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PlasticSoldier

RAF Beret

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As a 'penguin' (ATC) from 1990 it was berets all the way. The Station Warrant Officer found you wearing your no 1 hat..........you'd better have a damn good reason or the rest of the airfield would hear! Still, once in a blue moon would get a measure of satisfaction telling the same SWO to get his hat off as he was on the manouvering area!?! Like most SWO's I think he slept with that hat on

Ha ha, that's funny. I'm a corporal in the ATC and it's still all berets

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I remember my encounter with the beret when in the ATC in the latter 70's.

Dampen beret, plonk on head, ensure badge was directly over left eye, tightly grip left side of beret and puuuull the right hand side down as far over to the right of the ear as possible .

Leave to dry and remove from head.

Sort of like this.....

http://www.surplusandoutdoors.com/images/product/main/RAF-BERRET.jpg

Which is why a beret that slopes the other way (I'm looking at you France) looks weird.

Trevor ex 2359 Squadron

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Here in Canada our berets are made such that when formed as described, the two breather holes end up under the flap so they're not visible when worn. We've also got a cardboard stiffener under the hat badge mounting which helps to shape them. Somehow the fabric lining 'mysteriously' falls out of everyone's beret within a few days of issue, thus making it much easier to form (some people swear by standing in a hot shower while constantly stroking it down and flattening it). One of my Division mates didn't take her lining out, leading the Chief to exclaim "Miss F_ is that a pizza you're wearing on your head?"

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So unless you were RAF Regiment the FS Cap was standard RAF working Headdress during the War with Berets becoming standard over a long period after the War and with the introduction of National Service in 1947.

Again this is not strictly true. I have 2 photographs of my late Father (pasted into his Log Book). One dating from late 1944, one dating from mid 1945 and in both he is wearing a beret. He certainly was not RAF Regt, nor part of 2 ATAF.

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That is a fair point and I am sure your father did wear a beret in WW2, but RAF Dress regulations on the Forage or Field Service Cap are clear in the link to the IWM.

Berets were only to be worn by members of the RAF Regiment during WW2 that not saying some local flouting of dress regs did not happen and some unit commanders authorised for what ever reason the use of the beret and not the FS cap.

It is more than likely when the RAF re-designed the basic RAF working uniform in 1948 that's when the Beret became standard issue for all enlisted Personnel, but not generally Officers (aircrew officers did wear berets).

Even today I think Officers in working blues are not allowed to wear a beret that is only for Commissioned members of the RAF Regiment who can wear the beret in working blues. Officers can only wear SD Hat or FS cap in working blues, and berets if they are wearing Field uniform.

The reason I know all this Sh*t is I spent 26 years in the RAF Supply and some of if in RAF Clothing Stores.

As one poster states RAF Dress Regulations are one thing and what RAF personnel wear on a day to day basis is another esp in the 1960's and 70's. I joined in the mid 70's and often went to work in boots with white sea boot socks, working blue trousers, dark blue working shirt, camouflage Jacket and a chip hat, and looked a right scruffy git. So all you modellers doing RAF Aircraft from the 1970's and 80's with personnel, they should all look a bit miss matched in uniform. The RAF working environment at the time esp in stores or other places where it was heavier work, as long as you were in some uniform with a hat to go to dinner, no one battered a eyelid.

In the mid 1980 the RAF got really serious (the time I was in Clothing stores) and wanted standards of dress, so all unauthorised forms of dress finally went out of the window, that was mixed blues and camouflage, and my beloved posh Battledress ( You could keep your old number 1 uniform and have it tailored into a nice looking but easier to wear battledress). Still there was flouting, but SWO (Station Warrant Officers) would keep a eye out for walking bags of sh*t.

Edited by TIGER HOBBIESLIMITED

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Ah, the SWO...

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Camo & blues, I remember being pulled up by the station commander at Odiham

in the early 80's 'cos I was wearing a green wooly pully with blue trousers.

My explanation was that my Wife had shrunk the blue wooly pully in the wash

and stores wouldn't give me another for 18 months.

