The Minute Book
Sunday, 27 April 2014

The March of the Lone Baptist
Topic: The RCR

The March of the Lone Baptist

The Royal Canadian Regiment, 1883-1933, R.C. Fetherstonaugh, 1936

As the Headquarters' file of Regimental Orders for 1913 and most of 1914 was destroyed in the Halifax explosion in 1917, and as a prolonged search has failed to discover copies in Ottawa, or at any of the Regimental Depots, the exact sequence of events in this period is now difficult to ascertain, but, thanks to private diaries and similar memoranda, a record of some incidents has been preserved. There was, for example, the March of the Lone Baptist, an event unparalleled in the Regiment's, or perhaps any other regiment's, history.

From the time when the unit assumed garrison duties in Halifax in 1905, it had been the custom of the band to march in the church parades of the Church of England, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic detachments in rotation, leaving the smaller denominations to proceed without musical accompaniment. On the complaint of certain Ministers in Halifax against what they considered unfair discrimination, the Honourable the Minister of Militia and Defence ruled that all denominations must be treated alike and that the band must accompany each detachment in turn. In accordance with these orders, Sunday, April 27 [1913], was allotted to the Baptist denomination. There were three Baptists serving in the Regiment in Halifax at the time, two of whom were on detached duty, but the orders were explicit. Accordingly, the lone Baptist was paraded, Lieut. H.T. Cock assumed command of the parade, the Regimental Sergeant-Major took his appointed post, two police joined the detachment as usual, the band of approximately 40 pieces struck up an appropriate air, and off the Baptist was marched to his place of worship more than a mile away. Flattering as the escort must have been, the service would have seemed to have displeased him. No exact explanation is now available, but it is on record that he paraded before the Commanding Officer and changed his religion on the following day, an example which the adherents of other minor denominations were prompt to follow.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
The March of the Lone Baptist
Topic: The RCR

The March of the Lone Baptist

The Royal Canadian Regiment, 1883-1933, R.C. Fetherstonaugh, 1936

As the Headquarters' file of Regimental Orders for 1913 and most of 1914 was destroyed in the Halifax explosion in 1917, and as a prolonged search has failed to discover copies in Ottawa, or at any of the Regimental Depots, the exact sequence of events in this period is now difficult to ascertain, but, thanks to private diaries and similar memoranda, a record of some incidents has been preserved. There was, for example, the March of the Lone Baptist, an event unparalleled in the Regiment's, or perhaps any other regiment's, history.

From the time when the unit assumed garrison duties in Halifax in 1905, it had been the custom of the band to march in the church parades of the Church of England, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic detachments in rotation, leaving the smaller denominations to proceed without musical accompaniment. On the complaint of certain Ministers in Halifax against what they considered unfair discrimination, the Honourable the Minister of Militia and Defence ruled that all denominations must be treated alike and that the band must accompany each detachment in turn. In accordance with these orders, Sunday, April 27 [1913], was allotted to the Baptist denomination. There were three Baptists serving in the Regiment in Halifax at the time, two of whom were on detached duty, but the orders were explicit. Accordingly, the lone Baptist was paraded, Lieut. H.T. Cock assumed command of the parade, the Regimental Sergeant-Major took his appointed post, two police joined the detachment as usual, the band of approximately 40 pieces struck up an appropriate air, and off the Baptist was marched to his place of worship more than a mile away. Flattering as the escort must have been, the service would have seemed to have displeased him. No exact explanation is now available, but it is on record that he paraded before the Commanding Officer and changed his religion on the following day, an example which the adherents of other minor denominations were prompt to follow.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 26 April 2014

Bigger Canadian Army Urged
Topic: British Army

Bigger Canadian Army Urged to Patch Defence "Soft Spots"

Ottawa Citizen, 11 July 1963
By Charles Lynch, Southam News Service

The austerity-pinched Canadian army needs additional manpower it is it to fulfill its commitments in Europe and for home defence, Lt. Gen. Geoffrey Walsh, Chief of the General Staff, told the Commons defence committee today.

He gave the committee a picture of general army readiness, but pointed out several thin spots and dramatized the deficiencies by saying Canadian troops in Europe are "directly in the middle of the path" of any Soviet ground offensive.

He also described the peril of Soviet airborne troops establishing beachheads on Canadian soil, and the necessity of maintaining home defence forces to counter any such invasion.

General Walsh said the principle had now been established that two of the three army brigades now in Canada would be transported to Europe to "marry up" with the NATO army brigade.

Must Use Militia

But such a move, he said, would impose heavy drains on available manpower—and "to replace this manpower the only thing we can do is to avail ourselves of ex-Regulars and selected Militia personnel."

At no point did he mention the explosive topic of conscription, but he made it clear that when army force goals were cut from 59,000 to 50,000 in an austerity program last autumn, it left the army in a hard pressed condition to meet its commitments.

General Walsh outlines the army's equipment needs in addition to its manpower requirements, placing the emphasis on the Bobcat armoured personnel carrier as the item urgently needed.

Twenty prototype Bobcats are currently being produced for evaluation, following which a production order of 500 vehicles is expected.

NATO Force

General Walsh said the decision to deploy two additional brigades in NATO — even though they may not be moved into position immediately — involved detailed planning with the British War Office, since Canada's NATO troops are on the British supply system.

One of the brigade groups now in Canada could be move in a reasonably short time, he said and the second brigade group could be made available soon afterwards.

The question of stockpiling equipment for two reserve brigades in Europe had been looked at, he said, "but a preliminary study places the cost at approximately $135-million and a manpower requirements of at least 400 officers and men."

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 25 April 2014

Lessons Learned in South Africa
Topic: Canadian Militia

Lessons Learned in South Africa

"Ottawa Letter," by J.D. McKenna

Militia Matters Freely Discussed in the Commons
Radical Changes that the Lessons Learned in South Africa Have Forced to the Front

St John Daily Sun; 25 April, 1901

"Canada has taken her place among the nations of the world, and she must be prepared to assume at least part of the responsibilities of a nation. In every civilized country the prowess of the Canadian soldier is recognized. He is a man, the conditions of whose life enables him to successfully compete with the best soldier of the world."

