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Thread: Short and long abbreviations of RAF ranks

  1. #1
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    Default Short and long abbreviations of RAF ranks

    Hi all,

    I would like to ask for any advices about the matter how to write the ranks. I know there are two possibilities - long like S/Ldr or W/Cdr and short like S/L or W/C.

    But was there any rule during the WWII for this?
    And what about F/Sgt? May I leave this when using short form or I need to shorten it also to F/S?

    Any advices and ideas much appreciated as I have in my present manuscript mixture of both types and I would like to unite them.

    TIA

    Pavel

    P.S. Till now I was always using the long form but always there is time for change:-)
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    From ORBs there seems to be no consistancy, taking Squadron Leader as an example I have seen

    SL
    S/L
    A/S/L (Acting Squadron Leader)
    A/S/Ldr
    S/Ld
    S/Ldr
    Sqn Ldr
    Sqn/Ldr
    Sqd/Ldr
    Sqdn Ldr

    For the book we (myself and two others) are having published we went with S/Ldr.

    As for the two others we went with F/Sgt and W/Cdr
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Pavel,

    As Al has pointed out, official records are consistently inconsistent!

    My own view is that you should make your decision on which to use based on the type of customer the book is largely targeted at. Most folk have no idea what S/L or S/Ldr, etc means, so if aimed at the general public either give the rank in full or if abbreviating then use the likes of Sqn Ldr, which not only is easily interpreted but also does not interrupt the flow of the text for the reader in the way that a lot of slashes would.

    Errol

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    Hi Al and Errol,

    many thanks for your comment.
    So when there was no rule I will keep using the longer form as I was using before.
    I agree with you Errol that Sqn Ldr would be better but I think only for English readers, for Czech readers I prefer S/Ldr as it is used in most books with such a theme.

    Thanks and have a nice weekend

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Pavel/Errol,
    Having had to be part of this, my instructions (and I think they may be laid down, in tablets of stone, in the Manual Of Service Writing) was to use the following
    Sergeant = Sgt
    Flight Sergeant = Flt Sgt
    Warrant Officer = W/O
    Pilot Officer = Plt Off (a protected species - NOT to be hunted in the breeding season!)
    Flying Officer = Fg Off
    Flight Lieutenant = Flt Lt
    Squadron Leader = Sqn Ldr
    Wing Commander = Wg Cdr
    Group Captain = Gp Capt
    Air Commodore = A/C
    Air Vice Marshal = AVM
    Air Marshal = AM
    Air Chief Marshal = ACM
    Marshal of the Royal Air Force = MRAF.
    You will appreciate, however, that my normal level of Command experience ended at AVM. However, when a W/O (He - or She!!) was the Station Warrant Officer (SWO) then even (in many instances) many Station CO's went in fear and trembling of the SWO! At Benson (as a mere Reserve Sqn Ldr on Station Commanders inspection) I would keep assiduously to the concrete path leading to our offices. The airfield may have been "owned" by the Station Commander. But the grass thereon was "owned" by the SWO. This subtle differentiation between 'who owned what', and 'who was responsible for it' was thus satisfied. The CO got out of his car at the bottom of the path. I saluted. The SWO saluted me. I would not step on the grass 'cos that belonged to the SWO. We had this hidden understanding of who did what, where, and when. Arcane, I admit, but the Mobile Met Unit never once got marked down on CO's Inspections.
    If those of you not born Brits think that this is lunatic behaviour then you're damned right!! However, quite a lot have gone down this path of lunatic behaviour and survived into a ripe old age.
    Je reste ma valise,
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 5th June 2009 at 16:37.
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    Hi Pavel

    When I did my officer training in the 1980's the following changes to what Peter has given were: -

    Warranrt Officer = WO (no /)
    Air Commodore = A/Cdre

    but it varies depending on the time period in question, in WW2 Air Commodore was A/C but when AC1 and AC2 were replaced by plain Aircraftman AC became the abbreviation for this and I assume this is when A/Cdre was adopted.

    Malcolm

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