All activities of schools in Sri Lanka during 1870 were limited to the class room. The following decade of 1880 has been considered as the period during which extra-curricular activities like Cricket, Swimming and Athletics were introduced to the schools in the country. Games like Cricket, Swimming, Athletics and other activities like English Literature Society and Cadetting had been started at Richmond even before end of the decade. Richmond College was among the first six schools of Sri Lanka to start a Cadet Platoon in 1902.
Scouts movement that was started by Baden Powell in 1907 was introduced to Sri Lanka in 1912 and the first Scouts Troop was formed in Christ Church Boys’ School Matale. According to 1913 Richmond Magazine Scouting activities were introduced to Richmond Cadets of 12 to 16 years.
On 26th of July 1915, Scout Commissioner of Sri Lanka Mr F.G Stevenson delivered a lecture titled “ Scouting and it’s capabilities” in the main hall of Richmond College. Principal Rev. W.J.T Small, Scout Commissioner Mr F.G Stevenson and several teachers of the college, Mr F.R.A.S Amarasekara, Mr J.V Mendis and Mr A.F De S Adihetti gathered in the main hall soon after the lecture and decided to start Scouting at Richmond College. Mr F.R.A.S Amarasekara was appointed as the first scout master of Richmond College.But after his sudden demise on 15th September 1915 Mr J.V Mendis continued with the responsibility. Richmond College Scout Troop was registered at the Scouts’ Headquarters in London on 15th October 1915 as 2nd Galle Richmond Scouts Troop.
First membership badge examination was conducted on 26th October 1915 by the Galle District Commissioner and The Scout Master of Mahinda College Mr F. Gordon Pears. 70 students succeeded in getting the scout membership.
In 1915 3rd Galle Richmond Scouts Troop was formed in addition to the 2nd Galle Richmond Troop. Same year petrol leaders were appointed for the first time in the college. T.U De Silva, S. Wijesuriya, D.M Rajapaksha, M.D.S Jayawardene, C.M.W Gunawardene, Austin De Silva, T.C Abeygunawardene, Graham Wickramasekara, and Walter Davis were the first scouts to be appointed as petrol leaders.
Mr J.V Mendis
A scout's den made up of timber and cadjan was put up by Richmond Scouts on 11th December 1915 which received the greetings of Baden Powell.
Richmond produced two King's Scouts in early 1916 for the first time in Sri Lanka. They were T.U De Silva and S. Wijesuriya. These two King's Scouts brought honour not only to Richmond but to the whole country by winning the Gold Cord and The Secondary Grade Cord which are awarded only to King's Scouts.
Concurrently with the formation of Cub Scouts in the world, first Cub Pack of Sri Lanka was formed at Richmond College in 1916. Mr S.C Wickramarathne and Mr T.C.P Fernando were the first Cub Scout Master and Assistant Cub Scout Master respectively. First cub scouts pack was made up of 50 cub scouts. First cub scout camp was held on 24th June 1916.
“Richmond Scouts” the first scout magazine was published in May 1916. 5 magazines were published during 1916-1917 period. Richmond Scout master Mr J.V Mendis was the editor of the magazine.
Richmond Scout master was instrumental in introducing Scouting to Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda and Wesly College after a workshop held on 14th August 1916.
Mr J .V Mendis, and four scouts T.U De Silva, S.Wijesuriya, Upali Amarasinghe and E.P Mendis left to Jaffna by train on 31st August 1916 to introduce scouting to the Northern part of Sri Lanka. The team of scouts led by Mr J.V Mendis spent four days conducting several workshops on Scout movement and succeeded in establishing scouting at St.Johns College, St.Patrick College, Hindu College and Jaffna Central College.Mr J.V Mendis was presented with the highest award in Scouting “ The Silver Wolf” in 1917 for his commitment towards introducing Scouting in Jaffna.
In recognition of the yeoman service to Scouting in Sri Lanka, The Scouts Headquarters of Great Britain awarded six merit awards in 1917 for the first time. Out of the six merit awards Richmond Scouts were awarded with three. The recipients were Scouts Master Mr J.V Mendis and Petrol Leaders T.U De Silva and S.Wijesuriya. Further two scouts, Upali Amarasinghe and E.P Mendis were awarded with merit certificates. These awards were won by Richmond Scouts specially for the initiative taken to start scouting in Jaffna peninsula.
Richmond Club House which was put up in 1917 is the oldest club house in Sri Lanka. Designed by Mr J.V Mendis this hexagonal building was constructed according to the Kandyan architecture. Required funds were donated by Muhandiram F.A Wickramasinghe. Club house was ceremonially handed over to the scouts by then Chief Justice of Sri Lanka Mr Anton Bertrum on 27th October 1917.
Chief Justice of Sri Lanka Mr Anton Bertrum who was the Chief Guest of the annual prize giving of 1917 mentioned during his speech that with the invitation of The Indian Government Sri Lankan Government has decided to help India to start Scouting there. He further mentioned that the government has decided to appoint Mr J.V Mendis, the scouts master of Richmond College to accomplish this task. Everybody present was surprised to hear this decision and also were very happy.
Accordingly Mr J.V Mendis was appointed as the Scout Commissioner to Madras in 1918.
In 1918 Richmond produced 37 King’s Scouts for the third time in the history. 16 of them won the first class cord. Among them were past principal of Richmond Mr E.R De Silva, former director of education Mr S.F De Silva and Prof. E.F.C Ludowyk(Lyn Ludowyk) the creator of a modern English Theatre in Sri Lanka..
Mr E.F.C Ludowyk was just 13 years when he won the King’s Scout award becoming the youngest ever King’s Scout in the British Kingdom.