Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Excuse my ignorance

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Excuse my ignorance

Old 16th Nov 2013, 18:48
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 67
Posts: 2,062
Excuse my ignorance

I apologise for using a thread, but I'm obviously suffering a senior moment when I see the bottom photograph on this story;

Give this World War II hero a proper send-off: Call for mourners to attend funeral of serviceman who died alone aged 94 | Mail Online

To the left of centre, as viewed, there is a chap with a rank badge, which looks like that of a Senior Aircraftsman (SAC) but enclosed within a ring, ala, the "apprentice wheel. I wonder if anyone can tell me what it all signifies, I've been a civilian since 1997 and obviously the world has moved on.

I do hope the Army guy gets a good response. If for no other reason than my Grandfather was a dispatch rider with the Green Howard's at the same time as him. I'm certainly trying to make some space in my schedule. Mr Percival was definitely given a good send off.

smujsmith is offline  
Old 16th Nov 2013, 18:52
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 1,455
SAC(T) - for technician, see here:

RAF - Non-Commissioned Ranks
Background Noise is offline  
Old 16th Nov 2013, 18:58
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 1,455
A bit more here: Senior aircraftman technician - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Background Noise is offline  
Old 16th Nov 2013, 19:13
  #4 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 67
Posts: 2,062
Thanks for that BN,

I assume then that the rank of Jnr Tech is now "phased out" ? It's interesting to see the evolution of your former service, it's also curious why the Jnr Tech rank is considered inappropriate and needing redefinition. I only ask as I managed to become a Jnr tech on leaving Halton many moons ago.

smujsmith is offline  
Old 16th Nov 2013, 20:15
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hanging off the end of a thread
Posts: 16,989
It's so they can waste money, it's not just badges, everything, all paperwork that has the rank added, QR's etc all have to be amended, and then when the last JT retires / gets promoted you have to go through it all again to remove the rank from the above... Total waste of money for what gain? None I can see.
NutLoose is offline  
Old 16th Nov 2013, 21:16
  #6 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 67
Posts: 2,062
Like you Nutloose, I'm confused as to why they should want to do this. The rank of Junior Technician is well established in the RAF. I wonder if the next move will be the encirclement of Sergeants stripes to denote Technical Sergeant and the expunging of Chief Technician. I suppose it's not for an old crusty ex serviceman like me to question the "modern thinking". I just can't see any logic in the new titles.

smujsmith is offline  
Old 16th Nov 2013, 21:17
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Exiled in England
Age: 44
Posts: 1,016
I think you will find this was critical as back in the good old days, I.E. before us mech tech wankers ruined it, a Jt was THE highest an average bloke but excellent aircraft technician could get to.

as such the JT regarded himself/herself (and quite rightly too) as a cut above the rest.

A JT was a hard eanred badge of skill and ability, even when I went thru it made a big difference having that fourth blade on the prop.

Yes us TG1 were intolerant of external niff naff imposed diciplinary bu****it, wore out hair a bit longer and were a bit scruffier - have the discips do 4 pm till breakfast shifts inside rb199 exhausts doing all nighter boroscopes.....

We had high standards and we tried to live up to them, it was a work hard play harder deal with a lot of responsibility,

as the years went on this was eroded by the trade sponsors for all the tail talking up their jobs as we were left to do what we did - generate aircraft for the flypro

Time moved on and the PTB decided they could stream out the JT and just give the sac a little ring to denote a technical specialisation.

even if they pay the same - it is a lesser thing.

but then they could not put a value on the mere wording of a rank could they......

oh i'm glad to not be in any more, i can whinge about it on prune like an old fart. FWIW i do more engineering with less support now than i ever did, the importance is the same and i have no-one to directly answer to apart from the operations director. its not as satisfying as aircraft work but more challenging, and i suppose i ought to say thanks to Everyone who ever tried to teach me things, specially Billy the Fish, Cpl Mat the Apo scumbag and Neil the scary ex flem who showed me the line I had crossed as a gobby SAC and then got me v drunk after.

Cheers all
cornish-stormrider is offline  
Old 16th Nov 2013, 21:33
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Tennessee - Smoky Mountains
Age: 51
Posts: 1,597
Perhaps the rank of SAC(T) was created to reinforce to them that they are not NCOs, but LCpls are, now that the RAF Regt has LCpls.
Roadster280 is offline  
Old 16th Nov 2013, 22:08
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 763
and Korea

Give this World War II hero

And Korea - viz - "Syngman Rhee's Pajamas." LFH
Lordflasheart is offline  
Old 16th Nov 2013, 22:32
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Anglia
Posts: 1,928
JT and CT didn't (and still don't) fit nicely into NATO Rank structures.

It was far easier to get rid of JTs and replace them with much cheaper SAC(T)s. JTs remaining in the RAF were effectively dumped from promotion boards as they didn't fit onto SAC(T) parameters (I believe JTs knew too much about their trade!)

CTs are also under fire and have been removed from all but aircraft trades. No more MT, GEF or GRF(CIS Eng) CTs.

