As the worldwide scouting movement celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, local scouts will be reflecting on their significant part in the youth organisation's history.

The 1st Elstree troupe was one of the first groups in the country, forming in March 1908 after a group of boys read about Lord Robert Baden Powell's pioneering ideas in a magazine.

They approached the owner of Schopwick Place in Elstree, Percy Everett - who was later knighted - to ask if he would help them to form a troupe, not knowing that he was already high up in the new scout movement.

The scouts' county archivist Frank Brittain is writing a book on the first 100 years of scouting in Hertfordshire and discovered that, on February 20, 1908, Sir Percy wrote in his diary that: five Elstree boys approached me asking to form a troupe'. Their first meeting was on March 13.

Mr Brittain explained: "One of the boys was the assistant to Percy Everett's gardener. They asked him to be their scout master - not knowing that he was a top man already. Baden Powell was staying at his house at the time and said well there's a challenge for you'."

Sir Percy's son, Varley, became the first scout to take the promise and his daugher, Winn, was the first girl scout, although it wasn't until 1990 that girls were allowed into every group in the country. The girl guides were formed in 1910.

When Sir Percy died in 1952, aged 82, he was the oldest living scout. The griffin logo still worn by members of the 1st Elstree group on their scarves is taken from the Everett coat of arms.

In 1933, a hut in Well End was donated to the local scouts. Lord Baden Powell visited later that year and donated a vase from New Zealand and planted a horse chestnut tree which still stands today.

Well End is now home to the county's headquarters and a museum managed by Mr Brittain, who first joined the scouts in 1948.

He attended the 50th anniversary celebration jamboree near Birmingham in 1957 with fellow scout Ralph Wheeler, who lives in Whitehouse Avenue, Borehamwood.

Mr Wheeler remembers taking part in an extravagant prank there where he fooled hundreds of scouts into thinking he was the Sultan of Malacca by wearing silk pyjamas.

"It's quite sobering to think that we are now celebrating the 100th anniversary and that I was at the 50th," he said.

Mr Wheeler was a member of both 1st Elstree at their hut in Station Road and the 1st Borehamwood group, which met at the old Baptist church in Shenley Road.

He took part in night exercises and mock battles on the brickfield lakes on the Elstree side of the railway, which, he said would probably be banned now'.

And both men recall a yearly rolling the barrel' race which took place on a six-mile route around Borehamwood. Mr Wheeler said: "The police gave us permission but I don't think they were happy about it."

Today there are seven scout groups in Elstree District with 300 members and 54 leaders - three in Elstree and Borehamwood; two in Radlett; one in Shenley and one in Aldenham.