Scout Lapel badges / Button Hole badges

Cambridge District Scout Archive

In an era when men and boys wore jackets lapel or button hole badges were commonplace. They were designed to be inserted in the button hole, not pinned. My father was the proud owner of a full set of football positions issued by The Arsenal. Those above are held in the Cambridge Archive.

C T Wood album c 1926 Fleur de Lys lapel badges

BP habitually wore a Fleur de Lys in his jacket when on Scout duty, as did C T Wood (DC, CC, SM 9th). In the 1909 Headquarters Gazette article on how cheap a uniform could be the lapel badge remained, at a penny, when belt, shirt, shorts and staff could all be contrived from existing clothing. Raymond Andrews (1st Over) recalls that they were given by his Group to the boys as they joined or moved section. Cub Masters occasionally wore the Wolf Cub version (below). Andrew also recalled in 2021 the silver version of the badge was for Sixers, the bronze for the rest of the pack.

BP’s Scouting Games (1926 ed.) includes a game in which one party attach a piece of red cloth to their buttonhole badges or attached to their jackets. As so often with BP a gentle assumption, that Scouts should identify themselves when out of uniform with this marker.

1928 7th Cambridge Court of Honour ‘Speaking of button hole badges Barrett said that on account of the advent of certain badges of a bible class the scout button hole badges were not being worn by certain members of the troop’. The expectation was, as above, that members of the Troop identified themselves with a button hole badge. There being only one button hole in a jacket lapel conflict occurred.

The Advance Party report of 1966 recommended ‘Lapel badge for Scouts with a special lapel badge for Patrol Leaders’. Similar badges for Cubs with special badges for Sixers, lapel badges for leaders, instructors and administrators and ‘a brooch version for ladies’.

The poor photograph below has a number of modern alternative fittings. These may have been adopted for a combination of reasons. Jackets with a solid button hole became a scarce item of daily wear. The needs of women, who are rarely routine wearers of jackets, were considered. A greater number of garments for each required a ready way to transfer the badges.

The horizontal pin and back plate is on the back of most of the above. The less attractive sprung pin (centre) is, perhaps, a tie pin.

JWR Archivist Jan 2020