The Standard Bearer
Safeguarding the Flag
ancient days the flag was only used as a Banner or
The great importance and symbolism of the Banner
has been told throughout the history. Not just anyone were entrusted to safeguard
During the time of the crusades, the Bishops bore
the Banner; on other occasions this duty was done by the Chief, the prince or
the Commander himself.
Later on, it became the duty of the Standard Bearer.
This Standard Bearer should be one vigorous and brave young officer; who
willingly would sacrifice his life to defend the Banner.
The Standard Bearer should never surrender his
Banner, if he, during a battle, could no longer safeguard the Banner; he should
wrap his body into the Banner awaiting the final slash.
This was not just an empty phrase in those days. It
is believed that the following historical Danish Oath
of Allegiance will confirm
A Danish Oath of Allegiance
from about 1848.
In the early 1600 a Danish Oath of Allegiance to the
Standard Bearer did sound
"I trust you this Banner;
because I believe, You are an honest and brave Man; You must lead it, like it is
proper for a loyal Warrior.
You must safeguard it, like a
real Dane will safeguard his Wedded Wife.
You shall wave this Banner for
honest People, but never wave it for traitors.
On the March and mounting Guard,
during Storms and Battles, you must appear as an Example to brave Soldiers; you
should never retreat; equally should you never cause the Army to become
discouraged and running away from the enemy.
If, in the Battle,
the Enemy should cut of your Right Hand, grasp the Banner with your left hand.
If you loose both your Hands,
grasp the Banner by your Teeth's.
You must safeguard it, as long as
you are a live and breathing.
Are you forced to give up
fighting, may God forbid that;
you must wrap the Banner around your Body and die".
This was one
old Danish Oath of Allegiance. The Swedish King Gustav
the 2nd Adolf (1611-1632) handed the Banner to the Standard Bearer
giving an almost identical command.
The Banner on board
To day's ceremonial is a little more peacefull!
Each year the Banner of the Royal Danish Naval
Academy are brought from the Academy on board the training vessels, marking the
spring and the beginning of the sailing season for the naval cadets.
This is part of an old tradition, where
the training of the naval cadets were ships based in the summer time,
and most theoretical in the winter time.
The Standard is brougt on board the
training vessel that should lead the cadets during their practical
sailing in the upcoming summer months.
The cadets march through the center of
Copenhagen to bring the standard on board.
Even though, the training of naval
cadets to day has undergone quite significant changes, the ceremony is
The Banner is escorted on board
the training vessel.
(Photo: Royal Danish Navy)
In the fall, the Banner is escorted back to the
Royal Danish Naval Academy.
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