The Minute Book
Monday, 9 June 2014

Royal Navy Abolishes the Whistle (1963)
Topic: RCN

Royal Navy Abolishes the Whistle

Ottawa Citizen, 14 May, 1963 By the Canadian Press

The 1937 manual of seamanship listed 22 pipes. This number was reduced to 15 in 1951 and now only six pipes are in general use in the RCN. There is no indication [in 1963] it plans to drop them.

"Incredible" says the Royal Canadian Navy report that the Royal Navy has abolished the boat-swain's call because public address systems have made it obsolete.

The call is a two-note musical instrument used to pipe orders. The 1937 manual of seamanship listed 22 pipes. This number was reduced to 15 in 1951 and now only six pipes are in general use in the RCN. There is no indication it plans to drop them.

The pipes still in use are the "still," "carry on," "general call," "pipe the side," "dinner," and "pipe down." The pipes which have fallen into disuse have to do mainly with heaving and hoisting; for instance, "heave round the capstan."

No one, with the exception of the Queen, is entitled to a pipe unless in naval uniform, "pipe the side" is jealously guarded as a mark of respect. It has its origin in the pipe used for hoisting a person in or out of ship by means of a yard-arm whip and boatswain's chair when the ship is at sea.

Started in Crusades

"Pipe down" means "hands turn in."

Every sailor must know how to use the call and how to pipe orders.

The use of the call dates back to the days of the Crusades, 1248 AD. The call was worn as an honoured badge of rank, probably because it had always been used to pass orders. It was worn as the badge of office of the Lord High Admiral of England between 1485 and 1562. It has been known as the boatswain's call since about 1671. Today the call is the badge of the Chief Boatswain's mate, quartermasters and boatswain's mates.

A naval tradition resulting from piping of orders is that whistling is forbidden in ships lest it be confused with the sound of the call.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 8 June 2014

Traditional Officers' Rank Insignia
Topic: Militaria

High resolution scan: Officers' cuff rank during the First World War.
Click for full-size.

Traditional Officers' Rank Insignia

In 2014, the Canadian Army was directed to change the officers' rank insignia from the stripes adopted on Unification of the Services back to a system of crowns and stars. Originally presumed to only require the removal of rank stripes from dress uniform tunics and the addition of new rank insgnia, the final plan will require the replacement of tunics for every officer. This additional requirement will increase the costs of this proposal, which was initially proposed, in part, as a low cost reversion to a system of rank badges that predated nearly every serving officer.

Now that the Royal Canadian Navy has returned to the executive curl on their officers' uniforms, and the Canadian Army is returning to crowns and stars, it remains to be seen if the Royal Canadian Air Force follows suit.

First World War

Army officers' rank badges could be found in two locations on the service dress uniform during the First Worls War. These are the cuff and the shoulders. Officers rank is indicated in cuff rank by stars and crowns and by the number of stripes around the cuff. On the shoulder the stars and crowns are used. ("Pips" is the commonly used name for the rank stars.)

Rank badges of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Source: Their Glory Cannot Fade, a souvenir pamphlet published by the Canadian Pacific Railway, Christmas, 1918.
Click on thumbnail images for full size.

Second World War

From the Canadian Army's 1942 Training Pamphlet No. 1, titled A General Instructional Background for the Young Soldier comes the following illustratings of traditional rank for the army, navy and air force.

The Canadian Army's New "Traditional" Rank Insignia

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 23 May 2014 2:26 PM EDT
Saturday, 7 June 2014

Garrisoning Halifax (1905)
Topic: Canadian Militia

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Garrisoning Halifax (1905)

Boston Evening Transcript; 5 May 1905

Canadians Not Martial

They Refuse Offer of Garrison Enlistment
Dominion Cannot Man the Coast Fortifications
Hardly a Hundred Men Take the Service

Washington, May 5—A Halifax despatch says:

Canada's attempt to garrison the fortifications at Halifax and Esquimault, B.C., with Canadian troops has, it is stated, practically failed. The recruiting officers sent to the cities and towns of the Dominion have been unable to enlist more than one hundred men. The Government also held out tempting offers to young Englishmen of military ambition to enlist in the Canadian army, but very few took advantage of the opportunity. Under the new plan the Imperial troops were to have left Halifax in July, but from the present outlook they will remain on this station for at least two years longer. So far, Canada has not sufficient troops to take over the garrisons, and a prominent imperial officer declares that the Fifth Royal Garrison Regiment will remain in Halifax, and that the Canadian Government will annually contribute $850,000 toward the maintenance of the Imperial troops.

Removal of the British garrisons in Canada, at first explained as a merely strategic measure for releasing the troops to other and more necessary service, was really a concession to Canada's desire for something approaching an independent establishment. The garrisons have been small, and their only usefulness, aside from showing Imperial sovereignty, was to keep up the fortifications. The Dominion Government has long contributed to the cost of keeping up and improving the coast fortifications, and it was gratifying to its pride to have them given into her exclusive charge. In 1903 an elaborate reorganization of the militia was begun, and it was announced that a naval reserve would be established by the incoming Parliament. These plans seem to have originated at the imperial conference of 1902, and to have taken definite shape about the time when Sir Frederick Borden, Canada's minister of militia and defence, was welcomed, in 1903, to the Imperial Defence Committee in London. An expert of the Royal Engineers, Captain Naish, soon afterward came out to serve the militia department as advisor on fortifications. An Ottawa Council for military administration, on the plan of the new London system, replaced the antiquated, unworkable scheme in which a general officer commanding was a perennial friction-maker. The limitation of the chief command to an officer of Old Country regulars was done away with. Ottawa's vote for military purposes was increased about one-half. This appeared superfluous at the time, but later all signs deemed to point to a previously concealed concert of Ottawa and London to put on Canadians the proper responsibility for their own defence.

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Boston Evening Transcript; 8 May 1905

Garrisoning Halifax

Canada Has Not Scored a Failure
Officials at Ottawa Deny the Reports That Not Enough Canadians Are Volunteering — Preparations for the Transfer Are, However, Proceeding Slowly, and the Date May Be Postpones — The Terms of Enlistment Comparatively Liberal — Respects in Which They Might Be Improved

By: E.W. Thomson
(Special Correspondence of the Transcript)

Ottawa, May 8—Officials of the Militia Department here deny the report that Canada has failed to enlist enough men for the permanent Dominion forces which are to replace the imperial garrisons at Halifax and Esquimault. Plenty of good men have volunteered and as many as are presently needed have been accepted. Reports to the contrary are fatuously spread by persons who dislike the transfer of the fortified places to Canada or who imagine that they may serve their own interests by trying to create an impression that the transfer will not be effected. There is not even a "hitch" in the process of devolution though it is true that the formal transfer may not occur as early as was expected, viz., on the first of July. The British War Department moves slowly and there is in the case no need for hurry. Indeed, some benefits may accrue from a few weeks or even months delay. Canada has plenty of men, but not plenty of trained men. You can't make efficient artillerymen and engineers in half a year. Certain experts of the imperial service may linger for some considerable time, aiding to train those who are to succeed them. It is possible some of the old country skilled men may be induced, by the goodwill of both Governments, to accept transfer from the Imperial to the Canadian service. Working out the details of the transfer takes time, it may take a trifle more time than was expected and that, according to the officials here, is all there is to the story that has been sent from Halifax to the United States press.

