I’ve seen it on camps where the filthy smokers all scurry off to their bucket of sand and kill themselves slowly but remove headdress to do it. I always assumed that this was because they were a disgrace to the uniform or something ;). It isn’t something which affects my squadron and I don’t hang around with smokers to observe their behaviour so it had gone completely out of my mind.
I don’t advocate that those having lunch should eat whilst actively engaged on another task (thinking of being at events like fetes and so on) but should eat while out of the way to preserve the appearance of professionalism, but I see no reason why they can’t wear a hat whilst doing so.
[quote=“incubus” post=5790]Comments to this photo on the Air Cadets FB site are suggesting that eating should also excuse the wearing of headdress (outside, obviously) and I wonder if there is any substance to this assertion or any documentation to back it up.
I don’t advocate that those having lunch should eat whilst actively engaged on another task (thinking of being at events like fetes and so on) but should eat while out of the way to preserve the appearance of professionalism, but I see no reason why they can’t wear a hat whilst doing so.[/quote]
When I attended RIAT a few years ago, diners seated outside were requested to remove their headdress while eating because they were technically still eating in the mess.
But yes, if you’re eating/drinking/smoking you should remove your headdress.
It’s about ‘preserving the appearance of professionalism’ like you say. You shouldn’t really be eating/drinking/smoking in front of people while in uniform/‘on duty’, removing your headdress takes you ‘out of uniform’/‘off duty’, it’s an ettiquette thing.
I’d never eat while wearing a hat in polite company (not that I often wear hats in civvies). I guess older relatives and family friends were a large part of my upbringing though, so I got exposed to ‘old fashioned’ etiquette more than most people.
I have always been told to remove headdress and do it out of sight as trying to salute whilst stuffing a pasty into your mouth can be tricky. Think this mainly comes around from the fact headdress is removed in a mess as well as trying to keep a professional look. As for the Cadets and Staff member in the photo they were on official duty and doing so representing the corps and therefor become the exception to the rule (bit like orderly/duty personnel in the cookhouse)
On our squadron it has always been done that when on break and having something to eat you take your beret off, more recently someone has taken to saying that as we are on a break we should have berets off whether eating or not.
When we went to WAD our CO came to see us as we were having our lunch on the steps outside one of the buildings and he said to take berets off and of the other officers who walked past nobody said anything.
I was always told it was a custom, not a regulation to remove your headdress whilst eating/smoking ect. I remove my headdress when eating however i never eat outside. I believe on this occasion, the Staff member and Cadets where right in keeping their headdress on as to appear sans Cap/ Beret on a TV show which has brought huge publicity not just to the Band and team involved but to the ACO as a whole was the right choice. However i am biased to this situation as it was my decision…
On both sqns I served on, as a custom headdress was removed on entering the Sqn Hangar/Compound and then replaced upon leaving except when on parade or waiting for/during a formal chat. Moving around station, headdress was always worn and then removed when eating, drinking or smoking in designated areas only. Public events were situation no change, beret on moving around, but removed if eating, drinking or smoking, again limited to designated areas e.g. beer/food tents. It may only be a custom but I’ve seen plenty of one way conversations taking place for ignoring it.
I attended a unit as a CI where the practice was to wear berets all night. Which had the unsurprising result that one particularly hot evening 2 or 3 of the cadets went down with the heat. (a high proportion considering we had about 15 cadets total.) when I admonished the WO for this practice and asked him to change it, he said ‘no, that’s the way we do it here, because that’s the way I did it as a cadet.’