BSA patrol ribbons 1911-1929+

In the first BSA Handbook for Boys, patrol names were suggested along with patrol colors. Each patrol was identified by a different set of colors that were assigned to the name of the patrol. At least some of these color assignments were incorporated into patrol ribbons that the boys could make themselves or order from National Supply. BSA used patrol ribbons for at least its first eighteen years. From 1911-1916 they were 5 1/2" long. From 1917 to 1925 they were 5" and 4 1/2" from 1926 until at least 1929.

The original British ribbons were strands of yarn and later, cloth ribbons. BSA ribbons differed from those of other countries by the use of a metal strip with prongs that could be pushed into the uniform sleeve and folded over. While the first medallions (red felt squares) were introduced in 1926, the ribbons were still authorized as late as 1929 when the first Patrol Leader Handbook was published. The 1929 PL handbook noted that a patrol could choose either patrol ribbons or medallions and boys could either make them themselves or order them from National Supply. The same patrol leader handbook contained an advertisement for the first embroidered medallions indicating that the ribbons were perhaps in use somewhat later than the original screened medallions.

Example of BSA patrol ribbon clasp showing tack-downs at each corner.


Fox Patrol Ribbon

scan courtesy of Mitch Reis
   Original Patrol Colors, Flashes, Ribbons
 alligator (grey/green)  antelope (khaki/green)  bat (black/khaki)
 bear (brown/red)  beaver (blue/yellow)  blackbear (khaki/red)
 bobwhite (brown/tan)  buffalo (red/white)  bull (red/red)
 cat (grey/brown)  cobra (orange/black)  crow (black/blue)
 cuckoo (grey/grey)  curlew (green/green)  eagle (green/black)
 elephant (white/violet)  flying eagle (red/white/blue)  fox (green/yellow)
 hawk (pink/pink)  hippopotamus (pink/black)  horse (black/white)
 hound (orange/orange)  hyena (yellow/brown)  jackal (grey/black)
  kangaroo (red/grey)  lion (yellow/red)  mongoose (brown/orange)
 moose (white/grey)  otter (brown/white)  owl (blue)
 panther (yellow)  peacock (green/blue)   pelican (grey/violet)
 peewit (green/white)  pine tree (brown/green)  raccoon (black/brown)
 ram (brown)  rattlesnake (white/pink)  raven (black)
 rhinocereros (khaki/orange)   seal (red/black)  stag (violet/black)
 stork (blue/white)  swallow (khaki/blue)  tiger (violet)
 whippoorwill (gray/khaki)  wild boar (gray/pink)  wolf (yellow/black)
 wood pigeon (blue/grey)  woodpecker (green/violet)  
Comments, Corrections to:

  revised: July 4, 2001