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Postwarden 24-05-19 03:22 PM

Army Air Corps Blue Beret
4 Attachment(s)
Thought I'd share this recent find. Dated 14th October 1958 it shows the "recently approved powder blue beret for the Army Air Corps" with a nice wire embroidered badge.

The original caption was pasted on the reverse.

Other examples I have recorded show the badge on a dark blue ground which I assume was adopted later. Can anyone confirm please?


54Bty 24-05-19 06:47 PM

"On the 14th of March 1958 a square of dark blue cloth was authorised to be worn on the beret behind the badge to make it more distinguishable against the Light Blue."


leigh kitchen 24-05-19 07:07 PM

According to "Badges and Embellishments" published in 1990, the AAC regimental committee authorised the wearing of a dark blue beret with a light blue patch when on operations or exercise in the field at the discretion of aviation commanders.
Attached personnel to wear their official authorised regimental backings superimposed on the dark blue AAC patch.
Approved by HQ Director of Army Aviation and Airborne Forces between 1973 and 1977, 644 (Parachute) Squadron AAC wore a square 2" badge backing divided horizontally light blue above dark blue on their maroon berets.
"Sightings' of other coloured badge backings on the light blue AAC beret are mentioned, eg maroon for Para Regiment, maroon and blue and Royal Stuart tartan for Guards.

Restrikes-ok 25-05-19 04:28 PM

When looking round their museum i found the Officers light blue peak cap interesting.

leigh kitchen 25-05-19 04:32 PM

I've read that the forage cap was designed by a serving AAC officer as was (I think) a light blue fabric covered pouch.
An ex-AAC forum member may know more about this?

grey_green_acorn 25-05-19 05:18 PM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by leigh kitchen (Post 479304)
I've read that the forage cap was designed by a serving AAC officer as was (I think) a light blue fabric covered pouch.
An ex-AAC forum member may know more about this?

What about this one?


leigh kitchen 25-05-19 06:11 PM

That's the photo I saw accompanying the info.

3dg 29-05-19 08:56 AM

I have found this thread most interesting.
I only knew of the wire badge on a black square.
So looking at the photos there is a wire badge on light blue same colour as the beret, wire badge on dark blue Square, and an eagle and crown badge for the peaked cap, that is certainly a new one on me, is that a two part badge?
Are there any more?
Is the chap in the first photo Royal Artillery air observation post?
Really interesting,


Unknownsoldier 29-05-19 12:11 PM

There are also black/dark blue berets with light blue squares and metal badges worn in Northern Ireland. Rare but I have seen photos of them being worn (also mentioned in the PDF that was circulated a while back surrounding the Blue Beret of the AAC.

Postwarden 29-05-19 06:22 PM

In reply to Chris's question the badge is the Army flying badge rather than the RA AOP badge which officially disappeared with the arrival of the post-war Army Air Corps.

Interestingly there is documentary evidence that although no longer authorised for active Army pilots the AOP version was still being worn by current flyers in 1967.


3dg 29-05-19 09:59 PM


Originally Posted by Postwarden (Post 479704)
In reply to Chris's question the badge is the Army flying badge rather than the RA AOP badge which officially disappeared with the arrival of the post-war Army Air Corps.

Interestingly there is documentary evidence that although no longer authorised for active Army pilots the AOP version was still being worn by current flyers in 1967.


