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|Service branch|| British Army |
Corps of Royal Marines
|NATO rank code||OF-5|
|Next higher rank||Brigadier|
|Next lower rank||Lieutenant colonel|
Colonel (Col) is a rank of the British Army and Royal Marines, ranking below brigadier, and above lieutenant colonel. British colonels are not usually field commanders; typically they serve as staff officers between field commands at battalion and brigade level. The insignia is two diamond-shaped pips (properly called "Bath Stars") below a crown. The crown has varied in the past with different monarchs; Elizabeth II's reign used St Edward's Crown. The rank is equivalent to captain in the Royal Navy and group captain in the Royal Air Force.
The rank of colonel was popularized by the tercios that were employed in the Spanish Army during the 16th and 17th centuries. General Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba divided his troops in to coronelías (meaning "column of soldiers" from the Latin, columnella or "small column"). These units were led by a coronel. This command structure and its titles were soon adopted as colonello in early modern Italian and in Middle French as coronel.
The rank title entered the English language from French in the mid-16th century and so the modern English pronunciation of the word is derived from the French variant.
The use of the rank of colonel pre-dates the establishment of the United Kingdom. In the mid-17th century, the regiments of the New Model Army were commanded by colonels.
The British Army has historically been organized around the regiment, with each regiment being raised, uniformed, and equipped either directly by the crown or by a nobleman. The colonels nominally commanding these regiments (usually the noblemen who raised them) often had little to do with the regiment's actual activities, either because they contemporaneously served as general officers or because they were essentially mere financiers. The day to day command of the regiment was left to a lieutenant colonel or major.
By the end of 17th century in Great Britain, the "colonel of a regiment" was often a titled person who had been given royal permission to raise it for service and command it in battle. As such, he was required to cover all costs of the regiment's equipment, uniforms and wages as well select its officers. –1685) or Elliot's Light Horse (1759–66).Until the late 18th century most British regiments were commonly known by the name of the colonelcy, for example Lord Churchill's Dragoons (1683
By the start of the American Revolutionary War most English and Welsh regiments in the standing army of Great Britain were named numerically, although some independent Highland regiments — such as MacLeod's Highlanders — were raised in the name of their colonel for service in West Africa and India. The change from a colonelcy based on patronage was because the British Army's administration had been reformed into three administrative bodies:
The reforms meant that the British government was now financially responsible for the pay, clothing and equipment of the troops in the service of the British Crown. Colonels were also no longer permitted to profit directly from the sale of officer commissions in their regiments.A lieutenant-colonel commanded the regiment in battle.
By the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars, the title "colonel of the regiment" had become a sinecure appointment for distinguished generals and members of the royal family or British nobility. Despite an individual only being permitted to hold one colonelcy, it was a profitable position as they were in financial charge of their regiment's allowance from the government. This meant they could hope to make a profit on the funds allocated for equipment, supplies and uniforms. As generals were mostly on half-pay, a colonelcy was a method of providing them with extra income. Many colonels spent large sums of their own money on their regiments.
By the end of the 19th century, the reorganisation of the British Army through the Cardwell and Childers Reforms had established a colonel as a professional rank with senior administrative responsibilities in regiment or brigade.
Another title employed by the British Army is "colonel-in-chief" which is distinct from the ceremonial title "Colonel of the Regiment".
The position is usually held by a member of the Royal Family who acts as a patron to the unit, as Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, did for the Bermuda Regiment. Although they do not have an operational role, they are kept informed of all important activities undertaken by the regiment and pay occasional visits to its operational units.
The chief purpose of a colonel-in-chief is to maintain a direct link between a given regiment and the British Royal Family.[ citation needed ]
Some of the historic duties associated with the title colonel of the regiment (to distinguish it from the military rank of colonel) continue to be used in the modern British Army. The ceremonial position is often conferred on retired general officers, brigadiers or colonels who have a close link to a particular regiment. Non-military personnel, usually for positions within the Army Reserve, may also be appointed to the ceremonial position. When attending functions as "colonel of the regiment", the titleholder wears the regimental uniform with rank insignia of (full) colonel, regardless of their official rank. A member of the Royal Family is known as a royal colonel. A colonel of the regiment is expected to work closely with a regiment and its regimental association.
Regiments or units may have an honorary colonel, which is solely a ceremonial rank, that can also be held by a civilian, with no military service. If the appointment is held by a member of the Royal Family it is known as royal honorary colonel. Certain units may have one or more deputy colonels.
The Royal Navy once conveyed the honorific title "Colonel of Marines" to post-captains as a reward for highly distinguished service. It was a salaried sinecure position with no additional obligations outside a captain's normal naval duties. He would lose this title and its additional pay upon reaching flag rank. Horatio Nelson was given such a colonelcy in 1795, two years before he reached flag rank.
From 1 April 1918 to 31 July 1919, the Royal Air Force maintained the rank of colonel. During this period, groups were often commanded by RAF colonels. The rank of colonel was superseded by that of group captain on 1 August 1919.
When badges of rank were introduced for field officers in 1810, full colonels were designated with a crown and star worn on shoulder epaulettes. In 1855, after the Crimean War, new dress regulations were published which specified changes where rank would be worn. Thereafter full colonels wore half-inch regimental pattern laces on upper and lower collar, with one crown and one star. In 1880 the insignia was moved to the shoulder boards when in full dress, and full colonels were given an extra star. The pattern of a crown above two stars has remained the identifying insignia from 1880 to the present day although it has variously been worn on the shoulder, cuff and chest.