Ottawa, April 22.---Militia matters were discussed in the House of Commons on Friday before and after going into supply. The speeches of Col. Thompson of Haldimand and Monk; Hon. Col. Prior of Victoria; Mr. Fowler of Kings, N.B., and Mr. Kaulbach of Lunenburg, N.S., show that an entirely new feeling has been produced by the South African was in regard to our volunteer force. The day had gone by when members of the Canadian militia will be referred to as feather-bed soldiers. Fighting side by side with crack British regiments, they were not only able to hold their own, but often went one better and taught the regular "Tommy" that "Johnnie Canuck" was equal to any emergency in the firing line. Col. Hutton stated that it would be useless to send Canadian militia battalions to the front, unless they were associated with regular line regiments. How his judgment erred in the particular was demonstrated repeatedly and during the course of the campaign and with Canadians recommended for the Victoria Cross, and other distinguished honours, the rewards of the bravest of the brave, it is no wonder that we feel proud of the men who so nobly upheld the honour of their flag and their country. During the course of the debate, Major Gen. O'Grady Haly occupied a seat in the speaker's gallery, and he heartily applauded the sentiments expressed in regard to the courage of our men.

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Having found in the Canadian soldier traits which have been attributed only to British troops of the regular force, it is not to be wondered that parliament feels something must be done to make available the splendid force which can be mustered in this country. Therefore, they are inclined to look upon the militia force from a common sense standpoint and to be governed by the lessons gathered from recent movements in South Africa. It was urged that there was altogether too much lace and feathers about the style of dress now provided for in militia regulations. Dress does not make a soldier, and it often prevents capable men from offering their services as officers. The Boer was found to be a man who could shoot straight, and to whom dress was a matter of little concern. Officers could not be distinguished from men, and the result was that the English troops had to fall in line and a superior officer had to place himself on a level with the private in so far as dress was concerned. The Australians already have a uniform for their volunteers which necessitates a very small outlay for an officer to place himself in a position to qualify for a commission. It was pointed out that in military schools, even for a six months' course, it is almost necessary that a man should be provided with regular mess and dress uniforms, involving an expenditure of hundreds of dollars, which many young men who would doubtless make excellent officers, are not prepared to make. The opinion expressed by members of parliament, representing all parts of Canada, was favorable to a scheme which would abolish the system of dress now in vogue and make it as domestic as possible. Although the rules of the military schools do not require a man to provide himself with mess and dress uniforms, hardly any man could be induced to enter the military course, where nearly everybody was fully supplied with all necessary clothing, without feeling that he was more or less humiliated without them. And so it has been suggested that the militia should be made a poor man's organization, as well as a rich man's paradise, and that every encouragement should be given to those in the humbler stations of life who desire to seek commissions.

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Shooting is looked upon as the most essential feature of a soldier's drill in these modern days. It was urged upon the minister of militia that too much attention could not be given to this department of militia drill. In Switzerland every soldier is a crack shot, and the result is that that little republic could defend herself against almost any of the great powers of Europe. The authorities there recognize the fact that to shoot straight means that a small army only is necessary to protect the country. And so it is proposed to make Canada a land of sharpshooters. Then, in the event of an invasion from the United States or other countries, our forces would be able not only to make a good showing against any foreign army, but could more than hold their own against very superior forces. Col. Thompson desires to see the company and battalion drill largely replaced by rifle practice during the time men are in camp. Under existing circumstances forty rounds of ammunition are served out, and the men are allowed to blaze away at the targets until the supply is exhausted. This is neither conducive to good shooting nor profitable to the country which supplies the cartridges. What is needed is more ammunition and more time to fire it in, and then a marked improvement in shooting may be expected in the militia ranks.

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A suggestion has also been made that more money should be voted for the construction of rifle ranges in country sections. In the cities large armouries are erected, while the rural districts get little or nothing in the way of public works to encourage militia bodies. With fewer armouries in the towns and more rifle ranges in the country, a number of members of parliament think that the question of marksmanship will be solved. An opportunity will also be afforded for the formation of rifle clubs, and in this way the defensive forces of the country will be greatly strengthened. When it is remembered that only 36,000 militia are organized throughout Canada, the demand for recruits in time of danger will be fully appreciated. Thousands of business men who have never carried a rifle would have to bear arms, and it is proposed that the militia forces should be extended so as to take in all classes. The rifle clubs will have the effect of meeting this demand to a certain extent, but the only practical way to utilize the material at hand is to provide facilities for general rifle practice.

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Considerable attention was devoted to the condition of the rural corps. Col. Thompson claims that men enlisting for three years should be paid in proportion to the time actually served in camp. His proposition is that the first year a soldier goes to camp he shall receive fifty cents a day, in the second camp he shall receive 65 cents a day, and for the third and subsequent camps he shall received 75 cents a day. He contends that if this graded system were authorized, complaints of the lack of interest in non-attendance on the part of the men after the first year would entirely disappear. Rural camps should also be supplied with many comforts which are now lacking. For instance, it was suggested that a mess tent should be provided, so that the men might have a place to partake of their meals in comfort. Although a soldier on active service has frequently to sleep in the open and submit to many inconveniences, that is no reason why he should do it in times of peace. If more attention be paid to little comforts of this kind, many men who now stay at home after their first experience in camp, would gladly return and participate in the drill year after year.

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In connection with the absence from the camp of men who have served their first year, it was shown that as a rule rural camps are largely made up of recruits of tender years. It has been demonstrated on the battlefield and in the marches of South Africa, that well matured and developed soldiers are best suited for campaigning purposes. In order to get these men to participate in the annual drills ir is almost necessary that provision should be made to increase their pay. They often have families to support, and are therefore unable to neglect their work for the miserable pittance now allowed by the militia department.

elipsis graphic

Another scheme which promises to increase the efficiency of the Canadian militia forces, is that suggested by the minister of militia in reference to mounted infantry. These forces will be raised largely in the rural districts. It is proposed to have at least one company of mounted infantry attached to each line regiment. When in camp, the different companies can be brigaded for special drill and in this was an efficient force will be assured. In the west it is proposed to make provision for two composite regiments of mounted infantry and they will be drilled on lines which were found serviceable in the South African war.

elipsis graphic

Exception was taken to the present system of storing rifles in central armouries. The twentieth century rifle is a weapon that is liable to become obsolete at any time. It may be fitted for use in an army today, and tomorrow be good for little more than scrap iron. Under these circumstances it is urged that the troops in the country districts should be allowed to use their rifles on every possible occasion, so that they might become familiar with their use. By storing them in central armouries, the militia department renders the practical use of rifle impossible.

