The Minute Book
Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Wellington and Nelson
Topic: Officers

Wellington and Nelson

The Duke, Philip Guedalla, 1931 (Wordsworth Military Library Edition 1997)

One day [the Duke of Wellington] had a strange encounter in "the little waiting-room on the right hand" of the old Colonial Office in Downing Street. Another visitor was waiting there already—a sad-eyed little man, "whom from his likeness to his pictures and the loss of an arm" Sir Arthur promptly recognised as Nelson, home from the sea … The Admiral began to talk and, as Wellesley recollected drily, "entered at once into conversation with me, if I can call it conversation, for it was almost all on his side and all about himself, and in, really, a style so vain and so silly as to surprise and almost disgust me" (Sir Arthur was unlikely to be captivated by the manner which, when expressed in an excess of stars and ribbons, had elicited from John Moore the pained comment that their wearer seemed "more like the Prince of an Opera than the Conqueror of the Nile.") Then, suspecting something, the sailor left the room, learnt the identity of the spare military man, and came back transformed. All that the General "had thought a charlatan style had vanished, and he talked of the state of this country and of the aspect and probabilities of affairs on the Continent with a good sense, and a knowledge of subjects both at home and abroad, that surprised me equally and more agreeably than the first part of our interview had done; in fact, he talked like an officer and a statesman." … they talked above half an hour. The talk stayed in Sir Arthur's memory; and after thirty years he judged that "I don't know that I ever had a conversation that interested me more," adding the shrewd reflection that "if the Secretary of State had been punctual, and admitted Lord Nelson in the first quarter of an hour, I should have had the same impression of a light and trivial character that other people have had, but luckily I saw enough to be satisfied that he was really a very superior man; but certainly a more sudden and complete metamorphosis I never saw." They never met again.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tradition and Elite Corps
Topic: Tradition

Non-commissioned officers of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, each of whom was decorated with the Military Medal during an investiture at Buckingham Palace, London, England, 31 October 1944. (L-R): Company Sergeant-Major W.P. Minard, "C" Company; Sergeant G.H. Morgan, "B" and "C" Companies; Sergeant W. Noval, "B" Company. Photographer: Lieut. Jack H. Smith. Mikan Number: 3533721. From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

Tradition and Elite Corps

Major C.E. Hawes, Honorable Artillery Company (late 1st King George V's Own Gurkha Rifles), "Regimental Tradition in the Infantry of the Line," Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, Vol. XCVI, February to November 1951

It is for this reason that the infantryman, and particularly the infantry officer, sets far greater store by tradition than do members of the other arms; it is a sound instinct which makes him insist upon the differences which distinguish his regiment from others, even if he seems thereby to attribute undue importance to minutae of dress, drill or deportment. Upon precisely such details is founded conviction of the foot soldier that he is indeed one of the elect.

If it is admitted then that the British find pleasure, and perhaps even some moral profit, in their traditions, it seems likely that British soldiers too will tend to prize the military traditions they have inherited. More particularly, the soldier's trade is a dangerous one, especially the infantry soldier's; any man who is to face danger and death must be in some way built up and fortified before he can be confident that he will not flinch from that stern assignment. Saints and martyrs have in themselves enough spiritual toughness and faith to be able to endure without human aid; but the ordinary man, it is suggested, needs to feel that he is one of a specially chosen and selected company, membership of which at once inspires him to the utmost of which he is capable and reassures him that his comrades too are of the same high quality. It may be further suggested that such a consciousness of belonging to a corps d'elite may be induced in four main ways:--

(i)     By selection. Thus the commando raider or the airborne soldier knows that he and his fellows have passed a rigorous physical test and have emerged successfully from a period of intense and exacting training and testing. he is confident that having endured so much nothing can defeat them.

(ii)     By obvious differentiation. This explains why the Royal Navy has no need to try and maintain "crew spirit (if that is the equivalent of regimental tradition): every rating knows that simply by being a seaman he is a different kind of person from a mere landsman, and, because he has mastered an element which the latter instinctively dreads, a superior one: and so are all "they that go down to the sea in ships" along with him.

