The Minute Book
Saturday, 23 March 2013

How Carling Farm became Wolseley Barracks
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

On 2 June 1886, during budget discussions in the Canadian House of Commons, the topic of an appropriation for the new Infantry School Corps building in London was raised. $30,000 was being requested to continue with the proposed infrastructure for the establishment of "D" Company at what would become Wolseley Barracks.

Members of Parliament who are quoted below are:

  • The Hon. Joseph Philippe René Adolphe Caron, P.C.; Conservative Member for Quebec County, Quebec (Appointment at the time of this session: Minister of Militia and Defence)
  • The Hon. Sir Hector-Louis Langevin, P.C., Q.C., C.B.; Conservative Member for Three Rivers, Quebec. (Appointment at the time of this session: Minister of Public Works 1879 – 1891)
  • The Right Hon. Sir William Mulock, P.C.; Liberal Member for York North, Ontario
  • The Hon. Edward Blake, P.C., Q.C.; Liberal Member for Durham West, Ontario

House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada
Fourth Session – Fifth Parliament

2 June 1886

London Infantry School – $30,000

Mr. Blake – Will the hon. gentleman explain the vote of $30,000 for the London Infantry School?

Sir Hector Langevin – It is to enable the chief architect to carry on the work of the proposed new barracks. The cost of the barrack building, including furnishing, heating, etc., is estimated at $75,000; then there is $3,600 for the architect and $2,000 for the clerk of works, the total estimated cost being $81,000.

Mr. Blake – Has the hon. gentleman received any information as to difficulties with the drainage of the site of the school.

Sir Hector Langevin – I have not.

Mr. Blake – It has been stated in the papers that there are serious difficulties, and that pile driving will have to be resorted to in order to overcome them.

Mr. Carling – The architect was in the city yesterday, and he says that the difficulty can be overcome by the construction of a drain.

Mr. Blake – I suppose this is the property as to which the tripartite agreement was made some time ago, under which the city bought some property from the Minister of Agriculture, and the hon gentleman took that property and gave the city some other property?

Sir Adolphe Caron – Yes

Mr. Blake – Will the hon. gentleman state the nature of the arrangement?

Sir Adolphe Caron – In 1884, on the recommendation of General Middleton, it was determined to establish an Infantry School in London. The citizens of London were very adverse to the school being established on the Government Property, for reasons which they set forth. Upon that recommendation, three sites were offered, the Geary site, the Kent Site, and the Carling farm. The matter was submitted to the brigade major of the district, and he recommended the Carling farm as the most suitable. The offer made to the city was $10,000 in cash and a deed of 16 acres of land of Government property and the right to use some 90 acres adjoining for camping purposes for 20 years, for 8 acres of land now used as our military property. The proposition was approved by Order in Council; but it had to be submitted to a vote of the ratepayers of London, who rejected it. Subsequently, however, the city made a new proposition, that they would give a free deed of fifty-five acres of the Carling farm within city limits, which has been used as a military camp-ground for many years, for eight acres of the Government property referred to in the former proposition. This proposition was again referred to the brigade major, and was referred by him to Mr. George Durand, a well-known architect of London, on the 26th of April, 1885. A valuation of the two properties was sent in by him. The Government property was estimated at $141, 355 and the fifty–five acres of the Carling farm were estimated at $46,000. I was not satisfied to take this valuation; I wanted to get more than one, and the proposition was again submitted to the valuation Mr. McElheran, and auctioneer and valuator, and Mr. William M. Ward, a real estate agent, and these gentlemen reported the value of the Government property at $39,030, and the fifty-five acres of the Carling farm at $44,000. This subsequent offer of exchange was referred to the council and approved, and the exchange has been made, and the contract for the building let, and the work is now going on. I will bring down and lay on the Table all the papers.

Mr. Blake – Is Mr. Durand the architect of the building now?

Sir Hector Langevin – Yes.

Mr. Blake – It has been represented outside, from time to time, that this institution, which is to be erected in or near London, is to be analogous to the Kingston College.

Sir Adolphe Caron. – No; it is to be analogous to the School of Infantry, Toronto.

Although Mr Durand is identified above as the architect for the new Infantry School in London, the building was designed by Henry James, Chief Architect for the Militia Department. (With thanks to Dr Georgiana Stanciu, Curator of The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum, for this confirmation.)

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 23 March 2013 2:42 PM EDT
Friday, 22 March 2013

The Organization of the Canadian Militia; 1914
Topic: Canadian Militia

An essential part of the equipment and references carried by every officer of the British Army and Commonwealth forces in the early 1900s was a copy of the Field Service Pocket Book. The standard aide memoire of officers on operations anywhere in the Empire, this little volume provided all manner of information necessary for planning and conducting operations, ranging through staff duties, rates of march, engineering and logistic guidance, and details on the forces of the Empire.

The 1914 edition of the Field Service Pocket Book provides the following description of the forces of the Dominion of Canada:


Nature of ForceTime of Engagement (Years)Arms and Armament (exclusive of that of Fixed Defences)
Permanent Militia34.7" Q.F., 18-pr Q.F., 13-pr Q.F., 12-br B.L., 60-prs and howitzers, M.L.E. and Ross rifles, and Maxims
Active Militia3As above.
Royal N.W. Mounted Police5M.L.M. and Winchester carbines, Colt revolvers, Maxims and Maxim-Nordenfeldts

Units of all arms and departments. The permanent force and active militia together comprise:–

  • 33 regiments and 2 independent squadrons, cavalry and mounted rifles.
  • 2 batteries horse artillery
  • 31 batteries field artillery
  • 10 brigades (31 batts.) field artillery
  • 4 regiments (20 cos.) garrison artillery
  • 2 regiments (5 batts.) heavy artillery
  • Engineers
    • Permanent corps
    • 5 field cos.
    • 3 field troops
    • 1 wireless detachment
    • 1 section field telegraph company attached to each field company
  • Corps of Guides
  • 95 regiments and 6 independent companies of infantry
  • 13 signal sections
  • 15 companies and 7 detachments Army Service Corps
  • 7 cavalry field ambulances
  • 14 field ambulances
  • 2 general hospitals
  • Other departmental troops

Organized as 7 mounted brigades, 10 brigades field artillery, and 23 infantry brigades and army troops.

A Militia Council, presided over by the Minister of Militia and Defence, administers the forces.

Eastern Canada is sub-divided into six divisional areas, in each of which a division of all arms is organized, together with 4 cavalry brigades.

Western Canada is divided into three military districts.

Organized into 12 divisions and administered by a Controller at Ottawa.

All males between 18 and 60 are liable for service in time of emergency.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 March 2013 12:03 AM EDT
Thursday, 21 March 2013

In the Highest Tradition (BBC)
Topic: Tradition

It will be a sad day and an evil day for the British Infantry if the reformers succeed in weakening or destroying the regimental tradition. - Field-Marshal Earl Wavell, 1950

In the Highest Tradition

This 1989 BBC series explores the world of British military tradition.

