Question about paying compliments


If a cadet has headdress but an officer does not, do you stull pay compliments?

Yes, even if the officer isn’t in uniform but you know they’re an officer it would still be appropriate.


Also, if you are in civvies and the officer is in uniform and you were to, for example, go into the office and stand at attention, the officer should still return the salute.

The action of saluting is a method of paying compliments which will differ. For example:

In uniform / civvies
Holding a rifle
Holding a sword
Riding a bike

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Folklore. Never heard of that!


Not taught in the RAF, wouldn’t trust it.


And in the finest traditions of our glorious organisation, it came to be policy …

And you most definitely don’t salute whilst riding a bike!

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Good job he didn’t suggest you do then

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But they did say:

Which would infer that when riding a bike, some action which is generally considered to be paying/returning compliments is undertaken.

Technically incorrect if the bike is stationary:

AP818, Part 2, Chapter 1 (my bold):

36. The rider of a cycle or driver of a vehicle is not to salute when the vehicle is in motion. When stationary, the driver is to salute by turning the head smartly towards the officer passing. The hands are always to remain in the steering position.
37. Personnel, when seated in a vehicle, are to sit to Attention; they are to look straight to their front.
38. Officers, when seated in a vehicle are, if possible, to pay compliments with the hand otherwise, if driving, they are to follow the procedure in para 38.

(I enjoy the cyclic reference in para 38… I assume it means para 36).

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Let’s split hairs over this! Definition of riding vs straddling a stationary machine…

Such is the modern Corps; the book says blah blah blah …

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Pun intended?

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I would be interested to know who would be liable for damages/injury if they were to follow the procedures in para 36 if on an RAF station and/or outside a station, and have an accident.

Surely no damage/injuries if they follow it!
As I read it: Stationary turn your head towards the ‘hofficer’ - this is affectively the salute (and I would assume/have expected a verbal Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening Sir would be accompanying this if said 'hofficer was in earshot)
In Motion: No action to be taken.

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Ah makes sense, I believe I have read it wrong.

Anyone had a collision on a station? It’s not a road for the purposes of the Road Traffic Act so not sure whether the insurance companies would have any interest.

I really hoped that was going to say you turn your handle bars in the direction of the officer :joy:

Unconditionally, yes

Many years ago, while I was on shift as Deputy Guard Commander at a station in Northern Scotland; at approximately 0745 a young officer cycled up to the main gate, presented his F1250 and the guard thanked him & told him to proceed, the officer rode to the guard HQ and spoke to the Guard Commander:

Fg Off - “I want that guard charged, she didn’t salute me when I entered the Station!”

GC (a Chf Tech plumber) - “Sir, you don’t salute officers on bicycles”

Fg Off (looking slightly sheepish) - “oh, my mistake. Thank you Chief” he got back on his bike and rode off.

A deliberate misinterpretation of the regulations, but top marks for quick thinking and protecting the SSGF, when trying to get several hundred vehicles through the gate in time for work sometimes verbal compliments had to suffice. Needless to say a few chuckles were had for the rest of the shift.

I recall an army officer complaining to the guards because he WAS saluted. His logic was that in being saluted the guards had identified him as a “high value” target.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!