Coronavirus has disrupted many of the Armed Forces celebrations this year. Armed Forces Day, which was supposed to see celebrations across the country on the Saturday 27th June had to be cancelled. The Red Arrows performed a flypast in Scarborough however to commemorate the day. The Hawk jets flew over the town which has planned various events which had to be moved online or cancelled. The Queens Trooping the Colour, which celebrated the Queen’s Birthday, was also scaled back this year. It was confirmed that a mini trooping the colour would be held on the 13th June at Windsor Castle. The small parade of Welsh Guards which would see them troop their colour accompanied by a smaller group of the Bands of the Household Division. VE Day or Victory in Europe was celebrated during this year’s lockdown on Friday 8th May. Celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the day were planned across the country however due to coronavirus many celebrations were cancelled. The Queen addressed the nation via a televised broadcast at 9pm on the day, which was the same time her father, The King George VI gave the radio address 75 years ago. The Beating Retreat was also due to take place on June 3rd-4th this year however the decision was made to cancel this military event also due to Covid-19. Those who purchased tickets for the event are to be refunded for their tickets and the organisers hope this event will take place next year. During the coronavirus pandemic the Armed Forces have been on call helping out around the country with various tasks. The Forces have taken a lead role in the UK’s response to the pandemic. During the height of the pandemic there were 20,000 members of the Armed Forces at readiness with more than 4000 being deployed at any one time. One of their major tasks has been helping the NHS. Various Armed Forces personnel helped to set up the Nightingale Hospitals around the country. The vast majority of the mobile testing units were run by military personnel. Staff from HMS Prince of Wales and 1st Battalion Irish Guards were among the staff. 400 members of the Armed Forces were mobilised to help the COVID Support Force. Members from the British Army, RAF and Royal Navy have been supporting the NHS ambulance services and tri-service personnel have trained to drive oxygen tankers if required. Other duties included delivering PPE to NHS staff. The British Army teamed up with EBay to help healthcare workers find and order free personal protective equipment. They have also helped in the increase of medical provision. Two specialist RAF aircrafts, which are normally used to transport Government ministers were reconfigured to help in the fight against coronavirus by being adapted into medical evacuation planes for the critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Mess dress uniform is not to be confused with full dress uniform. Mess dress is the semi-formal uniform worn by the military, police and other public uniformed services. The uniform is worn for certain ceremonies and celebrations on private occasions. Design may vary but they mainly consist of a mess jacket, trousers, white dress shirt and are worn with medals or other insignia. Mess dress is seen as an alternative to black tie for evening wear and is sometimes known as half dress. Mess dress is worn predominantly by commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers. It can however be worn by some senior enlisted personnel. The Royal Navy has two forms of evening dress. Mess dress (No. 2A) consists of a mess jacket, plain navy blue mess trousers, white waistcoat and black bow tie. The mess undress (No. 2B) consists of a mess jacket, plain navy blue mess trousers, blue waistcoat or black cummerbund and a black bow tie. Officers in the Royal Navy with the rank of Captain and above wear gold laced trousers and may wear the undress tailcoat with either mess dress of mess undress. The Royal Marines mess differs from the Royal Navy in that the jacket is scarlet. The Royal Marines also wear a scarlet cummerbund. The British Army mess uniform appeared in 1845, initially utilizing the short ‘shell jacket’. The original purpose was to provide a comfortable and inexpensive alternative to the full dress uniforms. After World War I, full dress uniforms mostly disappeared and mess dress became the most colourful and traditional uniform to be worn by most officers in the British Army. The most commonly worn mess dress in the British Army is the No. 10 Mess Dress. It can differ slightly depending on the regiment or corps but mostly this includes the short mess jacket. The colours of the mess jackets and trousers reflect the traditional full dress uniforms of the regiments. Usually the jackets are scarlet, dark blue or rifle green and are worn with embroidered waistcoats. The jackets are worn with high waisted, very tight, trousers called overalls. Ornamental spurs are often worn by cavalry regiments and traditionally mounted corps. Female officers and soldiers wear mess jackets over a dark coloured ankle length evening dress. The Royal Air Force mess dress is similar to the Royal Navy, except the jacket and trousers are mid blue. The No. 5 Mess Dress is also worn with a slate grey cummerbund. For women the same uniform is worn except they wear their high waisted jacket with an ankle length blue grey skirt. Unlike the men’s jacket, which has a pointed lapel, the ladies jacket features a shawl collar. Wyedean work along side military tailors by manufacturing and applying the braiding to the Mess Dress uniforms. Contact us today with your requirements.