elipsis graphic

It would seem, therefore, as if the day for a complete reform of the Canadian militia forces has arrived. Canada has taken her place among the nations of the world, and she must be prepared to assume at least part of the responsibilities of a nation. In every civilized country the prowess of the Canadian soldier is recognized. He is a man, the conditions of whose life enables him to successfully compete with the best soldier of the world. Brought up in a vast open country, he has inherent qualifications which peculiarly fit him for a place in the ranks of the great British Empire. Canad is fast learning to appreciate her responsibilities. With so many reforms suggested and concurred in by the minister of militia, we may not be considered optimistic, if we look upon the Canada of the future as a country whose troops will command the respect and fear of every civilized power in the world.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 24 April 2014

Characteristics which are Required in the Minor Commander
Topic: Leadership

Characteristics which are Required in the Minor Commander

Men Against Fire, S.L.A. Marshall, 1947

The characteristics which are required in the minor commander if he is to prove capable of preparing men for and leading them through the shock of combat with high credit may therefore be briefly described:

(1)     Diligence in the care of men.

(2)     Administration of all organizational affairs such as punishments and promotions according to a standard of resolute justice.

(3)     Military bearing.

(4)     A basic understanding of the simple fact that soldiers wish to think of themselves as soldiers and that all military information is nourishing to their spirits and their lives.

(5)     Courage, creative intelligence, and physical fitness.

(6)     Innate respect for the dignity of the position and the work of other men.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Vegetius' General Maxims
Topic: Military Theory

Vegetius' General Maxims

The Military Institutions of the Romans, Flavius Vegetius Renatus, translated from the Latin by Lieutenant John Clark, Military Service Publishing Co. Edition, 1944

It is the nature of war that what is beneficial to you is detrimental to the enemy and what is of service to him hurts you. It is therefore a maxim never to do, or to omit doing anything as a consequence of his actions but to consult invariably your own interest only. And you depart from this interest whenever you imitate such measures as he pursues for his benefit. For the same reason it would he wrong for him to follow such steps as you take for your advantage .

The more your troops have been accustomed to camp duties on frontier stations and the more carefully they have been disciplined the less danger they will be exposed to in the field.

Men must be sufficiently tried before they are led against the enemy.

It is much better to overcome the enemy by imposing upon him famine, surprise or terror than by general actions for in the latter instance fortune has often a greater share than valor.

Those designs are best of which the enemy are entirely ignorant till the moment of execution. Opportunity in war is often more to be depended on than courage.

To seduce the enemy's soldiers from their allegiance and encourage them to surrender is of especial service, for an adversary is more hurt by desertion than by slaughter.

It is better to have several bodies of reserves than to extend your front too much.

A general is not easily overcome who can form a true judgment of his own and the enemy's forces.

Valor is superior to numbers.

The nature of the ground is often of more consequence than courage.

Few men are born brave; many become so through training and force of discipline.

An army is strengthened by labor and enervated by idleness.

Troops are not to be led to battle unless confident of success.

Novelty and surprise throw an enemy into consternation, but common incidents have no effect.

He who rashly pursues a flying enemy with troops in disorder, seems bent upon throwing away that victory which he had before obtained.

An army unsupplied with grain and other necessary provisions risks being vanquished without striking a blow.

A general who trusts to his cavalry should choose the proper ground for them and employ them principally in the action.

He who depends on his infantry should choose a situation most proper for them and make full use of them.

When an enemy's spy lurks in the camp, order all your soldiers in the day time to their tents, and he will instantly be apprehended.

On finding that the enemy has notice of your designs, you must immediately alter your plan of operations.

Consult with many on proper measures to be taken, but communicate the plans you intend to put in execution to few, and those only of the most assured fidelity. Or better trust no one but yourself.

Punishment, and fear thereof, are necessary to keep soldiers in order in quarters; but in the field they are more influenced by hope and rewards.

Good officers never engage in general actions unless induced by opportunity or obliged by necessity.

To distress the enemy more by famine than the sword is a mark of consummate skill.

Many instructions might be given with regard to the cavalry. But as this branch of the service has been brought to perfection since the ancient writers and considerable improvements have been made in their drills and maneuvers, their arms, and the quality and management of their horses, nothing can be collected from those writers' works. Our present mode of discipline is sufficient.

Dispositions for action must be carefully concealed from the enemy, lest they should counteract them and defeat your plans by proper expedients. Lest the soldiers in the confusion of battle should be separated from their comrades, every cohort had its shields painted in a manner peculiar to itself. The name of each soldier was also written on the shield, together with the number of the cohort and century to which he belonged.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The gift of leadership
Topic: Leadership

The gift of leadership

An Open Letter to the Very Young Officer, by C.N.W. (From the Journal of the Royal United Services Institution, Vol. LXII., February to November, 1917)

In the Old Army the great majority of the officers were drawn from the class, or genus, which in the bird world is represented by the gallinaceous, or combative, fowls, you who read this may belong to that' genus, or you may come of a more peaceful and dove-like stock, but if from the latter you show an amazing pugnacity which, dropping the bird metaphor, goes to prove that the Germans and our own ante bellum croakers were a bit out in their prognostications that the British race was decadent, and that the British lower middle class was so steeped in commercialism and the labouring classes in Trade Unionism—relieved by striking and watching professional football matches—as to be of no account as fighting men.

Events have proved that the race can fight as well as ever it did—all classes and sections of it, "Duke's son, cook's son, or son of a belted earl"; but don't run away with the idea that because you possess the national courage, and your name has appeared in the London Gazette as a Temporary Second Lieutenant, you are by mere virtue of being a commissioned officer also a leader of men, to be that you must possess, or set to work to acquire if you want to be a good officer and not a useless—and therefore in war a dangerous—slacker, the qualities which make for leadership.

I don't suppose you have had time, recently, to indulge in light literature such as Blackwood's Magazine, or the Journal of the Royal Artillery Institution, in which case you will have missed reading in the former the description—under the title "Fallen Angels"—of the gradual, and at times painful, process of forming the young, New Army, officer in a cadet corps, and, in the latter, the very excellent open letter by "Esterel" to the Junior (Artillery) Subaltern.