The total enlistment will be of about two thousand men. They are invited, by placards placed in many public places, to join "the permanent forces of Canada." Lord Dundonald wished Dominion forces to be dubbed "the Canadian Army," or the "Army of Canada," but the saving sense of humor intervened against the proposal. Also, it was obnoxious to the general Canadian dislike for and fear of "militarism." The country will be able to minimize or magnify its "permanent forces," or let them vanish away as softly if less suddenly than the Snark, without incurring the reproaches or suspicions that arise from monkeying with an "Army."

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To suppose that an abandonment of Canada by Great Britain is signified by the withdrawal of imperial forces, and the transfer of Halifax to those of Canada, is to wholly mistake the significance of the proceedings. The United States does not abandon Massachusetts in leaving the State military to the State—if one may say this without being supposed to misunderstand the relations of the State to the Federal Government. Great Britain does voluntarily, as a matter of high policy, what Washington has to do by the Constitution of the republic. Canada has gradually assumed voluntarily what Massachusetts retained on entering the Union—control of her entire militia system, and the taking over of Halifax and Esquimault is as if Massachusetts soldiers were to garrison federal fortifications in Massachusetts. The cases do not run exactly on all fours but there is no more breach of political connection in one instance of garrisoning than in the other.

The cheerful thing to observe is that John Bull has at last got it through his head that Canada is to be trusted to the last degree. And if Canada, of course the other great self-governing colonies. Now this implies, as surely as confidence begets affection in honorable hearts, a new drawing together of the British world. It implies at once an enhanced Colonial disposition to stand by the Old Country, and an increase of Colonial forces, voluntarily, the creating of new power to back up hearty sentiments. This results from a step in decentralization. What more probable than that the process of decentralization will thus be encouraged anew. Is not the very idea on which the programme of Imperial Federation began likely to be supplanted by the idea that a congeries of independencies under the common crown is the true solution of the British problem? It would seem that the great dream of Imperial Federation has performed its appointed work. Its champions, working twenty-five years with a splendid enthusiasm, have so affected the general hearty that their own plan is seen to be superfluous. A formal bond, a leash, could be but an embarrassment, a hindrance, to those on whom fortune and independence devolve by the same affections of the mothers, to whose glory and preservation they are bound by ties for which the words blood, and language, and gratitude, and history are but passionless symbols for sentiments that must endure as long as hearts throb and blood runs.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 6 June 2014

Canadians sink four German warships
Topic: The Field of Battle

A Universal Carrier of The Lake Superior Regiment, Cintheaux, France, 8 August 1944. Photographer: Ken Bell. MIKAN Number: 3396172. From the Library and Archives Canada Faces of the Second World War Collection.

Canadians sink four German warships with fire from tanks and infantry weapons

The Maple Leaf; 10 November, 1944
By: Capt. Jack Golding

Canada's soldiers have been credited with many bizarre accomplishments in their scrapping throughout France, Belgium and Holland but one of the most unique operations to date happened very recently when men of the Lake Superior Regiment and the 28th CAR (British Columbia Regiment) engaged four naval vessels in the little harbor of Zijpe on Duiveland, east of Steenbergen, and sank them with tank and infantry weapons.

They licked the Jerry patrol ships on their own home waters in one of the most lustrous actions f the Canuck fight along the uncomfortable Dutch front. All this happened amid the wild acclaim of a liberated and cooperative Flemish population at St. Phillipsland, where an old world atmosphere of costume and custom made the incident seem like a nebulous tale from Henty, the Arabian Nights or Edgar Allen Poe.



Personnel of The Lake Superior Regiment (Motor) with a captured German flag, Friesoythe, Germany, 16 April 1945. (In the group): Privates G.A. Visseau, T. Janakas, A.J.L. Poirier, E.H. Kanarr, G.A. Zeigel, G.E. Horn, Captains C.J. Crighton and E. Howe. Photographer: Alexander Mackenzie Stirton. MIKAN Number: 3229352. From the Library and Archives Canada Faces of the Second World War Collection.

A company of the Lake Superiors with some BCRs had finished their push to Bruges. They had been engaged in infantry work, uncommon to their role, and were assigned the task of moving out the St Phillipsland isthmus to take a look-see.

St Phillipsland they found to be a quaint Dutch village, bubbling with hilarity at liberation.

Here it was learned that German gunboats were across a 1,300 yard stratch of water opposite the tiny town of Sluis a bit farther up the isthmus. So Lieut Buck Wright, Kenora, was sent ahead by Capt Roy Styffe, company commander, Port Arthur.

Wright found a water tower at Sluis and clambered up to do a bit of O-pipping. To his amazement he saw men in German naval uniforms walking about blandly, Nazi ensigns flapping and leisurely activity in progress. He couldn't see all the scene for the little harbor was in two parts, divided in the center.

He reported back with the dope but his comrades thought the story a little tall. Finally they checked again and moved up a scout platoon, a troops of tanks, two six pounders and two three inch mortars. There weren't many men involved but the firepower was potent. The balance remained in Phillipsland.

Sgt Curley McLean, Fort William, and Sgt Reg Bullough handled the six pounders and mortars and Lieut Dusty Gopele of the BCR's growled his tanks into position. They estimated ranges and let go!

Plenty of stuff crossed the water to the Jerry navy for five minutes, then reprisal began. They poured it back in a hurry, for each of the four boats there, one like a small corvette and the other three converted landing craft, carried two 88's, two 20 centimeter guns, plenty of machine guns and were manned by 50 to 60 men apiece.

The Canadian regrouped their tanks behind dykes; used indirect fire on corrected ranging and kept the barrels hot for 10 minutes.

Then the enemy stopped suddenly.

All that night the Canadians kept the sky alight with mortar flares for they didn't want the pint-sized flotilla to escape. No move to depart eas in evidence. The boys thought they had gone, however, for they received a civilian report to that effect.

Capt Styffe decided it was time to investigate matter so he, Lieut Bernard Black, Fort William, and Lieut Tommy Henderson, Winnipeg, plus 40 men set sail on their own private invasion in three small boats. One was a cutter, one a fishing schooner and the other a police boat. They needed the latter for there weren't enough Mae Wests to go around.

Capt Styffe had a radio aboard and he kept contact with Wright and Gopele on the front at Sluis. They landed to the left of Zijpe; slipped around toward the back of the harbour under covering fire by Henderson and his men at the beach head and kept their fingers crossed.

On entering the town the first place they struck was the naval commander's billets. Warm food was on the table and there was every evidence of a hurried departure. They ran into four Jerries in the street and relegated them to their forefathers. They thought they saw some masts sticking up at the outer part of the harbor, shielded from view of the force near Sluis.

Black, Cpl M.M. Shaw, Chatham, Ont., and Cpl T.E. Mitchell, Toronto, got a rubber dinghy and paddled out. It was cold and wet and a high November wind whipped the water into a choppy surge. It was true! The three converted landing craft were sunk and the corvette was afire. No-one would believe this. The just had to get proof.

Ensigns as Evidence.

So the intrepid three sailed the bumpy water and grabbed some Nazi ensigns. Then the assault force returned to St Phillipsland with the tale of their success.—and the white hooded Dutch women and their husbands were delighted.

