The Minute Book
Sunday, 2 March 2014

New Army Carrier (1958)
Topic: Militaria

New Army Carrier

The News and Eastern Townships Advocate; 18 September 1958

Ottawa, Aug.—The development of an armoured personnel carrier for the Canadian Army was announced here today by army headquarters.

The new tracked vehicle is essentially a troop carrier although it has been designed with a chassis capable of being converted to several other roles, one of them being self-propelled artillery.

The first of three prototypes being built for the Army by Canadian Car in Montreal were delivered this month, and are now undergoing engineering trials at the Army's proving grounds near Ottawa. If the prototypes prove successful, pilot vehicles will be ordered and subjected to user trials by Army units at training centres across the country. This is the usual procedure of assessing new types of equipment.

Speed and mobility are tow essential factors which will enable the modern soldier to exist on the atomic battlefield of any future war. The new vehicle is the outcome of considerable thought given to the development of a vehicle which would meet these requirements. The sides of the armoured personnel carrier, which are constructed on armour plate, will provide protection against the usual battlefield hazards of small arms fire and shell fragments. The armour will also afford complete protection from the thermal effects of atomic explosions and, in a lesser degree, against the blast and radiation effects.

Being amphibious the vehicle can rapidly transport its load of fighting men across all types of terrain and deposit them at their objective fresh and ready for battle. Eleven fully loaded soldiers can load onto the carrier in 10 seconds and on arrival at their new location can disembark in 8 seconds.

The unique track design of this Canadian developed vehicle in the result of many years experience with tracked vehicles by the Army in the Canadian North. For simplicity in construction many commercial parts have been used. The vehicle is powered with a modified commercial truck engine.

The chassis, being capable of conversion to various roles, will make the problem of supply much simpler by greatly reducing the variety of reserve stocks of vehicles and spare parts. It will also mean a saving in transport, maintenance and in the training of service personnel.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 23 February 2014 6:51 PM EST
Saturday, 1 March 2014

48th Highlanders Bayonet Fighting Champion
Topic: Canadian Militia

This photo, which shows the bayonet fighting team of The Royal Canadian Regiment in Bermuda (1915) illustates the seriousness with which this was taken as a military sport. Note the padded suits and protective helmets, and the training rifles with blunt tipped "bayonet" extensions.

48th Highlanders Bayonet Fighting Champion

Daily Mail and Empire; 19 June 1897

Newspapers all over the Dominion have been referring to the great success of the 48th Highlanders at the Royal Military tournament in London, as the following from the Montreal Witness shows:—

Private George Stewart; Winner of the Individual Bayonet Championship of the British Empire, 1897. (Source)

Canada has certainly to thank Toronto and the officers of the 48th Highlanders for the honour she has won by the skill of the team sent by them to compete in the Royal Military tournament, where British regulars, irregulars, and volunteers, white and coloured, from all over the Empire meet in friendly combat. Toronto's Highlanders bayonet team easily defeated all colonial teams in the bayonet trials, and four Canadians were left to compete for the for the colonial prize. Then they defeated the British regulars apparently only with less ease, and then overcame the team of picked men from the Household troops, drawn from the Life Guards, the Grenadier Guards, and Scots Guards. Finally, the most skillful of the Canadian team, Private Stewart, won the Empire prize against all victors in previous contests, and is therefore the British Empire champion. Toronto intends to give Private Stewart a public welcome when he returns; if he lands from his steamer in Montreal our volunteers should see to it that he and the rest of the team do not step on shore without three hearty cheers in their honour.

It is about time the matter was taken up by the city, and preparations begun for a right royal reception. Hayhurst, after he won the Queen's prize, was given a reception in Toronto, while in Hamilton he owned the town for the time being. Shall we be behind Hamilton in doing honour to Stewart and the rest of the team? Hayhurst was given a Government position, and the present Government should do as much for Stewart, who needs it perhaps worst that Hayhurst did, and who had brought as much glory to Canada as the Queen's prize-man did. All the 48th team learned their bayonet fighting right in Toronto, the results being due to Canadian training, not Scotch. The greatest credit is due Sergt. Williams, the instructor, and if there is to be any substantial recognition of their services by the citizens Sergt. Williams and Pte. Stewart should be bracketed together.

elipsis graphic

From this online presentation of a 48th Highlanders' history, we find the identities of all the members of the 48th Highlanders' team:

"An event which will go down in the annals of the Forty-Eighth Highlanders is the victory of the regimental team at the Islington Royal Military Tournament. The tournament, which is a military function of the highest importance, took place in June, 1897, and a team from the Forty-Eighth decided to cross the ocean to take part. It was a bold venture, but Sergt. Williams and his men felt confident that they would win honour for the Regiment. Great public interest was aroused by the event. The citizens of Toronto, the City Council, and the Ontario Government subscribed handsomely to the fund required to cover the expenses of the trip. The ten members of the team were: Sergt.-Instructor Williams, "H" Co., in command, Pte. Rankin and Pte. McCheyne, "A" Co., Pte. Campbell and Pte. Rae, "E" Co., Pte. Wallbridge and Pte. DeLisle, "G" Co., Pte. Stewart, Pte. I. McLean and Pte. Wasson, "H" Co. The team was accompanied by Major Wilbur Henderson, "H" Co. The contests were with bayonets, and though the Highlanders were in excellent form, few Canadians expected the victory would have been so complete and glorious. The Highlanders won in three contests."

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 1 March 2014 4:05 PM EST
Friday, 28 February 2014

Why no Normandy Clasp?
Topic: Medals
1939-1945 Star Italy Star France and Germany Star Defence Medal Canadian Volunteer Servce Medal 1939-1945 War Medal
Awarded for six months service on active operations for the Army and Navy and two months for active air-crew service. Awarded for one day operational service in Sicily or Italy between 11 Jun 1943 and 8 May 1945. Awarded for one day or more of service in France, Belgium, Holland or Germany between 6 Jun 1944 (D-Day) and 8 May 1945. Usually awarded to Canadians for six months service in Britain between 3 Sep 1939 and 8 May 1945. Granted to persons of any rank in the Naval, Military or Air Forces of Canada who have voluntarily served on Active Service. Awarded to all full-time personnel of the Armed Forces and Merchant Marines for serving for 28 days between 3 Sep 1939 and 2 Sep 1945.

Why no Normandy Clasp?

There are always those soldiers who want their service to be distinctly recognized, or to ensure they receive as many identifiably separate awards for their service as they see others receiving. The following letter, published in the Second World War Canadian Army newspaper The Maple Leaf in 1945, shows that this is not a new consideration.


The Maple Leaf; 18 July 1945

Editor, The Maple Leaf:

A lot of discussions have been going on here over the awarding of Campaign Stars, and everyone seems agreed on one point. Why is there no recognition of service in the Normandy Campaign? First and Fifth Divisions, quite deservedly, receive the Italy Star for their wonderful work in that country, and they receive the France and Germany Star for their part of the fighting in NW Europe. We all agree that they should receive the France and Germany Star, but we also think that there should be some recognition for the Normandy action which was part of the NW European fighting. Why not a clasp on the campaign ribbon for all those who were in the Normandy beachhead battles. This would put us more on par with the other two Divisions, and would be greatly appreciated by all those who saw action in France.


Sgt T.G. Lynch

elipsis graphic

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Infantry School Corps (1892)
Topic: The RCR

Canadian Militia parading at Stanley Barracks, Toronto (circa 1910).

The Infantry School Corps (1892)

The Active Militia of Canada

The Qu'Appelle Progress; 7 January 1892

Lientenant-Colonel William Dillon Otter

I must give honor to an institution which is doing a good work in raising the militia of Canada to as higher state of efficiency, "C" School of Infantry, established in New Fort Barracks, Toronto, under the command of one of Canada's leading military men, Lieutenant Colonel Otter.

As the law makes it compulsory to hold a certificate from one of the schools before confirming an officer's commission, the immediate and vast benefit to our militia of having three trained officers at the head of each company and a thoroughly qualified staff with each battalion must be apparent.

"C" Royal School of Infantry accommodates from twelve to fifteen officers and men each course of three months; and the officer or man going there for a lark finds out his mistake very quickly. Steady work and close application to the numerous books placed in his hands are necessary to win the requisite marks to entitle him to the coveted papers necessary to hold a position of trust in our militia force. Officers receive pay at the ate of $1 per day and rations, out of which are taken their mess expenses, but the nonuser of tobacco or wine generally has a few dollars coming to him at the end of the month. The men receive 50 cents per day and rations. Each one receives free transportation to the school, but there is no allowance for the trip home unless successful in winning papers, which of course means staying the full time.

