The Minute Book
Sunday, 28 April 2013

"Over the Top," by Arthur Guy Empey (1917)
Topic: CEF

In 1917, Arthur Guy Empey, an American who served in France with the British Expeditionary Force, wrote the book "Over the Top." Pitched to the growing public interest in the War in the United States, Empey's story of his service, from his decision to go to England to enlist after the sinking of the Lusitania to his wounding and discharge, provided a tale of the popular hero doing the right thing. His narrative covers all the familiar ground of the Great War soldier, and reads as well today in harmony with popular perceptions of the War as it would have to his audience in 1917.

Empey's story, perhaps, fits almost too nicely with those popular perceptions, polished as they have been for us now by almost a century of repetitive descriptions of the same elements of Great War service. While some of Empey's tale might need to be taken with a grain of salt, even if only for the way his service seems to include every stereotypical experience of a soldier of the Western Front, we find that the included "Tommy's Dictionary of the Trenches" offers the best view that he is writing to entertain, perhaps more so than to educate. Some selected examples are included below:

"Any complaints" – A useless question asked by an inspecting officer when he makes the rounds of billets or Tommy's meals. A complaining Tommy generally lands on the crime sheet. It is only recruits who complain; the old men just sigh with disgust.

Bayonet – A sort of knife–like contrivance which fits on the end of your rifle. The Government issues it to stab Germans. Tommy uses it to toast bread.

C.C.S. – Casualty Clearing Station. A place where the doctors draw lots to see of Tommy is badly wounded enough to be sent to Blighty.

Crime Sheet. – A useless piece of paper on which is kept a list of Tommy's misdemeanors.

C.S.M. – Company Sergeant Major, the head non–commissioned officer of a company, whose chief duty is to wear a crown on his arm, a couple of Boer War ribbons on his chest, and to put Tommy's name and number on the crime sheet.

"Lonely Soldier" – A soldier who advertises himself as "lonely" through the medium of some English newspaper. If he is clever and diplomatic by this method hegenerally receives two or three percels a week, but he must be careful not to write to two girls on the same block or his parcel post mail will diminish.

Mentioned in Despatches – Recommended for bravery. Tommy would rather be recommended for leave.

Military Medal – A piece of junk issued to Tommy who has done something that is not exactly brave but still is not cowardly. When it is presented he takes it and goes back wondering why the Army picks on him.

"On the mat" – When Tommy is hauled before his commanding officer to explain why he has broken one of the seven million King's regulations for the government of the Army. His "explanation" never gets him anywhere unless it is on the wheel of a limber.

Runner – A soldier who is detailed or picked as an orderly for an officer while in the trenches. His real job is to take messages under fire, asking how many tins of jam are required for 1917.

Sergeant's Mess – Where the sergeants eat. Nearly all of the rum has a habit of disappearing into the Sergeant's Mess.

Trench Feet – A disease of the feet contracted in the trenches from exposure to extreme cold and wet. Tommy's greatest ambition is to contract this disease because it means "Blighty" for him.1

V.C. – Victoria Cross, or "Very careless" as Tommy calls it. It is a bronze medal won by Tommy for being very careless with his life.

1.     Hardly a minor concern, trench feet could lead to severe infections and amputations. By the winter of 1915–16, trench foot was considered a crime and a unit could lose leave privileges if it became prevalent.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 27 April 2013

A Staff Officer's Dictionary (1963)
Topic: Staff Duties

The Owl (1963)

Course journal; publication of the Command and Staff College, Quetta, Pakistan

A Staff Officer's Dictionary

by Major M. Bashir Ahmed, The Baluch Regiment

1PlanningFogging the issue.
2Under active considerationWill have a shot at finding the file.
3Has received careful considerationA period of inactivity covering the time lag.
4For commentsTo be honest I know nothing about it. Could you put me wise?
5Ascertained informallyHad a cup of tea.
6Transmitted to youTry holding the baby for a while.
7ConcurHave not read the document!
8Kindly expedite replyFor God's sake try to find the papers.
9In abeyanceA state of grace for a disgraceful state.
10Appropriate actionDo you know what to do with it? We don't.
11DADOS*Greek work meaning "Unobtainable."
12On a high levelA talk between two junior officers of different branches.
13DecisionA staff officer's last resort.
14This must await my returnEnsure destruction or loss before I return.
15Immediate or PriorityColoured slips of paper to be attached to any file you want to foist on to somebody else at the eleventh hour on a Saturday.
16Urgent reminderAn uncalled for note normally issued in panic when at last remembered. To be placed at the bottom of the "pending" tray.
17Pay slipsMysterious pieces of paper bearing no apparent relation to what you imagine your pay to be.
18RocketA projectile traveling from a greater to a lesser elevation.
19Putting him in the pictureLong and confused statement to a new-comer.

* Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 26 April 2013

The Canadian Honours System
Topic: Medals

Courtesy of the Department of National Defences Directorate of Honours and Recognition, comes this site on Canadian Honours. The Canadian Honours Chart identifies the many honours, awards and medals that can be worn by members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Ranging from the Victoria Cross to the Commissionaires Long Service Medal, each identified medal links to an associated page giving general information and eligibility requirements.

For medals that are no longer issued, a similar series of pages can be found in the Veterans Affairs Canada website; Orders, Decorations and Medals.

Recipients of honours and awards for valour and meritorious service can be researched at the Governor General's website:

Earlier recipients of valour, meritorious and long service awards can also be sought among the pages of the London Gazette and the Canada Gazette, but be warned, the searching of either archive can require patience.

For guidance on wearing of medals and ribbons, see the following guide:

For those with an interst in learning more about Canadian medals and awards, there is no better source to start with than Christpher McCreery's book; The Canadian Honours System.

For research into older medals, try the Medal Yearbook and/or British Battle and Medals, two valuable references for collectors and researchers.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 25 April 2013

Wolseley Barracks, London, Ontario, the 1940s
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Thanks to the University of Western Ontario, we can explore the development of London through their online publication of local aerial photos. Among their resources can be found a series of images taken of London's urban area in the 1940s, including the neighbourhoods covering and surrounding Wolseley Barracks.

Wolseley Barracks, created in 1886 on property formerly owned by the Carling family, saw the construction of Wolseley Hall between 1886 and 1888 and the occupation of the barracks by "D" Company of the Canadian Infantry School Corps in 1888. The Infantry School Corps has become The Royal Canadian Regiment, which has had a continuous presence in London since the 1880s and still recognizes Wolseley Barracks as its Home Station today. Today the 4th Battalion of the Regiment and The RCR Museum remain quartered in Wolseley Hall.

