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leslie's guiding traditions

Basic Drill was taught in most units from earliest days, and most units still do some form of drill, often at the start or end of meetings to get into horseshoe formation, or when hoisting flags. The founder favoured 'a little drill, well done' - but not too much. He said "Growing girls are very apt to slouch, and should therefore do all they can to get out of the habit by plenty of physical exercises and drill." But he also said "When I see a Company drill well but fail to follow a trail or cook it's own food - I recognise that the Guider is no good as such. The indifferent or unimaginitive Guider always falls back upon drill as her one resource." Guides utilised the drill book "Drill Up-To-Date, from which the instructions below are drawn.

The first stage of drill is for the Leader (and then the Guides) to understand the way in which commands are given, and why it is so. They are always in two parts, 'The Caution' and 'The Executive'. The caution is pronounced slowly and clearly. It firstly states who it applies to (e.g. Company/Unit, Patrol Leaders, Patrol), then indicates what instruction is coming (e.g. 'stand at . . .', 'forward . . .'). The Executive part of the command is given sharply, so that it can be obeyed just as sharply ('atten - SHUN', 'forward MARCH'). It is like the start of the race - the ready and set can be more relaxed, but the final part of the command should be like the starting pistol, and just as instantly reacted to. So the Leader needs to practice giving commands so she can give them in a firm, clear, assured tone.

The next thing all participants need to know, are the basic commands - and what to do when hearing them. They are:

Stand At EASE

To stand at ease the Guide should stand facing front, with feet shoulder-width apart, toes forward, and hands behind her back at waist level, one hand resting in the other palm. Heads should be up and looking ahead, shoulders down. This is a comfortable posture to stand still in when giving instructions or information.

Stand EASY

This order would only come after Stand at Ease. It allows the Guides to relax in their standing position with their hands by their sides, but not to shuffle their feet.  


This is always done from Stand At Ease position. The left foot is lifted and brought up sharply beside the right, with heels together, toes angles slightly apart. Arms hang easily from the shoulder, with thumbs resting down the side seams of the trousers. They should have head up and looking forward, but shoulders down, not hunched, awaiting the next command.

Guides should never be kept standing to attention unnecessarily, and never for more than a few minutes. When the instructor is explaining any movement or giving notices the unit should always be ordered to "Stand Easy" first.

Right/Left/About Turn

Turning is always done as two distinct movements:

Right TURN

a) Turn to the right, pivoting on the right heel and left toe, and placing the right foot firmly on the ground without stamping.

b) Bring the left heel smartly up to the right - thus standing to attention.


a) Turn to the left, pivoting on the left heel and right toe, and placing the left foot firmly on the ground without stamping.

b) Bring the right heel smartly up to the left - thus standing to attention.

About TURN

a) Turn round 180 degrees to the right, pivoting on the right heel and left toe, and placing the right foot firmly on the ground without stamping.

b) Bring the left heel smartly up to the right, thus standing to attention.


Marking time is marching on the spot. It is often used to move the Guides from Attention to Quick March, in order to set them marching smoothly and ready to move off. The knees should be lifted well, the head staying up and shoulders down.  


This is the speed of movement generally used by Guides when drilling, as it is a natural pace.

'By the right, quick MARCH'

The unit steps off, starting with the left foot. The arms should swing naturally at the sides, with no exaggerated arm movements or stamping.

Company HALT

The Guides complete the face with the left foot, then bring the right foot into line with it, thus standing at attention. The command should be given as the right foot is passing the left.