Arduous as may be the work in the drill sheds and on the wide expanse of common, few officers who have passed a course but look ahead eagerly for the time when they shall have another three months to devote to military duties.

The "Old Fort" and the "New Fort" are the names which respectively designate the abandoned quarters and the new group of fine stone buildings half a mile farther west on the shore of Toronto Bay. Both the old and the new quarters are close to the shore, which rises at the latter place to a sodded awn, on whch are planted two heavy smooth-bore cannon mounted on ship gun carriages. Through the weedy embrasures of the old earth-work peep the muzzles of a dozen small old smooth-bore ship guns. All these are said to be of the spoils of Sebastopol, and in their day flamed against the stubbornly defended trenches and wooden walls of the British besiegers.

Wolseley Barracks, London, Ontario (circa 1907).

In 1885 the Government of Canada became aware of the necessity of an additional school for military instruction in Ontario, and selected London, in the western portion of the province, as a suitable site. The extensive and imposing three-story brink barrack in the form of a huge crescent dominates the crest of a slight eminence, and affords a charming view of the young "Forest City," as London the lesser is called. The force here, as at Toronto, is composed of one company (D) of the permanent infantry of Canada, and with the non-commissioned officers and the school of instruction it makes up a body of about 100 non-commissioned officers and men. Lieutenant Colonel Smith, who wears the medal and clasp of 1885, is in command. His staff is as follows: Surgeon, M.J. Hanavan; captains, D.D. Young, R.L. Wadmore and R. Cartwright. And Lieut S.J.A. Denison. They turn out well-trained officers and men from this institution, which is a proof of capable management. The officers of the Thirty-second and Thirty-third battalions acquire their training at this school.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 26 February 2014

RCA Centennial; Parliament Hill (1955)
Topic: Canadian Army

Royal Canadian Artillery Observes Centennial With Big Show on Hill

Ottawa Citizen; 26 May 1955
By Dave McIntosh, Canadian Press Staff Writer

When his 21st Army Group stood victorious in Germany in 1945, Field Marshal Montgomery sent this message to the artillery:

"I think all the other arms have done very well, too. But the artillery has been terrific …"

Canada's gunners will probably hark back to this message today when the Royal Canadian Artillery celebrates its centennial. It is the oldest military formation in Canada.

The ceremonies began at 12.30 p.m. when Maj.-Gen. H.O.N. Brownfield of Brockville, Ont., Honorary Colonel Commandant of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, inspected a guard of honour drawn up on the lawn in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.

On display was a collection of artillery weapons ranging from a muzzle-loading, nine-pounder cannon use in the War of 1812-15 to the Nike, the new ground-to-air guided missile.

Special Parties

Canadian gunners everywhere held special parties and parades. There now are 5,000 regular soldiers serving in 12 artillery units. The 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, is part of the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade in Germany.

"Artillery Day" actually marks the centennial of five units—the 2nd Field Battery of Ottawa, 7th Field Battery of Montreal, 11th Field Battery of Hamilton, 32nd Field Battery of Brockville and 57th Locating Battery of Quebec City.

Cannon fire echoed across forest clearings in Canada as long ago as 1636 when French settlers in Quebec prepared themselves for defence against the Indians.

A history of the Canadian artillery remarks that "the small cannon, if they did little to reduce the Indian population, at least impressed it."

Militia units manned some 23 guns in the defence of Quebec against Sir William Phips' attack in 1690. Volunteer gunners were in action at Pres de Ville, Que., in the Revolutionary War of 1775-76 and Canadian gunners saw action in the War of 1812-15.

Militia Act

In 1855, the Militia Act was passed by Canada's united Parliament (Quebec and Ontario only). Part of the 5,000-man authorized force included seven batteries of field artillery.

Maj.-Gen. T.B. Strange who commanded "B" Battery at Quebec City from 1871 to 1887 and later became dominion inspector of artillery, is known as the "father of Canadian artillery."

Gen. Strange used to turn out his gunners for sudden exercises at night, to the wrath of the sleeping citizens of Quebec.

Two regular batteries and many militia artillery units took part in the 1885 northwest campaign.

In 1893, the Canadian artillery received the designation "Royal" from Queen Victoria. Six years layer, three batteries were despatched to South Africa to fight in the Boer War.

Served Overseas

Some 38,000 of the 44,000 gunners who enlisted in the First World War served overseas. A total of 2,031 gunners were killed and another 7,953 wounded. Two batteries served in north Russia and one in Siberia.

The artillery took part in all the big battles in which Canadians were involved—Ypres, the Somme, Passchendaele, Amiens, Arras, Cambrai, Mons and Vimy Ridge.

In 1926, the RCA's motto was adopted officially. It is "Ubique, quo fas et gloria ducunt" ("everywhere, wither right and glory lead").

The sad day arrived in 1929 when the regiment—gunners refer to the RCA simply as "the regiment"—was informed it was to become mechanized but it was not until 1937 that it parted with its last horse, the same year that the first peacetime anti-aircraft batteries were formed.

Casualties High

In the Second World War, the gunners suffered 5,592 casualties, 1,223 of them fatal.

The 1st RCHA was in France for a few days in 1940 and elements of the 2nd divisional artillery landed at Dieppe in 1942. Guns of the 1st Division supported infantry and tanks in Sicily in 1943.

Gunners of the 3rd Division fired their 105-millimeter howitzers from landing craft before they set foot in France June 6, 1944. they were joined later by the 4th Division and 2nd Canadian Corps Artillery.

Canadian gunners have also served in Korea. The 2nd Regiment, RCHA, was the first on the scene, followed by the 1st, 4th, and 3rd Regiments, in that order.

In 1952, King George VI became the first Captain General of the Royal Canadian Artillery, a distinction accorded no other corps in the Canadian Army.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Quebec, 1759; and the events which followed
Topic: The Field of Battle

Quebec, 1759

From: The Military Guide for Young Officers, by Thomas Simes, Esq., Philadelphia, 1776


From: The Military Guide for Young Officers, by Thomas Simes, Esq., Philadelphia, 1776

Quebec, the capital of Canada, in North America, lies at the confluence of the river St. Lawrence, has a castle on the brow of a hill, about forty fathoms above the town, but irregularly built and fortified, having only two bastions, without a ditch towards the city. It has also another fort on Cape Diamont, a solid rock, 400 fathoms high, with only some few works, and redoubts commanding both it and the town; but the place owes its strength more to mature than art. It lies 300 miles northwest of Boston, in New England. Latitude, 47.35. north; longitude, 74.10. west.

In 1759, the British army and navy came before it, when the Commanders made excellent dispositions for reducing it, but were baffled by the caution of General Montcalm, the strength of the place, and the insurmountable difficulty of the troops landing to attack it; so well was nature assisted by art, that even the undaunted Wolfe despaired of success, and after being checked and repulsed the enemy. However, by a train of stratagems, a landing was at last effected, but under greater disadvantages than any other upon record, by being obliged to drag their artillery up a steep and dangerous ascent; but having, by incessant labour, gained the top of the hill, September 13, immediately formed.

Montcalm was now compelled to risque a battle on the plains of Abraham, in which the English were victorious, but lost their brave Wolfe, who died on the field, and General Monckton was dangerously wounded. The honour of completing the victory fell on Lord Townsend, who drove the enemy from every part, with the loss of only 500 men, though that of the French exceeded 1500. Five days after this, September 18th, the city surrendered to the British troops. Though Wolfe has immortalized his name, whilst the glorious conquest of Canada illustrates English annals, yet all must allow, glorious as this victory was, and important in its consequences, that it was too dearly purchased by his death. Officers may be formed by attention and experience; but the loss of so great a General, Christian, and soldier, is irretrievable. He was an honour to his King, a friend to to his country. and an ornament to society and his profession. Montcalm was killed on the spot, and the next General in command so dangerously wounded, that he died in a few days.

After this victory, General Murray, was appointed Governor of Quebec, and the garrison supplied with such stores and provisions as could be spared out of the fleet; which leaving Quebec, and the enemy knowing no ships of war were left to outfit the garrison in case of danger; and sensible that they were greatly reduced in numbers, by sickness, &c., and the fortifications in a bad state of defence; with this striking appearance of success, Monsieur de Levi was encouraged to attempt its recovery ; and therefore determined upon a regular siege, in the spring of 1760, before the place could receive succour from the English fleet.