This is what the author of "Fallen Angels" has to say-and it is worth considering-about the qualities which make for leadership:—

"The obvious qualities that an officer must possess … are …

"(1)     The gift of leadership.

"(2)     A personality and a character that will command the respect of the men committed to his care.

"(3)     A smart personal appearance combined with cleanly and temperate habits, for no man can be expected to respect a leader who never washes, or is seen to be tight, or wandering about in a public place arm in arm with ladies of slight reputation."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 21 April 2014

Canadian Army 1946
Topic: Canadian Army

Repatriation, Discharge, Building Canadian Army Keynotes in 1946

Regional Commands, Training and Research Branch
and Work in North Are Features of Plans
for Future Force of Nation

The Montreal Gazette, 1 January 1947

Ottawa, December 31.—CP—The Canadian Army in 1946 discharged 250,000 and repatriated more than 100,000 of the men and women who brought it wartime lustre and, simultaneously, began erecting the basic framework for a potential peacetime force of 25,000 regular and 180,000 reserve soldiers.

A year-end review issued by Army headquarters was dominated largely by the bonded tasks of repatriation and demobilization but it was dotted, too, with the establishment of the new system of five regional commands, with the opening training and research skirmishes against the wilderness of the north with the formation of a brigade group as the nucleus of any new fighting army, with the announcement of educational qualifications designed to put the new force on a high mental plane.

Last January [1946] , there were 110,000 Canadian servicemen and women still overseas. All but approximately 1,000 have now been returned.

Repatriation officials also had to find transportation for half that many wives and children of Canadian servicemen.

Discharges skyrocketed, and more than 250,000 men and women left the army. Most of these veterans now are reestablished on civvy street.

Although an advance party arrived at Fort Churchill, Man., late in 1945, that far northern port was not opened until shortly after the new year when several hundred men of Exercise Muskox—first major peace-time army manoeuvre—moved in. Muskox, a 3,000-mile, 81-trek of a handful of scientists and soldiers through the little known eastern Arctic and lush Mackenzie River basin, undoubtedly produced much of the scientific knowledge of benefit to soldier and civilian alike. Since late summer, Churchill, on Hudson's Bay, has been a permanent joint service experimental station.

The army further expanded itself northward on taking over the Alaska Highway from its builders and former custodians, the Americans. Brig. Geoffrey Walsh, C.B.E., D.S.O., was appointed officer commanding and chief engineer in April and the highway was renamed the North West Highway System. By the end of the year the number of men, including maintenance crews and technicians employed with the system, had reached approximately 700.

The year saw the disbandment of the Canadian Woman's Army Corps. In all, more than 21,000 women and girls served with the corps at home and in both the Mediterranean and European theatres.

In July, the army completed withdrawal of all men stationed in Newfoundland. It was first garrisoned by Canadian troops in June, 1940. Peak strength of the Canadian force there barely exceeded 6,000.

The long-awaited formation of the brigade group of the new army was announced late in August. Its strength was given as about 7,000, and field units listed as components included the 71st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery; the 1st Armored Regiment, Royal Canadian Dragoons; and the 2nd Armored Regiment, Lord Strathcona's Horse. The brigade also contained components of the Royal Canadian Engineers, Signals, Army Service Corps, Ordnance, and Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. In addition, three former permanent force regiments, The Royal Canadian Regiment, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, and the Royal 22nd Regiment, were listed as comprising the infantry component of the brigade group.

Among many high-ranking officers retired during 1946 was Gen. H.D.G. Crerar, commander of the First Canadian Army in Europe.

Biggest ceremonial anxiety undergone by the Army was the visit of Field Marshal the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein. It induced extra work but was singularly fee from the volume of official red tape usually connected with similar affairs.

One of the last statements issued by former Defence Minister Abbott dealt with the formation of an interim defence research board, created to make available the experience of its members to assist the Department of National Defence in dealing with immediate problems of planning activities in the complex fields of defence research.

At almost the same time, the army announced that five military districts would be disbanded and their functions absorbed by their respective command headquarters. The districts done away with were No. 6 formerly at Halifax; No. 4 at Montreal. No. 2 at Toronto; No. 10 at Winnipeg, and No. 13 at Calgary. The five remaining districts will be predesignated area headquarters under the commands. The army also raised its standards of enlistment and terms of service.

A good education is now a prerequisite and a recruit with no previous military training must have at least a junior matriculation or its equivalent, and at least university standing is required of an untrained officer candidate. On the other hand the service lowered these educational requirements considerably in favor of veterans. Although there has been no organized recruiting drive since the formation of the new active force, enlistments during the latter part of 1946 came within approximately 10,000 of the proposed strength of the peacetime force.

In mid-April, new rates of pay and allowances for peacetime soldiers were announced. All ranks received a substantial upgrading. A married private, once trained, can draw more than $30 per week.

Another highlight was the three-year plan inaugurated in university through the dominion for the training of Canadian Officers Training Corps' personnel with the object of qualifying selected undergraduates for commissions on graduation in the various corps of the active force.

Early this winter the army, both active and reserve forces, obtained some 400 new Stuart and Sherman tanks. Among the first units to get them were the 1st Armored Regiment (Royal Canadian Dragoons), the Royal Canadian Armored Corps School at Camp Borden, the 2nd Armored Regiment (Lord Strathcona's Horse), the R.C.E.M.E. School at Barriefield, and reserve force units. It was announced, too, that all personnel of the active force would be granted 30 days instead of the usual 14 days leave annually. And another announcement promised brighter fixtures and a more homelike atmosphere in barracks and barrack life.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 20 April 2014

The day of the Scrooge and the anti-hero
Topic: British Army

The day of the Scrooge and the anti-hero had arrived

A Man at Arms; Memoirs of Two World Wars, Francis Law, 1983

In 1930 the regiment returned to London, this time to the Tower, and we took a house in Chelsea where our daughter Bridget was born. I had once been a keen, even an enthusiastic, soldier, but serious soldiering grew more and more difficult. I had commanded more men as a platoon commander on joining in 1915 than now as commander of a company. Reality vanished, make-believe was the order of the day. Flags and wooden rattles, not weapons, represented machine guns. Tanks were simulated by trucks marked with a large T or by cardboard shapes mounted on bicycles, antitank guns represented by green flags. There was little ammunition for range firing and few blank cartridges for exercises. Two men in canvas clothing carrying 'pole targets' with flapping strips of canvas represented a section, four such a platoon. Imagination was to be stretched to the limit and indeed far beyond. The pleasure of a day on horseback umpiring an exercise could not compensate for the stark unreality of the training: the whole thing was bogus.

