Mess Dinner – Orders of Mess

Shortened version: Mess Dinner Guide

During Dinner

When the CO and/or the senior guest arrive: all members shall rise as a form of courtesy.

When the Honoured Guest and Head Table arrives: PMC shall escort the Honoured Guest to the head table followed by the CO who shall escort the next senior guest.

The V/PMC shall take their position as soon as all cadets have entered the dining room and have taken their places.

Once everyone has taken their place the VPMC advises the PMC that everyone is present – “Mr. PMC, all diners are present”

The PMC taps the table for silence.

Members and guests should stand behind their chairs until the PMC calls upon a chaplain or a designated member to say grace.

Grace: “Padre or (Name), would you offer the blessing” A simple blessing is given such as “For what we are about to receive, thank God”, diners will reply Amen”.

Diners seat themselves: Only by pulling their chairs to the right and moving to the left side of the chair to sit.

After Dinner

When the table is cleared: The senior steward reports to the PMC, “Table cleared, Sir/Madam/Ma’am”. The PMC taps the table for silence and grace is said as before; the customary prayer being: “For what we have received, thank God”.


Passing the Port

The port decanter never touches the table, symbolizing the flying aspect of the Air Force.

The PMC removes the stopper, pours a partial glass, samples it as one would wine before serving it, and passes the decanter to the left.

The last persons to receive the Port are the PMC and V/PMCs. After they pour their Port, stoppers are placed back onto the decanters.

No one may touch their port until the Loyal Toast has been proposed.

The Loyal Toast

After the port has been passed, the PMC raps for silence, rises and, addressing the V/PMC, says, “Mr/Madam Vice, the King of Canada”. The V/PMC then rises and, addressing the diners, says “Ladies and Gentlemen, The King”.

Other Toasts

If an official representative from a foreign state is present, a toast should be made to the head of state. When more than one country is represented, the national anthems are generally played in alphabetical order. Where there are a large number of official foreign guests, it is acceptable to toast “The Heads of State here represented.”

Playing of March Pasts

It is customary for all diners to be identified by a march pasts.

The RCAF March Past
Air Force

La Feuille d’Erable

When the diner hears their march past, they shall stand and remain standing until the completion of the music.

Fallen Comrades Toast

This may take the form of a simple toast “To Fallen Comrades” requested by the PMC or one of the members present.

Following the Toasts

The PMC and/or the host to recognize the serving staff and drink a toast with the Chief Cook.

The PMC will then make any announcements appropriate to the occasion, and introduce the Official Host (CO).

The Official host will introduce the Guest of Honor and ask them to say a few words. Once this is complete, the CO shall be free to present any other awards, promotions. The PMC, Official Host and Guest of Honor are not to be interrupted during their remarks.

Additional Toasts

After the two toasts have been made the PMC may open up the floor for the diners to make toasts. Toasts should be meaningful, honest, and relevant to the function of the mess.


The senior member indicates dinner is officially over by standing until noticed by all diners. It is customary for other members to stand until all guests at the head table have left the room. The PMC accompanies official guests to the lounge while the V/PMC remains until all guests have left the dining room.

An Airman’s Grace

Lord of thunder head and sky

Who placed in man the will to fly

Who taught his hand speed, skill and grace

To soar beyond man’s dwelling place

You shared with him the eagles view

The right to soar as eagles do

The right to call the clouds his home

And grateful through your heavens roam

May all assembled here tonight

And all who love the thrill of flight

Recall with twofold gratitude

Your gift of Wings, Your gift of food


Father John W. MacGillivary (deceased)

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