The Minute Book
Sunday, 26 May 2013

CEF: Scale of Clothing and Necessaries
Topic: CEF

Instructions Governing
Organization and Administration of CEF Units


Appendix VI

Scale of Clothing and Necessaries

The following is a detail of issue of clothing and necessaries, authorized for each Warrant Officer, N.C.O., and man approved and enlisted for service in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (Militia Orders 164 and 241, 1915).


Mounted Men

Dismounted Men

Boots, ankle, prs



Caps, forage, drab







Jackets, drab



Pantaloons, drab or B.C., prs


Pantaloons, service, prs


Puttees, drab, prs



Shirts, service



Shoes, canvas, prs



Trousers, drab 


Trousers, service 


Winter Clothing
Caps, balaclava



Gloves, woollen, prs



Sweater jackets







Collar, prs





Canada, prs



Initials, sets



Numerals, sets



Bootlaces, prs



Boot, dressing (grease) 2 oz. tins



Braces, prs
















Combs, hair



Drawers, woollen, prs



Forks, table









Identity discs, metal



Knives, clasp



Knives, table



Lanyards, clasp knife






Shirts, flannel, grey



Shirts, under, woollen



Socks, prs



Spoons, table



Towels, hand



Bags, Kit



Scale of Arms, Equipment, etc.

The scale of arms, equipment, etc., is laid down in a pamphlet issued with Militia Order No. 534, 1915. As, however, this is subject to amendment from time to time, it is not included here. Officers Commanding units should obtain information as to this scale from Divisional Headquarters.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 25 May 2013

Colours; The Soul of a Regiment
Topic: Militaria

A Presentation to the Annual Conference of the Organization of Military Museums of Canada (OMMC)

On 24 May 2013, I was invited to speak to the Annual Conference of the Organization of Military Museums of Canada. The topic I was asked to speak on was Regimental Colours, following a short presentation I made a few months ago to members of the congregation of St Paul's Cathedral in London, Ontario, about the many Colours that hang in the Cathedral.

Although the original plan was to speak to conference attendees at the Cathedral, it turned out that I would speak to them at their conference base of operations; the Delta Armouries (a fitting site as it was long the home of the 7th Fusiliers/Canadian Fusiliers and the Reserve Battalion of The Royal Canadian Regiment before its current reconstruction as a hotel. The change of venue also required that a presentation set of slides be developed to replace the anticipated visual accompaniment of the Colours actually hanging in the Cathedral.

In response to a number of requests for the slide package, it is advantageous to post the file link here. The challenge to those who wished for the presentation is that there are no accompanying speaking notes. For those who find it useful, please feel free to rebuild it to your specific purposes. In return I would appreciate a brief glimpe of the final slide be shown to your audiences. (The PPT file is 11 Mb in size and may be slow to download.)


As the primary official reference for Colours was not immediately known by all conference attendees, I have included a link to a pdf copy (6.8 Mb):

A-AD-200-000/AG-000, The Honours, Flags and Heritage Structure of the Canadian Forces

The other reference mentioned in the presentation is Old Colours Never Die by Francis J. Dunbar and Joseph H. Harper. This out of print volume will soon be available as a reprint by Service Publications. The publisher is collecting e-mail addresses of those who wish to be notified of publication at this page.


Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 25 May 2013 12:05 AM EDT
Friday, 24 May 2013

Carry On; The Toronto Scottish Regiment
Topic: Officers

Carry On: A few anecdotes from Captain (retired) Arthur (Sparky) McLean of the Toronto Scottish Regiment.

A custom that was still in place (just barely) in the Toronto Scottish Officers' Mess when I joined was the Subalterns' Scribe. This was a means for the junior officers to poke fun at (and gently chide) the more senior members of the Mess and Regimental goings-on. The Scribe was a ghostly apparition that appeared relatively early in the dinner program (after the haggis, before dessert), as I recall at the foot of the table (near the empty place setting for the Absent Friend) in an obsolete form of dress. He could only speak in questions, which he in turn answered. After a minute or two of this, he then disappeared, re-donned his mess kit and returned to dinner. The one time I played the role I ditched my jacket, waistcoat and tie and threw a WWII leather jerkin over my shirt. An example: our CO of the time was trying to increase trained soldier retention (always a challenge in the Reserves) by putting one particular Captain in charge of many of the trained junior NCOs and giving him free rein to organize adventure-style training. This was called Dirk Platoon; for whatever reasons, it never seemed to work very well and the fancy training didn't happen very often. The Scribe's sphinx-like query? "What do you call a pile of 31 knives? A Dirk Platoon." Sad to say, the Scribe has fallen out of custom since the early 1980s. I suspect I may have been the last Subalterns' Scribe in the TorScots; yet another obscure entry on my CV.