Episode 1

First transmitted in 1989, this is the first episode in a six-part series which delves into the world of regimental tradition. This programme includes looks at the origins of Emperor Joseph Bonaparte's chamber pot, a druid oration and the story of goat who escaped being eaten to become a regimental mascot.

Episode 2

First transmitted in 1989, this is the second in a six-part series which delves into the world of regimental tradition. This film includes the story of Millie the Mule and just why a rose is still eaten, raw, in one battalion's mess. It also features the 'White Helmets' a team of motor cycle stunt riders. One team of retired soldiers has an average age of 74 years but they still meet up to perform stunts in front of their successors.

Episode 3

First transmitted in 1989, this third film in a six-part series delving into the world of regimental tradition looks Gurkhas' history and commitment to the British Army. They swear their oath of allegiance directly to Her Majesty the Queen and continue to revere 'The Queen's Truncheon', which was awarded to them by Queen Victoria in recognition of their service during the Indian Mutiny.

Episode 4

First transmitted in 1989, this is the fourth in a six-part series which delves into the world of regimental tradition. It looks at the illustrious history of the Royal Scots Greys with an account of how a French Imperial Eagle was won at Waterloo, and covers the tragic events of the Charge of the Light Brigade, the origins of the Victoria Cross and follows the transition from horse to the tank.

Episode 5

First transmitted in 1989, this is the fifth in a six-part series which delves into the world of regimental tradition. It features stories about the Grenadier Guards, the favourite tipple of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment and how the King's Own Scottish Borderers made porridge palatable.

Episode 6

First transmitted in 1989, this is the final part of a six part series which delves into the world of the British Army's Regimental traditions and the stories behind them. This is a world where a Napoleonic Drum Major's staff remains prized booty, a dog wears campaign medals awarded by Queen Victoria's command and snuff is served from a ram called George.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 21 March 2013 1:44 AM EDT
Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Formation of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade; CEF
Topic: CEF

Extracts from the opening pages of the War Dairy of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade.

The 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade was formed in France on the 22nd December, 1915. The units comprising the Brigade being:-

Lieut. Colonel A.C. Macdonell, D.S.O. Officer Commanding Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) was appointed Brigade Commander with the temporary rank of Brigadier General, and took over the Command of the 7th Brigade on the 22nd December, 1915. General Macdonell has seen considerable fighting, being present at the actions at Festubert, Givenchy, and Cuinchy besides which he had previously seen active service in the South African War, in Command of Canadian Mounted Rifles.


The Royal Canadian Regiment was raised as a unit of the Canadian Permanent Force in December 1883 under the name of the Infantry School Corps, being raised primarily for the purpose of instructing the Canadian Militia, but its establishment being increased it took over the garrisoning of places occupied by Imperial Troops. A detachment took part in the Expedition in North West Canada, 1884-1885, and bears that honour, and Saskatchewan, in 1899 2nd Battalion was raised for service in the South African War 1899-1900 and was present at the battle of Paardeberg. A 3rd Battalion was raised to garrison Halifax, Canada. Both these Battalions were disbanded after the South African War.

The Regiment bears the Badge of the Imperial Cypher V.R.I. and Imperial Crown granted by Her Majesty Queen Victoria in 1894. On the outbreak of the European war the Regiment was mobilized at Halifax, Nova Scotia and occupied the defences at that station, with detachments at defensive points throughout Nova Scotia.

Having been brought up to War strength by recruits from the Canadian Expeditionary Force Camp at Valcatier P.Q. the Regiment sailed for Bermuda on September 10th 1914 And relieved the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. On being relieved by the 38th Battalion Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force it proceeded to England via Halifax leaving Bermuda on August 13th 1915, arriving in England September 5th 1915. It was rearmed and equipped at Shorncliffe, casualties being filled by drafts from Canada and volunteers from the other Canadian Battalions at Shorncliffe. The Regiment landed in France on November 1st and proceeded to Bailleul, being billeted around Meteren and forming part of Corps troops of the Canadian Corps. A week later it moved to Westhof and went into the trenches for instruction in trench warfare with the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade at Ploegstreert [Ploegsteert] The Regiment then moved to LaClytte – 2nd Canadian Divisional Area – on November 19th where after supplying working parties for front line trenches and supports for about a month it moved to Boeschepe and became part of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade on the 22nd December 1915.


Among the many Regiments serving in France and elsewhere on the side of the Allies few have been inaugurated under more favourable auspices than The Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. Owing to the untiring energy and generosity of Major A. Hamilton Gault, D.S.O., authority was granted, one week after the war was declared, to raise one Battalion to form part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. To facilitate recruiting depots were established at Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Calgary and Edmonton Alberta. In each of these cities prominent citizens were invited to collect recruits, besides which notices were inserted in various Canadian Newspapers, calling for recruits and stating terms of enlistment.

Lieut. Colonel Farquhar D.S.O. Coldstream Guards was given command, and Headquarters were established in the city of Ottawa, the Capitol of the Dominion of Canada. Recruiting commenced on the 12th of August 1914, and by the 26th August the Regiment was up to strength, fully equipped and ready to proceed overseas. One of the conditions of enlistment was that every recruit have previously belonged to some regiment of the British Army, and it is interesting to note that 50% of the recruits had previously seen active service, and that every regiment of the British Army was represented, with the exception of the Inniskilling Dragoons.

The Battalion sailed from Quebec on September 28th, 1914 …[overseas, it] joined the 27th Division, being Brigaded with the 2nd Battalion Kings Own Shropshire Light Infantry, 3rd and 4th Battalions Kings Royal Rifles, Corps, and 4th Battalion Rifle Brigade, to form the 80th Brigade.

Arriving in France on the 22nd December, 1914, … the Battalion was engaged in trench warfare taking part in an attack on the German sap near Shelby Farm on the 28th February 1915, (where Where Major A Hamilton Gault was wounded) and the counter attack at St. Eloi on the 15th March 1915. On March 21st 1915 Lieut. Colonel H.D. Farquhar was killed and Lieut Colonel H.C. Buller, Rifle Brigade took Command of the Battalion. On the 5th April 1915 The Battalion took over the trenches in Polygon Woods and remained in the Ypres Salient, without being relieved, until the 3rd May – 25 days – when they moved to the Bellewarde [Bellewaerde] Line. On the 4th May there was a heavy bombardment of this line by the enemy and 25 men were killed and 96 wounded, they were relieved here during the night by the 2nd K.S.L.I. and held the G.H.Q. line at Ypres. Lieut Colonel H.C. Buller being wounded during the shelling of that place on the following day the 5th May 1915, when the Germans made a general attack. Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry losing 16 Officers and 450 other ranks, killed and wounded, during the engagement. On being relieved from the first line trenches on the 9th May 1915 they formed a composite Battalion with the 4th K.R.R.C. and took part in the counter attack at Hooge on the 24th May 1915, when they again had a heavy casualty list. On the 28th May 1915 the 80th Brigade moved to the Armentieres District and relieved the 6th Division at L'Epignette, and the Battalion remained in that vicinity until 14th September 1915, when the Brigade took over an area in the Somme District where they remained until the 25th October 1915, during part of this period the Battalion was in the trenches continuously for 23 days. leaving the 8th Brigade, 27th Division on 9th November, 1915 The Battalion was attached as Instructional Battalion to the 3rd Army School of Instruction until the 25th November 1915, when it entrained for Castre and joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force, becoming part of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade on the 23rd December 1915.