The British Armed Forces recognise outstanding personal achievements by giving individuals from the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and British Army various awards and decorations. Medals, ribbons and emblems awarded by HM The Queen are only permitted to be worn by the recipient. Whether friend or family, wearing someone else’s awards is classed as fraud. Ribbons can be worn without the medals themselves, apart from The Orders of the Garter and Thistle. Ribbons are to be worn over the left breast pocket button in the centre of the pocket. The ribbons are worn in rows with the most senior medal worn nearest the jacket lapel or front buttons, and in the top row if multiple rows are worn. The number of ribbons worn in a row depends on the width of the breast pocket, however, if the uniform has no breast pocket then the number of ribbons worn must be no more than five. If there is an incomplete row of ribbons, and there are already two or more rows worn, then the top row must be left incomplete and must be worn centrally. Each row of ribbons should be approximately 3 mm apart. Ribbons worn are to be stitched to the garment instead of mounted. Orders, decorations and medals are to be worn using an unseen brooch and on the left breast. If wearing a Full Dress tunic then they are usually placed in the middle, between the first and second buttons from the collar. Medals should be worn to show the Sovereign’s head. Orders, Decorations and Medals are to be worn at the following occasions: - State Occasions - Royal Occasions - Guards in London - Military Funerals - Guards on Royal residences - Guards of honour - Guards in Edinburgh - Ceremonial and Sovereign’s parades - Parades incorporating a religious service Orders, Decorations and Medals are worn on Full Dress, Frockcoat and No 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10 and 11 Dress. They are not to be worn on greatcoats and No 8 Combat Dress. Orders, Decorations and Medals are also not to be worn on operational or protective clothing. To view our range of medals and medal ribbons click here.
They are to be worn by RAF and PMRAFNS Officers with a No 1A and 6A service dress, whether or not a sword is being worn, and with No 1 and 6 service dress when a sword is worn. White gloves are to be worn by airmen and women with No 1 and service dress when participating in: State Occasions, Royal Occasions, Guards of Honour, Service Funerals, Sovereign’s Birthday Parades and Guards at Royal residences. White gloves and white webbing may be worn at other ceremonial events but this is usually authorised by personnel before the event. The gloves are made from 100% cotton and have stitching on the cuff with a button. We stock the white parade gloves on our website. Click here to view them.
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.
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 be because naval ratings usually had dirty hands. The British Army and Royal Air Force salute has been given with the right-hand palm facing forwards since 1917 and was given with the hand furthest from the person being saluted. View the videos below to see how a salute is done in the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and British Army.
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.
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 for service in the First World War. The women in the WRAF had many roles including clerks, household and welders. By 1920 there were over 50 trades open to women including, tailoring, photography and catering. This meant that the men were free to enter into combat. There were very strict rules in the WRAF and they were listed in the published Standing Orders booklet. Uniform requirements were listed and bans on actions such as smoking while on duty were listed. They became known as the most professional and disciplined of all the women’s services. The WRAF’s were split into two groups. The first was the Immobiles who lived at home and worked at their local station. The second group was the Mobiles who lived on, or near to their workplace and were open to transfer. On the 24th of March 1919 the first group from the WRAF arrived to serve in France. A year later the second group was sent to Cologne in Germany. They were employed as clerks, nurses and drivers which meant men were free for the forces. The WRAF was disbanded in 1920 after the First World War. In 1948 the Army and Air Force (Women’s Service) Act was passed which created opportunities for women in the Armed forces. All new members were enlisted into the Royal Air Force and took the same oath as men and endured the same conditions. Women were still unable to undertake combat duties. Despite their non-combat status the WRAF were posted in post-war-conflict places such as Kenya and Cyprus where they helped with vital support. In 1970 the first females were admitted into the RAF College Cranwell. The WRAF merged with the RAF during 1994 and the number of trades open to women grew rapidly. In 1989 women became eligible to pilot Royal Air Force combat aircrafts. The last surviving war veteran from the WRAF, Florence Green, died in February 2012.