The Minute Book
Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Woods Recogniton Cards; The Kings
Topic: Cold War



Playing cards marked with silhouettes to practice recognition of armoured fighting vehicles and aircraft were a novelty given or sold to soldiers during the Cold War. A late edition of such cards was produced by Woods Manufacturing, of Ottawa, Ontario, (now Guthrie Woods).

The four aces for this deck, pictured above, featured the following:


 
  

See also, the Jokers, and the Aces.


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 July 2013 10:14 PM EDT
Saturday, 24 August 2013

Extra Duty Pay (1906)

At a time when the base rates of pay for the Permanent Force infantry sergeants, corporals and privates were $1.00, $0.80, and $0.50, respectively, the opportunities to be appointed to work with extra duty pay was not to be overlooked. Men with appropriate civilian skills who decided to enlist in The Royal Canadian Regiment (or other Permanent Force units), or who achieved the necessary certificates in military training, could supplement their pay well with available extra duty pay. The 1906 regulations regarding Extra Duty Pay show the range of duties which might be available to an N.C.O. or man and the daily rates (i.e., p.d. – per diem) he would be paid in addition to his regular pay.

Canadian Militia
Regulations Respecting Pay and Allowances

Canada Gazette; Ottawa, Saturday, May 4, 1906

Extra Duty Pay

126.     Soldiers temporarily performing the duties or acting in the situations specified in paragraphs 128 to 144 shall be granted in addition to ordinary regimental pay, extra duty pay at the rates laid down in those paragraphs.

127.     Extra pay shall not be issued to a N.C.O. or man in receipt of engineer pay, corps pay or working pay except as otherwise provided in these regulations, nor shall two rates of extra duty pay be drawn unless specifically authorized by the Minister in Militia Council.

128.     N.C.O, and men acting as pay-sergeants or accountants:—

  • For an establishment of eighty rank and file.
    • If above rank of corporal – $0.25 p.d.
    • If corporal or below that rank – 0.40 p.d.
  • For an establishment less than eighty rank and file and over twenty-five.
    • If above rank of corporal – $0.15 p.d.
    • If corporal or below that rank – 0.25 p.d.
  • For an establishment of over nine and less than twenty-six – $0.10 p.d.

129.     The N.C.O. or man keeping the accounts of special bodies or detachments of troops shall be paid the rates according to the establishment as above.

130.     The non-commissioned officers and men acting as provost sergeants, orderly room clerks, sergeant trumpeters and sergeant drummers. – $1.10 p.d.

131.     The non-commissioned officers and men acting as riding instructors, rough riders, or instructor in trumpeting. – $0.10 p.d.

132.     Carpenters, painters, plumbers, and other artificers when employed as such at infantry and cavalry depots for each working day of seven hours. – $0.25 p.d.

133.     Pioneers, whose duty is the care of wash houses and latrines. – $0.20 p.d.

(a)     One painter or plumber for the performance for necessary painting and plumbing, is allowed for each company of the Royal Canadian Regiment.

(b)     The hours during which work shall be performed are detailed in orders by the officer commanding at each station, and the acting quartermaster shall be required to certify to the number of working days each month for which extra pay is demanded.

134.     The N.C.O. and men doing duty as garrison police:—

  • If of the rank of sergeant. – $0.25 p.d.
  • If of the rank of corporal. – $0.20 p.d.
  • If of the rank of private. – $0.15 p.d.

135.     The N.C.O. and men doing duty as assistant prison warders:—

  • If of the rank of sergeant. – $0.30 p.d.
  • If of the rank of corporal. – $0.25 p.d.
  • If of the rank of private. – $0.20 p.d.

136.     The N.C.O. and men doing duty as assistant gymnastic instructors. – $0.25 p.d.

137.     The N.C.O. and men doing duty as telephonists, according to the amount of work, from 5¢ to $0.20 p.d.

138.     Extra instructors when absolutely required in large course of instruction at the Royal Schools. – $0.25 p.d.

139.     The N.C.O. and men who are thoroughly qualified to instruct drill and musketry according to the arm of the service to which they belong and are capable of imparting the instruction in both French and English. In addition to any other pay:—

  • First class instructors. – $0.20 p.d.
  • Second class instructors. – $0.10 p.d.

(a)     The syllabus and dates of examination shall be published from time to time in Militia Orders.

140.     The N.C.O. and men employed as assistant instructors in signalling for corps of Active Militia, while so employed:—

  • Holding Grade “A” certificate. – $0.50 p.d.
  • Holding Grade “B” certificate. – $0.40 p.d.