The day of the Scrooge and the anti-hero had arrived. Everything - books, the press, the theatre - all conspired to ridicule the services and those who served in them. In addition an economy axe was wielded ruthlessly to the satisfaction if not to the plaudits of a forgetful, complacent, thoughtless people, careless of the future which was to catch up with them in less than a decade. Professionally, like many another who had served in the war, I became increasingly sad and disillusioned. It was a time of deep frustration for any one who thought realistically and was eager to give useful service. With many another I was forced to question the wisdom of remaining in the army with its prospects so bleak, with no glimmer of light ahead. Married, with the prospect of yearly changes of house a strain on finances and the inevitable restrictions on our freedom, I decided in 1931 to retire from the army and joint the regular army reserve of the Irish Guards.

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 19 April 2014

Mess Night Manual
Topic: Tradition

Mess Night Manual

From the US Navy Department Library comes the 1986 edition of the Mess Night Manual published by the Naval School, Civil Engineer Corps Officers, Port Huenema, California, dated August 1986.


A "Mess Night" is a scheduled evening when mess members and their guests gather in the mess for dinner. A formal Mess Night is referred to as a "Dining-In." Normally only officers of the mess and command guests are included. When spouses and other personal guests are invited, the occasion is called a "Dining-Out." Throughout this publication, the term "Mess Night" will be used as synonymous with both "Dining-In" and "Dining-Out." "Dinings-In" and "Dinings-Out" are conducted in the same format. The only difference is in the attendees.

A Mess Night is more than an officer's dinner party. It is a military formation, as old and as rich in tradition as the quarterdeck or the mounting of the guard, and as essential to a close-knit, smooth-performing unit as are drills, inspections and military ceremonies. Throughout the messes of the world, military men meet to honor their regiments, ships, standards, battles and dead. It is significant to note that irrespective of nationality, these mess formations vary in form only so much as do the traditions of the military organizations. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that mess night is not a party in any sense; it is very similar to honors, for its purpose is to solemnly pay tribute to all of those intangibles for and by which the military unit stands.

The Mess Night format is derived through tradition from a number of sources, particularly the Vikings and the British Navy. Meticulous attention should be given to the traditional aspects of this format.

The "Dining-In" had its inception in the earliest military victory celebrations. In the opening centuries of the Christian Era, it took its first step toward a stylized format in the revels of the Viking Clans on the occasion of their return from successful raids and forays against distant shores. These celebrations saw all male clan members present with the exception of the watch. The leader took his place at the head of the board with all others to his right or left in descending order of rank. Those of the clan who did not participate in the raid were seated below the salt, and did not participate in the disposition of the spoils. Warriors who had conducted themselves with valor or distinction were "guests" for the evening. They were seated closer to the leader than their rank normally entitled them. These "guests" customarily received a bonus from the share of the leader for their deeds.

The celebrations of the Vikings were great feasts where vast quantities of food and drink were served. Down through the millennium since the heyday of the Norsemen, the practice of recognizing and perpetuating the anniversaries of significant battles and feats of outstanding heroes by formal ceremony became generally adopted as a natural outgrowth of the special camaraderie of the military.

Like so many of our service traditions, the term "Mess Night" and the format used in the U.S. Navy today was derived from the British Navy. Although the tradition is very old in England, it is not exclusively military. Tradition has it that the custom began in the monasteries, was adopted by the early universities, and later spread to military units when the officers' mess was established. At one time, the formal dining procedure was observed nightly in the British military messes. This nightly formality and elegance was abandoned by the United States Navy when alcoholic beverages were abolished aboard ship by General Order 99. However, Mess Nights are still observed on special occasions such as an anniversary, a commissioning or decommissioning, the visit of a senior officer, or simply to enjoy good company.

elipsis graphic

The manual is divided into several sections for the convenience of the reader.

  • Section I, Mess Night Origins, presents a capsule summary of the meaning of Mess Night and the background of the traditions which are observed at Mess Nights.
  • Section II, Mess Night Format, traces the various events which occur in a Mess Night.
  • Section III, Toasts, is a summary of the etiquette of toasting as practiced at Mess Nights.
  • Section IV, Arrangements, is intended primarily for those individuals who are responsible for planning and organizing a Mess Night, but may be of general interest to all officers.

The manual also contains several appendices which may be of assistance in planning a Mess Night.

  • Appendix A is a Summary of the Rules of Etiquette for Mess Night Attendees, which should be made available to all officers and guests attending the occasion.
  • Appendix B, Recommended Schedule for Mess Night Preparations, lists the "countdown" or actions which should be taken in preparing for a Mess Night.
  • Appendix C, Form of Toasts for Heads of State, may prove useful when foreign guests attend a Mess Night.
  • Appendix D, Sample Mess Night Script is included to serve as a guide in preparing the Mess Night Script.
  • Appendix E contains a Sample Mess Night Souvenir Menu.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 9 April 2014 2:37 PM EDT
Friday, 18 April 2014

Reinforcing Dien Bien Phu
Topic: The Field of Battle

Reinforcing Dien Bien Phu

The Damned Die Hard, Hugh McLeave, 1973

But for every man lost [at Dien Bien Phu], the French had two or three volunteers stepping forward to take his place. Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Lemeunier, with a safe Hanoi billet, heard that his friend Gaucher had died. He went to General Cogny, in charge of the Dien Bien Phu operation in Hanoi. "Mon ge'ne'ral, I'm the oldest legionnaire in Tonkin. Gaucher's place should come to me."

"But Lemeunier, if I said yes, how do we get you there?"

"I jump."

"Why, you don't know one end of a parachute from the other."

