The Minute Book
Thursday, 5 September 2013

Letters to an Adjutant (1924) - The Mess
Topic: Officers

Detail from "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."—from Officers' Mess Life and Cusroms in the Regiments by Lt. Col. R.J. Dickinson

Letters to an Adjutant; No. 10

By: "CIX", as published in the Army Quarterly, July, 1924

Letters from Lieut.-Colonel T.G—t, to Lieut. John D—n, 1st Bn. The —— Regiment

I have heard many different opinion as to the position of an Adjutant in the Mess, and strangely enough, there is no aspect of an Adjutant's position on which I hold stronger opinions than this.

I take it that the proper conception of a Mess is that it is one's home—at least a bachelor's home—and that its conduct should approximate as nearly as possible to that of the home of an average English gentleman. This presupposes the complete abolition of rank (without abolishing the normal respect which youth gives to age) and the minimum number of reuls and restrictions. In other words, we should all behave perfectly naturally.

There are only two people who have any standing in the Mess, in virtue of their position—the P.M.C. and the senior subaltern. The former deals with all the domestic arrangements and with the staff; the duties of the latter are too well known to require description. But you should be very careful not to trespass on the duties of either. Anything which you bring to the notice of the former—I mean, of course, on domestic matters—you do as an officer of the Regiment, and as any one else would do. Anything you bring to the notice of the senior subaltern should be done outside the Mess.

I told you that your position as Adjutant gave you no seniority in the Regiment; I tell you now that it gives you no special standing in the Mess.

The position you hold in the Mess and the influence you wield depends—as it should—on your character and personality as an individual.

There might be occasions on which you have to act as the Adjutant in the Mess. These are unpleasant occurrences and should be very rare.

Don't discuss your duties in the Mess; don't allow people to refer to you as "The Adjutant" (but by your name); don't discuss what goes on in the Orderly Room; and don't talk "shop."

When I say don't talk "shop" I am not precluding the discussion of military subjects of general interest; I am begging you to leave regimental matters alone. The relative merits of Lance-Corporal Fishface and Corporal Halfwit are no subjects for discussion in a Mess.

You will perceives that I am advising you to be your natural self; to choose your friends from amongst the subalterns and the captains, and not to make bosom friends of field officers.

If you don't remain your natural self, you will build up a position of unhappy social isolation. If by behaving as a normal individual you lose any standing as an Adjutant, you have shown yourself quite unfitted for the position you hold.

It should be quite possible for a stranger to lie in your Mess for a month without even knowing who was Adjutant of the Battalion, unless, indeed, he detected it by your spurs (and for God's sake, John, wear them high on the counter and echew "chains").

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 5 August 2013 7:08 PM EDT
Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Medals, Honours and Awards
Topic: CEF


Adjutant-General's Branch

Medals, Honours and Awards

From the Report of the Ministry; Overseas Military Forces of Canada; 1918

It is gratifying to record that since the Overseas Military Forces of Canada first went into action they have been awarded upwards of 17,000 Medals, Honours and Awards, including 53 Victoria Crosses, 1,885 Military Crosses, 19 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 1,204 Distinguished Conduct Medals and 6,610 Military Medals.

Medals.—At the present time the general question of Service medals is under consideration by the Authorities. Up to date, the services of soldiers who have served in a theatre of war previous to certain dates mentioned below have received recognition by the grant of distinctive decorations known as the Mons Star and the 1914-15 Star respectively. All Canadian who served in a theatre of war previous to November 22-23, 1914, are entitled to the Mons Star, while those who served between that date and December 31, 1915, are entitled to the 1914-15 Star.

Owing to the distance of Canada from the scene of active operations and the time involved in transporting her troops to England and France, the number of Canadian entitled to the Mons Star is largely confined to those who saw service with Imperial Units.

Amongst those entitled to the 1914-15 Star are those who crossed to France with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, the First and Second Divisions, the Cavalry Brigade and certain Lines of Communications and Artillery Units. A few members of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada are in possession of the Mons Star, having served in a theatre of war with a Medical Unit within the prescribed period.