(a)     Of the staff of assistant instructors in signalling in each unit of the Permanent Force, the best five of the rank and file may be classified as paid signallers and receive throughout the year. – $0.10 p.d.

(b)     No signaller shall be qualified for the above extra pay unless re-examined every year and in possession of an assistant instructor's or grade “A” certificate.

141.     N.C.O.'s performing the duties of other N.C.O.'s of higher grade undergoing a long course of instruction in gunnery. – $0.10 p.d.

142.     The N.C.O. or man employed to attend fires or a furnace:—

  • For the period so employed. – $0.20 p.d.
  • After two years service if found thoroughly efficient and attentive. – $0.30 p.d.

143.     The N.C.O. or man whose duty it is to attend to a lawn:—

  • For the days so employed. – $0.20 p.d.

Band Pay

144.     The following rates of band pay may be drawn in addition to ordinary regimental pay:—

  • Bandmaster. – $1.50 p.d.
  • Band sergeant. – $0.25 p.d.
  • Band corporal. – $0.15 p.d.
  • Bandsman. – $0.10 p.d.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 July 2013 6:40 PM EDT
Friday, 23 August 2013

The Souvenir Habit
Topic: Drill and Training

The Canadian Army Training Memorandum No. 26, distributed May 1943, warned officers of the Canadian Army of a disturbing trend where the collection of souvenirs by soldiers was undermining Allied efforts at intelligence collection and research into German war technologies. The following description was provided for officers to train their troops in the expected handling of items they might be considering keeping as souvenirs.

The Souvenir Habit

First Canadian Army formation sign First Canadian Army - "The Army's strength was 177,000 in all ranks at the end of 1942. One year later it had grown to 242,000. At the time of the invasion of Normandy on 31 May, 1944, it was 251,000, of which 75,000 were in Italy."

 

1.     A desire to keep captured documents and equipment as souvenirs sometimes results in the loss of much information which would be helpful to the armed forces as a whole. This point is well illustrated by the case of a battalion commander who, in forwarding his unit war diaries to second echelon, made a special request that certain attached captured documents should not be removed from the file in which he was sending them. It was discovered that the documents had been captured sometime before, and unfortunately had never been passed on to the proper authority. Soldiers sending parcels home have included the following articles as souvenirs:

(a)     Binoculars and compasses, of which our own fighting troops are short.

(b)     Many rounds of ammunition (for a German anti-tank gun) that our own tank designer needed urgently for test purposes.

(c)     An electrical gyroscopic compass, also urgently wanted for research.

(d)     Enemy tank logbooks giving us valuable information regarding enemy tank production.

(e)     Many useful photographs of enemy equipment about which our information was not yet complete.

(f)     Valuable items of signal equipment.

(g)     Specimens of Axis food which would have provided useful clues for our blockade authorities.

(h)     Many types of fuzes, or igniters, and detonators, some of which were new to us and all of which were helpful in some way.

(i)     Italian shoulder straps and a German football jersey with a badge, which gave us valuable identifications, including the fact that a new unit had been formed.

elipsis graphic

The same page included the advice for officers that:

"We must develop aggressiveness and aggressiveness can be developed only by aggressive instruction."

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 22 August 2013

The General Service Wagon
Topic: CEF


At the beginning of the First World War, the motive power in armies was provided by feet; the feet of infantry soldiers, and the feet of the horses and mules used to move cavalry, artillery and supplies. The standard vehicle for the movement of ammunition, engineer stores, food, and fodder was the General Service Waggon. Ubuiqitous and built on standard patterns, the G.S. Waggon can often be found mentioned in memoirs and histories, but the details of its construction and capability were often too mundane, too well known to the writer and anticipated readers, to need much details. For those of us who explore the world of the Canadian Expeditionary Force now. almost a centuery after its war, the following details for the General Service Waggon are taken from Canadian Army Service Corps Training (1914).

Waggon, G.S. M.D. Mark I

With two grease boxes, pole draught, M.D. No. 1; two swingletrees G.S. No. 11; swingletree double, M.D. No. 2; two clevises, M.D. No. 2; bar supporting pole, M.D. No. 2; brake, spanner, nut, axletree, M.D. No. 3; seat, cushion; removable shelving; set of straps securing.

This waggon is similar to the standard farm waggon generally used in Canada, but differs principally in the following particulars: the materials used are of better quality; it is furnished with a brake and brease boxes; all parts are interchangeable with similar waggons.

