Foot Stamping

#1
I wonder if anyone knows why and who's idea it was to start stamping feet in the Army. It doesn't seem to even start in the Guards till the late 1920s/early 30s and even then was quite minimal compared with modern drill. Seems strange that it started at all if you think that it wasn't considered necessary in all those years of Victorian soldiering. No stamping in the Great War either. Same goes for swinging the arm shoulder high.

It just seems to have been something that caught on in the Second War and then exaggerated during National Service. I wonder if a particular individual was responsible, like Brittain or Lord.

You would think the British Army has been stamping around the world for centuries but not so it seems.
 
#2
I was told it was because they didnt want people to march like the Russians!
 
#3
What about the ridiculous marching displays the Pakistani and Indian border guards do? Plenty of stamping and legs kicking high in the air goes on with those lads, like a bunch of strutting Peacocks!
 
#4
Yes absolutely - with the Indian Army the drill has been exaggerated beyond all belief. The tradition of foot stamping can only have just got to India shortly before Partition.

I wonder if RSM Brittain pushed it at Caterham and RSM Lord at the Parachute Depot and it spread from there??
 
#5
The practice of foot stamping came about in the 1920s. Until then, drill was taught as a fighting skill (form squares, form line etc) and not ceremonial although arm swinging was prevalent. In 1927, the Tribune-Herald (Sarasota edition) reported that foot stamping in the British Army was to be phased out "as it jars the nerves of the Tommies" which doesn't seem to have happened.
RSM Brittain did not become and RSM until much later and RSM Lord did not become RSM of the paras until 1941 so they couldn;t have started it.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#6
Swinging the arms shoulder high didnt appear in any drill manual until after the accession of HM Queen Elizabeth the 2nd. In fact footage from the funeral of her father shows troops quick marching (not during the funeral procession but during a move of casket from Railway station) and looking reasonably waist belt high!
It wouldnt surprise me if most of the bull came from the mid to late natinal service era and has been accepted as traditional as soldiers generally tend to do what they are told to!
 
#7
Marching in step was introduced into the Prussian army in the 1730s by an officer who had served with the Hessians. The timing was based on the heart beat of a healthy man (72 per minute). Thepace was carried out with the knees stretched and the foot placed on the ground sharply and audibly. The later Parademarsch [I](the goose step) had a serious purpose. half an hour of this exercise did as much for the muscles of the legs and abdomen as a half day route march. Info from 'Jackboot' by John Laffin.[/I]
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#8
Fortunately, a form of silliness that totally escaped the Greenjackets!
 
#9
But probably the only sort of silliness to escape the Greenjackets.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
when boots had nails in them you didn't have to stamp and if you did it would ruin the drill square/hall floor, rubber boots mean you end up stamping a lot harder to get the noise the shouty man likes.

I suppose it expanded out like the silly slashed peak.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#11
snip;
I suppose it expanded out like the silly slashed peak.

I wouldnt know, my regiment sensibly ditched those in favour of a second Beret in about 1970. That silliness stayed with another Light Div regiment though!
 
#12
When drill was done on green fields there was little point in stamping feet, specially if it was wet and muddy. Later, when drill was done to move troops from place to place, and soldiers would march longer distances. In was a more practical thing and less ceremonial. This doesn't answer the OP's Q, of course, just contributing a comment...
 
#13
I wouldnt know, my regiment sensibly ditched those in favour of a second Beret in about 1970. That silliness stayed with another Light Div regiment though!
.....but no slashed peaks in the RGJ Ugly, We prefered 'the Blakey' from 'On the Buses' look, while you lot saved up to buy the rest of your cap badge :)
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#14
.....but no slashed peaks in the RGJ Ugly, We prefered 'the Blakey' from 'On the Buses' look, while you lot saved up to buy the rest of your cap badge :)
Look Dad I caught one!

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#16
I wouldnt know, my regiment sensibly ditched those in favour of a second Beret in about 1970. That silliness stayed with another Light Div regiment though!
...and then you copied the other Regts No.1 dress but wore lovely, shiney silver buttons and white gloves with it???

......which kinda defeated the purpose.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#17
...and then you copied the other Regts No.1 dress but wore lovely, shiney silver buttons and white gloves with it???

......which kinda defeated the purpose.
Kept the blue trousers though not that I ever wore No1s

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#19
There was a comment in Carrington VC , a post WW2 film, about the irritating foot stamping that had recently been introduced by the foot guards.


I suppose it expanded out like the silly slashed peak.
I know Guardsmen are fond of them, but has anyone told them how stupid they look?

Is it true they staple the peak to their noses?
 
#20
What about the ridiculous marching displays the Pakistani and Indian border guards do? Plenty of stamping and legs kicking high in the air goes on with those lads, like a bunch of strutting Peacocks!
Don't forget the Greeks.

[video=youtube;ZkL3UHmdcbY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkL3UHmdcbY[/video]
 

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