(iii)     By technical attainment. here again the Royal Navy scores, and so do the Royal Regiment of Artillery and the Royal Engineers to both of whom still accrues the prestige due to a "scientific corps": every gunner and sapper knows that he is a skilled man to whom, as to his companions, delicate instruments and weapons of precision are entrusted.

(iv)     By membership in an organization which has its own strongly marked and characteristic habits, standards, codes of behaviour, even a distinctive dress, in a word, its traditions, in which the individual can share and take pride.

It follows that while those in any of the first three classes often enjoy the advantages of the fourth as well (a member of the King's Troop, R.H.A., is an example of a soldier who can be included in all four) the infantry soldier must depend entirely upon the fourth, for it is all that he can hope for. Whatever laudatory things important people can find to say, especially in war-time, about the infantryman, it must be admitted that he is what is left over when all the experts, scientists, and intellectuals have been taken away, and, while everyone else who is employed in the fighting services is some sort of specialist, the infantry soldier is a Jack of All Trades if there ever was one: though he has certainly shown a remarkable aptitude for mastering them successfully.

It is for this reason that the infantryman, and particularly the infantry officer, sets far greater store by tradition than do members of the other arms; it is a sound instinct which makes him insist upon the differences which distinguish his regiment from others, even if he seems thereby to attribute undue importance to minutae of dress, drill or deportment. Upon precisely such details is founded the conviction of the foot soldier that he is indeed one of the elect.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 25 August 2014

Winston Churchill on Saluting
Topic: Discipline

Winston Churchill on Saluting

Brig. J. Field, CBE, DSO, ED, 4th Infantry Brigade, in the Australian Army Journal;
republished in Canadian Army Journal, Vol. 2, No. 4, 1948

On the 4th September 1940, Mr. Winston Churchill visited and inspected units of the 2nd A.I.F. then encamped on Salisbury Plain. While passing down the ranks of the writer's battalion, the Prime Minister keenly scrutinized the men, meanwhile asking a number of questions on the state of training, supply of unit equipment and so forth. As is well known, Mr. Churchill was first commissioned in the 4th Hussars and, during the Great War of 1914-18, at one period, he commanded the 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers. It was clear that his own regimental training, his possible association with men of the 1st AIF in France, and speculation on the qualities of the new Anzacs, inspired the final question in this interrogation: "How are they on saluting?" The answer to this was followed by one of those inimitable comments which, like so many of the famous statesman's utterances gets down to the roots of the matter in arresting phraseology. He said: "You know, in my young subaltern days, I was always taught that saluting was the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." In May 1944, when. the United Kingdom was crammed with British and American troops in training for D-Day, a questioner in the House of Commons asked the Prime Minister if he would consider an order that would eliminate the obligation to salute when off duty. Mr. Churchill's reply is quoted in full: "No Sir: a salute is an acknowledgement of the King's Commission and a courtesy to Allied Officers, and I do not consider it desirable to attempt to make the distinction suggested. If my honourable friend had an opportunity during the war of visiting Moscow he would find the smartest saluting in the world. The importance attached to these minor acts of ceremony builds up armies which are capable of facing the greatest rigours of war."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 24 August 2014

Strathroy Armoury
Topic: Armouries

Soldiers of the 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, form the vigil party which stood guard at the cenotaph throughout the dedication ceremony for the Sir Arthur Currie memorial statue, 4 Aug 2014.

Strathroy Armoury

Strathroy, Middlesex 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.

The original Armoury Building.

The current site: the Library and Museum.

Strathroy Armoury - Basement.

First Floor.

Ground Floor.

Site Plan.

The Armoury site in Strathroy, Ontario, is now occupied by the town's Library and Museum. The town's War Memorial remains on the site and has been, as of 4 August 2014, joined by a memorial statue of Sir Arthur Currie.

