The Minute Book
Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Importance of the Sergeant-Major
Topic: Humour

The Importance of the Sergeant-Major

Beau Geste, Percival Christopher Wren, 1927

He ignored me and all other insects.

How to attract his attention ?

I coughed gently and apologetically. I coughed appealingly. I coughed upbraidingly, sorrowfully, suggestively, authoritatively, meekly, imperiously, agreeably, hopefully, hopelessly, despairingly, and quite vainly. Evidently I should not cough my way to glory.

"Monsieur le Capitaine," I murmured ingratiatingly.

The man looked up. I liked him better when looking down.

"Monsieur would appear to have a throat-trouble," he observed.

"And Monsieur an ear-trouble," I replied? in my young ignorance and folly.

"What is Monsieur's business?" he inquired sharply.

"I wish to join the Légion Étrangère," I said.

The man smiled, a little unpleasantly, I thought.

"Eh, bien," he remarked, "doubtless Monsieur will have much innocent amusement at the expense of the Sergeant-Major there too," and I was quite sure that his smile was unpleasant this time.

"Is Monsieur only a Sergeant-Major then?" I inquired innocently.

"I am a Sergeant-Major," was the reply, "and let me tell Monsieur, it is the most important rank in the French army.'

"No?" said I, and lived to learn that this piece of information was very little short of the simple truth.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 24 January 2014

Permanent Force Increases (1905)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Colonel B.H. Vidal, Adjutant-General of the Canadian Militia and officers of The Royal Canadian Regiment in front of the Officers' Quarters, Wellington Barracks, Halifax. Circa, 1905. Source: Statistics Canada website.

Permanent Force Will Consist of 5,000 Men

St John Volunteer Artillery Force May be Increased
Fredericton Will Get Squadron of Cavalry
Where the Men Will be Placed

St John Daily Sun, 7 June, 1905
(Special to the Sun.)

Ottawa, June 6.—In the house this afternoon supply bills were passed for $8,364,522 for the year ending June 30, 1905, and for $36,638,269 for the year ending June 30, 1906.

Sir Fred Borden's resolution regarding salaries and expenses of the Royal Military College was adopted after some debate, the maximum cost being fixed at $35,000.

Sir Frederick Borden's resolution to increase the possible limit of the permanent force to 5,000 men, was taken up. Sir Frederick said that the original limit was 1,000, and that last year it was increased to 2,000. The government was now to take over the garrisons at Halifax and Esquimalt, These would need about 2,500 men or perhaps less. The present permanent force was about 1,200 only. A depot of about 200 men would be established at Montreal, and one called the Strathcona Horse of about 225 men somewhere in the new province of Alberta, at Calgary or Medicine Hat, probably the former. In all about 5,000 men would be needed.

The distribution of the forces will be as follows:

The detailed distribution of these forces would be as follows:

  • One squadron of dragoons at Toronto, one at St. John's Que., and one at Fredericton, N.B., the latter two replacing the infantry, which would then be moved to Montreal;
  • Royal Canadian Rifles (mounted), one squadron at Winnipeg, three in Alberta, and two in Saskatchewan, at placed not yet settles, squadrons to number 125 men;
  • Artillery,
    • Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, two batteries at Kingston, Ont., and half batteries at Winnipeg, and at some place in Alberta, probably Calgary;
    • Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery, two companies in the maritime provinces, at Halifax, one company in British Columbia, at Esquimalt, and two companies at Quebec city;
  • Royal Canadian Engineers, one company at Halifax, one at Esquimalt, and one distributed among the different depots;
  • Infantry, Royal Canadian Regiment, four companies at Halifax, one at Montreal, one at Quebec city, one at London, one at Toronto, one at Fort William, one at Esquimalt, and one company divided between Manitoba and Alberta.
  • The army service, medical and ordnance corps are to be distributed among the different depots.

Sir Frederick Borden explained that this distribution was the result of conferences between the military members of the militia council, and was based primarily upon the instructional requirements of the various provinces in accord with the final distribution of the forces throughout the dominion, and also upon the garrison requirements, and that it had been drawn by General Lake.

Dr. Daniel of St. John asked the minister how in his scheme of defense it was proposed to protect the important port of St. John. It appeared no permanent artillery force was to be stationed there.

Borden fell back on Gen. Lake's recommendations, while promising in a vague way that the volunteer artillery force of St. John would be increased.

Fowler of Kings and Albert badgered the minister with respect to ignoring Sussex in favor of Fredericton, and with leaving St. John unprotected. Finally Borden's resolution passed and the bill will be read a second time tomorrow.

After dinner Sir Frederick Borden read a statement as to the changes in the volunteer militia. The policy of reducing training establishments had been decided on by the militia council before it was decided to take over Halifax and Esquimalt from the imperial government. The council's report foreshadowed the elaboration of the policy of militia increase in the early future, but Gen. Lake, the chairman, had suggested it would take time to decide on particulars.

Borden stated it was proposed to drill 43,000 this year out of a total establishment of 46,000, but Col. Tisdale, after some debate, extracted from Borden the admission that apart from all the blow and bluster about reform and economy there was no practical reduction in the militia strength of Canada. Tisdale insisted on the adoption of a settled policy in dealing with the militia, as nothing was more disastrous to the morale and efficiency of the force than keeping it in a state of uncertainty as to what the nest year might bring forth. The militia items were pretty well disposed on in committee, but at Foster's suggestion two or three were held over until some military men now absent in Ontario should resume their seats.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 24 January 2014 12:02 AM EST
Thursday, 23 January 2014

CAF Withdrawal in Europe Commences (1970)
Topic: Canadian Army

Images are taken from the magazine of the Canadian Armed Forces, Sentinel, Vol. 6, No. 2, February, 1970.

Forces hope for new tanks from Trudeau

The Ottawa Citizen, 6 July 1970
By Greg Connolley, Citizen Staff Reporter

Soest, Germany.—Would Prime Minister Trudeau care to spend $30,000,000 to buy new tanks for the Canadian mechanized land forces in Europe?

The acquiring of 60 new Centurion tanks from the British is a fond hope, perhaps dream, of some of the Canadian officers stationed here who want Canada to continue a substantial military contribution to NATO.

Indications at the moment are that the prospect of the Canadian mechanized battle group replacing its aging Centurion tanks with the Chieftains is rather remote. Indeed by 1972 or 1973 the land forces may have to give up all their heavy equipment and mey even have been sent back to Canada.

No wonder that personnel of the armed forces in Europe are confused about pending and future changes. Even Defence Minister Cadieux seems far from clear as to what the future holds for Canadian forces in Europe.

The Trudeau Government has already set massive changes underway for the services abroad. The economy order to cut the 10,000 man strength of the land brigade and the air division to 5,000 will see 15,000 men, wives and children come home this year.

7,700 Moving

And the move of what is left of the brigade to the Lahr area will see 7,700 servicemen and dependents on the move via the autobahn and railways in September.

If the authorities can find enough accommodation for everyone at Lahr and nearby Baden-Sollingen where the air force will be located, the strength situation will be something like this:

The original mechanized brigade, which had 5,600 personnel and 1,500 vehicles, will be reduced to a mechanized battle group of 2,800 servicemen with 1,200 vehicles. The air division, which had six squadrons, will be replaced by three squadrons of Starfighters, one to be used for reconnaissance and the other two for nuclear strikes, should that become necessary.

Only Shortcoming

Lt.-Col. Rene Gutknecht, senior staff officer (operations) with the new battle group would love to see his unit get the new Chieftain tanks. The only shortcoming in the Canadian land force, in his view, is the Centurion tank which has been around in various versions since the Second World War.

Col. Gutknecht says the addition of new tanks to his unit would make it a viable mechanized force for years to come. He believes Canada should retain a mechanized force and not lose this skill.

It would be fair to say that if Col. Gutknecht, who is a highly regarded officer, had his way, Canada would maintain a mechanized land force in Europe, preferably armed with the latest British tank.

