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The Scouts' Friendly Society and 'Old Scout' Organisations

Friendly Society letterhead
Prior to the official formation of the Senior Scouts and the Rover sections, the introduction of the Scouts' Friendly Society, was seen as the 'miracle cure'. It would, it was claimed, not only help stop the 'leakage' of older boys away from the Movement, but help to persuade fresh recruits, including potential Scoutmasters, to join. In addition, the scheme would be financially beneficial to both the Scout Association and to those who joined it. Unfortunately, like most 'cure-alls', the Society never lived up to the claims made for it. It took the formation of the Senior sections to make any impact on the 'leakage' problem, but the Friendly Society was to endure for some six decades. Its organisation and structure were by no means secret, but I doubt if many in the Movement today have any idea about its aims and its deliberately contrived quaint and mysterious practices

The Origin of 'Friendly Societies'

THERE have been Friendly or Mutual societies since the 1750's. Basically, they are self-help organisations whose members pay regular subscriptions and in turn receive some benefit through 'bad times' such as sickness or bereavement. This benefit could be very basic indeed, such as providing enough money to ensure the member's decent burial! Societies had to be registered by law and by 1893 there were more than 27,000 listed. Many of these were formed within a trade or profession, and were closed to outsiders. Closed membership sometimes lead to a 'secret society' mentality with secret signs and rituals such as those used by the Freemasons and Royal Antediluvian Order of the Buffalo, where membership also conferred high social standing and an obligation to do good within their communities.

In 1911, Lloyd George, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, brought in the National Insurance Act that provided Health Care, Sickness and Maternity Benefits, using the structure of existing Friendly Societies. All boys over the age of 16 who were in work, had to join an approved Society, pay their subscriptions, and receive from their Society their 'statutory benefit' should they need to claim. In other words the government of the day used voluntary organizations to undertake what many would consider their responsibility. (Nothing changes!)

Why a Scout Friendly Society?

Metal BadgeCloth Badge

ON August 8th, 1913, A G Barralet, Scout Organizing Secretary for London, wrote a paper entitled, Scheme for the formulation of National Association of Old (Or Senior) Scouts. In it he outlined the advantages to the Movement of its having its own Friendly Society. There were tax and other incentives for the organising body, but he also outlined many 'sentimental benefits' for the members. Barralet suggested that a Scouts' Society should follow in the traditions of the great Friendly Societies of the day such as the Prudential, Oddfellows, Freemasons, Heats of Oak etc., who called their officers by 'quaint names' such as 'Worshipful Masters', 'Worthy Primes' etc. The Scouts' Friendly Society, he maintained, should have more appropriate names, 'Lodges' could be called 'Camps' and that there should be a 'Grand Camp' consisting of the chief officers of the Society. Camps would meet monthly for the collection of dues.

The Society would maintain a 'register' of Old Scouts still wishing to have some association with the Movement and provide for their regular contact. Barralet argued, "Members would naturally form a reserve from which we would expect to get Scoutmasters, speakers and helpers generally." He envisaged that the Society would need its own badge, and that the monthly meetings might lead to links with existing troops, (forerunners of Service Teams) a social programme and an annual conference.

The Idea gains momentum

BADEN-POWELL was quick to grasp the financial and organizational advantages of such a scheme: Scouts were not likely, especially after being put on their honour, to make a false claim and go 'on the club'. (In January 1917 the General Secretary of the Society announced in the Headquarters Gazette that at that time there were only 2 members out 1,317 drawing benefit, one as a result of a football accident, the other a severe cold!) As the vast majority of the membership were young fit males, the amount needing to be paid out in benefit was likely to be lower than that of other Society. This was because other Societies had to cater for a wider age group, including married men whose wives could expect maternity benefits under the rules imposed by the government. Indeed, the Scouts' Society went on to hold the record as having the healthiest members. Scout members could expect a share of better-than-average profits when these were declared at three yearly intervals. In addition, there would be instant register of old Scouts with a network of 'Old Scout Clubs', ensuring regular contact and providing, as Barralet suggested, a reservoir of potential leaders.