Nevertheless, Lemeunier jumped—and at night with only a flare to indicate the dropping zone. And Staff Captain Jean Pouget left his safe seat in General Navarre's headquarters to take his first jump. And hundreds of others, including Sergeant Chief Janos Valko, a legendary Hungarian NCO, made their first parachute jump in the dark. De Castries, now a general, Langlais, Lemeunier, and Major Vadot were playing bridge in the "Subway" (nickname for the headquarters tunnel system) when a thump shook the roof. "That one didn't go off," said Vadot, who had been in Gaucher's dugout. They heard footsteps crunch; a giant legionnaire appeared, still entangled in the chute he was wearing for the first time. Unabashed by all the gold braid, he accepted and drank half a pint of Vinogel from the general. Those first-time paratroopers revised military thinking about airborne operations. More than seven hundred dropped and had no more broken bones than the 2,300 regular paratroopers who jumped alongside them. One had a harrowing experience; after crash-landing in the dark, he groped for his bearings; his fingers encountered one icy face, then another. He had landed in the morgue. It took half a pint of brandy to bring him around.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 17 April 2014

Sir Sam inspects the 19th Battalion
Topic: CEF

Sir Sam inspects the 19th Battalion

"The Orderly Sergeant," Five Nines and Whiz Bangs, 1937

Lieutenant General Sir Sam Hughes, K.C.B., M.P.

Painted by Harrington Mann
Beaverbrook Collection of War Art
CWM 19710261-0394

The weirdest notes ever sounded on this earth were heard at the Exhibition Grounds one raw, winter's day in December, 1914. The Hon. Sam Hughes had travelled down from Ottawa to review the troops, and there we stood, shivering and grousing, knee-deep in snow, waiting for the Great Man's arrival. On this occasion he was to be accompanied by the Governor-General, H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught, who was very interested in the various gangs of enthusiasts scattered throughout Canada, all trying to learn this new soldiering game.

He did come, his descent being signalised by a snappy bit of invective levelled at General Lessard for something or other. Things got mixed. Everybody was in a rotten temper. The 19th Battalion tried to present arms from the order, or it may have been the other way about; and the pipe-band of the 19th made a stab at playing "God Save the King."

Did you ever hear a pipe-band playing the National Anthem? Did you? Well, did you ever hear a pipe-band, whose instruments were all frozen solid, trying to do it?

The squeaks and groans, the wails and the mi-a-a-oos that shuddered and shrilled from these bagpipes were plain awful. Some of the lads tried to go right through with it. Others, caught a few bars behind when the pistol went off, hurried along to catch up. One or two kept tuning up—all at the same time.

You'll understand, then, what I mean when I said the weirdest noises ever distilled on this earth poured into our ears that dreadful day. Dear old Sam got apoplectic. He stamped around roaring and hollering — "Take that g—d—band outa here," he bellowed.

Frightened brass hats, glad to escape from the wrath, scurried over to convey Sam's profound displeasure to the aggrieved virtuosi.

Discouraged, but unconquered, the pipers vanished.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014 12:18 AM EDT
Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Canadian Forces Arms Shortage (1949)
Topic: Canadian Army

Lessons Not Learned: some of the First World War era tanks that Canada bartered for on
the outbreak of the Second World War as much needed trainers to fill the capability gap
left by having none in Canadian inventories.

Shortage of Ultra-Modern Arms Disclosed in Canadian Forces

The Montreal Gazette, 26 November 1949
(Gazette Resident Correspondent)

Ottawa, Nov. 25.—Evidence of a startling shortage of ultra-modern equipment in the Canadian Army was indicated when the House of Commons studied Defence Department estimates yesterday.

Defence Minister Claxton admitted that "no provision whatever" was being made for new types sof tanks and self-propelled guns for armored regiments.

He disclosed that the recoilless rifle — and extremely efficient weapon developed at the end of the war — was a complete stranger to the Canadian Army.

He revealed that the proximity fuse — which appeared about the time of the Battle of the Bulge in 1944 and began to revolutionize artillery warfare — was not to be found in a single shell in Canada.

Questioned by incredulous officers sitting on the Opposition benches, Mr. Claxton shrugged his shoulders when questioned about the lack of all of these items and asked, in return, where could you buy them?

It started when Lt.-Col. D.S. Harkness (PC, Calgary East) asked about armor.

"Has there been any provision for new types of tanks and self-propelled guns in the past year or during the remainder of the year covered by these estimates?" he asked.

"No." Mr. Claxton told him. "There is no provision whatever." Col Harkness suggested that there should be some provision.

"Then I would ask the honorable member if he can tell me where he can get the tanks." commented the Defence Minister.

The Calgary M.P. Suggested that there should be an excellent possibility of picking up self-propelled guns of the recoilless model.

"We should be glad to hear about it," said the minister.

Opposition Leader Drew unearthed the proximity fuse lack.

Would the minister say, he asked, how many artillery or mortar shells in Canada were equipped with proximity fuses, one of the deadliest of modern warfare devices?

He sat down and waited expectantly, as Mr. Claxton rose.

"Not a one," declared the minister and sat down again.

The leader of the Opposition charged that this disclosure was proof that the artillery branch of the Canadian Army was not adequately equipped for modern defence emergencies and it was probably true, too, of other branches, he suggested.

The Defence Minister cut in to ask Mr. Drew what nations the latter believed were equipping their forces with proximity fuses. Mr. Drew named the United States, the United Kingdom "and the nation about which we are most concerned"—Russia.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 16 April 2014 12:59 AM EDT
Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Strength of the Militia (1885)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Military Strength of the Dominion

The Val d'Or Star; 8 April 1885

At the present crisis we often hear the question asked as to the condition and actual strength of the military force of the country. Regarding the efficiency of the enrolled volunteer force, with the exception of some pet city corps, we far very little indeed can be said. If our own local battalions are any criterion, the country now, in this time of need, finds the want of a well-disciplined and equipped body of men. Sufficient money has been yearly expended by the government to have things otherwise. But, it is needless to find fault and recriminate on the errors and foolishness of the past.

The trouble is upon us, and it must be bravely and patriotically met. As we intimated in our last, the time is approaching when somebody will have to render to the people a strict account for all the shortcomings of the past. In his annual report, Dec. 30th, 1884, Major-General Middleton, commander of the forces, says the total strength of the active militia on the 31st of December last including all branches, was 37,036.

The officers and men composing this force are distributed among twelve military districts, of which four are in Ontario, three in Quebec, one each in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and the Northwest territories, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island. There are altogether 194 companies, of which 180 are normally in twelve military districts and eight are made up of the Royal Military College cadet corps (one), the Cavalry School corps (one), the regiment of Canadian Artillery (three) and the Infantry School corps (three).