42nd Battalion (5th Royal Highlanders of Canada) Canadian Expeditionary Forces (Lieut Colonel G.C. Cantlie) joined the Brigade on its formation at Mont-des-Cats, having been for a period of nearly three months on Active Service in France. Recruited and mobilized in the City of Montreal, Province of Quebec in February 1915, and after five months training in Canada sailed for England, where further training in musketry was undergone until the 9th October 1915 when the Battalion came over to France.

The 42nd Canadian Infantry Battalion is now perpetuated by The Black Watch of Canada (Royal Highland Regiment).


The 49th Battalion (Lieut Colonel W.A. Griesbach) mobilized in Edmonton, Alberta, the majority of the members of the Battalion being railway men, miners and farmers – about 35% being Canadian and the remainder British born, and recruited from the Northern portion of the Province, from Edmonton Peace River District and the vast territory north and west of the Capital City of the Province, a large percentage of the men being of Scotch descent.

The 49th Canadian Infantry Battalion is now perpetuated by The Loyal Edmonton Regiment (3rd Bn, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry).

The Brigade being composed as it is of well disciplined and seasoned troops there seems no reason why it should not be able in a short while to hold its own with the other Brigades of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. All feel that the good opinion already formed after a careful inspection of the units, will not be misplaced, and that when the records of this campaigns are written, the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade, will not have failed to carry out its duties in a sound soldierly manner.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the Great War; 1914-1919
Topic: The RCR

In 1914, the officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers of The Royal Canadian Regiment (The RCR) formed a large share of the approximately 3000 professional soldiers in Canada's army. While the single infantry regiment of Regulars might have expected to find itself despatched to Europe at the outbreak of the First World War, this was not to be. Instead, the Department of Militia sent its one infantry battalion to garrison Bermuda for a year while Sir Sam Hughes executed his plan to create a new Expeditionary Force separate from the Regular Army and the Canadian Militia. The RCR would later join the Canadian Expeditionary Force in France as a unit of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, and the question of its deployment to Bermuda would be raised in the Canadian Parliament.

The RCR would serve in France and Flanders from November 1915 until the end of the War and approximately 4800 Canadians would wear the Regiment's eight-pointed star cap badge and fight as Royal Canadians. From Mount Sorrel in 1916, through Vimy in 1917 and ending with the Pursuit to Mons in 1918, The Royal Canadian Regiment would be awarded 16 Battle Honours for its achievements and sacrifices on the fields of battle in France and Flanders.

One member of the Regiment, Lieutenant Milton Fowler Gregg, would receive the Victoria Cross, and many others would receive other awards for acts of courage and meritorious service.

Discover more about The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War at The Regimental Rogue; presenting elements including the unit's War Diary and information on the officers and the NCOs and soldiers of the Regiment.

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 18 March 2013

Library and Archives Canada - Faces of War
Topic: LAC

Second World War photos on line at the Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

One of the greatest challenges with the ever increasing accessibility of LAC holdings via on line databases is keeping track of what is available. While much of the searchable nature of the LAC catalogue leads to file references that must be ordered (either locally for viewing by yourself or a hired researcher, or through the LAC for copying), there is an increasing amount of items that have been scanned and made available for direct viewing.

One of these collections is Faces of War. This collection displays nearly 2500 images of Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen from the Second World War.

The Basic Search Page allows searching image descriptions by any key word (or words) you enter.

The Advanced Search Page supports a more detailed filtering approach. Selecting a button for Army – Navy – Air Force will bring up a selection list to choose a unit, ship or squadron. Clicking the Geographical button lets you choose applicable locations. You can also sort for images by the photographer's name.

Faces of War is an excellent resource introducing Canadians to some of the photos held by LAC of Canadian service members in the Second World War. Hopefully, over time, resources will be available to expand this database to include more of their holdings.

The three faces shown above were cropped from the following LAC images, see the full images at the links:


  • Title: Private D.B. MacDonald of The Royal Canadian Regiment, who carries a Bren light machine gun, near Campobasso, Italy, October 1943.
  • Location: Campobasso, Italy (vicinity)
  • Date: October 1943.
  • Photographer: Smith, Jack H., Photographer
  • Mikan Number: 3226037


  • Title: Able Seaman Carl Carlson with one of the hull plates of H.M.C.S. QU'APPELLE which was pierced by a German shell during an action in which H.M.C.S. QU'APPELLE, H.M.C.S. SKEENA, H.M.C.S. RESTIGOUCHE and H.M.C.S. ASSINIBOINE sank three German armed trawlers. England, 16 August 1944.
  • Location: England
  • Date: August 16, 1944
  • Photographer: Arless, Lt Richard Graham., Photographer
  • Mikan Number: 3374382


  • Title: Groundcrew servicing a Hawker Hurricane IIB aircraft of No. 402 (City of Winnipeg) Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force (R.C.A.F.), Fairwood Common, Wales, March 1942.
  • Location: Fairwood Common, Wales
  • Date: March 1942.
  • Photographer: Unknown., Photographer
  • Mikan Number: 3199522

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 4 March 2013 12:54 PM EST
Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Woods Recogniton Cards; The Jokers
Topic: Cold War

Today, if you walk into an area where soldiers are relaxing, you'll find many engrossed in personal electronics, listening to customized playlists, texting or watching videos on their smart-phones or, possibly, reading the latest bestseller on an electronic reader. During the Cold War, before so much of our personal time was taken up by solo interaction with electronics, those same soldiers might have been found reading (anything from pulp sci-fi, to Sven Hassel, to the inevitable selection of magazines they wouldn't have shown their mothers (ok, not exactly reading those ones)), or small groups playing cards.

Few infantry section vehicles or command post vehicles didn't have a deck of cards, often with a cribbage board, tucked in a corner for those long periods of "hurry up and wait." Solitaire, cribbage, euchre, poker, all were fair game to the troops, and new platoon members night be warned not to start playing for cigarettes or cash with certain peers, because there was no way they could expect to come out ahead.

