History: Lord Baden-Powell


The scout movement was founded by Robert Stephenson Baden-Powell, (BP) He was born in England on February 22, 1857. His father died when he was 3 years old.

He was active at school with sports and acting, singing and in the cadet corps. School holidays he and his brothers travelled far and wide on camping and boating trips, while on these trips he learned much about the out door life.

After leaving school he sat an exam to join the army which he passed extremely well and was commissioned as an officer in the 13th Hussars, he was sent to India in 1876. B.P’s army career was outstanding, he was a good soldier and served in India, Afghanistan, Southern Africa and several other countries.

In 1897 B.P. was given command of a regiment, the 5th Dragoon Guards. He introduced new training methods to make it more interesting for the men. He designed a badge in the form of an arrowhead at the north point of the compass, for those that done well, he later used the same design as the symbol for the Scout Movement, and we use a modern version of it today.

B.P. wrote a book called “Aids to Scouting” on his training methods. In 1899 B.P was posted to S. Africa to fight in the Boer War. At 43 years of age he was made a Major-General, the youngest in the British Army.

His book “Aids to Scouting” was being read by many more people than the military that is was intended for. Schools were using it to train boys in observation and deduction.

B.P. thought his ideas would be useful to youth organisations so he began to rewrite the book for boys, but he needed to test his ideas.

August 1907 he held a camp on Brownsea Island with 20 boys from different backgrounds.

The boys were divided up into four patrols and learned about camping, hiking and many other things.

The camp was a great success and B.P. wrote a book called “Scouting for Boys” When the book appeared, patrols of Scouts formed of their own accord, all over Britain.

DSC01601Some sort of organisation was obviously needed.

B.P. retired from the army at King Edward VII influence in 1909 and was knighted at the same time. Sir Robert Baden-Powell.

The first Jamboree was held in London in 1920 and here B.P. was proclaimed Chief Scout of the World.

B.P. received peerage in 1929 for his work for Scouting. He took the title Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell, which was taken from Gilwell Park, the international training centre near London.

Baden-Powell died January 8 1941 and is buried in Kenya.


Major (later Colonel) Cossgrove was responsible for starting Scouts in NZ. In early 1908 in Kaiapoi a patrol was formed by Mr. T. Mallasch and was sworn in by Major Cossgrove in July 1908, who went on to organise scouting in NZ and became the first Chief Scout of NZ.