In these aerial photos taken during and just after the Second World War, we can see the development and growth of the buildings at Wolseley Barracks during this very busy period for the base. During the War, Wolseley Barracks was the home of No. 1 District Depot which saw Canadian servicemen at the start and the end of their service, passing through Wolseley Barracks for some of their training and then again for discharge.


The 1942 arial photo shows the base area as still mostly open ground. Now bounded on the east by a solid row of civilian housing on Sterling Street, that boundary plus Oxford Street on the North, Elizabeth Street on the west and the rail tracks to the south will be the familiar base property for generations of Canadian soldiers who served in London. The base area is still anchored on its west boundary by the (still-standing) buildings of the old Quartermaster's stores in the lower left corner (now found behind McMahen Park) and by Wolseley Hall in the upper left (the home of the 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, the 1st Hussars, and The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum).

Most of the First World War generation of buildings are gone in this image, starting to be replaced by the ubiquitous Second World War "H Huts," construction of which started in 1941. These buildings, named for their distictive shape were, in their simplest use, two long open barracks joined in the centre by washrooms and utility areas. These will be familiar to anyone who has served on almoat any Canadian Army base from that era to the 1990s, and some are probably still standing around the country. In the upper right of the base area, tent lines can be seen as the need for housing easily outstripped available barracks space.


By 1945 we find more "H-Huts" filling in the base, the tent lines are now gone and more training facilities have been created, the majority of these having been completed by the end of 1942. By 1946, over 30,000 servicemen would return through Wolseley Barracks for demoilization. The turning point in the function of District Depot No. 1 was V-E Day, when the emphasis changed from enrolment of recruits to discharging returning servicemen.

The aerial photos at Western Libraries Map and Data Centre are provided with the following source data:

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 25 April 2013 1:03 AM EDT
Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Researching the CEF; The Works of Ted Wigney
Topic: CEF

Anyone who researches soldier of the Canadian Expeditionary Force eventually comes across the name of Edward Wigney. A tireless researcher and compiler of information, Edward left behind a series of works that presented an incredible amount of his own research.

The C.E.F. Roll of Honour (1996)

The best known book produced by Wigney is "The C.E.F. Roll of Honour." In this 866-page volume, Ted compiled a comprehensive listing of the 67,000 "members and former members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who died as a result of service in the Great War, 1914-1919." Using the Canadian Books of Remembrance and the War Graves Registers as his starting point, he tackled the great challenges of reconciling conflicting information on individuals, the use of aliases and the many errors of spelling and transcription of numbers that previous recorders left in their paths. Wigney's Roll of Honour is an impressive work linking the soldiers personal details to unit, date or death, cemetery and notes containing details of unit of enlistment, nature of death and age where known.

"The CEF Roll of Honour" is available through

This book lists every Canadian servicemen who died during WWI. It involves seven years of work and brings together previously disjointed and unknown information into one substantial text. This book is a joy to peruse and easy to use in that all 67,000 names are listed alphabetically! This is a limited quantity printing and will be a necessary addition to any library. 880 pages, beautiful hardcover; 67 000 names; full Christian name, rank, serial number; place of burial; honours and awards, cross-referenced alias names; cause of death (i.e., KIA, DOW); Canadians who died serving with British, Australian, New Zealand, South African and U.S. forces; identification of all North American Indians; P.O.W.'s; listed alphabetically and much more. Probably the most important book you can own on WWI.

Mentioned in Despatches of the C.E.F. (2000)

Researching Mentions in Despatches (MiD) can be a frustrating exercise because the varying ways names might be listed in the London Gazette can make for slow and seemingly futile searches. This can be compounded when a recipient may have received more had one mention, or when a note in a file or personal history identifies the receipt of a Mention in Despatches, but it turns out to be something quite different.

Wigney's "Mentioned in Despatches of the C.E.F." is actually two compiled lists. The first is the listing of those Mentioned in Despatches and Names Brought to Notice to the Secretary of State for War (A List) of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. This list includes the recipient's details, with rank at the time of each award as applicable, unit, and the London Gazette issue number and date of issue.

The second part of this volume provides the listing of those Names Brought to Notice to the Secretary of State for War (B List) of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Similar to being Mentioned in Despatches, this degree of notice did not include the privilege of wearing the MiD emblem.

Self published by Wigney, copies of Mentioned in Despatches can often be found through on line sources.

Guests of the Kaiser; Prisoners of War of the CEF 1915-1918 (2008)

Sadly, Edward Wigney died on 28 Sep 2008 while completing preparations for publish "Guests of the Kaiser." His family ensured that the manuscript was completed and his roll of 3800 CEF Prisoners of War became an available reference to Canadian Great War researchers.

"Guests of the Kaiser" is available through Norm Christie's CEF Books.

The late Ted Wigney was Canada's foremost Great War researcher. His Roll of Honour of the CEF has become the WWI Researchers Bible. Ten years in the making in Guests of the Kaiser Ted has compiled the details of 3800 CEF POWs. The majority were taken at Ypres and Mount Sorrel, but Ted's meticulous list gives details of all POWs, those lost on Trench Raids, The March Retreats, and even divulges the Alias of the RCR deserter, Otto Doerr, who went over to the Germans before Vimy, and gave up much information on the Canadian Plans. Only Ted Wigney could unravel the story of the RCR deserter. The book also contains the stories of the 100 Escapers, gallantry awards, and many other fascinating details of this forgotten piece of Canadian history.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 April 2013 7:45 AM EDT
Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Victory Medal
Topic: Medals

Over 350,000 Canadians received the Victory Medal (Inter-Allied War medal) for service in the First World War. The Victory Medal is the second most common medal awarded to Canadians for Great War service after the British War Medal. The Victory Medal is always accompanied by the British War Medal, and, for those whose service in theatre started before the end of 1915, also with the 1914-15 Star. These groupings are colloquially referred to as the First World War "pair" (BWM + VM) and the "trio" (1914-15 Star + BWM + VM). Unlike the British War Medal, the Victory Medal could not be issued as a sole entitlement, i.e., alone.

Eligibility for the Victory Medal required that the recipient had served on the strength of a unit in a theatre of war between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918. Soldiers who reached France but did not transfer to the strength of a unit serving in France before the Armistice were not eligible, alternatively, a soldier who had been posted to a unit became eligible even if he did not reach his unit before the cessation of hostilities.

There were no clasps (bars) issued for the Victory Medal. If the recipient was also Mentioned in Despatches, the oak leaf emblem for that honour was mounted on the Victory Medal ribbon.



Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 April 2013 1:21 AM EDT
Monday, 22 April 2013

Battle Honours for Afghanistan
Topic: Battle Honours

What will it take to award Battle Honours for Afghanistan?