From as early as the Second World War up to the Cold War, companies that manufactured items for soldiers also tapped into this time killing activity. Various companies produced sets of playing cards with vehicle and aircraft silhouettes on each card. With these, a soldiers could convince himself that not only as he playing euchre, he was also learning. Among those groups for which armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) and aircraft recognition were primary requirements, like TOW and air defence gunners, the argument might had some validity. For most others, the information on the cards was just a novel decoration on something they would use just as much if they were from an ordinary Bicycle deck.

In the 1990s, Woods Manufacturing, of Ottawa, Ontario, (now Guthrie Woods made just such a deck. The deck included the three Jokers shown here displaying outline drawings of a tank, a helicopter, and a jet fighter. The three images included the names of the major components of each vehicle, adding to the learning potential of the cards for young soldiers.



Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 16 March 2013

Battle Honours; DETROIT (16 August 1812)
Topic: Battle Honours

On 16 August 1812, a force comprised mainly of British Regulars and Canadian Militiamen totaling 1360 crossed the Detroit River under the command of Major General Isaac Brock to attack Fort Detroit. Defended by Brigadier General William Hull and a force of approximately 2500, it was by a series of ruses and feints that Brock led his opponent to believe that the besieging force as much stronger that it actually was. As a result, Fort Detroit was surrendered to Brock with few losses on either side. The strength of 1360 for Brock's force does not include the First Nations warriors that were present, and the number is taken from the published Prize Money list for those eligible for reward for being present at the action (see the list below).

Following the War of 1812, the 41st (The Welch) Regiment of Foot was awarded the Battle Honour "DETROIT" for its role in the action.

In 2012, the Canadian Government decided to award Battle Honours to War of 1812 units and to link these honours to perpetuating modern Canadian Army units. Eleven separate Battle Honours were awarded to units of the Canadian Militia at Detroit. These eleven honours are perpetuated today by five infantry regiments, one armoured reconnaissance regiment and one artillery regiment of the Canadian Army.

Out of Brock's force of 1360 officers, non-commissioned officers and men, 1076 belonged to line infantry units which might be eligible for battle honours. Of these, 302 were on the roll of the 41st Regiment and 774 belonged to the Canadian Militia regiments at Detroit.

540 of those present (70% of 774) belonged to the regiments of Militia that are now perpetuated by the Essex & Kent Scottish Regiment. These are the 1st and 2nd Regiments of Essex Militia and the 1st Regiment of Kent Militia. The remaining 30%, or 234, share eight awarded Battle Honours and are now held by five perpetuating regiments:

  • The Queen's York Rangers perpetuate the 1st and 3rd Regiments York Militia which, combined, had 87 officers, NCOs and men present.
  • The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry perpetuates the 2nd Regiment York Militia which, combined with the 5th Regiment Lincoln Militia had 65, all ranks, present.
  • The Lincoln and Welland Regiment perpetuates the 5th Regiment Lincoln Militia which, combined with the 2nd Regiment York Militia had 65, all ranks, present.
  • The 56th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, perpetuate the 1st and 2nd Regiments Norfolk Militia which, combined, had 68, all ranks, present.
  • The Royal Canadian Regiment perpetuates the 1st Regiment of Oxford Militia and the 1st Regiment of Middlesex Militia which, combined, had one officer and 13 NCOs and men present at Detroit.

The largest single regimental presence by the Canadian Militia at Detroit for which a Battle Honour was awarded was the 1st Regiment Essex Militia which paraded 312 all ranks. The smallest single regimental presence by the Canadian Militia at Detroit for which a Battle Honour was awarded was the lone officer of the 1st Regiment of Middlesex Militia, followed by the 13 NCOs and soldiers of the 1st Regiment of Oxford Militia.

The force structure and unit strengths shown in the following table has been extracted from The Publications of the Champlain Society; Select British Documents of the Canadian War of 1812, Volume 1 (Toronto, The Champlain Society, 1920)

British Forces Listed as Eligible to claim Prize Money from their Involvement in the Surrender at Detroit 16 August 1812.

  Offrs / NCO / Men British Army BHs Awarded Canadian BHs Awarded (2012) Currently held by
General and Staff Offrs9 / -/ -   
Field Train Department1 / 1 / -   
Commissariat1 / 2 / -   
Militia Staff Officers4 / - / -   
Royal Artillery1 / 5 / 24   
41st Regiment of Foot13 / 26 / 26341st (The Welch) Regiment of Foot The Royal Welsh
Royal Newfoundland Fencible Regiment4 / 8 / 41   
Provincial Marine Department5 / 9 / 119   
1st/3rd Regts York Militia4 / 6 / 77 1st Regt York Militia
3rd Regt York Militia
Queen's York Rangers
2nd York/5th Lincoln Militia3 / 3 / 59 2nd Regt York Militia
5th Regt Lincoln Militia
Royal Hamilton Light Infantry
Lincoln and Welland Regt
1st Regt York Militia2 / 3 / 19   
2nd Regt Norfolk Milita6 / 3 / 59 1st Regt Norfolk Militia
2nd Regt Norfolk Militia
56th Fd Arty Regt, RCA
1st Middlesex (attd to Norfolk)1 / - / - 1st Regt Middlesex MilitiaThe Royal Canadian Regiment
Oxford Militia- / 2 / 11 1st Regt Oxford MilitiaThe Royal Canadian Regiment
1st Essex Militia22 / 32 / 258 1st Regt Essex MilitiaE&K Scot
2nd Essex Militia23 / 11 / 131 2nd Regt Essex MilitiaE&K Scot
1st Kent Militia9 / 8 / 46 1st Regt Kent MilitiaE&K Scot
Troop of Essex Militia Cavalry1 / 1 / 4   
Indian Department5 / 11   
49th Regiment- / - / 1   
Officers (regts not mentioned)3 / - / -   
Total117 / 131 / 11121115 Inf + 1 Armd Recce + 1 Arty unit

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 16 March 2013 3:40 PM EDT
Friday, 15 March 2013

The Vimy Pilgrimage Medal
Topic: Vimy Pilgrimage

In July of 1936, approximately 6200 Canadians sailed to Europe aboard five liners of the Canadian Pacific and Cunard steamship lines to participate in the Vimy Pilgrimage. These passengers formed the bulk of the attendance at the unveiling of the Vimy Memorial by King Edward VIII on 26 July, 1936.

Among the Pilgrimage Equipment issued to each traveler was the "Official Medal," also referred to as the "pilgrimage badge" (and all manner of variations of those terms). The July 1936 handbook given to pilgrims stated that:

"In addition to the official beret, haversack, guidebook and pilgrimage badge, each pilgrim will be handed a white celluloid identification button on which his party letter and company number are shown in black."

