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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Please see "Major" for other countries which use this rank

In the British military, major is a military rank which is used by both the British Army and Royal Marines. The rank insignia for a major is a crown. The equivalent is Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Navy and Squadron Leader in the Royal Air Force.

By the time of the Napoleonic wars, an infantry battalion usually had two majors, designated the "senior major" and the "junior major". The senior major effectively acted as second-in-command and the majors often commanded detachments of two or more companies split from the main body. The second-in-command of a battalion or regiment is still a major.

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 It was superseded by the rank of squadron leader on the following day.

By World War I, majors were often commanding independent companies, squadrons and batteries, but those that were organically part of a regiment or battalion were still usually commanded by captains. After World War II, major became the usual rank held by Officers Commanding all companies, squadrons and batteries, and remains so today.


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