African Seeds

A Scout at Mafeking


* Warner Goodyear: A Scout at Mafeking

Goodyears The late Captain Charles Goodyear, after whom Charles Street is named, who died on Nov. 21st 1910, was one of the first residents of Mafeking, for he joined Col. Warren's expedition and on disbandment he was the first officer to join Col. Carrington in the Bechuanaland Border Force. In 1885 he sat on the Commission which was responsible for laying out the Township of Mafeking, and amongst the local buildings designed by him is the Victoria Hospital. A man of striking character and possessed of more than usual ability, from the very earliest days Captain Goodyear played a conspicuous part in the life of the Town. He took an active interest in the Village Management Board, and when the Municipality was formed in 1896, he was elected Mafeking's first Mayor, or Chairman as the office was then termed.

He was severely wounded in the Boer War, when the late Lord Robert Baden-Powell placed him in command of the Cape Boy Contingent, with which he did excellent and plucky work during the siege of Mafeking.

It was then that his son, Warner, showed that he had inherited his father's courage, enthusiasm and organising ability, qualities that were immediately recognised by Baden-Powell. At twelve years old, as Sergeant-Major of the Cadet corps, Warner Goodyear, "did right good work," and he and his companions "well deserved the medals which they received at the end of the war." So wrote Baden-Powell in his book Scouting for Boys, and there is little doubt that the world-wide movement of Boy Scouts sprang from the little band of boys between the ages of 11 and 14, under the leadership of Warner Goodyear, who were employed as orderlies in lieu of men who could not be spared from the trenches during the siege.

Warner Goodyear was appointed Lieutenant before the siege was raised, and in writing of him after his death at the early age of 26, Lord Baden-Powell said "Goodyear's memorial will be of permanent value since it will record the case of a boy who in serving his country with bravery and distinction, showed that the right boy can be trusted with responsibility just as well as any man, and has just as fine a sense of duty."

Warner Goodyear's sisters, the Misses Lottie, Maude and Lorna Goodyear, have carried on the family tradition of public service. All three have been responsible for running the Mafeking Public Library, and under their care it has grown from modest beginnings into a very well-stocked country library. Miss Lorna Goodyear (now Mrs. Clark) was responsible for starting the first troop of Girl Guides in the town in 1915, and on her retirement 84 Guides had enrolled.

Captain Helge Charles Murman, grandson of Captain Goodyear, and son of his fourth daughter, won the D.F.C. in the Second World War before he was killed in April 1944, carrying on the tradition of patriotism and courage of his family.

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From a supplement to the Mafikeng Mail and Botswana Guardian, 3 September 1982.