Leslie's Guiding History Site

Subtitle

Ranger Uniform

Ranger Uniform

The Ranger section began in 1917, then referred called Senior Guides, a name used until October 1920.  And Senior Guides is effectively what they initially were - created to cope with those girls who had completed their training as Guides and were 16 or over - but didn't want to leave - and simultaneously to cater for those who wanted to join Guiding for the first time, but were already 16, and would have found it awkward to sit and learn the tenderfoot tests with girls four years or more younger.  


Because of their 'Senior Guide' origins, for many years their uniform was the same as that for Guides, except that their badges were stitched in red thread rather than in the blue used on Guide badges, their Promise Badge had red enamel, their hat badge was stitched in red thread, and their Patrol Badges were trees rather than flowers.  Indeed, in the early years many Rangers wore their Guide uniform and simply added their Senior Guide/Ranger badges onto it alongside their Guide ones.  It was suggested that where the price of the red-enamelled Tenderfoot badge (price 1 shilling) was prohibitive, the Ranger could wear a Guide Tenderfoot badge (price 3d) on a red ground.  


So in 1918, the Senior Guide uniform was:

Shirt or Tunic - Navy blue, with two patch pockets and shoulder straps.
Skirt - Navy blue, with two patch pockets.
Knickers - Navy blue.
Hat - Navy blue, worn with a straight brim, not turned up on the side.
Hatband - Navy blue, with official stamp.
Necktie - Triangular, of light blue or Company colour, worn folded neatly into a narrow fold bandage, under collar, not under shoulder strap.
Belt - Brown leather, with official buckle.
Boots or Shoes - Black.
Stockings - Black (fancy openwork stockings should not be worn).
Gloves - Brown gauntlet, if any.
Shoulder Knot - Of Patrol Colour, worn on left shoulder.
Emblem - Of Patrol Flower or Bird, worn on the left hand pocket.
Title Tape - Of Company number, worn on the left arm, covering juncture of the shoulder knot with the shoulder strap.
Brooch - Tenderfoot badge on red ground, worn on loose ends of the tie.
Haversack - Worn on back.
Hair-Ribbon - Black or Navy.  Hair should be plaited.

Patrol Leader distinguishing marks - two perpendicular white stripes worn on the left pocket.  Tenderfoot badge above the centre of the hatband, in addition to that worn on the tie.  Patrol Flag, white fabric, ten inches deep, with the crest of her patrol stitched on to it on both sides.
Patrol Second distinguishing marks - one perpendicular stripe on left pocket.


In July 1920, the Senior Guide Star was introduced for Senior Guides, equivalent to the Second Class in the Guide section.  It was shaped to fit onto the centre of the First Class badge when that was earned.  In March 1921 it was announced that from then on, Guide blouses would be worn outside the skirt rather than tucked in.

In August 1920 proposals for Sea Guides were published.  The membership was limited to Senior Guide age, of 16 and over.  Sea Guides were to pass the ordinary Guide Tenderfoot and the Senior Guide Test, which were to be completed before the individual specialised as a Sea Guide.  The Sea Service Badge was to correspond to the King's Scout in Sea Scouts, consisting of a Crown and Anchor, in bright blue.  Distinctive uniforms were also to be worn by Sea Guides.  New Patrol Emblems were permitted for Sea Guides, such as Sea Gull, Albatross, Tern, Stormy Petrel, Swan, Dolphin, etc.

So the uniform in 1921 was: 

Skirt - Navy blue

Jersey - Navy blue (ordinary Guide jumper optional).

Hat - Blue linen, with white pique cap cover from May till September.  Cap ribbon with "Sea Guides".

Tie - Light blue, or Company colours.

Belt - Brown Leather, with official buckle.

Brooch - Dark blue enamel, worn on tie

Patrol Emblem - On left breast.

Patrol Leaders - As above, with addition of stripes and brooch in front of hat, above ribbon.  Boatswain's whistle on white lanyard.

Seconds - As for Guides, with one stripe.



