You may know Robert Baden-Powell was the founder of the Boy Scouts and you may consider the Scouts a para-military organization. But did you know the Scouts was formed in the crucible of the Boer War?
Baden-Powell used the Mafeking Cadet Corps (12-15 y.o. boys) to “relay messages, help out in the hospital, and act as scouts and guards,” thereby freeing the outnumbered British soldiers for direct fighting.
The Mental Floss Blog has a great article on this subject called Forged in the Heat of Battle: The Origin of the Boy Scouts and here’s a taste:
The siege lasted 217 days, and through it all, Baden-Powell managed the town’s defenses, explored enemy territory, made cannons from scrap metal, drew sketches of his surroundings, taught the cadets woodwork and camping, and organized cricket matches on Sundays. (He achieved so much that many of his troops believed he didn’t sleep.) Most impressively, he also found time to edit the pages of his book, Aids to Scouting—a guide to surviving in the wilderness that would later become the first manual for the Boy Scouts.
I found it particularly interesting that the guide that became the Boy Scout manual was originally intended for new soldiers.