“ Leave to carry on Ma’am/ Sir, please” v “Permission to carry on sergeant, please”

Why is it that when addressing a commissioned officer the phrase is “Leave to carry on Ma’am/ Sir, please” whilst when addressing an NCO or WO it is “Permission to carry on (Rank), please” ?

Just one of those traditions that intrigues me I guess, does anyone know why the difference exists?

Never heard of this before, either in cadets or the regulars.


I to have never heard of anyone say this. But if it was something like someone falling in and asking for permission to fall into a parade, then it would be the same from what I’ve heard.

Never heard this one

Standard way of requesting to leave an officer’s/ NCO’s office - goes back where I am way before I was a cadet, and that’s a long time!

So is asking to leave actually a rule, as in my squadron when you’ve done your thing in the office you either salute then leave or just leave.

Yes, if you’ve been talking with an officer or adult NCO cadets say the above phrase and are told that they may carry on or not. If told they can carry on they stand to attention (salute if needed), about turn and march out.

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Maybe for you!

Never seen it written anywhere, certainly not taught anywhere. Haven’t done it on any sqn I’ve been part of and not taught to baby officers at Cranwell on IOT.

Think this is a local custom, not a rule.


This. We don’t over think it. “Was that all you needed sir?” Is perfectly fine…

Interesting - it must be a Wing thing… I will ask locally

@blu3zirux had a good one years ago…

I seem to recall the story was that a cadet was hovering expectantly out in the hallway trying to catch someone’s eye.
When he did catch oppo’s eye the conversation went something like this:

“…'mission to fall on sir?”
“…'mission to fall on sir?”
“…'mission to fall on sir?”
“…ummm… Are you asking if you can come into the office? :thinking:
“Yes sir…”
“Why don’t you knock on the door then and I’ll say ‘Come in’…”

Where do some of these weird fads come from, eh?
I blame the Army. They have all sorts of interesting old Regimental Traditions. All it takes is one former pongo to introduce something to a unit 40 years ago and suddenly cadets for the rest of eternity are taught that as the ‘proper’ way to do things.


Yesterday’s mistakes are tomorrow’s traditions

Never heard anything like this in all my time and I’ve been around some real sticklers for habits / traditions.
If someone asked this, I would say no an see what they did. By rights they should stand there until I got fed up with the game.

I have had the very same conversation on my old unit. Member of staff transferred from another unit and a cadets knocked the do to my office. I have the above conversation with the cadet and then have a conversation with the staff member on needless faff.

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Where’s that link to “In the Highest Tradition”? :thinking:

Here it is…

From 4:43 onwards. A thing of beauty! In the most bizarre British Army way.
Very much the sort of thing that Squadgy is talking about.

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This could have been a Monty Python sketch.

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It’s cracking isn’t it!?

In fact, the whole series is great for anyone interested in Regimental traditions.
There’s one episode featuring a lovely armoured parade too… It’s a shame we don’t do those any more.

I’ve never heard of such a thing in Army use.

What a waste of manpower and effort.

“Even the door opens by some sort of magic”

No it doesnt. Someone opened it.

I love traditions. But that is insane.

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It seems to be an army thing done when an officer passes a formed squad. Usually done as follows
“Squad, squad…shun”
“Good morning/afternoon/evening Sir/Ma’am”
officer responds
“Leave to carry on sir/ma’am please”
officer responds
“Thank you sir/Ma’am”
A bit old school, but I have seen it done