Manual of Drill and Ceremonial | Chapter 1 Introduction


Terms, notes and symbols Canadian Armed Forces members need to read and follow the Manual of Drill and Ceremonial.

List of figures



  1. This publication provides guidance and establishes uniformity for drill and ceremonial throughout the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).


  1. The aim of drill and ceremonial is to contribute to the operational effectiveness of the CAF by:
    1. ensuring that the CAF efficiently march and manoeuvre together as one in duty and routine; and
    2. promoting discipline, alertness, precision, pride, steadiness and the cohesion necessary for success.
  2. Drill is the basis of all teamwork.


  1. At one time, drill and tactics were the same, much of the former being movements needed on the battlefield. Battle drills have existed since ancient times. The Romans are reputed to have used cadence marching for tactical formations. Although infantry supremacy and precise drills were eclipsed after the fall of the Roman Empire, and during the feudal era mounted knights ruled combat, infantry drills were resurrected in the 14th Century and slowly developed and improved thereafter. Separate drill procedures for cavalry, artillery, infantry and others (except for equipment drill) were replaced by all arms drill early in the 20th Century as the changed conditions of war gradually divorced tactics from barrack routine.
  2. The foot and arms drill of the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force were generally similar, being derived from the same tactical practices. When the three services were unified in 1968, evolution continued by blending the drill detail back into one.
  3. Drill is still used routinely to move troops in an orderly and efficient manner. It also forms the basis of the precise manoeuvres used in military displays and ceremonies.


  1. In this manual, “shall”, “will”, “is” and “are” are to be construed as imperative, and “may” as permissive (see Annex A for definitions).
  2. The term “officer” includes all personnel holding a commissioned rank. The term “non-commissioned member” denotes personnel from the rank of private up to and including chief warrant officer.
  3. Throughout this manual, words importing masculine gender include the feminine one. Where appropriate, the female address “Ma’am”, “Ms” or “Miss” shall be used in place of the male address “Sir”.
  4. For ease of reference, this manual standardizes organizational terminology to include “battalion”, “company”, “platoon” and “section”. Parade commanders shall actually use the correct term for the organization under their command; e.g., flight or troop in place of platoon.


  1. The recruit and junior officer first observe unit organization and the chain of command on the parade square. Here, the officers, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers all have their own duties and functions to perform.
  2. Officers cannot delegate their parade duties to non-commissioned officers. Officers should not be drilled by Warrant Officers or non-commissioned officers, except in the case of the initial training of junior officers and refresher instruction under the actual supervision of the commanding officer or adjutant. Officers, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers ensure the respect due to them by their parade appointments by maintaining a command presence and individual drill standard of the highest order.
  3. The parade ground provides an excellent opportunity for warrant officers and non-commissioned officers to display initiative and gain command experience, provided they are permitted freedom of action. Superiors who undermine a subordinate’s authority fail in their own exercise of command.


  1. Drill. Drill is composed of standard postures, movements and evolutions completed in response to particular words of command; e.g., “ATTEN – TION” and “PRESENT – ARMS”. No deviations are allowed unless specifically mentioned in this manual to ensure that the CAF marches and manoeuvres as one.
  2. Procedure. Procedures are the combinations of drill movements carried out for the ceremony or duty involved. Commanders may adjust procedures to suit parade circumstances and location, so long as the essential ingredients and customary sequence of traditional parades are recognized. Guidelines are provided in subsequent chapters as required.
  3. Exhibitions and Displays. Special drill sequences, using standard drill movements, may be performed during displays such as tattoos or military pageants, often to memorized routines and without the normal sequence of commands.


  1. The hallmarks of CAF drill are efficiency, precision and dignity. These qualities are developed through self-discipline and practice. They lead to unit pride and cohesion.
  2. Exaggerated or modified drill movements and idiosyncrasies demonstrate inefficient and undisciplined training, and a failure of the unit to focus on the purpose and use of drill in a modern armed force.
  3. Military troops which display constant competence in drill are recognized universally as highly trained, well-disciplined and professional. Drill that is well taught and executed develops individual pride, mental alertness, precision and esprit-de-corps which will assist the individual service member to carry out orders instinctively at all times.
  4. Good drill, well rehearsed, closely supervised and precise, is an exercise in obedience and alertness. It sets the standard for the execution of any duty, both for the individual and the unit, and builds a sense of confidence between commander and subordinate that is essential to high morale.
  5. The personal qualities developed on the parade ground must be maintained in all aspects of military life. Commanders must insist on the same high standards both on and off parade to instill these qualities strongly enough to endure the strain of military duty in peace or war. The systematic correction of minor errors strengthens these characteristics and improves both individual and unit standards.
    21A. Canadian Armed Forces personnel, whether as individuals or formed contingents, are forbidden to use the drill movement of a foreign military or domestic organization. Only the CDS can personally, in writing, waive this direction. Requests for waivers must be staffed through the chain-of-command to DHH.


