The Honourable and Ancient Appointment of Conductor RLC

A transcript of the Conductors Parchment

The earliest recorded mention of Conductors is made in the Statute of Westminster in. 1327. In which Edward III enacted that the wages of conductors of soldiers from the Shires to the Place of Assembly would no longer be a charge upon the Shire.

During the siege of Boulogne in 1544 historical records mention the Conductor of Ordnance.  A Royal Warrant dated 20 January 1642 addressed to Sir John Hayden, Lieutenant General of the Ordnance, concerning a Train of Artillery to be formed for service overseas listed three Conductors; John Kerbye to be in charge of draught horses, Christopher Jones to be in charge of the ammunition and William Anderson to be in charge of the fire workers.

In 1683 Charles II issued instructions for Our Principal Engineer which included mention of the provision of Conductors to see to the “conducting of trenches and mines”. It is recorded that the Conductors wore red cloaks.

In 1689 a train for service in Ireland included a Chief Conductor who was paid four shillings a day. Further varieties of Conductor were recorded for a train established for service in Flanders in 1691. Included were Conductors of Stores, a Conductor Plumber, Conductors of Woolpacks and Conductors of Horses.

At the capture of Newfoundland in 1762. Lieutenant General Amherst’s force included a Conductor and Clerk of Stores.

In a book dated 1776 “The Military Guide for Young Officers” by Thomas Simes Esquire, is written:

“Conductors are assistants to the Commissary of the Stores, to receive or deliver out stores in the Army, to attend at the magazines by turns when in garrison and to look after the ammunition wagons in the field; they bring their accounts every night to the Commissary and are immediately under his command.”

A Royal Warrant of 1 February 1812 detailing the establishment for a field train includes Conductors of Stores 1st and 2nd Class and notes that for allowances and prize money they were to receive half of that given to a Subaltern Officer.

Early records of Woolwich Arsenal give the information that in 1808 one Charles Sargent was a Conductor at the age of sixteen. He served at Corunna with Sir John Moore and was pensioned in 1818 at the early age of 26 years. He lived on to draw a pension until 1886.

Wellington had strong views about the importance of logistics and the Board of Ordnance, early in the nineteenth century, had some 150 Conductors.

For the Crimea War of 1854, records show that a siege train was hurriedly formed which included a number of Conductors of Stores. The Land Transport Corps was re-organized in 1856 and included Conductors in the establishment and in 1860, Conductors accompanied officers of the Military Store Department to New Zealand.

By Royal Warrant of 11 January 1879 a class of Warrant Officer was constituted to be denominated Conductors of Supplies and Conductors of Stores. Their position was to be inferior to that of all commissioned officers but superior to that of all non-commissioned officers.

In the Army Service Corps the title of Conductor of Supplies was abolished in 1892 and replaced by Staff Sergeant Major 1st Class. In the Army Ordnance Corps the title of Conductor of Stores remained as before changing later to be known as Conductor and Sub Conductor in the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1.

In: 1967 the appointment of Sub Conductor ceased.  In April 1993, the RAOC was merged with RE (PCS), RCT, RPC:the ACC to form The Royal Logistic Corps (The RLC).

The appointment of Conductor was carried forward the new Corps.