The Minute Book
Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Canadian Militia - Military District No. 1; 1879
Topic: Canadian Militia

The state of Canadian Militia units in Military District No.1 (headquartered at London, Ontario) was reported to the Adjutant-General of Militia by Lieutenant Colonel John B. Taylor, Deputy Adjutant General of the District and published in the annual Report on the State of the Militia of the Dominion of Canada for the Year 1879. The Establishment of Military District No. 1 was described as follows:–


The total strength of the active militia force in this district, according to the full establishment, is the same as last year, viz.:– 365 officers and 5010 non-commissioned officers and men, and which is comprised in the following corps, viz.:–


  • 1st Regiment, four Troops


  • "London" Field Battery
  • "Wellington" Field Battery
  • "Ontario" Field Battery
  • "Goderich" Garrison Battery
  • "Sarnia" Garrison Battery


  • 7th Battalion, "London" Light Infantry
  • 22nd Battalion, "Oxford" Rifles
  • 24th Battalion, "Kent" Infantry
  • 25th Battalion, "Elgin" Infantry
  • 26th Battalion, "Middlesex" Infantry
  • 27th Battalion, "Lambton" Infantry
  • 28th Battalion, "Perth" Infantry
  • 29th Battalion, "Waterloo" Infantry
  • 30th Battalion, "Wellington" Infantry
  • 32nd Battalion, "Bruce" Infantry
  • 33rd Battalion, "Huron" Infantry
  • Independent companies of "Windsor" and "Leamington"

Annual Drill

By General Orders of 29th May, 1879, the maximum strength of the force in this district that was authorized to perform annual drill for 1879-1880, was 2350 of all ranks; and the following corps selected in accordance with with the above orders, performed their 12 days' annual drill of a total strength of 2341, the detail of which are given in the tabular inspection report.

The Cavalry, three batteries of field artillery, and eight battalions and one independent Company of infantry are identified as having participated in the annual drill requirements. Select reports follow.

7th Battalion, "London Light Infantry"

This fine corps performed its annual drill in the evenings, and all ranks paid so much attention amd made so great improvement that I arranged for their attendance at the review in Toronto on the 9th September, in honour of their Excellencies the Governor-General and Princess Louise, with confidence that they would maintain the credit of this military district, and I am proud to say that, though only lately re-organized and a young corps in material, their steadiness under arms, and when marching past at the review, were remarkable, and the quiet and soldierlike manner in which they behaved during the journey to Toronto and back (which is a sure test of the discipline and character of a corps) was highly creditable to both officers and men. The city of London can justly feel proud of its battalion, for altogether I believe it would be difficult to find a smarter and finer battalion of young men than the "London Light Infantry."

The battalion turned out in full strength as a guard of honour at the visit of their Excellencies the Governor-General and Princess Louise, and Captain Talbot MacBeth's company, which is very well drilled, and looked remarkably well, mounted guard during the stay of their Excellencies in London.

The 7th Battalion attended 12 days of Annual Drill conducted on summer evenings to meet the training requirement. At the unit's annual inspection, 14 officers and 294 NCOs and men were present out of an establishment of 29 officers and 385 NCOs and men. The unit was described as "Clean and efficient" with "very steady Battalion drill." It was also noted that the unit had a "very good band." The 7th Battalion was issued 5880 ball and 5880 blank rounds for training during this year.

22nd Battalion, "Oxford Rifles"

This battalion performed their annual drill at the local company headquarters, and with one exception I found the companies on my inspection to be well drilled and efficient, with uniform in good order and arms and accoutrements clean. I especially noticed the "Ingersoll" company which, under the energetic care of its Commanding Officer, Brevet-Major Ellis, turned out in a very soldierlike manner, and concluded a long drill in extended order with manual and bayonet exercises, gone through with so much steadiness that it was evident every man in the company had made the most use of his time in camp.

I should mention that much of the steadiness on these companies in drill is due to the teaching of Drill Instructor J. Chinner.

The 22nd Battalion attended 12 days of Annual Drill conducted at local headquarters to meet the training requirement. At the unit's annual inspection, 15 officers and 330 NCOs and men in eight companies were present out of an establishment of 32 officers and 440 NCOs and men. The unit was described as "Clean and efficient" with "Company drill, extended order, manual and firing exercise and bayonet drill; very satisfactory." It was also noted that the unit had a "good band." Each of the eight companies of the 22nd Battalion were issued 840 ball and 840 blank rounds for training during this year.

In 1954, the 7th Battalion, "London Light Infantry" (then known as the Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)) and the 22nd Battalion, "Oxford Rifles" (The Oxford Rifles) would be amalgamated with The Royal Canadian Regiment, forming the Regiment's Reserve battalion.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 2 April 2013 12:03 AM EDT

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