Lieut Blackwas itchy the next day and he persuaded his OC to let him go back again. This time he took Cpl Mitchell, Pte R.A. Cox, Saskatchewan, and Pte L.M. Seeley, Snowden, Sask. What they didn't find wasn't worth finding. Fire had reached the ship's magazine and shrapnel was flying about.

The corvette type craft yielded full length leather suits, silk underwear and champagne. Twenty Germans had been killed and 80 wounded. The rest had flown to the nethermost part of the island. It had been an "Iron Cross" ship with a kill to its credit. The citizens rounded up five Hun sailors and two collaborators.

Another of the patrol vessels had two aircraft to its credit.

Captain's Body Found

At 1,300 yard the Canuck mortars, six pounders and 17 pounders had smacked their targets on the button. The tank fire had sunk the boats. One shell went through four and a half inches of steel and a half inch of concrete on the bridge of the larger vessel to kill the captain. His body was found lying in the wheelhouse with his hands still in his pockets. It was the AF 92.

Prisoners told the Canadians that they, too, had seen them early in the show when neither side knew the other was near. They had reported seeing Allied soldiers but were "pooh poohed" and told they were Nazi paratroopers. They claimed not to like the Nazi regime, but were reported to be well trained men.

The Canadians didn't have a single casualty.

When Capt Styffe received the ship's log, he made the last entry: "Gersunken by Lake Superior Regiment—Canadian Army."

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 5 June 2014

A Good Soldier
Topic: Discipline

A Good Soldier

Major General Christopher Vokes CB CBE DSO CD (13 April 1904 – 27 March 1985)

By Maj.-Gen. Christopher Vokes, General Officer Commanding, Western Command, Edmonton, Alberta
Canadian Army Journal, Vol 7, No 2, July 1953

To be known as a good soldier by his comrades, his subordinates and his superiors in rank, should be the goal of every soldier in the Canadian Army. It is the height of military achievement no matter what the rank. Skill-at-arms is not the only requirement for this. There is much more to it. In addition, the soldier must possess in himself:

1.     A strong sense of duty;

2.     Honesty;

3.     Willing obedience;

4.     A respect for authority – military or civil;

5.     Decent manners, morals and speech; and

6.     Loyalty to his comrades, to his unit and to the Canadian Army in which he has the honour to serve.

A good soldier is a man skilled in the profession of arms who by his personal conduct earns and holds the respect of his fellow Canadians, whether soldiers or civilians.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 4 June 2014

3.5-inch Rocket Launcher (M20 Super Bazooka)
Topic: Militaria


Amendment No. 1

"Until such time as men become proficient in the firing of the rocket launcher, all practices will be fired with the rocket launcher rested in either filled sandbags or on the bipod."


Rocket Launcher – 3.5 Inch; M20

CATP 11-7; 1952


(a)     The launcher is carried as a two-piece unit which is assembled into a 60 3/4-inch launcher for firing.

(b)     A magneto-type firing device in the firing grip provides the current used for firing the rocket.

(c)     There is very little recoil as the rocket is jet-propelled.

(d)     There is a definite backblast.

(e)     It is highly mobile (the launcher weighs 14 lbs.), and it is operated by two men.


(f)     The HEAT (high explosive, anti-tank) rocket will penetrate 11 inches of homogeneous armour plate.

(g)     The maximum range of the rocket is 960 yards.

(h)     The rocket weighs 8 ½ lbs., and has a muzzle velocity of 340 feet per second.

(j)     The HEAT rocket is used primarily against tanks; it can be used against secondary targets such as gun emplacements, pill boxes, and personnel. It will penetrate 12 inches of masonry or timber. It has a fragmentation area of 25 yards radius from the point of impact.

Note:…Impact with mud, sand, or water may not detonate the rocket.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Manual of Field Engineering (1911)
Topic: CEF

Manual of Field Engineering (1911)

1.     By Field Fortifications is implied all those measures which may be taken for the defence of positions intended to be only temporarily held. Works of this kind are executed either in face of the enemy or in immediate anticipation of his approach.

2.     Field Fortification presupposes a defensive attitude, and, though recourse to it may under certain circumstances be desirable, it must always be regarded as a means to an end, and not an end in itself.

3.     The principal aim of field fortification is to enable the soldier to use his weapons with the gates effect, the second to protect him against the adversary's fire. By thus reducing losses and increasing the power of resistance in any part of the theatre of operations or field of battle, more troops are available to swell the force destines for decisive action there of elsewhere.

Thus begins the 1911 Manual of Field Fortification. Many people perceive the beginning of trench warfare was during the First World War, where th occupation and fighting from extensive trench systems was a defining feature of the western front in France and Flanders. But the concepts of trenching and trench warfare were well developed before they were tested on such a massive scale between 1914 and 1918.

The manual shows, in its language and diagrams, its point of evolution from classic siege warfare entrenchments to the more expedient infantry entrenchments of the American Civil War and the Russo-Japanese War, both of which had British Army officers observing their actions, and the South African War. With Manuals such as this one, officers of the British army and the Canadian Expeditionary Force had a ready manual for the basics of field fortifications in hand as they took to the field of battle.

The following points should be borne in mind when examining a locality which it is desired to strengthen:…

(a)     The strong and weak points of the position to be defended should be carefully studied, and the site for entrenchments chosen with due regard to tactical requirements and economy of men.

(b)     The enemy in attacking should be exposed to the fire of the defenders, more especially for the last 300 to 400 yards. To ensure this, the foreground may require clearing.

(c)     The enemy should be deceived as to the strength and dispositions of the defending troops, and the character of their works.

(d)     The defenders should be screened from the enemy's view, and sheltered from his fire by natural or artificial cover, so arranged as to permit the maximum development of their own rifle fire.

(e)     The free movement of the attacking troops should be hampered by obstacles to detain them under fire and to break their order of attack.

(f)     The free movement of the defenders should be facilitated by improving communications within their position, and clearing the way for counter attack.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 19 May 2014 4:13 PM EDT
Monday, 2 June 2014

The General's Inspection
Topic: Humour


Tank crews of The British Columbia Dragoons lined up in front of their Sherman tanks during a review by General H.D.G. Crerar followed by a mounted marchpast, Eelde, Netherlands, 23 May 1945.
Photographer: Jack H. Smith. Mikan Number: 3223023.
From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

The General's Inspection

By Colonel E. R. Rivers-Macpherson, OB, Ottawa, (Late The Gordon Highlanders)
Canadian Army Journal, Vol 11, No 1, Jan 1957

How often one looks back and smiles on the harmless subterfuges we used to resort to in the old days to try, if possible, to deceive the General on his annual inspection of the regiment. I expect the General smiled too-well remembering that he had done the self-same things, though the technique had altered somewhat over the years. [This anecdote appeared originally in The Forces Magazine (United Kingdom) and is reproduced by courtesy of that magazine and the author. - Editor, CAJ.]