  1. The appointment symbols used in this manual are illustrated in Figure 1-1-1.

Figure 1-1-1 Appointment Symbols


  1. General. The instructor must continually work to improve the standard of instruction. The techniques in this article shall be adhered to, thus ensuring the success of the drill instruction.
  2. Instructor’s Appearance and Bearing. Since example is imitated, the instructor’s appearance and bearing must be of the highest standard. When conducting drill instruction, the instructor shall stand at attention unless it is necessary to demonstrate or to check an individual. The instructor shall execute all movements correctly and smartly.
  3. Demonstrations. Demonstrations shall be planned so that the squad can see the position or movement. All demonstration shall be correct. Excessive demonstration is a common fault and shall be avoided. Arms drill shall be demonstrated using the appropriate weapon.
  4. Checking. Constant checking and correcting of all faults is essential. Faults shall be corrected immediately after they occur.
  5. Vocabulary. The instructor shall develop and use a vocabulary of short, concise words to impress on the squad that the movement must be performed smartly. For example, the words “crack”, “drive”, “seize” and “grasp” suggest the degree of smartness required. Profanity or personal sarcasm shall never be used.
  6. Manhandling. An instructor shall not strike or push members of the squad. This does not preclude the instructor, without being offensive, from assisting in the correction of a squad member’s position.
  7. Rest Periods. In the early stages of recruit training, short rest periods shall be given during drill instruction by standing the squad easy. During these rest periods, the squad may be questioned on subjects previously taught. The squad shall not be kept in any one position long enough to produce strain and fatigue. Periods of drill at the halt shall be interspersed with movements on the march, with or without arms, at appropriate intervals to keep the squad alert, exercise the muscles, and, as a result, produce a high standard of drill.
  8. Formation for Instruction. The instructor shall select the most effective squad formation for the lesson being taught. A squad may be in a single rank, hollow square or semi-circle for elementary drill instruction.
  9. Instructor Faults. Faults made by an instructor and noted by a superior shall be corrected as soon as possible. The instructor shall not be corrected within earshot or sight of the squad.


  1. Preliminaries. Before commencing the lesson, the instructor shall:
    1. review any appropriate previous lesson;
    2. order the squad into a suitable formation, e.g., hollow square;
    3. state the movement to be taught and the reason for learning; and
    4. state the requirement of the performance check or standard.
  2. Lesson. The lesson shall be taught in the following stages:
    1. Stage 1: Demonstration and Walk-Through.
      1. Demonstrate the complete movement, calling out the time.
      2. Demonstrate the first part of the movement.
      3. Explain how the first part of the movement is done.
      4. Give the squad the opportunity to ask questions.
      5. Practice the squad on the first movement (collectively, individually, collectively).
      6. Teach the second and each subsequent movement following the sequence described above.
      7. Give two complete and final demonstrations.
    2. Stage 2: Practice the Complete Movement.
      1. Practice the complete movement, with the instructor calling the time.
      2. Practice the complete movement, with the squad calling the time.
      3. Practice the complete movement, with the squad judging the time.


On difficult movements or movements with several stages, a further demonstration may be given prior to practising the complete movement.

  1. Performance Check/Test. Conduct the test.
  2. Conclusion. The lesson shall be summarized as follows:
    1. restate the movement taught and the reason for learning;
    2. state the level of achievement; and
    3. state the next lesson.


