The Royal Air Force Regiment (RAF) is the ground fighting force for the Royal Air Force and provides a range of force protection. The Royal Air Force Regiment functions as a specialist airfield defence corps and was founded by Royal Warrant in 1942. The regiment’s members are known within the RAF by a number of names: ‘The Regiment’, ‘Rock Apes’ and ‘Rocks’. The regiment trains in CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) defence. They are equipped with advanced vehicles and detection methods. Each member undertakes a 32-week gunner course and is trained to prevent a successful enemy attack in the first instance, minimise the damage caused by a successful attack, and ensure that air operations can continue without delay in the aftermath of an attack. The regiment was formed in 1942 and had 66,000 personnel drawn in from the former Defence Squadrons No.’s 701-850. The role of the new regiment was to seize, secure and defend airfields to enable air operations to take place. The regiment was made up of both field squadrons and light anti-aircraft squadrons. The Royal Air Force Regiment is under command of the 2 Group, Air Command. There are eight regular squadrons within the regiment: Nos 1, 2, 15, 26, 27, 34, 51 and 63 Queen’s colour Squadron. The Field Squadrons are divided into flights which are a similar size to an army platoon. Each field squadron has rifle flights who are to engage enemy at close range, and a support weapons flight, which provides fire support to her rifle flights using machine guns, mortars and snipers. The RAF regiment became the first branch of the British Armed Forces to allow women into all of its roles. To view our RAF Regiment products and accessories click here.
The Invictus games are an international multi-sport event for Paralympic athletes. The first Invictus Games took place in 2014 in London. The event was created by Prince Harry so that wounded or injured armed service personnel or veterans can take part in sports. Sports at the event include sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and indoor rowing. The event was inspired by the Warrior Games in the US and was given its name ‘Invictus’ from the Latin word meaning undefeated. The second games opened on 8th May 2016 in Orlando while year’s games are set to be held in Toronto in September. Unlike previous years which were held at a single site, this year’s venue is set to be at multiple locations around the city. The Air Canada Centre will hold the opening and closing ceremonies. Other locations include Nathan Phillips Square, Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre and York Lions Stadium. There are 17 countries invited to take part in the Games. Afghanistan Australia Canada Denmark Estonia France Georgia Germany Iraq Italy Jordan Netherlands New Zealand Romania Ukraine UK US Wyedean manufactures the medal ribbon for the Invictus Games. The sunshine yellow medal ribbon is produced in bulk in our textile mill. The ribbon is 25mm wide and is a nylon/cotton composition. A total of 900 metres of the medal ribbon is being produced. We stock a variety of medal ribbons on our webstore. To view our range click here. Wyedean are specialists in manufacturing narrow fabrics. To view our full range click here.
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 1919 the colour of the rank braid changed to black with a central pale blue stripe. The RAF mess dress, however, continued to be gold. Non-Commissioned aircrew rank insignia is worn on the upper arm of dress uniform, apart from the Master Aircrew who wear their badges on the lower arm. Non-Commissioned other ranks are shown below. Most of these ranks, apart from, Warrant Officer and Master Aircrew, are worn on the lower arm. We stock many of the rank insignia for the Royal Air Force. You can view them here.
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 staff. The documentary follows the ship as it embarks on its seven month deployment. This mission makes HMS Ocean the first UK ship to lead a US task force in the Middle East. 130 enthusiastic newbies are among the crew recorded and the programme shows their first seafaring adventure. HMS Ocean is due to be decommissioned next year after twenty years of service and currently there is no replacement. We stock the HMS Ocean Ship Crest and Cap Tally. View them here. We also stock Royal Navy qualification badges. View them here.
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 parade square is determined by the position of the flags. The Retire is the opposite of the Advance. As the names would suggest, The Left is to the left of the advance and the Right is to the right of the advance. Only one person is in charge of the parade at a time. Soldiers have restricted movement during parades and in most stances any movement at all is disallowed. It has been known for soldiers to faint while on parade. In British Armies there is a specific order of precedence. • Royal Horse Artillery • Royal Armoured Corps • Royal Regiment of Artillery • Corps of Royal Engineers • Royal Corps of Signals • Infantry • Foot Guards • Line Infantry • Rifles • Special Air Service • Army Air Corps • Special Reconnaissance Regiment • Royal Army Chaplains Department • Royal Logistic Corps • Royal Army Medical Corps • Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers • Adjutant General's Corps • Royal Army Veterinary Corps • Small Arms School Corps • Royal Army Dental Corps • Intelligence Corps • Royal Army Physical Training Corps • General Service Corps • Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps • Corps of Army Music • Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) (Army Reserve) • Honourable Artillery Company (Although Army Reserve Regiments, they are included in the order of arms Regular Army) • Remainder of the Army Reserve • Royal Gibraltar Regiment • The Royal Bermuda Regiment Some of the military parades or ceremonial events in the British Military Forces are: Trooping the Colour, Changing of the Guard, Remembrance Sunday, Beating Retreat, State Visits and the Opening of Parliament. Ceremonial duties and parades are an important part of Army history and tradition. All soldiers who undertake such roles are highly trained and play an important part in military operations worldwide. Ceremonial events take place all over the world but few are as high profile as those that draw tourists to London. Wyedean stock a variety of Ceremonial items on the website and many of our [...]