While I do not know where the Canadian Forces currently stands on the possibility of Battle Honours being awarded for Canadian battle groups in combat in Afghanistan, I expect that the confirmation of eligibility requirements, etc., will not be made until we are finally (completely) out of theatre and then the stage will be prepared for regiments to identify which honours they believe the should receive and can justify. Some, like Theatre Honours (e.g., "ITALY 1943-45") have historically been straightforward, the year dates indicating continuous service in the theatre, but we didn't deploy like that. Battle honours for specific battles have traditionally required the unit's headquarters plus a minimum of 50% of that unit's troops to be involved … but we didn't always build battle groups for Afghanistan that would meet that type of criteria (mixed groupings of sub-units don't qualify under the old terms). The bottom line is that the old rules don't apply very effectively. To overcome this deficiency in the older regulations, it is likely that the Canadian Armed Forces Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH) has been working on building new criteria from the ground up to align with the way we force generate and deploy battle groups in the modern era.

This subject is one of recurring discussion topic in the online forum "" The recent, and ongoing, award of Battle Honours to modern units designated as perpetuating units of the War of 1812 has also served to bring this topic to the fore with regularity. While some correspondents have readily commented on which units and which actions they feel are deserving of honours, the question usually runs aground when it is explained that the existing terms and conditions for the award of Battle Honours don't match the way the Canadian Army fought in Afghanistan. Because of this, there a lot of groundwork to be laid before individual actions can be debated. That is also why we need re-engineered guidelines before regiments can start to look at what actions may or may not fit the new criteria (or where they may have to make a special case to support nominating an action that falls "outside" the boundaries).

The existing regulations for Battle Honours show a consistency between the First and Second World Wars, with the latter as the basis for awards for the Korean War. For review, these can be found at the following links, note also the time period between cessation of hostilities and the promulgation of the conditions:

To prepare the ground for regiments to identify the Battle Honours they want to receive, the essential introductory steps will be, in some form:

a.     Review and confirmation of the conditions for selection and award of honours,

b.     Creation of an approved list of operations (see reference to the Battles Nomenclature Committee in the First World War terms and conditions), and

c.     Standing up of the applicable Regimental Committees to draft proposed regimental lists of honours.

The greatest departure from the "old" regulations will be in addressing the modern approach to building Battle Groups which may have seen a deployed organization employinng sub-units from three different parent units (not to mention the broad possibilities for other augmentation). If the engaged subunits in a given combat action did not all come from the unit providing the headquarters, then which regiment is entitled to receive a Battle Honour? One could argue that the battle honour go to the deployed Battle Group as a unique unit, but that brings us full circle to the problem faced at the end of the First World War. In early 1918, it was realized that the disbandment of the Canadian Expeditionary Force would result in almost all honours that might be awarded for the service of CEF units would be shelved with the records of the disbanded units. To avoid this fate, the concept of perpetuation was created, by which CEF units were linked to existing units of the Canadian Militia for the purpose of carrying forward with active units the history, heritage, and honours of those CEF units. Without perpetuation, few units in the Canadian Army would carry Great War honours today. Similarly, awarding Battle Honours to Afghanistan battle groups which were dissolved as unique units on redeployment would mean that the honours would belong to units that no longer exist.

So, would such Battle Honours then be perpetuated by the regiment that provided the headquarters? Or would a different solution be desirable?

An alternative solution can be found in the old regulations with the conditions recognizing "exceptional cases where individual squadrons or companies took an important part in certain operations, and in such cases any claims submitted will be treated on their merits" or "where a regiment was represented in a theatre only by a squadron or a company operating independently". This condition did not apply in the First World War, and so the Machine Gun battalions of the CEF only received battle honours dated after the formation of Battalions from the Machine Gun Companies in each Division. We see the effects of this change with the Second World War where, for example, parent regiments received battle honours for the actions of the Support Companies to the Brigades (such as the Princess Louise Fusiliers) and in Korea with the Lord Strathcona's Horse for the actions of its deployed squadrons over three years.

The award of Battle Honours based on the actions of individual sub-units is a valuable precedent for the Afghanistan problem, but the conditions would need to reflect had become a approach to building battle groups for Afghanistan, and was no longer the "exceptional case." The complementary requirement that would need to be considered is that nominations for battle honours may need to examine the locations and participation of each sub-unit level within a battle group.

"What about the Reserves?" will likely be an attendant question to discussions of Afghanistan battle honours. In this too there are precedents to be considered.

For the South African War (1899-1902), 26 Militia regiments received theatre honours for the numbers of soldiers they provided to the deployed field units that formed the Canadian Contingents. Similarly, for the First World War, honours to some Militia regiments which, while not perpetuating combat units of the CEF, proved that at least 250 men (see paras 10 to 13 here) from their perpetuated battalion(s), or that they directly sent overseas as a Draft, were present with eligible combat units at specific battles. The key, in both cases, is the requirement that the numbers of soldiers being examined were in front line units and in action. To apply this concept for Canadian Reservists in Afghanistan would also require identifying those soldiers from each unit that were with the deployed battle groups, i.e., the "units" that were determined to have earned Battle Honours.

The other precedent for battle honours to Reserve units has its own flaws. The awarding of Battle Honours for the War of 1812 to units of the Canadian Militia which served in that war is an ongoing project of the Government of Canada. These honours are being perpetuated by existing units of the Reserves (and the Regular Force) based on geographical connections to the towns and counties in which the War of 1812 units were raised. The method by which eligible units were identified leaned heavily on lists of units recorded as having soldiers present at the various actions, although apparently without detailed consideration of force structure, level of participation, or battlefield actions of individual units. To show what result this an lead to, the extreme example was the award of a battle honour to the Middlesex Regiment of Militia for the presence of a single officer at the battle of Detroit.

The Canadian Armed Forces have a daunting challenge to overcome in order to develop a modern set of terms and conditions for the award of Battle Honours to meet the operational context and force generation methods for Afghanistan. Whatever is developed then becomes the baseline for discussions between regiments and any formed committees for considering battle honours to determine what honours should be awarded, either based directly on the guidelines or defended as special cases. The question of Afghanistan Battle Honours is too important for this work to be rushed, or over-ridden by political manoeuvring seeking solutions without due care for detail. The best thing we can do is stand back and let the staff do their work to lay the foundation for Battle Honours that any eligible regiment will be proud to carry and to share the history of their participation in Afghanistan to earn them. It will, at the least, establish a baseline from which the negotiations can begin. (Like the issue of medals, no plan is going to make everyone happy, and rushing forward with a plan that "looks good" at first glance can cause years of bitterness afterwards.) If for no other reason than the importance of getting this right, it may take longer than people think to complete the necessary administration and review processes.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 21 April 2013

Flags of our Fighting Troops
Topic: The RCR

Thanks to Google's ongoing program to scan and make available a wide range of old and rare books, the occasional treasure is found that can support any particular area of research. One of these is "The Flags of our Fighting Troops; Including Standards, Guidons, Colours and Drum Banners" by Stanley C. Johnson, M.A., D.Sc., F.R.E.S. (Published by A. & C. Black, Ltd, Soho Square, London, 1918.) Surprisingly, this small volumes covers not only the Colours of the British Army, but also includes notes on the Colours of Canadian battalion that fought in the First World War. While not comprehensive, it does provide some intersting bits of information, the extracts below are those on units now perpetuated (2 of 5 perpetuated infantry battalions) by The Royal Canadian Regiment (or on The RCR itself).

