Choice of uniform...

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Dave, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. Dave

    Dave Junior Member

    the wife asked me whilst watching a wartime RAF film, and I did not now the answer so, was it a personal choice which type of uniform officers wore ie a tunic, or battle dress, and headgear a forage cap or a hat with a beck...if I remember correctly DB in REACH FOR THE SKY wore a tunic with forage cap. In Appointment in London they wore battle dress...
  2. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    Battledress came later in the war.
  3. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    For headgear, it appears (see discussion here on RAF Commands) that there was no rule on field service cap (side-cap) or service dress cap (the peaked cap), that it was basically a matter of choice.
  4. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    At the start of the war,there was only one uniform issued to airmen and that was the best blue,ie service dress.In fact aircrew would use their service dress under the flying kit.

    I know of a Sgt airman who was lost in September 1939 during the heavy losses that the RAF endured in the daylight Hampden raids on German port military establishments.His mother wrote to the Squadron Commander requesting that could his uniform be returned to her.The Squadron Commander wrote back to say it was not possible as he was lost in the only uniform issued to him.

    Officers were required to buy their own dress uniform,usually from well known London tailors.Again those who were aircrew wore the dress uniform under their flying gear.When the battledress was introduced,I would think that the officer had the responsibility of providing it.

    Groundcrew personnel would also wear their dress uniform for working duties which must have seen a heavy wear and tear problem.

    When the battledress issue was established,this became known as the working blue with the best blue reserved for special occasions such as parades,funeral parties etc.The best blue was required to be worn when external to the home station for times such as recreation and postings.For the latter the working blue and personal effects would be stowed in the airman's kitbag.

    Postwar green denim full cover overalls were issued to groundcrew airmen.Airmen working on engines had distinctive deep blue overalls which were the hallmark of their role....usually well contaminated with oil.The battledress came into being known as the working blue with the beret as the headdress.My working blue blouse was made by the 50 Shillings Tailors and stamped AM 1941.

    As regards the forage cap,the issuing of this type ceased after the war but officers and some airmen continued to were them.There was no instruction not to wear them but the wearers must have procured them from specialist tailors.In my time the wearing of forage caps was was looked on as an indication of the wearer stating,I have long might say a case of oneupmanship.

    An airman's uniform had a given life span depending on the duty of the airman,wear and tear and how the uniform was cared for.An airman was subject to uniform inspection and if found wanting had to renew it himself.For this purpose there was a renewal procedure in place in that each airman received 1 shilling and threepence per week as a clothing credit.So look after your uniforms and the clothing credit was yours.Of course there were tight ship occasions when a zealous NCO or SWO would order an airman to replace his uniform.Most vulnerable were working blues on airmen who undertook trades where the working blue was easily snagged during work.I have a friend who was on radar 2nd line servicing...bench work....and much to his displeasure was forced to buy a working blue when he had only 3 months service left.....a plea of I've only 3 months service left fell on deaf ears.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  5. Dave

    Dave Junior Member

    thanks for all the replies, I always wondered hoe the forage caps stopped on, as you see photo's and they are precariously perched on the side of the head...
  6. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    Field Service cap, please!
    Hair grease and practice.
    They usually fit better in a larger size.
    They also got smaller/shallower as the war progressed.
    Regretably modern RAFman wears them like Thunderbirds.
    I think only His Majesty The King wore it on straight!

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