Gilwell Reunion has a long history, for over 100 years leaders have been gathering and learning at Gilwell Park. Initially as part of structured Wood Badge training courses, now our much loved Reunion is an opportunity to catch up with friends as much as it is an chance to learn.

During last nights opening address this history of the Camp Chiefs wood badge was mentioned and we thought we’d add to it.

The role or title of Camp Chief has always been held by a paid member of staff. Initially the Camp Chief was in charge of all Leader training, in 1923 this extended to being in charge of all Gilwell based activity.

Officially the job of Camp Chief ended with John Thurman in the late 1960’s when it became an honoury title linked to the senior member of staff in charge of leader training.

In the 1920’s Baden Powell awarded his Deputy Chief Scout, Sir Percy Everett with this own set of 6 wood beads to match the Chief Scouts own.  The beads were from the original necklace of Chief Dinizulu.

In 1949 Everett gave his set of 6 wood beads to the then Camp Chief John Thurman to be passed to his successor in time.

The original woodbeads were retired to the Scout Heritage Collection in 2015 and now a replica set of 6 beads is worn by the Camp Chief of the day.

Whilst in the UK we are used to being awarded two beads when we complete our training, the Camp Chief’s set of six hold particular importance to our international brothers and sisters, who often still use 2, 3 and event 4 beads to identify their roles.

Camp Chiefs 

Captain Francis Gidney Camp Chief 1919 – 1923
John Skinner Wilson Camp Chief 1923 – 1943
R. F. (John) Thurman Camp Chief 1943 – 1969
John Huskins Director of Leader Training 1969 – 1974
Bryan Dodgson Director of Leader Training 1975 – 1983
G. Hiscocks (acting) Director of Leader Training 1983 – 1984
Derek Twine Executive Commissioner Programmes & training 1985 – 1995
Stephen Peck Director of Programme and Development

Director of Scouting Operations

1995 – 2014

2014 – 2015

Ross Maloney Director of Scouting Operations

Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO

2015 – 2022
Sam Morris Chief Volunteering Officer 2022 –

You can find out more about the History of the Woodbadge on the Scouts Heritage Website.

With thanks to the Scouts Heritage Service