Salutes are primarily used in the Armed Forces to show respect. There are numerous methods for performing the salute including: hand gestures, rifle shots, hoisting flags and the removal of headgear. The salute is to acknowledge the Queen’s commission. The subordinate salutes first and holds it until their superior has responded. It is thought that the salute originated when knights greeted each other to show friendly intention by lifting their visor to show their faces. Medieval visors were equipped with a spike which allowed the visor to be lifted in a saluting motion. A British order book in 1745 stated that ‘The men are ordered not to pull off their hats when they pass an officer, or to speak to them, but only to clap up their hands to their hats and bow as they pass.’ This, overtime, evolved into a modern salute. The naval salute is a different gesture, again, as sailors salute with their palm downwards. This is said to be because naval ratings usually had dirty hands. The British Army and Royal Air Force salute has been given with the right-hand palm facing forwards since 1917 and was given with the hand furthest from the person being saluted. View the videos below to see how a salute is done in the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and British Army.
This year, Armed Forces Day, formerly Veterans’ Day, will be celebrated across the UK on Saturday 25th of June. It is a chance for everyone to show their support for the men and women who have been, or still are, a part of the Armed Forces. Organisations across the country have already started to show their support by flying the flag in support of the British Armed Forces. The event first started in 2006 and in the years proceeding has grown into a national day of celebration. In 2009 its name was changed to Armed Forces Day and it’s now accepted as always falling on the last Saturday in June. The aim of the day is to ensure that members of the Armed Forces, past and present, are never forgotten and that their contributions are remembered. There are many activities happening up and down the country to celebrate the event and every year the event takes place in a different city. Previous locations include Birmingham, Blackpool, Kent, Cardiff and Edinburgh. The National Event, is this year being held at Cleethorpes in north East Lincolnshire but there will be other local events taking place. During the day parades and silences, to more local events such as stalls and live music, are being held to raise awareness and give a morale boost to the troops and families. The hashtag #SaluteOurForces is a simple way for anyone wishing to pay their tributes to the British Armed Forces on social media.