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Thread: Rank and Promotions Query

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    Default Rank and Promotions Query

    My Relation Geoffrey Bernard Herbert King 115277 is shown in the Supplement to the London Gazette, 13 November, 1942 pages 4930 and 4931 under the section "Plt. Offs. (prob) to be Flg. Offs on prob. (war subs.). 1rst Oct 1942:-"
    Does anybody know when these promotions come into effect? As when he was killed in action on 22 Nov 1942 his war grave at Abbeville shows him as Pilot Officer and on the 102 Sqn ORB Summary of Events Sunday 22 Nov 1942 shows P/O King and P/O Follett and crew did not return.
    Follet was his Air Bomber, however on his grave in Abbeville it shows him as Flying Officer Follett.
    Should Geoffrey King also be Flying Officer?
    I have not yet got his RAF service record, as I only sent off for it in June of this year.

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    Researchingreg,
    The "effective" and "appointment" dates given in the gazette are taken as the legal authority for increases in pay, etc, but the actual advice of these promotions, etc, sometimes lagging by only a few days, but usually a month or more, and sometimes by many months, in extreme cases over a year or more. However until such promotions, etc, were actually "gazetted", the individual, even though he probably knew he was due for the promotion (which were in most cases based on time elapsed - six, twelve or 18 months since initial appointment or previous promotion, and was therefore widely understood), remained in his present rank, awaiting the day official notice finally arrived "through normal official channels". This was always a nice day, because as notice was normally some time after the effective date, a good lump of back pay was due. This sort of thing is perfectly normal in government departments, and is still widely used to this day throughout the world. Remember back to when you last heard that Members of Parliament had received a pay rise, and details of their new rates and amount of back pay due were publicised. Anyway, this is why you sometimes find details of personnel who were killed whilst serving in a lower rank, but which was subsequently "corrected" to the higher rank which was actually due at the date of death, but for which gazette action was pending at the time. Some people have got the misguided idea that this was a "posthumous" promotion brought about because of death of the individual, which is true in a narrow sense, but it is perfectly normal from an administrative viewpoint, and does not indicate anything else but the highest rank attained in the service, even though he was wearing a lower rank at time.
    David D
    Last edited by David Duxbury; 7th October 2013 at 21:52.

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    Thank you for the Information David. However does this mean Geoffrey King was a Flying Officer at the time of his death or not? As it had been gazetted on 1rst Oct 1942 about 7 weeks before he died.
    Geoffrey King (researchingreg)

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    Greg (I presume this is your name).
    This sentence has been inserted by me after completing and posting the main reply (below), as I had not read your original post carefully enough. As the Gazette notification containing his promotion was published about a week prior to his death, you would think he would have "updated" his rank badges on his battledress blouse by this time - I think you were expected to have this done fairly promptly after notification was received, certainly within a day or two - your flight commander, or skipper, would probably know of your promotion and might politely ask why you hadn't "put it up" (and most would be only too keen to do so), to reflect your new seniority. So the answer is that he WAS officially a F/O at time of death, whether he had his rank badges updated or not, not because the effective promotion date was 1/10/42, but because he (and the rest of the RAF) knew of the promotion through "normal channels" and the promotion would have appeared in Station daily routine orders and other forms of promulgation, and he may have been advised personally if he was that lucky. However if his badges has NOT been promptly updated as they should have been (his personal responsibility) there could have been some confusion initially.

    He was in truth the rank which he held and wore on his uniform at the time of death, whether war substantive or acting. However as explained, action on his pending commissioning was underway, so this is why his promotion was duly gazetted and his rank would be administratively updated to reflect this, and it would be the final rank that would appear on his gravestone, or memorial. However all RAF administration prior to this happening would refer to him by his lower rank. If he had been lost over Europe and the Germans had located his body, they would also check his i/d discs and any surviving badges of rank, and would advise his identification details via the Red Cross to the British goverment. I do not know whether the British would advise the Germans of his higher rank for memorial purposes, but the latter could sometimes find it out for themselves, as they seemed to have people in the "right places" that had access to the London Gazette, although generally only substantive ranks were published, not acting ranks.
    David D
    Last edited by David Duxbury; 9th October 2013 at 00:31.

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