The Minute Book
Saturday, 1 February 2014

On Honours and Rewards
Topic: Medals

On Honours and Rewards

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

February 1st, 1917.

My dear Dick,

You tell me that your friend Jack has received the Military Cross, and that although he is a good fellow and undoubtedly merited it, Ronald, who deserved a decoration twice as much, did not even receive a mention in dispatches. Except in that it will give great pleasure to his relations, I don't suppose that Jack is much happier than Ronald, if the latter is the man I believe him to be. He knows that he has done his duty, and he further knows that his friends are aware of it. Had he also gained a Military Cross, this Military Cross would not, to the outer world, be distinguishable from any other which had not been so deserved.

You also remark that farther seems that the it you are away from the firing line the more chance you have of being decorated, and that you hear that junior officers and men in the trenches resent the same decorations, which have been issued to them at the rate of about one to every twenty or thirty casualties, being distributed with a proportionately freer hand to others who have never got much farther than the base. You must remember that the work for which these men have been rewarded is, as a rule, more important for the general well-being of the force than the work of individual men in the trenches and that this work, as a rule, requires special qualifications. Moreover, many of men who do not succeed in getting farther than the base would give their the eyes to be in the firing line, though I admit this is not always the case. Nevertheless, I agree with you that it would be much more popular amongst officers and men in fighting formations if some other distinctions besides the V.C. could be reserved for work done in the face of the enemy. I wish also it possible to give every could be found man who passed one hundred nights some actually in the trenches badge of honour. In order to be a hundred nights in the distinctive trenches, the Division to which the in question have been at man belonged would, as a rule, least seven or eight months in the line whilst he was present with it, and this means something.

But, after all, what do these decorations really matter? Is it a greater satisfaction to a man to own a little know piece of silver or bronze than know that he has done his duty to the best of his ability? Do you remember the extract from the diary of the German soldier, which appeared in one of our papers, and read as follows?—

  • Monday. It rained heavily, and our Lieut. Müller was drunk.
  • Tuesday. The English shelled us, and our Lieut. Müller was very drunk.
  • Wednesday. The English shelled us more and our Lieut. Muller was drunk heavily, and incapable. Thursday. We were ordered to attack. Our Lieut. Müller called out to us from his dug-out to advance more rapidly.
  • Friday. Nil
  • Saturday. Nil.
  • Sunday. Our Lieut. Müller received the Iron Cross.

The fact it that he had so thoroughly deserved it no doubt very much added to the value of "our Lieut. Müller's" decoration.

It is significant that those decorations which are most prized are usually those of the least intrinsic value. The bay leaf cost even less than the Victoria Cross. What becomes of decorations , to obtain which has been some men's highest ambition

A friend of mine, who takes a great interest in everything connected with the history of the British Army, has made a collection of medals and now has many thousands. Nearly all of them had been in the hands of pawnbrokers before they found their way to him, although many them of are inscribed with illustrious names.

The following story of the German Emperor was told me by a highly placed German officer who knew him well. The old Emperor could always be distinguished from his Staff by the fact that he wore no decoration except the Iron Cross. This simplicity, however, did not suit the gaudy taste of the present Kaiser, and he very much envied the right to wear a certain handsome aiguillette which was worn by nobody but the Emperor's personal Staff, and he objected to being the only plainly dressed man among a glittering assembly. The order decreeing that this aiguillette was only to be worn by the Staff was an ancient one, with which he did not like to tamper, but he was not to be beaten, and on the anniversary of the birthday of the old Emperor, in honour, as he decreed, of the memory of his grandfather, he appointed himself and all his direct descendants in the Crown of Prussia as Aides-de-Camp to the dead Emperor, and from that day he has worn the aiguillette. I mention these incidents to show how valueless an Iron Cross, how ephemeral a medal conferring honour on a family, or how ludicrous the acquisition of a decoration may be. The only reward really worth having is the knowledge that you have done your duty, and whether your work be recognised, or whether you be blamed and others get the credit for what you have done, should not worry you as long as you have this knowledge in your heart. Your motive must be to do the best you can for your country and not to play to the gallery in order to obtain a reward. Do not give way to selfish vanity; it is not the acquisition of honours and rewards, but the abnegation of self that has wrought out all that is noble, all that is good, and nearly all that is useful in the world.

