The Minute Book
Friday, 29 November 2013

Like many Sappers I have met
Topic: Humour

An observation balloon being prepared by the Royal Engineers at the Battle of Magersfontein, with the hills occupied by the Boers in the background. Source: Battle of Magersfontein, at Wikipedia.

Like many Sappers I have met, this man was quite mad.

From: Major-General J.F.C. Fuller, The Last of the Gentlemen"s Wars; A Subaltern"s Journal of the War in South Africa 1899-1902, Mcmxxxvii

A Sapper one day appeared and asked for a fatigue party to dig up a mine he had laid in a neighbouring drift.

"Did you say a mine?" I exclaimed incredulously.

"Yes," he answered, "three or four on each side of the drift."

"Good heavens!" I cried, "when did you lay them? for I and my scouts have used this drift a dozen times!"

"Oh! months ago," he replied, rather annoyed that we had not all been blown up, which seemed to him a reflection on his technical skill.

So off he went with a fatigue party and dug up the mines—several cases of dynamite.

"As I have got to destroy this stuff," he said, "I am going to make another mine and just touch it off"—this apparently was to vindicate his honour.

"Well", I answered, "in that case I will take a snapshot of it," and when the time came I asked where I should stand.

"Oh, just here," he replied.

"But surely that is very close," said I.

"Not a bit," he answered, "from here you will get a splendid view of it"—and I did. He pressed the button of his battery and the whole world rose at my feet. I dropped my Kodak and raced back for dear life, great clods of earth and clouds of dust descending from the skies about me.

"What a fool you are!" I exclaimed when I had regained breath.

"Not at all," he answered, "you do not seem to understand that the closer you are to a mine, the safer you are. If you had only stood still all this dirt would have flown over your head."

According to this theory, I suppose, the safest place is to stand on the mine itself, in the closest possible contact with it, and this apparently is what we unknowingly had done with his mines in the drift. Like many Sappers I have met, this man was quite mad.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 28 November 2013

Duties and Privileges; CPOs and POs, 1944
Topic: RCN

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

Department of National Defence for Naval Services King's Regulations for the Canadian Navy (K.R.C.N.)

Under and by virtue of the Naval Service Act, 1944, the following King's Regulations for the Government of His Majesty's Canadian Naval Service (1945) have been approved, effective 15th October, 1945, by Order in Council P.C. 1/6145 of the 18th September, 1945, and by Order of the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services.

Chapter 43

Duties and Privileges of Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers

It is the duty of chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers of all branches to preserve order and regularity among the other men wherever they are. This responsibility rests upon them whether they are on duty or not.

43.01 — Duties of Chief Petty Officers And Petty Officers

(1)     Effect on Discipline and Efficiency. The discipline of ships and establishments and the comfort of the men is dependent to. great extent on the manner in which chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers carry out their duties and maintain their position. Owing to the influence that they exercise on the discipline, efficiency, and morale of the Naval Service as. whole, it is essential that the importance of their status be recognized by all officers and men.

(2)     Bearing and Performance of Duties. Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers are not advanced to those ratings solely as a result of seniority or on passing certain examinations. As Captains and Officers look to them for loyal support in maintaining the efficiency and traditions of the Naval Service, and junior men look to them for direction and assistance, they should:

(a)     possess personality and tact;

(b)     be ready to accept the responsibilities of their position;

(c)     work at all times for the well-being and efficiency of the Naval Service as. whole;

(d)     set an example of loyalty and discipline. and

(e)     obey the orders of their superiors with the same cheerfulness and alacrity with which they expect to be obeyed by their juniors.

(3)     Preservation of Good Order and Discipline.

(a)     It is the duty of chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers of all branches to preserve order and regularity among the other men wherever they are. This responsibility rests upon them whether they are on duty or not.

(b)     A copy of (a) of this clause shall be kept permanently posted on the notice board in alFchief Petty Officers' and Petty Officers' messes.

(4)     Artisans and Artificers. Men of the artisan, artificer, and other branches who are granted ratings equivalent to chief Petty Officer or Petty Officer on entry by reason of their trade or technical qualifications shall bear in mind that in addition to their duties as skilled tradesmen it is their duty to:

(a)     discharge properly the disciplinary responsibilities of the ratings they hold;

(b)     set an example to juniors by their good conduct and discipline. and

(c)     guide, and correct the faults of, their juniors.

(5)     Petty Officer of the Day. The duty of the Petty Officer of the Day shall be taken daily in rotation by all available Petty Officers.

(6)     Issue of Spirit and Provisions.

(a)     Petty Officer shall be detailed daily for duty in connection with the issue of spirit and provisions.

(b)     The Petty Officer of the Day shall be present.

(i)     when the spirit issue is being measured and issued to the ship's company, and

(ii)     when provisions are being issued to the ship's company, and he shall represent any complaint regarding the measure, issue, or quality of, spirit, meat, or provisions to the Officer of the Day or Officer of the Watch.

43.01 — Privileges of Chief Petty Officers And Petty Officers

(1)     Treatment. Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers shall be:

(a)     granted every reasonable indulgence;

(b)     made to feel that confidence is reposed in them, and

(c)     treated with the consideration that is due to the positions of trust which they hold.

(2)     Form of Address. The prefix "Chief Petty Officer" or "Petty Officer", or the corresponding prefix in the case of men in branches other than the Seaman branch, shall be used by all officers and men when addressing or speaking of men holding those ratings.

(3)     Falling in and Classes.

(a)     On all occasions when men are falling in, chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers shall do so separately from lower ratings.

(b)     When classes of instruction are formed, chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers shall when practicable be classed up by themselves.

(4)     Mustering and Personal Search.

(a)     Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers shall not be mustered in and out of the ship or fleet Establishment unless there is some special reason for doing so.

(b)     They are exempt from personal search by the regulating staff unless the Captain or the Executive Officer orders otherwise for special reasons.

(5)     Kit Muster. Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers are exempt from kit muster.

(6)     Passing Dockyard and Establishment Gates. Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers dressed in uniform are allowed to pass dockyard and fleet establishment gates and may pass out parties of men.

(7)     Laundry and Hammocks. Chief Petty Officers and potty officers shall be provided with:

(a)     separate lines for hanging clothing and laundry; and

(b)     separate nettings for the stowage of hammocks.

(8)     Messing. Messing arrangements for chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers areprescribed in Chapter 46 (Messing, Cabins, and Canteens) .

(9)     Inspection. The procedure followed by chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers with regard to retention and removal of headgear at inspections and investigations is prescribed in Chapter 18 (Salutes, Military Honours, and Marks of Respect) .

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 28 November 2013 12:06 AM EST
Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Soldiers' Uniform Costs (1866)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Prices of Soldiers' Uniforms for the Canadian Militia, 1866

Infantryman, Canadian Volunteer Militia, 1863-1870

This volunteer wears the full dress uniform authorized for the Canadian Volunteer Militia in 1863. Few units would have worn the shako shown in this image, substituting the inexpensive (and far more comfortable) forage cap. The style is generally similar to that worn by British regular infantry, with the white-metal buttons and badges commonly used by militia units within the British empire. Reconstruction by Ron Volstad. (Canadian Department of National Defence)

Source page.

Canadian Military History Gateway

Published in The Annual Volunteer and Militia Service List of Canada, 1st March, 1866

Circular Memo, March 20, 1865, Publishes for the information of Officers Commanding Volunteer Corps and Military Schools, &c., &c., the following list of prices of Government Stores, &c., so that in the case of loss or damage the same may be recovered under the provisions of the following clause of the Militia Act.

"44.     If any person designedly makes away with, sells, pawns, wrongfully destroys, wrongfully damages, or negligently loses, any property or thing issued to him or in his possession as a Volunteer,—or wrongfully refuses or wrongfully neglects to deliver up, on demand, any property or thing issued to him or in his possession as a Volunteer,—the value thereof shall be recoverable from him, with costs, as a penalty under this Act is recoverable; and he shall also for every such offence of designedly making away with, selling, pawning or wrongfully destroying as aforesaid, be liable, on the prosecution of the Commanding Officer of the Corps or Battalion, to a penalty not exceeding twenty dollars, nor less than five dollars with or without imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months."