In October 1927 it was announced that Sea Guides would be merged into the Ranger Section.  In January 1928 it was announced that the Sea Guide tally band would now be embroidered with a blue trefoil - but that changed after only a couple of years - in November 1929 it was announced that "Sea Rangers should in future wear Tally bands with the words 'Sea Rangers' instead of the present hat band embroidered in blue."

There were tweaks to the uniform in February 1929, where a new-style Guide overall was introduced, with a lower neckline and with two inverted pleats in the skirt running from the waistline.  The badges changed in October 1931 - "The new woven badges are guaranteed fadeless and washable.  Therefore, if they are carefully buttonholed on to the overall sleeve when new they need not be removed when the garment is washed.  There should then be no difficulty with regard to the badges fraying."

The camp dress had been introduced in August 1932 - in June 1933 it was confirmed that the blue cotton overall could be worn throughout summer, not just at camp.  This could be with the collar closed by the tie, or open-neck - in which case the Tenderfoot Badge would be worn in the 'V' of the neck.  Camp hat was now also considered uniform.

So, in the early 1930s the uniform was the same as Guides with the following exceptions:

Special hat and hat badge.

Tenderfoot and hat badge.

Service star on red ground.

It is not essential for Rangers to wear their Patrol Leaders' stripes or proficiency badges.  Girls who have been Patrol Leaders in a Guide company may, on entering the Rangers, retain their Patrol Leader's lanyard.  A Ranger who is also a Patrol Leader in a Guide company wears a Ranger Tenderfoot badge on her tie and a Guide badge in her hat.


and the Guide Uniform was:

Overall or Jumper and skirt - Navy blue serge or cotton, with two patch pockets and shoulder straps; black bone buttons.

Knickers - Navy blue or black.

Hat - Navy blue soft felt.

Hatbadge - Navy blue, with official stamp

Tie - Triangular, of light blue or company colour, worn folded neatly into a narrow fold bandage, under collar, not under shoulder strap.

Belt - Brown leather, with official buckle

Boots or shoes - Black

Stockings - Black

Gloves - Brown gauntlet, if any.

Shoulder Knot - Of patrol colour, worn on left shoulder

Emblem - Of patrol flower or bird, worn above the left-hand pocket

Title Tape - Of company name and number, worn on left arm, covering juncture of the shoulder knot with the shoulder strap.

Brooch - Tenderfoot, worn on tie

Hair-Ribbon - Black or navy.  Hair should be plaited.


As well as the official uniform, there was guidance around camp wear.  Naturally, it wasn't possible to wear full Ranger uniform daily at a camp lasting a week or more. In August 1932 it was announced that a new Official blue camp overall for Rangers, with short or long sleeve, was now available from HQ; also a camp hat.  'In the case of Rangers, skirts should cover the knee, and as a general rule, stockings should be worn when going through a village or town, except in exceptional circumstances such as going to the beach.


The summer of 1935 saw some further tweaks to Ranger uniform.  A new style of Ranger hat was approved, and became available in July 1935, and at that time it was also advised that Rangers might wear either a folded Guide-style tie, or a regular necktie, provided all in the unit wear the same.  The option was also given to wear brown stockings and shoes rather than black, again provided that all in the unit wear the same.  And a month later permission was granted for Rangers to wear striped ties rather than only plain-coloured.  Then in December 1936 another new style of Ranger hat was introduced, in soft felt. 


In January 1937 a new design of overall was introduced for Rangers, made on the lines of a fitted dress, and in the new 'Headquarters Blue' colour, rather than the navy which had previously been worn.  


There were further relaxations in August 1938, when "It was agreed that Rangers be permitted to wear ankle socks on unceremonial occasions.  That Rangers need not necessarily wear hats to and from meetings.  That the design for the Ranger lightweight hat be approved."  There seems to have been never-ending tweaking to the style of the Ranger hat in this era, for what do we find announced in October 1938?  "New Ranger hats, in a smart pull-on shape with a stitched brim" made in a navy waterproof drill material, and can be rolled up when not in use."  And in February 1939 it was announced that 'Rangers wearing the new-style overall, and Sea Rangers wearing the new-style overall or jersey, may wear a strip of cord on the right shoulder instead of full All-Round Cords.'


