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Lance Bombardier & Bombardier in the RA

Lance-Bombardier Lance Bombardier Bombardier Royal Artillery rank

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#1 kevrow

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 01:52 PM

For anyone who may be interested I will post the ACI 1743 instruction dated 30th November 1917. This is the reference one most often sees in gunners records. This has been crossed out on the page, in red, reading "153961 AI Cancelled ACO 699/nil" or that's what I think it says. Obviously this later changed.

1743. Alteration in Nomenclature of Appoinments in the Royal Artillery

1. Owing to the operations of ACI 1701 of 1916 and ACI 337 of 1917 only granting "acting" ranks and appoinments respectively at home, it is necessary to alter the nomenclature for the appoinment of "acting bombardier" shown in King's Regulations, para. 282 (vii), for clearly defining the rank of bombardier and the appoinment of acting bombardier.

2. From the date of this ACI the appoinment of "acting bombardier" will be changed to "lance-bombardier." The necessary amendments to King's Regulations, &c., will be issued in due course.

3. The titles which have been used in making entries in documents and those to be used in future for promotions to the rank of bombardier and appointments to lance-bombardier are detailed as under:-

Old Title. ----------------------------------- New Title.

Bombardier ----------------------------------- Bombardier

Acting (full) bombardier --------------------- Acting bombardier

Paid acting Bombardier -----------------------Paid lance-bombardier
----------------------------------------------Acting paid lance-bombardier

Unpaid acting bombardier ---------------------Unpaid lance-bombardier

7/Gen.No./8290 (A.G. 4a)



Given there are other ACIs and AOs to look up the use of Lance-Bombardier during the war still needs clarifying.

Thanks for the look up Paul.

Kevin



#2 Op-Ack

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 01:58 PM

Intresting, I always understood that the Lance-Bombardier only came into being with the abolition of the rank of Corporal in the 1920's.

Thanks for posting this.

Phil

#3 Ron Clifton

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 07:07 PM

Kevin/Paul

Thanks for the clarification. Like Phil, I had always assumed that the change was made in the 1920s, the (full) bombardier acquiring a second chevron at that time. But I had seen CWGC headstones with L/Bmr, including one in Tyne Cot with my own name on it! I don't know if he was a relative.

Ron

#4 SFayers

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 08:04 PM

Thanks for posting Kevin (and thanks for looking it up Paul!),

I wonder what prompted the creation of Acting (paid) lance-bombardier?

Presumably, at this time, artillerymen with any of these five titles would have worn the single chevron on their upper sleeves? This also leads me to wonder if their responsibilities were essentially the same, and, if not, how would seniority have been distinguished?

Cheers

Steve

#5 Ron Clifton

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:02 AM

Hello Steve

Yes, Bombardiers and all NCOs below that all wore a single chevron.

Acting (paid) lance-bombardiers might have been temporary appointments with trench mortar batteries, or to cover absences or vacancies in the establishment. Some of these distinctions between grades do seem rather tenuous but it may have something to do with how easy it might be for the battery or brigade commander to terminate the appointment on other than disciplinary grounds.

As to duties, I imagine that some signallers, observers, range-takers etc at battery or brigade HQ might have been lance-bombardiers, as well as "normal" appointments in gun and wagon detachments. It is also possible that the RFA and RGA had different roles for these appointments.

Ron

#6 SFayers

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:38 PM

Thanks Ron,

I can appreciate the idea of an easier means of terminating and making appointments within the battery establishment; in quite a number of service records I've found appointments to and reversions from, for example, Acting Lance Bombardier vice another individual without any evidence of disciplinary issues (in most cases I've seen where there is a reason given for an appointment it's often in reponse to the previous chap becoming a casualty or having otherwise been struck-off battery strength).

Incidentally, I've certainly come across a number of signallers with such junior NCO ranks.

All the best

Steve

#7 kevrow

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 08:34 PM

The differences between the various grades for both the old and the new titles is still not fully explained. With the old title one still had one rank and three different appointments. I wonder whether it was down to actually where one was serving at a particular time. This may explain why my grandfather rose to be an A/Cpl whilst at home (well Spike Island) but reverted to A/L/Bdr on going abroad.

The following is ACI 908 for 7th June 1917, some 5 months earlier than 1743.

908. Grant of substantive rank to certain Warrant Officers, Class II, and N.C.Os of the Regular RH and RFA and RGA

1. Owing to the footnote (*) Part V, War Establishments, 1915, Establishment of Reserve Brigade, RFA, and the fact that the RGA have companies who have been permanently on the Coast Defences at home, there are in the Regular RH and RFA and RGA a certain number of individual cases of hardship among warrant officers, Class II, and N.C.Os who have received their promotion to acting rank only, before the publication of ACI 1701 of 1916
These men would now, under the provisions of ACI 1701, if sent abroad in a draft, forfeit some or all of their service as NCOs and revert to their permanent grade.

