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.
Members of the Special Forces may also wear beards when behind enemy lines or on covert intelligence operations.
There have also been reports in recent years of British Army members serving in Afghanistan having beards or stubble to try to blend in with Afghan men, who see beards as a symbol of virility and authority.
Interestingly, other branches of the Armed Forces have wholly different attitudes towards facial hair.
From 1860 until 1916, uniform regulation in the British Army required serving soldiers to grow a moustache.
Soldiers could be charged if they did not have a medical excuse for not growing one.
Command No. 1,695 of the King’s Regulations read:
The hair of the head will be kept short. The chin and the under lip will be shaved, but not the upper lip…
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