1st Battalion Coldstream Guards
Inter Company Pace Sticking Competition
Fri 12th May 2006
For many members of
the Battalion, the term ‘Pace-Sticking’ is all too
familiar. To others it sounds like a severe form of
punishment! Well, for those involved with the event
that’s probably true!
The 13th of May was the start of the traditional
celebration of ‘Black Weekend’, a time when all Past
and Present Coldstreamers have chance to meet up and
have a ‘chin-wag’ and a ‘few sherbets’. This year
the event was opened with the Inter-Company Pace
Sticking Competition with each Company of the
Battalion entering the competition. In addition to
this, teams were entered by Number 7 Company and The
Household Cavalry Regiment.
Now, for those interested in ‘a history of
pace-sticking in a few sentences’ keep reading, if
it’s not your ‘cup of tea’ then skip this paragraph.
Basically, The Royal Regiment of Artillery say that
they ‘invented’ the pace-stick and used it to
measure gaps between their guns, this may be true
but apparently some ‘Roman Geezer’ used it well
before this to measure road distances. He would
twiddle his stick 500 times and stick a stone next
to the road which would be a ‘Roman Mile’. Both
sticks used were a little different to the ones used
nowadays, and in 1928 Academy Sergeant Major Arthur
Brand developed a way to march with the stick and
everyone else in the Army got ‘interested’.
So, the Pace-Sticking competition takes place like
this. First of all the people involved are inspected
by the Senior Officer Present, on this occasion it
was the Regimental Lieutenant Colonel. The
inspection is of an extremely high standard as you
can imagine, so if ‘your old man’ was up till gone
midnight ‘water-bulling’ his boots the night before
you can understand why! As soon as the inspection
has finished, the team (of three stickers), are
marched down a route by the driver (usually the CSM
of the Company) first in slow time, quick stop to
wipe the sweat off the hands, then in quick time.
All this is done whilst ‘twiddling’ the pace-stick.
Now, if you ever get chance to attempt to do this
have a go – these guys make it look easy and it
team was treated to a fine glass of Coldstream Port
from an un-named ‘Martini Girl Stunner’......
Traditionally, each year on the ‘break and wipe the
sweat off the hands’ phase HQ Coy provide a little
something special. Past events have seen an
ambulance driving through the crowd with sirens
blazing and medics diving out of the vehicle with a
‘swifter’ of Regimental Port – THIS YEAR WAS NOT TO
DISAPPOINT! On halting and resting their sticks the
HQ Coy team was treated to a fine glass of
Coldstream Port from an un-named ‘Martini Girl
Stunner’ wearing a scantily clad bikini. This ploy
worked well and took the Judges eyes away from their
main aim ............. the event.
The overall competition was won by Number 7 Company,
with Number 3 Company coming runners up and CQMS
‘Dinger’ Bell (also of Number 3 Company) being
awarded the best individual sticker of the day.
The event was a great success and LSgt ‘Adonis’
Barton (Sgts Mess Manager) & Staff did an excellent
job of ensuring that all facilities were available
to participants and guests.
Incidentally, it should be noted that since the
event, the Medical Centre have been overworked by
individuals from the Battalion who witnessed the HQ
Coy incident being ‘unable to sleep’ because the
‘big girl with the booze’ was trying to get them!
View images of this event below.
Left to Right
WO1 (RSM) A Hunter, Capt AJP Jasinski, Col JJS Bourne-May, W01 (RSM)
PJ Carr, Capt AJP Jasinski, WO1 (RSM) W Wilson