Topic: Canadian Militia
Canada's Militia Force (1894)
Too Many Officers and Too few Men—Inspection Reports
Quebec Saturday Budget, 28 April 1894
The ordinary militia expenditure for this year was $,419,746; Northwest service, 1885; $7,224, and pensions $26,203. The revenue was $43,211, of which $23,926 was from the Royal Military College.
Major-General Herbert in his report gives the strength of the infantry as follows:—Officers, 2,564; N.C. Officers, 3,728; bandsmen and buglers, 2,563; privates, 19,856; total, 28,710. The total number of rifles which, under the most favorable circumstances, could be placed in line would thus be only 69 per cent of the total number of men. A comparison between Canadian and English militia shows that in Canada the number of officers to privates is 1 to 8, while in England it is only 1 to 32. The proportion of non-commissioned officers is 1 to 5, while in England it is 1 to 10.
Last year 367 officers and men obtained certificates at the various schools of military instruction. The camps last year trained 850 officers and 9,706 men with 1494 horses. The muster at local headquarters comprised 614 officers and 7,397 men.
The inspection reports of corps, which performed the annual drill for 1892 and 1893, have as usual remarks appended by the Major-General after most of them. A few are given here:—
7th Battalion, London—"It is a question whether this battalion is worth retaining. As a military organization it is of no value."
Of the Governor General's Foot Guards of Ottawa, Major General Herbert writes:—"This cannot be called a military organization, since there are practically no privates in the ranks. It will be necessary to alter the establishment."
Of the Prince of Wales Regiment, Montreal, Lieut.-Col. J.P. Butler, Commanding Officer, writes:—"This battalion appears unable to reorganize itself. In its present condition it is useless. It has had exceptional advantages."
Of the 58th Battalion, Bury, Quebec, Lieut.-Col. MacAuley, commanding, the Major-General writes:—"With every disadvantage of wet weather, wretched clothing and worthless arms, this battalion showed a good spirit, and worked hard, all ranks doing their best. The physique is good. I could not wish for better men, but there are no instructors. A large number of the men are Highlanders, speaking only the Gaelic."
His comment about the Sixth Regiment, Duke of Connaught's Canadian Hussars, of Montreal, Lieut.-Col. Barr commanding, is as follows:—"This regiment shows no improvement on last year. The weather being very bad and their condition bad, it was useless to retain them. I sent them home and called for the resignation of the commanding officer."
Of the 76th Battalion, St Martin, Lieut.-Col. Boudreau commanding, he says:—"Two men sent home as unfit for service. A large number of mere children in the ranks."
Of the Eighth Battalion, Royal Rifles, Quebec, Lieutenant-Colonel White, he says:—"The organization of this battalion is not military. The practice of having men like signallers who do not belong to any company is forbidden."
34th Battalion:—"The commanding officer is quite incompetent."