The Minute Book
Sunday, 19 May 2013

Organization and Administration of CEF Units; Discipline
Topic: Discipline

The following section on Discipline is excerpted fron the Militia and Defence publication "Instructions Governing Organization and Administration" for new Units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. This publication was provided to the new staffs of units being raised for service overseas in the First World War and introduced them to the complex world of administration in a rapidly expanding army.

Instructions Governing
Organization and Administration of CEF Units


For purposes of discipline all ranks will be subject to the Army Act, to King's Regulations, and to such other ordinances as may apply or may be made to apply to the British Regular Army.

The following remarks regarding discipline will, no doubt, be found helpful:—

Discipline means respectful obedience to orders which is the first principle and duty of all soldiers and is the only true basis on which discipline can rest.

Without discipline there can be no real bond of confidence between officers and man or even between the men themselves.

Obedience means obedience to the spirit of all orders, not only by the letter. Promptness and punctuality are indicative of discipline as is steadiness on parade and saluting.

Life in a highly disciplined Corps is always more pleasant than in one where order and regularity are not strictly maintained.

Discipline must not have its origin in fear of punishment, but upon the knowledge and conviction that the orders emanate from a superior not only in rank but in knowledge.

Without discipline all Military bodies become mobs and worse than useless, but discipline enforced by punishment alone is a poor sort which will not stand any severe strain. What must be aimed at is that high state of discipline which springs from a Military system administered with impartiality and judgment, so as to induce all ranks a feeling of duty and the assurance that while no offence will be passed over, no offender will be unjustly dealt with.

In all cases the whole Corps should see that the punishment awarded is not more than is necessary for the maintenance of discipline.

A C.O. cannot pay too much attention to the prevention of Crime—but the true criterion of well established discipline is the absence of crime, not its screened existence.

These should be such as to insure discipline and at the same time foster self-respect.

Indecision or the use of intemperate language or an offensive manner should be carefully avoided.

C.Os. should prevent officers, N.C.Os, or men publishing information relative to the numbers, movements or operations or troops or Military details.

They should not permit any letters of complaint to be published or memorials or requisitions made without their consent.

Any officer or soldier is personally responsible for reports of this kind, which he may make without special permission, or for placing information beyond his control so that it finds its way into unauthorized hands.

Officers and soldiers are forbidden to give publicity to their individual opinions in any manner tending to prejudge any questions undergoing official investigation.

No assemblage of officer, N.C.Os or men should take place to deliberate on any military matter without the consent of the C.O.

Neither officers nor men as such should take part in any political, religious or party demonstration.

Officers should avoid reprimanding N.C.Os for irregularity of duty or awkwardness in the presence of the privates lest they weaken their authority and lessen their self-respect, unless it be necessary as in the case of severe reprimand that the reproof be public for the benefit of example.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 18 May 2013

"Trench Warfare" - Gas Masks or Respirators
Topic: CEF

Excerpted from "Trench Warfare; A Manual for Officers and Men," by J.S. Smith, Second Lieutenant with the British Expeditionary Force, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1917.

Image of a Small Box Respirator as shown on the Canadian War Museum website

Image of a Small Box Respirator as shown on the Canadian War Museum website (CWM 19720102-061). (Page link.)

Gas Masks or Respirators

The Box Respirator at present in use on the Western Front is the latest improvement, and proof against any gas that so far has been used, but should such a thing happen that a man be caught without his box respirator, any of the following improvised methods are good:

1.     Wet and ring out any woolen article, such as a stocking, muffler or cap comforter, so as to form a thick pad large enough to cover the nose and mouth, and press firmly over both.

2.     Place in a scarf, stocking or handkerchief, a pad of about three handfuls of damp earth, and tie firmly over the nose and mouth.

3.     A wet cap comforter will be found useful as additional protection, especially against certain gases other than chlorine.

4.     A cap comforter wetted with water and soda solution or tea, folded into eight folds and firmly held over the nose.

5.     A sock folded fourfold similarly wetted and held or tied. If the sock or comforter has been soaked in soda solution it will act efficiently when dry, though, if possible, it should be moist. The spare tapes from puttees may be used for tying on the sock or cap comforter.

