The black beret has its origins with the British Royal Tank Corps going back to 1918. General Sir Hugh Jamieson Elles, together with Colonel Fuller came up with the idea of a black beret for the Royal Tank Corps after being influenced by the 70th Chasseurs Alpines, who wore a black beret at the time. Black was selected as the colour because it was least likely to show oil stains, something which tank crewmen of that time (and now) could appreciate. It was approved for wear with the Royal Tank Corps by HM King George V on 5 March 1924.
The Black Beret remained the exclusive distinctive headdress of the Royal Tank Corps until its practical value was recognised by others and its use was extended to the whole of the Royal Armoured Corps in 1940.
When uniforms were issued to the Royal Observer Corps there was a surplus of Royal Armoured Corps black berets that were given to the unit.
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