Longest Serving Lieutenant


I'm reading the memoirs of a Canadian officer who began his military service with the 1st King's Own Staffordshire Regiment in 1880. He tells a story of when the Regiment was increased from one to two battalions requiring the senior lieutenants to command companies. He mentions one senior lieutenant in particular. (The text might be a little awkward to read as it was published in 1927.)

"The first event of any moment that occurred in connection with my militia service did so during my first "training." Having served over two years at RMC and being very keen, our adjutant at the time, Colonel Crawford, imagined that I might be useful, and as the Regiment a few months previously had been raised from twelve to sixteen companies, and formed into two battalions, it was compulsory to have some of the companies commanded by senior lieutenants. He therefore arranged for one of the companies to be nominally commanded by the senior lieutenant, Askew J. Hillcott by name, who was, at that time, although on the active list, at least 95 years of age and had not been on a parade of the Regiment for a quarter century, whilst I and another of the later joined second lieutenants composed the company officers. By this arrangement I found myself in command of a company during my first training, with the rank of second lieutenant only.

I should mention, in connection with Mr. Hillcott, that any of my readers who think I am writing nonsense can find his name in any Army List, from 1812 to 1880, showing him as a lieutenant from the 11th of December, 1811.

I should state, also, the reason for his being so long retained in that rank. The old King's Own were embodied from 1798 until 1812. During the whole of which time they did duty at Windsor Castle, which, incidentally, was the reason we bore "Windsor Castle 1798-1812" on our cap badge, helmet plate, etc., until the introduction of the Territorial System in 1881. When the Regiment was demobilized all the officers received a pension, which they forfeited on taking promotion, and some years later our friend Hillcott preferred refusing it to losing his pension, which he drew until his death, in the early part of 1881, thus having the pleasure of serving, for the longest period of any officer that ever lived, in the exalted rank of lieutenant."

Seventy years as a lieutenant. I can't think of a comment apropos to this accomplishment.

On the plus side, he did get to retire with an RSM's pension.
Pah, there are RAF Regt Flighties been substantive longer than that.

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