Customs of the Army (1956)

Contents - Sections - I - II - III - IV - V - VI - VII - VIII - IX



1.     The R.S.M.

In some regiments, corps or units it is customary to address the R.S.M. as " Mr. ----," while in others he is addressed as "Sergeant-Major." An officer on joining his regiment or new unit should find out which custom is in use by asking the Adjutant or some other officer of the unit.

It must be realised by a young officer that a Warrant Officer, Class I, particularly the Regimental Sergeant- Major, holds an important position in the unit or regiment. It requires great ability and considerable service to attain this rank and the R.S.M. should be accorded the respect which is due to his particular appointment.

He can be of the greatest assistance to a young officer in helping him when first joining, especially with regard to drill, regimental customs and matters of uniform dress.

Most officers, shortly after joining their regiment, will find themselves being drilled on the square by the R.S.M. This is a very normal procedure, and i t is up to the officer to give of his best and to co-operate in every way possible.

The R.S.M. is the Commanding Officer's and the Adjutant's direct link with the other ranks of the unit. At the same time it is his duty to report to the Adjutant any irregularities which he may note on the part of the officers of the unit in the course of their duties.

2.     C.S.M.

The Company, Squadron or Battery Sergeant-Major can be of the greatest assistance to all young officers on joining their regiment or corps.

He can assist the officers in matters of discipline, office routine and orderly-room and parade procedure.

It must be realised that the Company, Squadron or Battery Sergeant-Major is a man of considerable service and experience. In view of this the officer should not hesitate to ask for advice on matters to do with the routine of the unit or sub-unit. Furthermore, when offered advice by the Company, Squadron or Battery Sergeant-Major the officer should accept it in the spirit in which it is given. Although the officer holds the Queen's Commission, whereas the Warrant Officer does not, the latter has both service and experience behind him.

It is the Company, Squadron or Battery Sergeant- Major's duty to report to his sub-unit commander any failings he may discover on the part of the young officers in their dealings and treatment of the other ranks.

3.     Corporals' Mess

It should be realised that when a soldier is appointed Lance-Corporal or Lance-Bombardier, he starts on one of the most difficult periods in his service. He is bound to have to give up some friends and make some new ones; furthermore, on his showing as a member of the Corporals' Mess, depends, very considerably, his future chances of promotion. It is therefore absolutely essential that an officer's behaviour in the Corporals' Mess should at all times be of the very highest standard, and an example to the non-commissioned officers.

An officer should only visit the Corporals' Mess on occasions when there is some social function to which he has been formally invited, or when as duty officer he makes the daily inspection of barracks.

4.     Address-by rank

When addressing a warrant officer, an officer should do so by using his military rank or appointment. That is to say a Company Sergeant-Major should be addressed as "Company Sergeant-Major." For procedure when addressing a Regimental Sergeant-Major see sub-para. 1

When addressing a non-commissioned officer, an officer should do so by using the N.C.O's rank and name. For example, a Corporal should be addressed as "Corporal Snooks."

5.     Warrant and Non-Commissioned Officers Instructing Officers

When an officer is being instructed by a warrant officer or non-commissioned officer he should remember that the instructor is in a difficult position, and he should therefore assist his instructor by considerate behaviour . The student should not be averse to asking questions of his instructor, bearing in mind that it is the instructor's job to teach him correctly.

6.     Reproof

Warrant officers and non-commissioned officers should never be reproved within the hearing of any junior ranks, as in this way their authority becomes under- mined. This does not mean that there should be any question of a senior rank "getting away with it." If a senior rank merits a reproof it is the duty of the officer to see that he gets it.

7.     Leave to Dismiss

It is the custom for any warrant officer or non- commissioned officer, commanding a body of troops on parade, to ask permission from the Senior Officer watching the parade, or in the immediate vicinity, to dismiss or march off.

The officer should return the warrant officer's or non- commissioned officer's salute and grant permission, then stand still and return the salute of the troops being dismissed or marched away.

8.     General

An officer should be very careful not to allow himself to be imposed upon by warrant officers or non-commissioned officers.

In all his dealings with them he should be courteous, just, and consistent, but never familiar.

Customs of the Army (1956) - Section VI

Contents - Sections - I - II - III - IV - V - VI - VII - VIII - IX