The Minute Book
Sunday, 12 May 2013

Badges Modified by Soldiers
Topic: Militaria

It is easy to fall into the expectation that every soldier's badge looks alike. We readily perceive this as a singular point of uniformity, one issued by the Army or Regiment, so how could differentiation occur? Surely the Sergeants Major would halt any attempts to reshape or change the appearance of regimental badges. But this did happen, in small ways to achieve specific results. These soldier modified badges seem most common from the Second World War era. The reasons for this are probably a combination of the use of metal, often brass, badges which were more easily reformed than later anodized badges, and for many Canadian soldiers, the long period spent in Britain with opportunities to "walk out" in the public eye. Combine soldiers, uniforms, the public presence of ladies and little bit of personal vanity, and all the ingredients exist for some soldiers to very carefully and diligently rework their badges to ensure they shone brighter than thier section mates'. I suspect the one thing we can be certain of, this wasn't done to impress the Sergeant Major.

In some regiments it was preferred to have a central part of their badge noticeably "domed" and long and nerve-wracking moments using the open end of a pipe (like a barracks shower drain) and a carefully dropped round-ended broom handle against the back of the badge to achieve that effect. A similar result could also be achieved by applying pressure with the hand while working the badge over the broom handle end. Poster DavidS describes this technique on the British and Commonwealth Military Badge Forum:

"... a 'broomstick vault'. A guy would put his badge on the end of a rod like a broom handle and give it a good smack with his palm to give it the convex shape."

A domed example of a Perth Regiment badge can be found on this page.

Soldiers also learned quickly that the smoother a badge was, the higher a shine could be achieved. In some cases extreme examples can be found where all details were removed to leave a single smooth surface in the shape of the original badge. Some extreme examples of this being dome to Artillery badges can be seen at this page. We can probably presume that the most severe examples were reserved for walking out dress, and that few soldiers would dare to appear on parade with a badge altered to such a degree.

Another common alteration to the Artillery's badge was to replace the wheel with a coin, thus providing a solid surface that could be more easily polished to a high sheen. Again, polishing to remove any details of the coin's original face accentuated this effect.

From poster Michael Reintjes at the British and Commonwealth Military Badge Forum we find the following comments:

"Heavily polished and altered badges have become an interest of mine for some time. I have several CAC, RCA and RCR cap badges that have been obviously intentionally altered by the owners and one with provenance. An RCR cap badge that was given to me by my next door neighbour ... intentionally polished on a wheel by the soldier and he told me this was common practice among his peers as well."

"As Bill says alot of these were done on wheels as they were not in use long enough to be worn down during polishing."

"Artillery and CAC cap badges seem to be some of the favourites of the polishing wheel treatment. The CAC Badges are very selectively done with the details of the tank being polished with the rest of the badge left alone. I even have one with the tank polished smooth and the words RECCE T.C. engraved on the tank. The arty badges also seem to be a favourite one with heavy polishing and even several I've seen with a Dutch or Italian coin sweated onto the wheel of the gun. The most common RCR alteration seems to be to grind the rays of the star completely flat and then polish to a mirror finish like the one I got from my neighbour in the 70's."

"I've stopped looking at them as damaged badges and see them as actual theatre worn artifacts which of course they are and to me anyway mean more than the bags of mint ersatz unissued examples that sat well into the 60's at the RCOC depot in London or Borden."

As noted, not even The Royal Canadian Regiment was exempt from soldiers trying to improve the appearance of their badges to obtain a better surface to shine. There are two basic modifications that can be found on older regimental badges to achieve this. The first method was using the point of a bullet to burnish smooth the pebbling around the central "VRI" of the badge frontpiece.

The second required a little more work and the right tools as described above. This technique resulted in the smoothing the diamond cut pattern of the badge star to leave an smooth a surface as possible that would shine easily and reflect the light better than the broken surface of the original pattern of concentric circle and ray divisions. This technique could also be extended to smoothing the tops of the edges of the "VRI" lettering.

Detail of an unaltered badge of The Royal Canadian Regiment. Note the texture of the pebbling around the lettering and the lines of the star.

Detail of an RCR badge showing the attempt to smooth the pebbling around the letters. Note also the removal of the raised edges on the letters.

Detail of an RCR badge showing the rays of a star which have been ground smooth to facilitate polishing.

Detail of an RCR badge showing an incomplete or poorly worked attenpt to smooth the star, visible file marks remain evident. Note also the removal of the raised edges on the letters.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 11 May 2013

Terms of Service; The Canadian Expeditionary Force
Topic: CEF

The following extract details the terms of service for men enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force for service during the First World War.