6.     Any loose fabric, such as a sock, sandbag, woolen scarf or comforter, soaked in urine, then wrung out sufficiently to allow of free breathing and tied tightly over the nose and mouth. In the absence of any other cloths, the flannel waistbands issued for winter use could be used for this purpose.

Every officer defending a trench against an enemy gas attack should endeavor to collect information whenever possible to be sent to headquarters regarding the capture of apparatus used by the enemy either for disseminating or protection from gas. If a gas shell attack is made, unexploded shells or portions of them should be sent ; the time of day, duration of attack, color, taste or smell of gas used, effect on the eyes, breathing, and all other symptoms should be noted. New gases may be used at any time, and speedy information greatly helps the adopting of protective measures.

The area of the gas attack is very large and will sometimes cover as far back as 12 to 15 miles behind the lines, although at that point it is not generally dangerous, but for three to four miles the gas has a killing power, and precaution should be taken anywhere within that length of the firing line the same as though in the firing line.

Another nuisance resulting from a gas attack is the wholesale slaughter of rats and other animals that infest the trenches, and while a very unpleasant job, steps should at once be taken to gather these beasts up and bury them in some place, obviously for sanitary reasons.

Joseph Shuter Smith

Joseph Shuter Smith was an American author born in Philadelphia in 1893. He spent his childhood in Alaska during the Gold Rush and spent his years before the Great War as a lumberjack, miner, surveyor and cowboy. In 1914, continuing his adventurous streak, he went to Canada and enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, declaring his birthplace to be Port Hope, Ontario (with next of kin in Oakland, California). Smith enlisted with the 29th Canadian Infantry Battalion at Vancouver. He served in France and Belgium as a soldier in the CEF and, after being commissioned in August, 1916, as an officer of the British Army with The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment). He resigned his Imperial commission after a year to return to the US and enlist in the American Army. Joseph Smith also wrote the memoir: Over There and Back in Three Uniforms; Being the Experiences of an American Boy in the Canadian, British and American Armies at the Front and through No Man's Land.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 April 2013 8:38 PM EDT
Friday, 17 May 2013

CEF: Training Manuals and Forms
Topic: CEF

Instructions Governing
Organization and Administration of CEF Units


Appendix XI

Training Manuals

1.     A supply of the undermentioned Training Manuals are sent from Militia Headquarters, Ottawa, shortly after authority has been granted to raise a Unit of the C.E.F.

  • Infantry Training
  • Musketry Regulations, Parts I and II
  • Field Service Regulations, Parts I and II
  • Field Service Pocket Book
  • Training and Manual Regulations (sic)
  • Manual of Military Law
  • King's Regulations and Orders "Imperial"
  • Rifle and Musketry Exercises, Ross Rifle
  • Handbook of Canadian Service Rifle, Part I
  • Manual of Ceremonial
  • Trumpet or Bugle Sounds
  • Instructions in Bayonet Fighting
  • Manual of Field Engineering
  • Engineer Training
  • Manual of Elementary Military Hygiene
  • Manual of Map Reading
  • Training Manual Signalling
  • Field Service Manual (Infantry)
  • Army Book 153 (Field Message Book, Dismounted Officers)
  • Army Book 155 (Field Message Book, Mounted Officers)

Militia Books and Forms

2.     A supply of the undermentioned Militia Books and Forms can be obtained on application to the Divisional Office.


New Series.

Former No.


