Competitions and Awards

Competitions and Awards

The most significant distinctions achieved by the Tenth have been the collective Medals of Merit awarded by the Boy Scout Association (in 1931) and the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland (in 1991).  When the British Medal of Merit was conferred in 1931, only twelve such awards had been made worldwide up to that time.  Troops that fed children during the 1921 coal strike received it.  The 10th British Guiana Troop got it for services at ‘a disaster which occurred on board the S.S. Essequibo on May 24th 1926.’  There was an intriguing award to Nigerian Scouts in 1935, ‘for their timely intervention in rescuing a would-be assassin from an infuriated crowd, on the occasion of the attempted assassination of the Awujele, at his palace on October 20th, 1934.’  The Tenth alone received it for services to Scouting.  ‘For good work’ is the simple citation: recognition of an unparalleled contribution to the development of Scouting in Ireland.

Certificate of the Medal of Merit awarded to the 10th Belfast, 1931

The award of the Irish Silver Medal of Merit sixty years later made the Tenth the only Scout Group known to have been honoured collectively by two different Scout Associations.  The award came as a complete surprise at the closing ceremony of the Melvin competition in Tollymore on 25 August 1991.  Received by Mike Loder from Kiernan Gildea, National Commissioner for Scouts, it recognised the Troop’s longstanding involvement (and achievement) in that competition, and the associated commitment of the Tenth to cross-community and cross-border work.

The Silver Medal of Merit, awarded to the Tenth by the CBSI in 1991

It was back in 1921, following the creation of the border in Ireland, that the most enduring Belfast Scout competition had its origins.  When the Northern Ireland parliament was opened by King George V, Scouts sold programmes of the event and a flag was purchased with the profits.  This ‘King’s Flag’ became the trophy for the Belfast County Flag competition, first held in 1922 when the Tenth won it.  In those days there was no separate contest – a Troop was judged by its performance in the relay races, in the first aid and signalling competitions, and by how many King’s Scouts it managed to turn out.  The flag stayed in Tenth hands literally for the rest of the 1920s.

The Troop, first  winners of the King’s (County) Flag, at Cabin Hill with the Tenth’s President, Julia McMordie, 1922

Belfast to Carrickfergus was the route of some of the earliest relay races, but Gelston’s Corner at Strandtown to the bandstand in Bangor eventually became the preferred course, divided into ten stages of roughly a mile each.  In the junior and senior races between 1922 and 1929 the Tenth triumphed at least ten times.  Running, particularly cross country, would remain a strength of the Tenth over the years.  The Troop and Pack also dominated the signalling competitions, sometimes facing no opposition at all.  ‘Good luck to the team for their pluck in entering where other Troops fear to do so,’ remarked The Ulster Scout in 1926.  The Tenth’s successes prompted the same magazine to comment: ‘One is beginning to look around and wonder what the 10th can try to win now.’  This had not always been the case.  ‘For twelve years,’ said Harry Keown, ‘we failed in competitions, and I was proud that the 10th never protested, and always came up smiling for another effort.  Then our luck changed.’

The winning relay race team, 1948

The Scouts first won the Rotary Ambulance Cup for first aid in 1927.  The Rotary Club had presented the cup in 1916 to mark ‘appreciation of service rendered by the boys to the Club’s Patriotic Work’.  Under the tuition of John Cairns in the 1950s, the Troop became almost unbeatable, and even assumed first aid responsibilities at some public events.

The Rotary Ambulance team at work in 1956

In 1952 Northern Ireland staged its first Soap Box Derby.  In 1953, after an earlier effort had petered out, ASM John Cairns suggested that the Tenth make another attempt to build a car.  John worked at the British Tabulating Machine factory on Montgomery Road.  With the resources of this forerunner to ICL to call on, the Tenth produced the X / H.  Engineered like a Rolls Royce (in the boys’ minds anyway), but heavy and slow with it, the car was entered for the 1954 races at Luke’s Point, Bangor.  The 62nd Belfast dominated the event, taking first place in all three sections – Cub, Scout, and Senior Scout.  But it was crucial learning experience.  The following years, in Blue Bird and then Banshee, it was the Tenth’s turn to sweep the board.

