Life Saving Scouts





After the starting of Scouting, the Salvation Army in England looked at its development with great interest. In 1910, some years before he died, William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, had a conversation with Baden Powell in which he asked his approval for using his ideas for youth department of the Army and B. P. approved. On July 21st 1913 the first Salvation Army troops were presented and Life Saving Scouts existed. The uniform consisted of: short trousers, grey shirt with red finishing, flabby grey head ( colonial type) with red cockarde and a red tie. The ensemble was matched to the colours of the Salvation Army.


After the “Padvinderij“, as Scouting was called in the Netherlands, came to Holland in 1910 it took till 1922 until the first Life Saving Scout-troops started.

In 1922 the Life Saving Scouts Union was founded, but it lasted until December 1922 before in the Dutch Salvation Army Corps Amsterdam-1 the first Live Saving Scout-troops were inaugurated.


The symbol of the Life Saving Scouts was a rescue buoy with in it a picture of a cub scout and a scout. Around that a cord is draped in a pointy star for boys. For girls de star had rounded points and in the buoy was a picture of girl guides. Under the buoy a ribbon with the words “Redden en Dienen” (To Save and Serve)

There was no question of joining the NPV (Dutch Boy Scout Association) or the NPG (Dutch Girl Guide Association). Too many issues connected to the scouting movement were unacceptable for the Salvation Army. There wasn’t even any collaboration between the different movements.

The Life Saving Scouting Union wasn’t an independent union, but a part of the Salvation Army. The Commanding Officer of the Army Corps,  where the Life Saving Scouts-group belonged to, was also the Commanding Officer of the Troop. It wasn’t obligatory to be in the Salvation Army for becoming a member of a Life Saving Scout-troop.

Although this obligation existed for ranks higher than the rank of patrol leader. Life Saving Scouts were recognised by a red/yellow/bleu ribbon just above the left pocket on the breast.


There were quite a lot differences with the other organisations. Life Saving Scouts didn’t have sea scouts nor rovers and pioneers. Youngster above the age of 18 were more united in music-corps, bible classes and choirs.

The slogan wasn’t  Be prepared”  like in NPV or NPG, but  “Save and Serve”

Also the names of the different divisions differed.


Boys from 7 to 12 years were called Aspiranten and were united in a Brigade.



Girls from 7 to 12 years were called Zonnestralen (Sunstreams) and were also united in a Brigade.



Boys from 12 to 18 years were called Padvinders (Life Saving Scouts) and were united in a Troop.



Girls from 12 to 18 years were called Padvindsters (Life Saving Guards) and were also united in a Troop.





Differences in appearance were show on the uniform. In the NPV the major colours were green and kaki (apart from the sea scouts) and in the NPG brown and blue. The major colours in the Salvation Army scouts were grey and red.



Aspiranten wore a grey sweater, grey cap and a blue tie with white lanyard. On the cap a four-part starbadge.



Sunbeams wore a grey dress, grey bonnet and a grey tie with white lanyard. At the front of the bonnet a yellow sun.



Life Saving Scouts wore a grey blouse with red cuffs, grey hat with red cord around the curve and a red tie with white lanyard. As a promisebadge they wore a metal star-badge on the hat.



Life Saving Guards wore a grey dress with flat red collar en red cuffs, grey hat with red linnen ribbon around the curve and a grey tie with white lanyard. Around the right shoulder they wore a white linnen knapsack on a white linnen ribbon. As a promisebadge a metal star-badge left on the hat.





Different coloured ties as recognition of the group were unknown at the Life Saving Scouts.



Male or female leaders were addressed by their title and not by their names.

In the troop there were also a few differences, the assistant patrol leader was called Corporal and a Crownscout was called Generalscout.

The Generalscout wore a red buffoon on his belt and not a crown badge on the left sleeve.


The ranking terms and the terms for the interest badges were almost the same as those from the other Scouting organisations. Just the shape and images were different from the usual badges. The badges from the Life Saving Scouts were square and  usually black and blue and were worn together on the right sleeve.


Only after 15 years the wall between Life Saving Scouts and the other Scouting organisations was torn. In the spring of 1937 an agreement was closed between the Salvation Army and the NPV and NPG. This agreement was for a period of one year at first, but was continued after that first year.


This resulted in al lot of changes for the Life Saving Scout groups. Not only the uniforms had to be adapted, but also Troop names were introduced.  Every boy scout group got his own tie and the girls started to wear their tie like the girls in the NPG. Also Rover scouts and Pioneers were introduced in the SA groups. Like the themes, the names of leaders and other names had to be changed. 

The square skill badges became round, just like those in the other two movements, but they kept their own appearance.


In 1948 the cooperation between the three movements was changed in an association between the Life Saving Scouting Union and NPG and NPV.

Of the many Dutch Life Saving Scout groups, which have existed in the course of time, there are currently only a few left.




Second class badge

The museum is always interested in  "old" Dutch scouting stuff.
Are you considering removing your old stuff, please contact us.