33rd Battalion

Made and presented by I.O.D.E, London, Ontario, July 21st, 1915; accompanied the unit to England and deposited in Canterbury Cathedral on Aug 26th, 1916.

142nd Battalion

Colours made by Messrs Ryrie Brothers, Toronto, and presented by Sir Adam and Lady Beck, of London, Ontario, on Aug 19th, 1915; deposited in St Paul's Cathedral, London, Ontario.

The Royal Canadian Regiment

Colours in Halifax. (As of the writing of the volume in 1918.)

At the end of the Appendix on Canadian Colours, the following synopsis history of The Royal Canadian Regiment was provided:

The Royal Canadian Regiment is the only regular unit in the Canadian Forces. It was first raised in December, 1883, for the purpose of instructing the Canadian Militia, and was called the Infantry School Corps. Since then it has been known as the Royal Regiment of Canadian Infantry, then the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry, and later by its present title.

In 1894 H.M. Queen Victoria gave her Imperial Cypher V.R.I, as a badge. The Regiment was increased during the South African War by the raising of a 2nd and 3rd Battalion; these were afterwards disbanded.

In 1885 the Regiment took part in the suppression of the North West Rebellion under General Middleton at Batoche and Cut-Knife Creek.

In 1896 (sic) it formed part of the Expedition sent up to police the New Yukon District, where it remained for two years. In 1899-1900, the 2nd Battalion fought in South Africa with the 19th Brigade, doing particularly good service at Paardeburg (sic). In 1905 the establishment was increased, when the Imperial Troops handed over the garrisoning of the fortresses at Halifax and elsewhere to Canadian Troops.

In 1914, on the outbreak of war, the Battalion relieved the 2nd Bn. Lincolnshire Regiment at Bermuda, whre it remained for eleven months.

It landed in France in November, 1915, and took part in the battle of Ypres of June, 1916, Somme, September, 1916, and Vimy, 1917. It particularly distinguished itself on the Somme and Vimy.

H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught is Colonel of the Regiment.

In 1901, H.R.H. the Duke of Cornwall and York (now H.M. King George V.) presented Colours to the Regiment at Toronto. In 1904, H.E. Lord Minto, Governor-General of Canada, presented at Ottawa a special Banner given by H.M. King Edward VII, for service in South Africa.

Note: The Colours of both the 33rd and 142nd Canadian Infantry Battalions are currently laid up in St Paul's Cathedral, London, Ontario. The orginal Colours presented to The RCR are laid up in the Bishop Cronyn Church, London Ontario.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 21 April 2013 2:36 PM EDT
Saturday, 20 April 2013

Commonwealth War Graves Commission; The Cemeteries
Topic: CEF

Anyone who has followed the news reporting around Remembrance Day each year is aware of the cemeteries maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. When they are shown in news clips, it is usually one of the larger cemeteries, the reports comments remarking on the many roes, hundreds or thousands of graves, and the inevitable line about "the horror of war." But what seldom gets shared is not the overpowering images of the large cemeteries, which convey sacrifice in numbers beyond easy comprehension, it is the fact that there are thousands of smaller cemeteries, some with only a few burials, that poignantly rest among the hills and valleys of the French and Belgian countryside.

While researching the First World War casualties of The Royal Canadian Regiment, I expected to find them lying in a number of cemeteries following the Regiment's movements about the theatre of war. But I did not expect to identify, locate and record 183 separate burial and commemorative sites in seven countries. And this, to place it in perspective, was in searching for the fallen of only one infantry battalion (of the CEF's 48 battalions within the four infantry divisions).

Quiet beautiful cemeteries are the resting places for many of the Canadian casualties of the First World War. Well cared for in perpetuity, these sites exist in a state of grace, where visitors automatically fall into pensive silence as they walk between the rows of white or grey stones, either to visit an ancestor, perhaps the first of the family to do so, or to absorb the immensity of the sacrifice of so many fallen from so many families.

For those without the opportunity to visit the CWGC cemeteries in Europe, similar experiences may be found in many community cemeteries in Canada. Many soldiers, wounded or sick, managed to return to their families before succumbing to their wounds or illness. They too are among the dead of the Great War, and lie in cemeteries closer to home, most still marked by the familiar gravestone supplied through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Sacred Places; Canadian Cemeteries of the Great War

For those with an interest in learning more about the CWGC cemeteries, a new series of books now available from Norm Christie identifies each cemetery in France and Belgium with Canadian burials. Each entry is supplemented by notes on some of the soldiers whose graves can be found there.

  • Sacred Places, Vol I – Belgium = "...tells the stories of the 168 cemeteries that contain the graves of Canadians who died in Belgium during the Great War."
  • Sacred Places, Vol II – France (A-K) - "...the details of 240 Great War cemeteries in France and explained, giving location, historical background and stories of the Canadians buried there."
  • Sacred Places, Vol III – France (L-Z) - "...the details of 241 Great War cemeteries in France..."

Remembered; The History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

For anyone seeking more in depth information into the history of these cemeteries, I would recommend the following volume:

Remembered; The History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission"This lavishly illustrated book marks the 90th anniversary of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which pays tribute to the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars. Charting the development of the magnificent cemeteries and memorials built in 150 countries, "Remembered" emphasizes the importance of the commission's work not only in commemorating the dead, but also in preserving the sites of some of the most historically significant battles of the twentieth century. The first major illustrated history of its kind for almost fifty years, "Remembered" is an engaging introduction to the work of the CWGC and its enduring relevance today."

