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Historical RAF Uniform Question

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Historical RAF Uniform Question

Old 15th Jun 2012, 13:45
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Historical RAF Uniform Question

Starter for ten - Could anyone please tell me when Wedgwood Blue shirts were first introduced? Was it at the same time as the Hairy Marys went out (72/73)? And was the shirt that preceded it (for airming, not zobbits) the blue/grey with separate collar?

Bonus question - when did Staybrite cap badges first appear? My guess is around 1960. Did the rest of the bling change over from brass at the same time (thinking of medics' collar caduceus in particular)?

Thanking you!
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 13:54
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In the late '60s a pale blue (with tones of green) shirt was introduced and a short sleeve version could be bought at own expense.

The current dark blue shirt came in a little later than 72 IIRC, nearer 74.
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 14:03
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I seem to remember the dark blue shirt (v. similar to the fish head shirt) coming in a bit later than that, around 78 perhaps? I don't remember seeing them around in the very early stages of my "career" (joined Jan 76)
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 15:00
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Depending on neck size some of my entry got collar attached, others got detached; this was June 71. All in the entry 6 weeks earlier were issued collar detached.
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 15:28
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Were these collar detached shirts similar in colour to the Wedgwood ones?
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 15:43
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Hard to desribe the colour. They were not Wedgewood; the material seemed to have blue and white threads crossing each other to give a light blue. The collars that were bought were of a lighter colour but they would hold their shape better than issue ones.
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 15:51
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Ah, that's what I wanted to know, thanks! I'm told that the correct term for that sort of cloth is "end on end weave". It would seem that they were very similar to officers' pattern shirts from the 1940s in that case...

Any idea when the ones you describe first came in to use?
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 15:54
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There are several groups that specialise in the minutea of WW2 and post-war RAF uniforms and they may be in a better position to say what is "correct" for any particular period, given the original wearers of such are getting fewer as time passes. Try

ww2rafgroup.org and

ww2rafgroup.org.downloadsguidance1.html

in particular for an overview. Having met a few members at various events I found them to be approachable and interested in such questions.

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Last edited by Ripline; 15th Jun 2012 at 15:58. Reason: url not copied in full......
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 15:57
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Starter for ten - Could anyone please tell me when Wedgwood Blue shirts were first introduced? Was it at the same time as the Hairy Marys went out (72/73)? And was the shirt that preceded it (for airming, not zobbits) the blue/grey with separate collar?
Demobbed in May71. Never heard of Wedgewood Blue shirts so they definitely appeared after that date. Only ever had separate collar arrangement ie three shirts and six collars. (and one set of collar studs) airming for the use off.
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 16:38
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I was demobbed in April 1973. Still using standard shirt with separate collar and those dreadful collar studs. About 2 years before demob we were allowed to buy our own collar-attached shirt but it had to be of a particular colour & pattern.
I handed in my greatcoat when I was demobbed - it was issued to me in Boy's service in 1960 when I was 6ft 3ins and 11 stone; when I was demobbed I was the same height but had added a further 5 stones!
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 16:53
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I went through Swinderby early 75 and ISTR having one shirt of the 'blue and white threads' variety, but with attached collar, which was the 'No1 shirt' and several 'No 2 shirts' in plain wedgewood blue. I was also issued a 'Hairy Mary' and 'wooly pully' though the HM was replaced with a 'Thunderbird Suit' soon after arrival at my first proper unit.

Of course this was some time ago so the memory is not what it was!
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 17:42
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The real 'sharp' operators had that end-on weave collar in PLASTIC. The appeared to be heavily starched but were allegedly more comfortable and could be cleaned with a damp cloth.
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 17:44
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Vortex, you are of my era (Swinderby '75). I concur with your memory. 1 x Blue/Gray for Best, 4 x Wedgewood for day to day.

Also the very dark blue workshirts (issued as a one-off) + 2 x Blue/Gray coveralls issued as 'workwear' for manky jobs. About '78ish?

As an aside, at Swinderby, I was duty 'gash shag' one day and detailed to 'hump and dump' in Clothing Stores. I was told to dispose of a large black poly sack. Having a peek inside, I discovered, all screwed up, 23 almost brand new Wedgewood blue shirts all my size. I disposed of them into my kitbag.

I never ran short of a clean shirt again.
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 19:03
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If it helps, our ATC Sqn cadets were getting issued serge BD, end-on-end weave shirts with collars, detached in 74, switching to SD trousers, dark-blue shirts & JHW in 77.
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 19:20
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Joined in 1966, collar detached shirts were issue of the day. As an ex spacey I had acquired some Van Heusen collars, much more comfortable than those issued, and never ever to be entrusted to the service laundry system. During the early 60s as a cadet I had been issued with dark grey collar detached shirts that resembled sail cloth.
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 19:23
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It was collar-detached for me when I joined in Jan 71. I was thrown off a pre-AOC's inspection parade in 1972 for wearing a brand-new collar with a well-worn shirt that was probably two shades lighter.
Seem to remember collar-attached shirts being available shortly afterwards. Oh, and having a pull-on, half-buttoned shirt from somewhere. The tail was nearly as long as a WRAF skirt!
I always liked the Hairy Mary No2 - at least it looked like a proper traditional uniform, as did the belted No1.
The raincoats were dreadful shapeless garments, as were the 'new' grey Velcro'd overalls (with blue pocket flaps, epaulettes and collars) that defied conforming to conventional body contours after a couple of washes.
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 19:48
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We went through a very confusing anarchic period in about 72/73 when a variety of shirts were being purchased and worn, particularly by officers. These ranged from a very pale duck egg blue through a vivid near turquoise greeny blue to the darker wedgewood style, often accompanied by the very fashionable knitted black tie. As a result few people looked alike in uniform and it was not until towards the end of the 70s when the wedgewood shirt appeared that 'uniformity' was once again established
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 19:54
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Ahhhh yes who could forget the green dot on ones throat from the front collar stud LOL
The best working 'uniform' of course was the old No1 jacket converted to a No2 jacket...very comfy
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 20:36
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Originally Posted by stevef View Post
Oh, and having a pull-on, half-buttoned shirt from somewhere. The tail was nearly as long as a WRAF skirt!.
Commando .
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 20:47
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Commando! Blimey - can't think how I ended up with that. I was probably the most un-warlike airman on the station.
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