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

Platoon Sergeant Major

Platoon Sergeant Major (PSM)1 was an appointment in the British Army introduced in 1938, intended to be filled by a soldier in the rank of Warrant Officer Class III created at the same time. The rank and appointment was also created in the Canadian Army after mobilization in 1939.


The Platoon Sergeant Major (PSM), and his mounted counterpart, the Troop Sergeant Major, was an experiment in having Non-Commissioned Officers command platoons (or troops in mounted units). The experiment was deemed unsuccessful, and the majority of PSMs were commissioned. As the history of one 1st Canadian Infantry Division battalion notes:

A number of platoon in the battalion when it came overseas (in Dec 1939) were commanded by Platoon Sergeant Majors(sic).2 This (appointment) was ultimately dropped, and even at this time (1940) PSMs were being gradually replaced by lieutenants.3

After 1940, the rank of Warrant Officer Class III was no longer granted, nor was the appointment of Platoon Sergeant Major.

Example: The Calgary Highlanders

Units of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division seem to have phased out their PSMs at the same time; The Calgary Highlanders did so when the unit was in Shilo between late May and mid-August 1940. A total of 11 Platoon Sergeants Major were recommended for commissions at that time, according to Roy Farran's regimental history. He cites the program of commissioning these NCOs as being successful. Many not only became platoon and company commanders during the war but went on to distinguished postwar careers also.

Above, four PSMs of the Calgary Highlanders in 1939. From left to right: Sam C. Nickle was commissioned into the Canadian Intelligence Corps and eventually served as Honorary Colonel of The Calgary Highlanders from 1971-1986. PSM W. Black (fate unknown). PSM Mark Tennant, who later served as a company commander in The Calgary Highlanders, and postwar as Commanding Officer and Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment. He was later inducted into the Order of Canada after a successful career in civic politics as an Alderman of the City of Calgary. At right, PSM Sherwin Robinson, who later served as a company commander in The Calgary Highlanders in action and commanded a squadron of The King's Own Calgary Regiment (RCAC) after the war.

Below, three more of the Highlanders' PSMs:

J.C.Allen went on to command a battalion of the PPCLI in Korea and earned the Distinguished Service Order. PSM R. Gordon sent on to serve as a Brigade Major in the Militia after the war, went on to be a brigade major in the Militia. PSM "Donny" Munro was transferred to PPCLI as a lieutenant in 1943, and served in The Calgary Highlanders after the war, where he retired as a major.


  1. The archaic spelling "Platoon Serjeant Major" can also be seen in contemporary documents.

  2. The correct pluralization of this would of course be Platoon Sergeants Major.

  3. Roy, Reginald. History of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada 1919-1965 p.106

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