Gold Wound Stripe.—The Gold Wound Stripe is issued to all ranks who have been wounded, or shell-shocked, in the presence of the enemy; it is also being issued in the case of wounds, etc., resulting from enemy air raids in the British Isles. The condition for the award of this stripe is that the name and casualty are published in the Official Casualty List.

Chevrons for Overseas Service.—These Chevrons are issued to all ranks, and in the case of members of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada the date of leaving Canada is the date for the award of the first Chevron. An additional Chevron is issued 12 months from this date, and so on. All those members of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada who left Canada prior to midnight, December 31, 1914, are entitled to a Red Chevron as the first Chevron and a blue Chevron for each additional 12 months served out of Canada. Those who left Canada since December 31, 1914, do not receive the Red Chevron.

Good Conduct Badges.—Briefly, a Good Conduct Badge is awarded to a member of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada after having served two years in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and a second Good Conduct Badge after the completion of five years service. Former service in the permanent Force or in the Imperial Forces is allowed to reckon towards these badges, and men are also allowed to wear any Good Conduct Badges they may have earned by previous service in either of these Forces.

Silver War Badge.—Broadly speaking, the Badge is awarded to any member of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada on resignation or discharge from the Service on account of wounds or sickness caused by service, and on retirement or discharge as over age, the age limit being fixed at 45 years. In the case of surplus officers, it has not been possible to fix a definite age limit, and each case is treated on its merits. Service in a theatre of war is not necessary for the award of this Badge, it having been approve that service outside Canada is equivalent to service Overseas from England, which is the qualifying factor in the case of the award of this badge to Imperial soldiers. In Canada the Silver War badge is known as the "B" badge.

Badges known as "A," "B," "C." and "D" Badges are issued in Canada, and the conditions for the award of these Badges are laid down by Order in Council P.C. 1296. The "B" Badge (Silver War Badge) is the only Badge issued in England.

The King's Certificate on Discharge.—This Certificate is awarded to officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men who have served since August 4, 1914, Overseas in a theatre of operations with an Expeditionary Force in the present war, and been discharged under para. 392 (XVI.) or (XVI.a) King's Regulations, and whose disablement has been certified to have been caused or aggravated by Military Service, provided disablement or ill-health was not due to misconduct. It is also awarded to all ranks, who, not being included in provisions as above, were discharged under para. 392 (XVI.) or (XVI.a) King's Regulations, whose disablement has been certified to be directly attributable to the action of the enemy in air or naval raids.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 3 September 2013

"Holy Roller," Victoria Park, London, Ontario
Topic: Militaria

It is fitting that in one of London, Ontario's oldest Parks, Victoria Park, and the site of the original British garrison in the city, rests a monument to the city's oldest Militia (Now Reserve) Regiment. "Holy Roller," an M4 Sherman tank which served with the 1st Hussars in the Second World War campaigns from D-Day to the liberation of the Netherlands, is a reminder to all who pass of the service and sacrifice of Canadian soldiers in that war.


For those who enjoy discovering connections, a walk to the other end of the park will lead to the Carillon. From the City's Special Events Policies and Procedures Manual:

"The Canadian Veteran's Memorial Carillon is located in the Veteran's Memorial Garden of Victoria Park. The Dutch community of London and its partners presented the Memorial Carillon as a gift to the City of London as an expression of thanks to Canada and its Armed Forces for their immense role in the liberation of the Netherlands and Belgium."

See also:

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 5 August 2013 5:12 PM EDT
Monday, 2 September 2013

The RCN Four-Stackers
Topic: RCN

Images (except where noted) from the September, 1972, edition of the Canadian Armed Forces Journal Sentinel.

In 1939, at the start of the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) had 13 ships and 3000 personnel. During the war, the RCN expanded to a peak strength for 350 ships and over 90,000 personnel and was, by the end of the war, the third-largest allied navy, after the United States Navy and the Royal Navy.

But that expansion from a small fleet of barely over a dozen vessels to the third largest allied navy was not a simple matter of building ships. The needs of all the Allied navies in the first years of the war overwhelmed the ship-building industry and alternatives were necessary. As a result of this need, Britain arranged the Lend-Lease Agreement with the United States. Among the items acquired under the Lend-Lease were 50 First World War era destroyers — the four-stackers. Of these, seven would serve with the Royal Canadian Navy.

