The Minute Book
Saturday, 17 August 2013

CEF Unit Organization and Administration: Miscellaneous Regulations
Topic: CEF

Instructions Governing
Organization and Administration of CEF Units

Appendix X

Miscellaneous Regulations and Instructions issued from time to time by Militia Headquarters, Otawa, Still in Effect.

Dogs Accompanying Overseas Units

It is pointed out for the information of all concerned that dogs are not to be permitted to accompany any of the officers of men of any unit proceeding overseas as they cannot land in England and are usually left on shipboard where they are either destroyed or turned loose on the ship's arrival at a Canadian Port and so lost (H.Q. G54-21-16-9, vol. 2, dated 11/6/15.)

Granting of Warrant Officer Rank

Warrant Rank will not be granted to any N.C.Os. of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Canada, promotion of Sergeants-Major to this rank can only be considered after arrival in Canada.

Badges of Rank

Under Canadian Regulations badges of rank are worn on the shoulder strap but under Imperial Regulations they are worn on the sleeve.

Inasmuch as the Canadian Expeditionary Force on leaving Canada, pass under the control of the Imperial Authorities, badges of rank in the case of officers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force should be worn on the sleeve, and this change must be made before proceeding overseas.

Solicitation of Subscriptions by Units of the C.E.F.

It has been brought to the attention of Headquarters, Ottawa, that units for Overseas Service are soliciting subscriptions from the public for the purchase of articles of equipment, band instruments, etc., and the creation of a Regimental Fund, and it has been reported that some units have charged an admission fee to witness parades, etc., for such purposes.

The practice above referred to does not commend itself and no appeals for subscriptions will be permitted except with the express permission obtained beforehand from the Militia Council, through the proper channels.

Units of the Overseas Force are supplied by the Department with everything necessary for their equipment and it should not be necessary to appeal to the public for assistance. (H.Q. 54-21-33-71).

Appointment of N.C.Os to the C.E.F.

All N.C.Os appointed to the C.E.F. will hold provisional appointments only, so that they can be reverted at any time when the interests of the service so require. They will not be confirmed in rank until after the unit arrives in England.

Working Pay

The following is a copy of a recent Order in Council respecting working pay:

The Committee of the Privy Council have had before them a report, dated 1st November, 1915, from the Minister of Militia and Defence, stating, with reference to Order in Council Np. 2284 of 3rd September, 1914, fixing rates of pay for the Canadian Expeditionary Force, that when these rates were under consideration in the Department of Militia and Defence, it was represented that working pay for cooks, tailors, bakers, butchers, motor car drivers, mechanics, smiths, farriers, wheelers, and such like, at rates varying from 50c to $1.00 a day in addition to the ordinary rate was necessary in order to induce the men of those trades to enlist, and accordingly this extra pay was recommended and approved.

In the light of further experience, however, it is now considered advisable to cancel this working pay, as those who are drawing it have as a rule easier and less dangerous tasks to perform than the men in the trenches, who do not receive it. Furthermore, no difficulty is now anticipated in recruiting men of these trades.

The Minister, therefore, recommended that beginning with 1st January, 1916, that part of the Order in Council of 3rd September, 1914, authorizing working pay will be canceled, and those in receipt of same who are unwilling to continue on at the ordinary rates be allowed to take their discharges as soon as their places can be filled.

Medical care of the Feet of Men in Units of the C.E.F.

Attention has been called to the great importance of having the feet of the men of all units of the C.E.F. carefully inspected at least once a month, with a view to detection and correction of any conditions which may lead to impairment of efficiency.

The Medical Officers of all units concerned should, as part of their duties, give such instructions to the men under their charge as may be necessary to assist them in caring for their feet. A number of men in the proportion of at least two per infantry Company should be specially instructed in Chiropody, in order that they may render assistance to the Medical Officer in carrying out this special service (H.Q. 54-21-37-3.)

Soldiers Medically Unfit detained pending Discharge

In cases where soldiers belonging to Unit of the C.E.F., which has not yet proceeded abroad, are found medically unfit for future military service and are detained in a hospital or sent to a convalescent home, etc., pending final disposal and discharge, they may be struck off the strength of their unit and placed under the direct orders of the A.A.G. Division or District.

Separation Allowance in connection with men who marry after enlistment

Certified Copy of a Report of the Committee of the Privy Council, approved by His Royal Highness the Governor General on the 28th January, 1915.

The Committee of the Privy Council have had before them a report, dated 23rd January, 1915, from the Acting Minister of Militia and Defence, stating, that applications have been received from men who have enlisted in the Corps raised for Overseas Service to be allowed to marry and to have their wives placed on the Separation Allowance list, and that many have already married since enlistment without asking permission and are claiming this allowance.

The Minister observes that these applications have hitherto been refused on the ground that the Separation Allowance was intended to provide for families of married men who has enlisted as such and whose families would, otherwise, be in want or become a burden on the Patriotic Fund, and that it was not the Government's intention to encourage men to marry after enlistment as that would increase the already heavy expenditure under Separation Allowance, and in case of the soldier's death would necessitate placing his widow on the pension list.

As, however, the applications hitherto are from men who had, prior to enlistment, given a promise to marry, the Minister recommends that, in consideration of this and the sudden call for volunteers permission to marry be granted provided the application has the recommendation of the Officer Commanding the Corps in which the man is serving and that the marriage takes place within twenty days after application of this order, and that, as regards application of this kind from men enlisting hereafter, permission be granted only to those who apply at the time of enlistment and that if not married within twenty days thereafter the permission be cancelled.

If a man marries after twenty days of enlistment and reasons exist which entitle him to special consideration, O.Cs should submit a report of the case for consideration at Militia headquarters, Ottawa, who may grant Separation Allowance as a Special Case.

Kit Bags to be carried by men on train

Officers commanding Overseas Units, prior to leaving to embark for overseas, will see that each man caries his kit bag with him on the train, as if they are stored in the baggage car the embarking of troops is delayed, owing to these kit bags have to be distributed to the men before going on board.

Drawing Balance of Ordnance Stores at Embarkation Point

Officers in charge of units of rafts leaving for Overseas should, immediately the point of embarkation is reached, get in communications with the Ordnance Oficer at that point with a view to drawing from Ordnance Stores any additional stores which have been sent to that point for the unit concerned.

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 July 2013 12:05 AM EDT
Friday, 16 August 2013

Right of the Line
Topic: Tradition

Standing Orders for The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery (1963)

Right of the Line

The Regimental Badge of
The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery

The Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (RCHA) Badge

141.     Although all Gunners are aware of the Royal Regiment of Artillery's order of precedence as "The Right of the Line", very few know how this honour was acquired.

142.     It has not been clearly established exactly when the Royal Artillery was given its position on the "Right of the Line" but it was very likely in Flanders l742-l748. There is a record where, in l742, at a camp at Lexden Heath near Colchester, "The Artillery on its own authority, moved from the left of the camp to the right, which was its customary place."

143.     In l756, the matter was brought to official notice on a complaint by a Capt Pattison, whose company of artillery was denied its usual place on the right during a parade to witness the execution of a deserter. He based his claim on the custom in Flanders. The claim was upheld and the official letter on the subject concluded as follows:

"It is the Duke of Cumberland's order that Colonel Bedford write to Capt Pattison and acquaint General Blond, it is His Royal Highness' command that the Artillery take the right of all FOOT on all parades and likewise of Dragoons when dismounted."

144.     In 1773, at Gibraltar, the Commander Royal Artillery protested that the governor had changed the accepted order of precedence in parading the Guards. The protest was then taken to His Majesty, who upheld the Gunners claim. The custom was again upheld in 1787 when it was questioned whether the Royal Irish Artillery should parade on the right or left of the Royal Military Artificers who were then next in order of precedence after the Royal Artillery. The answer to this question was: "The Royal Artillery to be on the right, either English or Irish, there is no exception."

145.     The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery holds the place of honour on the "Right of the Line" by reason of the fact that the Canadian Army has adopted many of the customs and traditions of the British Army.

The same Standing Orders provided that precedence within the Artillery would be as follows:

a.     Field Artillery Branch

(1)     Royal Canadian Horse Artillery Regiments
(2)     Field Artillery Regiments
(3)     Medium Artillery Regiments
(4)     Surface to Surface Missile Units
(5)     Locating Units
(6)     Air Observation Post Units

b.     Air Defence Artillery

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 15 August 2013

Punishable by Death (1914)
Topic: Discipline

Manual of Military Law (1914)

Army Act – Discipline (Crimes and Punishments)

Offenses punishable more severely on active service than at other times.

