So someone asked why I wasn't there. I wasn't an Australian when I fought, said I. So, no salutin' then, suggested they. No, but someone very close did tell of the 'Salute, and the time when he was Commissioned after spending some years in the ranks.
On being posted to his new base after being bent and broken and put back together again in training, given the pills to stop his shyte stinking and getting shiny stripes on his shoulders, the first person he encountered was a Warrant Officer. How the WO knew he was brand new, who knows, but as they appraoched one another the WO mouthed quietly, "Wait for it", and gave a Salute.
He must have seen my friend's hand twitch. The lad was saved from being sunk on his first day. Several years of being a junior and saluting Warrant Officers first are not easy to put behind.
Okd Knights like m'self salute quite differently but old Kings are more used to just a wave of the hand. Ain't promotion grand.
But this fellow does salute from time to time.
I salute some non-military people. I salute Heroes and Saints. I salute aircraft. I salute memories and reminiscences.
Others salute in different ways too.
Here are aircraft saluting.
Who would fail to salute back.
The salute has a long history to which I can lay some claim. Knights would lift their visor to show they were not about to fight. Their hand would not be holding their sword and their eyes were visible. You could look them in the eye.
But that was when they were 'in the field' and making their intentions known. On 'parade' they would be more formal like the Officer with his sword at the top of the page.
Or this fellow to the left.
There are many ways to show intent, or obediance, or Honour.
I salute my favourite aircraft too. I have one on the Tavern wall, top right.
It was an ugly machine. Not at all pretty. A Thug-flugge. Bent like a banana and built like the proverbial brick khasi for sinking ships.
A real Knight's Steed.
Bits folded, bite opened out and bits rotated. They were thown around so much that bits fell off too. They fired missiles to order. Martel, TV guided, right up to impact on the superstructure of choice. The last words a ship's Captain might hear was 'Smile, you are on television !'. Really quite cutting edge for those days.
And the men who crewed them were friends of mine. I rememember with affection my time with 12 Sqdn at Honington. Here they are doing what they do. With just a bit of artistic licence. You might notice on the nacelles there is a face. Quite close to home !
It is a plane that at least one fine man, a civilian, coveted. He saluted with his wallet and bought one. That is almost unheard of.
A rich boy's toy. And what a toy.
I can't say that I would buy one, had I the wherewithall. I would buy a PBY and make a Gentleman's Residence in it.
The fine men I served with and left to get on with things moved around a bit and mixed with others in conflict.
Let this be a Salute to them, their memory and their Professional Art.