The Minute Book
Thursday, 31 July 2014

New Names for Old Letters
Topic: Militaria

New Names for Old Letters

From The Emma Gees by Herbert W. McBride, Captain U.S.A., Late Twenty-First Canadian Battalion, 1918

When reading messages sent by any "visual" method of signalling, such as flags, heliograph or lamp, it is necessary for the receiver to keep his eyes steadily fixed upon the sender, probably using binoculars or telescope, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, for him to write down each letter as it comes, and as this is absolutely required in military work, where nearly everything is in code or cipher, the services of a second man are needed to write down the letters as the first calls them off.

As many of the letters of the alphabet have sounds more or less similar, such as "S" and "F", "M" and "N" and "D" and "T", many mistakes have occurred. Therefore, the ingenuity of the signaller was called upon to invent names for certain of the letters most commonly confused. Below is a list of the ones which are now officially recognized:

  • A pronounced ack
  • B – beer
  • D – don
  • M – emma
  • P – pip
  • S – esses
  • T – tock
  • V – vic
  • Z – zed

The last is, of course, the usual pronunciation of this letter in England and Canada, but, as it may be unfamiliar to some readers, I have included it.

After a short time all soldiers get the habit of using these designations in ordinary conversation. For instance, one will say: "I'm going over to 'esses-pip seven,'" meaning "Supporting Point No. 7" or, in stating the time for any event, "ack-emma" is A.M. and "pip-emma" P.M.

As the first ten letters of the alphabet are also used to represent numerals in certain methods of signalling, some peculiar combinations occur, as, for instance,: "N-ack-beer" meaning trench "N-12," or "O-don" or "O-4."

"Ack-pip-emma" is the Assistant Provost Marshall whom everybody hates, while just "pip-emma" is the Paymaster, who is always welcome.

Thus the Machine Gunner is an "Emma Gee" throughout the army.

Lieutenant Eric Costin operating a wireless telegraph apparatus; 29 August, 1911.
Source: Toronto Public Library Digital Archive.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Infantry Platoon; 1942
Topic: Soldiers' Load

The Infantry Platoon; 1942

Canadian Army, Training Pamphlet No. 1
A General Instructional Background for the Young Soldier; 1942

The Platoon.

Each platoon consists of:—

  • Platoon H.Q. and 3 sections.
  • Platoon headquarters:
    • Commander.
    • Sergeant.
    • One driver i/c.
    • One orderly.
    • Batman (in platoons commanded by an officer).
    • 2-in. mortar personnel (2 men).

The Section.

Each section consists of a N.C.O. Section Commander and 7 privates. There are an additional 3 privates in reserve to ensure that casualties do not bring the fighting strength of the section below this number.

Section Equipment.

All carry 50 rounds S.A.A. in pouches. All carry rifles with the exception of the man carrying the L.M.G.

Magazines will be carried as ordered by the section commander.

The above is the normal allotment of equipment which may be varied according to circumstances, but everyone in the section must be trained to fire the light machine gun and anti-tank rifle.

No spare barrel will be carried with the gun during movement. In the defence, if the light machine gun is required to fire on fixed lines the tripod mounting must be used. One man will he responsible for erecting the tripod. In defence he will carry a spare barrel and will assist the firer to keep the gun in action.

Personal equipment.

Each man has a haversack and pack.

The haverack will be worn on the back and should normally contain:—

  • Water bottle.
  • Mess tin.
  • Emergency ration.
  • Knife, fork and spoon.
  • Cardigan (when not worn).
  • Waterproof sheet or cape anti-gas under the flap of the haversack.

The pack will usually be carried on the platoon truck and will contain:—

  • 1 pr. socks.
  • Cap comforter.
  • Soft cap.
  • Holdall.
  • Soap.
  • Towel.
  • 1 pr. laces.
  • Greatcoat.
  • Housewife.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Grand Military Review, London, 1895
Topic: Canadian Militia

Grand Military Review, London, 1895


From the Programme of the 76th anniversary: Her Majesty's birthday, May 24th, 1895: grand military review at London, Ont. (1895). Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2009 with funding from Ontario Council of University Libraries


ALTTEXTThe Brigade will form at 2 o'clock p.m. sharp, when the review takes place, during which the Feu-de-Joie will be fired, in which the London Field Battery will fire twenty-one guns the review to conclude with a march past by the Brigade.

The 13th Battalion will then Troop the Colour. The Manual and Firing Exercise will be performed by the 38th Battalion Dufferin Rifles. The 13h Battalion will give an exhibition of Physical Drill and Bayonet Exercise, by half battalions, to be followed by the following Tournament:—

All events open only to Officers and men of the Active Militia.

I.Military Steeple Chase. Riders to be in drill order, horses to be carrying regulation saddlery.
II.Foot race, 100 yards. Competitors to be in Marching Order.
III.Bicycle Race. Riders to be in Drill Order, under sanction of the C.W.A.
IV.Musical Ride. First Hussars.
V.Two Hundred Yard Foot Race. Drill Order. Each man to fire five rounds, all to halt at bugle sound, load and fire kneeling on round, then advance till again halted by the bugle, only one round to be fired at each halt.
VI.Heads and Points. Cavalry and Artillery.
VII.Bicycle Race, 1 Mile — In Drill Order. Each man to fire 5 rounds, all to halt at bugle sound, load and fire kneeling one round, then advance until halted by the bugle, only one round to be fired at each halt, under sanction of the C. W. A.
VIII.Artillery Drive.
IX. Sword Exercise. Mounted Cavalry vs. Artillery. X. – Tug-of-War. (10 Men on a side). Open to each Corps taking part in the Tournament.
XI.Tent Pegging.
XII.Animal Race, 50 yards. — (Dogs and horses excluded), competitors to appear in Drill Order.
XIII.Tug-of-War, Mounted — Not less than 3 on a side.
XIV.Artillery in Action — With Blank Ammunition.
XV.Cutting Turk's Head.

Tournament to be governed by English Rules. Prize List will be published later, and Prizes will be on Exhibition several days before the Tournament at Graham Bros., 159 Dundas Street.

elipsis graphic

Friday Evening, May 24th

Overture; "Fest," Lortzing; 13th Battalion Band.
Descriptive Fantasy; "A Race for Life," Julian Croger, Dufferin Rifles Band.
Selection; "Torquato Tasso," Donnizetti, 7th Fusiliers Band.
Waltz; "Twilight," W.H. Brown, Dufferin Rifles Band.
Fantasia; "Albion," Baetens, 13th Battalion Band.
Selection; "Richard Coeur-de-Lion," Gretry, 7th Fusiliers Band.
"Nearer My God to Thee," G. Robinson, 13th Battalion, Dufferin Rifles, and 7th Fusiliers Band.

To conclude with a Realistic Battle Scene.

elipsis graphic

Friday Evening, May 25th

Overture; "I' Puritani," Basquit; 13th Battalion Band.
Fantasia; "Brudder Gardiner's Picnic," Rollinson, 7th Fusiliers Band.
Ballet Music from William Tell; 13th Battalion Band.
Waltz; "Herzenlust," Rossini, 7th Fusiliers Band.
Minuet; Paderewski, 13th Battalion Band.
Galop; "Maori War Dance," Newson, 7th Fusiliers Band.
"Nearer My God to Thee," G. Robinson, 13th Battalion, Dufferin Rifles, and 7th Fusiliers Band.

