Kenneth McLaren

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Kenneth McLaren (1860–1924) was a British Army major[1] in the 13th Hussars who served with Robert Baden-Powell in India. He was exceptionally young looking,[2] considered by BP to pass for a boy of fourteen when he first set eyes on him in 1880. The two became fast friends, their relationship being the most important emotional attachment in the latter's life.[3]

McLaren was brought in to help with the growing Scout movement in 1907, serving on the staff at the Brownsea Island Scout camp.[3] Later, Baden-Powell invited him to be the Boy Scouts' first manager.[3] In the early power struggles of the period, Baden-Powell trusted in his friend to prevent others from leading the organization in a wrong direction. (Jeal, p.388)

Baden-Powell nicknamed McLaren affectionately "The Boy," and remained close to him until (against Baden-Powell's advice) McLaren chose to remarry after divorcing his wife of thirty years, to a woman who in Baden-Powell's opinion was below his station.[3]

McLaren had schooled at Harrow and studied at Sandhurst before joining his regiment in 1880.



  1. "Obituary Many of our older readers will have heard with deep regret of the death of Major Kenneth McLaren, late of the 13th Hussars. Cavalry journal, Volume 15‎ - Page 105
  2. "Indeed, the most intense relationship of his life was with Kenneth McLaren, a young officer in the 13th Hussars whom he met in 188o and whose good looks" The character factory: Baden-Powell and the origins of the Boy Scout movement‎ - Page 48; Michael Rosenthal
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Jeal, Tim (1989). Baden-Powell. London: Hutchinson. p. 74 - 83. ISBN 0-09-170670-X.