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Thread: RAF officer funeral 1942 - hats off

  1. #1
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    Default RAF officer funeral 1942 - hats off

    Hi all,

    I am looking for help to understand why some airmen (mostly officers) had hats off while some other had hats on during a funeral of a RAF officer in summer 1942?

    Hats off:
    a NCO carrying officer's medals on a cushion
    officer's brother
    some officers from the unit of the dead officer
    some other hi ranking officers unknown to me

    Hats on:
    most of the other aimen (NCO+officer) including guard of honor at the coffin

    I assume that the hat off means that the person is showing something like close relation to the casualty?

    Any ideas would be much appreciated.

    TIA

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Pavel,
    You may need an expert in whatever edition of AP1358 (Manual of Service Dress) was current at the time of the funeral. Malcolm may need to 'burn some midnight oil' on this one!
    I was nearly in the team of Catafalque Guards in the RAF Benson Station Church on the occasion of the Lying In State of the late Duke of Windsor. But the SWO, and the Sta Regt Off, decided that my Formal Sword Drill was not up to it!! (You should understand that Formal Sword Drill is not, normally, required on Tactical Field Training Exercises!!!!).
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Thanks Peter for pointing out to the AP 1358! I have found a reprint of AP 1358 from 1939 (not sure if it is complete or not) but I have found nothing there.
    To make the things more complicated - this was funeral of Czechoslovak officer serving in the RAF so the question is if this was really a RAF rule or maybe some kind of Czech custom implemented into the standard RAF funeral?

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hi

    I think you may need to consult AP808 (Drill Manual), Officers (except female officers) always remove hats in church and the immediate surrounds of the church or at the burial site during the funeral service. However, the guard of honour etc, would not have been in the church for the service so would have kept their headgear on.

    Malcolm

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    Hi Malcolm, thank you for your advice. BTW I think you mean AP818 istead of 808?
    In this case I have few photos of the procession going from the cemetery entrace to the grave where the ceremony was held in the open air and there is mixture of airmen with hats on and another with hats off (holding them in hands)

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hi Pavel

    You are correct it's been a few years since I had cause to consult the drill manual.

    Also I should have said Personnel rather than officers as the 'hats off' rule applies to males (service and civilian) and thinking about it it's probably more of religious tradition rather than a military one. When I attended church services the women kept their hats on which all the men removed them on entering the church.

    Malcolm

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    Malcolm thank you for you latest reply.
    You are right - personnel would be better as after checking the photos again there are both officers and also NCOs with hats off but ladies have their hats on.
    Also the idea with the religious tradition is very interesting. I would check service records of those I am able to recognize to check if they were all RC or any other religion.
    There is one interesting thing - there were quite a lot of atheists among Czechoslovak airmen and as there was necessary to fill in religion for everyone when entering the RAF VR Czechoslovak Inspectorate General has created a new "fake" religion - CoC - Church of Czechoslovakia.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hi

    It certainly applied to any church in this country, (RC, Methodist, C of E, etc)

    Malcolm

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