Monsieur de Levi, having assembled an army of 13,000, took the field on the 17th of April, being well provided for a siege. He sent his provisions, ammunition, and heavy baggage, down the river St. Lawrence under the protection of six frigates, from twenty-six to forty-four guns, by which he entirely mastered the river; and after ten days march, his army appeared on the heights near Quebec.

General Murray had now only two things to determine on; to stand a siege within the ruined works of Quebec, or to march out and give battle to the enemy; he, therefore, with equal spirit and resolution to a variety of unpleasing circumstances, which surrounded him, chose the latter; and marched out at the head of 3000 brave men, with about twenty field pieces, resolved to attack the enemy, leaving a sufficient number to keep the inhabitants in awe, and the gates open. This daring scheme struck the enemy with surprise; their troops were posted beneath some woody eminences; but before they could be in regular order of battle, their van, which was also posted upon eminences, was so furiously attacked, as to be driven into the utmost disorder, with great loss, upon the main body, which was drawn up in the valley below, formed in columns, and received the troops with so hot a fire, that they were staggered in the pursuit; and nothing but the intrepidity of the General, and that of those under him, could have preserved them and their garrison, the enemy being above four times their number. Further resistance would have been imprudent, as they had lost some hundreds of men, and the French upwards of 2000. General Murray after returning into his garrison, was judged irretrievably undone, no ships being sent to assist him; yet his courage was unshaken; his ardour redoubled by his difficulties, and, by diligence and penetration, compensated for the weakness of his fortifications and troops.

The French opened trenches that same night against the place; but it was the 11th of May before they could bring two batteries to bear; and their fire even then was ill plied; this gave the garrison time to prepare for its defence, and upwards of 100 pieces of cannon were mounted on its ramparts. On the 9th of May, two days before the batteries were opened, a vessel arrived in the basin, with an account that Lord Colville, with a small squadron, had entered the river St. Lawrence, and would sail in a few days to their relief. On the 15th, a ship of the line, and two frigates arrived; which frigates were immediately sent against the French squadron, that lay above the town, and in a very few hours either took or destroyed them; upon which Levi raised the siege with the greatest precipitation, abandoned all their immense stores, their standing camp, baggage, &c. Many prisoners were taken in the pursuit.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 19 February 2014 4:57 PM EST
Monday, 24 February 2014

Cap Badges; Designs for Corps and Units (1948)
Topic: Militaria

Canadian Army Orders (1948)

29th November 1948

84-1 — Dress Regulations for Officers and Other ranks of the Canadian Army (Provisional)

Part I — Section 11 — Badges and Buttons

Cap Badges — Designs for Corps and Units

16.     Cap badges, collar badges and buttons emblematic of each corps (or unit in the case of the RCAC, RCIC and contingent in the case of COTC) will he selected as far as possible by representatives of all such corps and units or contingents.

17.     The cap badges, collar badges and buttons worn by personnel of corps and units will be those as authorized in Canadian Army Orders from time to time. Existing corps and units, for which designs have been authorized will NOT have alterations made in such badges or buttons without approval of Army Headquarters.

18.     (a)     When the formation of a new corps or, in the case of the RCAC and RCIC, a new unit, and the COTC, a new contingent, is being considered, designs or particulars of the badges and button which it wishes to adopt will be submitted to Army Headquarters at the earliest possible date.

(b)     Designs submitted should be an actual sample or a properly drawn up sketch giving the following particulars in each case:

(i)     Nature of the badge—i.e., cap, collar.

(ii)     Dimensions—i.e., extreme height and width.

(iii)     Nature of the metal—i.e., brass, white metal, bronze, etc, stating difference if any in metals to be used for badges for officers and other ranks. With the exception of Rifle Regiments, who may use black metal, all other corps and units should wear brase or white metal badges or a combination of the two metals.

(iv)     Description of the badge giving history and symbolic significance of the component parts.

(c)     For the information and guidance of all concerned and particularly to assist commanding officers in deciding upon the suitability of designs of badges and buttons desired, the following factors, which influence the approval of designs submitted, will be observed :

(i)     Every badge should have one dominant feature; in a cap badge this should be the distinctive device of the corps or unit. The other elements should be as few in number as possible in order to simplify reproduction, to avoid confusion of details and to maintain significance and individuality.

(ii)     An essential part of the cap badge is the name of the unit, usually displayed on a scroll or annulus.

(iii)     The Imperial Crown, if borne on badges, should conform to the authorized design and should NOT be less than 1/4 the total height of the badge. It expresses the sovereignty of His Majesty the King, and is never to be surmounted by any other feature, although it may be placed upon a maple leaf or other emblem. The use of the Imperial Crown requires Royal Assent.

(iv)     Royal Assent is also required before any motto may be used by a corps or unit; when the use of a motto is sought, traditional or other reasons in support of the request must be advanced. The fact that the motto was previously worn by a unit or corps which is perpetuated by the petitioning unit is considered a sufficient reason for submission.

(v)     On the Garter, the use of any motto or title other than the motto "HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE" is incorrect and improper.

(vi)     Maple leaves if used must conform to the standard maple leaf design in accordance with the diagram hereunder:

(Acer Sacoherum )

(vii)     It is incorrect to embody in the design any scroll without a name, motto or other inscription thereon. All inscriptions, on scrolls must read continuously.

(viii)     As corps and regimental badges are common to all units forming part thereof, it will NOT be permissible for a number or numeral to be borne thereon except in the case of a regiment where a number is part of the regimental title as a whole; e.g., 15th Armoured Regiment (6th Hussars).

(ix)     Designs for buttons should be as plain as possible to simplify reproduction.

(x)     If a corps or unit desires to adopt the badges of an allied unit as indicated in Section 1, paras 23, 24, there are certain honorary distinctions and devices which would be inappropriate for a corps or unit of the Canadian Army to adopt, examples of which are as follows:

(a)     Honours awarded to the individual allied regiment for conspicuous service in the field, which include such devices as the Sphinx for service in Egypt, etc.

(b)     Special mottoes awarded to the allied regiment by Royal Assent for conspicuous or special service.

(c)      Devices pertaining to a Royal personage, such as the Prince of Wales' plume, the use of which is restricted to units whose designations embody the title of the Royal personage concerned.

(d)     This applies also to devices such as the Coronet of a Royal personage or Peer who might be an Honorary Colonel of a British regiment but who does not hold such association with the allied Canadian unit.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 23 February 2014

A Militia Field Day and Mock Battle (1880)
Topic: Canadian Militia

This early 1900s postcard shows a military review held on the Plains of Abraham,
possibly the 1908 Tercentennary Review.

Sketch of Field Day in Honor of Her Majesty's Birthday on 24th May at Quebec

The Montreal Gazette; 21 April 1880

It is expected that the following troops will assemble in Quebec to celebrate the Queen's birthday on 24th May next.

Two squadrons of Cavalry, two Field Batteries, (8 guns), five Garrison Batteries, eight Infantry Battalions.

The corps from a distance will arrive on Monday morning, under arrangements made for their transport.

The troops will be drawn up in line upon the Plains of Abraham, at half past eleven o'clock a.m., for which purpose no corps should arrive on the ground later than eleven o'clock.

The line will face the St. Louis road, and be drawn up as far back from it as the ground will permit.

If there is not enough space for the line, the cavalry and artillery on the right will be thrown forward en potence.

His Excellency the Governor-General and Her Royal Highness the Princess Louise will, upon arrival, be received with a royal salute from the line with colors drooped and bands playing the National Anthem. His Excellency and Her Royal Highness will probably then ride down the line and inspect the troops, preceded by the staff in the regulated order of formation. The band of each regiment will strike up as the procession approaches the right flank of the corps. A noon a royal salute and feu de joie will be fired in honour of Her Majesty's birthday. After each 7 guns the Infantry will fire one round of running fire, three times successively. When arms are ordered, the order will be given "Off hats and three cheers for Her Majesty." The troops will then march past in column and quarter column, preparatory to which the Infantry will form quarter column on the right companies of Battalions. The Cavalry and Artillery conforming. Immediately after marching past, the troops will be formed for the following evolutions of a field day. The attacking force will consist of about 900 men and will be formed on the low ground at the extreme edge of the Plains close to the Marchmont fence. It will be composed of the following corps, viz:

Half troop of Cavalry, Quebec Field Battery, "A" and "B" Batteries, (without guns), 9th Battalion Rifles and 62nd battalion.

