Mystery rank WW2

#1
Just came off the blower to my dad tonight he was at the funeral of an old boy Dave cambell who popped his cloggs at the age of 93. Anyway He was mobilised in 39 and de-mobbed in 46 was a gunner for the duration but was very proud of his rank and kept his pay book to show it as he reckoned he was the only one to hold it within the army at the time. The only thing I can think of is master gunner any other theories? The euolgy at the service didnt mention what it was.
 
#4
Master Gunner is an appointment of Warrant Officer in the British Army's Royal Artillery. Master Gunners are experts in the technical aspects of gunnery. They fill advisory rather than command posts. The appointment is split into two classes: Master Gunners 2nd and 1st Class are Warrant Officers Class 1. The appointment of Master Gunner should not be confused with that of Master Gunner, St. James's Park, who is the ceremonial head of the Royal Regiment of Artillery?

Master Gunner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
#6
Interesting Bushmills but do you think someone with 6yrs yrs service would have got the St James park gig? I'd assume thaat would be an old and bold posting.
 

Mr_Fingerz

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
Courtesy of Wikipaedia

Master Gunners of St James' Park c1900 - Date:


General Sir Collingwood Dickson VC GCB 1891-1904

Field Marshal The Earl Roberts VC KG KP GCB OM GCSI GCIE 1904-1914

General Sir Robert Biddulph GCB GCMG 1914-1918

Major General Francis William Ward CB 1918-1919

General Sir Edward Francis Chapman KCB 1919-1926

General The Lord Horne GCB KCMG 1926-1929

Field Marshal The Lord Milne GCB GCMG DSO 1929-1946

Field Marshal The Viscount Alanbrooke KG GCB OM GCVO DSO 1946-1956

General Sir Cameron Nicholson GCB KBE DSO MC 1956-1960

General Sir Robert Mansergh GCB KBE MC 1960-1970

Field Marshal Sir Geoffrey Baker GCB CMG CBE MC 1970-1976

General Sir Harry Tuzo GCB OBE MC 1977-1983

General Sir Thomas Morony KCB OBE 1983-1988

General Sir Martin Farndale KCB 1988-1996

Field Marshal The Lord Vincent GBE KCB DSO 1996-2000

General Sir Alexander Harley KBE CB 2001-2008

General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman GBE KCB ADC Gen 2008


As you can see, it's not really an "Old and Bold" posting in the normally accepted meaning of the term.
 
#8
Just came off the blower to my dad tonight he was at the funeral of an old boy Dave cambell who popped his cloggs at the age of 93. Anyway He was mobilised in 39 and de-mobbed in 46 was a gunner for the duration but was very proud of his rank and kept his pay book to show it as he reckoned he was the only one to hold it within the army at the time. The only thing I can think of is master gunner any other theories? The euolgy at the service didnt mention what it was.
Might he have been one of the last WOIIIs?

Most were commisioned to Lt during the war but some held on and retired in rank.

I wouldn't have thought that many WOIIIs would have been left in by 1945 and I believe the last one left in 1948 at which point the rank was mothballed and left us with just Class IIs and Is.

Master Gunner can be a Warrant Officer rank in the RA IIRC.
 
#12
I've no idea of the answer but I'll hazard a guess.

Prior to WW2, there were a number of Gunner (as in private soldier) ranks until they were rationalised into the single rank of Gunner.
Driver was the most common besides Gunner, but there were others.

One of the war/military graves in our local cemetery belongs to a Royal Field Artillery soldier in the rank of Signaller.
Probably one of the rarest of the ranks (as opposed to appointment) was Shoeing Smith.

(one of them on the searchable CWGC register is a W.Pate, RFA)

Now of course, unusual as they were, none of them were unique.

But I'm wondering if by chance one of them might have been continued, say for instance, when the Mounted Band were dismounted at the beginning of the war, someone might have stayed with a Shoeing Smith rank or similar, for some reason.

Apart from that guess, I've no idea.
 
#17
Yes, and there were more than one!
Not many left in at WOIII rank in 1946 though.

It is possible he was the last one in the RA at this time, especially in view of the mass demobilisation from 1945 onward.


Incidentally, TSM carried on as a WOII appointment and was still with us in the 1970s and '80s, don't know if it is still extant.
 
