CI Dress Standards

What’s the Corps’ stance on ex-regular CI’s wearing the suit/blazer and beret combination?

Prior to volunteering I would wear a blazer/beret at appropriate events such as Rememberance Day and local and national Veterans’ Days etc. Now I attend these same events as a CI I want to know if I can still wear them?

Do the Dress Regulations preventing CI’s from wearing uniform extend to banning wearing a blazer/beret?

Being on a unit currently run by CI’s would wearing a blazer/beret in order to pay the correct compliments to a visiting Wing Commander be inappropriate as there are no uniformed staff to do it?

Are CI’s as bound by certain Dress Regulations as uniformed staff are? Eg. regulations on hair, sideburns and moustaches?

As I’ve mentioned in other threads; I’m not concerned about going into uniform. I’m asking because it’s something I’ve done for years at appropriate events and considered the Wing Commander’s visit out of courtesy.

As a civilian instructor you would be expected to wear civilian clothing suitable for the event and at a standard roughly equivalent to that of the uniformed personnel (ie, more casual when they are in working dress, shirt/tie/jacket when they are more formally dressed).

There is no expectation or requirement for CIs to pay any sort of compliments to anybody really, so headdress is irrelevant and I’d suggest that, while blazer and old hat is fine as an individual member on a veterans parade, it is not something that should be part of a CI’s on-duty wardrobe. Headdress of any sort is not mentioned in the CI chapter of the dress regs.

Despite chapter 5 being information for CIs and Padres, the dress manual is for uniformed personnel in the ACO and any hair dressing (or other) restrictions other than those specifically mentioned for CIs (I can find none) aren’t going to apply to you.


I can still pin my medals to my civilian suit for these parades I attend as an ATC Civillian Instructor though right?

Also is it within my duty as a CI to inform uniformed staff when they fail to comply with Dress Regulations or should I respect their authority and standing and follow their example?

The worst offender I saw was a Flt Lt wearing an Observer brevet; I thought they stopped issuing those in 1942! And they’d never served a day in their life.

As you won’t be on parade or marching as part of the ATC contingent we pretty much couldn’t care what you do with your own medals in your own clothes. It seems to be common practice and is often appropriate for the situation; relatives medals are more contentious.

Any member of staff with the necessary knowledge (and ideally written regulation at hand) should be able to have a quiet word with any uniformed staff member about transgressions in their compliance with the dress regulations. Better that than have the WWO pick it up when checking the parade photos on facebook :wink:

It may be that the member of staff was simply unaware that what they are doing is incorrect and should thank you for bringing it to their attention. If you do not get this thanks but feel that additional clarification is required then feel free to speak directly with your WWO or WSO and ask the question.

I can’t see why he can’t wear his veteran’s blazer though,

Formal wear for Civilian Staff (No1 Uniform equivalent)
a. Dark suit with shirt, tie and shoes or Blazer and flannels with shirt, tie and shoes.

Also, as he’s not going to be marching with the parade, I don’t see why a CI with ex-regular service couldn’t attend dressed as such, with beret as well. (He could march at the front with the others if he fancied.)

It’s the old pink tutu argument I accept, but there’s nothing to say CIs can’t wear headdress, and it’s not too dissimilar from ex-regiment or ex RAF police wearing those accoutrements, or EX regular WOs wearing their badges. I wouldn’t have a problem with it myself.

I don’t remember suggesting that the blazer was inappropriate.

Adding military headdress seems to cross a line that I have seen challenged in the past as CIs with former ROC service tried to wear it in camp photos. I suspect it would be considered a blurring of the lines between being a civilian and an (ex)military person and isn’t exactly dressing for the role, but as you say there is nothing expressly forbidding it.

I probably will wear the beret. You can hardly begrudge an Ex RAF man wearing it on a Veterans/Rememberance Parade. I would however not wear it on a camp photo or anything so trivial. I believe they’re either side of the line of what’s appropriate.

Regarding CI’s, pink tutus and headdress; I noticed the Dress Regulations permit a uniformed Jewish male to wear a dark yarmulke upon removal of their service headdress in accordance with his religious custom. It does not however state whether a Jewish Male CI can or cannot wear his yarmulke; what happens here? It’s not in the Dress Regulations so some will say he can’t wear it…

It specifies “when in uniform”, so the concept isn’t relevant to CIs (unless those CIs are in one of the few exception to the “no uniforms” rules that exist.)

You can of course sprout a Great Big Bushy Beard at your whim.

Camp Photo would be wrong, I agree, but that comes down to role. At camp a CI is a CI, he is there for that purpose. CIs on parade are a little superfluous. (Having been a CI at a parade I didn’t have a lot else to do beyond watch.) So, there they may as well be a veteran.

Beards are a fun one, especially with CIs at Nijmegen…

Interestingly the Corps makes much of attracting ex-servicemen/women as staff and then wants them to hide any obvious signs of it, unless of course they bow to pressure to go back into uniform. I feel this should be an option for those in this situation if they feel comfortable wearing it. It wouldn’t bother me, far more important things to worry about.

I know a few CIs who march as part of veteran contingents on Remembrance and other parades, with medals, blazers and berets, good on 'em.

Do you have any actual examples?

Reading some of the above would seem to illustrate the point.

Sort of an example:

When I first came out of the RAF many years ago I was friends with a WO (ATC) and as a favour to them visited their Sqn. in uniform so the cadets could get the chance to see and talk to a real Airman up close and see what the RAF was really about not what the annual AFCO visit to the Sqn. said it was about. I was also considering applying to become a CI back then (as it happened work commitments took over so I only got back into it last year at a different Sqn.).

Anyway I turned up at the Sqn. in my uniform and some Sgt (ATC) also on the unit said to me “I know you did really well in the RAF but you’re not an SNCO staff member so you’re not entitled to wear your beret and beret badge!”

That’s what I don’t get: I mean I got shouted at for weeks in Basic Training to earn my beret badge and this Sgt did a week at ATF to get their’s (or whatever it was back then). Because I don’t want to go into uniform but want to wear my beret 3 or 4 appropriate times of the year I’m shunned by the Corps. Yet when we’re at these events we encourage the cadets to talk to the old boys and ask them about their time in the RAF. Sure; I’m not 90 and wasn’t in World War 2, but I am an ex Airman and would like to think I deserve the same respect from the Corps as they encourage to be shown to the really old boys.

Surely ORs don’t retain any rights to wear uniform upon retirement unless they are actually activated as reserves.

The beret is something that people seem to accept as a “past service” flag on military events to show solidarity with the regiment/service.

Wearing uniform to that talk would have been strange as it isn’t as if it was a novelty for the audience.
Pitching up with a veterans badge on and the beret in hand would have been how I had done it, were it me.

I wish I had done it like you would have done it as soon as I saw the look on the cadets’ faces.

They looked totally confused as to why being an Ex Airman giving a talk about my time in the RAF I chose to wear my RAF uniform.

Then to make matters worse the Snowdrops turned up about a tip off that some OR joker was giving a talk about the RAF in his uniform and nicked me. On the way to the station I saw Christian Nock on his epic walk around the country wearing his smock and bergen so they pulled over and nicked him too haha.

Strangest talk of my life!

Has your prescribed medication runout?

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we have a former RAF member within our CIs ranks.

they wear a blazer and their old RAF Beret on formal ceremonial Parades and join the ranks of the RAFA/RBL for the marching side of things.

every other situation i have only ever seen them wear medals when the Staff have done the same (ie formal event but no parade)