This force will be commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Strange, R.A. The remainder, with the four guns of "A" and "B" Batteries, will compose the defending force, and will at once proceed to rake position under the walls of the Citadel, either in the ditches or the low ground in front of them. They will throw parties of riflemen into the two Martello Towers, and will leave one corps of riflemen under cover of the broken ground near those towers, and another behind Wolfe's Monument. Lieut.-Colonel Duchesnay will command this force. The western walls of the citadel will be manned by the five garrison batteries of artillery, and the guns on the bastions commanding the approaches from the Plains will have gun detachments told off to each. Should an attack from the river take place, the gins on the King's bastion and eastern face of the Citadel must also be manned. The troops in the Citadel will be under command of Lieut.-Colonel Irwin, R.A. On a signal being give, the attacking force will advance in order of attack across the Plains of Abraham; they will first be assailed by the outpost near Wolfe's Monument; upon which they will open fire and drive them in. The Martello Towers and supporting corps of riflemen will open fire upon the assailants, when within range. The towers will be captured and the troops driven in, retiring in skirmish order upon the main body in the Citadel ditches. The assailants advancing and steadily firing upon the retiring out-posts, will suddenly be arrested by a fire from the Citadel walls, and simultaneously by a sortie of the infantry concealed in the ditches. This main body now re-inforced by the out-posts will advance in order of attack over the Cove Common and rough ground, covered by fire from the fortress. They will recover the Martello Towers and detach a battalion of infantry supported by cavalry to the right, in order to turn the left flank of the retiring force by the St. Louis Road and reach the Plains by the gateway near the toll-bar. The retiring force will dispute the ground at every obstacle, especially where there are enclosures and palings to cover riflemen; but the opposing forces must never approach nearer than 200 yards from each other. When the retreating force again reaches the open Plains of Abrham assailed on the left flank by the turning movement, and in rear by the continually advancing forces before which they are retiring, they will fight a retreating action till they again reach the point of low ground from whence the orginally advanced and where they will be lost to sight. A charge of cavalry might then be made across the Plains in close order, performing the pursuing practice with the supposed object of completely dispersing the enemy. The operation of the troops of all arms, when passing and re-passing through the enclosed ground, between the New Gaol and the Martello Towers, will require the exercise of the most military intelligence and circumspection, on the part of the commanders, and all the regimental officers and men employed. Should a demonstration be made by one or more of Her Majesty's ships from the river, I suggest the ships get under weigh in the morning, and drop down towards the Island of Orleans. On approaching the city of Quebec about one o'clock, when the land attack on the Citadel will be commencing, they might on hearing the firing from the heights, open a broadside fire of half an hour on the works of the Citadel. This would be hotly returned, and at the end of that time they would sheer off with yards canted, supposing the lifts and braces have been shot away, and with boats hanging disordered in the davits. The troops, after the field day, will form a line of quarter-columns, at close interval on the original ground, advance in review-order, give a royal salute, and upon the departure of the Governor-General and Her Royal Highness the Princess, the field artillery will fire a royal salute of 21 guns. The whole force will be under the command of Lieut.-General Sir Edward Selby Smith, K.C.M.G., who will generally direct the evolutions of the troops engaged. The scarlet and rifle brigaes will be commanded by their respective officers. The infantry will be supplied with 30 rounds of blank cartridge per man. The pouches to be carefully examined to ascertain that no ball cartridge remains, previous to the issue of the blanks.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 23 February 2014 1:56 AM EST
Saturday, 22 February 2014

The British Royal Artillery (1893)
Topic: British Army

The British Royal Artillery

The Quebec Saturday Budget, 6 May 1893

The British Royal Artillery is a peculiar organization, constituting as it does only a single regiment. That regiment is, however, the largest in the world and comprises 1,700 officers and 35,400 men. From a lecture recently delivered by an officer of the Royal Artillery, I take the following interesting details concerning this arm of the service. It is divided into four branches, the Horse, Field, Mountain and Garrison Artillery. The Royal Horse Artillery has an establishment of 20 service batteries, the Field Artillery of 80, the Mountain of 10 and the Garrison of 72.

The role of the Horse Artillery is to operate in conjunction with cavalry, a part which it is well fitted to play by its great mobility; the role of Field Artillery is to operate with Infantry, whose movements being slower than the Cavalry, demand a less mobility from the Artillery that supports it. The Mountain Artillery as its name implies is for operation in mountainous or broken country unsuitable for horses or wheeled carriages.

The British Garrison Artillery has an establishment of 684 officers and 16,380 men stationed in every quarter of the globe, subdivided into three Grand Divisions, viz., the "Eastern," "Southern" and "Western." The strength of each company varies according to local requirements; the strongest is at Halifax, N.S., and consists of 316 of all ranks; the weakest consists of 99. Out of the Garrison Artillery a force of 1,200 are employed as Siege Artillery—four heavy Field Batteries for service in India and three companies as a Siege Train in England. The former are armed with 4 40-pounder R.M.L. Guns and 2 6.3" Howitzers, drawn by elephants and bullocks, the officers and some of the N.C.O's. Being mounted on horses, and such a diversity of animals has gained for them the nickname of "Menagerie Batteries." The Siege Train, it is observed, is a small one, consisting of only three companies. There have only been two important sieges undertaken by British arms in the last half of this century, viz: the sieges of Delhi and Sebastopol, and it is not considered necessary to maintain a large permanent Siege Train, but different companies are detailed to go through a course of practice in siege operations and bring at Siege camps of Instruction at Lydd and Chatham every year.

The Mountain Artillery are affiliated with the Garrison Artillery to the extent that the officers and men are appointed and drafted to it from the latter. It is a much coveted branch of the Artillery and special qualifications are required for it. It makes a valuable outlet for the Garrison Artillery and gives all ranks of this branch an opportunity of seeing active service which those employed exclusively in coast defence would otherwise not get. You will scarcely see an officer or man in a Mountain Battery who does not wear at least one war medal and often several, The same remarks applies in a less degree to the Heavy batteries in India.

The Field and garrison Artillery are not interchangeable, the authorities having come to the conclusion that an individual cannot be both an efficient Field Artilleryman and garrison Artilleryman at the same time, and that if he tries to, he will stand a good chance of resembling Dr. Johnson's Dragoon, who is defined by that great man in his dictionary as a "soldier who fights indifferently on horse and on foot!"

With regard to the Militia Artillery with Royal Artillery, the Irish and Scotch are affiliated with the Southern Division, and the Welsh to Western Division. They are under the General Officer Commanding and train in our forts with our guns. In 1885 the Hants Artillery Militia were embodied for nine months at Gosport and took over Fort Grange from the Royal Artillery.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 21 February 2014

Sgt.-Maj McKenzie and Drummer Flinn
Topic: Medals

The Victoria Cross

The Daily Sun; St John, N.B.; 16 July 1892

The Case of Drummer Flinn —
Sergt.-Major McKenzie's Many Engagements

To the Editor of the Sun:

Sir—In the Fredericton Farmer of a late date there was published an item headed "Hero and Pauper," relating to Drummer Thomas Flinn, late of the 64th Regiment, and with reference to that item a Farmer reporter interviewed Sergt. Major McKenzie who served in that regiment, as to Flinn's heroism. In the life of Lieut.-General Sir James Outram, which I received from the legislative library, published by Major-General Sir F.J. Goldsmid, I find in a memoir in the Times of India, the following" His thoughts of and core for the soldiers, says one of his staff, was such as is not often felt by generals for their men. He had with him during the Persian campaign an orderly bugler, Thomas McKenzie, of the 64th. On the line of march, I have seen him looking down and say, 'McKenzie, you are not smoking,' 'No, sir,' would be the answer, 'I have no tobacco.' The general's cheroot case was at once at the bugler's disposal, and he would stop his horse and from his own cheroot give a light to McKenzie."

I have interviewed the sergeant major on this matter and he tells me the like often occurred, and in answer to questions the sergeant major tells me he was talking to Sir Henry M. Havelock Allen's servant on board the steamer Scindian, on the river Karoon, en route to Mohammerab, Persia, when the servant was struck with a round shot from the enemy's battery, about four hundred yards distant, and Sir James Outram was saved by being shot by a hookah (pipe) a friend of his was smoking on the same boat. The general's cool remark was, "they have out your pipe out."

