The Minute Book
Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Schools of Military Instruction; Training the Canadian Militia, c. 1865
Topic: Canadian Militia

In the days of British garrisons in Upper and Lower Canada, the method used to transfer skills to the officers of the Canadian Militia was the temporary establishment of "Schools of Instruction" by garrison battalions. Transitory in nature, in contrast to the established Royal Schools of the Canadian Infantry School Corps after 1883, these Schools of Instruction were individually authorized, conducted by the Commanding Officer of the designated British battalions, and qualified officers for command at company or battalion level. After the withdrawal of most of the British garrison units in the late 1860s, the Militia Department attempted to conduct a similar school system using qualified Militia officers to conduct the training. This approach was found wanting, most likely due to problems of consistency of training and availability of resources, and by the early 1880s led to the recognition of a need for established schools for infantry. The result was the creation of the Canadian Infantry School Corps, which is today The Royal Canadian Regiment.

The following text is the authorizing General Order for a School of Instruction conducted at the London garrison in 1865.

The Canada Gazette; April 29, 1865
Militia General Orders

Quebec, 27th April, 1865

Service Militia; Upper Canada

General orders, No. 1

His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief has made arrangements with His Excellency the Lieutenant General Commanding Her Majesty's Forces in British North America, for the establishment of a School of Military Instruction at London, in connection with the 1st Battalion of the 16th Regiment of Her Majesty's Forces.

This school will be opened for the reception of candidates on Tuesday, the 16th of May proximo, and His Excellency is pleased to order the following Rules and Regulations for the guidance of all concerned, viz:

1.    All Candidates for Commissions in the "Service" Militia, will be required before appointment, to obtain a certificate, as hereinafter mentioned, from the Commandant of one of the Schools of Military Instruction; and no person shall be appointed or promoted to the rank of Field Officer in the "Service" Militia who shall not have obtained a "First class" certificate.

2.    A "First class" certificate shall be given to those candidates who shall have proved themselves, to the satisfaction of he Commandant of the School of Military Instruction, able to drill and handle a Battalion in the field, and who shall have acquired a competent acquaintance with the internal economy of a Battalion.

3.    A "Second class" certificate shall be given to those candidates who shall have proved themselves able to command a Company at Battalion drill, and to drill a Company at "Company Drill," and who shall have acquired a competent acquaintance with the internal economy of a Company and the duties of a Company's officers.

4.    All candidates for admission to the Schools of Military Instruction will be required, before admission, to satisfy a Board of officers of their competence for the position of commissioned officer of the Militia.

5.    No candidate shall be permitted to remain at the Schools of Military Instruction after he shall have obtained a second class certificate, without the special permission of the Commander in Chief.

6.    No certificate of either class shall be given to any candidate who is not himself perfectly drilled as a private soldier.

7.    No candidate shall be permitted to remain at any of the schools for a longer period than three calendar months from the date of his entry.

8.    The traveling expenses of all candidates in coming to, and returning to their homes from the school shall be paid.

9.    All candidates on obtaining a "Second class" certificate, shall be paid a sum of Fifty dollars, and on obtaining a "First class" certificate , the further sum of Fifty dollars in addition.

10.    All Candidates for Commissions, while attending the school, shall be considered for all purposes of drill and discipline to be attached to the Regiment which shall constitute the School of Instruction; and it shall be competent to the Commander in Chief, on a representation from the Commandant, to dismiss any candidate from the school, for misconduct or for other sufficient cause.

11.    Candidates for Commissions, while attending the school, shall not be Members of the Mess of the Regiment which constitutes the school.

No. 2

The following officers are appointed as a Board of Examiners of candidates for admission to the School of Military Instruction at London:--

  • The Commandant of the School,
  • Lieut.-Colonel Shanly, Commanding Volunteers,
  • Major Moffat, Brigade Major.

By Command of His Excellency the Right Honorable the Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief.
WALKER POWELL, Lt.-Colonel, Deputy Adjutant General of Militia, Upper Canada.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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