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leslie's guiding traditions

From it's earliest years, Guiding had gallantry and good service awards. And over the years, a number of other awards were introduced. I will detail the different awards, and what they were for.

Bronze Cross (Red Ribbon)

"Presented as the highest possible award for gallantry. It can only be won where the claimant has shown special heroism or has faced extraordinary risk of life in saving life." (1918 Guide Handbook)

Between 1995 POR and 1990 Guiding Manual, Bronze Cross was discontinued. Confusingly, Silver Cross Award remained in 1990, but it had a red ribbon.

Silver Cross (Blue Ribbon)

"For gallantry, with considerable risk to herself." (1918 Guide Handbook)

By 1990 Guiding Manual, Silver Cross had a red ribbon.

"This GGA award is for gallantry, such as acts of heroism, which may but need not have involved risk to life. It may be awarded to any member of the GGA.

Gilt Cross (green ribbon)

"An award given to any member of the Association for an act of gallantry where the risk of life has been less." (1943 POR) (By this point Bronze Cross was for over 18s, Silver Cross for under 18s.)

Discontinued between 1985 POR and 1990 Guiding Manual

Badge of Merit (Gilt Wreath - White Ribbon)

"For a Guide who does her duty exceptionally well, though without grave risks to herself. (1918 Guide Handbook)

Last appears in 1938 POR

The Star of Merit (trefoil on five-pointed star, navy blue ribbon with gold edges)

"An award given to any member of the Association who, without risk to her own life, has shown great initiative and devotion to duty, or who has displayed great courage or fortitude, often under suffering.

If the Star of Merit is awarded jointly to a number of Guides in the same unit, it carries the right to add red cords to the colours of the unit." - 1965 (July) POR.

Not present in 1964 POR or before

Silver Fish

"The Silver Fish is the highest possible award for good service for the whole movement, and is only granted by Headquarters on very special occasions. Application to be made without the knowledge of the recipient. (1921 POR)

Later the fish was in profile, facing left.

Nurse Cavell Badge

"To obtain the Nurse Cavell Badge a Guide must have shown either special pluck in saving life, self-sacrifice in work for others, endurance of suffering, or calmness in danger.

These attributes would serve on the merits of the case as equivalent to some of the following tests:-

For Guides: Ambulance, Sick Nurse, Cook, Laundress, Needlewoman, Scribe, Signaller, Housekeeper, Pioneer, Child Nurse or Interpreter, Carpenter, Handywoman.

For Senior Guides: First Aid, Probationer, First Class Cook, Finisher, Dressmaker, Clerk, First Class Signaller, Housekeeper, Pioneer, Child Nurse or Interpreter, Carpenter, Handywoman.

The personal character of the Guide as testified to by the Captain, or ascertained by the Headquarters Committee, will be an important factor in the awarding of this badge, and a recommendation from the employer or school authorities as to punctuality, energy in work, and steadfastness of purpose, will also be required." (1921 POR)

Not in 1930 POR.

Badge of Fortitude

"For endurance under suffering. All members of the Movement who have at least six months' service in a registered Extension company are eligible for this award, but in cases where it is made over the age of 16 it should not be worn in uniform on return to normal life.

Applications for those who are not members of an Extension company will be considered in special cases."

(1935 POR)

"A Bar to the Badge of Fortitude may be awarded to those who have shown exceptional endurance and fortitude for a prolonged period after receiving the Badge of Fortitude" (1950 POR)

Discontinued between 1964 and 1969 POR

Special Service Award (Beaver Award)

"A Special Service Badge is awarded for exceptionally meritorious service to the Movement. The design is a bronze beaver worn on a dark blue cord. (1935 POR)

" This GGA Award may be given to any member of the GGA over the age of eighteen for outstanding service to Guiding while working closely with other organisations in the community as well as in Guiding. Navy blue ribbon with bright blue edges. (1990 Guiding Manual)

Not in 1969 or 1973 POR.

Not in 2005 Guiding Manual onwards.

The Oak Leaf

"An award for very meritorious service." (1960 POR)

Not in 1953 POR or before. Discontinued between 1964 and 1969 POR

Laurel Award (sapphire blue ribbon with two green stripes bordering central white stripe)

"An award for unusually good service to the Movement." - 1961 POR.

Not present in 1957 POR or before

Good Service Award

"A County Commissioner may award a Good Service Brooch and/or a Good Service Certificate to a Guider in her County for excellent service." (1980 POR)

Not present in 2005 Guiding Manual.

Thanks Badge

"It is the privilege of any Guide, of whatever rank, to present this Badge of Thanks to anyone who does a Guide a good turn. It entitles the wearer to make use of the services of any Guide at any time, but does not constitute membership." (1918 Guide Handbook)

Over the years the styling of the award varied, so examples can be seen with plain bar at the top, others with no bar and pin attached, the pin being positioned behind the trefoil

Medal of Merit (Navy blue ribbon with white edges)

From 1943 POR

"An award for unusually good service to the movement." - 1943 POR

Not in 1961 POR onwards

All-Round Cords

"Can be worn by any Guide having passed the First Class and any other seven tests, in addition to those included in the First Class.

(Application for these should be made to the County Secretary, through the District Secretary.)" (1924 POR)

Ended 1968.

Mauve Cold Award or Blue Cord Award

"For physically disabled Guides, whether in Extension Companies or ordinary Companies.


a) A Guide must hold the Extension First Class badge and four Proficiency badges besides those needed for First Class.

b) Must have rendered some special service to others.

c) Must have earned 2s. 6d. by her own work.

(1924 POR)

Ended by 1968.

The Gold Cord Award

"A Guider or Guide must have had at least two years' service before being recommended for the Gold Cord. Guides must have earned the following badges:

First Class or Ranger Star. Sick Nurse or Probationer. Handywoman. Swimmer, or Signaller, or First Class Signaller. Athlete or Gymnast. Child Nurse or Nurse. Laundress or Finisher. Scribe or Clerk. Domestic Service. Also six others chosen by herself.

She must also have trained a Guide for the 1st Class Badge (with the exemption of the Ambulance, Child Nurse, and Swimming Tests, which should be taught by qualified people).

In applying for the Gold Cord, the Captain must send a report of the work during the past year of the Patrol to which the Guide belongs, of which all Guides of six months' standing must be 2nd Class. This applicatoin should first be sanctioned by the Court of Honour. Special Gold Cord applicatoin forms obtainable through County Secretaries." (1921 POR)

Ended by 1943