Army WO3s and RAF WO1s

#61
A hierarchy is essential to military discipline. The RN and the Army have developed these idiosyncratic rank structures over centuries.
Please allow time for the RAF to develop history and tradition. Until then, the appointment of SWO will remain a glorified bedding storeman. ;)
 
#62
Please allow time for the RAF to develop history and tradition.
Maybe I should point out that the reason I started this thread, and the one on Ranks, was because @Alamo (RAF) had claimed that "at least we only have one name for each rank" and that "no branch, trade or unit of the RAF has different names or badges for its ranks. Am I right, yes or no?", and the consequent ensuing debate had already been dragged to over a dozen pages despite his readily admitting that "We only have two ranks that are different but equivalent to WO", "I don't disagree that Master Aircrew and RAF WO are equivalent in status, but they are different ranks ", "I have made it very clear throughout that WO and MACrew are the RAF equivalents of WO1 in the Army", "they have equivalent status as ranks", "They are different, but equivalent, ranks at the same grade", etc, etc.

Not to mention there being at least two different versions of the badge for a 'Warrant Officer', which is only one rank even by his definition!
 
#63
Until then, the appointment of SWO will remain a glorified bedding storeman. ;)
Well, at least one of them had the honesty to admit that he was "Still fulfilling the role of the highest paid ‘Traffic Warden’ following 34 years of RAF Police service. "

34 years to get to SWO? I can now see @CAARPS' point about OR promotion in the RAF, although I'm far from sure that sort of 'career for life' is a good thing for anyone except the one in it.
 
#64
Well, at least one of them had the honesty to admit that he was "Still fulfilling the role of the highest paid ‘Traffic Warden’ following 34 years of RAF Police service. "

34 years to get to SWO? I can now see @CAARPS' point about OR promotion in the RAF, although I'm far from sure that sort of 'career for life' is a good thing for anyone except the one in it.
The glorified bedding store man comment was a little unkind, especially when you consider that he will also have a FTRS Sgt to do most of the donkey work for him.
There are a few senior SWO ‘appointments’ worthy of the title, but it does not in general equate to the majority of Army WOI appointments.
 
#65
Cpl Major would be HCav, no Sgts in their rank structure, just loads of Cpls such as LCpl, LCpl of Horse, Cpl, Cpl of Horse, Staff Cpl, Squadron Cpl Major, Regimental Cpl Major.
Because sergeant comes from a Latin root meaning servant, and the old horse couldn't have that. In days of yore sergeant was an infantry rank and corporal its equivalent in all donkey walloper units.
 
#66
Because sergeant comes from a Latin root meaning servant, and the old horse couldn't have that. In days of yore sergeant was an infantry rank and corporal its equivalent in all donkey walloper units.
Except that, IIRC, "serviens" doesn't actually mean servant (as we imagine it), but those that serve. A very subtle but significant difference. Didn't stop them making the mistake and removing the title though.
 
#67
Because sergeant comes from a Latin root meaning servant, and the old horse couldn't have that. In days of yore sergeant was an infantry rank and corporal its equivalent in all donkey walloper units.
Another common fallacy. The root is actually directly old French (serjant) and referred to sergent d'armes or "armed servants" whose job was to protect a knight or lord. This rose, naturally, to sergent-major who was the senior (major) sergent d'armes in a group, who trained militia units (foot soldiers, archers, etc). The cavalry obviously didn't have much in the way of foot soldiers or archers who didn't have horses so they didn't need much in the way of training so had no call for sergents or sergents d'armes.

Many of the origins are French. Lieutenant = in place of, for example, so a Lieutenant-General was 'in place of' (or 2ic to) the General.

Corporal simply comes from the Italian Corporale = body and capo = head. Put together = head of a body.
 
#68
The Latin root is serviens, one who serves, which mutated into the Old French sergent.
 
#70
Well, at least one of them had the honesty to admit that he was "Still fulfilling the role of the highest paid ‘Traffic Warden’ following 34 years of RAF Police service. "

34 years to get to SWO? I can now see @CAARPS' point about OR promotion in the RAF, although I'm far from sure that sort of 'career for life' is a good thing for anyone except the one in it.
You have to remember the RAF work on a career of 37 years, not 22 like the Army.
Therefore promotion will be slower and 34 years to get to SWO means he will have one tour or posting left in that rank. Many Army WOs1 will get promoted at their 18 years point which also means they will have one posting left in that rank.
My Troop had a FS and a CT. The FS had completed twice as long as I had as a WO2. He had done 30 years and I had just got to my 15 year point. The CT was only a couple of years behind him.

Army being Army, the FS filled a SSgt role and the CT a Sgt role.
 
