A private, also abbreviated to Pte., is the lowest military rank in the British Army, Royal Marines and other armed forces around the world. Privates wear no insignia. Many regiments and corps use other distinctive and descriptive names instead of private, some of these ranks have been used for centuries, others are less than 100 years old. In the contemporary British Armed Forces, the army rank of private is broadly equivalent to Seaman in the Royal Navy, Aircraftman in the Royal Air Force, and Marine or Bandsman, as appropriate equivalent rank in the Royal Marines. Also in the Boys Brigade the rank of private is used when a boy moves from the junior section to the company section. The next promotional rank in the British Army is Lance Corporal followed by Corporal.
As stated on the British Army website, "On completion of Phase 1 Training, all new soldiers start as Privates although the title may be Trooper, Gunner, Signaller, Sapper, Guardsman, Rifleman or even Kingsman depending on Corps/Regiment." 
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.
Browse other terms: Contents – A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z