The Boys’ Brigade provides a programme of activity across four age groups for children and young people aged from 5 to 18 years. Each of the programmes provides fun and exciting activities with opportunities for children and young people to be recognised for their participation and achievement through awards.

Each year young people can gain awards based on their participation in the programme. In addition to this young people can start out or continue their journey through the Duke of Edinburghs and also gain the highest award in The Boys’ Brigade, the Queens Badge.

Heritage -
Newsletter of The Boys' Brigade Archive

Heritage is the newsletter of The Boys’ Brigade Archives. Volumns 1 and 2 were published in print form by the BB Archive Members Association. Volumn 3 onwards is a digital newsletter sent to supporters of the BB Archives monthly.

Get Up and Go

2011 - 2012

Get Up and Go was the title of an initiative where The Boys’ Brigade was partnered with three charities, Asthma UK, Barnardo’s and WWF covering the areas of Health, Conservation and Child welfare, to provide age relevant resources for BB groups to raise understanding and awareness of issues and encourage members to get involved and make a difference.

WWI Centenary

In 2015, The Brigade Executive approved a badge to be awarded to young people commemorating the centenary of WW1. The badge was based on the design of the First World War National Service Badge. The aim of the badge is for young people to understand something of our history, to explore the concepts of conflict and peace and to provide opportunities for social action. The badge is available to be awarded to any young person member of the Brigade by participating in an age appropriate activity related to the First World War. The awarding of the badge was at the discretion of the local Company.

Awards 1982 - 2008

For the Centenary of the BB the badge system was looked at again and revised to be the same style and size as the Target 1 and 2 awards but only five in number.These included:






Each badge had various different topics in which the boys had to achieve  a standard to qualify and these could be carried through from stages 1 to 3 in increasing detail. Tested by staff or by external personnel to teach and test to standards to qualify.

Awards 1968 - 1982

In 1968 the whole of the badge system was looked at again and revised considering the range of activities/topics that were now covered in the system.

They were re-designed as a barrel shaped aluminium bronze anodised badge with a symbol representing the activity/topic and were smaller and so more were capable of mounting on the armband.

In 1968 – 1976  24 different badges were produced – Arts, Athletics, Bandsmans’, Buglers, Camping, Canoeing, Christian Education, Communications, Crafts, Drill, Drummers’, Expedition, First Aid, Hobbies, International, Life Saving, Naturalists’, Physical Recreation, Piper’s, Safety, Seamanship, Sportsmans’ and Swimming.

Junior Section Achievements

In 1927 after the Boys’ Brigade amalgamated with the Boys Life Brigade, boys between the ages of 8-10yrs joined the Life Boys, it operated an award system known as the ‘Seal System’ and Boys progressed through this system, the results shown on a wall chart.  In 1966 a new program came into being called ‘The Achievement Scheme’ and the former Life Boys were to become part of the ‘Junior Section’ of the Boys’ Brigade. With this re-organisation there were a range of proficiency badges produced that the Boys earned by completing a combination of topics or achievements. In the first year boys completed achievements that enabled them to be awarded the White and Green awards. Similarly in the second year the Purple and Blue awards and the third year the Red and Gold awards. Each successive year the achievements built on the previous stages or a different topic but to a degree relevant to the level undertaken. Regulations allowed for Boys who joined the Junior Section at a later age to make up for the ‘time lost’.



1964 - 1968

Introduced in 1964 to 1968 to extend the limits of the existing Wayfaring award as an advanced almost specialised stage, and to keep in line with the ongoing development of the Duke Of Edinburgh’s scheme.


1958 - 1968

Issued from 1958 to 1968. Initially formed part of the syllabus for the Education award but later became a separate award. Boys had to gain appropriate Scripture certificates from their churches religious authority to qualify.


1946 - 1968

It took till 1946 for the BB to produce a seamanship award. There was little interest in this award, the Brigade’s possible intention to link this badge and an Army or Navigators award thought to aim the senior boys to join the armed forces should a national emergency arise.


1946 - 1968

Issued 1946 for taking part in outdoor sporting activities separating these activities away from those for the Gymnastics or Physical Training badge. Representing an arm holding aloft the Olympic Torch and its ideals.

Long Service

2011 - 2012

In the shape of the BB anchor and cross surrounded by a laurel wreath and a banner “LONG SERVICE”.

This was awarded to Boys not earlier than 31st December in the session in which they attained the age of 17 after serving for not less than four complete years with good conduct.

3 Year Service

1926 - 1968

In the shape of the BB anchor and cross, this was awarded to Boys who had served three sessions with good conduct. Also worn at and after Company inspection held during the third session.

One Year Attendance

1926 - 1968

This diamond shaped badge was awarded to Boys who had served with good conduct and with not more than two absences in all, which must be satisfactorily accounted for, from at least 25 consecutive Company Drill meetings and 25 consecutive Bible meetings from the start of the Company Session.

Awarded each session and built up on the armband and worn at and after the Company Inspection.



1927 - 1968

Introduced in 1927 – 1968 to get the boys interested in the ‘Great Outdoors’ and to follow on from the Scouting award, developing knowledge of the countryside, maps, physical activities eg walking. This award too also changed in design over the years as modern technologies and clothing were developed.