The 'quaint names' and mysticism associated the grander Friendly Societies were certain to appeal to B-P, who had made this sort of thing very much part of his own 'stock in trade'. Similar names were to be at the heart of later sections such as the Rover Scouts.

Typed draft
This is a later typed copy of B-P's draft, included because the original handwritten manuscript is difficult to read. It contains the conditions for membership of the Society. These were carefully written in order to encourage non-Scouts to apply. The last two points make very interesting reading.

Only three weeks after Barralet's paper, Baden-Powell placed his own paper before the Committee of the Council. A copy of his handwritten draft entitled 'Senior Scouts' is to be found in the UK Scout Archive. In it, B-P declares that his immediate aim is to:

"keep ex-scouts in touch with us and to keep them straight at a critical time in their lives."

He goes on to give evidence that men of all classes, not so far members of the Movement, would be keen to assist in the formation of a 'Senior Scout Corps'. As many as 10,000 men had volunteered after Baden-Powell had published his pamphlet Workers or Shirkers.

"It would be necessary to have some material advantage about the organization in order to attract and hold the members after the first glamour of membership may have worn off: and this could without difficulty be supplied by making the organization a mutual benefit society.

"Such societies are well understood among all classes and are very popular.

"It is practically obligatory for a man to subscribe to one or another of the approved Benefit Societies - the right kind of man would probably prefer to subscribe to that of the Senior Scouts so as to be in a brotherhood while doing really active beneficial work, he could be earning benefits for himself.

"The funds of such a Society would make it self-supporting . . ."
George and Dragon Insignia
This was probably the insignia worn by the President of the Scouts' Friendly Society and was worn round the neck held by a gold cord spliced as for a Bushman's Thong

The Committee were persuaded, and on September 22nd, 1913, a resolution was passed, proposed by Sir Edmund Elles, and seconded by Percy Everett to the effect that the Association's solicitors should consider how "the formation of a Friendly Society with an approved section for Senior Scouts" could be incorporated without prejudice into the Royal Charter. This was finally accomplished in January 1914.

The editor of The Scout, P B Nevill, in his book My Scouting Story was clear about the Society's primary objective:

". . . it was decided to start the Scouts' Friendly Society, with the direct object of it being the means of retaining the Senior Scout (i.e. the older boy) within the Scout Brotherhood."Insignia
And later:-
"The society was registered in the early part of 1914 and was on the agenda of the Manchester Conference where it was again emphasised that it was to be the means of retaining seniors."

On incorporation, the Society would have boasted a specially 'illuminated scroll', a highly decorative certificate which probably would have included the Scout Coat of arms. The certificate was known to hang in Roland House until its closure, but, despite enquiries, I have failed to locate its present whereabouts. If would be very fitting to include an image of it on these Pages. The Scout Archives at Gilwell does, however, hold some of the regalia of the Scouts' Friendly Society Officers.

Two lozenge-shaped insignia, one of which is shown here, have metallic gold letters showing either 'GP' or 'GT'. I am not certain what the letters represent. 'GP' could I suppose be for Grand President, in which case who wore the St. George and the Dragon insignia shown above? I suppose that might be the Committee Chairman. 'GT', then, might have stood for 'Grand Treasurer'.

'Senior Scouts' and 'Old Scouts'

IT is worth remembering that when the Society was formed there was only the one branch of Scouting, the Boy Scouts. The terms 'Senior Scout' and 'Old Scout' were used as alternative terminology for any member of the Friendly Society, or, as some press reports called it, 'The National Association of Old Scouts', but this new grouping did not have the status of a separate section. The use of 'Senior Scout' as term for a member of the Society only lasted until the Senior Scout section was formed in 1916 and is explained in detail in The History of the Rover Scouts article. The term 'Old Scouts Clubs' was sometimes used as an alternative to Barralet's 'Camps', as a term for meetings. The use of 'Old Scouts' in connection with the Society persisted until 1929, when a separate 'Guild of Old Scouts' was formed, whose history is detailed later in this article.