To conclude with a Realistic Battle Scene.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 28 July 2014

Tests for Candidates for Artificers' Courses
Topic: Drill and Training

Images taken from Handbook for Military Artificers,
Prepared in the Ordnance College, Tenth Edition, 1915

Tests for Candidates for Artificers' Courses of Instruction

The King's Regulations and Orders for the Army, 1912 — Para 744

Artificers' Course—A N.C.O. Or man recommended must be of good character, and should have worked at his trade before he enlisted.
     He will be tested before recommendation. The test for a smith, fitter, or wheeler is shown in Appendix XX.
     An application may, at any time, be submitted to the commandant Ordnance College, but in the case of an N.C.O. Of man of the R.A., through the officer i/c records.
     The duration of the course depends on the abilities and previous training of the man.
     N.C.Os. And men selected for these courses will be sent to Woolwich with their kits and equipment, but without rifles.

elipsis graphic

Appendix XX

Tests for Candidates for Artificers' Courses of Instruction (As Smiths, Fitters, or Wheelers) at the Ordnance College

(Referred to in Para. 744.)

Any of the following tests may be selected:


1.     Make a pair of hollow bits to take not less than 1-inch round iron.
2.     Weld two pieces of round iron, 1-inch in diameter, to form a right angled joint.
3.     Make a smith's sett hammer.
4.     Make a smith's fuller, with eye for a shaft.
5.     Make a nave band, 6 inches internal diameter, from a bar of flat iron 2 inches by ¼ inch.


1.     Chip and file to gauge a square, 2 inches long, on a bar of round 1 ¼ inch iron or mild steel.
2.     Drill, chip, and file (to gauge) a l-inch square hole in a wrought iron plate l inch thick.
3.     Cut a square, to size, on the centre of a round bar 1-inch diameter.
4.     Cut a slot 1/2-inch wide and 3 inches long in a flat bar of iron or steel 2 inches wide and 1/2-inch thick.


1.     Make a mortice and tenon joint as is used for an earbed of a wagon.
2.     Connect two pieces of timber, 6 inches by 6 inches by l inch by common dovetailing.
3.     Make a small sunk panel door 16 inches by 10 inches by l inch.

Directions for carrying out the Test.

1     The test being decided upon, the candidate will be given the tools and material he considers to be most suitable for doing the work. He will not be advised as to the selection of either the tools or the material, and every, precaution will be taken to insure that the work is done entirely by the individual who is being examined. ( Note.—A smith will be allowed the services of a hammerman.)

2     On completion, the test job will be forwarded to the commandant, Ordnance College, with the following certificate:—

Certified that _________ was tested as a _________ in the workshops of _________ on _________.

The test selected was _________.

The candidate was given the tools and material he desired, but he received no advice or assistance of any kind, and the test job now forwarded was done entirely by him.

The time taken was _________.

Signature of officer superintending the test.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 5 July 2014 4:43 PM EDT
Sunday, 27 July 2014

Winnipeg Major to be Cashiered
Topic: Discipline
King George VIEdward VII, pictured before he took the throne,
while still HRH Prince of Wales

Winnipeg Major to be Cashiered

Ottawa Citizen, 27 September 1944

London, Sept. 27.—(CP-Reuters)—Maj. J.T. McLaughlin, 42, of Winnipeg, commanding officer of a Canadian general pioneer company, is to be cashiered, it was announced today.

He was court-martialed at Bordon, England, Sept. 13. Sentence has now been conformed and promulgated.

He was found guilty of an improper reference to the King in a Sergeants' Mess, one charge of drunkenness, of improperly consuming liquor in the kitchen of the Sergeant's Mess in the presence of an A.T.S. sergeant, and of threatening to commit suicide.

In the charge of making an improper reference to the King, McLaughlin is alleged to have stood in front of the King's picture and said "I have no time for that guy or his wife, Eddie is my type of guy."

"Eddie" is a popular term for the Duke of Windsor, the former King who abdicated to marry Mrs. Wallis Simpson.

Maj. McLaughlin rose from the ranks and was due to retire on pension in a few months' time after 20 years' service with the Canadian permanent army.

The Senior Subaltern

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

We'll Never Forget
Topic: Vimy Pilgrimage

We'll Never Forget

From the papers of Lieut. E.R. Gill, A Pilgrimage to Vimy; republished in "My Grandfather's War; Canadians Remember the First World War, 1914-1918," William D. Mathieson, 1981

Well, now I come to the great day itself, Sunday, July 26, 1936. We, in Lens, were to leave in buses for the Ridge at 9 o'clock in the morning. It was actually nearly noon before we got away. The unveiling ceremony was to take place at 2:30 so that only a few hundreds of us had time to inspect the trenches that had been preserved and which are a bit unreal; to explore the wonders of the Grange Tunnel, and to see "No Man's Land" again, with its huge craters and the wire still there.

At 12:45 noon a green smoke bomb went up from the watch tower as a warning signal that all pilgrims were to commence the movement to the parade ground. Lined up in companics under our respective Party Leaders, the Khaki Bereted ex-service Canadians were given a splendid vantage, point in front of the memorial. The Blue Berets (relatives) were on either flank and the French Veterans in our rear

It is estimated that there were 6200 from Canada and another 2000 ex-Canadians from Britain in this Legion Expeditionary Force. Included in the latter was my twin brother whom I met right in front of the memorial after an absence from each other of more than sixteen years.

As one stood in awe before that towering Vimy Memorial, on the highest point of the Ridge known as Hill 145, and 200 feet above the plain of Douai, one began to appreciate how fitting was this magnificent monument as a witness to Canada's efforts, and sacrifices in the Great War. One hundred and forty feet high, one hundred and thirty feet wide, and one hundred and fifty feet deep from front to back, it stands on a concrete raft two feet thick, twenty feet below the level of the ground. Nearly 8000 tons of stone quarried in Yugoslavia have been used in the memorial, some of the largest blocks weighing 26 tons. On the walls are inscribed the names of 11,285 missing Canadians, that is, those known to be dead but having no known graves.

The appearance of our youthful looking King as he stepped on to the dais; his address, every word of which was listened to intently; the sudden appearance of the two squadrons of R.A.F. airplanes flying over our heads shortly before the flag-draped figure of Canada was unveiled by His Majesty followed by eighteen planes of the French Air Force, these things which those of us who were privileged to witness, we'll never forget. Every note seemed to have a new meaning. "O Canada", "Land of Hope and Glory", "La Marseillaise" and "God Save the King" all seemed to have an added and a deeper significance.

And then the inspiring climax of the Vimy Pilgrimage was over…

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

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

A Soldier's Load
Topic: Soldiers' Load

A Soldier's Load

From Dirty Little Secrets; Military Information You're Not Supposed to Know, James F. Dunnigan and Albert A. Nofi, 1990

A properly outfitted medieval knight was less burdened by his armor than a modern infantryman is by his full set of equipment. After all, though a knight's armor might occasionally weigh as much as 100 pounds, it was rather evenly distributed over his body, and he had a horse to help carry the load, while an infantry's burden rests disproportionately between his shoulders, and he has only his two legs to help carry it. In this century, the weight of an infantryman's equipment and arms has consistently been excessive. About eighty pounds has been rather common, a hundred pounds not unusual. The Russian "norm" for paratroopers is eighty-eight pounds. In extraordinary cases, the load could run much higher, so that some American troops went into Grenada and Panama with 120 pounds, and in the Falklands British troops "yomped" as much as 140 pounds.

Modern US Army logoArmies have been aware of the problem for almost as long as it has existed. Studies by the U.S. Army suggest that no soldier should carry more than about 30 percent of his body weight—say, forty-eight pounds—into combat, nor more than about 45 percent—seventy-five pounds—in other circumstances. Yet efforts to lighten the load have proven only moderately successful, and run counter to the trend toward more gadgets and specialized equipment needed to meet the changing character of the battlefield: In effect, any savings gained by using lighter equipment of one sort is canceled by the need to add yet another doodad.