The Vimy Pilgrimage Badge, designed to resemble a soldier's medal, was further mentioned in a paragraph specific to the wearing of medals during the trip:

"Wearing of medals. When wearing decorations and service medals on ceremonial occasions, there should be worn well up on the left breast. The Company leaders will inform the pilgrims as to the occasions when the wearing of medals is appropriate. The Vimy Pilgrimage Badge or medal may be worn throughout the Pilgrimage. It should be pinned to the right lapel, as shown in the illustration."

Many photos of the Pilgrimage show the Pilgrimage medal being worn. King Edward VIII is among the many who wore it on 26 July 1936 at the unveiling ceremony. His medal was recently acquired by the Canadian War Museum.

In the pages of "Service," the history of the Royal Canadian Legion (by Clifford Bowering, pub. 1960) can be found the following description:

"Before the ceremonies began His Majesty, wearing his Vimy Pilgrimage badge, descended the steps to meet many of the Canadian veterans and their families. To the veterans this was a great moment in their lives. Hundreds crowded around the popular monarch, some to take pictures, some to talk to him, some to shake him by the hand. Eagerly, enthusiastically and obviously happily at ease, King Edward walked among his veteran-subjects, chatting, asking questions. He has a special word for Mrs C.S. Woods of Winnipeg, mother of eleven sons who had fought in the was and of whom five gave their lives. For half an hourthe King met with the veterans and return to the memorial only upon the arrival of President lebrun of France."



Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 14 March 2013

Field Punishment No. 1
Topic: Discipline

"When it is decided to tie a prisoner to a fixed object, it has been found advisable to carry out this punishment in as public a place as possible." - The Canadian Officer's Guide to the Study of Military Law, by Major E.W. Pope, The RCR, 1916

Many old soldiers like to talk about the "good old days" when, in their hazy remembrance, soldiers were more disciplined, less likely to question any aspect of military life, and worked and played harder. While the achievements of the Canadian Army in the Balkans throughout the 1990s and Afghanistan in the past decade certainly prove that today's soldiers are as effective as any previous generation in their own time, the idea that soldiers "play" less hard is more a distortion of the effects of the cultural shift away from acceptance of drinking as a sport or hard drinking an expected ability, by some, of a professional soldier. These changes have not diminished the Canadian soldier's ability to make Canadians proud of their service at home and abroad, but we easily forget that one of the aspects of maintaining discipline in days past was harsher punishments in the military justice system.

In the 1980s, a soldier caught with marijuana might face 30 days or more in military jail, while his civilian counterpart might receive a few hundred dollars fine from a local civil court. Turning the clock back further, we find that the most common punishment handed out at summary trials during the First World War, those expedient trials run by Officers commanding Battalions or Companies, was Field Punishment No. 1.

The following excerpt from The Canadian Officer's Guide to the Study of Military Law, by Major E. W. Pope, The Royal Canadian Regiment (Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1916), provides a description of this style of punishment.


(See M.M.L. p. 721, and F.S.R. Pt. II, chapter on "Discipline")

109.     I.     For any offence committed on active service an offender may be sentenced, by his commanding officer, to twenty-eight days' Field Punishment, and by a Court Martial to three months'

Field Punishment.

Field Punishment is of two kinds:

(a)     Field Punishment No. 1.

(b)     Field Punishment No. 2.

2. Where an offender is sentenced to Field Punishment No. I, he may, during the continuance of his sentence, unless the Court Martial or the commanding Officer otherwise directs, be punished as follows:

(a)     He may be kept in irons, i.e. in fetters or handcuffs, or both fetters and handcuffs; and may be secured so as to prevent his escape.

(b)     When in irons he may be attached for a period or periods not exceeding two hours in anyone day to a fixed object, but he must not be so attached during more than three out of any four consecutive days, nor during more than twenty-one days in all.

(c)     Straps or ropes may be used for the purpose of these rules in lieu of irons.

(d)     He may be subjected to the like labour, employment, and restraint, and dealt with in like manner, as if he were under a sentence of imprisonment with hard labour.

3.     Where an offender is sentenced to Field Punishment No. 2, the foregoing rule with respect to Field Punishment No. 1 shall apply to him, except that he shall not be liable to be attached to a fixed object as provided by paragraph (b) of Rule 2.

4.     Every portion of a Field Punishment shall be inflicted in such a manner as is calculated not to cause injury or to leave any permanent mark on the offender; and a portion of a Field Punishment must be discontinued upon a report by a responsible medical officer that the continuance of that portion would be prejudicial to the offender's health.

5.     Field Punishment will be carried out regimentally when the unit to which the offender belongs or is attached is actually on the move, but when the unit is halted at any place where there is a provost marshal or an assistant provost marshal the punishment will be carried out under that officer.

6.     When the unit to which the offender belongs or is attached is actually on the move, an offender awarded Field Punishment No. 1 shall be exempt from the operation of Rule 2. (b), but all offenders awarded Field Punishment shall march with their unit, carry their arms and accoutrements, perform all their military duties as well as extra fatigue duties, and be treated as defaulters.

110.     Method of carrying out Field Punishment. Although it has not been considered advisable to allow Field Punishment No. 1 to be administered in the United Kingdom, it is the punishment most frequently met with in the theatre of war. It is easily carried out, if the proper procedure is understood, and has been administered with excellent results. It must be remembered for obvious reasons that a man undergoing Field Punishment does not thereby miss his tour of duty in the trenches. No punishments are carried out when the unit is actually on trench duty, and since the sentence runs concurrently with this duty due attention should be paid to this point by the Commanding Officer in making his award. Many officers have an idea that Field Punishment No. I consists in merely tying a prisoner to a fixed object for a certain length of time each day. This is quite wrong. The proper system is to make a man sentenced to this punishment do all the fatigues and sanitary work possible in the vicinity of the billets which his unit is occupying, with a view to relieving well-conducted men there-from. Then when there is nothing left for him to do of that nature, he can be tied to a fixed object for a period not exceeding two hours daily. When it is decided to tie a prisoner to a fixed object, it has been found advisable to carry out this punishment in as public a place as possible.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The 1914-1915 Star
Topic: Medals

The first medal that many Canadian soldiers might have been eligible to receive for their First World War service was the 1914-15 Star. Eligibility for the 1914-15 Star was achieved if the soldier served in a theatre of war before the end of 1915. In the Western Europe theatre of war, for operations in France and Belgium, the specific dates of eligibility were from midnight of 22-23 November 1914 until 31 Dec 1915.

Over two million 1914-15 Stars were awarded to soldiers of the British Empire, and of these, 71,150 went to Canadian soldiers of the Great War (There is also a 1914 Star for those who reached a theatre of war before the end of 1914, of which only 160 were awarded to Canadians.) each 1914-15 Star is impressed (stamped) on the reverse with the recipient's service number, rank, name and unit. Officers medals do not include a service number because officers did not have service numbers during the First World War.

