WWI British Officer
The British Army during World War I fought the largest and most costly war in its long history. Unlike the French and German Armies, the British Army was made up exclusively of volunteersas opposed to conscriptsat the beginning of the conflict. Furthermore, the British Army was considerably smaller than its French and German counterparts. By the end of 1918, the British Army had reached its maximum strength of 3,820,000 men and could field over 70 divisions.
Most pre-war officers came from families with military connections, the gentry or the peerage; a public school education was almost essential. In 1913, about 2% of regular officers had been promoted from the ranks. As the war progressed, and the size of the army increased substantially, the number of officers required increased proportionally. Volunteers and regulars NCOs were asked to become candidates to become an officer.
A swagger stick is a short stick or riding crop usually carried by a uniformed person as a symbol of authority. Its use derives from the vine staff carried by Roman centurions as an emblem of office. Swagger sticks were carried by all other ranks when off duty, as part of their walking out uniform. The usual custom was for the private soldier or NCO to carry the stick tucked under his arm.