Topic: Canadian Militia
Over at the Camp (1900)
How the Militia Pass Their Time at Laprairie
Inspected the men and Their Surroundings Yesterday—Was Well Pleased With What He Saw
The Montreal Gazette, 3 July 1900
Laprairie camp is not at its height, and hard work is the order of every day. Yesterday began the second week of training, and the soldiers now wear the look of veterans. Confederation and its memories were not allowed to interfere with the instruction of "Tommy," and yesterday was, if anything, the hardest day yet. Owing to the bad weather at the end of last week, not over much was done, and on Saturday the officers say that commands simply could not be heard even at short range, on account of the violent wind and rain storm.
The number of volunteers in camp is somewhat less than last year. In all three brigades there are 2,276 officers, non-commissioned officers and men. The cavalry brigade, which is quite a large one, occupies the lower ground to the west, next the river. Above this are the D.O.C.'s and staff headquarters. Then, extending in a long line, parallel with the river, and high up on the ridge, are the two main brigades, English and French, the latter being to the west.
Colonel Aylmer, adjutant-general, and acting Major-General Commanding, arrived at camp yesterday morning, and inspected the men and their surroundings. This was not the final inspection, which will only take place on Thursday, probably, but Colonel Aylmer expressed himself as very well pleased with what he saw, and spoke in particularly complimentary terms of the French brigade. Everyone knows that these men labor under considerable disadvantage, when competing against others, and the words of command are all necessarily in English. The adjutant-general will be at camp again today, and will likely remain until the end of the week. After a field day and inspection, the camp will break up on Saturday. Some of the regiments leave early in the morning.
The general health of the men is excellent. The weather has, of course, been quite cool, and consequently there have not been the usual number of sunstrokes, and other troubles. Drill lasts pretty continuously throughout the day, until four o'clock, when the men are free to do what they like; except those who are detailed for duties, as picquet, guard, etc. Discipline also has been well maintained, and good progress is being made in the drill.
The bearer company will go into camp on Thursday, and be inspected along with the rest. Major Birkett had been working hard, and has got them into good shape. Major Birkett himself has been at camp during the whole time. Accidents have been few, though one man shot his finger off at the ranges the other day. There is no artillery present in camp. They will probably go in September.
The men are all in good spirits, and have not had any "complaints." Many of them yesterday afternoon came across to the city to enjoy themselves as well as they might, after their day's routine was through. Among the officers and their friends there was some convivial confederation for the sake of the Dominion.