The Minute Book
Sunday, 17 May 2015

What Officer Must Know Before Selected (1915)
Topic: CEF

Officers of the 207th Ottawa and Carleton Battlion, CEF,
Pridham Photo, Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada

What Officer Must Know Before Selected

List of Subjects Canadians Must Know before Selected For Service in Field

Quebec Telegraph, 8 December 1915

The following War Office circular is promulgated for general information in Canada, giving a list of subjects which a young officer must know, or have some knowledge of, before he can be selected for service in the field. Of course, no officer should be selected as fit for service in the field unless he is physically fit and of an age to make it likely that he will be able to bear the strain of war.


  • Must have attained a high school standard of discipline.
  • Must have attained sufficient self-confidence to command his platoon.


  • Must know squad drill, extended order drill, platoon commander's duties in company drill, bayonet fighting drill.
  • Must have obtained sufficient self-confidence to drill a squad, drill a platoon, explain on parade simple movements to a squad.


  • Must know and be able to explain to a platoon the service rifle, the musketry exercises, the care of arms, the reporting of messages, the judging of distance.
  • Should have a knowledge of the theory of rifle fire, the supply of ammunition in the field, range duties.
  • Must pass a severe test in the control and direction of fire, the indication of targets, the instruction of a recruit.
  • Must be able to carry out test laid down in Musketry Regulations.

Tactics and Field Warfare

  • Every officer should be able to handle a platoon in the field.
  • Must be able to tell off and post sentries. Arrange posts and reliefs.
  • Must know the duties of a commander of an outpost company, a picquuet commander, a sentry and sentry groups, a patrol.
  • Should have a knowledge of a company in attack and defence, protection at rest and on the move, telling off an advance guard, telling off a flank guard, telling off an outpost company, composition of a brigade, battery, squadron and battalion.
  • Must have a thorough knowledge of march discipline, use of cover, control of men in extended order and in night operations.
  • Must be able to write a field message.
  • Should have thorough training in writing clear and concise reports of happenings in his vicinty.


  • Must have a good knowledge of map reading, drawing plan of his and adjoining trench, the construction of a range card, use of compass.

Trench Warfare

  • Must have a knowledge of handling of commonest bombs and explosives; telling off a working party and allotting a task; loopholing and revetting; common types of trenches and dugouts; entanglements; obstacles; the relief and handling over of a platoon in the trenches by day and night; construction, repair, holding and capture of trenches.
  • Must have a knowledge of duties of a leader of a grenade party; methods of training and employment of grenadiers.


  • Must have a general knowledge of arrangements for billeting; how a platoon is fed in billets, sanitary arrangements; orders for sentries in billets; alarm posts.

Machine Guns

  • If possible, have a knowledge of how to fire a machine gun in case of emergency; how to disable a gun without explosives.

Interior Economy and Military Law

  1. Powers on an O.C. company.
  2. Forfeiture of pay.
  3. Fines for drunkenness.
  4. How to make a summary of evidence.
  5. Definitions and differences between various crimes that may come before an O.C. company, before taken to C.O.
  6. Powers of an officers when on detachment.
  7. Procedure when a man reports sick; asks for an advance of pay; asks for extension of leave; asks for pass at unauthorized time (i.e., when the O.C. company is away.)
  8. Duties of the orderly officer, orderly sergeant, N.C.O.'s of his platoon.
  9. How a soldier is paid:—at home; on active service. How to make out a requisition for cash; quittance rolls.
  10. Regimental orders, part I, and part 2, as far as affects the pay of the men of the company.
  11. Procedure when a man requires new kit:— (a) A free issue; (b) on payment.
    Where the payments appear in the company pay list.
  12. What to do in case of a military disturbance outside barracks.
  13. When he is on leave; how to deal with men asking for passes and advance of pay.
  14. Compliments to be paid to senior officers:— (a) when in command of men; (b) when off duty.
  15. Restrictions of an officer on the sick list and how to report sick.
  16. How to write an official letter, and the proper channels for it to pass through.
  17. What to do when on sick leave.
  18. How to keep a trench store book and the procedure on handing out any stores or handing over completely.
  19. How to take over a platoon from another officer.
  20. Procedure when a soldier is brought up on crime.

Physical Drill

  • Must have sufficient knowledge to take his platoon for physical drill parades in billets; taking his platoon for bayonet exercises.


  • Must have slight knowledge of field telephones, and how to mend a broken line; the form of telephone message used in the service. How to read, take down and write down a verbal message.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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