Explore > The Cornwell Badge


There is an irony that the standards set for the Cornwell Badge in 1916 meant that Jack Cornwell couldn’t have won the badge as he hadn’t attained his First Class Scout award.  Rapidly the emphasis was placed on the requirement to “…have undergone suffering in a heroic manner” and many recipients of the award are Scouts who have carried on Scouting despite suffering from long-term or terminal illnesses.  The award citations show that these Scouts often belonged to Groups associated with hospitals.

Scout Albert Wheldale awarded the Cornwell Badge in May 1943, he had faced a double amputation of his legs due to disease.  Sadly Albert died in November 1943.

The criteria has changed several times to reflect the changing nature of the Movement.  In 1935 need for a high level of achievement was dropped and the basis of the award became closer to today’s criteria focusing on “…pre-eminently high character and devotion to duty together with great courage or gallantry.”.  The badge was normally only awarded to Scouts over the age of 14 years.  There were exceptions to this rule and in 1939 the first two Wolf Cubs were presented with the Cornwell Badge.  Over the next six years nine more Cubs were presented with the badge and in 1945 the age recommendation was changed to Scouts under the age of 18 and then to all members of Scout sections (Beaver, Cub, Scouts, Explorer and Network) which now covers 6 – 25 year olds.


100 years on from Jack Cornwell’s heroic behaviour The Scout Association still honours young people in his name and the core values that Jack’s story embodied; selflessness, devotion to duty, commitment to others and strength in the face of adversity, remain as important to the Movement as they did then.

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