Do you remember Sergt. Major, the night attack at Kooshab of Sir James falling and his horse rolling over him at that place which I also find in his life? "Yes, I remember the circumstance well. Fir when he fell, I immediately dismounted and out him in a doolah and remained bathing his head with water for about four hours until he was able to take command of the forces. For that service Sir James presented me with a silver watch and gold chain, and told me he would recommend me for the Victoria Cross, and he remarks, 'You saved my life at Kooshab.' "

Why did you not get the Victoria Cross? "After the Persian campaign our regiment was ordered home to Kurrachee, Bombay Presidency, but in place of going direct home the mutiny in Bengal Presidency had just broken out, and our regiment was ordered there and did not return to Kurrachee for two years afterwards, or until the Indian mutiny was over. If the regiment had returned to Kurrachee I would have been then recommended for the Victoria Cross, for several officers, as well as that commander of our regiment, knew of my action; but during the Indian mutiny we lost nearly all the regiment, as history tells, at Cawnpore and other places. I may further say regarding the Victoria Cross, the last time I saw Sir James was the day we buried Sir Henry Havelock at Alumbah, near Lucknow, when he again told me I would receive the award, but shortly after the mutiny our regiment was ordered home to England. Still, I may further say, regarding this medal for valour during war, that Sir James called to see me in Dover, England, but I was on furlough at the time and in my absence he stated to the officer, then commanding my regiment, I was entitled to the Victoria Cross. Unfortunately for me I was not there. A few days after I returned from furlough I volunteered (Trent affair, 1861) to Canada. Still after I arrived in New Brunswick I expected to receive the Victoria Cross, and after sufficient time elapsed I wrote to the officer commanding my regiment, but received no reply. In 1863 I wrote to Sir James on the matter, but my letter was returned with a note informing me that Sir James had lately died. I may say that I am still expecting to receive the Victoria Cross, for at present I am corresponding on the matter with the authorities in England."

You must have seen hard times during your service. How many actions have you been in and have you ever been wounded? "I have been in twenty-three general engagements, but have never been wounded. I took a rifle to fire a few shots at Kooshab in Persia, and was loading as a rear rank man, kneeling position, when the right heel of my boot was show off, which I did not know about until I raised to move on. Although I had seen many fall this was the nearest to myself during the many battles I was present at.

[signed] Militiaman. Sussex, N.B., July 7th

[In connection with the above it may be mentioned that Sergt. Major Mckenzie resided in this city [St John] for several years previous to his transfer to Fredericton. During his residence here he was captain and adjutant of the 62nd battalion as well as drill inspector.]

The article from the Farmer referred to is:

Arthur Hancock, late of the Canadian Royal Military School, deserves the thanks of every justice-loving Canadian and Britisher, for his letter which appears in an English paper under the heading of A Hero and a Pauper. The Farmer believes that it is possible, to save the hero referred to from the fate which threatens him. The letter is as follows:

The Victoria Cross

Drummer Thomas Flinn

Date of Act of Bravery, 28th November, 1857

For conspicuous gallantry, in the charge on the Enemy's guns on the 28th November, 1857, when, being himself wounded, he engaged in a hand to hand encounter two of the Rebel Artillerymen. - The London Gazette: no. 22248. p. 1483. 12 April 1859.

Lieutenant Henry Marshman Havelock, 10th Regiment

'In the combat at Cawnpore, Lieutenant Havelock was my Aide-de-camp. The 64th Regiment had been much under artillery fire, from which it had severely suffered. The whole of the infantry were lying down in line, when, perceiving that the enemy had brought out the last reserved gun, a 24-pounder, and were rallying round it, I called up the regiment to rise and advance. Without any other word from me, Lieutenant Havelock placed himself on his horse, in front of the centre of the 64th,oppositethe muzzleofthegun.MajorStirling,com- mandingtheregiment, was in front, dismounted, but the Lieutenant continued to move steadily on in front of the regiment at a foot pace, on his horse. The gun discharged shot until the troops were with in a short distance, when they fired grape. In went the corps, led by the Lieutenant, who still steered steadily on the gun's muzzle until it was mastered by a rush of the 64th.' (Extract of a telegram from the late Major-General Sir Henry Havelock to the Commander-in-Cheif in India, dated Cawnpore, August 18th, 1857.)

"The interesting research into the present whereabouts and of former services of the heroes decorated with the Victoria Cross has resulted in the discovery of the only holder of that medal who is ending his days in the workhouse. Drummer Thomas Flinn, late 64th regiment, is the only member of that regiment who has received a medal 'For valor,' and wears also the medals for 'Persia' and 'India.' he served in Persia, and afterwards, during the mutiny, being present, among other stirring events, at Cawnpore and Lucknow under Outram and Havelock. At Cawnpore he was one of the regiment commanded by Major Stirling and nobly led by Lieutenant H. Havelock, A.D.C., when on November 28th, 1857, they charged the rebel guns. Infantry charging guns was perhaps unheard of, but such men, so led, could do anything. Flinn, wounded in the charge, engaged to artillerymen at a gun, killed them and took the gun. Lieutenant Havelock (now Sir H. Havelock-Allen) and Flinn both received the Victoria Cross. Flinn is now, and has been for some years in Athlone workhouse—old, ill, and with but a few years to look forward to. General Havelock, in his address to the army said: 'Soldiers, your labours, your privations, your sufferings and your valour will never be forgotten by a grateful country;' yet Flinn, one of the bravest where all were courageous, has been forgotten (even his £10 a year is confiscated by the guardians), and presents a notable object lesson in national ingratitude. Surely someone, including the regiment he so distinguished, will do something for him, before—all too soon—the last words are told that one of Britain's "bravest brave" has been consigned to the grave of a pauper whom nobody owns. Little would save him from this sad fate, and the press may do what a cold officialdom denies."

Knowing that Sergt. Major McKenzie of the Infantry School Corps here has done duty at Cawnpore, Lucknow and elsewhere, the Farmer interviewed him in reference to the great deed performed by the herp refered to above. The sergt. major declined to speak of any achievement of his own in any of the great battles in which he figured, although those who know his record say that none who ever wore the Victoria Cross better deserved it than the same Sergt. Major McKenzie. Speaking of Flinn's heroism. the sergt. major said to the Farmer" 'I have seen a copy of the letter to which you refer. It was sent to me only the other day by Lieut. Col. Morris, who is now an inspector of the Northwest Mounted Police at Fort MacLeod. I well remember Flinn's heroism, although it is 35 years since the event which called it forth happened. Two of,1572648the great rebel guns were causing great destruction among our forces which were led by Gen. Havelock. I was then a sergeant and on Gen. Havelock's staff as field bugler. I heard the general say to his son, then his A.D.C. And now Sir H.M. Havelock-Allen, 'Go and tell the 64th to spike those two guns of the enemy.' Young Havelock did not, as he might have done, transfer the order to Major Stirling, but as quickly as a flash, led a company of the 64th out in face of the terrible danger, and Flinn won glory for himself, his regiment and his country by killing two artillerymen at one of the guns as the about applying the port fire to fire the gun, which if done would have meant disaster to Lieut. Havelock, Flinn and the other of the company of the 64th. The deed was regarded at the time as one of the most daring in the history of great battles of the world.

Whatever we may say about the bluster of the United States, one thing is greatly to their credit. They look after their heroes. In this respect Canada and England might learn a wholesome lesson.

The case of Flinn is one worthy of the attention of the British government, and the Farmer sincerely hopes that Arthur Hancock may be covered in glory for having called attention to it.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 20 February 2014

Canadian Army Pacific Force
Topic: Canadian Army

Corporals N. Semchuk and A.A. Adams of the Canadian Army Pacific Force examining their boots, Brockville, Ontario, Canada, ca. June-July 1945. (L-R): Cpls. N. Semchuk, A.A. Adams. Location: Brockville, Ontario, Canada. Date: [ca. June-July 1945]. Photographer: Unknown., Photographer Mikan Number: 3404728. From the LIbrary and Archives Canada virtual exhibition Faces of War.

Canadian Army Pacific Force

The Maple Leaf; 11 June 1945

U.S. Organization, Canadian Uniforms for Pacific Force

Ottawa.—The Canadian Army Far East force, comprising the Sixth Canadian Division with its supporting armour and service troops, will be organized on lines similar to those of the army of the United States with which it will operate, it was announced today from the Department of National Defence. It was pointed out that this will involve certain differences in the designation of units to avoid confusion in operation, planning and orders. In the American Army the word "regiment" is applied to a formation normally known in Canada as a "brigade," while the units commonly known as "regiments" in the Canadian Army are called "battalions" in the United States.

