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I recently won a RUC uniform tunic in an online auction. The tunic is dark green, with 4 pockets and epaulettes, and silver buttons with the RUC coat of arms. It has no other insignia. Ive been looking at pictures of RUC members on the internet and youtube videos to try to get an idea of what kinds of circumstances this uniform would have been worn. In pictures from the time when the RUC was operational, all the members appear to be wearing body armor over their uniforms, and I am not able to tell what kind of uniform is underneath. So what I am trying to determine is; is the uniform I have a uniform which would have been worn on the street and in the field, or rather a uniform that would have been reserved for more formal or ceremonial occasions. I apologize for not posting a picture of the tunic, but I am not able to upload pictures yet. Thanks for any information. -Jeff

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Jeff,

The uniform you have would have been worn latterly on formal occasions only. Up until the mid seventies it would have been worn on the street with the addition of revolver holster/belt etc. However, the subsequent rise in terrorism in Northern Ireland saw it being replaced by more practical garments, ballistic vest, sweater etc. such as that shown in the photos you mention.

Dave.

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Most often I remember body armor over shirts in summer, but anoraks in winter. I have a few photos I can post.

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The tunic was still being worn under body armour in the 80s as was the leather belt and holster. Standard Firearm being the Ruger revolver 357. Each officer was issued with a total of 30 rounds as I recall but only carried 18 that was six in the pistol and two plastic strips containing 6 rounds in small leather pouches on the belt. The Jumpers or woolly pullies as they were called were phased in during the late 80s and eventually did replace the tunic as everyday wear clothing

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Thanks for the replies. Ive managed to find the collar devices, and Im now keping an eye out for the insignia for the epaulettes. Can anyone explain what exactly was worn on the epaulettes. Some pictures Ive seen show a letter over some numbers. -Jeff

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Thanks for the replies. Ive managed to find the collar devices, and Im now keping an eye out for the insignia for the epaulettes. Can anyone explain what exactly was worn on the epaulettes. Some pictures Ive seen show a letter over some numbers. -Jeff

Jeff,

For a Constable the epaulette would consist of his force number. These were (I think) four metal numbers mounted on a bar in chrome. The letter which you refer to would be "R" (Reserve).

Dave.

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I would concur with the other replies. The tunic was still being worn well into the 80's and even with the issue of the more practical jumpers and short coats was still worn for court appearances and performing court duty and other more formal occasions.

The shoulder number is known as the clothes number and is not the officers actual force number. It was simply there to identify whose tunic was whose. It was common for officers to write there actual force number on the inside label however.

The letter 'R' does indeed signify Reserve, of which there were Part time and Full time officers mainly engaged in security duty.

Regards

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LO70 - welcome to GMIC. Thankyou for giving us some interesting info. - I had no idea that the number on

the epaulettes was for clothing only - although members of the public would have assumed it was the Force No..?

I don't know of any British Force where the shown number wasn't the constable's identification ? Mervyn

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The shoulder number raises the question: if the four digit serial was merely to identify the jacket would it have been OK for one officer to borrow another's without switching the numbers? Somehow I don't think so!

Edited by NickLangley

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I would concur with the other replies. The tunic was still being worn well into the 80's and even with the issue of the more practical jumpers and short coats was still worn for court appearances and performing court duty and other more formal occasions.

The shoulder number is known as the clothes number and is not the officers actual force number. It was simply there to identify whose tunic was whose. It was common for officers to write there actual force number on the inside label however.

The letter 'R' does indeed signify Reserve, of which there were Part time and Full time officers mainly engaged in security duty.

Regards

I find the term "clothes number" a difficult concept to get my head around. Surely the object of a number on a police uniform is to identify the individual wearing the uniform to any person who wished to comment upon the actions of the wearer, adverse or otherwise. If it was simply to identify the item of clothing, then what was the purpose of the letter "R", or indeed Sergeants chevrons. Whilst on the subject, what about Senior Officers? I know that all members of the PSNI now display numbers on their uniform. But, Inspectors and above in the RUC did not display numbers............So, how were their clothes identified without a numbers?

Dave

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Dave,

It is possible to trace the officer with his clothes number as they are unique to each officer. This is not his force number however. Sgt's wore their stripes on the sleeve of their tunic but their number was displayed on their shoulder. Later the chevrons (stripes) and number were both displayed on the shoulder when wearing jumpers or short coats. Its true that officers from the rank of Inspector upwards did display a clothes number.

It was not really necessary are there were only a few of them and not much chance of getting tunics etc mixed up. There rank of course was displayed on the shoulder.

The R was necessary as reserve police were numbered numerically like regular officers so without the R there would be duplication of every number. Nowadays PSNI officers were their clothes number in the same way as the RUC did and they display their name, unit or station but not their force number.

Hope this helps.

Regards

R

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Dave,

i have read the comments about what was worn on the epaulettes of the RUC   tunic and the information while well intentioned is incorrect. Every officer was given a unique force number when they joined, males had a number only, women had a number preceded by PW. Reserve officers numbers were allocated differently, males had an R preceding their Force Number and females had an RW.

As Force Numbers were unique to each officer it was not practicable to issue a set of shoulder numerals matching the force number to each officer, otherwise they would have had to discarded once that officer left the RUC. Therefore on joining, each officer was allocated a set of numerals and they could be either 4-digits or 5 digits and were issued to male & female officers. Reserve officers had an R permanently attached to the top of the numerals and were issued to males & females. The shoulder numerals were reissued when an officer left the police or was promoted to the rank of Inspector and above (they wore badges of rank only). 

The shoulder numerals were not a clothes number, nor were they used to distinguish who owned what tunic. The shoulder numerals were worn by Constables & Sergeants in order for members of the public to identify individual officers, particularly in the event of a complaint about an officer. In addition Sergeants wore their badge of rank (Gold chevrons) on the right sleeve only. Officers were not allowed to wear the numerals of other officers. 

Hopefully this helps

Peter

Edited by Volke

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This sounds like a similar situation as we have in the United States with respect to "badge numbers." The number prominently displayed on an officers badge in most police agencies is usually not the same as the officer's individual identification number assigned when he /she is appointed to the force. The badge number is unique to the badge, which is often reused and reissued over the years, whereas I don't think officers individual identification numbers are ever reused or reissued. Also, the number on the badge can be traced back to the officer, so it is a way for the public to identify an officer by the number on his badge

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