6.     (1)     Every person subject to military law who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,

(a.)     Leaves his commanding officer to go in search of plunder; or

(b.)     Without orders, from his superior officer, leaves his guard, picquet, patrol, or post; or

(c.)     Forces a safeguard; or

(d.)     Forces or strikes a soldier when acting as sentinel; or

(e.)     Impedes the provost-marshal, or any assistant provost-marshal, or any officer or non-commissioned officer, or other person legally exercising authority under or on behalf of the provost-marshal, or, when call on, refuses to assist in the execution of his duty the provost-marshal, assistant provost-marshal, or any such officer or non-commissioned officer, or other person; or

(f.)     Does violence to any person bringing provisions or supplies to the forces; or commits any offence against the property or person of any inhabitant of or resident in the country in which he is serving; or

(g.)     Breaks into any house or other place in search of plunder; or

(h.)     By discharging firearms, drawing swords, beating drums, making signals, using words, or by any means whatever, intentionally occasions false alarms in action, on the march, in the field or elsewhere; or

(i.)     Treacherously makes known the parole, watchword, or countersign, to any person not entitled to receive it, or treacherously gives a parole, watchword, or countersign different from what he received; or

(j.)     Irregularly detains or appropriates to his own corps, battalion, or detachment any provisions or supplies proceeding to the forces, contrary to any orders issued in that respect; or

(k.)     Being a soldier acting as sentinel, commits any of the following offences; that is to say,

(i)     sleeps or is drunk at his post; or

(ii)     leaves his post before he is regularly relieved,

shall, on conviction by court-martial,

if he commits any such offence on active service, be liable to suffer death, or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned; and

if he commits any such offence not on active service, be liable, if an officer, to be cashiered, or to suffer less punishment as is in this Act mentioned, and if a soldier, to suffer imprisonment, or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.

(2)     Every person subject to military law who commits any of the following offences (that is to say),

(a.)     By discharging firearms, drawing swords, beating drums, making signals, using words, or by any means whatever, negligently occasions false alarms in action, on the march, in the field or elsewhere; or

(b.)     Makes known the parole, watchword, or countersign, to any person not entitled to receive it; or, without good and sufficient cause, gives a parole, watchword, or countersign different from what he received,

shall on conviction by court-martial be liable, if an officer, to be cashiered, or to suffer less punishment as is in this Act mentioned, and if a soldier, to suffer imprisonment, or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.

Selected Notes:

1.     Subs. (1) The punishment for the offences here mentioned varies very widely according as the offences are committed on active service or not on active service; and where a man is charged with committing any of them on acive service, those words must always be inserted in the charge. For the definition of active service, see section 180(1).

2. (a.)     This paragraph, having regard to the special military significance of the term "plunder," is applicable only to offences committed on active service.

4. (c.)     Safeguard. A safeguard is a party of soldiers detached for the protection of some person or persons, or of a particular village, mansion, or other property. A single sentry posted from such party is still part of the safeguard, and it is as criminal to force him by breaking into the home, cellar, or other property under his especial care as to force the whole party.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 July 2013 10:19 PM EDT
Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Regimental History is Social History
Topic: Commentary

Regimental History is Social History

Many researchers and authors, when studying the history of a regiment, tend to focus on periods of conflict. This conflict studies approach places an inordinate focus on the actions of the regiment in wartime, often to the exclusion of other aspects of the regiment. Similarly, the long tradition of such focus on "special events" in examining our own regimental histories tends to minimize the equal importance of recording the normal routines of regimental life both during and between periods of intense activity.

But a regiment is a sum of all its parts, and battlefield actions, while inarguably important, are only one part of a much broader, and richer, whole. While one slice of a regimental history is definitely conflict studies, the overall study of a regiment is a much broader social history.

The enduring character of a regiment is based on how it perceives itself, and how it is perceived by others. The roles and attitudes adopted by a regiment in peace and war, as well as the slings and arrows directed at a Regiment and its reputation, with good or ill humour, are as important to understand as its list of Battle Honours. Take, for example, the Canadian Army's two English-speaking Regular Force infantry regiments; The Royal Canadian Regiment (The RCR) and the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI).

The RCR began in 1883 as the Infantry School Corps, with the expressed purpose of being formed to maintain Schools of Instruction for the training of Militia officers and non-commissioned officers. In this role, The RCR, both institutionally and in the actions of individuals, became the strict schoolmasters of the Army. Their responsibility to teach others "by the book" and to correct those who strayed from the doctrinal path as they came from diverse home units to the Royal Schools. The reputation to be sticklers for detail, referenced even by the Regiment's motto to "Never Pass a Fault" are deeply embedded in the attitudes that many in the Regiment hold to; adhering to known courses of action and proven procedures that will not create confusion when time does not allow for thorough preparation of new options. This institutional desire for stability, however, is often interpreted as inflexibility. Conversely, the many adherents of "flexibility" above other options attempt to follow so many different paths, that to a stereotypical Royal Canadian they can seem to be embracing chaos without concern for compatibility of procedure or repeatability. From its earliest roots, The Royal Canadian Regiment has maintained at least a vestige of this stabilizing attitude, even while keeping pace with the Army's evolution over more than a century and, despite the Regiment's accomplishments in recent decades, it's reputation as described by others often reflects the strictest perceptions of its original role.

The PPCLI, in comparison, have taken a very different path with regard to their origins and reputation. They were created in Ottawa in 1914, formed by the targeted recruitment of ex-British Army soldiers, many of whom had seen active service in the Imperial Army. In fact, the regimental history (Williams, pg. 7) states that the first recruiting posters advertised that "Preference will be given to ex-regulars of the Canadian or Imperial Forces; or men who saw service in South Africa." From that beginning, the PPCLI saw themselves as a very British regiment. They started their service in France during the First World War in the 80th Brigade of the British Expeditionary Force, and only joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in late 1915 when the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division was formed. Brigaded with The RCR in the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade, the old soldiers of the two regiments probably had much more in common with each other than either did with the many new recruits of the CEF. Three years later, with the rate of reinforcements delivered by the CEF throughout the war, there was probably little difference between the two units by late 1918, except for those attributes maintained by old and new traditions in the ranks of each.

After the First World War, both The RCR and the PPCLI were maintained as active regiments in Canada's Permanent Force, with each being assigned company stations to continue the role originally played by The RCR before 1914. The RCR re-occupied stations in central and eastern Canada, while the PPCLI went west, where it underwent a metamorphosis. While it may have been expected that the PPCLI would evolve to be more like that of The RCR, given the parallel roles they filled in the years between the World Wars, that didn't happen. The RCR, and its reputation, returned to their roots, and their reputation as sticklers for detail was sustained. The PPCLI blazed a new path and built a reputation for doing so. Despite taking on the training role, the PPCLI, probably in large part through the change in their recruiting base, of those attracted to the West, coupled with a force of regimental will to set themselves apart, successfully remodeled their own reputation. Both internally and as perceived externally, they changed dramatically, into a self advertised regiment with a western maverick attitude, filled with bold soldiers unafraid to live up to the spirit of that heritage.

Ask a "Patricia" to compare the Regiments, and you will hear of the Royal Canadian's tendency to follow the manual, perceived as seldom seeking a new path, and to uphold themselves as the stable defenders of tradition (of course, they will probably use a variety of very different descriptive terms). Ask a "Royal Canadian" the same question, and the reply will emphasize their own Regiment's stability, with a comparative description of the Patricia's impetuousness and overt readiness to change the rules. But put the officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the two regiments together on a task and, after getting past their cultural differences they will find themselves not that far apart on the desire to efficiently execute the mission or in willingness to forge new options as the situation demands.