The man who does work which comes under the eye of those in high position is likely to receive a decoration, The man. who, day after day, and night after night, works unremittingly under shell fire in the trenches, waist-high in water, is much more likely to get a bullet than a mention, but he may have got farther through that mill about which I was talking, and through which all the corn has to go before it becomes flour, and he may have learnt and acquired things worth more than decorations. Again, do you think success has made those of your friends to whose lot has fallen to obtain it pleasanter men to meet? Is it not true that the only men who are not spoilt by it are those who do not care one straw about it? How many of these do you know?

Your affectionate father,

"X. Y. Z."

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 26 February 2014 6:27 PM EST
Friday, 31 January 2014

Canadian Army SITREP 1952
Topic: Canadian Army

The 1 RCR Company Commanders in Korea, 1952: A Coy - Maj George G. Taylor, B Coy - Maj J.E.L. Cohen,
C Coy - Capt Robert H. "Bob" Mahar, D Coy - Maj R.S. "Bob" Richards & E Coy - Capt H.G. "Herb" Cloutier
Full image can be seen on the website of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Canadian Army
Standing Guard on Three Continents

Ottawa Citizen, 27 December, 1952
By: The Canadian Press

The Canadian Army in 1952 stood guard on three continents, fought sporadically on one of them and prepared to build the largest camp it has ever had in Canada. The latter, in New Brunswick, eventually ma be big enough to handle the maneuvers of a full division.

Looking back on the 12 months, army headquarters yesterday listed as highlights 10 events ranging from fighting on Little Gibraltar Hill in Korea to adoption of the 52-ton British Centurion tanks.

Manpower Totals

Heavy discharges of veterans of Korea kept manpower totals from increasing markedly. In January the army had roughly 45,000 men, in December about 48,000.

Throughout the year, the army maintained a brigade in Korea, another in Germany and a third at home, plus a couple of reinforcement formations roughly equal to two additional brigades.

In listing the year's 10 big events the army didn't mention the biggest explosion of all at home, the Currie report. This document, with its description of a "general breakdown" in the system of administration, supervision and accounting of the Army Works Service provoked Parliament's stormiest debates of the year, now awaiting renewal when Parliament reconvenes Jan. 12.

Events Listed

These were the events the army listed:

1.     Sporadic action by the 25th Infantry Brigade group in Korea while peace talks dragged on. The climax came in October when one of the fiercest engagements of the Korean conflict was fought atop the battle scarred peak of "Little Gibraltar" by troops of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment. One company of the unit, aided by armored and artillery support, fought the Communists to a standstill in a see-saw battle to take the hill.

2.     The 27th Infantry Brigade group, under rigid training and discipline in Europe,became fully trained as part of NATO defence forces under General Mathew Ridgeway.

3.     At home and abroad, the largest troops movement since the Second World War was underway. Some 38,000 soldiers were on the move in 1952 by land, sea and air.

New Military College

4.     Educational facilities for the services' future officers were expanding with opening of Le College Militaire Royal de Saint-Jean, St Johns, Que., by Governor-General Vincent Massey. Introduction of a regular officer training plan also opened up increased avenues of educational advancement for potential officers.

5.     To meet the increasing need for tradesmen and specialists, an apprentice-soldiers plan was announced under which boys 16 years of ae will be recruited for training in special trades.

6.     Looking northward, the army staged "Eager Beaver" 1,000 miles north of Edmonton on the shores of Kluane Lake, the largest since the war. Army engineers bulldozed two giant airstrips over ice and frozen muskeg in sub-zero temperatures. In the eastern Arctic, operations "Sun God III" brought a joint army-air force maneuver into Ungava Bay in Northern Labrador. Later in the year, a joint U.S.-Canadian artillery exercise stretched northward into Quebec.

