Tag - RAF

RAF College Remembrance Parade 2009

Ranks Of The Royal Air Force (RAF)

The Royal Air Force (RAF) introduced officer ranks in 1919. Prior to this, Army ranks were used. Interestingly, many ranks within the Royal Air Force do not correspond with the actual duties of an officer. For example, a pilot officer may not be trained to pilot an aircraft. The ranking for pilots actually starts at cadet officer and is then upgraded to flying officer on graduation. Commissioned ranks within the RAF wear rank insignia on the lower arm of their dress uniform. There are many ranks which exist across all three forces: Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army. Of the three, the Royal Air Force rank will most always be the junior – the Royal Navy has seniority over the Army and the RAF. The commissioned ranks for the Royal Air Force are shown here. Rank insignia, which was to be worn on the jacket cuff, was established for the force in 1918. The ranking insignia has similarities to the Royal Navy rings. In [...]

HMS Ocean

HMS Ocean

Did you watch the HMS Ocean documentary ‘Warship’ on Channel 4? The show captures Britain’s biggest warship as it sails to the Gulf to lead the US Naval Combined Task Force 50. HMS Ocean is now 20 years old and weighs up to 28,000 tons. The fleet flagship of the Royal Navy was launched into sea in October 1995 and has a capacity of 40 vehicles and 830 Marines. She is designed to support amphibious landing operations and to support the staff of Commander UK Amphibious Force and Commander UK Landing Force. The ship can carry up to six Apache AH1 helicopters operated by the Army Air Corps as well as helicopters for the RAF. HMS Ocean is also capable of limited anti-submarine warfare activities, supporting afloat training and acting as a base facility for other embarked forces including counter-terrorism units. HMS Ocean is described as a ‘floating village’ with a hospital, bank, gym, pubs and shops on board to accommodate its [...]

Tropping of the Colour 2016

Military Parade

A military parade is an organised formation of soldiers who restricted by close-order manoeuvring marching or ‘drilling’. Up until the late 19th century soldiers fought in formation, but in modern times the military parade is now entirely ceremonial. Sometimes a parade is performed to exhibit the military strength of a nation. The oldest and largest military parade in Europe is the Bastille Day Military Parade on the 14th of July in Paris during France’s national day celebrations. The terminology comes from close order formation combat where soldiers were held in strict formations to maximise their combat effectiveness. Military drills are performed to memorise certain actions, formations and movements. Recruits in modern armies are taught drills to show them how to work as a team while formations are also still used in riot control. There are four directions used in a parade: the Advance, the Retire, the Left and the Right. The Advance is the primary direction of movement and on a [...]

Women in the Military

International Women’s Day and the Military

International Women’s Day started in 1910 when Clara Zetkin (a famous German advocate for Women’s rights) suggested the day become an international day of celebration. America already celebrated a National Women’s Day in 1908 after 15,000 women marched through New York City in demanding the right to vote and better pay and this sowed the seeds for what later became International Women’s day. Every year on the 8th of March women celebrate how far women have come in society, politics and economics. In countries like Russia, the day is a national holiday, where the sales of flowers double. Women currently make up about 10% of British Army personnel. They are, for the first time ever, working alongside their male counterparts in such roles as engineers, mechanics, lawyers and educators. Today, International Women’s Day, celebrates the achievements of women all over the world. The British Army now seeks to promote equality throughout all ranks and trades. Although women have served alongside men on [...]

Navy Medals

Medal Ribbon

Medals, Military Orders and Decorations are given to members of the armed forces to recognise and celebrate their personal accomplishments. Medal bars or clasps can be attached to the ribbon to indicate the operation for which the recipient received the award. Multiple bars on the same medal are used to recognise multiple achievements. All military services use a common order of wear which basically dictates the order in which the recognised military decorations must be worn, and is shown below: 1.    The Victoria Cross and the George Cross 2.    United Kingdom Orders 3.    United Kingdom Decorations 4.    Order of St John (all classes) 5.    United Kingdom Medals for Gallantry and for Distinguished Service 6.    United Kingdom Operational Service Medals (including authorised United Nations Medals and Medals of other recognised International Organisations). Worn in order of date of award 7.    United Kingdom Polar Medals 8.    United Kingdom Police Medals for Valuable Service 9.    United Kingdom Jubilee, Coronation and Durbar Medals 10.    Long Service and Efficiency Awards 11.    Commonwealth Orders, Decorations and Medals [...]

