Serious Officer Question



Various threads in this forum deal with or touch upon the relationship between Royal Signals officers and other ranks.

My experience in the Corps was that, over a period spanning eleven years I only came across five officers that I both liked and respected. Considering the fact that I did a couple of years AAC, four and a half at 216, two in JCU and the rest at 30, this is a mighty poor return.

I am neither bitter nor twisted about that statistic. Just bemused. It's low count isn't based on particularly demanding standards on my part (read my naafi bar postings for further clarification).

I think my main criticism of officers, from Captains down, was that the majority of them had an inherent belief in their own intellectual superiority. In a Corps like the Signals, this is quite often not the case. I can recall countless occasions, when a YO would end up kicking off on an NCO, due to being beaten in an argument about the merits of a particular course of action. It would seem like the officers entire street cred with the ranks lay in him being better on all counts.

Having read C-C's post got me thinking, and I believe this also follows some what on from the debate on the Troop Comd's course.

I have been that person he is talking about and after finishing my tour, some time back, I think I agree with what he is saying.

As an answer to why YO's are possibly like this early on in their careers stems possible from the initial training that they recieve.  The commissioning course using this generic training model of an infantry platoon comd to teach leadership and continues to over emphasis the importance of being bigger, better, more knowledgeable, fitter, stronger, etc. etc. than the plt that you may or may not lead,  which may well need to be the case in the teeth arms (any comments from those camps???)

Unfortunately, when the R SIGNALS YO comes to do his specific to arm training (RSTCC) nobody both to explain that this is not the case and that a almost whole different attitude and style of leadership needs to be adopted with R SIGNALS soldiers and their Tp.  Some Officers will obviously not need to be told this and will no doubt become the good leaders of our corps, however we know that the corps does not get anywhere near the top of the officer corps from Sandhurst.

This is where this thread now leads back into the debate about the RSTCC.  We all know that the course needs to be entirely scrapped and re developed by Blandford.  (Proof: CO's pulling students of the course to deploy on Op Tours obviously are saying their Tp Comds don't need to do this!!)  However, in that process of development and validation of the course maybe we should listen to some of the comments from our Soldiers, as after all are they not the customers who have to live with this end product!! (Thought!)

I've said enough now!!
As only a select few YO's got dragged off their troopies cse to deploy recently, I would suggest that the CO involved was really responsible for the action.  If you know who i am talking about, and i am sure you do, then you will probably agree it is only one of many barking ideas that he has had.  The man makes General Meltchett look positively sane.  I do know for certain though that at least one of them was consigned to a full tour of night shifts, and given no end of sh@t for not having the necessary confidence to make decisions, or making what were deemed as poor decisions, and really just being back with the unit to fill a seat.  I am not saying completing the troopies cse would have changed any of that, but if they were only there to fill a seat, shouldn't they have been kept at blandford to complete what they have started, rather than having to go back to it now, probably harder to teach on the DS side of life as they now have 'op tour experience' and know everything?
Just from an Inf perspective...(TA though not Reg)

Yes, Sandbags teaches you leadership through the tool of the light infantry platoon as it is the basic building block of the Army.

It is certainly an advantage to be bigger, better, stronger, fitter and more knowledgable than the blokes in your platoon but in the end this is never the case that you can't be all of these over everyone. There will always be guys who are fitter than you, bigger than you (nothing you can do about your genetics!) and when you're a newly commissioned subbie there will be at least 4 guys in your pl who are far more knowledgable than you.

From experience the Pl Sgt always knows more than the pl comd. The sect comds always have more experience and it's always worth listening to their ideas of how to do things. At the end of the day the Pl comd makes the decisions and formulates the plans but you would be a fool not to listen to the advice that your NCOs give you.

Trust and respect are two way streets.
Surely the Platoon/troop Commander/one pip wonder, merely thinks he is in charge of his platoon/troop and that actually when giving orders, the platoon sgt and sect comds simply smile and nod and say "yes sir, what a very good idea, heres some more crayons for your colouring in book." They then proceed to carry out the tasking in a much better and effecient way and make the young officer believe it was all down to him thus keeping everyone happy. ;)
Isn’t it just common sense that’s missing here?  Lets compare it to the business world for a moment, you don’t just walk into a company fresh out of university or college and expect to know more that somebody that’s been doing the job for 20 years??  Even if they do have less formal qualifications that you.  You’d be called an arrogant dick, if not worse.  You certainly wouldn’t get anybodies help when you needed it and the boss would probably have a few words to say about it as well.  However with the army young officers get brainwashed into thinking they are somehow a part of a superior master race??  Where they are supposed to be fitter, stronger, more intelligent, etc.  

