The Scouting Pages - The Wood Badge

Camp Fire


What is the Wood Badge?

The Wood Badge is a training program 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, beads and scarf

Each piece of the Wood Badge insignia, the Beads, Bootlace,
Scarf and Woggle has it's own story to tell.

The Beads

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In 1887 Baden-Powell was posted to Cape Town and seconded as Aide-de-Camp to his uncle. General H A Smythe. General Officer Commanding South Africa Shortly after his arrival at the Cape. trouble broke out with the Zulu warriors. led by their chief Dinzulu On state occasions, Dinzulu wore a necklace some 10 to 12 feet in length consisting of over a thousand beads, ranging in size from tiny bead emblems to others, four inches in length It was considered sacred by the warriors, and there was a belief that if ever captured all resistance by the natives would cease The necklace was kept in a cave. high on a mountain and guarded day and night

Baden-Powell heard of this and hoped that he would acquire the necklace This did happen and his wish was fulfilled Baden-Powell took the necklace home to England where it was kept with his other military souvenirs

It was over 30 years before he made full use of it

The Leather Lace

The next part of the Wood Badge Story takes us to Mafeking where
in the book "The Wolf that never Sleeps" Baden-Powell relates the incident where, after many months of siege, one day he was felling very despondent when an old Zulu man of high caste gave him a leather thong. This thong as was the custom had been placed round the old mans neck at birth to ward off evil spirits and so bring the wearer good luck.

The story further relates that Mafeking was soon relieved and the leather thong joined the other souvenirs.

In 1919 the first training course for leaders was held at Gilwell Park.
At the end of the course Baden-Powell wondered what to give them to signify
passing the course. He went home and while rummaging through his bags he came across Dinzulu's necklace and the leather thong. A few days later he invited the leaders to dinner and presented each of them with two beads and instructed them to buy a bootlace and tie a bead to each end and hang it around the hat

The Scarf

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The Scarf is officially coloured dove grey (the colour of humility) on the outside and warm red on the inside to signify warmth of felling.

On the apex of the Gilwell scarf is a small piece of Maclaren tartan to remind us of the fine gesture by Mr. deBois Maclaren in providing the original land for Gilwell Park

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The material is a registered cloth, which means it cannot be used for any other purpose, nor mar may it be modified or any additions made to it

The Woggle

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In the 1920 the scarf, which had always been tired with a knot, was held with a scarf slide. So far as it is known, the name "woggle" was invented by Gidney, the first chief of Gilwell

Baden Powell suggested to the Gilwell staff that they experiment and produce a
special scarf slide to go with the Gilwell Scarf

In the early days of leader training, fire lighting by friction was very much a novelty and for many years was demonstrated on Wood Badge courses. A main piece of equipment was a length of leather thong.

Using one of the fire lighting thongs, Bill Shankley, who was at the time serving at Gilwell, produced a two strand Turk's head slide that was adopted as the official "woggle"