Consider the rifleman's basic load:

  • Clothing, Boots, Personal Items – 21.1 pounds
  • M-16, Loaded and with 6 Spare Magazines – 16.3
  • Grenades, 2 – 2.0
  • Helmet and Flak Jacket – 11.6
  • Sleeping Bag and Accessories – 10.0
  • NBC Protective Gear – 8.5
  • Entrenching Tool – 2.5
  • Rations for One Day – 3.0

The total comes to seventy-five pounds, but includes only the most basic equipment, with just 210 rounds of ammunition. Now, think about the effect on overall weight caused by the need for additional ammunition, rations, and such commonly issued items as nightvision goggles (1.9 pounds), portable radios (2.9 pounds), LAW antitank rounds (4.7 pounds), and, soon, handheld satellite-navigation receiving sets (secret). Then think about special cold-weather gear. Nor is the rifleman's burden the worst. A grenadier's is about 8.9 pounds heavier (grenade launcherv and grenades in lieu of M-16). A man toting a SAW — "squad automatic weapon," formerly known as a light machine gun—carries 14.5 pounds more, and a mortarman something like 40 pounds more. The troops, of course, are very aware of the problem, and in combat tend to shed equipment rapidly if not closely watched and well-disciplined. Usually, the first things thrown away are those they consider least useful. But it's all likely to be useful, depending upon the situation. The root of the problem is that the infantryman should not carry too much equipment, but everything he has to carry will be desperately needed in some circumstance.

The Senior Subaltern

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

Principles of Survival Operations
Topic: Cold War

Principles of Survival Operations

In the event of a nucIear attack on North America, survival operations wouId become first priority tasks af all Regular and Militia units in Canada not engaged in the direct defence of the country. The Army would be joined in these operations by forces from the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

From the Foreward by Lieut.-Gen. G. Walsh, Chief of the General Staff; CAMT 2-91 (May 1962)

Extracted from the Canadian Army Manual of Training; Survival Operations (1961), (Revised May 1962); CAMT 2-91

The following principles have been established for planning survival operations:

(1)     Speed in executing rescue operations is of paramount importance to the saving of life.

(2)     All forces not committed to active operations against enemy forces must be available for survival operations.

(3)     Maximum manpower must be brought to bear on rescue operations in time to be effective.

(4)     Survival plans must be flexible to take account of various wind and weather conditions and various attack patterns.

(5)     Surviva1 plans must be simple and must have been rehearsed so that effective operations may start on minimum orders, or in the absence of orders.

(6)     Equipment and commodities essential to survival operations must be located outside of probable target areas. Despite the vulnerability of units located inside target areas, plans must aim at their maximum use and must provide far their rapid outward movement to assembly areas.

(7)     Basic information needed to carry out re-entry operations must be collected beforehand and must be kept up to date.

(8)     Authority must be decentralized so that local commanders have the necessary powers to execute their assigned responsibilities in case of interrupted communication with higher headquarters.

(9)     Forces engaged in survival operations should be self-sufficient in essential commodities for the period of such operations. National reserves of equipment needed for survival operations must be decentralized because of expected transportation difficulties.

(10)     Forces engaged in survival operations may have to be relieved at an early stage in order to participate in active operations against the enemy or to conduct survival operations elsewhere in Canada.

(11)     Efforts will be directed towards ensuring that maximum warning of the likelihood of an attack is provided to elements of government and the civilian population. Similarly, dissemination of the TAKE COVER and FALLOUT warnings must be provided far on the highest possible priority.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 29 June 2014 8:24 PM EDT
Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Listowel Armoury
Topic: Armouries

Listowel Armoury

Listowel, Perth County, Ontario

The data tabled below comes from forms maintained by the District Engineers of Military District No. 1 (which covered southwestern Ontario) on the Armouries and facilities in their district. The data on the transcribed forms was recorded in the 1940s and reflects the state and use of the buildings in that era. Some of the Armouries in use at that time continue to be the homes of local Reserve Force units, some have been repurposed, and others are long gone, the sites now home to other buildings. The area controlled by Military District No. 1 in the 1940s is now in the area of responsibility of 31 Canadian Brigade Group.


Welcome to Listowel, Ontario..


The Listowel Agricultural Society now occupies the Armoury.


The Listowel Armoury and the plaque set high in the front wall showing its date of construction.


A memorial display at the front of the Armoury.


A memorial bench at the rear of the Armoury.

NameListowel Armoury
Military DistrictM.D. No. 1
Electoral DistrictPerth
H.Q. FileH.Q 14-295-1; L. 75-2-79
1.Building Ownership.Department of National Defence
2.If purchased, date, conditions, cost, etc., and value. 
3.If constructed, date and cost and what Department and value.Constructed in 1914. Cost not obtainable. Present value $10,000.
(a)Drainage, sewer and water connection. To be shown on site plan.Septic Tank, Town water supply.
(b)Foundation.Concrete and cement block.
(c)Walls.Brick and Stone.
(d)Roof framing.Wood truss.
(e)Roof covering (Type and date).Galv. Iron, 1914.
(f)Floor, main hall.Hardwood.
(g)Other floors.Hardwood.
(i)Balconies.One end, 6' wide.
5.Miniature rifle range—Description.Four target range.
6.Bowling alleys, badminton courts, indoor baseball or other facilities for games.No.
7.Heating system— 
(a)General Description.Hor air furnace and stoves.
(b)Make and size heating apprs.Price Harriston Stove Co. #22.
(c)Fuel per annum.18 tons.
(d)Engineer and fireman specially employed.No.
8.Lighting system—General description.Modern electric.
9.Fire protection. Show position of standpipes in building, on site or on street plan.Town fire protection.
(a)Military or Civilian.Civilian
(b)Quartered in Armoury.No.
(c)Does he tend heating apprs.Yes.
11.Units in occupation.100th (R) Field Battery, R.C.A.
12.General condition (Adequate space or not).Adequate
Clothing, Equipment, fixtures (adequate or not). 
13.Any special remarks not included above.Adequate
(a)Ownership.Department of National Defence
(b)How acquired, date, cost and present value.Purchased by D.N.D. From Town of Listowel 10 Oct 1913 for $1.00.
(c)Who holds deed.District Enginering Officer, M.D. No. 1, London, Ontario
(d)Size and area.3 acres
(e)Name of street and number of lot.Part Lot 41 Concession 1. Township of Elma.
(f)Fences, walks, and roadways on site.Yes.
(g)Surface—whether grass and whether kept in condition, and by whom.Grass by Caretaker.
(h)Is any part of site used for other than military purpose. Give details.No.
(i)Are there any other structures on site. If so give details.No.
(j)State nature of surface of roads, also sidewalks on adjoining street.Concrete roadway and sidewalk.
(k)Any remarks on site not included above.Site 1 mile from town.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 15 July 2014 7:22 PM EDT
Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Privilege to the Permanent Force
Topic: CEF

Privilege to the Permanent Force

Officers and Men Who Were Retained in Canada May Go Overseas

Their position has become invidious the more so as persons who did not appreciate the need in Canada, accustomed to the working of the military machine have reproached them for not going abroad, when as a matter of fact they had sought to do so and had been refused.

Montreal Gazette, 11 October 1918

Ottawa, October 10.—An order has recently been promulgated by the Militia Department for the purpose of doing justice to a number of officers, warrant officers, and non-commissioned officers of the permanent force who have been retained for service in Canada. By its terms the privilege of going overseas for service in France is granted to all in this position. If they are not senior to the rank of lieutenant colonel, they are not required to revert to a lower rank to obtain this privilege, officers of higher grade are required to revert to that grade.

