Acting (rank)

An acting rank is a military designation allowing a commissioned or non-commissioned officer to assume a rank—usually higher and usually temporary—without the pay and allowances appropriate to that grade. As such, an officer may be ordered back to the previous grade. This situation may arise when a lower-ranking officer is called upon to replace a senior officer, or fill a position higher than the current rank held.


When addressing an individual with an acting rank, the person should be addressed as if the full rank was held. For example, a member who is an acting master seaman would be addressed as "Master Seaman Smith", and not "Acting Master Seaman Smith" since the "acting" is a designation, regardless of the individual's actual rank and clerical designation. In writing, the acting nature of the rank may or may not be spelled out, so that the forms e.g. "acting captain", "captain (acting)" or "captain" may be seen. Documents dealing with rank, seniority and promotion will tend to spell out the acting nature of the rank, and informal documents will tend to avoid it, but no general rule can be said to exist for all contexts, nations or times.

United States Army

In the United States Army acting ranks were often referred to as "acting jack" offering enlisted members E-1 to E-3 and specialist E-4 hard stripe corporal E-4 or sergeant E-5 to fill leadership positions. In the United States Army hard stripe ranks of corporal E-4 and sergeant E-5 held a higher rank than a specialist four E-4 or specialist five E-5 regardless of time in grade. The United States Army used specialist five E-5 and specialist six E-6 until October 1, 1985 when all specialist fives and specialist sixes were laterally promoted to sergeant E-5 and staff sergeant E-6. Acting jack ranks of corporal and sergeant were offered to establish a clear chain of command in positions considered excess responsible for multiple commands or that lacked a ranking member of a military occupational specialty (MOS) requiring a section, platoon or squad leader.

United States Navy

In the United States Navy, acting appointments were common during the 19th century. The number of commissioned naval officers at each rank in the Navy was fixed by Congress, so it was difficult to fill vacancies if the number of officers needed to man ships exceeded that fixed number of officers allowed by Congress. Acting appointments were also common with warrant officers and ratings, although neither were subject to congressional approval and were simply temporary assignments.

The regulations stated that in the United States, acting appointments were not allowed unless specifically authorized by the Department of the Navy. In most other cases, only the commander-in-chief of a fleet or squadron would be authorized to appoint an officer to fill a vacancy, and this order would be subject to approval of the Department of the Navy. In this way, the Department of the Navy was able to fill vacancies while the Navy grew before Congress took action to permanently increase the number of officers. Outside of the United States and not part of a fleet or squadron, the commanding officer of the ship was allowed to appoint officers to a higher rank in the case of death on board the ship.[1]

The officer was temporarily appointed to the higher rank, appended "acting" to his new rank, wore the uniform of the higher rank, and was addressed and paid at the higher rank. When the ship returned to the United States, or joined a fleet or squadron, the appointment was subject to review by the commander-in-chief of the fleet or squadron or the Department of the Navy.[1]

Another type of temporary appointment was an "order to perform". This was issued in a similar manner to an acting appointment for a lower grade officer to perform the duties of a higher grade officer, except that their pay, rank and uniform remained at the lower grade.[1]

Similar to the many brevet ranks in the Union Army, acting appointments were extremely common during the American Civil War. Congress authorized the Department of the Navy to purchase vessels and appoint acting or volunteer officers to man them until the end of the conflict.[2] By the end of the War, most officers were appointed to a higher acting rank, and their appointments lasted until the end of the war at which point many were discharged from the Navy.

See also


  1. ^ a b c United States Navy Regulations (1876 ed.). Washington, D.C.: United States Navy Dept. 1877. pp. 94–95. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
  2. ^ Bennett, Frank; Weir, Robert (1896). The Steam Navy of the United States: A history of the growth of the steam vessel of war in the U. S. Navy, and of the naval engineer corps. W.T. Nicholson. p. 205. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
Albert Chadwick

Sir Albert Edward Chadwick, CMG, MSM (15 November 1897 – 27 October 1983) was an Australian rules footballer in the (then) Victorian Football League (VFL). He was born in Beechworth and educated at Tungamah High School.

