Scouts in Action, by David Harwood (Bell, I5s.). IN these days of seemingly end-1 less conferences, committees, and official Reports on the nameless-ones of Youth, it is refreshing to come across a publication such as David Harwood's Scouts in Action. This book consists of fifteen real-life accounts of bravery and self-sacrifice by Scouts in our own time.
They range from a daring sea rescue off the coast of New Zealand "Lion of the Tasman Sea". to a less romantic. perhaps, but no less perilous adventure in
"The Disused Quarry" nearer home.
The Waterfall" depicts a famous beauty-spot in Ireland which almost claims the lives of two Scouts, while an urban setting provides the background for "The Tackld" whereby an escaping prisoner is literally brought to ground.
To gather the material for these stories. David Harwood searched the files of the Boys Scouts Association Headquarters in London and corresponded with Associations overseas as well as other public bodies and eye-witnesses.
Each event is narrated with vivid description, and a sense of drama brings the thorough documentation to life. I find, however, the author's tendency to superfluous detail somewhat tiresome in parts. His predilection for exact measurements throughout the text is better served by the many excellent sketch maps and diagrams. On the other hand, some of the foot-notes would be better incorporated in the text and others included in the Appendix to each account.
The second story, "Relief NightWatchman", presents a remarkable coincidence for myself. Ironically, it is the only one camouflaged in fictitious names of people and places-"in view of the nature of the incident", explains the author; but every detail points to a complete carbon-copy of the courageous action of a Patrol Leader in the Troop of which I was privileged to be founder-chaplain!
In view of the local publicity at the time, especially when P.L. Peter Burns was presented with the Scouts Gilt Cross for Gallantry in our newly opened H.Q.. I simply cannot understand the reason for the anonymity of one "Dal Jones" in the story. Over all, I think that Senior Scouts, Rovers and Scouters will find in Scouts in Action not only interesting reading, but also inspiring examples of leadership. service and other Scouting ideals.
Over thirty black and white photo-plates give a suitable finish to this neat production which merits a Foreword from the Chief Scout, Sir Charles Maclean. It would be a worthwhile present for any Boy Scout between the ages of sixteen and sixty. H.D.