I think that superior attitude may work in a conscripted army where the soldiers don’t have much experience or training, but surely not for the most professional army in the world.  8)

I’m off to Sandhurst in September and hopefully they won’t be able to brainwash me as easily as the 18-21 year olds.  I’ve had a bit more life experience including 5 years in industry as a project manager, which has beaten the naivety out of me (have a guess at my age ‘cause I’m not telling.)  But most young officers will probably have no idea of how to get difficult tasks done, except by barking orders and throwing their weight around.  They don't know any better, because nobody taught them better.  So I think it’s the system that is failing here, not the poor kids who get put in charge of a troop.
Isn’t it just common sense that’s missing here?  
Contrary to popular opinion, common sense is not all that common.....
A certain college near Retford in Nottingham is a major factor in the arrogance of many Officers in the technical corps.  I hear Welbeck college may be closing soon and in the years to come things will probably improve.
Bow_Man, I had never heard of the place until I joined Oxford UOTC.  I then met some of their products at Sandhurst in 1984.  Some of them are nice people, however they are in the minority it seems.  Having spoken to you a couple of times I agree that you are in the minority.

Happy at Elmpt
I agree with the CO on this one - the pleasant and effective ones from Retford High are in the minority.

Before anyone says it...I didn't apply, didn't want to, didn't even know about it when I joined post-normal school, post normal sixth-form college, post normal university and post normal teenage life!


Me ? Still writing my CV

8 inch - would you have 'served' those best R SIGNALS officers by any chance ? ;)
8 Incher - what makes you think you resemble Grant Mitchell? You are too small, too plump and much too ugly. Nice to hear from you again though. Another question - How was your sub-unit bash this weekend?
Another question - Where was my f***ing invite you arrse.


Happy in Elmpt
Being an " OR "i'd like to put me spin on it

officers are just like a box chocs

There are some nice one's ( ex ranker's ) :D

There are some crunchie one's ( not the stuck up one's ) 8O

and last but not least the coffee one's ( the jumped up 21 yr old now it all not !!!! ) :x

sianara for now
The relationship between Officers and ORs in the Signals would appear to be worse than any other Corps. I don't know why but I guess the arrogance cannot be all officer generated.

You get the officers you train. If you sorted out the Young officers and taught them properly then they would grow up to be less of a nobber once they are Capts/Majs etc. :p
take the case of the YO who did 3 years and then joined back up as an OR !
top bloke and bloody good at his job (tech)

or the case of another guy i knew who went to Westbury RCB as a Cpl and was turned over because of his Blackpool accent! needless to say he left the Army after that, another good tech lost from the Corps
Having been to RCB as an observer I think it highly unlikely he would have been given the push for his accent. I have met many Officers with regional accents and they got through.

Re Sigs Offrs and arrogance, clearly most of the fault lies with them but some must lie with their RSM and SNCOs, COs and Adjts, who don't put them in their place when they arrive. In my Regiment your Pl Sgt would soon put you back in your box if you were a little too bumbtious and if that didn't work it would escalate up - CSM - RSM - Adjt - CO etc. If a guy wasn't respected by his men he didn't last.

A lot of the problem is that nearly all Officers are Graduates (I'm one), many think because they spent 3 years drinking they know something. The pond life that were commissioned at 19 knew they knew nothing and the Battalion trained them.

RCB selects them, RMAS trains them, they are posted to the unit - something is going wrong soemwhere. We should be encouraging more young and bright ORs to go for a commission.


A few years ago what happened to an officer post-Sandhurst changed; they spent a few months in the same unit that they would ultimately be posted back to. Perhaps then the format of the attachment should also change, ie More time in the garages and working on a det on exercise as a crewman; rather than sat in an office and Node Command.
Is this not about education and development. Whilst I may privately echo some of the comments. We as a collective corporate organisation are responsible to develop those around us. This can be a mix of a Top Down or Bottom Up Approach. IiP and Continuing Professional Development are about all working towards a common goal. The R Signals may in the readers view have a problem, Ladies and Gentlemen I can resolutely say the grass is not greener !!!! Management styles vary according to the social economic climate that they recruit from. This diversity is what today’s society is about. The cliché is it’s the COs train set let him play with his Officers’ and Soldiers’ and develop them. That is the mark of the Regiment

Similar threads

Latest Threads