Lance Corporal (rank)
Lance-Corporal, also abbreviate to L/Cpl, is a military rank in the British Army, Royal Marines and other armed forces around the world. It is typically the lowest ranking non-commissioned officer between private and corporal.  According to the British Army Website, “Promotion to Lance Corporal may follow after Phase 2 Training or after about 3 years as a private. Lance Corporals are required to supervise a small team of up to four soldiers called a section. They also have opportunities to specialise and undertake specialist military training.” 
As described in Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases (1925) “The name comes from the Italian "lancia-spezzata" - the term in the Middle Ages for a trooper who had lost his lance or horse in action, and until supplied with a fresh weapon or mount, had to serve with the infantry. Horsemen being considered superior beings, pending his reinstatement, the lancia-spezzata ("lance" was also a synonymous term for "trooper") received higher pay than his new infantry comrades, and was employed usually as assistant to the corporals of his company. Thus the title and grade of lance-corporal came in originally. The word "lance" for "acting" was later extended to sergeants as a convenient term.” 
References / notes
Glossary of terms and customs
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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