Soldier grows mutton-chop beard for new role

As job requirements go, an impressive set of whiskers is an unusual one. But for Bugle Major Steve Martin facial hair is a must.

Each battalion has had its own bugler since the Rifles Regiment was formed in the 19th century.

Tradition dictates that he must have a distinctive mutton-chop beard so that he is easy to pick out on the battlefield.

The 33-year-old is the latest to take on the job on the frontline after deploying to Afghanistan with 4 Rifles.

Bugle Major Steve Martin Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Bgl Maj Martin, who also has a combat role, said: "When the Rifles were formed they needed a sound to distinguish them from the line infantry's drums on the battlefield.

"They chose a silver bugle because it carries well on the wind.

"It was vital that those around him could pick him out at all times so they developed a rule that he must grow a distinctive beard.

"I had played the bugle for a while and knew I could grow a beard, so I thought it was the job for me."

Bgl Maj Martin regularly performs at ceremonies, including vigils for fallen soldiers.