International Parley

7.     In an effort to advance standardization of weapons among NATO countries, the army brought together top infantry leaders of the U.S., Britain and Canada in the first three-country infantry conference. Held at Quebec City, the conference was opened by Lt.-Gen. Simonds, chief of the general staff who called on delegates to "think always of the infantry soldier and make more efficient his weapons and lighten his load." the army also adopted the Centurion tank. This was the army's major change in equipment for a year.

8.     Canadian arms shipments to other NATO countries continued "in record quantities." Over a two-year period enough aid has been extended to equip three infantry divisions.

9.     Plans to construct the army's largest training camp in peacetime history were announced.

10.     On the female side, the army continued to build up the new reserve force CWAC organization. Members of the CWAC received their new uniforms in 1952 and are training in clerical and other skilled trades at manning depots across Canada.

Honors in Korea

During the year, 132 soldiers distinguished themselves in action in Korea and received awards that included four Distinguished Service Orders, 19 Orders of the British Empire [OBE, MBE], two Distinguished Conduct Medals, three Military Crosses, seven Military Medals four British Empire Medals and 93 Mentions in Despatches.

At the same time, 613 soldiers became battle casualties in Korea. During 1952, 100 were killed in action and 473 wounded or missing in action. Another 31 were injured as a result of action.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 30 January 2014

Brasso, Blanco & and Bull
Topic: Humour

This book is for anyone who enjoys stories of army life. We've all heard of training under Corporals over-acting in exercising their authority, and Regimental Sergeants Major whose bring forth emotions a recruit's mind that evolve from terror to admiration, or simply the trials and tribulations of learning to survive by the Army's own rules. This book captures so many of those scenes, and many others, with a personal touch that finely captures that balance between comedy and tragedy. In his brief time as a National Service soldier with the British Army, Tony Thorne has captured the spirit of soldierly experience in a wonderfully expressed way that will have you laughing as you imagine people you know in the roles he describes.

Brasso, Blanco & Bull

Brasso, Blanco & and Bull is available at Amazon


By: Tony Thorne, 23339788

A shout of "Mess" from the corridor outside our barrack room was the signal for us to grab our knife, fork and spoon, together with our white china drinking mug and race outside. There the ordeal began. We were required to line up in single file holding our white china mugs at the high port. This inspection was a Biggy. All three squads would be lined up in the corridor and this inspection would call for at least two, and sometimes even three, corporals. When we were all assembled, the pantomime began.

Cpl Jones pulls up opposite me. He peers into my spotless white china mug.

"'Ere look at this, Cpl Prudence."

Cpl Prudence scurries alongside Cpl Jones.

"What's this in there!" shrieks Prudence, pointing his little index finger inside my mug.

"Er, it's the bottom of my mug."

"CORPORAL! Call me CORPORAL. You shithead. What's that in your fockin' mug! You...."

"Er nothing, CORPORAL."

Prudence to Jones, leering. "What's that in that mug, Corporal!"

"Sheeet! " screams Jones. " 'E's got shit in his mug."

Prudence to me, "Now what's in that fockin' mug soldier!”

" Shit, CORPORAL."

"Louder," screams Prudence and Jones în unison. "Louder."

"SHIT, CORPORAL," I scream.

"Blimey," says Prudence to Jones, " 'E's got shit in his mug."

Jnes peers into my mug much as Sir Lancelot would have peered into the Holy Grail. "What are we going to do about it Corporal!" He asks earnestly of his colleague.

"Smash it. Smash it," they cry out gleefully together. Then they fight each other to grab the mug from my hand and hurl it down onto the concrete floor where i smashes into a thousand pieces.

New mugs had to be purchased from the quartermmaster's store and the stock market saw the price of North Staffordshire Potteries Ltd move to new heights daily.

This ritual was repeated three times a day, every day and the corporals never tired of it. Often the corridor looked like a snowstorm. Twice I bought a brand new mug and had it smashed the same day. On one occasion the whole of No. 3 Squad had their mugs smashed. Mug-smashing was a perk of Corporaldom and they loved it.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 30 January 2014 12:04 AM EST
Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Military Staff Clerks (1898)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Employment of Non-Commissioned Officers as Military Staff Clerks (1898)

The Quebec Saturday Budget, 15 January, 1898

The following regulations governing the employment of Non-commissioned Officers and men of the Permanent Force as Military Staff Clerks at Head-Quarters and District Head-Quarters, are published for general information:—

1.     A Non-commissioned Officer or man selected for this employment will serve a probationary term of three months, the pay to be, during this period, that of his rank, and, in addition, if serving elsewhere that at the station to which his Corps belong, 50 cents per diem in lieu of quarters, rations, light and fuel.

