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  #1  
Old 04-01-18, 08:41 PM
grumpy grumpy is offline
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Default The Conductor and the Scoolmaster

The First Warrant Officers were not Conductors

Recent research on the Great War Forum has revealed that the oft-heard claim by Conductors that they were and are primus inter pares cannot be upheld. It is true that warrants were granted to some Conductors in 1879, some two years before a more general upgrading of status for other Staff-sergeants 1st class such as Sergeant-Majors.

It is also true that the Royal Navy had warranted officers in Nelson’s time and continuously thereafter, such as Sailing Master, Gunner, Carpenter, Boatswain.

There is now available at

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/fo...rant-officers/

firm evidence that some Army Schoolmasters held warrant rank as early as 1854. They lost this status temporarily in 1863, and regained it in 1881, but they were not placed in the highest seniority sub-section of warrant officers, which included Conductors and Master Gunners 1st class.

The Queen’s or King’s Regulations were at pains from time to time to point out that the members of all four groups were placed alphabetically, thus denying Conductors any primacy except alphabetical. Although the list contents have varied over the years, this top group always included titles such as:
Conductors
Master Gunners 1st Class
Staff sergeant-major 1st class.

When in 1899 a rank of Schoolmaster 1st Class Warrant Officer was introduced, it was added to this elite list, an indication of how far the army had progressed in attempting to improve and educate its soldiers. Schoolmaster Warrant Officers remained and were on an inferior list of course.

Among the Warrant Officers the Schoolmaster’s pay was usually at the top end of the scale which, together with his sometimes grand officer-style uniform, emphasised his status. This uniform and his rank badges varied greatly over the years.

Seniority within groups was ordered to be by date of promotion or appointment, although clearly in the exercise of their normal duties there would be no doubt who would command: nobody would dispute artillery with a Master-Gunner, or argue the toss with a Master-at-Arms RN at sea, or an RAF Station Warrant Officer on his station.

As with many other things, the Great War changed everything, and by 1923 Schoolmasters as such are missing from the precedence table of Warrant Officers, except as Warrant Officer Instructors, Class II [Education].

As a footnote, there was a brief flurry of order/ counter order in 1881 which did indeed place Conductors above all others [perhaps inspired by the Conductors themselves]!. This was very quickly rescinded, so that although they retained certain unique privileges, they were placed within a peer group which the schoolmasters eventually had climbed back up to after a lapse of many years.
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Old 04-01-18, 09:36 PM
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grenadierguardsman grenadierguardsman is offline
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Very interesting Grumpy.
Andy
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Leave to carry on Sir please.
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Old 05-01-18, 06:15 AM
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Agreed, very interesting thread on the GWF.
Thanks Grumpy.
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Old 05-01-18, 05:13 PM
grumpy grumpy is offline
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This also has a bearing and is an interesting site in its own right:

http://www.richardgilbert.ca/achart/...oolmasters.htm
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Old 28-02-22, 12:25 AM
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fairlie63 fairlie63 is offline
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A thread I have just posted on the GWF post referred to above.

War Office Circular No 698 of 27 July 1861 notes the number of Sergeants of the various branches of the Army bearing various denominations and titles "whose relative ranks and positions do not appear to have been ever clearly defined,", leading to questions on entitlements, etc.*

This statement of course refers to the sergeants-major, quarter-master-sergeants, etc, etc. As a consequence the Warrant Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers of the Army were divided into three Classes, 'A', 'B', and 'C'. 'A' equated to 1st Class Staff Sergeant, 'B' to 2nd Class Staff Sergeant, and 'C' to the rest which included sergeants, farrier-, collar maker-, and wheeler-sergeants, military clerks 3rd Class, and 2nd and 3rd Class store men of the Commissariat Staff and Military Stores Corps.

Included in the 1st Class Staff-Sergeants are Schoolmasters 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Class, and Schoolmistresses. These would therefore be the Warrant Officers referred to in the division of the WO and NCO into classes that occurred in 1861.

Keith
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Old 28-02-22, 01:01 PM
Ex Supt Clk RAOC Ex Supt Clk RAOC is offline
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Being Ex RAOC my take on this is that the Conductor was always the Senior Appointment. I may well have been indoctrinated but Queens Regulations show that Conductors in the WOs and Sgts Mess would take up Honorary membership so that the RSM remained head of the mess. In fact that is exactly what happened at RMAS when WO1 (SSM) Frank Allen RAOC was appointed Conductor (the appointment being higher than that of the Academy Sergeant Major) he took honorary mess membership so that WO1 (ACsM) Mike Nesbitt Gren Gds remained 'head of the mess'

In addition the following shows why the RAOC believed their appointment of Conductor was the senior appointment.

Conductors became a recognised military rank, when in 1879 a Royal Warrant decreed that Conductors of Supplies be appointed to the Commissariat and Transport Corps and Conductors of Stores be appointed to the Ordnance Store Corps (OSC). Their position in the Army was to be as junior officers, ?inferior to that of all commissioned officers and superior to that of all non commissioned officers?.

Also worth noting is that Conductors of Ordnance whilst on Parade and WO1s (SSM) RAOC would take post as Officers and not as Warrant Officers. Queens Regulations refer but don't ask me the paragraph as it's a long time ago that i had access to QRs.

lets not forget that seniority in rank and seniority of appointment are quite different things and if by chance one should find a Conductor, a Master Gunner 1st Class and a Regimental Sergeant Major together then the senior man would be the one who had been promoted to Warrant Officer Class 1 first.

I'm sure Grumpy will not agree but that's my belief and i must stand by it.

Best Regards to all in these troubled times

Steve
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