Some customs, of course, are very time-and-place specific. The CO of the Scottish when I joined was a height-challenged, flame-haired Glaswegian, Jim Parker. Indeed, at Toronto Garrison functions when all the COs were introduced, his least-loved of all phrases was "Stand up, Colonel!" Within his own Mess, of course, such comments were never heard. However, whenever the head table was piped into a Mess dinner in the TorScots Officers' Mess he would find a fat Toronto telephone book on his chair as a booster. He took this with reasonable grace, but clearly he had tired of the jibe. So one dinner, he decided to pre-empt this joke.

The Saturday afternoon of the dinner he arrived two hours early. As CO of a Reserve unit he had access to the Battalion key press. He used his access and confiscated every phone book in the Battalion lines. He scooped the books from the Fort York Armoury phone booth. He went into the Mess and seized the Mess phone book. These were all locked in his office. He changed into his Mess Dress in his office and then waited for the bar to open. Life proceeded normally thereafter, though a localized shortage of phone books was noted by all. At five or so minutes to dinner, as you can expect, diners finished their drinks, left the anteroom and made their ways to their places. The head table was lined up in the hall before its entrance and the piper was tuned and ready to go. As we were all standing there, dinner minus sixty seconds, suddenly the CO ran into the dining room, went straight to his place at the centre of the head table and found – of course – a phone book on his chair. He grabbed it, ran the half-dozen steps to the balcony window and with a brief scream flung the phone book out towards the Fleet Street streetcar tracks, never to be seen again. He then turned to us, standing behind our seats, and emphatically ordered us all, "Get out! Get out!" Somewhat startled, we all moved back into the anteroom as the CO watched. When he was the only person left in the room, he shouted, "Piper, start up!" and told the rest of us we could come back in. He ran out the back door of the Mess to fall in with the rest of the head table. We ordinary diners returned to our places just as the head table marched in. Padre said grace, we all pulled our chairs out to be seated – and the CO found another phone book on his chair.

Confession is good for the soul; the last phone book was on *my* chair until dinner minus twenty seconds. When Colonel Parker ran out to rejoin the head table party I ran into the Mess ahead of the rest, scooped the book on my chair, took three steps, tossed it gently under the table onto his chair and made it to my seat just before he got back in. Prior planning prevents poor performance.

When Colonel Parker stepped down as CO, as a parting gift we had a star named for him in the International Star Registry. Of course it was a red dwarf. He put up with a lot from us.And when one of my fellow subs became CO of the Scottish twenty or so years later, at his dining-in he had to explain to the 32 Brigade Commander why there was a phone book on his chair when the head table marched in.

I remember a particular Subaltern's Court session from the early 1980s, when I was a young sub in the Toronto Scottish Regment.

It was well-known in the Officers' Mess that I was teetotal (I just don't like alcohol – it all smells and tastes like jet fuel to me). After a Mess dinner a court was convened and, after a couple of other pieces of business, I was arraigned and charged with excessive sobriety. With due dispatch I was found guilty (as if I could argue?) and was sentenced to consume two ounces of single-malt scotch, neat. The instrument of my punishment swiftly was obtained by a court member from the bar and all awaited my first public drink (and, I assume, my first intoxication or first sick-up). I stood at attention in my Mess kit at the foot of the table and clarified that I was to consume the scotch, down the throat and to the stomach. This indeed was the case, I was told.

I lifted my chin, pulled the collar of my shirt out from my Adam's apple and poured two ounces of expensive scotch down the front of my neck, across my hairy chest and onto my tum. Having successfully soaked the waist of my kilt and my shirt-tails with somebody else's single-malt, I put the empty glass on the table, smiled sweetly, turned about and marched out. My kilt smelled like a distillery for some time after. I thought the court members all were going to cry.


AHE (Sparky) McLean CD pmsc
Captain (retired)
Late, the Toronto Scottish Regiment (Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's Own)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 23 May 2013

Trench Warfare - How to Fire a Machine Gun in case of Emergency
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.

How to Fire a Machine Gun in case of Emergency

A Maxim Maxim; Fire should always be withheld till a favourable target presents itself. A cartoon by Capt Bruce Bairnsfather, from Fragments From France, published by The Bystander.

A Maxim Maxim; Fire should always be withheld till a favourable target presents itself. A cartoon by Capt Bruce Bairnsfather, from Fragments From France, published by The Bystander.

