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

Colonel of the Regiment

Colonel of the Regiment was an honorary appointment. The custom was inherited from British traditions.


In the British Army, Colonels (both in rank and appointment) were originally the owners and field commanders of infantry regiments, which evolved as tactical entities of what would later be described as battalion size (in other words, a grouping of infantry companies). These regiments were divided into three wings, with the Colonel, and his two deputies (Lieutenant-Colonel and Major) commanding them. When the regiment evolved as a single tactical formation of ten companies in the late 1600s and early 1700s, the Lieutenant Colonel became the real commanding officer on the battlefield, with the Colonel becoming more of a ceremonial ceremonial and political position, whose power was cut even further by various reforms in the mid-1700s. Despite becoming a figurehead, the Colonel was usually one to have actually served in the regiment or had some other, historic, connection to it.

Multiple-battalions did not evolved until the mid-1800s, and the "Colonel of the Regiment" evolved into the titular head of these entities, often compared to families. In the British Army these Regiments came to include several battalions of Regular (full time) soldiers, Militia and Volunteers/Territorials, and expanded tremendously during the First World War.


The position of Colonel of the Regiment was comparable to the Colonel Commandant appointment of corps/regiments/branches which also originated as "families" of tactical units (e.g. Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, Royal Canadian Artillery, etc.) The Colonel of the Regiment was expected to take an active interest in promoting the welfare of his/her regiment, attending military policy conferences, ceremonies, and unit celebrations.

Reserve units have had a similar appointment called Honorary Colonel.


Formal regulations were eventually outlined in Canadian Forces Administrative Orders.

These regulations outlined that a Colonel of the Regiment could be appointed for:

  • Each Regular Force regiment of armour, including any Militia counterpart which bore the same primary designation in its title;

  • Each Regular Force regiment of infantry, including all numbered battalions and any Militia counterpart bearing the same primary designation in its title

  • The Canadian Airborne Regiment

  • The 1st Canadian Signal Regiment

Appointment as Colonel of the Regiment was restricted to former officers of the CF who normally held the rank of colonel or above on retirement.

Recommendations were to be forwarded through the Branch Adviser to NDHQ/CPCSA for submission to the Chief of the Defence Staff for concurrence and to the Minister of National Defence for approval.


The tenure of appointment of a Colonel of the Regiment was normally for a period of three years, with extensions possible at the discretion of the CDS.

Terms of Reference

The terms of reference of a Colonel of the Regiment included:

  • fostering esprit de corps throughout his regiment;

  • advising NDHQ on

    • matters of significance to his regiment

    • the administration and disposition of regimental funds and properties

    • regimental charities, organizations and memorials

  • liaising between regimental units of the Regular Force and Reserve Force

  • liaising with allied or affiliated formations, regiments and units

  • advising military associations or unit commanders in order to maintain uniformity in such matters as dress and custom within the regiment

Channels of Communication

A direct channel of communication was authorized between a Colonel of the Regiment and Branch Adviser on matters falling within the terms of reference above.

A Colonel of the Regiment was also permitted to communicate with

  • the private secretary of his Colonel-in-Chief or Captain General regarding significant regimental activities and exchange of birthday or similar greetings;

  • commanders of commands, when appropriate; and

  • the CDS, when appropriate.


In the performance of his duties a Colonel of the Regiment was permitted to

  • visit units of his regiment on appropriate occasions

  • visit NDHQ for consultation with the CDS

  • attend meetings of his regimental association

canadiansoldiers.com 1999-present