The USN built 237 of these four-stack destroyers as the First World War was drawing to and end, intending to operate them as fleet destroyers, their role to attack the enemy from behind a protective smokescreen as part of encounters between main battle fleets. But battles like Jutland were, like the four-stackers, of an earlier era, and the destroyers were less well suited to operating on escort duties in the North Atlantic. But they, and the RCN persevered as they waited for newly constructed vessels to replace them.


The RCN Four-Stackers

The RCN Four-Stackers were part of the newly designated Town-class destroyers. They joined the RCN at a time when the Nacvy was to face its greatest challenge, the Battle of the Atlantic.

HMCS Annapolis (I-04) — (ex-USS MacKenzie (DD-175))

HMCS Annapolis sailed with the Halifax and Western Local Escort Forces escorting convoys from Newfoundland, to New York. In April 1944, she was attached to HMCS Cornwallis, as a training ship until the end of the war. On 4 June 1945, she was turned over for scrapping.

HMCS Columbia (I-49) — (ex-USS Haraden (DD-183)

Columbia was assigned to Atlantic convoy duties. Columbia escorted convoys and performed anti-submarine patrols until 25 February 1944, when she struck a cliff in foul weather off the coast of Newfoundland. She was not fully repaired after the accident but used as a fuel and ammunition hulk in Nova Scotia until sold for scrapping at the end of the war.

HMCS Niagara (I-57) — (ex-USS Thatcher (DD-162)

HMCS Niagara departed Halifax on 30 November 1940 for the British Isles to join the 4th Escort Group, Western Approaches Command, based in Scotland. Later transferred to the Newfoundland Escort Force, Niagara conducted convoy escort duties into the summer of 1941 and took part in the capture of U-570, providing the prize crew and towing the submarine to port in Iceland. Niagara became a torpedo-firing ship in the spring of 1945 for the training of torpedomen. Decommissioned in September 1945, she was later broken up for scrap.

HMCS St. Clair (I-65) — (ex-USS Williams (DD-108)

HMCS St. Clair sailed for the British Isles on 30 November to join the Clyde Escort force, where she escorted convoys in and out of the western approaches to the British Isles. Late in May 1941, she became involved in the operations to destroy the German battleship Bismarck. St. Clair, near the battle area, came under attack and shot down one, possibly two, enemy planes. St. Clair joined the Newfoundland Escort Force in June 1941 for convoy escort duty to Iceland until the end of 1941. Reassigned to the Western Local Escort Force in early 1942, St. Clair operated out of Halifax over the next two years, escorting coastal convoys until withdrawn from this service in 1943. St. Clair then operated as a submarine depot ship at Halifax until August 1944, after which she was used as a fire-fighting and damage control hulk until 1946. She was sent for disposal on 6 October 1946, and subsequently broken up for scrap.

HMCS St. Croix (I-81) — (ex-USS McCook (DD-252)

HMCS St. Croix conducted escort and patrol duties in Canadian waters, joining the Newfoundland Escort Force in August 1941 for escort duties between Newfoundland and Iceland. St. Croix sank U-90 on 24 July 1942, which, with other U-boats, had attacked her convoy (ON 113) on the 23rd, sinking two merchantmen and damaging a third. On 4 March 1943 with Convoy KMS 10, she assisted HMCS Shediac (K100) in sinking U-87 off the Iberian coast.

On 16 September, St. Croix, on patrol with an offensive striking group in the Bay of Biscay, went to the aid of convoys ONS 18 and ON 202, both under attack a wolfpack. In the battle defending these convoys St. Croix was the first of three escorts to be sunk, being torpedoed on the 29th of September. The next morning, HMS Itchen picked up 81 survivors from St. Croix. The following day, 22 September, Itchen herself was torpedoed. Three men were rescued, two from Itchen, and one from St. Croix. St. Croix had escorted 28 convoys before her sinking.