#71
The Latin root is serviens, one who serves, which mutated into the Old French sergent.
Like all these things it depends on how far back you go, but the French it was taken from at the time had little connection with "servant". The more you look at the origin of "sergeant" the clearer it is that it had absolutely nothing to do with their being "servants", and that the cavalry didn't have sergeants because they were servants was just something dreamt up over a Mess dinner that has become accepted as fact however ridiculous it is once you scratch the surface. The supposed connection between the two and the rank structure simply doesn't work.
 
#72
You have to remember the RAF work on a career of 37 years, not 22 like the Army.
Therefore promotion will be slower and 34 years to get to SWO means he will have one tour or posting left in that rank. Many Army WOs1 will get promoted at their 18 years point which also means they will have one posting left in that rank.
My Troop had a FS and a CT. The FS had completed twice as long as I had as a WO2. He had done 30 years and I had just got to my 15 year point. The CT was only a couple of years behind him.

Army being Army, the FS filled a SSgt role and the CT a Sgt role.
A longer career shouldn't necessarily mean slower promotion. If they're in / approaching their 50's by the time some are considered for commissioning it's small wonder they have to be promoted on so quickly before they get a bus pass. The waste of potential junior rank talent is one of the biggest failings in the Army in my view, so how much more the RAF must be wasting.
 
#73
Not sure about the Royal Lancers, but my old regiment 16/5L we called the SSgts Sergeant Major.
 
#77
Like all these things it depends on how far back you go, but the French it was taken from at the time had little connection with "servant". The more you look at the origin of "sergeant" the clearer it is that it had absolutely nothing to do with their being "servants", and that the cavalry didn't have sergeants because they were servants was just something dreamt up over a Mess dinner that has become accepted as fact however ridiculous it is once you scratch the surface. The supposed connection between the two and the rank structure simply doesn't work.
In the two middle quarters of the seventeenth century English horse and foot recruited in regiments that were divided into troops for the horse and companies for the foot. Generally, but not exclusively, six or eight to a regiment respectively. Troops and companies (the latter including dragoons that were then just mounted infantry) were commanded by captains with a lieutenant and a cornet or ensign as the 'second lieutenant' to carry the guidon or flag in action. Below them horse had two corporals and foot two sergeants per company. Foot had a sergeant-major as part of the regimental staff (he nominally commanded a company as well). The difference was not 'just dreamt up over a mess dinner' and lasted until the Army effectively forsook horse (except the Household Cavalry) for dragoon guards.
 
#78
In the two middle quarters of the seventeenth century English horse and foot recruited in regiments that were divided into troops for the horse and companies for the foot. Generally, but not exclusively, six or eight to a regiment respectively. Troops and companies (the latter including dragoons that were then just mounted infantry) were commanded by captains with a lieutenant and a cornet or ensign as the 'second lieutenant' to carry the guidon or flag in action. Below them horse had two corporals and foot two sergeants per company. Foot had a sergeant-major as part of the regimental staff (he nominally commanded a company as well). The difference was not 'just dreamt up over a mess dinner' and lasted until the Army effectively forsook horse (except the Household Cavalry) for dragoon guards.
Although you've quoted me I've got absolutely no idea why or what your point is.

Maybe you need to re-read what I suggested, slightly tongue-in-cheek, was "just dreamt uo over a mess dinner" as it had nothing to do with whatever "difference" it is your talking about.

What I suggested was "just dreamt up over a mess dinner" because it doesn't stand up to any form of scrutiny was the idea that the cavalry didn't have sergeants because they were servants. As in post #67 and as is now the accepted reason, the infantry had sergeants because the sergents d'armes (who later became 'sergeants') were needed to train the infantry militias, levees, archers, crossbowmen, etc, while the cavalry didn't because they didn't have any similar militia, levees, archers, etc. to be trained.

The rank structure in the New Model Army, in the mid-17th century, was on European lines because that was what they were based on, with the ranks being confirmed as European (mainly French) ranks because that was what Charles II had seen during his exile in France.

All I'm suggesting was dreamt up over a Mess dinner (or breakfast, or in the bar, etc) is the idea cav don't have sergeants because sergeant = servant. Nothing else!
 
#79
@John G I think your initial point is hoop, your ability in English comprehension sadly lacking, your ability to argue a cohesive thread similarly dull and your tendency to hover towards irrelevance and semantics is swollen like a bothersome prostate.

I think at the same time as WO2s were abolished in the RAF, WO1s were similarly abolished and a new distinct rank of WO was introduced, with WO1s transferring to the new rank.

That said, I concede your slavish adherence to what you refer to as 'official and unofficial histories' coupled with your tendency to misinterpret, could lead to the conclusion you are suggesting - that WO1s still exist and are just referred to as WOs for simplified reasons.

Let's disregard 'unofficial' histories. I'd love you to source your 'official' history so we can see the provenance.