So by 1939, the Ranger uniform was: 

Uniform dress: Headquarters blue, official pattern.

Hat: Navy blue waterproof drill.

Hat badge: Navy blue cloth, with official stamp embroidered in red.

Tie: Striped or plain colour, open end or triangular.

Shoes and stockings: Black or brown (leaf mould) whole company to wear same colour; stockings to match shoes.

Badge: Tenderfoot badge of red enamel.


Sea Ranger uniform was: 

White Jumper: Flannel for winter, drill for summer, may be worn underneath jersey, with small portion showing at neck; not more than three inches from base of neck downwards.

For unceremonial occasions may be worn tucked into a navy blue skirt with navy blue blazer, in addition to the official belt and hat.  Tenderfoot badge worn in centre, two inches before neck line.

Tie: Black, triangular, folded in narrow fold bandage, ends tied under collar at back; no sailor's knot in front, and held in position by badge and by small bow of navy braid tied 2" from the bottom of tie.  Braid to be 27" long and 3/4" wide.

Cap: Blue waterproof drill, with white pique cap cover from May 1st to September 30th.

Tally Band: Black with "Sea Rangers" in gold on it.

Tenderfoot Badge: Blue enamel.

Knife: On white lanyard worn round the neck and attached to belt on right side.

Alternative Uniform: Navy blue jersey and skirt.

For boat work only: navy blue slacks or shorts, of woollen material, may be worn.

For working rig only: navy blue dungarees may be worn.

So this was the position of Ranger Uniforms prior to the outbreak of WW2, with the 'headquarters blue' overall or the 'jumper' (what we would understand as an overshirt) and skirt combination, with belt and hat, tie of company colour, and stockings and shoes in either brown or black, whichever the company chose to adopt.  And in December 1940, it was announced that 'Headquarters blue' would now be the official colour for all Rangers' uniforms.  But - not for long . . .


For in Britain, clothes rationing was announced in 1941, affecting all civilian clothing.  The July 1941 edition of "The Guider" gave details of the impact on uniforms: Guiders - Raincoats and Coats - 14 coupons, Jacket or Blazer - 11 coupons, Guider's Dress (woollen) - 11 coupons, Guider's Dress (cotton) - 7 coupons, Guider's Skirt - 7 coupons, Blouse or Sports Shirt - 5 coupons, Guider's Ties - 1 coupon, Stockings - 2 coupons, Collar - 1 coupon, 2 Handkerchiefs - 1 coupon, Scarf - 2 coupons, Gloves - 2 coupons, Boots or Shoes - 5 coupons, Cardigan or Jersey - 5 coupons.  Guide and Brownie - Mackintoshes - 11 coupons, Coats, Showerproof or Pilot Cloth - 8 coupons, Overall - 4 or 6 coupons (4 for up to 39" size), Skirt without bodice - 5 coupons, with bodice - 6 coupons, Blouse or Jumper - 3 coupons, Knickers - 2 coupons, Stockings - 1 coupon (up to 9.5"), Ankle Socks - 1 coupon, 2 Handkerchiefs - 1 coupon, Triangular Ties - 2 coupons, Gloves - 2 coupons, Slippers or Shoes - 3 coupons.  Cotton Fabric 36" was 2 coupons per yard, Woollen Fabric 36" was 3 coupons per yard, Knitting wool was 1 coupon per 2-ounce ball.  
It's worth bearing in mind that initially, adults were allowed a total of 60 coupons for all their personal clothing needs, and children 70 coupons.  This was later reduced to 48 coupons, and continued long after the war finished.

