Scout Patrol Calls

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Little is recalled of Patrol Cries or Calls in the archives. A retrospective observation from W T Thurbon in 1978

C. 1920  ‘Then as woodcraft ideas spread we gave up exotic patrol names and used those of native birds and spread whose calls would be “natural”, we thought, so Lions became Owls; Wolves became Pewits and the rattlesnake call (“rattle a pebble in a potted meat tin”) vanished in-to history.’  WTT Archaeology 

and from the Head Quarters Gazette report on the 1911 Cambridge Rally attended by BP ‘and presently a long line of boys was seen advancing at the double in Indian file with their staves in the right hand at the “trail”. When the first boy reached the inner circle he swerved to the right, skirting it, and threw up his right hand, holding his staff grasped in the middle… . As he did this he uttered the call of his patrol. Each succeeding boy followed his example.’


The following list of calls all originate from three main copies of Scouting for Boys published 1911, 1915 and just after WW2 (from context of added pieces no clear date). The

A full set of pictures published post WW2 can be found at Structure/ Patrols/ Patrol Names in Cambridge

The original list was from a British Boy Scout source and I have left their BBS unique patrol names (in blue) in acknowledgement. Some further names have been added.

Other countries have added and some apparently swopped patrols (e.g. crocodile for alligator). I have not deliberately added these but may have done so in error. These internet sources provide pages essentially the same as UK version but do not give dates of publication or countries. Both Crow and Jaguar have been identified in such copies of the pages from Scouting for Boys but did not appear in the post WW2 copy I possess. The alternative calls may have originated in this manner.

The column ‘Used’ indicates those names located in Cambridge. No definitive list exists

(Springbok and Snipe now located as used in Cambridge)

The Patrols were added gradually and many dropped off the list of badges available after the 1967 adoption of Advance Party report. At this point shoulder knots disappeared and individual badges were manufactured. About two thirds of the patrols may have been dropped; this list is not definitive.

See also Structure/ Sections/ Scout Patrol Names in Cambridge for more details.

  • B.I. Patrol names used in 1907 on Brownsea Island
  • 1908 Patrol calls from the original Scouting for Boys      Green
  • 1911 Patrol calls added                                                      Red
  • 1915 Patrol calls added                                                      Orange

Note changed calls for Alligator, Antelope, Bat, Elephant, Woodpecker and Rhino(cerous) 1911 – 1915). These may reflect sources from different countries.

Note also that in some editions the description ‘Cry’, ‘Call’, etc. was missing for some patrols.

JWR Archivist Feb 2021