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Prince William’s hat

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Prince William’s hat

Old 20th Jan 2023, 15:13
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My guess is that he wanted to indicate that his flying was operational and not mainly for leisure. Good for him.
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 16:14
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With respect to uniform hats in general (and a slight thread drift), the RN caps of the 60s (white plastic top) had a metal grommet inside to keep the top taut.
None of us wanted to bear any resemblance to the Chieffie, i/c "parade training" at BRNC, with a hat as flat as a mortar board.
However, should any hat appear to be battle damaged, the first instruction was "off caps" and the presence of said grommet was checked - 5 days ROB should it have been removed !
Answer - one could remove the grommet and shorten it by about an inch with a pair of wire cutters........
Result - hat now looked more respectable, the grommet check drew a blank, and we now bore less of a passing resemblance to the local milk man.
Even better, later on, when flying suits with epaulettes and caps were considered adequate uniform during the working day, stuffing it behind the aircraft seat gave it a definite "experienced ace" appearance !
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 16:25
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Anyone who went to CX in the 90s remember the Wh*t**e hat ? Kept on top of a locker and worn when rostered with him. He would sign a check or training flight off only after establishing that the bamboo ring was in place. Hat returned to locker room for next guy. A steel dry cleaners coat hanger was good for putting a bash in.
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 16:28
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The Boss once fed my aged SD cap to vascodegama's snoozing labrador.... I managed to recover it from the happy lab's jaws, but it was in rather a sorry, soggy state...and the strap had been eaten. So my hitherto 'cere' SD cap reserved for parades, weddings and bollockings had to be re-assigned for daily use and the dog-cap was stuffed away at the bottom of my headset bag...

Just as well, because someone stole my good cap at Incirlik, so I had to use the strapless dog-cap but fortunately didn't need to wear it very often as the flight line was a no-hat area. I bought a new one when I got back, which was delivered quite quickly. I think it was a proper Bates one, but came with a horrid plastic strap rather than a proper leather one.

That served me well - until in 2003 I needed a new one. That came from stores and was the cheapest, best made and smartest one I ever had. Less than £20, which I couldn't believe!
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 17:18
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I have 2. One for best and then “the other one”.
It sat in a box in the garage for 15 years during my civilian career and was fished out for FTRS. It was white with mould and was soaked in a bucket of disinfectant for 2 days to get it fit for use. It’s absolutely minging with no shape and very little colour.
I love it
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 18:44
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Non-uniformity within RAF uniform is a part of its psyche. It’s all a part of the Air Force Spirit developed over a number of years. AVM Dr Fin Monahan DFC calls it “affected nonchalance’ if you listen to one of his lectures on organisational culture. You can read his thesis here: https://etheses.bham.ac.uk//id/eprin...nahan18PhD.pdf

This is what he wrote about the “Operational” or “Bomber” SD Hat in his thesis:

the majority of uniform rejection was in the form of modifications that affirmed the owner’s membership of an elite. The RAF blue with silk scarf, red silk lined jacket and top button undone was, for instance, symbolic of the romanticism, dash and élan of the fighter pilot. A scruffy crushed hat, meanwhile, was typical of bomber aircrews. Different ways of wearing the uniform were representations of the strong silos that existed between subcultural elements of the RAF.
The air force was characterized by an apparently relaxed attitude towards discipline, uniform, and deportment which stood in marked contrast to the standards maintained by the army and navy.
However, the uniform was also ritualistically worn incorrectly; RAF personnel had a counter-institutional relationship.
​​​​​​​The formation of the RAF was not to have an immediate effect upon the flamboyant taste and sense of dress that many pilots and observers had openly flaunted for a number of years...it was thought to be important for morale that officers should be allowed to express themselves in their own fashion
​​​​​​​Another aspect of the R.A.F. dress which struck “the brown job”, as they called their brothers in the Army, was the way in which so many officers and airmen wore their uniforms, and here I noticed that aircrew were usually the worst offenders. One could perhaps forgive the undone top jacket button of the “Fighter Boy”, but not the slovenliness so widespread on some R.A.F. Stations – the flapping jackets, the crushed and dirty caps, the undone buttons.7
Now, HRH Prince of Wales was Combat Ready on 22 Sqn RAF, traditionally a torpedo-bomber outfit, so he is entitled to wear that operational bomber hat from the perspective of tradition (and long may that continue). Also, it makes you look like a total dweeb with a flat top hat - looking like a nail ready to be smashed into the nearest piece of wood!

Bravo PoW for continuing our culture and traditions ​​​​​​​




An example of how a flat top hat looks…




An example of Combat Ready RAF Aircrew in No 1 uniform and someone else dressing up as honorary RAF.

Last edited by Lima Juliet; 20th Jan 2023 at 18:54.
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 19:11
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 19:51
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More years ago than I care to remember, I was laying a wreath on behalf of 12 (B) Squadron at a reunion of the ‘Wickenby Register’ - the 12(B) and 626 Squadrons’ Association. The ‘old boys’ were, mostly, ‘Main Force’ Lancaster veterans! I was wearing No 1s, and over the years, my SD hat had been stuffed in Nav Bags, been folded into flying suit pockets, and (naughtily, I admit) been jammed down the side of the jet’s ‘bang seat’…and it really was in pretty rag order!