Regimental reputations and stereotypes are as much forged in peacetime as they are on the field of battle. The culture of a regiment is a unique combination of its own perception of self, its recruiting base and serving personnel, and the traditions and memories it maintains, most significantly those maintained in the enduring oral narratives that form the basis of internal cultural understanding in a self-propagating manner. In understanding these cultural evolutions, and their place in the social history of regiments, we gain a better understanding of who our nation's soldiers are, and how they perceive themselves and each other as they serve our nation, in peace and war.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 August 2013 2:19 AM EDT
Tuesday, 13 August 2013

An Interrupted Ritual
Topic: Officers

An Interruption to the Ritual of Tying on of the Cummerbund during the hot weather in N. India

Image and text excerpted from:

Book cover: Officers Mess Life and Customs in the Regiments

Officers' Mess Life and Customs in the Regiments, by Lt. Col. R.J. Dickinson, Essex Regt and RAOC; with illustrations by Lt. Col. Frank Wilson, Parachute Regt and Queen's; Chapel River Press, 1977

This delightful volume wonderfully describes officers' mess to the middle decades of the 20th century. It is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the regimental life of the British Empire officer of this period.

Officers in India wore white mess jackets and cummerbunds in the hot weather. Some regiments wore white drill overalls, others trews or overalls of blue serge.

The officer revolved gracefully like a ballet dancer. His bearer, large safety pin clenched in remaining teeth, then secured it behind his 'master.'

In the Indian Cavalry the cummerbund was usually the full dress lungi (turban) of a Sowar (trooper) of his regiment. In the British Army it was often shorter, and of the facings of the regiment.

The scene shows an officer of the Indian Cavalry who looks disturbed although looking forward to his iced soup in the garden of the mess, even if it contains the wings left by flying ants.

The Regimental Orderly arrives with a secret message from the Adjutant Sahib Bahadur. It states 'C' Squadron will march at 21.00 hours down the Grand Trunk Road to Fort Govindgarh, outside the walls of Amritsar for communal riot duty. Details to follow.

The Orderly knows all this as the office Dafadar, Mubhab Ali, comes from the same village north of the Jhelum River, and married his uncle's daughter.

He assures the officer who had just taken over command of 'C' Sqn. that Risalar Sultan Khan Sahib, the senior Indian officer in the squadron, has everything under control. He is also a relation and knew, in his wisdom, that this would happen. Horses will now be watered and fed, feed bags filled and Chaupatis are now being cooked for haversack rations. Water bottles have been filled, arms and ammunition will be issued from the rifle kote at a time suggested by the Captain Sahib Habadur.

The orderly has also taken the liberty to call at the officers' mess on the way to inform the mass Dafadur that the captain sahib would need sandwiches and two bottles of beer 'sharab' – to be iced, till called for.

This is not news to Sowar Sher Khan, the captain's orderly. He knew what was brewing from chat he heard in the bazaar that afternoon.

The captain's charger is ready and saddle prepared. He himself is equipped to happily destroy either side and delighted to have a change from schooling the captain sahib's polo ponies.

The captain's bearer, Gulab Mohd, a Pathan who looked after the 'chota sahib's' father, a really splendid man, who became a 'burra sahib', is not pleased. He will have to lay out his marching order, tke down the mosquito net, pack his bedding roll, keep the creditors at bay and see that his 'Shaitan' (devil) of a dog is alive on his return.

A British regiment of foot is also going to march, but not so fast.

No Officers of the army were so well cared for by their men as those of the Indian Army. For 'sowars' and 'sepoys' reasoned that if their officers were 'kush' (happy) then they would not be cross with their soldiers. they were also trusted and were fond of their officers, for in time of trouble they were 'man-bap' (mother and father) to them.


1.     The only telephones in a regiment were usually to the colonel's bungalow, the second in command, the adjutant and the mess.

2.     Invitations to tea and tennis 'The Dancants' at the club, lunch, dinner or cocktail parties, were sent by 'chit' by hand of the Mali, Masalchi or some unimportant servant.

3.     This was a good practice, as the recipient in the cold weather had time to make out an excuse, i.e., not to meet 'some jolly girls', who he knew were plain and dull and had come out from England with the 'fishing fleet'. The one excuse that never worked was 'I am afraid I am orderly officer'. The mem-sahibs knew who was orderly officer.

4.     Dogs in India had their miniature charpoys (beds) to keep the creeping insects away from them. They lay stretched out to keep their stomachs as cool as possible.

A busy stream of ants goes back and forth in military procession to collect bits of cake dropped by the captain sahib, as he had his tea before a few chukkers of slow polo with other officers and their orderlies.

The rains have broken and outside, and in, it is hot and humid. Flying bugs are everywhere, especially around the lights.

5.     The room in a bungalow, shared with other officers, is large and high. From the ceiling there would be an electric 'punkah' or fan.

6.     All furniture, charpoy (or Indian bed), dhurrie (carpet), curtains, tables, table fan, etc., are hired from the 'suddar bazaar', the only extras the officer owns is the dog's bed, a rug he bought from a Kabuli carpet wallah, his pictures, some heads of wild animals he shot, tushes of a giant pig he got as 'first spear' out pig sticking, his bedding and clothes --- and probably a few debts to friendly money lenders in the bazaar who lent rupees at 3% a month, or 4% is sahib was in England on leave.

The Senior Subaltern

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

Rules of Realism for Small-Unit Training Exercises
Topic: Drill and Training

Realistic Combat Training; and How to Conduct It

By Robert B. Rigg, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army; Military Service Publishing Company, 1955.

Remember this when you put your unit into a realistic training exercise: tell your men what is coming dangerwise. Don't give away your gimmicks and surprises. Suspense is part of the job—but warn them that—

  • There is danger from explosives.
  • The chips are down for a real workout.

Realistic training … requires several things before you can conduct it—

  • First, an imaginative CO who approves;
  • Second, topflight safety and control officers;
  • Third, extra labor.

Rules of Realism for Small-Unit Training Exercises

1.     Provide grim, rugged scenery and surroundings.

2.     Inject the maximum amount of explosives, smoke, fire, and noise into the exercise.

3.     Project problems into full reality of situation and objective.

4.     Frame all exercises in logical sequences.

5.     Utilize all possible devices of pressure and suspense.

6.     Insure the Aggressors are "lean and mean."

7.     Delay, disrupt, divert, and surprise all units.

8.     Stress competition between opposing sides.

9.     Declare sudden and lasting casualties in men and vehicles on both sides.

10.     Make medics and aid men take active part in all actions of combat nature.

11.     Allow no attacks against well-prepared positions until the attacker has good information.

12.     Insist on a high standard for all gunnery.

13.     Train consistently and proportionately at night.

14.     Integrate CBR and intelligence into all problems.

15.     Pose constant and positive Aggressor threat.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 12 August 2013 12:20 AM EDT
Sunday, 11 August 2013

Another John Clee Story
Topic: Humour

From the Canadian Force Base Gagetown Junior Officers' Journal
Edition 2, Volume 1, June 1975
Editor: Captain J.S. Cox

Another John Clee Story

… as told to Captain I.A. Kennedy

John Clee

Captain (Ret) John Clee, CD
(14 Jun 1929 – 25 Feb 2009)

What else is new? Oh yes, I don't know whether the solid story of Clee the free-faller made it to New Brunswick. I could babble on for some time on the subject, but in summary, the story is as follows:

"The RAF freefall team was here on a swan. Would anyone like to try dicing with death with them? Yes, Clee would. So. after a thorough period of instruction, lasting some 30 minutes, I hurled my frail young carcass out of this iron bird at 12,000 feet. All quite splendid. my mentor had told me to adopt a semi-delta, which I did. Super-duper. Then I remembered that he had said something about a semi-frog. I cranked my limbs into the required posture and zap! There I was. The world had turned blue and I was on my back looking up this f------ RAF sergeant who was following me. Somewhat humidly, I tried to remember the drill for turning over, but to no avail. I spent the next minute (which is a f--- of a long time) trying to turn over as though in bed and looking at this idiot who was about 50 feet away and whose eyes seemed to be getting larger behind his goggles, for some unknown reason. Needless to say, I also had one eye firmly focused on my altimeter. This t--- had babbled something about pulling at 3,000 feet but when the clock unwound to that, I thought "p--- on him." Seriously, who wants to pull at terminal velocity with his parachute underneath him? I made another desperate effort to turn over, without success and finally pulled at two grand. The opening load was positively anti-climactic and my landing normal (like a sack of s---). On the ground, I was met by this madman, shouting and gibbering about Clee being a menace to everyone in the sky (this did not worry me in the slightest). Then he went on to rave about Clee being a menace to himself (this worried me acutely). His punch line was that Clee would never again jump with the RAF. Insolent young pup."