During World War II, Chadwick served in the Royal Australian Air Force and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 1919. He was discharged on 6 July 1945 in the rank of wing commander, having held the acting rank of group captain while serving as the RAAF's Director of Recruiting, a position which he held from 1942.A tough centre half-back who ran hard and straight, he played the majority of his career with Melbourne Football Club and one season for Hawthorn Football Club. He was runner-up to Edward "Carji" Greeves in the inaugural Brownlow Medal in 1924.

In 1995, Chadwick was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

Chadwick was Chairman of the Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria, the Melbourne Cricket Club president from 1965–1979, and the Melbourne Football Club president from 1950–1962. Highly successful in business, he was appointed a Companion in the Order of St Michael and St George in 1967, and knighted in 1974.

Archibald Nye

Lieutenant General Sir Archibald Edward Nye (23 April 1895 – 13 November 1967) was a senior British Army officer who served in both world wars. In the latter he served as Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff (VCIGS).

After the Second World War he served as Governor of Madras – after which appointment Nehru asked for him to stay on as High Commissioner in India. He subsequently served as High Commissioner to Canada.

Brigadier (United Kingdom)

Brigadier (Brig) is a senior rank in the British Army and the Royal Marines. Brigadier is the superior rank to colonel, but subordinate to major-general. It corresponds to the Rank of brigadier general in many other nations.

The rank has a NATO rank code of OF-6, placing it equivalent to the Royal Navy commodore and the Royal Air Force air commodore ranks and the brigadier general (1-star general) rank of the United States military and numerous other NATO nations.

Charles Symonds

Air Vice Marshal Sir Charles Putnam Symonds, (11 April 1890 – 7 December 1978) was an English neurologist and a senior medical officer in the Royal Air Force.

His initial medical training was at Guy's Hospital, followed by specialised training at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. Contributions to neurology by Symonds include a highly accurate description of subarachnoid haemorrhage in 1924, and idiopathic intracranial hypertension (which he termed "otitic hydrocephalus") in 1931.

He served in both the First and Second World Wars, initially in the ranks as a motorcycle despatch rider on the Western Front. After being wounded and invalided back to the United Kingdom, he completed his basic medical training and served as a medical officer, both on the front lines and attached to the Royal Flying Corps at Farnborough. In the mid-1930s he became a civilian consultant to the Royal Air Force and on the outbreak of the Second World War was commissioned as a group captain. By the end of the war he held the acting rank of air vice marshal and had been knighted.

Gopal Gurunath Bewoor

General Gopal Gurunath Bewoor, PVSM (11 August 1916 – 24 October 1989), best known as G.G. Bewoor, was a senior officer of the Indian Army who served as the 9th Chief of Army Staff, and later an Indian diplomat to Denmark.In a long service spanning four decades, Gen. Bewoor saw action during World War II and later was involved in Indian Army operations in Pakistan, including during the second war in 1965 as well as effectively commanding the southern command during the third war in 1971. He succeeded Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw as the army chief in January 1973 and following his retirement from the army, served as the Indian Ambassador to Denmark till 1979.

He was a recipient of the third highest Indian civilian honour of the Padma Bhushan.

James Allen (Army engineer)

James Allen (February 15, 1806 – August 23, 1846) was a U.S. Army officer who organized the Mormon Battalion and was commander of Fort Des Moines (1843–1846), the fort from which the City of Des Moines grew. He was also in charge of improvements to the harbor of Chicago as well as producing maps of the U.S. frontier.Allen was born in Ohio. He graduated from West Point in 1829. In 1832, he accompanied Henry Schoolcraft on an expedition to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, which led to Allen producing the first accurate map showing the lakes and streams of the headwaters. In 1833 he was assigned to the First Regiment of Dragoons, where he served as an engineer in the exploration of the Indian country of the Southwest. Allen oversaw improvements to the harbor of Chicago in 1834. In 1842 he was transferred to Iowa, taking charge of the Sac and Fox Agency ("Fort Sanford") and then Fort Des Moines No. 2. After Fort Des Moines No. 2 was abandoned in 1846, it became the core of what is now the modern City of Des Moines.

