Wearing a watch with No 2A (Wedgewoods) Uniform & other "rules" which are not rules

Evening all,
It’s been a while since I last posted here! But recently I’ve been put in charge of the new First Class training flight (new recruits) on squadron, so I’m sure my activity will increase over the coming weeks.

My first question is this - Are watches allowed to be worn with No 2A (long-sleeved Wedgewood shirt) uniform? I can’t see anything in AP1358C that states it is not allowed, but I remember it being a rule on squadron before the pandemic hit.
Surely as an NCO, watches should be absolutely permitted (and encouraged), no matter the uniform being worn.

On our squadron (on a standard parade night), Cadet SNCOs wear 2A (light blues) and Cadet JNCOs wear 2C (dark blues). That has been the OCs decision for a while, now.

Apologies if I’ve done anything against forum rules, etc.


1358C says “A watch of inconspicuous style may also be worn”. That applies to all uniform as far as I’m aware, so yes they can be worn. I can imagine some people making up local rules for specific parades where they ask no one wears anything on their wrist, but it is allowed AFAIK.

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Indeed watches are permitted. Sqn OCs do not have the authority to make up rules which say a watch is not permitted in 2A.
Though, we should not be surprised at such a rule from an OC who also routinely puts SNCOs in No 2A.
Dark blues is the standard working dress for all cadets, regardless of rank, and nobody should be routinely made to wear 2A.
Out of interest, what do the staff wear on a routine night?

This sort of local BS drives me nuts.
I feel for the OP, because it’s very difficult for a Cadet NCO to bring this sort of thing up with an overzealous OC.


Bang on!

I agree completely with all of that. The only time they shouldn’t be allowed a watch in 2A is H&S. But in that case they probably shouldn’t be in 2A.

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If your watch really was inconspicuous then noone should notice it, in which case noone can complain about such issue.

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You’d be surprised how many cadets/NCOs have suggested that the Sqn or its OC have made up a rule when in fact, the rule has actually been made up from within the ranks or a JNCO course attendee comes back with incorrect information from an overzealous ‘Wing’ SNCO/WO.

One ‘rule’ on my sqn that seems to appear out of nowhere and keeps coming back every so often despite me telling them not to do it, happens when I as OC turn up at the sqn on a parade night and cadets are already there outside the building. Rather than just stand to attention where they are with the senior person salute, they all either seem to run to form up a squad, or form a line along the wall of the building. When I walk inside the building they break ranks again. I have never ever told them to do either of these things.

To keep this on topic, another ‘rule’ I keep hearing in various places (the last time was last week from my own Cpls whilst I was teaching them how to carry out a uniform inspection) was that ‘watches must be worn on the non-saluting arm, so not to show the officer your watch’. Again, not something I’ve even suggested they do.

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There was once a cadet who was 100% that this was a rule. But after some research and common sense about some people being left handed and wanting the watch on the right, we found out she was wrong. So it seems some of these, “rules” are more widespread.

But there are some things on my squadron that are not official rules yet still done through traditions, and this seems the case with most squadrons.

Yet unless you’re doing something in public or some almighty big cheese is watching then it doesn’t really matter.

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That’s true also.
Though my own experience is that in however many years of running NCO courses it’s been far more common that we’re discovering weird local rules and Sqn ‘traditions’ than it is that one of our instructors spreads misinformation. But of course I can only speak for my own experience on that one.
I don’t doubt that it happens.

Whilst heading to our LTA, I once spotted that my cadets were all walking in step with arms checked at their sides until each file stepped off the grass and onto the tarmac drive leading to it.
Perplexed I asked what that was about… As if I were testing them, someone proudly gave the answer “You don’t swing your arms when you’re marching on grass Flight Sergeant!”.

Where they hell did that come from? I certainly never taught it - to them, or on any of our drill/NCO courses and they hadn’t been doing it the month before. God knows from where that little gem appeared.


If this cadet was at my squadron, he shouldn’t of even of been on the grass in the first place. As in my sqn you’re not allowed to step on the Queens grass while in uniform.

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Ah, that stupidity. I recall watching a WO walk the entire perimeter of the drill practice tarmac we were given at camp at ‘Scampton’* because he was adamant he wouldn’t let us walk across grass to get to it. It was impossible, as it was entirely surrounded by the stuff.

*The camp was called Scampton, but we were billeted somewhere else up the road, but I can’t recall where now.

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Another made up rule: not eating in headdress. Doesn’t exist anywhere.

I was once told it was an insult to the Queen. I asked her what she thought when I met her, she said she wasn’t the best authority to ask.



Bassicly it’s come down to, my squadrons deviations from the regulations are better than yours sort of thing.

Normally I wouldn’t advocate walking n grass. It’s a good habit to get out of before attending camp.
But in this case, they cross the road onto a large grass verge on the way to the LTA, so that grass doesn’t count :wink:

I’ve often suspected that’s another Army ‘Regimental tradition’ which has come from somewhere; but that said, I’ve seen airmen take their berets off to smoke outside so who the hell knows.

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I suspect this is due to them taking it off to relax during their smoke break rather than not wanting to offend her Maj.

My understanding being headdress is removed when in the mess where eating takes place.

Regardless of your “mess” location the same removal of headdress is adopted.

This I presume comes from polite society where it is rude to wear a hat at the table.
Sans table the tradition us still observed and thus when eating regardless of location headdress isn’t worn.

I’ve only reached this conclusion by putting 2+2 together I can’t say I speak with authority or knowledge on the subject simply an understanding how ppl reached conclusion

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I understand the reason we remove headdress in the meas is because there’s a picture of the queen in the mess. No pic, no need to remove headdress.

I recall a Nijmegen where someone had a laminated picture of her in their pocket, and whenever they pulled it out berets had to come off!


But surely if the Queen graced us with her presence we would salute her rather than take are berets off, as she is Supreme Commander of her military. So when he whips her out his pocket is doesn’t mean you have to take your headdress off, right?

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But she’s not a photograph…?

This reminds me of “Save the Queen”. The highly irresponsible drinking game we had on AU nights at uni. If someone throws a penny in your drink you had to down it to stop HM drowning.
And to bring it onto topic, you were allowed to wear a watch whilst doing it