The Metropolitan, Montreal, 20 April, 1895
Many company officers are complaining of the inefficiency of their non-coms. In our opinion, too much consideration altogether has been paid to them in several corps, so much so, indeed, that they are beginning to believe they can run things pretty much as they like. They have been told so often by some commanding officers, who have most unwisely thought it policy to indulge in indiscriminate flattery, that the non-coms are the backbone of a regiment, that they really begin to think they are the most important part of it. It is true that they do form a very important part, especially if they perform their duties well; but when they grow careless, inattentive, and evince a tendency to attend parades when it pleases them to do so, their usefulness is, to a great extent, gone, and instead of being a help to the regiment, they become a disturbing element, which should be gotten rid of as quickly as possible. What duties do the majority of them perform? Do they look after recruiting? Do they ever take the trouble to look up the men in their squads and get them to attend drill? Do they attend drill regularly themselves? Do they interest themselves overmuch in getting in uniforms from men who have left the city? In fact, are not their faults of omission great even than their faults of commission? Their knowledge of drill, too, is, as a rule, not very extensive, and, with a few exceptions, they show very little desire to increase it. Many of them are shooting men, who remain only in the force for the prizes they rake in at the ranges. In fact, looked at from every point of view, the ordinary no-commissioned officer in Montreal is a failure, and not worth his salt. There are, of course, exceptions in every regiment, but we are speaking of them as a body. Instead of being models to the men, they are often only bad examples. The remedy is in the hands of the commanding officers, and if he shows he is determined to enforce discipline at all hazards, there will soon be a remarkable change. They should remember that there are much better fish in the sea than ever came out of it; and if it should be necessary to get rid of some of their present staff, it would not be a very difficult thing to replace them. At least, they could not be much worse off.