Generic Mess Dress for all WOs and SNCOs!!

I see that its being banded around that the Army have finally paid some attention to providing financial assistance towards the cost of Mess Dress on promotion to Sgt (as already happens to Officers upon commissioning).

However..... rather than give a grant ala the Officers clothing allowance, they are looking at a generic Seniors Mess Dress in which we would all wear the same outfit regardless of regt or Corps and the only differences would be in badges and collar dogs!

A good idea or just another attempt at watering down the traditions and standards of the Warrant Officers and Senior NCOs Mess?
Yet another nail in the coffin of Corps and Regt ethos?

Id be surprised if the grant for Officers Mess dress lives much longer.
At the end of the day Mess Kit is not an officially issued uniform. Dont look a gift horse in the mouth.

Your option is to continue to pay for it yourselves. You may prefer to do so in order to maintain the traditions of your Regiment and I would think better of you if you did.
I would rather pay for it myself than get it off the peg and look like a bag of shite, have you ever been to a RAF or RN Regt dinner? fcuk me everyone looks identical, very dull!
How about mess dress being produced by unit tailor/esses, basic costs borne by the recipient rather than the over inflated prices set by civilian companies that know it is a necessity.
dingerr said:
How about mess dress being produced by unit tailor/esses, basic costs borne by the recipient rather than the over inflated prices set by civilian companies that know it is a necessity.

It takes 2 weeks just to get a TRF sown on, let alone a full bloody mess dress with fittings
I think keeping individual mess dresses would be better but is there not a possibility of getting the VAT back on them? Anyway if it was decided to have a generic mess dress imagine the size of the committee and the arguments that would go on until it was finalised!
I dont think that its necessarilly the fact that the Mess Kit costs so much, its the fact that Officers will still have Corps/Regt specific Mess Dress paid for by the tax payer while the Seniors, whose mess has far more traditions than that of the Officers Mess (I am in a postion where I use both Messes) would have to make do with wearing the same as every other senior NCO in the Army regardless of Cap Badge, watering down the Mess and making the Officers Mess a more elitist club.
one mess you have to earn your way into and the other anyone can join (dont go down the Sandhurst route, there are PQOs who wouldnt get into the local pub who are members of the officers mess!)


looks like we are going down the No 2's route, where everyone will look the same, you will not know which regt/corps they are in until you look at there collar dogs
Even tax relief would be better than nothing. Generic mess dress would take away identity and give the bean counters another excuse to try and combine messes.
without lots of gold and silver embroided bits -half of pakistan will be unemployed..
strima said:
Even tax relief would be better than nothing. Generic mess dress would take away identity and give the bean counters another excuse to try and combine messes.

Make no mistake....for better or for worse...It's coming!


Tradition must be upheld surely?

Agree they are too pricey but a good one will last a good number years, despite the amount of booze spilt down it.
its true they do last for years 23 -i only bought one --dint fit me properly but to get plastered in who cares.


I would hate to see a mess full of clones, but if we have to go that way why not use the ginger drinking suit already issued?

My mess kit was purchased from the Corps kit agency, was originally made in 1974 and had captain pips on, probably making it 3rd hand.
I shall return it to the same kit agency once I have finished playing and I hope that someone will have as much pride and fun in wearing it as i have.

As a newly promoted SGT, mine was pre-owned. I got the best part of 15 years wear and tear out of it. I recycled it, and it is probably still doing someone sterling service ten years on.

When I got Commissioned, I perhaps foolishly paid out to get new Service Dress and mess kit. After all, that is what they give you the money for?

Entirely agree that a common mess kit signals the beginging of the end of service tradition. The end of an institution that has provided the backbone of the British Army, for considerably longer than a number of large countries have been in exisitance: the Sergeants' Mess.

Please PM me if you might be interested in forming a SGT's Mess reenactment society in years to come.
How very very sad.

As a newcomer to a Cavalry WOs and Sgts Mess in 1985 I asked myself why the Mess Dress was in the form it was.

It transpired that I wore a scarlet jacket as a symobol of the scarlet jacket worn by my antecedents in the days of the redcoat. In days gone by the jacket which was originally a frock coat had the skirt cut away because it made it easier to mount and ride the horse, and so I had a shortened jacket. The lapels and cuffs were navy blue which were symbolic of one of our constituent regiments (pre 1922) which were once known as The Blue Horse due to their uniform facings having been blue. In fact it transpires that the "fake cuff" was a remnant of the fact that the real cuff on the scarlet frock coat had previously been folded down over the hands to act as gloves when riding the horse. (The fake knots one often sees on scarlet ceremonial jackets did actually exist and was so that the cuff could be hooked over the middle finger keeping it in position.

The trousers were made of stretch barathea, cavalry cut (skin tight) and were navy blue with a single yellow stripe down the side 1 and 3/4 inch wide with buckles under the boots. Again these were symbolic of the cavalry trousers worn by troopers of old.

We wore george boots with swan neck spurs again symbolic of a previous role.

All in all the first time I wore this uniform I felt 10 feet tall, my wife at the time said that she felt immensely proud of me every tmie I wore it and personally I wore it in all due humility of what it represented. In a modern army with a non-traditionalist view it was one area which the Regiment and more importantly the Mess could decide for itself how it was respresented and how it presented itself to the outside world.

Now it may be said thaty now i am no longer serving i am a dinosaur and have no right to dictate how others should present their regiment or their mess. But I am entitiled to a plea that in these days where the government of the day is intent on breaking down our regimental structure and has already had some devastating affects on the PBI and other arms, I beg you all please to resist this line and to voluntarily retain your regimentla and corps individuality.

It is these for traditions and other customs that other armies are jealous of the British Army and rightly so. It is this tradition this pride this individuality, this acknowledgement of our history that helps make us the finest armed forces in the world.

I beg you all not to give it up too freely. Regardless of the fact that you may be required to buy said Mess Dress with no recourse to a tax refund, it is a small price to pay in the acknowledgement of our glorious past regardless of what proud Regiment or Coprs you may come from.

The Warrant Officer's and Sergeant's Mess is a private and unique club. Every member of that unique club has earned the right to be there, no-one is there by anything other than individual merit. As a private club it is for the members of that club and of the Regiment or Corps to decide how they dress, not some chinless wonder in Whitehall.

OK Rant over and if I have been the victim of a major wind-up then I apologise for geting on my soap box.


Alas it is true.

Why don't they make the wearing of mess-kit compulsorary in QRs and then at least we could claim money back from Gordon Brown's mob? Oh sorry they won't even pay for essential kit so they will not even consider anything to do with a 'regimental ethos' thing they do not understand.