However, Mr. Cadieux has spoken of even the present modified role of the ground forces in Europe as being temporary. By 1972 he has suggested they may be converted to light, airmobile forces, shorn of all their tanks and heavy artillery and personnel carriers.

Plan Opposed

But many Canadian officers abroad think there is an "if" in this project announced by Mr. Cadieux. They hope it won't come about.

Yet, there is the pattern for the forces in Canada—lightly equipped forces that can move rapidly to meet a crisis in the Arctic or in world peace-keeping.

However, if Mr. Cadieux and prime Minister Trudeau decide to convert the army forces abroad from mechanized to mobility, it will cost a great many millions of dollars for new equipment, new transport aircraft—to an extent that the $30,000,000 for new tanks might look pretty modest by comparison.

What about the future of the three remaining air squadrons? By 1972 they will give up their nuclear bombs as the land element gave up their nuclear warheads this summer. The flying sector of the Canadian armed forces would like to convert in 1972 to an attack role using their Starfighter jets and conventional weapons.

Doubtful Future

There seems to be little enthusiasm among the squadrons to be re-equipped with the CF-5 ground support planes being produced by Canadair. Indeed the whole future of this aircraft seems to be in doubt, although several home squadrons have been equipped with it.

The determination of Prime Minister Trudeau to cut back Canada's NATO contribution has caused curious consequences. One development is that the Canadian land forces are leaving a front line NATO position on Northern Germany, much to the annoyance of the British, and moving to a southern reserve sector, under the Americans who don't particularly want them.

Nevertheless, Col. Gutknecht says his troops can fulfill a useful role in the Lahr area.

But Col. Gutknecht has hopes for his land forces and the desires of the air squadrons depend ultimately on what is decided in Ottawa. And that decision could be complete withdrawal from Europe—something Mr. Trudeau reportedly favors and something many of the military fear is only a matter of time.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 22 January 2014

New Machine Carbine for Canadian Army
Topic: Militaria

New Machine Carbine for Canadian Army

The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 April, 1953

Korea Troops Test New British Gun

New York, April 28 (A.A.P.)—Canadian and other Commonwealth units of the First Commonwealth Division in Korea are testing a new machine-gun.

The gun is the British made Patchett machine-carbine.

According to Canadian war correspondent Bill Boss, it will replace the unpopular Sten gun in the Canadian Army if the tests are successful.

The Patchett is described as the perfect paratrooper's weapon.

It is all metal and weighs 8 ½ lbs. complete with a 10-inch knife-type bayonet, sling and filled magazine.

It can be fired from the shoulder, using sights adjustable for 100 and 200 yards, or from the hip.

A Canadian warrant-officer said: "Its appearance alone gives the soldier confidence which he has not got in his Sten. Of 600 rounds I've fired, there has only been one feed stoppage."

Ottawa Citizen, 15 June, 1953

More Details Released on New Machine-Carbine

By Bill Boss, Canadian Press Staff Writer

With the Canadian in Korea—A few more details about the Patchett machine carbine, recommended for use by Canadians in Korea, have been released by 1st Commonwealth Division headquarters.

The weapon has been thoroughly tested by all battalions in the division as a replacement for the Sten carbine. Brig. Jean Allard, commander of the Canadian Brigade, on the basis of the Canadians' tests, has recommended that it be obtained for use in Korea only.

Test indicated, he said, that the Patchett is superior to the Sten, but still not the answer to the army's search search for an automatic weapon capable of good close-in performance, yet of accuracy at distances up to 200 yards.

It may be reported that the Patchett is a nine-millimeter weapon, the same calibre as the sten.

Its rate of fire is 550 rounds per minute, about the same as the Sten.

It's slightly curved magazines hold 34 rounds. They can be loaded by hand, and their roller-bearing platform feeds the round smoothly, reducing stoppages. Loaders are needed for charging Stan magazines which usually feed improperly, causing stoppages.

WO2 George Maguire of Ottawa, the brigade's senior armorer, who conducted the Canadians' Patchett tests, said: "At 30 yards it cam fire 2 1/2-inch groups, which is as good as a service rifle can do. I've been riddling tin cans regularly with it ay 150 yards. The effective range for most nine-millimeter is 125 yards."

Patchett features which persuade soldiers it is better than the Stan are its appearance, its precision machining, its weight (8 1/2 pounds) and its balance, with ot without its 10 1/2 inch bayonet.

The fact that its butt can be flipped under and locked to the barrel, thereby shortening it and making it suitable for both firing from the hip or close in fighting, is another advantage.

Allard and his staff feel, however, that though for immediate use in Korea it should be bought, it has defects which ought to be corrected before it is adopted for general use in the Canadian Army.

He recommended, indeed, that Canada continue her own research for a suitable automatic weapon.

The Patchett is going to be rechristened too. It is proposed to call it the Sterling machine carbine.

Ottawa Citizen, 20 December, 1956

Patchett Gun Replaces Sten

By The Canadian press

The Sterling sub-machine-gun, formerly known as the Patchett, has been adopted to replace the Sten gun used by the Canadian army since early in the Second World War.

Army headquarters announced today that the government munitions agency, Canadian Arsenals, Ltd., of Long Branch, Ont., will manufacture the new gun with production expected to begin next year.

The Sterling, a nine-millimetre, fully automatic and single shot weapon, is already in use by the British army. Test teams have fired it under all weather conditions, including the coldest temperatures of the sub-Arctic, and found it superior to anything now in use.

The new sub-machine-gun is a compact weapon weighing only six pounds. Because of its simplicity, it can be mastered in a short time and its size makes it ideal for carrying in the cabs of military vehicles.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 3 January 2014 11:20 PM EST
Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Planes for the RCAF (1939)
Topic: RCAF

Bristol 149 Bolingbroke, see full image at the Canadian Museum of Flight website.

Made-in-Canada Planes For the Canadian Force

Ottawa Citizen, 22 November, 1939

Two of the Several Types of Machines That Will Make Up Dominion's Air Equipment Viewed at Rockecliffe Airport. The Bolingbroke Bomber and the Lysander Reconnaissance Planes Accepted.

Two of the several types of machines that will make up Canada's fighting and reconnaissance air armada were viewed by members of the press at Ottawa Air Station of the Royal Canadian Air Force yesterday afternoon. Major Thomas Wayling, press liaison officer of the Department of National Defence arranged the visit and writers and photographers were received at the station by Squadron Leader A.J. Ashton, commanding officer.

Westland Lysander

The machines were the Bristol Bolingbroke and the Westland Lysander. The Bolingbroke is a bomber of British design and made in Canada. The Lysander is a reconnaissance craft but is equipped with machine guns and can also carry bombs. It is also made in Canada.

Demonstrates Bolingbroke

Squadron Leader Lawrence Wray gave the visitors a brief demonstration of the Bolingbroke, on one occasion zooming past one of the hangers at 265 miles per hour. This is by no means the top speed of this sleek machine, which has been camouflaged for obvious reasons. The Lysander also wears a coat of camouflage. Various advantages of both craft were explained to the visitors.

Another Milestone

Delivery to an acceptance by the Royal Canadian Air Force on Friday of last week of the first Bristol Bolingbroke aircraft manufactured in Canada is another milestone in the development os the aircraft industry in this Dominion.

This bomber reconnaissance version of the Bristol Blenheim, which is a twin-engined high-performance day and night bomber, is the first of eighteen for which the Fairchild Aircraft, Limited, at Longueuil, Que., received an order.

Crew of Four

Although the Blenheim was provided with accommodation for a crew of three, that of the Bolingbroke is enabled to carry a crew of four, together with a camera mounting. Compensation for the additional weight is in part provided by a reduction in the number of bombs, which are carried internally in a bomb-cell under the center section of the aircraft.

The Royal Canadian Air Force establishment makes provision for a number of bomber reconnaissance squadrons.

Order 28 Planes

Army co-operation squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force are now being equipped with Westland two-seat army co-operation high-wing monoplanes. An order for twenty-eight of these aircraft was placed with the National Steel car Corporation, Limited, and a number of these have already been delivered to the R.C.A.F. from the factory established at Malton, Ont., and adjoining Toronto's inland terminal airport.