Seemingly, the RAF can't figure out how to remove CTs from their lists.....should they promote them all to Flt Sgts? (thereby effectively demoting current Flt Sgts) or make them all redundant (too costly nowadays) or should they promote Sgts to cover those gaps that CTs currently fill? (Making some new form of "Senior Sgt"?)

Existing CTs are given the same status (in NATO) as Flt Sgts - and the same pension rights too.
Rigga is offline  
Old 17th Nov 2013, 02:36
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Annapolis, MD
Age: 82
Posts: 429
I passed out from Locking as a Junior Technician in 1956. In those days a J/T had one chevron upside down, a Cpl Tech had two chevrons upside down, Senior Tech had three chevrons upside down, and so on to the Master Technician who wore the WO badge. They were not in the command branch and were considered the top technical people in their respective trades.

Most Master Technicians that I knew could run rings around some engineers, although I've been out of the RAF for over 30 years and am way out of date.

Bob C
Robert Cooper is offline  
Old 17th Nov 2013, 05:03
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Australia
Age: 83
Posts: 56

All the comments on the link are about

"Give this World War II hero a proper send-off: Call for mourners to attend funeral of serviceman who died alone aged 94."

All comments with us to the badge on one of the volunteers.

I'll go with the Newspaper.

John Botwood is offline  
Old 17th Nov 2013, 07:27
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 1,334

All comments with us to the badge on one of the volunteers.
But that is what THIS thread is about! The OP posted the link as an example of what the badge looked like when asking for its meaning. For once a Prune thread has stayed on topic beyond 5 posts!

Back on thread.....didn't JTs get cpl stripes on time promotion and, as promotion to sgt slowed down with the various reductions in force size, didn't it skew the rank structure and mean many cpls were doing a JTs job albeit on a cpls pay but without any of the management/leadership responsibilities.
Wrathmonk is offline  
Old 17th Nov 2013, 07:46
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: northofwhereiusedtobe
Posts: 1,252
Probably - but previously it had been the other way round...back in the 70's when the 'golden bowler' schemes were happening - my unit was short of corporals because of the 'knock on' promotions and I as a relatively inexperienced J/T was given an 'oversigning chit' to countersign maintenance documents - a few years later I would have been made an acting cpl to fill the slot !
At the same time we lost two top class trade managers through the 2 schemes -their subsequent replacements were nowhere near the same calibre (on that particular unit).
In those days it was 3 years j/t to cpl and then 4 or 5 years (?) to sgt for riggers and sooties.
longer ron is offline  
Old 17th Nov 2013, 08:33
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: South of Old Warden
Age: 83
Posts: 1,379
The original exam board for promotion in the technician rank was quite rigorous, consisting of a practical board covering all aspects of one's trade plus a multi-choice paper. Pass mark was 60%. One also had to pass an exam on a specialist subject, of one's choice, ie Canberra fuel system, hydraulics or electrical generating system. I think the pass mark was 80%
So a chief/tech would have three specialist subjects under his belt
It took two attempts for me to pass the cpl/tech exam and one attempt at senior tech although that rank became redundant in '64 and one wore sergeant's stripes.
Along with the rank re-structure of '64 came a complete, in my opinion, dumbing down of the examination standards. The practical boards were discontinued and all that was required was a pass mark on the multi-choice paper. By the early '70's the technical trades were awash with chief/techs and many, including myself were surplus to requirements, hence a generous redundancy package was accepted and I became a pensioner at 37!
goudie is offline  
Old 17th Nov 2013, 08:50
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: somewhere special
Age: 42
Posts: 149
Cornish, us mech tech tossers were scum and effectively bypassed the years of angst and waiting for the golden ticket fitters course But to me that didn't take any of the shine off the rank. It was a great rank to have and one that earned quiet respect. I seem to remember the abolition of JT and CT was called for in the Betts report, although I can't find any reference to it.

My slightly biased view is that the RAF made a complete arse of the transition. The whole SAC prop with a circle is just crap and another way of identifying theoretical technical competence.

What the RAF should have really done is change JT to lance corporal and up skill the rank instead of diluting it. Of course at the time there is no way the self serving command blunties would have stood for this - just look at the erosion of technical pay against other trades (pay 2000) for further evidence of that self interest. The rocks have done well to introduce the rank of L Cpl and I recognise that JT or SAC T is 'allegedly' subordinate to that. My question to the rocks whenever they got all sensitive about the JT rank was 'so what rank did you get promoted to after SAC?' And that usually levelled the field a touch.

The demise of the JT rank and the loss of potential limited supervisory and additional tasks that could have gone with a technical LCpl rank is such a shame.

I saw a JT on the gate a few weeks ago, they can't be far off single figures now.

Herc-u-lease is offline  
Old 17th Nov 2013, 09:29
  #17 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a
Creeping a little - SAC/JT

JT was the best rank in the RAF unless you were a "lifer"

Having done the fitters course, you were too valuable and so escaped guard duty, funeral parties, and most other tasks but you were definitely not qualified to do Orderly Corporal and other equally odious chores.

