- Davidson, Bill, LCDR, RAN
- History - general
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Cerberus (Shore Establishment)
- December 2003 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Parading of Colours
As with all Military ceremonial the times and places for parading the Colour are strictly regulated. Regardless of the occasion, the Colour is paraded with a full armed Guard of Honour comprising 102 personnel, and a Colour Party of four. The Colour Officer (of either Sub Lieutenant or Lieutenant rank) always carries the Colour on parade.
When carried uncased the Colour is received with the utmost respect, with arms presented, officers saluting and the band playing the National Anthem. When cased the Colour is neither saluted nor paid any additional marks of respect.
In the RAN the Colour is only paraded on the following occasions:’
a. for the Sovereign of Australia or any other Member of the Royal Family; b. for a Foreign Sovereign or for the President of a Republican State; c. at parades to celebrate the birthday of the Sovereign; d. for the Governor-General of Australia or a State Governor,5 and the Opening of Parliament; e. for the funeral of the Sovereign, when it is draped with a black crepe bow. Although the Fleet Colour may reside in the Flagship it is no longer practical to be paraded in HMA Ships unless specifically approved by the Chief of Navy and is not paraded in a foreign country under any circumstances. Such is the veneration afforded the Colour that should the Flagship be deployed on operational or active service whilst the Colour is embarked, the Colour is to be immediately returned to Maritime Headquarters, even in peacetime. As the Establishment Colour represents the shore establishments of the RAN it cannot be taken overseas under any circumstances.
Laying up of Colours
Once a replacement Colour has been presented, or the unit possessing a Colour is decommissioned, the old Colour is laid to rest in a Naval Chapel. This is known as ‘laying up’ and usually occurs on the first Sunday following the presentation of the new Colour or decommissioning of the unit. The laying up is not an adjunct to the church service, but rather it is enshrined within the service and is the reason for the service. Whilst the authority bestowed on the Colour at its presentation passes to the new Colour, the character with which it was endowed remains with the Colour until it is no more.
RAN Colours have been laid up as follows:
a. Fleet Colour: in the Garden Island Naval Chapel, Sydney. Currently three Colours are laid up in the chapel – King George V, Queen Elizabeth II White Ensign and Australian White Ensign.
b. Establishment Colour: in the Memorial Chapel of St Mark, Flinders Naval Depot (HMAS Cerberus). Currently four Colours are laid up in the chapel – King George V and VI, Queen Elizabeth II White Ensign and the first Australian White Ensign.
Traditionally a symbolic period of laying up of five years is afforded to the Colour during which time it is hung on its staff before being placed in a glass display case along with the mount and tassels.
- Standards, Guidons and Colours of the Commonwealth Forces, Major T.J. Edwards, Gale & Polden Ltd, Aldershot, England, 1953
- Dept of Defence files, current and archived
- ABR1834Vol3 RAN Flag Ceremonial Procedures