This aircraft represents the result of many years' experience secured by army co-operation pilots and is now in quantity production for the Royal Air Force. The cockpit is located in front of and level with the leading edge of the wings, which provides the pilot with an exceptional view desirable for spotter and reconnaissance duties.

Since this type of aircraft is often obliged to operate from temporary and confined landing grounds, the Lysander has been given a remarkably quick take-off, a low landing speed and a steep climb. The wings incorporate Handley Page wing tip and root slots and trailing edge slotted flaps, whose operation is entirely automatic. This assists in the retention of control at slow speeds, necessary for close co-operation and camera duties.

The Westland Lysander aircraft being built in Canada are powered with the Bristol Perseus XII sleeve valve engine, the maximum output of which is 905 horsepower at 6.500 feet. Great Britain is the only country in the world producing these engines, advantages claimed for which are less noise, lower fuel consumption, easier maintenance, fewer and simpler parts, reduced wight, minimum risk of fire and simpler manufacture. The Guggenheim Gold Medal for the most outstanding contribution to aeronautical progress, was presented to Mr. A.H.R. Fedden, who perfected the design of this engine.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 20 January 2014

The Snow Shovelling Mutiny (1896)
Topic: Discipline


The Snow Shovelling Mutiny (1896)

Boston Evening Transcript, 20 March 1896

Young Jingoes Cooled Off

Wanted to Fight Yankees But Shovelled Snow Instead

Montreal, March 20—During the period of strained relations between Great Britain and the United States over the Venezuelan affair, fifty of Quebec's rustic jingoes, connected with the cpountry battalions of militia, betook themselves to the Royal Canadian Infantry School, at St Johns, Que. Their idea was to take a three months' course of instruction in that institution, to prepare for the contingency of war. These young fellows, in the main, belong to good families in their respective localities; are accustomed to donning their "soldiers clothes" and lording it over the "other fellows" in the ranks of the rural corps. But at the school they became "the other fellows" and the "lording it fell to the lot of Colonel d'Orsonnens, the commandant, and his staff. Unaccustomed to this sort of thing, the "attached men," as they are called, mutinied, their leaders are under military arrest, and a court-martial was convened to try them for the gravest of all charges of which a soldier can be guilty. The court-martial is composed of Lieutenant Colonel Wilson, Deputy Surgeon General Campbell and Major Young, all of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Infantry.

The charge of mutiny is based on the refusal of the "attached men" to turn out of barracks to shovel snow, after their instructional guard mounting parade had been cancelled, in order that they might clear the barracks yard after a severe storm. The regulars of the school were at the time detailed on other fatigue duty. When the bugle sounded for the snow shovelling brigade, not a man of the fifty "attached" would stir from his quarters. They had, the claimed, entered the school to learn the science of war, not to perform menial duty. However, as they, by regulation, are amenable to the same rules as the regulars, Colonel d'Orsonnens was in a position to compel them to carry out his orders.

"Sound the emergency call," was the order.

There was no denying this, and the whole force, "attached" and regular, lined up at the emergency rendezvous in quick time.

Six of the leaders of the men thirsting for military knowledge were put under arrest, and the other forty-four went at the snowbanks with a zest surprising indeed, when compared with the reluctance previously displayed. Just what punishment will be meted out to the mutineers is not known. They are liable to a term of imprisonment, under military discipline, or, as an alternative, may be dismissed from the service in disgrace. Probably the latter course will be adopted.

The attached men are much disgusted over the affair, and are not nearly so bellicose today as they were at the time when they left the ease of rural homes to tread the path they fondly hoped would lead to glory, and the demolition of the enemy—not snowbanks.

Ottawa Citizen, 21 March, 1896

St. John's Mutiny

A Regimental Court Martial Finds the Men Guilty

St John's Que., March 21—The court-martial on the non-commissioned officers and men in charge of squads of the attached men at the Royal School of Infantry, who were placed under arrest for mutinous conduct a fortnight ago, was completed last evening, when the prisoners were found guilty of the charge preferred against them, namely, mutiny. The court, which consisted of Lieut.-Col. Wilson, R.C.A., president; Surgeon-Major Campbell and Major Young, R.R.C.I., forwarded their findings to Ottawa. The maximum penalty provided for mutiny under military law is two years' imprisonment, but it is thought here that Major-General Gascoigne will not favor a severe sentence, considering the fact that these men were merely inexperienced volunteers, not thoroughly acquainted with military discipline.

The men convicted are:

  • Corporal W.G. Daniels, of the 43rd, Ottawa and Carleton Rifles;
  • Corporal Duquette and
  • Corporal L.E.J. Dubeau, of the 17th Battalion, Levis;
  • Corporal W. Clark of the Fifth Royal Scots, Montreal;
  • Private J. Touchette, 65th, Mount Royal Rifles;
  • Private A.H. Simmonds, 54th Battalion, Richmond.

The Quebec Saturday Budget, 4 April, 1896

In an editorial on the St Johns' court martial, the Ottawa Journal says:

"Gen. Gascoigne is to be congratulated on his lenient treatment of the insubordinate members of the St Johns' Military School. The six volunteers, who were all corporals, escape with a reduction to the ranks and a reprimand. The three months' imprisonment with hard labor, which had been part of the sentence, was wisely remitted by the General."

elipsis graphic

Later service by some of the mutineers:

Private Josephat Touchette, 65th Mount Royal Rifles, would later go to South Africa with the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment. (Regt No. 7807, received QSA Medal with Clasps PAARDEBERG, DRIEFONTEIN, CAPE COLONEY, TRANSVAAL.)

There can also be found in the Library and Archives Database for Soldiers of the First World War, one Albert Henry Simmonds. Born in 1876, he is certainly old enough to be our mutineer. The prior service he claims on his CEF attestation is, sadly mis-typed and typed over, but may be showing 2 years with the 54th (or 53rd) Regiment as well as one year with the 3rd (Special Service) Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 19 January 2014

CAF Expansion and National Survival
Topic: Canadian Army

Government Adding 15,000 to Regular Forces

The Ottawa Citizen, 8 September, 1961
By Greg Connolley, Citizen Staff Writer

Gravely concerned over the belligerence of Soviet Premier Khrushchev and the mounting Berlin crisis, the Canadian government is boosting its regular armed forces by 15,000 men and creating a reserve army civil defence force of 100,000 men.

These measures, announced in the Commons by Prime Minister Diefenbaker, will cost taxpayers an additional $35,000,000 for the remainder of this fiscal year alone.

Mr Diefenbaker said he did not want the government plans to be interpreted as contemplation of an early outbreak of war. Rather, this was an insurance any prudent government would take as a precautionary safeguard.

Buildup Details

In detail the increase of the regular armed forces will be as follows:

1.—Forces assigned to the North Atlantic Alliance will be boosted by 1,749 in the navy, 1.106 in the army brigade with an additional 1,515-man reserve in Canada, and 250 officers and men in the air force division in Europe.

2.—The regular forces at homes, particularly the strategic reserve, will see the army strength increased by 8,960 men and the RCAF by nearly 1,000 personnel.

3.—Canadian militia regiments will be authorized to enlist 100,000 men to take special six-week courses in civil defence survival and rescue operations.

To make possible these increases to the regular forces, the government has passed orders-in-council boosting th ceiling on personnel strength in Europe from 12,000 to 14,000 and the overall limit of armed forces from 120,000 to 135,000.

This will mark the first major buildup of the Canadian services since the Korean war.

Prime Minister Diefenbaker said this should not be regarded as a "provocative act" but rather as an indication that Canada will stand solidly with its North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners.

The proposals for the armed forces outlined by Mr. Diefenbaker are expected to have a substantially beneficial effect on the unemployment situation.

Opposition Leader Pearson reserved detailed comment on the increase in the armed forces until government policy objectives are made clear in the forthcoming defence debate.