The work begins


LARGE-SCALE meetings were arranged in the principal centers throughout Great Britain with a view to explaining the scope and purpose of the Friendly Society and these were well received by the press.

The Manchester Meeting was arranged for November 8th, 1914 and the London Meeting was held in the Central Hall Westminster on November 14th. World events, however, were to overtake any real chance of a successful introduction. The First World War started on August 4th and by the time of the first meetings, massive mobilization had started and the news of deaths from France was becoming commonplace. The Society could hardly have had a worst start.

The Society did however have amongst its officers and managing committee the Scouting 'glitterati' of the day. The President of course was B-P, and its three trustees were from the 'top drawer' of society:- The Duke of Portland; The Earl of Dartmouth and The Lord Glanusk. The Chairman of the Committee of Management was C C Branch, who was already involved at the highest level in Scouting, serving on the Committee of the Council and who, in 1911, had been appointed as the first Boy Scout International Commissioner. The Committee comprised 14 members, amongst whom were: Percy Everett; Ulick G C de Burgh; H G Elwes and The Hon. Roland Philipps.

I have two copies of contemporary leaflets promoting the society, the oldest which must have been the first ever issued. Roland Philipps is listed as above, without army rank, showing that that leaflet must have been printed before the War, because Phillips had enlisted by the end of August, 1914. In the later leaflet, Philipps' title was changed to 'Captain, The Hon. Roland Philipps', and, sadly, a rubber stamp had been appended to his name - 'Killed in Action'.

The first General Secretary was A G Barralet, but he had been replaced (I do not know why, he too may have enlisted) by the time Phillips was killed in 1916. I do know that he survived the War because he was later to write book reviews for The Scouter.

The 'Thriftyman' Proficiency Badge was introduced in 1916 and had as part of its criteria an option of joining the 'Scouts' Friendly Society' -

"At 16 years or over must have five War Savings Certificates, or be a member of the 'Scouts' Friendly Society.' The principle was that money should be genuinely saved by the Scout out of his earnings or pocket money."
Thriftyman Badge

Though thrift was a long cherished national objective, not least in time of war, this particular badge did not meet with universal approval. Some thought that it smacked of classism; Scouts from richer families would find it easy to win the badge whereas those from poorer families would find it impossible. B-P worked hard to dispel such thoughts. In a letter to Percy Everett dated October 17th, 1916, B-P wrote giving him 'ammunition' to use should anybody attack the badge at the forthcoming Manchester Conference.

"The first boy to qualify for it that I have heard of is one in my village troop here - quite a poor labouring boy with a drunken father and no mother - getting 7/6 a week. Aged 13½."
(7/6 stood for seven shillings and six pence, which is 37½p in today's money, and its buying power in 1916 would only equal that of £12.10 today.) The badge was eventually withdrawn in February 1924.

Baden-Powell was able to write in his 'Outlook' in Headquarters Gazette in September 1917 that he envisaged ex-Scouts and men not previously associated with Scouting would return from the front and want to be involved in Scouting and that the Scouts' Friendly Society could supply the machinery for consolidating the different branches of Old Scouts. This was not mere wishful thinking. B-P had spent a significant part of the war working in the Scout Rest and Recreation Huts that he had established in Northern France and he had had first-hand contact with numerous soldiers, as well as a regular post-bag from Scout Organisations set up in prisoner-of-war camps behind the German lines. He had plenty of evidence that men who had never been Scouts were keen to help.

Headquarters Gazette in 1917 was carrying monthly reports from the Secretary of the Society. His contribution for April 1917 sounded triumphant: "Don't ask when H.Q. Camp has its meetings. They are held every day at the Scout's Soldier and Sailor Club 68, Victoria Street SW1."The President of The Boy Scouts Association, The Duke of Connaught, had opened this club earlier in 1917. At first it seemed ideal and was glowingly reported on in Headquarters Gazette, "Good premises have been secured, with refreshment rooms; lounge, writing rooms etc. at a point convenient for several railway stations."