Image from the April, 1972, edition of the Canadian Armed Forces Journal Sentinel.

HMCS St. Francis (I-04) — (ex-USS Bancroft (DD-256)

HMCS St. Francis left Halifax 15 January 1941 for Scotland to join the 4th Escort Group. On 20 May she rescued all the survivors of the steamship Starcrose which had to be sunk after being torpedoed. At the end of June that year she escorted a troop convoy to the Middle East after which she joined the Newfoundland Escort Force. Between 1941 and 1943 St. Francis sailed as escort to 20 convoys and engaged the enemy on five occasions.

After refitting at Halifax, St. Francis joined Escort Group C.2 in the Western Approaches Command in June 1943 but that August was transferred to the 9th Escort Group (RCN), working from Northern Ireland. She returned to Halifax the following month. From early 1944 she was employed on training duties at Digby, Nova Scotia, and there, on 1 April 1945, was declared surplus. While on her way to Baltimore to be scrapped in July 1945, she sank as a result of a collision off Cape Cod.

HMCS Hamilton (I-04) — (ex-USS Kalk (DD-170), ex-RN HMS Hamilton)

HMCS Hamilton remained in North American waters escorting convoys from St. John's to New York. On 2 August 1942, she engaged a German U-boat and prevented its attack on the convoy. Declared unfit for operations, she became a tender to HMCS Cornwallis at Annapolis, Nova Scotia in August 1943. Decommissioned 8 June, 1945, at Sydney, Nova Scotia, from which she departed to be scrapped but was lost while being towed to Boston.

Ready Aye Ready

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 5 August 2013 10:59 AM EDT
Sunday, 1 September 2013

Composition Ration (14-man pack) (1942)
Topic: Army Rations

Private W. Sutherland (left) of The Westminster Regiment (Motor) and Private V.A. Keddy of The Cape Breton Highlanders repacking compo rations at a supply depot, Cassino, Italy, 18 April 1944. Photographer: Smith, Strathy. Mikan Number: 3210988. From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibition Faces of War.

Operational Feeding
The Use of Field Rations

Composition Ration (14-man pack) (1942)

The composite ration pack, which is composed entirely of tinned commodities packed in wooden cases containing 14 rations (i.e., food for 14 men for one day) and which is used until such time as fresh rations become available. This ration supersedes the older type of compo pack which contained 12 rations, and which will no longer be issued except for training.

This, like the mess tine ration, is composed entirely of tinned commodities and has nine different varieties of daily ration scale. It is intended to be used for the first four to six weeks until it is possible to issue fresh rations, which involves baking bread and handling fresh meat through cold storage facilities. The food is contained in a wooden box of 2 cubic feet. It is sufficient food, in bulk, for 14 men for one day, or for say seven men for two days, but it does not lend itself to being sub-divided into 14 single rations. It is intended that cooking facilities should be available when the composite ration comes into use, but for isolated detachments improvised cooking will be necessary. No Tommy cookers are included in the pack, but a limited scale is available for issue in addition to the pack. Units when drawing or demanding compo rations from R.A.S.C. sources should make certain that they get varieties of packs, otherwise they will not have the advantage of the different types to vary their daily diet. There are seven cigarettes for each man a day.

Appendix B – Composite ration Pack Type "A" †

(14 men for one day.)
Contents and suggested use.


Tea # 3 tins (2 tall, 1 flat—Tea, Sugar and Milk Mixture).
Sausage (1 hour) ‡2 tins.
Biscuit #1 tin.
Margarins #1 tin.
(k Items marked thus are also to provide for other meals.)


Steak and kidney pudding (1/2 hour) ‡11 tins.
Vegetables (3/4 hour) ‡4 tins (2 large, 2 small).
Tinned fruits2 tins.


Tea(# see above.)
Biscuit(# see above.)
Margarine(# see above.)
Jam1 tin.


Baked beans (3/4 hour) ‡3 tins.
Biscuit(k see above.)


Cigarettes2 tins (1 round, 1 flat—7 cigarettes for each man)
Sweets1 tin.
Salt—(packed with sweets above.)
Matches—(packed with sweets above.)
Chocolate—(1 slab for each man—packed with biscuit.)
Latrine paper.


