Military Archive Research
by Dr. Stuart C Blank
Member of the Orders and Medals Research Society (OMRS)
Member of the Royal Air Force Historical Society (RAFHS)
Member of the Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association (NHCRA)
Member of the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS)
Member of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS)
Member of the International Bond and Share Society (IBSS)




Review of
Badges and Uniforms of the Royal Air Force
By Malcolm C Hobart
Pen and Sword (
ISBN 9781848848948
RRP GBP £12.99


The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the youngest of the three branches of the UK’s armed forces. It was the product of the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) in 1918. It is now nearly a century old and its achievements are cemented into our national heritage. These legendary achievements and the sacrifices of the men and women who wore the RAF uniform cannot be understated.

The many thousands of personnel who have passed through the RAF have ensured that the RAF has a world renowned reputation. This should not be overshadowed by the accomplishments of the aircraft used by the RAF and its operations.

The personnel of the RAF proudly wore their uniform and insignia. This aspect of the RAF’s history is the focus of this book. It covers the RAF, its predecessors (the RFC & RNAS), the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF), the RAF Reserve and Auxiliary formations, the Air Training Corps (ATC) and the little-known Royal Observer Corps (ROC). Undoubtedly it is destined to become the standard reference work on this subject.

The main aim of the book is to aid identification of uniforms and insignia and to describe their significance. This objective is easily accomplished by this volume. The book is structured in an easy to use format which significantly aids these aims. It is split into chapters on the uniforms and insignia used by the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), the early RAF (c.1918), the RAF officers and other ranks (including service dress, full dress, mess dress etc.), the Reserve and Auxiliary Services, Civil Air Guard, University Air Squadrons, Air Transport Auxiliary / Ferry Command, the Cadet Forces and the Royal Observer Corps. Also there are specific chapters devoted to badges for the service dress, aircrew, distinction / trades and miscellaneous purposes.

Each chapter is lavishly illustrated with excellent photographs / images of the myriad of badges worn by RAF and its associated personnel. One has to congratulate the author on his superb work and I am confident that this book is going to become the standard reference book on this topic.

February 2013