Accordingly, infantry units in the new Canadian Army Pacific force will be known as Canadian infantry battalions and will be grouped in infantry regiments. Artillery batteries will be grouped into field artillery battalions instead of regiments. Infantry battalions in the force will be organized on a territorial basis with each unit representative of a military district and the appropriate numerical identification will be allotted to each.


Each battalion will carry its geographical identification in its title. For instance, number one battalion will be the First Canadian Infantry Battalion (Western Ontario). Other units will be similarly representative of the various military districts and provinces. As far as possible, personnel will be posted to units representing their particularly territorial affiliation.

The Canadian force will use United States weapons and equipment with the exception of uniforms which will be Canadian with Canadian regimental badges and flashes, badges of rank and identifying battle patches. American-type steel helmets will be worn to avoid confusion in the heat of battle and because the bucket-type helmet has proven most adaptable to conditions encountered in the Pacific Theatre.

Battle patch for the force has been designed as a hexagonal form divided into six triangles which will be comprised of the colors of each of the five present devisions, plus one black triangle representing Canadian armoured brigades. When assembly of the force in Canada has been completed, it will move to the United States for advanced training prior to embarkation for the Pacific Theatre.

Within a few weeks of the above article being published, the naming scheme for the infantry battalions of the Sixth Canadian Division changed. Instead of being named and numbered for their respective military districts, they were assigned regimental affiliations. The First Canadian Infantry Battalion then became the "1st Canadian Infantry Battalion (The Royal Canadian Regiment)."

The war concluded before the Sixth Division moved to the United States for further training. When the overseas battalion of The RCR returned to Wolseley Barracks in London, Ontario, for demobilization and disbandment, the First Battalion training at Barriefield, Ontario, for the Sixth Division was redesignated "The Royal Canadian Regiment," becoming the sole Permanent Force battalion of The RCR in the post-war period.

The Maple Leaf; 23 June 1945

First Division Names Adopted By Canadian Far East Force

Ottawa—(CP)—Famous fighting names of 10 First Canadian Infantry Division units which served in the Mediterranean and Northwestern Europe will be perpetuated in the Sixth Division which Maj.-Gen. Bert Hoffmeister will lead against the Japanese, it is announced here.

Previously it had been announced the units would be designated by the numbers of their military districts.

They are:

Completing the Sixth Division will be the Royal Montreal Regiment and the Grenadier Guards, both of Montreal.

Serious training for the Pacific will begin early in September in Kentucky.

In a Washington interview, General Hoffmeister said 28,000 European veterans had volunteered to serve with the limited force of 30,000.

he would not say when the formation would be ready to rake on the Japs, but noted that the great majority of the men were experienced and they should complete their training quickly. He also said Canada would be paying for supplies, equipment and services received while the Sixth Division served under overall United States command.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 12 February 2017 8:05 PM EST
Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The Veteran on the Ten-Dollar Bill – Fact Checking
Topic: Commentary

The Veteran on the Ten Dollar Bill - Fact Checking

It's one of those enduring bits of internet flotsam. Posted and reposted, it survives on blogs, websites and message boards. Even now, it may be in your facebook feed.

It has one thing in common with many copy-and-paste bits of electronic detritus, it doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Then why does it survive? It does so because it reads nicely, evokes favourable emotions, portends to inform and leave you wanting to share your new "knowledge" with others. And it survives because so few people question the things they read, especially when they might trust the surce the see if appear from.

The item I speak of is "The Veteran on the Ten Dollar Bill" and it can be found all over the net.

All. Over. The. Internet.

The Veteran on the Ten-Dollar Bill

If you have a Canadian $10 bill, look at the back right side of the bill. You will see a  veteran standing at attention near the Ottawa war memorial. His name is Robert Metcalfe and he died last month at the age of 90. That he managed to live to that age is rather remarkable, given what happened in the Second World War. Born in England, he was one of the 400,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force sent to the mainland where they found themselves facing the new German warfare technique - the Blitzkrieg. He was treating a wounded comrade when he was hit in the legs by shrapnel. En route to hospital, his ambulance came under fire from a German tank, which then miraculously ceased fire. Evacuated from Dunkirk on HMS Grenade, two of the sister ships with them were sunk. Recovered, he was sent to allied campaigns in north Africa and Italy. En route his ship was chased by the German battleship Bismarck. In North Africa he served under General Montgomery against the Desert Fox, Rommel.

Sent into the Italian campaign, he met his future wife, a lieutenant and physiotherapist in a Canadian hospital. They were married one morning by the mayor of the Italian town, and again in the afternoon by a British padre. After the war they settled in Chatham where he went into politics and became the warden (chairman) of the county. At the age of 80 he wrote a book about his experiences and on his retirement he and his wife moved to Ottawa. One day out of the blue he received a call from a government official asking him to go downtown for a photo op. He wasn't told what the photo was for or why they chose him. "He had no idea he would be on the bill," his daughter said. And now you know the rest of the story of the veteran on the $10 bill.

But what If It's Not True?

Some time ago, I was forwarded a copy of "The Veteran on the Ten Dollar Bill". The item just seemed a little too neat and I started to check a few facts that were presented:

1.Let's start with the real Robert Metcalfe. Mr. Metcalf's name has probably been used in the above piece of drivel because it provides one more recognizable element. If someone searches for him by name, he is easily found on the net. Once you wade through the many copies of the Ten-Dollar Bill text, you find that he was a real person and a real veteran. That, to many, would be enough for them to accept the remainder as sound.

Robert W. Metcalfe - The Memory Project

My name is Robert Metcalfe. I'm a war bridegroom who came over here in 1948 with my Canadian-born wife. Most of my military service, I served with the Green Howards [Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own] Yorkshire Regiment. I joined on the 4th of December, 1935.

The first contact I had with the war was in 1939. We mobilized on the 23rd of August. I went to France with the Reconnaissance party of my regiment on the 19th of January 1940. My first battle was the Battle on Vimy Ridge. We battled with Rommel. Rommel commanded the 7th Panther Division. We fought for two days on the Ridge. He drove us off there and then we went north into Belgium. We made contact with the enemy at Ypres at Menin Gate. I was a company commander by this time and the captain. And I received my orders for the defence of Ypres underneath the famous archway of Menin Gate.

See the presented transcript at the Memory Project to see where Metcalfe's real story overlaps and diverges from the Ten-Dollar Bill text. Read the rest at the link.

2.The British Expeditionary Force in France did not total 400,000 men, but all of the Allies involved in the battle did---The Battle of Dunkirk.

3.The HMS Grenade itself was sunk during the evacuation at Dunkirk, and one of her sister ships was also sunk, the Grafton (they were among a total of 9 British and French destroyers sunk)---HMS Grenade at and The Dunkirk Evacuation.

4.The Bismark was sunk on 27 May 1941, which was long before the landings in Northern Africa on 8 Nov 1942.

5.In the text, Metcalfe is described as a member of the British Expeditionary Force, which does make me wonder why the anonymous government official wouldn't have found a Canadian veteran for this supposed photo/art opportunity.

6.If the veteran wrote a book on his experiences, it is very unusual that the original reporter never mentions the book's title. Metcalfe did write a book, titled No time for dreams: A soldier's six-year journey through WW II (1997).

It's too bad this story doesn't "check out," because it does evoke all of the emotions we are supposed to feel at reading such a heart-warming tale. (Of course, that's the key to its survival.) It's just too bad that it's such a poor fabrication that does this to us. It would, however, be nice to know who the veteran on the bill really is (if a real person was even used as a model), and what his own story might be. Then again, who was the model for the peacekeeper? Or the artist?

It's too bad that Robert Metcalfe's name has been entwined with this artificial piece of internet fiction. Unfortunately, it remains a fact of human nature that it will probably continue to be shared as the likelihood of enough people checking the facts to stop its spread remains low.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 19 February 2014 6:38 PM EST
Tuesday, 18 February 2014

RCR Legal Status; a Rebuttal (1894)
Topic: The RCR

The RCR; A Question of Legal Existence
A Rebuttal (1894)

On 20 Nov 1894, the Toronto Daily Mail published a letter by Lieut.-Col. William E. O'Brien, of the 35th Bn "The Simcoe Foresters," in which he claimed "the Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry had no legal status." (Read his letter here on the Minute Book.) The following article, published in the same paper two weeks later, constitutes a rebuttal by a Militia subaltern to Col. O'Brien's views.

elipsis graphic

Royal Canadian Infantry

The Toronto Daily Mail, 8 December 1894

To the Editor of The Mail:

Sir.—In a somewhat bitter letter which appeared in your columns recently, Lieut.-Col. O'Brien, 35th Battalion, makes a strong attack on the Royal Regiment of Canadian Infantry with reference to the offer by our Government of that regiment in case of need. We will not stop here to reflect on the spirit of hostility to the permanent corps with which Col. O'Brien's letter abounds, though to any true soldier it is a most regrettable thing that men in high military and official positions should take such ground, but will deal with one or two statements which appear strongly in the foreground.

