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Boring old fart question about RAF no 1 rank braid

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Boring old fart question about RAF no 1 rank braid

Old 3rd May 2013, 17:47
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Boring old fart question about RAF no 1 rank braid

Ignore if not interested.

But...

When my no. 1s were re-ranked the rank was sewn on using a composite rank braid as used on the shoulders of shirts &c. However, older no. 1 jackets appear to have been ranked using separate loops of braid showing the material of the jacket between them (like on mess dress) not the 'filler' on the composite rank braid.

Is it me, or is that just laziness on the part of the Stn tailor? Or did the official way to do it change at some point? If the former, does anyone know where I can get it done 'properly'?

In my (highly unimportan) job the next possible promotion isn't until 2023 and even then only if I can still be @rs3d to stick with it until then, so it would be worth the investment.

Tim
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Old 3rd May 2013, 18:11
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Just being lazy i would say
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Old 3rd May 2013, 18:23
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tmm - as far as I'm aware, 'composite' rank braid has been the correct uniform standard for about 40 years.

When I was promoted to Flight Lieutenant in 1974, my No.1 HD was re-ranked using composite rank braid. As it was some (not inconsiderable) years later upon my promotion to Squadron Leader.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 18:30
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Rank Braid.

When I were a lad (and that's going back some), the loops of braid were always sewn on separately. On khaki drill shirts and bush jackets, which had to go to the dhobi, they were on a "cuff" of drill which went on the shoulder straps.

D.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 19:22
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Is it me, or is that just laziness on the part of the Stn tailor?
Without going too far down the road of "the bleedin' obvious", what did the tailor say when you asked about this?
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Old 3rd May 2013, 19:28
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Deviation:

I believe my fg off braid was sewn on top on my plt off braid on my No 5s. Then a second braid, differently sourced, was sewn above it. Later, had it happened, the two thick braids could have been reset thus saving the cost of a scraper.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 19:30
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As BEagle says, composite braid has been standard for a long time. However on each promotion I have always asked the tailor to use individual stripes, which they are perfectly happy to do (more sewing = more money). Quite how that sits with regulation, I have not the first idea; however none of the tailors I have used have ever been surprised or unsure about the request, and I have never been pulled up on any of numerous pre-parade inspections. I think the stripes look more 'traditional' and are a better representation of the insignia as originally intended, with the actual material colour showing between them and not some off-blue-grey-green thing as on the composite braid.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 21:32
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I think if I recall correctly I had composite braid for working dress but individual braid strips for mess dress, No 1s - and proper stuff at that none of the plastic rubbish on the Mess dress. I think you just need to discuss it with the tailor.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 22:54
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If I may introduce a thread drift here, I have a similar question about officers' beret badges. When I was a young Rockape PO I wore a beret with KD (hardly any officers other than we Rocks wore berets in those days). Naturally it was a proper officer's beret from Gieves, which had a sew-on wire embroidered beret badge. I recently came across an officer's beret among some stuff I bought. The beret itself was rather nasty quality, without any stores marks, the badge had fixing loops like an airman's badge and the design was solid, not wire embroidered. When did these horrors come into use? Do officers get issued with their kit from stores now?
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Old 4th May 2013, 00:43
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At OCTU in '72, we were issued berets with a one-piece enamel/metal/cloth officer hatbadge, backed by a white disc as Occifer cadets. The badge was fixed to beret via 3 metal tabs on the back allowing the white disc to be removed. Beret went missing yonks ago, but I have the badge. I can't ever remember seeing an Officer wear a beret in those days. I first remember seeing the one-piece tape rank badges about '75.
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Old 4th May 2013, 02:14
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Originally Posted by TomJoad View Post
I think if I recall correctly I had composite braid for working dress but individual braid strips for mess dress, No 1s - and proper stuff at that none of the plastic rubbish on the Mess dress. I think you just need to discuss it with the tailor.
The Regs only mandate the wearing of composite rank braid on Nos 2, 6, and 7SD.

For No1SD it states that officers' are to wear 'rings of black and blue ranking braid as appropriate to their rank...'

IMHO composite rank on No1s just looks cheap. Probably bought about by the same form of lazy tailor that insists on mounting medal ribbons on No 1 SD without the mandated 3mm gap between rows.
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Old 4th May 2013, 03:55
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None of my uniforms have composite braid, but I retired in 1983. Even my great coat has individual braid. When did composite braid first appear?

Bob C
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Old 4th May 2013, 05:57
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Composite rank braid was introduced in 1972 and on blue uniforms and shirt rank slides, it became de facto after about 1975. Because of the way it is woven, it can be sewn on the uniform inside out!! Many variations have appeared, such as the composite braid being sewn onto a shirt coloured or DPM backing which then forms a slide for the uniform. As an aside, I did once find it necessary to explain to a flt Lt that his rank slides, backed on DPM, ought not really to be worn on a wedgewood blue shirt!