"I well remember one such inspection when I was a very young subaltern. In the early part of the century, long before the NAAFI came into being, the regiment ran its own canteen and recreation rooms, then known as the "Regimental Institutes". The junior subalterns all took it in turn to keep the accounts under the Second-in-Command. The annual GOC's inspection coincided with my tour of duty and I thus became enmeshed in the intrigue whether I liked it or not. The great day drew near, and as the recreation room was not very popular with the troops (it was very dark, gloomy, and most unattractive), I was instructed to parade enough men of my Company and to distribute them around the tables playing checkers, dominoes, cards, etc. The idea was to impress the General with the popularity of the room. I was further told to arrange for a young drummer to remove a book ("Pilgrim's Progress") from the bookshelf as the General came around. The General was delighted to see the room crowded and beamed on the smiling faces of the men (the Sergeant-Major had previously ordered them to "smile happily" when the General entered the room). "Splendid! Splendid!" remarked the GOC. "Jolly good show!" (He probably wondered why he had never thought that one up when he was a subaltern!). Then going up to a young soldier, he said: "Well, my man what a real home-from-home you have here. I suppose you spend all your spare time here?" "Beggin' your pardon, sir," replied the soldier, "I nivver enter this perish'n rat-hole, and I only came here today `cause I was blinkin' well marched in." There was complete consternation around, of course. I could see the General longing to guffaw but, controlling himself, he made some excuse and left the room, only giving a casual glance at my cherubic drummer who was piously engrossed in "Pilgrim's Progress"! Well, I expect the same kind of dodges are being perpetrated today when the Generals inspect the regiments. And, you know, I really think the old boys get a kick out of it too!"

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 1 June 2014

Battle Honours; not a scoring system
Topic: Battle Honours

Retired Colours of The Royal Canadian Regiment, in the Quiet Room (chapel) of The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum, London, Ontario.

Battle Honours; not a scoring system

"Battle Honours,", Major T.J. Edwards, M.B.E., F.R.Hist.S.
The Army Quarterly and Defence Journal, Volume LXXIII, January 1957

The publication of awards [i.e., Battle Honours] to regiments for the [Second World War] will inevitably cause those "enthusiasts" who make a hobby of totting up each regiment's list to declare that this or that regiment is the "best" on active service, whatever that might mean, because it has more "names" of actions than any other regiment. It is impossible to assess the value of regiments or corps on this basis, if only for the fact that not all are granted battle honours, and never have been, although practically all are represented in every expedition of any size. There are other reasons also. Some regiments have been awarded honours when their strength at some engagements was well below 50 per cent, a fact which applies to composite battalions particularly. One Regular Regiment bears an honour though it had less than 25 per cent and no headquarters in the campaign. As already shown, honours have not been granted under identical rules, e.g., for the three days' hard fighting 16th-18th June, 1815, the solitary honour "Waterloo" was awarded, yet some quite minor affairs of a few hours' duration in the Middle and far east have been commemorated by battle honours for each. For some campaigns an honour has been granted for each separate action, and, in addition, a campaign honour, e.g., "Peninsula" and "Afghanistan, 1878-79," whereas in other campaigns no campaign honour has been awarded, e.g., Marlborough's wars, the Crimea, Indian Mutiny, Mahratta war. The mention of Marlborough's wars reminds one that no honours at all have been awarded for the concurrent operations in Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession, except for the capture of Gibraltar. There are far too many variable features connected with this question to enable anything like an accurate assessment to be made.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 1 June 2014 12:06 AM EDT
Saturday, 31 May 2014

Assimilation of New Weapons
Topic: Military Theory

Assimilation of New Weapons

The Evolution of Weapons and Warfare, Colonel T.N. Dupuy, 1980

The invention of a weapon that is potentially more lethal is only the first of three steps toward realization of that lethality. It must be adopted by a military establishment, and it must be assimilated into tactics, doctrine and organization.

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The invention of a workable weapon has not in the past guaranteed either that it would be promptly purchased by any armed force or that, if bought, it would be purchased in sufficient quantity to be standard issue.

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It is fairly easy to ascertain from observation or from the record that a weapon has not been assimilated, that is, that its capabilities are not fully realized and it is not being used to the best advantage. It is almost as easy to recognize that a weapon has in fact been assimilated and is an effective part of a military establishment. But it is less easy to pinpoint exactly when the process of assimilation was accomplished.

When a radically new weapon appears and is first adopted, it is inherently incongruous with existing weapons and doctrine. This is reflected in a number of ways: uncertainly and hesitation in coordination of the new weapon with earlier ones; inability to use it consistently, effectively, and flexibly in offensive action, which often leads to tactical stalemate; vulnerability of the weapon and of its users to hostile countermeasures; heavy losses incident to the employment of the new weapon, or in attempting to oppose it in combat. From this it is possible to establish the following criteria of assimilation:

a.     Confident employment of the weapon in accordance with a doctrine that ensures its coordination with other weapons in a manner compatible with the characteristics of each.

b.     Consistently effective, flexible use of weapon in offensive warfare, permitting full employment of the advantages of superior leadership and/or superior resources.

c.     Capability of dealing effectively with anticipated and unanticipated countermeasures.

d. Sharp decline in casualties for those employing the weapon, often combined with a capability for inflicting disproportionately heavy losses on the enemy.

There have been three basic preconditions historically for assimilation of new weapons or ideas:

1.     An imaginative, knowledgeable leadership focused on military affairs, supported by extensive knowledge of, and competence in, the nature and background of the existing military system.

2.     Effective coordination of the nation's economic, technological-scientific, and military resources.

3.     Opportunity for battlefield experimentation as a basis for evaluation and analysis.

When these conditions have been present, there has usually been a time lag of approximately twenty years, or one generation, between the initial experimental adoption of a new weapon and its full assimilation. It is notable that this time lag does not seem to have changed much over the course of the past century, despite the fact that science and technology have been producing new weapons, or adaptations of weapons, in accelerating numbers and at an accelerated pace. When the conditions have not been present (which was frequently the case before 1830), the process of assimilation has been slower.

New weapons, or modifications of new weapons, have generally been developed because scientists, technicians, or soldiers have perceived an opportunity to develop a new weapon or improve an existing one. Only rarely have new weapons been designed for the specific purpose of coping with a tactical problem.

There has been a natural reluctance to make a sweeping change in tactics, or organization, by widespread adoption of a new and untried weapon before it has been thoroughly investigated under battle conditions. There is some evidence (not conclusive) that intelligent boldness in this respect can pay handsome dividends (as in the case of Prussian adoption of needle guns). Despite this reluctance and despite the likelihood that optimum assimilation will be impossible without battlefield testing, the increasing pace of invention is placing pressure on the military today to make such sweeping changes.

elipsis graphic

The German experience and those of the other great powers who have followed the German pioneering work in general-staff concepts and in related military affairs to national society as a whole suggest additional preconditions for assimilation in the mid-twentieth century:

a.     There must exist industrial or developmental research institutions, basic research institutions, military staffs and their supporting institutions, together with administrative arrangements for linking these with one another and with top decision-making echelons of government.

b.     These bodies must conduct their research, developmental, and testing activities according to mutually familiar methods so that their personnel can communicate, can be mutually supporting, and can evaluate each other's results.

c.     The efforts of these institutions—in related matters—must be directed toward a common goal.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 31 May 2014 12:36 AM EDT
Friday, 30 May 2014

Responsibilities of the Staff
Topic: Military Theory

The front gates of Fort Frontenac, Kingston, Ontario,
home of the Canadian Army Command and Staff College.