Short Enfield Rifle complete$21.16
Sword Bayonet for Short Enfield Rifle1.82
Leather Scabbard for Sword Bayonet 0.75
Long Enfield Rifle complete15.20
Bayonet for Long Enfield Rifle1.50
Leather Scabbard for Bayonet for Long Enfield0.32


Pouch Belt, shoulder$0.75
Waist Belt0.50
Frogs for Waist Belt0.25
Cap Pocket0.25
50 round Pouch1.50
20 round Pouch1.00

Small Stores

Knapsack complete$2.50
Bugle and Strings5.00
Nipple wrench with Clamp0.60
Nipple wrench without0.25
Ball Drawer0.03
Brass jag0.03
Space Nipple0.03
Snap Cap and Chain0.03
Muzzle Stopper0.03


Great Coat$4.00
Tunic, Artillery5.50
Tunic, Infantry5.25
Tunic, Rifles5.50
Trowsers, Artillery per pair4.25
Trowsers, Infantry per pair2.00
Busbies for Artillery2.70
Shakos for Infantry and Rifles1.37
Chevrons for Sergeants and Corporals0.12 ½

Military School Clothing

Scarlet Serge Tunic$2.25
Serge Trowsers per pair2.60
Forage Cap0.50
Ornaments for Forage Cap0.12 ½
Fur Cap1.00

All monies recovered under the foregoing Clause of the Volunteer Militia Act will be deposited in the Bank of Montreal, and the deposit receipt therefor sent to this Department.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Training of Officers RCOC
Topic: Officers

Training of Officers
Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps

Canadian Army Training Memorandum, No 16, July 1942

The combatant status of the R.C.O.C. and the experience gained by the Corps in theatres of operation point to the vital necessity of all commanders acquiring self reliance and the ability to act independently. The following are some aspects of training which should be carefully studied so that officers of the Corps will not be found wanting when subjected to the test of actual warfare.

1.     The art of small manoeuvres. Knowing the ground in their vicinity. Whenever they move to a new location under more or less static conditions, they should make every effort to gain for themselves a thorough knowledge of the ground in all directions for a distance of up to 50 miles or more, according to the nature of the country. Pay particular attention to diversions, difficult places, alternative routes, etc.

2.     Steps for local unit defence, A.A. and ground.

3.     Map reading, compass reading.

4.     To move the complete unit by night in any direction by lorry mileage and compass bearing (and not by reliance on sign posts).

5.     A personal knowledge of weapons, Bren, A/T rifle and grenade and their defensive uses.

6.     Be able to act as an Infantry Commander and co-ordinate fire control.

7.     When the situation is tricky and no direct telephone or wireless is available, it is a wise plan to maintain communication by means of D.R. or a truck with the nearest unit on the telephone or wireless, thus enabling the Ordnance unit to be kept aware of pending moves.

8.     Must be able to make a logical and concise appreciation and write logical and concise orders.

9.     Know military and staff terms.

10.     Learn first aid thoroughly, as recovery of vehicles often means recovery of a wounded crew.

11.     Learn vehicle and driving discipline, and when on the move visualize the country both sides of the road so that immediate cover can be taken against aircraft attack. He must also train his men in the art of nipping off the road quickly until this becomes second nature, even in difficult places. On the appearance of enemy aircraft, drivers, unless properly trained, tend to park their vehicles in the road and run for cover with the result that the road becomes blocked by a burning vehicle.

12.     Approximate returns rendered promptly are better than accurate returns rendered after some delay.

13.     Vehicles first, men next, self last.

14.     Interior economy of a unit; as young 0.M.Es. with L.A.Ds. have sometimes to look after their own show and are not "fathered" by the "B" Echelon of the formation.

15.     Act on the maxim "It is better to use initiative and act even if wrong than to do nothing".

16.     Thorough training should be given to commanders of Recovery units in Recovery at Night.

17.     R.C.O.C. officers do not always realize the need for a close liaison between R.S.Ds. and Salvage Organization.

18.     It is desirable that they should make themselves familiar with the Divisional axes, not only with those in use at the moment, but also any alternative axes which may be used in the future. They should be familiar also with the conditions under which switches to the alternative axes would be effected.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 25 November 2013

The Scatcherd Cross
Topic: Militaria

The Scatcherd Cross

High on the wall of St Paul's Cathedral in London, Ontario, you will find a nondescript wooden cross. Mounted too high to read the brass and tin plates on it's weathered face, it takes a knowledgeable member of the cathedral staff or congregation to also indicate that a brass memorial plaque just around the corner actually goes with the cross.


The cross and plaque commemorate the loss of one of a son of the congreagation, Lieutenant John Labatt Scatcherd, M.C., of the Canadian Field Artillery.

Readable with a zoom lens, the brass plate on the cross reads:

In loving memory of
Lieut. John L. Scatcherd, M.C.
11th Battery, C.F.A.
Killed in Action, Sept 4th, 1918.

The tin strips read as follows:

  • G.R.U. (Graves Registration Unit.)
  • 1. C. 44 (The grave reference in Vis-En-Artois British Cemetery, Haucourt.)
  • Lt. J.L. Scatcherd, M.C.
  • 11th Btty, C.F.A.

The nearby plaque, tucked behind a speaker, offers a little more information:

In loving memory of
Lieut. John Labat Scatcherd, M.C.
Killed in Action Sept 4th, 1918. This Cross
was erected as Vis en Artois, France, by
the Officers & Men of the 11th Battery, C.F.A.
Sent to Canada in 1925.

Scatcherd attestation paper

Click for full-size image.

John Scatcherd's attestation paper can be found in the Library and Archives Canada database for Soldiers of the First World War.

We can also find Scatcherd's record on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. A visit here will also show uploaded images of Scatcherd's gravestone and newspaper clipping announcing his death. The gravestone also reveals that Scatcherd actually was awarded the Military Cross twice ("M.C. and bar").

Digging a little deeper, we can find the citations for Scatcherd's Military Cross awards in the London Gazette.


Lt. John Labatt Scatcherd, 11th Bty., 3rd Bde., Can. Field Artillery.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He went forward with the advancing infantry in charge of a brigade patrol, keeping in constant touch with the situation, and sending in information which enabled accurate and effective gun-fire to be brought to bear by the batteries. Though constantly under fire, he was always at hand to clear up a doubtful situation.


Lt. John Labatt Scatcherd, M.C., 11th By., 3rd Bde., Can. Fld. Arty.

During the operations on the Arras front, including the capture of the Drocourt-Queant line, he acted as Reconnaissance Officer in close touch with the infantry from 31st September to 4th October, 1918. He established a series of observation posts, and maintained communications with his battery. This work was done in spite of constant enemy machine-gun and shell fire. By his courage and untiring efforts the battery was able to bring effective fire on to many targets. (M.C. gazetted 2nd December, 1918.)

Artifacts like the battlefield cross from John Labatt Scatcherd's grave are a marker in much deeper ways than their original commemorative purpose. They remind us that each soldier comes from a family in a wider community, and even when a military unit moves on, or dissolves in the changing structure of an Army, that family retains its ties to that soldier and the unit he served with on a long ago battlefield. Not every military artifact worthy of recognition lies in a military museum or has been kept by a unit or regiment. Many others, like this cross, can be found in churches and cathedrals across the country and are worth the time to seek out and then to discover the story of the men and women they commemorate.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 24 November 2013 7:30 PM EST
Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Essential Qualities of a Junior Officer
Topic: Officers

Infantrymen of Lieutenant D.S. Barrie's platoon of The Highland Light Infantry of Canada relaxing during a rest period, France, 20 June 1944. Location: France. Date: June 20, 1944. Photographer: Ken Bell. Mikan Number: 3205673. From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

The Essential Qualities of a Junior Officer

From ATM 47; reprinted in Canadian Army Training Memorandum, No 37, April 1944

(A senior officer commanding overseas considers the following attributes to be vital in the make-up of a company or platoon commander, if he is to lead his command with success in battle.)

1.     Speedy decision based on careful reconnaissance, and the capacity to take aggressive action without waiting to be told and without wasting time.

2.     A knowledge of manoeuvre; how to put in a quick flanking attack when it is required, and how to avoid throwing troops away by pounding straight ahead against well-organized resistance.

3.     A high standard of map reading, including foreign maps.

4.     An accurate knowledge of the use of the compass and of other aids to the maintenance of direction.

5.     Ability to handle his command at night in the approach march, forming up, night attack, silent approach, and bayonet assault.

