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Remembered Today:

acting rank temporary rank


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if an officer was made next rank acting or temp if he was say temp for 6 months did me get the extra insignia to go with the acting/temp rank obviously short term no but what about 6 month's or longer

ie a temp rank ie 2/lt to temp captain London gazetted did he get his extra pips or not

cheers Tony

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Hello Tony

"Temporary rank" is a bit of a misnomer as it refers to rank awarded for the duration of the war, rather than a permanent commission or promotion. A temporary captain would receive pay, and wear uniform, as a captain.

"Acting rank" is when an officer is filling a more senior role on a short-tewrm basis, e.g. commanding a company, squadron or battery in the absence of the normal OC. Such an officer would have the pay whilst so acting, but I am not sure that he would have put up the extra pips.

The distinction is not directly related to the length of time, although if a supewrior's absence cwas prolonged the acting rank might be made into temporary rank.


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That's very useful, my Great grandfather was designated Temp Lieut but his headstone simply states Lieutenant. Why would it only be for the duration of the war?

In the newspaper cutting that confrims his Temporary rank it states:

Canteens.—The undermentioned Officers, Gen.

List, are transfd. (without pay or allowances).

20th Aug. 1918, with rank and

precedence as stated: —

As temp. Lts.

Temp. Hon. Lts.: —

J. H. Pockett. 6th June 1916.

H. G. P. Okeden. 3rd July 1916.

G. E. Saunders. 1st Dec. 1916.

1st Jan. 1917'.

S. R. Benson.

S. W. A. Meyrick.

E. F. Lermit. 26th Mar. 1917.

W. Mercer. -29th June 1917

C. H. White. 1st July 1917.

W. Woodhead. 29th July 1917.

A. T. J. Brown. 5th Aug. 1917.

O. T. D. Weatherell. 21st Aug. 19

Doesn't this imply they didn't get paid for the temporay rank?



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There were two types of 'Temporary' rank during the Great War (at least in the Royal Artillery). Some officers who were appointed to the Regular Army for the duration of the war held only 'Temporary' rank for the entire period of their war service, i.e. they were commissioned as Temporary 2nd Lieutenants and were later promoted to Temporary Lieutenant, Temporary Captain, etc. They appear in the Army Lists after the officers who were career regular officers.

There were other officers who held 'Temporary' rank or 'Acting' rank for only a period of time during the war. For example: Thomas Shuttleworth Rendall, a regular officer in the Dorset Regiment was promoted substantive Captain on 14 Oct 1914; was appointed Temporary Major from 29 Apr 1916 to 16 Mar 1917; and was appointed Acting Lt. Col. from 17 Mar 1917 to 16 Oct 1917. So he held his substantive rank of Lieutenant from the beginning of the war until 13 Oct 1914; was a Captain from 14 Oct 1914 to 28 Apr 1917; was a Captain (Temp. Major) from 29 Apr 1916 to 16 Mar 1917; was Captain (Temp. Major)(Acting Lt. Col.) from 17 Mar 1917 to 16 Oct 1917; and finally held the rank of Captain from 17 Oct 1917 until he retired on 6 Sept 1927, at which time he became a Captain (with the rank of Lt. Col. in the Army).

Regards, Dick Flory

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Tony: As far as I know Brevet rank was rarely used during the Great War. It would be more correct to say 'substantive lieutenant, temporary captain, acting major' and my understanding is that as long as he held those appointments he would have worn the higher rank, in this case 'major' and be addressed by that rank, but I am not sure that he would be paid for the rank. Regards. Dick Flory

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Brevet, Honorary, Local or Temporary, rank: a collection of information from reputable British sources.

For convenience, Brevet henceforth abbreviated Bt. Local as L, Temporary as T. and Honorary as Hon. My editorial comments in [brackets] thus.

Queen’s Regulations 1873. Bt. field officers [major, lt. col., col.]doing duty with their regiments as captains to wear uniform according to their rank in the army; to do duty as field officers in garrison etc. [in context, army rank seems to that awarded by the Bt.]

