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


Lieutenant was a rank predating the 20th Century in the Canadian Army held by commissioned officers. The word itself comes from the French language; lieu meaning "place" (as in the noun, meaning a position) and tenant referring to the act of filling a position - thus the word "lieutenant" literally means someone holding a position (as in the absence of a superior). The word is used in Canadian titles such as Lieutenant Governor (the monarch's representative in Canadian provinces) and is common in other nations such as the United Kingdom, Ireland and France. The sense of a person being a deputy can also be seen in the titles Lieutenant Colonel or Lieutenant General.


In Canadian English the word was pronounced as if to say "lef-tenant" whereas in American usage the word sounds like "lootenant" (though this unique pronunciation only phased itself in during the latter half of the 1800's). The spelling is the same in both countries, and this pronunciation was also a reflection of British heritage in the Canadian military.

Rank Insignia

From November 1902 the insignia for a Lieutenant was two rank stars, replaced after Unification with one thick and one thin stripe of gold braid.



Battle Dress

Service Dress

Combat Clothing

Garrison Dress

Duties and Responsibilities

As the British Army modernized over the centuries, a Lieutenant was an officer assigned to take the place of a Captain, who was an officer who actually raised a company of soldiers for the Colonel of a regiment. The Lieutenant was expected to provide tactical direction to the soldiers in place of the Captain.

During the early part of the 20th Century, a Lieutenant in an infantry battalion was normally tasked as a platoon commander, though the formalized structure of infantry companies was not firm until after 1916 and the Battle of the Somme. In 1939, a brief flirtation with the rank of Warrant Officer Class III and the appointment of Platoon Sergeant Major was deemed a failure, and the idea that platoons (or equivalents in artillery, engineer, cavalry, armoured etc. units) should be commanded by officers was reinforced.

Subaltern was another designation for a soldier ranked Lieutenant or 2nd Lieutenant.

Post Unification

After Unification, the rank structure of commissioned officers did not change, though as time went on the rank of Lieutenant became less important, in that platoon commanders became ranked as Captains. The rank of Captain (and consequently of Lieutenant) as thus devalued, much as post-Unification Corporals had their status as section commanders degraded by the tasking of Sergeants as section commanders instead.

Forms of Address

Lieutenants were addressed by rank and name; thereafter by subordinates as "Sir" or "Ma'am".

Canadian Army Ranks/Appointments
Non-Commissioned Ranks
Private  | Lance Corporal | Corporal | Master Corporal | Lance Sergeant | Sergeant | Staff Sergeant
Warrant Officers




Warrant Officer | Warrant Officer Class III | Warrant Officer Class II Warrant Officer Class I |  Warrant Officer | Master Warrant Officer | Chief Warrant Officer
Officer Cadet  | 2nd Lieutenant | Lieutenant | Captain | Major | Lieutenant Colonel | Colonel | Colonel Commandant | Brigadier
 Brigadier General | Major General | Lieutenant General | General


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