Banner Drill Saluting

Just to query the formality of static saluting with colour/standards in the ATC;

On our Squadron’s formal celebratory parades, I was taught to:
Halt in front of OC;
Order banner to my left hand side (which is already VERY awkward);
Salute with my right hand;
Carry banner;
Slope banner;
And finally, while presenting banner, semi-bowing (almost taking a knee).

For these sorts of occasions I’m not too sure a general salute (dipping) is appropriate, but what I’ve been told to do also doesn’t seem ‘correct’.

Any thoughts/ideas?

It seems that your squadron has made stuff up do to perceived lack of guidance in, or inadequacies with, the drill manual. I would encourage them to rethink; not least because what you describe is awkward.

A salute by a banner bearer is nothing more than “letting fly” at the carry, be that static or when marching past in quick time. No dipping involved. A salute on the march in slow time sees the banner dipped to the horizontal.

On the occasion of a “Royal Salute” on a static parade it is a bit fancier, with the banner let fly, then brought horizontal out to the right and then brought to the front and lowered to the ground (see AP818 Pr1, Ch9, 11).

I’m not really sure what you are doign or the circumstances in which you are doing it, but if letting fly the banner isn’t appropriate at the time then my advice would be just re remain at attention at the Carry or at the Order, depending on the stage of the parade, the length of parade, the strength of the bearer and what the Parade WO decides :slight_smile:

There is no “present banner” movement - what does this entail in your experience?
There is a “port banner” as if to hand it over, but the banner equivalent of the arms drill “present arms” is the salute as detailed above.

NOTE: AP818 is written with RAF Colours (and standard) in mind, not lowly ATC unit banners - only the ATC banner is afforded equivalent honours and many of the salutes detailed are TO the colour, not from the bearer. With the exception of The Banner of the Air Training Corps, ATC banners are not afforded complements.


The present banner/bend the knee type stuff is reserved for Liz I believe.

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I have seen a banner bearer kneel (normally on a little stool) is as part of the presentation of a new colour, standard or banner as the bearer kneels to receive the banner. This would be a common situation for Her Maj, but I don’t think it is exclusive to her.

818 says that Port Banner is done in the kneeling position when handing banners over to clergy as part of church ceremonies. I think our local bearers just do this standing though.

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Yeah that’s what I meant…to be honest I’ve never really got into that much detail with banner drill.

I have gone into a lot of detail with banner drill and this all sounds very weird to me.

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Firstly, the detailed response is much appreciated, thank you.

In answer to each paragraph:

P.1) Absolutely, I agree. Also, the awkwardness isn’t the basis of my seeking of advice, I genuinely felt having read the relevant sections from AP818 that the movement wasn’t correct.

P.2/3/4) That’s really good to know, I have been told before that a ‘let-fly’ is sufficient for paying respects in this situation; I just need to advise squadron on it now.
Is there a specific section in AP 818 that states this that I can make reference to? I’ve only seen it noted as an instructional note when carrying out different salutes using the banner.

P.5) Yes apologies for the incorrect term. I do mean ‘Port Banner‘. It was rather late when I sent this. :smile:

Incredibly weird, though I believe I’ve got it resolved now.

I suggest that your squadron engages your wing warrant officer (or his nominated deputy) on the matter.
Advising on points of drill and ceremonial is the main reason that the roles exist.

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On a formal parade the Banner party should not be reporting to the OC, they should be on the Parade under the command of someone else - that person should be reporting to the OC.

There are two salutes paid with Colours/Standards/Banners - the Royal Salute (for certain Royalty and top ranking officers) and the General Salute. Both of which are intended for reviewing officers on formal parades and are too high a compliment to pay to a Junior Officer such as the Sqn OC who just happens to be there.

Coming to attention is a sufficient way to pay compliments (which is how a Colour/Standard bearer would return a compliment paid.)

You want AP 818, Part 2, Chapter 12 for everything to do with Colours/Standards and apply some expert judgement when applying it to Sqn Banners.

Also, Pt 2, Ch 1, Para 6:
"When the individual is not wearing head-dress or is carrying anything other than a weapon, which prevents saluting, the head is to be turned smartly towards the officer being passed. When stationary the individual is to stand to attention as the officer passes. "

I was a RNA then a RBL Standard Bearer for about 11 years and I now Train our Squadron Banner team. Saluting by the the banner party is

  1. General Salute:- Banner bearer lets fly and the Banner party WO hands salute
  2. Royal Salute :- Banner Bearer does the full dip and Banner Party WO hand Salute
  3. Salute on the march:- Banner Bearer lets fly and He and the left and right escorts keep eyes front. Banner Party WO turns head to the relevant direction and hand salutes.

Handing Banner to clergy is normally done banner at the port standing as there are normally a number of banners and standards to be handed over.

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The current practice in the RAF and the RAFAC is that when marching past the Banner WO does not salute and does not turn their head.

A DVD of all drill movements was released by the RAF which shows this. You can find the individual movement videos on sharepoint in the D&C document library.


Usual example of RBL nuance that Sqns believe is how it should be done because apparently correct banner drill is still a niche, not that it should be its been around for years.

And before anyone asks… Part 3 Chapter 2 Para 12

Many thanks for the the direction to the videos
I stand corrected many thanks


No worries. One point to note… In the same folder as the videos is an outdated copy of the banner drill competition sequence, dated Oct 2015. That is no longer current.
The up to date (barring COVID) sequence is in the “ACTO 120 competition folder” in the RAFAC Document Library under Activities…

That is not restricted to RAFAC, sadly.

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