Cambridge District Scout Archive
Worn before the 1967 changes the colours, worn on the left shoulder, they identified the patrol. In 1908 Scouting for Boys it was merely a bunch of ribbons on the shoulder, echoing the neckerchief, both being in the Patrol colours. For some leaders they were also used to identify the role. Full list of Patrols at the bottom of the page.
1938 POR gives ‘Shoulder knot. Llama braid six inches long, half an inch wide, of Patrol colours, on left shoulder.’
The ‘knots’ were two lengths of braid folded in the centre to give four lengths when attached (six for the leaders Red Yellow and Green). The first colour named is the external or outer colour, the second the internal colour. If the knot was of one colour both lengths of braid were the same colour, that is four lengths when attached.
In 1928 the 7th paid a shilling for eight, a price that remained largely the same for many years.
The colours were given alongside the original Patrol names. No record of the process of deciding what colours should be picked for non standard Patrol names has been located, nor the colours chosen.
No records remain concerning shoulder knots or flashes in Cambridge Archives other than occasional reference to purchases or cost. They were not mentioned as being in short supply, as many other items were, during the rationing of WW2, nor are they specifically mentioned in terms of being detachable at camp, or being missing at inspection.
These examples are held by the Archive Collection.
- Yellow & Green – Fox
- Yellow & Red – Lion
- Red, yellow and green – Rover Scout Leader / A.R.S.L.
- Grey and white – Dove
- Red and Orange – Falcon
- Light blue and brown – Bulldog
- Navy blue and white – Antelope (Not known as a patrol name used Cambridge)
This photograph, below, initially suggests a non standard right arm attachment on both Scouts; but is printed back to front. That or both boys have got it wrong and also placed the Membership badge on the wrong side.
Many photographs show uniforms worn on camp without the shoulder knots. Being readily detached, often held in place with a safety pin, they may have been prone to detach inadvertently. Removing the shoulder knots was a sensible act. There is often a mix in informal camp photos, some Scouts with, some without. This could suggest no clear policy or instruction or a steady loss of shoulder knots. Nowhere is a loss mentioned, but today we do not record the loss of woggles on camp.
No examples in pictures or in the archive collection show appreciable wear or unravelling. The specified Llama braid is a robust weave.
‘Llama Braid – a flat wool braid, originally from the fleece of llamas, it has a diagonal lay of the thread, being braided not woven, and is light, resilient and durable.’
As with this wind-blown example, they were not rigid or starched.
The following list includes eleven Patrols unique to the British Boy Scouts and is taken from British Boy Scouts Handbook as published by 2nd Goring and Streatley. Some colours change in other countries. Some descriptions of colours, if not the colours themselves, alter between countries. I have not listed these; I believe these to be UK colours. The list is not necessarily complete. Patrols were added at different times and the later editions of Scouting for Boys omitted the depictions and details of each Patrol. See also Structure/ Sections/ Scout Patrols in Cambridge for further details of cries, dates of introduction, use in Cambridge.
Some descriptions of colours altered – see Alligator. Both Blackbird and nightjar were given the same colours, in the same edition (see Patrol Names under Structure/ Sections/ Scouts). Some are direct opposites – Capercaillie: Brown and Grey, Cat: Grey and Brown The pictures on the internet don’t give details of country or date. Some versions omit ‘blue’ after Navy or Kingfisher.
|Alligator||Green and Khaki (Green and Brown)|
|Antelope||Navy Blue and White (elsewhere Dark Blue and White )|
|Badger||Mauve and White|
|Bat||Light Blue and Black|
|Bear||Brown and Black|
|Beaver||Blue and Yellow|
|Bittern||Grey and Green|
|Blackbird||Black and Khaki (Black and Brown)|
|Buffalo||Red and White|
|Bulldog||Light Blue and Brown|
|Camel||Khaki and Brown||BBS|
|Capercaillie||Brown and Grey|
|Cat||Grey and Brown|
|Cheetah||Orange and White||BBS|
|Chough||Black and Red|
|Cobra||Orange and Black|
|Cockerel||Red and Brown|
|Cormorant||Black and Grey|
|Corncrake||Purple and Grey|
|Crow||Black and Orange|
|Dove||Grey and White|
|Eagle||Green and Black|
|Elephant||Purple and White|
|Falcon||Red and Orange|
|Fox||Yellow and Green|
|Gannett||Yellow and Navy Blue|
|Garganey||Brown and Green|
|Giraffe||Yellow and Brown||BBS|
|Golden Plover||Orange and Grey|
|Grouse||Dark and Light Brown|
|Heron||Green and Grey|
|Hippo||Pink and Black|
|Horse||Black and White|
|Hyena||Yellow and White|
|Jackal||Grey and Black|
|Jaguar||Orange and Brown|
|Kangaroo||Red and Grey|
|Kestrel||Royal Blue and Green|
|Leopard||White and Yellow||BBS|
|Lion||Yellow and Red|
|Merlin||Royal Blue and Maroon|
|Mongoose||Brown and Orange|
|Nightjar||Black and Buff (Black and Brown)|
|Otter||Brown and White|
|Peewit||Green and White|
|Penguin||White and Orange|
|Pheasant||Brown and Yellow|
|Pochard||Chestnut Brown and Grey|
|Puffin||Grey and Yellow|
|Rabbit||Pink and Brown||BBS|
|Rattlesnake||Pink and White|
|Rhino||Navy Blue and Orange|
|Sea-Gull||Light Blue and Scarlet|
|Seal||Red and Black|
|Skua||Royal Blue and Brown|
|Snipe||Royal Blue and Scarlet|
|Springbok||Scarlet and Yellow|
|Squirrel||Grey and Dark Red|
|Stag||Violet and Black|
|Starling||Black and Yellow|
|Stonechat||Chestnut and Black|
|Stork||Blue and White|
|Stormy Petrel||Navy Blue and Grey|
|Swan||Grey and Scarlet|
|Walrus||White and Brown|
|Wild Boar||Grey and Pink|
|Wolf||Yellow and Black (Brownsea-Blue, 1908 Yellow)|
|Woodcock||Chestnut Brown and Mauve (Chestnut brown and Purple)|
|Woodpecker||Green and Purple|
|Wood Pigeon||Blue and Grey|
|Zebra||White and Black||BBS|
Later Patrol Badges.
Following the move to patrol badges in 1967 I believe the two colours were retained, although the variety of standard patrol names listed diminished. Panther remained Yellow, Eagles Green and Black. These two I know, and all I have found on line in later versions of the Patrol Badges have matched the original colours – but I have not yet located a full list.
JWR Archivist Feb 2021