The box is ten feet five and one-half inches long inside; depth inside, minus shelving thirteen inches; width inside, thirty-eight inches. The shelving is flared eight inches, removable, running full length of box and across the back. On the outside of the box are ten hooks for rope lashings.

The driver's seat is full width of body, supported by springs and furnished with cushions strapped to seat.

The gearing is of oak, well ironed and braced.

Front and hind gear are of clipped construction, instead of the usual bolt construction.

The waggon is furnished with a brake clipped to the axle and operated from driver's seat by hand lever and ratchet. the axletrees are of steel skein and best white hard maple construction.

The waggon is supplied with a bar supporting pole, M.D. No. 2, two swingletrees No. 11, Mark I, double swingletree, M.D. No. 2, and two clevises M.D. No. 2.

The wheels are of the wooden hub construction with two-piece bent rims. Tires two and one-half by one=half inches; height of front wheels three fet eight inches hind wheels four feet six inches.

The grease boxes are secured to the rear of the rear axletree.

Dimensions, etc.FeetInches
Length, with pole213
Length, without pole112
Height, with seat61
Height, without seat48
Track48
Width60
Distance between centre of axletrees71
Floor space, length100
Floor space, width32
Dimensions of space occupied in boats,Length119
Breadth63
Height46
Minimum space required to turn in320
Weight complete1,380 lbs.
Capacity5,000 lbs.

The Waggon, light transport, M.D. Mark 1, was only slightly smaller than the General Service waggon, but carried only 40 per cent of the same load.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A Regimental Guest Night, circa 1930s
Topic: Officers


01.35 hr. A Regimental Guest Night for the Brigadier and his staff, the Master of Foxhounds and a rich landowner (between the two great wars). The band have gone home.

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.

Right to left.

A.     The Mess waiter. – 'Basher' Barker (or 'Basher boy') employed in the Officers' Mess so that he will get better food to strengthen him for the finals of the army middleweight championship and so gain credit for the regiment. He has enjoyed the evening enormously, at the expense of a few nips on the regimental guest's fund. He does not seek promotion, he does not fear man nor beast, nor generals, or such like. All he wants, in his simple way, is to get the Brigadier to accept his brandy before he, 'Basher', goes to his 'bunk' for a deep sleep and 'roadwork' under a P.T. Sgt at 07.00.

B.     The Master of Foxhounds. – (thinks) "A nice lot of chaps – must reduce the hunt subscription for these keen young boys from the camp."

C.     The Brigadier – Known to the troops as 'Stop me and buy one', now mellowed, is telling his favourite story about a 'grass widow' on a houseboat in Kashmir.

D.     The Colonel – Doubled up with laughter by the Brigadier's story which he has heard twice before. It is important that the Brigadier enjoys his visit to the regiment as the Colonel longs for promotion, having three sons at public school.

E.     The Second in Command – A gallant officer – rather 'fond of the bottle' but has no axe to grind. Spent all his service in the regiment. Is a bachelor and has little to look forward to excet a bed-sitter in the Cromwell Road, long chats about the old days in the bar of his club, and cheap meals in the 'new fangled' snack bar. Known kinfly by his troops as 'Old Daddy Boy.'

F.     The Brigade Major – A keen polo and billiards player – can concentrate (hence P.S.C.) but he's heard the Brigadier's story 47 times. Too ambitious to show his feelings.

G.     The Local 'Box Wallah' or industrialist who has the best shoot in the county to which officers hope to be invited. He is being made 'too much of' by a captain who is an excellent shot but too poor to afford a gun in a syndicate.

H.     In the background – the 'warts' or subalterns. They are unable to afford a drink or leave til all the guests go. Other 'warts' are asleep in the ante-room or playing rough simple games. Later they will wake up and play 'billiard fives', no doubt.

The more serious of the elderly are playing bridge in the silence of the bridge room.

A few crafty subalterns have crept away – probably to be dragged out of bed later by those who have stuck out the long night.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Captain Frederick William Campbell, V.C.
Topic: The RCR

For most conspicuous bravery on 15th June, 1915, during the action at Givenchy. Lt. Campbell took two machine-guns over the parapet, arrived at the German first line with one gun, and maintained his position there, under very heavy rifle, machine-gun and bomb fire, notwithstanding the fact that almost the whole of his detachment had then been killed or wounded. When our supply of bombs had become exhausted, this officer advanced his gun still further to an exposed position, and, by firing about 1,000 rounds, succeeded in holding back the enemy's counter-attack. This very gallant officer was subsequently wounded, and has since died.