6.     Capacity to reorganize on an objective.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 23 November 2013

Discipline Makes the Soldier
Topic: Discipline

Discipline Makes the Soldier

By Field Marshal Lord Birdwood in the United Services Review, London
Canadian Army Training Memorandum, No 32, November 1943

William Riddell Birdwood, Australian War Memorial photo - P03717.009

1.     There is a great deal of misunderstanding on the subject of discipline among the general public, although now that the gallant Soviet army is apparently framing rules and regulations that seem to correspond to our own, we may hear less superficial criticism from the public. Even inside the army itself the purpose of discipline is often misunderstood by a young soldier, and sometimes I think it would be an excellent idea, if the whole purpose were explained to the new recruit the first day he joins the navy, army or air force.

Better Fighters

2.     Young soldiers are apt to think that smartness, whether in dress, appearance, or movement, is merely a fetish on the part of a commander, and I will admit there are times when this may be carried to excess. But from time immemorial in the history of war it has been found that the best disciplined regiments always fight better than the others, endure hardship better, and hold together in the face of incredible difficulties.

3.     When Napoleon made his terrible retreat from Moscow, it was no coincidence that the soldiers who suffered least and who had fewest casualties from the cold were the men of the Guard. They were the elite of the army, accustomed to obey orders without question, and when other badly behaved units were fighting over the meager food supplied, the men of the Guard shared it out equally among the battalions, and every man got his tiny ration. When other units straggled hopelessly over the snow-covered plains and men dropped out unheeded, the Old Guard kept together and encouraged the weaker men to remain in the ranks somehow.

4.     To go back still further. In our civil war in Stuart times, it was Cromwell who realized that the Cavaliers could not be beaten by men of poor spirit and behaviour. He, therefore, fashioned his Ironsides, and they carried all before them.

5.     The whole idea of discipline is to accustom men to obey orders automatically, so that when deafened by the roar of battle, weary, hungry and thirsty, they will still do their duty and carry out orders cheerfully. Mere enthusiasm may survive the rigours of battle and hardships, but discipline and pride in one's corps will more than perform that miracle.

The Importance of Compliments

6.     Take saluting, for example. A man who is slack in noticing an officer, or an officer who is slack in returning a salute, is very likely to be slack in more important things on the battlefield, for he is obviously unobservant. The good soldier is always on the look-out for a senior who is entitled to a salute a nd the senior, however busy his mind may be on other things, must always be watchful that the salute of the humblest soldier is properly acknowledged. That makes for an alert mind.

7.     Commanding officers, whose cars bear the divisional or corps flag, have been known to stop their car and rebuke a soldier failing to notice the little flag which marks the commander's car. That rebuke was not a mere piece of officiousness or snobbishness, as some thoughtless people assume, but because the commander knows that the soldier who does not take the trouble to notice the little flag which distinguishes that car from the others will be equally unobservant on the field of battle. All this makes for mental alertness.

8.     The same thing applies to personal appearance. The slackly dressed soldier is generally slack in other ways - ways that make all the difference between life and death. In the last war many commanders - in fact, most insisted on their men shaving in the trenches every morning. It was sound psychology, because a freshly shaven man feels better than the fellow with the stubble on his chin.

Nothing Irksome in Obedience

9.     You can tell a Guards battalion a mile off, by the way the men march. There is something magical in the name "Guards" and why? Because they are the best disciplined units in an army, and they are the men for the toughest jobs. It may seem hard at first to the young recruit, but if he is made to realize that in the long run good discipline saves lives and wins battles, he will cheerfully play his part, and to the willing soldier there is nothing very irksome in obeying orders swiftly and unhesitatingly.

10.     I notice that in the Soviet armies the Guards divisions, which were abolished at the Revolution, have been formed and these divisions set the standard for the others. Also quite recently, the Soviet High Command issued an order that every man who goes to a theatre or cinema must have his uniform well pressed, his buttons polished, and his hair tidy. Nor must men be seen in the streets carrying heavy, untidy parcels; they must have a neat suitcase. This shows that the Red Army has come to the same conclusions in these matters as the British Army.

11.     It is a common delusion among the public that the Dominion forces will not stand for discipline, saluting, and the rest of it. This is nonsense. The Dominion soldier has exactly the same pride of regiment as the men in the Home Country. In the war I had the honour to command the Australian troops, and I had Lord Haig's own testimony that these brave troops bore themselves in battle and on the parade grounds with the same distinction as the British line battalions. That was naturally one of the reasons why the Germans came to fear them so greatly.

Motive Behind Operations

12.     When people talk about the soldier obeying orders blindly, they imply that it is all wrong. It is impossible for the private soldier to be told the whole motive and aim behind every operation; he can only be told the part he personally is to play, and it is essential that if the operation is to succeed he shall obey without question.

13.     Commanding officers do their utmost today to acquaint them with the task that they have to perform in an action, but the battalion commander himself only knows part of the drama in which he is playing a role. Much has to be hidden from him. Probably in a great battle only a few high officers know the complete plan in all its phases and the rest, down. to the private soldier, must carry out orders to the letter. That is commonsense, and discipline is commonsense.

Drill Has Its Function

14.     I am sure if these things were carefully explained to the newcomer to the services at the very outset, explained with patience and good humour, all misunderstanding would be avoided and cheerful obedience would be easier. Even the drill that seems so dull and meaningless to the recruit has its function.

15.     Let no soldier ever forget that discipline is based on tradition - and it is tradition which always has carried and ever will carry every one of the glorious units of the British Empire through the most dangerous and difficult times to victory.the same pride of regiment as the men in the Home Country. In the war I had the honour to command the Australian troops, and I had Lord Haig's own testimony that these brave troops bore themselves in battle and on the parade grounds with the same distinction as the British line battalions. That was naturally one of the reasons why the Germans came to fear them so greatly.

Motive Behind Operations

12.     When people talk about the soldier obeying orders blindly, they imply that it is all wrong. It is impossible for the private soldier to be told the whole motive and aim behind every operation; he can only be told the part he personally is to play, and it is essential that if the operation is to succeed he shall obey without question.

13.     Commanding officers do their utmost today to acquaint them with the task that they have to perform in an action, but the battalion commander himself only knows part of the drama in which he is playing a role. Much has to be hidden from him. Probably in a great battle only a few high officers know the complete plan in all its phases and the rest, down. to the private soldier, must carry out orders to the letter. That is commonsense, and discipline is commonsense.

Drill Has Its Function

14.     I am sure if these things were carefully explained to the newcomer to the services at the very outset, explained with patience and good humour, all misunderstanding would be avoided and cheerful obedience would be easier. Even the drill that seems so dull and meaningless to the recruit has its function.

15.     Let no soldier ever forget that discipline is based on tradition – and it is tradition which always has carried and ever will carry every one of the glorious units of the British Empire through the most dangerous and difficult times to victory.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 22 November 2013

1897 Diamond Jubilee Contingent
Topic: Canadian Militia

G.O. 59 of 1897

Military Contingent To Represent Canada At Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee

Her Majesty Queen Victoria

A stamp celebating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

Obverse of the Jubilee medal 1897.

Reverse of the Jubilee medal 1897.
"In Commemoration of the 60th Year of the Reign of Queen Victoria 20 June 1897"

A Victoriam shoulder strap badge worn by The Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry. now The Royal Canadian Regiment.

Issued as a Special General Order on the 12th May, 1897.

In conformity with the invitation received through His Excellency the Governor General from the Right Honourahle the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the following Military Contingent has been selected to represent Canada in England on the occasion of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee.

1.     Command and Staff

  • Officer in Command of Contingent
  • Commanding Cavalry
  • Commanding Artillery
  • Commanding Infantry and Rifles
    • Lieutenant-Colonel Joules Mason, 10th Battalion "Royal Grenadiers"
  • Adjutant
    • Captain J.C. MacDougall, The Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry
  • Paymaster
    • Lieutenant Colonel James Munro, 22nd Battalion "Oxford Rifles"
  • Quarter-Master
    • Captain C.M. Nelles, 38th Battalion "Dufferin Rifles of Canada"
  • Medical Officer
    • Surgeon-Major C. W. Wilson, 3rd Field Battery, C.A.

