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    Member ordnanceguy's Avatar
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    Richard Burton Armed in the Desert



    Gentlemen:

    I ran across this image and found it interesting. This is famed Welsh actor Richard Burton seen here in a movie publicity still in the desert studying what appears to be an Enfield .38-200 revolver. He has on the standard Pattern '37 pistol belt, holster and ammunition pouch.



    I question the positioning of the pistol lanyard over his left shoulder. I would have thought that around the neck or the right shoulder was the best position for a right handed shooter. Was there any "official" statement on how the pistol lanyard was to be located on the body during WW2? (Yes, of course I understand that in motion pictures pretty much anything goes and authenticity is of secondary or tertiary concern.)

    I think this photo was taken during the filming of "Bitter Victory" in 1957. I am not certain since Burton appeared in at least 2 other Desert War films, "The Desert Rats" (a fine actioneer) and "Raid on Rommel" (not so fine). Given his costuming I think "Bitter Victory" is more likely to be the film during which this image was taken. And only 12 years after the end of hostilities. I don't think I have seen "Bitter Victory" and will have to put it on the list to be seen.



    Regards,
    Charlie
    Last edited by ordnanceguy; 11-10-2019 at 11:30 PM.

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    Really Senior Member Paul S.'s Avatar
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    Personally, I would want the lanyard on the same side as the holster. The P-37 holster was meant to be carried cross-draw - as it appears to be in the photo.

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    Member ordnanceguy's Avatar
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    After checking I found out that "Bitter Victory" is set to show on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) on 12/6/19 at 12 AM EST. I think I will check it out to see if Burton manages to employ that Enfield against the Afrika Korps.

    Charlie

    ---------- Post added at 10:42 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:35 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul S. View Post
    Personally, I would want the lanyard on the same side as the holster. The P-37 holster was meant to be carried cross-draw - as it appears to be in the photo.
    Maybe so, Paul.

    In poking around the 'net just now I ran across this 1930s image of the 12th Royal Lancers Pistol Team in Cairo armed with .455 Webleys. The soldiers in the back row appear to have their lanyards around their necks.



    Charlie

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    Really Senior Member Sunray's Avatar
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    "Bitter Victory" being a movie, not history, Dick would have worn the lanyard any way he wanted. The idea of a lanyard is to prevent the non-shooter, inexperienced, usually junior, officers from losing their revolver(Just like the strings on one's mittens.) while on a horse. Being able to adjust the lanyard to add some stability, like a shoulder stock, was just a bonus.
    Around one's neck doesn't add much, if any, stability, but the Junior Subalterns(mostly) would be less likely to drop the thing. Easier to put a lanyard around one's neck than undo your epaulet button, put your arm through and redo the button as well.
    However, the side it was worn on had more to do with the Dress Regs than anything else. That and, at the time, one was expected to be right handed, even if you were not.
    Spelling and Grammar count!

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    Many officers wore their lanyard through the epaulette on the same side (normally left) so that any shoulder weapon could be used without it tangling or interfering with the lanyard.
    Just a choice of the individual, the same as some had a lanyard on their compasses

    He must have seen someone doing that or their military advisor suggested it as he may have been a bit clumsy with the butts of weapons during the making of the film.
    RCMP wore their lanyards around their necks whilst wearing high collars, as did many various formations including the Army.
    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

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    Really Senior Member Paul S.'s Avatar
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    Having the lanyard around the neck looks good when one is thinking about how it looks 'On Parade'. Have a look at the RCMP in full dress for instance. It's also worth noting that the O.R.s in the back row are wearing their battalion's lanyard on their left shoulder as well.

    However, anything around the neck, a tie, long scarf, or a lanyard can be a convenient garrote for an enemy in H2H combat. I know that was why we had clip on ties back in the day in NSW during my few years as a constable. I'm pretty sure that's why our 'sweat rags' (Oz Army) were too short (barely 1 m. if that) to tie as well.
    Last edited by Paul S.; 11-11-2019 at 06:36 PM.

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    Lanyard on the left means it's less likely to get caught up in tack when mounting and dismounting.

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    Mmmmmmmm.... I don't recall there being a 'proper' way to carry them. I carried mine in the holster on my right side because I'm right handed, with the landyard loose around our necks, really so that you couldn't drop it. After a couple were snatched and the landyard sliced with a knife during IS duties down in Singapore there was a slight change of policy for IS duties blokes. They had a length of chain with a ring on one end and the other end looped through the landyard loop. You.......... Anyway you looped the chain through the brass ring, stepped into it, pulled it up to your waist above your belt and there it stayed. Chain long enough to allow aimed shots but couldn't be slashed and pistol taken. But as a general rule, on IS duties, in the days before P-correctness and every one having a camera, once you got a pistol out most people got the message that you were all getting pretty fed-up.

    Being young and wanting to look cool we all seemed to carry pistols with a loose belt so that it looked good - a bit like a gun slinger. Looking back, it was daft but maybe we all were!

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    Never................men of our caleebri

    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

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