Royal Marines here practising ahead of Platinum Jubilee Pageant 30052022 CREDIT Royal Marines.jpg
The Green Beret is worn by members of the Royal Marines after passing the Commando Course (Picture: Royal Marines).
Weapons and Kit

Did you know Royal Marines were not the first British personnel to wear a beret?

Royal Tank Corps General Sir Hugh Elles recommended the adoption of a headdress similar in form to that worn by French troops.

Royal Marines here practising ahead of Platinum Jubilee Pageant 30052022 CREDIT Royal Marines.jpg
The Green Beret is worn by members of the Royal Marines after passing the Commando Course (Picture: Royal Marines).

Earning the green beret gives a Royal Marine a great sense of pride.

The coveted headwear is worn by Royal Marines that have passed one of the longest and most arduous programmes in the world – the commando course.

However, perhaps unknown to many, members of the Royal Tank Corps (RTC) were, in fact, the first to wear a beret in British service as a uniform item, with origins dating back to 1922.

General Sir Hugh Elles, Colonel Commandant of the RTC, recommended the adoption of a headdress similar in form to that worn by French troops of the 70th Chasseurs Alpins who he had observed training with the Tank Corps in 1918.

The black beret was a very practical item when worn within the close confines of the tank and it was officially adopted by the Royal Tank Corps after being approved by King George V on 5 March 1924.

The then newly formed Royal Tank Regiment – the successor to the RTC in 1939 – needed headgear that would stay on while climbing in and out of the small hatches of tanks.

Originally, tank crews were issued with a brown leather crash helmet, which was soon discarded, before being issued with a steel helmet with a visor.

Image ID GAXCJ8 Royal Tank Regiment give three cheers for the Queen following the presentation of the regiment's new Standards 25062008 CREDIT PA Alamy Stock Photo.jpg
Royal Tank Regiment members with black berets in hand give three cheers for the Queen following the presentation of the regiment's new Standards in 2008 (Picture: PA/ Alamy Stock Photo).

In the British Army, it remains the exclusive headdress of the Royal Tank Regiment, according to the regiment's official website.

Over time the beret has attained a near 'elite' status, as it was subsequently adopted by other 'specialist' branches of the service, notably airborne troops, the SAS, the Army Air Corps, the Parachute Regiment, and Royal Marine Commandos.