This is an intriguing point, tango_lima. Firstly, accepting of course that the Regiment has tended to act as a front-runner for many of the dress changes that eventually spread to all other Air Forces of the Crown (cf greens, berets, stable belts), this last one is a bit of a puzzler in Air Force uniform custom and practice. I’m not sure why there’s such a reluctance to allow the belt to be worn on top of the jumper BG (outwith the Regt, I mean).
I agree, I too have seen some very high-ranking Offrs of a non-Regt type just randomly doing this, and that was even more the case ‘back in the day’ of the Pullover, Woolen, OG. People like the CAS and most of our HACs did this in greens very often.
But another factor that’s worth thinking about is how this actually started, in the Regt itself. The earliest that I’ve seen it done is from pictures dating to around 1947, with regular and auxiliary Regt Gunners from LAA and field Sqns, wearing a stable belt on top of BD blouses (yes, seriously), covering the wrap-around attached belt that was at the bottom of the blouse/jacket. This was in snaps taken at Catterick (I think?) but also out at other ‘2000’-series, pre-'57 RAuxAFRegt sqns.
And they then (stable belts, I mean) seemed to become very low profile outwith the Regt, especially during the RAF NS era, when BD morphed into tailored No2 dress, and eventually made an (outwith the Regt) reappearance in the early '70s in time for Shirts, Collar Attached, and the Star Trek zippy No.2 jacket. I have a feeling that when they came ‘back in blues’ (though they probably never went in the first place) they were initially only worn with the short-sleeve shirt. Now, at that time, like the stable belt, short-sleeve shirts were personal purchase only, and there was an absolute ban on them being worn off-station (in fact, probably just home station only). Even into the early/mid 80s, you would have been executed by the SWO for not wearing a tie on the station away from your desk or commcen etc. And stable belts would never (ever) be worn in public…but oddly, I’ve a feeling that this was probably the case for the Army as well, back in the day? Barrack dress meant precisely that, combats/OGs would never be seen on the streets unless you were shopping in Ulster.
All this has maybe caused levels of cross-ply confusion in the minds of the DPC. Or not…? But I’m stumped as to why the wearing of a stable belt is permitted at all when No2 blues, shirt sleeves and tie, yet not when wearing a jumper. It is primarily a decorative force ident item (when in blues) and on that basis there is a defendable logic in it being worn on top of the jumper by anyone that wants to.
As a related side-query, have they binned the plan for stable belts to be issued to all personnel that are required to wear RAF pattern uniform in the discharge of their duties? (note of course my careful choice of words…!-) Might that be the catalyst for this to be reviewed, and (re?) sanctioned?