Mr. Pearson did declare that" the only way we now have to ensure national survival is to prevent war, to abolish war as a part of national policy, because war now means general nuclear destruction."

From the CCF New Democratic Party came criticism of the government action by spokesman Bert Herridge (Kootenay West).

"We cannot agree the present situation is best met by increasing the power of our military and our armaments. We urge the government to use moderation at this time."

Mr. Herridge urged the government to continue to press for the United Nations police force, placing less emphasis on Canadian forces.

The prime Minister said the increases in the NATO-assigned troops would be accomplished by the transfer of fully trained personnel from home establishments.

Starting Immediately

Recruitment of the 15,000 men for the three forces will begin immediately.

Mr. Diefenbaker told the House that while the militia now had a strength of 42,000 many more trained men would be needed in the event of a nuclear war, both for civil defence and to support regular army field forces.

Along with these measures by Mr. Diefenbaker Defence Minister Harkness reported to the Commons on steps taken to accelerate the army's national survival program.

Steps to Survival

These included:

1.—Partial manning of emergency military headquarters.

2.—Establishment of army headquarters for "each likely target city."

3.—Purchase of additional stocks of food, vehicles, blankets, clothing and medical supplies, dispersed outside target cities.

4.—Expedite the nuclear detonation and fallout reporting system.

5.—A speedup in the survey of fallout protection offered by national defence properties.

6.—Ensuring the emergency broadcast system is brought into being as early as possible.

7.—Acceleration of the installation of the warning siren system.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 19 January 2014 1:04 AM EST
Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Subaltern's Experience; Early Days
Topic: Officers

The Subaltern's Experience:
Early Days with a Regiment

Excerpted from The Subaltern Officer: A Narrative
By: Captain James Wood, of the Line

The Subaltern Officer: A NarrativeWe set off on our march for Derby, where we were stationed some time. Here I still practised the same extravagance as before—spending "half a crown out of sixpence a-day;" but this excess could not last long. I had been in this town only about a month, when an order arrived for a Captain, two Subalterns, and one hundred men, to join the first Battalion, which, was then at Cork, forthwith.

I must here notice a circumstance which had nearly blasted my future prospects in the Army. Some malicious person, by way, I suppose, of ingratiating himself with the Commanding Officer, informed him I had designated him an old fool; and, to my great astonishment, being quite innocent of the charge, I was summoned before a Court of Inquiry, to have this weighty matter investigated; when, by the state ment of the gentlemen who were present at the time this improper expression was said to have been uttered, I was fully cleared from the imputation. The occur rence, however, was of service to me; as I learned, that had the epithet been used, however justly applied, the consequences to me would have been serious.

To return to the subject: among the Officers ap pointed to accompany this detachment, I was included —and a very pleasant situation I was in, truly: a march of about two hundred miles before me, without any money in my purse, and about thirty pounds in debt to the tradesmen of the town:—but there was now no time to lose, and upon informing my creditors that they should be paid as soon as I arrived at my destination, they very kindly agreed to this arrangement. We set off the next morning, with only sixpence between my brother Sub and myself, which we shared in a glass of ale on the march, wishing each other better luck and more prudence in future. We trudged on, meditating and moralizing on our late extravagance; for in general ot it only necessity that reminds us of our folly.

For the sake of some of my young military readers, I hope to be excused for pursuing for pursuing this topic a little farther. On a young gentleman's joining a regiment, he is too apt to be dazzled by the new life of apparent pleasure that he is about to lead but, if his fortune be limited, the greatest care and economy are requisite. The utmost circumspection, too, is required in his conduct, especially at the mess-table, where the want of politeness, good address, and propriety of speaking on his first appearance, is often lastingly attended with the most unpleasant consequences. A deficiency in these qualifications will not fail to impress his asso ciates with an unfavourable opinion of him; and according to the impression made, will he be subject to be treated till that impression is removed, which, in many instances, is not the case during the time of his remaining in the regiment. It may be supposed that no gentlemen enter the Army without these previous acquirements; but admitting this to be the case, they cannot have that experience which their seniors have gained by long habits of military decorum and observation. It is, therefore, particularly displeasing to see these young men officious, talkative, presump tuous, and conceited, which, unfortunately, is too often the case. They should have the modesty, how ever clever they may be, to keep reserved ; and for two or three years employ themselves in the study of men and manners, which they will find one of incalculable benefit. Be it observed, that I am not one of those tyrants who say that Subalterns should not be allowed even to think; nor do I mean to insinuate that they are not to join in the convivial conversation and merriment of the jovial companions with whom they associate — I only prescribe moderation and economy. Had I myself observed these prudent maxims on my entrance into the Army, I should not, at the time of which I am narrating, have found myself pennyless ; neither should I have fallen asleep on the highway from inebriety, and run the risk of being crushed to death by the wheel of a mail coach.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 18 January 2014 12:24 AM EST
Friday, 17 January 2014

Coloured Flash—Backing for Cap Badge (1948)
Topic: Militaria

All images are of badges in a Private Collection, provided courtesy of a member of
the Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation.

Canadian Army Orders (1948)

84-1 — Dress Regulations for Officers and Other ranks of the Canadian Army (Provisional)
Part I — Section 11 — Badges and Buttons

Coloured Flash—Backing for Cap Badge

14.     Army Headquarters, and in the case of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps and Royal Canadian Infantry Corps officers commanding units may authorize a coloured flash as described in Section 21, para 13, to be worn behind the cap badge on the beret, bonnet, tam o'shanter, balmoral, bonnet Irish and caps winter melton cloth.

Section 21 — Badges and Buttons

14.     Coloured Flashes—Backing for the Cap Badge

(a)     It will be the responsibility of commanding officers who authorize coloured flashes to be worn to see that they are out the same shape as the appropriate corps or unit cap badge and will extend } inch beyond the edge of the badge at all outer points . The dimensions of the coloured flashes for Highland, Scottish and Irish regiments will be in accordance with regimental custom.

(b)     The colour of the flash will be as follows:

The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps Yellow
The Royal Canadian Artillery Red
The Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers Blue
The Royal Canadian Corps of Signals Blue
The Royal Canadian Infantry Corps: 
Rifle Regiments Rifle green
Highland, Scottish and Irish Regiments Regimental custom
Other Infantry Regiments Scarlet
The Royal Canadian Army Service Corps Yellow
The Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps Dull cherry
The Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps Red
The Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Dark blue
The Royal Canadian Army Pay Corps Yellow
The Royal Canadian Dental Corps Royal Blue
The Canadian Postal Corps Blue
The Canadian Forestry Corps Green
The Canadian Intelligence Corps Green
The Canadian Provost Corps Red
The Royal Canadian Army Chaplain Corps Purple
The General List Scarlet
The Canadian Officers' Training Contingents Scarlet

All images are of badges in a Private Collection, provided courtesy of a member of
the Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation.

All images are of badges in a Private Collection, provided courtesy of a member of
the Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 17 January 2014 12:11 AM EST
Thursday, 16 January 2014

On Joining the Battalion
Topic: Officers

On Joining the Battalion

A General's Letters to His Son on Obtaining a Commission
By: Major-General Thomas David Pilcher, CB
Published anonymously, 1917

Maj-Gen Thomas David PILCHER

Service biography

Joined 5 Fusiliers 1879; Northumberland Fusiliers 1881-1897; West African Frontier Force 1897-1899; operations on the Niger 1897-1898; Commander, 2 Bedfordshire Regt 1899; South African War 1899-1902; Commander, 3 Mounted Infantry Regt 1900-1902; Commander, 3 Bde, 2 Div, Aldershot 1904-1907; Commander, Bangalore Bde, India 1907-1908; Commander, Sirhind Bde, India 1908-1912; Commander, Burma Div, Southern Army, India 1912-1914; World War I 1914-1918; Inspector of Infantry 1914; Commander, 17 Div, British Expeditionary Force (BEF), England and France 1915-1916; Commandant, Eastern Reserve Centre, St Albans 1916; retired 1919

August 1st, 1916.