However on the way up the greasy pole, the SAC got to do most of the chores unless he was "a boy entrant" with at least 12 years as an SAC then he did'nt give a hoot about anything.

Has the DE fitters course gone now then with the SAC wannabees?

Old 17th Nov 2013, 10:47
  #18 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: South Africa
Age: 83
Posts: 1,327
Rigga said:

Seemingly, the RAF can't figure out how to remove CTs from their lists.....should they promote them all to Flt Sgts? (thereby effectively demoting current Flt Sgts)
It wouldn't be the 1st time! Last time it was the Ch. Techs that got screwed.

When the 'New' trade structure came out in 1951, technicians with the ranks of Cpl Tech, Senior Tech and Chief Tech were paid at a higher rate than Cpl, Sgt and Flt. Sgt. So they were each considered to be a promotion. The new rank of J/T was also announced

To achieve these technical ranks, a Trade Test had to be passed at each level, and there was an additional 'time in rank' qualification. The time was 5 years between each rank, or 10 years from J/T to Senior Tech and 15 Years from J/T to Chief/Tech etc.

The promotion was not automatic on time served, the Trade Test had to be passed. Zig-zaging between the Command and Technical ladders were allowed and encouraged. So J/T to Cpl to Cpl/Tech to Sgt to Senior Tech etc was quite normal.

For existing people, time was credited from becoming an 'Advanced Tradesman'. This was the pre-1951 LAC trade test in the Aircraft Trades.

It was also promulgated that these new Technical NCO's would NOT be liable for such duties as Ord/Cpl and Ord/Sgt. This didn't last long, but I cannot remember when the Technical Ranks started doing Station Duties again.

As a result many exiting Cpl's, Sgt's and Flight Sgt's saw the new technical ranks as a promotion with more pay and a way of getting out of Station Duties. This resulted in many existing Cpl's, Sgt's and Flt Sgt's passing the trade test and being promotd to Technical NCO's.

Some time later, to encourage people to 'sign on' the 'time qualifications' were reduced to 3, 7 and 10* years for airmen on an engagement of 12 years or more. Later still this was changed again to include airmen on an engagement of 9 years or more.

Me, being an ex Boy Entrant, I was on a 10 year engagement that started on my 18th birthday, and I did the 5 years between J/T and Cpl/Tech, then the rules changed. Two years of 2/6 a day, the difference between Cpl and Cpl/Tech. Real money in 1959!

In 1964, the system was changed again. Cpl/Techs and Senior Techs were done away with and these people became Cpl's and Sgt's. But the rank of Chief Tech was retained and became a rank between Sgt and Flt. Sgt. Y'all can imagine how this went down with guys who had been Flt. Sgt's in 1951, put in the work to pass their trade test and now found themselves junior to guys who were promoted to Flt. Sgt many years after they had been!

Me, I went from Cpl/Tech back to Cpl on the same pay as the lazy sod's that hadn't bothered or couldn't pass the trade test I'd passed.

10* I am not 100% sure on the 10 years. I am now a falible old fart
ian16th is offline  
Old 17th Nov 2013, 13:04
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Lincolnshire
Age: 78
Posts: 164
I left No2 Radio School at Yatesbury after the year long Fitters Course, as a J/T & after a few years was promoted to Cpl. I took the Cpl/Tech exam & was promoted to Cpl/Tech I then passed the Senior Tech exam, but had to wait for promotion.

Like ian16th I had my Cpl/Tech rank & Trade Pay taken away from me, so I protested loudly about the removal of the Trade Pay, which I had earned. An external Organisation took up my case & my Cpl/Tech Trade Pay was reinstated even though I was wearing Cpl chevrons !

The Technician training that we received was second to none, when my 9 year engagement was up, I was told that they would promote me to Sgt if I signed on, but IBM had already offered me a job as a Mainframe Computer Engineer. I worked for IBM for 23 happy years & took early retirement at the age of 50.
VIProds is offline  
Old 17th Nov 2013, 13:08
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Tennessee - Smoky Mountains
Age: 51
Posts: 1,597
Herc-u-lease -

I completely agree, the RAF should have introduced a LCpl rank for its techs. Army techs are (by and large, but no longer "as of right") granted LCpl rank out of the factory. Cpl follows within a year or two. This is only for techs with long courses, e.g. REME and R SIGNALS techs.

The RAF not doing so has repeated the old bollox where a Flt Sgt claims rank equivalence with a WO2 based upon what his next promotion will take him to.

The one bit where the RAF bloke wins though is where he DOES get promoted, and a Flt Sgt will leapfrog a WO2 to to WO, which IS equivalent to an Army/RM/RN WO1. Thus he is immediately superior to the WO2. The same for SAC(T)s. They become CPLs, and immediately superior to LCpls.

As usual, if the NCO/WO (officers too, for that matter) can't manage men without reference to banana-counting, then he probably shouldn't be in that rank in the first place.
Roadster280 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.