A batman or an orderly is a soldier or airman assigned to a commissioned officer as a personal servant. Before the advent of motorized transport, an officer's batman was also in charge of the officer's "bat-horse" that carried the pack saddle with his officer's kit during a campaign.
The British English term is derived from the obsolete bat, meaning "pack saddle" (from French bât, from Old French bast, from Late Latin bastum).
A batman's duties often include:
The action of serving as a batman was referred to as "batting". In armies where officers typically came from the upper class, it was not unusual for a former batman to follow the officer into later civilian life as a domestic servant.
In the French Army the term for batman was ordonnance ("orderly"). Batmen were officially abolished after World War II. However, in the 1960s there were still batmen in the French Army.
In the German Army the batman was known as Ordonnanz ("orderly") from the French "ordonnance", or colloquially as Putzer ("cleaner") or as Bursche ("boy" or "valet").
The main character Švejk of the antimilitarist, satirical novel The Good Soldier Švejk by the Czech author Jaroslav Hašek is the most famous portrayal of a batman drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army during the First World War. (The 1967 German song " Ich war der Putzer vom Kaiser " is actually based on the British instrumental hit "I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman" of the same year, with original German lyrics.)
The old British term "orderly" continued into the post-independence Indian Army. It has now, however, been replaced with the Hindi word sahayak, which translates as "assistant" or "helper". There have been suggestions to do away with the practice, as the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force already have.
In the Italian Army the term for batman was attendente, from the Italian verb attendere (same meaning of the English verb to attend). Attendenti were eventually abolished in 1971.
The term Orderly is in use for both the military and police assistants.
The term "batman" in the Pakistan Army dates from the period of the British Indian Army. In the modern Pakistan Army, civilian personnel are employed in this role and are designated as NCB (Non-Combatant Bearer). The term implies that the present-day batman is not a soldier or part of the fighting cadre of the army, and works only as a personal servant to each officer.
The employment of NCBs in the Pakistan Air Force and the Pakistan Navy is not officially recognized. However both these services pay their officers an extra allowance comparable to the average pay of a household servant.
The Imperial Russian Army used the term denshchik (Russian : Денщик) for a batman. In the Russian Empire higher-ranking cavalry officers often chose Cossacks for these roles as they could be reasonably depended on to survive combat, and were also known for resourcefulness on campaign. However, they were hired help, and had to be provided with a horse also. The lower-ranking officers from serf-owning families brought a servant from home they were familiar with, particularly the infantry and artillery officers that did not require additional protection in combat, and tended to leave the servants with the unit baggage train. After the abolition of serfdom in the Russian Empire (1861), many officers went on campaign without servants.
Although the positions were abolished in the post-revolutionary Soviet Union, the recognition that higher-ranking officers required assistance soon fostered an unofficial reintroduction of the role through secondment of an NCO to the officer's staff, usually also as the driver, which also at one stage became their unofficial role and title as many officers often "lived" out of their vehicles. The term was borrowed from the French, but adopted to Russian pronunciation as ordinarets (Russian : Ординарец).
Several ordirnartsy of the marshals and generals commanding fronts and armies during the Second World War wrote memoirs about their service. For example, Zhukov's "driver" was a semi-professional racing car driver Aleksandr Nikolaevich Buchin who met Zhukov by accident on the first day of the war when Zhukov's previous elderly driver failed to get the vehicle he was in out of the rut. Buchin drove Zhukov throughout the war and although he began the war as a private, he ended the war with the rank of captain. Buchin wrote his memoirs called One hundred and seventy thousand kilometres with Zhukov, at the suggestion of the marshal in the 1970s.
The term "emir eri" was used for a soldier that attends an officer. The practice was abolished in 1950.
The official term used by the British Army in the First World War was "soldier-servant". Every officer was assigned a servant, usually chosen by the officer from among his men. The term batman replaced this in the inter-war years. By the Second World War, only senior officers of the army and Royal Air Force were officially assigned batmen, with junior officers usually sharing the services of one batman among several officers. Batwomen also served in the women's services.