RCR badge CAR badge

Captain (Ret) John Beaupre Scott Clee, CD, (14 Jun 1929 – 25 Feb 2009) joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1953 as an infantryman in The Royal Canadian Regiment, serving with NATO in Germany and the UN in Cypress. He was one of the first Canadians to attend the US Army Ranger School in 1959 and was a Distinguished Honour Graduate of his course. John rose to the rank of Master Warrant Officer and served with the Canadian Airborne Regiment from its inception. Commissioned in the rank of Captain on December 1972, John served as Range Control Officer at CFB Gagetown, as Trials and Evaluations Officer at the Canadian Airborne Centre, Griesbach Barracks, Edmonton and as a UN Military Observer on Israel's Golan Heights. He retired from the Canadian Army in 1984.

elipsis graphic

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 5 August 2013 8:26 PM EDT
Saturday, 10 August 2013

The Royal Canadian Regiment and Hong Kong
Topic: The RCR

The second volume of regimental history published by The Royal Canadian Regiment summarizes the events at Hong Kong in 1941 as follows:


Christmas [1940] was replete with all good cheer but not all happiness. That ever-present bearer of good tidings, Padre Wilkes, was in hospital, suffering from the effects of an accident which fortunately turned out to be less serious than of first report. But far across the world the news was bad; on Christmas Day, after a spirited but hopeless resistance, Hongkong surrendered. In addition to two brigades of British, Indian and local volunteer units, the garrison included two Canadian battalions—The Royal Rifles of Canada and the Winnipeg Grenadiers. The former unit was under command of Lt.-Col. W. J. Home, MC, of The Regiment and the force had crossed the Pacific under command of Brigadier J. K. Lawson, also of The Regiment and lately Director of Military Training. On arrival at Hongkong the Canadian commander was placed in charge of one of the two defensive fronts; as he had an Indian battalion under him, it was necessary to re-gazette him as of British establishment; he retained command herefore as a subaltern of the Gloucestershire Regiment. On December 19th, after desperate fighting around his Headquarters, he sent his last message: "Am going outside to fight it out." His body was found and given honourable burial by the enemy. - The Royal Canadian Regiment, Volume Two, 1933-1966, By G.R. Stevens, OBE, LLD, 1967

In following such widespread members of the regimental family of we find an RCR connection to Hong Kong in 1941, where two of the senior officers at that battle were Royal Canadians.

Badges of "C" Force displyed at The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum.


The tragic outcome of the Battle of Hong Long is known to many Canadians, the following is taken from the Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) description of the battle of Hong Kong:

In the Second World War, Canadian soldiers first engaged in battle while defending the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong against a Japanese attack in December 1941.

In October 1941, the Royal Rifles of Canada and the Winnipeg Grenadiers were ordered to prepare for service in the Pacific. From a national perspective, the choice of battalions was ideal. The Royal Rifles were a bilingual unit from the Quebec City area and, together with the Winnipeg Grenadiers, both battalions represented eastern and western regions of Canada. Command of the Canadian force was assigned to Brigadier J.K. Lawson … a "Permanent Force" officer and had been serving as Director of Military Training in Ottawa. The Canadian contingent was comprised of 1,975 soldiers …

Approximately 290 Canadian soldiers were killed in battle and, while in captivity, approximately 264 more died as POWs, for a total death toll of 554. In addition, almost 500 Canadians were wounded. Of the 1,975 Canadians who went to Hong Kong, more than 1,050 were either killed or wounded. This was a casualty rate of more than 50%, arguably one of the highest casualty rates of any Canadian theatre of action in the Second World War.

Brigadier John Kelburne Lawson

Although the VAC page notes that Brigadier Lawson was a "Permanent Force" officer, if leaves out the fact that Lawson was an officer of The Royal Canadian Regiment. Joining The RCR in 1923 from the Royal Canadian Machine Gun Brigade, Lawson had previous service in the First World War with the Canadian Machine Gun Corps, being awarded two Mentions in Despatches. With the Permanent Force, Lawson gained extensive staff experience in England and Canada through the 1920s and 1930s.

William James Home, M.C.

William Home had also served before Hong Kong in The Royal Canadian Regiment, being attached to the Regiment on 1 Apr 1915 and gazetted as a Permanent Force officer in December that same year. He joined the overseas battalion in Jun 1916, serving throughout the remainder of the war and returned to regimental duty in Canada during the inter-war years. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1919, the citation reading as follows:


Lt. (A./Capt.) William James Home, Royal Can. R., Nova Scotia R. - For. conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in command of a company during operations commencing 26th August, 1918. When almost, surrounded by an enemy counter-attack he dashed forward at the head of a party, shooting four enemy himself, causing considerable casualties and checking, their attack. His courage and initiative saved an awkward situation.

In 1936, Home took command of "C" Company, The Royal Canadian Regiment, at Wolseley Barracks, London, Ontario. He was promoted to Major in 1938. By 1940, he was serving in a staff appointment at Valcartier when he was selected to command the 1st Battalion of the Royal Rifles of Canada. The history of the Royal Rifles states that he was, at the age of 43, "one of the youngest Commanding Officers in the Empire Forces," at that time.

On 8 July 1940, the Royal Rifles of Canada (Quebec City) and the 7/XIth Hussars (Richmond) received authorization to mobilize as the 1st Battalion of the Royal Rifles of Canada. The first Commanding Officer was Lt. Colonel William James Home, M.C., E.D. The unit arrived in Hong Kong on 16 November 1941. On 8 December, Japanese forces attacked the British colony. Following ten days of continuous air and artillery bombardment, Japanese troops landed on the island during the night of 18-19 December. Despite a heroic battle to defend the island, the garrison surrendered on 25 December 1941. During the fighting, Lieutenant-Colonel W.J. Home, the commanding officer of the Royal Rifles, became the senior Canadian officer after the death of Brigadier Lawson.

All regiments will have connections to places far removed from the path that the units of the regiment have taken through history. In discovering and remembering those of our regiments who have gone to far corners of the world with other units, we find that the span of a regiment's stories, which make up its full history, might intersect with events not normally associated with our own regiment. As much as many regimental histories appear to speak of the subject regiment in isolation with a single timeline to follow, the truth is much more complex, much more interesting, and it is built from the shared stories that we have with every other regiment in our army to one degree or another.

Pro Patria

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 9 August 2013

Look to your Mortars
Topic: Mortars

Unidentified infantrymen of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade firing a mortar near the Sangro River, Italy, 1 December 1943.

Unidentified infantrymen of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade firing a mortar near the Sangro River, Italy, 1 December 1943. Location: Sangro, Italy (vicinity). Date: December 1, 1943. Photographer: Frederick G. Whitcombe. Mikan Number: 3222598. From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

Mortars, long used as seige and garrison artillery weapons, proved themselves on the modern battlefield during the First World War with the Light Trench Mortar Batteries of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. By the Second World War, lighter, more mobile versions became standard infantry weapons for infantry platoons and battalions. They remained so until the battalion 81-mm mortars were removed from the Canadian infantry in 2002, followed a decade later by the platoon 60-mm mortar. The former were replaced by the promise that the Artillery would provide fire support (and to whom the weapons were given, albeit without personnel to man them separately from their guns) and in the latter case by an automatic grenade launcher that no-one has yet explained how a dismounted platoon will efficiently move and deploy. The following passage, from a 1943 Canadian Army Training Memorandum, explains the value of readily available mortars at the tactical level.

Canadian Army Training Memorandum No. 22, Jan 1943

Look to your Mortars (A.T.M. No. 44)

The effectiveness of mortars is often overlooked. They should not be regarded as mere adjuncts to the weapons of an infantry battalion.

It is nearly always difficult to locate an enemy; but, when he has been located, the 2-inch and 3-inch mortars can be relied on to reach him in any ground within a given radius, no matter how enclosed the country. They are relatively easy to handle and to maintain, have a high rate of fire and a considerable moral effect upon the enemy and (but inversely) upon our own troops. The 25-pounder gun is able to put down a total of 125 lb. of projectiles in one minute at "intense" rate, while one 3-inch mortar can put down 200 lb. at rapid rate in the same period.

It is obvious, therefore, that the mortar, with its disregard for cover, crest, or undulation, is a very potent weapon; familiarity and skill in its use will repay a hundredfold the effort required in gaining it. For short periods the 3-inch mortars of a battalion can bring down a greater weight of fire than an eight gun battery; they are flexible, easily controlled, and easily concealed.

