RAF Peaked Airman’s Parade Cap

The peaked airman’s cap has been part of the Royal Air Force’s uniform since the foundation of the service in 1918. Up until the late 1930s it was worn as the standard headgear of airmen with the blue serge breaches and high necked jacket. In the 1930s it was superseded by the field service type of side cap, but it made a reappearance after the Second World War. By this point the beret had become standard wear for day to day service, but this was not felt to be smart enough for parade duty so the traditional peaked cap was brought in as part of the RAF’s ceremonial uniform and has remained in service ever since with various modification to reflect the times in which they were made, serge giving way to manmade fibres as these became commonplace for uniforms in the 1960s. Tonight we are looking at an example produced in the early 1960s:imageThe cap has a number of distinctive features of its era that would not be seen on later examples, most particularly the ‘hump’ shape on the crown which was popular for both airmen and officers at this period:imageThe RAF has since made strides to eliminate this type of modification to the cap and it is highly unlikely that today’s airmen would get away with such a radical modification to eh cut of their uniform! The crown of the cap is in the standard blue grey fabric of the RAF, the band around the cap though is made of black knitted mohair:imageNote also the plastic button and vinyl chinstrap typical of dress caps since the 1960s. The peak is a very shiny black:imageBeing manufactured in the 1960s the cap retains the leather sweatband inside and has details of manufacture, sizing and date stamped into the leather, complete with a /|\ mark:imageFrom this we can see that the cap is a size 7, made in 1962 by the Army and Navy Hat and Clothing Company. The cap was worn with standard staybrite RAF cap badge that has been in use since the 1950s. This particular cap came up ion the Huddersfield Second Hand market a month or two back and my thanks go to Michael Fletcher for kindly passing on this cap so I could add it to my collection!raf-swinderby_1986_2

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