Tea, sugar and milk powder:—Use a dry spoon and sprinkle powder on heated water and bring to a boil, stirring well. Three heaped teaspoonfuls to 1 pint of water.

‡ May be eaten hot or cold. To heat, place unopened tins in boiling water for minumum period as indicated. Sausage may be fried (using margarine) is preferred.

† This is only one of nine types. The others are B, C, D, E, F, G and X and Y, containing items such as:—

BBaconSteak and kidney
Date pudding
CSausageIrish Stew
Sultana pudding
DBaconStewed steak
Rice pudding
ESausageHaricot oxtail
Marmalade pudding
F MeatPreserved meat
Mixe fruit pudding
GSausageM. and V. Ration
Treacle pudding
XLuncheon MeatPreserved meat
Tinned fruit
YSausageM. and V. Ration
Tinned fruit

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 31 August 2013

Bars in Messes
Topic: Officers


Bars in Messes

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.

The scene is a station mess in India, at the end of the war. A Sikh Major who has long and gallant service in the Indian Army, is explaining the meaning of the expression 'Do Ungli Sikh Peg' (two finger Sikh peg) to two officers, whose knees are not yet brown. The forefinger and little finger are extended to measure a 'King size' whisky.

The barman is not amused, he is a Muslim, does not drink like Sikhs, or like them either. He has known better days with a famous regiment of Indian cavalry, when officers were 'pukka sahibs' relaxing leather arm chairs after polo, pig sticking or shooting.

The colonel is slightly sad at the change, but supposed that he will be doing the same thing in that old inn in his village when he retires in a few months.

The new fangled idea of bars in officers' messes was introduced during the last war. These bars were usually made of three ply wood and painted in gay colours. They were placed in what had been the card room, or often in a corner of the ante-room. They were decorated with beer labels, advertisements for whisky and 'cut-outs' of ladies with few clothes on.

Officers even stood each other drinks, unheard of in the old days. Such expressions as "What's yours?", "Have this on me", "Let me buy you a drink" or "It's my turn to stand a round" were heard.

The older members who remembered more rigid days viewed the subject with sorrow, but kindness.In the East they felt it probably made the 'young fellows' feel more at home and reminded them of their 'local' and was better than them having drinking parties in their rooms.

In the past a bell was rung ti summon the wine waiter. In India the bells rarely worked, a cry of "Koi-Hai" (anybody there) and an answer of "coming sahib" was the method getting refreshments.

In officers' messes where British and Indian officers got on happily together, there was only one slight flaw. At meals there were separate dishes for the British and the Indians.

The British officers far preferred the spicy curries to their own tough 'beef roast' and, as a result an Indian Officer arriving late discovered all Indian dushes 'were off the menu'!

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 30 August 2013

Canadian Volunteer Militia Rifle Companies (1865)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Instructions for Drill of the Canadian Volunteer Militia Rifle Companies (1865)

General Principles for Light Infantry Formations

Duties, Movements, training, etc.

Object of light infantry movements.

1.     The duties of light troops in the field are both varied and important; to them the safe guard of the camp is usually intrusted, and by them the cantonments of the army are protected from the sudden or unexpected approach of the enemy. When the army is in motion, the light infantry reconnoitre the country in its front, feel for the enemy, or clear the way for columns in advancing, and protect them from being too closely pressed upon or harassed, in retreating. The conceal and cover the movements and manoeuvres of the line, watch the motions of the enemy, and ascertain the nature of the ground and country in advance of the main body; and upon their efficiency, the general, often very much, depends for the necessary information to enable him to regulate and direct his columns.

Requisite qualifications of light troops.

2.     Judgment, tact, and decision on the part of officers, and individual intelligence and correctness of eye, whether in selecting cover, or in taking aim, are the chief requisites in good light troops, and which alone can insure the prompt and accurate performance of the duties enumerated in No. 1.

Battalions of the line required to practise movements in extended order.