Instructions Governing
Organization and Administration of CEF Units

Appendix II

Terms of Service

(a)     An officer before being appointed as such, and a man before enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, will be required to sign a declarations (Officers' Declaration paper, M.F.W. 51, or Attestation paper, M.F.W. 23) to the effect that he accepts the conditions therein set forth, and that he engages to serve for a term of one year, unless the war lasts longer, in which case his services will be retained until the conclusion of the war; provided that if employed with a hospital, depot, or a mounted unit, or as a clerk, etc., he may be retained after hostilities until his services can be dispensed with, but in no case for a period exceeding six months. Officers and men may be attached to any arm of the service as required.

(b)     Subject to authority and with their consent officers of the Permanent Staff and Force may be appointed for general service; such service will count towards promotion and pension in the Permanent Staff and Force after the conclusion of the war, subject to authority and with their consent men of the Permanent Force may be enlisted for general service. Only in special cases will it be possible to accept the service of men who belong to the permanent Garrisons of Halifax, Quebec, or Esquimalt.

Example Officer's Declaration – Lieut Robert England, MC, The RCR

Officer's Declaration

Example Soldier's Attestation Form – 477550 Sergeant Walter Lowe, MM, The RCR

Soldier's Attestation Form      Soldier's Attestation Form

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 10 May 2013

Service History links at the LAC
Topic: LAC

In the archived internet content at Library and Achives Canada can be found this directory to content on service histories of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Troops and Traditions

Service Histories

A strong tradition of official history in Canada has greatly influenced the writing of histories of individual armed services. Although the Canadian Militia had an historian, in the person of Brigadier-General E.A. Cruikshank, it was not until the appointment of Major (later Colonel) C.P. Stacey in 1940 that modern, critical military history in Canada really took form. Stacey's work has profoundly influenced every writer on Canada's military history since that time. For this reason, the chief official histories of each of the services are listed here, even though individual volumes record only one period or part of a single period in the history of each service.

To understand the organizational makeup of a service — the relationship of the ships of the navy, the regiments of the land forces and the squadrons of the air forces — a number of useful general guides exist and are listed at the end of the section on the specific service.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 9 May 2013

An RCR soldier's badge; the VRI in the trenches.
Topic: The RCR
In an appendix to the War Diary of The Royal Canadian Regiment for August 1916, Lieutenant Frank Dickson, in writing Notes on the History of the Regiment, stated:

Our buttons and cap badge have V.R.I. on them. These letters stand for Victoria Regina Imperatrix which being translated, means, Victoria Queen and Empress (of India). Now this distinctive mark was given to us by the late Queen Victoria which is one of the facts of which we are most proud. The Militia Department of Canada have always tried to take it away from us, but, in spite of all, we have retained it and we all sincerely trust that we shall continue to do so.

After the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 until the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, the British throne was occupied by Kings. Each time the sovereign changes, it is tradition that "Royal" regiments which wear the Royal cypher as a regimental emblem, whether on buttons or badges, change their accoutrements as each new sovereign chooses the stylized crown and cyphered initials to represent their reign.

During the reign of King George V, and that of King Edward VII before him, The Royal Canadian Regiment, having been granted the privilege of wearing the Royal Cypher by Queen Victoria's, or a version of it [link Crowns Cyphers etc], resisted the change to the cyphers of the new sovereigns. For 18 years, except for a period of cease-fire in the staffing endeavours during the Great War, The RCR sought influence and approval to retain the Victorian designs. From 1901 to 1919, although the official regimental badges were those with cyphers of Edward VII and George V, The Royal Canadian Regiment continued to wear the Victorian cyphered badges as well as see the "King's badges" produced and distributed by the Militia Department.

Photos of officers of The Royal Canadian Regiment wearing "VRI" badges during the First World War can be found, but less common is clear evidence that soldiers of the Regiment claimed and wore the same badges as their own. We do know that every soldier was instructed in the Regiment's preference for the Victorian badges, as shown above and in a 1917 regimental history pamphlet penned by Major Harry Cock:

In 1892 the name of the Regiment was changed, to the Canadian Regiment of Infantry, and the following year, on the occasion of Her Majesty's Birthday, the Queen approved of the Regiment becoming a Royal Regiment, known as the "Royal Regiment of Canadian Infantry," and granted permission for Her Imperial cypher, V.R.I. (Victoria Regina Imperatrix), with the Imperial crown, to be worn as a badge.

The photos above show a unique example of a soldier's "VRI" badge. This badge was worn by 427443 Pte Sidney Pearson Leach. We know it was his badge because, in order to mark it as his own, he scratched his service number onto the back of he badge.

Sidney Pearson Leach

Sidney Leach was a 43-year-old printer from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, when he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 4 January 1915. An immigrant born in Manchester, England, Leach reported no prior service on his Attestation Paper. Leach enlisted with the 53rd Canadian Infantry Battalion, this unit was disbanded after arriving in England and its soldiers absorbed into the CEF's reinforcement system.

On 8 Jun 1816, the day that Sidney Leach was take on the strength of The RCR, the Regiment absorbed 199 new soldiers that day. 81 of these men, like Leach, were from the "Infantry Pool," although only three had original 53rd battalion service numbers. The other soldiers joining that date were taken in from the 45th, 59th and 61st Reserve battalions (33, 44 and 41 men, respectively, from each unit).