As for No: 5 mess kit, individual bands of - supposedly - gold lace are the norm but of course unless one's rise is fairly meteoric or the mess kit is kept in the dark, the new braid is obviously likely to be a different shade of gold and now is more likely to be artificial gold lace. The secret is to have all new lace and then hang the mess kit jacket in the sunshine to 'weather' - it is then suitably matured so that one does not appear to be a newby! (insert here a caution about it raining).

On the No: 6 (tropical No: 1) the shoulder boards, which used to be rigid, are now just floppy uniform material and the rank badges mostly composite. The 6A and No: 8 still use blue shoulder boards with individual bars of gold lace.

However, ladies and gentlemen, whatever you wear and however you wear it, do so with pride.

Old Duffer
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Old 4th May 2013, 06:14
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The beret itself was rather nasty quality.....
Hardly surprising, since all RAF berets are rather nasty and look ridiculous except when worn by Rocks, ORs...........and onion johnnies.

Marginally more awful than the ridiculous chip bag - do those things still exist?

An SD cap will normally survive for quite a long time, particularly if you have a 'cere' one (for parades, weddings and 'chats' ) and a 'drill' one for everyday use, which can often be kept going with a few field repairs. Although one of my 'drill' ones didn't survive after my boss fed it to vascodagama's labrador....

Last edited by BEagle; 4th May 2013 at 06:15.
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Old 4th May 2013, 06:35
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Kicked off with fg off braid then added another on promotion to flt lt just before composite braid became widely available and then on promotion to sqn ldr I insisted on separate braid as I could see what a god awful mess the composite braid was.
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Old 4th May 2013, 07:06
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OD - thanks for your observations on No 6 shoulder boards. The tailor at Uxbridge fabricated some rather smart stiff ones for me a couple of years ago and - pending another tour where it's warm and where I shall be wearing posh gear frequently - I will have individual braids sewn on.

I did note a minor sartorial error on my No 1s just recently (I wear them fairly frequently). The composite braid is sewn in to the top seam of the sleeve, rather than into the lower seam, where it won't be seen. I blame the Johnny Foreigner tailor I used a couple of years ago in Italy. Mind, he only charged me 10 to re-rank the tunic, transfer ribbons and brevet from my old jacket, that had, err, shrunk. Again, these will be going in for an overhaul soon, and I will get this rectified - but might go for individual braids, along with investing in some decent double-cuff shirts. Any recommendations of suitable smart shirts for No 1s?

Last edited by Whenurhappy; 4th May 2013 at 07:07.
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Old 4th May 2013, 07:21
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P6 Driver, fair point but problem is as a VRT I don't work at my parent station and have a day job which means it's not usually possible to get to the incredibly short tailor's parade. So I am usually sending things via someone else with a message. Will try to get a message through to ask! Sounds like I will be getting the no. 1s retailored though.

Backed rank slides are now mandated for Plt and Fg Offs.

Will be interested if you get any recommendations for decent shirts to wear with no. 1s as the issue ones are dire.

Also does anyone know where I can get no. 8 shoulder boards in Sqn Ldr? Even Gieves don't have them on their website. I have a pair in Wg Cdr someone gave me but can't find a source of the incredibly skinny middle stripe braid anywhere to get them redone. I wonder if Gieves have the same problem as they only seem to have them with 'whole' numbers of rings. [Not exactly urgent but I did get invited recently to an event in Red Sea Rig and it would have been nice to be able to comply.]

Tim

Last edited by tmmorris; 4th May 2013 at 07:28.
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Old 4th May 2013, 07:53
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A decade or so ago my new sqn ldr braid on my No1s was made from 3 distinct stripes on one sleeve and a composite rank braid on the other.
I'm surprised you accepted it. Did you not notice for ages?

CG
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Old 4th May 2013, 08:02
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Bit of a tailoring challenge to get 70 odd mm wide Composite Groupie Braid on a No 1 sleeve with neat joined up seams I would have thought

Even more difficult with ACM braid



Not really a problem for most

BEagle ... Chip Bag ... Optional

AP 1358

Coff.

Last edited by CoffmanStarter; 4th May 2013 at 08:06.
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Old 4th May 2013, 08:16
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tmmorris

Also does anyone know where I can get no. 8 shoulder boards in Sqn Ldr? Even Gieves don't have them on their website. I have a pair in Wg Cdr someone gave me but can't find a source of the incredibly skinny middle stripe braid anywhere to get them redone. I wonder if Gieves have the same problem as they only seem to have them with 'whole' numbers of rings. [Not exactly urgent but I did get invited recently to an event in Red Sea Rig and it would have been nice to be able to comply.]
PM Sent.
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