He was sent to Mt. Pisgah, Iowa, to a camp of homeless Latter-day Saints who had been driven from their homes by anti-Mormon mobs, to recruit a battalion of 500 men to fight in the Mexican-American War. Initially the Mormons were suspicious of him, but after he met with Mormon leader Brigham Young, Young fully endorsed the plan.

Allen served as the commanding officer (with the acting rank of lieutenant colonel) of the Battalion from the July 16, 1846 until his death on August 23, 1846. He was the first officer buried at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery.

James Macnamara

James Macnamara (1768 – 15 January 1826) was an officer of the Royal Navy who served during the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

Born into a naval family, Macnamara served in the East Indies during the last years of the American War of Independence, seeing action with Hughes at the Battle of Cuddalore. He received the acting rank of lieutenant during this time, but reverted to midshipman afterwards. He returned to naval service during the Spanish and Russian armaments, and was serving with Lord Hood aboard HMS Victory on the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars. He saw action in the Mediterranean and was eventually promoted to his own commands. He achieved success as a daring frigate captain, serving with Nelson and making several hard-fought captures. He finished his service in the Mediterranean with action at the Battle of Cape St Vincent, and later served in the West Indies before the Peace of Amiens.

Macnamara found himself in trouble with the law after killing a man in a duel, but summoned a bevy of naval officers to testify in his defence, and was acquitted. He commanded a number of ships of the line in the following years, in the Baltic, North Sea and off of the French coast. He was promoted to rear-admiral in 1814, but did not receive a seagoing command. He married in 1818 and died in 1826, having served with prominent naval officers like Hood, Jervis and Nelson in a long and distinguished career.

James Wilfred Jefford

Vice Admiral James Wilfred Jefford CB, CBE, RN, RIN, RPN (22 March 1901 - 1 January 1980) was the first Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Pakistan Navy, serving from its inception in 1947 until 1953. Most of his early career was in the Royal Indian Navy.

Jefford served in the Royal Navy as a midshipman during the First World War and was commissioned into the Royal Indian Marine as a sub-lieutenant on 23 March 1922. He was successively promoted to lieutenant, RIM (23 March 1925) to lieutenant-commander, RIN, to acting commander, RIN, in 1940 and to substantive commander, RIN (10 January 1941)., On 10 September 1946, Jefford was promoted to captain, RIN, and to commodore, RIN the following year.On the inception of the Dominion of Pakistan in 1947, Commodore Jefford transferred to the special list of the Royal Navy and was appointed Flag Officer commanding the new Royal Pakistan Navy with the acting rank of rear-admiral (15 August 1947). He retired from the Royal Indian Navy on 1 September 1948 with the rank of captain, but retained his acting rank of rear-admiral and his place on the special list of the Royal Navy while commanding the Royal Pakistan Navy. His title was upgraded to Commander-in-Chief in 1950, and he was promoted to substantive rear-admiral that year. He was promoted to a CBE in the 1951 New Year Honours list (from an OBE conferred in 1947). Vice-Admiral in the Royal Pakistan Navy, in 1953, the same year that his command was terminated.He was Chairman of the Penang Harbour Board from 1955 to 1957 and also of the Penang Port Commission from 1956 to 1957, when he retired.During the Second World War he commanded HMIS Indus and HMIS Godavari.

Keith Williamson

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Keith Alec Williamson, (25 February 1928 – 2 May 2018) was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force. He served with the Royal Australian Air Force flying Meteors in a ground attack role during the Korean War. He was a squadron commander and then a station commander during the 1960s and a senior air commander in the 1980s. He was Chief of the Air Staff during the early 1980s at the time of the emergency airlift of food and supplies to Ethiopia ("Operation Bushel").