  • Of cavalry, the force in the cities is composed of 225 officers and men (including the Cavalry School corps 43); and that in the rural districts of 1,462, making a total of 1,987.
  • The field artillery numbers 1,440 — 722 in the cities; 718 in the country.
  • The garrison artillery has a strength of 2,472 — 1,550 in the cities (including the regiment of Canadian artillery), and 922 in the country.
  • Of engineers there are 243, of whom 198 (including the Royal Military College cadet corps, 64 strong) are in the cities and 45 in the country.

The entire strength of the infantry is 30,894, of which 7,414 (including the Infantry School corps, 315) belongs to the cities and 23,480 to the country.There is thus a total strength for the cities of 10,409, and of the rural militia of 26,627.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 14 April 2014

The US Army's "Soldier's Rules" (1993)
Topic: Discipline

The US Army's "Soldier's Rules" (1993)

US Army Regulation 350-41, Training in Units, 1993

1.     Soldiers fight only enemy combatants.

2.     Soldiers do not harm enemies who surrender. Disarm them and turn them over to your superior.

3.     Soldiers do not kill or torture enemy prisoners of war.

4.     Soldiers collect and care for the wounded, whether friend or foe.

5.     Soldiers do not attack medical personnel, facilities, or equipment.

6.     Soldiers destroy no more than the mission requires.

7.     Soldiers treat all civilians humanely.

8.     Soldiers do not steal. Soldiers respect private property and possessions.

9.     Soldiers should do their best to prevent violations of the law of war. Soldiers report all violations of the law of war to their superiors.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 13 April 2014

Wearing of Emblems with Uniform
Topic: Tradition

The Battle of Minden, by by Dawn Waring (Source)

Wearing of Emblems with Uniform

Major T.J. Edwards, M.B.E., F.R.Hist.S., Some Military Customs and Survivals, The Army Quarterly, Volume XXXIX, October 1939 and January 1940

Wearing of Emblems with Uniform.— the custom of wearing emblems in various forms to commemorate important events is very ancient and is not entirely prohibited in the [British] Army, although "King's Regulations" prohibit the wearing of unauthorized ornaments and emblems with uniform. General authority is, however, given for all ranks when not on duty to wear their national emblem or flower on their respective Saint's day, i.e.—

  • Rose on St. George's Day (23rd of April) for English personnel.
  • Thistle on St. Andrew's Day (30th of November) for Scottish personnel.
  • Leek on St. David's Day (1st March) for Welsh personnel.
  • Shamrock on St. Patrick's Day (17th of March) for Irish personnel.
  • All ranks are permitted to wear a poppy on Armistice Day (11th of November).
  • Minden Day (1st of August). Of the more particular types of emblems worn perhaps the "Minden Roses" are the best known. … There are six "Minden" regiments.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 26 March 2014 4:37 PM EDT
Saturday, 12 April 2014

Battle Precepts for Infantry and Armor
Topic: Military Theory

Battle Precepts for Infantry and Armor

Brig.-Gen. S.L.A. Marshall (U.S. Army) in "The 100-Hour War", published in "Army" magazine of the Association of the United States Army. (republished in the Canadian Army Journal, Vol 12, No 4, Oct 1958)

1.     Leading means moving to the point of main danger if decisive pressure is to be maintained. There is no excuse for holding back.

2.     When orders can't get through, assume what the orders would be.

3.     When in doubt, hit out. The short route to safety is the road to the enemy hill.

4.     Don't attack head-on; there is usually a better way.

5.     When troops are truly exhausted, hold back and rest them.

6.     Waste no energy in useless movement. Maintain the pace of the attack so long as physical resources seem sufficient.

7.     If the force designated to attack is not suitably armed to overrun the position, pull off and call for what is needed. Avoid useless wastage.

8.     Don't delay the battle because of supply shortages which lie beyond its probable crisis.

9.     Keep your sense of humour if you would save your wits.

10.     When trapped by sudden fire, movement means salvation more surely than a foxhole.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 11 April 2014

Quetta: The Indian Staff College
Topic: Officers

Quetta: The Indian Staff College

The Road Past Mandalay, John Masters, 1961, pp. 75-77.- quoted in Sword of the Raj, Roger Beaumont, 1977

… The capital of Baluchistan, the encyclopedia informed anyone who wanted to know. A variation of the word kwat-kot, signifying "fortress." (Come now, mind your language there, Britannica.) … 536 miles by rail north of Karachi; 5,500 feet above sea level. Pop.: 60,000 odd. (Not so damned odd, Britannica; just Baluchi tribesmen and army types.) Largely destroyed by earthquake May 31, 1935. Ringed by mountains. Standing eighty miles back from the Afghan frontier. A garrison town. Probably very hot in summer and very cold in winter. A dull place, the encyclopedia hinted.

It was right and wrong. The physical description was correct enough, especially the bit about the cold. The pass leading to Afghanistan is called the Khojak, and a diabolically cold, dry wind often blew in over it, chapping lips and freezing ears and drying the skin so that women poured olive oil into their bath water; and I had seen men and girls in Saint-Moritz clothes skiing down the wide avenues, and a string of camels coming slowly up in the opposite direction, snow on their heavy, supercilious eyelids, and the dark mountains towering out of the slanting snow above them all.

But Quetta was not dull. It was electric. Something in the air produced pregnancy in the childless, nymphomania in the frigid, larceny in the respectable, and scandals of wonderful variety…

There was the Musical Beds Scandal of the mid-1930s, when four officers in a remote outpost had passed three wives around in a year-long orgy—the odd man out, a week at a time, doing all the military work.

There was the Bhoosa Scandal. Bhoosa is chopped, dried straw, usually baled, used for fodder for the army's mules and horses, and the scandal was too complicated to explain here, but it involved two sets of scales, one accurate and one inaccurate, and midnight openings and illegal substitutions among the bhoosa stacks. And the Coal Scandal, when a quartermaster sergeant sold government coal to the local cinema proprietors (what they did with it I cannot imagine; they certainly didn't heat their movie houses), and pocketed the proceeds. And the Car Scandal, involving a chap who registered and insured an old heap as the military vehicle he was entitled to, and got a receipt for a new car, and bought a race horse, and won many races and much money with it. And a girl with unruly hair and disposition, known as the Passionate Haystack; and another as the Lilo (a form of inflatable rubber mattress); and another as the Sofa Cobra. There was a Vice Queen who collected other ladies' husbands and cut a notch in her bedstead for every conquest. No one knew why the bed was still standing.