3.     When battalions of the line are in perfect order in all in all the detail of line movements, it is essential that they should be practised in certain extended formations. It is always desirable that a battalion of the line, in the absence of any force of light infantry beyond the light companies of regiments, should be competent to assist in protecting the front and flanks of a column of march; and the formation of an advanced guard and the posting of piquets apply to all descriptions of infantry corps.

General remark.

4.     The first thing to be attended to in the training of light infantry is the careful instruction of officers and non-commissioned officers. These points, indeed, constitute the elements of discipline in every corps, whose excellence or deficiency will ever be in proportion to the degree of information possessed by those who instruct the soldier and superintend his actions; but in light corps especially, the necessity of devoting additional time and attention to this object will become at once apparent, when we consider the liability of this branch of the service to be detached in small parties, demanding in consequence, in most junior grades, an extent of judgment and capacity, the exercise of which, circumstances may daily call for in the field. the light infantry officer who, on service, is constantly intrusted with command, and thrown upon his own resources, ought therefore to possess that quick and certain coup d'oeil (only to be acquired by practice), which will enable him readily to adapt his measures to the ground on which he may be acting, whether in driving back an enemy, in advancing, or in checking his progress in retiring:---in a word, he should be trained so as to prepare him for every contingency that may occur in the field, and be taught to know and feel that there are few situations in which a small body, ably conducted, may not retire in safety and with honour in presence of a large one.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 4 August 2013 2:29 PM EDT
Thursday, 29 August 2013

Canadian Troops Outside the Corps
Topic: CEF

So much of our generalized understanding of the Canadian Corps in the First World War has been built up from the news stories we see around Remembrance Day each year. These views, with a focus on the worst conditions of the front lines in trench warfare, emphasizing the life of the infantry in the deepest mud, or of losses on the worst days of fighting, easily lead the recipient to forget about the many other roles filled by Canadian soldiers. Not only was there the diveristy of employment in a modern army within the four Divisions of the Canadian Corps, but there were also many soldiers employed ourtside the Corps. This excerpt, from the the Ministry for Overseas Military Forces of Canada report for 1918, describes some of the other duties and roles, each equally important for their contributions to victory and the support of the fighting man, fufilled by Canadians.

Canadian Troops Outside the Corps

From the Report of the Ministry; Overseas Military Forces of Canada; 1918


4th Battalion, Canadian Labour Corps


First Hussars, Canadian Cavalry Corps


8th Stationary Hospital


Canadian Forestry Battalion


4th Battalion, Canadian Railway TRoops

CEF_Vet Corps 11-2_200px.gif

Canadian Army Veterinary Corps

Source for images: CEFSG Cap Badge Collection. See this page for other CEF badges and better quality images for reference.

In considering the achievements of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada in the field, special reference must be made to the various Formations outside the Corps, each of which rendered much valuable service in its own sphere.

In addition to the Canadian Corps, which at the time the Armistice was signed had a total strength of 110,600, there were nearly 40,000 Canadian troops, separate and distinct from the Corps serving in different capacities in the war zone throughout France and Belgium. No other British Dominion had her sons so widely distributed on the Western Front or engaged in so many diversified capacities as Canada.

This force of approximately 40,000 men was made up of railway construction experts, of lumbermen, of cavalrymen, of doctors and dentists, of engineers, butchers, bakers, and so on. Some were stationed near the North Sea, some near the Spanish border, some in Central France, and others in almost every place where there were Allied Forces. There was a large Canadian Base Camp at Etaples, for the temporary accommodation of reinforcements passing through. There were also Canadian Corps reinforcement camps in the vicinity of Aubin St. Vaast, near Montreuil, where the training was continued until the personnel were required by their respective units. The personnel at these camps were on the strength of their respective Units at the front and on the lines of communication. The functions of most of the formations that made up the 40,000 troops outside the Corps are given in various sections of this Report, but it is only just that special attention should be drawn to the work of these troops as a whole.

With the exception of the thousands of pilots and observers who were in the Royal Air Force and Independent Air Force when the fighting ended on November 11, 1918, the Canadian. troops operating in France and Belgium were, for the most part, administered by Canadian authorities, though, like the Canadian Corps, they came under Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig for direction in all matters connected with military operations in the field.

