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RAF Officers' Hats

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RAF Officers' Hats

Old 4th Jan 2010, 22:58
  #21 (permalink)  
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Although a mate trawled thru the hats in stores and found a half descent one

Presumably off the peg ....

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Old 5th Jan 2010, 16:19
  #22 (permalink)  
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I do hope that 'stores' isnt a euphemism for the hatracks!
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 23:10
  #23 (permalink)  
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I recently had occasion to contact Bates in order to purchase what would probably be my last service cap and had a lengthy discussion with a long standing member of staff there.

During the conversation it was disclosed that Bates have actually never made the RAF officers cap in the 35yrs the member of staff had been there and in fact, they are and always were, produced by Patey, who happen to be just around the corner.

I contacted Pateys to place an order and they confirmed this had always the case. They labelled them as Bates and then Bates in turn added their cut on top.

So the secrets out!!

And you can still order them!
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Old 23rd Sep 2013, 01:20
  #24 (permalink)  
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Any truth they only come in Size 14 and up?
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Old 23rd Sep 2013, 02:18
  #25 (permalink)  
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During the conversation it was disclosed that Bates have actually never made the RAF officers cap in the 35yrs the member of staff had been there and in fact, they are and always were, produced by Patey, who happen to be just around the corner.
That's not going to please the 'discerning' Bates devotees.
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Old 23rd Sep 2013, 02:19
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2000
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Them Bates hats were always called the "Bates Bashable" ISTR as they were amenable to being shaped to the users' 'ead.

I gave my "500 mission" hat to a young F/O when I left, as he apparently had admired my cranial creation from afar since arriving on the Sqn ...
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Old 23rd Sep 2013, 11:22
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: England
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Its not 'what' you know!!

Approx 20 years ago when I was in need in a new No 1 titfer (the original one had done many hours stuffed down the side fuselage of a Shacklebomber) my friend's wife was working in clothing stores at RAFC Cranwell. She would phone us up when the latest round of recruits had been chopped and handed back their kit. A quick dash to stores, try a few on and paid 30 (?) for one that fitted the best (I had to have a haircut each time so it worked out well). Still have it gathering dust on top of the wardrobe.
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Old 23rd Sep 2013, 12:53
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 639

Not directly related to the original question, but I was surprised, just before Christmas, to note that the cost of Oxpats in Supply had been reduced from about 52 to about 44.

How bizarre. Where I languish, the cost of Oxpats from Supply has dramatically increased from 58 to 135!! Good job my original 80's variants are still holding together!
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Old 24th Sep 2013, 20:25
  #29 (permalink)  
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Get ahead, Get a Hat !

Bright & McIvor, Grand Hotel Arcade, Calcutta (1943), Rs.28 = 2/2/-.
(Not bad, would translate as 80 today, or 96 VAT-inc. Not too far out from today's prices).

Sad to hear that all Bates's were "ringers". Last Patey/Bates bought ca. 1967, around 5 as I recall. Again, inflation plus VAT would be about 110 today, still level-pegging.

"The label's but the guinea stamp - a hat's a hat for a' that". (pace Burns)

Old 26th Sep 2013, 18:06
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Often in Jersey, but mainly in the past.
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Oh dear, I bought a cheap one. Don't ask how much it was, but an Alkit was cheaper than a posh Bates ... and I was only Air Traffic anyway. So Messrs Alkit duly provided.

So it was soft and comfortable, but started to lose shape (i.e. Looked 'operational') of its own accord. And after a tour in Singapore it really looked quite weary ... to the point that certain senior officers make pointed suggestions about a replacement being required. However, all was not lost: a couple of years after that I took up Service Weapon shooting at Bisley. Long before issued combat kit ... you wore what you could scrounge from the RAF Regt, or wore an old blue uniform, etc. So my old Alkit SD hat came out of retirement, as it was excellent for keeping the sun out of my eyes, and you could wear ear defenders over it comfortably ... and it soldiered on in that role
into the late 80s.

At this stage, DPM was in issue, and a beret should really be worn ("But, Sir, only airmen and Regt officers wear berets"). And eventually the word came down the line from a 4-star that a certain officer should stop wearing "that hat". Another retirement was advisable.

Until late in 1993, when on my last working day in the RAF I gathered up my very faded, limp and slightly frayed Alkit ... and in a gesture of defiance wore it to work. From my Graduation Parade, through tropic rain and sun, to temperate rain and sun on ranges, it staggered along for 29 years. It is still in the attic ... how could I discard such an old friend?
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Old 30th Sep 2013, 08:41
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Middle Earth
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Two Hats.....

get 2.............and be a 2 hat!
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Old 30th Sep 2013, 10:12
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Age: 80
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Is nothing sacred? Bates stood renowned within the RAF as the hat of style. Now we learn that it was a ringer, pretending to be what it was not, a sham, a mere artifice. I feel betrayed, used and sullied!
MPN11, your mention of the critical comments of Senior Officers reminds me of an AOC's Inspection at RAF Colerne. Said VSO stopped in front of a certain Hastings captain (who will remain nameless) on parade and enquired, "Haven't you got a better hat than that?". The response was,"Yes Sir, but I save that one for special occasions". Lack of appreciation ensued.
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Old 30th Sep 2013, 10:55
  #33 (permalink)  

Gentleman Aviator
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enquired, "Haven't you got a better hat than that?". The response was,"Yes Sir, but I save that one for special occasions".
... similarly, one recalls a (perhaps apochryphal?) exchange between Very Senior Officer and Supplementary List (remember that!) Pilot:

VSO: Flying Officer!! Is that your only hat?

SLP: No Sir!! .. (long pause) .. it's my best hat!
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Old 30th Sep 2013, 11:19
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Wales
Posts: 464
Angel not quite hat related but....

AOC's buffet lunch in crewroom (AOC an ex staish from way back when):
AOC to Al ' what? you're still flying Al and no ground tours - how I envy you guys'
Al to AOC 'well sir, if you'd played your cards right, you could have been spec aircrew too'

Sense of humour failure caption illuminated!!

ps my best hat by Gieves - will sell cheap.

Last edited by Al-bert; 30th Sep 2013 at 11:23.
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Old 1st Oct 2013, 08:49
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: uk
Posts: 715
Like MPN11, I had a very tired SD hat I wore on the range. Last day of a competion the AVM and his wife turned up for prize giving. "What a fine hat" she said, " was it your father's?"

Last edited by oxenos; 1st Oct 2013 at 08:50.
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