Aide-Memoire - Annex H - Honorary Conduct At Or On Parade
If available, honoraries should attend all formal unit parades or ceremonies. The Unit Liaison Officer (LO) or Commanding Officer (CO) should advise complete details of the parade well in advance and then brief the Honorary again just prior to the parade.
When the Honorary is participating in a parade (e.g. formal unit parade), rather than just attending as a spectator, then there is a procedure to follow. As a participant, the Honorary may simply be receiving a General Salute and then sitting down. On occasion, the Honorary may be asked to join another officer on the Dias. If asked to “take the salute” the Honorary will step to the front of the Dias for the salute. The other officer on the Dias will stand to attention during any salute offered to the Honorary or, the reverse may apply if the Honorary has invited someone else to share the Dias and take a salute instead of him (perhaps an out-going CO during a formal march past of the troops).
If the Honorary is the Reviewing/Inspecting Officer for the Parade, proceedings will start with a General Salute with the Honorary mounting the Reviewing Stand/Saluting Dias and standing to “Attention”. The Parade Commander, if the troops are bearing weapons, will call: “General Salute (or “To our Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel, General Salute”), Present Arms!” The Parade Commander will salute with his sword in synch with the troops, who, in three distinct movements, will bring their rifles to the “Salute” stage. When they move their right foot slightly behind them and bring the rifle close to their front, in the same movement, the Honorary should then return the salute. The salute is to be held until the Parade Commander calls: “Attention!” and the troops will then return the rifle to their side while moving their right foot back into line and the Honorary will complete his/her salute by bringing the hand back down to their side.
If there are no weapons on parade, the Parade Commander will call: “General Salute – Salute!” Officers on parade will perform a normal salute, followed by the Honorary, and hold it until the Parade Commander calls: “Attention”, when all officers, including the Honorary will complete the salute.
The Honorary then will step off the Dias and move to a designated seat (if necessary, shown to it by the Unit LO/Aide). If inspecting, the Honorary will remain at attention until the Parade Commander approaches the Dias, salutes the Honorary (which the Honorary returns), reports the Unit Strength on Parade and invites the Honorary to “Inspect the Unit”. The Honorary will have been briefed by the CO or the LO on the procedure expected for “Inspection”. Usually, this will involve the Honorary (Inspecting Officer) being escorted to the left front edge of each sub-component of the unit on parade (may be only one sub-component), where he/she will be saluted by the Officer Commanding (OC) who will report their sub-component. The Honorary may be asked to inspect the front ranks of each troop on parade or possibly, but not usually, the front and back of each rank. (The Inspecting Party will always salute the Flags on parade, when they pass in front of the Flags).
When completed, the Honorary will be escorted back to the Dias where whatever other activities planned (Medals, Awards, Speeches, etc.) will be carried out. When those are completed, the Honorary re-mounts the Dias, the Parade Commander returns to the parade position in front of the troops and continues with the final parts of the parade which may be a “March Past” followed by an “Advance in Review Order” and another General Salute to the Honorary on the Dias. If it is a “March Past”, there will be an “Eyes Right” called by the Parade Commander, as the first Troops approach the Reviewing Stand/Dias. The Honorary will return the salute and hold it until the last troops pass his position. When the General Salute is finished, the Honorary will be escorted “off the parade square” which could simply be moving off the Dias and behind it, or, getting in a staff car and driving off the parade square.
During an inspection by an Honorary, the primary aim is usually to see and be seen by as many of the troops as possible. An effective way of accomplishing this is to notice the nametags and address each by name as you walk past, selecting one or two in each rank to talk briefly to – about anything connected to the individual: home, origin of name, ribbons/medals, etc. You are inspecting the troops on parade so your attention should be focused on them and not on the officers who are accompanying you during your inspection tour. On the other hand, your objective is NOT to spend so long inspecting that the troops start to pass out from tension while at attention.
If the Honorary is asked to address the troops on parade, and, therefore, also the spectators, there will usually be a theme that can be worked out with the CO/LO beforehand. What needs to be remembered is that the troops have taken extra time and effort to be presentable on the parade so it is usually worthwhile to comment on their turn out, drill and deportment, in addition to any message that is being delivered.