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Thread: RNZAF Warrant Officers at the start of WW2

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    Default RNZAF Warrant Officers at the start of WW2

    The Royal Air Force, at the start of World war Two, had the two ranks, Warrant Officer (2nd Class) and Warrant Officer (1st Class), the former wearing large crowns on the cuff, the latter wearing the Royal coat of arms. I think about the start of 1940 or a few months in, the Warrant Officer II rank was dropped, and the RAF continued with just the single rank 'Warrant Officer', wearing the coat of arms.

    My query, at the start of the war, did the RNZAF also have the two ranks (as the RCAF also did, continuing it through the war), or just the single rank of warrant Officer?

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    Hi

    The RAF dropped the WO II in 1938 not 1940.

    Malcolm

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    The RNZAF appears to have made the change about the same time as the RAF. The 'class' system for warrant officers was dropped by the RNZAF in 1938, probably with effect 1 September 1938 when official numbers were first allotted to its airmen (ranks are recorded along with the numbers in the list, there being a number of WO but not longer any WO1 or WO2).

    Errol

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    Thanks Gents

    Malcolm, not doubting you, but do you have a date for that? Its just that all the references I have state wither 1939 or early WW2, including the MoD (http://www.raf.mod.uk/organisation/ranks.cfm). I've not been able to pin down anything more specific.

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    I don't have an actual date but the rank of WO II stops being listed in the Air Force Lists in 1938 after which they are all listed as WOs, the AFL never used the title WO I, they were shown as Warrant Officers and Warrant Officers 2nd Class.

    Malcolm

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    I think the practise was to declare the exisiting ranks (WO1, WO2) obsolescent from a certain date (sometime in 1938), then sort out the seniority questions and at a certain point when all these problems were sorted out, promote all exisiting WO2s to the new rank (with seniority stated for new rank), and all promotions from F/Sgt would be direct to the new "WO" rank, at which point the two obsolescent ranks would become obsolete (sometime in 1940). Thus there was a period of uncertainty until it was all sorted out. I think the RAF and RNZAF were more-or-less in step on this one (and no doubt the RAAF also) although the dates of obsolescence and obsoleteness would differ somewhat in minor details. Unfortunately I have never seen the actual orders and instructions detailing this change, but I have seen certain orders which generally refer to the progress of this rather confusing advance in the rank structure.
    David D

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    Thank you David, it seems to make sense, as in all such things there would be a period of transition. I have some insignia for 1939 - 45 and have included WO2 ranks for RAF, RCAF (who continued them) and RAAF who I think dropped it more definitely in 1940. Was wondering to include that for the RNZAF, in that, were there any RAF or RNZAF still physically wearing the WO2 Large crown as the war started.

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    I am currently working through the 1930's AFLs and having reached 1936 I've noticed that the number of WO2s has suddenly dropped dramatically so it would appear that the withdrawal of the WO2 rank probably began in early 1936 for a final abolition in 1938.

    Malcolm

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