The largest body of Canadians on the Western Front, separate from the Canadian Corps, was the Corps of Canadian Railway Troops, a force of experts on railway construction.

For nearly two years prior to the signing of the Armistice, the Corps of Canadian Railway Troops had been responsible for the building of all the light railways in the areas occupied by the five British Armies, on a line running from the North Sea southward to the junction with the French Army. They had also been responsible for the construction of most of the new standard gauge lines radiating from the Channel Ports on the French Coast to the actual battle zones.

The Canadian Forestry Corps was the most widely-scattered body of Canadians in the Western theatre of war. There were Companies exploiting French forests near the borders of Spain, Switzerland, and Germany. Others were in Central France, at different points near the Front Line, on the Lines of Communication, and at many places in companies or smaller formations.

With the aid of attached Labour and 13 Prisoners of War Companies, the Canadian Forestry Corps supplied the greater percentage of all lumber used by the Allied Armies in France and Belgium. Only once during its career in France did the Canadian Cavalry Brigade take part as a mounted force in an engagement with the Canadian Corps. This was at Amiens on August 8. The rest of the time it fought exclusively with Imperial Forces, being attached to an Imperial Cavalry Division. It was attached to the 3rd Cavalry Division for the major portion of the time.

The Canadian Army Medical Corps had its havens of mercy widely distributed. At Boulogne there were No. 2 Canadian Stationary Hospital and No. 3 Canadian General Hospital. Nos. 1 and 7 Canadian General Hospitals were at Etaples, as was also No. 9 Canadian Stationary Hospital. No. 2 Canadian General Hospital was at Le Treport, not far from Dieppe, and Nos. 3 and 7 Canadian Stationary Hospitals were at Rouen. No. 10 Canadian Stationary Hospital was at Calais, No. 8 Canadian Stationary Hospital at Charmes, and Nos. 6 and 8 Canadian General Hospitals were in Paris. The four Canadian Casualty Clearing Stations or Hospitals, numbering 1 to 4, were moved from place to place as the military situation demanded. They were always situated within a few miles of the front line. No. 2 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station was for over two years in the British Second Army Area, being for most of that time located at Remy Siding, near Poperinghe, and almost opposite what were known as Connaught Lines, famous to Canadians in the early days of the War. It was there that several Canadian Battalions had their transport lines from time to time. The only units of the Canadian Army Medical Corps that were a part of the Canadian Corps were the Field Ambulances.

The Canadian Army Service Corps had supply units at several centres outside the Canadian Corps Area. There were four units of field bakeries and two units of field butcheries at Boulogne, while there were supply units at Etaples, Rouen, Calais, Havre, and Dieppe.

The Minister is represented at General Headquarters of the British Armies in France by what is known as the Canadian Section, and the most important functions of this Section are dealt with under a separate head.

The following list gives the chief Canadian formations that were operating outside the Canadian Corps Area in France and Belgium, with the relative strength of each, at the time the Armistice was signed:—

 OfficersOther Ranks
Corps of Canadian Railway Troops49114,390
Canadian Forestry Corps37611,375
Canadian Cavalry Brigade1412,719
Canadian Army Medical Corps3602,467
Canadian Army Service Corps571,675
Canadian Engineers Reinforcement Pool491,214
Canadian Labour Pool1,881
Canadian Base Signal Pool8432
Canadian Army Veterinary Corps9438
Canadian Army Dental Corps52104
Miscellaneous Details65479

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Kiska Regiments, then and now
Topic: Perpetuation

In August 1943, the 13th Canadian Infantry Brigade, of the 6th Canadian Division, participated in the combined US-Canadian force that assaulted the Island of Kiska in the Aleutians.

Taking place three months after the US forces assaulted the island of Attu, where casualties totalled 25% of the attacking force, Kiska was not expected to be any easier to defeat. The attack on Kiska, as it happened, met empty shores and vacant barracks and gun emplacements. The Japanese had managed to evacuate the island only two weeks before the assault, slipping through the picketing warships amidst in heavy for and rough seas.