  1. Good drill depends on properly delivered words of command. They are to be pronounced clearly and distinctly, with confidence and determination, since they convey an order which is to be promptly obeyed.
  2. Words of command are divided into:
    1. cautionary commands; and
    2. executive commands.
  3. The cautionary command warns of the movement to be performed and shall be given first. The cautionary command may include additional instructions such as “ADVANCE”, “RETIRE”, etc. The executive command serves as the signal for the movement to be carried out. Throughout this manual, words of command are printed in capital letters. A dash separates the cautionary from the executive portion of the command, e.g., RIGHT IN – CLINE.
  4. As a guide, the cautionary command should be drawn out over at least two paces of quick time and the interval between the cautionary and executive commands should be two paces. The pause will be as consistent as possible.
  5. AS YOU WERE shall only be ordered when another word of command cannot be used to have a squad adopt a previous position or to cancel an incorrect order before it has been completed.
  6. The following are examples of correct words of command:
  7. Troops fall in on parade in line, with their front rank remaining the same until dismissed. The cautionary commands ADVANCE and RETIRE indicate a turn or movement in the direction of the front or rear rank (see also Chapter 3, paragraphs 9 to 11 and Chapter 7, paragraph 1). Thus:
    1. SQUAD RETIRE, RIGHT – TURN, for a squad halted or moving to the right in threes and required to turn to the right;
    2. SQUAD ADVANCE, RIGHT – TURN, for a squad halted or moving to the left in threes and required to turn to the right;
    3. SQUAD RETIRE, ABOUT – TURN, for a squad advancing and required to turn about; and
    4. SQUAD, MOVE TO THE LEFT, RIGHT – TURN, for a squad retiring and required to turn to the left flank.
  8. SQUAD ADVANCE (RETIRE) is used whenever turning into line. After every turn, the directing flank is given BY THE LEFT (RIGHT).
  9. Light infantry (less Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, which drills as a line regiment) and rifle regiments, which maintain traditions of special agility and alertness on the battlefield, may use combined orders when addressing only their own troops or like units; e.g., SQUAD WILL TURN AND MOVE TO THE RIGHT IN THREES. AT THE SHOULDER, QUICK – MARCH. The squad will carry out each order in sequence.


Words of Command are given in the primary language of the unit. As such, In a unilingual English language unit then words of command are normally in English only. In units designated as bilingual, both official languages are used. In this case, foot drill will be done in the language of the majority on parade while weapons drill will be conducted in the other official language.


  1. The standard pause between each drill movement is two beats of quick time.
  2. In the early stages of training, the squad shall call out the time when executing drill movements.
  3. To warn the squad that the time is to be called out, the instructor will precede the command for the movement with the cautionary command CALLING OUT THE TIME. For example, on the command CALLING OUT THE TIME, RIGHT – TURN, the squad:
    1. executes the first movement of the turn on the executive order and simultaneously calls out “One”;
    2. after completing the first movement, calls “Two”, “Three” while observing the standard pause; and
    3. when executing the final movement, calls out “One”.
  4. After completing a movement on the march, a recruit squad shall call the step for three paces; e.g., on quick march, “Left-Right-Left”.


  1. Drums. A drum may be used to sharpen the execution of foot drill and rifle exercises at the halt, to beat the time for troops who are learning to judge correct timings and to beat the cadence.
  2. Metronome. A metronome is an instrument that emits an audible sound and can be adjusted to indicate the cadence for various movements. It may be used by the instructor to establish and maintain the correct cadence. It is especially useful when used in conjunction with the drum. The accuracy of the metronome should be checked frequently with a watch.
  3. Pace Sticks. A pace stick is used by a drill instructor or monitor to measure distance, interval and length of pace on the march (see Chapter 6).


  1. Inspections shall be carried out at the open order.
  2. Ranks shall be dressed after completing the move to open order and before the inspection. They may also be dressed after moving to close order.
  3. The inspecting officer or NCO will normally inspect the front and rear of each rank, commencing at the right flank of the front rank and proceeding in an anti-clockwise direction around each rank in turn. A supernumerary rank should normally not be inspected.
  4. If a band is in attendance it may be inspected, though this is not usual unless it is an integral part of the unit on parade.
  5. Ranks are inspected in the position of attention. Ranks not under inspection at the time may be ordered to stand at ease. Similarly, during the inspection of one unit or sub-unit, other units or sub-units not under inspection at the time may be ordered to stand at ease.
  6. During an inspection, an individual ordered to adjust clothing or equipment shall do so immediately, maintaining position within the ranks. After the adjustment is finished, the position of attention will be resumed.
  7. The inspection of an individual shall commence at the head and work down to the feet to ascertain that the service member:
    1. is properly equipped for the parade, with clothing and equipment clean and in good repair;
    2. is properly dressed, with all clothing, badges, ribbons, etc., worn correctly; and
    3. has high standards of personal hygiene and grooming.