(1a.)     At the end of his probationary term, if his work is found satisfactory, he will be appointed Sergeant Staff Clerk. If serving at the same station as his Corps and living in barracks, he will receive the pay of a Sergeant in the permanent Corps. If serving elsewhere than at the station of his Corps, he will receive consolidated pay at the rate of $1.20 per diem.

(1b.)     After serving three years as Sergeant Staff Clerk and if recommended by the Officer under whom he is serving, he will be promoted to Colour Sergeant Staff Clerk, with the pay at the rate of $1 per diem, if serving at the same station with his Corps and living in barracks. If serving elsewhere than at the station of his Corps, he will receive consolidated pay at the rate of $1.40 per diem.

(1c.)     After serving three years as Colour Sergeant Staff Clerk and if recommended by the Officer under whom he is serving, he will be promoted to Quarter-Master Sergeant Staff Clerk, with the pay at the rate of $1.35 per diem, if serving at the same station with his Corps and living in barracks. If serving elsewhere than at the station of his Corps, he will receive consolidated pay at the rate of $1.75 per diem.

2.     At the end of six years from the 1st July, 1898, and thereafter from time ti time as the position becomes vacant, there will be selected from the whole body of Military Staff Clerks, one Sergeant-Major Staff Clerk, with consolidated pay at the rate of $2 per diem.

3.     A Military Staff Clerk serving at the station to which his Corps belongs, may, with the approval of the General Officer Commanding, be paid the consolidated rate of pay for his rank, and provide his own quarters, rations, light and fuel.

4.     Military Staff Clerks will be moved from one station to another as the exigencies of the service may require.

5.     Military Staff Clerks will be returned to their Corps only at their own request, or if they cease to be eligible for service in the Force, or for misconduct. In either case they will revert to the rank held at the time of appointment as Military Staff Clerk.

6.     Non-commissioned Officers and men employed as Military Staff Clerks will be borne as supernumeraries of their ranks in the Corps to which they belong, and the vacancies thus created in their rank at the time of appointment will be filled up, without increasing the establishment of the Corps.

7.     A Sergeant appointed Military Staff Clerk will rank as Sergeant from the date of his regimental promotion to that rank.

elipsis graphic

In 1905, the Corps of Military Staff Clerks would be formed.

Corps of Military Staff Clerks

Organization, Administration and Equipment; of His Majesty's Land Forces in Peace and War, by Colonel W.R. Lang, m.s.c., General Staff (Temporary); 1916

This Corps, which is administered by the Adjutant General's department, was organized 1st September, 1905, previous to which time clerks were borne on the strength of the R.C.R. Only men of a high educational standard and character are accepted for service. No establishment has been published since 1914, when the Corps had a total effective strength of about 80. Numerous appointments have been made since then.

First appointments are made on probation to the rank of corporal, when candidates undergo a course of training in the work and routine of a military office. If the period of training is dispensed with, first appointments may be made to the rank of Sergeant. The succeeding steps, based on efficiency, character and length of service, are respectively Staff-Sergeant, Sergeant-Major, and are obtained only if recommended by the officer under whom the clerk is serving.

Extra pay is granted for special qualification in short-hand and typewriting.

In several cases promotions to commissioned rank have been made.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Mobile Force Badge (1966)
Topic: Militaria

Mobile Force Badge (1966)

The Montreal Gazette, 20 October, 1966

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces' Mobile Command put up new red, white and blue sleeve badges of the Mobile Command on their uniforms yesterday.

For the 20,000 soldiers of Mobile Command's field units across Canada, the new patch will take the place of the rectangular red parch, traditional to the 1st Canadian Infantry Division and first worn by soldiers at the Battle of the Somme, 50 years ago.

The new patch incorporates the dark blue, red and the light blue colours of the three services, as well as the red and white of the Canadian flag.