Sidney Leach's war with The Royal Canadian Regiment would not be an overly long one. By 15 November, five months after arriving, he would be reported as evacuated to England (Sick) aboard the Hospital Ship Dieppe. he would not return to The RCR in France.

Having survived the war, Leach would die on 9 August 1954. He is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver, BC.

Leach's badge is an interesting and intriguing connection to his service on the battlefields of the Great War. Interestingly, as a reinforcement to The RCR, Learson would not have acquired the badge at one of the regimental stations as a long service soldier may have. Instead, he must have acquired the badge, as well as an understanding of its preference within the Regiment, during his own service overseas.

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 9 May 2013 7:54 AM EDT
Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Inspecting Generals and their telltale signs of incompetence
Topic: Humour

Stories abound of generals who, when inspecting units under their command, fall into the habit of always looking at the same items to check attention to detail and overall efficiency. They seldom realize that they become known by these very personal inspection expectations, or how focused units might become on satisfying these singular points of interest with lesser regard to the big picture that is seemingly overlooked. From the New "Punch" Library, a 20 volume set of books published in 1935 with the cartoons and excerpts from Punch magazine from 1900 onwards, is a delightful volume titled "Mr. Punch and the Services." Within its pages, we find this tale of an inspecting Brigadier and his personal bugbear:

The Door that was Locked

The trouble with our Brigadier is that his early training was neglected by a too fond mother or too lazy nurse, and we have to duffer for it. There is no doubt whatsoever that as a small boy he used to throw himself on the ground and howl with rage every time he was baulked; and the passage of fifty years has not altered his character to any marked degree; he has broken himself of the habit of throwing himself on the floor, but he still howls at the top of his voice if thwarted, and attempts to sooth him merely cause him to yell louder.

Like all Generals who duty it is to inspect battalions, he has his pet "stunts" and anathemas; and it has long been accepted a the first duty of Commanding Officers and Adjutants that they should make themselves acquainted with the speciality of the Brigadier immediately they arrive at a new station. The little points in question are nearly always something absurdly trivial; such as the carrying of a spare pair of bootlaces by all ranks or the complete absence of cobwebs in barracks, and the really efficient adjutant knows that there is only one thing worse than every man on parade being deficient in spare bootlaces, and that is for every man at once to produce from an accessible part of his clothing these necessary adjuncts to his footwear. To do this is to rob the tiger of his prey, and is always regarded as silent insolence. It must be borne in mind that the Brigadier has got up early that morning to fulminate over at least one man deficient in laces, and to deprive him of this pleasure is merely asking for it; so let him have one deficiency or one small cobweb as the case may be for your sake and everybody else's.

Out Brigadier's pet aversion is a locked door. It seems that in the early days of his inspecting career he came across a locked door adjoining the sergeant-major's bunk and demanded the key. This was found after a long search and much protestation, and on opening the door the Brigadier was richly rewarded, for the room was a masterpiece. It was filled with every conceivable form of insult, from dirty clothes to rusty rifles, and on top of a disgraceful bed was a bull-terrier with a little of pups. There was an historic scene—the Colonel was retired, the Second-in-Command passed over and the Adjutant went to the other battalion in Shanghai; and since then our Brigadier has had one idea in his head and only one—every battalion has a locked door and behind it corruption unspeakable. He is so intent on finding one that he will overlook everything else during his quest; and the secret of success during an inspection is t see that he discovers one with just a taste of disorder in the room—a mere rub of garlic around the bowl.

We were inspected last week, and there is a nervous restrained attitude about everyone, for no one knows what the future holds. In the first place it must be understood that our barracks were built in the days of the Peninsular War, and to make them habitable the Works Department have added and pulled down bits at various times, so that the original lay-out of the buildings has been lost entirely, and the natural appearance is an untidy one. This is not exactly our fault, but our Brigadier is quite capable of holding the Commanding Officer responsible for what happened in 1812 if he is in the wrong mood.

Our Adjutant had arranged everything for a most successful inspection—minor details like drill and kit inspection, reserve ammunition, and Quartermaster's stores were beyond reproach, and the most important point—the locked door—had been most carefully staged. It was that of a small room in "D" Company's block, and the furnishing of it lacked no detail. It was spotlessly clean and swept, it contained a tiny bed, a table, a chair and well-oiled rifle. For a moment the Adjutant had thought the rifle might be a trifle rusty, but decided this would be too drastic, and had finally selected a cigarette-end lying on the table as just that little touch of disorder to give the Brigadier entire satisfaction—the olive in the cocktail, as it were.

Everything went swimmingly till we arrived at "C" Company's rooms, and then the Brigadier, somewhat nettled at having been baulked for so long in a barracks that seemed to be all doors, stalked on ahead and rattled the handle of the door at the far end—and it was locked!