NameStrathroy Armoury
Military DistrictM.D. No. 1
Electoral DistrictMiddlesex, W.R.
H.Q. FileL. 13-9-7
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.Date 1907. Cost approximately $18,125. Present value $20,000.
(a)Drainage, sewer and water connection. To be shown on site plan.Septic tank and tile in rear of Armoury. 6" tile to sewer on street. 1" water connection to street.
(b)Foundation.Stone and concrete.
(c)Walls.Brick and sandstone.
(d)Roof framing.Wood framing (hopper) construction.
(e)Roof covering (Type and date).Tar and gravel, Hopper, when built.
(f)Floor, main hall.Maple floor, over dressed lumber on 2" x 4" joists at 16" centres.
(g)Other floors.Maple floor, over dressed lumber on 2" x 4" joists at 16" centres. Concrete floor in basement.
(h)Partitions.Brick and plaster inside walls.
5.Miniature rifle range—Description.None.
6.Bowling alleys, badminton courts, indoor baseball or other facilities for games. 
7.Heating system— 
(a)General Description.Hot Water Circulating System, radiators in all rooms.
(b)Make and size heating apprs.The daisy 6 1/2 A
(c)Fuel per annum.18 tons.
(d)Engineer and fireman specially employed.None.
8.Lighting system—General description.Electricity.
9.Fire protection. Show position of standpipes in building, on site or on street plan.Town Fire Department. Hydrant on street in front of building. 1 stand pipe in building.
(a)Military or Civilian.Civilian (part time).
(b)Quartered in Armoury.No.
(c)Does he tend heating apprs.Yes.
11.Units in occupation."A" Company, Middlesex and Huron Regiment.
12.General condition (Adequate space or not).Adequate
Clothing, Equipment, fixtures (adequate or not).Adequate
13.Any special remarks not included above. 
(a)Ownership.Department of National Defence
(b)How acquired, date, cost and present value.Purchased in 1911 from the Town of Strathroy for $125, Present value $1,000.
(c)Who holds deed.District Enginering Officer, M.D. No. 1, London, Ontario
(d)Size and area.66' x 120'; 0.128 acres.
(e)Name of street and number of lot.Lots 107-8, corner of James and Frank Streets.
(f)Fences, walks, and roadways on site.Concrete walk to Main Entrance.
(g)Surface—whether grass and whether kept in condition, and by whom.Grass, by part time 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.Paved roadway and concrete walk.
(k)Any remarks on site not included above. 

A few photos taken at the unveiling ceremony of the Sir Arthur Currie Memorial in Strathroy, Ontario, 4 Aug 2014.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 23 August 2014

Battle Drill Training (1944)
Topic: Drill and Training

Infantrymen of Lieutenant D.S. Barrie's platoon of The Highland Light Infantry of Canada relaxing during a rest period, France, 20 June 1944. Location: France. Date: June 20, 1944.
Photographer: Ken Bell. Mikan Number: 3205673.
From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

Battle Drill training is founded upon the axiom that "until every soldier looks on himself as a ruthless killer, using cover with the facility of an animal, using his weapons with the practised ease of a professional hunter and covering the ground on the move with the agility of a deer-stalker, infantry battle training will be based on false foundations"

Battle Drill Training (1944)

Excerpted from Report No. 123 on Battle Drill Training. Published under the Canadian Military Headquarters (CMHQ) Reports 1940-1948.

This report deals with the development of modern methods of training and the evolution of Battle Drill Training with particular reference to its adoption by the Canadian Army in the United Kingdom.

It is necessary first to define clearly the difference between "Battle Drill" and "Battle Drill Training," as these terms are now understood. "Battle Drill," according to the manual Fieldcraft and Battle Drill, means the reduction of military tactics to bare essentials which are taught to a platoon as a team drill, with clear explanations regarding the objects to be achieved, the principles involved and the individual task of each member of the team "Battle Drill Training", on the other hand, is more comprehensive. It consists of a high standard of weapon training, "purposeful physical training, fieldcraft, battle drills proper, battle discipline and battle inoculation".

Battle Drill training is founded upon the axiom that "until every soldier looks on himself as a ruthless killer, using cover with the facility of an animal, using his weapons with the practised ease of a professional hunter and covering the ground on the move with the agility of a deer-stalker, infantry battle training will be based on false foundations" (C.M.H.Q. file 2/Battle School/1: Report on First G.H.Q. Battle School). Its object is, therefore, to inculcate into a body of fighting men a system of battle discipline and team spirit, and to give every man a knowledge of certain basic "team plays." Which will guide him in any operation he may undertake in battle. It has the further advantage of making the men physically fit, relieving boredom in training, and inoculating the soldier and his commander against the fear and noises of battle (C.M/H.Q, file 2/Report./4: Precis on Battle Drill, C.T.S.).