Lest we Forget

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 April 2013 12:38 AM EDT
Friday, 19 April 2013

The Royal Canadian Regiment Gate; Halifax, Nova Scotia
Topic: Halifax

On Gottingen Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia, set into the wall of the main Royal Canadian Navy shore establishment in the city, HMCS Stadacona, is a gate named for Canada's senior infantry regiment. While most Haligonians have probably never noticed the gate, and even for those whose daily commute takes them along that street it has probably faded from notice, even fewer could probably explain the connection between an infantry regiment and a unused gate in the wall of a Navy property.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Gate (The RCR Gate) links the City to its past, when The RCR was the garrison battalion in Halifax from 1905 to 1914. The Regiment's links to Halifax reach back even further, to when a 3rd (Special Service) Battalion was raised in 1900 and served in Halifax until 1902 while the British Army was focusing its efforts in South Africa. But in 1905, the British Army withdrew its last garrison soldiers from Canada, and that led to the expansion of The Royal Canadian Regiment, with a battalion headquarters and six new companies of infantry being formed to man the defences of Halifax.

The Regiment maintained one Company of infantry in the Citadel, but for the bulk of the Regiment's solders in Halifax, their home was Wellington Barracks. Wellington Barracks was located within the bounds of the current HMCS Stadacona property, with the soldiers' barrack building near Gottingen St and the officers' quarters closer to the harbour by a hundred metres or so. And the gate? The RCR Gate on Gottingen Street was the original entrance to Wellington Barracks.

The officers' Quarters was damaged in the Halifax Explosion on 6 December, 1917. The damage to the buildings was such that it took some days for the elements of the Regiment remaining in Halifax to recover the Regimental and King's Colours from the wreckage of the Officers' Mess. This was, no doubt, an important task in addition to aiding and assisting rescue and recovery efforts after the devastating explosion of the Mont-Blanc. The officers' quarters remained unoccupied until 1931 following extensive repair work, while the soldiers barracks was repaired and reoccupied after the 1917 Explosion.

In 1941 , the Wellington Barracks property was transfered to the Navy and HMCS Stadacona was forned from the expansion of the adjoining Navy property. The current sailor's barracks, "A" Block, occupies the orginal location of Wellington Barracks soldiers' barracks, which was known as "A" Mess. In the evolving reconstruction of the Stadacona site, and particularly the need to accommodate increased traffic flow, a new main gate was built further south on Gottingen Street and The RCR Gate became a historical artifact, maintained as a link to the past.

Today, The RCR Gate remains part of HMCS Stadacona, a reminder of when the local garrison included a Canadian Permanent Force (i.e., Regular Force) infantry battalion. The gate can be seen adorned with a regimental banner and cap badge over the gates, and the emblazoned battle honours of the Regiment on the stone Gate posts. The regimental cypher also decorate the two pedestrian doors flanking the main gate.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 19 April 2013 11:19 PM EDT
Thursday, 18 April 2013

Library and Archives Canada; Courts Martial - First World War
Topic: LAC

Among the digital collections accessible on line at Library and Archives Canada is the database listing Canadian Soldiers of the First World War who were convicted by Courts Martial while serving overseas.

Searchable by surname, regimental (service) number, unit and offence, the database will let you see if your ancestor was a bad boy, and exactly what he may have done to contravene the expectations of the military justice system.

When checking search results, keep in mind that soldiers moved through a variety of holding and administrative units on their way to the front lines, so a listing with an unfamiliar unit should not be disregarded as being the wrong soldier.

Looking at the Courts Martial details for The Royal Canadian Regiment, out of about 4700 who served overseas with the Regiment, there were about 170 Courts Martial, some may be yet to be counted if they were serving with another unit titles at the time of their convictions. This gives a general estimate that one in 27 soldiers, or about 3.5% of the CEF may have been sentenced by Court Martial once or more (for the infantry that is, your mileage may vary in other Corps).

The offences as detailed in the King’s Regulations and Orders can also be researched further. As with many official orders and regulations, it is often the detailed context that is paramount to understand the nature of the offence and how it relates to what may sometimes seem to be a random award of punishment. Luckily for researchers, the 1907 edition of KR&O can be found online. The LAC search help page also provides a brief outline of the offences.

The LAC Courts Martial Database can also be the starting point to order a copy of the Court Martial transcript for more detailed research. See the file reference which forms part of each detailed record on the database and the search help page for guidance on ordering a file.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Canada General Service Medal 1866-70
Topic: Medals

The Canadian Militia participated in the defeat of the Fenians in 1866 and 1870. Twenty-eight years after the actions of 1870, a medal was authorized for participation in those events. The following Militia General Order provides the instructions for applying for the medal and its clasps as published in the Canada Gazette in 1898.

Militia General Orders

Ottawa, 1st July, 1898

General Order No. 63

Medals, General Service for Canada

Her Majesty having graciously approved of the establishment of a general service medal for Canada, and having approved of the bestowal, by the Government of Canada, of medals for service in the Fenian Raid, 1866, Fenian Raid, 1870, and the Red River Expedition, 1870, a Board to be known as the "Medals Claim Board" has been formed at Headquarters to consider claims for medals for such campaigns.

Those Entitles to Medals

All surviving Officers, N.O. Officers and men, who during the operations in question, (1) performed Active Service in the Field, or (2) served under orders from competent authority as Guards at any point where an attack from the enemy was expected, or (3) were detailed by competent authority for some specific or special service or duty.


All claimants for medals will be required to submit their applications separately, and those who served in more than one campaign must submit an applications for each.

A Form (Militia Form A.17) for this purpose, which embodies a declaration of particulars of service to be made before a Justice of the peace by the applicant, and also a declaration of a comrade who has personal knowledge of the applicant's service, will be forwarded to all claimants whose applications are on file at Headquarters. All claimants whose applications have not yet been sent in, may obtain copies of this Form by applying to District Headquarters. This Form of application having been completed as therein required, is to be forwarded to the senior surviving Officer of the Corps to which the claimant belonged, or in th event of there being no Officer now surviving, direct to the present District Officer Commanding the District in which the service is alleged to have been performed.

The senior surviving Officer, if any such, will forward, and, if he has any documentary evidence or personal knowledge of the alleged service, recommend the application to the District Officer Commanding the District in which the service is alleged to have been performed.


Only one medal will be issued to any individual.

With each medal there will be granted a clasp indicating the occasion on which the services for which the medal is granted were rendered, and to those who served in campaigns subsequent to that for which the medal is granted, there will be issued, in addition, a clasp for each such campaign. The clasps will be designated "Fenian Raid 1866," "Fenian Raid, 1870," and "Red River, 1870."

Delivery of Medals

Medals for parties residing at headquarters of any District, the headquarters of any Corps of Active Militia, or of any Unit thereof, will be forwarded to the District Officer Commanding, or the Officer Commanding such Corps or Units, for delivery.

In localities where there are Veterans Associations and it is desired to have public presentation of medals to the members of the Associations, the medals will, on the recommendation of the District Officer Commanding, be forwarded to the Presidents of such Associations. Medals for parties other than provided for above, will, by permission of the Honourable Postmaster General, be sent to the Postmaster of the City or Town where the owner of the medal resides.

