Every society develops courtesies and marks of respect paid by juniors and subordinates to their senior and superiors. Nothing portrays the discipline of an individual or unit than the prompt than the smart execution of a salute-perhaps the most elementary forum of military courtesy and display of respect for a superior.

What must be pointed out here is that it is not the individual who is being saluted but the uniform and the rank of the superior which is being accorded this courtesy.

According to one theory regarding the origin of salutes is that salutes and salutation were marks of submission. Hats and caps were taken off because the conquered took off their helmets, people bowed because the vanquished were expected to bend before the conqueror; and gun salutes were fired so that the ship would remain without means of defence.

Another theory holds that all salutes originated from the idea of displaying peaceful intensions-by showing the palm of an empty hand, placing the sword in a position where it could not easily be used, or emptying out the gun. A warrior or freeman demonstrated his freedom by looking the other directly in the eye: a privileged denied to the slaves who were expected to cast their eyes on the ground on the approach of freemen. This is perhaps the origin of the custom that the person being saluted must be looked at directly in the eye.


This is a traditional mark of respect paid to certain officers in uniform in addition to the salute while are embarking and disembarking. In the Kenya Navy this privilege is reserved only for the Navy Commander and other flag officers apart from all officers belonging to foreign navies.


It is customary for navy personnel to salute a dead body being carried for a funeral. Navy personnel also salute the dead body after laying the wreath. Traditionally the officers is draped in national flag to symbolize the fact that the departured died in service of his country and the state accepts full responsibility and for what it ordered him to do. The flag is removed prior o the actual burial and handed over to the next of kin. Much of this ceremonial is in recognition of the fact that all men are equal in death.

Kenya navy warships suits of colours comprise the National flag and the Navy Ensign . These symbolize the state and the navy, respectively, and are held in high esteem by all ranks, indicating subordination to the state and the service. In real sense they represent the history of the service.


The Kenya Navy inherited its design and texture of its uniform from the Royal Navy which has evolved for over 250 years. In the 18 th century, there were no standard uniforms dependent of the fantasies of the ship captains until sometimes in 1745.

According to this theory the British naval officers petitioned the Admiralty for official uniforms as was being worn by other navies. The admiralty was in agreement and directed certain officers to appear in what they considered to be good designs. The final decision was left to King George.

One day whilst riding in Hyde Park , the king caught sight of the dunkers of Bedford, wife of the first lord; who made a lovely picture dressed in brand new riding habit. The colour of the dress was dark navy blue, with rows of gold buttons down the front, a white collar, and gold lace on the cuffs.

The king was so impressed with the colour scheme that he immediately ordered for this adoption for his navy's uniform. These were also speculation that the colours the Duchees was wearing had been selected by her husband. Perhaps that is why the Navy's winter ceremonial uniform became dark navy blue with a double row of buttons in front, gold strips depict ting rank on the cuffs, a white shirt with stiff collar and a black tie. Three buttons were also provided on each cuff and are still seen on a lounge suit or blazer so that out of the way when there was manual work to be done.
Upon attainment of independence, Kenya Navy personnel wore short black blue trousers as part of the uniform but this was discarded in the early seventies. The Cummerbund worn with the evening mess uniform was adopted from the Indian traditional warriors who wore a waistband which held a sword and outer uniforms. The Royal navy officers adopted the waistband in order to offset their convex profile. The cummerbund went on to become part of the Kenya Navy. Uniforms, and is still worn today.
The epaulettes (shoulder straps) which Kenya Navy wear today has save it origin to the French Navy, who passed it to the Royal Navy and thence to many other naves worldwide. The epaulette is functionally a decorative amplification of the shoulder strap whose original function was to prevent the bandolier from slipping off the shoulder.
Aiguillettes are worn only with ceremonial dress (with or without a sovoral) and not with the normal working dress. Normal aiguillettes are gold with blue thread woven through. Navy commander wears only gold aiguillettes.Various theories abound regarding the origin of the aiguillettes. The most common is that Aide-de-camp or henchmen of a superior knight carried the rope and pegs for tethering the knight's horse, and the rope those became the badge of somebody close to the leader. Another theory has it that it was based on the rope of the provost Marshal, which was used for hanging the condemned.
In numerous occasions, navies officers come in contact with foreigners, seniors government official and diplomat, particularly during goodwill visits by warships. In order to present a good image of your country and meet the requirements of any social function that they may be required to attend, it is customary for a naval officer to process a diverse wardrobe, which befits his status in any type of social gathering. Read more


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