The 2-inch mortar afford a valuable, and often only, means of hitting the enemy quickly. Yet there are officers and other ranks who will say that the 2-inch mortar is of little use, or that it is of value only when employed for smoke. Their experience must be unusual, for the weapon has hardly as yet (especially with H.E.) been tried out by British troops in any theatre of war. Its counterpart in the German and Japanese armies has proved of immense value. Ask anyone who may have been at the "wrong end" whether his nerves failed to jangle—vigourously—every time its projectile cam anywhere near.

A platoon in action will invariably, sooner or later, come up against a concealed enemy post, be it in weapon slits or behind a crest, in a small wood or a sunken road. Frequently small arms will be inadequate if the enemy is concealed, and concealment will seem to be the prerogative of the enemy on most occasions; while, if the enemy is defiladed, small arms fire may well be useless except for its noise effect. A 2-inch mortar on such occasions will be invaluable. Direct hits may be obtained, or, if its fire is not directly on the target, the fire effect will keep down the heads of the enemy below the level at which he can return fire. The platoon or section can close, or the enemy will be flushed from cover and at the mercy of small arms fire.

All ranks concerned should be skillful in its use; it is a weapon that must be handled superlatively well. Every fire controller of the 3-inch mortar, and each individual firer of the 2-inch mortar, must cultivate an instinctive flair for siting and manipulating his weapon; he must cultivate the necessary "feel" to be able to guide and drop the bomb on to the target as easily as a skilled fisherman can cast a fly.

Thus there exists under the hand of nearly every infantry leader that extra "something" which will have a visible material effect upon the enemy, blast him out of the way, a read made means of obtaining quicker and more decisive results that any amount of planning and guile.

Infantrymen of 'D' Company, Régiment de Maisonneuve, firing a two-inch mortar, Cuyk, Netherlands, 23 January 1945.

Infantrymen of "D" Company, Régiment de Maisonneuve, firing a two-inch mortar, Cuyk, Netherlands, 23 January 1945. (L-R): Privates Raoul Archambault and Albert Harvey. Location: Cuyk, Netherlands. Date: January 23, 1945. Photographer: Lieut. Michael M. Dean. Mikan Number: 3590884. From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Essence of War
Topic: Military Theory

Journal of the Royal United Service Institution
Vol. LXXV, Feb to Nov, 1930.

The Essence of War

By Captain B.H. Liddell Hart

A series of articles have recently appeared in the Journal dealing with the Principles of War; but what seems to be no more important than abstract principles are practical guides. Napoleon knew that only the pratical is useful when he gave us his maxims. Yet the modern tendency had been to search for a "principle" which can be expressed in a single word—and then need several thousand words to explain it. Even so, these "principles" are so abstract that they mean different things to different men, and, for any value, depends on the individual's own understanding of war. The longer the search for such omnipotent abstractions is continued the more do they seem a mirage, neither obtainable nor useful, save as an intellectual exercise.

In contrast, certain axioms seem to emerge from a close and extensive study of war. These cannot be expressed in a single word, but they can be put in the fewest words necessary to be practical. They apply both to strategy and tactics, unless otherwise indicated.

1.     Always try to choose the line (or course) of least probably expectation—from the enemy's point of view.

2.     Follow the line of least resistance—so long as it can lead you to any objective which would contribute to your underlying object. In tactics this axiom applies especially to your use of reserves. (In strategy it applies to the exploitation of any tactical success.)

3.     Aim to make these two lines coincide by taking a line of advance which threatens alternative objectives. Thus you will have your opponent on the horns of a dilemma, and have the opportunity of swerving to gain whichever objective he guards least. (This axiom applies most to strategy, but should be applied where possible in tactics.)

4.     Ensure that both your plans and your dispositions (or formations) are elastic. Your plan should foresee and provide for a next step in case of success, or failure, or of partial success—which is the most common case in war. Your dispositions should be such as to allow the exploitation or alternation in the shortest possible time.

5.     Don't lunge when your opponent can parry. A general has more resources, and should have more resource, than a bayonet-fighter. And in contrast, a body of troops has not the same power of quick recovery as an individual.

The experience of history shows that no effective stroke is possible until the enemy's power of resistance or evasion is paralyzed. Hence no commander should launch a real attack upon an enemy in position until he is satisfied that such paralysis has developed. (Although worded tactically, this axiom should also be construed strategically.)

6.     Never renew an effort along the same line (or in the same form) after it has once failed. A mere reinforcement of weight is not sufficient change, for it is probably that the opponent also will have strengthened himself in the interval.

elipsis graphic

The critic may well advance the usual objection to the first axiom, "What will the enemy be doing meantime?" The historical answer is that he will be doing the obvious and assuming that you are doing likewise. The experience revealed in history is sufficiently abundant to justify this hypothesis. Each side tries to frame the plan which seems most sound: it credits its adversary with similar soundness; and the result is stalemate. Then they attempt further moves on similar calculations—until at last exhaustion or despondency calls "time" to the struggle.

Very infrequently a commander has rejected the obvious and pursued the unexpected. He has won a decisive success—unless fortune has played foul. For luck can never be divorced from war, as war is part of life. Hence the unexpected cannot guarantee success. But it guarantees the best chance of it. That is why the successes of history, if not won by abnormally clever generalship, have been won by generalship that is outrageously foolish. Perhaps that is why Britain has had such a long run on the world's stage.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Mess Tin Ration (1942)
Topic: Army Rations

An unidentified member of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (R.C.A.M.C.) conducting field trials of mess tins and emergency rations, Penobsquis, New Brunswick, Canada, ca. 2-11 September 1942. Location: Penobsquis, New Brunswick, Canada. Date: [ca. September 2-11, 1942]. Photographer: Unknown. Mikan Number: 3582271. From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibition Faces of War.

Operational Feeding
The Use of Field Rations

The Mess Tin Ration (1942)

The mess tin ration or 48-hour ration provides subsistence for the first 48 hours after landing.

This consists of tinned commodities of a sustaining nature packed in a form suitable for carrying in the two halves of a mess tin, together with a Tommy cooker, which contains enough solidified fuel to make hot drinks. The food items are:—preserved meat; biscuits and dripping, which are suitable for a breakfast meal; and and cheese, chocolate and boiled sweets which make a suitable mid-day meal or haversack ration, and in addition there is a tin of tea powder ready mixed with dry milk and sugar which will make a mug of tea with each cooked meal.

This ration is issued either before embarking, if the voyage is a short one, or during the voyage if it is a long one—BUT—wherever the ration is issued, it is important to remember that it is for consumption during the first two days after disembarkation. Therefore, troops must not get inquisitive and sample the tine before they disembark or they will go hungry after landing, when they really require good feeding. The ration must be packed in the mess tin in accordance with the diagram issued with the rations, and produced intact when instructed for inspection by an officer, which should be a daily routine. Opening the tine before landing may result in salt water getting into the biscuits or tea mixture and making them useless. It will be the only food for the first two days and if lost or eaten before disembarkation no more can be provided during this period.

Appendix A – Mess Tin Ration


Biscuits, service9 ozsIn 1 sealed tin which fits in the larger half of the mess tin.

All time, including Tommy cookers and also the matches are delivered to the ships in bulk quantities, e.g., cheese tins in boxes of one gross, 1 1/1 oz. tins and marked:


Biscuits, sweet3 ozs
Raisin chocolate8 ozs
Sweets, boiled4 1/2 ozs
Cheese (2 x 1 1/2 oz. tins)3 ozsThese tins fit in second half of mess tin.
Dripping spread (1 tin)2 ozs
Tea, sugar, milk powder (1 tin)5 ozs
Meat, preserved12 ozs.
Miniature safety matches1 box

1 Tommy cooker (round type) to be carried separately.

It is suggested that the ration might well be employed in the following manner over the 48 hours, but it must be realized that this is only a guide and the nature of operations will be the deciding factor:—

(a)     As operations will not permit regular meals, the energy producing foods, such as sweets, chocolate and sweet biscuit, should be consumed throughout the two days, as the needs of hunger dictate to the individual; they will provide warmth and energy for physical work.

(b)     Tea should be taken (as far as practicable and provided the use of Tommy cookers may be allowed during darkness), during periods of greatest cold and fatigue, generally during the night, early morning, or following periods of great exhaustion.