A receipt must be signed for each medal at the time of delivery.

It was during the first Fenian raids in 1866, that the only Victoria Cross to be awarded for actions in Canada was granted. This award, for an act of gallantry not in the presence of the enemy (which was allowed by the terms and conditions for the VC for a brief period) was earned by Private Timothy O'Hea of the 1st Battalion, The Rifle Brigade, when he put out a fire in a railway car loaded with ammunition.

From the excellent British service medals reference "British Battles and Medals," we find that over 15,000 General Service Medals were awarded to Canadians, along with another 821 to Imperial troops. Of these, the vast majority received only one of the three clasps, with 1601 receiving two clasps and only 20 soldiers eligible for all three clasps to the medal. The same reference also lists the approximately 340 separate units of the Canadian Militia to which eligible applicants belonged.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The fine line betweem Desertion and Absence (1914)
Topic: Discipline

Manual of Military Law, 1914

Desertion, Fraudulent Enlistment, and absence without leave.

13.     Desertion, Fraudulent Enlistment, and absence without leave.—A distinction is made by the [Army] Act between desertion and fraudulent enlistment. The latter, which is constituted a separate offence bu s. 13 is dealt with hereafter.

The criterion between desertion and absence without leave is intention. The offence of desertion—that is to say, of deserting or attempting to desert His Majesty's service—implies an intention on the part of the offender either not to return to His- Majesty's service at all, or to escape some particular important service as mentioned in para. 16; and a soldier must not be charged with desertion, unless it appears that some such intention existed. Further, even assuming that he is charged with desertion, the court that tries him should not find him guilty of desertion, unless fully satisfied on the evidence that he has been guilty of desertion. On the other hand, absence without leave may be described as such short absence, unaccompanied by disguise, concealment, or other suspicious circumstances, as occurs when a soldier does not return to his corps or duty at the proper time, but on returning is able to show that he did not intend to quit the service, or to evade the performance of some service so important as to render the offence desertion.

14.     It is obvious that the evidence of intention to quit the service altogether may be so strong as to be irresistible, as, for instance, if a soldier is found in plain clothes on board a steamer starting for America, or is found crossing a river to the enemy; while, on the other hand, the evidence is frequently such as to leave it extremely doubtful what the real intention of the man was. Mere length of absence is, by itself, of little value as a test, for a soldier who has been entrapped into bad company through drink, or other causes, may be absent some time without any thought of becoming a deserter but in the case above put, of a soldier found on board a steamer starting for America, there could be no doubt of the intention, though he might only have been absent a few hours.

15.     Nor can desertion invariably be judged by distance, for a soldier may absent himself without leave and depart to a very considerable distance, and yet the evidence of an intention to return may be clear; whereas he may scarcely quit the camp or barrack yard, and the evidence of intention not to return (by the- assumption of a disguise, for example, and other circumstances may be complete.)

16.      A man who absents himself in a deliberate or clandestine manner, with the view of shirking some important service, though he may intend to return when the evasion of service is accomplished, is liable to be convicted of desertion just as if an intention never to return had been proved against him. Thus if a man on the eve of the embarkation of his regiment for foreign service, or when called out to aid the civil power, conceals himself in barracks, the court will be quite justified in presuming an intention to escape the important service on which he was ordered and in convicting him of desertion.

17.     A man may be a deserter though his absence was in the first instance legal (e.g., being authorised by leave on furlough), the criterion being the same in all cases, namely, the intention of not returning. It is clearly shown by the King's Regulations, and by returning, the explanation on the furlough itself, that a soldier on furlough is still under orders, and that, if without leave, he quits the place to which he has permission to go, or if he disguises or conceals himself so that orders cannot reach him, or if he goes on board a ship about to sail for a distant port, he is liable to be tried and convicted of desertion though on furlough at the time. A soldier, for example, at Ipswich, who obtains a pass to Bristol, and during his leave when without permission to go to Liverpool is found there in civilian costume on board a ship about to sail for New York, may be tried for desertion. It would be for him to show that the absence without leave from Bristol proved against him. was innocent, and had nothing to do with desertion.

18.     If a soldier commits an act which is apparently a prelude to, or an attempt at, desertion, although no actual absence can be proved, as if he is caught in the act of slipping past a sentry, or climbing over a barrack wall in plain clothes, he may be charged with an attempt to desert.

19.     The fact that a soldier surrenders is not proof by itself that he intended to return, even though he is in uniform at the time of surrender. The prosecutor may not be able to prove where the man has been during his absence, but evidence that the military patrols had searched carefully in the neighbourhood of the barracks without finding him, would show that he must have gone to a distance or concealed himself. From this and other circumstances the court may infer that he surrendered because he could not effect his contemplated escape.

20.     A soldier charged with desertion may be found guilty of attempting to desert or of being absent without leave; and, on the other hand, a soldier charged with an attempt to desert may be found guilty of actual desertion or of being absent without leave (a). In any case of doubt as to whether one or the other offence has been committed, the court should find the prisoner guilty of the less offence. A soldier guilty of desertion forfeits, if serving on his original engagement, the whole of his prior service, and, if sering on a re-engagement, all prior service rendered during the period of re-engagement, and is liable to serve for the term of his original enlistment, or re-enegagement as the case may be, reckoned from the date of his conviction, or of the order dispensing with his trial (b).

21.     As a general rule, a soldier quitting his corps and enlisting in another should not be charged with desertion, but with fraudulent enlistment for the very act of his enlisting in another corps (unless in an exceptional case) shows that he did not intend to leave His Majesty's service. On the other hand, if he does so for the purpose of avoiding a particular service—e.g. service abroad—or if during his absence he conducted himself so as to show that when he quitted he did not intend to return to the service, but changed his mind he is, as above pointed out, guilty of desertion, and may be tried But as already observed, it will suffice, except in very accordingly. for fraudulent enlistment alone.

The 1907 edition of the Manual of Military Law an be found online at the internet archive.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 15 April 2013

The Royal Canadian Regiment; 1946
Topic: The RCR

After the end of the Second World War, the overseas battalion of The Royal Canadian Regiment returned to Wolseley Barracks in London, Ontario, where it was disbanded. Before the war's end, as part of Canada's intended contribution to the Pacific theatre, a new battalion had been formed at Barriefield, Ontario, on 1 August 1945. This unit, the 1st Battalion, 1st Canadian Infantry Regiment, 6th Canadian Division, was parenthetically designated "(RCR)". This unit was designated "2RCR" on 27 September 1945, moved to Brockville in November 1945, and, after the disbanding of the overseas battalion, formally became "The RCR" on 1 Oct 1946.

