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Order of Precedence 1983

Army Cadet Force

Women in the Army


The Rifle Company

Cap Badges

Dress codes and   Head Dress.



Infantry Weapons

Support Weapons




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Women in the 
British Army of the 80's



In the 1980's women started to play an increasingly vital role within the armed forces. In the field they wore the same uniform as there male counterparts, were trained the same and were by 1982 armed the same, and they also had the same chance at promotion.  

There were two branches within the British Army that allowed women to serve; these being the Womens Royal Army Corps (WRAC) and Queens Alexander Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC).

Arming of the WRAC - 1982

On the 16  August 1982 the Army Board ruled that the WRAC  should be considered as a combatant corps within the terms of the Geneva Convention, although its personnel should not be placed in positions that would result in direct combat.
It's main aim was to allow servicewomen to bear arms for self defence. Up until this point Servicewomen were not allowed to bear arms especially in Northern Ireland where the rule in general never changed,

WRAC Provost officers were also allowed to carry arms for defensive purposes whilst undertaking police duties, including close protection duties.

Initially as per regulations servicewomen were restricted to the use of the Browning Pistol and the Sterling SMG.  By the late 1980's some servicewomen were trained to use the L1A1 SLR. They were also not allowed to throw grenades. 

Weapon handling training was not carried out as part of the basic training and was done in unit. Servicewomen who joined after 1st January 1982 were liable to carry arms, whilst those that joined before 1st January 1982 could be excluded from carrying weapons.

Under normal peace time conditions, although women were allowed to carry weapons they were not allowed to take part in ceremonial duties or any form of guard duties. They were however allowed to take part in competition shooting which was not restricted to pistol or SMG.

The policy of arming women was not made public and training was to be kept discrete. 

Service women in peace and war

On the 27th January 1986 a letter was issued with the revised policy on the employment of female personnel within the armed forces. 

Women were not to be employed in a position that would place them in direct combat and could not serve in any post that in time of war would be filled by a man.

To this effect servicewomen were further restricted from war establishment posts within the 2 Armoured Division, BOAR, Fighting units in the 2 Infantry Division, Corps main HQ and from any unit that could be redeployed into the Armoured Divisional Areas.

Other areas of exclusion were within 5 AB Brigade, AMF(L), UKMF, UK/WL Force and SPEARHEAD units with the exeption that they may serve in the LSG of the UKMF and as Assistant Adjutants within the AMF(L) Logistics Support Battalion.

They may however be deployed in field and general hospitals within the exclusion zone. 

WRAC Dress Regulations


No.1 Dress (W1):

  • Forage Cap, dark green

  • Shirt, white with tab tie

  • Gloves, black leather (white on ceremonial occasions)

  • Shoes, black leather, flat heel, laced, or court shoes

  • Jacket, dark green barathea

  • Skirt, dark green barathea

  • Hosiery in the authorised shade

This order of dress is authorized for wear by  Brigadiers and above,  Directors of music, the WRAC staff band,  WRAC provost,  Household staffs C-in-C/GOCs,  Instructors at RMAS,  Specific WRAC Drivers.

No.2 Dress (W2):

  • Jacket, lovat green

  • Skirt, lovat green

  • shirt, white with tab tie

  • Forage cap, dark green or beret, dark green, at CO's discretion inside the barrack area

  • Gloves, leather black

  • Hosiery in the authorized shade

  • Shoes, black leather, flat heeled, or court shoes

  • Greatcoat or raincoat

Tropical Dress (W6):

  • Beige dress with corps buttons

  • Metal badges of rank - Berlin/BAOR/SHAPE

  • White cloth badges of rank - Tropical stations

  • Shoes court, white or beige, or sandals, white or brown - Tropical stations

  • Shoes court, black or sandals white - Berlin/BAOR/SHAPE

  • Forage cap. dark green or beret, dark green at CO's discretion

  • Shoes, flat black, to be worn on parade

  • Socks, ankle white, with white sandals, at CO's discretion

Hosiery need not be worn with Tropical Dress unless instructions are issued in connection with a specific occasion.

Working Dress/Combat Dress (W7):

  • Jacket, combat

  • Trousers, men's, lightweight (Working Dress only)

  • Trousers,  Combat

  • Shirt, olive drab

  • Jersey, woman's, or jersey, heavy wool

  • Tie khaki, if wearing jersey, woman's

  • Boots DMS, with puttees/Boots, combat high

  • Socks, green

  • Beret, dark green

  • Gloves, combat

  • Hoods, combat (Combat Dress only)

  • Liner, combat (Combat Dress only)

  • Cloth badges of rank

Coverall/Overall clothing (W12):

Protective clothing worn over uniform with beret and boots DMS and puttees or boots, combat high.

Barrack Dress (W13):

  • Forage cap, dark green or beret, dark green, at CO's discretion

  • Skirt, barrack dress, lovat green

  • Shirt, white with tab tie, or shirt, white with dark green braid tie

  • Jersey, woman's

  • Hosiery in authorized shade

  • Shoes, black leather, flat heel, laced, or court shoes with medium heel

  • Badges of rank

Summer Blouse Order (W14):

  • Skirt, lovat green barrack dress

  • Shirt, woman's white, blouse type

  • Forage cap, dark green or beret, dark green, at CO's discretion

  • Stable belt, WRAC

  • Jersey, woman's may be worn

  • Hosiery in authorized shade

  • Shoes, black leather, flat heel, laced, or court shoes with medium heel

  • Badges of rank

  • Raincoat if required

Shirt Sleeve Order (W14):

  • Shirt, Olive drab, open necked, rolled sleeves

  • Trousers, men's, lightweight

  • Boots, DMS with puttees/Boots, combat high

  • Socks, green

  • Beret, dark green

Cooks Protective Clothing:

  • Trousers, blue/white check

  • Jacket, white, V-necked

  • Shoes, black safety

  • Hat


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