Rank, Badges etc by Otley Lane Perry 1888. Bt. rank is permanent army rank as regards precedence but with pay of rank next below that indicated by the Bt. ….. [if I read this right, a captain with two brevet promotions would be paid as a major but ….]

Hon. Rank gives same advantages as enjoyed by Corresponding rank [ie equivalent Naval ranks] and Perry lists 17 appointments carrying Hon. Rank of Major, for example Chaplains 3rd class, Staff Paymaster

Queen’s regulations 1885. Agrees QR1873 and adds that captains holding Bt. rank as field officers are to perform regimental duties according to their regimental rank [in context, as captains]

Manual Military Law 1899. ……officers …… all alike are officers of HM land forces and have army rank as such, which may or may not be the same as their regimental rank ………….. [a corollary of this is that a Major, Bt. Lt Col doing duty on a Court Martial will outrank all Majors and below and therefore preside]

Royal Pay Warrant 1914. Substantive rank shall include all rank except army, brevet, honorary and local or temporary rank. [three points here 1. any comfortable thought that Bt. and army rank were the same is dispelled, 2. a following paragraph seems to suggest that regimental rank is the same as substantive rank, and 3. a reasonable working definition of substantive rank is ‘one that cannot be lost except by sentence of Court Martial’].

QM commissions were exactly that, and not combatant. QMs were not entitled to command mixed bodies of troops in action. They were eligible for Hon. Ranks as Lieutenant, with subsequent Hon. rises even to Lt Col. depending on length of service and merit. One well known example is QM & Hon Major Harry Yates, MC, 2RWF.

Bt. promotion may be given to captains[ after at least 6 years service], majors and lt cols for distinguished service [in the field or otherwise] [note that these are the only British brevet awards, unlike some other nations]

Kings Regulations 1914. adds to previous QR by noting that specially meritorious service may be recognised by accelerated promotion “usually by Bt.” Regular officers to take precedence over SR, who in turn take precedence over TF, of same nominal rank.

Bt. rank will not exempt an officer from taking the usual examinations for promotion [these exams differed according to arm of service]

Military Origins by Gordon 1971 is probably too “out of period” to be much use, he says little to disagree with the above on Bt. Rank and adds that Acting rank became Temporary rank after three months.

To summarise: Local and Temporary do appear to be synonymous, Brevet and Honorary are most definitely not synonymous, army rank and Bt. rank seem almost synonymous. I know that an officer doing a company commander’s job in an acting capacity was automatically given temporary promotion [and the rate for the job] after 30 days, and I know that the Army List used the same symbol both for temporary promotions and temporary commissions, so the only rank where we know what the asterisk means is 2Lt, in that this must mean Temporary commission.

One last thought, from studying RWF Army Lists 1895 to 1914. Promotion was by seniority but conditional on the ability to pass the exams, with small seniority adjustments made from time to time for less-than-obvious reasons and published in the London Gazette. I can find no instance where possession of a Bt. allowed an officer to queue-jump, although such an analysis is made difficult by the tendency for a fair few senior captains to have acquired a Bt. by the time they were near the top of the list. There are, however, examples of officers “parachuted in” to the regiment at Major rank, holding Bt. Lt col, and rising to lt col in the regiment before departing, with a Bt. colonelcy, to the staff. There seems to have been a mutual “deconfliction” by senior captains and senior majors, who could read a seniority list with an eye to possible further promotion. If one had little chance [there were only two lt col posts for regular officers in the whole regiment, with possibly a third for the SR battalion] then one could take the money and go on to half pay or pension.

After the war started, all bets were off, and many things changed ….. perhaps we could start to list them?

Please, if any errors detected, or Pals can add to this, I would be grateful.

I can give an example. Lt Col WH Stanway DSO MC, ex ranker and a CSM in 1914, rose to T/Lt-Col in the war but reverted to his permanent rank of Captain thereafter. However, by virtue of his Bt rank of Lt Col [granted after the war], commanded the mixed force sent to put down the mutiny of the Connaughts in India some years later. A Bt would also give command of any extra-regimental task, such as a FGCM.

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