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When was a sergeant not a corporal? (CEF 1915-1918)

Newfloridian

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My cousin and and I are researching his maternal grandfather who was awarded a military medal and was killed at Cambrai in 1918. We know that he was serving with the 78th Winnipeg Grenadiers but we have come up with a very confusing timetime and conflicting rank assignation. We would appreciate help and suggestions.
1. He emigrated from England to Canada in March 1913.
2. He was attached to the 99th Manitoba Rangers and attended a school of instruction (March 1st / April 8th 1915) and passed a sergeant's examination.
3. He signed his attestation papers on April 5th 1915
4. He attended Camp Sewell sometime during the Summer of 1915
5. He married in October 1915 and a local newspaper recorded him as a sergeant with the 45th battalion
We also have a photograph of him wearing a 7-button CEF dress jacket which bears sergeant's stripes.
(We know that the 45th was absorbed into the 11th reserve which was used to reinforce battalions at the front)
6. He was awarded the Military Medal in September 1918 - the official letter stating him to be a private
7. The notification of the MM in the London Gazette records him as Pte (A/Corporal)
8. The CWGC site and his headstone at Bourlon Wood record him as Corporal.

Is there a logical explanation for this apparent change of rank?
 

ModlrMike

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He may have been reduced in rank as a result of a charge, and later promoted. This was one of the most common disciplinary results and many men went down and up with some frequency.
 

AmmoTech90

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My father achieved the rank of L/Cpl twice before making it to Cpl.

Your grandfather could have been charged, he could have been an acting or local rank of Sergeant when he got married.  If you can get his, I believe it is called "Soldiers' book" or something like that, it should have his promotion history in it.
 

Michael OLeary

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Newfloridian,

Do you have his service record from the Library and Archives Canada?

He may have held the rank of Sergeant as an "Acting" rank, which was then removed for one reason or another, or simply not confirmed before he went to a new unit that did not require any more sergeants (and so he reverts to his "permanent grade" at the time).  Most units wanted to promote from within their own ranks and wouldn't take on NCOs holding Acting ranks when they had their own soldiers waiting to be promoted.

 

Newfloridian

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Many thanks for all your responses. The only "sign up" document we have in our possession is his Attenstation paper. Where should we look for his "Soldier's book"?
 

Dennis Ruhl

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CEF units in the field had need for privates and 2LTs and often preferred to create their own 2LTs from corporals or sergeants.  Everyone else had to revert to PTE or 2LT to get to France with few exceptions.  They wanted all officers and NCos to have battle experience.
 

AmmoTech90

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Newfloridian said:
Many thanks for all your responses. The only "sign up" document we have in our possession is his Attenstation paper. Where should we look for his "Soldier's book"?

My dad had his in his possession.  Little note book type thing with his record of promotions, training, postings, jobs, etc.  It's currently packed as I'm moving but if I dig out any time soon, I'll take a picture.
 

Green On!

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Let me know if you want a picture of his headstone as we pass Bourlon Wood pretty often (I actually drove by the road marker yesterday) .  Of the many CWGC sites we've been to, it's probably one of my favorites to visit.

Gary
 

Newfloridian

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Many thanks Gary
The Bourlon Wood headstone is one of the many things we do have of him - as well as a photo of the old wooden cross grave marker and the covering letter that came with it.
Kind regards
Alan
 
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