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PhilB

The Swagger Stick

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Muerrisch

Ergo - there is very little evidence that 'swagger' sticks were carried by officers before WW1, they carried canes or sticks instead (of varying sorts) and invariably of walking length. True 'swagger sticks' were a Victorian invention for the express use of soldiers and it is ironic that their use did not pass to officers until the demise of full dress and walking out dress uniforms during WW1. I would be delighted if you could show a photograph of 'swagger sticks' (as opposed to canes) carried by officers in the period before 1918.

2nd RWF 1900 .... dated photo.

Look very much like swaggers, most of them.

post-894-024736900 1290683923.jpg

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David_Underdown

Oxford English Dictionary has:

the verb SWAGGER used in comb.; swagger-bag; swagger-cane, -stick, an officer's cane or stick; the short cane or stick carried by soldiers when walking out; so swagger-dress; swagger coat, a three-quarter-length ladies' coat cut with a loose flare from the shoulders (particularly fashionable in the 1930s).

1887 Times 11 Apr. 11/5 Their clothes fit them well; they generally carry themselves well; many have swagger-sticks. 1889 Junior Army & Navy Stores Price List 669 H, Swagger or Parade Canes. 1890 KIPLING Soldiers Three (1891) 24 An' then I meks him [sc. a dog] joomp ovver my swagger-cane. 1901 Westm. Gaz. 4 Mar. 4/1 The ‘swagger’, or walking-out, dress of the soldier. 1933 Bulletin (Glasgow) 14 Oct. 15/1 A swagger-coat with collarette and gauntlets of black astrakhan. 1938 ‘J. BELL’ Port of London Murders ii. 24 Her hands were pushed into the pockets of an old swagger coat. 1953 ‘P. WENTWORTH’ Watersplash ii. 8 The glove and its fellow had been thrust into the pocket of a blue swagger coat. 1974 Index-Jrnl. (Greenwood, S. Carolina) 23 Apr. 3/2 (Advt.), Special selection of baskets, swagger bags, totes, envelopes. 1980 B. BAINBRIDGE Winter Garden x. 74 She stood in the gutter in her swagger coat and allowed her teeth to chatter piteously.

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FROGSMILE

2nd RWF 1900 .... dated photo.

Look very much like swaggers, most of them.

Yes indeed, see below from post #47:

After the 'war to end all wars' matters military understandably became unfashionable, as a nation weary with war returned to peacetime occupations. The Full Dress uniform that had been supposedly temporarily withdrawn in 1914, became permanently so, apart from the Sovereign's Household troops and soldiers were no longer given a specific walking out uniform but had to make do with the basic uniforms that they had. Swagger sticks were, for soldiers anyway, accordingly in abeyance for walking out.

At the same time a fashion grew for officers to carry a cane rather than a stick when in what might be called barrack dress or undress uniform and these again took up a fairly standard pattern of either plain leather or cane/rattan or in smarter orders of dress, coloured cane and silver ends (this latter type had also been popular for a while in Victorian times when in barracks, but not when walking out). Although generally a little shorter than the previous ORs pattern, these too became known as swagger canes/sticks (perhaps by chronological 'association', as officers did not 'swagger') and there were, as previously mentioned, variations with 'whips' and for some, blackthorn sticks.

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CameronDilworth

I have what I believe is my Grandfathers swagger stick. He was in the CMGC 4th Battalion. It's a short leather covered stick with a bullet cut in two, one piece on each end. Did the men usally make their own or were they issued?

The bullet is stamped RA 17.

Thanks!

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Pedrobito

I have my grandfathers swagger stick.  Interestingly it is RAF.  He was discharged from the RFC.

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tom bowler

I had a swagger stick when Regimental Police at Hohne garrison main guardroom in the 1970's - and was just a lowly sapper.

Edited by tom bowler
word added

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yperman
15 hours ago, tom bowler said:

in the 1970's - and was just a lowly sapper.

As was my Gt Gt Grandfather -I have a photo of him with his  swagger stick just before going out to fight in the Indian Mutiny.

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assafx
On 21/04/2008 at 18:58, PhilB said:

I was thinking about swagger sticks while cruising down the M6 in the slow lane. Very relaxing. I tried to work out why it`s only an Army thing - RAF/RN officers don`t carry them. But I couldn`t think of a good reason. And, assuming that the RFC officers carried them (Did they?), then when did they stop the practice after becoming RAF?

I am a bit late for the party but this might answer your RFC question, assuming this is the head of a swagger stick.

DSC_6342.jpg.fd88e5c2c86b520686f87dbe6c0ad9cf.jpg

 

it came from an excavated burnt WWI structure. In this excavation, near Ramla Israel, that was managed by Ron Toueg (and i took part of ) we had thousands of bottles, 70% of which were alcohol but also many other items, shch as this one.

reading this thread, as far as i understood, the sawgger stick was used also by O.R. so i cannot tell if this might have belonges to an officer or an NCO?

 

are there any army regulations regarding the stick that i can read?

 

Thank You,

Assaf

 

 

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