Responsibilities of the Staff (1899)

From the Lecture on "The Evolution of the Canadian Army" by Capt. C.F. Winter, the G.G. Foot Guards; The Officers' Association of the Militia of Canada; Transactions of the Semi-Annual Meeting 1899

In peace time the General Staff work out all details belonging to mobilization, marching, stationing, manoeuvres, and all military matters connected with railways and telegraphs. They should study all possible theatres of war — the preparation of maps, and the elaboration of plans, &c., for possible movements based upon a careful study of past experiences in similar emergencies also the instruction of younger officers in Staff duties.

In war time their duties become of greater importance. They are thus laid down by General von Schellendorf:—

1.     Working out ail arrangements for the quartering, security, marching and fighting of troops, according to the varying conditions of the military situation.

2.     Communicating the necessary orders, either verbally or in writing, at the right time and in sufficient detail.

3.     Obtaining, collecting and working out in order all materials which concern the natural and the military features of the theatre of war and the procuring of maps.

4.     Collecting and estimating the value of information received concerning the enemy's forces and reporting on the same to the higher military authorities.

5.     Keeping up the fighting condition of the troops and being constantly informed of their condition in every respect.

6.     Charge of day books publishing reports of engagements and the collection of important materials to afterwards form a history of the war.

7.     Special duties, viz: — reconnaissances.

Now you may have possibly gathered from all this that this General Staff becomes a lot of "knows-alls" with perhaps "swelled heads," and form a sort of Corps of Officers of somewhat different make-up to the other officers of in the National Force, but this is quite an error — in all the larger European Armies experience has taught that officers selected and trained in the duties of the General Staff are kept at their best by frequent returns to regimental duty and periods of training with the different arms. There is no desire to place themselves on a superior plane to their regimental comrades, but rather to ensure throughout the whole army of the country that systematical co-operation which alone can give success to any military effort. It is to this end that the initial training of a party of our Officers is now proceeding under Col. Kitson at the Royal Military College, Kingston.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 29 May 2014

German Infantry in Action (1941)
Topic: Drill and Training

German_Infantry_in_Action_coverGerman Infantry in Action (1941)

German Infantry in Action (Minor Tactics), Prepared by the General Staff, The War Office, February, 1941; Reprinted in Canada, May 1941.

Section Formations

There are two normal formations for the section when extended, i.e., single file and extended line. The section should only be split up in exceptional circumstances, and if it is, must still operate as a complete unit.

Platoon Formations

The platoon normally deploys into one of two formations, 1.e., arrowhead or wide arrowhead. The platoon commander can, however, order other formations, e.g., sections one behind the other in file or single file or two sections forward and two in rear.

Company Formations

The Company normally deploys in one of two formations, i.e., arrowhead or wide arrowhead. The distances between platoons are given only as a guide.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Never Pass a Fault
Topic: Commentary

“Never Pass a Fault”

“Never Pass a Fault” is not about you. Should you be asking yourself if your true motivation is to help the individual correct a fault, or to impress your friends with your performance art in jumping on the revealed flaw? Do you click “reply” or “reply all” when you want to point out an error in someone's message?

“Never Pass a Fault” is known by many in the Canadian Armed Forces as the motto of The Royal Canadian Regiment. It has at times also been adopted by other units and schools. Such a simple phrase, it is unfortunate that the execution of its application is often flawed.

“Never Pass a Fault.” How often has it been quoted to justify someone pointing out another's error, using it as justification for a tedious opportunity to insult, provoke or humiliate? As quickly invoked to point out a typo or to back up an unduly harsh critique of some young soldier's error in dress, it gets used in some circles like a gang sign for bullies.

“Never Pass a Fault.” Such a simple context, that a responsible person (regardless of rank, years of service, or any other factor) should not overlook errors and mistakes. Instead, they should get involved in correcting them, in a professional manner.

“Never Pass a Fault” is not, and never has been, a license to nit pick. Neither is it a warrant to publicly insult or humiliate someone who has made an honest error. It's certainly not a ticket for self-declaration of assumed superiority for spotting something wrong (if you do that, you can turn in your quiet professional badge). And it is never an excuse to be rude, or to insult someone's person, parentage, regiment, corps, or service---or the people who trained them. Yet it has been used by some as their virtual bumper-sticker for all these failures in personal communication.

“Never Pass a Fault” illuminates the responsibility of each of us to watch for and correct errors. These could be minor faults of dress, drill, or deportment, or they might be the type of error, in training or operations, that could get someone killed if uncorrected. “Never Pass a Fault” is the opening for a responsible leader to identify and capitalize on teaching opportunities. These can range from opportunities to quietly correct an individual without embarrassing them; or to confirm that a training requirement for a wider group has presented itself.

“Never Pass a Fault,” effectively applied, understands that “the fault” is not always assignable to the individual whose actions or appearance has resulted in its being invoked. To immediately cast blame at the individual, especially when a narrow mind capitalizes on the phrase for public shaming, is, in itself, the greater fault, the greater failure.

“Never Pass a Fault” invites correction of the error, in a manner befitting the “crime” and appropriate to the style of leadership that will ensure remedy without humiliation or hostility. It is a challenge to apply leadership skills; responsible, level-headed leadership which respects the possitions of both parties and any others who may be watching. It's the difference between yelling at someone in pubic for a minor error, and taking that person aside for a moment to explain what they did wrong and how they can avoid repetition. In either case, the person will remember you for your action, but only in the latter example will that memory be a mutually respectful one.

“Never Pass a Fault” is not about you. Should you be asking yourself if your true motivation is to help the individual correct a fault, or to impress your friends with your performance art in jumping on the revealed flaw? Do you click “reply” or “reply all” when you want to point out an error in someone's message?

“Never Pass a Fault” invites you to get engaged when you identify an error, and to apply an appropriate measure. That invitation is not to be a critic, it's to be a leader. (Keep in mind that leadership is not solely the responsibility of the more senior person in an exchange.) When the opportunity to “Never Pass a Fault” crosses your path, which line of approach do you choose?

And if you ever have to say “Never Pass a Fault” to explain your actions to justify being rude or insulting, you've failed. If you're lucky, maybe someone will take you aside and explain where you went wrong.

Pro Patria

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 May 2014 12:10 AM EDT
Tuesday, 27 May 2014

US Army, 1941; "The Ration"
Topic: Army Rations

The two cartoons shown on this page are from the 1945 edition of Bill Mauldin's "Up Front."

US Army, 1941; "The Ration"

FM 21-100: War Department. Basic Field Manual; Soldier's Handbook, July 23, 1941

227.     The Ration.—A ration is the allowance of food for the feeding of one person for one day. Each soldier is authorized to receive one ration each day that he is on the active list of the Army.