B.207C.29Memorandum Form, 6 ½ x 9.
B.211C.72Envelopes, blue, 11 ¼ x 9.
B.215C.17State, marching In and Out.
B.218B.99Discharge, Proceedings of.
B.220A.48Court-Martial, Orders, for Assembly.
B.222B.116Detention Barracks; Commitment to, by Officer Commanding (Order to Officer of N.C.O. in charge of).
B.224B.32Minor-Offence Report.
B.227B.129Medical History of an Invalid.
B.229B.146Test-Messages for Signallers (Pads of 100).
B.234C.69Envelopes, Blue, 9 x 4.
B.237B.25 and C.113Guard Report.
B.239C.80Correspondence sheets, 8 x 13, with heading.
B.259B.12Court of Enquiry, Declaration of.
B.263B.17Conduct Sheet; Regimental.
B.263aB.17Conduct Sheet; Sqd., Troop, Battery or Company.
B.263bB.22Conduct Sheet; Instructions and Specimen Sheet.
B.263cNew Form.Follow sheets to B263.
B.263dNew Form.Follow sheets to B263a.
B.264B.14Charge Sheet.
B.273B.1Absentee Report.
B.289C.23Parade State, daily, all arms except Units of the Permanent Force; (see also Militia Book No. 67).
B.292B.34 and C.93Sick Report; Morning.
B.297B.42Drunkenness, Scales of Fines for.
B.303B.54Board of Officers, or Committee, or Court of Enquiry; Proceedings of.
B.305C.212Telegraphs and Signals; Message Form "A" (pads of 100).
B.307New Form.Church State Parade; Weekly.
B.312A.4Court-Martial; Memo for guidance at.
B.313B.63Medical History Sheet.
B.321B.9Court-Martial; Application for.
B.322B.24Furlough, Authority granting.
B.341C.18Tattoo; Absentee Report.
B.355B.44Court-Martial; Statement of Character, Particulars of Service and Schedule of Convictions of Prisoner.
B.356B.153Deserter; Description to Chief of Police.
B.418New Form.Army Telegraphs and Signals; Message Form "C" (Pads of 25 originals and 25 duplicates).
B.440New Form.Correspondence Sheets, 4to., with Heading.
B.462New Form.Recruiting; Semi-monthly Return of.
B.463New Form.Recruiting; Statement of Results for half month to 16th day.
B.463aNew Form.Recruiting; Statement of Results for 17th day to end of month.
B.464New Form.Envelopes, white 9 x 4, addressed: Headquarters ……… Division or (District).
C.501A.29, A.30, etc.Forms and Books, Militia, Classified List and Requisition for.
C.502New Form.Forms and Books, Militia; Short Form of Demand for.
C.548C.114Size Roll; Special.
C.550New Form.Stationery; Demand Form and List of.
C.552C.23Provisions, etc.; Demand for Rations of, (Pads of 100).
C.566C.32Size-Roll of Clothing of stock sizes. (Pads of 100).
C.573O.3Stores; General Equipment Indent. (Pads of 100).
C.574O.4Stores; Issue and Receipt Vouchers. (Pads of 100).
C.615New Form.Stores; medical; Requisition for. (Pads of 100).
D.811C.52 and C.53Travelling and Hotel Expenses; Claim for.
D.817B.5aCanteen; Stock Account and Proof of Cash (Monthly Return).
D.817aB.5bCanteen; Abstract of Receipt and Expenditures (Monthly Return).
D.840C.83General Allowance Claim.
D.863Acct. Br. 27Postage Account, monthly.
D.873New Form.Promotions, casualties, etc. (Pt II), Regimental Orders.
No. 4 B.69Cash Book and ledger, Troop, Battery or Company ( 4to, 150 folios).
No. 11C.76Guard Book, 11 ½ x 17.
No. 14 B.97Recruits, Register of (200 folios).
No. 15B.132Duty-Roster, Officers; Permanent Force (120 pages).
No. 16C.100Rations; Requisition for (100 per book).
No. 17B.113Memo-Book (daily); Orderly-Sergeants' (5 ½ x 8).
No. 18B.112Duty-Roster; Orderly-Sergeants' (f'cap, 100 pages).
No. 28C.176Nominal Roll and Attendance at Drill; Company (50 folios).
No. 30 C.22Guard-Room, 10 x 15 ½.
No. 33B.73Cells, Visiting Officers' Book (f'cap, 100 pages).
No. 35C.27Correspondence, documentary, Register of (f'cap, 150 folios).
No. 36C.92Order-Book, 8 x 5 (300 pages).
No. 38B.152Orderly's Book; Battery or Company.
No. 40C.105Defaulter's Book (other than Permanent Force) 150 sheets.
No. 42B.121Officers' Service, Record of.
No. 43B.154Conduct Sheets, Cover of.
No. 44B.71Portfolio for Papers (f'cap).
No. 46C.123Postage, Register of (f'cap, 300 pages).
No. 49B.70Cash Account, Pay Sergeants, 6 x 8 ½ (100 folios).
No. 50New BookEquipment ledger; all non-permanent Units (artillery, clothing and personal equipment only) (8-page book).
No. 50fdoAppendix to Equipment (Mil. Book 50), all non-permenant Units (42-page book).
No. 54doSquadron, Battery or Company Book (f'cap 100 folios).
No. 60doPlain foolscap book (3 qr).
No. 62doSection Pocket-Book.
No. 63doPass; temporary absence from Quarters (100 per book).
No. 68doCourts of Enquiry, Record of Declaration (f'cap book, 2 qrs).
No. 69B.68Casualty Book.
W.5New FormReceipts for Payments (CEF Paymasters).
W.6doStatement of amount received and expended by Paymaster (CEF Paymasters).
W.7doPay-List of Officers, N.C.Os and Men (CEF Paymasters).
W.7adoPay-List of Officers (Inside Sheets) (CEF Paymasters).
W.10doAssigned—Pay Cards; for Name, Corps, Address, etc., of soldier.
W.13doField State.
W.14doField Return.
W.20doSheets for Preparation of Nominal Roll.
W.23doAttestation paper, C.E.F.
W.29doMedical Report on Recruits.
W.30doSeparation---Allowance Cards; for Name, Corps, Address, etc., of soldier.
W.38doTransportation at reduced rates; special certificate for C.E.F., Soldiers.
W.39doDischarge Certificate, C.E.F.
W.43doSpecial parade-State; Battalion or Battery.
W.44doLast-Pay Certificate.
W.51doOfficers Declaration Paper.
W.54doCasualty Return, by Unit, Regiment, or Corps.
W.61doRecruits; Particulars to be given by Recruiting Officer, for information of Regimental Paymaster.
W.66doReturn, monthly, changes of addresses of next of kin, N.C.Os and men, C.E.F.
W.67doParticulars of families of officers and men enlisted in C.E.F.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 16 May 2013