Also, the place where I understand all such changes to dress etc can be found, is Air Ministry Orders. They usually settle arguments such as 'is the cap badge an eagle or an albatross?'. If you're not quoting and sourcing AMOs I'll continue to be doubtful - do so and that may clinch what you are saying. They're in the National Archive but not downloadable, good luck providing a decent provenance.
 
#80
Master Aircrew did not begin life as NCOs. As the rank - and it is a rank, not a name - was part of the short-lived Aircrew rank system after the war, AMO A492/1946 stated that aircrew were not NCOs in the traditional sense - this was because the aim was to create an all-inclusive aircrew cadre which recognised that to attract volunteers in peacetime, there needed to be some status for non-commissioned aircrew. During the war, that had meant the creation of 'instant Sergeants' who an array of senior officers held were splendid aviating sorts, but utterly hopeless as NCOs because they had no experience and hadn't - because of little things like bombing Germany - had the chance to go on the requisite courses that 'proper' NCOs did.

Thus the Air Ministry, drawing upon some thinking/work by Sir John Slessor and Sir Sholto Douglas before him, came up with the plan that a separate aircrew cadre would be created. The non-commissioned aircrew (not non-commissioned officers) would muster separately on parade and have an entirely separate messing system. In essence, the RAF of the post-war era would have three tiers to it:

1. Officers (permanent career sorts)
2. Aircrew
3. NCOs and ORs.

The Americans might have called category 2 'Warrant Officers'... (and we could have had several Arrse threads on whether they ought to be saluted or not [for those who've been here long enough to recall that one...]). We didn't, of course, because a Warrant Officer is something different.

Thus, under the scheme, we had the following new ranks
Master Aircrew
Aircrew I
Aircrew II
Aircrew IIII
Aircrew IV
Aircrew Cadet

The actual rank would depend upon the role of the aircrew - thus an aircraft like a Lincoln could have had Master Aircrew Biggles, Signaller II Marconi, Navigator IV Da Gama, Gunner III Vickers, Engineer I Brunel, Gunner II Lewis and Gunner IV Browning as its crew members.

The plan didn't work and was abolished. Aircrew IV-II became the rank of Sergeant Aircrew; Aircrew I became Flt Sgt Aircrew. Master Aircrew was retained as a rank.

AMO A492/1946, as well as stating that the Aircrew rank holders were not NCOs, recognised that it was necessary to have some equivalence with non-commissioned ranks for the purposes of pensions, allowances, etc. Thus MAcr was equivalent to a Warrant Officer; Aircrew I was a Flight Sgt, Aircrew II a Sergeant and Aircrew III and IV a Corporal.

This led the inimitable Basil Embry (his fellow VSOs were more than aware that he'd killed his guards with his bare hands before escaping from captivity in 1940 and going on to win a DFC as a 2* for his gallantry on operations, and thus regarded him...warily) complaining that the Air Force was offering would-be pilots the same pay as a bricklayer for rather more risk. Many of the senior officers thought it was a mad idea - but the reason was to avoid adopting the Canadian answer, which was to commission all aircrew.

The above system was so unpopular - Tedder, as CAS, asked the crew of a Hastings he was travelling on to observe Operation Plainfare what they thought of their new rank badges and was told 'they make bloody good jam jar labels. Sir' which rather confirmed his views on the matter.

By 1949 it was clear that the plan to reduce the officer:aircrew [remember, not NCOs] ratio was as rubbish as Embry and others had said it would be, and the Air Force Board threw its hands up, said 'sod it' and decided to commission all pilots and navigators.

However.... although the NCO rank badges and names returned - with Aircrew IV and III becoming equivalent to Sergeants - Master Aircrew survived as a separate rank. It did not revert to the old wartime rank of Warrant Officer. This doesn't mean that it hasn't become an NCO rank, but it wasn't simply a renaming of the WO rank for aircrew, since it originated from the 1946 scheme and was thus a new rank; it then survived the demise of the scheme in 1950, when the Sec of State for Air told parliament that the RAF had been aware for 'some time' that the scheme 'had not worked as well as had been hoped'.

(The above is a summary of the work of Wg Cdr Jeff Jefford in various locations - the RAF Historical Society Journal and his book on Observers and Navigators. Also a spot of work on my part involving, Flight editions from 1946, 1949 and 1950, a bit of Hansard and a bit of engagement with the original AMOs some years ago with some rather unclear hints as to where I found them).

By the by, there may be a complication with the WO1/WO2 argument in that there is one source, apparently drawing upon the archival records, which seems to suggest that the RAF didn't actually create the rank of WO1 in 1933 (instead having Warrant Officer and Warrant Officer, 2nd Class), hinting that the rank of WO1 has been assumed ever since, but didn't actually exist.... I'm rather sceptical as it's single source (at present) and would thus want to check that against the AMOs - so don't take that as gospel, merely as another possible bit of confusion to add to the proceedings.
 

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