278.     Kinds of Ration.—There are several different kinds of rations used in the Army of the United States, but the ones in which you will be interested are the following:

a.     The garrison ration is that which the Government prescribes in time of peace for all persons entitled to a ration except under special circumstances when other rations are prescribed. The different items such as meat, fresh vegetables and fruit, beverages, bread, and other articles of food which make up that ration are called "ration components." The number af components and the amount of each required to give a soldier a well-balanced and nourishing daily diet have been carefully determined by food experts. The money value of the ration is figured each month from the wholesale costs of food to the Government, and your organization mess account is credited with the total amount required to feed a1l the men in your unit. The meals served by your organization mess sergeant in time of peace, and while Your organization is in a post, camp, or cantonment, will usually be prepared from the components of the garrison ration. After the mess sergeant has made up his menus he will buy the various articles of food required from the money which the Government has credited to your organization mess account. Some of these items he may buy from the quartermaster commissary. Others he may buy from local markets or farmers, in order to take advantage of certain foods in season or because the commissary may not have them in stock. Any savings which he makes are called "ration savings'' and become part of your unit mess fund, to be expended by your organization commander on extras for the mess on holidays or other special occasions.

b.     The field ration is that prescribed for use in time of war or other emergency. In time of peace it may be used some-times for training purposes. The components are prescribed by the War Department or the commanding general of the field forces. No ration savings are permitted and the components are issued "in kind." This means that instead of your mess sergeant buying the various components of the ration from the quartermaster or in local markets, the quartermaster will issue to him certain items of food sufficient to feed all the members of your organization. There are four kinds of field rations:

(1) Field ration A corresponds as nearly as practicable to the peacetime Garrison ration and contains "perishable" items such as fresh meat and vegetables. It is issued as often as the circumstances will permit.

(2)     Field ration B corresponds as nearly as practicable to field ration A, except that nonperishable or canned products replace the perishable items.

(3)     Field ration C consists of previously cooked or prepared food, packed in sealed cans. and which may be eaten either hot or cold. Each ration consists of three cans of meat and vegetables and three cans of crackers, sugar, and soluble coffee.

(4)     Field ration D consists of three 4-ounce bars of concentrated chocolate.

(5)     Sometimes the field ration may be a combination of types C and D. In this case it will usually consist of two cans of meat and vegetables, two cans of the crackers, sugar, and soluble coffee, and two of the 4-ounce bars of concentrated chocolate.

279.     Our Government spends more money for the food its soldiers than any other nation in the world. A great deal of time is spent on the training of mess sergeants and cooks and you will so discover that your food is better prepared, there is more of it, and it has a greater variety than that of most families in civil life. It is especially selected to build up your body and give you the energy and endurance which will carry you to success on the battlefield. If at first it seems strange to you and you miss the meals with which you are familiar, do not be tempted to eat in neighboring civilian restaurants. You wiIl profit both in your pocket and stomach if you eat all of your meals in your organization mess.

280.     When you go into the field your mess sergeant and cook will accompany you. There is special cooking equipment in your organization which will follow you. On this your foo can be prepared in the same way as it is cooked on the stoves of youe barracks or cantonment. During combat all organization kitchens are usually grouped in sheltered locations in rear where the meals can be prepared without interference by the enemy. Immediately after dark, trucks bring the cooked meals forward so that they can be distributed by carrying parties.

281.     During Campaign.—During a campaign the commanding general of your division or a higher commander may direct that each soldier carry a field ration as part of his field equipment. He may decide to do this because he feel that the condition of the roads or transportation may delay the arrival of the cooked meals and in such a case he wants to be sure that no soldier goes hungry. A ration which is carried by a soldier is called an individual reserve. It will probably be field ration C or D, or a combination of both.

282.     a.     It may Sometimes happen during campaigns that you and one or more of your comrades may be separated from your unit If there is another organization near you, you will always be able to get a meal from it by reporting to its first sergeant or mess sergeant; giving your name and organization and explaining how you happen to be separated from your own unit.

b.     If there is no other organization near, it may then be necessary for you and your comrades to cook your own meals, using your mess mess kits for this purpose and the Iood you have with you. Since you will probably have field ration C with you, this will be very easy. Simply heat one or more of the cans in hot water, and open them. If you, or any of your comrades, have had boy scout training you will probably be able to prepare a very good meal from the ration

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 17 May 2014 9:12 PM EDT
Monday, 26 May 2014

An "Uncle" Shoot
Topic: The Field of Battle

Personnel of the 1st Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (R.C.H.A.) with a 25-pounder Howitzer field gun during field exercises, Barham, England, 10 April 1942.
Photographer: C.E. Nye. Mikan Number: 3397506.
From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

An "Uncle" Shoot

Artist at War, Charles Comfort, 1956

Just as night was closing in on us again, … an "Uncle" barrage, eighty-one rounds, charge three. … a Divisional shoot, every available gun … The first fifteen minutes would be a concentration, the second a timed creeping barrage.

I selected a vantage point and waited for the order. At 1730 hours, in the almost complete darkness, the night was cracked open with fire and super thunder. Never had I heard or seen such infernal theatre. There were moments of continuous arc-like brightness under the black sky. Oratino, on its crag, was side-lit like Klingsor's castle in a Gordon Craig setting. At one instant the image of its sky-line registered black on the retina, the next it was white like a photographic negative. The valley seemed like a garden of blinding flamejets, rocked by the deafening volcanic crashes of creation. The muzzle-brake on the guns split the flame of the burning propellant into long fiery tridents, blue-white tongues of flame. This indeed was the mad, reckless energy of war … a percussion cacophony of death that outstripped any other audible experience. The gunners worked like demon puppets, no word of command passing between them, only a continuous dance of galvanic action. Passing ammunition … locking and opening the breach … ramming home the charge … jerking the trigger lanyard … all done in the dark or by the flash of neighbouring guns. No language sacred or profane had power or force in the situation. Command Post officers watched every movement. The command had been given; there was nothing to do but wait for it to be carried to its completion. … At 1800 hours, as suddenly as it started, the violence ended. The de profundis silence which followed was like a numbed vacuum, the sort of dark sepulchral silence that must have preceded the happenings in Genesis. But gradually distant voices swam into the field of consciousness again. Gunners laughed and lit cigarettes. Sergeants counted spent shell cases and reported expenditures. The "Uncle" shoot was over.

Gunners of the 2nd Medium Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (R.C.A.), loading a 5.5-inch gun, Netherlands, 2 April 1945.
Photographer: Colin Campbell McDougall. Mikan Number: 3209132.
From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 25 May 2014

What Every Young Officer Needs
Topic: Humour
Images taken from a set of silk cigarette cards of Canadian Militia uniforms (early 20th century).

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

What Every Young Officer Needs

From "The Boozilier Annual," a parody 'trench' newspaper, 16 December 1932


Mr. __________________ regrets exceedingly his deplorable conduct while a guest at your

(    ) Dance (    ) Dinner (    ) Party

last ___________________ and humbly craves your pardon for the Breach of Etiquette checked in the adjoining column.

(    ) Striking Hostess with bottle.
(    ) Spanking Hostess or female guests.
(    ) Riding to Hounds in drawing room.
(    ) Excessive Screaming.
(    ) Frequent Absence from party.
(    ) Protracted Absence from party.
(    ) Extreme Inebriation.
(    ) Excessive Destruction of Furniture.
(    ) Partial Loss of Equilibrium.
(    ) Complete Loss of Equilibrium.
(    ) Throwing Glasses.
(    ) Insulting Guests.
(    ) Indiscreet Petting.
(    ) Nausea.
(    ) _____________________

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Queen Approves Conditions for Battle Honour Awards (1956)
Topic: Battle Honours

Retired Colours of The Royal Canadian Regiment, in the Quiet Room (chapel) of The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum, London, Ontario.