2.     Officers

(1)     The undermentioned Officers of the Active Militia have been selected for executive duty with the Contingent and will report themselves to the Officer Commanding the same at Quebec on the 26th May, 1897. They will be posted as follows:—

  • Cavalry
    • Captain Frank A. Fleming, The Governor General's Body Guard
    • Captain R. Brown, The Princess Louise Dragoon Guards
  • Artillery
    • Lieut.-Colonel J.A. Longworth, 4th Regiment, C.A.
    • Major F. W. Hibbard, 2nd Regiment, C.A.
  • Infantry and Rifles
    • Major H.A. Pellet, 2nd Battalion
    • Captain J. E. Peltier, 65th Battalion
    • Captain A. T. Thompson, 37th Battalion
    • Lieut. R. M. Courtney, 6th Battalion

(2)     Certain other Officers have also been selected to proceed with the Contingent, but not necessarily for executive duty therewith. Such Officers will not he required to report themselves until the day of sailing, viz.: 5th June.

3.     Non-Commissioned Staff

The appointments to the Non-Commissioned staff will rest with the Officer Commanding the Contingent It will be comprised as follows:—1 Sergeant-Major; Quarter-master Sergeant; 1 Hospital Sergeant; 1 Paymaster's Clerk; and 1 Orderly Room Clerk.

Cavalry (48)

  • Royal Canadian Dragoons – 8.
  • Governor General's Body Guard – 4.
  • 1st Hussars – 4.
  • 3rd Dragoons – 4.
  • 4th Hussars – 4.
  • 6th Hussars – 4.
  • 8th Hussars – 4.
  • Princess Louise's Dragoon Guards – 4.
  • King's Canadian Hussars – 4.
  • Queen's Own Canadian Hussars – 4.
  • Manitoba Dragoons – 4.

Artillery (24)

  • Royal Canadian Artillery – 8.
  • 1st Brigade Field Artillery – 1.
  • 1st Field Battery – 1.
  • 2nd Field Battery – 1.
  • 4th Field Battery – 1.
  • 9th Field Battery – 1.
  • 12th Field Battery – 1.
  • 13th Field Battery – 1.
  • 15th Field Battery – 1.
  • 1st Regiment Garrison Artillery – 2.
  • 3rd Regiment Garrison Artillery – 2.
  • 4th Regiment Garrison Artillery – 2.
  • 5th Regiment Garrison Artillery – 2.

Infantry and Rifles (68)

  • The Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry – 8.
  • The Governor General's Foot Guards – 4.
  • 2nd Battalion "Queen's Own Rifles of Canada – 4.
  • 3rd Battalion "Victoria Rifles of Canada" – 4.
  • 6th Battalion "Royal Scots of Canada" – 4.
  • 9th Battalion Rifles "Voltigeurs de Québec" – 4.
  • 10th Battalion "Royal Grenadiers" – 4.
  • 13th Battalion of Infantry – 4.
  • 14th Battalion The Princess of Wales' Own Rifles – 4.
  • 48th Battalion "Highlanders" – 4.
  • 82nd Battalion "St. John Fusiliers" – 4.
  • 63rd "Halifax" Battalion of Rifles – 4.
  • 65th Battalion "Mount Royal Rifles" – 4.
  • 68th "King's County Battalion of Infantry – 4.
  • 82nd "Queen's County Battalion of Infantry" – 4.
  • 90th "Winnipeg Battalion of Rifles – 4.

(Further paragraphs of the General Order provided the details for Pay, Transport, Allowances, Quarters, Messing, Equipment and Mobilization.)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 22 December 2015 3:45 PM EST
Thursday, 21 November 2013

Murphy's Laws of Combat Operations
Topic: Humour

Murphy's Laws of Combat Operations

1.     Friendly fire – isn't.

2.     Recoilless rifles – aren't.

3.     Suppressive fires – won't.

4.     You are not Superman; Marines and fighter pilots take note.

5.     A sucking chest wound is Nature's way of telling you to slow down.

6.     If it's stupid but it works, it isn't stupid.

7.     Try to look unimportant; the enemy may be low on ammo and not want to waste a bullet on you.

8.     If at first you don't succeed, call in an airstrike.

9.     If you are forward of your position, your artillery will fall short.

10.     Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself.

11.     Never go to bed with anyone crazier than yourself.

12.     Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.

13.     If your attack is going really well, it's an ambush.

14.     The enemy diversion you're ignoring is their main attack.

15.     The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions: — when they're ready.     — when you're not.

16.     No OPLAN ever survives initial contact.

17.     There is no such thing as a perfect plan.

18.     Five second fuzes always burn three seconds.

19.     There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.

20.     A retreating enemy is probably just falling back and regrouping.

21.     The important things are always simple; the simple are always hard.

22.     The easy way is always mined.

23.     Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at.

24.     Don't look conspicuous; it draws fire. For this reason, it is not at all uncommon for aircraft carriers to be known as bomb magnets.

25.     Never draw fire; it irritates everyone around you.

26.     If you are short of everything but the enemy, you are in the combat zone.

27.     When you have secured the area, make sure the enemy knows it too.

28.     Incoming fire has the right of way.

29.     No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.

30.     No inspection ready unit has ever passed combat.

31.     If the enemy is within range, so are you.

32.     The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.

33.     Things which must be shipped together as a set, aren't.

34.     Things that must work together, can't be carried to the field that way.

35.     Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support.

36.     Radar tends to fail at night and in bad weather, and especially during both.)

37.     Anything you do can get you killed, including nothing.

38.     Make it too tough for the enemy to get in, and you won't be able to get out.

39.     Tracers work both ways.

40.     If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will get more than your fair share of objectives to take.

41.     When both sides are convinced they're about to lose, they're both right.

42.     Professional soldiers are predictable; the world is full of dangerous amateurs.

43.     Military Intelligence is a contradiction.

44.     Fortify your front; you'll get your rear shot up.

45.     Weather ain't neutral.

46.     If you can't remember, the Claymore is pointed towards you.

47.     Air defense motto: shoot 'em down; sort 'em out on the ground.

48.     'Flies high, it dies; low and slow, it'll go.

49.     The Cavalry doesn't always come to the rescue.

50.     Napalm is an area support weapon.

51.     Mines are equal opportunity weapons.

52.     B–52s are the ultimate close support weapon.

53.     Sniper's motto: reach out and touch someone.

54.     Killing for peace is like screwing for virginity.

55.     The one item you need is always in short supply.

56.     Interchangeable parts aren't.

57.     It's not the one with your name on it; it's the one addressed "to whom it may concern" you've got to think about.

58.     When in doubt, empty your magazine.

59.     The side with the simplest uniforms wins.

60.     Combat will occur on the ground between two adjoining maps.

61.     If the Platoon Sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.

62.     Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can sleep.

63.     The most dangerous thing in the world is a Second Lieutenant with a map and a compass.

64.     Exceptions prove the rule, and destroy the battle plan.

65.     Everything always works in your HQ, everything always fails in the Colonel's HQ.

66.     The enemy never watches until you make a mistake.

67.     One enemy soldier is never enough, but two is entirely too many.

68.     A clean (and dry) set of BDU's is a magnet for mud and rain.

69.     The worse the weather, the more you are required to be out in it.

70.     Whenever you have plenty of ammo, you never miss.     Whenever you are low on ammo, you can't hit the broad side of a barn.

71.     The more a weapon costs, the farther you will have to send it away to be repaired.

72.     The complexity of a weapon is inversely proportional to the IQ of the weapon's operator.

73.     Field experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

74.     No matter which way you have to march, its always uphill.

75.     If enough data is collected, a board of inquiry can prove anything.

76.     For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.     (in boot camp)

77.     Airstrikes always overshoot the target, artillery always falls short.

78.     When reviewing the radio frequencies that you just wrote down, the most important ones are always illegible.

79.     Those who hesitate under fire usually do not end up KIA or WIA.

80.     The tough part about being an officer is that the troops don't know what they want, but they know for certain what they don't want.

81.     To steal information from a person is called plagiarism.     To steal information from the enemy is called gathering intelligence.

82.     The weapon that usually jams when you need it the most is the M60.

83.     The perfect officer for the job will transfer in the day after that billet is filled by someone else.

84.     When you have sufficient supplies & ammo, the enemy takes 2 weeks to attack.     When you are low on

supplies & ammo the enemy decides to attack that night.