As a machine gun textbook is very dry, and it is difficult for a man who is not of a mechanical turn of mind to obtain the most elementary knowledge of the action from a book, officers should lose no time in getting in touch with a machine gun officer and learn from actual experience, how to load, fire and rectify simple stoppage.

LEWIS GUN. To load, put a full magazine on the magazine post with the cocking handle forward.

Pull back cocking handle to its fullest extent, and raise tangent sight unless the target is within 200 yards.

To fire, press the trigger and the gun will continue to fire as long as pressure on the trigger is maintained. It will only stop when (a) the magazine is emptied; (b) stoppage is set up. To remedy this (1) take off empty magazine and put on full one, reload relay and fire; (2) cocking handle stops in one of three positions. To remedy this one must have a thorough knowledge of remedying of stoppages.

VICKER'S AUTOMATIC. To load, pass the brass tack of belt through feed plug (right to left), pull back crank handle and pull belt to the left; release handle and belt ; repeat this process and the gun is loaded. Vertical adjustment for sighting is obtained by moving elevating wheel on quadrant of tripod, horizontal adjustment by tapping the rear cross-piece. The clamping handle is in front of the cross-band of the tripod. To fire, raise safety catch with first or second finger (the safety catch is a strip of steel which is under the thumb-piece or double button) and press the thumb-piece. The gun will now fire until pressure is released or until a stoppage occurs.

STOPPAGES. There are four common stoppages, distinguished by the position of the crank handle. Remedy: (1) Pull crank handle back and belt to the left, let go crank handle; (2) open rear cover, take out lock, remove bent cartridge from face of lock; (3) hit crank handle down. If it will not go, lift it a little, pull belt and hit again; (4) raise crank handle, pull belt, let go of crank. If not effective, then put in the spare lock, but unload first. To disable gun, remove lock and fuse from fire belt through the breech casing.


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, 22 May 2013

Soldier's Load – Germany – 1900-1914
Topic: Soldiers' Load

The book that the following extract is taken from was originally published in France (1902) as Comparative Studies of Field Equipment of the Foor Soldier of France and Foreign Armies details the soldier's kit carried by the armies of Europe up to the start of the First World War. Having first been published in 1902, the publishers of the translated edition added the British Web Equipment 1908, since Britain was the only country to change it's soldier's equipment before 1914.

Field Equipment of the European Soldier 1900-1914

By Commandant Emile Charles Lavisse, of the French Army; Translated by Edward P Lawton
Published by The Battery pres, in association with The Imperial War Museum & Articles of War, Ltd., Skokie. Originally published 1902, English translation published 1994.

A German lookout in a Waterproof Trench.

A German lookout in a Waterproof Trench.


Nomenclature and weights of the effects and objects composing the field equipment of the foot soldier.

1.     The Knapsack and its Load.












Overcoat straps


Small articles of clothing:



Socks or foot linen


Easy shoes




Knife and spoon


Soldiers' handbook and book of canticles




Sewing and brush case


Camp equipment:

Individual camp kettle and straps


Shelter tent and accessories



Cleaning cord for rifle



Cartridges (30)



Reserve (3 days)


Tobacco and cigars






2.     On the Man.






Cloth trousers



Helmet and ornaments


Helmet cover



Two cartridge boxes


Belt and plate


Small articles of equipment:



Suspenders (trousers)




Socks or foot linen










Aluminum drinking cup






Camp equipment:



Contents of canteen








Cartridges (90)



The day's


First Aid Package


Identification card




Grand Total


(a)     The weight of the load mounts up, when tools are carried as follows:



With the spade (100 per company, weight 0.890)


With the pickax (10 per company, weight 1.480)


With the ax (5 per company, weight 1.080)


Other nations included in Field Equipment of the European Soldier 1900-1914 are:

  • France
  • England
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • Holland
  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Billets and Batmen
Topic: Humour

"Well, if you knows of a better 'ole, go to it." A cartoon by Capt Bruce Bairnsfather, from Fragments From France, published by The Bystander.

Billets and Batmen; Being a Few Reminiscences of the Lighter Side of War (Excerpts)

By "Nobby"

Published in the Canadian Defence Quarterly, Vol. XI, No. 1, October, 1933

…it was not until I went to France that I was taken charge of by Bill. He was an time-expired R.E. who was homesteading in Canada when the war started, and although well over fifty, he had lied his way back into the Army. But though the spirit was willing, his feet let him down and so he became a bright particular star in the Corps of Batmen. He was a fine, upstanding old chap of over six feet, with a complexion that was the co-operative achievement of Indian suns and British beer, and the typical huge drooping moustache of the old army.