"How often have I said that every door in the barracks must be open when I inspect?" he roared, "Open it at once!"

"But Sir——," began the Commanding Officer.

"Don't argue with me, Sir!" yelled the Brigadier, hammering on the door with his stick. "Open it at once. Fetch the key! Who's got it? Send for the Armourer-Sergeant!"

"But Sir," interposed the Adjutant, "There is no key."

"Don't answer me, Sir. Every door has a key!" yelled the Brigadier. "fetch the Armourer-Sergeant and break it down at once."

The Armourer-Sergeant having been produced got busy with screw-driver and brace-bit till suddenly the door creaked on its hinges and moved slightly in a cloud of dust and plaster. The Brigadier, intent on being the first to view the disorder he counted on finding inside, pushed his way to the front. The door creaked again and suddenly swung open; the Brigadier stepped forward into a blaze of sunshine and disappeared completely from view. Looking out over the threshold of the door, closed for some forty years, we saw him lying twenty feet below in Sergeant-Major Bartlett's lettuce-bed, the bright green of the plants contrasting delightfully with his purple face.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The McGill University War Poster Collection
Topic: Militaria

The McGill University War Poster Collection

The holdings of the Print Collection in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division [at McGill University] include some 250 Canadian posters from the two World Wars. The posters are accessible to researchers who visit the Division's Lande Reading Room; a printed finding aid is available from the Reading Room Supervisor.

This website contains basic descriptions and images of each poster, an artist index, a search facility, and an essay about Canadian War Posters. The search facility enables you to search by World War, by Category, by Artist, or by keyword. The results of your search are displayed as thumbnail images. Click on a thumbnail to obtain a larger image and a full description. Each description includes the following information: the poster ID number and title or lead text; the date, artist, and publisher, when known; size, and appropriate notes.

It is possible to obtain digital or physical reproductions of the posters in this collection by using the available order form. Either digital copies, or printed copied (12” x 18” in size) can be ordered.


From the introduction page for the collection:

War posters aimed to impart a clear message to the viewer. Whether a poster encouraged the purchase of Victory Bonds or discouraged talk of Allied troop movements, its mission was to convey a specific message that could be interpreted only one way. The methods by which posters imparted their messages were different in each of the World Wars. In the First World War, posters were beset with text, while Second World War posters more effectively used emphatic slogans and intense graphics. Overseas Battalion 148 Now Recruiting, a First World War poster designed by the architect and artist, Percy Erskine Nobbs (1875-1964), offers an image of an officer slaying a German eagle. Compared to Allons-y Canadiens, a Second World War recruiting poster by Henri Eveleigh (1909-present), the Nobbs poster has less colour, more text, and less emotional impact. The officer is without expression as he slays the symbolic eagle. In contrast, the soldier in the Eveleigh poster charges toward the viewer, brandishing his weapon, an expression of intense emotion on his face. The simple text, Allons-y Canadiens, is splashed in bold letters across the lower quarter of the poster. This is not merely an invitation to join the army, as was the case with many First World War posters, but a passionate command. During the Second World War, more effective appeals were made through posters, partly because the world had already experienced the horrors of one world war, and also because advertising experience and contemporary studies had shown that dramatic and emotional appeals were more effective methods of reaching the Canadian public. A study by the Young and Rubicam agency of Toronto in 1942 found that the most effective posters were purely emotional, "appealing to sentiment through realistic images with photographic details, accessible to millions of middle-class citizens" (Choko 1994). The study found that symbolism and humour were considered ineffective by the public. The artists who designed war posters ranged from anonymous graphic artists to well-known Canadian painters and for this reason Canadian war posters present a wide variety of styles. Sometimes the artists were winners of war poster design competitions which were held during both wars. The need to find effective imagery for posters gave many artists and graphic designers a new opportunity to hone and expose their talents. Montreal-born and -trained architect and painter, Harry Mayerovitch, was one such poster designer. He worked in Ottawa from 1942 to 1944 and created a number of posters for various war- time campaigns under the pseudonym "Mayo". He won the first and third prizes for Canadian war posters in 1944.



Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 6 May 2013

North-West Canada Medal 1885
Topic: Medals

Militia General Orders
Ottawa, 18th September, 1885

G.O. No. 2 — For Service in the North-West in 1885.

The Minister of Militia and Defence has been informed through the Secretary to His Excellency the Governor General, that His Excellency has received intimation from the Imperial Secretary that an Imperial War Medal will be conferred upon the troops recently engaged in the suppression of the Rebellion in the North-West Territories.

In 1885, thousands of Canadian Militia soldiers, accompanied by a handful of Permanent Force (Regular Force) soldiers from "C" Company of the Infantry School Corps at Toronto, deployed west to suppress the Rebellion led by Louis Riel. To mark their service in the west, these soldiers were awarded the North West Canada medal.