As we were lining up to lay the wreath, one of the ‘old and bold’ commented on the state of my hat!! Jokingly I said that it was my ‘Op Hat’! He smiled at me and replied…’Jim, I did 30 ops, 20 of them over Germany, and my hat was nowhere in the shit state that yours is’!!!! 🤷‍♂️😂

Next day an order was placed for a new SD Hat from Messrs Gieves and Hawkes!!! 😉

PS…thread drift, but I always thought that RAF SH mates, as far as their idiosyncratic selection of flying kit was concerned, were the true heirs and successors of the Desert Air Force!!! 😎
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 20:05
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Even in Civvie Strasse blokes still strive for a 40-JFKs Ops hat. I worked hard to make mine as wide and flat as a helipad.
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 20:47
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Some WW2 USAF dress code humour from Bob Stevens’ very funny book “There I was…flat on my back.”
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 21:05
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In WW2 my father (RAAF) was attached to an RAF squadron flying Halifax out of Libya, living in the desert. Being from Oz, he didn't have any support in the desert re new uniforms, so after 2 tours they were looking a bit ratty. He had also been promoted from Plt Off to Sqn Ldr in 1 year and earned a DFC.

He was sent to the UK for a break. On landing at the RAF base, the officious little Flt Lt Duty Officer called this scruffy-looking Plt Off to attention and ordered him to go to the equipment store for a fresh kit and report back to him for inspection. Yessir, right away sir, toddles off to the store. Then, fitted out in a fresh uniform with Sqn Ldr stripes he then fronts the Duty Officer, "Well, Flight Lieutenant, did you have something to say to me?" "....ummmm...no sir..."
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 22:09
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SD Hat

In the mid 70’s I was on I suppose my 4th tour wearing my original Herbert Chappel hat. By then it had turned a nice shade of green and was down at the edges. My role in those days was constant detachment to Europe living in the field so I purchased a chip basket and left the SD item hanging on the antlers of a deer head in the crew room. Over the months, my SD hat would disappear only to be returned some weeks later to its antler home. By then, I had decided that my future headgear should remain flat and easily stowed in my flying suit leg pockets.
Upon posting, I elected to bequeath my SD hat to the squadron as a useful reserve for those in temporary need.
I wonder if it is still serving a vital purpose?
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 23:54
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Originally Posted by Sue Vêtements
THIS is a hat!

No, that's a Nazi in a jaunty hat. Looking forward to the "but he's an honourable Aircrew German, not a Nazi" comments.
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Old 21st Jan 2023, 01:07
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Originally Posted by cheekychimp
No, that's a Nazi in a jaunty hat. Looking forward to the "but he's an honourable Aircrew German, not a Nazi" comments.
Hmmm, know him well then? Galland was not a favourite of Goring or Himmler, in 1944 he came within an ace of being arrested and punished or executed. His stardom as a German ace saved him as Hitler intervened due to his popularity. Also Bob Stanford-Tuck and Douglas Bader seemed to like him a lot and got on well with him. Stanford-Tuck was even asked by Galland to be Godfather to one of his kids - he accepted. I would trust the judgement of these former foes as the character of this man and as a great fighter pilot, than a bit of mud slinging on Prune!

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Old 21st Jan 2023, 07:17
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I passed my SD hat on to FZjr with the warning that it had been banned on one station by the CO.
However he still wore it, on his station an executive demanded to know where he been to get "That Hat".
He said that it had been his father's, pause ... "Oh that's alright then"
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Old 21st Jan 2023, 07:54
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Originally Posted by iRaven
Hmmm, know him well then? Galland was not a favourite of Goring or Himmler, in 1944 he came within an ace of being arrested and punished or executed. His stardom as a German ace saved him as Hitler intervened due to his popularity. Also Bob Stanford-Tuck and Douglas Bader seemed to like him a lot and got on well with him. Stanford-Tuck was even asked by Galland to be Godfather to one of his kids - he accepted. I would trust the judgement of these former foes as the character of this man and as a great fighter pilot, than a bit of mud slinging on Prune!

That maybe the case, but Christopher Foxley- Norris thought 'Galland was a shit'.
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Old 21st Jan 2023, 08:35
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" Christopher Foxley- Norris thought 'Galland was a shit'."

I thought that was a default setting for a lot of "Aces". Bader is a prime example - and I've met him
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Old 21st Jan 2023, 10:41
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Personally, I think Will’s hat shows a certain style reminiscent of a time when style meant something. (St Athan 1963)
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Old 21st Jan 2023, 14:43
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Originally Posted by Asturias56
" Christopher Foxley- Norris thought 'Galland was a shit'."

I thought that was a default setting for a lot of "Aces". Bader is a prime example - and I've met him
I briefed Bader several times at newly opened Gatwick c. 1960. He was not unpleasant, but there was definitely a master/ servant whiff in the air.
My best customer was [name-drop] Mickey Martin of Dambuster fame, although he cadged my fags routinely.

The older I get the better I used to be ..................
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Old 21st Jan 2023, 14:50
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Originally Posted by oldmansquipper

Personally, I think Will’s hat shows a certain style reminiscent of a time when style meant something. (St Athan 1963)
Fascinated to see two good conduct chevrons in wear as late as 1960s. Also only one rank chevron ....... this is man service?
I have never managed to find out when GCBs ceased to be awarded. My father wore one in 1945, and they go back in RAF time to 1919. T E Lawrence wore two a little later.
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