English Boy Scout Knives – by Jack Black and Neal Punchard
The 20th century gave us penicillin, refrigeration, atomic energy, space travel, and the internet. Yet, at the dawn of the century, there were no public radio broadcasts, television was yet to be invented and even cinema was still in its infancy. News was spread via newspapers, news sheets, by ‘penny magazines,’ and by word of mouth.
Despite this, some events still gripped the popular imagination as tightly as the great events many of us remember from our own childhood. One such event was the Boer War Siege of Mafeking, and its hero Robert Baden-Powell. While of little military significance, the 217-day siege received widespread newspaper coverage, not least because the son of the British prime minister and a number of other dignitaries were trapped there. As the British forces faced off against a vastly superior army of Boers, Baden-Powell used a number of cunning tricks, such as laying fake landmines, to deceive the enemy. He also famously made use of the boys of the Mafeking Cadet Korps to deliver messages. After the relief of the siege on May 17th , 1900 by 2,000 British reinforcements, Baden-Powell was not only established as a hero in the popular imagination of Britain and beyond, but as a true celebrity.
This article appears in the August 2023 issue of KNIFE Magazine.Premium Online Members can read the flipbook below.