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» Bearing The Cross by Ken Blakeson | BBC RADIO DRAMA: Ken Blakeson's play tells the story of the Battle of Rorke's Drift and the effect it had on three of the soldiers who fought in it.
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 S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks

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Kenny
Herbie
Bill8183
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Bill8183




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PostSubject: S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks   S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks EmptyMon Nov 02, 2020 3:08 pm

Not being completely up to speed with the Victorian Army ranking system compared with todays, I have a question for the experts:

Were any of the Staff Sergeants actually Staff Sergeants in rank or just appointment, or is more correct to say they were "Sergeants on the Staff"?

In descending order of pay we have

Armourer Sgt

Sgt/Major

Sgt Instructor of Musketry

Quarter Master Sgt

Colour Sgts

Then the following all have the same pay as ordinary Sgts

Orderly Room Clerk

Drum Major

Cook Sgt

Pioneer Sgt

Canteen Sgt

Am I correct in believing that some of the above could be probationary Sgts and still be paid in lower rank?
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Herbie




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PostSubject: Re: S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks   S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks EmptyMon Nov 09, 2020 4:54 am

Hi Bill, That’s an interesting list. Never seen them in pay scale order like that. Very interesting to see the Armourer Sgt come in above the Sgt Major. I assume they were top of the chain of technical skills and hard to train or recruit in that role? I wonder if those paid more than Colour Sgt’s were considered higher in rank as well?

Whilst I’m no expert my understanding is that Staff Sergeants in 1879 were the various headquarters appointments for sergeants as you have listed and that no rank of Staff Sgt as we have it now existed at the time, at least in the infantry. Not sure I’ve seen them in other units either as for example The Staff Corps had Colour Sgt’s rather than Staff Sgt’s but there may be exceptions in some units? As you are probably aware nowadays Colour Sgt is used in units that traditionally carried Colours with Staff Sgt as the equivalent rank for units that didn’t carry Colours, but that doesn’t seem to have been the rule historically.

I believe the senior battalion pioneer was often a Corporal but certainly seems to have been a Sgt in some units. Ps I believe Sgt Millne at Rorkes Drift had done a pioneer course but don’t know whether he was the formally appointed Pioneer Sgt?

Regards Phil


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Kenny




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PostSubject: Re: S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks   S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks EmptyMon Nov 09, 2020 8:37 am

Herbie,

A Colour Sergeant was the senior rank in infantry company, equivalent to Company Sergeant Major (today - this warrant rank was introduced in WW1) The Colour Sergeant was traditionally the right marker and carried the 'company' colour which indicated in the position of the Company on the battlefield. The 'company' colour also indicated the line of tents when in camp. 'Company' colours have largely disappeared only remain in the modern British Army in the Foot Guards, HAC and the Royal Welsh.

On the original list of appointment - Master Tailor - was missing.
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Herbie




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PostSubject: Re: S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks   S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks EmptyMon Nov 09, 2020 10:31 am

Hi Kenny
I’ve never come across Company colours in the British Army. I thought they were last used around the ECW. Colour Sergeants didn’t come in till the latter stages of the Napoleonic Wars I thought?
Regards Phil.
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timothylrose




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PostSubject: Re: S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks   S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks EmptyMon Nov 09, 2020 4:48 pm

My limited understanding of the Colour Sergeant role would be that they acted as senior Sergeant in each Company but would be drawn forward as the ceremonial escort to the Colours when required - there were no Company Colours carried in Line Regiments but there were camp Colours to help i/d lines in a formal camp layout.
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milner




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PostSubject: Re: S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks   S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks EmptyMon Nov 09, 2020 5:55 pm

Where do Lance Sergeants fit into this? Regards Tony
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Kenny




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PostSubject: Re: S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks   S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks EmptyMon Nov 09, 2020 6:04 pm

Tony,

Lance Sergeants are paid full corporals who have the extra privilege of being members of the Sergeants Mess, but will often be called upon to undertake a Sergeant's roll on the battlefield.

Phil,

You have watched 'Trooping the Colour. The markers around the Horse Guards Parade each carry a Company Colour.
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milner




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PostSubject: Re: S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks   S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks EmptyMon Nov 09, 2020 6:12 pm

Thanks for that Kenny,Regards Tony
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks   S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks EmptyTue Nov 10, 2020 5:23 am

And Corporals of Horse?
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Kenny




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PostSubject: Re: S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks   S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks EmptyTue Nov 10, 2020 7:59 am

Frank,

In the Household Cavalry the rank of 'corporal' is used instead of Sergeant. Corporal Major is the equivalent of Company Sergeant Major and Regimental Corporal Major. Interestingly the Regiment's Standard (= Colour) is carried by a Corporal Major (not an officer).
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell


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PostSubject: Re: S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks   S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks EmptyTue Nov 10, 2020 8:57 am

Yep I got into a little trouble once upon a time for calling a Corporal Major Sergeant Major to the great delight of my own WO1. Are Corporal majors classified as WO1 ?
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks   S/Sgts Appointments/Ranks EmptyTue Nov 10, 2020 10:45 am

I appreciate that it is a minor point, but I think that this photograph of 21st Royal Scots Fusiliers shows the Sergeants on the Regimental Staff are all wearing peaked forage caps, some - but not all - are also wearing the Staff Sergeant’s Line pattern sword.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Sergeants of the 21st RSF, together with the battalion’s Adjutant, pre-1881.
(John Young Collection.)

I have a slightly earlier - 1867 - breakdown of a Battalion of the Line which gives the following ranks:
Serjeant-Major
Schoolmaster
Quartermaster-Serjeant
Serjeant-Instructor of Musketry
Bandmaster-Serjeant
Drum-Major
Paymaster-Serjeant
Armourer-Serjeant
Hospital-Serjeant or Orderly Room Clerk
Band-Serjeant
Colour-Serjeants
Serjeants

I don’t if that adds to the original post, or muddles it?

JY
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