Trench Warfare – Duties of an Officer
Topic: Officers

Excerpted from "Trench Warfare; A Manual for Officers and Men," by J.S. Smith, Second Lieutenant with the British Expeditionary Force, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1917.

The Things That Matter; an officer's trials and tribulations in the trenches, from Capt Bruce bairnsfather's Fragments From France, published by the Bystander.

The Things That Matter; an officer's trials and tribulations in the trenches, from Capt Bruce bairnsfather's Fragments From France, published by the Bystander.

Trench Warfare – Duties of an Officer

Some of the questions an officer should ask himself on taking over a trench and keep in mind during his stay there, are:

1.     I am here for two purposes to do as much damage as possible to the enemy and to hold my part of the line at all costs. Am I doing everything possible to insure my being able to do this?

2.     Do I worry the enemy as much as I might, and are the periscope rifles, rifle grenades, catapults and patrols at my disposal organized in the best way to effect this purpose?

3.     Am I doing all I can to make my part of the line, as strong as possible?

4.     Should the enemy succeed in getting into any part of my line, will I be able to at once bring up a section of bombers for immediate counter-attack?

5.     Do I connect properly with units on my right and left? Do I know the position of the nearest support, and the position of all machine guns in my vicinity, as well as their lines of fire?

6.     Does every man know his firing position, and can he fire from it over the parapet at the foot of our wire?

7.     Do I do my best to prevent men exposing themselves needlessly? Have I ascertained and warned all my men of the places in my part of the line, including communication trenches, which are exposed to the fire of hostile snipers?

8.     Are my sentries in the right places? Are they properly posted by N. C. O.'s and have they received proper instructions? Are the sentries visited at frequent intervals?

9.     Have I always got a man ready to take messages to company headquarters? Do I realize that I should at once report any information I may obtain about the enemy, and that such information may be of the greatest use to the highest commanders?

10.     Do all my men know their duties in case of attack, especially the bombers? If the enemy succeeds in working into my line at any point, how can I best arrange for counter-attacking him?