Batman was usually seen as a desirable position. The soldier was exempted from more onerous duties and often got better rations and other favours from his officer. Senior officers' batmen usually received fast promotion to lance-corporal, with many becoming corporals and even sergeants. The position was generally phased out after the war. Officers of the Household Division however still have orderlies, because of the high proportion of ceremonial duties required of them.
In the Royal Navy stewards performed many of the duties of batmen in the other services. Aboard ship, only captains and admirals were assigned personal stewards, with the other officers being served by a pool of officers' stewards. Most vessels carried at least two stewards, with larger vessels carrying considerably more.
The term "orderly" was often used instead of "batman" in the colonial forces, especially in the British Indian Army. The orderly was frequently a civilian instead of a soldier. However, from 1903 to 1939 four Indian officers from different regiments were appointed each year to serve as "King's (or Queen's) Indian Orderly Officers" in attendance on the monarch in London. While performing some routine orderly functions the main role of these officers was to represent the Indian Army in full dress uniform at ceremonial functions in front of the British public who might otherwise seldom be made aware of its existence.
In the British Armed Forces, the term "batman" or "batwoman" was formerly also applied to a civilian who cleaned officers' messes or married quarters. In the Royal Air Force, free married quarters cleaning services were phased out for all officers except squadron leaders or above in command appointments as of 1 April 1972.
One famous example of officer and batman during the Second World War was British actor David Niven and fellow actor Peter Ustinov.Niven and Ustinov were working on the film The Way Ahead , as actor and writer respectively, but the difference in their ranks—Niven was a Lieutenant-Colonel and Ustinov a private—made their association militarily impossible; to solve the problem, Ustinov was appointed as Niven's batman.
Aides are junior commissioned officers who are available to support some of the needs of general officers who serve in command positions in the rank of brigadier generaland above, and those of Flag Officers in the grade of Rear Admiral (lower half) and above in the Navy and Coast Guard. These aides "perform tasks and details that, if performed by general or flag officers, would be at the expense of the officer’s primary military and official duties." Their assistance, however, is restricted to those tasks which are directly related to that officer aide's official duties.
In addition to officers being assigned as Aides de Camp, all the US Services, including the US Coast Guard, also use Enlisted personnel in support of General Officers and Flag Officers. This program is officially known as the Enlisted Aide Program. Generally the personnel are military cooks however in recent years, any enlisted person could volunteer to serve in this position. They attend a joint service course for Enlisted Aides and advanced culinary course for cooks.Many are often sent on to education outside the military to become chefs and butler training. Some will also be used as stewards and stewardess on very senior officer aircraft. In addition General and Flag officers are assigned a driver. Drivers may get additional training but not always in driving, taking their services or another services driver course and or other government agencies driving schools. Only personnel in the Enlisted Aide Program can serve as an Enlisted Aide. Drivers, admin personnel and others on the personal staff are often but not always selected locally.
Ordinarily, enlisted service members would be prohibited from performing services as an aide. "No officer may use an enlisted member as a servant for duties that contribute only to the officer's personal benefit and that have no reasonable connection with the officer's official responsibilities,according to the Department of Defense instruction 1315.09 for Enlisted Aides.
In the United States Army the term "dog robber" (from the peacetime occupation of the title character of The Good Soldier Švejk , a fictional batman) was unofficially used, although that could also be applied to a junior officer who acted as a gofer to somebody with high rank. The actor James Garner played such a role in the film The Americanization of Emily (1964).
In Dorothy L. Sayers's novel Whose Body? (1923) and subsequent novels, Lord Peter Wimsey's valet Mervyn Bunter was also his batman during World War I. Bunter is said to have helped rescue Lord Peter after he was buried alive when shell fire collapsed a dugout he was in and was credited with saving his life on several occasions both during and after the war. Bunter was also instrumental in helping his master recover from and cope with what was then called "shell shock" (post traumatic stress disorder) upon his return to civilian life. Bunter taught himself photography in order to assist His Lordship in his detective activities.
