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To prevent the lips from chafing..

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To prevent the lips from chafing..

Postby jf42 » December 13th, 2016, 2:58 pm

A curious vignette, written up from memoranda twenty years after the event, reported from the aftermath of Waterloo


" [ A French drummer] was in a sitting posture and he gazed at me with his eyes wide open, but with such a singular aspect that he fairly startled me... I saw that he had been killed by a musket ball; and having, as is usual under death in that way, the countenance perfectly placid,his fixed, serpent-like gaze at me set my heart beating at the first sight of him. The poor fellow had a green leaf on his under lip, a practice very common among soldiers, to prevent the lips from chafing...."*

Has anyone else come upon such a "practice very common among soldiers" described elsewhere? Chafing from what?- Not from biting cartridges, one assumes. The chin strap of the shako? I am intrigued.



*The Operations of Picton's Division in the Campaign at Waterloo' by 'An Officer of the Division'
United Services Journal, Part III, 1841 p.193

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... up;seq=180
Last edited by jf42 on December 13th, 2016, 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: To prevent the lips from chafing..

Postby OXFORDMON » December 13th, 2016, 4:34 pm

Yes JF, I have read or heard of this being done by our soldiers in Spain, it was apparently to protect the lips from drying and painfully cracking from the effects of the sun and heat. If this could be called 'chafing' ... Now who or where it is mentioned I can't remember, perhaps someone could remind me!

Andy
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Re: To prevent the lips from chafing..

Postby OXFORDMON » December 13th, 2016, 5:00 pm

I have it:

' Life in Wellingtons Army' Antony Brett James page 33.
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Re: To prevent the lips from chafing..

Postby Josh&Historyland » December 13th, 2016, 5:49 pm

Marvellous stuff guys! Are there any other known attempts to ward off the sun...? Can't remember at the moment.

Josh.
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Re: To prevent the lips from chafing..

Postby jf42 » December 13th, 2016, 7:42 pm

Tallow....pitch.....pipeclay?
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Re: To prevent the lips from chafing..

Postby OXFORDMON » December 14th, 2016, 3:47 pm

Josh&Historyland wrote:Marvellous stuff guys! Are there any other known attempts to ward off the sun...? Can't remember at the moment.

Josh.


Apparently the bottom lip would become so inflamed that some were known to burst and blood would run down the chin :o
The same source mentions the practice of men sucking on pebbles to keep the mouth moist, the water in their bottles becoming so hot as to make it impossible to drink and making them sick. Of course in the hottest times of the year marches (where possible) would be made in the coolest times, it was not uncommon for the men to begin at 1 - 2 am, although night marches in difficult terrain such as the Pyrenees were avoided for obvious reasons. I have read of muskets, Bayonnets, sword scabbards and even tunic buttons becoming so hot as to be impossible to touch without serious injury!
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Re: To prevent the lips from chafing..

Postby Josh&Historyland » December 14th, 2016, 10:43 pm

jf42 wrote:Tallow....pitch.....pipeclay?


Sounds like an embalmer's recipe! :shock:

OXFORDMON wrote:
Josh&Historyland wrote:Marvellous stuff guys! Are there any other known attempts to ward off the sun...? Can't remember at the moment.

Josh.


Apparently the bottom lip would become so inflamed that some were known to burst and blood would run down the chin :o
The same source mentions the practice of men sucking on pebbles to keep the mouth moist, the water in their bottles becoming so hot as to make it impossible to drink and making them sick. Of course in the hottest times of the year marches (where possible) would be made in the coolest times, it was not uncommon for the men to begin at 1 - 2 am, although night marches in difficult terrain such as the Pyrenees were avoided for obvious reasons. I have read of muskets, Bayonnets, sword scabbards and even tunic buttons becoming so hot as to be impossible to touch without serious injury!


Cooked lobster being the operative word... by the end of it long campaigners must have had skin like leather.

Josh.
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Re: To prevent the lips from chafing..

Postby jf42 » December 15th, 2016, 12:30 pm

In Spain, I've been burnt by the rivets on my cargo vest. I still find myself having to stand up again very quickly on occasion after perching on sunbaked rocks. I never learn.

In the south, even as early as June, the heat by 9.am is blistering, and walking with even a 30lb pack is tough.
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Re: To prevent the lips from chafing..

Postby Dominique T. » December 15th, 2016, 2:03 pm

In Spain, I can understand. But at Waterloo ?????
Protect from the sun ? In Belgium ? :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: To prevent the lips from chafing..

Postby Josh&Historyland » December 15th, 2016, 4:42 pm

Some said the 16th of June was very hot.
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