British Salute American Salute

Why do Troops Salute

Salutes are primarily used in the Armed Forces to show respect. There are numerous methods for performing the salute including: hand gestures, rifle shots, hoisting flags and the removal of headgear. The salute is to acknowledge the Queen’s commission. The subordinate salutes first and holds it until their superior has responded. It is thought that the salute originated when knights greeted each other to show friendly intention by lifting their visor to show their faces. Medieval visors were equipped with a spike which allowed the visor to be lifted in a saluting motion. A British order book in 1745 stated that ‘The men are ordered not to pull off their hats when they pass an officer, or to speak to them, but only to clap up their hands to their hats and bow as they pass.’ This, overtime, evolved into a modern salute. The naval salute is a different gesture, again, as sailors salute with their palm downwards. This is said to [...]

Fashionable Military Jackets

Military Fashion

Epaulettes Modern Fashion Military Inspired You can see a strong military influence throughout the whole of the fashion industry. This season’s jackets have a strong 18th century British and French theme – a strong shoulder decorated with epaulettes, brass buttons and rope trims. To bring the jackets into the modern era there are usually a few add-ons such as bows or crystals. Many military uniform staples have become cornerstones of modern-day fashion but were actually borne out of more practical requirements. The trendy trench coat, for instance, dates back to 1853 when it was thought that officers fighting in the Crimean War needed long practical jackets to protect them from the elements. In fact Burberry submitted a design to the War Office in 1901 for an officer’s raincoat. They made it using their own patented cotton fabric featuring large lapels and epaulettes. Khakis were introduced in the 1840s by Harry Lumsden. Until then the British Military wore bright outfits. Lumsden was the [...]

Veterans March Past the Cenotaph London During Remembrance Sunday Service

Remembrance Day 2016

Soldier Wearing Poppy and Afghanistan Medal Britain will fall silent for two minutes to remember the end of the First World War on Friday the 11th of November. This tradition of holding a silence was started by King George V to ensure that the ‘thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.’ This day is called Armistice Day, Remembrance Day or sometimes more informally Poppy Day. From 2014 to 2018 this day has an added significance from the fact that this period marks the centenary of the First World War. From 1919 until 1945, Armistice Day was always on the 11th of November. In 1946 it was moved to Remembrance Sunday. Since the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in 1995 it became usual to have ceremonies on both days. In 2006 Veterans Day was also created to help celebrate the achievements of the veterans. Today this is named Armed Forces Day and held annually. This year [...]

WRAF Mechanics

Women in the Air Force

WRNS Checking Cockpit Equipment During the First World War, members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) and the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) worked on air stations. The decision was then taken to merge the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) to form the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was thought that a separate women’s air service was needed which led to the formation of the WRAF in 1918. Civilian enrolment into the WRAF was huge in 1918 and personnel who were already in the WRNS and the WAAC were given the choice of changing roles to the WRAF. This meant that the number of members soared to 32,000 people. The minimum age for joining was 18 and there were a number of health checks which meant that candidates from polluted cities were excluded. Those that enrolled from upper class families were made officers. The original idea was for the female mechanics to free up men [...]

Working Women During 1940

Women’s Royal Naval Service

Enlisting Poster WRENS The Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) was the first branch in the Armed Forces and Royal Navy made up solely of women and is officially known as the Wrens. The Wrens was first formed during the First World War in 1917 and standard jobs included cook, clerk, weapons analyst and range assessor. By the end of the First World War the Wrens had 5,500 members, of which 500 were officers. 2,000 of its members were transferred to the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Wrens were disbanded in 1919 after the end of the First World War. Director Dame Katharine Furse joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) in 1909. During the First World War she was chosen to be the head of the first VAD to be sent to France. In 1917 Katharine became the Director of the then, newly formed, Women’s Royal Naval Service. Katharine was awarded three service medals and became a Dame. The Wrens were then revived [...]