Ensign hoisting/lowering

Evening all,
Just to clear up a query. On our Squadron the ensign is usually (unless sunset does not permit) hoisted and lowered on first and final parades respectively. The OC doesn’t ever formally “take over” the parade but instead stands off to the side at the front. Does the parade NCO IC salute when it goes up/down or just officers? Not entirely sure myself but I think they should.

Thank you!

1 Like

Unless someone can correct me, our NCO IC of the parade salutes if they are currently the person in charge of the squad. I’m pretty sure this is the right thing!


Thank you! That was my guess but some people weren’t sure

1 Like

Sounds right what you both have said there!

My understanding is that officers salute, ORs stand to attention.

However, on most units the role of duty officer (with regards to ensign hoisting) is taken up by a cadet NCO, who then generally salutes.

818 says that “A warrant officer who is the orderly officer is to salute”. I believe (correct me if i’m wrong) that sqns generally interpret this as NCO IC of the squad and/or Duty NCO. If this is official or not I do not know

Bear in mind that this does not mean that other officers in attendance do not need to salute.

Remember that the daily ensign ceremony on a station is not typically carried out in front of a formed parade, but is carried out by a small party of personnel at the assigned time. anybody caught outside within sound of the whistle stands at attention and faces the ensign; officers so trapped are to salute. We follow this general procedure at our squadron, hoisting at the start of the night and hauling down at the end (adapting for lighting conditions). Our duty NCO fills the role of Orderly Officer.

If a squadron does the ensign as part of a parade then there is logic in the parade commander (whatever their rank) to act as orderly officer, but if the other officers are just hanging around in the fringes I would expect them to salute too.

1 Like

Yep, that’s basically how it works on our unit.

On a semi-related note, we have always taken the ensign down during inclement weather but I can’t find a written reference for this anywhere. Does anyone know where I can find this?

Nope ensign flies in all weather

I think it was written as such in ACP31, which no longer exists.

As long as it’s not past sunset it flies no matter the conditions (as long as its not going to fly away of course - and if it does, shoot the duty officer for not securing it well enough!!)

And given that sunset is now before our parades start (for us, anyway, geography makes this different for others), we no longer bother with it.

We’re up north so we could fly it for about 45 mins but there’s no point…

I can’t find any reference at all in fact as to when the ensign should be flown!

I’m 95% sure that it’s only during the hours of light and in good weather, but I can’t for the life of me work out where it’s written. I thought it might have been in ACP19 but I found an old copy of that and it doesn’t state when the ensign is to be flown.

I think, realistically, it’s a matter of common sense (which is of short supply in this organisation) and whether the ensign itself will be damaged.

I’d always assumed that was the reason for it - the ATC flies far more ensigns than the RAF do, and we can’t afford to keep replacing them as they wear out. Hence treating it a little nicer.

If the weather is grotty we don’t bother with it because we don’t want to put it away damp. No other reason.
Ours is packed away for the winter now as there is no longer sufficient light to justify flying it.


Likewise. We pretty much raise ours 1st parade end of April to beginning of September, lower during break in May and August and at final parade June and July. Daylight hours and dry weather only for the same reasons - to keep it in good condition. This is only our second ensign since creation in 1941 and was only replaced 22 years ago - I was given the original to look after by my then OC when I was a cadet and I still have it safely in storage.

On the flip side we got our first banner in 1990, the second in 2007. The original remains on display at the HQ with the replacement safely stowed in a purpose made bag. But they get a lot more abuse than ensigns as they are used in all weathers.

Our squadron has its original banner from the 50s. Still in amazing condition.