Boys' Brigade Uniforms: Chronology

Figure 1.--This English image is indated, but looks to HBC to have been taken in the 1910s, perhaps during World War I. As we have few 19th century images, I am not sure how common it was for the Brigaders to drill with rifles before the War. This boy wears his Boys' Brigade uniform (pillbox cap, belt, and haversack) with a Norfolk suit and gleaming white Eton collar. Image courtesy of the MD Collection.

A time-line chronolog is helpful in following the history of the Boys' Brigade and other related uniformed youth groups in Britain and other countries. We will include major developments in other youth groups to provide helpful back ground information. The chronology also helps to put the uniform developments in perspective.

Individual Years


The Brigade patron becones King George V. The Brigade Church of England Council Girl Guides were organized.


The Federation of Boys' Brigade Congregational (United Reform Church) Companies was organized


The Brigade founder, Sir William A. Smith died on May 10. World War I began in 1914. The Germans declared war on France in August and invaded Belgium. Britain came to Belgium's and France's defense and decalared war on Germany. At this time we do not have any deatils on Boys' Brigade activities during the War. The Brigade always put a great emphasis on discipline through military drill. We note photographs of Brigaders with rifles (figure 1). Wedo not know how common it was for Brigaders to drill with rifles before the War. We do not know to what extent the Brigade program went beyound just drill with the rifles. We note that after the War, Brigaders no longer were commonly phitographed with rifles, although drill remained an important activity.


The Brigade initiated Founder's Day inaugurate and set it for the last Sunday in November. The Girl Guides began Brownies.


The British Boy Scouts initiated Cubbing.


Boy Reserves began in 1917. They were to become the Life Boys in 1926 and the Junior section of the Brigade in 1966.


The Boys' Bulletin magazine for boys began in 1918, but eased publication in 1920. World War I ended in November 1918.


The Brigade chose a new president in 1919, Sir John Roxburgh. Poiken Keskus, the Finnish Boys' Brigade was formed in newly independent Finland during 1919.


Muriel Gibbs, A Date to Remember (Boys' Brigade Archive Press).

Christopher Wagner

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Created: June 12, 2002
Last updated: July 12, 2002