85.     The newest and least experienced soldier will usually win the Medal of Honor.

86.     A Purple Heart just proves that were you smart enough to think of a plan, stupid enough to try it, and lucky enough to survive.

87.     Murphy was a grunt.

88.     Beer Math ––> 2 beers times 37 men equals 49 cases.

89.     Body count Math ––> 3 guerrillas plus 1 probable plus 2 pigs equals 37 enemies killed in action.

90.     The bursting radius of a hand grenade is always one foot greater than your jumping range.

91.     All–weather close air support doesn't work in bad weather.

92.     The combat worth of a unit is inversely proportional to the smartness of its outfit and appearance.

93.     The crucial round is a dud.

94.     Every command which can be misunderstood, will be.

95.     There is no such place as a convenient foxhole.

96.     Don't ever be the first, don't ever be the last and don't ever volunteer to do anything.

97.     If your positions are firmly set and you are prepared to take the enemy assault on, he will bypass you.

98.     If your ambush is properly set, the enemy won't walk into it.

99.     If your flank march is going well, the enemy expects you to outflank him.

100.     Density of fire increases proportionally to the curiousness of the target.

101.     Odd objects attract fire – never lurk behind one.

102.     The more stupid the leader is, the more important missions he is ordered to carry out.

103.     The self–importance of a superior is inversely proportional to his position in the hierarchy (as is his deviousness and mischievousness).

104.     There is always a way, and it usually doesn't work.

105.     Success occurs when no one is looking, failure occurs when the General is watching.

106.     The enemy never monitors your radio frequency until you broadcast on an unsecured channel.

107.     Whenever you drop your equipment in a fire–fight, your ammo and grenades always fall the farthest

away, and your canteen always lands at your feet.

108.     As soon as you are served hot chow in the field, it rains.

109.     Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.

110.     The seriousness of a wound (in a fire–fight) is inversely proportional to the distance to any form of cover.

111.     Walking point = sniper bait.

112.     Your bivouac for the night is the spot where you got tired of marching that day.

113.     If only one solution can be found for a field problem, then it is usually a stupid solution.

114.     If the enemy is in range so are you.

115.     Field experience is something you never get until just after you need it.

116.     All or any of the above combined.

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Ten Points of Leadership
Topic: Leadership

Ten Points of Leadership

By Col. J. B. Ladd in The Army Officer—Extracted from U.S. Military Review
Canadian Army Training Memorandum, No 61, April 1946

1.     Be a vigilant leader. Know your men. Use good judgment and common sense.

2.     Be a competent leader. Know your "stuff." Make quick, sound, definite decisions. Use simple plans. Issue clear, complete, and concise orders.

3.     Be an efficient leader. Maintain unity of command, co- operation, and teamwork. Develop mutual trust, confidence, cohesion, and initiative in your unit. Follow up your decisions, plans, and orders with clear-cut, vigorous action.

Keep Faith

4.     Be a loyal leader. Keep the "soldier's faith," in service, fidelity, and duty. Take a vital, sincere interest in the welfare of your men and officers. Build esprit de corps.

5.     Be a trustworthy, dependable leader. Never let your men or officers down. Deserve their trust. Drive hard to accomplish your missions on time.

6.     Be a firm, friendly leader. Cultivate character, respect, courtesy, good will, good manners, tolerance, dignity, and tact. Treat your men as you would wish to be treated.

7.     Be a resolute leader. Set the examples of force, courage, valor, esprit, honor, and high morale of your command.

Disciplined Leader

8.     Be a disciplined leader. Remember, hard work and iron discipline doubles victories and halves losses.

9.     Be an alert leader. Always be on guard. Protect and take care of your men. No man is fit to command who neglects his "all- around securities."

10.     Be an aggressive leader. Pay strict, prompt attention to duty, justice, and responsibility. Practice what you preach. Set the high example in the cardinal virtues of command. At all times, teach your officers and men battlefield leadership.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Recruit Training (1914)
Topic: Drill and Training

Recruit Training (1914)

From: Infantry Training (4 – Company Organization), 1914

Before being dismissed recruit training every regular recruit will be examined by the depot or battalion commander and a medical officer, who will determine whether he has attained the necessary standard of efficiency, and is physically fit for the duties of a trained soldier.

This examination may take place as soon as it is thought that a batch of recruits has attained the required standard, but never later than six months after enlistment, deducting any periods spent in hospital or under detention.

When once a recruit has been passed as above, he must be considered a trained man with the exception of musketry. A recruit must on no account be passed temporarily and the final stages of the syllabus postponed with a view to taking him for other duties in the meanwhile. The entire course of his recruit training must be continuous.

A special report must be made by the depot or battalion commander, to the district or brigade commander as the case may be, about any line recruit who, after six months training, is found too weak or too awkward for the duties of a trained soldier.

The necessary standard of efficiency before a regular recruit is dismissed recruit training is as follows:—

(a)     The recruit must be able to turn out correctly in marching order and fit to take his place in the ranks of his company in close and extended order drill.

(b)     Carry out an ordinary route march in marching order.

(c)     Have completed his recruit gymnastic training.

(d)     Be sufficiently instructed in musketry and visual training to commence a recruit's course of musketry immediately after being dismissed recruit training.

(e)     Be sufficiently trained to take part in night operations.

(f)      Understand the principles of protection and his duties on guard or outpost.

(g)     Be able to use the entrenching implement and entrenching tools and understand the method of carrying tools.

(h)     Be well grounded in bayonet fighting.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 18 November 2013

Duties of the Adjutant (1915)
Topic: Officers

Duties of the Adjutant (1915)

From: Hints to Young Officers in the Australian Military Forces, R. Stupart, published by Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1915

"The adjutant is the commanding officer's mouthpiece. Through him is the channel of communication with all the officers and men of the battalion. Under the direction of the commanding officer he issues all orders, makes all reports and returns, keeps all records and rosters, and has charge of all correspondence pertaining to the administration of the battalion His relations with the commanding officer are close and confidential, and he should give his chief his entire, unqualified support. His loyalty should be absolute, and under no circumstances should he ever, by act or word, criticise the action of the commanding officer, no matter how much he may himself personally disapprove of the same.

In neatness and correctness of dress, and in soldierly bearing, he should be faultless, setting an example to the rest of the command. He should cultivate soldierly qualities and amiability and should be just, pleasant arid courteous to everyone, performing his duties with partiality to none and fairness to all.

As the adjutant occupies an office which is regarded in the service as representing accuracy, method and precision, and as he is often required to call the attention of officers to the violation of, and non-compliance with, regulations and orders, he cannot himself be too careful and punctilious.

An efficient adjutant must have a general knowledge of the administrative duties of all the other battalion officers and company commanders, and special knowledge of his own duties. He must be a dose student of the Defence Act, Regulations and Standing Orders, the Drill and Training Manuals. the Manual of Ceremonial, etc., and should read carefully the Military and District Orders as soon as issued.

Under no circumstances should he permit any other officer of the command to be better informed than he is in these subjects. Unless he is well posted on the duties of his office, he cannot command the respect and enjoy the confidence of his fellow officers. By study, application, and observation he should inform himself upon all points of military usage and etiquette, and on proper occasions aid with his advice and experience the subalterns of the command.

He is responsible to his commanding officer for everything connected with organization and discipline. He should form up all the parades of the battalion, inspect guards and piquets before mounting and when dismounting, attend all parades, accompanying the commanding officer in his inspection, supervise the work in the orderly room, make out states and see that the duties are allotted companies in accordance with the roster.

He is answerable for all the orderly room work, books, returns and orders, and has under his special direction the battalion sergeant-major, band-sergeant, orderly-room-sergeant, etc., and provost-sergeant. He should regulate all duty rosters, that of the officers being under his especial care.

He should be responsible for the discipline of the band, buglers, etc., and take charge of all the regimental drills, but at which only officers who arc his juniors in the battalion need fall in. Should it be necessary for an officer senior to the adjutant to fall in at his drills for instruction, another officer senior to all should be present.

The drills of all recruits and young officers should be under his especial direction.

The adjutant should pay particular attention to the instruction of the non-commissioned officers;' he should also inspect them, together with the band and buglers before every commanding officer's parade.

He should enter into the characters and disposition of the non-commissioned officers and men of his battalion, so as to be able to assist them with advice and information, when he perceives defects; and so that he may be qualified to recommend men for advancement when occasion offers.

