Army Regulations (Moustaches).

Oral Answers to Questions — Post Office. – in the House of Commons on 5th March 1936.

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Photo of Captain Leonard Plugge Captain Leonard Plugge , Rochester Chatham

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can now make a statement regarding the court-martial of a guardsman for refusing to shave off his moustache; under what Army Regulations this was done; and how the Regulations are administered for the various regiments of the Army?

Photo of Sir Victor Warrender Sir Victor Warrender , Grantham

I think my hon. and gallant Friend is under some misapprehension regarding this case, as the soldier in question was not tried by court-martial for refusing to shave off his moustache, but for the quite separate offence of disobeying the command to fall in. Under paragraph 978 of King's Regulations a soldier is at liberty to shave his upper lip or to grow a moustache, but it is obviously within the discretion of the commanding officer to order the removal of a moustache which presents an unsoldierly appearance. The guardsman in question was on more than one occasion ordered either to remove his moustache or to grow it in a proper manner. For disobedience of this lawful command he was sentenced by his commanding officer to 10 days' confinement to barracks. When this sentence had been pronounced he was ordered to fall in, with a view to being marched away, but disobeyed the order. It was for this last act of disobedience of a lawful command that he was tried by a district court-martial and sentenced to 28 days' detention. In view of this explanation, I trust my hon. and gallant Friend will agree that the last part of the question does not arise.

Photo of Captain Leonard Plugge Captain Leonard Plugge , Rochester Chatham

Is a man before enlisting told about these complicated Regulations regarding the wearing of a moustache?

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

Will the hon. Baronet illustrate to the House exactly what a soldierly moustache is?

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

Was the famous "Old Bill's" moustache in accordance with the Regulations?

Photo of Reverend James Barr Reverend James Barr , Coatbridge

In view of the great importance of this question, could it not be added as an addendum to the White Paper?

Photo of Sir Victor Warrender Sir Victor Warrender , Grantham

The King's Regulations on this point are perfectly simple, and can be easily understood.