In the novella Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1933), Mr. Chipping's former student, Peter Colley, is killed during the Great War attempting to save the life of his batman and childhood antagonist-cum-friend, Perkins.
In DC Comics media, Alfred Pennyworth (Batman's butler, created in 1943) has been referred to multiple times as "Batman's batman." Currently unsubstantiated rumors have it that Alfred was also Thomas Wayne's (Bruce Wayne's late father) batman when both men were in military service.
In the Eagle comic strip Dan Dare (first published in 1950), Digby is Dan's batman.
J. R. R. Tolkien took the relationship of his characters Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins (introduced in The Fellowship of the Ring in 1954) from his observations while in military service during World War I of the relationship between a batman and his officer.
In 1967, the pseudonymous Whistling Jack Smith (actually a session vocalist) recorded an all-whistling number called "I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman", which went Top 5 in the UK. Despite a title that baffled most Americans (who no doubt were thinking of the other Batman), the tune hit number 20 on the Billboard charts.
In the musical film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), Caractacus Potts's father was Lord Scrumptious's batman.
In the BBC sitcom Blackadder Goes Forth (1989), set during World War I, actor Tony Robinson portrays Private S. Baldrick, the bumbling and incompetent batman to Captain Edmund Blackadder. In the earlier series, taking place between the 1400s and the early 1800s, he plays Edmund Blackadder's dogsbody Baldrick, a similar, non-military role.
In the Honor Bound book series (1993–2012), the character of Sergeant Major Enrico Rodriguez served in this capacity to Cletus Frade's father.
In the animated television series ReBoot (1994–2001), 1 binome Binky Ffarquarson is batman to 0 binome fighter pilot Algernon Cholmondley-Worthington III (who is addressed in canon only as "sir").
In the television show Archer (created in 2009), the eponymous character's valet, Woodhouse, was the batman of his superior officer in the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War.
In the television series Downton Abbey (2010–2015), Lord Grantham's valet, Mr Bates, was his batman in the Boer War; it also appears that William Mason was assigned to be Matthew Crawley's batman in the First World War.
In the television series Blunt Talk (2015–2016), Adrian Scarborough played Harry Chandler, Falklands War veteran and former Royal Marines lance corporal turned Walter's valen.
In the 2012 novel Cold Days by Jim Butcher, the lead character, Harry Dresden is assigned a batman, and initially both Harry and Cat Sith are very unhappy with this assignment.
In Terry Pratchett's 2013 novel Monstrous Regiment , the main character serves as batman to her lieutenant.
Frank Herbert’s 1984 novel Heretics of Dune , Patrin, the aide of Miles Teg, is referred to as the Bashar’s Batman.
A private is a soldier of the lowest military rank.
The Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the former British colonies that later became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in their revolt against the rule of Great Britain. The Continental Army was supplemented by local militias and volunteer troops that remained under control of the individual states or were otherwise independent. General George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the army throughout the war.
Sergeant is a rank in many uniformed organizations, principally military and policing forces. The alternative spelling, serjeant, is used in The Rifles and other units that draw their heritage from the British Light Infantry. Its origin is the Latin serviens, 'one who serves', through the French term sergent.
An aide-de-camp is a personal assistant or secretary to a person of high rank, usually a senior military, police or government officer, or to a member of a royal family or a head of state.
Sergeant major is a senior non-commissioned rank or appointment in many militaries around the world. In Commonwealth countries, the various degrees of sergeant major are appointments held by warrant officers. In the United States, there are also various grades of sergeant major, all of the same pay grade of E-9; however, the Sergeant Major of the Army and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, as their respective service's Senior Enlisted Advisor, receive a special rate of basic pay that is higher than all other sergeants major.
Batman is a fictional superhero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics.
