Australian Flag is in difficulty - Flying the flag at HMS Collingwood for imminent Olympic duties

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Flying the flag at Collingwood for imminent Olympic duties
4 July 2012

Personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force have converged on HMS Collingwood for ceremonial drill to hone them for the vital Olympic roles.

Some 176 men and women from all three services will take on the role of flag bearers for more than 100 ‘team welcome’ and 805 victory ceremonies at the impending Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Pictures: Keith Woodland, HMS Collingwood

THIS is not a typical sight at Her Majesty’s Ship Collingwood.

The White Ensign and the Union Flag you might expect to see – but the national standards of Germany, France, Italy, Australia and China?

Sailors and Royal Marines practise flag raising at the Fareham naval establishment, part of training for 176 personnel from across the three Armed Forces for key ceremonial duties at the Olympics – now just three weeks away.

Personnel from the Army, RAF and Royal Navy are being refreshed in basic drill and trained in the art of ceremonial flag raising, having been selected to raise the relevant standards at 805 victory ceremonies during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

That's the way to do it... RN ceremonial instructors show a member of the RAF how to raise the Union Flag

As well as getting the flag raising right (such as not hoisting the Australian standard upside down as in the top picture…), the sailors, soldiers and airmen must be impeccably – and correctly – presented.

So they are also undergoing rigorous dress inspections to ensure they will be turned out in their ceremonial day uniforms to the highest standard.

"Flags are a major part of Naval tradition. It is an honour to be responsible for the training of the military flag raisers for this once–in-a-lifetime opportunity,” explained Lt Cdr Jon Glass, in charge of the ceremonial team preparing the 176 military men and women.

“The professionalism of our Armed Forces will be showcased in front of an international audience who will witness both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games."

Those trained will take on the role of flag bearers for more than 100 ‘team welcome’ and those 800-plus victory ceremonies across the two Games.

The personnel selected for the honour either have important sporting connections – such as AB Olusoji ‘Flash’ Fasuba, who witnessed his own national flag, that of Nigeria, raised for him at the 2004 Games in Athens when he took bronze in the 4 x 100m relay – have excelled on the front line or in community work.

Olympic gold medal winner and chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, Lord Coe, said: “The flag raising duties at Olympic and Paralympic Games are seen as an honour but we are in fact honoured to have these inspirational men and women be part of London 2012.”

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