Skip to main content

MoD reminds the lower ranks to salute their seniors

By DPF Admin6th January 2015August 6th, 2019Area Updates, Latest News, Northern Updates, Southern Updates

The Ministry of Defence published a reminder on who to salute after military chiefs complained they were not getting the proper show of respect from the lower ranks.

Senior officers insisted personnel were reminded of the rank hierarchy after complaining that younger officers were failing to salute their seniors, particularly from other services.

The problem has become more apparent with increasing numbers of joint operations where the Army, Navy and RAF serve alongside each other, defence sources said.

Lax saluting is not the only cause of annoyance. There have also been complaints of personnel referring to superiors as “boss”, or in extreme examples “mate”, instead of sir.

The reminder, called The Pecking Order, was published in a recent MoD in-house journal.

The apparently light-hearted guide illustrated with cartoon figures was in fact insisted upon by senior officers, defence sources said.

One RAF source said: “There’s been some concern that this has been going on. This has been pushed forward hard by top brass and it appeared in the journal after a prod from someone high up.

“It’s been done in a light-hearted manner, but behind it, it’s pretty serious.”

The guide says: “As anyone who works in defence knows, there are clearly defined rank structures. But, while the pecking order may be clear within your own Service, equivalent ranks or grades in the other Services may be less apparent.

“With joint operations becoming increasingly common and many bases run by a mix of uniformed and civilian MoD staff, you need to know where you stand.

“If nothing else, we hope this helps you know whom you should salute and to find your way to the correct mess.”

The gesture of the military salute is believed by some to have originated in the medieval era.

Some historians believe a soldier approaching a senior officer would lift his helmet visor so that he could be recognised, the hand moving in a similar way to the modern salute.

Others say that after helmets died out, soldiers wore hats similar to civilians and raised them or touched them when greeting a superior. By the late 18th Century the gesture had become formalised in European armies as a salute.

One source said: “You would be amazed by some of the greetings [from young officers to those above them in the hierarchy].”

Another added: “Over the last decade, some have been very informal with each other. They often refer to a senior officer as boss, rather than sir. Some accept it, but others want to be called sir. It’s been a minor problem for some time, but they are trying to keep it very much in check.”

Source, image source

Leave a Reply

Close Menu