Customs of the Service
(Advice to those newly commissioned.)

by A.H.S.

Published at Aldershot, by Gale & Polden Ltd, 1939


Every officer is expected to obey certain unwritten laws. There are no regulations or written instructions to assist the newly commissioned officer in most of these matters.

If he seeks guidance from those in authority over him, he usually receives the unsatisfactory reply that this is "done" or "not done" because it is the "Custom of the Service."

He is liable to make many unfortunate mistakes before he learns from experience the numerous un-written customs he is expected to comply with.

This small book is intended to assist those young officers who have been commissioned from the ranks or direct from civil life, few of whom will have had any experience of, or opportunity of studying, "Service etiquette" or "Customs of the Service."

Lectures will undoubtedly be given in these subjects at the beginning of their training, but there is so much to learn in the early days and so much to interest them, that it is not to be wondered at if the importance of this aspect of their training is not realized by the majority until it is too late.

If the advice given in the following pages is of assistance to anyone of these officers, the effort o writing this small book will not have been entirely wasted.

The author acknowledges with many thanks the help of those officers of the Army and Royal Air Force whose assistance made the publication of this small book possible.


  1. General Purpose of the Mess
  2. Dress
  3. Behaviour and General Conduct in Mess
  4. Commanding Officer in Mess
  5. Visitors
  6. Punctuality
  7. During Working Hours
  8. Animals in Mess
  9. Conversation
  10. Alcoholic Drinks
  11. Mess Hospitality
  12. Dinner and Guest Night
  13. General Warnings
  1. Officer's Duty to his Men
  2. In Duty Hours
  3. Off Duty
  4. Non-commissioned Officers
  5. Knowledge of Individuals
  6. Married Families
  7. Sergeants' Mess
  8. Public Bars
  9. Railway Journeys
  10. First Command
  11. Personal Example
  1. Reasons for Saluting
  2. Saluting in Uniform
  3. Saluting in Plain Clothes
  4. Discipline off Duty
  5. Punishment of Other Ranks
  6. Married Officers
Sections Not Included:
  1. 70When in Doubt, Ask
  2. 71Progress by Merit
  3. 72In Conclusion

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