A valet or varlet is a male servant who serves as personal attendant to his employer. In the Middle Ages and Ancien Régime, valet de chambre was a role for junior courtiers and specialists such as artists in a royal court, but the term "valet" by itself most often refers to a normal servant responsible for the clothes and personal belongings of an employer, and making minor arrangements.
The chart below shows the current enlisted rank insignia of the United States Army, with seniority, and pay grade, increasing from right to left. Enlisted ranks of corporal and higher are considered non-commissioned officers (NCOs). The rank of specialist is a soldier of pay grade E-4 who has not yet attained non-commissioned officer status. It is common that a soldier may never be a corporal and will move directly from specialist to sergeant, attaining NCO status at that time.
The Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) is a unique non-commissioned rank and position of office in the United States Army. The holder of this rank and position is the most senior enlisted member of the Army, unless an Army enlisted man is serving as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman. The SMA is appointed to serve as a spokesman to address the issues of enlisted soldiers to all officers, from warrant officers and lieutenants to the Army's highest positions. As such, they are the senior enlisted advisor to the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. The exact duties vary depending on the chief of staff, though much of the SMA's time is spent traveling throughout the Army, observing training and talking with soldiers and their families.
Marshal of the Soviet Union was the highest military rank of the Soviet Union.
Mervyn Bunter is a fictional character in Dorothy L. Sayers' novels and short stories featuring Lord Peter Wimsey.
Heinz Linge was an SS officer who served as a valet for German dictator Adolf Hitler. Linge was present in the Führerbunker on 30 April 1945, when Hitler committed suicide.
Bernard William Rogers was a United States Army general who served as the 28th Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and later as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander in Chief, United States European Command.
The Cardwell Reforms were a series of reforms of the British Army undertaken by Secretary of State for War Edward Cardwell between 1868 and 1874 with the support of Liberal prime minister William Ewart Gladstone. Gladstone paid little attention to military affairs but he was keen on efficiency. In 1870, he pushed through Parliament major changes in Army organisation. Germany's stunning triumph over France in the Franco-Prussian War proved that the Prussian system of professional soldiers with up-to-date weapons was far superior to the traditional system of gentlemen-soldiers that Britain used.
Branch insignia of the United States Army refers to military emblems that may be worn on the uniform of the United States Army to denote membership in a particular area of expertise and series of functional areas. Army branch insignia is similar to the line officer and staff corps officer devices of the U.S. Navy as well as to the Navy enlisted rating badges. The Medical, Nurse, Dental, Veterinary, Medical Service, Medical Specialist, Chaplains, and Judge Advocate General's Corps are considered "special branches", while the others are "basic branches".
The Imperial German Army was the unified ground and air force of the German Empire. The term Deutsches Heer is also used for the modern German Army, the land component of the Bundeswehr. The German Army was formed after the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership in 1871 and dissolved in 1919, after the defeat of the German Empire in World War I.
The Uniform of the Union Army was widely varied and, due to limitations on supply of wool and other materials, based on availability and cost of materials during the United States Civil War.
United States Army Hospital Corps was organized in 1886 in order to recruit and retain competent medical enlisted personnel in the United States Army Medical Department for field service in the event of a foreign war. Existing Hospital Stewards were not trained to perform duties as field medical personnel. The Corps was recruited from enlisted men who had served one year in the line. After training they were transferred to a post where they would be assigned duties as nurse, cook or medical attendant. Privates having served twelve months in the Corps could be recommended for promotion. Having passed an examination they were promoted to Acting Hospital Stewards (Sergeant). Promotion to full Hospital Steward was possible after one year's service in an acting capacity and after having passed a second and more rigorous examination. The peak strength of the Corps was reached in November 1898, during the Spanish-American War, with about 6,000 men serving in the Corps.
Your batman's first job [...] is to dig a slit trench. [...] Then he digs a slit trench for you. Because, Charlie, if you're an officer in command and you come under fire, you're going to be so damn busy figuring out how to get out of the mess you're in, you'll never have time to dig your own slit.
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