My dear Dick,

I hear that you have received orders to join your Battalion. I remember distinctly the day on which I joined mine and my first day in the Mess.

Like most things we have to face, the idea is much more terrible than the actuality; and to you, who have been at a Public School, the ordeal ought not to be so trying as to another who has not had this advantage. You are sure to find that you are kindly received as long as you are modest in your behaviour, and err on the side of diffidence rather than find that on that of self-assertion.

I will tell you one or two stories, about men who joined when I was a subaltern. One day a very carefully dressed youngster walked into the Mess with a self-satisfied air. As several cadets had been gazetted, and we did not know which of them he was, the Senior Subaltern asked him his name, to which he replied in a rather la-de-da manner, "My name is Raymond Vere de Vere Grosvenor." The Senior Subaltern said, "All right, we will call you you Buggins," and Buggins he was called as long as ever he remained in the Regiment, and although he eventually turned out quite a good fellow, he had not a very rosy time to begin with. I also remember a nervous, callow youngster, whom we afterwards called "Boy" Brown, joining in India. He had had a very rough passage, was a bad sailor, and two nights in the train had not freshened him up. He was so shy and nervous when he walked into the Mess that as we one after the other shook hands with him we could hardly help laughing in his face.

The next day there was a steeplechase meeting, and a jockey was wanted for a brute that nobody cared to ride, when Boy Brown came up and shyly asked for the mount, got the brute round the course, and came in a good third. He was made quite a hero of that night at Mess, and at once became a favourite with us all.

In the years immediately preceding the war a great deal was heard about "ragging," and there is no doubt that the means taken to teach young officers manners were often reprehensible but, take it all round, the education they used to get from the Senior Subaltern was excellent, and in many cases badly needed. The Senior Subalterns were hardly ever men who could be accused of snobbery, and I have never known an officer, promoted from the ranks, to have had anything but a good reception, though youngsters with swollen heads were always put into their proper places.

You ask me how you should address your senior officers. It is the custom of the Service for all officers of the rank of Captain or under to call one another by their surnames without prefix. The Colonel you should always address as "Colonel" or "Sir," and a youngster should also always address a Major as "Major" or "Sir," unless he is especially told not to do so. I have lately received several letters from officers, addressing me as "Dear Sir," instead of "Dear General," or "Dear General Z___" if the writer did not know me well. Of course, you know that you should reserve "Dear Sir" for your business letters.

In some regiments in the old army a great deal of familiarity of address used to be allowed in the Mess, but these were regiments in which the discipline was always above suspicion, and it is unlikely in battalions of to-day, constituted as they are mostly of officers who had not joined when war commenced, that any liberties in this respect would be wise. On parade you should invariably address your senior as "Sir."

You must endeavour to be on good terms with everybody. It is only natural that you will find that some spirits are more kindred to you than others ; but whenever you can do so by little acts of kindness, try to ingratiate yourself with all if can be done without this loss of principle or self-respect.

Be very chary with your confidence, only give it to those of whom you feel a certain as you can be that they are worthy of it. Avoid making enemies, especially of making them among men who are likely to hit below the belt. It a true saying that we should choose enemies as carefully as we choose our friends. A Bayard may be a more formidable antagonist than a Hun, but he is a pleasanter man to deal with, either in peace or war, and you are placed at a great disadvantage in having in your antagonist one who will condescend to means to which you cannot stoop.

Whatever the conduct of the enemy, it should be no excuse for lowering your own standard. There is a good story, which is also true, of one of our officers in the North Sea, who, when a German officer on was brought on board after having been rescued from drowning, entertained him in his cabin, gave him a new rig-out, and a good cigar. As a reward this disciple of Kultur spat in his face. When he was asked what he did in return, he only remarked, "Poor devil! I pitied him for being such an unmitigated cad, but I suppose he was born like that, and a leopard can't change his spots." You are nonplussed in dealing with a man who spits if you have been brought up not to spit back.

There is a very necessary and hard-and-fast rule that ladies' names should never be mentioned in the Mess, and however junior you may be, should you hear officers transgressing this rule, you should either call their attention to it or yourself get up and go away.

Avoid extravagance, either with your money, in your dress, or in anything else. Remember that the best dressed man is the one who you know is well dressed, but whose clothes are so unnoticeable that you cannot remember what he had on; and you should have no ambition to be known by the shape of your hat or the colour of your tie.

There is no petty vice which disliked among men of arms as meanness. Never be led away by the idea that generosity and extravagance are in any way akin. I have known the man who would put a "monkey" on a race, or lose a couple of "ponies" on a game of poker, and who would try to avoid giving the gamekeeper the tip he had the right to expect, or would under-pay his cabman if nobody were looking. I have also known men wallow in champagne, and refuse a "fiver" to an old friend who had got down in in the world; and I have, on the contrary, known the man who would stint himself the glass of port he liked so much after dinner, in order either to keep a hunter or to be able to tip the waiter. These men killed two birds with one stone, for they achieved their direct purpose, and also by practising restraint strengthened by their characters.

I don't want you to think that I am lecturing you, nor do I expect you will avoid getting into scrapes any more often than I did. The four-year-old which never will of its own seldom turns out a really good hunter, and the puppy which never runs wild seldom becomes a first-class dog; so with the human subject, the young must have their fling, and this in ordinary times must be forgiven as long as a man never does anything that is ungentlemanly.

In the old days a good deal used to be drunk the Mess, and I can recollect big guest nights when chargers were brought into the dining-room and jumped over the tables but those days have; gone for ever, and a good thing too, though their memories are associated with some of the best of fellows who were, however, the best of fellows in spite of, and not by reason of, such escapades. Now it is considered bad form for an officer to exceed in the least, even inside the precincts of the Mess, and there can be no doubt that the less a man drinks the fitter he keeps. Alcohol does a little good sometimes, and a great deal of harm very often. If the whole nation were moderate, no restrictions with regard to consumption would be advisable. As a restorative on rare occasions there is nothing like a pint of champagne, and the tot of rum sometimes given to the men puts new vigour into them; it but if taken as a daily ration, alcohol loses its potency as a pick-me-up. To put it in another way, I consider that, trenches if the good that alcohol does is represented by the figure 5, the harm it does is represented by 95; and this being so, I very much regret that we did not follow the Russian lead when they prohibited the sale of vodka during the war. If I had thought that there were any chances of drink having much attraction for you, I should urge you to become a teetotaller; but as things are I do not do this, though ; I think that the less you drink the better, and you will find that if you are very abstemious in your habits there are sure to be others in your Mess who are equally so, and you will not be looked on with suspicion as would have been the case in the old days.

Always remember that you are joining your Regiment during the greatest crisis which your country has ever found itself, that it is your bounden duty to do in everything in your power to make yourself a fit instrument in her service, and that, in spite of what I said just now about youngsters having their fling, this is a period for work, and for work only.

Your affectionate father,
"X. Y. Z"

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 26 February 2014 6:26 PM EST
Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Battle Drill Training (1943)
Topic: Drill and Training

Platoon No. 10. S10. C.B.D.T.C. Vernon, BC. March 1943. Meeres Studios photo, Vernon, BC,
Photo credit: from the collection of Maj Fred Mills (RCASC) via Maj Craig Mills (The RCR/Cdn Gds).
Maj Fred Mills is in the centre of the back row.

Battle Drill Training (1943)

During the Second World War, there were training centres for the Canadian Army spread across the country. With the most common focus of attention on Canadian army service during the Second World War being on the forces overseas, we easily forget how extensive the training system was in Canada, and the value and scope of work done by the thousands who ran these establishments.

Huge efforts were made to staff these camps and to conduct required training, and many training locations expanded from existing facilities or were built from nothing to meet the Army's needs. The photo above provides a good indication of how well equipeed the Training Centres had become by 1943 (the summer of the invasion of Sicily and still a year prior to D-Day).

