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why do the uk armed forces salute in different ways?
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why do the uk armed forces salute in different ways?

yes, its mostly tradition, with a bit of "the rule book" and personal adaption/choice thrown in for good measure. when most of us salute, we are not only doing what is customary but also showing pride, hence the personal adaption bit. A sloppy salute would say your a sloppy soldier in my opinion.

As an old soldier, I can say that every regiment, corps, marines and any other branch, all salute the same way. Open hand on the right side of the temple. You salute by the longest way up and the shortest way down. The Royal navy have the same salute, except the open hand ishorizontal to the temple. As to the Royal Air force. It is the same salute as the army, as the original Air flying corps ( Todays RAF) was formed from a branch of the Army.

Navy salute as though shielding the sun from the eyes - but this was so that a dirty hand was not shown to a superior. The RAF (the best of the bunch) - salute with the palm showing and thumb closed and 'pointing' down. Army - as RAF Marines - Navy

The RAF salute IS NOT as sloppy as some people have made out!! We will salute any Officer one rank or more above us (I'm not an officer, so I'll salute all of them). You may have this mixed up with gate guards, who will be armed. When in this role, Group Captains (Station Commanders) or higher (Air ranks/Generals) will be saluted only. Anyone below this rank will not be saluted as the guard has to remove his/her hand from the pistol grip of the rifle to salute. Our salutes are also long way up, short way down, with all five fingers/thumbs straight out and together, the main difference is that we face our palms to the front rather than down. Anyone seen giving a sloppy salute will get a telling off from the recipient of the salute or the Station Warrant Officer (Disciplinary commander) or both.

The NAVY salute is, - according to a COUSIN of mine, who was IN the British Royal Navy, until fairly recently, - the way it IS, because a naval Rating is NOT supposed to display a grubby PALM, in front of an OFFICER. For the most part, lower ranks usually HAVE dirty hands, due to the nature of the tasks, which they perform, aboard ship! Thus, the salute is peformed with the palm facing INWARDS, - towards the EYE of the person GIVING it!

Tradition. The Naval salute dates back to life aboard the old wooden "men of war" ships where the height between decks was extremely limited. It is also the only service allowed to reamin seated whist giving the "loyal toast" to the Queen/King for the same reason. "A sailor never shows a dirty palm" is the modern explanation given for the different salute. All Officers hold the Queens Commission and the salute is recognition of their being a representative of the Queen by virtue of their Commission. The salute is also given by Officers to those of superior rank. The only exception is when an Officer is accompanied by a Lady at which time those of equal and superior rank will salute as a sign of respect to the accompanying female.

All services have their own version but the purpose of the salute dating back in history when senior ranks were revered by the junior ranks, was to show a higher rank that you had nothing in the hand that could harm the officer. This was done generally with an open palm and the raising of it to show the hand was empty. This tradition has carried on and currently the Navy are the only service to retain the tradition correctly. The other services have adapted it. It has now turned more to a salute to respect the rank of the other person. As for saluting in the RAF the only person/rank that is saluted is a commissioned office of Flying officer rank or above. As for sloppy saluting I'm sure the station warrant officer wouldn't have that on his station.

Its called tradition, The Royal Navy have their way, The Royal Marines have their way too. The Raf lol..have their way too and the Army have their way too.!! Its been around a long time and the salute is not for the officer but for the Queen>> what ever way its done!!!!!

Rob Roy
I am sad to hear that according to 'Bob the Boat' that nowadays in the R.A.F you only salute an officer two ranks above you by a casual wave of the hand, if this is accurate and I have my doubts then the Air Force has gone downhill. I can also assure him that having served in Oman nobody was in any doubt in how to greet or salute the Sultan. The difference in Naval salutes and Army/Air Force salutes are small and mainly because of history.

Bob the Boat
Hi, There are different ways of a "correct" salute to a superior Officer, but the rules, as always, bend a bit I had trouble when working in the Sultanate of Oman, when as an officer I was invited to he palace to receive a small gong for just serving His Majesty. I said to the bloke next to me "hold on, do I bow first, as he is royallty, or salute first, as I am part of his services, or do I shake hands, if he offers his ?" It was confusion, as no-one knew what to do. No instructions. My only guide was being told in a salute should be "long way up to four fingers against the right forehead, and long way down to the side." Well I suppose that it looked OK The RAF are told just to salute a passing Officer that is at least two ranks above. This is normally a sloppy wave of the hand towards the eyeballs. So it varies, depending on occassion. Hey Ho, Bob

peter p
Why don't the armed forces use the Two Fingered salute like we used to do against the french.

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