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

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

  1. idler

    idler GeneralList

    A closer parallel would be the Indian Army's VCOs - Viceroy's Commissioned Officers - promoted from the ranks but, yes, still a 'continental' system.

    As senior NCOs traditionally fell into 'admin' and 'personnel' roles, there was merit in creating a route for technically-competent NCOs to progress to command in the arms. Whether there was a drop in officer recruitment that prompted the experiment, I don't know...
  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    In the late 1930s the British Army was worried by the difficulties recruiting officers for the anticipated expansion of the British Army. It needed around 650 young officers bit could only recruit around 550. There was a stigma attached to service in the infantry.among educated young men from which the army would have liked to recruit. In 1914 the BEF commissioned a sergeants and sergeant majors to fill the depleted ranks of young officers. But that was wartime. WO3 was a way to find platoon and troop commanders from NCOs, without diluting the calibre of chap in the officers' mess ;)
  3. Vintage Wargaming

    Vintage Wargaming Well-Known Member

    John Masters wrote a novel called Man of War, which frankly is quite boring until the last 60 or so pages where our hero commands a mixed all arms force in the retreat from France and in a counter attack modelled in Arras. His company at the start of this passage has a platoon sergeant major - so now I feel better informed. Thank you to all who have contributed - haven’t seen this thread before
    Owen likes this.
  4. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Actually no. VCOs were an attempt to solve the problem that had existed since Stringer Lawrence founded the Indian Army in the 18th century. He had envisaged an army in which there would be no distinction between officers from a European origin and an Indian origin and so had commissioned officers from both sources. This foundered because at the time most Indian soldiers in the Company service were Hindu and worried because of loosing caste by being contaminated by contact with non Hindus if they shared the same mess etc and objected strongly. He was forced to create two types of officer and the Indian ones became the senior NCOs and warrant officers. This was reinforced later by Victorian (and ecumenical) prejudices. However even when in the early 20th century these barriers began to loosen the old Indian (Hindu) issues remained and many families objected to the possibility of their sons becoming commissioned officers for religious/cultural reasons. One should read "Between Two Worlds - A Rajput Officer in the Indian Army" by Amar Singh a member of an aristocratic family from Jaipur for an account by one of the first Indians to take a Kings commission during WW1 and who received equal discrimination from both British and Indian sources. The VCO was an attempt to break this glass (caste) ceiling).
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  5. idler

    idler GeneralList

    That's arguably a fair claim in the context of the original 'Indian Officer'. At the time they were rebranded in the thirties, the IO-now-VCO 'class' were the cream of the other ranks and weren't the ones carrying the flag for Indianization - that was the job of the KCOs.

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