The following excerpt, from the January, 1946, edition of the regimental journal, The Connecting File, described the state of training for the Permanent Force units of the Canadian Army as it was reestablishing itself its role in Canada.

Connecting File, January, 1946


By: Capt A.F. White

During the past few months, training has been very limited due to several reasons:

(i)     Great numbers of men required to maintain the camp.

(ii)     Unit has been far below strength.

(iii)     Very limited numbers of qualified officers and N.C.O's.

(iv)     No weapons.

(v)     Personnel being discharged.

(vi)     Officers being posted to C.A.O.F.

It has been the endeavour of this unit to send candidates on courses to S-17 and C.A.S.I. who have some of the qualifications necessary. As far as possible Interim Army Personnel were selected but very few had ever had experience in instructional work. Very few N.C.O's. could be spared for those courses.

Early in January one 3" Mortar (incomplete) and one 6 Pdr A/T Gun (incomplete) were received and short courses and training in these weapons is now underway.

Later in January practically all rifle company weapons were received and training in these weapons is now under way.

A recent influx of some 300 O.R's (low pointers) has made it possible to outline a training program and commence in earnest to produce fully trained soldiers.

A supply of special equipment and clothing for winter warfare is expected daily and it is proposed to send a company at a time into "the wilderness" to carry on with training under winter conditions.

A syllabus is being drawn up for a 6 weeks regimental N.C.O's. course. candidates will be selected, Interim Army privates, and it is hoped many of the candidates will prove to be N.C.O. material.

Ceremonial drill has had its day during the past few months. The Regiment produced a Guard of Honour at the local cenotaph on Remembrance Day, an armed escort of 300 at the funeral of the late Lt. Gen. Stewart, and on 9 Jan 46 a 100-man guard of honour for General Eisenhower at Ottawa.

Badges of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 14 April 2013

Instant Expertise in Staff Duties (1970)
Topic: Staff Duties

The Owl (Vol XXVI, 1970)

Course journal; publication of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India

Instant Expertise in Staff Duties

by Lt Cdr B.B. Satpathy

Some of us in the 26th Course may have been fortunate, or unfortunate enough, to be posted to Service headquarters. There at some time of the other we shall have to prepare a 'statement of case' which can be quite a frustrating task in these days of 'economy drives' and 'run down' establishments, unless of course you know 'how'? Well, here is a recipe to help you in your confrontations with the Ministry. Use it carefully, and success is almost guaranteed. (DS Minor SDs of all the three Wings may consider incorporating this in the 27th Staff Course Syllabus.)

Now please familiarize yourself with the words in the Columns A, B and C below before we proceed further:—

Column AColumn BColumn C
4.Functional4.Digital4.Time Phase
7.Synchronised7.Third Generation7.Concept

The recipe is simple. You want to use a forceful phrase to put your project through. Think of any three digit number at random. Select the corresponding word under each column. Put them together and you have a magic phrase and what is more, you sound knowledgeable.

Example. 423 – 'Functional monitored programming'. You do not know what it means. So what? neither do THEY!

The possibilities of this formula for use by higher Defence Staff are immense. With nine words in each column, you can have almost nine hundred knowledgeable phrases at your finger tips.

(Perhaps the NDC will also be interested, in which case maybe I should patent this recipe.)

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 13 April 2013

SS11B Anti-Tank Guided Missile System
Topic: Cold War

"The SS-11B anti-tank guided missile is a self-propelled, command-guided missile designed on a two-stage solid propellant propulsion unit. It is fired from a launcher and is guided by signals transmitted by two wires which unwind from a air of spools housed in the missile. The 66-pound missile has a range of from 500 to 3,000 metres with a flight time of 24 seconds at maximum range."

The photo and text above are taken from a Canadian Armed Forces Recruiting handout card. A series of these cards were produced showing the variety of weapon systems and vehicles used by the Canadian Army in the 1960s.

The "B" model of the French SS11 anti-tank missile entered production in 1962 and fielded by Canada in 1965. Mounted in a triple launcher on the robust 3/4-tonne truck, the launcher was rotated to fire off the side of the stationary vehicle by a controller positioned to the side of the launch site with a wired control unit. The SS11B was deployed in Germany with 3 R22eR (roled as an anti-tank battalion) in combination with 106 mm recoilless rifles and ENTAC anti-tank guided missiles.

The 6.8 Kg shaped charge warhead of the SS11B was capable of penetrating 600 mm of steel plate angled at 30 degrees. At that level of capability it was already limited in the angles of attack it could effectively use to destroy the newest Soviet Main Mattle Tank, the T-64, which was protected by 20-450 mm (0.79-18 in) of glass-reinforced plastic sandwiched between layers of steel.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 23 March 2013 3:09 PM EDT
Friday, 12 April 2013

MIlitaria: Canadian Army Headdress
Topic: Militaria

Canadian Army Routine Orders

Headquarters, Ottawa
18th July, 1946

Branch of the Master–General of the Ordnance

General Order 6679—Headdress—Wearing of by Other Ranks

1.     It has come to notice, that personnel are wearing headdresses of a pattern not authorized for their Unit or Corps.

2.     Headdresses will be worn as follows:

(a)     Berets Air Borne:— Airborne Personnel

(b)     Bonnets Tam O'Shanter:— Highland and Scottish Regiment

(c)     Bonnets Irish:— Irish Regiment of Canada

(d)     Caps Tank Battalion (Black Beret):— Royal Canadian Armoured Corps

(e)     Caps Field Service:— Personnel of units other than in (a) (b) (c) and (d) who have not been accepted for Interim of Post–War Armies. Not worn by personnel of the Reserve Army.

(f)     Berets Khaki:— Personnel of units other than as shown above. Personnel of the Active Army who have been accepted for the Interim or Post–War Armies.

3.     Officers Commanding Units will take the necessary steps to regularize the wearing of headdresses by personnel under their command.

(HQ 9801–17–9 FD 1)

"Fuss & Fashion – 200 Years of Canadian Military Headdress"

For those interested in Canadian miliary dress, and headdress, over the ages, a new book on Canadian military headdresss is available that would be a welcome addition to the reference shelf of any collector, curator, or historian. “Fuss & Fashion” by Clive Law is available from Service Publications.

"Fuss & Fashion – 200 Years of Canadian Military Headdress" Clive M. Law. Approx 600 photos of Helmets, Busbies, Caps, Bearskins, Feather Bonnets, Tan O'shanters, Glengarries, Field Service Caps, and much more. 140 pages of full–colour images. 213 pages, 8 1/2 x 11, hard cover.

(Top banner images cropped from photos found on the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) photo database Faces of War.)

