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JBristoll(60th)

Facial Hair

Hi guys, looking for sources that either explain the armies regulations on facial hair or images of British troops with facial hair. If sideburns were allowed, what constituted a "Sideburn". In the 60th our shaving regulations are "Nothing below the mouth", is this a good estimation of what they were allowed to grow?
Paul Durrant

Hi Joe,

Here are a few quotes for the time being...


1813, Gordons,
"Thinking ourselves secure of a resting place for the night, those whose chins required a little trimming set about that operation... everything was proceeding favourably... the razors running as quickly over our faces as the stiff and lengthy stubble would permit them,- when, lo! the horn again sounded, not the note of preperation, but to fall in and be instantly off... and half shaved soldiers stood laughing at each other in every direction."

p.183 Campaigns with Wellington and Hill, James Archibald Hope, Leonaur facs, 2010
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A light cavalry officer joins a Highland Infantry regiment;
"I have shaved off my moustaches and most of my beard and turn out a smooth regular infantryman!"

p.180 Intelligence Officer in the Peninsula, letters and diaries of Major The Hon. Edward Charles Cocks, ed Julia Page, Spellmount 1986
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Service dress for Rifles' officers, 1800.
"The hair always queued according to the C-in-C's order; powder, side hair for two inches below the ear, and mustaches to be worn by those who choose on service"

Green book, Article X, Officers' service dress.
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South America 1807
"Although the fashion at that time was for soldiers to be smart, with long powdered hair, Sir Samuel (Auchmuty) beleived they should be rough looking, with long beards and greasy haversacks. It was because of his dislike of dandyism that the fashion for powdered hair was done away with after we landed in South America. Of course it might have been that it was difficult to get the powder."

Page 25, Autobiography of Sgt William Lawrence (40th of Foot)
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Berkshire 1809,
"Here we were regarded with infinite curiosity; every part of our equipment which bore  foreign character being scrutinized with wondrous exactness, and even our moustaches commented on, as things of a nature almost miraculous. In fact the English military not patronizing these warlike appurtenances, I question if the good people of Wallingford had ever witnessed a previous example."

p.44, Journal of an officer in the KGL, John Frederick Hering, Leonaur 2009
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"Whisker, a superfluous appendage of natural or artificial hair, which is exhibited upon the upper lip of a light dragoon or hussar, to distinguish him from every other soldier in the British army, which, without making him more terrific abroad, may render him ridiculous at home."

James' New and Enlarged Military Dictionary, third edition, Egerton 1810
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Steve 60th

A little piece I found in Harris:

"Nothing, I suppose, could exceed the dreadful appearance we cut on the occasion of the disembarkation form Corruna; and the inhabitants of Portsmouth, who had assembled in some numbers to see us land, were horror-stricken with the sight of their countrymen and relatives returning to England in such a ghastly state; whilst the three Harts, with feet swathed in bloody rags, clothing that hardly covered their nakedness, accoutrements in shreds, beards covering their faces, eyes dimmed with toil, (for some were even blind,) arms nearly useless to those who had them left, the rifles being encrusted with rust, and the swords glued to the scabbard;- these three brothers, I say (for I heard them myself,) as they hobbled up the beach, were making all sorts of remarks, and cracking their jokes upon the misery of our situation, and the appearance they themselves cut".
Paul Durrant

There are lots of references to men sporting unkempt and unshaven faces during hard campaign. However, officers seemed to make a point of deliberately cultivating mustaches and whiskers. However, in this quote from 1802, it seems it was only accepted for campaign;

"The son of a Scots Marquis, who had seen much service on the continent, was lately accosted by a friend in Bond Streer, who facetiously desired, "that as hostilities were over, his whiskers might be put upon a peace establishment"
Edinburgh Advertiser, 14th May, 1802
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"Officers whose beards will grow sufficiently high to admit of having side whiskers, may let them grow, provided they do not come down lower than half an inch below the bottom of the ear, and are not shaved behind, or clipped too close, as they are always to be combed up with pomatum and powdered; those that have them not, are to shave up as high as the top of the ear, so that, when they take the powder off, the side hair may be perfectly level with the corner of the eye; the ear is to be kept free from powder, and no part of the beard below the whiskers, or on the neck, &c., to be suffered to grow." (Bear in mind we're still clubbing and powdering hair at this time).

p.127 Extracts from the standing Orders of the garrison at Gibralter 1803, JSAHR 1923 vol ii

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Details from 'Le Soir' Acc No. NAM 7604-32 (Press 27-M-34)
Infantry and Highlanders encamped by river. Coloured aquatint by Lambert after Malbranche, published by Basset, C1815
©National Army Museum
Richard Warren

From Robert Mackenzie Holden, "Historical Record of the Third and Fourth Battalions of the Worcestershire Regiment," 1887:

“During the time the Worcestershire Militia  was quartered at Blatchington [early 1798], it is said to have been the first regiment in the British army to introduce and wear the moustache, having copied it from the Austrians …"

I'm assuming this refers to officers only.
Eddie

From 'Military Customs' Major T J Edwards  5th edition 1961 p206 : Memorandum  11th February 1828 by Adjutant General Sir Henry Torrens as reproduced in JSAHR VOL XXII P 305

"The practice of wearing moustachios is now growing into very general extent throughout the Service.
There never was any precise Order or Regulation under which this habit was permitted, even in the Hussars. But a kind of understanding existed, that it was tolerated by permission of authority, in that description of Force. Mustachios have been adopted in the Lancer Corps and gradually throughout all Regiments of Dragoons. I do not believe  that any Regiment of Cavalry is now without them. This practice is extending to the Infantry. When I was in Dublin four years ago, it was attempted by the 23rd Fusiliers, and by my interference was put down. But that corps shortly afterwards embarked for Gibraltar, and it immediately adopted mustachios, from having found some Corps of the Garrison wearing it. Since then I have understood that the practice is general in that Garrison.  The 7th Fusiliers wear the mustachios. It was adopted in the Rifle Brigade, and I believe in a great many other Corps in the Mediterranean without orders or authority. It is un-English and a hindrance to recruiting"



'In 1830, however an order was issued forbidding the growing of moustachios , except by the Household Cavalry and Hussars'    2nd August 1830.

The 2nd  Royal North British Dragoons in that same month applied for permission to continue wearing moustaches  - it was refused and again refused in 1839.

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