There wasn't a lot he could say to that.

Odiham in those days was a sea of mix and match uniforms.

With the support given by 72 to Ireland, haircuts were slightly 'relaxed' too.

Unless you were on guard, and that was done in No 1's.

Regards the chip hat v beret, Chip hats are almost always seen being worn by groundcrew

in WW2 pictures when working on aircraft, but I wonder how many were lost down Meteor &

Vampire intakes before they had a rethink.

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There was a phase in the RAF in the 1980s called moratorium, i.e we had to cut back on basic spending. As Pete in Lincs stated, we were told in Clothing not to change anything unless it was totally un-usable and orders of stocks were cut back, hence Pete had to wait 18 months for a Jumper. You may think this was madness, but that what we were putting up with during this period. Communications from the top asked Station Commanders, and dear old SWO to turn a blind eye to the odd untidy Airman, and don't mind Working Blue Trousers with odd patches and Woolly Jumpers with the odd hole. So Pete story of him been pulled up by CO in his green Jumper, is bang on the money.

The RAF at the time had a rubbish attitude to working dress, as the working blue uniform was not suited to heavy working, even coupled with overalls, yet the obvious solution was to issue Army Light weight barrack greens, but in RAF Blue coupled with the Jumper, dark blue shirt and boots.

Edited by TIGER HOBBIESLIMITED

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There was a phase in the RAF in the 1980s called moratorium, i.e we had to cut back on basic spending. As Pete in Lincs stated, we were told in Clothing not to change anything unless it was totally un-usable and orders of stocks were cut back, hence Peter had to wait 18 months for a Jumper. You may think this was madness, but that what we were putting up with during this period. Communications from the top asked Station Commanders, and dear old SWO to turn a blind eye to the odd untidy Airman, and don't mind Working Blue Trousers with odd patches and Woolly Jumpers with the odd hole. So Pete story of him been pulled up by CO in his green Jumper, is bang on the money.

The RAF at the time had a rubbish attitude to working dress, as the working blue uniform was not suited to heavy working, even coupled with overalls, yet the obvious solution was to issue Army Light weight barrack greens, but in RAF Blue coupled with the Jumper, dark blue shirt and boots.

That rings a long, distant bell! I remember the moratorium. Towards the end, before it was knocked on the head, we ended going to a well known, (then, now long IIRC), ex-army shop and buying replacement kit. Can't look scruffy in uniform.

Christian, exiled to africa

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Hi
When I joined up in 1974 I was issued the 1948 B/D and blue check work shirts and blue woolly pulley and blue/grey overalls I kept the overalls (still got them cant get into them now must have shrunk over time) never had a green set. I think we got the New Thunderbird style number 2s in late 1975 early 1976 time glad to see the back of the hairy mary's. Then about 79/80 we got the techy shirts i.e. dark blue ones which some stations you did not wear a tie with and some you had too.
At Scampton you could wear green liney kit any place when I got to lossie you could not apart from the line yer the SWO got me on that one and the tie with techy shirt thing and many times for a hair cut.
Still got a Great coat, paid £5 for it they stopped issuing it the week before I got to swinderby.
Never got a chip hat or stable belt.
I also had a paper 1250 remember them.

Paul

Edited by PaulT 876

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So when did dutts (sorry, berets) become the norm rather than the forage cap? I can see the argument about having them in 2TAF, but presumably they had to come from somewhere and continue in use until the Powers That Be decided to adopt them fully?

Berets became standard issue at least as long ago as the 1950's. Who remembers the series "Get some in", which was set in the fifties?

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In 2 TAF, RAF uniforms were found to be too similar in colour to the German, so khaki Army battledress was issued. Presumably Army berets came with these, and is the source of those seen in photos of this time?

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That rings a long, distant bell! I remember the moratorium. Towards the end, before it was knocked on the head, we ended going to a well known, (then, now long IIRC), ex-army shop and buying replacement kit. Can't look scruffy in uniform.