2, In order therefore to bring these men on to the same footing as the TF under ACI 115 of 1917, it has been decided that these warrant officers, Class II, and NCOs of the RH and RFA and RGA may be given substantive rank as follows:-
Any warrant officer, Class II, or NCO will now be given substantive rank equivalent to the acting rank he held on 1st January 1916, provided he is still holding that or higher acting rank. This substantive rank will take effect as from the date of their original promotion to the equivalent rank.

3. It will be understood that this ACI does not interfere with the acting rank of a warrant officer, Class II, or NCO, but merely gives him a permanent status to or below the acting rank he actually holds.

18/Artillery/5678 (A.G.6)


I will obviously have to get ACIs 115, 337, 1701.

Kevin

#8 ianjonescl

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 10:22 PM

I can appreciate the idea of an easier means of terminating and making appointments within the battery establishment;



This sounds like an admin. nightmare, One wonders how all the paperwork and sorting out the confusion was handled.

#9 SFayers

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:18 AM

Thanks for the update Kevin,

Following on from my last post, I was also begining to wonder if appointment in the field to an 'Acting' role (Acting [paid] lance-bombardier and Acting Bombardier) would be normally be reverted if a man was posted to a different battery - but then checking back through my grandfather's service papers I see he retained the appointment of Acting lance-bombardier when he was posted from 5 Siege Battery to 136 Siege Battery in March 1919 (so 'bang' goes that idea!!).

Cheers

Steve

#10 Ron Clifton

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 12:01 PM

Not bang, Steve, though possibly phut.

I would guess - and it is only a guess - that a man transferred between batteries would not automatically retain any acting or lance rank, but such rank might be confirmed in his new unit. It would presumably depend on his experience, special skills, or whatever else may have got him the acting/lance rank in the first place, compared with the availabiliy of those qualities among existing men in his new unit.

But by March 1919 they were probably less particular in that respect anyway.

Ron

#11 kevrow

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 03:53 PM

I suspect that Ron may be right. Perhaps it was up to the OC of the new battery.
The following may confirm this, but it is interesting that at 20th June 1919 he was promoted to L/Bdr. Doesn't this imply that it had become a rank in its own right?

Attached File  L:Bdr Rank?.jpg   76.04KB   0 downloads

I still wonder what the difference was between an A/Bdr (Paid or Unpaid) and a A/Full/Bdr.

Kevin

#12 SFayers

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:19 PM

Thanks Ron & Kevin,

Another thing I notice looking at various service documents is that it appears an appointed man would revert to Gunner when going on leave to the UK and could be re-appointed (I would say at the CO's discretion) when he returned to his unit. Couple of examples here (the first being from my grandfather's papers); in the second example the man's appointment to (paid) lance-bombardier occured before he went on leave:

Attached File  GJFayers.JPG   19.44KB   0 downloads

Attached File  AEBellamy.JPG   40.09KB   0 downloads

Cheers

Steve

#13 Op-Ack

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:08 PM

As I said in an earlier post, you may think you know a lot about a regiment, but there is always more to learn. All of the above raises a further question, if Corporals wore two stripes and Bombardiers one, what if anything did a Lance Bombardier wear before the 1920's?

Phil :hypocrite:

#14 Ron Clifton

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 04:09 PM

Phil

One stripe, as did acting bombardiers.

Ron

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:20 PM

Thanks Ron, that must have made it confusing in the unit, with Bombardiers, acting Bombardiers and Lance Bombardiers all wearing the same rank marking.

Phil

#16 GRUMPY

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 08:57 PM

Fascinating and yet trivial! This is reminiscent of the number of angels able to dance on a pin-head ....... one imagines whole teams of junior officers and civil servants debating such fine points; meanwhile, in the line, bayonets were being fixed, howitzers fired, and men wounded.
It reminds me of the remark [was it General Jack?] regarding the introduction of saluting with right hand only ......."now we can be confident of winning the war ..........."

Sometimes these ACIs tie themselves into knots by over-elaboration.

The best instructions begin with the words "The purpose of this instruction is to ...............", thus enabling wise men to be guided, and fools to obey.

Don't get me wrong: I too am intrigued, puzzled even, by the complexities surrounding this extra rank [which is what bombardier was]in the RA hierarchy. But what about the RE equivalent, Second Corporal? What indeed!

"Sergeant Brown, draft an ACI regarding Second-Corporal RE!"

#17 GRUMPY

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 03:20 PM

Are we sure the reference 282 vii. is correct: all the "actings" and the "lances" are in viii. and are all junior to vii. bombardier and 2nd corporal.

This is what KR 1912 amended to 1916 has to say:

Precedence, ranks ......

vi] corporal
vii] bombardier or 2nd Corporal
viii]gunner etc, private


........... an acting bombardier takes precedence of all gunners, privates etc.

