Star and Badge of a Knight Commander of the Bath
(Military Division)

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath

Major-General Robert Baden-Powell C.B
Companion of the Bath, 1900

Sir Robert Baden-Powell, K.C.B.
Knight Commander of the Bath, 1909.

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath. An Order of British knighthood established by King George I in 1725, conferred as a reward either for military service or for exemplary civilian merit. Like most chivalric orders, it has antecedents that exist much earlier in history than the date of its actual founding. Bathing as a purification ritual was probably introduced in a religious context with knighthood in the 11th century. From the coronation of Henry IV (1399), who traditionally has been made the founder of the order, to the coronation of Charles II (1661), it became customary to create a certain number of knights during royal occasions of great brilliance. The medieval "knights of the bath," as they were called, took precedence over knights bachelors, from whose ranks they had been promoted, but they never formed an order of chivalry. When George I, advised by his prime minister Robert Walpole, created the order, he believed that he was reviving an ancient order that had, in fact, never existed.

Originally membership comprised the British monarch, a great master of the order, and 36 knights. Membership regulations have undergone numerous changes over the centuries. Three classes of knights were instituted in 1815 to commemorate the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Corresponding civilian classes were added in 1847. The order currently includes the monarch, members of the royal family, foreigners (known as "honorary members"), and the classes of knights–115 knights or dames grand cross (G.C.B.), 328 knights or dames commanders (K.C.B. or D.C.B., respectively), and 1,815 companions (C.B.). Investiture into the two highest classes (knight/dame grand cross and knight/dame commander) means induction into knighthood. The officers of the order are the dean (usually the dean of Westminster), Bath king of arms, registrar, usher of the Scarlet Rod, and secretary. Women are admitted to all classes of the order.

The knights grand cross are allotted stalls in the order’s chapel, Henry VII Chapel in Westminster Abbey, where their banners, crests, and coats of arms are affixed. The badge of the order depicts three crowns with the order’s motto Tria juncta in uno ("Three joined in one"), as well as the Welsh motto Ich dien ("I serve"), and the emblems of England, Scotland, and Ireland (rose, thistle, shamrock).

From Britannica Online

"The Most Honorable Order of the Bath." Britannica Online.
[May 18, 1997]

The ribbon on the left displays the colors of the Order of the Bath. The Star and Badge at the top of the page are the Star and Badge of a Knight Commander of the Bath, (Military Division). After: E. C. Joslin, Spink’s Catalog of British Orders, Decorations and Medals, 1983

Sir Robert Baden-Powell
Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell
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