounted Infantry. Major Baden-Powell was appointed to the Intelligence Department during the relief operation. Mahon’s column left Barkly West on 4 May 1900, and was joined by Plumer’s column on 15th May, Mafeking finally being relieved on 17th May.
Shortly afterwards a provincial newspaper reported: ‘The Daily Express understands that a private telegram, received in London on Wednesday, announced that Major B. F. S. Baden-Powell, brother of the newly promoted Major-General, had taken into the relieved town of Mafeking, twenty waggonloads of food, and was received with the wildest rejoicing.’
A month after the end of the war in late May 1902, Baden-Powell returned home with his regiment in the S.S. Tagus. Retired to the Reserve in 1904, Baden-Powell was called up on the outbreak of war in 1914 and served in France and Belgium 1914-17, first on the General Staff as an Assistant Censor and later with the New Army. He afterwards rejoined his old regiment and served with the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards in the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt, and was later appointed Divisional Bombing Officer to the Guards Division and Corps Camouflage Officer to 14th Corps.
Baden-Powell was a military aviation pioneer who constructed some of the earliest man-lifting kites in 1894, and he continued to take a keen interest in all forms of aeronautics, especially ballooning. In the period from 1906 to 1908 he shared with Sir Hiram Maxim and Colonels Templer and Capper most of the practical experience at that time won in his country. His first balloon ascent was in June 1881, and he made other ascents with the balloonist Simmons. Later he bought the balloon Eclipse, and made ascents from Aldershot without professional assistance. In July 1884, he was attached to Military Balloons, Aldershot, under Colonel Templer, and during the next 12 or 15 years he made many ascents from Ranelagh and Hurlingham with the Hon. C. S. Rolls, Colonel C. F. Pollock, and others. He was one of the first Englishmen to go up with Wilbur Wright at Le Mans in 1908, and in the following years he was chiefly occupied with experiments with large propellors. He also made an ascent in one of Count Zeppelin’s balloons in 1913. From the man-lifting kite of 1894 he made a natural transition to gliding experiments with the aid of an inclined surface built for him at the Crystal Palace. He made two aeroplanes, one with swivelling propellors to obtain direct lift, and the other a kind of quadruplane. These were only moderately successful. He did a great deal of model aeroplane work and experimented also with ornithopters and helicopters, many of which he exhibited at the British Association, the Royal Society of Arts, and the Meteorological Society.
He was elected president of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1900. He was for a long time one of the best known writers on aeronautics in the technical and Service Press, and was author of Ballooning as a Sport, 1907, and Practical Aerodynamics, 1908. He was a great traveller and wrote In Savage Isles and Settled Lands, 1891, and War in Practice, 1908.
Major Baden Baden-Powell died at Sevenoaks, Kent, on 3 October 1937.