Eagle Hut

The postcard shown here bears the caption 'A quiet corner of Concert Room, Eagle Hut, London.' I believe that this room was part of the Scouts' Soldier and Sailor Club. The Eagle Scouts of America did fund one room which I believe was called the Eagle Room. We could then, in this postcard, be looking at a 'Camp' in session. Unfortunately, the postcard cannot be precisely dated, as part of the postmark is obscured. However, there is a 'banner' which reads 'Feed the guns'. The premises were eventually found to be unsuitable and the Club was re-opened at 27 Buckingham Palace Road on Thursday April 11th, 1918, by B-P. (There is more information about this club in the Milestones article, Battlefield Scout Huts and the Scout Ambulances of the First World War.)

The War took its dreadful toll, but the Society was somewhat immune from it. Ex-Scouts who were serving members of the forces did not, in the main, know about the scheme, and if they did it had a low priority. There were some 150,000 allied ex-Scouts serving in the First World War, of whom 10,000 were killed. The Society however had to pay out only eight death grants of ten pounds each. (About £325 at today's values and enough, in those days, to cover the cost of a funeral.) The last was in respect of a Philip Norman Hodge, an ex-Scout killed in action on April 16th, 1918. His claim was paid on the day it was received, close to the end of the War.

With the cessation of hostilities many of the returning ex-Scouts had yet to hear of the Society. It was time for a recruiting campaign.

Growth and Decline

BADEN-POWELL wrote in the November 1918 Headquarters Gazette:

"It has long been a general desire on the part of all the Movement, that some means should be devised for keeping ex-Scouts in touch with the Movement and under its good influences. We believe that we have found a means to this end in the form of an Insurance and Friendly Society for Scouts. Every lad, on attaining the age of 16 has, by law, to subscribe to an approved society of this kind so he may as well belong to the Scouts' Benefit Society as any other. It will have its branches all over the country, and he will thereby be able to transfer from one branch to another according as his career takes him elsewhere."

In January 1920, P B Nevill was asked to join the Scouts' Friendly Society, and before long was appointed its Treasurer. The original aims of the Society no longer applied as far as Nevill was concerned. He was running 'The Bears' Rover Crew, one of the most successful of the day from Roland House where he was also the warden. Clearly the Society was no longer required as a basis for keeping older members in touch with Scouting. Nevill though was very much in favour of what he considered was "a sound little Society financially" which he had no hesitation in recommending to Scouts. (See p.81. of Nevill's My Scouting Story.) He considered the Society 'sound' because Scout membership, in sufficient numbers, brought revenue from the Government. In addition, Scouts, who had to belong to a Friendly Society anyway if they were in work and over age of 16, had the satisfaction of belonging to one that was part of their own organisation. Financially, it could achieve much higher returns for the Scouts than any other Friendly Society, because the vast majority of its members were young and fit, and the less there was to pay out in benefits, the greater would be the dividends paid to its membership and profits for the Society itself. Nevill was the Society's Treasurer for 7 years until he resigned on his marriage in 1926. He could never understand why so few Scouts joined the Society.

Walter G Scott was appointed Secretary in April 1919 and there was another 'push' to increase the membership. A Junior Section was formed in February 1920, giving Wolf Cubs as young as 9 a chance to take part. The Society had returned profits to the members and to the parent Organisation, but in 1927 there was a series of letters between its Secretary and the Chief Scout. The Society was experiencing a decline, as were most other Friendly Societies. The decline in numbers led directly to a reduction in tax benefits to the Association. Not only had the Society ceased to declare a 'profit', but now required subsidy from International Scout Headquarters to the extent of several hundred pounds. (£100 in 1927 is £2,800 in today's terms). Losses were in fact around £35 a year (nearly £1,000 today). If membership numbers could be improved then obviously there would not be a problem, but in the meantime, unless an annual subsidy was forthcoming, the Society would need to be wound up. The reasons given for this decline at the time do not, from today's perspective, seem to address the weighty national economic problems of the Depression but just focus on isolated excuses, such as that of parents, who would persist in encouraging their boys to join the Societies to which they themselves belonged.