He should be the first to set an example to officers and men in dress, obedience to orders, punctual attendance at parades, alertness and unceasing attention to all the duties of a soldier.

He should be constantly vigilant and careful that the orders are attended to and obeyed with the most scrupulous exactness. He should be active and persevering, never taking for granted that anything is right, but constantly seeing that it is so, in forming the commanding officer when he finds neglects or irregularities which it is not in his power to correct.

The dress, appearance and carriage of the men, both on and off duty, should be particularly attended to by him.

He should parade and inspect guards and armed parties proceeding on duty, which should then be handed over to the charge of the proper officer.

Although the adjutant should not interfere in the interior arrangements of companies, he should take notice of all deviations from the orders, and any. other irregularities he may observe on the part of the officers, non-commissioned officers or men.

He usually acts as prosecutor at court martials, when he should be prepared, if necessary, to answer to the character of the accused, or any other particulars which may be required, taking care that the accused and witnesses have been previously warned, and that everything is in order so as to prevent unnecessary delay. He need not, however, be present at courts of inquiry and regimental investigations of that nature unless required.

There is no circumstance in which the discipline of the battalion can in any way be concerned which the adjutant should think foreign to his observation, and its general efficiency will best evince his zeal and ability."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 17 November 2013

Care of Troop Horses (1902)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Horse Memorial, dedicated to the horses killed during the South African War (1899-1902).
This statue is reputed to be one of only three memorials in the world dedicated to horses. Source

General Order 17

Care of Troop Horses

As published in General Orders; The Canada Gazette, 1st February, 1902

The following digest of a Special Army Order dated 23rd Deceutber, 1901, is published for the information and guidance of the Militia:…

Commander-in-Chief desires to draw attention of all officers of mounted troops to the vital importance of taking proper care of their horses.

The efficiency of units during war is dependent upon the proper training of iudividuals during peace and all officers of mounted branches must regard horse management as one of the most important of their regimental dutius.

The abnormal losses in horses during the campaign in South Africa has been due partially to military necessity, partially to difficulties of transport and supply, scarcity of water, extremes of heat, and the influence of a long sea voyage and change of climate, but also a good deal to the inexperience of a large proportion of the men in the care of their mounts, and to injudicious managenent.

The following instructions should be impressed upon all:…

1.     Men should never be kept mounted when they can equally perform a duty on foot, and if officers insist upon their men dismountiug whenever possible when under their supervision, they will from force of habit, do the same when on detached or orderly duty. When halting even for a few minutes, dismounting affonds relief to both man and horse.

2.     Vadettes will on occasions be able to keep a better look-out on foot than on horseback, whilst at the same time they would ease their horse and be less visible to the enemy.

3.     On the line of march, when moving at a foot-pace, men should be frequently made to dismount and lead their horses.

4.     Whenever the ground admits of it, troops should move on a wide front, and files should be opened out, to avoid dust, and allow of fresh air passing between them.

5.     Officers commanding columns should regulate the pace to suit the slowest horse, or the slowest arm, with the column, and should study the ground to suit each branch. On a hard level road or down hill, draught horses will travel with less fatigue than cavalry whereas a soft surface, eepecially sand, or a long up-hill incline, tries gun horses far more than cavalry. If horses have been kept going a little beyond their pace at a trot, they canot effectually respond to the call on them for a gallop when speed is required.

6.     The importance of frequent watering and feeding should be intpressed on all. A horse's stomach is small, and he cannot digest large quantities of food at a time. If necessarily kept for long without food, or after exhausting work, the first feed should be small, and a larger feed given after a few hours' rest (Army Order No. 3 of 1902)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 16 November 2013

Patton on Issuing Orders
Topic: Staff Duties

Issuing Orders:

From: War as I Knew It, George S. Patton, Jr., 1947

The best way to issue orders is by word of mouth from one general to the next. Failing this, telephone conversation which should be recorded at each end. However, in order to have a confirmatory memorandum of all oral orders given, a short written order should always be made out, not necessarily at the time of issuing the order, but it should reach the junior prior to his carrying out the order; so that, if he has forgotten anything, he will be reminded of it, and, further, in order that he may be aware that his senior has taken definite responsibility for the operation ordered orally.

It is my opinion that Army orders should not exceed a page and a half of typewritten text and it was my practice not to issue orders longer than this. Usually they can be done on one page, and the back of the page used for a sketch map.

Commanders must remember that the issuance of an order, or the devising of a plan, is only about five per cent of the responsibility of command. The other ninety-five per cent is to insure, by personal observation, or through the interposing of staff officers, that the order is carried out. Orders must be issued early enough to permit time to disseminate them.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.

Avoid as you would perdition issuing cover-up orders, orders for the record. This simply shows lack of intestinal fortitude on the part of the officer signing the orders, and everyone who reads them realizes it at once.

In planning any operation, it is vital to remember, and constantly repeat to oneself, two things: "In war nothing is impossible, provided you use audacity," and "Do not take counsel of your fears." If these two principles are adhered to, with American troops victory is certain.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 15 November 2013

Restoring the Infantry's Confidence
Topic: CEF

The Fort Garry Horse training at the charge.
Source page at

Restoring the Infantry's Confidence

Herbert Hill; quoted in Guy Chapman, OBE, MC (Ed), Vain Glory; A miscellany of the Great War 1914-1918, 1937/1968

24th Mar. [1918]

We were crouching down in the narrow trench talking casually of when we had had a square meal last, and what was more important, the chances of getting one in the near future, when a jingling sound made us look round. We stared incredulously as a crowd of horsemen emerged from the trees. They took no notice of our heads, bobbing up from the ground, and manoeuvred their mounts into some kind of order. They were Colonials, and their uniforms were spick and span. The horses snorted and their coats shone. The men were big fellows and their bronze faces were keen and oddly intent. They were very splendid compared to us…

We ducked in alarm as the squadron spurred their horse into a gallop and came straight at us. With a thunderous drumming of hoofs they took our trench in their stride. From the bottom, as I cowered down, I had a momentary glimpse of a horse's belly and powerful haunches as they were over and away like the wind, sword in hand.

They spread out as they went into two lines and were half-way across the open when there came a sudden pulsating blast of fire and gaps appeared in the double line. Bullets came hissing about our heads. A man a couple of yards away from me slithered down to his knees, and then sprawled full length on the floor of the trench. Realizing our danger we ducked. Looking down I saw blood gushing from a wound in his throat…

Then uncontrollable excitement possessed me and, defying the bullets, I raised my head and looked at the cavalry. Their ranks were much thinner now. Just as the foremost of them reached the trees they hesitated, turned and came racing back, Iying low in the saddle.

The machine-guns barked triumphantly at their victory over mere flesh and blood. Only a handful of the once proud squadron put their blowing horses at the trench and lunged across to the shelter of the wood behind. Others tailed away on either side and in a moment were hidden from view among the friendly trees.

The whole thing from when we saw them first had only occupied a bare five minutes. We stared at each other in amazement. The fire died down. Looking over the top we saw that the ground in front, which before had been bare, was dotted here and there with shapeless mounds.

The screams of horses in agony pierced our ears with shrill intensity. As we looked animals struggled convulsively to their feet and galloped off at a tangent. Some of them swayed drunkenly and fell back, with their legs in the air. Smaller, more feeble movements showed that some of the troopers were still alive.

Single rifle-shots sounded, whether from our side or not, I didn't know, and by and by the horses were mercifully silent, but men moved at intervals—crawling behind the horses for cover, perhaps.

Footnote: The charge near Villescle was made by 150 of the Fort Garry Horse, of whom 73 were casualties. The Official History states: "And the confidence of the infantry was restored.")

Survivors of the Squadron of the Fort Garry Horse returning to the Canadian lines.
See source page.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Field Bakery
Topic: Humour

See full image.

The Field Bakery

From: With the Army Service Corps in South Africa, by Sir Wodehouse Richardson, 1903

I have extracted the following from an unofficial report of an officer I had sent to inspect along the line of communications:

Scene. - A supply depot on the veldt.

Dramatis Personae. - An Army Service Corps subaltern, with a section of bakers, engaged in constructing a field bakery on the latest Aldershot pattern.

[Enter General]

General: "What are you doing here?"

Subaltern (saluting): "Constructing a field bakery, sir."