  1. The individual who consistently maintains perfect balance on the completion of movements demonstrates:
    1. quick reflexes;
    2. steadiness;
    3. physical control of the body;
    4. mental alertness; and
    5. mastery of the basic skills.
  2. Constant checking during all phases of training must be stressed to ensure the individual’s attention to proper bearing.


  1. The basic movements of foot drill are performed as follows:
    1. “Bend the __ knee.” One leg is kept braced with the foot firm and flat on the ground by applying pressure to the toe and the ball of the foot. The opposite knee is bent to the front of the body so that the toes hang directly below at a natural angle. The foot is raised 15 cm clear of the ground in quick time and during movements at the halt; the thigh is raised parallel to the ground for all movements executed in slow time (see also special procedures for foot drill on a floating vessel in Chapter 13).
    2. “Straighten the __ leg.” The leg is straightened to the ground by forcing the toe down so that the impact is taken on the ball of the foot.
    3. “Shoot the __ foot forward.” One leg is kept braced with the foot on the ground. The other foot is shot forward with the knee braced, ready to carry the weight of the body forward.
    4. “Shift the weight to the __.” Body weight is shifted by transferring the weight onto the ball of the foot being straightened to the ground and the balance is maintained by placing the foot flat and firm.
  2. The phrase “Place the foot flat on the ground” means place the foot naturally on the ground without slapping or exaggeration.



  1. Compliments are formal marks of respect and courtesy, i.e., salutes.
  2. The military salute is a traditional demonstration of trust and respect. Although the method of saluting varies with circumstances, the paying of compliments is a fundamental requirement that is indispensable to service discipline.
  3. In Canada, military compliments are only paid to the Sovereign; the Governor General; members of the Royal Family; recognized foreign royalty; foreign heads of state or government; the Prime Minister; the Minister and Associate Minister of National Defence; lieutenant-governors; and commissioned officers. Exceptions, such as compliments paid to deceased service members, are as detailed in paragraphs 20 to 23 and paragraphs 25, 26, 28, 29 et 41.
  4. Service individuals receiving a compliment shall acknowledge it.
  5. Detailed instructions on the techniques of paying individual compliments are found elsewhere in this publication as follows:
    1. at the halt – Chapter 2;
    2. on the march – Chapter 3;
    3. when bearing arms:
      1. rifle – Chapter 4,
      2. sword – Chapter 6;
    4. when carrying pace stick or cane – Chapter 6.


  1. Compliments on behalf of a formed military group are normally given by the person in command of the group.
  2. At the halt:
    1. The person in command will order the group to attention before saluting.
    2. When the group is armed, it shall be brought to attention and then may be brought to the shoulder arms position before the person in charge gives the appropriate salute.
  3. On the march:
    1. The person in charge of a formed military unit shall personally salute when passing junior officers (Captains and Lieutenants) superior to himself in rank. When passing senior officers superior to himself in rank, the person in charge shall order EYES RIGHT/LEFT and salute with the hand while turning head and eyes in the required direction.
    2. When bearing arms at the trail, the person in command shall shoulder arms before proceeding as detailed in subparagraph a. above.


  1. Officers shall salute all officers of higher rank and shall return all compliments paid them. Senior officers receiving compliments from marching troops on a ceremonial parade shall hold the salute as each individual component passes directly by in review.
  2. Non-commissioned members shall salute all commissioned officers.
  3. Officers and non-commissioned members not part of a formed military group shall all pay individual compliments to an approaching higher ranking officer (see also paragraph 12). The senior officer receiving the salute shall return the compliment, while military persons accompanying that officer give an eyes right/left in the same manner as saluting without headdress (paragraph 15) during the exchange of compliments or greetings.
  4. When an officer approaches a group of non-commissioned members, the senior of the group or the person who recognizes the officer first shall take command and call the group to attention: (GROUP, ATTEN-TION) the senior or person in charge shall then alone salute. Junior members shall draw their senior’s attention to approaching officers if the circumstances require and allow.
  5. Individual compliments to a formed military group on the march and under the command of an officer shall be paid by halting, turning to face the group and saluting. The salute should be maintained until the entire group has passed.
  6. While bearing arms, individuals shall pay compliments to officers by saluting at the shoulder arms position. Sentries shall pay compliments in accordance with Chapter 10, Section 4.
  7. When in uniform and not wearing headdress, compliments shall be paid by standing at attention. If on the march, arms shall be swung and the head turned to the left or right as required.