Owing to the romantic aura surrounding the term "Commando," newspaper writers have occasionally referred to Battle Drill Training as "Commando Training." It should be clearly understood that Battle Drill Training is not a special type of training confined to units of the Special Service Brigade, but a form of training which all Canadian infantry men are required to undergo.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 22 August 2014

A Padre in No-Man's-Land
Topic: CEF

"Hope" (cropped from full image) by Keri Orozco.

A Padre in No-Man's-Land; "The Little Armistice"

Gregory Clark, "The Little Armistice," The Legionary, 1937; republished in "My Grandfather's War; Canadians Remember the First World War, 1914-1918," William D. Mathieson, 1981

But the little armistice that fewer than a thousand Canadians and Germans saw was staged by only one man.

It lasted 30 minutes. But this one man, with his pallid face and his blue chin, had something. Joshua made the sun stand still on Gibeon. This one man made the battle of Passchendaele stand still. And because what he had, all men may have, and what he did, any man may do, I would like to tell the tale.

The fury began to grow again. Now began the worse part of the battle, the holding.

It was about 3 p.m. that he was first noticed.

A familiar figure. Sturdy, his helmet tilted curiously forward over his eyes.

He was surely the unlikeliest figure to be expected in such a place, in such a bloody slime and sea. He should have been back at the wagon lines, on the Canal Bank, in far-off Ypres. He was the padre.

Dramatize padres as we may have done, the fact remains that the normal place to look for a chaplain is not in the middle of a battle. In the front, frequently, yes. But this 4th C.M.R. Chaplain, the Rev. W. H. Davis, formerly of Shellbrook, Saskatchewan, was a little odd. He more or less lived in the front line.

And here he was about 3 p.m. of the afternoon, floundering around right in the open, in full view of the enemy, in advance of the newly established line, acting in a very queer manner.

He had a handkerchief tied to his walking stick. Padres are not allowed to bear arms, by international law. Holding his stick up and waving it every time a blast of fire came near him, he went plunging about, bending and straightening, and stabbing rifles into the mud. If it was a German wounded, he hung a German helmet on the gun bun. If a Canadian, a Canadian helmet.

Men shouted to him to come in out of that. The heavens were about to break. Aye, they were, in a funny way.

Serenely, the padre continued to quarter the dreadful ground this way, that way, while the crumps hurled in and the machine-guns stuttered and filled the air with their stomach-turning zipp and whisper.

One major caught the padre's ear. Through the crumps the padre waded over.

"I was getting anxious about you!" the major cried.

They held him there a little while until, unnoticed, he slipped away and appeared, far to the right, dipping and floundering, and setting up that ever-growing ragged chain of rifle butts, helmets aloft.

Small parties of his own men tried to reach him or to carry in one of the wounded he marked. But they were flattened with enemy machine-gun fire. The padre beckoned nobody. He called no man, Canadian or German, though he passed close to both. He simply stuck up the rifles, hung the helmets, and left them mutely there.

Then the heavens opened. But with silence. Shellfire ceased. Machine-guns died, all across that narrow C.M.R. belt. To north, to south, the fury raged. But out from this solitary figure, resolu tely plowing his zig-zag course in horror, there radiated a queer paralysis.

In a matter of minutes, silence grew. It was as if the sun stood still. As if the whole mad world were abashed. And there, all alone, in the middle of the silence, walked the solitary figure, bending, rising and stabbing rifles into the earth.

From the Canadian side figures crouched up, ventured forward. From the German side men rose. Where an instant before had been a 3-year-old hate, men were cautiously advancing, empty- handed, to meet one another. They ran to their own markers, the helmets, German or Canadian. Some of the wounded Canucks were far over amidst the Germans. Some of the wounded Germans lay back of the Canadian outposts. Canadians began to carry the Germans forward.

Padre Davis went and stood on The ruined remnants of a pill box, a few vast hunks of concrete. Aloft, he stood and beckoned the parties to him. He had established a clearing house. They traded wounded. Cigarettes were offered.

For nearly 30 minutes this armistice maintained. Then, a mile away, some artillery observing officer, through his glasses, beheld the target. He could make out enemy uniforms. Clustered, right in the open. What folly.

