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Warrant Officer

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Big badges. Also known as Sergeant-Major, or Corporal-Major in tewwibly tewwibly Cavalwy Wegiments. Divided into two classes, the senior being Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1), and the junior being Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2).

A Warrant Officer holds a Warrant, in the same was as a Commissioned Officer holds a Commission; except that a Commission is signed by the Monarch, while the Warrant is signed by the Secretary of State for Defence.


Try not to confuse the Rank (Warrant Officer) with the Appointment (Sergeant-Major). A subtle distinction......

Conductor: Collects tickets on a bus or a train. Oh, and is a big wheel in the RLC :)

Regimental Sergeant-Major, or RSM: Highest ranking WO in a Unit.

Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant, or RQMS: Second highest ranking WO in a Unit after the RSM. Runs the G4 side of things.

Company Sergeant-Major, or CSM: Highest ranking WO in a Company.

Squadron Sergeant-Major, or SSM: Highest ranking WO, funnily enough, in a squadron.

Squadron Corporal-Major, or SCM: Same, but in a Cavalwy Squadwon. Not, god forbid, in the People's Cav.

Battery Sergeant-Major, or BSM: Go on, guess.

Academy Sergeant-Major, or AcSM: the RSM of RMAS. Scary.

Sergeant-Major Instructor: SMI: Runs courses.

History apocrypha

Long ago, armies were formed into Companies of men; each Company had its Captain (with a meaning similar to the Captain of a ship), a Lieutenant (his deputy; a French word, meaning "place-holder"), and its Sergeant.

When these Companies were formed into a Regiment, the Commander was a Colonel; his deputy was a Lieutenant-Colonel (you can see where this is going) and the senior Sergeant was the Sergeant-Major.

When the Regiments were formed into an Army, the Commander was a General; his deputy was a Lieutenant-General; and the senior soldier was the Sergeant-Major General.

"Sergeant-Major General" became shortened to "Major-General", and that is why Lieutenant-General outranks a Major-General, even though a Major outranks a Lieutenant.

More history apocrypha

Prior to WWII, during a shortage of junior officers, there was also Warrant Officer Class 3. Some of the Platoons in a Rifle Company would be commanded by a WO3, or Platoon Sergeant-Major (PSM). When this happens nowadays, the Platoon Commander is typically a WO2.