  1. Appropriate compliments shall be paid when recognizing an officer dressed in civilian clothing.
  2. When dressed in civilian clothes, all members shall stand at attention and remove headdress (except for members of faiths for whom this is not permitted or acceptable) on any occasion when a salute would be correct in uniform and extreme winter weather conditions allow. On the march, the headdress is raised or removed, if applicable, the head is turned right or left. When headdress is not worn, it is correct to turn the head as required and offer a polite greeting.


  1. Buildings. Salutes are not given indoors in either public or service buildings except on parades, ceremonial occasions, in areas so designated by commanders, or when entering or leaving the office of an officer who should be paid compliments by virtue of his rank or appointment. Further:
    1. it is correct to turn the head and offer a polite greeting when meeting an officer in the common area of a public or service building; and
    2. it is correct to pay compliments at an office door of an officer and briefly coming to attention. It is irrelevant if one has a headdress on, or not.
  2. Cenotaphs. Officers and non-commissioned members shall salute individually and formed military groups shall pay compliments when passing the National War Memorial and cenotaphs to military dead.
  3. Colours. Individuals and formed military groups shall pay compliments to uncased Colours, except when the Colour is part of an escort to the deceased during a funeral.
    1. Halted armed groups shall present arms.
    2. Military groups marching past uncased Colours shall give eyes right/left.
    3. See also paragraph 30.
  4. Religious Services and Buildings. Conventional marks of respect and courtesy shall be observed during religious services and in places of worship, depending on the customs of the religion involved and the faith of the member (see A-DH-265-000/AG-001, CAF Dress Instructions, Chapter 2, Section 3 for further explanation).
  5. Funerals. The following compliments shall be paid at state, military and civilian funerals:
    1. The remains of the deceased take seniority and alone receive compliments during a funeral.
    2. Members shall wear headdress and pay respects by saluting when passing the casket at a vigil.
    3. Formed military groups shall be halted and turned to face a passing funeral procession, and the officer or member in charge will salute the deceased while passing. Individual compliments shall be paid in a similar fashion.
    4. Individuals and formed military groups bearing arms shall salute a passing funeral procession by presenting arms.
    5. Salutes, as above, shall be accorded the casket during interments.
    6. At the end of a Service funeral, the officiating chaplain will proceed to the foot of the grave to pay their respects. Service members should then proceed to the foot of the grave, in order of seniority, to pay individual respects by saluting. When numbers warrant, members may approach in small informal groups.
    7. See also paragraph 25.
  6. Guards and Sentries. Detailed instructions for paying compliments by guards and sentries are found in Chapter 10.
  7. Courtesy Salutes
    1. Foreign officers shall be saluted in the same manner as Canadian Armed Forces officers and commissioned officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, unless the circumstances clearly dictate otherwise.
    2. Service members may express their respect for individual civilians by using a salute as a formal means of greeting or farewell.
    3. Courtesy and protocols require the senior person to be on the right of a junior. Seniors participating in a event normally arrive last and depart first (see Battalion Ceremonial Chapter 9, sections 1 and 2).
  8. Funerals, Memorials and Commemorative Services. Compliments to the dead shall be paid during the sounding of the calls “Last Post” and “Rouse” when they are used in funerals, memorial and commemorative services. (A Royal or General Salute will be ordered if appropriate). Compliments will commence on the first note and terminate on the last of each call when sounded. Compliments shall be paid as follows:
    1. All ranks who are not part of a formed military group shall salute.
    2. Formed military groups will be brought to attention and all officers shall salute.
    3. The funeral guard will present arms, while the escort will remain at attention, officers who are part of the escort will salute with the hand. In the latter case, the salute shall be held for the brief silent interval (10 second pause) between “Last Post” and “Rouse”.
    4. During commemorative services, eg, Remembrance Day, compliments commence on the first note and terminate on the last note of each call when sounded, except for that weapons salutes shall be held through the silent interval between the “Last Post” and “Rouse”; and
    5. On defence establishments, all vehicles in the vicinity shall be stopped and the occupants shall alight dismount and pay compliments.

