phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: A half-pay Major of Marines

Posted by James Briggs on December 09, 2003

In Reply to: A half-pay Major of Marines posted by Brian from Shawnee on December 09, 2003

: I just read a Sherlock Holmes story in which a man was described as "a half-pay Major of Marines". Does that mean he retired early from the Marines, and so took a half pension rather than a full pension? I am planning on reading the story aloud to my 9-year-old, and I'd like to be able to explain what that means. Thanks for any confirmation anyone can provide.

Some military people, if placed on standby because of little need for them, eg a ship's captain with no current ship, would, in the old days, be put on half pay. I'm not sure whether this was still so in Holmes' time, but it's a possibility, especially for a Marine.