To raise, organize, train and dispatch the Canadian Expeditionary Force overseas, a staff is necessary in Canada, alike at headquarters and in the various districts, camps and schools. Permanent officers and non-commissioned officers were particularly useful for service on these staffs, because they were familiar with military methods; numbers of them accordingly were retained in Canada against their will, to the detriment of their professional careers, because they were necessary, and in some cases indispensable for work at the base. These men were thus victims of their own efficiency. Their position has become invidious the more so as persons who did not appreciate the need in Canada, accustomed to the working of the military machine have reproached them for not going abroad, when as a matter of fact they had sought to do so and had been refused.

Garbled versions of this order have been circulated to the effect that it is to "compel" these officers and other ranks to go abroad. It does nothing of the kind. It confers on them the privilege of going abroad. The authorities only recently have been able to make this arrangement because qualified men who have been overseas are available for the work in Canada.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

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

Target Practice
Topic: Drill and Training

Target Practice

Regulations and Orders for the Active Militia The Schools of Military Instruction, and the Reserve Militia (in the cases therein mentioned) of the Dominion of Canada; 4th March 1870

Attention to these five simple rules, with some power of judging distance, and a knowledge of the influence of the wind on the flight of a bullet, is all that is required to enable a man to become a good practical shot.

170.     Officers commanding corps should avail themselves of every opportunity during the annual drills, to impart the necessary instruction in rifle shooting to those under their command; they should bear in mind that there is no difficulty or mystery in the matter; that to enable a man to learn rifle shooting, it is not necessary that he should got through a course of lectures on the theoretical principles of projectiles and musketry, it is sufficient to teach him:—

1st. Position Drill, which he can learn when being instructed in the Manual and Platoon Exercises.

2nd. That he should be shown and learn how to align the back and front sights of his rifle upon the object aimed at.

3rd. Not to wink or shut his eyes when he pulls the trigger.

4th. Not to pull the trigger with a jerk, but with a steady pressure of the finger,

5th. To hold the sight of the rifle perpendicularly, that is, inclining neither to the right nor to the left.

Attention to these five simple rules, with some power of judging distance, and a knowledge of the influence of the wind on the flight of a bullet, is all that is required to enable a man to become a good practical shot. The explosion of the charge has a tendency to throw muzzle up and bullet high; to counteract this, press center of heel plate firmly to shoulder. The sun shining from left, lights up right side of back notch, and left side of foresight; its these spots are aligned on the mark, the ball will go left, and vice versa.

171.     The allowance of ammunition for practice by corps armed with the Snider Enfield Rifle, during each year, will be 40 rounds of ball and 2 rounds of blank for each man actually effective, and the same may be drawn upon requisition of Commanding Officers through the Deputy Adjutant General of the District.

172.     Under no circumstances shall Practice with Ball Cartridges be engaged in, without the men in uniform and under the command of an officer or non-commissioned officer, who shall be held responsible for the proper conduct of the party. After firing, at target practice, Commanding Officers will require every man to clean his rifle before returning it to the Company's arm racks.

173.     Militiamen are forbidden to tamper with or injure the arms issued for their use. Should alterations or repairs be required, they must be effected by a competent armourer or mechanic.

174.     Officers commanding corps are required to keep careful and accurate returns of all Target Practice, in accordance with forms provided from the office of the Adjutant General of Militia, and may be obtained upon application to the Brigade Major in each Division.

175.     Officers commanding corps will be careful that each man under their command shall within each year fire at target practice the number of round authorized for such purpose, and he will see that no individual volunteer expends more of the practice ammunition than his fair share.

176.     Ammunition authorized for annual target practice of any corps, is not to be used at rifle matches, other than those between members of the Corps to which ammunition is issued.

The Senior Subaltern

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

The RCN Rum Ration
Topic: RCN

The RCN Rum Ration; Reviewed, Retained, Ended

The Montreal Gazette;
14 December, 1939

Rum Ration Retained

Ottawa, December 13. — CP — Men of the Royal Canadian Navy, and other branches of Canada's Active Service Forces may well say "Heave ho, my hearties" today for that ration of rum is to be continued. After examination by Government experts a proposal to substitute brandy for the traditional rum ration has been squelched.

The Maple Leaf;
17 February, 1945

Where Does It Go?

Ottawa — (CP) — An increasing number of Canada's seamen are passing up their daily rum ration in lieu of the alternative five cents, Navy Minister Macdonald disclosed. He said he believed the figures stood at about 60 per cent temperate, 40 per cent "grogs." The men are given the opportunity to change their minds on the subject every four months.

The News and Courier;
15 May 1955

Canadian Navy's Rum Ration Hit

Winnipeg, Man., May 14 — (AP) — The daily ration of rum for members of the Canadian navy should be discontinued, the Manitoba Temperance Alliance said in a resolution adopted at its annual meeting.


The Montreal Gazette; 2 November, 1949

Canadian Navy Advised to Review Age-old Custom of Rum Rations

Ottawa, Nov. 1 — (CP) — Naval authorities were asked today to review the question of serving alcoholic beverages aboard ships of the RCN and to make a report on the matter to Defence Minister Claxton.

The request came in the report of the commission which investigated incidents aboard the aircraft carrier Magnificent and the destroyers Athabaskan and Crescent last February and March.

The commission itself expressed no opinion on the system of wardroom privileges for officers and a daily tot of rum issued to ratings or, in lieu, a cash payment.

"We believe that if any change is to take place, it should not be imposed by an outside authority but should be the result of a careful assessment of all factors by the Navy itself,: the report said.

During its sittings, the commission heard a number of proposals, including abolition of alcoholic drinks on board Canadian ships, adoption of the American system whereby beer is issued to the men and officers are allowed to buy drinks at shore prices; and abolition of all drinks while the ship is at sea.

The first of these proposals would introduce the United States Navy system into the RCN—a strict ban on alcohol for both officers and men.

The report noted that the Canadian system at present was inherited from the British navy from "age-old customs" and that during tropical cruises the custom of making and issue of beer to the men has been followed occasionally.

"It is generally argued by advocates of the present system," the report said, "that it has long been accepted by and acceptable to all ranks; that it has not been abused' that it is a fair reflection at sea of the privileges of men on shore and that it helps to strengthen the self-discipline of officers and men.

"The American system, on the other hand, is alleged to contribute to law-breaking at sea and to over-indulgence on shore.

"On the other hand, evidence was offered that the differential privileges of officers and men occasionally but infrequently are met with a measure of dissatisfaction on the lower decks and that the issue of alcohol was responsible for many of the disciplinarily troubles on board ship…"


The Montreal Gazette; 31 Mar 1972

Main brace spliced for the last time

Halifax — (CP) — No more will sailors in the Canadian navy get their daily rum tot. The issue of 2 ½ ounces of dark rum was given yesterday for the last time, ending a naval tradition that dates back to 1667.

"Splice the main brace" is a naval order usually reserved for an extremely special occasion like a victory at sea of a duty well performed.

It brings about a double rum ration to all sailors of the fleet.

Rear-Admiral R.W. Timbrell commander Maritime Command, gave the order to "splice the main brace" yesterday and the traditional ceremony went out in style.

With all hands mustered to the afterdeck of the destroyer Kootenay, the tots of dark rum were drawn for the last time.


When everyone had the traditional rum issue from the regulation oak tub that Cmdr Jim Creech obtained for the occasion, he spoke briefly of the tradition which is being eliminated in favour of facilities for wine, spirits and beer on the vessels.

From the oaken keg bearing the burnished brass inscription, "The Queen, God bless her," the hands got their second tot and then drank to the Queen's health.

Then Cmdr Creech pulled the final tot from the tub and, with the naval band providing the music, poured it over the side.

Last December former defence minister Donald Macdonald announced that the Canadian navy would follow similar steps by the Royal Navy and end the rum ration.

