Corporal (rank)

A Corporal, also abbreviated to Cpl., is a military rank in the British Army, Royal Marines and other armed forces around the world. In the British Army it falls between the ranks of Lance Corporal and Sergeant and is often regarded as a slightly more senior rank than in other countries. The badge of rank is a two-bar chevron (also known as "stripes", "tapes", or "hooks"). A corporal's role varies between regiments; but, in the standard infantry role, a corporal commands a section, with a lance-corporal as second-in-command (2ic). When the section is split into fire teams, they command one each. In the Royal Armoured Corps, a corporal commands an individual tank. Their duties therefore largely correspond to those of staff sergeants in the United States Army and corporals are often described as the "backbone" of the British Army.[1]

In most countries that derive their military structure from the British military system, Corporal is a more senior rank than that of Private. However, in several other countries, such as Canada, Italy and Norway, corporal is a junior rank, indicating a more experienced soldier than a private, and also on a higher pay scale, but having no particular command appointment corresponding to the rank, similar to specialist in the U.S. Army.[1]

The next promotional rank in the British Army during the First World War would have been Lance Sergeant, however, this ranks was discontinued in 1946; only the Foot Guards and Honourable Artillery Company retain this appointment. Today, the next promotional rank is Sergeant.

As stated on the British Army website, "After 6-8 years, and depending on ability to lead, promotion to Corporal typically follows. In this rank additional trade and instructor qualifications can be gained. Corporals are given command of more soldiers and equipment such as tanks and guns." [2]

A corporal's pay during the war ranged from 1s. 9d. (one shilling and 9 pence) to 2s. 8d. (two shillings and 8 pence) a day. [3]

References / notes[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Corporal. Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. Accessed 19 April, 2017.
  2. Ranks The British Army website. Accessed 19 April, 2017.
  3. Various contributors (1914). The War Book-of-Facts. 2nd Edition. A.W. Shaw Company, London p.140.

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This page forms part of our glossary of words and phrases of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain during the Great War, which also includes: technicalities, trench slang, expressions in everyday use, nicknames, sobriquets, the titles and origins of British and Commonwealth Regiments, and warfare in general. Please feel free to help expand and improve this content.
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