During World War I, colonels wore the following cuff badges:
The insignia is two diamond-shaped pips (properly called "Bath Stars") below a crown. Gorget patches, colloquially known as red tabs, with crimson lace and a brass button are also worn.
Colonel is a senior military officer rank used in many countries. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.
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.
Epaulette is a type of ornamental shoulder piece or decoration used as insignia of rank by armed forces and other organizations. Flexible metal epaulettes are referred to as shoulder scales.
This is a table of the ranks and insignia of the Canadian Armed Forces. As the Canadian Armed Forces is officially bilingual, the French language ranks are presented following the English.
Group captain is a senior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force, where it originated, as well as the air forces of many countries that have historical British influence. It is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-British air force-specific rank structure. Group captain has a NATO rank code of OF-5, meaning that it ranks above wing commander, immediately below air commodore and is the equivalent of the naval rank of captain and the rank of colonel in other services.
Listed in the table below are the insignia—emblems of authority—of the British Army. Badges for field officers were first introduced in 1810 and the insignia was moved to the epaulettes in 1880. On ceremonial or parade uniforms these ranks continue to be worn on the epaulettes, either as cloth slides or as metal clips, although on the modern 'working dress' they are usually worn as a cloth slide on the chest. Although these insignia apply across the British Army there is variation in the precise design and colours used and it can take some time to become familiar with them all.
"Other ranks" is the term used to refer to all ranks below officers in the British Army and the Royal Marines. It includes warrant officers, non-commissioned officers ("NCOs") and ordinary soldiers with the rank of private or regimental equivalent. Officers may, in speaking, distinguish themselves from those "in the ranks".
Mess dress uniform is the most formal type of uniforms used by military personnel, police personnel, and other uniformed services members. It frequently consists of a mess jacket, trousers, white dress shirt and a black bow tie, along with orders and medals insignia. Design may depend on regiment or service branch, e.g. army, navy, air force, marines, etc. In Western dress codes, mess dress uniform is the supplementary alternative equivalent to the civilian black tie for evening wear or black lounge suit for day wear although military uniforms are the same for day and evening wear. Mess dress uniforms are typically less formal than full dress uniform, but more formal than service dress uniform.
Colonel commandant is a military title used in the armed forces of some English-speaking countries. The title, not a substantive military rank, could denote a senior colonel with authority over fellow colonels. Today, the holder often has an honorary role outside the executive military structure, such as advocacy for the troops.
Colonel is a Canadian Forces rank used by commissioned officers in the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force. Captain(N) is the equivalent rank in the Royal Canadian Navy. A colonel is senior to the army and air force rank of lieutenant-colonel or the naval rank of commander, and junior to the army and air force rank of brigadier-general or the naval rank of commodore.
Full dress uniform, also known as a ceremonial dress uniform or parade dress uniform, is the most formal type of uniforms used by military, police, fire and other public uniformed services for official parades, ceremonies, and receptions, including private ones such as marriages and funerals. Full dress uniforms typically include full-size orders and medals insignia. Styles tend to trace back to uniforms used during the 19th century, although the 20th century saw the adoption of mess dress-styled full-dress uniforms. Designs may depend on regiment or service branch. In Western dress codes, full dress uniform is a permitted supplementary alternative equivalent to the civilian white tie for evening wear or morning dress for day wear – sometimes collectively called full dress – although military uniforms are the same for day and evening wear. As such, full dress uniform is the most formal uniform, followed by the mess dress uniform.
Australian Army officers receive a commission from His Excellency the Governor-General of Australia, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force. The commission is signed by both the Governor-General and the Minister of Defence. Rank insignia for commissioned officers is identical to that of the British Army, with the addition of a band containing the word "Australia" beneath the insignia.
Before Unification as the Canadian Armed Forces in 1968, the Canadian military had three distinct services: the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Canadian Army. All three services had a Regular (full-time) component and a reserve (part-time) component. The rank structure for these services were based on the services of the British military, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, and the British Army. The change to a "Canadian" rank structure meant that many of the traditional (British) rank titles and insignia were removed or changed.
Major (Maj) is a military rank which is used by both the British Army and Royal Marines. The rank is superior to captain and subordinate to lieutenant colonel. The insignia for a major is a crown. The equivalent rank in the Royal Navy is lieutenant commander, and squadron leader in the Royal Air Force.
In the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, & Space Force major is a field-grade military officer rank above the rank of captain and below the rank of lieutenant colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of lieutenant commander in the other uniformed services. Although lieutenant commanders are considered junior officers by their respective services, the rank of major is that of a senior officer in the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, and the United States Air Force.
Lieutenant colonel, is a rank in the British Army and Royal Marines which is also used in many Commonwealth countries. The rank is superior to major, and subordinate to colonel. The comparable Royal Navy rank is commander, and the comparable rank in the Royal Air Force and many Commonwealth air forces is wing commander.
The uniforms of the Canadian Armed Forces are the official dress worn by members of Canada's military while on duty.
Major (Maj) is a field grade military officer rank in the Swedish Armed Forces, above the rank of captain and below the rank of lieutenant colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of lieutenant commander in the Swedish Navy.
Captain (Capt) is a junior officer rank of the British Army and Royal Marines and in both services it ranks above lieutenant and below major with a NATO ranking code of OF-2. The rank is equivalent to a lieutenant in the Royal Navy and to a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force. The rank of captain in the Royal Navy is considerably more senior and the two ranks should not be confused.