Whilst there is often little difference between officers and other ranks uniforms today, apart from obvious badges of rank, there can still be some subtle pointers that indicate items are for officers rather than the ordinary soldier. When it comes to headwear and more specifically the beret, officers often have a high quality embroidered cap badge on their headdress rather than the more usual metal cap badge worn by others. Today we are looking at an officer’s beret for the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment:
The beret itself is made of khaki wool and the cap badge is rendered in high quality bullion embroidery on a red piece of felt that has then been sewn in the appropriate place on the beret:
The beret itself, however, is identical to that worn by all other soldiers and has the usual label and stores number on the label inside rather than being a fancier private purchase item:
This combination of standard uniform with special embellishments is typical today and the times of officers having to purchase their own expensive uniforms tailor made for them has long passed. Instead special insignia is available (at a much lesser price than the cost of a full set of uniform) and the same basic uniform as all others is issued free from stores. This change over the last century reflects the change in the make up of the officer class itself which has become far more democratised with people from all walks of life and income levels being able to become officers as well.
We used to wear metal badges on berets and wedge caps while the officers wore embroidered ones similar to that shiwn here, then they were changed to embroidered for all ranks, purportedly as a FOD prevention measure, but since nobody wore headdress on the flightline I tend to think it was due to either cost or some Senator’s brother in law owned a company that made them.
I think the enlisted ones looked much better 🙂