United States Boy Scouts: Overseas Scouting in Britain

Figure 1.--

American Uniform

It was great to see and read Eric's story of Boy Scouting USA. At about the same time I was Boy Scouting over here in England. We had an American Boy Scout Camp over here called Camp Mohawk, mainly for the BSA Troops attached to Military bases, and so came into contact with them from time to time. Our Uniform at that time was a sandy coloured uniform called Khaki, whilst the USA's was a greenier shade and much better styled and made. We were all rather envious of it. Rumour was that it was subsidised by the Ford Foundation, but I don't know how true that was. Like Eric when we moved to Senior Scouts we changed to Maroon Garter Tabs, Maroon Shoulder slides, a maroon beret, and our proficiency badges (merit badges) also had a maroon background. My troop still used to wear the traditional 'Mountie' Hat which I believe is called a campaign hat in the USA. I personally think that BSA uniform of the 60's still has more class, style and practicality than the succeeding styles I've seen

British Uniform

Up to 1968 Scout Troops in the UK had a choice of colours they could wear. Most wore khaki, but you could also wear grey, blue or green. Air Scouts usually wore grey with a blue/grey beret, Sea Scouts wore a Dark Blue Jersey embroidered with the words Sea Scouts, usually with Navy Blue Corduroy shorts, Navy blue Socks with two white or green bands on the turn overs, and of course the traditional British Sailors round cap. There were some very old troops, mainly in the London area who maintained the original Jersey uniform, usually a dark green/brown. Of course all Scouts up to 1968 in the UK wore short trousers, and although senior scouts were latterly allowed to wear a Lovett Green long trouser, it was not popular. Most times we used to along to Scouts with ordinary long trousers over our shorts and change once we were in the troop room, you could get a lot of grief over wearing shorts as an older boy in the 60's, and most found it embarrassing. Then you got to about 17+ and in the words of the movie, frankly my dear I don't give a damn kicked in and you were secure enough in your maturity to walk around openly in your shorts. After 1968, our British uniform changed, and long trousers became the order of the day for all, and a whole new uniform look for everyone except Sea Scouts who stuck with their traditional uniform but just went into Long trousers.


Pete Sword, E-mail message, November 23, 2006.


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Created: 5:50 PM 11/23/2006
Last updated: 5:35 AM 11/24/2006