The tradition of a daily issue of one part of overproof rum to two parts water — though latterly a cola was used — has been followed by the British navy for three centuries and the Canadian navy wince it came into being in 1910.

It became known by a variety of names including "Nelson's blood."

When British Admiral Lord Vernon, known as "old Grog" because of a coat he wore, ordered the rum cut with two parts of water, it became known as grog.

But the name "Nelson's blood" was somewhat more colorful. The term is believed to have roots in the historic fact that after Admiral Nelson was killed at Trafalgar, his body was shipped home preserved in a barrel of spirits.

When the barrel arrived in England, Nelson was in it, but the spirits, it is said, were not.

The spirits might have leaked out, but there is supporting evidence that sailors took the opportunity to tipple on the sly.

The Royal Navy upheld the tradition of "tapping the admiral" until last summer when it announced that more popular alcoholic beverages would replace the rum. Canada decided to follow the same line. The rum was issued just before the noon meal aboard navy ships and cost the government $363,000 a year including sales and excise taxes.

HMCS Rainbow

The Saturday Citizen, 1 April, 1972

Sailors take final swig of daily rum

Victoria (CP) — Servicemen dressed in period naval costumes and carrying dummy coffin containing six bottles of rum, paraded somberly through the dockyard Thursday at the Canadian Forces base in nearby Esquimalt.

The brief ceremony marked the death of the daily rum ration for the Canadian forces.

As the coffin carriers, members of the submarine HMCS Rainbow, completed their procession, Rear-Admiral Richard Leir, commander, Pacific Maritime Forces, called a "splice the main brace."

This allowed all the sailors aboard ships in the harbor to hoist their final tot of rum.

The daily tot of rum is a naval tradition dating back to the 1600s. Last year the British government decided to discontinue the practice for the Royal Navy and the Canadian navy followed suit.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 14 June 2014 1:07 PM EDT
Saturday, 19 July 2014

Post-War Permanent Force Set-Up
Topic: Canadian Army

Post-War Permanent Force Set-Up

The Maple Leaf, 6 November 1945

Ottawa—(CP)—Indications that formations in Canada's peacetime permanent army will not differ except in size from those of prewar years were given in the Commons by Defence Minister Abbott during a study of army estimates.

He said the postwar force of between 20,000 and 24,000—prewar strength was only 5,000—would consist of a brigade group augmented by two armored regiments and one medium artillery battery. In addition there would be the usual administration and training elements including a coastal battery on each coast and composite anti-aircraft battery.

"The main element of that proposed brigade groups would consist of headquarters, three infantry battalions, field artillery regiment of three batteries and an anti-tank battery and field company of engineers together with signals, medical and staff units, maintenance workshops and other essential elements,' said Mr. Abbott.

In reply to questions Mr. Abbott said Canada hopes to obtain a ship specially equipped to bring wives and children of service men from the United Kingdom. He also stated veterans' guard companies will continue to be used as long as useful employment can be found for them.

"CAAF" and "CARP" are alphabetic designations that may become familiar when organization of Canada's post-war military set-up is finally complete. Defence Minister Abbott suggested that the regular army be called Canadian Army Active Force, and the Reserve be called Canadian Army Reserve Force. Prewar army was known as the Permanent Force while reserve bore the title of Non-Permanent Active Militia.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 18 July 2014

Military Definitions
Topic: Humour


The art of abusing every regiment but your own.

Military Definitions

Published in The Patrician (Journal of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry), Vol. IV, No. 3, October, 1937, as taken from "The Antelope" (Journal of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment) for November, 1935

The following military definitions were extracted from among the papers of the late Brig.-Gen. G.N.B. Forster, CMG, DSO, and have been contributed by his wife.


Adjutant: An officer whose duties consist in flattering the Colonel, flirting with his wife, nursing his children and swearing at the men.
Aide-de-Camp Ditto on a more extended scale.
Arrest: A very pleasant state of temporary retirement from the duties and the annoyances of the profession.


Barracks Damage: A poetical title for the rent paid by officers for their dog-holes. Battalion Drill: Agony on a large scale.

Brig.-Gen. G.N.B.Forster, DSO

George Norman Bowes Forster was born in October 1872. Educated at The United Services College, Westward Ho!, and the RMC Sandhurst. Commissioned in 1893, he joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and served in the Nile Expedition of 1898 (present at the Battles of Atbara and Khartoum) and served in the South African War from 1899 to 1902. He was Adjutant of the 1st Battalion of his regiment between 1902 and 1904.

Early in the First World War, Forster went to France with the 7th Battalion, rising in rank to command it. Wounded twice, he was also awarded the DSO. In August 1917 he was appointed to command the 42nd Infantry Brigade (part of 14th (Light) Division).

On 4 Apr 1918 his brigade HQ was overrun near Villers Bretonneux, Brig.-Gen. Forster was reported missing. Brig.-Gen. Forster has no known grave, he is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial.


Cavalry: A branch of the Service, useful in promoting the smell of stables in drawing-rooms.
Colonel: An individual with brass spurs and an exaggerated estimate of his own importance.
Company Drill: Agony on a small scale.
Court-Martial: A military tribunal in which the judges, like a bull in a china shop, have it all to themselves.


Dress (v.a): To force a given number of soldiers into one continuous straight line by means of loud vociferations and strong personal abuse.
Drill (v.a): To arrange human beings in unnatural positions and unornamental figures.


Ensign: An emancipated schoolboy.
Esprit-de-Corps: The art of abusing every regiment but your own.


Field Day: A given number of hours of misery.


General: A military biped, much addicted to long stories.
Goose-step: A painful mode of standing on one leg.


Household Troops: Gentlemen at large.


Infantry: A branch of the service, useful in macadamizing roads.
Inspection, half-yearly: An opportunity afforded by custom to soldiers of seeing a live general twice a year.


Knapsack: An ingenious contrivance invented for the purpose of exemplifying how little it is possible to get in a square box.


Leave of Absence: Gentlemanly existence, and very pleasant when you get it.


Mess: A regimental victualling establishment instituted for the purpose of placing inebrity within reach of officers of modest income.
Mufti: A description of costume worn by officers when they wish to be taken for gentlemen.


Non-commissioned officer: A person whose duty it is to furnish the captain with the words of command on field days.


Officer: An unhappy victim of delusion.


Padre: The Protestant appellation of purgatory.
Promotion: A word fallen into disuse, but used among the ancients to signify a rise from one grade to another.


Quarters (officers): Inferior sort of dog-kennels.


Recruit: A speedily to be undeceived dupe.
Roster: A fabulous list of rotation, on which you are always first for duty and last for elave.


Shop: The discussion of obnoxious topics military.
Soldier of fortune: A penniless officer.
Soldier (private): One who consents to dress himself in a grotesque costume and perform various diverting manoeuvres for a small daily stipend.
Square: A military figure formed by soldiers productive of considerable inconvenience to the toes of officers during the time of peace … and of still greater to the cavalry of the enemy in time of war.
Subaltern: An individual placed by fate in a position very inadequate to his merits.


Transport: A vessel having been condemned for pigs and cattle, is appropriated by the Admiralty for the conveyance of troops.


Unanimity: That feeling in a regiment which entitles a brother officer (however cordially you may detest him) to smack you on the back and call you a "brick" with impunity.
Uniform: A dress, only varying from a footman's livery inasmuch as you do not receive quite such high wages for wearing it.


Veteran: A man who holds your button and bores you with "Badajos."
Volunteer: A man of weak intellect.


War: A noisy and unpleasant substitute for democracy.


(Doubled): A liquor drunk by officers in hot countries.


Yard (Barrack): An enclosed space set apart for the amusement and recreation of defaulters.


