This is why the statue of Scouts founder Robert Baden-Powell is set to be removed

Some locals have defended the statue's presence in Poole (Getty Images)Some locals have defended the statue's presence in Poole (Getty Images)
Some locals have defended the statue's presence in Poole (Getty Images)

A statue of the founder of the Scouts Movement is to be removed from its location in Dorset over fears that it could be targeted by vandals.

The move comes following the forced removal of a statue dedicated to slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol by Black Lives Matter protestors.

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Now statues with links to slavery and racism have become the subject of debate over their place in 21st century Britain.

Robert Baden-Powell’s links to the Hitler Youth movement in Germany has seen his statue’s presence in Poole become a target of demonstrators.

Who was Robert Baden-Powell? 

Born in London in 1857 Baden-Powell was awarded a scholarship to Charterhouse School.

It was there and during the summer holidays that he began to pick up skills and crafts as he enjoyed the great outdoors, according to the Scouts website, which described him as a "young adventurer".

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He was a lieutenant general in the British Army in the late 19th century and trained his men with competitions and games to complement traditional Army training.

The highlight of his military career was the defence of the South African town of Mafeking during the Boer War.

When he returned home from South Africa, he realised boys in the UK could benefit from the same sort of activities as the boys in Mafeking and he organised an experimental camp at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, Dorset, in August 1907.

He went on to write his ideas in a book called Scouting For Boys, published in 1908.

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The movement got fully under way when boys organised themselves into groups and used Baden-Powell's ideas in his book as the basis for camps, treks and other activities.

They persuaded adults to become their leaders and Scouting was born, initially for boys over 10 years of age.

Why is he controversial?

In 2009 documents relating to an inquiry into the conduct of Baden-Powell during the execution of an African chief were sold at auction.

The papers suggest that he had ignored a pledge to spare the life of a leader of the 1896 Matabeleland rebellion.

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Baden-Powell, who was tasked with protecting 3,000 farming settlers in what is now Zimbabwe, who had come under attack from rebels hiding in caves, was later cleared by the inquiry.

In 2010 newly declassified MI5 files revealed that Lord Baden-Powell was invited to meet Adolf Hitler after holding friendly talks with Hartmann Lauterbacher, chief of staff of the Hitler Youth, about forming closer ties with the organisation.

A hand-written note on the MI5 file states: "Lauterbacher's visit was a success, especially his interviews with Baden-Powell leading to removal on bar on wearing uniforms in Germany for English groups."

There is no evidence that Baden-Powell's meeting with Hitler ever took place.