11.     Are there any suitable places in my part of the line which snipers can use? Have I pointed out to section commanders the portions of the enemy's trench which each one is responsible for keeping under fire, and where the enemy's loopholes are?

12.     Do I thoroughly understand the best method of relief and bringing up of ration and water supplies, and do my men come up into the trenches in absolute silence?

13.     Do my men know their way about the trenches in various routes to company and battalion headquarters?

14.     Am I acquainted with the arrangements for access to the artillery and for asking, if necessary, for their immediate support? Do I know the location of the nearest telephone?

15.     Am I doing my best to collect information about the enemy, his defenses, his activities and movements, and especially about his patrols at night ? What points in my front particularly require patrolling?

16.     Are my listening patrols properly detailed?

17.     Which is my best way to get through the parapet in order to go towards the enemy?

18.     Do I know the last order regarding the use of B.0.S., gas and Zeppelin messages, and do I know exactly what messages to send?

19.     Are the arrangements in case of gas attack complete and known to all ranks? Do I know the gong position, and does the sentry know the orders as to sounding it?

20.     Have my men always got their gas helmets on their person and are they in good order?

21.     Are my parapets and traverses bulletproof everywhere?

22.     Is my wire strong enough and am I doing all I can to prevent my trenches from falling in?

23.     Am I doing all I can to drain my trenches?

24.     Have my men got weather-proof places to sleep in?

25.     Are the trenches as clean and sanitary as they might be? Are live ammunition and empty shells properly collected? Have I made all possible arrangements for the collection of refuse and do the men realize that it must not be thrown over the parapets or in the sump-pits for sanitary reasons?

26.     Where are my small ammunition and bomb stores, and are they under cover from weather?

27.     Are all my rifles and ammunition clean and in good order, and have all my men rifle covers? Are their magazines always charged?

28.     Am I doing all I can to prevent my men from getting trench feet? Have my men greased their feet before entering the trenches, and have they a pair of spare dry socks to change? Do my men wear gum boots when it is not necessary? Have I made all possible arrangements for drying socks?

29.     Are the orders as to wearing equipment carried out?

30.     Are my men using as firewood notice boards or wood from the defense or from the engineer or trench stores?

31.     Are my men drinking water from any but authorized sources?

32.     Do I know the name of every N.C.O. and man in my platoon, and do they know mine?

33.     Do I insure that my men get sufficient sleep?

34.     Have I sufficient periscopes and are they in good order?

35.     Almost always remember that I am here for two purposes. Do as much damage to the enemy with the minimum amount of casualties resulting from retaliation, and to hold my part of the line at all costs.

Joseph Shuter Smith

Joseph Shuter Smith was an American author born in Philadelphia in 1893. He spent his childhood in Alaska during the Gold Rush and spent his years before the Great War as a lumberjack, miner, surveyor and cowboy. In 1914, continuing his adventurous streak, he went to Canada and enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, declaring his birthplace to be Port Hope, Ontario (with next of kin in Oakland, California). Smith enlisted with the 29th Canadian Infantry Battalion at Vancouver. He served in France and Belgium as a soldier in the CEF and, after being commissioned in August, 1916, as an officer of the British Army with The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment). He resigned his Imperial commission after a year to return to the US and enlist in the American Army. Joseph Smith also wrote the memoir: Over There and Back in Three Uniforms; Being the Experiences of an American Boy in the Canadian, British and American Armies at the Front and through No Man's Land.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Queen's South Africa Medal
Topic: Medals

The Queen's South Africa Medal, awarded for service in the Second Boer War (1899-1902), was received by 3860 Canadians who served in Canada's Contingents to the British Army in South Africa.

The first production of these medals included the year dates on the reverse "1899-1900" since a short war was anticipated. While most of the medals produced with these dates were re-struck, leaving visible "ghost dates" on the back of the disc, at least 50 (and possibly as many as 300) were issued to the soldiers of the Lord Strathcona's Horse before the remaining medals were corrected.