1927 - 1968

This award was brought in 1927 – 1968 after the amalgamation with the BLB which had had Swimming and Life-saving in its ethos, and awarded to those boys’ who held the Swimming Certificate in the previous session and pass the relevant tests. Over the years the design of the badge remained similar but the costume of the diver changed over time.

NCO's Star

1926 - 1968

The same 4-pointed star badge carried on from 1926 – 1968 after the union with the BLB and the newly designed anchor symbol and re-named.

Life Saving

1926 - 1968

Post 1927 till 1968 the Lifebuoy stayed the same but the BB anchor was replaced by the initials BB in the centre


1927 - 1968

Brought in to cover awards dealt with by the BLB pre union that the BB did not. Issued 1927 – 1968 it dealt with ‘Saving Life’ and the emergency services

Education / Citizenship

1927 - 1968

Introduced after the 1927 union with the BLB as an Education Badge (the Torch of Knowledge) to deal with  topics such as Citizenship, League of Nations, Scripture Knowledge and Temperance and Scouting, which were not all dealt with at the time by the BB. Later other awards were produced to deal with more separate topics. Later renamed as the Citizen Badge from 1960 to 1968.


1927 - 1968

Although camping was an activity within the BB, the first BB camp was in 1886 by 1st Glasgow in a Church Hall at Tighnabruaich, it moved from being a ‘holiday’ for the Boys into an ‘activity’ following the 1927 BLB union for outdoor skills and activities. The Bell Tent was a well recognisable symbol.

Arts & Crafts

1927 - 1968

Introduced and issued in 1927 to 1968 for interests including ‘singing, instrumental music, drawing, carpentering, woodworking, metal work and artistic designing’. Incorporating parts of the designs of the Life Boys Brigade Arts and Handicrafts badges pre the 1927 union


First Aid

1923 - 1968

From 1923 to 1968. Smaller in size to be in line with the other badges being produced by the Brigade to fit on the armband. Reference changed to First Aid Badge in 1956. Certificates were gained in yearly stages and to signify the different levels in 1933 red and blue felt cloth shields were introduced to indicate the level achieved

Pipers badge


1921 - 1968

Introduced at the same time as the Drummers badge in 1921, the existing Bandsmans badge (the Lyre) was considered unsuitable for pipe bands (around 150 in the UK in 1920) and the Bagpipe design came into being.


1921 - 1968

Company Bands became a good recruitment source and drew out the locals on Sunday parades. Similar to military badges it was used for several years before being recognised nationally and issued in 1921. Remained virtually unchanged untill 1968


1917 - 1968

The crossed Dumbells were officially used since 1917 as a symbol of physical fitness and training. Covering dumbell drill, swimming, cricket, football activities and Gymnastics etc. In the beginning these classes likely to have been run by officers, ex-military, with emphasis on fitness. Re-named ‘P.T. Badge’ in 1946 after the introduction of the Athletics Badge. Issued till 1968.

Life Saving

1915 - 1926

Introduced in 1915 after the BB affiliated with the ‘Royal Life Saving Society’ in 1914. In the shape of a Lifebuoy with a pre 1927 BB anchor in the centre


1914 - 1968

In the shape of the Lyre, introduced nationally in 1914 to 1968 to regularise those badges issed by individual Company’s to their Band members and was the only alternative to the Buglers Badge

1913 Introduction of the Kings Badge

In 1914 the very first awards of the King’s Badge were made to Sgt. A. Reid (1st Glasgow) and Sgt. F. Sturch (1st Warley). Introduced in September 1913, and named with permission of the Monarch, the award grouped the physical and educational attainments of the increasing badge structure. Known as ‘The Queen’s Badge’ since 1953, it remains the highest award in the Brigade and indicates a sustained commitment to the B.B.

Buglers badge


1909 - 1968

Issued from 1909 to 1968 nationally, though some Battalions and Companies did issue similar badges prior to it introduction to their Buglers, possibly using ex army issue badges.

Signalling badges


1911 - 1968

Introduced in 1911 to accompany the Scouts’ badge as this was one of the popular associated field crafts using semaphore flags. For quite a few years prior to this, this badge had to earned annually.


1909 - 1968

One of the earliest Badges awards produced after the Ambulance award. In 1903 following Baden-Powell’s exploits as a national Hero, he was also a BB Officer, and suggested that some form of scout training would do a great amount of good and was asked by the Founder to adapt his ‘Aids to Scouting’ for the training of boys. From 1909 to 1917 there were issued two classes of award (gold and silver colour) From 1917 to 1926 the gold version ceased and the silver became the first class award. Records give 2409 silver awards and 509 gold  

One Year Attendance

XXXX - 1968





1893 - 1923

This badge was issued from 1893 to 1923, produced by BB nationally to those Boys who had taken part in a course run by the Company’s and subsequently passed an examination controlled by the St Andrews Ambulance Association or similar qualified body.


Sergeants Star

1902 - 1926

Introduced by the Brigade in 1902-1926 as a 4-pointed star, an indication of competance by examination in theoretical and practical drill (oral and written). This regularised nationally a practice started in the Glasgow Battalion to award a decoration to successful sergeants. Later other Battalions also operated Champion Sergeants competitions.  

Ambulance (Cloth)

1891 - 1893

This cloth badge was first produced by the Boys’ Brigade nationally in 1891 to 1893 to those Boys who had taken part in a course run by the Company’s and subsequently passed an examination controlled by the St Andrews Ambulance Association



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