The 3rd Brigade Troop of Scouts was formed on the 17th Jan 1916
3rd Light Horse Brigade Routine Order 247, 17 January 1916
TRAINING OF SCOUTS
“The Brigade Scout Officer, Lieutenant Dunckley, 10th Light Horse Regiment, is responsible for training of the Scouts of the three Regiments. This training will be carried out on Thursday and Friday of each week. The ten Scouts of each Regiment will parade in front of the Grand Stand on these days at 0930. The officer or NCO in charge will report to Lieutenant Dunckley.”
The full Scout Training Syllabus is laid out in 3rd Light Horse Brigade. Routine Order 257, 27 January 1916.
Originally the design of Major J. Wearne, a Boer War veteran and Brigadier “Galloping Jack” Royston, C.O. of the 3rd Brigade. The original Troop Commander was Lt Tom Rickeby of the 9th Light Horse. The men were drawn from experienced bushmen, all crack shots and were sworn to secrecy. The principal Scout leader was Sgt Bill Martin (DCM & BAR).
The main purpose of the troop was to find water, scout the ground ahead, to observe enemy troop movements and to draw fire. The troop was later commanded by Lt Charles Foulkes-Taylor M.C., who had been commissioned through the ranks and had been an original member.
Unique amongst the troopers was the fact that the scouts were entitled to wear the very rare and highly prized “Scout” badge. The origin of the ”Scout” badge was the brain-child of Lt General Lord Baden Powell “Defender of Mafeking”, whilst in command of the 5th Dragoon guards in India in the latter part of the last century.
The following is drawn from Baden-Powell – the man who lived twice:
“The officers found that he was still skilful at pig-sticking and polo. He was always thinking out schemes for making the lives of the men more interesting, but his greatest success was in the training he gave them as scouts. This was something new in the army. He divided the men up into small units, each under an N.C.O. who was responsible for the efficiency of his men; the training was given in the form of competitions and what we should call wide games. Sometimes the men were sent out in pairs to carry out a survey; they had to look after themselves and make a full report on their return. Those who did well gained a badge – it was the arrow-head at the end of the north point of the compass; the War Office gave permission for this badge to be worn; it was the first badge of proficiency permitted in the army.”
For further reading, refer to The Long Ride by H. P. Bostock, 10th Light Horse