Note: interval between calls shall be 10 seconds for funerals, 1 minute for memorial services and 2 minutes for commemorative services

  1. Lecture Rooms
    1. When a visiting officer or dignitary senior to the instructor enters a lecture room, theatre, etc., the instructor or senior member present shall call the group to attention (SQUAD or GROUP ATTEN-TION). All members of the class shall sit at attention, arms straight at the side, head and eyes to the front and heels together.
    2. Where it may be impracticable or hazardous to call the group to attention, the order, STAND FAST, will be given. Members of the group shall suspend all possible action, without causing physical danger to themselves or others, or damage to equipment, until the order CARRY ON is given.
  2. Anthems and Salutes (see also paragraph 30). When the Royal Anthem, Royal Salute, Vice-Regal Salute, National Anthem (see A-AD-200-000/AG-000, Honours, Flags and The Heritage Structure of the Canadian Forces soon to become A-DH-200-000/AG-000; The Heritage Structure of the CAF) or the national anthem of a foreign country is played, all shall stand and:
    1. all ranks who are not part of a formed military group shall salute. The salute shall commence with the playing of the first note of music and shall be cut away at the end of the last note;
    2. formed military groups shall be called to attention and all officers and the NCMs or the person in charge shall salute; formed military groups bearing arms shall present arms;
    3. on defence establishments, all vehicles within hearing distance shall be stopped and the occupants shall dismount and pay compliments;
    4. anthems are not sung when played as part of a salute, or on a parade other than a church parade or remembrance or commemorative service/ceremony If ordered to sing on a drumhead or remembrance ceremony, the parade will be brought to attention and all will join in the singing of the National Anthem. In this case officers do not salute.
    5. Sentries shall come to attention on hearing the national anthem unless in the vicinity of guards turned out to salute an important personage when they shall present arms in time with the guard. (see Chapter 10, Section 3, Para 16)
    6. at the discretion of the parade commander the National Anthem may be played at ceremonies such as graduations or changes of command. However, the National Anthem will not be played immediately preceeding or following a general salute; and
    7. the Royal Anthem is not normally played during a ceremony (except as a Salute) or during a Remembrance ceremony.
  3. National Flag. When the National Flag is hoisted or lowered at defence establishments, all ranks in or out of uniform within view shall face the flagpole or mast, stand at attention and pay compliments as follows:
    1. All who are not part of a formed military group shall salute.
    2. Unarmed military groups shall be halted facing the flagpole and the officer or non-commissioned member in charge of the group shall salute;
    3. Armed parties shall present arms.
    4. Motor vehicles in view shall be stopped and the occupants shall alight dismount and pay compliments.
    5. The same rules shall be followed during the raising and lowering of foreign flags
  4. Parades. CAF members who are spectators at a parade shall:
    1. stand at the arrival and departure of a reviewing officer or dignitary. At the departure, all ranks will remain standing after the last Royal/General Salute until the reviewing officer or dignitary leaves the parade area;
    2. salute when uncased Colours pass directly in front of them. Guns are the Colours of formed artillery units and will be treated as such when they roll past in review on formal ceremonial parades;
    3. salute during the playing of National Anthems and Royal Salutes; and
    4. stand at attention during the playing of the General Salute.
  5. Personal Attendants. Officers in personal attendance on a dignitary shall not salute during a Royal or General Salute to that dignitary or when a National Anthem is played as a salute for that dignitary. Those in personal attendance are defined as aides, equerries and the like closely accompanying a dignitary on a podium or parade, etc. Those personal attendants do not salute when their principals are saluted but should salute if their principals initiate the salute. eg, salute during a wreath laying.
  6. Reporting
    1. When reporting to an officer or dignitary, the following procedure shall be observed:
      1. march forward, halt two paces in front of the officer or dignitary;
      2. salute, remain at attention, await acknowledgement;
      3. deliver the message, receive instructions, etc. (see subparagraph b. below);
      4. salute, await acknowledgement; and
      5. turn right and march off.
    2. At an investiture or when receiving a decoration, take one pace forward to receive the award and one pace back following the presentation.
    3. When a non-commissioned member reports to someone senior, other than an officer, the procedure outlined above shall be followed without the salute.
  7. Vehicles
    1. Compliments shall be paid to passengers in staff cars bearing distinguishing flags or general officer car plates.
    2. When wearing headdress, the senior passenger in a staff car and the passenger in the front seat of other vehicles shall salute. When not wearing headdress they shall return compliments by sitting at attention (see also A-DH-265-000/AG-001, CAF Dress Instructions, Chapter 2, Section 3, paragraph 12).
    3. Service personnel driving a vehicle, motorcycle or bicycle shall not salute or return a salute.
    4. Passengers riding in the rear of trucks shall pay compliments by sitting at attention.
  8. Other Occasions. Compliments shall be paid on other occasions as notified from time to time in the appropriate regulations, orders and instructions.