5,650 North West Canada medals were issued, of which 16 went to British officers that served on the campaign. Of these, 1,753 soldiers were also eligible for the SASKATCHEWAN clasp (bar) for fighting at Fish Creek, Batoche, Cut Knife and/or Frenchman's Butte along the Saskatchewan River.

The North West Canada medal was issued to recipients unnamed, but many can be found named, either contracted privately by recipients, or with consistent naming among members of units indicating a common effort to have their medals impressed or engraved with the recipients' details.

Militia General Orders
Ottawa, 7th May, 1886

G.O. No. 2 — For Service in the North-West in 1885.

Adverting to No. 2 of General Orders (21) 18th September, 1885, these "War Medals" may be delivered to "next of kin" of deceased members who had become entitled to such. The Officer commanding the Corps, or other, entrusted with the delivery of medals to members of his Corps will satisfy himself that the person to whom he delivers the medal is "next of kin" to the party originally entitled to receive it, the receipt for the same to be so expressed.



Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Entrance to the Citadel, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Topic: Halifax

One of the iconic views form Halifax, Nova Scotia. preserved in generations of postcards, was the entrance to the Halifax Citadel. The stone fort on the Halifax peninsula overlooking the harbour, is the fourth set of fortifications at the site and was always the central feature of a system of fortifications that grew over centuries as threats and defensive weapon technologies changed. Even as the fort itself became obsoleted it remains a central feature of the Halifax landscape, consolidating itself as a primary tourism site even as many of the supporting and later independent battery locations fell into disrepair and were forgotten even by the local residents. Some of those outlying batteries can be found in ruins, in areas like Point Pleasant Park, other enjoy their own continued maintenance and attention as tourist sites, like York Redoubt.

Notable for many over many decades until more recent restoration work, was the placement of two large calibre land service mortars over each side of the entrance. These mortars were brought back from the French Fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island after the last British defeat of that French stronghold in 1758.

The current view of the entrance from Google maps streetview. (Google maps streetview.)

But the entrance to the Citadel remains a well-known view from Halifax, even though it bears little truly unique features of its own. Wide enough for a single wagon, the passage through the rim of the glacis leads to a wooden bridge crossing the ditch into the fort's interiors. (It's a ditch, not a moat. Ditches are dry, moats are wet.)

A view of the ditch and entryway bridge from the ditch. (Google maps streetview.)

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 4 May 2013

Advantages of the Permanent Force (1912)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Soldiers of The Royal Canadian Regiment at Petawawa, 1912, from a postcard.

Advantages of the Permanent Force

As published in the regimental journal of The Royal Canadian Regiment; The Connecting File, Vol. XXVII, No. 1; Spring–Summer 1955

A booklet entitled "Advantages of the Permanent Force," dated during the year 1912 sates in part that a Private Soldier on enlistment is entitled to a pay of $.70 per diem with an automatic increase of $.10 per diem after four years service.

It goes on to say that in addition to his pay which is $15.00 per month for the private soldier exclusive of deferred pay, a soldier receives the following, free:—

FOOD—A daily ration of 1 pound of read, 1 pound meat, 2 ounces bacon, 1 pound potatoes, 2 ounces beans, 2 ounces jam, 2 ounces butter, 1 ounce cheese, 1/1 ounce salt, 1/3 ounce coffee, ¼ ounce tea, 1/36 ounce of pepper, 6 ounces fresh vegetables.

Quarters, Bedding, Fuel and Light are supplied without payment, but the soldier has to pay for his washing and hair cutting.

MEDICAL ATTENDANT—Soldiers admitted into hospital receive the necessary diet and surgical and medical treatment. If admitted from wounds received in action, from illness contracted on service in the field, or from injuries received during drill or manoeuvre on peace service, free treatment is given. If admitted on account of injuries received in the performance of military duty a stoppage of 10 cents a day is made (including washing). In other circumstances a stoppage of 15 cents is required.

A soldier on joining the Permanent Force may be said to receive in pay, rations, lodging, etc., the equivalent of $1.10 per day which sum gradually increase according to his promotion and length of service. He also receives in addition to the above his deferred pay which in three years amounts to $32.00 and increases with further service.

A soldier also benefits by the following advantages—

(a)     Prizes for good shooting, etc.

(b)     Refreshments, groceries, tobacco, etc., from Regimental canteen at very low ates.

(c)     The use of library, recreation room and gymnasium.

(d)     Opportunities at learning a trade.

(e)     Cricket clubs, athletic sports, &c., at most stations.

(f)     The grant of a furlough, periodically for 21 days, on full pay.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 8 April 2013 8:26 PM EDT
Friday, 3 May 2013

2RCR Trooping of the Colour; 19 Oct 1957

The Ceremony of
Trooping the Colour
of the Second Battalion
The Royal Canadian Regiment

London, Ontario — 19th October, 1957

On 19 October, 1957, the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, performed the ceremonial parade for Trooping the Colour. Commanding the Battalion was Lieutenant Colonel G.C. Corbould, DSO, OBE, CD, and the Regimental Sergeant Major was WO I G.H. Fuller, CD. Second Lieutenant A.J. Lawson was the Ensign for the Colour. Taking the Salute was General Charles Foulkes, CB, CBE, DSO, CD.

