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LSO Promotion


Good morning all,

Obviously this will be a difficult question to answer as I know I am asking the 'how long is a piece of string' question. However, I am hopeful of joining as a LSO 3/0 and was wondering how long a 'Mr Average' may realistically expect to be promoted to second officer and ultimately first officer?

Thanks in advance for any responses.


War Hero
There has to be a permanent vacancy. I know one 3/O LSO who has been at that rank for 14 years. He's competent, pleasant but strange. Another with a similar time in the rank lacks some officer like qualities and yet another has no utility beyond the basics.

At 2/O it can be a long wait for a vacancy at 1/O. Even with a relevant higher degree, ICSC(M), a full spectrum of appointments and the best attitude towards work and people, at least a couple of 2/Os have been at that rank for a decade.

A deck officer I know has gone from 3/O to C/O in the same time.


War Hero
Just my from a distance impressions, not the bible.

There was an 'initiative' to de-enrich the branch and replace an officer with an admin rating (at Leading Hand level) to do all the no skill 'stamp selling' stuff that engineer and deck officers rip the piss out of their Purser colleagues for. I don't know how that's turned out or if it's even still running.

Whereas engineers and navigators can improve their chances of promotion with a Class 2 or Class 1 Certificate of Competency because there are statutory requirements to carry these certificated officers -and an operational requirement for a margin- there is no such scheme or requirement for LSOs.


War Hero
The oldest boldest daftest RFA engineer I ever encountered was a 3/O with 37 years seniority in the rank. Bonkers.


War Hero
Have you checked their cabins, the smoking area?

More seriously Jenny, do you know the 'thinking' behind their disappearance? It occurs to me some RFA LSO functions are not officer level at all and the AA was a good idea.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
No idea, just heard last trip there's not many left and they'll be gone altogether soon. I believe some are going LSO, others are leaving company.


Lantern Swinger
No, because that is a different job, which was previously open to those already in the RFA who wanted to change jobs. Now they are recruiting direct from civvy street.

So LHAAs and LHSC are two sides of the same coin? One deals with staff programing, payroll etc other side deals with store accounts and sorting out supplies.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Staff programming? I'm sure it would suit if we were robots. Our lives are controlled, by that I mean, we are appointed by civil servants in Portsmouth, not RFA personnel.


Lantern Swinger
The new career frameworks designate 3/O(LS) as a training billet. There don't seem to be many of them around now.

There has also been a change in the branch structure that should drastically reduce the billets for 1/Os at sea, and slightly reduce C/Os. Many seagoing 2/O billets are now filled by 1/Os.

A deck officer I know has gone from 3/O to C/O in the same time.

Dickie is exceptional and should not be used as an example of anything but exceptional progress.

I don't know how that's turned out or if it's even still running.

LH(AA) is, as ex-Jenny says, a dead branch. I believe they have all now either retired, returned to source branch, or become LSOs. Apart from one who is suing for constructive dismissal. They greatly improved customer service over that offered by a grumpy single-handed purser or a grumpy passed-over 3/O(LS) and will be missed. I believe the only billets for them were on LSD(A), though I did encounter one on an AFSH refit.

RFA Future Development Document said:
Removal of Administrative Assistant specialisation. Whilst providing a
valuable service, the limited number of billets and resultant small size of the subdepartment
– coupled with the lack of career progression has meant that we believe
that this branch is unsustainable and so will be phased out.

So what does a LHAA do?

Anything the LSO couldn't be arsed with.

Customer facing front-desk role in the Ship's Office. Signing on and off and the associated paperwork, issuing subs, selling stamps and bond, handling mail, stationery, pay enquiries, liaising with Ship's Agent, much of the routine admin of the Ship's Office.
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