Col. O'Brien speak of the "Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry," as a legal myth existing in the minds of the Dominion Government, and he further states that money is granted not for a royal regiment but for schools of instruction. Let us review the situation from the inception of these schools, and we will see that the Government is pursuing exactly the same policy as it did ten years ago. When these schools were established they were then, as now, in connection with a permanent body of men enlisted for continuous service under the Queen's Regulations, and even then were intended not only for instruction but as a nucleus for a force which should be better able to take the field at a moment's notice than the militia. These bodies of men were not, as Col. O'Brien would suggest, independent, unorganized companies. On the contrary, their title was that of the "Infantry School Corps," in which the permanent officers, whether at Fredericton or Toronto, held rank and precedence. A subaltern at St. John's or London was then a lieutenant in the Infantry School Corps, as he is to-day in the Royal Regiment of Canadian Infantry, and the body of men who constituted the Royal School of Infantry at Toronto were then "C" Company, Infantry School Corps, as they now are No. 2 Company, R.C.R.I. In 1891 the name was changed to that of the Canadian Regiment of Infantry, the different companies, as before, constituting schools of instruction for the various districts, and shortly afterwards her Majesty was graciously pleased to allow them the title "Royal" and the imperial cypher, an act of no little significance. No doubt it is sad to think that no such regiment really exists, and that her Majesty has been deluded by a "legal fiction," but we wil hope that she will not see Col. O'Brien's letter.

By the way, what about the Regiment of Royal Canadian Artillery and the Royal Canadian Dragoons? Do they not exist either? Col. O'Brien sneers at the idea of a comparatively few men presenting themselves as the Canadian contingent, I would call his attention to the fact that when, two years ago, a mere handful of officers and men from the permanent corps presented themselves in England they got a reception that could not be excelled; and if Canada did send men to the help of the Mother Country it would be as a regiment of not less than five hundred men. Yet the spirit that prompts, and not the number sent, is what counts. There are, indeed, in the militia, of which I have the honour to be a subaltern, many thousand who would gladly respond to the call of the Mother Land for help, but obviously the ones first to go are those without responsibility as private citizens and who are also so perfect in drill, equipment, and clothing.

But, after all, Col. O'Brien might have spared himself the trouble, for second and more authentic reports are to the effect that the Canadian Government offered the R.R.C.I. To the Imperial Government to garrison Halifax citadel. This would have allowed the King's Liverpool Regiment, now quartered there, a start of at least six days over their comrades from England in their race to the Orient. Also, the R.R.C.I. Could still have performed their duties of imparting military instruction while at Halifax.

One question more. The Government has made arrangements whereby officers may take a course of instruction at the citadel in Halifax with the King's Regiment. Does this arrangement invalidate the claim of the British troops there to be called a regiment?

Yours, etc.,
Infantry Officer
Eastern Ontario, Dec. 1, 1894

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
Monday, 17 February 2014

A New Canadian Tank School (1936)
Topic: Canadian Army

Sign at Wolseley Barracks commemorating the beginning of the Armoured School (erected 1986).

Tank School is Established

Is Canada's First
Training Will be held At London Barracks

The Windsor Daily Star, 16 Dec 1936

London, Ont., Dec 16.—Canada's first tank school opened at Wolseley Barracks here yesterday [15 Dec 1936].

Practically all officers and non-commissioned officers who are to constitute the staff of the army school arrived in the city and have taken up quarters at Wolseley Barracks.

Yesterday officers paid their official visit to district headquarters and Brigadier J.C. Stewart, officer commanding military district No. 1.

Major F.F. Worthington, M.C., M.M., of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, chief instructor to the new school, will arrive within a day or so.

The staff will be occupied with the work of organizing the school, preparing themselves as instructors for the next few months.

After organization has been set up, prepared candidates from the non-permanent active militia, especially the newly authorized Essex Regiment (Tank) and other tank units, will be permitted to attend.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 16 February 2014

Canadian Navy Get New 'Jack' (1968)
Topic: RCN

Canadian Navy Get New 'Jack'

The Montreal Gazette, 13 March 1968

Ottawa—(CP)—A new naval jack has been approved for Canadian warships, the Defence Department announced yesterday.

The jack, smaller than the national flag, flies from a jack-staff on the bow of a warship. The national flag flies from the ensign staff on the stern.

The new jack is a white flag incorporating Canada's flag in the upper quarter next to the hoist or staff, with the naval crown, fouled anchor and eagle combined in dark blue on the fly.

Gen. Jean. V. Allard, chief of the defence staff, will present the first new jack to the fleet in a ceremony on board the aircraft carrier Bonaventure today during the annual winter exercises in the Caribbean.

Until 1965, Canadian warships flew the blue ensign as the jack showing the union flag in the upper quarter next to the hoist and the shield of Canada's coat of arms in the fly. Subsequently, the Canadian flag was also Canadian Naval Ensign used as a jack.

The jack is normally flown by ships in harbour during the daytime. It is also flown when a warship is under way and dressed with masthead flags for ceremonial occasions, flying the flag of royalty, or escorting a warship that has royalty on board.

Use of a jack is widespread among navies of the world. When warships and merchants ship looked much alike and flew the same ensign, the jack was flown exclusively by warships.

Everything Old is New Again

In 2013, the 1968 version of the Naval Jack was adopted as The Navy Ensign:

On May 5, 2013, the Government of Canada restored a standard Commonwealth naval practice by authorizing RCN vessels to fly a distinctive Canadian Naval Ensign and fly the National Flag as the Naval Jack. Essentially, the flag previously known as the Canadian Naval Jack became the Canadian Naval Ensign, whereas the National Flag became the Canadian Naval Jack.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 15 February 2014

Dinner in a Dug-Out
Topic: Officers

A modern mess table laid for formal dining an an Officers' Mess.

An Officers' Mess

Dinner in a Dug-Out

The Glasgow Herald, 25 June 1915

The Press Association's special correspondent at British Headquarters in France sends the following despatch, dated June 22:—

The ingenuity displayed in making the dugout that served for the officers' mess as comfortable and home-like as possible was remarkable. The apartment was comparatively roomy and some six feet high. The window boasted an uncracked pane of glass, before which stood a table covered with the latest papers and bearing a jug of wild flowers gathered from the fields behind. In one corner stood a well-made bookcase, constructed from a packing case, filled with novels. The dining table in the centre was amply sufficient for eight of us who sat down to dinner, which was served by two orderlies. Though the dinner service was somewhat of a rough nature, the food was of the best. Soup was followed by chops, with beans and potatoes, while tinned fruit and cream were succeeded by coffee and some excellent Benedictine. The company was of a most varied description. The chaplain was seated next to the medical officer, while the commanding officer of the battalion was engaged in earnest conversation with the machine-gun officer, a keen-faced young soldier with the eternal eye-glass. They were discussing new schemes for worrying the enemy, the main object of those in the trenches when there is a lull in the actual fighting.

Dinner over, we went for a stroll round the lines. The moon had risen by this time, and by its clear light everything could be seen with great clearness. The sentries were still at the parapet, ever on the watch for a human target, while a dozen rifles with gleaming bayonets, rounds of ammunition lying beside each, stood leaning against the parapet, ready to be grasped at an instant's notice by the men resting in their dug-outs. The far-away splutter of a machine gun somewhere down the line showed that some movement in the enemy's line had been detected, or perhaps it was some German working party that had been discovered digging a saphead under the cover of darkness. At the back of the trenches stood some shattered cottages and farmhouses, the moonlight making strange shadows through the gaping holes and jagged crevices in the masonry. In one corner we came across a large pool, the result of a heavy German shell some weeks ago, Occasionally during our round a flare rocket was sent up from the German trench. For a minute or so the whole area between the trenches was brilliantly lit up—the tangle of grass and weeds, the few dead bodies lying out in the open, the long stretch of the enemy's parapet—then the flare fell and burnt itself out in the grass.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 14 February 2014

Quebec's Martello Towers
Topic: Militaria

The three surviving Martello Towers at Quebec City. This composite image shows the thumbnail images at the website, where full images can be seen linked from each thumbnail.