The Queen Approves Conditions for Battle Honour Awards (1956)

A Report by the Directorate of Public Relations (National Defence), Ottawa

Canadian Army Journal, Vol 10, No 4, Oct 1956

Her Majesty the Queen has approved conditions for the award of battle honours to units of the Canadian Army which fought in the Second World War, Army Headquarters has announced. Her Majesty's approval of the conditions now leaves the way open for Regular and Militia armoured and infantry regiments to claim the awards to which they are entitled. The conditions were prepared during the past year by a Battle Honours Committee under the chairmanship of Maj.-Gen. A. Bruce Matthews, CBE, DSO, ED, of Toronto. The Battle Honours list for Commonwealth armies in the Second World War compiled by a special Committee, on which Canada was represented, in London, England, includes more than 160 battles, actions, engagements and theatres for which honours may be awarded to Canadian regiments. The list includes Dieppe and Hong Kong in addition to the battles fought by Canadians in Sicily, Italy, NorthWest Europe and Southern France. The honours may be awarded for service in either an armoured or an infantry role to regiments which are entitled by custom to carry colours. They will be awarded only when units were "actively engaged with enemy ground troops", having "taken a creditable part in an operation" and when the unit is "proud of its part in the operation". Some regiments will be eligible for 30 or more of these honours; however, as with the Great War 1914-18, only 10 Second World War honours may be emblazoned on the regiment's colours, standards, guidons or appointments. The custom of awarding battle honours originated in the British Army in the 18th Century. The honours take the form of inscriptions — showing the place and date of the engagement honoured — on unit standards, guidons and colours. Some regiments, notably Rifle Regiments, display honours on their drums, clothing or badges. The earliest battle honour awarded to a Canadian unit is "Eccles Hill", commemorating an action fought against the Fenians on the Vermont border in 1870. It is borne by the Victoria Rifles of Canada, a Montreal Militia unit. Some Canadian regiments possess battle honours for the North- West Rebellion of 1885 and the South African War. Most units have honours from the war of 1914-18. An Army Order is being prepared which gives the conditions of award, the qualifications required and the list of recognized honours for the Second World War. It will require each regiment concerned to appoint a committee of not less than five members comprised of former and serving commanding officers, officers who served with the regiment in action and honorary colonels and lieutenant-colonels. This committee will determine the honours to be applied for and those to be emblazoned. Following are some points covered by the conditions as drawn up by Maj.-Gen. Matthews' committee and approved by Her Majesty:

1.     Honours not included in the official list of more than 160 operations may be applied for by regiments. Such applications must be backed up by conclusive supporting evidence.

2.     Pre-war infantry units which fought as armoured regiments during the war may claim honours.

3.     To qualify for an honour, unit headquarters and 50 per cent of subunits of a unit must have been engaged. However, there are provisions for units which were represented in a theatre only by squadrons or companies operating independently.

4.     Honours normally are awarded on a regimental basis and are equally the property of all units of the regiment. Within the regiment the same honours will normally be displayed on the colours of battalions of the regiment. Amalgamated regiments normally will adopt the combined honours of the individual units.

5.     Honours awarded to disbanded regiments will be announced as a matter of record.

6.     A theatre honour will be awarded to all regiments which have qualified for one or more battle honours in that theatre. Some regiments ineligible for battle honours may be awarded a theatre honour if a unit was represented and performed creditably in the theatre concerned.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 26 May 2014 3:52 PM EDT
Friday, 23 May 2014

"Office"; Summary Trials
Topic: Discipline

An example of summary trial punishments recorded in the Part II Daily Orders of The Royal Canadian Regiment, Daily Orders dated 21 Aug 1917.
An example of Summary Trial punishments recorded in the Part II Daily Orders of The Royal Canadian Regiment, Daily Orders dated 21 Aug 1917. — Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War; Part 15: Crime …


Canada in Warpaint, Capt. Ralph W. Bell, 1917

"Charge against No. 7762543, Private Smith, J .C.; In the field, 11.11.16, refusing to obey an order, in that he would not wash out a dixie when ordered to do so. First witness, Sergeant Bendrick."

"Sirr! On Nov. 11th I was horderly sergeant. Private Thomas, cook, comes to me, and he says as 'ow 'e 'ad warned the pris--the haccused, sir, to wash out a dixie, which same the haccused refused to do. Hordered by me to wash hout the dixie, sir, the haccused refused again, and I places 'im under hopen arrest, sir."

"Cpl. Townsham, what have you to say?"

"Sirr! On Nov. 11th I was eatin' a piece of bread an' bacon when I was witness to what took place between Sergeant Bendrick an' Private Smith, sir. I corroborates his evidence."

"All right; Private Thomas?"

"Sirr! I coboriates both of them witnesses."

"You corroborate what both witnesses have said?"


"Now, Smith, what have you got to say to Stand to attention!"

"I ain't got nothin' to say, sir, savin' that I never joined the army to wash dixies, an' I didn't like the tone of voice him"…indicating the orderly Sergeant…"used to me. Also I'm a little deaf, sir, an' my 'ands is that cut with barbed wire that it's hagony to put 'em in boilin' water, sir! An' I'm afraid o' gettin' these 'ere germs into them, sir. Apart from which I ain't got anything to say, sir!"

After this Private Smith assumes the injured air of a martyr, casts his eyes up to heaven, and waits hopefully for dismissal. (The other two similar cases were dismissed this morning!)

The Captain drums his fingers on the table for a few moments. "This is your first offence, Smith."


"But it is not made any the less serious by that fact."

The gleam of joy in Smith's eye departs.

"Disobedience of an order is no trivial matter. A case like this should go before the Commanding Officer."

Long pause, during which the accused passes from the stage of hope deferred to gloom and disillusion, and the orderly Sergeant assumes a fiercely triumphant expression.

"Twenty-eight days Field Punishment number one," murmurs the Captain ruminatively, "or a court-martial" —this just loud enough for the accused to hear. The latter's left leg sags a trifle, and consternation o'er-spreads his visage.

"In view, Smith," says the Captain aloud, "in view of your previous good record, I will deal with you myself. Four days dixie washing, and you will attend all parades!"

Before Private Smith has time to heave a of relief the C.S.M.'s voice breaks on the air, "Left turrn ! Left wheel, quick marrch!"

"A good man, Sergeant-Major," says the Captain with a smile. "Have to scare 'em a bit at times, what?"

Battalion Orderly Room is generally a very imposing affair, calculated to put fear into the hearts of all save the most hardened criminals. At times the array is formidable, as many as thirty … witnesses, escort, and prisoners--being lined up outside the orderly room door under the vigilant eye of the Regimental Sergeant-Major. It is easy to see which is which, even were not the " dress " different. The prisoners are in clean fatigue, wearing no accoutrements or equipment be-yond the eternal smoke-helmet. The escort are in light marching order, and grasp in their left hands a naked bayonet, point upwards, resting along the forearm. The witnesses wear their belts. Most of the accused have a hang-dog look, some an air of defiance.

"Escort and prisoners… Shun!"

The Colonel passes into orderly room, where the Adjutant, the Battalion Orderly Officer, and Officer witnesses in the cases to be disposed of await him, all coming rigidly to attention as he enters. In orderly room, or "office" as the men usually call it, the Colonel commands the deference paid to a high court judge. He is not merely a C.O., he is an Institution.