Christian, exiled to africa

If I remember the fire at the Donington storage depot in 88 where lots of kit went up in flames caused a lot of this problem as well.

Selwyn

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Interesting reading this one. Being a Liney from 85-90 and spending lots of time dodgy SWO's and Scuffers, remember the uniform for work being dark blue shirt, no tie, wooly pulley (round or V neck) heavy trousers (never the summer ones as they needed to be ironed daily) boots or shoes.

About 88 we where allowed to wear DPM jackets over the top, and eventually Goretex DPM jackets. NI gloves replaced the blue woollen gloves.

On the line dress was normally romper suit (coveralls) with lots of squadron badges, flying jacket and flying gloves, as the working gloves where useless, you could not even feel a hammer in them never mind a screw!

Only the blunties (stores, admin, data analyst, GD etc.) ever wore the SD hat, if a liney had one on he was normally escorting his mate for a one way chat with the boss.

The lads in the hangar where normally more tidy then us (just), the only thing that was uniform on the engineering front was the oil stain on the right thigh from constantly wiping dipsticks on the romper suit it seeped through and gave a permanent stain.

As for the beret debate, the first thing you done with the beret was rip out the plastic in it and then mold, to be shrunk as tight and as small as possible. Normally you had 2 berets (tactically acquired) with one of the badges blacked out for exercise.

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Are uniformly dressed as a military organisation.......

Excepting boots obviously, as anyone with an IQ of over 30 would ditch the 1st generation hi legs as soon as they set foot outside the lines unless they wanted shin splints. And I can remember some right weird and wonderful combinations of green kit when the soldier 95 stuff started to get issued, especially that weird slightly orange looking stuff that was supposed to be IR suppressive and felt like wearing a crisp bag.

Edited by goggsy

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Excepting boots obviously, as anyone with an IQ of over 30 would ditch the 1st generation hi legs as soon as they set foot outside the lines unless they wanted shin splints. And I can remember some right weird and wonderful combinations of green kit when the soldier 95 stuff started to get issued, especially that weird slightly orange looking stuff that was supposed to be IR suppressive and felt like wearing a crisp bag.

Oh I dunno.

Early '80's. Going from Boots, DMS (Directly Molded Soles (?)) and Puttees - stupid, useless bloody things that rarely stayed attached to the even more useless Boots, DMS which had all the waterproofing abilities of a sponge - to Boots CH (Combat, High (?)) was a major improvement.

When we were on Ops or Exercise most of us bought and wore American Army Jungle boots, the ones with the metal strip in the soles. Pretty much anything was better than the issued crap.

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Still light years behind the German para boots a lot of us seemed to be wearing when we could get away with it though.... I agree that DMS were cack although I never had to wear them for real, but I did have a pair when in Cadets. They held a bull nicely IIRC.

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In '96 when I left Halton after basic I spent a couple of months at Odiham as an AC waiting for my trade training. I ended up working on 27sqn on Pumas and Chinooks which was great. I went on Det to Leeming and was told in no uncertain terms to ensure I was dressed differently to all the others on Det with me. Obviously we were in DPM. I purchased a black Norwegian shirt which definitely was not issue and had acquired a jungle shirt as well. We looked a complete mess but it was all good fun and nothing was ever said about our standard of dress. Typical Techies rebelling against the system.

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Excepting boots obviously, as anyone with an IQ of over 30 would ditch the 1st generation hi legs as soon as they set foot outside the lines unless they wanted shin splints. And I can remember some right weird and wonderful combinations of green kit when the soldier 95 stuff started to get issued, especially that weird slightly orange looking stuff that was supposed to be IR suppressive and felt like wearing a crisp bag.

Gentlemen, you crabs can't keep a thread like this going and NOT expect some flak......... :popcorn:

I have found the photo that compares your standard uniform with the newer "slightly orange looking stuff" that goggsy mentions above, although neither seem to be wearing a beret or a chip hat

main.jpg

[RAC uniforms - past & present]

or have the general public got your service confused with another Road side recovery organisation?????