Shells came whistling. The silence vanished in a rising mutter. In three minutes the whole dreadful business was in full roar again.

They pinned on Rev. Davis the M.C. when he arrived back. They ordered him to sty behind at the wagon lines but later, while leading stretcher-bearers during a battle, he was struck by a shell. He was buried in Le Quesnel Cemetery.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 21 August 2014

Tradition and Command
Topic: Tradition

Tradition and Command

Major C.E. Hawes, Honorable Artillery Company (late 1st King George V's Own Gurkha Rifles), "Regimental Tradition in the Infantry of the Line," Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, Vol. XCVI, February to November 1951

A commander of outstanding personality can "get himself across" in any event, but even he will have to overcome that feeling of hostility and mistrust which always meets a stranger: the existence of this time-lag may be of vital importance when a commander takes over just before or even during a battle.

The value of regimental tradition also appears in its effects upon leadership. Here again the commander of the more technical arms has an advantage; the most important part of his task is the application of principles, scientifically established and agreed upon, to a given situation which may indeed be affected by the fact that it occurs in time of war but is not radically altered thereby. Thus, in peace or war, it takes very little time for a seaman with any experience at all to sum up a new Captain: simply by observing the way he shapes he will very soon gain confidence that his commander is among those who can claim with truth, "I never run a ship ashore." Similarly it is very soon clear whether a commander of artillery or engineers is technically competent. But the command of infantry in action is far more closely allied to an art than to a technique: it consists of the application of principles, it is true, but these principles are profoundly modified by the individual commander's view of the way to apply them, in fact, by his personal character. Thus a thrusting Irishman may attack with three companies up, while a cautious Scot may prefer to commit only one company at the outset: both may succeed admirably, but it is probable that neither will have much success at all unless he has somehow gained the confidence of his men before the battle, so that every soldier will go "all out" without anxious fears of something going wrong. Such confidence is based on knowledge, and knowledge is more easily and quickly acquired if both leader and led are on the same metaphorical "wavelength" as the result of a common military culture and upbringing based on shared traditions. A commander of outstanding personality can "get himself across" in any event, but even he will have to overcome that feeling of hostility and mistrust which always meets a stranger: the existence of this time-lag may be of vital importance when a commander takes over just before or even during a battle.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Seventh Fusiliers; 1895
Topic: The RCR

The Seventh Fusiliers; 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

ALTTEXTLondon, in 1855, boasted of but two volunteer companies—No. 1 Rifles, commanded by Capt. Hammond, and No. 2 Highland Rifles, commanded by Capt. (afterwards Brigade Major) Jas. Moffat. It was not until March 24th, 1865, that No. 3 Rifle company (Capt. C. F. Goodhue) was organized. In 1801-2 considerable excitement was caused throughout Canada over the Trent affair, and in no part of the country was greater enthusiasm exhibited than in London. A drill association, composed of prominent citizens, was formed and rapid progress made in the use of arms. From this sprang Infantry companies 1 and 2, organized Dec. 20th, 1862, and Jan. 25rd, 1863. The officers of the former were John B. Taylor, Andrew Cleghorn and Geo. S. Burns, and of No. 2 Hiram Chisholm, Archibald McPherson and Alex. M. Kirkland. These companies formed the nucleus from which sprang the Seventh or "Prince Arthur's Own," as it was first called. In the spring of 1866 a meeting of the officers was held in the old Drill Shed, and at that meeting the Seventh Battalion, London Light Infantry, was organized, Lieut-Col. John B. Taylor (then D.A.G. of the district) being placed in command.

It may be interesting here to give the officers of the Battalion as found in the Militia List of 1877. It is as follows:—Lieut.-Col., John B. Taylor: Majors, Arch. McPherson, Robert Lewis; Paymaster, Duncan (now Judge) McMillan; Adjutant, Thomas Green; Quarter -Master, John B. Smyth; Assistant Surgeon, Richard Payne, M.D.