Thus reads the Victoria Cross citation published for Captain Frederick William Campbell of the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion. (London Gazette, No. 29272, dated August 20, 1915)

A more detailed description of Campbell's VC action is found in Annals of Valour; Empire Day, Friday May 23rd, 1919 (pub by A.T. Wilgress, 1919) and is provided below:

The Battle of Givenchy

The last Victoria Cross of 1915 was won near the village of Givenchy in the Lens district, where, in 1917, many Canadians were to win the great distinction in the successful struggle for "Hill 70" and the mining suburbs of Lens.

The Battle of Givenchy in the middle of June, 1915, was one of the minor actions fought during that summer when the British armies were still only mustering, and the Allies were ill-equipped with artillery and munitions compared with the vast supplies which the enemy had in hand. The result was that what was gained by the dauntless courage of the British, was often speedily lost "owing to the weight of the enemy's gun-fire". In the case in point, the strong positions so gallantly won soon had to be abandoned.

On June 15th, the 7th (British) Division was detailed to drive the Germans from a strong position called "Stony Mountain", while the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion was to cover the right flank of the attacking Division. This meant that the Canadians must, for their part, capture 150 yards of German front line running from "Stony Mountain" to another stronghold which they called "Dorchester".

On this occasion the British batteries began to bombard the enemy's positions late in the afternoon. At two minutes to six a mine was exploded close to the first German trench, and, while the air was still full of dust and smoke, the leading company of Canadians leaped out of their trenches, dashed across the seventy-five yards of No Man's Land despite the fierce machine-gun fire from "Stony Mountain", cleared the foe out of the "Dorchester" defences, and began to work their way toward the British on the left.

Captain Frederick William Campbell, V.C.

Captain F. W. Campbell. – A second wave of Canadians now surged across No Man's Land, and with it went a machine-gun officer. Lieutenant (acting-Captain) Campbell, with two guns and their crews.

Campbell was quite a remarkable man. It chanced that this tumultuous day of battle, on which he was to win the little bronze cross "for valour", was his forty-seventh birthday. He was the first Canadian farmer to find a place on the roll of V.C.'s. He was also a veteran of South Africa (having served in a Maxim gun squad), and, consequently, was one of the comparatively few members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who, before this great war, had "seen a cannon fired in anger”.

There is in the Citadel of Quebec a curious memento of Campbell's presence in South Africa, in the shape of the wheel of a 'gun-carriage fashioned out of the legs of a table from a Boer house. The gun-carriage had been struck by a shell at the Modder River; and the gun must have been abandoned had it not been for Campbell's ingenuity.

From his early youth he had been a member of the active militia, serving first as a private, and later becoming successively Lieutenant and Captain of the 30th Wellington Rifles. At the time of his birth, his father, Ephraim B. Campbell, was teaching a school in Oxford County. Six months later he moved to a farm in Normandy Township, Grey County; and thus his only boy was brought up to farm. Before his marriage the young man bought another farm near that of his father. He made a specialty of raising horses, and was a director of the Mount Forest Agricultural Society. But when the call to arms rang through the Empire, Campbell did not even wait to let the busy summer season go by, nor did he hold back on account of his three children – the eldest a boy of ten and the youngest a little girl of three.

He went at once to Valcartier and was accepted for service as Lieutenant in the 1st (Western Ontario) Battalion. He sailed with the First Canadian Contingent on September 24th, 1914, and reached France in February, 1915. His Battalion took part in the awful fighting at Ypres, though it was in reserve at the beginning of the gas attack; and now he was celebrating his birthday in this fierce struggle at Givenchy.

starting from the "jumping-off" trench with two machine-guns, as already stated, Lieutenant Campbell reached the German front trench with only one gun and a part of its crew. The whole crew of the other gun had been put out of action in the dash across the open. He pressed on along the trench toward "Stony Mountain", but was soon held at a block in the trench. Now he had but one man left. Private Vincent, but this big lumberman from Bracebridge proved a host in himself. When Campbell failed to find a suitable base for the gun, Vincent offered to support it with his broad back; and this enabled the Lieutenant to fire more than a thousand rounds upon the Germans who were massing to attack. Between them the gallant pair frustrated the enemy's schemes; but, as they were retiring, Campbell was seriously wounded, and four days later he died at No. "7" Stationary Hospital, Boulogne, leaving behind him a noble memory of courage, kindness, and cheerfulness. He was buried in a beautiful cemetery on a hill-top which sloped toward the sea and the little Island-Mother of the Empire that lay across the shining waters.