Québec City's Martello Towers

The Québec Saturday Budget; 10 February 1906

A correspondent writes to the Canadian Military Gazette as follows:—

"Quebec is in danger of losing another of its Martello towers. There was originally a line of four of these towers, stretching across the neck of land between the St. Lawrence and the St. Charles Rivers, at a distance of about a half mile from the city walls, and intended to serve as outposts to the city. Their utility from a military point of view has log since passed, but historically they are of considerable interest. No. 1 has been given over to the Ross Rifle factory, and they have erected a water tower on top of it. No. 2 is still intact, but as houses have been built round it right up to its walls, it is hardly now visible. No. 3 was demolished to make way for an extensions to the Jeffery Hale Hospital, and No. 4, which overlooks the St. Charles Valley, is now wanted for street widening purposes. Looking at the matter from the merely commercial point of view, Québec's historic walls and streets are of such value to the city, on account of the crowds of tourists they attract, that our civic authorities should hesitate and weigh well before demolishing further historical landmarks."

Demolition of Tower No. 3, showing the thickness of the walls in thse fortified towers. (Image source - Wikipedia.)

More on Québec City's Martello Towers:—

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 13 February 2014

Conscription - 12,000 NRMA Troops Went Overseas
Topic: Canadian Army

12,000 N.R.M.A. Troops Went Overseas

The National Resources Mobilization Act (NMRA), 1940, 4 George VI, Chap. 13, was a statute of the Parliament of Canada that was passed to provide for better planning of a much greater Canadian war effort, both overseas and in military production at home. (Wikipedia)

Hamilton Spectator, 9 July 1945

Ottawa, July 9.—(CP)—Defence headquarters said to-day that approximately 12,000 national resources mobilization troops were overseas when V-E day came and of that number more than 4,000 were serving in northwest Europe at the cessation of hostilities.

Fifty-five of the N.R.M.A. men were killed in action, 10 died of wounds, six were listed as missing and 226 were listed as wounded.

The troops were dispatched overseas a few weeks after the Government passed an order-in-council last November authorizing the sending to Europe of home defence personnel, originally mobilized for service in Canada and adjacent territories.

A total of 12,736 N.R.M.A. men had been dispatched of overseas service by May 7, the day the war in Europe was declared ended. Of the total, 682 became general service soldiers after dispatch and 21 were returned to Canada on medical grounds.

The conversions to general service, the return of men to Canada on medical grounds and the fatal casualties reduced the original total of 12,736 N.R.M.A. men overseas to 11,968 by V-E day.

Of the 11,968, 4,081 were serving in northwest Europe and 7,655 outside the battle zone. Six of the remainder were missing and 226 were wounded.

N.R.M.A. strength in Canada at the cessation of hostilities was 38,500, including 6,500 on extended compassionate, farm or industrial leave.

No Recent Figures

The 32,000 on active strength included 16,000 of infantry combat category, and of these 9,000 were in the training stream, 3,000 in operational units and 2,000 employed in home establishment. The remaining 2,000 were in depots for allocation.

Of the 16,000 troops who were in categories not suitable for infantry, 5,000 were employed in home war establishments and 3,000 in operational units. There were 3,000 in training for corps requiring lower categories than infantry, and a further 3,000 were employed in duties at training centres. Some 2,000 were in depots awaiting reposting or disposal on medical grounds.

When the N.R.M.A. troops were ordered to report for overseas embarkation more than 6,000 of them went absent without leave. A total of 6,311 were unaccounted for on January 16 and 4,082 were still not accounted for by the end of March.

No recent figures on the number of men still unaccounted for have been released.

The National Resources Mobilization Act

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

The Costs of Permanent Forces vs. Militia (1908)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Canadian Militia

Some Reasons Why It Costs So Much and Is Not Better Than It Should Be

The Montreal Gazette, 20 July, 1908
(Ottawa Citizen)

The Hon. Sir Frederick W. Borden, KCMG, PC, MD
Minister of Militia and Defence (13 Jul 1896 – 6 Oct 1911)

The report of the Civil Service Commission on the militia laid itself peculiarly open to the sort of attack which Sir Frederick Borden delivered with considerable effect of Thursday last. The task of three able and conscientious civilian who undertook to probe a department which, besides being highly technical, is more or less of a close corporation, must needs be one of extreme difficulty. The amusing feature of their report was that the commissioners seemed to have an astute knowledge of what was wrong with the militia department, but their technical knowledge was not equal to extracting the necessary evidence to support their deductions. An extensive knowledge of the militia of Canada and of the inner workings of the militia department would be a necessity in order to carry out such an investigation properly. This the commissioners apparently had not, nor did they have any capable adviser to direct their probing operations. With a brief composed of newspaper extracts, which were not always intelligible to the investigators, and a mass of data composed largely of ex-parte statements and rumors, they endeavoured to secure evidence corroborative of abuses known to exist. The results did more credit to their spirit of enterprise than their capacity for a task which required wide technical knowledge. Nothing daunted, they brought in a report which in a general way touched the sore spots most effectively, but which the record of evidence as adduced rather vaguely justified.

Sir Frederick Borden, aided by copious memoranda prepared by the inspector-general and late chief-of-staff, strategically ignored the findings of the commission, but riddled the evidence as the assumed basis for the findings. It was cleverly done, but it left the main points of attack, by the commissioners unanswered. Chief among these were the charges that while the expenditure of the militia of Canada had increased from $1,500,000 to $6,500,000 this country has not got a return for the money of anything like the relative value. The actual numbers of effective troops has increased, on the minister's own showing, only about 30 per cent, which the expenditure has increased over 400 per cent. There has been an enormous increase of expenditure on the upper works of the militia organization with no commensurate addition to the real fighting strength of the force. But it would be nonsense to say that the militia of Canada has not greatly increased during the past ten years. Why should it not, with an expenditure four times as great as formerly" Excellent work has been done in the organization of the auxiliary services, which previously did not exist, that does not begin to account for a tithe of the additional expenditure. The personnel of the artillery has been increased one-third, but the actual effective armament has not been increased at all, because the new batteries were created by cutting down by one-third the number of guns in the existing batteries.

The explanation put forward as to where the money has gone is that Canada has taken over Esquimalt and Halifax. While that is true, it did not necessitate keeping up the number of regular troops that Great Britain maintained in North America. Canada has also taken over the dockyards, but it has not been deemed necessary to maintain a North Atlantic squadron equal to the one which Britain withdrew. Halifax and Esquimalt could be maintained quite as effectively with much smaller garrisons, and the money thus saved would maintain a very large additional number of militia troops. At a rough computation, twenty militiamen can be maintained at the same cost as one regular, and in those figures lies the kernel of the whole difficulty. For a country like this it requires no particular knowledge of military matters to appreciate that 20,000 efficient militia would be a far better asset than 1,000 regular soldiers, which is their financial equivalent. For the current year the expenditure on the active militia for training, clothing, grants, etc., was only $1,500,000, which means that $5,000,000 is being spent on the permanent corps, headquarters staff, and for all other purposes. On the face of it this division of expenditure would demand extensive explanation to Parliament as an answer to the general allegation that the militia administration is not as effective in results the money spent on it should justify. This is what the Civil Service Commissioners were trying to get at. But the speech of the Minister was chiefly taken up with reflecting upon them personally, ridiculing such obviously impracticable suggestions as that the militiamen should be paid by cheque like civil servants; that an individual in the department was treated "brutally" because he was retired on $1,350 a year, and in rebutting the allegation that an old officer employed as a paymaster in Halifax was incapable of discharging the duties of his position. There were sundry other matters of relative unimportance, which were triumphantly repudiated to the satisfaction of the Minister and his advisers. But Parliament and the people of Canada are still uninformed why an expenditure of $6,500,000 only produces a few thousand more trained militia than an expenditure of $1,500,000 produced twelve years ago.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Minute Book; after one year
Topic: Commentary

The Minute Book; after one year

With a year's worth of daily posts in the Minute Book, here's how the top ten most visited posts and topics line up:

Ten most popular posts:

Ten most popular topics:

Canadian Army Battle Honours

The Senior Subaltern

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Researching The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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