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Remembered Today:

'Lance' appointment

Jock Bruce

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I've been told that soldiers were appointed 'Lance' on the basis that they would be promoted to the next rank when a vacancy occured i.e. promotion was virtualy automatic once appointed 'Lance', barring spectacular misbehaviour.

Is this true?


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Not true, I believe. There were two types of Lance appointments: paid, and unpaid. The former were strictly limited in number, the latter not. The former had no prescriptive right to the next substantive vacancy, but were clearly in line: the best among them, not the most senior. The unpaid ones were queueing similarly for a paid lance appointment, again on merit. This deduced from an intimate knowledge of one regular battalion and a quick look at KR and Pay Warrant.

Someone may know better: I would be glad of other views please.

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Guest Pete Wood

I think there may even have been three types of Lance appointments:

'Local Acting' (paid at the lower substansive rank); you find these chaps in training camps - senior Private in the Trg Bn stores etc.

'Acting' (paid at the same rate of pay as the acting rank); no seniority dates apply.

'Lance' (paid and substansive); seniority applies from date of substansive promotion (which can be back-dated)

I agree with LB that merit would hasten promotion, but I also think there is something in Jock's theory, and that the next promotion would come along (time served) for the 'average' soldier.

The old expression, 'the hardest rank to achieve is LCpl....' seems fairly accurate to me.

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I don't think promotion was assured once Lance appointment was achieved.

My father was a L/Sgt. when he was badly wounded at Cambrai 1917. I have been unable to find out what happened to him subsequently except for a Silver Medal awarded for Skill At arms at Infantry Wing School XXIII Corps in 1918. I suspect he finished his war as an instructor but never reached substantive rank of Sergeant as his Pip, Wilf and Squeak are stamped Corporal.


Jim Gordon

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