The reaction to it was a change in uniform for Rangers - out went the Ranger overall and it was replaced by a knitted jumper, worn with an ordinary navy skirt, and a necker with coloured woggle, and the felt hat was replaced with a simpler beret.  This also had the advantage of availability - Rangers could knit their own jumpers, and navy skirts were relatively obtainable.  The other uniform items were not so easy as there were regular shortages - many clothing factories were turned over to making uniforms for the forces, and materials such as cotton (which had to be imported) or metal (needed for making weapons) were hard to source, leading to many uniform items being out of stock for many months at a time.  This wasn't helped by the bombing of factories and warehouses either.  So by May 1942, the Ranger Uniform guidance was:  "Ranger Uniform.  a) Ranger Guiders may wear the new Ranger alternative uniform.  b) Berets may not be worn with coat and skirt uniform.  c) Rangers should be encouraged to wear the navy blue tie Scout fashion with old uniform as well as with new.  d) Sea Rangers should wear the tie Scout fashion when beret and plan jersey are worn.  e) Ranger Guiders should wear the Ranger hat badge on the beret with Warrant Badge immediately above it, and woven County Badge on point of tie at the back.  f) Guiders may wear hard hats with the new uniform.  g) County badges (woven) can be worn on point of tie at the back by Rangers.  h) Leaders and Seconds acting as such should wear lanyards, as insignia of office.  (This ruling does not apply to Sea Rangers).  In ordinary companies ex-leaders should not wear lanyards.  i) Name tapes should not be worn.  j) If Rangers wear socks in the summer, they should be leaf mould or colour of jersey.  k) Present Rangers wearing the old uniform should be urged to discontinue wearing proficiency badges.  l) Non-members taking six months training in Ranger Companies are allowed to wear beret, scarf, and pullover, but no official belt or badges.  m) Gas Masks.  Guiders and Rangers in uniform should, if possible, carry their gas masks in a navy blue haversack.  The supply of navy blue haversacks is limited, and Guiders ordering by post are asked to state the name of their company.  This will ensure that all available supplies go to members of the movement."

In spite of this simplification, shortages still had an impact.  In November 1942 "The Guider" advised that "The Board of Trade can no longer release supplies of leather for Girl Guide and Brownie belts, and at present no further orders can be taken.  We are still hoping to secure material for a substitute, and as soon as possible further information will be published in The Guider."

In December 1942, further tweaks to the uniform were announced - "In order to make the Ranger Branch keep up a high standard of uniform smartness, in spite of war-time difficulties, it has been decided that the uniform colour for Rangers shall be grey for jerseys and shirts, and new Companies are advised to start with grey.  It is realised that some Companies are already equipped with jerseys and shirts of other colours, and it is not intended that they should feel they have knitted in vain.  These Companies may perhaps decide to change by degrees to the Ranger grey, in which case new recruits could start in grey and worn-out jerseys could be replaced by grey.  For the same reason as above it has also been decided to have all Rangers wearing red woggles; these may still vary in design and texture, but all in one colour will add to the general smartness.  Scarves will remain navy blue, folded Scout-wise.  Berets are navy.  Sea Rangers will continue to wear navy blue jerseys in the winter and white shirts in the summer, and only wear navy blue shirts when neither are available.  Scarves are black with royal blue woggles."

So the uniform for Land Rangers was: 

Skirt - Navy blue

Jersey - Grey knitted (with long sleeves) worn outside the skirt.  or (for summer wear) Shirt - Grey cotton or flannel.

Tie - Navy blue triangular, worn scarf-wise, with point at back of neck.  Woggle - Red.

Belt - Brown leather, with official buckle.

Hat - Navy blue beret.

Hat Badge - Red embroidered Trefoil, worn above left eye.

Tenderfoot Badge - Red enamel.

Stockings - Brown (leaf-mould).

Socks - Colour of jersey or shoes.

Shoes - Brown.  (Black shoes and stockings may be worn, but the whole company must wear the same.)

Hair should be worn off the collar.

For camping and hiking only - Blue cotton overall with short sleeves and open neck.

Patrol Leaders and Seconds may wear lanyards as an insignia of office.