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You need to be three letters further down the alphabet, RAF not RAC, (whatever that is...).

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When issued with uniform after being issued with my plastic VR(T) commission I was given a beret and big nasty cardboard officers beret badge, this was only to be worn with DPM (which I wasn't issued with). Apparently only the army, RAF regiment and the French are allowed to wear berets (or so I was told - bit harsh on the French). On the other hand I did see a VSO wearing DPM with a No1 SD cap instead of a beret????

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If we wanted the Chip bag hat (Forage Cap) we had to pay for it. The day I paid for any uniform like RAF Belt, hat etc. you could cart me off. SDs for No1 Home Dress only. Wraf hats were pill boxes for the ranks. Hat regs. Not to be worn in aircraft movement areas ,FOD hazard. Used get b*******d by Officers on the airfield, told the regs from his end, I gave him the regs from my end. Most of time the real regs worked, the ones that didn't like underlings quoting regs back threatened all kinds of punishment. First thing I did to my Beritt (sic) was rip out the 2 or 3 layers of lining, soak it, form it on the head, done. It stays down and doesn't have the snap head rivet look ! Only had 3 for the 14 years.

The hat badge has 2 lugs with eyes that went through from the front and pinned from inside. This engine guy in uniform was riding his bike in to the Beehive car park and managed to get his front wheel down a drain grid, bike tipped forward, he flew over the handle bars and head butted the tarmac. He was almost fine except for some bruising, small cuts and the 2 marks on his forehead where the badge lugs mashed in to his head . You had to just about die to get any kind of sympathy, we were crying when he told us what happened. Took it well.

He needed another front wheel too.

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Ah the lugs. After banging my head against the sides of 1 tonnes I rapidly bent the lugs over and put a layer of padding over what was left. Don't think I ever banged my head after that. Apart from the side of Albert :hmmm:and ...

Berets, two of, both with plastic square and label removed, dampened and shaped, one with shiny badge, one with blackened, tactical, badge. Once, (mid 80's?), it was fashionable to wear the badge over the left ear, or as close as you could get before various higher powers having seizures. Once, in charge of a prisoner transfer to Colchester, when we arrived, all very fashionable, the duty officer had a fit, called us French Foreign Legion rejects amongst other things and a jolly good bollocking followed. It was dinner time so we partook, (do not ever eat at Colchester :repuke: ) and eventually left a couple of hours later, (NAFFI call...). When I went to sign out at the guardroom it was plain that pretty much everybody wearing a beret had the badge over the left ear. When asked why, t turned out that the duty officer was 'unpopular' and a good ragging was being set up. We left and I would like to know what happened.

Christian, all nostalgic in africa

Edited by wyverns4

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Didn't think the bunnet, pot rivet, helipad, titfer, beret (call it what you like) came in till after the Pebble Monkeys were formed.

Was gifted a "chippy" in 89 which was quite a narrow pattern, not like the skyscrapers you could buy from the Tailor shop.

Being MT I ended up having to drive "Harry Staish" quite a bit, and found the "chippy" was a lot more practical and comfortable than the beret or SD cap (hated the SD cap). This was worn at a jaunty angle of course and the further over the better. Wasn't till I went OOA that I started wearing the beret regular. If it was ME, then it was a cropped floppy or kevlar.

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So where did we crabs get our relaxed ways from, why from our British Army founders of course.....

Lt Sholto-Douglas left the trenches on Boxing Day 1914 to join 2Sqn RFC, he noted 'after the rigid discipline in the RHA, the free and easy way in which things were done in the RFC was very much to my liking'

Lt William Fry, who came from an Infantry Battalion to 12Sqn noted 'It was a wonderful life, we weren't bothered about parades nor with rules about uniform'

Don't know what happened to William Fry, but Sholto-Douglas did alright for himself, in charge of Fighter Command 25 years later.

Both quoted from 'No empty Chairs' about the pilots of the RFC, written by Ian Mackersey (definately worth £3.00 from The Works in Beverley on Tuesday)

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