War Diaries Talk

Rifleman and private

  • erik.schaubroeckscarlet.be by erik.schaubroeckscarlet.be

    Is there a difference between a rifleman and a private in the 12th battalion Royal Irish Rifles? When I search for a name in Lives of the 1st world war some soldiers private and others rifleman.


  • cyngast by cyngast moderator

    A rifleman and a private are essentially the same. Some regiments, particularly those that include Rifles or Fusiliers in their name, sometimes refer to a private as a Rifleman. It's a matter of tradition within those units. As far as the Army is concerned, they are the same.


  • David_Underdown by David_Underdown moderator

    Rifleman wasn't entirely official usage at the time of the First World War, but as cyngast says the terms are essentially interchangeable. Regiments in the British Army like to distinguish themselves from each other, and use of alternative terms for private is one of the ways they do it. In the present day you have rifleman, guardsman, kingsman and assorted other titles for privates!