The Chief pointed out that the Society had failed in its original objective and no longer assisted the Movement in any way. To give it further financial assistance would only be to prolong the agony, the money used in subsidy could be better employed in other ways. The Management Committee, however, argued for a stay of execution and was given a reprieve. This exercise was repeated several times in the life of the Society and every time the Committee was reprieved it went on to dream up yet more schemes to attract a wider membership in an ever-declining market.

The Society's office moved from Roland House to Cheapside, London in 1931. However, when Roland House closed in 1982, it had the Scouts' Friendly Society Certificate on one of its walls and there is a 'flyer' in existence, promoting the Society, bearing the Roland House address and a 'postcode' - an equivalent of a 'zipcode', which was not introduced until sometime in the 1970's - so I can only conclude that the Society must have moved back to Roland House from Cheapside, but, as yet, I do not know when.

The National Health Service was created in 1948 to serve the new social order that had emerged from the Second World War. All citizens of the UK were, for the first time, entitled to 'benefits from the cradle to the grave'. Those in work had to pay for their 'stamp' directly from their wages, so why would they want to pay further contributions to the antiquated Friendly Societies? 'Worshipful Masters' in their thousands faded with their outdated regalia into historical obscurity. Only those societies that had a social standing, or whose members were a 'captive audience' survived. The Scouts' Friendly Society could have been counted amongst these, but membership was once more on the decline and remained so for the rest of its existence.

The mid 1950's were particularly trying, with many changes in committee and officer membership. Regular appeals for new members were not yielding results, so, in order to expand the membership base, it was decided in 1965 that females could join. There had after all been women in the Movement since 1908, but nothing could halt the gradual decline - old members stayed loyal but there were very few new ones.

By 1984 things had come to a very sorry state, and, as members of the Management Committee resigned, they were not replaced. After a long and somewhat chequered history the Society was wound up at the end of 1985.

THE Scouts' Friendly Society never really caught on, but that, however, does not mean there was anything wrong with its original conception. It seems to have been an admirable facility, which, if not successful in terms attracting new members to the Movement, at least offered the opportunity for ex-Scouts to remain linked to it in a sound financial partnership. Unfortunately world events were against it. It says something for Scout tenacity that it survived for as long as it did.

Old Scouts badge

Old Scouts' Associations

ORIGINALLY it was intended that the Scouts' Friendly Society should form the entirety of this article, but is clear that whilst this was the first organisation involving Old Scouts, it was not the only one, and there is a chronology of 'Old Scout' history that comes right down to the present day.

As is often the case, information on more recent history is not as forthcoming as on 'ground breaking' ventures, but chronicled below is what has been discovered, in the hope that ex- and present-day members of 'Old Scout' organisations may, on reading this account, be prompted to get in touch.

Once a Scout . . .

THE motto of the first groupings of 'Old Scouts' was 'Once a Scout Always a Scout'. The phrase was first uttered by Lord Kitchener at a Scout Rally in Leicester in 1911. Geoffrey 'Uncle' Elwes was there when he said it again at a rally in Colchester in June 1911. Elwes wrote:

"When we returned home we discussed the statement and went over the question of how many Scouts in the troop we had over the age of 18. The next year we founded what I suppose was the first Old Scouts Association in the world."
Always a Scout
On October 4th, 1916, Baden-Powell, in a letter to Percy Everett wrote:
"I enclose and outline of a scheme for 'Old Scouts', quite rough for criticism."

The Scouts' Friendly Society was formed during 1913, so it is clear that when B-P wrote this letter, he was not talking about that, particularly as he goes on to say:

"Too much detail in the badges perhaps - but I believe we might make something of a step of this kind especially if we introduce a lot of athletic competition into it to attract and form the gilt on the gingerbread."
B-P even had in mind that, "A man like Johnson at H.Q", could well run his new venture. What exactly B-P had in mind for his 'athletic' ex-scouts is, unfortunately, not known!

