British Royal Navy QEII
I assume that these are more on the common side of availability maybe? I know nothing about British caps.
Not exactly common over here. But Navy stuff is not as widely collected compared to Army or RAF.
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Just to qualify Ades point about commonality. The fact that these are not so common is as Ade says, due to the general lack of demand by collectors. This is still a current item and if a collector wants one they are out there.
I think I am correct in saying that this one carries a 1978 contract number. But this doesn't neccessarily mean it has been in service that long. As RN stores do not turn around anything like as quickly as Army stores it could have been in the system without being issued for quite a while and this one looks like it was never worn so perhaps it went straight to surplus disposal in maybe the mid '80s (bit of an educated guess there).
Point to note here is that this is a (comissioned) officers badge. There is only one design (but different patterns) for officers whilst there are four different designs for the non-comissioned ranks; ratings, POs, CPOs and Warrant officers. There is also an embroidered bullion beret badge which tends to be more expensive (much of an officers kit apart from combat kit is purchased in UK forces) but ranges from about £8 - £40 depending on quality from a military tailors shop. The metal version in anodised aluminium goes for about £12 at a military outfitters but yours looks to be of heavier quality (is it gilt?) and would therefore be more expensive.
The beret itself is of the older (but still post war) type on which the headband is called "silk" even though it certainly does not look like silk in hand does it! These were introduced as the new thing after the wartime leather banded types. They were universally hated certainly in the Army and just about everybody from at least the early '70s replaced them with a private purchase leather banded type as soon as they passed out from basic. In some units the wearing of the issue type was looked upon with disdain and could at the very least attract fairly negative attention from the Sar'n't Major Such was the dislike for the silk banded beret that when new contracts became due in the '80s the leather band was re-introduced and is normal current issue.
I hope this helps you get a feel for British berets in general
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares more about than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature with no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
Wow Mark thanks! I apologize for the late reply I haven't been on here lately,
I have put it away and will dig it out again soon.
The badge us a solid piece of metal.
Fantastic explanation I really appreciate the feedback!