Military ranks

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For Europeans in the East India Company Armies and later the Indian Army, ranks were for the most part the same as those in the British Army. Medical service employees were also given a military rank.

Quick conversion table

Indian Army Rank British Army equivalent
Risaldar-Major/Ressaidar-Major Cavalry Major
Subadar-Major/Subedar-Major Infantry Major
Risaldar/Ressaidar cavalry Captain
Subadar/Subedar Captain
Jemadar Lieutenant
Havildar-Major Sergeant-Major
Daffardar/Daffadar/Duffardar Cavalry Sergeant
Havildar Infantry Sergeant
Lance-Duffardar/Lance-Daffadar/Lance-Daffardar Cavalry Corporal
Naik Infantry Corporal
Acting Lance-Daffadar Cavalry Lance-Corporal
Lance-Naik Infantry Lance-Corporal
Sowar Cavalry Trooper or Private
Sepoy Private


Cavalry Regiments in the HEICo Army

In regular Cavalry Regiments there was single Colonel who was largely honorary. Below him were two Lieut-Cols. Below them the Regiment was divided into two "Wings". Each Wing had a Major, 6-7 Captains, up to a dozen Lieutenants and below these Cornets (who were effectively Trainees).

From among the Lieutenants would be chosen an Adjutant and usually an Interprteter and Quarter-Master. In addition, the Regiment would have attached to it one or two Surgeons, a Veterinary Surgeon and a Riding Master, the latter a warrant officer.

Other Ranks

Warrant Officers

  • Conductors and Sub-Conductors in the Ordnance, Commissariat and Public Works Departments were warrant officers. For their records, refer the Unattached List
  • Apothecaries and Stewards, and Assistant Apothecaries and Assistant Stewards in the Subordinate Medical Department were warrant officers. The title Apothecary changed in 1894 to Assistant Surgeon. For their records, refer Apothecary
  • Riding Masters were warrant officers who were attached to Regiments.
  • Some Army schoolmasters were warrant officers. In 1881 those of twelve years service as a schoolmaster appear to be entitled to this rank.
findmypast includes a database "British Army Schoolchildren and Schoolmasters 1803-1932" (located in Education & work/Schools & education).
  • In 1881 “trained bandmasters” were warrant officers. Also refer Bandmaster

Non-commissioned Officers

Includes the ranks of (increasing in seniority) Lance Corporal, Corporal and Sergeant. In the Royal Artillery, prior to 1920 a Bombardier was the NCO rank directly below Corporal, with Acting Bombadier the rank below that. After that date a Bombadier is the Artillery equivalent of a Corporal. Acting Bombadier was renamed Lance Bombadier in 1918.

Some Non-commissioned Officers, particularly Sergeants were in the Ordnance, Commissariat and Public Works Departments. For more details, including their records, refer the Unattached List

Privates and equivalent ranks

The lowest ranked soldier is a Private.

There are some ranks in various part of the Army equivalent to a private.

In the Artillery, a private was in earlier days known as a Matross, and later as a Gunner. For some periods in the Artillery, the rank of Driver existed[1]and this rank was also found in the Army Service Corps, for men in Transport related companies.[2] A private in the Cavalry was known as a Trooper, while in the Engineers the ranks of Sapper, and Pioneer were equivalent to a private.

Related articles

External links


  1. sylsec [Sylvia] et al. The rank of Driver in the RA Victorian Wars Forum 7 August 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  2. Waggoner [Gary]. Rank vs Appointment Great War Forum 4 July 2016. Retrieved4 July 2016.