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Drill For Scouts

Troop Movements

Scouts use drill to enable them to move quickly from one point to another in good order.

When done right, drill also sets them up, and makes them smart and quick. It strengthens the muscles which support the body, and by keeping the body upright the lungs and heart get plenty of room to work, and the inside organs are kept in the proper position for proper digestion of food.

A slouching position, on the other hand, depresses all the other organs, and prevents them doing their work properly, so that a man in that position is generally weak and often ill.

Growing lads 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.

Stand upright when you are standing, and when you are sitting down sit upright, with your back well into the back part of the chair Alertness of the body, whether you are moving, standing, or sitting, means alertness of mind, and it is a paying thing to have, because many an employer will select an alert-looking boy for work and pass over a sloucher. When you have to stoop over writing at a table, or even tying a boot-lace, do not round your back, but tuck in the small of your back, which helps to strengthen your body.

On the word "Alert", the Scout stands upright looking straight to his front, with both feet together, hands hanging naturally at the sides, fingers straight.

On the word "At ease", or "Easy" he carries his left foot away six inches, and clasps his hands behind his back and can turn his head about. At the word "Sit easy", he squats down on the ground in any position he likes. "Sit easy" should usually be given whenever you don't want the boys to be at the "Alert", provided that the ground is dry. On the command "Quick march"-boys move off with the left foot leading at a smart pace, swinging the arms freely, as this gives good exercise to the body and muscles and inside organs.

On the command "Double"-boys run at a jog-trot with short, easy steps, hands swinging loosely, not tucked up at the side.

On the command "Scout Pace"-the boys march at the quick march for twenty paces, then double twenty paces, and so on, alternately running and walking, until the word is given "Quick march" or "Halt".

"Right turn"-each boy turns to the right.

"Follow your leader, leader right turn"-the leading man turns to his right, the remainder move up to the place where he turned, and then follow after him.

"Front form line" (when "Following the leader")-those in rear run up and form in line alongside the leader on his left.

Troop Formations

Line (means parties side by side)-Each Patrol has its Scouts in line, Patrol Leader on the right, Second on the left, the others in their order from right to left, Scoutmaster in front of centre.

Open Column (means parties one behind the other)-Give the word "Patrols right wheel" (form line). "Halt" (when exactly behind each other at their proper distance, such as will enable them to wheel either to right or left into line).

Close Column-Rear Patrols moved up to leading Patrols for taking up less room on parade, or for being addressed by a leader.

Line can be formed from "open column", to the right or left by wheeling the Patrols to that hand; or to the front by the leading Patrol standing fast (or advancing), the second Patrol inclining and moving up on its right, the third Patrol moving up into line on its left, and so on with other Patrols in rear, even numbers going up on the right, odd numbers on the left of the leading Patrol. The Patrols which move up always do so at the "double".

Line can be formed to the rear from "open column" by "about turn" for everybody (always turn about to the right hand), and then proceeding to form line as above.

Formations by Silent Signals

With an alert Troop these formations can easily be made without any word of command; all that is needed is for the Scoutmaster to give a signal and every Scout immediately doubles to his proper place in his Patrol, the whole formation facing the Scoutmaster.

For instance, for "Line" he might extend both arms outwards to the sides from the shoulder; for "Open column" extend both arms outwards but bend them upward at the elbow; for "Close column" the signal might be like that for "Open column" but with the arms held forward instead of outward from the shoulders.

"Horseshoe formation" is the ordinary one for Troop parades. The signal for this is usually to swing the arms to and fro with a semi-circular motion in front of the body.

For inter-Patrol games "Rows" is used. This means that the Patrols are in Indian file, behind their Patrol Leaders with their Seconds at the back, facing the Scoutmaster, and in their usual Patrol order from right to left. The usual signal is both arms stretched forward from the shoulders.

Movements by signal are always made at the run and in dead silence.


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

Date of Creation


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