Next KR 1923:

iii] corporal or bombardier
iv] gunner, private etc

.......... a lance-bombardier takes precedence of all gunners etc [no mention of acting, except to acting lance-corporals]

Dress of the RA, Campbell:

.......... in 1920 bombardier upgraded to corporal, corporal abolished. Lance-sergeant intro. Acting bombardier changed to lance bombardier, one chevron.

Dawnay substantially agrees re. 1920 but substitutes acting bombardier. I suspect Campbell is correct.

I would dearly love to see the ACIs cross-referred to above.

Will ask Graham Stewart.

#18 kevrow

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:23 PM

It is "para. 282 (viii). Part typo error but in defence it is written over in red ink.

I think it would better to accept that lance bombardier did not exist until 1920 as has been often insisted on forum in numerous posts in the past. Personally I really couldn't care less about Campbell or Dawnay and cannot see why I should bother to request any more ACIs when everything is already known by the experts on forum.

Kevin

#19 GRUMPY

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 09:11 AM

It is "para. 282 (viii). Part typo error but in defence it is written over in red ink.

I think it would better to accept that lance bombardier did not exist until 1920 as has been often insisted on forum in numerous posts in the past. Personally I really couldn't care less about Campbell or Dawnay and cannot see why I should bother to request any more ACIs when everything is already known by the experts on forum.

Kevin


Dawany is the accepted expert on WO and NCO badges of rank, and Campbell as the expert on RA and its uniform. Both would run rings round me, so, naturally, I turn to them for collateral. I also thought it of interest to quote the pre- and post -KR.

But, if you couldn't care less, perhaps a waste of my time.

I have, nevertheless asked Graham Stewart to delve a little further into the grey area of the relevant ACIs.

#20 ianjonescl

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 03:04 PM

Thanks Ron, that must have made it confusing in the unit, with Bombardiers, acting Bombardiers and Lance Bombardiers all wearing the same rank marking.

Phil



Phil

Although the ACI was issued in 1917,maybe it was the 1920's before everyone figured out what it was about. !!!!!

I could certainly see it being actioned in a piecemeal fashion as Battery Commanders et all were trying to sort it out, handle the soldiers inquiries, and get the paperwork done. No doubt there would have been a return to fill in, no numbers would agree between some establishment figure and the battery returns ,leading to the inevitable questions from some poor staff captain tasked with personnel matters at a HQ somewhere.

At this stage it would be easier to have some one at a rank in the unit, but a different externally., and get on with the operational task.

Ian

#21 GRUMPY

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 07:06 PM

In my further attempts on self-education in this weighty matter I have:

1. found several soldiers of the RGA described as paid Lance-Bombardier in their documents during the war and prior to the ACI .....88137 Charles henry Jones for example.

2. consulted the Pay warrant 1914 amended to 1916, found NO mechanism for paying such an appointment BUT para 973 under Lance Appointments lists, ho ho ho! Lance-Sergeants, Lance-Corporals and, wait for it, acting bombardiers. So the army considered, equated, the latter with lance appointment, from which it is one short step ........

#22 GRUMPY

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 10:14 AM

My next step will be to bang the SDIGW disc in and search for L-Bdrs.

Does anyone have any medals or bedplates of the war or pre-war period inscribed thus?

#23 kevrow

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 01:55 PM

Quote, "1. found several soldiers of the RGA described as paid Lance-Bombardier in their documents during the war and prior to the ACI ..."

Now that is interesting. I have viewed probably up to 9000 RGA gunners records over the last 5 years, but it is only in the last few months that I have been making a note of L/Bdrs that look interesting. I am now getting quite a list for ACIs that deal with appointments and rank. I haven't as yet spotted a gunner appointed a L/Bdr before this date so a list of those gunners you have would be appreciated.

I may be misinterpreting the records for 88137 Jones, but I read it as still Pd/A/Bde when posted to the Clearing Office on the 29/8/1917 and the records brought up to date at Catterick on the 30/12/1917. If the other copy had survived it may have given more info. Perhaps they are clearer in the other ones you have seen.

Kevin

Attached File  88137 Jones L:Bdr.jpg   96.09KB   0 downloads

#24 GRUMPY

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 02:59 PM

Thank you, yes I have had another look at Smith and I agree when he was made L/Bdr.

Now then!

Have put L/Bdr in SDIGW and come up with 512 dead ones, the earliest of whom on 7 June 1917 was Walter Perry, 318311, RGA.

So we have a "not later than" date for the appointment being used.

also 11 acting lance- .......

and 12 paid acting lance- ............

#25 kevrow

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 04:18 PM

Quote, "So we have a "not later than" date for the appointment being used."

I think you may have to cross reference these earlier dates with the mens records. I suspect it could be just an efficient clerk updating his appointment, such a 92121 Nuttall, James Ernest, http://www.cwgc.org/...asualty/574641/ . He is only listed as Pd/A/Bdr in his records.

Kevin






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