Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Gareth Davies

Leader or Commander

Recommended Posts

Gareth Davies

In the Royal Armoured Corps the person in charge of a troop is a Troop Leader and the person in charge of a squadron is a Squadron Leader.  What terms were used during the Great War? Were they leaders or commanders?

 

Straying slightly off topic, when did the Sappers and Service Corps ditch companies for squadrons? And why do they have commanders not leaders?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ron Clifton

The only case I know from the WW1 period of the use of the term "leader" (other than in the RFC) was in an artillery battery, where the "battery leader" co-ordinated the actions of the guns, but was not necessarily the same as the "battery commander". So, the use of the term "leader" generally post-dates WW1. Even in the RFC, there were squadron commanders rather than leaders. There were also wing commanders.

 

In the RE, there were squadrons (and troops) in the cavalry divisions but all other RE units of comparable size were companies (and sections). All ASC units of comparable size were companies. They had commanders rather than leaders, probably to avoid confusion with the squadron leaders of the RAF.

 

You would have to have a look at Army Orders, or later editions of King's Regulations, to find precise dates for the changes. I have a copy of the 1940 edition of KR somewhere but I cannot currently lay my hands on it. Forum pal Muerrisch may know, as I think he has a run of KR.

 

My inclination would be to look at the 1930s when the cavalry, RE and ASC were increasingly becoming mechanised.

 

Ron

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gareth Davies

I suspect that you are right. And annoyingly I can't find a reference to the person in charge of a cavalry or yeomanry squadron in any of my books right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ron Clifton

I have a copy of Cavalry Training 1912 (reprinted 1915) which consistently uses the title "troop leader" to designate the person in command of a troop (section 4). Section 10 refers to "squadron leaders" in relation to the principles of training, but in the chapter on mounted drill, both "squadron leader" and "squadron commander" are used (in the case of Section 137.3 both in the same paragraph!) and seem to be interchangeable. However, the officer of the machine-gun section is always referred to as its commander.

 

Ron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gareth Davies
Posted (edited)

That's helpfully unhelpful of them. Thank you. 

Edited by Gareth Davies

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gareth Davies

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven Broomfield

Well, I've had a quick rummage through the Extensive Library and 'Squadron Leader' definitely seems the phrase to use.

 

Troops are more difficult: generally they are referred to as 'Lieutenant Smith, commanding No. 1 Troop', not as 'Troop Leader', 'Troop Commander' or anything similar.

 

I will continue to look.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gareth Davies

Thank you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ron Clifton

On the matter of squadrons v companies, I have had a look at Orders of Battle of Divisions, 1939-1945 by H F Joslen, an official HMSO publication.

 

The position as regards RE (and Royal Signals) and ASC is the same as I outlined in post number 2, replacing "cavalry" with "armoured". Airborne divisions had a mixture: para squadrons RE but field companies, and RASC companies. So, the change to describing RE and RASC units as squadrons post-dates WW2.

 

I also had a look at Standing Orders for the Household Division 1972. The regulations for the Sovereign's Escort refers to Troop Leaders, but an Escort Commander. The latter is not actually the commander of the escort - that is the Field Officer Commanding the Escort - and he rides behind the Standard Party, so he could hardly be described as the Escort Leader.

 

The cavalry in war have been described as bringing tone to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl, but they certainly do not bring consistency!

 

Ron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven Broomfield

Came across a reference in Bickersteth's History of the 6th Cavalry Brigade, in which he refers to 'Troop leaders'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...