Trooping the Colour is an historic ceremony whereby, with due solemnity, the Regimental Colour (or Queen's and Regimental Colours if a Royal or Vice-Regal personage is present), is paraded before the soldiers of a Battalion. Trooping the Colour displays for all the soldiers the unit's most prized possession, representing the history, service, and sacrifice of those who have gone before them, and charging them with their duty to continue to uphold that honour in the future.

The following is the musical program for the 2nd Battalion's Trooping (links go to a variety of artists on Youtube):

1.    "Advance" is sounded by the Buglers of the Corps of Drums. The Guards march on to the Square to the 2nd Gloucestershire March.

2.    Corps of Drums: "Drum Section March "

3.    Corps of Drums: "Officers' Call" and play the "Assembly "

4.    Regimental Band: "Slow March" "Pro Patria "

5.    Regimental Band: "General Salute "

6.    Regimental Band: "Troop" "Pageantry" "The Colours "

7.    Regimental Band: "Slow March" "The Duke of York"
"Quick March" "Sons of the Brave"
"Drummers' Call"

8.    Regimental Band: "British Grenadiers"

9.    Regimental Band: "Regimental March"

10.    Regimental Band: "Slow March" "Grenadier March"

11.    Regimental Band: "Quick March" "The Maple Leaf Forever"

12.    Regimental Band: "Slow March" "Kynegard Slashers" "1st Gloucestershire"

13.    Regimental Band and Corps of Drums: "Quick March" "The Regimental March"

14.    Regimental Band: "Quick March" "The Maple Leaf Forever"

15.    Regimental Band: "Quick March" ""The British Grenadiers"

16.    Regimental Band: "General Salute"

17.    Regimental Band and Corps of Drums: "Quick March" "The Regimental March"

Photo (above): RSM Fuller receiving the Colour from Sgt Wilkinson.

Below, excerpted page from the regimental journal of The Royal Canadian Regiment; Summer, 1957:


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Canadian Guards; Definitions (1966)
Topic: Tradition

Every regiment prides itself on being unique in ways that differentiates itself for other regiments. The following, from the 1966 Regimental Standing Orders of The Canadian Guards provides some of that regiment's definitions as applicable to service and daily life in that regiment.

The Canadian Guards
Regimental Standing Orders — 1966

Chapter 3 — Customs
3.3 — Definitions

3.30    Applicable to Persons.

  • The Colonel: Colonel of the Regiment.
  • The Lieutenant-Colonel: Lieutenant-Colonel of the Regiment.
  • The Commanding Officer: Officer commanding a battalion or Regimental Depot.
  • Senior Major: Second-in-Command of a battalion.
  • Captain of the Guard: Officer commanding a Guard irrespective if his rank.
  • Field Officers: Brigadiers, Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonels and Majors.
  • Mounted Officers: The Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Officers, Senior Majors and Adjutants.
  • Captain-in-Waiting: Captain of the week.
  • Subalterns: Collective term for lieutenants and ensigns.
  • Ensigns: Second lieutenants are referred to by their ancient title of "Ensign."
  • Picquet Officer: Officer commanding the Inlying Picquet.
  • Royal Family: Includes only those members of it who are styled "Royal Highness."
  • Field Officer in (Brigade) Waiting: Field Officer detailed for attendance on Her Majesty or the Governor-General at specific functions.
  • The Sergeant-Major: Warrant officer class I appointed Regimental Sergeant-Major of a battalion or the Regimental Depot. The title is extended to all ex-regimental sergeant-majors.
  • Band Sergeant-Major: Warrant officer class I of the Regimental Band.
  • The Band Master: Warrant officer class II of the Regimental Band.
  • Drill Sergeant: Regimental warrant officer class II appointed Drill Instructor. The appointment is senior to Company Sergeant-Major.
  • Colour Sergeant: Company Quartermaster-Sergeant and Regimental Staff Sergeants.
  • Picquet Sergeant: Orderly sergeant and second-in-command of the Inlying Picquet.
  • Picquet Corporal: Orderly corporal.
  • In-Waiting: Regimental duty, normally for a period of one week.
  • The Drums: Expression meaning the body of all non-commissioned officers, drummers, fifers and buglers composing the Drum and Fife band of a battalion. These individuals are referred to as "Drummers."
  • Pipes and Drums: Expression meaning the body of all non-commissioned officers, pipers and drummers composing the Pipes and Drums of the 2nd Battalion.
  • Trained Soldier: Title given to a guardsman employed as Assistant Squad Instructor at the Regimental Depot. (He wears a special badge on his upper right sleeve.)
  • Recruit: A soldier who has not completed his recruit training.

