Uniform tips – On the parade ground

It’s the little touches that make the difference between a good look and a great one, and no-one knows that better than the RAF Regiment Gunners of the Queens Colour Squadron (QCS). Famous for their unique continuity drill displays – which are performed without command – the QCS have thrilled audiences all over the world.

The QCS represents the highest standards of RAF ceremonial dress, where each man must be polished and pressed to the squadrons extremely high standards. Boots and shoes are buffed to a high shine, buckles and buttons are perfectly polished, even the peaks of their hats are shined until you can see your reflection staring back at you.

Of course, the standards aren’t that high for the cadets but if you want to know how to look the business on the parade ground there’s no better place to start. Here are the top ten tips:

  1. Always have a good breakfast before a long parade. If you don’t keep your energy levels up there’s a good chance you’ll feel faint.
  2. Pay attention to the smallest details. Making sure your buttons are the right way up may seem like a small thing but it’s something your Commanding Officer will notice.
  3. Using a good quality furniture polish of on the peak of your hat will give it a parade worthy shine.
  4. Use plain shoe polish instead of parade gloss. It requires a bit more work but it will give your boots or shoes a deeper shine.
  5. Never leave your boots or shoes in direct sunlight, as it will degrade the shine. Store them in a cupboard or locker and keep them covered.
  6. Running your boots or shoes under ice cold water and rubbing with cotton wool will remove any smears or oil left behind from polishing.
  7. Put your boots on before your shirt – this will prevent it from creasing.
  8. Taking pride in what we do is a central part of the QCS. Never ever cut corners and strive to be the best, even amongst your fellow cadets.
  9. Finally,… Never leave kit preparation until the last minute. If you rush there’s more chance you’ll end up missing something or making a mistake.

Uniform tips – On exercise

Disruptive Pattern Material, or, DPM uniform is made of tough stuff. Designed to get scuffed, wet and muddy it can withstand months of constant use and mistreatment. In addition, it makes for excellent camouflage – on a dark night, all you need to do to avoid being spotted is stand still.

DPM is also known as your ‘Greens’ or ‘Cabbage kit’. Some squadrons may be able to provide you with DPM kit, but if not you should have no problem finding it at your local military surplus store or on-line. Air Cadets magazine also features some DPM kit suppliers and your squadron should be able to suggest a local shop.

What kit should I take on a fieldcraft exercise?

  • DPM trousers
  • DPM Smock (Jacket)
  • A DPM shirt or dark coloured t-shirt, preferably green
  • Black hi-leg boots
  • A woolly hat and gloves
  • Camouflage cream

A beginner’s guide to ‘Cam’ cream.

Everyone has heard of camouflage or ‘cam’ cream. It comes in tubes or compacts that you rub onto your face, and as soon as you do, you become invisible! Well, not quite, but it’s a great addition to your kit when you’re trying to evade the ‘enemy’.

Cam cream should be applied with the objective to disrupt – that means using variation. Aim for a tiger stripe look and make sure your entire face is covered, including your forehead, neckline and behind the ears. Be careful when applying around your eyes as cam cream contains insect repellent which can sting.

There are some natural alternatives to cam cream like mud or wearing a balaclava, you’re advised not to use burnt corks though as there are some burn risks if not done properly.

Cadet Uniform:

1.No.1 Uniform Consists of:

– Beret –Blue/Grey-

– Wedgewood Blue Shirt

– Black Service Tie-Jersey –Blue/Grey *

– Jeltex Anorak –Blue *

– Brassard

– Trousers / Skirt

– No.2 Dress

– Belt

– Black Socks / Barely Black Tights

– Black Parade Shoes – Male or Female

* These items are to be worn when during increment weather or during winter season by order of Commanding Officer.

Beret: How to Wear

  • The beret is to sit horizontal on the head with the beret badge above the left eye.
  • The band of the beret should be 25mm above the eyebrows and level all the way
  • round the head.
  • All excess material is to be pulled down over the right-hand side of the beret do not use material to cover the right eye!

Beret: How to Mould

  • Take a brand-new beret with no badge in and untie the ribbon bow on the back.
  • Fill a sink with warm water (not too hot) and submerge all material avoid getting the leather band wet.
  • Place on head and adjust beret until it is sitting right on head. Then pull (mould) all the material down over the right-hand side of the beret.
  • Submerge beret again and repeat moulding.
  • Repeat the submerging and moulding process 3-4 times
  • When satisfied tie the ribbon in a tight knot at the back whilst still wearing the beret.
  • Leave beret in a warm dry place – avoiding direct sunlight. It should take up to 24hrs
  • to dry completely.
  • Using a sharp pair of scissors cut off the access ribbon from the back of your beret.
  • Place on head and check you are happy. If not repeat the entire process.