Elwes' efforts led to the founding of the St. George's Scout Club in Colchester. This club started as an extension of the normal troop night, and was then opened to Scouts every night of the week. It became a Mecca for older and ex-scouts and did particularly useful work in the First World War when, as a wartime recreational club, it provided good company and 'comforts' to the many 'Old Scout' servicemen passing through Colchester. There are some who believe that the spirit of Rovering was born in these informal meetings of young men. When the club closed around 1930, the Colchester Old Scouts Association still carried on. Elwes went on to become Headquarters' Commissioner for Old Scouts. When he was appointed, B-P told him that he saw no need for a "centrally organized or elaborate" association, but an informal grouping of 'Old Scouts' across the country. Elwes was to assist them, through his personal experience, by communicating with Old Scout Clubs directly and through his regular 'Old Scouts' articles in the Headquarters Gazette.

An attempt to provide a national structure and organistion for 'Old Scouts' came in 1933 when Elwes wrote an HQ Pamphlet Old Scouts. Who they are, How to organize them. What they can do? Should anyone have a copy of this I would be pleased to see it. This was possibly Elwes' last contribution to the Movement before he died soon after, having suffered increasing disability from wounds suffered in the First World War.

The B-P Scout Guild

B-P Scout Guild embroided badge

THE 6th World Jamboree, 'The Jamboree for Peace', took place in 1948 in Moisson, France, immediately followed by the 11th International Scout Conference. It is not suprising that after the Second World War, when so many ex-Scouts on both sides had lost their lives, minds were concentrated on how international links could once again be made to promote peace. It was decided that 1948, the 40th Anniversary of Scouting, should be marked by the formation of 'Old Scouts' Branches in all member countries. In keeping with that resolution a conference, held at Gilwell in the Autumn of that year and opened by the then Chief Scout Lord Rowallan, decided to establish a B-P Guild of Old Scouts in Britain.

This organisation was a success, and most Scout Districts could count on the support of Guild Members. In October 1953, the 'Scout Guild', as it became known to many, and the Old Guide organisation 'The Trefoil Guild' were founder members of 'The International Fellowship of Former Scouts and Guides' and, in 1955, the two groups amalgamated to form 'The B-P Scout Guild'. It was decided to adopt an amalgamated Scout and Guide logo as its badge in 1957, in time for the World Jubilee Jamboree, where its members gave good service. Most of my information for this article has come from Scouting sources, so I would be very interested to hear from Guides and ex-Guides who could give their perspective, or share their experiences.

In 1960 a Guild centre, in the form of a wooden chalet, was established at Gilwell Park, though it is, regretably, no longer in existance. Guild members were very active in their support and in 1966 they raised £25,000 towards the building of Baden-Powell House in London.

The Guild was financially and administratively separate from the UK Scout Association, but was dedicated to the furtherance of Scouting. Most districts across the UK and indeed in many other Scouting Countries had a Scout Guild working in partnership with Scouts Groups in their local area.B-P Scout Guild membership card

The B-P Scout Guild Holiday Homes for the Handicapped Scheme was started in 1966, by octogenarian Mr Charles Porter, who was a former Rover Scout and had gone on to become a member of the Exmouth branch of the B-P Scout Guild. He decided to use the money that holiday-makers were dropping into an ornamental wishing-well, which he had constructed in his front garden in Exmouth, Devon, to help those who would not normally get a seaside holiday. The need for such places became apparent to him when his neice, who had two handicapped children, told him of the trouble they were having in finding suitable holiday accomodation. With his 'wishing-well' funds, and the help of his Scouting friends, Mr Porter bought a second-hand caravan at the nearby 'Sandy Bay' holiday camp and soon afterwards another similar caravan was purchased. Then in 1967 an article was published about the idea in The Guildsman, the B-P Scout Guild magazine, and from that came enough funds to establilsh a third caravan at Sandy Bay.