Zeal: A sort of disease, formerly prevalent, but now almost obsolete.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 18 July 2014 12:06 AM EDT
Thursday, 17 July 2014

Canada's Military Force (1896)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canada's Military Force (1896)

The Quebec Saturday Budget, 17 October, 1896

The establishment list of the military force in Canada for 1896-97 shows a total as follows:…

Permanent Force:…

  • Cavalry, all ranks, 145 men and 101 horses,
  • Artillery, 34 men and 78 horses,
  • Infantry, 316 men and 4 horses.

Or a total of 495 men and 183 horses.

Active Militia:…

  • Cavalry, all ranks, 2,295 men and 2,099 horses,
  • Artillery, 4,018 men and 835 horses
  • Infantry, 28,062 men and 354 horses

Total, 35,497 man and 3,288 horses.

There is a slight decrease in the Royal Canadian Dragoons and Royal Canadian Artillery, while the Royal Regiment of Canadian Infantry is reduced from 592 to 316, a loss of 276, all ranks.

In the active militia the cavalry has been increased by some 200, while in the field batteries the increase is still more marked, 389 officers and men being added and 34 guns with their carriages, etc. The Garrison Artillery remains about the same, but there is quite and increase in the infantry forces.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Tips From the Front 1943
Topic: The Field of Battle

A PIAT (Projectile Infantry Anti-Tank) in action at a firing range in Tunisia, 19 February 1943. Imperial War Museum image NA 756. Photographer: No 2 Army Film & Photographic Unit; Loughlin (Sgt).

A Few "Tips From the Front" (A.T.M. 4-5)

Canadian Army Training Memorandum, No 29, August 1943

Here is a letter from a Platoon Commander on the Tunisian Front to a friend now training at home. He explains in vivid detail precisely how a Platoon Commander should get down to his job if he and his Platoon are to stand up to the test of action.

Finally, remember that "there are bad officers but no bad troops". This is horribly true. We have often seen it out here—indifferent men fighting magnificently under a first-class officer, and vice versa. It does make you realize what a vitally important job you've got. Motto: "It all depends on me."

Dear Tom:

You asked in your letter for a few "tips from the front". The answer is that we have learnt precious little from actual fighting that is not taught in the normal battle school type of training, but, of course, the penalty for breaking the rules is direct and unpleasant, so one learns a bit more quickly and permanently than in England.

In attack, get your platoon going on location of fire, observation, and intelligent use of what information you have got. Our tendency earlier on (and it wasn't altogether the platoon commander's fault) was to rush into the attack without a really thorough recce, and without going through with the NCOs every bit of information we had about the enemy's positions. Once you're in it, it's hell's own game trying to see where the bullets are coming from, unless you have a fair idea where the swine ought to be. Even then it's not so easy.

We have lost a lot of officers through platoon commanders being too eager and moving right up with their leading sections. You can fight your platoon a darned sight better by staying in a position from which you can manoeuvre your reserve (i.e., your two rear sections), when you have seen what fire is drawn by the leading section. The same, of course, applies to company commanders. Practise lots of frontal attacks—pepper pot, etc. Boche positions are so invariably mutually supporting that platoon flanking attacks are damned hard, especially as the bloke you are after is probably supported by MMG fire from somewhere out of range of your LMG.

Approach marches are important. You nearly always have several miles to cover, probably in the dark, before you reach the place from which the attack starts. The condition in which your men reach that assembly area is going to make a whole lot of difference to their performance when the big moment comes. If the march has been a scramble, and they are rushed into the attack as soon as they arrive, morale will be low. If the march has been orderly, with plenty of time to check up on everything and rest the men at the assembly area, they will start off confident and know what they are playing at.

How to Hit Back

Defence took rather a back seat at home—we were supposed to be "Assault troops"—but, assault troops or not, 95 per cent of your time will be spent in defence, because whenever you are not actually attacking you have to be in a position to defend yourself. So it is well worth studying. The Boche are cleverer at it than we are.

However huge an area of country you are given, in placing your troops imagine You have only three-quarters of your platoon. Put your spare quarter aside as a mobile reserve; then forget all the books and put the rest wherever your common sense and your knowledge of Boche habits tells you. Whenever possible, you want to be on reverse slopes—any movement on forward slopes brings the shells down, and it is not easy to stay still all day. If the ground forces you to take up forward slope positions, keep the absolute minimum at battle posts to observe, and the rest in cover until you are attacked. It is then that your fire control comes in. The first time, unless you drum it in daily, everyone will blaze off at any range at the first Boche to appear, giving all your positions away. It is much more satisfying to let the Jerries come up a bit and catch them in numbers on some open patch. If by chance they knock out one of your posts and start getting in among you, then you thank God for that quarter you kept in reserve and nip in your counter-attack straight away. If you have got a counter-attack properly rehearsed with supporting fire, etc., for each of your posts, you should be able to get it in almost as soon as they arrive, or, better still, get them in a flank as they advance.

In defence by night, the section sentry wants to be manning the Bren in the same trench as the NCO. On the side of the trench he has the section commander's tommy gun, a couple of grenades, and a verey pistol with plenty of cartridges—so he is ready for anything. If a Boche patrol attacks, they will let off lashings of automatic fire at random, to draw yours, and when they retire it will be under cover of mortars. The answer is—stay still and hold your fire until you can pick a certain target. At Djebel Abiod we were attacked by a patrol some fifteen strong. They fired literally thousands of rounds without causing a casualty. We fired about twenty rounds, and lolled an officer and two O.Rs. I do not think it is worth chasing a retiring patrol—they want you to leave your trenches, so as to catch you with their mortars. You could possibly guess their line of retreat and chase them with your own mortar fire.

How to Patrol

The best patrolling troops we have come across are the Moroccan Goums, whose success as compared with any Europeans is quite phenomenal. Even against the best of the Germans they never fail. Why are they better than us? Firstly, because they are wild hillmen and trained as warriors from birth, but also because the preparation of their patrols is done with such detailed thoroughness. No fighting patrol is sent out until its leaders have spent at least a day watching the actual post they are after, and recceing exact routes, etc. And if they are not satisfied at the end of the day they will postpone the patrol and spend another day at it. We are rather too inclined to think of a patrol at teatime and do it the same night. It is not so easy as that. To be worth a candle, a fighting patrol must start off with an odds-on chance of two to one, not six to four or evens, but a good two to one bet. To make this possible, your information has got to be really good and up to date. As regards composition of fighting patrols there is a wide divergence of opinion, but in this battalion we go on the principle of maximum fire power with minimum man power, and our patrols have usually consisted of an officer, an NCO, and nine men, i.e., an assault group of an officer, three bombers, three tommy gunners, and a support group of an NCO and three Bren gunners. The type of recce patrol that has produced the best result is the officer or serjeant, and two who go out by night, lie up, and observe all day and return by night.

Slit trenches deserve a paragraph all to themselves. A few days after we landed we spent literally a whole day at Tabarka being dive-bombed and machine-gunned from the air. This went on intermittently all the following week at Djebel Abiod, plus more than enough shelling. Since then the men have dug slit trenches automatically, even if they arrive at a place soaking wet at three in the morning—and they are a full 5-ft deep, too. Anyone will tell you tales of miraculous escapes due to slit trenches—shells landing a couple of feet away without hurting the bloke inside, etc. I do not think you could ever shell this battalion out of a position, if only because they know they are safer in slit trenches than out of them.

Incidentally, machine-gunning from the air is perfectly bloody—worse than bombing or shelling. The accuracy of it is something I never imagined. An unopposed fighter can guarantee to hit a solitary car. But, again, if you have got slit trenches, casualties from it are "nix" and you find that, after all, the noise was the worst part of it.

