REGIMENTAL CHRONICLE 1937 The following is an extract from the 1937 Regimental Chronicle entitled "Changing Scene"
(ii) CLOSE ORDER DRILL
Infantry Training 1937 contains less than six pages of platoon, company and battalion close order drill. Platoon drill now consists of squad drill only, while company drill has only column of route and close column of platoons; battalion drill, column of route and mass. So go into oblivion many evolutions which have long since lost their usefulness and were utterly out of keeping with modern conditions.
Squad drill is contained in the Manual of Elementary Drill 1935, which allows for the use of the trail and the shoulder in close order drill for English Light Infantry Regiments. Thus, with the exception of drawing bayonets for inspection, all movements which until a few years ago were carried out sub rosa as Regimental drill, now receive official sanction. 'Threes', a formation used in Peninsula days has found its way back for use in column of route and field work.
The Manual of Ceremonial 1935 contains the movements for ceremonial parades, and these are reduced to a minimum. The chronicle of 1932 gives an account of the introduction of the trail for marching past and so bayonets are only fixed for the salute on ceremonial parades and by guards and sentries.
There are one or two minor alterations in the position of officers and warrant and non-commissioned officers. Company commanders when marching past in close column are now in front of their companies instead of acting as guides while the regimental serjeant major is in the supernumerary rank of the leading company covering off the right guide instead of being with the colours.
The salute with the sword is the same in marching past as at the halt, and is about the same as carried out for the greater part of the nineteenth century; so there departs from the drill book the only movement which was described as graceful!
Except at a ceremonial parade held in honour of the King's birthday, the presentation of colours, and by guards and escorts mounted over royalty or the equivalent from republican states, the King's Colour is not carried on parade. The regimental colour is carried on all inspections and reviews.
New ideas always cause some kind of controversy but it must be borne in mind what drill is and its object. The Victorian era loved its reviews and many movements were carried out for effect and were in keeping with the gorgeous uniform of the period, but in these days when the roar of engines intermingles with the music of the band it must be acknowledged that much of the pageantry of former years must disappear. However, we are thankful that Light Infantry drill still remains and that many of our cherished traditions have not been tampered with but in fact made more secure.