So long as I was on this cushy job Bill was quite content to remain in billets, but if I had a re reconnaissance to make or some front line wire to put up, he would contrive to get my runner, who was quite a youngster, out of the way when I wanted him, and would turn up himself with a rifle slung over his shoulder.

"Where's Tompkins," I would enquire.

"I sent 'im down for rations" (or something else) "sir, so I'll come along myself."

During the following summer, we had just come out of the line for the usual alleged rest, when a full parade was ordered, as the G.O.C. in C. was coming to look us over. It happened that by reason of leave and casualties, I was acting as second-in-command of the company and therefore in charge of the mounted section. So I went into conference with Bill …

"I'll have to look pretty posh tomorrow, Bill, because the G.O.C. is going to inspect us."

"All right, Sir, you just leave it to me," said he, "I'll 'ave yer lookin' like a bleedin' rainbow."

And so he did. I positively glittered. I learned later that he had taken my charge from the lines the night before and kept it in his billet with him until the parade the next day. the mare' coat was something to admire, Bill having spent most of the night polishing her up with by best, and only, silk handkerchief, while in place of the steel bit and stirrups, these were nickel plated, borrowed (?) from some Artillery lines a mile or so away.

It was Bill's habit, when we moved out to rest, to make a reconnaissance of the village. In the evening he would come to me, ostensibly to see if my billet was to my liking.

"Got a spare water bottle, Sir?" he would ask.

"What for, Bill?"

"Well, Sir, I've 'eard as 'ow there's a good drop of beer to be 'ad in this 'ere village, and I thogh p'raps you'd like to try it."

"All right, Bill, how much?"

"Well, Sir, wot about ten francs?"

Now ten francs would buy nearly all the beer in the village, but I guess that was what Bill had in mind.

Anyway, presently he would depart with several water bottles slung around him, to return later in a cheerful frame of mind, but he would never forget to deliver my beer to me.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 20 May 2013

Customs: Trooping the Colour (1925)
Topic: Tradition

Trooping of the Queen's and Regimental Colours of the 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment; Harris Park, London, Ontario, 4 October 2008. Photo by Bryan Nelson.

Old Military Customs Still Extant

By: Major C..T. Tomes, D.S.O., M.C.
Published in the Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, Vol. LXX, February to November, 1925

Trooping the Colour

The Practice of Trooping the Colour was originally an old guard-mounting ceremony, in which the King's Colour is the symbol of the Sovereign and the Regimental Colour the emblem of the soul of the regiment. For this reason it is right that they are marched round the battalion from time to time, so that every man may pay them all due honour. Colours are never usually touched or carried except by an officer, but this ceremony starts with the emblem in charge of a sergeant with two sentries. Similarity, each "guard" is formed into line without its officers. The sergeants commanding the guards then assemble together with the officers on the saluting base, a relic of the days when they were so collected in order to draw lots for their guard, receive the "parole" and such orders as might be given them. the drums beat the "Assembly," meaning that it is time for officers and N.C.Os. to take up their posts. They recover arms and move by the stately slow march to take over their command.

The first honour is next paid to the Colour by the slow and quick marches played by the band and drums. This is only a preliminary to the reception of the Colour into the ranks of the Battalion. In the old days the grenadier company always found the escort and invariably took the right of the parade; nowadays the right guard still performs this duty, the right having been the post of honour from the time of the Roman Legionaries, since they carried the shield on the left arm.

The "Drummer's Call" is the signal for the captain of the escort to hand over hos command to the lieutenant; a curious bit of symbolism. the band and drums then play "The British grenadiers" and the escort moves across the front of the parade to the Colour. The Sergeant-Major, representing the men, takes it from the sergeant in whose charge it is, and hands it to an officer. the Colour is next received by the escort with full honours. Arms are presented and the band plays the salute, if it is the King's Colour, this is "God Save the King"; if it be the Regimental Colour, the Regimental Slow March is played. The Sergeant-Major salutes with his sword, the only occasion on which he does so. The escort stands with its arms at the "present," while the sergeants on the flanks of each rank face outward and port their arms as if to repel any intruder who may attempt to disturb this solemn moment. The escort with the Colour moves back in slow time to the music of the "Grenadiers' Slow March" to the right of the line; they file through the ranks of the battalion, arms are presented and every man can see the Colour and show it honour. The ceremony finishes with a march past in quick and slow time.

Coldstream Guards Trooping Their Colour; The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. (Youtube)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
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

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