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Colonel is a rank of the British forces, ranking just below Brigadier. They are not usually field commanders, instead typically serving as staff officers in between field commands at battalion and brigade level. The insignia is two diamond shaped pips (properly called bath stars) and a crown. The crown has varied in the past with different monarchs; the current Queen's reign has used St Edward's Crown.

From 1 April 1918 to 31 July 1919, the Royal Air Force maintained the rank of colonel. It was superseded by the rank of group captain on the following day.

Ceremonial rank or "Colonel of the Regiment"

In the British Army, Colonel may also refer to the ceremonial head of a regiment; this is almost always a general officer or Brigadier, often retired, with a close link to the regiment in question. Some non-military personnel may be appointed to the position, thereby holding an Honorary rank of Colonel for the duration of the appointment, though usually with the Territorial Army units.
This position is often described as Colonel of the Regiment to distinguish it from the rank of Colonel. When attending functions as a 'Colonel of the Regiment' the officer would wear the rank insignia of a Full Colonel, regardless of their official rank. This position may also be held by members of the Royal Family, who would then be known as 'Royal Colonels'. However this position would not be held unless the Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment was of a senior royal position.

Colonel-in-Chief is also a ceremonial title of the British Army and various Commonwealth armies and is usually a member of the Royal Family. The Colonel of the Regiment often has a closer involvement with the regiment and its Regimental Association than the Colonel-in-Chief as they have had direct military involvement unlike the mostly undistinguished members of the Royal Family.

See also

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