In 1969, Mr Porter, who was then 84, decided that he 'was getting on a bit', but he was determined his scheme should continue, so he approached the B-P Scout Guild to adopt it, which they did. This has led to the purchase of a total of thirteen seaside caravans and properties, to be let for a nominal rent and designed for families who, for whatever reason, would not be able to enjoy holidays together in the normal way, without the provision of very low cost, specially adapted accommodation. The Scheme is now properly known as 'The Scout Holiday Homes Trust' and is administered from an office at Gilwell, but the 'units' are managed by local committees who require £40-50,000 per year to maintain and replace them. Please visit the Scoutbase website for more information, or if you are able to offer any support.

Scout Fellowship

IN May 1974, the Committee of the Council set up a working group to report on the future of adult support in Scouting and this of course included the rôle of the B-P Scout Guild. The report made the recommendation that 'District Scout Fellowship' should replace the 'Guild' as this would enable many other groupings that were assisting in the support of Scout Groups, such as various forms of District Service Teams, to all work together.

The Deep-Sea Scout branch of the Movement, for Scouts and Scouters serving in the Royal or Merchant Navies at sea, was first formed in 1929. (I hope to detail the history of this Group a future Milestones article.) They were reformed in April 1991 as the 'Deep Sea Scout Fellowship' and became an autonomous part of the Scout Fellowship. As their name implies, Deep Sea Scouts are often at sea for long periods and cannot offer a regular committement to any specific Group or District, but they are often able to offer help on their leaves and make contact, with mutual benefit, with overseas Scout Groups at their ports of call.

The Fellowship became part of the International Scout and Guide Fellowship (ISGF) when that body succeeded the former International Fellowship of Former Scouts and Guides in 1996. A new motto - Providing Active Support - was adopted by the Scout Fellowship in 1998, which neatly defined its role. This replaced the old motto 'Once a Scout, always a Scout'. It seems sad that Scouting should loose touch with this important principle.

Fellowship logo

In 1999 major changes to the whole of the UK Scout Association were put in train and, once again, a fresh look was directed at adult support. The Fellowship was fully integrated into the Scout Association under the heading 'Adult Support' and, at the same time, a National Scout Fellowship Team was created to enable it to better achieve its support rôle.

As members of the Scout Association, Fellowship members are also members of the World Organisations of Scout Movements, but unless individual members decide otherwise, they are no longer automatically members of the International Scout and Guide Fellowship (ISGF). This meant that the old Scout Guild badge was no longer appropriate and from September 10th, 2001, was superseded in favour of the new design shown here. Whilst not wishing to be unduly critical, I do hope this 'patch' is an interim measure and that a better badge can be designed which more obviously demonstrates the Scouting connection.


THE number of ex-Scouts in the world almost defies comprehension, being about the population of the United Kingdom. B-P's dream was that his old Scouts might in some way be mobilised for the greater good. There is no doubt that the Scout Fellowship will benefit UK Scouting as well as its members, but it has to be said that, compared to its potential membership, numbers are still low. A perennial problem inherited, it would seem, from the earliest days of the Scouts' Friendly Society. There is, as my mailbox would testify, a great number of 'Old Scouts' who feel a warm affection for their Scouting days but are now no longer members of the Movement. Perhaps there is, once again, a need to look to Kitchener's assertion. 'Once a Scout . . . '

Old Scouts Badge


My particular thanks to:
Mr Peter Ford, Scout Badge Collector, for his help with the images of some of the badges used in this article
Printed Sources
Scouting Achievements, Beresford Webb. Putnam, 1937
The Scout Movement E E Reynolds. OUP, 1950
My Scouting Story P B Nevill OBE. Roland House Settlement, 1960
The Origin of the Scouts' Friendly Society - a single A4 manuscript in UK Scout Archives unsigned and undated
Internet Sources
The history of Friendly Societies
ScoutBase - Background Information: Holiday Homes

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