  • No. 1 Co.— Capt. D.C. Macdonald. Lieutenant H, Gorman, Ensign W, H. Nash.
  • No. 2 Co,— Capt. E.W. Griffith, Lieutenant Ed Mackenzie, Ensign A. W, Porte.
  • No. 3 Co.— Capt. Thos. Millar, Lieutenant H. Bruce, Ensign W. McAdams.
  • No. 4 Co,— Capt. W.R. Meredith (now Chief Justice), Lieutenant R.M. Meredith (now Vice-Chancellor), Ensign C.S. Corrigan.
  • No. 5 Co, — Capt. M.D. Dawson, Lieutenant D.A. Hannah, Ensign Jas. Magee.
  • No. 6 Co. —Capt. W.H. Code, Lieutenant Jas. A. Craig, Ensign Frank McIntosh.
  • No. 7 Co.— Capt. John Macbeth, Lieutenant Emmanuel Teale. Ensign H.H. Coyne.
  • No. 8 Co.— Capt. John Jackson, Lieutenant S. Kent, Ensign Thos. Elliott.
Fenian Raid Medal to Private JF Maddever

Click to see full image.)

These were the officers at the time of the Fenian raid of 1866, when one or two companies were stationed at Windsor for over three months, and the whole Battalion was placed under active service at Fort Erie, At the latter point, although not coming under fire, they were subjected to trying forced marches and had to endure much fatigue. The members of that force (or the "Veterans of '66" as they are called) now resident in London are at present making preparations for their annual celebration to be held next month.

On the retirement of Col. Taylor from the command of the battalion, he was succeeded by Col. Robt. Lewis, The next commander was Col. John Macbeth then Col. John Walker; then Col. W. DeRay Williams then Col. Thos, H. Tracey then Col. Payne, and finally Col. Wm, Lindsay, It was while Col. Walker was at the head of the battalion that changed from "Seventh Batt., "Seventh Fusiliers."

On the honorary membership roll of the Seventh Battalion are found the names of many prominent men of Canada and citizens of London, many of whom have since died. Among them are Hon. J. Beverley Robinson, ex-Lieut. Governor of Ontario; the late Sir John Macdonald, Sir Adolphe Caron, Sir John Carling, Chief Justice Meredith, Hon. David Mills, the late James Armstrong, M.P., D. McKenzie, ex-M.P.P., the late Henry Becher, C.S. Hyman, Robt. Reid, the late Josiah Blackburn. Lieut. Col. W.H. Jackson, ex-D.A.G., Lieut-Col. Hon. M. Aylmer, ex-Brigade Major, Lieut.-Col. J. Shanly, Lieut.-Col. P. B. Leys, the late Col. Moffat, Lieut.-Col. John Peters, the late Lieut.-Col. John Cole, Lieut.-Col. Heskith, R.A., Lieut.-Col. Fisher, Major Fred. Peters, Surgeon-Major V.A. Brown, Captains Luard, John Williams and A.G. Smyth, Lieutenants Hesketh, Fairbanks and J.I.A. Hunt. and the following retired officers of the battalion: Lieut.-Cols. Taylor, Lewis, Macbeth, Walker, Dawson and Griffith; Majors A. McPherson, Thos. Miller and H. Gorman; Asst. Surgeon Payne; Captains D.C. Macdonald, H. Taylor, A. Cleghorn, G. S. Birrell, T.T. Macbeth, C.F. Goodhue, Thos. O'Brien, J. B. Elliott, F. McIntosh, A.W. Porte, Jas. Mahon, W. Carey, W. Hudson, H. Bruce; Lieutenants B. Cronyn, Geo. Burns, Jas. Magee, W.H. Nash, D. C. Hannah, R.M. (Justice) Meredith, C.B. Hunt, W. R. Elliott, Geo. Macbeth, Harry Long, F. Love, C. A. Stone and T.H. Brunton