It is a white diamond, notched on each side, edged with a red border, with four light and dark blue arrow heads radiating from the centre, representing the cardinal points of the compass.

Superimposed upon the arrow shafts, is a red maple leaf. The 1st Canadian Division was formed in January, 1915, from the first contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force which had sailed overseas from Quebec City in October, 1914, and its distinctive red patch was frst worn at the Somme, in 1916.

elipsis graphic

Return of the Divisional Patches (2014)

On 9 Jul, 2013, the Canadian Minister of National Defence announced that the Canadian Army would return to an organization based on "Divisions," to be accomplished by renaming the existing Area commands as follows:

  • 1st Canadian Divisional Headquarters to be at Canadian Force Base Kingston (this division has no permanent subordinate brigades).
  • Secteur du Québec de la Force terrestre to become the 2nd Canadian Division.
  • Land Force Western Area to become the 3rd Canadian Division.
  • Land Force Central Area to become the 4th Canadian Division.
  • Land Force Atlantic Area to become the 5th Canadian Division.

In 2014, the Divisions will receive new coloured shoulder patches for wear on dress uniforms and they will also receive traditional flags.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 27 January 2014

British Army Rations Test (1909)
Topic: Army Rations

An example of the modern British Army field ration, a significant change from the rations tested in 1909.

British Army Rations (1909)

Changes Probable as the Result of a Recent Test

The Montreal Gazette, 6 November, 1909 (London Standard)

Corned beef, already a common field ration item, would not disappear from soldiers' packs for another 40 or more years.

The result of the army rations test is said to be highly satisfactory from the physiological point of view; but it is more probable that a change will be made in the preserved rations, which do not appear sufficient, either in quality or quantity, for the work expected from the modern fighting man.

The little army of Loyal Lancashires who have been marching fourteen miles a day for a fortnight, in full kit, and camping out, with nothing to sustain them but the service rations, did their last fourteen miles yesterday round the Ludgershall country, finishing at Tidworth Barracks, which they had left two weeks ago. The day was ushered in with a hurricane of rain and wind, but the little band struck tents, packed transport, and, after medical inspection, started out on their tramp with singing and whistling.

Behind them followed an ambulance and a water-cart, the former of which was not utilized, as the men have struck gallantly to the work without inviting medical aid. They were very little over three hours in reaching the parade ground in Tidworth, notwithstanding wind and drenching rain. After relieving themselves of their heavy equipment, they entered the medical inspection room, where they stripped and were subjected to the closest examination possible, to determine, amongst other results, the difference in weight during the fortnight's campaign, the state of the pulse, and the pressure of the blood at the femoral and brachial arteries. The heart was minutely examined with the stethoscope, and the men were exactly weighed, all the details being entered up in the records, together with the men's own opinions as to their physical condition. This examination was carried out by Lieut-Colonel Melville, Professor of Hygiene at the Royal Army Medical College, assisted by Major Beveridge, R.A.M.C., Dr. M.S. Pembrey, M.D., Civilian Member Army Medical Advisory Board; Dr. Haldane, etc.

As the men emerged from the examination room they fell in on parade, and before dismissal they were thanks for the manner in which they had carried out the experimental march, and for the loyalty at all times shown to the exacting regulations under which they had volunteered. Their comrades gave them a lusty cheer as they broke away from the parade.

The report, so far as the condition of the men generally is concerned, may be broadly summarized as follows.

1.     Undue loss of weight caused by absence of butter, cheese, milk, and of sufficient fatty foods.

2.     Neuralgia, caused by "run down" symptoms improperly nourished. Headaches, indigestion, and allied ills, due principally to absence of green vegetables.

As to the existing army food schedule the vegetable ration as it is at present stands is extremely varied, including as it does preserved potatoes, rice, pens, onions, leeks, calavances, dholl, and oatmeal, the issue of which is governed by the climate in which operations are taking place, and the nature of the indigenous vegetables. Most of these articles are issued in lieu of ordinary fresh vegetables, but split peas, oatmeal, etc., are the ration equivalent of flour. Porter can also be issued as a field service ration in the proportion of one pint for each rum ration of half a gill. Tea, which was formerly only ½ oz per man daily, was increased to 5/2 ounces, whilst the quantity (4 oz.) of dried vegetables was reduced by one-half. Of the meat ration is considered too much for the troops, 14 lb. of biscuits can be substituted for an equal amount of meat, and when cheese and bacon are procurable these comestibles can also be issued in lieu of meat.