The Tommy cooker when in use must be shielded from all draughts, either by being placed in a trench, or protected by a tin, etc., or even by the hands. Water is brought to the boil much more rapidly if the top of the mess tin is covered. As the Tommy cooker cannot heat sufficient water for the whole of the tea ration, fires should be used when weather and air conditions permit.

(c)     The dripping spread with service biscuit is most suitable for breakfast, and the preserved meat, cheese and biscuit for dinner and/or supper. These foods, with the tea, should be eaten during the periods of lull. The preserved meat for two days is in one tin; therefore, when practicable, tow men should arrange to share their tins, opening one tine only during each 24 hours.

(d)     On no account will the ration be taken or accepted from wounded men, as otherwise dressing stations may find considerable difficulty in feeding patients during the first 48 hours of the operations.

Note.—The tea-sugar-milk powder produces fix to six pints of tea.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 7 August 2013 3:18 AM EDT
Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Change is Coming
Topic: Commentary

The Canadian Army; Strong, Proud, Ready

Change is Coming


"The Canadian Army has given itself a new look by introducing a new primary badge, visual identifier and tagline in order to pay homage to its rich heritage and values."

Dire warnings of a new age of austerity have been descending on the Canadian Army, along with the rest of the Canadian Armed Forces. The Army has enjoyed years of fat; being the darling of the Government's overseas initiatives, increasingly well funded for equipment modernization, highly rated in the media and the eyes of the public, and busier than it has been since the 1950s. Those days are over.

The Government's direction has changed with the drawdown and end of the Afghanistan mission. There is a move towards a more economical approach to Government spending, and the Department of National Defence will be doing its share of saving. There is no new missions on the horizon for our soldiers. These things all spell a special kind of doom in the eyes of some soldiers. One of a sort that not many in the Army remember. But those with over 20 years of service do.

The Army's last age of austerity, sometimes called the "decade of darkness," was in the 1980s. Minimized budgets, rusting vehicle fleets, "train to need" concepts that saw courses run only to qualify the minimum required personnel. It's tough soldiering to strap on the boots every day for years on end in that environment, but many did, sustaining regimental esprit de corps and unit capabilities more by force of will than by having available resources to train the way they would have liked.

Those days, or ones much like them, it is now forecast, are coming back. How prepared everyone in the Army is for the change remains to be seen; and the likely metamorphosis of personnel that will occur is already beginning. An operational Army and a peacetime institutional Army take two different kinds of soldiers to sustain.

It's no surprise to anyone that has followed the ebb and flow of the Army's strength over the past century that the care and maintenance of the Army has never been a peacetime hobby of Canadian Governments, of any party. Even the most ardent opposition parties don't argue for a bigger or better funded army in peacetime. They all happily seek the "peace dividend" and look elsewhere to curry votes with dollars.

So what makes this evolution special? It is different, that's why. For the First and Second World Wars, Canada built large armies from a comparatively tiny base (counting both Regulars and Reserve units). At the end of each war, the departure of those who had only joined "for the duration" was a natural evolution that supported demobilization. Those that wanted to remain in uniform not only had recent experience but were more than enough to fill the intended post-war establishment. Even for Korea, new battalions were raised for that war, and then transitioned into an evolving establishment that included the opportunity for service in Germany, maintaining the interests of enough to sustain the need.

But for Afghanistan (and the Balkan missions before that), the Army didn't raise an expeditionary force to reinforce and complement the standing army. It met the need with the existing establishment, Regular units, extensively backed with Reserve augmentation as the need arose, filled the mission requirement time and again. Granted, the Army's attrition dropped significantly and unanticipated line-ups at Recruiting Centres meant lengthy wait times to join any trade, but these were still only to fill the existing establishment.

As a result, at the end of the Afghanistan campaign, many in the Army are still those who joined for the adventure and opportunity of service overseas. We cannot fault them that they didn't join to be garrison soldiers in peacetime, to work in headquarters and schools, to be recruiters, or to slowly watch their unit vehicles rust between annual exercises when there is no budget to replace them. (In truth, no-one actually joins the Army solely to do any of those things, but some are more ready than others to accept that the desire to serve in peacetime has its own price.)

They are the same soldiers who joined in 1914 and left in 1918, and who joined in 1939 and left in 1945. They have completed the service they joined to experience, and cannot be faulted for not desiring to serve in a static peacetime army for any length of time. Like their forebears, they have done Canada proud and fulfilled the duties they signed up for. But with no significant forces in Germany, or even a unit level mission in Cyprus these days, the opportunities for overseas adventures during peacetime are going to be even less than they were during the Cold War. Many of our Afghanistan veterans are no doubt assessing their options now.

The resultant challenge for the Army will be, and is already, managing that transition from an expeditionary army to an institutional army. Among those who may choose to leave, seeking new challenges, will be some who were superior soldiers, already being groomed for future promotions and prestigious appointments. Gaps will be created in lines of succession, and these will be filled by those ready to face a very different set of challenges, the challenges of maintaining the Army's kit and capabilities during the years of lean.

Unsung heroes. The soldiers who kept the lights on, and kept maintaining tactical and instructional skills, keeping abreast of developing technology and military advances even if they couldn't be acquired for themselves. These are the soldiers of 1914 and 1939 who laid the groundwork, however thin it may have been, for the unprecedented expansions that took place. These are the soldiers of the Cold War, up to and including the last decade of darkness, who sustained the foundational environment for the Army's recent advances with new equipment, new tactics and a strong wartime public profile.

In times of conflict the Canadian Army has always visibly done its nation proud.

In times of peace, Canada's soldiers have worked equally hard to be ready, often in the shadows of public awareness and without media coverage. Of them, we should be no less proud. They, too, will need our support to achieve their mission.

Strong, Proud, Ready.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 5 August 2013 11:38 AM EDT
Monday, 5 August 2013

Formation of the 7th Fusiliers (1866)
Topic: The RCR

The 7th Fusiliers, which became the Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (M.G.), was amalgamated with The Royal Canadian Regiment and The Oxford Rifles in the 1950s. The two Militia Regiments formed the Reserve Battalion of The RCR: 4RCR. The regimental lineage document prepared by the Department of National Defence (DND) Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH) offers the following on the formation of the 7th Fusiliers:

Standing Orders of the 7th Battalion Fusiliers

The Standing Orders of the 7th Battalion Fusiliers, published in 1885, provided further details on the formation of that regiment:

Formation of the Battalion

In the year 1856, but two Volunteer Companies existed in London, No. 1 Rifles commanded by Capt. Hammond and No. 2 Highland Rifles commanded by apt. Moffat, who for many years afterwards occupied the position of Brigade Major of no. 1 District. No. 3 Rifle Company was not organized until March 24th, 1865. It was commanded by Capt. C.F. Goodhue, who was gazetted April 20th, 1865.

The "Trent" affair had caused considerable excitement in Canada in the early part of the American war, and in no part was there exhibited more patriotism than in London. Prominent citizens commenced a drill association, and rapidly perfected themselves in the use of arms. From it sprang Nos. 1 and 2 Infantry Companies, which were organized Dec. 26th 1862 and Jan 23rd, 1863. the former had for its officers:---John B. Taylor, Andrew Cleghorn, and George S. Burns. The latter: Hiram Chisholm, Arch. MacPherson and Alex M. Kirkland. The companies above named formed the nucleus from which the 7th or "Prince Arthur's Own," as it was first called, sprang. Early in the spring of 1866, a meeting of the officers was called in the old Drill Shed, which stood where the Collegiate Institute now stands, and at that meeting "The London Light Infantry" was organized, and Lieut.-Col. John R. Taylor, D.A.G. of the District placed in command. During the Fenian Raid of that year, one or two Companies were were stationed at Windsor for over three months, and the whole of the Regiment was placed under active service at Fort Erie during the scare, at the latter point they were under the command of Major McPherson, who proved himself a very efficient commanding officer, although not coming under fire. they endure trying forced marches and much fatigue. The annual service Militia list, contains the first complete list of officers gazetted, which is as follows:

