Guide and Ranger Uniform Badges – Queens Guide History

Early History

From the beginning of Scouting and Guiding the youth members have had the chance to challenge themselves to gain an assortment of badges.

In 1909 King Edward VII gave permission for the Kings Scout Award to be included as the Scout Association’s highest award for boys.  The crown used on this badge was the Edward VII Crown.  This badge name varies according to the reigning Monarch – Kings/Queen’s Scout.  The was first won by a scout from Poole, UK in 1910.

Order of the Silver Fish

In the early days of Guiding the highest award that a girl could achieve was the Order of the Silver Fish, the name was chosen by Baden-Powell as a sign of hard work and dedication – “the fish works under great difficulties often swimming against the tide”.

The badge was granted to a guide who ‘won’ the efficiency badges listed as well as maintaining good all-round work.  The badges required were – First Aid, Stalking, Nursing Sister, Cook, Cyclist, Local Guide, Nurse, Musician, Gymnast, Electrician, Tailor, Clerk, Florist, Artist, Masseuse, Telegraphist and Swimming.  There were only two efficiency badges at that time which you did not need for the Silver Fish Award – Signaller and Sailor.

silver-fish-award-original-shape-drawingThe Order of the Silver Fish was a token of efficiency and ability in a girl who could make her way upstream against the current.
The badge was an oval shaped fish with its tail in its mouth and was worn on a silver chain around the Guide’s neck.

silver-fish-award-swimming-shape-drawingIn October 1917 Imperial Headquarters changed the character of the Award and the Silver Fish was given for Good Service to the Guide Movement and at the same time the design of the badge was altered to a swimming fish and worn on a dark blue ribbon with a light blue stripe on either side.

The Commonwealth Countries have their own awards but the Silver Fish is the one common one.  Hence it was only awarded by Commonwealth Headquarters in London upon the recommendation of the country national headquarters.

Gold Cord

From this time until 1946 the Gold Cord became the Guides highest award and the 1923 “Official Girl Guide Handbook” stated that:  A Gold Cord Guide must have had at least two years service and have earned the following badges – First Class or Ranger Service Star, Sick Nurse or Probationer, Handywoman, Signaller or Swimmer, Athlete or Gymnast, Naturalist, Child Nurse or Nurse, Laundress or Finisher, Scribe or Citizen, Domestic Service and 5 badges chosen by the Guide.  She must have trained a Guide for the First Class and when applying for the badge the Candidate’s Leader must send a report on the work of the girls Patrol over the past 12 months as well as this all Guides who had been in the Patrol for six months must have completed their Second Class Badge.


The Guide Committee at this time were anxious to provide a challenge for the older girl when the school-leaving age was raised (Education Act 1944) to 15, from 1 April 1947 and later to 16.  The idea was approved in December 1945 together with the approval that the Award be given to First Class Guides under 17 of outstanding character and ability that had passed a special test.

Queen’s Guide Award

Permission was sought from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, the (future) Queen Mother to introduce a new syllabus into the Guide Program called the Queen’s Guide Award to replace the Gold Cord for the Guide Section (girls 11 – 16).  She graciously gave permission for this award, the insignia to be Her Majesty’s crown surmounting the First Class Badge.  A special test was drawn up, aimed at producing the best type of all-round person, who could be relied upon to live up to the ideals bequeathed to us by Baden-Powell and to the honour of wearing a Royal Badge.

The Crown

This crown is rather unusual being the only one in the collection made of platinum.  It was made for the Queen Mother for her coronation as Queen Consort in 1937 and contains some 2,800 diamonds, most of which were removed from Queen Victoria’s Regal Circlet.  The principal diamond, set in the Maltese Cross at the front of the crown, is the “Koh-i-Noor”.  It was brought to England from Lahore and presented to Queen Victoria in 1850 by the East India Company.  It currently weighs 105.6 carats.  The history of the stone contains much violence and cruelty between men and it gained the reputation of bringing bad luck to a male owner.  Since its arrival in England it has only ever been worn by females.

Original Badge


The original Queen’s Guide badge was made up of the two badges a Guide was required to gain before being eligible to become a Queen’s Guide candidate and topped with the Queen Consort Crown.  The centre of the badge was a green trefoil on a dark navy/black background representing their first challenge – the Second Class, surrounded by a red oval shaped ribbon and knot with the words “Be Prepared” (the Motto) around the ribbon representing challenge two – the First Class and to complete the Queen’s Guide Badge the Queen’s Consort’s Crown.

The name Queen’s Guide badge has remained unchanged regardless of the ruling monarch.

Original Syllabus

  1.  Be a First Class Guide and hold either the Little House Emblem and either Pioneer or Hiker badge or the Woodcraft Emblem.
  2. Reports from the Company Court of Honour, the Guide Captain, the Leader of a camp (of either one week and two weekends of duration) attended by the candidate over the past 18 months, the District Commissioner based on her personal knowledge of the candidate.
  3. Home Service.  Prove herself capable of sustained effort in giving service to a group or individual for at least three months.  Overseas Service At least 12 weeks work for an overseas community within the British Commonwealth / Empire and this could take the form of regular letter writing or making a collection of equipment, toys or scrapbooks for the benefit of that community.  The candidate undertakes 3 unexpected jobs given to her by the District Commissioner at three different times during the time she is a Queen’s Guide Candidate.
  4. Take a ‘Be Prepared’ test, the arrangements for which are made by an appointed Guider.  (The Guide should be able to show herself able to rise to unexpected demands, overcome hazards and show she has grit, enterprise and endurance).

The girl who achieves this award should feel that she has been tested out on adventurous lines and have the fun of doing something exciting and worthwhile.

This badge like all Guide badges was presented in the girls Unit, usually by her Unit Leader, but the Queen’s Guide certificate is presented by the Queen’s representative, in Victoria the Governor of Victoria, and this is usually held at Government House.



The original badge





The First Class Badge.  This was worn on the left sleeve and replaced the Second Class Badge.