The Royal Regiment of Artillery (United Kingdom) lays claim to being the originator of the Pace Stick. It was used by Field Gun Teams to ensure correct distances between the guns on the battlefield, thus ensuring the appropriate effective fire.
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.
The Regimental Sergeant Major Army carries the first Pace Stick brought to Australia as a symbol of office.
The Regimental Master Gunner and the Master Gunner Land Command Artillery carry replicas of the ‘Gunner’s Stick’ as their symbol of office .
Regimental Sergeant Major’s carry a Pace Stick as a symbol of their appointment.
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.
As with other accoutrements such as the Sam Browne belt, the Pace Stick comes in two colours, brown (natural stained timber) and black lacquer. The black version is used by Regimental Sergeant Major’s of the Armoured, Aviation and Nursing Corps, all other Corps use the natural timber version; the Regimental Sergeant Major Royal Australian Engineers Pace Stick has a ‘field service level’ fitted in it.