The second occasion upon which the battalion was summoned for active service was in 1885, to assist is suppressing the rebellion in the Northwest, in which a former Londoner, Mr. Elliot, son of His Honor Judge William Elliot, was cruely slain. The battalion left for the scene of trouble in the month of April. The staff comprised Lieut.-Col. W. DeRay Williams in command, Majors Smith and Gartshore, Adjutant Reid, Quartermaster Smyth and Surgeon Fiaser. The Captains were Ed. MacKenzie, Frank Butler, T.H. Tracey, Dillon and S.F. Peters; Lieutenants Bapty, Bazan, Chisholm, Gregg, Cox, Payne, Hesketh, Jones and Pope; Staff Sergeants—Sergt.-Major Byrne; Paymaster Sergt. Smith, Quarter-Master Sergt. Jury; Ambulance Sergt. Campbell; Sergeant of Pioneers, Cotter; Color-Sergt. A. Jackson; Sergeant James Beacroft; Corporal C.G. Armstrong; Privates Geo. Chapman, Ed. Harrison, A. Leslie, C. Pugh, H. Pennington, Geo. Rogers, W. Schabacker, C.F. Williams, W. Wright, F. Sadler, Langford. Color-Sergt. Thos. Goold; Sergeants McClintock, John Harris, Joseph O'Roake; Corporals A. E. Walker, W. Dyson and James Goold; Lance-Corporals Joseph Amor and Wm. Brown; Privates Hugh McRoberts, James Ford, H. Arbuckle, J.I. Walker, Jas. Johnston, J. F. Gray, H. Westaway, Patrick Neil, Chas. Potter, W.D. Crofts, A. Davis, A. McRoberts, Jas. Lozier, T. R. Hardwood, F. Young, Thos. Livesey, W. Beaver, W. Andrews, W. Ferguson, Geo. Davis, A. Somerville. Sergeants Anundson and Anglin; Corporal McDonald: Privates Wanless, Jones, Pennington, Fish, Burns, Atkinson, Dignan, Kidder, Burke, Hanson, McCoomb, Graham, Mercer, Kirkendale, Ryan, Caesar, Pettie, Wright, Smyth and J.A. Muirhead. Sergt. Borland; Corporals Richards, McDonald and Bayley; Privates Lister, Moore, Mills, Smith, McCarthy, Pennington Macbeth, Webbe, R. Smith, Lowe, McCormick, G. Westland, Benson, Cowan, Ironsides, Allen, Mitchell, Howard, Davis, Smith, Labatt, K P. Dignan, C.D. Gower, Carey, Gregg, Carnegie and W. Owen. Sergeants Jacobs, Summers and Neilson; Corporals Field, Rowland and Opled; Privates Jacobs, Tennant, Best, Dickinson, Walton, Martin, Johnson, Moriarty, Peden, Kenneally. Cassidy, Norfolk, Hayden, A. McNamara, Hall, Quick, W. Wright, Cowie, Appleyard, Richardson, Northey, Stinchcomb, Thwaite, Beetham, Walton, Sinnott, Rowason and McNamara. Sergt. Line; Privates H. Mills, T. Mills, Stanfild, Black, Collins, Copper, George Clark, Connell, Dankin, Flavin, Harrigan, Keenan, Land, Lally, Lovell, Morkin, Thomas Wright, Wilson, Brown, Crawford, W. Wright and J. Clark. Color-Sergeant Borland; Sergeants Lynch and Fuller; Corporals Harrison and Lyman; Privates B. Screaton, Allison, Barrell, Bigger, Borland, Brazier, Blackburn, Dickens, Duval, Essex, Hicks, Hood, Hutchison, McCutcheon, McCoy, McPherson, MacDonald, Parkinson, Piclkes, Pate, Robertson, Steele, W. Smith, Terry, Whittaker, and Woodall.

1885 Medal to Private RJ Robertson

Click to see full image.)

The departure of the "boys" for the scene of the trouble, amidst the cheers of thousands who lined the streets, and the sobs and tears of mothers, wives and sweethearts, will be The remembered by most citizens. The trying marches through the "gaps," and the hardships there endured in the late winter time, as well as the tiresome journey from the C.P.R. Line along the Saskatchewan River to Clark's Crossing with supplies, will ever be fresh in the memories of the noble fellows. True, they had no actual fighting, for there was none for them to do but they were there ready to carry out orders, and were fully prepared for a conflict should occasion for such arise. As it was, the services performed by the 7th Fusiliers in 1885 were fully as important to the Queen and country as those of any other corps engaged in the campaign.

The battalion returned home after a service of about four months, and their arrival here was made the occasion of a great demonstration, which for heartiness has seldom been equalled. Along with other battalions the members of the Seventh were subsequently awarded silver medals by Her Majesty, of the possession of which they are justly proud.

