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Encyclopedia > Commodore (Royal Navy)
Commodore Insignia
Commodore Insignia
Rank Pennant
Rank Pennant

Commodore is a rank of the Royal Navy above Captain and below Rear-Admiral. It is equivalent to Brigadier in the British Army and Royal Marines and to Air Commodore in the Royal Air Force. The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the senior service of the British armed services, being the oldest of its three branches. ... Captain is both a nautical term and a rank in various uniformed organizations. ... Insignia of a United States Rear Admiral Upper Half Insignia of a United States Rear Admiral Lower Half Rear Admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank that originated from the days of Naval Sailing Squadrons and can trace its origins to the Royal Navy. ... Brigadier is a rank in the British Army, Royal Marines, Australian Army, New Zealand Army, and several other armies, ranking above Colonel and immediately below Major-General. ... The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. ... Her Majestys Royal Marines, usually just known as the Royal Marines (RM), are the United Kingdoms amphibious force and a core component of the countrys Rapid Deployment Force. ... An Air Commodoress sleeve/shoulder insignia Air Commodore is the fourth most senior rank active in the Royal Air Force today, after the deactivation of Marshal of the Royal Air Force as a substantive rank in peacetime during defence cuts of the 1990s. ... The Royal Air Force (often abbreviated to RAF) is the air force branch of the British Armed Forces. ...


The appointment of Commodore dates to the mid-17th century: it was first used in the time of William III. There was a need for officers to command squadrons, but it was not deemed desirable to create new admirals (as Post-Captains were promoted to Rear-Admiral in order of seniority). Captains assigned squadron command were given the title of Commodore, but it was not an actual rank. The officer so designated kept his place on the list of Captains. In 1748 it was established that Captains serving as Commodores were equal to Brigadier-Generals in the Army. William III of England (14 November 1650 – 8 March 1702; also known as William II of Scotland and William III of Orange) was a Dutch aristocrat and a Protestant Prince of Orange from his birth, King of England and King of Ireland from 13 February 1689, and King of Scots... A Squadron is a small unit or formation of cavalry, aircraft (including balloons), or naval vessels. ... For the Patrick OBrian novel, see Post Captain (novel). ... Brigadier General (sometimes known as a one-star general from the United States insignia) is the lowest rank of general officer in the United States and other countries, ranking just above Colonel and just below Major General. ...

Commodores could revert to the rank of Captain at the end of their posting (and Captains could be promoted directly to Rear-Admiral without ever having served as a Commodore).

The Royal Navy Commodore was eventually split into two classes. Those of the first class had a Captain under them to command their ship. Those of the second class commanded their own ship as well as the squadron. In 1783, Commodores of the first class were allowed to wear the uniform of a Rear-Admiral, a distinction which continued with some variation until the two classes of Commodore were consolidated in 1958.

By the 20th century, Commodores did not just command sea-going units (the naval barracks in the three main naval bases of Devonport, Portsmouth and Chatham were all commanded by Commodores, for instance) and the appointment of Commodore could also be held by specialist officers in certain positions as well as by line officers. Barracks is usally used to connote a type of military housing. ... Devonport in 1909, courtesy WW1 Archive HMNB Devonport or Devonport Dockyard is a major Royal Navy base near the city of Plymouth in Devon and the largest in Western Europe. ... Portsmouth is a city of about 196,000 people located in the county of Hampshire on the southern coast of Great Britain. ... Chatham is the name of several places. ...

In 1996, Commodore was made a substantive rank in the Royal Navy.


Commodores First Class, while wearing the sleeve stripes of a Rear-Admiral, had gold lace-covered epaulettes with a crown, two stars and anchor (also worn by other Commodores but only with formal uniforms). They flew a swallow-tailed pennant with the St George's cross, but without the disc that appeared on the pennant of a Second Class Commodore. Epaulette pronunciation: ĕp-ǝ-lĕt, a French word meaning little shoulders (epaule, referring to shoulder), originally meant only one type of ornamental shoulder piece or decoration used as insignia or rank by military or other organizations. ... A pennant is usually a narrow tapering flag most commonly flown by ships at sea. ... St Georges cross The St Georges cross, a red cross on a white background, is the national flag of England and was adopted for the uniform of English soldiers during the military expeditions by European powers to recapture the Holy Land from Muslims (Crusades of the eleventh, twelfth...

Commodores Second Class wore a single 1.75 inch-wide row of lace below a ring measuring 1.75 inches in diameter on both sleeve and shoulder-board. Their uniforms were otherwise the same as for Captains.

Modern Commodores wear the insignia previously worn by Commodores Second Class.


Some Commonwealth countries have replaced Commodore with an equivalent flag rank, the (correct) insignia of which is a single 1.75 inch-wide row of sleeve lace below a gold lace ring with a diamater of 2 inches, and a crown (or national emblem for republics) with a crossed sword and baton on a gold lace-covered shoulder-board. (There is some variation due to misconceptions about the status of stars in Commonwealth-style rank insignia.) The rest of the uniform is identical to that of a Rear-Admiral. The Commonwealth of Nations, usually known as The Commonwealth, is an association of 53 independent sovereign states, almost all of which are former territories of the British Empire. ...

British officer ranks Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... In military organizations, a commissioned officer is a member of the service who derives authority directly from a sovereign power, and as such holds a commission from that power. ...

  Student Officer OF(D) OF-1 OF-2 OF-3 OF-4 OF-5 OF-6 OF-7 OF-8 OF-9 OF-10
Royal Navy: OCdt Mid SLt Lt Lt Cdr Cdr Capt Cdre RAdm VAdm Adm Admiral of the Fleet
Royal Marines: OCdt 2Lt - Lt Capt Maj Lt Col Col Brig Maj Gen Lt Gen Gen
Army: OCdt 2Lt - Lt Capt Maj Lt Col Col Brig Maj Gen Lt Gen Gen Field Marshal
Royal Air Force: OC / SO PO - FO Flt Lt Sqn Ldr Wg Cdr Gp Capt ACdre AVM AM ACM MRAF



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