When we think about military ranks, we usually think of lieutenants, generals, majors, colonels, and all those other titles used to indicate and identify the servicemember’s position in the military hierarchy. These ranks would also give you an idea of their authority, position, power, and role within the military. Throughout the years, there had been many ranks that were phased out and no longer used for some reasons. Here are some of them.


Cornet was originally a British cavalry troop rank that was the lowest level of a commissioned officer. Interestingly, the name came from the instrument used by a cornet player in each of the cavalry groups. Before it was abolished by the 1871 Cardwell Reforms and replaced with the second lieutenant, the rank was used first during the English Civil War. Among the notable cornets at that time were George Joyce, Ninian Beall, and Robert Stetson.

Winston Churchill while serving as a cornet in the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars (1895). Churchill’s formal rank was second lieutenant. (Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons/Wikipedia)

The rank was also used by other nations’ cavalry troops, like in Denmark called kornet, Sweden with their kornett, and Imperial Russia which was корнет. The Continental Army during the American War of Independence had General Alexander Macomb initially commissioned as a cornet before becoming a Commanding General of the United States Army.

Cornet is still being used in the cavalry divisions of the Netherlands.