Green Bar Bill

Bill Hillcourt, Green Bar Bill. I knew of him as the author of the Boy Scout Handbook in use when I was a Scout. He also wrote the biography of the founder of Boy Scouting, Lord Baden-Powell.

I have a copy of that book, signed in his characteristic style. Two green bars made with a permanent marker, and the word Bill scrawled across it. This one is inscribed, and also includes his full signature. I found this book in a junk shop for $3.00, picked it intending to buy it anyway, and was overwhelmed to find it signed by the author.

That biography should be available in any public library. It captures the life of Lord Baden-Powell, telling the tale of his service in the British Army and how he had a second life, developing and bringing Scouting to the world.

Serving Scouting just as faithfully, Green Bar Bill had a life in Scouting that began when he was a Scout in 1916. Here’s another site that attempts to capture a bit of what Green Bar Bill meant to Scouting, and the love and esteem he is still remembered with.

For even if life takes the boys away as they grow up, the Patrol does not die. For every one that steps out another and a younger one takes his place ready to carry out the traditions of the old Patrol.

That is the ideal to which the boys will aspire. The Patrol must never die. The torch must be carried on, its old name must be kept intact. But this can be done only if the old boys are animated by the right spirit, if they realize what the years in the Patrol have meant to them.

–William Hillcourt – Handbook for Patrol Leaders