And a major who leaned forward with a choked grunt at a ceremonial dinner party and hauled out of its shell the left breast of the lady sitting across the table from him. And another who applied for short leave, paid his debts, handed over his job to a brother officer, and shot himself. (His colonel had twice warned him about homosexual advances toward the troops, and told him that the next time he'd go to court martial. The third time had arrived.)

And there were hailstorms of stunning violence, when donkeys lay dead in the streets and camels lay stunned at the edge of the surrounding desert. And flash floods that swept away trucks, guns, and men, if they were caught in the usually dry river beds. And frequent earthquakes. And tremendous chukar shoots on the mountains, duck shoots far to the west, skiing, jackal hunts with the pack of foxhounds, point-to-point races, a race course with regular meetings. And the Staff College.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 10 April 2014

Walking Out Dress (1942)
Topic: Canadian Army

New Well-tailored Dress Uniforms To Be Issued to Privates in Army

Made of Khaki Serge, Latest Issue Is Designed
for Off-duty Wear and to Augment
Present Battle Dress 'Working Clothes'

The Montreal Gazette, 14 January 1942

The thousands of young soldiers in the Canadian Army will soon vie for placed as the best-dressed men in the Dominion as a result of the official announcement made last night by the Department of National Defence that they are to be outfitted with dress uniforms to augment the battledress they already possess.

Emphasis was placed on the fact that the new uniforms, which are smartly tailored and are designed for off-duty wear, are not replacements for battledress. Persistent rumours have circulated to the effect that such replacements are on the way but last night's announcement referred to the Canadian fighting dress as the most practical ever designed for battle conditions.

"It is decidedly not a replacement," Maj-Gen B.W. Browne, Adjutant-General, declared in Ottawa. "The walking-put dress is just what the name implies. It is a best suit to be worn when work is done for the day. The young men who form Canada's army today are typical young Canadians—the type of chaps who wouldn't think of going out for the evening in their working clothes and who like to wear the best suit on Sundays. Because they are in the army, there is no reason why their standards should be changed. Hence the issue of an extra uniform.

Because of the fact that two suits have more than twice the as long a life as a single one, economy also enters the picture, it was pointed out.

The actual ate of issue has not been definitely established, due to the necessity of designing the many sizes in which it will be made. It is expected, however, that deliveries of the new dress uniforms will start in toughly six weeks time.

Smartly cut, quite like the jackets and slacks worn by officers even to the brass buckled belt, the new outfits are tailored in regulation khaki serge. The tie to be worn with them is a beech brown in colour and collar pins form a part of the issue.

Low Shoes Allowed

Black socks, considerably finer than those which are now issued to soldiers to go with the battledress, and black, low shoes complete the walking out dress. The use of shoes rather than of boots issued with other uniforms is a major concession to smartness. The familiar khaki wedge cap or, if the soldier possesses one, the colourful wedge cap authorized already, completes the uniform.

The jacket has four pockets, with breast pockets being of the rectangular pleated pattern. The side pockets are large ones of the patch type. They differ only from those of the officers' tunics by being stitched all of the way around instead of bellowed. A deep bent in the centre back seam insures a good fit when sitting.

Old soldiers who remember the day when it was next thing to heresy for a private to be caught walking about with a swagger stick, are due for a shock. The swagger stick will be part of the issue to all soldiers.

Another feature of the new dress uniform will be the wearing of regimental collar-badges. It isn't so very long ago that these were a familiar sight.

Complete issue to soldiers will consist of a serge jacket, serge trousers, two collars, one collar pin, a brown necktie, black socks, black leather low shows and a waterproof coat.

Ottawa Citizen, 9 February, 1945

Army Will Withdraw Walking Out Dress

Issuance of the familiar walking out uniform of the Canadian Army, the open collar serge dress jacket and matching trousers has been cancelled, according to the latest district orders.

All such items of clothing on charge units and individuals will be withdrawn immediately by Ordnance to the returned stores section, according to instructions. Badges of rank or trade will be removed from the jackets and retained for re-issue to units.

Military authorities had no additional comment to add to the the situation at this time. Whether the calling in of the walking out uniforms mean that this dress will be removed entirely from the uniform list of the Canadian Army or whether there is possibly a re-issue in prospect for a later date could not be determined.

The Maple Leaf, 3 March 1945

Canadian Army drops 'zoot suits'

Ottawa---Khaki serge walking out uniforms introduced into the Canadian Army in 1942 and never popular with soldiers are being withdrawn from service, packeted and sent as mutual aid to the armies of liberated countries, it is learned here.

France, Greece, or Yugoslavia will probably receive these "zoot suits," which were issued only to men serving in Canada.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The National War Memorial
Topic: CEF

Canada's Great Response;
the National War Memorial

Silent Witnesses, Herbert Fairlie Wood and John Swettenham, 1974

Down the street from Parliament Hill, at the centre of Confederation Square, stands the National War Memorial. It is the most impressive monument erected in Canada and may best be viewed from Elgin Street to give as its background the Parliament Buildings and the distant Gatineau Hills.

In 1925 a competition for the design of a national memorial resulted in the selection of a model submitted by an Englishman, Vernon March. March's theme was "the great response of Canada" and uniformed figures representing all services, passing through a granite arch, eloquently portray the response of the Canadian people. These bronze figures, each about eight feet high, are purposeful; they pass through the archway and symbolize the going of the people to the triumph of their achievements overseas in a spirit of self-sacrifice and with no suggestion of glorifying war.

The figures were completed in 1932 but Confederation Square was being redesigned at the time; in 1933 the government decided to display the figures in London's Hyde Park and it was not until 1937 that they were shipped to Ottawa. More than five hundred tons of granite were then hauled to the site and construction began.

The memorial rests on a massive block of reinforced concrete which in turn is based on steel columns, sunk to bedrock. Little can affect it. Each year, since King George VI unveiled the memorial in the spring of 1939, on the morning of Remembrance Day (11th November) the traffic of Confederation Square is silenced and a solemn ceremony is conducted at the foot of this cenotaph. Wreaths are laid by the Governor General, the Prime Minister, the President of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Chief of the Defence Staff and a mother who has lost sons.


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 EDT

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