General: "Then you are doing it all wrong."

[The General proceeds to teach the section how a field bakery should be constructed. After marking out the ground with pegs, he places bakers armed with picks and shovels opposite each other, telling no one to start till he gives the order, and then only the two men nearest him.]

General: Now you may commence.

[Of the two bakers, who both keep their eyes on the General, the one with the shovel stoops down and begins to dig, the other with a pick raises it over his shoulder, and, bringing it down smartly, strikes on the head the man with a shovel, who falls insensible. The remaining bakers obtain a stretcher from the nearest ambulance and convey the injured man to the hospital tent, while the construction of the field bakery is postponed sine die].

Published in the Los Angeles Herald, Monday Morning, November 20, 1899

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Maxims for the Young Officer
Topic: Officers
Images taken from a set of silk cigarette cards of Canadian Militia uniforms (early 20th century).

Images taken from a set of silk cigarette cards of Canadian Militia uniforms (early 20th century).

Maxims for the Young Officer

From: The Young Officer's Guide to Knowledge, by Senior Major, Fourth Edition, 1915

1.           Never do other people's work unless you are driven to it if you do, you will get an evil reputation for liking it.

2.           Always ask for leave at all times and in all places. In the end, you will acquire a kind of right to it.

3.           Remember that there is a time to work and a time to play. The time to work is when you are being watched.

4.           Abandon every hope of individuality. In the Service it is considered indecent, and verges on insubordination. Most young officers join with a distressing amount of "originality," and it is only on reaching the status of member of the Army Council that an officer can be said to be completely purged of it.

Study the fads of your superiors. If the General is looking on, be assiduously practising his little hobby. It does not matter how foolish it is — in fact the sillier it is the more he will like it, as he fully appreciates the fact that you are making a fool of yourself for his benefit. The same rule applies to the C.O.. Only in a lesser degree. The higher the rank, the more abandoned your antics should become. This is why so much leave is required in the Army, the mental strain on the zealous officer being excessive.

elipsis graphic

There are other points in connection with G.O.C.'s inspection which it is well not to overlook, such as the following:—

(a)     Never be at a loss for an answer. In nine cases out of ten the accuracy of your statements will not be questioned.

(b)     Do not volunteer information. You assume an awful responsibility if you presume to know too much, and it turns out to be incorrect.

(c)     If the G.O.C. is fond of asking the men questions, put all the Company idiots on fatigue.

(d)     Always bear in mind Maxim No. 4 [Study the fads of your superiors]. Whatever the General's fad is, study it well. It may be boots, it may be barrack-room shelves, it may be potato-peeling, or it may be an unsavoury delight in examining bare feet. The General may be a Toothy Brush Maniac or a Refuse Heap Wizard. In any case, always anticipate him.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Brewing up in the RCASC
Topic: Army Rations

Convoy in England, 1940. See the photo albums at (See full image.)

Brewing up in the RCASC

From: Wait for the Waggon, The Story of The Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, 1961

[Drivers of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps] also learned the art of "brewing-up"—something we didn't know anything about until we joined the 8th Army.

Brewing up—is done in a pail, or anything handy which has a handle and will hold water. It is carried swinging from the rear axle of the vehicle. It bounces around as the vehicle goes along the road, collecting dust, or anything that flies in. When you stop to brew-up, you take this container and, without bothering to shake out the accumulation, you put in water from any convenient source—frequently from the radiators of the vehicles, as far as I could figure it out. Then you add three or four handfuls of tea, scoop out a little hole in the roadside, pour in a quart or so of gasoline, back up about ten feet and throw a match in it. Then you put this pot on top of it until it boils.

You have what is called "brew," and you pour it into mugs and drink it, hot. An egg would float in it with the greatest of ease—sort of a combination of tea and anything you pick up en route.

My Drivers got into the habit of brewing-up, and I encouraged it. In normal convoy driving they always took a ten-minute break every hour, and they would brew-up. I liked what it seemed to do for them. The Drivers from each packet, or section, would brew-up together. They would talk and laugh and tell the latest stories. Then they would get back into their vehicles relaxed for another fifty minutes of driving.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 16 October 2013 4:37 PM EDT
Monday, 11 November 2013

Rolls of Honour
Topic: The RCR

Rolls of Honour

As someone with an interest in regimental history, admittedly focused on my own Regiment, the topic of the Roll of Honour occasionally comes up. One aspect that provokes both strident opinions in some, and careful reflection in others, is the question of how to decide what names belong on a given Roll of Honour. The sticky point, though seldom expressed as such, is a perception that naming a soldier on a Roll of Honour is somehow a binding act of "ownership" and that this should be an exclusive right.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We all share a responsibility, as a nation, to honour our fallen. We strengthen the bonds of that responsibility with every addition of a soldier to our many Rolls of Honour that commemorate their service and sacrifice, as long as we understand (and, as needed, identify) what connects them to our regiment.

Opportunities for Change and Improvement

Allow me to describe one restrictive example. Within Volumes I and II of the regimental history of The Royal Canadian Regiment, annexes comprising the casualty lists of each of the Regiment's periods of wartime service. At first glance they appear to be comprehensive and have been accepted as such by many. But these lists were limited to those Royal Canadians who died while serving with the applicable overseas unit. Oddly, this excluded Brigadier John Kelburne Lawson who died commanding Canadian troops in Hong Kong. Brigadier Lawson served with The RCR from 1923. he had previously served in the Canadian Machine Gun Corps during the First World War, and was awarded the Military Cross. Lawson's gravestone in Hong Kong even identifies his regiment as The Royal Canadian Regiment.

This selective approach to recording our regimental casualties has resulted in losing connections to others as well.

During the Second World War, Lieutenant John Blair Hunt landed in Sicily as The RCR's Intelligence Officer. Wounded in late 1943, he returned as a reinforcement to the PPCLI with whom he was killed two days later at San Leonardo on 14 Dec 1943. Regimental histories for both The RCR (Vol. 2, Stevens, 1967) and the PPCLI (Vol III, Stevens, 1957) agree in their texts that Lieut. Hunt had "been loaned by The Royal Canadian Regiment as a company commander two days before" when he was killed in action (quoted from PPCLI Vol III, p. 133). Despite this, Lieut. Hunt is officially recorded as a casualty of the PPCLI and was not recorded as a regimental casualty in the Regiment's Roll of Honour.

The choice of restrictive bounds in constructing any Regiment's Roll of Honour means many are forgotten by those who owe them a debt of Remembrance. Adding those who have any service connection to a Regiment to that Regiment's Roll of Honour does not detract from their entitlement to be included on other Rolls. We should be encouraging the development of expansive rolls, commemorating the many connections we have to our fallen, no matter who they went on to serve with after marching in our own ranks. We all share the burden of remembering their service, and commemorating their sacrifice.

"Once a Royal Canadian, always a Royal Canadian" is often quoted to suggest that once someone has served with The RCR, they are obliged to remember that service and always be proud of it. It is a sentiment expressed by many regiments, and it's an obligation that should be placed as much on the regiment as on the soldier.

Published Rolls; not always complete

The published Rolls of Honour for The Royal Canadian Regiment, and likely those of many units that have not re-examined them, were not complete. I began examining the Rolls of Honour when I was serving as the Regimental Adjutant, and was surprised by what I discovered in comparing the lists to the available information. (Updated versions can now be found on the Regiment's website.) The figures below show the scope of change.

  Published regimental history: Revisited research: An increase of:
First World War77481844 (5.7%)
Second World War37141443 (11.6%)
Korean War9614851 (53.1%)

How, you might ask, can the numbers change for the World Wars and Korea? The differences come with the readily available information in online databases such as the Canadian Virtual War Memorial and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Rolls researched and published in the 1930s and 1960s did not have the advantages of such readily accessible information, or the ability for researchers to search for names which had not previously been identified to regiments by the administration (in particular for soldiers who died of woulds or service related illnesses after repatriation and discharge from the military, but still within the date ranges for recognition).

Those numbers are not yet complete. The revisited Second World War list includes Brigadier Lawson, who lies under an RCR marked gravestone, but not yet Lieutenant Hunt, who is recorded officially as PPCLI. That requires a more open attitude to how to include names, and how to identify them; for example, by noting the unit they were serving in at time of death and their connection to the Regiment.

