The Minute Book
Saturday, 28 December 2013

Sam Hughes and the Permanent Force (Part 2)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Colonel Sam Hughes and the Permanent Force
(Part 2)

The politicking begins, with deflection …

With officers taking offence at his remarks at the dinner in Halifax, Hughes deflects the cause of their dissatisfaction. Instead of reinforcing his opinions of the permanent force officers, he deflects the issue and claims that any complaints are obviously due to the drunkenness off those present.

Officers Can Quit Retort of Hughes

Halifa3x Banquet, Where Wine Flowed Rather Freely, has Unpleasant Sequel

The Toronto World, 16 July 1913

Ottawa, July 15.—(Can. Press.)—Col. The Hon. Sam Hughes stated very emphatically today in reference to stories that certain officers at Halifax will resign as a result of his remarks at the military banquet there, that anyone who did not like what he said was free to get out as soon as he pleased.

"I have said nothing to offend any man that behaved himself at the dinner," stated the minister of militia, "and I have no apology to offer."

It is understood here that what the minister thought to be a dry banquet was turned into a wet one by the officers having whiskey and wine brought in without the minister's knowledge and that conditions became so bad that Sir Ian Hamilton was annoyed during his speech and Dr. A.H. MacKay, superintendent of education for Nova Scotia, could not be heard at all.

Need Not Resign Officers' Reply

Hon. Sam Hughes Unable to Force them to Do So.

The Toronto World, 17 July 1913

Halifax, N.S., July 16.—(Can. Press.)—That Col. Hughes, minister of militia, is not going to let the behaviour of certain officers at a banquet he gave to Sir Ian Hamilton here last Friday night, go with a simple warning to the military to avoid "idleness, profligacy and social activity," is indicated by the following announcement, contained in this morning's Herald:

"Col. Rutherford, the officer commanding the sixth division at Halifax, has been called upon for an explanation of the tendency of some of the officers of the division, both of the permanent force and the active militia, to indulge too freely in the use of liquor."

Much amusement has been caused among military men here by Colonel Hughes' declaration that he proposes to dismiss a number of officers for getting intoxicated at his dinner on Friday night, for it is contended by officers that the minister of militia does not possess the power to arbitrarily remove an officer. All commissions, they point out, issue from the King, and the utmost that the minister can do is to request an officer's resignation. If the officer declines to resign, he must be court martialed before anything can be done to his commission, and he can only be dismissed if a court martial finds he has committed an offence of sufficient magnitude to warrant this step. It is not thought here that drinking wine at a dinner would be considered sufficient excuse to cashier a man.

An investigation is under way to ascertain the names of the officers who imbibed too freely, and it is expected they will offer an apology to the minister, after which the incident will be dropped. The dinner was held at a public hotel, where it is the usual custom at public dinners to order additional wines, and the officers who did so on Friday night forgot that on this occasion they were not at a public dinner, but were the private guests on the minister.

Approves Col. Hughes

Mayor Bligh of Halifax Supports Temperance Principles

Ottawa Citizen, 17 July 1913

Saskatoon, Sask., July 17.—Mayor Bligh, of Halifax, the newly elected president of the Canadian Municipalities Union, in an interview upheld Colonel Sam Hughes in his scathing denunciation of the bibulous tendencies of some of the officers of the forces of Halifax. Mayor Bligh gave it as his opinion that the people of Halifax would stand pat with the minister's remarks, saying that they did not care a great deal for the officers largely because of their tendencies along those very lines.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 27 December 2013 12:52 PM EST

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