With the coming of WW2, some changes to simplify the uniform were required.  For in Britain, clothes rationing was announced in 1941, affecting all civilian clothing.  The July 1941 edition of "The Guider" gave details of the impact on uniforms: Guiders - Raincoats and Coats - 14 coupons, Jacket or Blazer - 11 coupons, Guider's Dress (woollen) - 11 coupons, Guider's Dress (cotton) - 7 coupons, Guider's Skirt - 7 coupons, Blouse or Sports Shirt - 5 coupons, Guider's Ties - 1 coupon, Stockings - 2 coupons, Collar - 1 coupon, 2 Handkerchiefs - 1 coupon, Scarf - 2 coupons, Gloves - 2 coupons, Boots or Shoes - 5 coupons, Cardigan or Jersey - 5 coupons.  Guide and Brownie - Mackintoshes - 11 coupons, Coats, Showerproof or Pilot Cloth - 8 coupons, Overall - 4 or 6 coupons (4 for up to 39" size), Skirt without bodice - 5 coupons, with bodice - 6 coupons, Blouse or Jumper - 3 coupons, Knickers - 2 coupons, Stockings - 1 coupon (up to 9.5"), Ankle Socks - 1 coupon, 2 Handkerchiefs - 1 coupon, Triangular Ties - 2 coupons, Gloves - 2 coupons, Slippers or Shoes - 3 coupons.  Cotton Fabric 36" was 2 coupons per yard, Woollen Fabric 36" was 3 coupons per yard, Knitting wool was 1 coupon per 2-ounce ball.  

It's worth bearing in mind that initially, adults were allowed a total of 60 coupons for all their personal clothing needs, and children 70 coupons.  This was later reduced to 48 coupons, and continued long after the war finished.

The reaction to it was a change in uniform for Rangers - it was simplified to a knitted jumper, and white shirt, worn with an ordinary navy skirt, a beret, and a necker with coloured woggle.  This also had the advantage of availability - Rangers could knit their own jumpers, and navy skirts were relatively obtainable.  The other uniform items were not so easy as there were regular shortages - many clothing factories were turned over to making uniforms for the forces, and materials such as cotton (which had to be imported) or metal (needed for making weapons) were hard to source, leading to many uniform items being out of stock for many months at a time.  This wasn't helped by the bombing of factories and warehouses either.  So by May 1942, the Ranger Uniform guidance was: Berets may not be worn with coat and skirt uniform.  Sea Rangers should wear the tie Scout fashion when beret and plan jersey are worn.  County badges (woven) can be worn on point of tie at the back by Rangers.  Name tapes should not be worn.  If Rangers wear socks in the summer, they should be leaf mould or colour of jersey.  Present Rangers wearing the old uniform should be urged to discontinue wearing proficiency badges.  Non-members taking six months training in Ranger Companies are allowed to wear beret, scarf, and pullover, but no official belt or badges.  Guiders and Rangers in uniform should, if possible, carry their gas masks in a navy blue haversack.  The supply of navy blue haversacks is limited, and Guiders ordering by post are asked to state the name of their company.  This will ensure that all available supplies go to members of the movement."

In spite of this simplification, shortages still had an impact.  In November 1942 "The Guider" advised that "The Board of Trade can no longer release supplies of leather for Girl Guide and Brownie belts, and at present no further orders can be taken.  We are still hoping to secure material for a substitute, and as soon as possible further information will be published in The Guider."

In December 1942, further tweaks to the uniform were announced - "In order to make the Ranger Branch keep up a high standard of uniform smartness, in spite of war-time difficulties, it has been decided that Sea Rangers will continue to wear navy blue jerseys in the winter and white shirts in the summer, and only wear navy blue shirts when neither are available.  Scarves are black with royal blue woggles."

So the uniform for Sea Rangers was: 

Skirt - Navy blue.

Jersey - Navy blue.  or (for summer wear) Shirt - White cotton or flannel.

Tie - Black triangular, worn scarf-wise, with point at back of neck.  Woggle - Royal blue.

Hat - Sea Ranger hat, or when this is unobtainable, a navy blue beret.

