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Warrant Officer

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Big badges. Also known as Sergeant-Major, or Corporal-Major in tewwibly tewwibly Cavalwy Wegiments. Divided into two classes, the senior being Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1), and the junior being Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2).

A Warrant Officer holds a Warrant, in the same was as a Commissioned Officer holds a Commission; except that a Commission is signed by the Monarch, while the Warrant is signed by the Secretary of State for Defence.

Appointments

Try not to confuse the Rank (Warrant Officer) with the Appointment (Sergeant-Major). A subtle distinction......

Conductor: Collects tickets on a bus or a train. Oh, and is a big wheel in the RLC :)

Regimental Sergeant-Major, or RSM: Highest ranking WO in a Unit.

Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant, or RQMS: Second highest ranking WO in a Unit after the RSM. Runs the G4 side of things.

Company Sergeant-Major, or CSM: Highest ranking WO in a Company.

Squadron Sergeant-Major, or SSM: Highest ranking WO, funnily enough, in a squadron.

Squadron Corporal-Major, or SCM: Same, but in a Cavalwy Squadwon. Not, god forbid, in the People's Cav.

Battery Sergeant-Major, or BSM: Go on, guess.

Academy Sergeant-Major, or AcSM: the RSM of RMAS. Scary.

Sergeant-Major Instructor: SMI: Runs courses.

History apocrypha

Long ago, armies were formed into Companies of men; each Company had its Captain (with a meaning similar to the Captain of a ship), a Lieutenant (his deputy; a French word, meaning "place-holder"), and its Sergeant.

When these Companies were formed into a Regiment, the Commander was a Colonel; his deputy was a Lieutenant-Colonel (you can see where this is going) and the senior Sergeant was the Sergeant-Major.

When the Regiments were formed into an Army, the Commander was a General; his deputy was a Lieutenant-General; and the senior soldier was the Sergeant-Major General.

"Sergeant-Major General" became shortened to "Major-General", and that is why Lieutenant-General outranks a Major-General, even though a Major outranks a Lieutenant.

More history apocrypha

Prior to WWII, during a shortage of junior officers, there was also Warrant Officer Class 3. Some of the Platoons in a Rifle Company would be commanded by a WO3, or Platoon Sergeant-Major (PSM). When this happens nowadays, the Platoon Commander is typically a WO2.