No 110 Cdn Army (Basic) Training Centre, Vernon, BC

  • NPAM Training Centre from 9 Oct 40 to 14 Feb 41.
  • Placed on Active Service: 15 Feb 41
  • Disbanded 30 Aug 43 upon organization of S17 Cdn Infantry School.

Brief history - No. 110 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre — Vernon

During both World Wars, Vernon was an important training ground for Canadian troops. The military camp, #110 Canadian Army Basic Training Centre, trained thousands of soldiers from 1940-45. The 19th Infantry Brigade made its headquarters here, comprising of 3rd Battalion Irish Fusiliers (Vancouver Regiment), Winnipeg Light Infantry, Prince Albert Volunteers, 26th Field Company Royal Canadian Engineers, 25th Field Ambulance and various support units. Some 6 km to the east of the camp on the edge of the Coldstream Ranch was the Battle Drill School. This camp trained Canadian soldiers in advanced fighting skills from 1942-45. It was the first FIBUA (Fighting in Built up Areas) training centre in the world. To this day, unexploded artillery and mortar shells used in training are still turned up by the frost and development of the surrounding hills. Internment camps were also located in Vernon during the World Wars; in WWI for Ukrainian Canadians (this camp is now the site of a high school) and in WWII for people of Japanese descent (mostly from Vancouver). After WWII, the camp was mothballed. In 1949 it was reopened and became an Army Cadet Training Centre for the Royal Canadian Army Cadets. - Source. - Location.

The Boys Anti-Tank Rifle

The Bren Gun

The 2-inch Mortar

The Thompson Sub-Machine Gun

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 14 January 2014

NCO Duties (1891)
Topic: Discipline

Non-Commissioned Officers
55th Megantic Battalion of Infantry

Excerpted from Duties for Non-Commissioned Officers of the 55th Battalion, Active Militia
By: O. Hunter, Major and Adjutant, 55th Batt. A. Militia
Approved: J.J. Duchesnay, Lt.-Col., D.A.G. 7th Military District

55th Regiment,
Megantic Light Infantry

The regiment was raised 22 March, 1867, as the 55th Megantic Battalion of Infantry. It was redesignated as the 55th Regiment, Megantic Light Infantry, 8 May 1900 and was disbanded on 3 Sep 1912.

Motto: "Semper Paratus" – "Always Ready"
Uniform: Scarlet with blue facings

1.     The good conduct of a Regiment depends greatly on the active and zealous discharge of the duties required on the part of Non Commissioned Officers.

2.     Their duty is rigidly to report every irregularity they may observe in the men whether on or off duty; and never to permit insolence or reply from a soldier in the execution of their duty; they must on no account use vile or irritating language to him, and should above all things maintain a proper, equal and impartial authority.

3.     No Officer or Non-Commissioned Officer should under any circumstances, speak or parley with a soldier under the influence of liquor, but should have him immediately confined.

4.     Any soldier refusing to obey an order lawful given or argues about the right or wrong of it, should be immediately confined and reported to the officer commanding the company.

5.     Whenever a man is recommended for promotion, a specimen ot his handwriting should accompany the recommendation.

6.     Officers are strictly forbidden to reprove their Commissioned Officers in the presence of their men, as such tends to weaken their authority.

7.     Non-Commissioned Officers, through breach of discipline are not to be sent to the guard room, but placed under arrest in their camp or quarters.

8.     Inefficient Non-Commissioned Officers are a nuisance with regard to the efficiency of a company, and officers should be careful in their recommendations.

9.     The names of all Non-Commissioned Officers, on appointment, will appear in regimental orders.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 13 January 2014

The 1953 Coronation Contingent
Topic: Canadian Army

The 1953 Coronation Contigent from the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment.
Front (L to R); Sgt Craig, Cpl Sim, Lt Darling, Maj Medlund, WO I McManus, Sgt Payne, Sgt Wilkinson.
Centre (L to R); Cpl Earle, Cpl Gnatiuk, Cpl Grant, Pte Llewellyn, Cpl Camelon, Pte Kavanaugh, Pre Arsenault, Pte Kynock.
Back (L to R); Cpl MacDonald, Pte Howlett, Pte Veysey, Pte Hurst, Pte Delaney, Pte Coady.
From the journal of The RCR The Connecting File, Spring-Summer, 1953, Vol. XXV, No. 1.

Three Services to Form Coronation Contingent

Ottawa Citizen, 19 Jan 1953
By Frank Swanson, Ottawa Parliamentary Writer

A contingent of 736 officers and men will represent Canada at the June 2 coronation ceremonies in London. It was announced yesterday by Defence Minister Claxton.

They will be representative of all three armed services and of both active and reserve units, Korean veterans and serving members of the Canadian army brigade in Germany and Canadian air forces overseas will be included.

They will be chosen on the basis of good conduct, meritorious service, and, as afar as possible, will be picked to give appropriate representation to all parts of Canada.

Four mounted officers of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in colourful full dress uniform will form part of the Sovereign’s escort. The remainder of the army contingent will wear No. 1 blue dress uniform, heretofore reserved for the exclusive use of officers on formal occasions.

General Crerar, ADC

Mr. Claxton said the H.D.G. Crerar, who commanded the First Canadian Army overseas during the war will attend the coronation in his capacity as the only Aide-de-Camp General to Her Majesty the Queen.

Canadian warships and Canadian Sabre jet fighters will take part in impressive review ceremonies at Spithead. The service contingent from this side of the Atlantic will cross to England on board the warships.

Four hundred officers and men will be drawn from active forces in Canada, England, France and Germany. There will be 336 reservists who will line the streets around Trafalgar Square.

Here is the breakdown of officers and men by services:

  • Army, 206 active force and 201 reserve force personnel.
  • Navy, 78 active force and 45 reserve force personnel.<.li>
  • Air Force, 90 active force and 116 reserve force personnel.

Korean Veterans

The army representation will include officers and men who are veterans of Korea and who are now in Canada, as well as paratroopers. A representative group of army men will come from 27th Infantry Brigade Group in Germany, including the band of the Royal 22nd Regiment—the famed "Van Doos"—which will be on duty with the brigade at the time. The bandsmen will wear full dress scarlet uniforms and bearskin headgear.

Officers and NCOs, said Mr. Claxton, will be appropriate to the size of the formation in numbers.

"The selection of all personnel active and reserve, will be based on all-around service records with preference going to those who have received decorations or may have been mentioned in despatches while on overseas service, plus good conduct as well as physical condition and appearance. As far as its possible selection will also be made to give appropriate representation to the different areas of Canada," he said.

Women Included

Nursing sisters and representatives of the women’s services will also be included.

In addition to the naval units which will participate in the review at Spithead, No. 1 Fighter Wing of the RCAF based at North Luffenham, England, and possibly No. 2 Fighter Wing at Grostenquin as well, will take part in the fly-past with their Canadian-built Sabre jets.

The active army department will be made up of two companies of four platoons each. For one company, The Royal Canadian Regiment, the Royal 22nd Regiment, and the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry will each supply one platoon, and the fourth will represent service units and administrative personnel.

The other company will be drawn from the 27th Brigade in Germany, with three battalions there each supplying a platoon, and the fourth being drawn from service and administrative units. The RCN and RCAF detachments will be organized along similar lines.

The main parties will arrive in Britain May 15, get one week of leave, and will return to Canada about the middle of June.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 13 January 2014 12:06 AM EST
Sunday, 12 January 2014

Canadian Militia Reform (1911)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canadian Militia Reform

Boston Evening Transcript 10 May 1911

Scheme to Make it More Efficient
Outline Proposed by Sir John French Followed
6 Infantry Divisions, 4 Cavalry Brigades
Thirty-Four Additional Companies of Field Artillery

Ottawa, May 10.—The Minister of Militia has made a statement in regard to the action which the department proposes to take for carrying out the recommendations of Sir John French. He began by a brief reference to the spirit in which the British inspector general made his inspection of the Canadian militia.