Tally Band or Hat Badge - On the Sea Ranger hat a black tally band, with "Sea Rangers" in gold letters, or blue embroidered trefoil in the centre front.  On the beret a blue embroidered trefoil is worn above the left eye.

Tenderfoot Badge - Blue enamel

Belt - Brown leather, with official buckle.

Knife - Worn on white lanyard, and attached to belt on right side.

Stockings - Brown (leaf-mould).

Socks - Brown, or to match jersey or skirt.

Shoes - Brown or, for boat work, white canvas.

For boat work only 

Navy blue slacks or shorts, of woollen material, may be worn with white shirt, or Sea Ranger flannel.  For working rig, navy blue dungarees may be worn.

In August 1944's "The Guider" came the announcement - "It has now been decided to experiment with Air Ranger crews with the idea of eventually forming an Air Section of the Ranger Branch.  Crews will experiment for one year on a suggested scheme of training, reporting progress and experience."  "No special uniform or badge will be issued during the first year.  New members will be enrolled as Rangers."

1947 Air Ranger Uniform

Skirt - Navy blue

Jersey or Shirt (official pattern) - Mazarine blue (similar to the colour of shirts worn by officers of the W.A.A.F.).  Worn inside skirt.

Battle Blouse - Navy blue

Flash - Pale blue on navy, worn on both sleeves of the battle blouse as near shoulder seam as possible.

Belt - Brown leather, with official buckle.

Shoes and Stockings - Brown

Tie - Black, triangular, worn scarfwise with County Badge on point at back.

Woggle - Pale blue

Enrolment Badge - Pale blue enamel

Beret - Navy blue with embroidered pale blue trefoil worn over left eye.

Knife - Optional.

Lanyard - white, twisted round tie, worn by Air Crew Leaders and Seconds round the left shoulder of the battle blouse, whistle attached to lanyard and inserted in left pocket.

Hair should be worn off the collar.

For Camp and Informal Occasions

Shorts - Navy blue (Headquarters pattern, either Ranger or Guider's style).


In August 1947 the Extension Ranger Uniform was confirmed - "Extension Ranger Companies should be allowed to wear either green or grey jerseys, according to the choice of the company, provided that the whole company wear the same colour."

March 1955 - New style Ranger Cap available, in navy blue rayon gaberdine, forage-cap style, for Land and Air Rangers.

June 1959 - "In answer to a general demand an alternative to the battledress blouse and skirt for Guiders, Rangers and Cadets has been designed and will be on sale from 1st July . . . This uniform will also be an alternative to the coat and skirt for Commissioners."
February 1967 - New Ranger uniform will be available from 6th February.

April 1972 - The following changes will take effect from 31st March 1973: "There will be one uniform for Ranger Guides.  For informal occasions appropriate dress may be chosen from those described in POR under Section 60.2.  The new upper age limit for Rangers will be 18 years."

May 1977 - New style Ranger/Guider Camp dress with collar and revers in terylene and cotton, now available.


July 1990 - "All the main items in the new uniform ranges for the girls' sections should be available on September 1st."  "There had been some difficulties in obtaining the waterproof jackets and some of the adult range but these should be ready by November 1."


February 1998 - "Blue jeans are official Guide wear.  Members of the Executive Committee agreed at their meeting in October that, from January 1, Guides and members of the Senior Section can wear jeans as part of their official uniform."

By 2002 the uniform for Rangers had changed - and by this time, Rangers and Young Leaders were merged as the 'Senior Section' - so akin to Senior Guides again!  Their uniform was: 


Grey hooded sweatshirt with ice blue trim

or

Ice blue hooded sweatshirt with aqua trim


and aqua zip-neck top with grey polo collar and light blue sleeves

or

Light blue blouse with aqua collar-lining


Badge tab with grey, aqua and ice blue vertical stripe.


Worn with trousers or skirt of choice.


From 2019 the Ranger uniform was: 

Light-blue long-sleeve blouse with aqua inside collar trim
or
Aqua polo shirt with grey collar

with

Grey zip hoodie with aqua trim

and

Grey badge tab.
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