My uncle recently sent me a box of stuff which included a couple of Scouting related books – ‘Gilcraft’s First Class Book’ and ‘How to Pass First Class Tests’.
These books were written in 1945 and 1959 respectively (these were actually printed in 1960) and are to help the Scout pass his First Class Badge. The first requisite to obtaining the First Class Badge was to have already gained the Second Class Badge. Once the Frist Class Badge was gained then the Scout could begin work on the King’s / Queen’s Scout Award (depending if they did it pre 1952 or not).
Reading through the books it is quite obvious how different they are to todays badges. Firstly, the rules regarding passing each section were very strict. For example –
The District Commissioner may allow a Scout to gain the First Class badge without passing the Swimming test, provided he is satisfied that it is not practicable for the Scout to obtain the facilities for learning to swim, and that the Scout gains the alternative badge as in the case of those holding a doctor’s certificate.
So no leeway there then!
Reading the first aid section is quite interesting. The way the methods of providing first aid have changed quite considerably in the last 50 years or so.
There is also a rather unhealthy interest in recognise different species of bird. I’m fairly sure I would have had difficulty with this one!
These book are most interesting and show the way the Scouts of the past gained their badges.