Ooh. It’s all kicking off now. I’m going to go and grab my white socks and show you community based lot how it’s done.


Every so often I look back at our CCF photos from the 1970s and feel just a little better about the haircuts now…

Good example at


Absolutely, but it’s always been the case and not everyone is dogmatic, IMO life’s too short to be overly dogmatic. I do tend to be a bit looser and unfussed than some, don’t do anything daft, but the rules are guidance only.

But when you live and die by a rule book and it’s all about playing a urinating up the wall game with your like-minded mates, you become extremely blinkered and common sense and pragmatism leave the building.


The thing is, there is a time and a place for a dogmatic approach and there is a time and a place for pragmatism. Where that line is drawn varies between people.

Some activities need to be absolutely regulated for safety or the appearance of safety (much of AT), others benefit for regulation to embody the correct frame of mind and skills for when it truly matters (uniform, drill), and others still really don’t matter so long as a goal is achieved (most of the academic subjects)


Please don’t hint to HQAC that things aren’t as safe as they seem…


Uniform and drill really?


Things not only need to be safe, they need to be seen to be safe.

Yes really.

Despite your clear disdain for some of our core skills, it is worth maintaining standards at all times as far as is actually possible given our supply issues. It will help to ensure that when the cadets and staff have a serious public engagement such as a remembrance, major parade, high-level prize-giving, TV appearance or anything else where they are under scrutiny for these things*, they do not completely drop the ball and embarrass themselves simply because their squadron took the approach that these things never matter.

We all might as well get things right during routine squadron activities so that it makes it trivial to get it perfect when it matters most.

* (by us, by the RAF, by the members of the public who know about these things.


it would be nice to think the RAF gave a monkey’s.

If us looking good was a priority we wouldn’t have had problems getting uniform over the years and cadets looking like they’ve got someone else’s clothes. Let’s face it, the RAF, have shown for all their noise, aren’t that bothered. We have to often make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, as the uniform might actually fit someone … else.
Drill isn’t that hard to look good in public as the majority haven’t got a scooby.


It’s more than worth it for those reasons. A lot of Cadets take pride in their uniform and drill - they want to excel at it. For some it may be one of the few discipline skills they have that gives them a sense of achievement and pride.


So we’re back to “let’s not bother” again?

If that was the case, why do people comment after parades that we looked better? Of course they can recognise the difference between good and bad - they might not be getting out the set squares to judge knee bends, but they can tell poorly prepared uniform, slack bearing, being in and out of step/time.


Spot on.


Not a case of not bothering not just being as anal as some seem to like to be, In my time this was something I had responsibility for, but one year due to circumstances outside of our control we weren’t able to prepare as much as we had previously. We as staff due to the “competition” between us and the ACF and SCC, thought we’d get a slating, no the complete opposite. From that year on we just did the minimal and never had an adverse comment. I do take a view if anyone does make one, it’s a case of if you can do better we’d appreciate the help.


I have to agree after basic training was out of the way drill became a distant memory in my RAF days.The only time you did any after that was if you were unlucky enough to be picked to do Guard of Honour for the AOC. Rest of the time I had a proper job to do.


In the ATC we have proper jobs to do as well, but everything seems to revolve around snapping to attention, pressing trousers etc, shining shoes et al. We could prepare our young charges for the vagaries of the real world by not being so anal at times, maybe not 1st names, but not expecting a rank or sir/ma’am etc all the time… I’ve got and had cadets who go to FE Colleges and say they are on first name terms with their tutors, whereas 6th Form college / schools is still sir and miss. So IMO FE Colleges are more grown up than the other options.
When you look at the modern day workplace it is as informal as you like, apart from my first few weeks of work, everyone apart from very occasional times it is all first name terms. I got a rollicking sort of from the Chief Accountant who told me to call him Bob and not Mr Chapman.


I’m beginning to think this topic is about at an end. We’ve strayed a looong way from ascertaining that pacesticks cant be carried on parades.

Anyone care to disagree?


Agree I got the info long ago I needed


By turning out smart and formal young adults, we help them to stand out from their peers…


i think it is a different environment and so different expectations.

i went to both 6Form as an extension to my school and later to collage and it was as described. Sirs and Miss in 6F and Bob and Julie in collage.

Collage is a different environment, dealing with only 17/18 years olds whereas a 6F tends to be linked to the school those same students were at since 13.

look at it as different form of employment.
some companies/employers still insist on suits to be worn, while others are less restrictive.

compare the Cadet forces to the Scouts, in one Sirs and Ma’ams is used and salutes occur to certain individuals, the other it is quite the opposite.

it is partially “horses for courses” but it is just the environment that each organisation installs.

Some restaurants insist on collars and shoes, others don’t have a dress code at all

does a more relaxed stance = “more grown up”???


I think this is done now


I think that goes with the military ethos we subscribe to. Being smartly presented helps encourage the confidence, self-belief, and sense of community our cadets feel.

Back on topic, I was on camp with two exceptional DIs, both of whom carried pace sticks on the drill square (and used them correctly), but who wouldn’t dream of using it as a status symbol. A lot of the cadets were interested in how to use them properly, which the DIs were happy to demonstrate and allow them to try out.