3.31    Applicable to Duties.

  • Inlying Picquet: Small body of troops held in readiness in quarters. The Inlying Picquet includes the fire picquet, the security picquet, and police picquet employed in garrison town. It does not include the Quarter Guard. Individual guardsmen are known as "Picquet" not as "Sentry."
  • Barrack Guard: Regimental appellation of a Quarter Guard. Daily guard for the security of the entrance and exits of a garrison, barracks or grounds.
  • Visiting Rounds: Visit of a Guard by the Guard Commander or the Picquet Officer.
  • Grand Rounds: Visits to the Guard by by the Captain-in-Waiting during his tour of duty.
  • Sentry: Member of a Barrack Guard, doing duty.
  • Details: Collective term for unit duties.
  • Evening Parade: Evening detail parade.
  • Staff Drill Parade: Special drill parade and inspection for employed personnel of the unit, e.g., clerks, batmen, regimental police, etc.
  • Shine Parade: Special parade, not exceeding two hours for the sole purpose of cleaning and polishing personal kit. Normally held on week-days after supper.
  • Orders: Summary trials or interviews conducted by Commanding Officer.
  • Memoranda: Summary trials or interviews conducted by Company Commanders and Adjutants.

3.32    Miscellaneous Expressions.

  • Credit: Special recognition for excellent turnout on parade, in quarters and for action or duty performed in an outstanding manner. Three credits are normally rewarded with a 24-hour pass at the discretion of the Commanding Officer.
  • Forfeiture: Loss of a credit or deprived of permanent pass. Automatic forfeiture of pay. Loss of privilege of wearing civilian clothes.
  • Placed in the Book: Placed on report or charged.
  • Tunic: Used only to identify the jacket of the full dress.
  • Jacket: Used when referring to all other uniforms or civilian clothes.
  • Civilian Clothes: proper term to be used instead of "mufti."

3.33 to 3.39 – Not allocated.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 8 April 2013 6:33 PM EDT
Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Wolseley Barracks, London, Ontario, the 1950s
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 1950s, 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 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.

In these aerial photos taken in 1950 and 1955, we can see the development and growth of the buildings at Wolseley Barracks in the post Second World War decade. 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 RCR, which always maintained a foothold in Wolseley Barracks, returned in strength with a battalion of soldiers in 1952, necessitating the rebuilding of the base to replace the Second World War era hutments with new modern barracks, kitchen, headquarters and supporting services buildings.


In 1950, the base area looks much as it did at the close of the Second World War. Filling a good share of the base property are 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.


By 1955 we see the change of the base to the look it would have in until the 1990s. The H-Huts are starting to disappear and new buildings have been going up. In the lower right corner of the base is the building that will be the bataliosn maintenance hangar, above that three barracks blocks and a kitchen building are starting to circle an area that will soon be a newly paved parade square. In the centre of the base, the white-roofed "U" cshaped building will house base and battalion headquarters and the large "U" shaped building at top centre will be another barracks, holding 500 men when packed with four soldiers to a barrack room (spacious accommodations indeed after the bunkbeds found in the older H-Huts). yet to apear in this image are the chapels, the base gymnasium, new Mess buildings for the Officers, the Warrant Officers and Sergeants and the Junior Ranks.

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
Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Military Medal (M.M.)
Topic: Medals

The original text of the Royal Warrant as published in the London Gazette authorisng the intitution of the Military Medal follows:


War Office,
5th April, 1916.

Royal Warrant Instituting a New Medal Entitled "The Military Medal."


GEORGE THE FIFTH, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India,

To all to whom these Presents shall come Greeting:

WHEREAS We are desirous of signifying Our appreciation of acts of gallantry and devotion to duty performed by non-commissioned officers and men of Our Army in the Field We do by these Presents for Us Our heirs and successors institute and create a silver medal to be awarded to non-commissioned officers and men for individual or associated acts of bravery on the recommendation of a Commander-in-Chief in the Field:

Firstly.– It is ordained that the medal shall be designated "The Military Medal."

Secondly.–It is ordained that the Military Medal shall bear on the obverse the Royal Effigy, and on the reverse the words "For bravery in the Field," encircled by a wreath surmounted by the Royal Cipher and a Crown.

Thirdly.– It is ordained that the names of those upon whom We may be pleased to confer the Military Medal shall be published in the London Gazette, and that a Register thereof shall be kept in the Office of Our Principal Secretary of State for War.

Fourthly.– It is ordained that the Military Medal shall be worn immediately before all war medals and shall be worn on the left breast pendent from a ribbon of one inch and one quarter in width, which shall be in colour dark blue having in the centre three white and two crimson stripes alternating.

Lastly.– It is ordained that in cases where non-commissioned officers and men who have been awarded the Military Medal shall be recommended by a Commander-in-Chief in the Field for further acts of bravery, a Bar may be added to the medal already conferred.

Given at Our Court at Saint James's, this Twenty-fifth day of March, 1916, in the Sixth Year of Our Reign.

