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APO - what is the substantive rank?

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APO - what is the substantive rank?

Old 1st Jul 2015, 09:15
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APO - what is the substantive rank?

After two years in UBAS in the 60s as a Cadet Pilot and after obtaining my Budgie Wings, I was commissioned as an Acting Pilot Officer.

I've been prompted to ask a question about the Acting part of my rank, after reading a marvellous biography of Bill Slim:

"Uncle Bill: The Authorised Biography of Field Marshal Viscount Slim" by Russell Miller.

It was of particular interest to me, because my Dad was a tank driver at Imphal.

I read that in 1944, Slim held the acting rank of Lieutenant General, but the substantive rank of Colonel.

After reading that, it made me wonder about the whole "acting rank" business and in particular, my rank. Since Pilot Officer is the lowest officer rank, and I was an APO, what was my substantive rank? Cadet Pilot or something else - AC?
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 09:19
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During the second Chindit expedition Maj John Masters was for some time an acting Maj Gen, and for 6 hours or so a Lt Gen. He gave up earing badges of rank. He also became stepfather to Sir Michael Rose, and even more famous soldier
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 09:20
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I42, you could have it right except you were awarded a commissioning scroll.

More akin to a Middy I guess.
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 09:34
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Since Pilot Officer is the lowest officer rank, and I was an APO, what was my substantive rank? Cadet Pilot or something else - AC?
Civvy ? ...... LFH
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 09:40
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Pretty sure that your substantive rank is the one you are paid at, which would mean the substantive rank of an APO is APO! But I stand to be corrected on that. Definitely not AC - you ceased to be an AC the day you were commissioned.
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 10:20
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TTN, correction, a number of flt lt were made acting sqn ldr when posted to international bullets and paid at the sqn ldr rate. I know some were then made substantive in tour or after.

The other substantive was the A/Cpl Unpaid RAFP - rank authority above their pay grade .
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 10:29
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In the case of Slim and others, you are getting involvement in the war substantive rank system, with its temporary, local acting, acting, substantive and war substantive ranks.

In the RAF the affect of this can be seen in the post-war regrading and rebadging of NCO aircrew and the wholesale reassessment of officers' rank, the former in 1946 and the latter in 1947 IIRC.

If you can find anybody who can explain the system and its funny bits in less than 10000 words, please put them in touch.

Finally, I was led to believe that 'Acting Pilot Officer' is actually a substantive rank - someone will quickly put me right if that's wrong!!

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Old 1st Jul 2015, 10:40
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Thanks everyone for a really interesting discussion.

So Acting is Substantive in my case?

Civvy ? ...... LFH
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 10:44
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Officer Cadet?
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 11:05
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Civvy ? .

Simon - for RN flying training in the 50s/60s, including the various OFSs after Wings, IIRC it was usually here today and gone tomorrow if you were chopped or withdrew.

My late F-i-L started his WWII as a substantive Squadron Leader and ended the war as a newly promoted Flying Officer.
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 11:26
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Lord Flasheart - can you expand on that - seems very odd
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 11:29
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I believe that the "Acting" bit makes it easier to take away just in case they made a mistake at Officer Training........
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 11:31
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For detail of the effect of aircrew rank read The Eigth Passenger by Miles Tripp. After VE Day many NCO aircrew veterans of the bomber offensive reverted to Aircraftsman to be ordered around by the likes of Corporal storekeepers.
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 12:03
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OD, I42 ...

Someone has had a go here ...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acting_pilot_officer
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 14:05
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Not quite the lowest!

When I was an APO we looked into this...it turned out the only 'commissioned' rank lower than APO was in fact a Midshipman! I did eventually reach the giddy heights of 'SPOSNI' - Senior Pilot Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland for a very short period. Over the next 34 years I didn't get much higher!
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 14:11
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By PN, "More akin to a Middy I guess."

Midshipmen can be Commissioned. Not usual these days but thats a relatively modern situation since people started joining up slightly older, and often as graduates, hence only being a Midshipman for one year.

In the early 80s there was a well known photo in the national press of a Sea King at Culdrose being flown by its first ever all Midshipman crew; by definition all had passed out of BRNC and were Commissioned.
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 14:15
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My knowledge is rather Army based [sorry about that] but I believe Substantive rank is/was the rank below which one could not be reduced without due process of Court Martial.
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 14:17
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Substantive rank is your real rank and the rank with seniority that you are paid as. Acting Rank is precisely that acting (you still get the pay but your seniority is only in your substantive rank i.e. the one below whatever your acting as. The other funny one is local rank, you wear the badge but thats it, no pay or at least thats the way it used to be.
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 14:47
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What was that other anomaly? If the boss (Wg Cdr in my case) was away and you were acting boss you got paid as such but it had to be a certain length of time. A month?
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 14:52
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We had the SNOWMAN at Lossie.

Senior Naval Officer West Moray and Nairn. I seem to remember he worked in the sim whilst holding a reserve commitment. I guess he was SPOSNI's boss!
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