Uniform Tips

 The Air Training Corps is a uniformed organisation, with every cadet having several uniforms which must be worn and maintained correctly. During recruit training, new recruits are issued with a certain amount of this uniform,  while the rest must be purchased elsewhere. Cadets are issued with the following, during their recruit training:

  • Beret
  • Blues Trousers or Skirt
  • Blue belt (for males)
  • Working Blue (No2C) Shirt
  • Wedgewood Blue (No2A) Shirt
  • Pullover Jersey/Jumper
  • Jeltex (Foul Weather Jacket)
  • Black Tie
  • Brassard (With 2427 and Air Training Corps Badges)
  • Green Coveralls
  • Squadron Sports Polo Shirt
  • Olive Green Squadron T-Shirt
 
(The Squadron will also provide appropriate Classification badges, and rank slides as and when a cadet reaches these various stages in their cadet career)
All other uniform, including parade shoes, and full MTP or DPM kit is not supplied by the Squadron, however it can be acquired for cadets at a lower price than external websites. Contact the Squadron for further details.
 


Maintenance of uniform is an important skill that all cadets must learn. Being able to care for you own uniform is an important step to independence, and we encourage cadets to do 
as much of their own kit maintenance as possible, to prepare them for later life.2427 regularly does ‘inspections’ where all cadets are inspected and scored based on the quality of maintenance of their uniform. This entails both how it looks, and the condition it is in. These scores are added to a cadets ‘flight points’ which are accumulated over a cadets career, and are something every cadet will want to build up, as a higher number of flight points increases the chance of promotion, and the likelihood of selection for number limited opportunities, such as flying. 
One of the most important parts of kit maintenance is ironing. Almost all cadet uniforms need to be correctly ironed, so ensure that they look smart. So here is a brief overview of how uniform should be ironed:
 
 

 

Ironing

 

 

Wedgewood, Working, and DPM shirts all get ironed the same way. All faces and areas of the shirt should be ironed flat, with the exception of the sleeves. For DPMs and No2C shirts, the collars need to be ironed flat and open. The sleeves are ironed with a single crease, running from the top of the shoulder, down to the cuff, making the crease on the opposite face to the seam running along the underarm. This includes when No2C, or Working blues shirts are rolled up. It is advised to first iron the sleeves rolled down, then roll them up accordingly. This way a sharp neat crease is still present on the visible part of the sleeve when rolled up.  

Ironing trousers various between the ‘Blue’ and ‘Green’ uniforms. Blues trousers are ironed with one crease down the front of the trousers, in the middle of the front face, and another running down the middle of the rear face. Skirts however are ironed so that there are no creases at all, with all of the skirt being smooth and flat. DPM and MTP (i.e. ‘Greens’) trousers are ironed in a similar way, so that there are no creases in them either. As well as being ironed it is important to ensure that any lose threads on the trousers, skirt of shirts are removed.
The Standard Issue Jersey also need to be ironed, so that it doesn’t have creases. Particular attention should be paid to the patches on the shoulders and sleeves. These do not have creases in them and instead should be ironed flat and smooth.
 

 

Shoe/ Boot Care

 Another of the most important maintenance skills for uniform is how to polish shoes/boots. Parade shoes, and combat boots need to be kept to a good standard of shine using polish. Not only does this make the uniform look smart, but the polish also helps project the shoes/boots against the damaging effects of water and mud. Parade shoe are different for males and females. Parade shoes need to be Oxford styled shoes, with the male shoes having a seam across the toecap. For both males and females, the whole shoe must be polished, with particular emphasis put into the toecaps. Boots do not need to be polished to a ‘mirror shine’, however it is expected that they should be kept clean, with a few layers of polish to protect them. For these two types of polishing, we recommend to cadets to use the bulling method, and the brush method, for shoes, and boots respectively. There are many different ways this can be done, however many can eventually be damaging to shoes. Therefore cadets are advised to use the standard ‘bulling’ method, using a cloth or cotton wool. This is done by putting a small amount of black shoe polish (or brown for brown MTP boots) onto a cotton wool pad. This should then be dipped into a small amount of warm water, and then applied to the parade shoe in small circles. Make sure to work the polish into the leather by pushing into the shoe slightly. Repeat this to build up layers, and gradually make the shoe more and more shiny. It may take a little longer to ‘break in’ new shoes, however noticeable results can usually be seen within the first 10 minutes. Remember, the shinier your shoes, the higher the inspection marks.

