Working Class Officers?

Discussion in 'RLC' started by Bomb_Doctor, Jul 6, 2006.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Is there such a thing? Is this an oxymoron?

    A recent conversation with FP got me thinking.......

    (And before anyone starts taking offence, I went to a 'free' comprehensive school & don't speak like a toff. I am confused about my actual & perceived social class)

    Historically, Officers have come from the top echelons of society. but since the practice of buying your Commission finished, Officers have come from many walks of life.

    What does 'working class' actually mean these days?

    If an Officer announces their engagement in say the Daily Telegraph, all announcements are listed in social order, with Officers coming above Doctors and even some titled persons.

    So, if someone is an Officer who holds the Queens Commission.... Can they also be described as working class?

    Feel free to slate away..... :)
  2. Depends whether they get out of the bath for a wee.
  3. A simple answer here from a simple (ton). I had to use a dictionary to define the term working class.

    "The socioeconomic class consisting of people who work for wages, especially low wages, including unskilled and semiskilled laborers and their families." or

    a social class comprising those who do manual labor or work for wages; "there is a shortage of skilled labor in this field"

    By definition, ruperts and their like can not allow themselves the privilege and title of working class. Even those giddly little subalterns that insist on getting their hands dirty to show the lads that they too can muck in. Bugger orf back to your CP sir, there is a superbly qualified lance jack standing right next to you who IS working class.
  4. Yes, of course both officers and doctors can be from working class backgrounds! My Dad's a mechanical engineer (left school with precisely zero O levels) and my Mum was a school cook. I still got into med school and from there the factory (RMAS) so - in short - a resounding YES to your question.
  5. An officer may be from a working class background but having attended education past 16 and RMAS he is classed (by those that class these things) as a professional and therefore performing a middle class job. This works in the same way that a doctor attends medical school and is therefore professionally qualified.

    This is all a bit meaningless these days as many tradesmen hold professional qualifications but I suppose they are technically Artisans and therefore at the top end of being working class or prehaps the bottom end of middle class(?)

    Here's a collection of essays;

    Googling gives this nice little slightly humourous explanation;
  6. Officers can only be working class in a Corps that has its origins in the Commisariat, i.e. "trade".
  7. So, would that make your parents working class, but you 'higher' because you gained a professional qual, then a Queen's Commission?

    Just because someone's parents are working class, does that automatically mean their offspring are also working class?

    Good posts everyone.... It's interesting to get everyones views :)
  8. No, that would make me working class as my roots are working class. As for (in the unlikely event of my ever having ...) kid(s) - well, you could ask them when they're born plus 25 years!
  9. Thats missing the point, the background isnt important, its what you are NOW, and officers cant be working class, by definition (as seen above). My father got a commission from the ranks. Was working class but not anymore. Thats my opinion anyway.
  10. Surely its the difference in perception.

    I consider myself Middle Class.
    The Daily Telegraph (apparently) considers me Upper Class.
    The 9/12 Lancers would probably consider me Working Class.

    What about Sir Alan Sugar? I'm sure he considers himself as Working Class, but by his Knighthood he is granted Upper Class status.

  11. But toffs no longer speak like toffs. Clipped vowels are out, and "estuary English" is in. The letter "t" is seldom pronounced by Ruperts who have attended major public schools (or even minor public schools and have aspirations) and their schooling is carefully concealed. Where will it all end ?
  12. Despite being an Officers brat. I have always considered myself working class.

    I have paid my way through uni once and I am now paying my own way again and I consider that I have worked low paid jobs. Currently I am working for the Local Authority and the MoD and neither of them pay me very well. I am also self employed but then again I don't earn that much when you take my overheads into account.

    Inconclusion I have not got a scooby doo.
  13. Father was CO, Mother stayed at home (apart from helping out at the Church fete), Brother is a minister of the cloth. Educated at a cost, and spent much time travelling. However I have been to Glastonbury and got muddy, I flyfished while growing up and have even been known to dabble in ladies of poor reputation.

    So yes I would consider myself working class.

    Actually - I was educated at a flick-knife comprehensive, scraped a degree in a bizzare subject becasue my original course booted me off for drinking / playing too much rugby / dabbling in fillies, and have had a spell on the wrong side of the law. But the boy still managed to find direction in life.

  14. My opinions on this subject:

    Can officers be from a working class background? Yes.
    Can officers still be working class after commissioning? No, this is patently absurd. By the definition of working class, the occupation that they now undertake means they are no longer working class.
    Are officers who insist on still being working class a bit sad? Yes, like it or not they are now, by the nature of their rank, position and occupation - middle class, until they are so promoted that they are condisdered upper class. People are rightly proud of their working class roots, but must accept the reality of the situation.

    Class is about what others perceive you as, not what you perceive yourself as. However much you think of yourself as working class, how much do you really believe you (an army officer) has in common with the average man in a Working Men's Club? Do you honestly think that your life of Officers' Mess black tie functions, soldiers saluting you and comfortable salary equates to his life? You may have had a similar background to him, however your lives now are poles apart. To consider yourself still as working class does yourself and the real working class a disservice.

    Whilst this matter is subjective, some objectivity can be achieved by considering how society in general perceives people by the use of generally acccepted norms and standards. For those people who really care about what class they are (I am not one) I suggest reading Debrett's Guide to Etiquette and Modern Manners. Whilst you may not agree with its content it demonstrates what 'society' considers the norm. It is a very interesting read (no, honestly!), I particulary like its definition of a gentleman as someone (male) who never allows a lady in his presence to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.

    Feel free to take me to task over this.
  15. With the greatest respect.

    Firstly working class people now attend black tie functions, cruising is now a holiday that the masses book. Working class belong to the Masons and even the Rotary. The middle and Working class blend.

    We now have a class of scum who remain on the dole all of there working lives.

    Working class or Trades men are now so few they command great wages.

    Middle Class and Upper Middle Class again blend.

    And no one has the same respect for "The IT girls and Boys" who are the supposed Upper Class.

    I can't engage my brain to anymore currently its sunday and I am relaxing with a glass of "Pride Mountain Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon" and awaiting the serving staff inviting us to the table :wink: