Service life of RAF ‘erks’ (service slang for airmen) and WAAF airwomen included the necessity of laying out their kit on their bed for inspection. Some NCOs were also required to lay out their kit in this way – although the necessity of this depended on their trade.
Senior officers considered that this would instil self-discipline in the recruits, and teach them to take pride in their uniform. Living in close proximity to colleagues, often in Nissen huts with little space of their own, keeping kit tidy was vital. Frequent inspections meant that a standard layout made it easier for both the recruit and the inspecting sergeant to check that all the correct equipment was there.
Unlike WAAFs, RAF servicemen also had to parade with the necessary equipment for weapons training, field service marching, and change of station order. This was not applicable to WAAFs as they did not carry weapons and basically wore the same pattern of uniform all the time.
Date: August 1943
Collection Ref: X001-4334