But for the Japanese forces' luck in escaping the closing trap, Canadians might know of Kiska with the same sense of tragedy that we remember of the battles at Hong Kong and Dieppe.

The Kiska Regiments, then and now


The Canadian Army at Kiska; August 1943The Kiska Regiments Today
9th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Nil
19th Field RegimentNil
20th Field Regiment (shared with the 7th Canadian Infantry Division)20th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
21st Field Regiment21st Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
24th Field Regiment (shared with the 7th Canadian Infantry Division)24th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
25th Field Regiment56th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
13th Canadian Infantry Brigade
The Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)The Royal Canadian Regiment
The Winnipeg GrenadiersThe Winnipeg Grenadiers (Reduced to nil strength and transferred to the Supplementary Order of Battle on 28 February 1965.)
The Rocky Mountain RangersThe Rocky Mountain Rangers
Le Régiment de HullLe Régiment de Hull
24th Field Regiment, RCA24th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
46th Light AA Battery, RCANil
24th Field Company, RCENil
1 Company, St. John Fusiliers (M.G.)The Royal New Brunswick Regiment


Regimental badges of the Kiska Force, as displayed at The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum.



Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 July 2013 10:55 PM EDT
Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A Subaltern's Quarter, circa 1910
Topic: Officers

A Subaltern's Quarter in Officers' Mess, circa 1910.

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.

Left to right: Great coat, cartridge bag and father's gun; field glasses (used mostly when at races); helmet; group photo; first fox brush; fox mask; crop, pipes and hunting print; oil lamp; hunting map*; mug for morning tea; blanket and table, G.S.; training manuals (un-read), hunting boots, spurs, tennis racket, fishing rod and sword.

* Hunting map with circles in miles showing distance of 'meets' from barracks.

On mantlepiece – 'Mum', 'Sis', tobacco tin, invitations, cup for point to point, "Dad'.

Below: kettle for hot water bottle; brigg's umbrella; mess jacket and waistcoat; blankets; G.S. sheets – officer's for use of; pots, chamber – officer's for use of. Mess kit laid out by soldier servant (not batman in those days) now on coal fatigue. Window left open in order to draw up fire – rain pours in.

Note: Barracks probably built around 1810.

Compare to the subject of the Cornelius Kreighoff painting "An Officer's Room" displayed by the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

 See a larger version of the Kreighoff painting here.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 August 2013 12:04 AM EDT
Monday, 26 August 2013

The RCR at Esquimalt; 1914-17
Topic: The RCR

Capt. E.A. Seely-Smith, 1912

In August, 1914, the Canadian Government authorized the establishment of a new company station for The Royal Canadian Regiment. No. 6 Station, at Esquimalt, was home to "L" Company of the Regiment, and provided a western location for the Regiment's Permanent Force recruiting until the end of 1917. The first officer commanding "L" Company would be Captain Edward Albert Seely-Smith, who was in British Columbia en route to Australia and found his travel halted to organize and command the new company.

General Orders; 1914

Headquarters; Ottawa
1st August, 1914

G.O. 125 — Organization

Military District No. 11.— The organizations of a company of The Royal Canadian Regiment, with headquarters at Work Point Barracks, Esquimalt, is authorized.

(H.Q. 363-18-2).

G.O. 126 — Establishments, 1914-1915

Active Militia, Including Permanent Force

With reference to Establishments 1914-15, as published with G.O. 87, 1914, pp. 12 and 13, after column headed "No. 5 Station, Quebec," insert heading "No. 6 Station, Esquimalt," and in column below add the following:—

Major 1
Captain 1
Lieutenants 2
Quartermaster-Sergeant 1
Colour Sergeant 1
Orderly Room Clerk 1
Sergeants 4
Corporals 4
Lance Corporals 3
Privates 80
Buglers and Drummers 2
Total 100

Al totals to be amended accordingly.

By command,

Victor A.S. Williams, Colonel Adjutant-General.

Researching The Royal canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 July 2013 7:41 PM EDT
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
Distance between centre of axletrees71
Floor space, length100
Floor space, width32
Dimensions of space occupied in boats,Length119
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-west 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: Tuesday, 18 January 2022 5:20 PM EST
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

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