Any soldier who was eligible for the 1914-15 Star also received the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, these three forming the colloquially named First World War "trio."

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 12 March 2013

If you went to Hospital, You were Going to Get the Blues
Topic: CEF

The photo above shows an unidentified soldier of The Royal Canadian Regiment with a friend. Both men are wearing the standard dress for convalescing soldiers — Hospital Blues

During the First World War, many soldiers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force found themselves spending time in hospital. Diseases and injuries that today might be healed relatively quickly with batteries of antibiotics and other medicines to help the body combat infection could mean a hospital stay of week, or months, longer than we might envision under modern health care. Wounded and sick soldiers, depending on available facilities could find themselves recuperating not only in Hospital in France, but also throughout the United Kingdom. Especially, for the many which crossed the Channel as stretcher cases, their units administratively transferring them to holding units in the UK, there was not effective system (nor could there be one efficiently) that ensured a soldier would awake to find his own clean uniform to wear while convalescing.

Instead, we find that widespread service was made of the British Amy's existing solution for clothing recuperating solders, the "hospital blues." Blue linen suits, lined in white and nattily accessorized with a bright red tie. What self-respecting soldier wouldn't find that outfit stylish and debonair for "walking out" during his convalescence, especially since they came in a range of few sizes fitting few soldiers well. Although originally cut to be buttoned to the neck, turning down the collar of the jacket added the benefit of bright white lapels to the hospital blues' appeal.

There was, however, one saving grace. Each soldier kept and wore his service cap and regimental badge with the hospital blues. This ensured they retained their regimental affiliations, and with discerning eye, could identify members of their own unit, or of ones they had fought with.

Soldiers might find themselves in "blues" for months at a time. The outfit also ensured that locals recognized the recovering soldier as such, and not mistaking him for someone they thought deserving of a white feather for ducking military service. The hospital suit garnered the respect due a man fighting for nation and Empire, even if the cause of his lengthy hospital stay might have been due to catching something his mother and minister would highly disprove of.

The greatest advantage of the blues was that while required to wear them, a soldier knew he was going to be sleeping in a warm bed, eating three square meals a day, and that his duty comprised getting fit enough to return to the fight.

More on Hospital Blues:

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2016 2:45 PM EST
Monday, 11 March 2013

Perpetuation and Coming Commemorations – Follow the Lineage
Topic: Perpetuation

(Or: "How One Regiment Could be Fighting in Three Places at Once")

The following regiments of the Canadian Army perpetuate more than one fighting unit of the infantry or machine gun corps of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. In many significant battles of the First World War, which these regiment's forebears won battlefield honours, they (and, hopefully, the organizers of commemorative events) will have to trace the actions of each perpetuated unit to fully develop an understanding the the roles of the soldiers they now honour in perpetuation. This may lead to some modern units standing in representation of more than one unit of the CEF during the Great War centennial years.

Notably, in each case, the various perpetuations are spread between Brigades and Division of the Corps, and the individual unit actions may, in some cases, be well separated in location and time. This can produce the appearance of inconsistencies when the detailed background is not well understood. For example, The Royal Canadian Regiment (The RCR), which itself reached France in November 1915, could find itself at events celebrating the battle of the summer of 1915. This is because it also perpetuates the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion, a unit of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division that did reach the battlefields in early 1915 and won honours there now carried by The RCR in their memory.

First, some nomenclature:

  • Cdn Inf Bn – Canadian Infantry Battalion
  • Cdn Inf Bde – Canadian Infantry Battalion
  • Cdn Inf Div – Canadian Infantry Division
  • CMGC – Canadian Machine Gun Corps

Regiments with Multiple Perpetuations of CEF Combat Units

The Royal Winnipeg Rifles

The Royal Canadian Regiment

The Black Watch of Canada (Royal Highland Regiment)

The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's)

The North Saskatchewan Regiment

The Nova Scotia Highlanders

The Victoria Rifles of Canada (reduced to nil strength and transferred to the Supplementary Order of Battle on 5 Mar 1965)

  • 24th Cdn Inf Bn / 5th Cdn Inf Bde / 2nd Cdn Inf Div
  • 60th Cdn Inf Bn / 9th Cdn Inf Bde / 3rd Cdn Inf Div

Why are the Division identifiers in different Colours? In the First World War, the soldiers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force wore distinctive shoulder flashes that, to a practiced eye, identified the soldier by his division, brigade and battalion. See this post for a brief explanation of the shoulder flash system.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 27 April 2014 5:48 PM EDT
Sunday, 10 March 2013

Pay for the Canadian MIlitia (1914)
Topic: Pay; the Queen's shilling

The Guide: A Manual for the Canadian Militia (Infantry)

Compiled by Major-General Sir William D. Otter, K.C.B., C.V.O. (Retired List) Ninth Edition—Revised 1914


The daily pay for the several ranks and appointments in the Active Militia (Infantry) are as under (the rates of pay for the Permanent Force are somewhat different):

(A third column has been added to the table to show annual salaries.)

RankDaily Rate of PayAnnual Pay
Lieutenant- Colonel$5.00$1825
Adjutant (in addition to pay of rank)$0.50 
Musketry Instructor (in addition to pay of rank)$0.50 
Chaplain (rank of Major)$4.00$1460
Chaplain (rank of Captain)$3.00$1095
Lieutenant (provisional)$1.50$547.50
Sergeant-Major (if a Warrant Officer)$1.75$638.75
Sergeant-Major (not a Warrant Officer)$1.50$547.50
Band Master (if a Warrant Officer)$1.75$638.75
Band Master (if acting)$1.50$547.50
Quarter-Master Sergeant$1.25$456.25
Paymaster Sergeant$1.15$419.75
Orderly Room Sergeant$1.15$419.75
Colour Sergeant$1.10$401.50
Sergeant Drummer, etc.$1.00$365
Sergeant Pioneer$1.00$365
Machine Gun Sergeant$1.00$365
Stretcher Bearer Sergeant$1.00$365
Private or Bugler$0.75$273.75

Comparative Civilian Wages

For comparison, average annual salaries of other professions in the same era were:

Supervisory and office employees (1910) LINK $994
Teachers in English Canada (Ontario, 1910) LINK$485
Annual earnings in manufacturing industries, production and other workers (1910) LINK$417
Farm Workers (Ontario, 1914, including board) LINK$297

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 17 June 2013 2:58 PM EDT
Saturday, 9 March 2013

An RCR Pioneer Jug Band, circa 1955
Topic: The RCR

The above United Press photo featuring Pioneers of the Royal Canadian Regiment (The RCR) was discovered in a chance survey of offerings on ebay. The attached caption sheet reads:—

