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Remembered Today:

Royal Navy - Beards


researchingreg
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While researching the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic period, I have noticed that all portraits of Officers show them clean shaven. Possibly because George III was clean shaven (a theory)

Whereas during WW1 and WW2, many sailers had beards. When did the the Royal Navy allow beards?
Edward VII and George V had beards, was it to do with them? Or have beards in the Navy always been allowed and fashion dictated whether they were worn or not?

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There are no such things as beards in the RN.

On application a man or an officer will be given permission to, 'discontinue shaving'. In the first place the permission will usually be for 30 days. Then the stubble will be inspected, and indefinite permission given.

If a black haired man has a ginger beard you can be certain that permission to discontinue shaving will be withheld.

When a man gets fed up with not shaving, he then has to apply for permission to 'continue shaving'.

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As I understand it (historically) beards and moustasches in the Royal Navy were forbidden up until 1869 when the current regulations were introduced.

Michael

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Thanks for the information on the 1869 regulation. That clears things up.

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Two further minor points for clarification and possible interest.

The regulation on either complete shaving or no shaving at all does not only apply to consistency between having both moustache and beard, on the one hand, or neither moustache nor beard, on the other hand; it also forbids any other form of partial shaving, such as sideburns or a goatee.

There is, however, an exemption for a reservist recalled from civilian life for a short training period: a moustache alone or a goatee is allowed to be retained for the brief period in uniform.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The RN father of a mate of mine had his beard blown off when involved in an 'incident' in Haifa in 1947/48 - and it never grew back!

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And no doubt dined out on the story of his 'close shave' ever after ...

:thumbsup:

In fact I gather that during his service on Britannia he told HM the story... He was originally a submariner BTW, hence the beard, and has just received his posthumous Arctic Star...

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As a beardie myself, I confess to being slightly mystified how his beard managed to get blown off without taking a substantial part of his face with it. A P Herbert, who wrote 'The Battle of Codner's Beard', would no doubt have enjoyed composing a rhyme about the incident.

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As a fellow-beardie I wondered about that also...Shock causing extreme hair-loss? A chappie I knew, an old family friend, lost all his hair as an infant aged about 4 when his house was bombed in the 1940's and he was as bald as a coot for the rest of his life and never grew any facial hair at all... (No. I have no idea about other parts!).

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