It’s the little touches that make the difference between a good look and a great one, and no-one knows that better than the RAF Regiment Gunners of the Queens Colour Squadron (QCS). Famous for their unique continuity drill displays - which are performed without command - the QCS have thrilled audiences all over the world.
The QCS represents the highest standards of RAF ceremonial dress, where each man must be polished and pressed to the squadrons extremely high standards. Boots and shoes are buffed to a high shine, buckles and buttons are perfectly polished, even the peaks of their hats are shined until you can see your reflection staring back at you.
Of course, the standards aren’t that high for the cadets but if you want to know how to look the business on the parade ground there’s no better place to start. We roped in SAC Dave Brennan to give us the insider info on parade prep. Here are his top ten tips:
- Always have a good breakfast before a long parade. If you don’t keep your energy levels up there’s a good chance you’ll feel faint.
- Pay attention to the smallest details. Making sure your buttons are the right way up may seem like a small thing but it’s something your Commanding Officer will notice.
- Using a good quality furniture polish of on the peak of your hat will give it a parade worthy shine.
- Use plain shoe polish instead of parade gloss. It requires a bit more work but it will give your boots or shoes a deeper shine.
- Never leave your boots or shoes in direct sunlight, as it will degrade the shine. Store them in a cupboard or locker and keep them covered.
- Running your boots or shoes under ice cold water and rubbing with cotton wool will remove any smears or oil left behind from polishing.
- Put your boots on before your shirt - this will prevent it from creasing.
- Taking pride in what we do is a central part of the QCS. Never ever cut corners and strive to be the best, even amongst your fellow cadets.
- Finally… Never leave kit preparation until the last minute. If you rush there’s more chance you’ll end up missing something or making a mistake.