Thanks for your reply, I know it's the Army Flying badge, but I noticed Royal Artillery shoulder titles, but your reply does answer the question why he's not wearing the AOP badge, cheers

MarkGD 30-05-19 05:43 AM

The chap's beret looks brand new, was he re-badged from RA? Regards Mark

Unknownsoldier 04-08-19 09:11 AM

from the now deleted PDF:

"General" said The Queen smilingly, "I think that
colour would look better on me than it does on
you!" This it is said was the first comment made
by Her Majesty when in early I958 General Sir
Hugh Stockwell, GCB, KBE, DSO, the first
Colonel Commandant of the newly formed Army
Air Corps (AAC), submitted the light blue beret
now proudly worn by all ranks who serve in AAC
units to The Queen for her approval. But why such
a startling colour, so impractical in many ways for
a modern soldier - especially soldiers whose every
day work is wholly involved with oily aircraft
engines and dust depositing helicopters? I should
say at once that it was not the AAC's first choice,
and although it is sometimes assumed to be, it was
not chosen because it was symbolic of the "wide
blue yonder" environment of our aircrews.
The colour of our beret was only resolved after
much impassioned argument, strong words,
aggrieved feelings and friendships jeopardised,
and the background to this and our choice of
headgear should be explained. When the AAC was
"formed" on 1 September 1957, it was more
accurately "re-formed", having first been raised by
Royal Warrant on 24 February 1942 and
disbanded on 22 May 1950. The units of the AAC
were then the Glider Pilot Regiment, the Parachute
Regiment and the Special Air Service Regiment.
The headgear of the AAC was the maroon beret
and this headgear continued to be worn by the
Glider Pilot Regiment and the Parachute
Regiment, who became a component of the Corps
of Infantry on the disbandment of the AAC in
1950 - the Special Air Service Regiment electing
to adopt their own distinctive light khaki beret.
Thus when the AAC re-formed in 1957, absorbing
as it did its erstwhile unit the Glider Pilot
Regiment (still wearing the maroon beret) and the
Air Observation Post Squadrons of the Royal Air
Force, we logically and justifiably expected that
the AAC would re-assume its maroon beret and
claimed to do so. But alas! this was not to be.
Powerful guns were brought to bear against our
claim and although history, precedence, logic and
justice were on our side, we were at that stage of
our re-birth, weak and un- championed, and the
argument prevailed that the maroon beret was in
effect an "honour or award" to be worn only by
permanent or seconded members of the Parachute
Regiment or by qualified parachutists attached to
the Parachute units or formations. The argument
implied that only parachutists had earned or could earn
the right to wear the red beret. or perpetuate its
traditions. This argument and the opposition of the
parachute hierarchy aggrieved and saddened the AAC,
especially those of the Glider Pilot Regiment who had
been absorbed into the AAC and who felt a
responsibility to their Glider Pilot comrades who, in
World War II in a number of heroic actions including
the famous airborne landings of D-Day, Arnhem and
the Rhine Crossing, fought with matchless gallantry
while wearing the maroon beret and sustained a
percentage of casualties probably greater than any
other regiment during its short but valiant existence;
yet they were not necessarily parachutists.
We might have chosen to press our claim, but rebuffed
and understandingly hurt, the AAC decided that it
would withdraw with dignity and choose a beret of a
colour not worn by any other regiment, rebuild on its
traditions and earn a reputation for professionalism
which would be acknowledged everywhere and
recognised by its own distinctive headgear. As it
turned out, choosing a beret was not a simple matter!
When we looked around for a suitable colour which
was distinctive yet practical, we found it difficult to
find one that some other regiment or service did not
already wear. Green berets were worn by the Royal
Marine Commandos; black by tank regiments; dark
blue by the gunners and infantry; khaki of varying
shades by the Special Air Service and Guards
regiments; brown by the 11th Hussars; grey by the
Royal Scots Greys and so on. It seemed that whatever
colour we considered might be suitable; it had already
been adopted and jealously guarded by someone else.
So we looked at aspects of our antecedents other than
the maroon beret and decided that the colours that
predominated were Cambridge Blue (the facings and
shoulder titles of the Glider Pilot Regiment and of the
Army Pilot Wings worn by the Air Observation Post
