How the moustache won an empire

Discussion in 'General' started by dbf, Nov 30, 2014.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

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  2. Drusus Nero

    Drusus Nero Banned

    For my money, the most awesome mustachio I know of was on a Russian General, Semyon Buddenny.

    A Cavalry officer of the !st Moscow Cav Division clique, Budenny was a personal favoruite of Stalin, surviving civil war, purges, and ww2.

    I, personally, hate mustaches or beards, feeling that you can hide behind them. Crims committing crimes with facial hair can change their appearence far too easily.

    Never trust a man with a beard or a mustache!
  3. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Moustaches used to be compulsory in the British Army (at least for officers). On the adjutant's wall in my battalion was invariably posted a framed memo (in those days the form had a lefthand half for the original and a righthand half for a reply) from the adjutant, I think in the 1920s, to a certain second lieutenant drawing attention to the paragraph in Kings Regulations which laid this down, and demanding instant compliance. The reply, of course, promised this. In view of the youth of second lieutenants, I think the paragraph merely said that the upper lip was not to be shaved, so a moustache was not necessarily the result of compliance in all cases!

    I am not certain when this order was repealed; before WW2 I think.

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  4. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I favour the George V, and have long subscribed to the belief that if you must have facial hair; make it ever so slightly silly.


    Hmmm, actually... several young blokes in the pub last weekend looked not dissimilar.
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  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    The definitive RAF 'tache?
    (And another Budenny reference)

    ROYAL AIR FORCE FIGHTER COMMAND, 1939-1945.. © IWM (CH 3535)IWM Non Commercial Licence
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  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    From the memoirs of Horace Calvert ,23553 ,Grenadier Guards in WW1.

    This from 1918 . Returning to the front after being wounded on the Somme in 1916 with the 4th Bn , when serving under-aged.

    I was sent to the 2nd Battalion , 1st Guards Brigade and on arrival at the Battalion Headquarters , following a tiring travel by rail and road . I was the leading man as we marched in single file along the duck boards. The RSM came out of his tent and when we had been called to a halt he pointed out to the Sergeant to take my name and number for being ''Idle on Parade'' . The RSM was well known for his strict discipline . He was ''Tabby'' Beard, a nickname given by the men. Perhaps he didn't like my clean shaved face because King George had expressed a wish that all members of a Guards Regiment should have a moustache . I could not grow one and I believe I did a lot of fatigues (extra to general duties) for this reason.
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  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

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  9. ww2ni

    ww2ni Senior Member

    I was watching one of the WW1 Documentaries on TV recently and there was a comment that within the British Army if you were capable of growing a Moustache then it was obligatory.

    I always thought that they were just the fashion in all those old pictures.

    Why this Order and when did it end?
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  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I have always bemoaned the moustache in WW1 photographs. As mentioned, almost everyone had one in those days and it makes identification of soldiers doubly difficult. My maternal great-grandfather was a Durham Pal and enlisted in 1914, we have a group photo of his section, but cannot pick him out with any confidence.
  12. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Moustaches were compulsory until 1916. Regulations required that hair be short, face clean shaven except for the upper lip. So a moustache was not compulsory but shaving the upper lip was forbidden.

    Infantry sapper NCOs were allowed a beard.

    In the Navy it was a full set or nothing. You had to ask permission to grow a beard and moustache and permission to resume shaving. Presumably to make identification easier.

  13. toki2

    toki2 Junior Member

    Always handy to keep crumbs of food in an emergency.
  14. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    My maternal great-grandfather, John Harrison joined the Royal Garrison Artillery, I believe as a boy soldier, during the 1890s.He subsequently did a long stint on Gibraltar and married a Spanish national and his children, including my grandmother, were born there before moving back to Portland where he seems to have transferred to the Gloucestershire Regt. with whom he served until discharge in 1917. His 'taches are probably fairly typical of the period.


    A spot of bum-fluff on the upper lip, presumably reflecting the order referred to on this thread -


    The waxed moustache in all its splendour :-


    Family group taken on Gib around 1907 :-


    9448 Harrison, John is somewhere in this group photo of the Sergeants of 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regt. dated October 1911, but as Bamboo mentioned, they become impossible to discern behind the old face-fungus.


    Kaiser War service with the Gloucesters :-

    Maria died in 1917 whilst he was serving overseas and he was subsequently discharged. The moustache was still present when he re-married during the 1920s


    My paternal grandfather also saw service in WW1 with the obligatory moustache.


    as did grandmother's brother. He's in the middle of this one :-


    During WW2, moustaches seem to have remained common with senior NCOs. By that time, the Ronald Colman style seems to have been more popular. I have to say that I think my other grandfather looks smarter in the 1942 photo wearing Warrant Officer's service dress with SD cap than in the later image with battledress and the black Northamptonshire Regt. field service cap.


    A bit out of focus this one, but you'll get the idea.


    The RSM's insignia on his sleeve in that last photo has been passed down to me. A treasured possession.
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  15. ww2ni

    ww2ni Senior Member

    Cheers Guys!
  16. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    3rd row from the front 5 in from the right I reckon. Nice collection, thanks for posting .
    close up.png


  17. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    I think it was only the pioneer sergeant in an infantry battalion who was allowed to grow a beard - maybe still is. The last one I remember was in about 1973.

  18. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    How facial hirsuteness should be done by Other Ranks:


    Colour Sergeant Absolom Durrant, Coldstream Guards. Crimean War.
    Via: BritainsMilitaryHist (@BritainsMilHist) | Twitter

    No carefully trimmed Russian moustache could face down such a wildly exuberant full set!
  19. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Wing Commander Roger Morewood:

    Screen Shot 2018-02-24 at 02.29.28.png Screen Shot 2018-02-24 at 02.29.05.png

    He died two years ago, but a moustache, jacket and pipe combination such as that brings immortality of a kind.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
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  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Best 'tache on here yet.
    Hands down.

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