Field Officers and Staff

  • Lieut.-Col. John B. Taylor, D.A.G.
  • Major Arch. McPherson
  • Major Robert Lewis
  • Pay-master; Duncan Macmillan
  • Adjutant; Thomas Green
  • Quarter-master; John B. Smythe
  • Asst.-Surgeon; Richard Payne, M.D.
No. 1 CompanyNo. 2 Company
Capt. Duncan C. MacDonald
Lieut. Henry Gorman
Ensign W. Hill Nash
Capt. Edward W. Griffith
Lieut. Edward MacKenzie
Ensign A.W. Porte
No. 3 CompanyNo. 4 Company
Capt. Thomas Miller
Lieut. Henry Bruce
Ensign William McAdams
Capt. W.H. Meredith
Lieut. Richard M. Meredith
Ensign Chris S. Corrigan
No. 5 CompanyNo. 6 Company
Capt. M.D. Dawson
Lieut. David A. Hannah
Ensign James Magee
Capt. William H. Code
Lieut. James A. Craig
Ensign Frank McIntosh
No. 7 CompanyNo. 8 Company
Capt. John MacBeth
Lieut. Emanuel Teale
Ensign Henry Hart Coyne
Capt. John Jackson
Lieut. Sextus Kent
Ensign Thomas Elliot

List of Honorary Members; 1st January, 1885

The 7th Fusiliers Standing Orders includes a list of Honorary Members who were to be "entitled to the privileges of the [Officers'] Mess and freedom of the Orderly Room." With a total of 74 names consisting of VIPs, military appointments and retired regimental officers, the list of notables heading the roll establishes how well connected the Militia regiments of the day were:

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 4 August 2013

First World War Identity Bracelet
Topic: CEF

Up until early 1914 the standard identification discs in service with the British Army and Commonwealth units was made of aluminum. A stamped red fibre version appeared in August 1914 to replace the aluminum tags, probably to conserve on the use of that metal. See this page for a variety of examples of Great War identity discs, and here for an example displayed by the Canadian War Museum.

To augment the issued identify discs, officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers might also purchase privately an identity bracelet. The silver identify bracelet shown here was worn by 477950 Sergeant Norman Percy Vroom.

Norman Percy Vroom, originally of Middleton, Ann. Co. Nova Scotia, enlisted in The Royal Canadian Regiment at Fredericton, New Brunswick, on 30 Jan 1903 at the age of 22 years, 6 months. He was assigned the regimental number 6703. Vroom was obviously less than committed to this first experience as a soldier and on 1 Apr 1904 he was recorded as discharged from The RCR as a deserter.

Ten years later, Vroom would reappear, and on 15 Oct 1914, he is noted as rejoining the Regiment "from desertion." Although he doesn't appear in the rolls for service in Bermuda during 1914-15, Vroom is among those Royal Canadians who attest for overseas service in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) at Halifax during late August, 1915.

His attestation form described him as 5' 8 1/2" in height with a 33-inch chest, dark complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. He had tattoo marks on his right arm which were not described in detail. His next of kin was identified as his father; William Vroom of Spa Springs, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia.

But even once onverseas in England, Vroom's ability to conflict with the military justice system continued. Accordingly, on 26 Oct 1915 he is awarded a punishment of one days' pay for absence.

Vroom arrived in France with The RCR on 1 Nov 1915. He would be back in England on 28 Apr, 1916, having been wounded while in the tenches on the 17th of that month. Recovering from his wounds, Vroom would be in various hospitals until Jul 1916, when he joined the RCR & PPCLI Depot to await his return to the trenches. Unfortunately his medical problems would continue and after a few more trips though the hospital system (Aug 1916 to Mar 1917, and Feb-Mar 1918) and employment with Reserve Battalions and Depot appointments, Vroom would be returned to Canada and sent to the Casualty Company at District Depot No. 6 (Halifax) for discharge from the CEF.

Vroom was discharged from the CEF and the Permanent Force on 24 Jan 1919, his character being noted in the Regimental ledger as "V[ery] G[ood]. He was entitled to a War Service Gratuity of $420, which he was paid in six $70 installments between March and July of 1919.

Researching The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 4 August 2013 1:06 AM EDT
Saturday, 3 August 2013

Raising a Second Battalion for South Africa; 1899
Topic: The RCR
General Orders, 1899

Ottawa, 1st November, 1899

G.O. 112 – Establishment, 2nd "Special Service" Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry

The following establishment for the 2nd "Special Service" Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry, is approved:—

Lieutenant Colonel1
Second in Command1
Quarter Master1
Medical Officers2
Total Officers41
Regimental Sergeant Major1
Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant1
Staff Sergeants8
Colour Sergeants8
Total Sergeants of Regimental Staff and Sergeants50
Drummers or Bugler16
Total rank and file912
Total all ranks1019

The Royal Canadian Regiment, 1883-1933

By: R.C. Fetherstonhaugh, 1936.

His Excellency [the Earl of Minto, Governor-General of Canada] cabled that the Canadian Government was prepared to provide 1,000 infantry on the conditions named, and on October 16 this offer was formally accepted. Anticipating acceptance, the Canadian Government announced on October 14 that eight independent companies, each 125 strong, would be raised forthwith and issued orders for recruiting to begin in Victoria, Vancouver, Winnipeg, London, Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Montreal, Quebec, Saint John, Halifax, and Charlottetown.

elipsis graphic

On October 18, [1899], when the independent companies were fast reaching their authorized strengths, His Excellency cabled to Great Britain asking if the companies would be acceptable in the form of a battalion of infantry, and on October 23 a reply was received accepting the proposed change, on the condition that only one lieutenant-colonel be appointed. No obstacle being presented by this stipulation, the Canadian Government brought into being a full battalion, named the "2nd (Special Service) Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment," under the command of Lieut.-Col. W. D. Otter, who, on September 28, had been succeeded by Lieut.-Col. L. Buchan as Commanding Officer of the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry.

Meanwhile, on October 20, the companies had received the following designations:

  • "A" Coy.: Recruited in British Columbia and Manitoba
  • "B" Coy.: Recruited in London, Ontario.
  • "C" Coy.: Recruited in Toronto, Ontario.
  • "D" Coy.: Recruited in Ottawa and Kingston, Ontario.
  • "E" Coy.: Recruited in Montreal, P.Q.
  • "F" Coy.: Recruited in Quebec, P.Q.
  • "G" Coy.: Recruited in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
  • "H" Coy.: Recruited in Nova Scotia.

The 2nd "Special Service" Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry. would be made up of 118 Permanent Force soldiers, police and British Army members. Only 84 of these were serving member of the R.C.R.I. The remaining 921 members of the Battalion would be drawn from over 120 separate Militia units across the country.

Pro Patria

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 3 August 2013 12:05 AM EDT
Friday, 2 August 2013

Sebastopol Guns, Victoria Park, London, Ontario
Topic: Militaria

For those familiar with the names, we can find traces of pre-Confederation British military history throughout Canada. These traces are not limited to actions that took place within North America, but also the evidence of pride of service brought by immigrating soldiers and their families. In Ontario we can find the towns that were named for the Crimean War battles Alma, Balaclava, and Inkerman.

But if you ask most residents of London, Ontario, where to find the Russian cannon from that war in their city, they're probably going to look at you like you're crazy. Even many who would recognize smooth-bore cannon for what they are would seldom inspect such artifacts closely enough to realize that these are certainly rare examples, and may even be unique, in Canada.

But there they are, sited on the west side of Victoria Park, ranged in an arc in front of the South African War Memorial. Three cannon barrels, two Russian and one British, that were used at the siege of Sebastopol in the Crimean War.

A plate on the central cannon, the British one, has tarnished as dark as the barrel it is mounted on. It reads:

"These cannon were used at the siege of Sebastopol, and were brought to this country after the capture of that city by the British in 1855. Sir John Carling was instrumental in procuring these three pieces for this city. This gun is a British piece. The other two are Russian. This tablet was erected by the London and Middlesex Historical Society. 1907. Restored 1987."

The age of the British cannon can be estimated from the Royal Cypher on the top of the barrel. It displays the cypher of King George III, who reigned from 1760-1820. That of the Russian barrels will need someone who can decipher the markings to estimate their period of manufacture.

Why Victoria Park for such monuments, you may ask. Victoria Park is the site of the original British garrison in London. After the British garrison was withdrawn in the 1860s it continued to serve the local Militia units. In the 1880s, the City arranged to trade the Victoria Park property for Carling Heights, the current location of Wolseley Barracks. IN the early 1900s, the local Militia units also moved, into the new Dundas Street Armoury.





Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 2 August 2013 12:28 AM EDT
Thursday, 1 August 2013

Wolseley Barracks 2012
Topic: Wolseley Barracks
Wolseley Barracks, 2012 aerial photo (smaller version)

(Click to see a larger version without then overlaid letters.)

Wolseley Barracks, 2012

Thanks to aerial photos provided at the website for the City of London, Ontario, we can see what Wolseley Barracks looked like in 2012. Now 20 years after the departure of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, the base area is at it's smallest since the property was acquired by the Militia Department (now the Department of National Defence) in 1886.

The scars of torn-down buildings visible in the 1998 air photo are all gone, replaced by new construction on both sides of the base perimeter.

The most striking change in the evolution of Wolseley Barracks from Canadian Forces Base London to the Area Support Unit London was the reduction in size. The pre-1994 perimeter is shown in the photo above in red, while the post-1994 perimeter is in blue.

The supermarket at the east side of the old property is now shown; the building is over four times the size of the Base Drill Hall in the south-east corner of the new boundary. The housing development has now completed construction, with the McMahen Street extension providing 125 new homes in central London.

At marker "A," we now see the Regimental Memorial of The Royal Canadian Regiment, in its newest location. It was moved in 2012, southward away from the traffic vibration of Oxford Street, and placed between the ends of the wings of Wolseley Hall, where it can be seen today by any visitors to The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum. The site immediately North has since been prepared for the display of vehicles as part of Museum.

At location "B", we see the new McNeil Building, containing quartermasters' stores, medical, maintenance and supply facilities.

As I write this (26 Jun 2012), construction fencing is going up around some of the Wolseley Barracks buildings, signalling the start of the next round of DND infrastructure reductions as a cost-saving initiative.

See Also:

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 1 August 2013 9:23 AM EDT
Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Precedence of WOs and NCOs; 1899

General Orders, 1899

Ottawa, 1st November, 1899

G.O. 111 – Precedence of Warrant Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers

The following will be the order of precedence of warrant officers and non-commissioned officers of the "Permanent Units" of the Active Militia of Canada, in accordance with Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Army, 1898, paragraphs 37 and 38.

The position of warrant officer is inferior to that of all commissioned officers, but superior to that of all non-commissioned officers.

Those bracketed together rank with one another according to ates of promotion or appointment; those to whose title an asterisk is prefixed are not entitled to assume any command on parade or duty, except of such warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, as may be specially placed under their orders. In matters of discipline, however, they will at all time exercise the full authority attached to their rank.

(1.) Warrant Officers

 Master Gunner
Sergeant Major
*Superintending Clerk

(2.) Non-Commissioned Officers

*Quartermaster-Sergeant Staff Clerk
Colour Sergeant
*Colour Sergeant Staff Clerk
*Orderly Room Sergeant (when ranking as a Colour Sergeant)
Drill Sergeants
Sergeant-Instructor in Gunnery
*Sergeant---Militia Medical Service
Squadron, Battery or Company Sergeant Major, but Senior (regimentally) to all Squadron, Battery or Company Quarter-master Sergeants, except for promotion.
Squadron, Battery or Company Quarter-master Sergeant
*Orderly-Room-Sergeant (when below the rank of Colour Sergeant)
Sergeant-Bugler, or Drummer
Sergeant Trumpeter
*Sergeant Staff Clerk
*Corporal Orderly-Room Clerk

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Rations; 1906
Topic: Army Rations

Canadian Militia

Regulations respecting Pay and Allowances, etc.

Ration Allowances.

156.     The allowance in lieu of a ration of food shall be as follows:—

  • At stations or places where rations are not issued $0.25 per diem.
  • At stations or places where rations are issued $0.20 per diem.


157.     Each officer, non-commissioned officer and man not in receipt of a consolidated rate of allowance shall be entitled to a daily rations of food, free of cost, consisting of:—

  • 1 pound bread.
  • 1 pound meat.
  • 3 ounces bacon.
  • 1 pound potatoes.
  • 2 ounces flour or 2 ounces beans.
  • 3 ounces jam or 3 ounces dried apples.
  • 2 ounces butter or 2 ounces cheese.
  • 1 ounce split peas.
  • 2 ounces white sugar.
  • ½ ounce salt.
  • ¼ ounce coffee.
  • 1/3 ounce tea.
  • 1/36 ounce pepper.
  • ½ ounce vegetables, evaporated.
  • ½ ounce onions.

together with barrack accommodation and fuel and light as per scale. (Para. 1035, R. & O., 1904.)

158.     When officers, non-commissioned officers or men of the married establishment of the permanent forces are detached from their stations on duty, their families will be permitted to retain their quarters and to draw their rations, fuel and light during the period of such absence. (Para. 1036, R. & O., 1904.)

159.     No individual or corps shall derive profit either from purchases or sales or articles for fuel and light. (Para. 1037, R. & O., 1904.)

160.     Rations not drawn, and those not used for the purposes for which drawn, belong to the public; therefore none of these articles shall be sold except upon order from the Department of Militia and Defence; in any case, the proceeds of the sale shall be deposited to the credit of the Receiver General. (Para. 1038, R. & O., 1904.)

161.     No receipts for articles required for fuel or light shall be given to contractors by commanding officers until the articles have been received into store and duly approved. (Para. 1039, R. & O., 1904.)

162.     An allowance of 20 cents per day in lieu of rations of bread, meat, groceries and vegetables, may be made to all warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the permanent forces for such periods as they are actually absent from their unit on leave of absence or furlough exceeding three days. (Para. 1034, R. & O., 1904.)

(a)     Soldier servants accompanying officers on leave of absence, may be granted the same allowance provided rations are not drawn. (Para. 1034, R. & O., 1904.)

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 July 2013 12:20 AM EDT
Monday, 29 July 2013

The Heller Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher
Topic: Cold War

Canadian Army Journal, Vol. XIV, No. 4, Fall 1960

The Heller Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher was a 3.2 inch calibre rocket launcher. It was developed as a Canadian project to upgrade the original 2.36 inch Bazooka. The projectile rocket was inserted in the rear of the tube, and two wires were uncoiled from the rocket's tail section and connected to terminals to complete an electric firing circuit when the trigger was pulled.

The Heller was replaced by the U.S. 3.5 inch Rocket Launcher, which broke down into two sections and only required the flipping of a lever to engage the power source and projectile. This was eventually replaced in turn by the 84 mm Anti-Tank Gun, the "Carl Gustav."

From a now apparently defunct page published by the Defence Research Establishment Valcartier (DREV):

Heller : An Anti-Tank Rocket

In August 1950, at the height of the Korean War, the Army sought to accelerate the Heller project in order to equip its troops with an anti-tank rocket. The work of the Canadian Army Research and Development Establishment (CARDE) scientists led to the emergence of the first complete weapon, ammunition and fire control system to have been designed, developed and manufactured in Canada. In 1951, the Minister of National Defence, Brooke Claxton, announced a major rearmament program for the Canadian Armed Forces. For him, there was a real threat of general war, and it was imperative that the nation be rearmed as quickly as possible. This meant that most of the effort of CARDE's scientific wings was focussed on the Velvet Glove and Heller projects. In February 1952, Heller reached the engineering test final design stage. In April 1955, in a formal press release, the Department described it as "an anti-tank missile with a unique recoilless propulsion system utilizing a Canadian breakthrough in propulsion engineering and design."


These photos and stats are from the Canadian Army Manual of Training Infantry Platoon Weapons Launcher Rocket A-Tk 3.2inch CDN. 1956.

  • Launcher - 54 inches long (137.2cm)
  • Launcher with tripod - 28.5lbs (12.9kg)
  • Rangefinder Sight - 5lbs (2.3kg)
  • HE A tk rocket - penetrate 11 inches of homogeneous armour at 90 degrees and approximately 5 inches at 64 degrees
  • Maximum Range - 2860 yards (2615m)
  • Operating Range - 300 yards (274m)
  • Maximum Effective Range - 450 yards (411m)
  • Maximum Rate of Fire - 5 rounds/minute

In Memoriam

In January 1957, two soldiers of The Royal Canadian Regiment were killed in a training accident involving the Heller anti-tank rocket launcher. Privates J.I. Doucette and F.E. Duff, both of the 2nd Battalion, The RCR, were attached to the Royal Canadian School of Infantry at the rime of the acident. The following memorial notes were published in the regimental journal, The Connecting File, dated Summer, 1957:



Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 July 2013 10:23 AM EDT

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