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 12 April 2013 5:24 PM EDT
Thursday, 11 April 2013

Library and Archives Canada: Commonwealth War Graves Registers
Topic: LAC

Among the digital collections accessible on line at Library and Archives Canada are the Commonwealth War Graves Registers for First World War burials. These cards provide the compiled notes on battle field burials, recovery and move of remains to established Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries, and any contact with families that occurred.


Click images to see the full size Grave Register (front and back) for 477783 Private William Henry Roberts,
The Royal Canadian Regiment.

Organized in 106 sets of image files with, in many cases over 1000 images per set, these cards can provide valuable information when researching a Canadian soldier of the First World War who died overseas. The cards are, however a challenge to search, requiring the researcher to identify the set with the desired surname, then to patiently move back and forth through the image stack until narrowing down to the desired record. See Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War: Part 5: casualties, for a table giving the first surname in each image set. Keep in mind that the alphabetization is not perfect in the image series, so some experimentation once you are in the right area may be required.

One of the challenges that cards present is that they provide location information based upon the military maps of the day, with a grid system that is no longer in use. It is possible, however, to decipher these grid reference, match them to available online battlefield maps, and then to match the terrain to Google maps for a modern perspective on the locations in question.

See Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War: Part 7, Deciphering Battlefield Location Information for a guide to translating the wartime grid references, finding the locations on battlefield maps from the war, and then Part 9: Matching Battlefield Locations to the Modern Map to match the details to Google maps.

When the Grave Registration card provides detailed information on burials, especially when they tell a tale of an immediate battlefield burial and later transfer to a cemetery, the information can help fill in gaps in a soldier’s story, matching his unit’s history and War Diary to better understand his last days or hours. Poignantly, it is those cards which relate a battlefield burial by comrades, but which end with the remains never being found on a shattered battlefield that leave that research trail tantalizingly without closure. In such cases, a name engraved on the Vimy Memorial or the Menin Gate become the last vestige of that soldier’s service and death.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Wolseley Barracks, London, Ontario - 1922
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Thanks to the University of Western Ontario, we can explore the development of London through their online publication of local aerial photos. Among their resources can be found a series of images taken of London's urban area in 1922, including the neighbourhoods covering and surrounding Wolseley Barracks.

These 1922 aerial photos show London a few years after the end of the First World War and the composite shown above displays the area occupied by Canadian Forces Base London, long known as Wolseley Barracks. In the photo above we can still see the well-worn paths made by thousands of soldiers as they marched between barracks and training locations. The Quartermasters' stores building on the lower left (still standing behind McMahen Park) has a compound still full of military stores, above it is a long gone building, probably a headquarters or officers quarters from the round driveway in front of it. The white square in the centre of the image, on close inspection, appears to be a baseball diamond, proof that leisure activities were never completely neglected in training. Except for Wolseley Hall itself in the upper left and the QM Stores building, all the buildings shown are gone, the base having been reconstructed during the Second World War and again in the 1950s with some newer buildings after that period. Since then, the base was reduced in size in the 1990s and the lower third of the image now contains a housing development while the upper right quadrant is occupied by a major grocery store.

Wolseley Barracks, created in 1886 on property formerly owned by the Carling family, saw the construction of Wolseley Hall between 1886 and 1888 and the occupation of the barracks by "D" Company of the Canadian Infantry School Corps in 1888. The Infantry School Corps has become The Royal Canadian Regiment, which had had a continuous presence in London since the 1880s and still recognizes Wolseley Barracks as its Home Station today. Today the 4th Battalion of the Regiment and The RCR Museum remain quartered in Wolseley Hall.

The base property at Wolseley Barracks had one of its busiest periods during the First World War when it was used as a training camp for many units that were formed in south-western Ontario. Panoramic photos of infantry battalions ready to leave Canada for England can be found with Wolseley Hall in the background as they formed up for the photo on the open training ground south east of that very recognizable building.

The 1922 aerial photos at Western Libraries Map and Data Centre are provided with the following source data:

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 19 November 2016 9:45 AM EST
Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Vimy Pilgrimage – Souvenir Envelope and Insert
Topic: Vimy Pilgrimage

Canadian Pilgrimage
to the Unveiling of Canada's Memorial
Vimy Ridge
and to the Battlefields
of France and Belgium
July – 1936

The above image shows a souvenir envelope made available to Canadians on the Vimy Pilgrimage in July, 1936, a trans-Atlantic trip undertaken by 6000 Canadian for the unveiling of the Vimy Memorial. This was example mailed from the S.S. Montrose, one of five liners carrying the Pilgrims to Europe, at Quebec on the day of her sailing (16 Jul 1936). The envelope contained an insert card, the text of which follows:


Canada's National War Memorial

Canada's National War Memorial measures 200 feet square and is 125 feet in height. It occupies the central position on Vimy Ridge in France.

This magnificent structure was designed by Mr Walter S. Allward, Canadian Architect and Sculptor, in 1921, under whose supervision the erection has been completed.

His Majesty King Edward VIII will unveil the Memorial at the ceremony, which will take place on July 26th, 1936, in the presence of 6.000 Canadians who will participate in a solemn pilgrimage to Europe to pay homage to those who made the supreme sacrifice.

Symbolism of Vimy Memorial

At the base of the strong, impregnable walls of defence are the Defenders, one group showing the breaking of the Sword, the other the Sympathy of the Canadians for the Helpless. Above these are the mouths of the guns covered with olive and laurels. On the wall stands an heroic figure of Canada brooding over the graves of her valiant dead. Below is suggested a grave with a helmet, laurels, etc. Behind her stand pylons symbolizing the two forces Canadian and French, while between at the base of these is the Spirit of Sacrifice who, giving all, throws the torch to his Comrade. Looking up they see the figures of Peace, Justice, Truth and Knowledge, etc., for which they fought, chanting the hymn of Peace Around the figures are the shields of Britain, Canada and France. On the outside of the pylons is the Cross.

On the walls are inscribed the names of 11,285 missing Canadians. That is, those known to be dead but having no known graves.


Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 April 2013 9:56 AM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

The Regimental Rogue.

Follow The Regimental Rogue on facebook.

« April 2013 »
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Army Rations
Battle Honours
British Army
Canadian Armed Forces
Canadian Army
Canadian Militia
Cold Steel
Cold War
Drill and Training
European Armies
Forays in Fiction
Martial Music
Military Medical
Military Theory
Pay; the Queen's shilling
Sam Hughes
Soldier Slang
Soldiers' Load
Staff Duties
Stolen Valour
Taking Advantage
The Field of Battle
The RCR Museum
US Armed Forces
Vimy Pilgrimage
Wolseley Barracks

You are not logged in. Log in
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile