A Question of Warrants

A question has been raised as to who was the first Warrant Officer in the RNZN?

Tony Bullock Remembers –  the rank of WO was introduced to match Air and Army.  We turned all Chief Artificer posts into Warrant Artificers and created Warrant posts in other branches.  The Chief Artificer had always been something of a problem –  you will recall artificers had ‘classes’.  Art 3rd class = leading rank, Art 2nd class = PO, Art 1st class = CPO – and then Chief Art also = CPO but senior to Art 1.  So we call Chief Arts warrant officers!  (I was in Navy Office Pers Branch when all this was being done.)  I seem to recall that the total number of WOs when the rank was introduced was in the order of 70, but I’m not sure how that was distributed between Artificers and others.  Tony reports that in effect there was no ‘first’ warrant officer because all the Chief Tiffs would have been ‘promoted’ on the same day, together with all or most of the non-tech WOs.  On reflection there might have been around 44 non-techs.

Any other theories.  I think Tug Wilson may have been the first Communications Warrant Officer but cannot be sure.

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8 Responses to A Question of Warrants

  1. Jim Blackburn. says:

    From memory..an Art 5 was equivalent to a Ldg Hand, Art 4 was = P.O. Art 3 and Art 2 had
    “3 Buttons” and Art 1 was A Chief Art..
    .On the “Big Ships” the ART 5 had their own Mess as did the Art 4, The Art 3 and 2 had their
    “Tiffies Mess” and the CHIEF Tiffy was in the Chiefs Mess.
    On “Royalist”in 1957 we had 2 E A 5s but because there was no Mess for them they were both
    rated Acting Local Temporary P O. (but still E A 5) so that they could be victualled in the Forard
    P Os Mess

  2. Jim Blackburn. says:

    Further to my last.. we also had ARTISANS. (These were different to “Tiffies”) Painters, Plumbers
    Blacksmiths, Coppersmiths etc who were usually a “!” or Chief…..and also a Chief ERA who was officially qualified/rated “Queens Boilermaker”…

    • Fred Wilson says:

      Continuing on from Jim’s expose

      On 1 April 1947, as a result of the recommendations of the Pay Committee, 1946, and the Manning Committee, 1946, Artisan ratings (Plumbers, Blacksmiths, Painters and Joiners) were advanced one rank step, except for 5th Class. The changes were:

      Grade of Rating Previous Status New Status
      1st, 2nd and 3rd Class Petty Officer Chief Petty Officer
      4th and Acting 4th Class Leading rate Petty Officer
      5th Class Leading rate Leading rate

      At the same time, the Mechanician grades were changed from two to four classes.

  3. Tony Bullock says:

    I don’t have available any tables of the old titles and ranks of technical trades in the RNZN but I have been able to track down some RN info here: http://rnranksratings.com/#PERIOD1961to1970

    Until 1960 the RN grading was 5th Class – Leading Rate; 4th Class – PO; 3rd, 2nd, 1st & Chief – CPO. In 1960 they combined 1st, 2nd and 3rd Class artificers into one 1st Class and adjusted the remainder, ending up with 3rd Class – leading rate; 2nd Class – PO; 1st Class – CPO. In 1971 the rank of Fleet Chief was introduced, and in 1985 this was redesignated Warrant Officer.
    Whereas the RN added Fleet Chief to the tech branch rank structure above Chief Artificer, we just redesignated our Chiefs to WO.

    (The web site I quoted above has a fascinating history of the development of RN branches and trades since 1731.)

  4. Bill Bartlett says:

    Hi all. From my befuddled memory bank I think our first Warrant Officer was a tiffy (MEA)
    (since deceased) . Just tryin to recall hiz name. – had a nickname too. I think he was attached to the “engineering spare parts identifying section” called TAG. in the old NSD main building at the time. If ex WOMEA Russell Thorburn is still about up there, he probably knows . He was in the NSD Complex wen I retired in 2007
    Bill B

  5. Steve Mowbray says:

    Pat Green would have been in the mix also

    • Tony Magon says:

      Pat Green left the RNZN as a Chief Sparker. He had been asked if he wanted to stay on as a WO, but when he was told that he would be rotated around every two years between Auckland, Waiouru and Wellington as a WO, he decided to go outside, and managed the pub at Palmerston South. He ended up owning and running a dry cleaning company in Timaru.

  6. Robert Kilpatrick Bob says:

    Bob kilpatrick says I was a Chief Wriiter in Posting office when the warrant officer rank was introduced on 1.February 1971. in addition to the artificers 20 non technical CPOs were promoted on that date. I was privileged to be one of the first warrant officers.

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