= The History =

The late Lord Baden-Powell

It was not by chance that the Founder of Scouting ultimately became Baron Baden-Powell of Gilwell, and not by chance that when the late King George V expressed his desire to confer a title upon our founder, both he and the international committee whom he consulted separately decided that it could only be Lord Baden-Powell gilwell. All this happened back in 1929 at the time of the great World Jamboree at Arrow Park in England.

Of course the difficulty is that many people have jumped to the conclusion that Gilwell was B.-P.'s home. Well, spiritual home it may well have been, but physical home never; although he was a very frequent visitor, and in his later years, complete with his entire family based in his caravan, he was a familiar and loved figure at Gilwell reunions, but he never actually lived on the property.

It is worth recording here that he evolved Wood Badge training. In turth, the Founder created two significant things - Scouting itself, and then the method of training the adult leaders which would ensure its continuing success. He did it, in his own word "to make quite certain that when I am gone the future leaders of Scouting will really understand what it is all about and what my intentions have been".

It is not out of sentiment that we respect and honour the memory of the founder, but out of a continuing recognition of the soundness of what he gave to us.

Gilwell & Scouting

It has often been said that Scouting began with a man, an island and a book; it might be said that Gilwell began with two men and their dreams. As the Scout Movement emerged smilig, vigorous, from the dark days of the first world war, holding the future confidently in its hands, great schemes
were forming in the imaginative mind of Robert Baden-Powell, and one above all: the need to add training to the enthusiasm of his Scoutmasters; good intentions were not enough. At the same time another man. Mr WF De Bois Maclaren, the district commissioner for Roseneath in Dunbartonshire, was concerned that the Scouts of the back streets of East London, whose love of the new game could be surpassed by none, has only the unlikely pavements and the inhospitable parks for their Scouting; what they needed was a camping ground which belonged to Scouts where they had a right to go when when they liked. It must not be too far out; he would would gind 10,000 pounds if B.-P. would find the place.

Undoubtedly more than one person came across Gilwell or knew about it - a derelict estate on the edge of Epping Forest, next door (one might say) to London's teeming east end, near Chingford, a village then with village ways and memories and not more than 4,000 people living there. the war just over, B.-P. and Gilwell cam face to face for the first time on the afternoon of November 22, 1918.

B.-P. persuaded Maclaren that their two dreams could be one: a training centre for Scouters could also be a camping ground for Scouts. And so it was. Maclaren bought Gilwell for 7,000 pounds and later gave 3,000 pounds to make the house habitable. On the 25th of July, 1919, Mrs. Maclaren cut the ribbon of Scout colours hung across the entrace, Mr. Maclaren proudly wore the Silver Wolf B.-P. awarded him. The Founder and Mrs. B.-P. had tea with the guests in the garden. A unique story, and history had begun.

The First Gilwell Park Troop

These notes would be incomplete if reference were not made to the 1st Gilwell Park Troop and its place in the world-wide brotherhood of Scouts; those many men and women who have passed through Wood Badge courses at Gilwell ans elsewhere in the Scouting world, have accepted the responsibility of setting an example to all other adult members of the movement.
These notes would be incomplete if reference were not made to the 1st Gilwell Park Troop and its place in the world-wide brotherhood of Scouts; those many men and women who have passed through Wood Badge courses at Gilwell ans elsewhere in the Scouting world, have accepted the responsibility of setting an example to all other adult members of the movement.

The 1st Gilwell Park Troop is not, as is sometimes feared, a kind of superiority class, but there is a common bond between members who have shared and equally enjoyed an experience. It is important to realize that the scheme of Gilwell training in its broad outline, greatly as the details have changed, remains fundamentally as B.-P. laid it down when the first course were run; and it is this living together on a course, this learning to be self-reliant and self-sufficient that real bond of sympathetic understanding that exists between all wearers of the Wood Badge.

Of the badge itself it is sufficient to say that intrinsically it is valueless. Two pieces of wood hung on the end of a leather thong, but treasured by the aged, coveted by the young and worn with just pride by those in the middle years. It is a symbol of the universality of Gilwell and Gilwell training. The beads themselves and copies of those taken from a necklace which B.-P. captured from Chief Dinizulu during one of his many African campaigns.

The 1st Gilwell Park Troop members are proud to be members and, however far away them may be from their troop headquarters, they recognize their responsibility, not just to Gilwell, but to the whole world of Scouting.

This, then, is the group and if you, reader are not yet a member, the only way to become one is to take the hard way, of completing your Wood Badge training and in that, as in all things, good luck, but the effort must be yours.

