A Colour Sergeant, abbreviated to CSgt. or formerly C/Sgt., is a non-commissioned officer in the Royal Marines and infantry regiments of the British Army, ranking above Sergeant and below Warrant Officer class 2. The rank was introduced into British Army infantry regiments in 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars to reward long-serving sergeants. By 1913, there were two Colour Sergeants in each infantry company. On 1 October 1913, they were replaced by the two new ranks of Company Sergeant Major and Company Quartermaster Sergeant, with one of each in each company. However, the CQMS of an infantry company continued to be generally addressed as "Colour Sergeant". The Royal Marines retained the rank throughout.
Historically, Colour Sergeants of British line regiments protected ensigns, the most junior officers who were responsible for carrying their battalions' colours to rally troops in battles. For this reason, to reach the rank of Colour Sergeant was considered a prestigious attainment, granted normally to those Sergeants who had displayed courage on the field of battle. This tradition continues today as colour sergeants form part of a colour party in military parades.
Colour Sergeants are referred to and addressed as "Colour Sergeant" or "Colour" in the Army, or as "Colour Sergeant" or "Colours" in the Royal Marines, and never by the more junior rank of Sergeant. Unusually, NCOs with the rank of Colour Sergeant who hold the appointment of Company Quartermaster Sergeant are still addressed and referred to by their rank, not their appointment. In Foot Guards regiments, colour sergeants are addressed as "Sir" and afforded the respect and privileges normally accorded to warrant officers.
References / notes
- Colour sergeant. Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. Accessed 22 April, 2017/
Glossary of words and phrases
The above term is listed in our glossary of words and phrases of the Armed Forces of Great Britain during the Great War. Included are trench slang, service terms, expressions in everyday use, nicknames, the titles and origins of British and Commonwealth Regiments, and warfare in general. These words and phrases are contemporary to the war, which is reflected in the language used. They have been transcribed from three primary sources (see Contents). Feel free to expand upon and improve this content.
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