Officers parading/marching in the Ranks,


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
As a transferee to the AMS I was surprised to find that it is common practise for Officers (and SNCOs) to fall in in the Ranks and be marched about by NCOs.

I have pointed out that this is not really the done thing - for any number of reasons, but have been told to either come up with a regulation that says they should not, or wind my neck in.

The only reference that I can find is in the Regs about officers wearing uniform when not on duty. It mentions that Remeberance Parades are suitable occations to wear uniform, but an officer in uniform must not march in the ranks on such occations.

Can anybody come up with a quotable authority for why Officers should not 'fall in' in the ranks?
It is probably one of those unwritten rules that stems from the fact that once most Officers leave RMAS they automatically become shit at drill and would make the rest of the said ranks look a bit shabby :D :D :D
Judgig from the question - does this mean that the RSM no longer has his little drill parades on Saturday mornings for the subalterns?
Surely its as simple as this:

Drill has its roots in changing formations on the battlefield and as such is the practice of implementing discipline and a team's reaction to rehearsed orders. Its just common sense that Officers should not be placed in a position where they are expected to adhere to the orders of a NCO. I'd be astounded to see SNCOs marched about by JNCOs, let alone Officers.

Drill 'lessons' and 'practice' are clearly another matter.

I suspect the SNCOs in the AMS have got one over their officers as a lot of them are PQOs. Its up to the transferee officers to sort it out mate.
Only time I recall officers being marched around by an OR (outside of Sandhurst) was on Adjutants parade when the RSM would beast the subbies.
Or because there are so many PQOs there they need a little bit more drill and don't have the experience in drill to move themselves around like a smart body of men?

I very much doubt that the SNCOs of AMS have "got one over" the officers, whatever the reason.
An NCO cannot issue a lawful order to an officer.

An exception to this is:

The RSM when requested to drill the officers by the Adjt. He does so on behalf of the Col but must still address officers as Sir.

An RMP JNCO may issue an order to an officer in the execution of his/her duties.
chocolate_frog said:
Or because there are so many PQOs there they need a little bit more drill and don't have the experience in drill to move themselves around like a smart body of men?
And who on earth expects officers to move themselves around like a smart body of men?

PQO/Regular Officer
Sh1t Drill/Slightly Less Sh1t Drill

There's no excuse for NCOs drilling officers except for practice for a specific parade or ceremonial event.

chocolate_frog said:
I very much doubt that the SNCOs of AMS have "got one over" the officers, whatever the reason.
Drilling them 'because they need more drill' sounds like an excuse for a bit of power play to me. I agree with you though, it probably completely washes over the officers as one of those quirky 'Army' things that SNCOs get excited about.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Its not a power play thing by the WO/SNCO's - they, after all, are only doing what they have been told to do, and what is common practise through out the AMS. The WO/SNCO's are themselve falling in, which is not right either.

Its ignorance - when I raised the issue, the 'management' think I'm making it up becaue I'm a snob and don't like doing drill and mixing with the troops. I've been told to show in regs that it should not happen or shut up.

An interesting point raised above - a WO/SNCO cannot give an officer an order - is it therefore illegal to order an officer to fall in under the direction of a WO/SNCO?
My apologies. I got the impression that this was something those taking the parades were imposing. Interesting that your 'management' is insisting on it though, especially after you have raised your concerns. It sounds messed up to me and makes me wonder what the AMS is trying to portray.

On the issue of:

sknn said:
... is it therefore illegal to order an officer to fall in under the direction of a WO/SNCO?
I have no idea, but would suggest that you'd be seriously undermining the said officer. Even officers 'under instruction' (YOs in their very first posting, brand new field of employment) outrank their 'teachers'. An OC telling his subbies to listen to their SNCOs is sound advice, ordering his subbies to fall in under the direction of a WO/SNCO is odd.

The only scenarios I see it working are in arenas where the WO/SNCO is in charge of realtime safety for example taking a range. Maybe its because the AMS has a requirement to have a medical hierarchy which spans and overlays the military rank structure that operates (no pun) it?
There's no reason why junior officers shouldn't be drilled by SNCOs on the orders of a senior officer, but they would normally fall in separately, if there were enough of them. If it's a small unit and there aren't enough bods to form separate squads then perhaps it is understandable.

However, if you were the only or one of a few junior officers, then providing your drill is up to scratch they should be training you to take charge of a body of men and use power of command etc. Maybe the real reason is that you need some remedial drill?
A quick call to the All Arms Drill Wing ref this point should clear it up, failing that, GSM London District (though why the hell one of the resident gobshiite RSM types hasn't come up with a QRs quote by now is beyond me).
You may complain but what was the reason why you were all marching together? Im sure that it was done for a reason so as not to show your unit up infront of regular soldiers for instance? think you need to look at the bigger picture and not your part time ego!
It's common practice amongst the TA AMS, certainly in my unit, as a) we're a little bit top-heavy, and b) our officers don't like shouting and are a bit thin on the military side of things, so being told what to do is welcome so they don't have to make decisions.
Chalky said:
You really don't like drill, do you C_C? :)
"Taking you a step further in your drill, I am now going to demonstrate the movements to be carried out upon recipt of the word of command, Turnings at the halt, RIGGGGGHHT.... TURN! Continue to look this way while I give you a complete demonstration of the movements... bla bla bla.... For the purpose of demonstration and instruction the movements are broken down into parts, each part being numbered ....bla bla bla.... :roll:

Being AMS the fcukers should no that drill IS the pill and sould be taken TWICE DAILY! :roll:
(1) There is no regulation that forbids officers from parading under the direction of a subordinate. Not doing so is a matter of tradition.

(2) It is not illegal for an OR to give an order to an officer. However, the officer cannot (obviously) be charged for disobedience if he does not obey. That doesn't exclude him/her choosing to obey on practical grounds.

(3) It is common practice to march officers in a formation under an SNCO/WO in the AMS on a number of occasions: during offr trg courses at DMSTC (although this has, I understand, now ceased), during TA AMS unit Annual Camps, at Corps Parades. This is a question of practicality. In a line Infantry regiment, the ORs substantially outnumber the Officers (generally, about 20:1) so there aren't all that many officers around and, if they all march off the parade ground when the Adjt hands over to the RSM, the square isn't suddenly denuded of personnel. In the AMS, however, the opposite is often the case. At DMSTC, when the Offr Trg Dept was past the main Trg Div, it looked completely ridiculous to have 30+ officers wondering in a gaggle through the area, with recruits throwing up salutes every three paces. So instead, the offrs were formed up under the control of a WO and marched to their classes. The Dept has now moved and this is no longer necessary. The same applies, however, to those other occasions mentioned and any occasion where a large number of officers (mostly clinicians) must move about in a formal environment. It is simply more practical to move them as a formed body. The question has been asked: why not march them under the control of the senior officer present? The answer is that the senior officer present is usually a clinician who is quite sh*t at drill.

This does, however, raise the interesting question of what happens when that body passes another officer. If there is a Col in the body, but it is under the command of a Sgt and a Capt walks past in the opposite direction, who salutes? Answer: the Sgt pays his own respects to the Capt and the Capt returns them. The Col - and the marching body - is ignored.

Bizarrely in my previous Unit as a Squadron Commander, I found that whilst the Officers would parade front and centre of their Squadron that the Sergeant Major would do the shouting. This ceased within about a millisecond in my Squadron, if I was on the parade then I was the parade commander and I did the shouty bits. The other Squadron Commanders still had their SSMs do the drilling though, I always found this weird...

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