Topic: AIF - Lighthorse
Australian Light Horse
Roles within the Regiment
The following entries dealing with the roles and duties within the hierarchy of a light horse regiment are extracted from a very informative handbook called The Bushman’s Military Guide, 1898. While written in 1898, the information contained in the entries held true for the next twenty years with only minor modifications with the principles remaining as current then as now.
(a) General Duties.
(1.) The Regimental Sergeant-Major is the head of the non-commissioned officers, and is the immediate assistant of the Adjutant in carrying out all the duties of the regiment. His position is unique. As warrant officer, he is the connecting link between the commissioned and non-commissioned ranks, and he is to be treated with proper respect by the non-commissioned officers and men.
(2.) His duties are very various, ranging far and wide throughout the regiment, and it is not possible to over-estimate his influence over the non-commissioned officers and men if he be vigilant and judicious in the exercise of his duties.
(3.) He should be strictly just and impartial, scrupulously correct in his personal appearance, reporting any carelessness on the part of the non-commissioned officers and men, whether in matters of duty or dress.
(4.) In the absence of the Regimental Sergeant-Major, the Senior Staff-Sergeant will perform his duties.
(5.) As the Adjutant's assistant, the duties of this warrant officer extend to every department, and cannot precisely be laid out.
(6.) Every assistance should be afforded by all ranks to this warrant officer.
(b) Continuous Training or Camp of Instruction.
(7.) When the regiment arrives in Camp for training, his first care will be to see that the non-commissioned officers have a proper conception of their duties, and what is required of them during the training.
(8.) He w ill see that the first guard is correctly posted, and will detail a Staff-sergeant to visit the guard and sentries daily during the training.
(9.) :He will be constantly on the alert during the training, and should be found at the orderly tent when required. The tent occupied by him should be known to the Adjutant and every non-commissioned officer in the regiment.
(10.) Whenever he receives an important verbal order from superior authority he will record it in his memo. book, and will take care that it is copied into the detail books of the squadrons or regimental units concerned.
(11.) He will arrange the details of guards, etc., daily, and see that the Orderly Sergeants copy them into the squadron or regimental units order books, together with the Regimental Orders, checking same on conclusion of each day's orders.
(12.) He will attend at the parading of guards, escorts. orderlies, etc. No party returning from detached duty is ever to be dismissed until it has been paraded and seen by him.
(13.) He must occasionally visit the guards, sentries, horse lines or stables, and see that the various duties are conducted in a smart and soldierlike manner, in accordance with the rules of the service.
(14.) He will inspect the guard and prisoners' tents daily, and see that they are kept clean.
(15). He will see that the list of prisoners and absentees during the continuous training are sent to the Adjutant daily at 8.30 a.m.
(16.) That the Guard Report is in the orderly tent half an hour before "Orderly-room Call" sounds.
(17.) That the prisoners, evidences, and all attending the orderly-room are paraded punctually at the regimental orderly tent after the Call sounds.
(18.) He will be held responsible that all parades and duties are formed up in proper time.
(19.) He will see that all general fatigue parties of the regiment are paraded and marched off suitably dressed.
(20.) He will be held responsible that the Sergeants' Mess is in every way regularly conducted, that a good tone pervades, and that any irregularities are checked, and, if necessary, reported to the Adjutant.
(21.) He will be present at the disposal of prisoners, whom, with the evidence, he will march in and out of the orderly tent.
(22.) He will compare his watch with that of the Adjutant and Sergeant-trumpeter, and instruct the latter as to time of call for parades.
(23.) In mounted services, the Orderly Staff-Sergeant Instructor will collect the watch-setting reports, and hand them to the orderly officer, subsequently reporting same to the Regimental Sergeant-major.
(24.) Regimental Sergeant-Majors do not attend stables, but will have a general supervision over duties, viz.: Horse-line sentries by day and night, permanent group organisation, non-commissioned officers' duties in Troops, etc.
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Citation: Australian Light Horse, Roles within the Regiment, Regimental Sergeant-Major