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 the battlefields as dog handlers, medics and carrying weapons, they were not allowed to take part in roles of close combat until 2016. There are many success stories throughout the British Military. Lieutenant Commander West became the first women to be given Command of one of the Navy’s major warships. In September 2016 WO1 Esther Freeborn became the first female bandmaster for the Household Cavalry, and Lieutenant Catherine Ker was the first female to qualify as a Royal Navy Mine Clearance Officer. This year an International Women’s Day Campaign has taken on the theme of #BeBoldForChange and there are women going on strike in more than 30 countries.
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 instituted by the Sovereign. Worn in order of date of award. 12. Commonwealth Orders, Decorations and Medals instituted since 1949 otherwise than by the Sovereign (including those of the States of Malaysia and the State of Brunei). Worn in order of date of award. 13. Foreign Orders. If approved for wear, worn in order of date of award. 14. Foreign Decorations. If approved for wear, worn in order of date of award. 15. Foreign Medals. If approved for wear, worn in order of date of award. The most prestigious award in the United Kingdom honours system is the Victoria Cross (VC). The VC was introduced on 29th January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War. Since then, the medal has been awarded to 1355 recipients who were awarded for gallantry ‘in the face of the enemy’. Only 11 medals have been awarded since the Second World War to members of the British Army. As the Victoria Cross is rare and so highly prized, the medal has sold for over £400,000 at auction. Lord Ashcroft had a collection containing over one-tenth of all Victoria Cross medals and now stands on public display in the Imperial War Museum. “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured ribbon” -Napoleon Bonaparte To View our range of medal ribbons click here.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all at Wyedean. This year, instead of Christmas cards, we have made a donation to our local Keighley Air, Army and Sea Cadets. To donate to the Keighley Sea Cadets click here.
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 commanding officer of the Bengal Irregular Cavalry. He stated that “a tight scarlet tunic with a high stock was not the most suitable garment in which to wage war in the plains of the Punjab in the hot weather.” He decided to give all his men coarse cotton smocks dyed with mazari which was a local dull brown plant. The leather items were dyed with mulberry juice and the two colours together became known as khaki, from the Persian word ‘khak’ which means earth or dust. Bomber Jackets were introduced during the First World War when most airplanes had open cockpits. The US Army established the Aviation Clothing Board in September 1917 and developed a heavy duty leather flight jacket which had high collars with snug cuffs. In 1931 standard issue A2 Bomber Jackets made from seal skin leather and a cotton lining were issued. It soon became impractical to supply seal skin so the jackets were instead made from horsehide. These days bomber jackets are further embellished with add-ons such as military badges and patches. View our range of military badges here. Military tunics are a huge staple this season and can be purchased from a variety of high street stores such as Zara, TopShop, ASOS, Mango and many more. Most of these jackets feature brass buttons and a structured collar. Many are often decorated with epaulettes or gold braid to create intricate detailing. The Drummer’s tunic, worn in the Bands of the Infantry Regiment is an iconic item famously decorated with Fleur De Lis lace which can be purchased here. Military trends are becoming an increasing part of everyday fashion, and are even combined with basics such as jeans and t-shirts. Many would argue that the flamboyant design aesthetic of Napoleon Bonaparte in the 19th century is widely regarded as a cultural turning point.
Soldier Wearing Poppy and Afghanistan MedalBritain 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 Remembrance Sunday falls on the Sunday nearest the 11th of November, which is the 13th. Every year memorial services and two minute silences are held at 11am all over the country at cenotaphs and churches. It is a time to remember the dead from all wars, not just WWI. During the war when the soil was churned up by endless fighting, poppies still managed to flourish leading the red poppy becoming a symbol of remembrance for the First World War. The poppy is also seen as a symbol to honour the millions of current servicemen and women who fight in our Armed Forces. John McCrae recognises the poppy in the Poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. In Flanders Fields, John McCrae (1872-1918) In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place: and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch: be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. The Cenotaph Whitehall, London Following the Remembrance Day Parade in 2010 The first wreath is laid by the Queen on behalf of the nation and before other senior members of the Royal Family, including the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and Prince Harry follow suit. Wreaths are then laid by the Prime Minister and leaders of major political parties, and lastly, by representatives from the Armed Forces: Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and the Army. The British Legion also organises a cenotaph service and parade at Whitehall. Groups such as the British Red Cross, St John Ambulance, Civil Defence Association and the Salvation Army, as well as a huge parade of veterans also pass the [...]