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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

The role of Junior Major


ddycher

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All

Would appreciate a clarification from somebody in the know.

Have conflicting ref's as to whether the Junior Major in a battalion actually commanded a Coy or not when on active service. Some ref's I have state that he would have commanded A Coy but others imply a Bn HQ role.

Can anyone confirm ?

Regards

Dave

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When 4 coy bns were introduced in 1914 all coys were commanded by majors. It was the old 8 coy bns that had mostly capts as coy comds.

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Not quite right, Nigel. A company commander in 1914 could be either a major or a captain, though squadron and battery commanders were usually majors.

In an infantry battalion, the Senior Major was the second-in-command of the battalion. Other majors commanded companies, but I don't think they were specifically given "A" Company.

The 1914 scale for regular infantry was eight majors per two-battalion regiment. One of these commanded the regimental depot, there were two battalion seconds-in-command and the rest all commanded companies.

The pre-1914 eight-company battalions had an officer shown as "Third Field Officer" on the little diagrams of battalion drill positions. He would presumably have been the "Junior Major", the then smaller companies all being commanded by captains.

Ron

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Gents

Thanks for the quick response.

Interesting.I had not really considered rank across the regiment before merely looking at it at a battalion level. When I do it puts into context grievances expressed within the 5th Devons, that I am researching, after the disbandment of their second line when the 4th and 6th Devons maintained theirs. Where there were two battalions on active service the number of Majors on the active list for the 4th Devons stood at 5 serving with the two battalions and the 6th Devons at 10 by 1918. Whereas there was 4 Majors on the Army List for the 5th Devons however one of those was serving in a permanent capacity in the TF Reserves, one was on Special Appointment and one serving with the RAMC. So by 1918 there was only effectively the 2nd I/C or Senior Major and no Junior Major serving with the battalion whereas earlier in the war there were three at one point.

I am trying to get my head around apparent restructuring of the 5th as it went into active service in Egypt and subsequent changes. It certainly appears that when they embarked for Egypt the battalion was still running with the older system as they took both a Senior and Junior Major into theatre. However when the Junior Major was KIA he never seems to have been replaced and from then until the end of the war Coys were commanded by Capt's. Trying to understand if this was a shift in policy or just circumstance. Alot of the confusion (atleast for me) surrounds whether or not particular secondments were on the establishment or whether they became supernumerary and as such whether the establishment was full. There must be some guidelines for this somewhere but I have yet to find any.

Hence my question above.

Any thoughts ?

Regards

Dave

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Is "Junior Major" a rank? I've never heard of such. Antony

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Would a Junior Major surnamed Major become a Major Minor?... Sorry...its a very sunny day today!!!

Trajan

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Antony

No, the rank is Major. Junior is just the description of his seniority. Senior Major, though, also indicates 2i/c of a battalion, so could be regasrded as an appointment, though I think it was automatic based on seniority.

Trajan

You've been reading Catch-22 again, haven't you! (Incidentally did you know that Heller was originally going to call it Catch-18?)

Ron

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Thanks, Ron. I was treading carefully in my post. I knew it wasn't a rank but I just had never seen the words capitalised before, as if it was substantive. Yours, Antony

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Sorry Anthony the use of capitals just my emphasis - should have been clearer.

Regards

Dave

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Thanks, Dave. Cheers, A

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