#18
I know, Grasping at straws but wondering if theres/was some obscure drop short rank a bit like conductor in the RLC.
The old Royal Corps of Transport, now part of the Really Large Corps, still has a WO 1 position at MoD called Master Driver.
Back in 1957 I was at Chester Military Hospital and we had a patient admitted who was a Royal Navy COMMISIONED WARRANT OFFICER. It caused chaos - should he be in Officers Ward or a General Ward. I believe the Admin Officer finally got in touch with the navy as was told it was a commissioned rank and thus, an officer.
 
#19
WOIII is possible, of course, and L/Pte Jones has a valid scenario, here's something filched from the Great War Forum.

A couple of direct quotes from British Army Uniforms & Insignia of World War Two by Brian L Davis:

"On 1 October 1938 the War Office announced that about 1,000 non-commissioned officers were to be promoted. They were to form the first batch of selections for the new rank of Warrant Officer Class III. They were selected on the basis of being men of special character and ability and were to be promoted to hold command of platoons and equivalent sub-units hitherto commanded by subaltern officers.

The Warrant Officers Class III were all to be commanders, to be trained in officers' duties in tactics, in the use of weapons and in administration etc. Warrant Officers Class III were introduced into the Cavalry of the Line, Royal Artillery, Foot Guards, Infantry of the Line and Royal Tank Corps in all units. In the Royal Signals they were introduced into certain units only, and searchlight units, which until 1939 were coming under the Royal Artillery, were also to have them."

ACI 804 of 1940 discontinued any further promotions to the rank of Warrant Officer Class III. the existing WOIII were allowed to continue in their ranks until they either, retired, or were promoted to WOII.
As regards other unusual RA ranks from an earlier time, there were certainly a variety, beside the Ubiquitous Gunner,
Again, from the web, here's a list of E/B Bty RHA casualties in 1880 Afghanistan. As well as Gunners and Drivers, it includes, Wheeler, Collar Maker and Shoeing Smith

E/B Battery
4349 Collar Maker Harry Cummings - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
4239 Gunner John Dewley - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
3431 Wheeler William James Dix - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
4209 Acting Bombardier William Clarke - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
3542 Driver David Grey - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
1634 Driver Thomas Hornby - accidentally killed at Kandahar 2 May 1880
4309 Driver Picknell Istead - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
4253 Gunner Richard Jones - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
4257 Gunner James Loughlin - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
4430 Acting Bombardier John Lowe - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
5082 Gunner Alexander MacDonald - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
5071 Gunner Wilfred Mathewman - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
4260 Gunner Patrick McAllister - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
3422 Gunner William Nicholls - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
4918 Gunner Andrew Reilly - wounded Maiwand. Died of wounds at Kandahar 30 August 1880
4455 Gunner Arthur Roberts - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
4270 Gunner George Smith - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
5070 Gunner Alfred Swinnerton - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
527 Gunner James Tew - accidentally killed at Kandahar 2 May 1880
4186 Shoeing Smith George Walker - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
4686 Driver Samuel Webster - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
4217 Sgt. Michael Joseph Wood - killed at Maiwand 27 July 1880
 
#20
So, the Mrs has buggered off to her boudoir and I am free of distractions.........hurrah!

This is my cunning theory ;

Mr Campbell is Mobilised in 1939 (according to brettarider's narrative), this suggests he was either a Regular Reservist or TA, maybe ex TA with reserve liability.
Maybe he was neither but was called up or volunteered in 1939.
At this time the Army was desperately short of junior officers hence the introduction of WOIII in 1938.
With the desperate need for Troop Commanders it is possible that Mr Campbell stood out in his peer group crowd and was selected to become a WOIII (TSM). This had to have happened up to 1940 (Month?Date?) as promotions to WOIII had to have happened at least before the end of 1940, no more promotions to this rank after that year. Quick promotion I know but not impossible in wartime especially in view of the rapid expansion of the British Army of that period.

In 1942 junior officer numbers are looking better so WOIII rank is mothballed and it remains so to this day.
The remaining WOIIIs have their raison d'être removed and most commission to Lt and carry on in their old jobs.
Of the remainder, some are selected for promotion to WOII and those unwilling/unsuitable remain at WOIII.

By 1945 there must have been hardly any left, huge demobilisations also started in that year.
Mr Campbell is demobbed in 1946 so if he was still WOIII I think it is feasible that he was the only one left in the RA before he left.

Of course I may be totally and utterly wrong and probably am.
 

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