Warrant Officer Class III, Platoon Sergeant Major: general discussion about the rank

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Drew5233, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Anyone come across this rank before?

    I assume the PSM is Platoon Sergeant Major if so was it a exclusive rank to Infantry Battalions?

    Any pictures of the rank badge?

  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Just found the following on Wiki:

    Platoon Sergeant Major (PSM) was an appointment in the British Army in the short-lived rank of Warrant Officer Class III (WOIII), created in 1938. The Platoon Sergeant Major, and his cavalry counterpart, the Troop Sergeant Major, were part of an experiment in giving experienced NCOs command of units formerly reserved for commissioned officers (platoons and troops). The experiment was not considered a success, and no promotions were made to the rank after 1940: most existing WOIIIs were commissioned as lieutenants.
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Yep: Army Council Instruction 398, 17 Sep 1938 instituted this rank that lasted until c1947. That bit's from Davis British Army Uniforms and Insignia of World War Two.

    The intention was to train senior NCOs in officers' duties to command at the platoon/troop level, as distinct from the type of role undertaken by CSMs and RSMs. Some pls/tps in a coy/sqn would be commanded by subalterns, some by WO3s.

    For the duration, WO3s wore a plain crown, WO2s crown-in-wreath, WO1s Royal Arms.
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I don't suppose you have a picture of the insignia?
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    just seen that this chap, who died 70 years ago today was a TSM , a WO III.
    CWGC :: Casualty Details
    CA Harris
    Warrant Officer Class III (T S M)
    82 Bty., 13 Anti-Tank Regt.
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers Owen...The British Army still use a badge similiar if not the same today. In the Signals Yoeman, Foreman and RQMS wear them but the rank is W02.

  9. idler

    idler GeneralList

  10. idler

    idler GeneralList

  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    A post by Owen

    Blimey, I didn't think people actually read my posts.

    Attached Files:

  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I wonder how many CSM's and SSM's today know they are wearing what was a Class III badge :unsure:
  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Coldstream Guards, Howard & Sparrow:

    Note on Warrant Officers Class III (Platoon Sergeant-Major)

    The rank of Warrant Officer Class III (PSM) was introduced in 1938, and abolished in 1940.

    The peace establishment of a Battalion was increased by 5 P.S.M.s and simultaneously reduced by 3 subalterns and 2 sergeants.

    A memorandum issued with Army Council Instruction No. 398 of 1938 gave the following as the objects of the scheme:

    (a) to improve the prospects of all ranks, by giving them more opportunity of reaching the higher ranks;
    (b) to improve the training of W.O.s Class III, by training them, both in barracks and in the field, as officers; and
    (c) to enable the Army to make fuller use of the education and ability of present-day soldiers.

    The scheme included in its scope a great increase in the powers of all Warrant Officers, to enable them to replace in nearly all respects the subalterns who were displaced.

    From first to last, 65 promotions to this rank were made in the Coldstream. Of these:
    9 lost their lives,
    17 were commissioned,
    15 reached the rank of W.O. Class I,
    24 reached the rank of W.O. Class II,
    18 were awarded decorations, etc.
    Owen likes this.
  14. skimmod

    skimmod Senior Member

    Hi all,
    Here is a picture of a Platoon Sergeant Major from 2nd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers.
    About 2 weeks before the Germans invaded Belgium, all the PSM's apart from WO3 Gilmour were replaced with young subalterns!

    Attached Files:

  15. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    There were WOIII Troop Sgt Maj's in the RA. As the Troop Commander, a Capt., was usually up at the OP, the gun troop was commanded by a subaltern with the help of the TSM. They also acted as Troop guide leading the guns into new positions.

    TSM's were still around in my service (1962-81) and I presume still are today but now they are WOII's usually junior in seniority to the Bty Sgt Maj also a WOII.
  16. op-ack

    op-ack Senior Member


    Yes, we still have TSM,s but as you say they are junior to the BSM.

  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From Dover Express 23 September 1938
    Dover Express 23 September 1938.png
    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  18. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    dbf likes this.
  19. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Warrant officer (United Kingdom) - Wikipedia

    From 1938, there was also a rank of warrant officer class III (WOIII). The only appointments held by this rank were platoon sergeant major, troop sergeant major and section sergeant major. The WOIII wore a crown on his lower sleeve (which is why all WOIIs switched to a crown in a wreath during this period). The rank was placed in suspension in 1940 and no new appointments were made, but it was never officially abolished.

    Hopefully adds something to this thread

    timuk likes this.
  20. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Was this a response to German army practice which tended to have a different officer/NCO ratio with NCOs doing work that the British army used junior officers for? The result in WW1 had been tactical level actions where the British had been led by inexperienced bran new officers (which is the real source of the'lions led by donkeys' comments by front line Germans)

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