  1. Further information on this subject is contained in A-AD-200-000/AG-000, Honours, Flags and The Heritage Structure of the Canadian Forces soon to become A-DH-200-000/AG-000; The Heritage Structure of the CAF.
  2. Gun salutes are normally paid independent of other honours, and need not accompany or be accompanied by other honours.
  3. Gun salutes shall normally commence at an appropriate time so as to terminate with the receiving dignitary’s arrival in location.
  4. If the location is one in which troops have been drawn up for review or a guard of honour has been mounted, the point of arrival is normally the podium.
  5. When gun salutes and arms drill salutes are connected in the same ceremonial event, the event commander can coordinate the two, as well as the musical salute, for best effect. When circumstances prevent adequate warning of the dignitary’s approach, it may be most effective to render the gun and arms drill salutes together. On these occasions, the gun salute shall normally commence on the final movement of the present arms, and the arms salute shall be concluded in the normal manner and the parade continued regardless of the fact that the gun salute may still be underway.
  6. Gun salutes shall not be fired so as to cause aural discomfort to the receiving dignitary.


  1. Service personnel shall salute when:
    1. boarding or leaving a commissioned warship; and
    2. mounting the quarter deck.
  2. Compliments in boats shall be paid as follows:
    1. The officer in charge of a boat or the coxswain shall salute. One member of the boat’s crew shall be detailed to salute if the design of the boat places the officer or coxswain in an inconspicuous position.
    2. In service whalers under oars, compliments are paid by giving the order OARS. One stroke after the order is given, the crew sit to attention with their oars horizontal and at right angles to the fore and aft line of the boat with blades feathered. In service boats under sail, the sheets are let fly. In service boats under power, engines are throttled down to idle and the propeller drive disengaged to take way off the boat.
    3. When a boat is alongside a landing place or accommodation ladder or is made fast, the boatkeepers shall sit to attention and the senior occupant shall salute. All passengers and crew who are not engaged in keeping the boat alongside shall:
      1. in a decked-in power boat, stand at attention facing the officer or dignitary being saluted; and
      2. in an open boat, sit at attention.
    4. Salutes shall not be exchanged when boats carrying officers of equal rank pass each other.
    5. All compliments paid by or in boats shall be discretionary having due regard to safe seamanship practices.
  3. The Side shall be piped when the following personnel board Her Majesty’s Canadian ships between the hours of colours and sunset:
    1. the Sovereign;
    2. member of the Royal Family of equivalent rank of captain (N) or above when in naval uniform;
    3. the Governor General of Canada and the Lieutenant-Governors of Provinces within their areas of responsibility;
    4. Canadian and Commonwealth officers of the rank of commodore or Brigadier-General and above when in uniform;
    5. all officers in uniform holding an appointment in command of a formation or group of ships, or an officer in command of a single ship;
    6. members of a court martial attending or leaving the court;
    7. the officer of the guard when flying his pennant;
    8. all naval officers of other than Commonwealth nations in uniform at all hours; and
    9. a body when being brought aboard or sent out of ship, at all times.
  4. The Side is normally piped for an officer entitled to it even though accompanying an officer holding a senior rank or appointment who is not so entitled.