"Berlin:— This is good old mountain music, but nothing is the way one would expect it to be. First of all, these boys aren't in the Ozarks or the Appalachians—they're in Germany. Not only that, they never were in the Ozarks—they're all Canadians. They're specially -privileged, too—all winners in the beard-growing competition held by the three Pioneer Platoons of the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade, they may wear their beards until their return to Canada. All members of the Pioneer Platoon of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, serving in Germany, they are, left to right, front row: Sgt Joe York, Toronto, with a jug that's good when full and good for bass noted when empty; Pte Al Selig, Hantsport, Nova Scotia, with musical saw; and L/Cpl John Karmasinuk of Winnipeg, with accordion. In back row, left to right, are: Pte Ken Durant of Montreal, violin; Pte Allan Crane of Belle Isle, Newfoundland, harmonica; and Pte Don Johnson, Mimico, Ontario, with guitar." (United Press Photo; 28 Oct 1955)

Pioneers of the Regiment didn't get so much media attention until the viral appearance of the Lumberjack Commandos on the Internet:

One member of the jug band, however, has been seen by many members of the Regiment over past decades. Al Selig's photo, allegedly brought back from a professional photographer's window display in Cyprus by regimental members on a later tour after it was replaced, was to be found in the entrance to The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum:

Sadly, with the disbanding of the PIoneer Platoons in Canadian infantry battalions in 2002, no more will such glorious facial hair be seen on the parade grounds of the Regiment.

Pro Patria


Badges of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 9 March 2013 10:57 AM EST
Friday, 8 March 2013

The Soldiers' Load – The RCR at Vimy Ridge
Topic: Soldiers' Load

From the War Diary of The Royal Canadian Regiment (The RCR), we have a very clear description of what the soldiers of the Regiment were carrying as they assaulted the slopes of Vimy Ridge on the morning of 9 April, 1917. The following is taken from an appendix to the April, 1917, portion of the War Diary, entitled "Summary of Operations of The Royal Canadian Regiment".


The battalion attacked wearing battle order, i.e., ammunition pouches with Haversacks on shoulder straps. Leather jerkins were worn and waterproof sheets carried. Rifle Grenadiers carried in addition 20 No. 23 Mills Rifle Grenades, 4 Smoke Bombs with attachments for firing from Rifle, cup attachment for firing grenades, 50 rounds blank ammunition. Bomber carried 20 No. 5 Mills Bombs and 2 Smoke bombs.

Riflemen carried two Mills Bombs in Haversack, 170 rounds of ammunition, pair of wire cutters, pair of hedging gloves and 4 riflemen per platoon carried Turnover wire cutters for attachment to Rifles.

Each man carried a ground flare for Aeroplane contact and a VERY light (large or small) and S.O.S. rockets were distributed among all ranks proportionally.

Stores Carried

The first wave (attacking platoons) carried only their fighting equipment.

Each man of the two remaining platoons per Co. carried either a shovel or pick (350 shovels, and 50 picks were taken across).

In addition, these two platoons per Co. carried 20 rolls of barb wire or its equivalent of concertina or French wire each and 35 large screw stakes.

Rations and Water

Each man carried two Iron rations and one days rations.

Each man went over with a full water bottle.

A hot meal was issued at the latest possible moment before the attack and Rum ration issued within hour of jumping off.

Even within these few short paragraphs, we can see that the battle these troops were trained to fight was very different from the stereotypical media portrayal of First World War attacks with static waves of infantry sweeping forward. The assaulting platoons have rifle grenadiers and bombers, to force entry into enemy trenches with high explosives and to deal with dugouts and bunkers. Flares and rockets, in the absence of radios and not trusting wire to remain intact, provide a basic means of communicating with over-watching aircraft and protective artillery batteries. Tools to cut enemy wire, and then supplies to establish new obstacles at the point of consolidation are brought by the immediately following troops. And also the necessary picks and shovels to dig in where the attack ends, ready to defend the ground taken and to keep it against the inevitable German counter-attacks.

"The Battalion went over, the leading two companies in waves at 20 paces distance and three paces interval, the two rear companies following at 50 paces distance in Artillery formation in file."

An officer of the Regiment, in diary notes, described the tasks assigned to The RCR:

"The task allotted to the regiment was the capture of two objectives, the first a line of trenches about 800 yards forward, the second the Ecole Commune, the chateau and western edge of La Folie Wood some 400 yards further on. The frontage was approximately 250 yards with 4th Cdn Mtd Rifles on the right and P.P.C.L.I. on the left. Assisting were four guns of 7th Cdn M.G. Co., two guns 7th Cdn Trench Mortar Battery (Stokes guns), a party of 7th Field Co. Cdn Engineers with the Brigade wiring party, and two platoons of 49th Cdn Battn (Edmonton Regt) which acted as "moppers up"."

See his notes for a description of the day's fighting. Section "C" OBSERVATIONS of the "Summary of Operations" provides a detailed description of what preparations were most effective and which, due to the thorough artillery preparations of the battlefield, were not needed as much as they might have been.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 8 March 2013 12:38 AM EST
Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Master Butcher (1914)
Topic: Army Rations

Canadian Army Service Corps Training, 1914

The master butcher is responsible for the custody of the cattle, that they are properly slaughtered, that the meat is properly cut up for issue to the troops, that a roster is kept to insure that each unit gets the right change each day, and that an account of all issues and receipts is kept.

He is responsible that the slaughter house and equipment atre throroughly clean, free from smell and disinfected.

He will be responsible for the routine, discipline, and cleanliness of the butchers, and that they do not unduly destroy hides of material, and that all offal is either buried, burnt or taken away.

A squad of butchers consists of six men, viz., one "Foreman," one "First hand," two "Second hands," and two "Third hands."

For killing and dressing cattle, they are divided into two sub-divisions:—

(a)Foreman(b)First hand
Second handSecond hand
Third handThird hand

The squad should kill and dress two bullocks in forty-five minutes.

For killing and dressing sheep, they are divided as follows:—

(a)Foreman(b)First hand(c)Second hand
Third handThird handSecond hand

The squad should kill and dress three sheep in twelve minutes.

Thus in a day of eight working hours a squad of butchers will kill and dress twenty bullocks, or 120 sheep.

Roughly one butcher is required for every 1,000 troops.



Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 7 March 2013 12:22 AM EST
Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Great War Centennial and Researching CEF Soldiers

With the centennial of the First World War approaching, we can expect a series of commemorative initiatives by the Government of Canada, led by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), and supported by the Department of National Defence (DND). If planners are careful, they'll match the many units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) with existing Canadian Army units, ensuring that those which now perpetuate honours are identified and made available to represent their forebears at each commemorative ceremony. See this post to see what units would parade for each infantry division of the CEF

We can also most likely expect to see the recurrence of another trend that has followed major commemorations of Canada's wars overseas, a tendency for many Canadians to be reminded that they too had family members who fought and, for some, family members who did not return home. Some will begin a journey of discovery to see what can be learned of those grandfathers, great-uncles, and other relatives, many of whom left little to the family history but the gaps their loss or silence created.