"Sir John French," he said, "as a professional soldier looks on soldiers from the point of view of efficiency as armed troops on duty. He was naturally disappointed, as far as the Canadian militia was supposed to represent a force of that kind. We know that the Canadian militia has never been a force ready for war. That has not been the principal idea in its organization. Only in the last four or five years has such an idea been suggested. The business of the Canadian militia has been to assist the British army when difficulties occur in Canada. The British Government until recently kept the nucleus of an army at Halifax and Esquimalt."

Sir Frederick also distributed to the members a statement in which he further made reference to the report of Sir John French. This memorandum open by stating:

"The recommendations of Sir John French can be classed as coming under two main heads, viz.:

(a)     changes in organization, and

(b)     improved methods of training and education.

"The militia in Eastern Canada will, as recommended, be organized as cavalry brigades and infantry divisions. The ten military districts will form six divisional areas, each of which will furnish one division, and, collectively, four cavalry brigades. This reorganization can be effected with practically no dislocation of the existing system, as each divisional command will include one of more of the present military districts. The result of this change will be to place under each divisional commander the troops to form the division he would command on mobilization, and tend to associate, during training, the units which would work together as a division in the field."

The memorandum goes on to point out that there are not at present a sufficient number of units to fully form the six infantry divisions, and that before they can be made complete the following will have to be raised:

  • 34 batteries of field artillery;
  • 10 howitzer batteries;
  • one heavy battery and ammunition column,
  • 6 divisional ammunition columns,
  • 7 field companies of engineers,
  • one telegraph detachment,
  • 13 companies of Army Service Corps, and
  • four field ambulance units.

Similarly, to complete the four cavalry brigades, it will be necessary to raise:

  • one regiment of cavalry,
  • one battery of field artillery,
  • three field troops of engineers, and
  • one company of Army Service Corps.

"It is not proposed," the memorandum continues, "to proceed in the work of completing the divisions and cavalry brigades any faster than the usual votes will permit. A continuance of the vote of $1,300,000, which has been granted since 1903-4, will be asked, and out of this money the required guns, ammunition and equipment will be purchased. To complete payment of the orders already given for rearming the existing batteries of field artillery with modern guns and for other needs, the entire amount for this vote for 1911-12 will be required, consequently no outlay for the proposed new units can be made before 1912-13. About seven years will be required to fully complete the organization on this plan.

"Of equal, if not of greater, importance than the subject of organization is that of training and education. There is an increasing demand on the part of officers of the militia for instruction and education, which cannot, at present be satisfactorily met. The training and efficiency of militia officers is the first essential for the efficiency of the force itself, and the teaching can only be supplied by obtaining highly qualified men as proposed above. Their duties include lectures and theoretical instructions; supervision, under their divisional commanders of all field training, musketry, signalling and camp training."

The House of Commons put through without discussion the items of $1,325,000 for annual drill and $110,000 for allowances, with the understanding that the general condition of the militia and selection of the Coronation contingent will be discussed later.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Soldier's Load (1871)
Topic: Soldiers' Load

The Soldier's Load (1871)

The Soldiers' Pocket Book for Field Service
By: Colonel Sir Garnet Wolseley, C.B., K.C.M.G.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Horse Guards

Infantry in our army, is really only of two sorts, the guards and the line; for although the latter are divided nominally into fusiliers, light infantry, rifles, and heavy regiments, there is no material difference in their arms or practical equipment. The standard of height in the guards is always some two or three inches higher than for other regiments. All are armed with Snider (converted Enfield) rifles, weighing 9 lbs. 2 oz., bore .577. Bayonet weighs 13 ½ oz. The two rifle regiments and all sergeants of other regiments are armed with the short Snider rifle and sword bayonet; weight of rifle 8 lbs. 12 oz., sword bayonet lib. 11 ½ oz., scabbard 7 ½ oz. The new pattern Arm with which all our infantry is to be armed, is the Martini Henry, measuring from end of butt to muzzle 4 ft. 1 in., or with bayonet fixed 5 ft. 8 in. The rifle weighs 8 lbs. 12 oz., the bayonet 1 lb. 8 oz., and the scabbard 9 oz., the bore is .451 inch.

Infantry Soldier's Equipment in the Field

To see the full image, visit the Cowboy & Western Action Shooting Forum where is it has been posted by member RattlesnakeJack.


Arms and Accoutrements. Weight
lbs. oz.
Valise and straps 31
Pouches 111
Waistbelt & frog 014
Ammunition (70 rounds) 75
Bayonet 013 ½
Scabbard04 ½
Knife & Lanyard 05
Water-bottle 310
Mess tin. 15 ½
Total 287 ½
Articles Worn by the SoldierWeight
lbs. oz.
Chaco 015
Tunic 3 2
Shirt 1 1 ½
Trousers1 11
Braces 03 ½
Socks04 ½
Leggings 010 ½
Claspknife and Lanyard 05
Total118 ¼
Articles Carried in ValiseWeight
lbs. oz.
Great-coat Shirt514 ½
Socks11 ½
Spoon 01 ¾
Comb 00 ½
Brush 03 ½
Pot of grease 04
Housewife 03
Sponge 00 ½
Boots. 33
Glengarry cap 04
Account-book 02
Total122 ¾
lbs. oz.
Carried in valise122 ¾
Arms and accoutrements 287 ¼
Total 409
Clothes worn 113 ¼
Total carried by the soldier 5112 ¼

When the new rifles have been issued, the weight carried will be 10 1/4 oz. more.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 11 January 2014 12:21 AM EST
Friday, 10 January 2014

Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation
Topic: Militaria

Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation

Whether you are a collector, or simply have an interest in seeing the artifacts of our military history preserved, there's a place you'll want to add to your periodic sites to visit on facebook. The Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation is a place where collectors and enthusiasts share images of some of their collections and other items they have come across in visits to Museums and other locations. Although the group has a principal focus on Canadian military artifacts, you'll find a wider variety of examples should than that.

The following images are a few screen captures of thumbnails from the facebook group, but you're going to have to go there to see them in full size and, if desired, correspond with the individuals that posted them.

The Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation

The Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation

The Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation

The Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation

The Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation

The Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation

The Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation

The Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation

The Facebook Society of Military Artifact Preservation

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Military Instructor (1862)
Topic: Drill and Training

A Military Ready ReckonerThe Military Instructor

Excerpted from A Military Ready Reckoner, by William Cooke, Drill Sergeant, 1st Battalion, Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards; 1862

And above all things the Instructor should never resort to coarse language, as such conduct on the part of an Instructor can only point to his own incapacity to communicate instruction.

When explanation fails to produce the desired result illustration must be employed, so that all may feel and understand their way with equal advantage.

And again the Instructors should never tell a man that he is stupid, much less think so. No! the Instructor should employ such a mode of reasoning as will make up for the apparent want of intelligence in the man. By such means you avoid pointing out one man as inferior to the other in point of intelligence.

All men should be made to feel equally worthy of the Instructor's attention ; thus by a plain mode of reasoning you bring the awkward man to a sense of his own weak points which always acts as a powerful stimulant towards greater exertion, thereby enabling a slow but sure recruit to stand on an equal footing need with his more active comrade.

elipsis graphic

A good temper the is an indispensable qualification in an Instructor. Respect a man's feelings as you would your own, at the same time be firm yet moderate and reasonable in all things which can never fail to produce the desired result,—a good and well trained soldier. And in conclusion allow me to remark that no Instructor can ever exceed that standard of perfection where further information or instruction is no longer required.

No Instructor should ever feel himself beyond the province of correction, though corrected by individuals of less experience. It's by such correction that you can ever hope to attain to anything like a standard of perfection in the art of training a Soldier.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The RCR; A Question of Legal Existence (1894)
Topic: The RCR

The RCR; A Question of Legal Existence (1894)

An offer of service, and a challenge to entitlement.

elipsis graphic

Canadian Loyalty

The Toronto Daily Mail, 20 November, 1894

Offer to Place the Royal Canadian Regiment at the Service of the British Governments

London, Nov. 18—Sir Charles Tupper, Canadian High Commissioner, who is at present in Scotland, in addressing a meeting a few days ago, said that when anxiety was occasioned recently by the hurried assembly of the British Cabinet Council in London to consider the alarming condition of affairs in the East, the Canadian cabinet was also assembled, and authorized Chief Justice, Sir Samuel Henry Strong, acting-Governor-General, to send a cablegram to Lord Ripon, Secretary of State for the Colonies, stating that the Dominion of Canada was prepared to put the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry at the service of the British Government, and maintain the force in the common interest of the Empire.

