Reverts to rank of W/Corporal at own request

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by peterjankers, Apr 28, 2016.

  1. peterjankers

    peterjankers Member

    My father was a tank commander with 147 RAC and I have been going through his service record and wondered if anyone could throw any light on the following two entries:

    Reverts to rank of W/Corporal at own request 13.9.44
    Appointed Paid Lance Sergeant 13.9.44

    On the 7th April 1943 he had been granted war substantive rank of Sergeant.
    I can find no information in the War Diaries. Has anyone come across this sort of thing before?
  2. redtop

    redtop Well-Known Member

    Hi peterjankers
    It is not unusual for troops to seek demotion by their own valition.If your Father was in a job he did not like doing and there was no sideways movement for a Sergeant he may have requested demotion to W/Cpl (Wireless?)
    Lance Sergeant is a Guards/Cavalry rank between Sergeant and Corporal slightly better paid than Corporal.
    Looks like a bit of adminastrive juggling for him to drop a rank but not to much pay, the sort of thing clerks can do if they like you..

    You are unlikely to find anything in War diaries about other ranks promotions/demotions, they usually only record Officer promotions and postings.
    Hope this helps
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I've just checked my copy of the 1944 war diary and the unit is out of the line in France doing maintenance and members of the regiment are undertaking courses etc. Does his service records suggest he was retrained or attended a course around this time? He may have had to take a drop in rank to do a specific course? W/Cpl is War Corporal.
  4. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    Hi Peter Welcome to ww2talk.
    No it's not uncommon for soldiers to revert to lower rank.

    This website is
    about the Canadian army ww1. but the best one I can find that illustrates how army ranks works and basically still works today.

    quote<As varied as the methods of gaining rank were, either temporarily or with the permanence of substantive rank, there were as many ways to see a soldier's ranks reduced. One of the simplest of these was reversion. Reversion usually occurred at a soldier's own request if he found the responsibilities and expectation of higher rank to be more than he desired to perform. In such cases a soldier could be reverted to his Permanent Grade at his own request. Soldiers might also be reverted to Permanent Grade in order to transfer to another unit which did not have a vacancy for them at their temporary or acting rank, this was also a normal process of reduction in rank before joining a reinforcement draft leaving England to join a unit at the Front.>

    Now this bit is just my interpretation of why your dad may have decided to revert to his former rank.
    Sometime during or after training he was made up to W/Cpl (War ranks would only be held during hospitalities). Then in April 43 he was made W/Sergeant.
    This was possibly the time 147 RAC was getting battle ready so all tanks and crews sorted out.
    Don't have details of what happened next.
    But if your dad was in command of a tank and crew, by the time of Sept 44. They have been together for 18 mths or longer, going through everything that was thrown at them, relying on each other for their very existence, thus creating a bond that only those that have experienced it can appreciate how strong it is.

    So in Sept 44 everything was being geared up for the final thrust into Germany
    So it is possible that as your dad was, an experienced tank commander, he was assigned another task, ie training more tank crews, but he did not want to leave his mates and the only way he could get out of it was to Revert back to rank of W/Corporal at own request. The Army being the Army, then could not use him in the capability that they wanted as it was possible that a corporal would be giving sergeants orders. But then that caused another problem a corporal could not command a tank so he was Appointed Paid Lance Sergeant then he could go back to commanding his tank.

    Well that's my theory.
  5. peterjankers

    peterjankers Member

    Thank you Redtop, Drew5233 and RCG for your suggestions.
    I have another theory, but wanted to find alternative answers.
    My uncle (my father's brother) told me that my father had decked an officer who called him a 'Jew Bastard' and he had to do two weeks jankers.
    Striking an officer was of course a court martial offence and I am wondering if this was a way of avoiding that and 'sweeping it under the carpet'.
    He was only posted to 147 on 20 Aug 44 (three weeks earlier) because his previous regiment 153 was disbanded due to extremely high casualties.
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I believe a similar thing happened with a forum members father who disobeyed an order.
  7. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    I would agree with your theory Peter.
    If your dad had witnesses to the incident, then that officer wouldn't want to explain what he had said, at a court martial. That would explain demotion and promotion on the same day.
  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    Nothing new to add to the discussion, but as regards to :

    "My uncle (my father's brother) told me that my father had decked an officer who called him a 'Jew Bastard' and he had to do two weeks jankers."

    Good for him !

    Drew5233 likes this.
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I'd imagine units would prefer as a matter of course, to deal with disciplinary issues by their own methods initially. I've heard of deals - like one man having his DCM recommendation stopped in return for an incontestable charge of AWL being dropped.

    If the case was dealt with by the CO, there was if I remember correctly an opportunity at the end of proceedings for the 'accused' to accept the CO's punishment or himself ask for the case to be referred to C-M. (I heard of one case post hostilities when this happened, and it was a CSM who refused orders of an officer whereupon the officer "laid hands" on the CSM - another no-no - so the charge was dropped as he knew it would be, being a pre-war regular well-versed in Kings Regs.)

    My father refused to obey an order - from a drunken NCO to strike a man from his section with rifle butt - and for that charge he accepted a demotion by his CO. He also refused to say anything at that time in his defence. (I imagine the circumstances would have been known and passed on anyway.) Immediately after CO's Orders Dad was told by his Coy Commander that he was to remain as Section leader, at the same rank but "acting". This rankled with my dad only because it meant less pay for doing the same job. The Company Commander knew Dad's experience was needed in that role and Dad would've wanted to stay with his mates. Two seasoned section sergeants from his platoon had been killed in one action that same week.

    One thing Dad emphasised often when talking about his experiences was that he had no time for bullies, that he'd encountered quite a few - men who took advantage of their rank in order to bolster up their own self-worth, never to support 'subordinates'.
    Drew5233 and Guy Hudson like this.
  10. peterjankers

    peterjankers Member

    My father was one of three serving brothers, one of whom was also in Bomber Command. He died about ten years ago - too late to receive the Bomber Command clasp. As next of kin I received it a week or so ago. It's not much to look at, but he would have been very proud to receive it.

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