Home    History index

The Lance Bombardier

After the rank of Bombardier replaced that of Corporal in the Artillery in 1920 there still remained the 'one-striper' to be given a title. Because he was equal in status to a Lance-Corporal in other arms of the service, he was called 'Lance-Bombardier'.

Why were these ranks pre-fixed by the rank lance? The origin of the rank 'Lance-Corporal' appears to go back over 300 years when mounted men-at-arms in the Army came from the monied classes of society. According to Sir James Turner in his work Pallas Armata (published in 1653), a Lance-Corporal was originally called a 'Lance Spezzato', from the Italian word 'spezzato' meaning 'broken'. He was a trooper who having broken his lance and lost his horse in action was entertained by a Captain of Foot until he could re-arm himself and obtain a remount.

From being a Captain's companion he was in the course of time downgraded to Corporal's assistant.

WL Ruffell
September 1986

Return to top

History Index    |    Home    |    Wally Ruffell