Uniform & Drill


Cadets, SNCOs, WOs and Officers of the ATC wear uniform – civilian instructors, Chaplains and members of the Civilian committee do not normally wear uniform, although a uniform of sorts has been issued to civilian instructors in the form of polo shirt and sweatshirt. Those entitled to uniform have it issued free of charge by the supply squadron at a local RAF station, (1372s supply squadron is RAF Halton) which in the case of cadets comes via their squadron’s stores. Cadets and SNCOs, WOs (ATC) are then entitled to free replacement as needed (cadets will be charged for lost items of uniform).

Uniformed Staff wear the appropriate uniform for their rank in the regular RAF, with the rank insignia appropriate to their RAF rank, with the exception of Warrant Officers (who wear a crown as their rank insignia). They are distinguished by gilt pins on their rank slides (No 2 or 3 dress) or lapels (No 1, 4 and 5 dress) with the designation “ATC” for SNCOs, WOs and “VRT” for commissioned officers.

No 1 (Service Dress) Uniform

No 1 uniform is usually worn at formal events, such as parades. Commissioned Officers are issued No 1 SD after their Initial Officers Course at RAF Cranwell. The following personnel are not issued No 1, but may acquire it privately:

SNCOs and WOs (ATC)

Cadet Warrant Officers

Lord Lieutenants Cadets

Band Members

The uniform consists of jacket and trousers (worn with a standard No 2 Wedgewood blue shirt and black tie) with the appropriate No1 hat, black shoes (DMS or Oxfords) and brown gloves (for Officers and WOs, optional for NCOs).

After obtaining permission from Wing Cos, cadets are sometimes permitted to wear white belts and gloves when on formal duties.

No 2 Uniform

Cadets wear No2 (with jumper) or No 2a (without jumper) uniform for formal occasions. This is sometimes incorrectly known as No 1 uniform, as it is generally worn at occasions when regular RAF personnel (and ATC staff) would normally be wearing No 1 uniform.

RAF Wedgewood blue shirt with tie

RAF No 2 Dress trousers (male cadets), RAF No 2 Dress skirt (female cadets).

RAF Blue-grey belt with polished brass / staybrite buckle (male cadets), optional (if not on formal parade) RAF Purse Belt (female cadets) or RAF stable belt (both genders).

RAF jumper (No 2 dress), onto which is sewn the highest Duke of Edinburgh’s Award badge achieved (right shoulder patch) and flying and gliding “wings” (left shoulder patch).

RAF Beret with ATC cap badge (a white metal badge comprising a falcon surrounded by the words “Air Training Corps”).

A brassard which is worn by all cadets on the right arm, and includes the Air Training Corps distinguishing badge, squadron number, classification badge and most other proficiency badges.

Black leather shoes (ideally RAF pattern or similar) are required but not issued.

Cadets also wear a lanyard if qualified to do so.

Cadet NCOs wear the appropriate rank slides on the epaulets of their jumper.

Lord Lieutenant’s cadets wear a separate brassard with distinguishing badge and squadron number on the left arm during time in office.

Cadets are also issued a blue waterproof jacket for outdoor wear in foul weather, the only insignia worn on this jacket is a rank slide if entitled.

No 2 (Working)

For normal duties, cadets wear a version of the RAF No 2c uniform (as worn by RAF Airmen in technical trades). Cadets never wear the RAF No 2b uniform (short sleeve wedgewood shirt and no tie). Cadets version of the RAF No 2c uniform, known as “working blues” or “Number twos”, is the same as the No 2a uniform but worn with a dark blue open necked shirt and no tie. The stable belt may be worn.

At any time during the year (but most commonly done in the summer for comfort), the officer commanding a unit may authorise “shirt - sleeve order”, in which the jumper is removed and sleeves are smartly rolled up to just above the elbow. This is not permitted if wearing a Wedgewood blue shirt with a tie. Brassards, lanyards and rank slides are transferred to the shirt, but Duke of Edinburgh’s awards and flying badges are not worn.


No 3 (DPM) Uniform

No 3 uniform may be acquired by members of the ATC for certain duties, such as shooting and fieldcraft. It is worn with the issued beret for all ranks. Officers wear the Royal Air Force force identifier and Tactical Recognition Flash (TRF), non commissioned staff wear the Air Cadets force identifier and SNCO TRF and cadets wear the Air Cadets force identifier and Cadet TRF.

Cadet forces version of the No 3 uniform consists of:

DPM Light – weight Jacket (Normally referred to as a DPM Shirt).

DPM Jacket.

DPM Trousers.

Issued beret with appropriate cap badge.

Black leather combat boots.

2.5 inch Belt (Olive green belt for field exercises – RAF Stable belt is authorised for Barrack Wear only).

There is also a two part waterproof suit (jacket and trousers) in DPM pattern for foul weather, and a number of cold weather undergarments such as a fleece jacket and a Norwegian shirt.

As DPM uniform has only recently started to be issued to cadets, and privately sourced uniform is still being worn by most, the wearing of DPM uniform across the ATC is far from standardised. Recent guidelines encourage the wearing of the union flag (previously forbidden) and RAF pattern stable belt by Cadets and Staff.