Scout Service Stars

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Service stars showed the number of years that a member has been in Scouting.  A full set of guidelines from the 1938 POR can be found at the bottom of the page.  Local photographs show some Scouts with a line of stars.  This was permitted, if each star was for a period in each successive section, but for some appears to be a non uniform usage.

12th Cambridge undated

Each Section had a different colour background

  • Cubs                Yellow
  • Scouts              Green
  • Rovers             Red
  • Scouters          Khaki or Blue

Felt and plastic roundels are shown below.  The numberless star on yellow is for the first year as a Cub.  Metal stars with and without a black background to the number are shown as are two, bottom left, with a brass colouration.  The white roundel is probably ‘khaki’.  From the John Chambers Collection it is not known who these belonged to originally.  No ‘cloth’ numbers have been located and may not have been used locally.

The Advance Party Report of 1966 recommended that Scouts and Venture Scouts ‘will not wear Service Stars’.  Cubs retained Service Stars in cloth on the jersey. 

2021    Cloth Service badges are in use for Beavers to Explorers in year increments to 12 and for Leaders in five year increments to 70. The rectangular version was used until the square cloth version was introduced in 2008.

Cambridge Archives

No reference to the use or abuse of Service Stars has been located in Cambridge District Archives.

JWR Archivist Feb 2021

From POR 1938

Description and background 359

  • Service stars are of one type only in metal or cloth, but after the first year, figures from 2 upwards to indicate the number of years’ service.
  • They are made with yellow, green, or red cloth background to indicate Cub, Scout, or Rover service, respectively.
  • They are worn with khaki or blue background by Scouters and persons holding Nonexecutive or Honorary rank.

360                         Service stars are worn on the left breast pocket immediately above the pocket, or with jerseys, in a similar position.

 Scouts 361            A Scout wears one star only to indicate his length of service in that Section of the Group in which he is still serving. It will have a background of the appropriate colour and will require to be changed on the completion of each year’s service so as to show the correct figure.

Previous service as a Cub 362                            A Scout who has previously been a Cub will continue to wear a star with yellow background and appropriate figure showing his total service as a Cub, in addition to the star with green background showing his Scout service.

Previous service as Scout or Cub 363                Similarly, a Rover will continue to wear a star with yellow background showing any Cub service and a star with green background showing any Scout service in addition to the star with red background showing his Rover service.

Scouters, etc. 364

  • The wearing of a Service star by a Scouter, a person holding Non-executive or Honorary rank, or an Old Scout is optional.
  • If such a person desires to wear a Service star, he must wear one star only showing his whole period of service, both as a Scouter, or other such rank, and as Scout. This star will be worn with a background of khaki or blue as preferred, and will require to be changed each year to show the appropriate figure.
  • A special form of Service star without background may be worn for 25 years service.

Method of reckoning 365.

  • Service of more than one kind, performed at the same time, may only be counted for one star or background.
  • Service is reckoned, in the case of Scouts, from the date of investiture; in the case of Scouters, from the commencement of the probationary period; and other ranks from the date of appointment.

366. Where a year’s service is composed of different kinds of service, not performed at the same time, but for different periods, that service which is performed for the longest period shall be reckoned as a complete year’s service for the purpose of Service stars. 367.

  • The reckoning of service for the purpose of Service stars and the application of the above rules are generally not affected by any transfer.
  • Service with recognised foreign associations may be counted.
  • Service with the Girl Guides Association may be counted.