Private Purchase Beret

I am currently in the CCF (Air Cadet) but unfortunately, as I am not a UK citizen, I will not be able to serve in the RAF in later life. I would like to make the most out of my CCF (Air Cadet) experience. I think that having my own beret and being able to keep it as a memento after leaving the Cadet Force would mean a lot to me. (Currently, I’m wearing a very tatty beret that was issued to me.)

I’ve saved some money the entire year for a very decent beret to wear and treasure. Does anyone on the forum wear a private purchase beret? I am very open to hearing your recommendations!

P.S. It’s a shame that cadets can’t wear chip bag hats. I quite like the look of them and all the RAF officers I’ve talked to were all pro-chip bag hats because of the convenience.

Slightly off-topic, but would you be eligible to apply for citizenship? I’ve been staff on a Sqn where we had a cadet who was not a UK citizen, and spoke very little English when they first joined, but had very clear ambitions and knew exactly what they had to do to obtain citizenship and therefore apply for the trades in the RAF they wanted to

I did consider this but I have decided that I will not be applying for a UK citizenship. I was interested in the RAF Intelligence Branch but it is a req. that you must be a ‘UK Citizen from birth,’ and also your ‘Parents must have UK citizenship.’ My alternative was a pilot but sadly, my eyesight isn’t very good so that doesn’t help. I think the best for me is to make the most of my Air Cadets career.

1 Like

Yep, I purchased my beret and cap badge privately. I think I either got it from Cadet Direct or Cadet Kit Shop.
I too wanted to keep it as something to remember my time as a Cadet in the ATC.

Wash your mouth out with soap!!!

On a more serious note

Rip Off Direct is probably your best bet

Cadet Kit Shop have some pretty nice ones under their own Ammo & Co brand. But they are the officer type designed for the sew on badge so you’ll need to make holes for the RAF badge.
Otherwise have a look online for a genuine issue RAF other ranks beret. I’ve seen them new in packets on eBay for under £10.

I wear a Snaiths silk lined beret. I like it.

1 Like

I heard the fancy officer silk berets sit flatter and looser on one’s head? Could you confirm if true?

True, and there’s no backing behind the cap badge so it’s quite hard to shape for non commissioned cap badges.

Yes and the lining makes it harder to shape. I really don’t think mine‘s shaped as well as the issue one, but it is more comfortable. And the material is certainly finer.

They also lack the lug holes to mount a beret badge. Officers’ badges need to be sewn on. Avoid.

1 Like

I sewed my cap badge on anyway.

Please dont tell me you’re still using the issued beret badge! Gash alert. GASH ALERT.



1 Like

It sits like a beret should as far as I can tell. You would need the cardboard backing bit out of a standard beret and you have to open the lining and cut some holes to get the badge in. It’s a big hassle but worth it imo

One of my sons bought me a blue silk-lined officer’s beret but he asked the supplier to sew the beret badge on.

The beret looks and feels good and shaped really easily; and the badge has no backing but is very neatly sewn. It does sit slightly looser on the head but apart from that, I like it.


The OP is a cadet, so it’s a relevant factor.

I have two berets myself, a silk one with sewn badge, but it doesn’t fit my hair if I don’t get my hair cut dead on every four weeks. At which point I swap to the issue beret as it’s so much bigger.
I did remove the Hessian backing from the issue badge though, and replaced it with felt. What was the Hessian thing about?

Issue beret was a bit big… so I just got a standard cadet beret from rip off direct as I wanted something a tad smaller.

Neatly sewed a new officer badge on (looks better than the issue officer badge).

Job done, very inexpensive.

Can recommend the cadet direct beret.