Lanarkshire Philatelic Society


"Boys' Brigade"


Mr. Alastair Burrow



Friday evening, 15th November, was very much a ‘Boys’ (old and young) night at the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society meeting Alistair Burrow, President of the Boys Brigade in Scotland; President of Bearsden Philatelic Society & Senior Vice President of "The Caley" presented a magnificent display of stamps, miniature sheets, covers, postmarks, postcards  outlining the history and activities of the worldwide Boys Brigade.

He began with a postcard with a view of Pennyland House, Thurso, where, on 27th October, 1854, the Founder, William A Smith, was born.  On 4th October, 1883, the first meeting of the 1st Glasgow Boys’ Brigade Company was held in Glasgow – in North Woodside Mission Hall – and in 1886, the first Camp was held at Tighnabruaich. Many postcards illustrated activities in these early years.

In 1926 there was the merger with the Boys’ Life Brigade and the dummy rifles – early postcard views showed these carried by the boys – were now banned.  It was in this year that Badges began to be worked for – prior to this was the Ambulance Badge (1891) and in 1908 the Bugler’s Badge – 1926 saw the introduction of the Piper’s Badge – and more badges were introduced in the following years. The name continued with the Life Boys for the youngest boys until in 1966 they became the Junior Section.


The display continued with many covers and stamps commemorating various Anniversaries - the Golden Jubilee in 1933, Diamond in 1943.  Many postcards were shown of the Jubilee Camp and Review held in Queens Park, Glasgow in 1933. The Centenary Anniversary of 1983 was celebrated with many stamps, postmarks, slogans, covers – from throughout the Commonwealth – and some beyond.

The daily activities of many camps were illustrated – morning inspection; drill; sports; swimming; camp kitchen; in the mess;  campfire – and sometimes camping in mud – when the sun refused to shine!  A postcard showed the Commanding Officer of a Camp on horseback – thankfully horseback is not required now!

So much wonderful material was viewed – Changes in uniform through the years; Christmas Posts run by local BB Companies – including Hamilton in 1984 and 1988; Training Centres; Comic Cards; and many views of International Camps in various countries of the world.  There were covers from Australia and New Zealand;  early postcards illustrating the USA Boys Brigade; Cards and Covers from Denmark – Frivilligt Drenge Forbund (FDF) – an organisation with similar principles to the Boys Brigade; covers and stamps from Singapore and Malaysia.

Much wonderful material to enthuse over!


The Vote of Thanks was given by John Neil OBE, Honorary President UK & ROI, of the Boys Brigade. He remarked that Alistair Burrow had given a wonderful display of the history and continuing service of the Boys Brigade.


Our next meeting in the Caledonian Bowling Club, Motherwell Road, Hamilton, is on Friday, 29th November, 2019, at 7:30pm when there will be displays of postal material by Paul and Ken, "The Accies Men”.


Anyone with an interest in stamps, postal history, postcards etc is very welcome to attend.