Rank and Responsibility

Table of Ranks & Responsibilities

Table of Ranks & Appointments

Staff Officers

Rank & Appt Abbreviations



►►Lieutenant General

►►Major General

►►Brigadier General

►►Brigadier (1928-1968)

►►Col.-Commandant (1922-1928)


►►Lieutenant Colonel




►►2nd Lieutenant

►►Officer Cadet

Warrant Officers

►►Chief Warrant Officer (1968-)

►►W.O. Class I (1915-1968)

►►Master Warrant Officer (1968-)

►►W.O. Class II (1915-1968)

►►Warrant Officer (1968-)

►►W.O. Class III (1939-1945)

Non-Commissioned Officers

►►Staff Sergeant (1900-1968)


►►Lance Sergeant (1900-1968)

►►Master Corporal (1968-2000+)


►►Lance Corporal  (1900-1968)

Non-Commissioned Mbrs (Men)




Master Gunner

Platoon Sergeant Major

Honorary Ranks


Colonel of the Regiment

Honorary Colonel

Colonel Commandant

Honorary Colonel

Honorary Colonel was a position found in Reserve regiments, corps or branches roughly equivalent to the Colonel of the Regiment found in Regular Force units. Some units were permitted to have an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel as well.


As the appointment of Colonel of the Regiment evolved in the British Army in their regular regiments, their Militia and Volunteer regiments also had Colonels, typically drawn from important local gentry who had not necessarily served in the regiment. These became "Honorary Colonels" when they were absorbed into larger regimental families in order to distinguish them from the overall "Colonel" or "Colonel Commandant" of the family. Canada evolved a similar system of Honorary Colonels, though emphasis on the land owning class was not present; many Honorary Colonels were drawn from local businessmen or other influential persons. Like the Colonel of the Regiment, they took an active interest in their regiments, sat on Regimental Senates, and lobbied for the military and their units.


Eventually, formal regulations for the appointments of Honorary Colonels and Honorary Lieutenant Colonels were generated.


The first such honorary appointment seems to have been in November 1895 to the 13th Battalion (in 1900 this unit became the 13th Regiment.) In October 1897 authorization was given for each regiment of artillery, cavalry and infantry to have such an appointment.

An Honorary Colonel could be appointed for each unit of the Primary Reserve that, by its establishment, was commanded by a lieutenant colonel, but excluding those units forming part of a regiment that has a Colonel of the Regiment.

An Honorary Lieutenant Colonel could be appointed for each unit of the Primary Reserve that, by its establishment, was commanded by a lieutenant colonel or a major.

Appointment as Honorary Colonel or Honorary Lieutenant Colonel was restricted to retired officers of the CF and to "distinguished Canadian citizens."

Recommendations by units were forwarded to NDHQ/CPCSA for submission to the Chief of the Defence Staff for concurrence and to the Minister of National Defence for approval.


The functions of the unit honoraries were similar to those of the Colonel-Commandant but focused at the unit level;

  • promoting esprit de corps in the unit

  • advising unit Commanding Officers

  • acting as an advocate of the unit in the community

  • custodian of unit heritage

  • advising the corps/branch Colonel-Commandant on matters of significance to the unit

  • advising the Branch Advisor on matters of significance to the unit


The tenure of appointment of an Honorary Colonel or Honorary Lieutenant Colonel was normally three years, extensions could be be granted for a period of one, two or three years with NDHQ/CPCSA being the approving authority.

Honorary Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels were not entitled to pay, allowances or other financial benefits but were permitted to wear military uniform with the correct insignia of rank.

Notable Honorary Colonels

  • Prime Minister R.B. Bennett had served as the Honorary Colonel of The Calgary Highlanders from 1921 to 1947; he was Prime Minister of Canada from 1930 to 1935.

Honorary Colonel R.B. Bennett, former Prime Minister, visits the 1st Battalion, Calgary Highlanders, in the UK during the Second World War.

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