 

 Boots however should be polished using the ‘brush method’. A small amount of polish should be added to a polishing shoe brush, and then brushed over the boot with relative force. At first this will make the boot go a matted black colour, however after as few moments the polish will begin to work its way into the material, and will become a slightly more glossy black. It is not required to have boots at a ‘mirror shine’ standard, after all they are used in activities that often involve mud and dirt. However a good effort is still expected form all cadets to remove any of this dirt and have a glossy finish to their boots.
 

Beret Moulding

 Uniforms No2, No2A, No2C, and No3, all have the Air Cadet blue beret. This is issued to cadets, however it is required of them to mould it into shape. Before this however, new berets are often ‘fluffy’ and cadets are required to shave of this excess material to make the beret smooth. Then the beret needs to be moulded into the correct shape, and to fit the cadets head comfortably.  This is done using two containers of hot, and cold water. Make the hot water as hot as possible, while it still being at a temperature where it won’t cause discomfort when you put a hand into it. The cold water should be likewise. Take the beret, with the badge removed, and hold the leather band lightly with your fingertips. It is important to make sure that at no point should the leather band be submerged into the water, and should be kept as dry as possible. Lower the beret into the hot water and allow the material to soak, keeping the leather band above the waterline.

Then take it out of the hot water and submerge the beret in the cold water, again, keeping the leather band above the waterline. Repeat this process a few times to ensure the material is fully soaked. Then, remove the beret from the water and place it on your head. You may put the beret pin badge back on the beret at this point. Make sure the front of the leather band is  one inch (approximately the length of the tip of the thumb to where the thumb bends) above the eyebrow, and that the place where the beret badge will be is directly above the left eye. Once this is correct, make sure the back of the beret is resting lightly on the back of your head.

Then use your right hand to pull or smooth material over the right ear. The left hand meanwhile can be used to pull a small amount of material over the badge area to create a small fold/ crease over the badge. Leave the beret on your head to dry in this position. This will set the beret into the correct shape, and also the shape of the wearers head. Only once the beret has been moulded and dried, should the chord at the back to cut to length, with any excess material being tucked inside the leather band.

 

 

 

How to Tie a Windsor Knot

 Wedgewood Blue uniform is worn with a black tie, tied in a full Windsor knot. This knot is used, as it has a much more professional shape than a normal ‘schoolboy’ tie. The full Windsor gives a much smarter, triangular shape for the knot, and this is why it is used to formal occasions. To tie a Full Windsor, first put the tie around your neck, with one side longer than the other. Remember that the lengths decided here will effect the length of the tie. Follow these instructions along with the diagrams to finish the tie. 

Put the longer side of the tie across the top of the shorter side.
Tuck the longer side up underneath the shorter side, where the two have made a ‘V’ shape.
Bring the long side back down the same side it came from, over the top of the shorter part of the tie.
Tuck the long part underneath and across to the other side of the tie.
Pull the long part of the tie up, pulling the material tight on the back of the tie.
Loop this long part of the tie down the middle where the ‘V’ shape is and over to the same side of the tie it just came from.
Next cross the long part of the tie across the front to the opposite side of the tie.
Again tuck the tie underneath and up through the middle of the ‘V’ shape.
 
Tuck the tie down underneath the small loop, just made by bringing the tie across the front. Pull the tie all the way through and pull it tight to complete the knot. Pinch the bottom part of the knot to make the triangle shape more prominent. Then like a normal tie, hold the shorter part of the tie on the back and pull the knot up towards the neck to make sure the top button of the shirt cannot be seen. Practise making this knot a few times until you’re confident with tie the full Windsor knot correctly and at the right length. The tie should end between the Belly Button and the top of your trousers/ skirt.
For an animated version of this tutorial, follow the following link to WikiHow (Please note that 2427 (Biggin Hill) Squadron is not responsible for the content of external websites):
WikiHow - How to Tie a Full Windsor Knot
 

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