Officers Peaked Cap Query

Another one of my odd, relatively purpose-less questions about pointless things with a most likely simple answer. So, here it is:

Why do RN Commanders (equivalent to Wg Cdr obvs) get the yellow ‘custard’ piping on their peaks whereas RAF Wing Commanders do not and must wait until promotion to Group Captain to receive theirs.

Any ideas/reasons?


Is it all of them, or just those ranked Commander, but have also had command of a Ship thus getting the scrambled egg?

It’s all of them.

The reason is very simple actually: the RN is better, thus more deserving of fancy shiny things on our uniforms. Especially pilots.

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Only proper, qualified pilots; surely!

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I was once told that RN pilots were naturally gifted, whereas RAF pilots had to be trained…

Shame, if I were CCFRN I’d have scrambled eggs. Maybe time for a transfer…


I’d guess it’s because cdr is generally the rank at which one is in charge of an entire warship (at least any decent one, stand fast MCM skippers) whereas one generally needs to get to gp capt before taking command of a station.

Loosely, it’s the rank at which you generally get to command something with an ensign? Maybe we could make a case for RAFAC flt lts to get scrambled egg.


Just start doing it, with RAFAC pins in the middle and see how long before they change the dress regs.

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The RN when they has diesal/electric submarines the CO was frequently a post COQC first tour graduate lieutenant.

The use of ‘scrambled egg’ on RN Commander’s SD Caps dates back to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries when the RN had the concept of ‘rated’ and ‘unrated’ ships . ‘Rated’ ships were the larger or more important vessels, whilst ‘unrated’ ships were smaller or support vessels:

The ‘rated’ ships were commanded by an officer with the rank of Captain. The smaller unrated ships were commanded by Lieutenants who were given the temporary rank of Commander when placed in command of such ships, however they were addressed as ‘captain’ by their crew and we’re afforded the appropriate compliments. The ‘scrambled egg’ was introduced as uniforms developed as recognition of their command of the ship. Commanders that were successful in the command of non rated ships moved on to rated ships and were promoted to Captain.

The tradition of Commanders wearing ‘scrambled egg’ has stuck regardless of whether or not they command a ship today.

Am I right in thinking that “Post Captains” comes into that somewhere?

Yes, a ‘Post Captain’ was a substantive Captain who has had their promotion ‘posted’ in the London Gazette.

A couple of years ago I had a new APO whose uniform was issued from stores at our parent station complete with Gp Capt’s hat. I wish I’d had the balls to send him to Cranwell on OIC with it…


In a similar vein the Executive Curl wasn’t originally standard for all RN officers… Only for those in executive posts.

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