Twenty-six clasps (a.k.a., bars) were authorized for the Queen's South Africa Medal, which vary between being commonly found on medals issued to Canadians to ones that are classed as "extremely rare" or "unknown." Clasps named for States were awarded to mark service within their boundaries and for the many smaller actions that individual clasps would have created too complex a system of clasps for the medal. Also issued were a number of clasps for specific battle or participation in operations within specific areas and time. Finally, there were also the theatre clasps "South Africa 1901" and "South Africa 1902" for service between dates for those not eligible for the subsequently issued King's South Africa medal. The Veterans Affairs Canada webpage for the for the medal lists as common clasp issued to Canadians, the following:

  • Four of the the five state clasps:
    • Cape Colony
    • Orange Free State
    • Natal
    • Transvaal
  • Area or Battle clasps:
    • Johannesburg
    • Belfast
    • Driefontein
  • Theatre clasps:
    • South Africa 1901
    • South Africa 1902

According to the medal collector's reference, the Medal Yearbook, at least four other clasps are known to be issued to Canadians, although other may be extant where individuals were attached to units other than their parent regiments at times during the war. The four identified clasps are:

  • Rhodesia (the fifth State clasp)
  • Relief of Mafeking
  • Paardeberg
  • Diamond Hill

To the VAC list of commonly issued clasps to Canadians, perhaps, should be added the clasp "Paardeberg", which was awarded to the soldiers of the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion of The Royal Canadian Regiment for its service at the defeat of the Boer General Piet Cronje in February, 1900, at Paardeberg Drift.

For those seeking more detailed information, the excellent British service medals reference "British Battles and Medals" provides descriptions of the eligibility requirements for each of the clasps for the Queen's South Africa medal.



Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The Canadian Guards; Kit Inspections (1966)
Topic: Drill and Training

The Canadian Guards
Regimental Standing Orders — 1966

Kit inspections; the bane of every soldier's existence. Today, detailed kit inpections are something seen during basic training and then rarely thereafter for members of the Canadian Armed Forces. In the Regiment of Canadian Guards during the 1960s, a complete kit inspection a was a monthly occurrence for soldiers, or possibly more often if considered ncessary by someone further up the chain of command than the suffering soldier submittting to it. 

The following images from the 1966 edition of the Regimental Standing Orders for The Canadian Guards offer a glimpse of the level of detail necessary to be met for such inspections.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 13 May 2013

The Garrison Chapel, Halifax, Nova Scotia (1847 to 1905)
Topic: Halifax

The image above, from a postcard with a 1905 postmark shows the Garrison Chapel in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which was used by the British garrison troops between 1847 and 1905.

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

Before 1830 the troops attended religious service in the various churches of the town. From about November, 1830, to about November, 1837, an old building was leased, and fitted up as a garrison Chapel. In July, 1835, Lt. Colonel Jones sent to England plans and estimates £1,980 4s 1/2d, for a Military or Garrison Chapel to be erected near the foot of the Citadel glacis. It was intended to afford ample accommodation for 794 persons, the galleries being for the officers and their families and the ground floor for the NCO's and men. The corner-stone was laid on 23 October, 1844, and the building was opened for service 18 June, 1847. Its site was in from the northwest corner of Brunswick and Cogswell Streets. It was from the built of wood, about 100' by 60', designed in a classic style, the recessed portico beneath the pediment on the east front having large fluted Doric columns.

The Church of Saint Paul in Halifax, Nova Scotia: 1749-1949
by Reginald V. Harris, K.C., D.C.L. (Ryerson Press, 1949)

St Paul's was for ninety-six years (1750-1846) the church of the Army and Navy stationed in Halifax. ...

Garrison Chapel. On October 23, 1844, the corner-stone of the “new Military Chapel” at the corner of Brunswick and Cogswell Streets was laid, in the presence of troops in the garrison.

From the time it was opened until 1905 this Chapel was the authorized place of worship for all British soldiers in the garrison, except Presbyterians and Roman Catholics, and nothing could exceed the heartiness of the services held there.

In 1905 the Imperial troops were withdrawn from Halifax, and the Chapel was closed. In the following year the building was purchased by the congregation of Trinity Church, then on Jacob Street, occupying it in 1907.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
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

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