Rank Markings - Enlisted Personnel, 1924

These ranks markings were authorised by Order No.4 26 September 1924 Defence Forces Temporary Provisions 1923/24.  Prior to these in 1923/1924 the strips were a Green colour.  As can be seen they were very basic and it was just a red strip sewn onto a backing cloth.  I can remember been told by my father, who joined the defence forces in 1932 and wore these ranks, that in some cases the strip was sewn directly onto the tunic with no backing "but a good NCO would never do a thing like that".  These ranks lasted until 1949 when the next series was authorised.

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Cpl Sgt Coy QM Sgt
Coy Sgt Batt QM Sgt Batt Sgt Major


The rank  insignia that was worn by Corporals are most interesting because they cover a very short period in the early 1960's.  As to why there is a "Corporal, narrow 1 Stripe"  I am not sure and records do not clarify it.  These first two ranks by virtue of the one stripe should fall in to the 1949-1963 period set of ranks, but the stripe is narrow and not wide as with the period.  The two stripe Corporal is easy to place because it was introduced with the ranks in 1963, retaining the stars as a follow on from the previous system. It was quickly replaced by the actual rank of Corporal.

Cpl, 1 Star Cpl, 1 Star Cpl, 1 Star (1963) Cpl, 2 Star (1963)



Rank Markings - Enlisted Personnel, 1949

As can be seen from these ranks it was a major departure from the previous design (1924).  The introduction of ranks insignia for the three grades of Private and two grades of Corporal was established.  These insignia were worn  until 1963 when they changed to come in line with international armies (e.g. our Sergeants had two stripes but while serving in the Congo that rank was mistaken for Corporal.  The Company Sergeant was mistaken for Senior or Master Corporal and worse of all the Sergeant Major rank looked like a Staff Sergeant).



Pte, 1 Star Pte, 2 Star Pte, 3 Star Cpl, 1 Star
Cpl, 2 Star Sgt CQMS Coy Sgt


Rank Markings - Enlisted Personnel, 1963

This series of ranks was introduced in 1963 to bring the ranks in line with international armies.  I have a record of troops leaving for the Congo wearing them for the first time.  The ranks have remained the same since then.  In 1995 the new style combat rank was introduced for the French style uniform. 


Pte, 2 Star Pte, 3 Star Cpl Sgt


In 2001 the new BSM & BQMS rank were introduced

BQMS (1st Issue) BQMS (2nd Issue) BSM



Rank Markings - Subdued

These sliders were introduced for wear on the front of the French style uniform in the mid 90's.  Initially they were flat with a velcro backing and then became available in slide on form.  If you look closely you can see that the Cpl and Coy Sgt have been sewn onto a backing which was made into a slider.  With the introduction of the DPM uniform the rank had to be used with a velcro backing on the shirt but as a slide on the smock. Subsequently the shirt was altered to allowed the slider to be used.

Velcro Series

 No Slider Produced
Pte, 2 Star Pte, 3 Star Cpl Sgt


Slider Series

Pte, 2 Star Pte,3 Star Cpl Sgt

It is worth noting that before the FCA were issued with DPM's the slider was not available to them for some odd reason.  Because there was a demand for sliders by FCA personnel, a commercial company made sliders for private purchase.  They are a bit larger than the official issue but worked and filled a void. 


Helmet Ranks

This series of rank insignia are for wear on the RABINTEX RBH303IE Helmet which was introduced during 2007.  The rank is quite small 25mm x 38mm and is fixed by velcro to the front of the helmet cover.

Pte, 3 Star Cpl Sgt CQMS
Coy Sgt BQMS BSM  

Note:  The helmet ranks shown above would give the impression that they are quite clear and easy to identify.    Remember that they are only 25mm x 38mm which makes them nearly impossible to identity  when worn.


  Helmet with rank insignia  

Note:  I believe that this photo is in the public domain however if either the subject or the photographer has any objection please contact me and I will remove it.





The selection below illustrates:-
Potential NCO rank worn by 3 Star Privates who were undergoing the Potential NCO Course in the Western Command Training Depot (not used in other commands). 
The Staff Quartermaster Sergeant is an appointment rather than a rank.  To distinguish between the BQMS or SQMS the red background was introduced.


Pte, 1st Class  (1942) Potential NCO Course (West) Staff Quartermaster Sergeant


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 Page Updated : Monday, 21 April 2014