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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Lanyard on left


Fat Frank
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here is a pic (not mine) sent to me when we were doing the 6" 26CWT. I think it is a pic of te RHA band. I only noticed now that the men are wearing their lanyards on the LEFT shoulder, is this correct or is this a negative badly reporduced? There is no writing or the likes that can help.

Does the bandolier running from left to right confirm that this is correct?

post-20140-1254893242.jpg

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Its correct.

Apart from the fact that the wearing of bandoliers and lanyards is correct- the easiest way way to check the relation of the negative is by looking at the lie of the front of the tunic and how it buttons.

Mick

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Its correct.

Apart from the fact that the wearing of bandoliers and lanyards is correct- the easiest way way to check the relation of the negative is by looking at the lie of the front of the tunic and how it buttons.

Mick

I agree Mick but why would the two lads on the right end of the photo not be wearing puttees?

John

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They were excused them - both known shirkers.

Mick

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RA Lanyards were moved to the right shoulder post war.G

Thanks guys, this is clear.

Now, why were they moved?

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Quick check has reveled that it was simply done, because of the difficulty of extracting whatever was on the end, pocket knife, whistle, spare set of false teeth, etc, from out of the left breast pocket, when under a full bandoleer.

G

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Quick check has reveled that it was simply done, because of the difficulty of extracting whatever was on the end, pocket knife, whistle, spare set of false teeth, etc, from out of the left breast pocket, when under a full bandoleer.

G

Makes sense but makes you wonder why it took them a whole bloody war to figure it out :blink:

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This is the Army that changed from saluting with either hand, depending on which side the "object" you were saluting was, to saluting with the right hand only during the war.

Which side the lanyard was worn was a mere trifle to be sorted later..............................

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Thanks guys, this is clear.

Now, why were they moved?

Hmmm, I always thought that the Gunners had their lanyards changed/moved as punishment for 'running away from the guns' or 'dropping Queen Victoria's coffin' - depending on who you were lstening to at the time!! ;)

ORIGINS OF THE LANYARD & THE CLASSIC SAPPER LEG-PULL

There has long been a tale-usually told by Sappers-about the Gunners wearing a white lanyard for cowardice, allegedly for deserting their guns. Of course, the story is nothing more than a piece of leg pulling. The tradition of winding up stems from the age-old rivalry between the two sister corps founded under the Board of Ordnance and trained together in Woolwich.

Lanyards associated with dress came into use in the late 19th Century, when field guns, such as the 12 and 15 pounders, used ammunition which had fuzes set with a fuze key. The key was a simple device, and every man had one, attached to a lanyard worn around the neck. The key itself was kept in the breast pocket until needed. The lanyard was a simple piece of strong cord, but it was gradually turned into something a bit more decorative, smartened up with blanco and braided, taking its present form.

Prior to the South African War, Gunners were issued with steel folding hoof picks, carried on the saddle or in the knife. In about 1903 these were withdrawn and replaced with jack knives, which were carried in the left breast pocket of the Service Dress attached to a lanyard over the left shoulder.

In the war years that followed, the lanyard could be used as an emergency firing lanyard for those guns which had a trigger firing mechanism, allowing the gunner to stand clear of the guns recoil.

The question of which shoulder bore the lanyard depends on the date. There is no certainty about this, but the change from the left shoulder to the right probably took place at about the time of the Great War, when a bandolier was introduced, because it was worn over the left shoulder. But there are some who insist that 1924 was the date of change, when sloping of rifles over the left shoulder would soil the white lanyard.

Eventually in 1933, the end of the lanyard was simply tucked into the breast pocket without the jack-knife, though many will remember that it was often kept in place with the soldiers pay book! On the demise of Battle Dress, the lanyard disappeared for a short time, but returned as part of the dress of the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1973.

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And what about this comment I received from another of the mates.

Prior to radios the whistle was a prime communications device for signalling orders during battle

An Infantry officer would wear his whistle on the end of his lanyard (in case he dropped it) and he wore the lanyard on his left shoulder as he used his left hand to hold the whistle.

Hi right arm would be holding his sword or later his pistol.

Later when his Revolver was attached to his shoulder with a leather lanyard that went to his right shoulder, but the cord lanyard with whistle stayed left shoulder.

A Cavalry officer, also using a whistle would hold the reigns of his horse in his left hand and his whistle would then be used in his right hand (when not waving his sword around)

Infantry = Left and Cavalry = Right.

Gunner officers were mounted on horses and followed the cavalry rules

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Originally, probably mid to late 18th century, aigulettes and other items similar to "lanyards" were always worn on the left by mounted troops so that they did not interfere with the "sword arm".

In the British Army AFAIA, the wearing of similar items on the right is post WW1.

Point of interest: most people are right handed and in the Army you were expected to be.

Now which is easier, removing something from your top right hand pocket, or your top left hand pocket, with your right hand?

When the lanyard became decorative as opposed to being something useful, then it didn't matter which side it was worn so it changed to the right to avoid being rucked up under a bandolier or soiled by a rifle etc.

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I also found this reference

In 1920 the lanyard was moved to the right shoulder, simply because of the difficult problem of trying to remove the knife from the pocket underneath the bandolier. By now the bandolier and belt, worn with the battle dress, had long ceased to be white, whilst the lanyard remained so.

The knife was removed in 1933 and then became a straight cord, worn purely as an ornamental item of dress. In 1955 it was, for a short time, re-introduced in the plaited style, but it quickly went back to the straight lanyard currently worn today.

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Hi,

wss there ever a case when gunners did not wear a lanyard. I found a photo of four men that had been in my grandfathers possession (he was a gunner)

showing that none of them were wearing lanyards. All their hat badges show the artillery badge so I must assume that they were also RGA. Judging on the

number of overseas service stripes the photo would have been taken in 1918.

David

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