We can still build on this Roll in other directions. This applies not only for the modern era where soldiers under many cap badges were serving with the Regiment in Afghanistan, but also for past wars. As we improve our shared understanding of regimental history and lineage, we also develop and broaden our understanding of our responsibilities to commemorate. In doing so, we can find other soldiers who deserve to be remembered by our regiments too. We can take as our example the continuing work at the national level to add deserving names to the Books of Remembrance, the national Roll of Honour.

The Great War

Not long ago, in my research on The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War, I revisited that Roll of Honour once again. In cross-referencing the wartime nominal roll that I had developed to Ted Wigney's CEF Roll of Honour, I identified another 39 officers, NCOs and soldiers of the First World War who served with The RCR in the field and later died while on the strength of other units. Some were RCR soldiers who had been posted to other units without a change of parent regiment. Others were initially soldiers of The RCR and later changed both units and badges. Still others spent periods with the Regiment for familiarization in the trenches or while awaiting commissioning, and still more were taken on the strength of The RCR only to be transferred again days or weeks later to another front line unit as the reinforcement system struggled to make up and balance losses. These too, were Royal Canadians, however briefly, and deserve to be remembered as such.

But the First World War also opens up the broadest scope for commemorating our fallen, once we consider our responsibilities to those units our regiments perpetuate. With perpetuation, we not only accepted the honours awarded to those units, but we also accepted the responsibility to remember their histories, their contributions, their service, and their sacrifice.

Continuing with The RCR for my examples, these are the perpetuated units of The RCR (admittedly, each of these lists needs more detailed work):

1st Canadian Infantry Battalion — about 6000 soldiers passed through the ranks of the 1st Cdn Inf Bn, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Database lists 1430 casualties identified as 1st Cdn Inf Bn.

33rd Canadian Infantry Battalion — The sailing list for the 33rd Cdn Inf Bn includes 1499 officers, NCOs and soldiers. Of these, 385 are listed as casualties of the war, dying while serving with 40 different units. Another twelve 33rd Battalion casualties have also been identified.

71st Canadian Infantry Battalion — The sailing list for the 71st Cdn Inf Bn includes 1293 officers, NCOs and soldiers. Of these, 284 are listed as casualties of the war, dying while serving with 57 different units. Another seven 71st Battalion casualties have also been identified.

142nd Canadian Infantry Battalion — The sailing list for the 142nd Cdn Inf Bn includes 607 officers, NCOs and soldiers. Of these, 78 are listed as casualties of the war, dying while serving with 19 different units. Another five 142nd Battalion casualties have also been identified.

168th Canadian Infantry Battalion — The sailing list for the 168th Cdn Inf Bn includes 721 officers, NCOs and soldiers. Of these, 148 are listed as casualties of the war, dying while serving with 18 different units. One other 168th Battalion casualty has also been identified.

2nd Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps — The website developed by Bett Payne commemorating the 6th Canadian M.G. Company and the 2nd Battalion, CMGC, identifies 141 casualties of this battalion after its formation. (This does not include the prior casualties of the four M.G. Companies that formed the 2nd Battalion, C.M.G.C.)

Fusiliers and Riflemen. The CWGC database also identifies seven soldiers of the 7th Fusiliers who are official casualties of the Great War. The data for the Second World War lists six soldiers of the Canadian Fusiliers and four from The Oxford Rifles. How many went on to die serving in the units those regiments' soldiers went to as reinforcements is unknown as of this writing.

Living Documents

The Rolls of Honour that we see, however familiar they may be to us, are not static lists. They can and should change as we find new names that that have connections to our regiments. We can evolve and improve our understanding of how names were selected for them in the past and revise how we select names for them now and in the future. The Rolls of Honour will grow as we open ourselves to the broadest acceptance of our responsibility to commemorate out nations' fallen soldiers.

As we approach the centennial of the First World War, the responsibilities of perpetuation become ever more important. While we may readily count the Battle Honours our regiments hold from those perpetuated units, and acknowledge the post war connections that perpetuation established, we must also understand that with those connection came the responsibility to honour their sacrifice.

Too restrictive an approach in developing Rolls of Honour can lead to overlooking thousands of soldiers who deserve to be remembered, by each of the regiments to which their service connects. No fallen soldier is diminished because more than one regiment remembers him.

Lest we Forget

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 10 November 2013 8:04 PM EST
Sunday, 10 November 2013

Some Notes On Quarterblokery (Part 3)
Topic: Humour

Some Notes On Quarterblokery (Part 3)

Canadian Army Journal, Vol 16, No 1, Winter 1962, reproduced by courtesy of the Irish Defence Journal (Dublin) from an article Entitled "MORE About Quarterblokery" by "H.E.D.H."

On Active Service

QMs really come into their own on Active Service when the "interlocking" peacetime system of accounting is in abeyance and replacement stores can be demanded on a certificate. This method is not abused for personal gain, but only in the laudable but sometimes misguided feeling that they must have "a bit in hand". This is particularly so if the supply system is not working too well, and they do not feel confident about rapid replacement. The "good" QM will have his "bit in hand". He will do it quietly and discreetly, and no one will ever know he's got it. The "bad" QM will acquire his reserve by crude skulduggery which will be spotted by the Staff and the Supply Service, and, worst of all, when the war suddenly gets mobile, he will bring lorry loads of stores into the divisional dump which neither he nor they can move. Most regular Quartermasters are not indifferent psychologists either, and set out to find out the best method of softening up whoever they want to get anything out of. As a Divisional Ordnance Officer it was my job to tour units to see, by physical inspections, how scarce quantities of clothing could best be apportioned. One QM used to take me to his tent door and as we stood discussing our troubles a well-organized charade would take place for my benefit. Several men from different directions would come past, each one worsely arrayed than the one before him. Clean and polished, they would be threadbare, patched or newly torn, wearing shrunken suits or enveloped by ill-fitting garments many sizes too big. At last my heart would melt. "O.K. Send a truck into Division in the morning and you can have 100 sets of clothing." When I was in the BEF most Ordnance Stores were scarce, and various forms of control were tried. In my Division we thought we would curb extravagance by keeping records of the comparative consumption of certain staple items, and then publishing our findings. We produced these figures on a graph and this made the "bad" boys look really bad and the "good" boys very good; it told the story in a more striking form than numerals published in Routine Orders would, so the DADOS (f) decided that we would get all the QMs (some 30-40) and the Div Q Staff in to look at the graph instead.

The End of a Chart

Messages summoning them were sent out and we added a few frills to the chart and hung it up in the largest room in our offices. They were duly assembled, and, being astute men, at once spotted the graph and saw what it was about. At this point DADOS was called away to take a telephone call from the Base, and the QMs were left alone. When we returned it was to find several of them beating out the flames from what was left of the charred graph, it having been "inadvertently" set on fire by someone's cigarette whilst they were all standing around. Our dramatic evidence gone, our denouement fell flat and all they got was a routine harangue on economy from the AQMG. On another occasion in the BEF an order came out authorizing units to hold "small stocks" of medal ribbon on a scale of 1-inch per medallist to issue when torn or worn clothing was replaced. At my Divisional HQ we reckoned we knew our units pretty well and did a calculation based on their previous stations, make-up of personnel and such like. We checked their indents against this "control" and found most of them reasonable except one. This was from a TA battalion of a famous Highland Regiment which had recently come into the Division. Their indent began "Ribbon, silk, medal, Victoria Cross, 36 inches". Increduously, we sent it back with a note "Please confirm that you have 36 holders of this decoration in your battalion." A few days later the Major Quartermaster, himself with two rows of ribbons, came in and explained. "Oh, he said, "we've no got them yet, but we'll have them alright and I want a wee bit by me when the time comes." Boastful? Not really; maybe a little arrogant, but this is the stuff of which fighting men are made. Poor gallant Highlanders; in action against over-whelming enemy forces, the whole battalion was captured at Saint Valery and passed into captivity. To end on a lighter note, perhaps one of the best stories illustrating Quartermasters' minds and methods is told of an Irish Regiment in the old days. Bread had "come up" and the QM's private storeman was apportioning it to the companies. "If you please, sorr," he said, "I am one loaf short who shall I give it to?" "Keep it yourself, Mick," was his master's reply.

 Read Part 1 of Some Notes On Quarterblokery

 Read Part 2 of Some Notes On Quarterblokery

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 9 November 2013 12:32 PM EST

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