Luckily for all Canadians, today there is a growing wealth of information for those who search for information on soldiers of the First World War. Library and Archives Canada (LAC) provides a database of Soldiers of the First World War at which Attestation papers may be viewed and service records ordered, also the War Diaries of most units of the CEF have been scanned and made available, allowing the tracing of units and their actions.

The wealth of research treasures of the LAC comes with a price, the complexity of their website is daunting to a newcomer. The following pages offer a guide to introduce new researchers to some of the LAC's resources. Each part of the series of pages introduces available resources, LAC and others, and offers added information to assist a family researcher in beginning the discovery of the Great War soldiers in their family history.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 6 March 2013 12:14 AM EST
Tuesday, 5 March 2013

"Time spent on recce..."
Topic: Drill and Training

We often hear catchphrases but we can never quite be certain where they originated. Infantry officers training in the Canadian Army have long head one which goes "Time spent on recce (i.e, reconnaissance) is never wasted" … intending to teach the new officer that even if he or she thinks they understand a situation completely, a thorough reconnaissance (time permitting) is invaluable, if for no other reason to confirm what is known. Inevitably, in training and service afterwards, reconnaissance often identified factors that were previously not known to the officer and which materially affect the plan evolving in their mind. failing to heed this adage can have serious consequences.

Corporal to Field Officer (Infantry) in the Non-Permanent Active Militia of Canada, 1925

by Capt H.P.E. Phillips, M.C.; The Royal Canadian Regiment and Lieut. Col. R.J.S. Langford; The Royal Canadian Regiment.
(French Edition by Lieut. P.E. Poirier, M.M.; Royal 22nd Regiment.)

Chapter VIII

Infantry in Attack

The principles governing the attack are the same whatever the size or organization of the force engaged may be; the same problems on a smaller scale will ave to be met and overcome by the Company Commander and even the Platoon Commander who is conducting an attack, as would have to be faced by the G.O.C. of a larger formation. These principles are briefly as follows:—

(1)     A Sound Tactical Plan

To start off blindly without any pre-arranged idea of what you are going to do is courting disaster. In order to make your plans it is essential that you have some information. The Commander of a large formation would obtain the necessary information in various ways: Aeroplane Photographs, Spies, etc.; with smaller formations it comes down to making a personal reconnaissance.


(2)     Secrecy in Preparation

It stands to reason that if the enemy is aware beforehand of what you are going to do, your chances of success are greatly diminished.

(3)      Surprise in Execution

A most important point … it necessarily depends greatly in secrecy beforehand, but it is not much avail if after having prepared your plans with secrecy you give everything away at the last moment and fail to surprise your enemy in the end.

(4)     Skill and Vigour in Execution

The best laid plans will go amiss unless subordinate commanders have sufficient skill t put them into execution, hence the necessity of training and study. Once your plans are made, carry them out with vigour, half-hearted measures will never succeed, make up your mind what you are going to do and do it. hesitation and doubt on your part means Demoralization on your men's part. A poor plan carried out with vigour stands more chance of success than a good plan carried out in a half-hearted manner.

(5)     Co-operation

Co-operation between all arms of the Service and of all individuals is essential to success. All must help each other towards the common goal to defeat the enemy. Good team work is the thing which brings success.

Time spent on recce is never wasted. This may not be the earliest use of the phrase, or even the earliest documentation of it, but it is the earliest one I've found to date.

Time spent on recce is never wasted. A solid piece of advice well understood by many in the Army. Some learned it the hard way, others took it at face value and proved to themselves its usefulness. Of the ones who learn things the hard way, there is a corollary adage which they too may ave discovered under less than pleasant training conditions: Time wasted on recce is never recovered.

It is not without reason that the modern steps of Battle Procedure taught to young officers and NCOs in the Canadian Army include the step to make a Recce Plan before launching out to see the world of their impending operation.

  • Capt H.P.E. Phillips, M.C.; The Royal Canadian Regiment
    • Captain Harold Preston Evans Phillips, M.C., enlisted as a soldier in The RCR on 7 Nov 1908 (after three years in the Engineers). he rose to the appointment of Regimental Sergeant Major from December 1914 to March 1916, after which he was commissioned in the Regiment. During the First World War, Phillips was Mentioned in Despatches for gallantry twice and received the Military Cross and Bar (a second award of the Military Cross).
  • Lieut. Col. R.J.S. Langford; The Royal Canadian Regiment
    • Lieutenant-Colonel Robert John Spinluff served with The Royal Canadian Regiment from 1907 to 1935, commanding the Regiment from 1929 to 1935. he served overseas during the First World War as the Brigade Major of the 15th Canadian Infantry Brigade, and then of the 206th (Imperial) Brigade, before being appointed the Commandant Canadian Concentration Camp in 1918. He continued to serve for another 20 years after the Great War in both regimental and staff appointments.
  • Lieut. P.E. Poirier, M.M.; Royal 22nd Regiment.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 5 March 2013 1:46 PM EST
Monday, 4 March 2013

The Vimy Pilgrimage - The Five Liners
Topic: Vimy Pilgrimage

As described in the July 1936 Vimy Pilgrimage handbook and the book "The Epic of Vimy" published after the trip, the organization of the Vimy Pilgrimage for the trip overseas was described as follows:

1.     Organization. The pilgrimage is divided into five parties – one for each of the five passenger liners used. Each party is, in turn, divided into companies, numbering from 8 to 11 per ship and comprising from 120 to 135 pilgrims each. The staff in charge of every party consists of 1 Party Leader, 1 Assistant Party Leader, 1 Staff Clerk, and 1 Company Leader as designated for each company.

The parties are designated as:

The Launch Itinerary

Thursday, July 16— "K," "L," "M," and "O" Parties will sail from Montreal on the steamers "Montcalm" and "Montrose" of the Canadian Pacific Steamship, Ltd., and the "Antonia" and "Ascania," of the Cunard-White Star Line.

Friday, July 17— "Y" sails from Montreal in the Canadian Pacific liner "Duchess of Bedford."

The Vimy Pilgrimage, organized for the unveiling of the Vimy Memorial by King Edward VIII on 26 July, 1936, saw 6200 pilgrims cross the Atlantic on the five liners. Another 1365 Canadians in Europe joined the Pilgrimage. It is estimated that there were 8000 people at the unveiling of the Memorial.

Each pilgrim that made the Atlantic crossing paid the sum of $160 to cover the costs of Ocean Fare ($119.60), Land Tour ($36.00) and Pilgrimage Equipment ($4.40). The Pilgrimage Equipment consisted of Beret, Haversack, Official Medal, Company Badge, Official Guide Book, and Health and Accident Coverage.


Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 22 February 2013 2:18 PM EST

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