The 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion was perpetuated by the Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (M.G.) after the First World War. On amalgamation with The Oxford Rifles and The Royal Canadian Regiment in the 1950s, this perpetuation, and the responsibility to honour and remembers all of that unit's achievements, passed to The RCR.


Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 July 2013 11:10 PM EDT
Monday, 19 August 2013

Farewell to Rainbow (1974)
Topic: RCN


From the Canadian Armed Forces publication Sentinel, Volume 11, Number 3, 1975/3.

Farewell to Rainbow

HMCS Rainbow (SS / 75) steams by Clover Point at Victoria, B.C. in the summer of 1974 during her last sailpast with Maritime Forces Pacific. Canad's only submarine on the west coast was paid off at CFB Esquimalt December 31, 1974.

The "Tench" class submarine was a true veteran, having been first commissioned in January 1945 as the USS Argonaut. She completed one combat patrol in Japanese waters before the end of the Second World War.

The Argonaut served with the U.S. Navy until December 2, 1968, when she was purchased by Canada. On that day she was commissioned as HMCS Rainbow, am since then has served with Maritime Forces Pacific at Esquimalt.

She was primarily a training vessel, developing not only her crew's skills but also the anti-submarine capabilities of the west coast destroyer squadrons and maritime patrol aircraft. An indication of her active career is her record of dives — she passed the ten thousand mark last summer.

The Rainbow's last few months were as unusual as any of her career. Originally scheduled to be paid off on August 1, 1974, during June her service was extended to the end of the year. With many of the boat's crew already assigned to new duties, the captain faced a manning problem.

A call for volunteers went out, and soon the ranks were full of ex-Rainbow crewmen, east coast submariners, and naval reservists. there was even one paratrooper who had never been onboard a submarine before. they all pulled together, and the submarine successfully completed its program.

But there were to be no more extensions for the rainbow. On 31 December the Canadian flag was lowered for the last time.

The Rainbow was a good boat. She will be missed.


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 July 2013 1:49 PM EDT
Sunday, 18 August 2013

Relics of Base London
Topic: Wolseley Barracks


Carling Farms, Wolseley Barracks, No. 1 District Depot, Canadian Forces Base London, Area Support Unit London — the property has been known by a variety of names to generations of Canadian soldiers from Southwestern Ontario. Those soldiers lived at worked at "the barracks," it was from here they enlisted, trained, and marched off to Canada's wars, and from which many who were lucky enough to return to Canada were later demobilized to return to civilian life. Others served full, or nearly all of their, careers at Wolseley Barracks, watching the base grow and change with each passing decade.

The last major change to (then) Canadian Forces base London was the sale of half the property after the departure of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (1RCR), in 1992. The old Base Transport grounds is now a major grocery store, and much of what the soldiers who left knew as the "1RCR unit lines" is now a housing development of 125 homes.

And yet, even as the Base perimeter has shrunk, some remnants of previous eras of construction by the Department of National Defence remain.

The Old Stores Building.

Located behind McMahen Park and now serving a variety of uses as office space, the old Military Stores building can be seen on the 1922 aerial photo. This solid structure is a testament to its quality of construction and once marked the south-east corner of the base property.


 

1RCR Transport

Behind the Stores building is a garage. Once the home of 1RCR's Transport Platoon and the company Transport Sections, it is now a municipal facility operated by the City of London. Much of the parking area once used to store the vehicles of the Battalion is now a skate board park.

 

The Base Gym

Next we find the Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre, constructed during the late 1950s. Although the running track is now a community garden space, this building will be familiar to many old soldiers under it's previous moniker "the base gym."

 

1RCR Lines

All of these remaining building are along what was once the south side of the base property. between them and the current base boundary, where much of the 1RCR unit lines used to be, is a housing development of 125 homes. This view is taken from what was once the southwest corner of the parade square westward towards where McMahen Gate sat. Behind the houses on the right is the current base boundary fence.


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 July 2013 2:28 PM EDT
Saturday, 17 August 2013

CEF Unit Organization and Administration: Miscellaneous Regulations
Topic: CEF

Instructions Governing
Organization and Administration of CEF Units
1916

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.

Notes:

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:

THE FALL OF HONGKONG

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:

SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 1 FEBRUARY, 1919

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
1942

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

Scale:—

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:

S.R.D. ♣ CHEESE

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

ALTTEXT

"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

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