A unit is advancing when it is moving in the direction the front rank would face in line. (Avance)
A straight line on which a body of troops is formed or is to form. (Alignement)
Positions of command within units and sub-units, e.g., company commander, division commander or platoon commander. (Affectation)
A military formation consisting of two or more companies. (Bataillon)
An artillery formation approximately the size of a company. (Batterie)
Brigade/air group
A military formation consisting of two or more battalions/wings and supporting formations. (Brigade/Groupement aérien)
The number of beats to the minute. (Cadence)
Changing direction
To form a new front, i.e., to change the front of the unit, but not its formation, to face to the right or left. (Changement de direction)
Close order
The normal distance (one pace) between ranks in line. (Rangs fermés)
  • When used alone, or unless otherwise specified, Standards, Guidons, Queen’s, and Command/College/Regimental Colours, and Air Squadron Standards.
  • The English term “colours” is also used within Maritime Command to indicate the time (normally 0800 hours) when the National Flag and ships’ ensigns are raised.(Drapeaux consacrés)
Sub-units one behind the other on parallel and successive alignments, at such a distance from one another that, when formed at an angle of 90 degrees to either flank, they will be brought into line with a seven-pace interval between platoons and a ten-pace interval between companies. (Colonne)
Column close
A column with distance reduced to suit requirements, with a minimum distance of 12 paces between platoons and 15 paces between companies. (Colonne serrée)
Column of route
A unit turned to the right or left out of line, flank file leading, with officers and supernumeraries positioned to lead or follow the formation. (Colonne de route)
Column of threes
A unit in threes turned to the right or left out of line, flank file leading, but with officers and supernumeraries in their normal positions as in line. (Colonne de trois)
A military formation consisting of two or more platoons. (Compagnie)
The act of aligning one person or group directly in rear of another. (Action de couvrir)
The extent of ground occupied by a body of service personnel formed front to rear. (Profondeur)
The space between service personnel or bodies of service personnel from front to rear. (Distance)
Division (Division)
  • Two or more brigades.
  • A sub-unit of a ship’s company.
  • A sub-unit of a guard of honour or of another guard.
The act of taking up correct alignment and covering. (Action de s’aligner)
File, moving to a flank in
A unit in two ranks moving to a flank. (Déplacement en file vers un flanc)
File, single
Service personnel, one behind the other on a frontage of one person. (File simple)
File, blank (File creuse)
A blank file is the second single file from the left, when:
  • in three ranks, this single file is without a centre and/or rear rank person; and
  • in two ranks, this single file is without a rear rank person. 
Either side of a body of service personnel, as opposed to its front and rear. Designated as either the right or the left flank (Flanc)
Flank, directing
The flank by which units march or dress. (Flanc de direction)
Flank, inner
The directing flank serving as a pivot when a body of service personnel changes direction. (Flanc intérieur)
Flank, outer
The flank opposite the directing flank. (Flanc extérieur)
A military formation approximately the size of a platoon. (Escadrille)
The method of changing direction but not formation. (Conversion à pivot fixe)
Form squad
The method of changing formation but not direction. (Former escouade)
The direction in which troops are facing or moving. (Front)
The extent of ground covered laterally by a body of service personnel. As a general rule distances are 1.5 paces per file at the full arm dressing and 1 pace per file for all other intervals of dressing. (Largeur de front)
Guides, right or left
Individuals on the right and left of the front rank, whose specific duties are to maintain correct distances, intervals from other units when on the march and on whom the remainder of the members in their unit march, take up and maintain dressing. The guides are not to be covered off (see ‘covering’). Guides may be used to indicate unit and sub-unit parade square positions for fall-in. (Guide de droite ou de gauche)
To face, and if on the march to move, in a direction of 45 degrees from the front to the indicated flank in a new direction. (Obliquer)
The space between individuals or bodies of service personnel on the same alignment. (Intervalle)
Bodies of service personnel formed up on the same alignment. (Ligne)
An individual placed to indicate the position which a body of service personnel will occupy when covering and falling in. (Guide)
Open order
A standard increased distance (two and one-half paces) between ranks in line. (Rangs ouverts)
The length of a standard stride measured from heel to heel. (Pas)
A basic military formation of approximately 30 service personnel, normally formed in three ranks, having a right marker, a platoon commander and a platoon warrant officer. (Peloton)
A line of service personnel, side by side, on one alignment, separated by an interval. (Rang)
Rank, front
The rank which is leading when a unit is advancing. (Rang avant)
Rank, leading
The rank in front whether retiring or advancing. (Rang de tête)
Rank, rear
The rank which is in the rear when the unit is advancing. (Rang arrière)
A unit is retiring when it is moving in the direction opposite to that which the front rank would face in line. (Déplacement vers l’arrière)
Ship's company
The officers and crew of a ship. (Équipage)
Standard pause
The pause between movements of drill. The standard pause for drill at the halt is based on two beats of quick time. The standard pause for drill on the march is the period of time required to take two paces. (Pause réglementaire)
A small military formation of less than platoon size which is adopted to teach drill movements. (Escouade)
A military formation approximately the size of a company. (Escadron)
One of the component bodies forming a unit; i.e., a platoon is a sub-unit of a company. (Sous-unité)
Officers who form in front of and warrant officers and senior non-commissioned officers who form in rear of their respective formations without filling a parade appointment. (Surnuméraires)
A military formation approximately the size of a platoon. (Troupe)
A movement by which a body of service personnel facing a flank changes direction without changing formation. (Conversion à pivot mouvant/ Roue)
A military formation approximately the size of a battalion. (Escadre)

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