The R.S.M. hovers in the background, waiting for orders to call the accused and witnesses in the first case. The C.O. fusses with the papers on his desk, hums and haws, and finally decides which case he will take first. The Adjutant stands near him, a sheaf of papers in his hand, like a learned crown counsel.

Not infrequently the trend of a case depends on whether the C.O. lunched well, or if the G.O.C. strafed or complimented him the last time they held palaver. Even colonels are human.

"Charge against Private Maconochie, No. 170298, drunk," etc., reads the Adjutant.

After the evidence has been heard the Colonel, having had no explanation or defence from the accused, proceeds to pass sentence. This being a first " drunk " he cannot do very much but talk, and talk he does.

"You were drunk, Thomkins. You were found in a state of absolutely sodden intoxication, found in the main street of Ablain-le-Petit at 4 P.M. in the afternoon. You were so drunk that the evidence quotes you as sleeping on the side-walk. You are a disgrace to the regiment, Thomkins ! You outrage the first principles of decency, you cast a slur on your battalion. You deliberately, of set purpose, intoxicate yourself at an early hour of the afternoon. I have a good mind to remand for a Field General Court-martial. Then you would be shot! Shot, do you understand? But I shall deal with you myself. I shall not permit the name of this battalion to be besmirched by you. Reprimanded! Reprimanded! Do you hear, sir!"

(Voice of the R.S.M., north front.) "Right turn. Right wheel; quick marrch!"

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 22 May 2014

R.A.F. Pocket Book (1932 Edition)
Topic: RCAF

R.A.F. Pocket Book (1932 Edition)

RAF Pocket Book coloured image plate

Following the example of the British Army's Field Service Pocket Book, the Royal Air Force authorizes the RAF Pocket Book. No doubt many officers of the Royal Flying Corps, and then the Royal Ar Force, were familiar with and probably carried the Field Service Pocket Book in the early years of the Air Services. The RAF Pocket Book provided much of the same information, but with a distinctive "air force" flavour with the inclusion of specific sections useful to their flying and ground support officers. One other change was made to ensure the Pocket Book's branding as an RAF item, the change from the standard brown cover of the Army editions to a distinctive blue.

The introductory note in the RAF Pocket Book reads (in part):

1.     This publication is a Pocket Reference Book for use by personnel on active or overseas service, or on Staff and other Training Exercises, where the usual official manuals are not immediately available.

2.     It is not to be quoted as authority for action, nor is it to be used as a text book for the study of subjects that are explained fully in training or other Royal Air Force publications. When necessary, however, official reference may be made to subjects that are not yet dealt with elsewhere.

3.     Data likely to become obsolescent within a few years, such as the weight and dimensions of aircraft and other equipment, are given in a separate Appendix ("Weights and Dimensions," Appendix IV), which is to be kept in the pocket of the cover.

RAF Pocket Book coloured image plate RAF Pocket Book coloured image plate RAF Pocket Book coloured image plate RAF Pocket Book coloured image plate RAF Pocket Book coloured image plate RAF Pocket Book coloured image plate

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Matron Katherine Osborne MacLatchy
Topic: CEF

Matron Katherine Osborne MacLatchy

No. 3 Canadian General Hospital

Katherine Osborne MacLatchy was born at Grand Pré, Nova Scotia, on 15 February, 1874. She was serving with the Permanent Army Medical Corps at Montreal when she attestedt for overseas service on 4 March, 1915. proceeding overseas with No. 3 Canadian General Hospital, which was raised at McGill University, she served as Matron with No. 3 C.G.H. throughout the war.

Matron MacLatchy was awarded the Royal Red Cross, 1st Class, and was Mentioned in Despatches twice (London Gazette # 31089 and 29422).

Katherine MacLatchy can be found in the Soldiers of the First World War Database at Library and Archives Canada:

No. 3 (McGill University) Canadian General Hospital

Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War; The Medical Services, by Sir Andrew MacPhail, 1925

  • Organized Montreal, 5 Mar 1915
  • Shornecliffe, 16 Mat 1915 to 16 Jun 1915
  • Dannes-Camiers, 19 Jun 1915 to 5 Jan 1915
  • Boulogne, 6 Jan 1916 to 29 May 1919
  • Officers Commanding: H.S. Birkett, J.M. Elder, L. Drum
  • Matron: K.O. MacLatchy

Notes from the Genealogical Forum "nsroots"

[nsroots] Matron Katherine Osborne MacLatchy born Grand Pre, NS in 1874

Matron Katherine Osborne MacLatchy of the of the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia (founded in 1909 as the Graduate Nurses' Association of Nova Scotia — changed to Registered Nurses Association of Nova Scotia, and now the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia) — … is a recipient of one of the College's Centennial Award of Distinction that was presented on May 13, 2009, when the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia celebrated 100 years. The awards were presented to 100 current/former registered nurses (10 per decade) whose significant accomplishments have influenced the advancement of the nursing profession. In 1910, an Act to Incorporate the Graduate Nurses' Association of Nova Scotia (original name) was passed so we have celebrations from 2009-2010.

This is a short profile that we have on file:

Katherine Osborne MacLatchy

Katherine MacLatchy was born in Grand Pre, Nova Scotia, February 15, 1874. Katherine graduated from the Saint John General Public Hospital in Saint John, NB in 1898. She enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps (Over-Seas Expeditionary Force) in Montreal as a trained nurse in 1915. She held the position of Matron, at the Cogswell Street Military Hospital and Camp Hill Hospital in Halifax. Katherine was Vice-President of Graduate Nurses' Association of Nova Scotia (GNANS) in 1921, and Honorary President, (member of the executive) of GNANS in 1922. Katherine registered with the Association in 1923 and remained a member until 1932. During her term on the executive of the Graduate Nurses' Association of Nova Scotia, the Act to Incorporate the Graduate Nurses' Association of Nova Scotia was amended, and passed on April 29, 1922.

I have received the following information from the Archives at Acadia University — "Kate and Fran McLatchy both of whom served as nurses in WW1 returned home to Grand Pre. They lived in the Borden house next door to the Covenanter Church for years. Kate died in 1969 at age 95, and is buried in the graveyard that surrounds the Covenanter Church. Neither married and Fran outlived Kate. As far as relatives—nieces nephews- K and F had a brother my sources felt that there were some but they did not know where they were."

The Canadian Experience of the Great War: A Guide to Memoirs, by Brian Tennyson

1158.     MacLatchy, Katherine Osborne [1874-1969]. "No. 3 Canadian General Hospital." Canadian Nurse and Hospital Reviews,18:7 (July 1922): 414-18. ISSN 00084581. AMICUS 7505937. OONL. Reprinted as "Matron MacLatchy's Recollections" in Clare Gass, The War Diaries of Clare Gass, ed. Susan Mann, Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, c2000, xlvii, 306 p.: ill., bibl., maps, 22 cm., 243-47. McGill-Queen's/Hannah Institute Studies in the History of Medicine, Health and Society 9. ISBN 0773521267. AMICUS 26573404. NSHD. Brief memoir, 1915 to 1918. Born at Grand Pré, Nova Scotia, MacLatchy was a niece of Sir Robert Borden. She studied nirsing in Montreal and was working there when she joined No. 3 (McGill) Canadian general Hospital as matron in May 1915. After the war she served as matron of Camp Hill Hospital in halifax from 1918 to 1920, when she moved to New York. She later retired to Grand Pré.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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