WW1 razors

Apart from being quite a moving and revealing film, there are some interesting historical references to cutthroat razors used during the First World War, in Peter Jackson's They Shall Not Grow Old. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0brzkzx

The veterans say how the standard issue razors were not fit to shave with and there are clips of soldiers shaving.

... For anyone interested in the history of straight razors.
West Sussex, UK
Anything MOD standard issue is usually unfit for purpose... Trust me, I have a Martindale Golok AKA "tree basher" which is utterly useless :p

Had a mate in Afgan & Iraq and he's told me some stories, the issued equipment was/is shockingly poor so it sounds like little has changed since WW1 and long before most likely.
I'm curious to know whether the razors were poor quality or whether the just weren't sharp. Found a WW1 army online razor online and it looked pretty decent from the photos. That might have been one issued to officers I guess. I wonder how many soldiers owned a razor before joining up if the army had to issue them. Keeping them dry and maintaining them must have been a major challenge.
Officers would have had their own razors and probably a porter to sharpen it for them. The average Tommy couldn't afford a decent straight so had to use the military issues. 4 days in the front line they wouldn't need to shave or be particularly fussy about uniform but once away from the front line they had to smarten up. Full kit, buttons polished and clean shaven.
Until the gas shells started dropping, from my time in the army they used to tell us that anymore than 3 days stubble and you wouldn't get an air tight seal on your respirator, and that's with modern rubber and the benefit of years of research, the gas masks those poor sods had would probably struggle to seal over a days growth.
I have a first world war razor though I believe it was unused, well I am sure it was unused. It shaves well now, I am sure they were turned out in a rush and the quality was likely down a touch. I just love using it, it's not my favourite, that is a David Issard at the moment, but it has a historical interest that a new razor doesn't.
Top Bottom