RAF airmen allowed to grow beards for first time in Force’s 101-year history to ‘promote inclusivity’

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RAF airmen are to be allowed to grow beards for the first time in the Force’s 101-year history.

A change to the “facial hair policy” will take effect from September 1.

Station Warrant Officer Nick Dale (L) from No1 Air Mobility Wing based at RAF Lyneham in WWII era RAF dress, sporting his Movember moustache
Station Warrant Officer Nick Dale (L) from No1 Air Mobility Wing based at RAF Lyneham in WWII era RAF dress, sporting his Movember moustache
Getty Images – Getty

But the fuzz must be “trimmed and neat”, cover the whole jawline and be no longer than ten inches. Senior NCOs will be the “arbiters” of what qualifies as acceptable.

New Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, is thought to have agreed the new policy.

An RAF insider said: “It’s all about moving with the times. But there will still be rules.

“We won’t be having unkempt beards or wacky designs. It needs to be trimmed and neat. Standards are not slipping.”


A spokesman for the Force, which allows moustaches, said: “This change allows serving members of the RAF to wear a smart, neatly trimmed, full-set beard whilst maintaining high standards of appearance.”

He said it was hoped the move would “promote inclusivity, broaden the recruitment pool and help us retain our highly-skilled personnel”.

The change will bring the RAF into line with the Royal Navy. The Army does not allow beards unless for religious or medical reasons. It has no plans to change, the MoD said.

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