Lance corporal (LCpl or formerly L/Cpl) is the lowest ranking non-commissioned officer in the British Army and Royal Marines, between private and Corporal (and with a NATO grade of OR3). The badge of rank is a one-bar chevron worn on both sleeves, or on an epaulette on the front of the Combat Soldier 95 dress standard (although lance corporals in the Foot Guards, Honourable Artillery Company, 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards and The Queen's Royal Hussars wear two-bar chevrons and in the Household Cavalry a two-bar chevron surmounted by the crown is worn). The Royal Artillery uses the term lance-bombardier instead. The designation "chosen man", used during the Napoleonic Wars, was a precursor to the rank. A common nickname for a lance corporal is "lance jack". Lance corporals are commonly addressed as "corporal".
Until 1961, lance corporal was only an appointment rather than a rank, given to privates who were acting NCOs, and could be taken away by the soldier's commanding officer (whereas a full corporal could only be demoted by court martial). The Royal Engineers and Army Ordnance Corps also used the similar rank of second corporal, which was a substantive rank (also wearing one chevron), until 1920. Until 1920, bombardiers in the Royal Artillery were equivalent to second corporals and acting bombardiers were equivalent to lance corporals (both wearing one chevron).
In the infantry, a lance corporal usually serves as second-in-command of a section and commander of its delta fire team. It is also a rank commonly held by specialists such as clerks, drivers, signallers, machine-gunners, and mortarmen. In the Royal Military Police all other ranks are promoted to lance corporal on the completion of their training.
On 1 April 2010, the rank of lance corporal was introduced into the RAF Regiment, although it is not used by other branches of the Royal Air Force. RAF Regiment lance corporals have powers of charge over Aircraftmen, Leading Aircraftmen and senior aircraftmen, but not junior technicians and senior aircraftmen technicians, who, despite being OR2s, require a corporal or above to charge if required. The RAF sections of Combined Cadet Forces, seen in some British schools, use the rank of cadet lance corporal (cadet junior corporal pre-2012) for many years in order that NCOs can be ranked on parity with the cadet lance corporals in the army sections.
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