The whole question of soldiers' messing is being taken up by a special War Office committee, which will meet in a few days and take evidence from both officers and men in regard to the food supplied and the methods of cooking.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 26 January 2014

Awards to HMCS Chambly
Topic: RCN

Decorations for Five Members of Royal Canadian Navy

Ottawa Citizen, 3 March 1942

Awards, Approved by King, Follow Corvette Chambly's successful Encounter with U-Boat.
Acting Commander J.D. Prentice Wins D.S.O.
More Details Given of Sinking of Nazi Submarine.

The navy announced last night the award of decorations to five members of the Royal Canadian Navy in connection with the successful encounter with a Nazi submarine by the Canadian corvette Chambly, announced last November.

The decorations, approved by the King, were:

Mentioned in Despatches were: Mate A.F. Pickard, Halifax, and South Porcupine, Ont., and Able Seaman L.P. Lehtu, Sioux Lookout., Ont.

Sinking Described

At the same time the navy gave out additional details of the sinking of the German submarine U-501 which was forced to the surface by depth charges from the Chambly.

"While engaged in independent maneuvers with another corvette (the Moose Jaw), Cmdr. Prentice's vessel came upon the German U-501 lying in wait ahead if a heavily attacked convoy, carrying out the well-known wolf-pack tactics," said the navy.

"Depth charges forced the enemy to the surface and a running pursuit developed. Gunfire from the Canadian corvettes and the danger of torpedo discharges from the stern tubes of the fleeing German enlivened the chase.

"After some miles the German captain lost heart and surrendered his vessel to the Canadians, jumping aboard one of them in a most abject manner as she lay alongside."

Led Boarding Party

The Distinguished Service Cross to Lieut. E.T. Simmons "results partly from his resolute action in leading a boarding party although the U-501 was known to be sinking," said the navy. "The danger was so obvious that only one person could make the perilous descent of the conning tower Simmons could see below him the water lapping at the deck plates of the submarine's control-room as he climbed on down.

"Very shortly after reaching the ladder's foot, the dim emergency lighting failed entirely as the rising water quenched its supply. At this point there seemed no alternative but to retreat and Simmons barely escaped through the hatch above as the sub made its last plunge; one Canadian sailor of the boarding party was dragged under, the rest including Lt. Simmons were picked up by the ship's boats.

HMCS Chambly


  • German submarine U-501
    • German submarine U-501 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 12 February 1940 at the Deutsche Werft yard in Hamburg, launched on 25 January 1941 and commissioned on 30 April 1941 under the command of Korvettenkapitän Hugo Förster. The boat served with 2nd U-boat Flotilla until she was sunk on 10 September 1941. - Wikipedia
  • Wreck Site
  • C.B. 4051 (30) "U 501" Interrogation of Survivors
  • HMCS Moose Jaw and the sinking of U-501
  • KK Hugo Förster -
    • KK Hugo Förster, ex-U-501, was captured on 10 September 1941 by HMCS Chambly and Moose Jaw during his first war patrol in this boat, his only command, when he jumped aboard Moose Jaw's foc'sle - as he said, to ensure the ships fired no longer as they had surrendered. He was taken to England, where reportedly he was to be tried by a secret ex-U-boat 'court' in the camp for deserting his sinking U-501. He was moved to Canada for his protection, repatriated in January 1945 in an exchange of prisoners, and committed suicide on 27 February 1945, mostly due to the criticism by his contemporaries.

Sailor lost on 10 Sep

In memory of Stoker William Irvin Brown who died on September 10, 1941

  • Service Number: A/4212
  • Age: 24
  • Force: Navy
  • Unit: Royal Canadian Navy Reserve
  • Division: H.M.C.S. Chambly

The Awards

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
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

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