In the Encyclopedia Brittanica, the following excerpt describes the origins of the Boy Scouts and their purpose:

  Sir Robert Baden-Powell (1857-1941), a British army officer,
  founded the Boy Scout [and Girl Guides] movement in 1907.
  His idea was to train young men [and young women] to be
  self-sufficient and to exibit chivalrous behaviour. The symbols
  of the Scouts include the handshake with the left hand, the
  fleur-de-lis badge, and the motto Be Prepared.

In 1911, Ramsay Traquair developed and retained an interest in the Boy Scouts and its heraldry. He taught a course entitled Decorative Heraldry, and in February 1911, he gave a lecture [McGill University Archives] to the Scouts in Edinburgh entitled Scouts and Old Castles: "sensible archaeologists are just scouts into the past." He also published several articles about the design of heraldry, flags, and coat of arms. Traquair was aware that heraldry is "...a code [that] must be followed in the technical language of heraldry, but which also leaves room for creativity on the part of the artist."

Flags were another frequently discussed subject. In his article "Some Comment on Canadian Flags", [McGill News, Vol. 15, No. 3, (June 1934) : 35]: "A flag...is a sign of distinction and of recognition. Taking its origin on the field of battle, where it was essential that the combatants should recognize one another easily, either as friends or as foes, it was natural that the flag should bear the device, or coat of arms, of the leader. So, from their origin, flags have always borne heraldic devices; and their design has been a branch of heraldry, the science of distinguishing badges." Traquair designed the McGill flag in 1921 and presented it to Sir Arthur Currie, then Principal of the University. It flies from the cupola of the Arts Building when the University is in session. McGill was granted a coat of arms in 1922 and shortly thereafter the McGill crest was designed by Traquair's colleague, Percy Nobbs with the mottoes In God I Trust and By Work All Things Increase and Grow.

Two lectures were particularly devoted to flags for Boy Scouts: "Flags for Boy Scouts" [McGill University Archives, 8p. manuscript, August 1932] and "Flags" [McGill University Archives, 3p. manuscript]. The former discussed the symbolism and use of flags "a sign of distinction and of recognition". When the Associations of Boy Scouts met the Scout and the Troop flags were flown. Points to be kept in mind when designing flags for the Boy Scouts: uniformity in size (6" deep x 47" long) to carry them easily, usually square in proportion, material mostly is bunting, simplicity using 2-dimensional symbols is key for easy recognition at a distance, printing should be reduced to a minimum, and use a maximum of 2 troop colours with strong contrasts. Troops were usually associated with churches, i.e. St-Andrew and St-Paul, has the white diagonal cross of St-Andrew on a blue background; the red sword of St-Paul is set on top. The latter lecture went into more detail on the typology of flags, including banners, standards, and pennons. Banners were described as square (1:1) or oblong (1:2) flags, standards were used in the 15th and 16th centuries for display and carried for processions, and pennons were small narrow flags on a lance or spear, usually set with arms of the bearer.


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