The Boche does much more air recce than we do. Every morning "Gert and Daisy" take a look at us, and if camouflage is bad I suppose a photo of our positions goes into the album. You can almost tell how long a unit has been out here by looking at its camouflage.

It is worth learning something about anti-tank mines. There are usually plenty to be had, and if all your men can lay them you are ready for the tanks almost as soon as you get into a new position. If you have to wait for the REs to lay them, you may never be. All our men carry Hawkins grenades.

A Strict Routine

Somebody once said, "Warfare consists of boredom punctuated by odd moments of excitement". This is absolute rot. When you're living out in shocking weather with nothing but a gas cape over your head and thirty men look to you to censor their letters, dish out NAAFI stuff, make the best of the rations, get them kit from the "Q" there's too much to do to get bored. When you in turn have got to see they are always ready to fight, that they are in good heart, that they are clean and healthy, and that the NCOs are doing their jobs, you may get browned off but never bored. Discipline is the hardest and most important thing to keep going. You and the NCOs are 24 hours a day with the men, and it's almost bound to slacken off if you're not on your guard. I find the best way is to keep a strict routine however shocking the conditions, i.e., washing and weapons clean by ? hours, meals at ? hours, etc. If you keep a firm hold on the men over these small day-to-day things, you'll find you've got them right under control when the trouble starts.

Finally, remember that "there are bad officers but no bad troops". This is horribly true. We have often seen it out here—indifferent men fighting magnificently under a first-class officer, and vice versa. It does make you realize what a vitally important job you've got. Motto: "It all depends on me."



The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Hints on Skirmishers (1870)
Topic: Drill and Training

Duties of Flank and Rear Guards

Hints on Skirmishes

Regulations and Orders for the Active Militia The Schools of Military Instruction, and the Reserve Militia (in the cases therein mentioned) of the Dominion of Canada 4th March 1870

Should the Rear Guard be hard pressed, every wood, fence, bridge, or defile, should be defended with the greatest vigour and obstinacy.

342.     Skirmishers (with supports and a reserve if necessary) can be extended to protect the flanks of a column; when so extended they move by the flank inclination of their files in a direction parallel to the advance of the column, their supports corresponding with such movements. Whenever the column is halted flank guards face outwards.

343.     Should the column have to retreat and the rear guard become engaged in disputing the ground with the enemy, the flanking parties must be particularly on the alert to check any attempt on the enemy's part to steal round and turn the flanks, which it may be presumed a pursuing enemy will always endeavour to do.

344.     It may be often desirable, with the view of searching ground more effectually, to move the flanking line of skirmishers, properly supported, in prolongation of the skirmishers of the advanced guard, and retired into direct echelon.

345.     It is the duty of Rear Guards acting in concert with the flanking parties, to protect the rear and flanks of the column from sudden attack, to secure the safety of the baggage, and to bring on stragglers. Rear Guard is usually kept closer to the main body than an Advanced Guard, the mode of forming it is to be found in the Drill Book, its strength and composition must depend u|)on circumstances and the nature of the country, also, whether the Column is engaged in making a forward movement, or in retiring before a superior force, in the latter case there is no duty that demands more skill, judgement, courage, and determination on the part of the Commanding Officer and men under his command.

Infantryman, Canadian Volunteer Militia, 1863-1870

This volunteer wears the full dress uniform authorized for the Canadian Volunteer Militia in 1863. Few units would have worn the shako shown in this image, substituting the inexpensive (and far more comfortable) forage cap. The style is generally similar to that worn by British regular infantry, with the white-metal buttons and badges commonly used by militia units within the British empire. Reconstruction by Ron Volstad. (Canadian Department of National Defence)

Source page.

Canadian Military History Gateway

346.     Every Rear Guard should be provided with axes and entrenching tools, in order to have the means of breaking up roads, blocking up defiles and bridges, intrenching positions, and throwing obstacles in the way of a pursuing enemy; a few trees judiciously felled across a road at well chosen spots, may cause considerable delay to the enemy and check pursuit.

347.     When in actual presence of the enemy a retreat is usually conducted by the successive retirement of skirmishers on their supports, who have previously been extended, if possible under cover, fresh supports being thrown out from the reserve, and thus the whole may be withdrawn in succession from point to point, sheeting the most advantages positions which the nature of the ground along the line of retreat may afford.

348.     Should the Rear Guard be hard pressed, every wood, fence, bridge, or defile, should be defended with the greatest vigour and obstinacy.

349.     If there be cavalry or guns with the Rear Guard they should be brought into use, in order to support and relieve the Infantry, wherever circumstances may render it desirable, and the nature of the ground will admit.

350.     When skirmishing,men should remember that in the field an enemy will be opposed to them, whose business is to keep himself as much as possible under cover at the same time that he them whenever they expose themselves.

351.     Two lines of skirmishers opposed to each other on smooth ground, and keeping their lines properly dressed, are never seen in a real fight. All that is required is that the men of a line of skirmishers should be in such communication that they are able to afford each other a mutual support. In advancing across open and unbroken ground, the line will be maintained with more or less regularity, because there is no inducement to break the order

352.     Where ground is broken, so as to afford cover some parts and not in others, the files advancing over the unbroken ground, should observe a regular line; but those files which may have in front of them any ground where cover is to be obtained, such as a hillock, or a clump of trees, or rocks, should dash forward to seize it at their utmost speed, notwithstanding that by so doing they may place themselves in advance of the general line by 30 or 40 paces.

353.     If the enemy is in possession of this vantage ground, a dash to dispossess him of it should be made, by the converging at full speed of such a number of files as will serve to drive him out. If you succeed in doing so, you establish a post in the midst of the enemy's lines, and he must fall back, because you flank him on both sides, while your general line advancing occupies him in front. If the enemy's skirmishers are sheltered by a hedge, ditch, bank or any other line affording cover, a quick officer will select the weakest point in the enemy's line for attack, and will direct a number of files to converge on that point at full speed sufficient to overcome resistance. In this way again a post will have been established in the midst of the enemy's line, which will flank him to right and left, while your general line advancing will occupy him in front.

354.     Skirmishers advancing in the open should consider no inequality or accident of ground too insignificant to afford shelter of some sort, if it does not protect one part of the body, it will another. Thus even a large stone should be made use of, and a small tree stump may save a man's life.

355.     In wood fighting no man should fire except from close behind a tree; after delivering his fire,he must load under cover of the same tree and when loaded, he will select a tree in advance, and then dash up to it suddenly—and so on. Experienced skirmishers in a wood will establish a footing in this way often close to the enemy's general line. And if this is done and maintained, the enemy's line must go back.

366.     Skirmishers when holding ground in the open where there is no cover, should lie down, their supports and Reserve, when within range of fire and no cover available for them, conforming to that movement.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 22 June 2014 2:35 PM EDT
Monday, 14 July 2014

The Royal Canadian Regiment at Halifax (1900)
Topic: The RCR

Blasts from the Trumpet!

The Royal Canadian Regiment at Halifax

The Daily Telegraph, 14 July 1900

General Order 28
Provisional Battalion to Garrison Halifax, N.S.

One piece gilt officer's badge.
One piece brass soldier's badge.

It is believed that these one-piece versions of the 1894 pattern cap badge of The Royal Canadian Regiment were worn by the 3rd (Special Service) Battalion.

From all accounts Lieut.-Col. Geo. Robt White, who is in command of the Third Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, at Halifax, is working hard to make it a success in every sense and his efforts are meeting with a reward, evidently, if one may judge from the part the corps took in the mobilization manoeuvres on July 2, which lasted all day, the bulk of the work falling to the Canadians, and they did very well indeed. They marched out of the barracks 727 strong and all ranks looked well, in fact could compare favorably with any regular regiment, which is due in a large measure to the hard work of Lieut.-Col. White, but to Capt. Betty, R.C.R.I. adjutant, and especially to Sergeant-Major Butelier, formerly attached to the R.C.R.I. at this depot, who is not only a good soldiers, bout one of the best drilled men in the military force of the Dominion.

