The Bearded One

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Barrack Room Lawyer, Aug 25, 2004.

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  1. Why is a sergeant of assault pioneers allowed to grow a beard?
    I asked my old one years ago and he simply replied (while leaning on his Axe as he was guard commander at the time) "Tradition".

    This is the best I can find on Google:

    Traditionally, the Pioneer Sgt may wear a full set beard. The origins of this are obscure, and there are two trains of thought; one is that it is to protect the face when clearing routes through trees and brambles, and the other is to prevent skin infection when mixing explosives.

    Anybody care to enlighten me further?
  2. Traditonally a Pioneer would go out to the back of beyond for months at a time, as they were away from the rest of the army shaving was something that was left on a bit of a back burner; and as a result when these fella's would come back they looked somewhat hairy. For the sake of tradition, the senior unit non-commisioned pioneer can wear a beard, if he chooses not to it is permitted for the next man down to wear it; and so on and so on.

    Hope this helps :D
  3. The following might be borrocks but I'll post it anyway

    I was told when I enquired as to why the Guards Pioneer Sargeant was carrying a axe on the Trooping of the Colour that it was his job in days of yore to chop off the hoofs (hooves?) of dead horses after battle in order to account for them - each horse had a number burnt into a hoof. He would hand the hoofs in and the accounts would be kept straight.

    Why the beard? I asked - to prevent infection from mouldy old horses was the reply.

  4. Mind you we were all pretty hairy in those days!

    I thought it was just one of those "We were away the day the order through came to shave".
  5. Not true as such. The farriers in Household Cav/Blues and Royals carry silver axes to do that job. Pioneers Sgt`s carry the axe to cut down trees.