A Quartermaster, abbreviated to QM, is a military or naval term, the meaning of which depends on the country and service. In land armies, a Quartermaster is generally a relatively senior soldier who supervises stores and distributes supplies and provisions. In many navies, quartermaster is a non-commissioned officer (petty officer) rank. In some navies, it is not a rank but a role related to navigation.
In the British Army, the Quartermaster is the officer in a battalion or regiment responsible for supply. By longstanding tradition, he or she is always commissioned from the ranks and holds the rank of Captain or Major. Some units also have a Technical Quartermaster, who is in charge of technical stores. The Quartermaster is assisted by the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant (RQMS) and a staff of storemen. The QM, RQMS and storemen are drawn from the regiment or corps in which they work, not from the Royal Logistic Corps, which is responsible for issuing and transporting supplies to them. Units which specialise in supply are known as "supply" units, not "quartermaster" units, and their personnel as "log specs" (logistics specialists).
From at least the English Civil War period until 1813, the Quartermaster was the senior non-commissioned officer in a British cavalry troop (in which context he had nothing to do with supply). In that year, the position was replaced by the new appointment of Troop Sergeant Major, with the cavalry adopting commissioned, regimental Quartermasters as described above.
References / notes
- Quartermaster. Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. Access 25 April, 2017.
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