Over the years we have covered side cutting pliers a couple of times on the blog. Tonight we revisit the subject for a third, brief, time with another variant:As before these pliers have the /|\ mark of British Army ownership:What makes this pair unusual and worthy of inclusion once more is the small lanyard loop on one handle:This suggests to me that this pair of pliers was designed for use by a lineman and allowed a lanyard to be attached between the pliers and the user’s belt so that if they were dropped they did not fall all the way to the ground. A lineman worked with the Royal Army Signal Corps to maintain telephone wires for military communications. As such they were often up telegraph poles repairing lines and the last thing they would have wanted was to drop their pliers and then have to climb all the way down to retrieve them.
Pliers were an essential element of equipment for a Royal Signalman, and are included in the list of items Ron Pidgley packed before embarking on a landing craft for the D-Day landings:
Had I remembered to pack it all? Voltmeter, hand drill, soldering iron, solder, screw drivers, pliers, reel of light wire, emery paper and etc, the heavy 120 volt Batteries, cases of spare valves – and the ammo – 200 rounds of .303, 2 grenades, field dressing, water bottle, 24 hours of emergency rations, chocolate and fags plus matches. And a rifle.
He recalls some of the tasks his unit had to deal with:
Telephone lines were laid out, Don 8 (D8) on drums, by our line section, to the Commando HQs and it was our job to repair it should shell fire cause disconnections, as it did, often. The radio spares were kept in the chateau that was now Brigade HQ and I had a table as a workbench for the few tools and test gear.
This lineman was serving in Italy, but it gives a good view of the sort of equipment he had to work with and the large rolls of telephone wire that were needed to maintain communications: