The history of British Girlguiding Overseas

British Girlguiding Overseas began as British Guides in Foreign Countries (BGIFC) in 1911 and as more and more units were formed, there was a growing desire for some form of corporate identity. A competition was launched to design a badge for all British Guides abroad. This happened around 1926 and the winner came from the Ile de France area of Paris.

The badge chosen was a galleon sailing across the sea in the colours of the British flag - red, white and blue’ representing the adventurous spirit of those taking British guiding across the world.

Originally the metal galleon badges, as worn by leaders, were hand painted with the name of the host country displayed on a scroll. As BGIFC grew, this was no longer possible and galleon badges became mass produced. There is also a cloth badge for the girls. Early examples with the names of Switzerland and Belgium are now in the HQ archive.

In 2017 when BGIFC changed its name to British Girlguiding Overseas a new version of the badge was designed. We still have a galleon logo but we have added a compass, since BGO helps girls find their direction.

In April 2020 we were joined by the Branch Associations.When guiding started in the overseas territories, most leaders relied on HQ in London to provide information and instructions. This did not always work, so the Branch Associations were formed to take into account differences in climate, geography and numbers.

In the late 1940s there were over 50 Branch Associations, but as countries became independent of the UK, the position has changed and we now welcome Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena & Ascension Island .and Turks & Caicos.