Scout Salute

Cambridge District Scout Archive

The Scout Association uses the three-fingered salute for all sections, including Cub Scouts.

In his book, Scouting for BoysRobert Baden-Powell chose the three-finger salute for Scouts to represent the three aspects of the Scout Promise:

  • Honour God and the King
  • Help Others
  • Obey the Scout Law

Scout Salute

The Scout Salute is made with the right hand. It is used during the opening ceremony and also at other special times – such as when you are presented with a badge.

Scout Sign / Half Salute

A “half-salute” is known as the Scout Sign.  The Scout Sign is used while making or reaffirming the Beaver Scout, Cub Scout or Scout Promise and on no other occasion. The hand is still held palm facing out, and the thumb holding the little finger, but the hand is held at the shoulder instead. 

Cub Scouts’ two-finger salute

This was done to represent the two rules of the original Cub Scout / Wolf Cub law.

In The Wolf Cub’s Handbook, Baden-Powell wrote “Why two fingers? Well, you know what a Wolf’s head looks like with two ears cocked up. It is used as the badge of the Wolf Cub. Your two fingers in the salute are the two ears of the Wolf.”  The salute is performed with the right hand.

The two-fingered Cub salute was abandoned by the Scout Association following a recommendation by the Advance Party Report in 1966, that “there should be only one salute for the whole Movement”.

12th Cambridge c. 1955

When staves were commonplace:


 Girl guiding UK only uses the Guide Sign (half salute). 


Brownies originally used a two finger salute.  It changed in 1968. The old Brownie Promise had 2 sections, hence the salute (fingers held to side of hat) and sign (hand at shoulder height) used two fingers to symbolise the two parts. In 1968 it was decided that the Brownie Promise wording should be made to match up with the new Guide Promise, which had 3 parts, hence a 3-finger sign.