This statement of Sir Charles' evoked the warmest applause.

elipsis graphic

Royal Canadian Infantry

The Toronto Daily Mail, 24 November, 1894

To the Editor of The Mail:

Sir,—The surprise with which I read the report published in your columns of yesterday that the Canadian Government had offered the services of "the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry" in the event of trouble arising in the East will, I think be generally shared by the officers of the active force. That the Government of this country could seriously indulge in such an absurd piece of gasconading will seem incredible to all who are aware of the facts of the case. Why sir, the "Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry" has no legal existence. It is a mere figment of the brain of the headquarters staff. There is no Parliamentary authority for such an organization, and no funds have ever been voted by parliament for the support of such an organization.

What parliament has sanctioned and supported, and I hope will continue to sanction and support, is the establishment of certain military schools for the instruction of the officers of the militia of Canada. Simply that and nothing more. But upon this foundation, little by little, step by step, the Militia Department has built up what it now grandiloquently calls "the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry"; to which it gives precedence over the regular militia and the status, in all respects, of a regular as distinguished from a volunteer force. And while every other branch of the force, and especially the rural battalions, are starved almost out of existence, this precious bantling of the Militia Department, which is as costly in peace as it would be useless in war, is pampered and cherished in every possible way, is maintained at numerical strength, and at an annual cost, out of all proportion to the service which it now renders, and is now reported to have been out forward as a valuable contribution to the forces of the Empire, and as a representative body of the militia of Canada!

Fancy the four companies which are called "the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry" parading before the Duke of Cambridge and all his staff as the Canadian contingent to an Imperial army! But even if the idea were less absurd, the Government of Canada have no power to carry out this magnificent offer. And for this reason, among others, that as already stated, the money voted for this force is voted for schools of instruction, and therefore cannot be used for any other purpose but that of instruction. It is charitable to suppose that the whole story is the pure invention of the reporter, though the words said to have been used by the High Commissioner do not bear out that idea. Be that, however, as it may, it is just as well that the public should be made aware of the real state of the case, and expression given to the opinion which I know prevails throughout the force, that the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry should be called and treated as what it really is—a school of instruction—a mere adjunct to the regular militia, and not something beyond and above it.

And when notice is taken of the fact that in the year 1892-93 the Cavalry and Infantry schools alone cost more money than was spent on the drill of the whole force, the question naturally arises whether some simpler and less expensive method of imparting instruction to the officers of the active force cannot be devised. When it becomes evident that the tail is ambitious of wagging the dog, it is time for the dog to assert his rights. And if at any time a contingent is called for for Imperial purposes it can be obtained, from out of the ranks of the active militia, who are her Majesty's regular army in Canada. The schools of instruction will not then be interfered with in the discharge of their useful and legitimate duties.

Yours, etc.,
William E. O'Brien, Lieut.-Col.
Shanty Bay, Nov. 21

Lieut.-Col. William E. O'Brien was a provisional Major in the 35th Bn "The Simcoe Foresters" in 1869. By 1882 he was that regiment's Lieutenant Colonel. He served in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 with the "York and Simcoe" Battalion, by which time he was also a member of Parliament. In 1898 Lieut.-Col. O'Brien was permitted to resign his commission and to retain the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel on retirement.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Deserters Sought (1947)
Topic: Canadian Army

567 Deserters Sought by Canadian Army

Military Police in Canada and Europe Still On the Lookout Two Years after End of War

The Evening Citizen, Ottawa, 1 May 1947
By Franck Swanson, Citizen Parliamentary Reporter

Military Police in Canada and allied military police all over Europe are still on the look-out for 567 Canadian deserters nearly two years after the end of the war with Germany.

Many of them have been "on the loose" since the early days of the arrival in the United Kingdom of Canada's overseas army, although the bulk are missing in Canada. A few are still at large in Europe and are believed to be in countries where Canadians served during the war.

Servicemen classed officially as "deserters" are listed separately from approximately 14,000 men who were conscripted into the service and then deserted before being sent overseas. They are listed on official army records as "deemed not to have served."

Never Part of Force

The difference in classification is that in the case of soldiers, sailors and airmen listed as deserters, certain rehabilitation benefits are still available. In the case of the men "deemed not to have served," no discharge credits have been or will be available. In other words, NRMA men who deserted before being shipped overseas were never officially part of the armed forces, and their names have been wiped from the slate of those who did serve.

Army personnel lead the parade of servicemen listed as deserters with 465 unaccounted for. The biggest proportion, 325 soldiers, are listed as having deserted in Canada, with the remainder, 140, listed as missing in Europe.

Seventy-five members of the navy are missing and listed as deserters in Canada with only five having disappeared overseas. In the case of the air force, there are 20 members missing in this country with only two still listed in Europe.

There is no question of an amnesty being granted the missing men. When, or if they are found, they will have to stand trial in the usual manner, and accept their punishment which invariably will run to long-term jail sentences. In the case of soldiers, sailors and airmen apprehended overseas, they would be returned to Canada for trial and imprisonment.

Many of those living overseas are believed to be in Britain where they are living on stolen or forged ration cards. According to Scotland Yard records there, 60 per cent of all recent crimes have been committed by army deserters of all nationalities—Canadian included. There are no figures in this country to show what percentage of crimes deserters are responsible for.

National Resources Mobilization Act (NRMA)

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 6 January 2014

Promotion of Officers (1861)
Topic: Officers

Uniforms of the Canadian Militia (1898)


Promotion of Officers (1861)

Head Quarters
Quebec, 17th May, 1861

Militia General Orders
Active Force
No. I.

It will help to understand that the "Canadian Militia" at the time consisted of the "Active Militia" (part-time Militia units that were authorized pay for training) and a second class of units that were not funded for training. The Sedentary Militia also remained in existence, although the creation of units based on the Militia Act of 1855 also began the demise of the Sedentary Militia. The "Permanent Force" (now the Regular Force) was not yet in existence.

His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief, being of opinion that the Officers Commanding Corps of the Volunteer Force should have some progressive promotion in the Militia of the Province for long service and for the efficiency of their Corps, has been pleased to establish the following regulations for this purpose, viz:

1st.     That all Captains Commanding Corps of the Active Force, who have served as such continuously since the year 1856, inclusive, and whose Corps are at present efficient in every respect to the satisfaction of the Inspecting Officer, shall be promoted to the rank of Major in the, Militia.

2nd.     That henceforth, (except in special cases,) the rank of Major shall be granted after five years actual service as Captain of a Corps which is fully uniformed and efficient in every respect to the satisfaction of the Inspecting Officer.

3rd.     That henceforth, (except in special cases,) promotion to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Militia will be granted only to Officers who have served five years consecutively as Majors at the head of one or more Corps who are fully uniformed and efficient in every respect to the satisfaction of the Inspecting Officer,—thus requiring ten years to attain the rank of Lieutenant Colonel from the period of the first appointment as Captain


4th.     His Excellency has also been pleased to direct that the rank of Major shall be granted to Captains after five years service consecutively as Major of Brigade,"to the satisfaction of the Officer on whose Staff they have served; and,

5th.     That the rank of Lieutenant Colonel shall be granted to Majors holding the following Staff appointments for five years consecutively to the satisfaction of the Officers on whose Staff they have served, viz: Assistant Adjutant General — Assistant Quarter-Master General, and Major of Brigade, thus requiring ten years for Captains to attain the rank of Lieutenant Colonel from the period of their first appointment to the Staff of the Active Force.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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