Kenneth Anderson (British Army officer)

General Sir Kenneth Arthur Noel Anderson, (25 December 1891 – 29 April 1959) was a senior British Army officer who saw service in both world wars. He is mainly remembered as the commander of the British First Army during Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa and the subsequent Tunisian Campaign. An outwardly reserved character, he did not court popularity either with his superiors or with the public. His American superior, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, wrote that he was "blunt, at times to the point of rudeness". In consequence he is less well known than many of his contemporaries. However, "he handled a difficult campaign more competently than his critics suggest, but competence without flair was not good enough for a top commander in 1944".

Neil Ritchie

General Sir Neil Methuen Ritchie, (29 July 1897 – 11 December 1983) was a British Army officer who saw service during both the world wars. He is most notable during the Second World War for commanding the British Eighth Army in the North African Campaign from November 1941 until being dismissed in June 1942. "Notwithstanding this shattering blow to his reputation, he managed to pick himself up, to play to his strengths and, by the end of the War, to re-establish himself, if not as a great general, then at least as a highly competent one", later commanding XII Corps throughout the campaign in Northwest Europe, from June 1944 until Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) in May 1945.

Nilakanta Krishnan

Vice Admiral Nilakanta Krishnan, PVSM, DSC (1919 – January 1982) was a Indian Navy Admiral. He was the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. He is credited with using a very innovative strategy, while commanding the Eastern Navy which had the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, in the Bay of Bengal. He is believed to have tricked the Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi, which was on a search and destroy mission, into entering Visakhapatnam; where it was eliminated.

Noel Phillips

Noel Clive Phillips DSO, MC (30 July 1883 – 15 August 1961) was a Welsh first-class cricketer and British Army officer. Phillips played minor counties cricket for Monmouthshire between the early 1900s and the early 1920s. He also made appearances at first-class level for Marylebone Cricket Club, Free Foresters Cricket Club and South Wales. Phillips served in the militia battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment from 1901, reaching the rank of lieutenant before resigning his commission. He returned to the regiment to resume his commission during the First World War. During the course of the war he received the Military Cross, Distinguished Service Order and a Mention in Dispatches as well as promotion to the acting rank of lieutenant-colonel. Phillips served as High Sheriff of Radnorshire from 1936 to 1939 and as deputy lieutenant of the county from 1943.

Paramasiva Prabhakar Kumaramangalam

General Paramasiva Prabhakar Kumaramangalam, (1 July 1913 – 13 March 2000) was the 6th Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) of the Indian Army from 1967 to 1969. He was among the last of the King's Commissioned Indian Officers trained in England in the Indian Army, and the last KCIO Indian Army Chief.


Pullen is an uncommon English surname with a purported Norman origin."Pullen" is likely an occupational name, arising from the Old French word poulain.There are several variants of "Pullen", including Pullin, Pullins, Pulleyn, Pullan and Pullein, the latter being the earliest recorded version (1166).Apart from the English surname "Pullen", there is a very common surname "Pullan" in India.The "Pullen" surname is shared by these notable people:

Andrew John Pullan (1963–2012), New Zealand mathematician

Cecil Pullan (1910–1970), Indian-born English cricket player

Cyril Pullin (1893–1973), English inventor, engineer and motorcycle race driver

Deborah Pullen (1963–2010), New Zealand female international football (soccer) player

Don Pullen (1941–1995), American jazz musician

Erica Pullins (b. 1983), American musician

Frank Pullen (1915–1992), English businessperson and racehorse owner

Hartley Pullan (1899–1968), World War I flying ace

Henry Pulleine (bef. 1850–1879), British Army administrator during the Anglo-Zulu War with an acting rank of Brevet Lieutenant Colonel

