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Tony Farrell

Indian Army Ranks

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I would appreciate some clarification of the (British) Indian rank system in relation to appointments, e.g. Company Quartermaster Havildar - the equivalent of Staff Sergeant in the British Army.

I'm primarily interested in pre-1948 ranks & appointments, in particular Warrant Officers. I was under the impression the the VCOs did the jobs that would've been done by WOs in British units.

Basically, I want to know which Indian ranks filled the void between Havildar and the VCOs - CQHs and SQDs being appointments rather than ranks per se. Are CHMs and RQHs (WO2 equivalent) the result of rank restructuring post 1948? Did the pre-independence Indian Army have WOs?

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A brief answer - will check notes and add more detail.

With technical services' growth (e.g. signals, ordnance, medical, air force), WO ranks started to be added post-WWI. Until WWII, almost all were natives (of the British Isles) or Anglo-Indians. A quick glance at the Jan 1919 IAL shows WOs:

Ordnance Department - Conductors and Sub-Conductors

Supply and Transport Corps - Conductors and Sub-Conductors

Military Works Services - Conductors and SUb-Conductors

Public Works Department - Conductors and Sub-Conductors

Barrack Department - Conductors and Sub-Cponductors

Army Clothing Department - Conductors and Sub-Conductors

Posts and Telegraphs - Conductors and Sub-Conductors

Indo-European Telegraph Department (Persia) - Conductors and Sub-Conductors

India Miscellaneous List - Conductors and Sub-Conductors

Almost all of these have "European" names, though many are, I suspect, Anglo-Indians.

More to come . . . .

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So these would (mainly) be British Warrant Officers serving in Indian units? I'm assuming therefore that appointments such as Squadron Daffadar Major (a WO2 [equivalent SSM] appointment in the British Army) would be post-'48 appointments? I only ask, as the most senior Indian rank I've seen on a medal is Havildar.

Edited by Tony Farrell

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Until nearly WWII almost all "WO" rankes were Europreans or Anglo-Indians. Will check some post-1947 IALs and revert.

No, you see SDM and similar appointments pre-1947, and you see medals so named. But, as you note, these were appointments, rather than ranks, and all ranked below VCOs (JCOs as they are now). While it is debated every so often, the JCO ranks continue to today and are as important as always. In effect, they function as the WO and PO ranbks in Air Force and Navy do.

See: http://www.uniforminsignia.net/browse.php?...Asia&stat=India

Hope this helps?

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Just to clarify, Tony (though I have to admit I am still not 100% sure what question you are asking), post-1947 Indian Army rank progression:

Sepoy/Sowar

Lance-Naik

Naik

Havildar/Dufadar

Company Quartermaster Havildar/Dufadar

Company Havildar/Dufadar Major

Regimental Quartermaster Havildar/Dufadar

Regimental Havildar/Dufadar Major

Naib-Subadar/Risaldar

Subadar/Risaldar

Subadar/Risaldar Major

2nd Lieutanant

Lieutenant

Captain

Major

Lieutenant-Colonel

Colonel

Brigadier

Major-General

Lieutenant-General

General

Field Marshal

Those in italics I have never seen anywhere other than outside Army Headquarters in New Delhi.

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[attachmentid=22836]

Company Quartermaster Havildar/Dufadar

Company Havildar/Dufadar Major

Regimental Quartermaster Havildar/Dufadar

Regimental Havildar/Dufadar Major

It's these I really want to know about. Are they appointments or ranks? You would never see a British issue medal named to an CSM or SSM. It would be WO2. Would a medal to a RDM be named as such - either pre or post-Independence?

[And I want to make sure my table is correct]

Edited by Tony Farrell

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Would a medal to a RDM be named as such - either pre or post-Independence?

Short answer: "Yes." Will dig out some samples and post.

Ed

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