Beard man, axe man!
First from the Forces [British] TV channel this interesting item:
1. "The Only Army Rank Allowed To Have A Beard On Parade"
The ancient and venerable tradition continues unabated!!
"Meet the Pioneer Sergeant, the holder of the only position within the British Army allowed to have a beard when on parade."
Pioneer Sergeant John-Paul Tooth.
"Pioneer Sergeants have existed since the 1700s. The tradition began when every British infantry company had one 'pioneer' who would march in front of the regiment."
"He would wear a 'stout' apron, which protected his uniform whilst he was performing his duties, and carry an axe to clear the path for anyone following behind."
"It was also the Pioneer Sergeant's duty to kill horses that had been wounded in battle."
"He would often have to cut off one of the stricken horse's legs so that its rider could receive a new animal - each had a number branded onto its hoof to prevent false claims, such as if a cavalryman had sold his mount."
"Pioneers in those times [1700's] would also carry a sawback sword, pickaxe, billhooks, shovels, and axes. They were traditionally the largest, strongest and most imposing members of the company."
"The pioneer sergeant also acted as the blacksmith for the unit. As a result, he was allowed a beard to protect his face from the heat of the forge."
"Nowadays the Pioneer Sergeant is usually responsible for carpentry, joinery and similar types of work."
2. "12 bizarre military parade uniforms: All bearded with aprons, French Foreign Legion at Bastille Day"
The beard, the axe, the apron!!
French Foreign Legion [FFL] pioneers on parade during Bastille Day celebration. The axe, the beard, the apron. I had thought these were retired FFL personnel with the beards but I am wrong. Even Bert can be wrong and is quite willing to admit when so!
Kepi blanc! And don't get those FFL men on the wrong side of you.