By His Majesty's Command,


Total Awards

Approximately 115,000 Military Medals (M.M.) were awarded during the First World War (with 596 first bars, 180 second bars and one third bar). Each bar represented a subsequent award f the same honour. Over 15,000 Military Medals were awarded during the Second World War (with 177 first bars, and one second bar). About 300 Military Medals were awarded between the wars and another 932 with eight first bars since 1947.

Awards to Canadians

During the First World War; 12,341 Canadian soldiers received the Military Medal. Of these, 830 received a second award and 39 received a third award of the M.M. One of the best known recipients of the MM with two bars was Cpl Francis Pegahmagabow, the most highly decorated Canadian Native in the First World War. He served with 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

During the Second World War, 1235 Canadian soldiers received the Military Medal. Of these, 10 received a second award and 1 received a third award of the M.M. The sole recipient of the MM with two bars was Regimental Sergeant Major Frank Leslie Dixon, of the Essex Scottish Regiment.

During the Korean War; 53 Canadian soldiers received the Military Medal.

In 1993 the Military Medal was discontinued in the British honours system and the Military Cross became available to all ranks.

The equivalent award to the Military Medal in the modem Canadian Honours system is the Medal of Military Valour. As of 1 June 2012, this medal has been awarded 83 times for actions in Afghanistan.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 29 April 2013

Wellington Barracks, Halifax
Topic: Halifax

Wellington Barracks was one of a number of barracks used to house soldiers of the British Army, and later the Canadian Permanent Force, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Built on land now occupied by HMCS Stadacona, Wellington Barracks was once the home of The Royal Canadian Regiment when it provided the garrison battalion in Halifax.

The Evolution of the Halifax Fortress; 1749-1928 by Harry Piers (Revised by G.M. Self, Public Archives of Nova Scotia, 1947)

"The destruction by fire (11 December, 1850) of the soldiers' quarters at the North barracks very seriously reduced the available accommodation for the large force on the station ( ... the whole of the North Barracks, with the adjoining Officers' Quarters, Mess Rooms and the contiguous buildings were entirely consumed …), but it was not until seventeen years later that the erection of th present Pavilion Barracks or Married Soldiers Quarters was begun on the site of the old building. Almost immediately after the fire the Halifax Hotel on Hollis Street was leased as quarters for the Officers, and an uproarious time they had there. The rank and file were accommodated thus: the 7th Royal Fusiliers in casemates at the Citadel; the 88th in South Barracks; and the 35th, two companies at George's Island, and other harbour forts, one in the Naval Hospital, and one on the ground floor of the Pavilion Range of the North Barracks."

"Fortunately steps had already been taken to build in another part of the town large and thoroughly modern permanent barracks, later named Wellington Barracks. On 17 July, 1850, Lt. Colonel Savage had sent to England a full description and plans for permanent barracks for a battalion of infantry, to be erected on the Ordnance Field, Gottingen Street, south of Fort Needham; officers' quarters to accommodate two field officers, twenty-four officers and twenty-six servants, enlisted men's barracks for 555 NCO's and privates, and a 40-bed hospital. Authority to proceed with the work was given 30 December 1850, and the preparation of the site apparently begun in 1851. In June, 1852, the tenders of Peters, Blailock, and Peters, of Quebec, £43,271, was accepted; and they commenced work about 1 August, 1852, under the superintendence of Captain Barry, R.E. The buildings were nor complete until April, 1860."

These new barracks would also be built to the newest standards, meeting the high expectations of the reform movement seeking to improve living conditions then gaining strength in England. Accordingly, as quoted in "A Brief History of Wellington Barracks" by Barbara Winters (1989), it would include:

"...the creation of separate quarters for married soldiers, as well as separate dining facilities, day-rooms, ablution rooms and baths, laundry and drying rooms, They proposed the removal of urine tubs from the barracks, the erection of proper urinals outside the rooms, the replacement of cesspools by a drainage and sewage system and the provision of an abundant water supply."

Wellington Barracks was completed in 1858, but no troops occupied the quarters until 1860. the contract to build the barracks was fraught with problems, including the dismissal of the contractors before all work was completed.

Built originally to house the British Army garrison units at Halifax, the Barracks would house The Royal Canadian Regiment on two occasions. During the first such occasion, it housed part of the 3rd (Special Service) Battalion of The RCR, which was raised between 1899 and 1902 to garrison Halifax while the British Army focused its efforts, and its own battalions, in South Africa. Later, in 1905, when the last British garrisons were removed from Canada and The RCR expanded to create a battalion headquarters and six new companies of infantry at Halifax, Wellington Barracks again became one of the Regiment's homes until the Regiment departed for the First World War.

Wellington Barracks, after being damaged in the Halifax Explosion, was never returned to full use. Its outbuildings were torn down after the Explosion and the property transferred to the Navy in 1941.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
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

Newer | Latest | Older

The Regimental Rogue.

Follow The Regimental Rogue on facebook.

« May 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 31
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