WW1 Boy Scout Photographs in my collection #1

Researching early Boy Scouts as part of my Wide Games gaming project, I came across these two original photographs for sale at a very reasonable price.


They are WW1 era c. 1915, Surrey based, possibly in the Ewell area (from a brief description in a photographic album) and the seller said they illustrate Scout drill and protecting a road (?!?) from a WW1 era album.

They appear to be guarding H S Philpots Tea Rooms (?) Surrey?

Whilst Scouts did valuable work for the war effort in WW1 and WW2, this young bunch of determined boys with staves might not stop the whole German Army.

Image copyright: Mark  Man of TIN

What I liked about them was the mixture of home made uniforms, floppy brim hats and some of their lively expressions.

Their Scoutmaster and some of the Scouts reappear I think  in other photos in my collection, the Scoutmaster in fetching light or white cape or trench coat.

These are a few of the photographs of early Scouting in its first decade* that I have collected as uniform research for the Scouting Wide Games for the Tabletop project (* Scouting for Boys was first published in sections in 1908). https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com

More of these Surrey photos and my early Scouting photographs published here:


Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 17 February 2020

Busy preparing simple rules sheets for the Scouting Wide Games project demo / play testing games for the 54mm Little Wars Revisited games day Saturday 14 March 2020. Still spaces available for games / participants … http://littlewarsrevisited.boards.net/thread/404/lwr-forum-games-day-2020

6 thoughts on “WW1 Boy Scout Photographs in my collection #1”

  1. Really evocative photos. I like the variety of outfits and the anything (within reason) goes of what they wear. The head gear is particularly interesting. Hope the play sheet is going well. The rules should give a great game,having reacquainted myself with them this weekend.


    1. I have a few more such photos to post up.

      It makes the scout conversion figures look less rough and ready, as identically turned out scouts at this period were unlikely.

      I recall reading somewhere (aha – it’s in An Official History of Scouting that you also have) that BP’s stipulation for “trousers cut short at the knee” to make shorts, was for older boys and men, quite distinctive and unusual to Scouts in the Edwardian period in Britain for civilian (non sporting) wear in Britain, winter and summer.

      In many cases at first they were especially cut down by mothers from long trousers. Not so odd to wear these in the tropics.

      It shows at first that hats for Scouts (rather than Scoutmasters) are not the universal Boss of the Plains (BP) Hat Mountie / lemon squeezer / doughboy but any floppy brimmed hat. Sellers did suggest there was an official pattern. Girl Scouts originally had a brimmed hat or scarlet beret (probably the Edwardian big tam o Shanter type) or straw summer hat (discontinued after rain) Guides then had dark blue scouts felt braid brimmed hat with our without BPGG monogram band.

      If not of official pattern, Uniformity of shirt, scarf and hat was thought to be good.

      Even when I was at school in 70s and 80s, getting out of Boy shorts into long trousers at school was, like the ink pen certificate, a rite of passage and growing up.

      I shall DM / gmail you re. scout Wide Game rules and scenarios for Woking games day.


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