David Butler in Banshee, 1956

The County Flag contest became an event in itself in the 1930s, taking the form of a weekend camp.  The Troop still fared well, usually finishing among the top three, but by 1969 thirty-two years had passed without a victory.  As the King’s Flag was being replaced by a new standard that year, Easter camp at Crawfordsburn saw some serious training.  The effort paid off.  The first Troop to win the King’s Flag became the first to carry its successor.  Two hat-tricks have since been notched up – from 1994 to 1996, and from 2003 and 2005.

The Troop on St George’s Day with the brand new County Flag, 1970

The Cubs have had success in their version of the County Flag too, winning the competition four times in the 1920s and 1930s and – when the contest was restarted – again in 1987 (jointly with the 4th Belfast).  That happily coincided with the Pack’s seventieth anniversary.

The Pack on St George’s Day with the County Flag, 1988

Finally, the longest running of all the Tenth’s trophies is an internal award.  The 10th Belfast Boy Scouts Troop Challenge Cup, better known as the ‘Scout of the Year Cup’, was presented by Lieutenant H. E. Keown in 1917, when he was serving with the army during World War 1.  The trophy is awarded on the basis of votes cast by the Scouts themselves.

Robert Greenlees, first winner of the Scout of the Year Cup, 1917.

 

Winners of the Scout of the Year Cup:

1917      
R. Greelees
1918      
G. Thompson
1919      
R. Millar
1920      
A. Hunter
1921      
W. Blayney
1922      
W. Scott
1923      
J. Linton
1924      
A. Downing
1925      
C. Bell
1926      
E. Patterson
1927      
R. Murray
1928      
J. Craigmile
1929      
J. Forsythe
1930      
R. Kerr
1931      
C. Newman
1932      
W. Maitland
1933      
 I. Downing
1934      
 S. Barr
1935      
 E. Hammer
1936      
 I. Crabbe
1937      
D. Crabbe
1938      
J. Truesdale
1939      
W. F. Moore
1940      
E. F. Marshall
1941      
D. W.Bleakley
1942      
J. Chambers
1943      
L. Walker
1944      
W. Cameron
1945      
R. McCarley
1946      
D. Fergie
1947      
D.Hutchinson
1948      
H. Diamond
1949      
W. A. Davidson
1950      
J. Simms
1951      
W. Stephens
1952      
S. Cameron
1953      
D. T. Butler
1954      
R. Jordan
1955      
D. Hampton
1956      
T. Craig
1957      
C. F. Walker
1958      
J. F. Shannon
1959      
R. H. Browne
1960      
T. Matthews
1961      
 D. Shannon
1962      
M. Loder
1963      
W. McConnell
1964      
H. Cooke
1965      
No award
1966      
 K. Balmer
1967      
No award
1968      
G. Ryans
1969      
D. Bleakley
1970      
D. Thompson
1971      
J. Miller
1972      
 J. Hanvey
1973      
W. Mawhinney
1974      
No award
1975      
No award
1976      
No award
1977      
M.Mawhinney
1978      
C.Mawhinney
1979      
N. Thompson
1980      
P. Rice
1981      
No award
1982      
I. Moore
1983      
T. Wilson
1984      
D. Mallaghan
1985      
R. Totten
1986      
No award
1987      
R. McKissick
1988      
C. Boyd
1989      
No award
1990      
C. Veighey
1991      
M. Bennett
1992      
R. Anderson
1993      
M. Keatley
1994      
A. Malcolm
1995      
No award
1996      
C. Markwell
1997      
No award
1998      
N. Maxwell
1999      
R. Westbury
2000      
G. McKee
2001      
A. Stronge
2002      
B. Fletcher
2003      
A. Kenny
2004     
No award
2005      
J. Gowdy
2006      
R. Cairnduff
2007      
T. Palmer

 

The current Scout Leader, Robert McKissick, Scout of the Year in 1987