Question about paying compliments

You never used to salute people in their own cars due to CT


Yes this has varied in the time I’ve been in RAFAC (I go to an RAF station a lot in civvies in my own car for flying club stuff and now, I do usually get saluted).

1 Like

(and if I don’t, it’s usually by someone older e.g. MPGS who probably isn’t being disrespectful, just has forgotten the policy has changed)


Specifically taught this on my DI course, taught by, guess who, the RAF! I’m happy to be corrected by someone of a higher authority, but that’s all I’ve got to go on at the moment…


…& high probability that the guard was holding onto an SLR. :wink:


He quotes the guard was a she, would she have been armed at all or with an SMG?

Good spot - depending on date - most likely. Ah, the days of cr@p Indian 9mm ammo… :wink:

1 Like

At a certain USAF Air Force base in the States, the MP’s were saluting everyone who came through the gate - event the lowest enlisted ranks!

She was unarmed, her Man 2 providing cover from the Yarnold however was in possession of a L85A1, it was the earlyish 90s so not sure how old people think I am (a few too many gray hairs and empty spots) but at least Mike didn’t say .303 lol

1 Like

A long time ago, I was joe’d, at very short notice, to be the PSO to an AVM; task was to help organise the Royal Parade for presentation of their Colours to the Auxiliary Air Force.

Great job, called Buck House almost every day, visited there several times, such as to collect about £1M worth of silverware in my car (for the posh lunch) - but the gate guard element at Marham caused some merriment.

Had to visit there for the AVM to inspect the guard of honour & drill rehearsal. We were going to travel in his vintage Mercedes, but the exhaust blew, so off we went in my old-style long-nosed VW Passat. Got to Marham, signed in at the guardroom, then drove down the main drag the short distance to the RAFP check point.

The RAF cpl was chatting to his RAFP in his landie - “Excuse me cpl” I asked, “Can we be moved through please?” There was already a queue of cars behind mine…

“Wait, mate” was his reply. I looked at the AVM, he looked at me with a wry smile on his face.

“Excuse me cpl, the Air Vice Marshall requests your attention…”

RAFP cpl turns white - moves to my car window - you could see him thinking that his career was disappearing down the drain. Smartest salute ever, a massive “Good morning Sir.”

From the AVM - “Thank you cpl, you never know who might be in a private car, do you??”

I was crying with laughter!! :rofl:


Bit of a more complex question here.

We’ve got a flagpole on our Sqn, based on an MOD site. During the summer months, we raise and lower the ensign at the start of the night and at sunset/end of the night. Salutes are given during the raising and lowering.

My question is: should the cadets & staff be saluting the ensign as they walk past? It’s in a place whereby moving from our parade square to the Sqn building, you’ve got to pass. As a tradition, they do it anyways. Just wanted to check if it’s bob on with regs.

Struggling to find much on ACP20 and AP818 in relation to the topic, though I may have glossed over the actual detail of it. Any help will be appreciated.

I’d go by my station ensign…
Only Officers and WOs salute, and that’s only on raising and lowering.


I second what HLT says.

The only time I’ve known an ensign to be saluted is when it is raised or lowered snd only ever by officers (everyone else stops, faces the ensign and stands to attention)


Question to the forum:

Is this the same for all MOD sites?

I recall the Navy do odd things, like everyone saluting on the ensign going up and down (even if you’re inside etc).

Would you also salute on passing an ensign on a Navy station?

1 Like

oh wow not heard that one!
if inside you can basically ignore it.

I recall being in a guard room early one morning for whatever event and the duty NCO came in for the whistle and ensign, we could see it all through the window but no one stopped behind the desk, at the desk or in the queue we (us in the queue) just watched on spectating the “ceremony”.

whenever there are staff in the Squadron building when the ATC ensign goes up i have never known anyone stop.


Not sure about shore establishments but that’s not the case onboard ship. On a ship it’s the same as for is, if you’re inside you carry on and if your outside you turn and face while Officers salute. (Hence a mad scramble to be inside at 08:59).


i have seen people run inside when they see people getting ready to raise/lower the ensign. i wonder why :wink:

1 Like

Nope, no precedent for that at all; an ensign isn’t the same as formal Standards or Colours. Whoever has instigated that has just made it up, it’s yet another cadetism.

The ensign gets saluted by the Duty Officer/WO on raising and lowering and by any officer nearby, all other ranks stand to attention and face the ensign on raising and lowering. Civilians should be respectful and stand still.



I’ve spent a bit of time over the years at HMS Excellent… I’ve never seen anyone saluting for Colours indoors. That’s not to say that it’s not one of those old written regs which was long ago since abandoned… Couldn’t tell you. Not being RN, this has never been formally taught to me.

I have occasionally seen people saluting or turning eyes towards the Quarterdeck, where the Ensign is flying on the main mast, whilst passing it. But I’ve also seen people ignoring it. I’m really not sure about that one.

1 Like