1st Devizes Scout Group is one of the oldest Scout Group in the world. It was founded on 8th July 1908 by Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Steele, a brother-in-arms of founder Lord Baden-Powell at the siege of Mafeking during the Boer War in South Africa. Col Steele picked up the idea from his friend and it was discussed at a meeting in the quaint Tower Room at Hillworth Cottage in Hillworth Road, owned by another local worthy, Captain Gundry. As a result of that meeting, it was agreed to set up the Scout troop and Captain Gundry even donated a plot of land in Southbroom Road to build a Scout Hall.
The first camp was held at Lockeridge in August 1909 and in March of the following year Lord Baden Powell visited the town to see how the troop was getting on. It was while the troop was at camp in Savernake Forest in August 1914 that the First World War broke out and members of the troop subsequently died during the hostilities. With peace came the completion of the Scout Hall and it was formally opened by Lord Methuen on 14th July 1919. The gold key used for the ceremony still exists among the Scouts’ memorabilia.
Devizes to Westminster canoe race was founded by Rover Scouts from the group in 1948 when they became bored with paddling their canoes up and down the Kennet and Avon Canal. They took up the challenge to canoe to London and they completed their journey in a little over 80 hours and began the Devizes to Westminster canoe race.
The group is very proud of our past and our badge is the Devizes Castle from the town arms with the year 1908.