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Group captain (Gp Capt or G/C) is a senior officer rank used by some air forces, with origins from the Royal Air Force.[1] The rank is used by air forces of many countries that have historical British influence.

Group captain is immediately senior to wing commander and immediately below air commodore. It is usually equivalent to the rank of captain in the navy and of the rank of colonel in other services.

The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force, Women's Royal Air Force (until 1968) and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (until 1980) was "group officer".

Canada

See also: Canadian Armed Forces ranks and insignia

The rank was used in the Royal Canadian Air Force until the 1968 unification of the Canadian Forces, when army-type rank titles were adopted. Canadian group captains then became colonels. In official Canadian French usage, the rank title was colonel d'aviation.[2]

India

Main article: Group captain (India)

United Kingdom

See also: RAF officer ranks

Group captain
Command flag
Shoulder and sleeve insignia
Country United Kingdom
Service branch Royal Air Force
AbbreviationGp Capt
NATO rank codeOF-5
Formation1 April 1918 (1918-04-01)
Next higher rankAir commodore
Next lower rankWing commander
Equivalent ranks

History

On 1 April 1918, the newly created RAF adopted its officer rank titles from the British Army, with Royal Naval Air Service captains and Royal Flying Corps colonels becoming colonels in the RAF. In response to the proposal that the RAF should use its own rank titles, it was suggested that the RAF might use the Royal Navy's officer ranks, with the word "air" inserted before the naval rank title. For example, the rank that later became group captain would have been "air captain". Although the Admiralty objected to this simple modification of their rank titles, it was agreed that the RAF might base many of its officer rank titles on naval officer ranks with differing pre-modifying terms. It was also suggested that RAF colonels might be entitled "bannerets" or "leaders". However, the rank title based on the Navy rank was preferred and as RAF colonels typically commanded groups the rank title group captain was chosen. The rank of group captain was introduced in August 1919[3] and has been used continuously since then.

Although in the early years of the RAF groups were normally commanded by group captains, by the mid-1920s they were usually commanded by an air officer.

In the post-World War II period the commander of an RAF flying station or a major ground training station has typically been a group captain. More recently, expeditionary air wings have also been commanded by group captains.

Insignia and command pennant

The rank insignia is based on the four gold bands of captains in the Royal Navy, comprising four narrow light blue bands over slightly wider black bands. This is worn on both the lower sleeves of the tunic or on the shoulders of the flying suit or the casual uniform. Group captains are the first rank in the RAF hierarchy to wear gold braid on the peak of their cap, informally known as 'scrambled egg'; however, they still wear the standard RAF officer's cap badge.

The command pennant for a group captain is similar to the one for a wing commander except that there is one broad red band in the centre. Only the wing commander and group captain command pennants are triangular in shape.

Gallery

Notable group captains

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Honorary

Fictional characters

See also

References

  1. ^ "Ranks and Badges of the Royal Air Force". Royal Air Force. 2007. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2007.
  2. ^ "The RCAF". www.castlearchdale.net. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  3. ^ Hobart, Malcolm C (2000). Badges and Uniforms of the Royal Air Force. Leo Cooper. p. 26. ISBN 0-85052-739-2.
  4. ^ "Badges of rank" (PDF). defence.gov.au. Department of Defence (Australia). Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  5. ^ "OFFICER'S RANKS". joinbangladeshairforce.mil.bd. Archived from the original on 19 February 2020. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Rank Structure". gafonline.mil.gh. Ghana Air Force. 2018. Archived from the original on 21 January 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2024.
  7. ^ "For Officers". careerairforce.nic.in. Indian Air Force. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  8. ^ "Government Notice" (PDF). Government Gazette of the Republic of Namibia. Vol. 4547. 20 August 2010. pp. 99–102. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  9. ^ Smaldone, Joseph P. (1992). "National Security". In Metz, Helen Chapin (ed.). Nigeria: a country study. Area Handbook (5th ed.). Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. pp. 296–297. LCCN 92009026. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Commissioned Officers". airforce.lk. Sri Lanka Air Force. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  11. ^ "RAF Ranks". raf.mod.uk/. Royal Air Force. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Rank Chart (Commissioned Officers)". 69.0.195.188. Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  13. ^ "Ranks and Badges in the AFZ". afz.gov.zw. Air Force of Zimbabwe. Archived from the original on 9 June 2022. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  14. ^ "Group Captain Alan Charles Rawlinson". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 1 February 2023.
  15. ^ "Iron Maiden Lead Singer Bruce Dickinson Made Honorary Group Captain in RAF".