Corporal - United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Corporal (Cpl) is the second rank of non-commissioned officer in the British Army and Royal Marines, falling between Lance-Corporal and Sergeant. The badge of rank is a two-bar chevron (also known as "stripes", "tapes" or "hooks"). A corporal's role varies between regiments, but in the standard infantry role a corporal commands a section, with a Lance-Corporal as Second-in-Command (2ic). When the section is split into fire teams, they command one each. In the Royal Armoured Corps, a Corporal commands an individual tank. Their duties therefore largely correspond to those of staff sergeants in the United States Army and corporals are often described as the "backbone" of the British Army.

In the Household Cavalry all non-commissioned ranks are designated as different grades of Corporal up to Regimental Corporal Major (who is a Warrant Officer class 1). There is no effective actual rank of Corporal however, and the ranks progress directly from Lance-Corporal to Lance-Corporal of Horse (who is effectively equivalent to a Corporal; technically a LCoH holds the rank of Corporal, but is automatically give the appointment of LCoH). Similarly, in the Foot Guards the appointment of Lance-Sergeant is effectively used instead of Corporal, with a Lance-Corporal wearing two stripes: this is sometimes said to have originated with Queen Victoria who did not like 'her own guardsmen' having only one chevron.

Royal Artillery corporals are called bombardiers, although until 1920 the Royal Artillery had corporals and bombardier was a lower rank. The rank of Second Corporal existed in the Royal Engineers and Royal Army Ordnance Corps until 1920.

A common nickname for a corporal is a "full screw", with lance-corporals being known as "lance-jacks".

Corporal is the lowest NCO rank in the Royal Air Force (aside from the RAF Regiment who have Lance-Corporals), coming between Junior Technician or Senior Aircraftman (Technician) and Sergeant in the technical trades, or Senior Aircraftman and Sergeant in the non technical trades. Between 1950 and 1964, corporals in technical trades were known as Corporal Technicians and wore their chevrons point up.

In the Royal Navy, the equivalent to corporal is Leading Hand or Leading Rate. Although classified as NATO OR-4, British corporals frequently fill OR-5 equivalent posts.

The Army Cadet Force, Combined Cadet Force, Air Training Corps, Royal Marines sections of the Sea Cadet Corps and the Combined Cadet Force all have the rank of corporal, reflecting the structure of their parent service; therefore it is the second NCO rank of the ACF, CCF (including the RAF Section, which has the rank of junior corporal) and Marine Cadets, and the first NCO rank in the ATC.

Ratings and Other Ranks of the British Armed Forces

Service
Royal Navy
Royal Marines
Army
Royal Air Force

OR-1


Pte
AC

OR-2
AB
Mne
Pte
LAC - SAC - Jnr Tech/SAC(T)

OR-3

LCpl
LCpl
LCpl (RAF Regt only)

OR-4
LH
Cpl
Cpl
Cpl

OR-5/OR-6
PO
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt

OR-7
CPO
CSgt
SSgt / CSgt
Chf Tech - Flt Sgt

OR-8
WO2
WO2
WO2

OR-9
WO1
WO1
WO1
WO / MAcr

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