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Commands and Signals

A Patrol Leader often has a whistle, and a lanyard or cord for keeping it The following commands and signals should be at your fingertips, so that you can use them in your Patrol.

Words of Command

"Fall in" (in line).

"Alert" (stand up smartly).

"At ease" (stand at ease).

"Sit easy" or "Sit at ease" (sit or lie down without leaving the ranks).

"Dismiss" (break off).

"Right turn" (or "left turn"); (each Scout turns accordingly). "Patrol right turn" (or "left turn"); (each Patrol with its Scouts in line wheels to that hand).

"Quick march" (walk smartly, stepping off on the left foot).

"Halt" (stop, standing still at the "Alert")

"Double" or "At the double" (run at smart pace, arms hanging loose).

"Scout Pace" (walk so many paces and run so many paces alternately-about 50 of each).

Signal Meaning and use
VE, VE, VE, or AAAA Calling up signal
K Carry on (answer to VE if ready to receive message).
Q Wait (answer to VE if not ready to receive message).
T or E (Morse)
C or A (Semaphore)
General answer (used to answer all signals unless otherwise stated).
8 dots (Semaphore 8Es) Erase (to erase anything sent incorrectly).
AR End of message signal.
R Message received correctly (answer to AR).

Whistle Signals

When a Scoutmaster wants to call the Troop together he whistles "The Scout Call", or uses a special Troop call.

Patrol Leaders thereupon call together their Patrols by giving their Patrol call. Then they take their Patrol "at the double" to the Scoutmaster.

Here are some whistle signals for Scout wide games.

1. One long blast means "Silence", "Alert"; "Look out for my next signal".

2. A succession of long, slow blasts means "Go out", "Get farther away", or "Advance", "Extend," "Scatter".

3. A succession of short, sharp blasts means "Rally", "Close in","Come together", "Fall in".

4. A succession of short and long blasts alternately means "Alarm","Look out", "Be ready", "Man your alarm posts".

5. Three short blasts followed by one long one from the Scoutmaster calls up the Patrol Leaders-i.e., "Leaders come here".

Any signal must be instantly obeyed at the double as fast as you can run-no matter what other job you may be doing at the time.

Hand Signals

Hand Signals-which can also be made by Patrol Leaders with their Patrol flags when necessary.

Hand waved several times across the face from side to side, or flag waved horizontally from side to side opposite the face means "No", "Never mind", "As you were".

Hand or flag held high, and waved very slowly from side to side, at full extent of arm means "Extend", "Go farther out", "Scatter".

Hand or flag held high, and waved quickly from side to side at full extent of arm means "Close in", "Rally", "Come here".

Hand or flag pointing in any direction, means "Go in that direction".

Clenched hand or flag jumped rapidly up and down several times means "Run".

Hand or flag held straight up over head, means "Stop", "Halt".

When a leader is shouting an order or message to a Scout who is some way off, the Scout, if he hears what is being said, should hold up his hand level with his head all the time. If he cannot hear, he should stand still, making no sign. The leader will then repeat louder, or beckon to the Scout to come in nearer.

Make up your own signals for other commands to your Patrol.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

Date of Creation


Learn A Continuation:

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