1919 SCOUTMASTERS TRAINING COURSE
AT GILWELL PARK
1. The Course will commence
on Monday 8th September will last till Friday 19th.
2. Members should book to
Chingford and must leave Liverpool Street by the 5.5 P.M. train. A
brake will meet this train at Chingford Station.
3. The Course will be
carried out in Camp. Tents, ground sheets, and cooking utensils will be
4. A fee of 5/- will be
charged for the Course in order to cover incidental expenses. All catering
will be arranged by, and the cooking done in, the patrols into which
members of the Course will be divided on arrival; these expenses will be
shared equally by the members of the patrols.
5. The Course of
instruction will be based on SCOUTING FOR BOYS, and the Chief Scout's book
"AIDS TO SCOUTMASTERSHIP," and will include lectures and practical work in
campcraft, nature study, general scouting, organization and methods of
running patrols and troops.
6. Those attending the
Course should wear correct Scout uniform; shorts and not breeches should
be worn except for medical reasons.
7. The following
article: must be brought:
A. SCOUTING FOR BOYS, which
should have been read beforehand.
B. Notebook and sketchbook.
C. Blankets, clothing and personal equipment as given in SCOUTING FOR
BOYS, pages 109-110.
8. Applications to
attend this Course should be sent to Imperial Headquarters by Saturday 9th
(Baden-Powell added a note to
some of the announcements, "Your name has been included in the first
Sometime in late summer a
training course attended by 25 Scouters was conducted by the East London
Association, under its own leadership for members of that group.
Although Baden-Powell had
outlined the course syllabus, he did not lead the course, but left that to
the newly appointed Camp Chief, Francis "Skipper" Gidney. Gidney was
a young man who had served as a captain during World War I and had immense
energy and, most important from Baden-Powell's view, tremendous spirit.
His Assistant Scoutmaster was Captain F.S. Morgan, District Commissioner
Baden-Powell visited the camp
Friday night and Saturday, together with Major A.G. Wade, Joint Managing
Secretary of the Association and the man who was to organize the first
World Jamboree the next year. The Founder a gave a talk to the
Scoutmasters, and led a tracking demonstration on Sunday morning filled
with personal anecdotes. Other distinguished Scouters who served as
instructors were Deputy Chief Commissioner Col. Ulick G.C. de Burgh,
Deputy Chief Scout Percy W. Everett (who had been a part of Scouting since
the Brownsea camp), Hubert S. Martin (later Director of the Scouts
International Bureau), R.S. Wood (who ran Gilwell for a time when Gidney
was sick), P.B. Nevill, Rev. R. Hyde, and Imperial Headquarters Assistant
Secretary D.F. Morgan.
The participants enjoyed good
weather, except for one heavy thunderstorm which, as Gidney wrote, "had
its instructive value also!" These men had come from different parts of
England and Wales, were of various ages and different professions. The
roster of the first Wood Badge course follows:
Capt. F. Gidney, Camp
Chief, Gilwell Park.
Capt. . F.S. Morgan, Glamorgan.
Maj. the Rev. C.P. Hines, Gt. Yarmouth.
C. Robson, Colchester.
L.J. Berlin, Manchester.
Rev. W.A. Butler, Sussex.
M.F. Bunt, Sussex.
J.R. Davies, Cheshire.
J.F. Wilkinson, Cheshire.
A.W. Todd, Cheshire.
E. Fay, Yorkshire
J. Kent, Essex.
Ronald Firth, Suffolk.
R. Hammond , London.
C.C. Eiffe, London.
Rev. H.W. Nevill, London.
S. Phillips, London.
D. Earle, London.
Rev. W.E. Baker, London.
R. Lang, Cambridge.
The men were organized into
three patrols, each one taking his turn as patrol leader, "second,"
"bottom" and the other turns in the order of patrol jobs, including
cooking. Although in some camp schemes a late lunch was the big meal of
the day, Gidney scheduled the main meal in the evening, to insure no one
missed any of the Scoutcraft instruction.
TOP The program
of the first course was summarized by Gidney:
- Patrols formed - Practiced calls, etc. - Drill with staves - Troop
formation - Patrol formation on the march (by day and night) -- Scouts'
pace --Typical investiture - "Erogonyama" chorus -- -How to "break" the
flag -- Camp hygiene -- physical exercises (the six from "Scouting for
Campcraft -- (a)
Campsites. Selection -- Sanitation -- Fires -- Pitching and Striking camps
(b) Camp expedients. – Illuminations – Kitchen Implements -- Beds and
sleeping appliances -- Personal comforts -- Camp tidiness – Tent
expedients -- Miscellaneous.
Pioneering. -- (a)
Axmanship - Felling – Use of crosscut saw, wedges, grindstone -- Use care
of knife. (b) Construction.—Rope and trestle bridge building across water
-- Simple and swinging derrick -- Use of tackle.
Woodcraft. - (a)
Birds and animals. -- Those found in the locality, their habits and uses
-- Use of Nature notebook. (b) Trees, - How to identify them near to and
far off during four seasons -- How to get the Scout keen on the subject.
Signcraft. – (a)
Signaling – Hand – Whistle -- Smoke - How to teach Semaphore and Morse
–Pitfalls to avoid. (b) Nature trails. (c) Sand tracking (carried out by
the Chief Scout).
Games. -- (a)
Scouting.—Description and actual playing of each type. (b) Camp. - Played
for one hour each day.
Fieldwork. -- (a)
Measurements.—Personal Distances -- Heights – Areas – River Widths. (b)
Mapping. – How to read – making sketch maps. Prismatic compass – Panoramic
drawing – Reports.
Study Circle Work. -
(a) "Aids to Scoutmastership," (b) Headquarters "Book of Rules." (c)
"Rules for Rover Scouts and Wolf Cubs," (d) "Our Aims, Methods and Needs."
(e) "Sunday and the Scout."
Patrols sent out separately with sealed orders to from various points
across Epping Forest, for eight-hour stretch - Leaf collecting - Report of
journey - Sketch map of trek - Panoramic drawing from given point,
The first Wood Badge feast
was not prepared by the course participants, but was held in London at the
Scout's Club, where Everett treated them to lunch. They then enjoyed a
tour of Imperial Headquarters, and a final talk the Chief Scout, who
encouraged each participant to start a course in his neighborhood using
Aids to Scoutmastership as a guide.
Click here for many more details on early Wood Badge, including
participants, memories, details on early beads, early camp memories,
The story of
Baden-Powell's early Scoutmaster training efforts and much of the
information on the first Wood Badge course can be found in E.E. "Josh"
Reynolds the "The Scout Movement" (Oxford University Press, 1950),
Reynolds was an early Scouter and come to Gilwell as a Deputy Camp Chief
include two books published by The Scout Association , The Gilwell Book
(10th edition, 1965) Gilwell Story (1969), the latter written by The Scout
Association's veteran General Editor, Rex Hazlewood, M.B.E., a Gilwell
Deputy Camp Chief for more than 30 years.
information on the staff, weather, and program for the first course is
from Gidney's report, "Scoutmasters' Training Course" in the Headquarters
Gazette, October 1919, page 189. This material, together with the
announcement of the first course, the roster of participants in the first
course and facts relating to the Dinizulu beads, comes from the archives
of The Scout Association, and was graciously provided by the Archivist,
Paul Moynihan, and his predecessor, Graham A. Coombe.
Council, Boy Scouts of America
PO Box 399 Jefferson, GA 30549