and Glider Pilots) and the slate blue of the Royal Air
Force which would symbolise the RAF Air
Observation Post Squadrons.
So two berets were produced, one light blue, the other
slate blue for the inspection and decision of an ad hoc
committee consisting of, among others, our Colonel
Commandant, General Stockwell, the Brigadier AAC,
Brigadier Pat Weston, myself and the Chief Aircraft
Engineer (I have a feeling that in these early days the
Regimental Committee had not been formed).
Brigadier Pat Weston, himself a distinguished
parachute formation commander and a pilot qualified
to wear both RAF and Army wings and proud of his
Why the Light Blue Beret? Continued
This article was originally written for the Silver Jubilee Army Air Corps Journal in 1982.
Reprinted in the Army Air Corps Journal 2007, pp 140-141.
maroon beret, was particularly incensed at the
cavalier treatment given to our request to wear the
maroon beret, and was now determined that we
should go our own way and start afresh (although
later with his characteristic sense of humour, he
had a beret made, quartered in alternate colours of
maroon and light blue which on occasions he wore
to ridicule the decision which made all this colour
searching necessary!). When the two berets were
produced to the Committee there was a general
sucking of teeth. The slate blue beret was rejected
mainly on the grounds that it might make us
indistinguishable from the RAF Regiment which if
I remember at that time wore khaki battledress and
the slate blue beret; it was too RAF in fact. These
comments were mild compared to those uttered
when the light blue beret was modelled.
It should be remembered that in 1957 the army
was very conservative: the dreary war years were
not all that long gone and somehow the light blue
seemed then more garish than with years of
acceptance it does now. However most of the
comments, (once Brig Pat Weston had convinced
us that the punch-ups we would have defending
our light blue beret against the ribald remarks of
the other soldiery would make us more feared than
any "red devil" in a maroon beret-and if we lost
out on that, then the girls would certainly fall for
anyone wearing it) reduced our objections to
doubts on its workaday practicality. Nothing
daunted, Pat Weston, ready for this, produced a
bucket of oil and a bucket of petrol, plunged the
light blue beret into the oil where it emerged as we
expected, in a horrible mess. He then sloshed it
around in the bucket of petrol where surprisingly it
emerged almost glowingly clean! So we were
persuaded that the light blue beret was practical
(besides being our only choice) and that it should
become the distinctive headgear of the AAC. So, it is
now proudly worn by us all. I personally have not had to
indulge in fisticuffs to defend it against derogatory
remarks by brutal and insensitive soldiery. Custom has
undoubtedly "staled its infinite variety" and one hears
few comments if any these days.
Words did fail me however some years ago when at a
Divisional Study Period I was chatting to a cavalry
colonel and I remarked that I could not remember seeing
one of his regimental officers coming forward for flying
training. "Nor will you" said he disdainfully "as long as
you continue to wear that b***** silly hat!"
Disbelievingly I looked at him: he was wearing his own
regimental side cap which vied with Joseph's coat of
many colours and looked as though it had been looted
from a guerilla in the Peninsular Campaign. Truly,
beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
However, I often smile wryly at the "confidence trick" of
Pat Weston with his persuasive buckets of oil and petrol
when I recall a memorable occasion in 1958 when the
blue beret was first worn by the permanent cadre of the
AAC. There were only a few of us then and I felt a little
self-conscious wearing it. I had to fly from BAOR to UK
for a conference and return the same day. I arrived at
RAF Northolt in an RAF Devon. It was late in landing
and when the engines had stopped I dashed out of the
aircraft towards my waiting car. As I ducked under the
aircraft wing, it happened! A large blob of oil from the
engine fell dead centre on my pristine new light blue
beret, the centre of all attraction! Great embarrassment!
But I thought of Pat Weston and his petrol bucket and
had my driver produce some you have guessed? it
didn't work! Perhaps the oil was different (or perhaps Pat
Weston had practised with diluted grades?) Anyway I
skulked around for the rest of the day wearing a piebald
blue beret. Now that did raise some comment!

leigh kitchen 04-08-19 09:24 AM

Thanks button.

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