The attack for the Dominion Day manoeuvres was well planned and was under the supervision of the D.O.C., Lieut.-Col. Irving, who had the Halifax militia, infantry and artillery with him, while the defence was composed of the R.C.R., a company of engineers and a few Royal Artillerymen. As already stated, the bulk of the work fell on the provisional regiment and they did so well as to merit the compliments of the highest in authority.

The movements of both forces were closely watched by Colonel Biscoe, Lieut.-Col. Farmer, Lieut.-Col. White, Major Semini, Major Roberts and Capt. Ward, whose duty it was to criticize the tactics of the forces.

The operations covered a very wide area and the troops had their work cut out for them. Capt. O'Farrell was in command of "E" Company. Lieut.-Col. Taschereau in command of "F" Company, and Capt. Sharples "G" Company.

The regiment has not yet been supplied with helmets, which is a drawback, but these have been ordered from England for some time, their early arrival is expected, and will add considerably in the appearance of the force. Now that the regiment is so well organized and is a credit to the Government and country, it would be a great pity to see it disbanded, and especially since the outbreak of the trouble in China. It is well known that an effort is being made in that direction, but it is expected the Minister of Militia will see the folly of such a move and that the Third (Special Service) Battalion, R.C.R., will be allowed to live for several years at least. It is serving the purpose of educating out young men in the military art which will stand them in good stead in the future, besides guarding the garrison city of Halifax while the Imperial troops are fighting in South Africa, and at the close of the campaign there it is likely their services will be required elsewhere.

The following facts regarding the regiment will, no doubt, be read with interest:—

The corps is comprised of eight companies of 121 men each. Seven companies are in Halifax and one in Esquimault. The sum of $2,100 is paid out every month to the men of each company, in three payments. The rate of pay is as follows:—

  • Commanding Officer; $4.86 per day.
  • Majors; $3.90 per day.
  • Adjutant; $2.50 per day.
  • Lieutenants; $2.30 per day.
  • Sergeant-Major; $1.25 per day.
  • Staff Sergeants; $0.80 per day.
  • Color-Sergeants; $0.90 per day.
  • Sergeants; $0.75 per day.
  • Corporals; $0.60 per day.
  • Privates; $0.50 per day.

From the regimental pay the sum of 15¢ is deducted from each man's pay every month for washing; 10¢ for library and recreation, and 4¢ for hair cutting.

In addition to the deduction of the above amounts every month, 5¢ is charged per day for each man for messing, that is, extra rations, and 14¢ per day while he is in hospital to cover medial attendance, dainties, etc.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

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

Chatham Armoury
Topic: Armouries

Chatham Armoury

Chatham, Kent County, Ontario

The data tabled below comes from forms maintained by the District Engineers of Military District No. 1 (which covered southwestern Ontario) on the Armouries and facilities in their district. The data on the transcribed forms was recorded in the 1940s and reflects the state and use of the buildings in that era. Some of the Armouries in use at that time continue to be the homes of local Reserve Firce units, some have been repurposed, and others are long gone, the sites now home to other buildings. The area controlled by Militay District No. 1 in the 1940s is now in the area of responsibility of 31 Canadian Brigade Group.


A contemporary postcard of the Chatham Armoury.


The Armoury today (June 2o14).


Chatham Armoury - Basement.


Chatham Armoury - First Floor.


Chatham Armoury - Ground Floor.


Map showing location of Armoury and Tecumseh Park.


The interior of the Armoury today (June 2014).


Thecurrent occupants of the Chatham Armoury, RBC Dominion Securities and Four Diamond Catering (June 2014).

NameChatham Armoury
Military DistrictM.D. No. 1
Electoral DistrictKent
H.Q. FileL. 13-4-22
Date31 March 1944
1.Building Ownership.Department of National Defence
2.If purchased, date, conditions, cost, etc., and value. 
3.If constructed, date and cost and what Department and value.(Class "B") Built in 1905 by Department of Public Works. Cost - $65,957.00. Present value - $80,000.
(a)Drainage, sewer and water connection. To be shown on site plan. 
(b)Foundation.Stone and Brick, Cement floors throughout basement.
(c)Walls.Red brick and sandstone trim.
(d)Roof framing.8 steel roof trusses, 2 x 10 purlins 2' on centre, with 1 1/4 matched roofing. Flat portion, 2 x 10 joists. (Hopper roof construction.)
(e)Roof covering (Type and date).Main hall roof covered in #26 guage galvanized iron on wood, roll rib joints, The flat roof is tar and gravel.
(f)Floor, main hall.Red birch, dub floor is dressed lumber layed on 2" x 4" timber bedded in concrete.
(g)Other floors.Maple, layed on 2 x 12 joists with deafening between all floors.
(h)Partitions.Basement partitions brick. Main hall brick, all other partitions are tile and plaster.
(i)Balconies.Balcony runs entire length of main hall, is 8' wide.
5.Miniature rifle range—Description.In basement, 23 yds by 4 ys.
6.Bowling alleys, badminton courts, indoor baseball or other facilities for games. 
7.Heating system— 
(a)General Description. 
(b)Make and size heating apprs.Hot water boilers of about 4500 ft. of direct radiation, plus 4 stoves to heat Drill Hall. One Gurney Oxford #6 1/2 B boiler, 1 Royal Imperial #25 Boiler, 4 McClary #230 stoves.
(c)Fuel per annum.80 tons coal.
(d)Engineer and fireman specially employed.No.
8.Lighting system—General description.Modern electric lighting system throughout building.
9.Fire protection. Show position of standpipes in building, on site or on street plan.One stand pipe centre West Wall Drill Hall.
(a)Military or Civilian.One military plus on civilian.
(b)Quartered in Armoury.Yes (Military)
(c)Does he tend heating apprs.Yes.
11.Units in occupation.2nd Kent Regiment (M.G.)
12.General condition (Adequate space or not).Adequate.
Clothing, Equipment, fixtures (adequate or not). 
13.Any special remarks not included above. 
(a)Ownership.Department of National Defence
(b)How acquired, date, cost and present value.Taken over from Imperial authorities in 1854. Present value $22,000.
(c)Who holds deed.District Enginering Officer, M.D. No. 1, London, Ontario
(d)Size and area.11.5 acres.
(e)Name of street and number of lot.Stanley, William and Colbourne Streets.
(f)Fences, walks, and roadways on site.No public roadways, 2 gravel foor paths. No fences.
(g)Surface—whether grass and whether kept in condition, and by whom.Grass. Looked after by City of Chatham.
(h)Is any part of site used for other than military purpose. Give details.Used by the City of Chatham for Playgrounds and park (term of 99 years).
(i)Are there any other structures on site. If so give details.Boy Scout hut; comfort station (built by Chatham); Bowling green and roller shed.
(j)State nature of surface of roads, also sidewalks on adjoining street.Paved and gravel.
(k)Any remarks on site not included above. 

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

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

Army Form W3431 - Message Pad
Topic: Militaria

Army Form W3431 – Message Pad

In order to save time and promote simple clear messaging in action, even by the First World War the use of simple proforma messages were in vogue. This army Message Pad allows a Platoon or Company Commander to despatch, quickly and easily, a situation report on his location, contacts with friendly and enemy forces, actions of the enemy affecting his operations, urgent resupply or reinforcement requirements, and his current strength.

Simplicity in staff work is essential for clear messaging, no spin required.

elipsis graphic

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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