Chief Scout (The Scout Association)
The position of Chief Scout in the United Kingdom started with the appointment of Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scout Movement, as Chief Scout. He was designated Chief Scout of the World in 1920 at the first World Scout Jamboree in Olympia, London. Following his death, Chief Scouts were appointed for the British Empire, then the British Commonwealth and Empire, then the Commonwealth, and finally for the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories.
Role of the Chief Scout
The Chief Scout is the head of The Scout Association, and is therefore the leader of Scouting for all groups within the United Kingdom and Oversea Territories which fall under that organisation.
The role of the Chief Scout is fundamentally the same as it was when Robert Baden-Powell, (1st Baron Baden-Powell) started the Scouting programme in 1908. That is, to promote the policies and benefits of Scouting, and to determine the direction in which Scouting will function.
The Chief Scout is appointed by The Council of The Scout Association, which consists of nominated representatives from around the country.
Working alongside the Chief Scout's Committee, the Chief Scout is responsible for the appointment of County Commissioners and County Presidents.
Each section of the the Scout Association has an award meant to come from the Chief Scout himself, in Beavers, the award is the Chief Scout's Bronze Award, Cubs is the Silver, Scouts is Gold and Explorers is Platinum and Diamond. The only award higher than this is the Queen's Scout Award.
List of Chief Scouts
- Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, died January 8th, 1941
- Arthur Somers-Cocks, 6th Baron Somers, March 1942, Chief Scout of the British Empire
- Thomas Corbett, 2nd Baron Rowallan, April, 1945, Chief Scout of the British Commonwealth and Empire
- Sir Charles Maclean, later Lord Maclean, September 1959, Chief Scout of the Commonwealth. He resigned as Chief Scout of the UK in September 1971, but continued as Chief Scout of the Commonwealth until August, 1975
- Sir William Gladstone, July 1972, Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories
- Major-General Michael J. H. Walsh, February, 1982. Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories
- Garth Morrison (later Sir Garth), May 1988, Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories
- George Purdy, March 1996, Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories
- Peter Duncan, July 2004, Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories until 2009
All of the Chief Scouts, except for the last two incumbents, have served in the Armed Forces.
Peter Duncan was invited to take on the role in order to help give Scouting a more accessible appearance. His subsequent television appearances have all included heavy support for the Scout Movement.