HC Deb 05 March 1936 vol 309 cc1573-4
90. Captain PLUGGE

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?

The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the WAR OFFICE (Sir Victor Warrender)

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.

Captain PLUGGE

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


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


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


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


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