Are Royal Navy Warrant Officers rates?

They used to be called Fleet Chief Petty Officers. We had one on the Royal Naval Unit and then 809 Sqdn at RAF Honington in the 70s. Name of Albert M****n and known to all as Albert RN First thing he did on joining Honington was invite all the Junior Rates to a local pub and bought them all a beer. Albert was rather large and when on the Ark and surcoats were mandatory on the flight deck had to wear two of them zipped together.
One of life's gentlemen and possibly the reason for the change from fleet chief to warrant officer. Albert was never ever fleet. If you're still with us Albert best of luck.


Lantern Swinger
Old-style WOs were officers; present-day WOs are neither officers nor ratings. An exception is that the phrase "officers and ratings" includes officers, warrant officers and ratings.

Warrants are not issued by the Queen, they are issued by HM Principal Secretary of State for Defence.
Chief_Two said:
A question for you Brits.

If the Royal Navy defines Warrant Officers as rates why do you refer to 'Warrant Officers and Senior Rates' :?:
Is this the same American WO who keeps banging on about receiving salutes from the Genteel Folk on Arrse and keeps getting told to wind it in.

If it is, I think you will receive a similar courtesy on these pages.
I think the confusion arises because the "warrant" part dates back to the Nelson era and beyond.....

Key full-time personnel such as the ships Master, surgeon etc, recieved warrants from the Navy Board to attach them to particular ships. These differed from commissions, which came from the Admiralty. From what I understand of the period the Warranted officers were treated just like other officers onboard, although without the status of a kings commission. They certainly differed in status on dry land....! A warrant did not automatically make you a "gentleman", unlike a commision, where you became a gentleman in society once you had passed your Lieutenants board.

They also had to take sets of exams to jump up the various classes within the warrant system, to qualify them for certain types of ships (I still have at home a distant ancestors Navy Board chit saying he had passed and could now serve as a surgeon on First Rate ships of the line...).

The Warrant part has stuck but seems that the status aspect has got muddled up in the intervening 200 years as the rating system changed.

In the RN, a Warrant officer, holds a warrant approved by the Queen, its not a comission as say a Sub/L would have, you address them as Ma-am or Sir if you are of lower rank to them,you do not salute them either, if you are of a higher rank then you call them Mr or Miss/Mrs (surname)
So they are not rating's, they are officer's. I suppose NCO.
rugger_bob said:
London said:
farmer_jack said:
I think the confusion arises because the "warrant" part dates back to the Nelson era and beyond.....
This website explains it all! ONE.htm
Sorry London, can't get on that site, not sure if its at my end or its the site.


Sorry. See the articles on Warrant Officers here: THINGS.htm

Part III covers the end of the officer grade WOs in 1949 and the start of the Fleet Chiefs in 1971 - no wonder our American WO is confused. It confuses me!

Similar threads

Latest Threads