Henry William Pullen (1836–1903), English cleric and writer

Jacob Pullen (b. 1989), American basketball player

James Henry Pullen (1835–1916), aka "Genius of Earlswood Asylum", British autistic savant

John Pullin (b. 1941), English rugby union player (retired)

Jorge Pullin (b. 1963), Argentine-American physics academic

Josiah Pullen (1631–1714), English vicar

Kent Pullen (1942–2003), American politician

Lloyd T. Pullen (1825–1908), American politician

Lucy Pullen, Canadian artist

Matilda Marian Pullan (1819–1862), British author

Mark Pullen (1971 to present day) British artist

Melanie Pullen (b. 1975), American photographer

Melanie Clark Pullen (b. 1977), Irish actress, producer and writer

Mieke Pullen (1957–2003), Dutch long-distance runner

Penny Pullen, American politician

Peter Pullan (1857–1901), English cricket player

Purv Pullen (1909–1992), American actor

Richard Popplewell Pullan (1825–1888), English architect and archæologist

Robert Pullen (died c.1150), English theologian and official of the Roman Catholic Church

Sidney Pullen (1895–1950s), English football (soccer) player

Tessa Pullan (b. 1954), sculptor, equestrian artist

Tobias Pullen (1648–1713), Irish bishop

Tom Pullen (b. 1945), Canadian football (gridiron) player

Vern Pullens (1929–2001), American rockabilly and country singer

William Pullen (1813–1887), Royal Navy officer and Arctic explorer

William Pullen (cricketer) (1866–1937), an English cricket player

Reginald Savory

Lieutenant General Sir Reginald Arthur Savory (1894–1980) was a British Indian Army officer during World War I and World War II.

Richard Bertie, 14th Earl of Lindsey

Richard Henry Rupert Bertie, 14th Earl of Lindsey and 9th Earl of Abingdon (born 28 June 1931) is an English peer.

Lindsey is the son of Hon. Arthur Michael Bertie (1886–1957), the second son of Montagu Bertie, 7th Earl of Abingdon, and his first wife, Aline. Through his ancestor Emily Gage he is descendant from the Schuyler and Van Cortlandt families of British North America.

He was educated at Ampleforth College and did his national service with the Royal Norfolk Regiment, becoming a second lieutenant on 6 February 1952 with seniority from 3 February 1951. On 25 July 1952, he was given the acting rank of lieutenant, and the promotion was made substantive on 28 June 1954 with seniority from the date of his acting rank. Bertie was transferred to the Regular Army Reserve from the Army Emergency Reserve on 24 September 1957. In 1957, Bertie married Norah Elizabeth Farquhar-Oliver, by whom he has two sons and a daughter:

Henry Mark Willoughby Bertie, Lord Norreys (born 6 June 1958), married Lucinda Sol Morsoom in 1989 and has two sons:Hon. Willoughby Henry Constantine St Maur (born 15 January 1996)

Hon. James Frederick Christopher Ninian (born 26 August 1997)

Lady Annabel Frances Rose Bertie (born 1969)

Hon. Alexander Michael Richard Willoughby Bertie (born 1970), married Catherine Davina Cameron, daughter of Gordon Cameron, in 1998 and has two children:Fergus Bertie (born 2000)

Emily Bertie (born 2004)In 1963, he succeeded his half-cousin as Earl of Lindsey and Abingdon and hereditary High Steward of Abingdon. He lives at Gilmilnscroft House, near Mauchline, a seat of his wife's family, the Farquhars.


Sub-lieutenant is a junior military officer rank.

In many navies, a sub-lieutenant is a naval commissioned or subordinate officer, ranking below a lieutenant. In the Royal Navy (RN) the rank of sub-lieutenant is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the British Army and of flying officer in the Royal Air Force (RAF).

In some armies, sub-lieutenant is the lowest officer rank. However, in Brazil, it is the highest non-commissioned rank, and in Spain, it is the second highest non-commissioned rank.

The NATO rank code for the British Royal Navy rank is OF-1 (senior).

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