The pace stick

The pace stick was originally used by field gun teams of Royal Regiment of Artillery (United Kingdom) to ensure correct distances between the guns on the battlefield. This helped ensure appropriate and effective fire.

The Regimental Sergeant Major of Army carries the first pace stick brought to Australia as a symbol of their appointment. The Regimental Master Gunner and the Master Gunner Land Command Artillery carry replicas of the ‘Gunner’s Stick’ as their symbol of office.

The original pace stick was more like a walking stick with a silver or ivory knob. It could not be manipulated like the modern pace stick as it opened just like a pair of callipers. It is suggested that the infantry developed the pace stick to its present configuration as an aid to drill.

Presently the pace stick is used to measure the correct length of pace. Rhythm and uniformity in marching is achieved by using the pace stick as well as the drum and metronome. Correct pace length is necessary not only for ceremonial purposes, but also to reduce fatigue on long marches and set the standard of accuracy required of soldiers.

The pace stick comes in two colours, brown (natural stained timber) and black lacquer. The black version is used by Regimental Sergeant Majors of the Armoured, Aviation and Nursing Corps. All other Corps use the natural timber version. The pace stick of the Regimental Sergeant Major Royal Australian Engineers is fitted with a ‘field service level’.