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Beards


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There`s a representation of a poilu with a beard in another thread. Were they officially sanctioned in the French Army? Was there a case for allowing British troops to grow beards? Could RND men, being sailors, have beards in the trenches? :huh: Phil B

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According to the Western Front Association:-

"In the British Army, hair was worn very short and beards were prohibited. (Strangely, this was not the case in the French Army. Hence the nickname for the ordinary French soldier poilu, The Bearded One). "

You can read the full (hygiene) article here:

http://www.westernfront.co.uk/thegreatwar/...rbritishwar.htm

Regards,

Neil.

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Thanks, Neil. One wonders why the French didn`t think the same way and also why cropped hair and no moustache wasn`t insisted upon? Phil B

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Thats a good question. Did British Regimental pioneers wear beards during WW1?

I've seen plenty of photo's of German soldiers with beards too.

I'd never thought of this before but I've seen photo's of soldiers with beards also carrying gasmasks, I would have thought they would have had to shave them off to get a proper seal on their gasmasks.

Roger.

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You raise an interesting point, Roger. Apart from the few occasions where a new gas was released on the scene, anti-gas measures were pretty good. Therefore, casualties were often considered to be related to inadequate application of the protective measures.

Robert

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Don't forget that during severe fighting [especially until mid 1915] soldiers often went a week without a shave and months without a shower or a shave. Only the most fanatical managed a daily shave under those circumstances. Indeed, one of my 2nd RWF officers was criticised as over-cleanly by his company commander for performing his daily ritual in the Retreat.

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Did not the RND exercise it's naval right to sport beards ?

Good point, I think they were covered by Army discipline rather than the Naval Discipline Act. The Royal Marines did and I'm pretty sure they still do when serving ashore.

Roger.

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Hello

there is an OMRS article about a chap in the army who had a beard - he wore one to hide scars I seem to recall

I will find it and if its WW1 I will add his picture at some point

Ian

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Hello

from the OMRS journal of summer 1997 by Roger Perkins -Col A L Barrett DSO and beard

Ian

post-3871-1145808793.jpg

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Hi,

I would suspect then as now for medical reasons you could be excused shaving

Kings Regulations & Admiralty Instructions - 1913

Chapter XXXIV Royal Marines

1149. Beards and Moustaches. - Officers and men of the marines ashore or afloat may wear their beards and moustaches, or moustaches only, as each may elect.

Regards Charles

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Steven Broomfield

I recall reading that the upper lip COULD NOT BE SHAVED under King's regs, until about Easter 1915 (when it was apparent that large numbers of youngsters had enlisted, for whom shaving was a waste of time), but that beards were prohibited. I believe the reference for this is in the 47th Divisional History by Maude, but bless me if I can find it.

Odd that we had a King who had a beard!

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Odd that we had a King who had a beard!

He was ex-Navy though, IIRC!

Beards seem to have been optional in the US Civil War, at least on the Confederate side. I would imagine their privations were of a similar order to those of the WW1 soldier. It`s hard to see any advantages to beards, apart from lack of shaving . I can`t see them giving much in the way of warmth and there is a definite drawback - a beard full of lice! Phil B

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Good posting Dangerfield, thats the photo my model figure is based upon, the one I've put somewhere and can't find :D

Roger.

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Odd that we had a King who had a beard!

Another rare case of beard in the British Army is painter Augustus John: he was appointed Official War Artist by the Canadians and allowed to keep his facial hair (I'm quoting this from memory as I don't have the relevant book at hand. Will post the image then)

Gloria

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Douglas Jerrold's 'The Hawke Battalion' contains several photos of bearded RND officers.

If I remember correctly, naval personnel had to request permission to 'grow a set' and were then required to submit the growth for inspection and approval after a certain number of days.

As a 'beardy' myself, I can assure Phil B that a beard is very helpful on the warmth front, and, although I've never suffered much with lice, I imagine that it would be a blessed relief if they could be tempted out of your clothing and 'damp parts' into your beard, where they would be much easier to deal with.

Mick

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I thought Staff Sergeants in the Pioneers could wear a beard????

Spider

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Tom A McCluskey

Spider,

It is normally the 'Pioneer Sergeant' in an infantry battalion (don't know about Pioneer Corps). There are plenty of pictures of them before and after the war with beards.

I don't think I have seen a picture of one wearing a beard at the front during the war - or back in the UK for that matter.

Aye

Tom McC

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As a 'beardy' myself, I can assure Phil B that a beard is very helpful on the warmth front, and, although I've never suffered much with lice, I imagine that it would be a blessed relief if they could be tempted out of your clothing and 'damp parts' into your beard, where they would be much easier to deal with.

Mick

Lice in my beard or in my shirt? Now there`s a tricky one! <_< Phil B

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Sgt_Hazell_Great_Grandson

Would it cause any problems if a chap was to wear a gas mask with a full beard ?.

Roland.

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