In New Zealand, another Boer war veteran and friend of B-P named Major David Cossgrove (probably not a Freemason) started something for older boys called the “Empire Sentinels.” Sentinels were organized into “Towers” and the scheme had three degrees based on religious duty, patriotism, sacrifice and work, each with a corresponding “Watch,” or ritual. A quick list of other details, gleaned from letters between Cossgrove and B-P, shows that the idea had very direct Masonic affinities: The Tower is opened on the third Watch and dropped to the first or second as required; Sentinels enter the Watch using a password and a salute; the alarm is a series of knocks; halters and blindfolds are used; the phrase “So Mote it Be” is used; there are four principal officers; the Watch works in darkness with the symbols of each Watch illuminated. Substitute the word “Lodge” for “Tower” and “Degree” for “Watch” and one finds practically no difference from describing the workings of a Masonic Lodge. In a letter to B-P dated 1919, Cossgrove writes: “….the scheme has already been taken up enthusiastically in Africa, America and in Austria, I believe, and will be here when our young warriors return and settle down….” He is presumably referring to young men abroad in the British colonial army, and the attitude of his letter does much to support the theory that Scouting was given impetus by colonial psychology. They were, after all, the Empire Sentinels. But where, if Cossgrove was not a Mason, did the Masonry of the Empire Sentinels come from? That remains a mystery.
some examples from the book of ritual
A PDF of the handbook empire sentinels handbook and ritual (1918)