Wood Badge Training
= Insignia =

Wood Badge Program - The Worldwide Scouters Training

Wood Badge training evolved under the direction of Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell. The training offered at Gilwell Park has been adapted by each national Scouting organization for use in their country so that the words "Wood Badge" and "Gilwell" are use internationally to mean adult training in Scouting. Training recognition items are also common throughout the world as follows:


The woggle or leather turk's head is awarded for successful completion of Part I Wood Badge program and the parchment, beads and scarf for completion of Part II Wood Badge program.

(i) Gilwell Woggle

Until 1921 the scarf was simply knotted at the ends. About this time a scarf slide was used and, so far as is known, the name "woggle: was coined by Francis Gidney, Gilwell Park's first Camp Chief.

The present day two stranded turk's head woggle was first awarded in 1943 to recognize Scouters who completed the Wood Badge preliminary course which we now refer to as Wood Badge Part I.

The leather turk's head originated at the early Wood Badge courses. One of the demonstrations used was fire lighting by friction using a bow made with a piece of leather thong. The thong was just long enough to make a two stranded turk's head woggle, which provided a convenient means of carrying the thong.

The next three items are predented to a Scouter on completion of Wood Badge Part II.

( ii) Wood Badge Parchment

A certificate which is the official document recognizing the awarding of the Wood Badge and is signed by the Chief Scout, The Excellency the Right Honourable Governor General of Canada.

(iii) Gilwell Scarf

The Gilwell scarf is the colour of the 1st Gilwell Park Group of which Baden-Powell is the perpetual group Scoutmaster.

The scarf is woven and each side is a different colour. The outside is a greyish colour - the color of humility. The red on the inside signifies warmth of feeling.

On the point of the scarf is a small patch of the MacLaren tartan to recognize the gesture of Mr. W. deBois MacLaren who purchased and then donated the estate that was to become Gilwell Park. The material in the scarf is a registered cloth which means it cannot be modified or used for any other purpose.

(iv) Wood Badge Thong & Beads

In 1887, Baden-Powell was sent to South Africa at about the time of the Zuluuprising. The Zulus were led by their chief Dinizulu.

During tribal occasions Dinizulu wore a necklace some 10-12 feet in length and made of thousands of beads of various sizes. The necklace was considered by the Zulus to be sacred and as such was well protectes.

After the native uprising was put down, B.-P. found a necklace in a village which, based on descriptions, was considered to be Dinizulu's. B.-P. kept his find.

Upon completion of the first Scoutmaster training course held at Gilwell Park in 1919, B.-P. decided that a memento should be presented to each Scouter who successfully completed the course. He chose to present each member with two beads from Dinizulu's necklace. His original intent apparently was that the beads be worn on the hat, but last minute he instructed the members to go out and purchase leather thongs, attach the beads and wear them around their necks.

Interestingly enough, the present day beads are still made at Gilwell. The nicking of the ends, burning out the flat surface and soaking in oil is still done by hand.

= Back to Gilwell =

The Song that Every Woodbadger should Know about.

Who couldn't hum a tone? Every Scouts and Scouters should know songs, especially the Scout songs. A well kept song library can be found in every unit, every troop/patrol member should know their theme songs also, so does a Woodbadger.

As a Gilwellian, one must know the theme song of the 1st Gilwell Park Troop. My Scoutmaster taught us this tone when I was a Scout youth, whereas, he learnt from his Wood Badge course. It remind me our song sheet was printed from an old hand swirl mechine, and the funny strong smell purple coloured alcohol was used. Nevertheless, this memorable moment was happened almost 30 years ago and still enjoying it.

"Back to Gilwell" is one of the favorite tone in Scouting, and used as a theme song in Wood Badge courses worldwide.

To hear the tone:

The lyric:

Back to Gilwell

I used to be a Boy Scout, and a good old Boy Scout too,
But now I've finished Boy Scouting, I don't know what to do.
I'm growing old and feeble, and I can Boy Scout no more,
So I'm going to work my ticket if I can.

Back to Gilwell, happy land
I'm going to work my ticket if I can.

Replace "Boy Scout" if your were in other section or patrol:
Beaver - Beavering
Wolf Cub - Cubbing
Scout - Scouting
Venturer - Venturering
Rover Scout - Rovering
Service Scouter - Servicing
Cuckoo - Cuckooing

Source: Scouts Canada Wood Badge Training Notes, Scout Leader Handbook, Fact Sheets, etc.