The Battalion is to-day in excellent hands. Of Colonel Lindsay it is no mere figure of speech to say that he is every inch a soldier. When he took hold, several months ago, it was with the intention of making the Battalion equal to the best in the Dominion, and there is every indication that he is succeeding in his self-imposed task to the fullest. He has surrounded himself with a capable staff. Majors Beattie and Hayes being tried and experienced officers, while the other officers are young gentlemen full of military enthusiasm and promise. The staff and officers are as follows—Lieut.-Col. Wm. Lindsay Majors Thomas Beattie and Geo. W. Hayes Captains Lewis H. Dawson, Henry A. Kingsmill, John Graham, Fred. J. Fitzgerald, James A. Thomas, John M. Moore: Lieutenants Oliver M. Denison, Wm. J. Taylor; Second Lieutenants Arthur Magee, Edward O. Graves, Wm. H. Allison Paymaster, His Honor Judge Duncan Macmillan; Acting Adjutant, Capt. H.A. Kingsmill; Quarter-Master, R.M. McElheran; Surgeon, Wm. J. Mitchell, M.D.; Assistant Surgeon, John Piper, M.D.

The Seventh Band has long enjoyed the reputation of being among the leading musical organizations in Canada. This reputation the officers have determined to maintain, and with that object in view they recently secured the services of Mr. Tresham, a gentleman of superior qualifications, as leader an instructor. That gentleman has recently reorganized the band, retaining the best of the old-time musicians and introducing considerable new blood, so that the prospects are that the Seventh Band will, before long, be better than ever.

Two or three months ago the Officers of the Seventh rented the large hotel building at the corner of Princess Avenue and Richmond Street, and converted it into a regimental club house. On the ground floor is the mess rooms of the officers and non-coms., both of which have been sumptuously furnished and present a cosy and home-like appearance. The two upper stories are devoted entirely to the men, and are furnished with a beautiful piano, billiard, pool and card tables. The rooms are well lighted throughout. The reading room is kept furnished with good current literature, and it is the intention to shortly establish a reference and reading library. The club will add greatly to the interest taken by the members in the Regiment.

Col. Lindsay and officers of the Seventh certainly deserve the hearty sympathy of the citizens in their efforts to maintain a battalion that is a credit to the headquarters of No. 1 Military District

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Basic Training Syllabus; 1942
Topic: Drill and Training

Basic Training Syllabus; 1942

The Standard Syllabus for Basic Training, 1942

Basic Training Centre

The Object of Basic Training

1.     To give a thorough grounding and practice in subjects which are required basically, of soldiers in each branch of the Canadian Army.

2.     To have each man reach such a standard that his time in a Special to Arms Training (SAT) centre may be devoted entirely to:

(a)     Exercise, rather than instruction, in elementary subjects already taught;

(b)     Building upon this base the knowledge particular to the branch of the Service to which the man belongs.

3.     To establish a sound mental and physical base upon which to build a fighting soldier.

elipsis graphic

The syllabus is based on a 45-minute period, a 9-period or 6 ½-hour training day and a 5 ½-day week.

elipsis graphic

Training must develop in all ranks the confidence that they cam "hand it out" harder and "take it" better than the enemy. To this end all training must be designed to develop a high fighting morale, in other words "fighting fit" and "fit to fight." No outdoor exercises will be cancelled on account of bad conditions, mud, etc. An essential part of training is to learn how to overcome the elements, as well as the enemy.

elipsis graphic

Block Standard Syllabus

CodeSubjectTtl PdsStandard Typical Platoon Weekly DistributionTotal
 Training Periods
DDrill, Foot, Arms, Saluting48121253333748
FTPhysical Training and Obstacle Course506666667750
FAFirst Aid1055      10
MMarching23 226445 23
RSAT Rifle27 875322 27
RRSAT Rifle Range Course18   4446 18
R&LASAT AA (Rifle and LMG)10    532 10
BSAT Bayonet10    333110
LSAT Light Machine Gun29  710435 29
GGas Training12 25122  12
FCFieldcraft20    245920
MRMap Reading22  53242622
FTFundamental Training19952111  19
OSOrganized Sports162222222216
SSpare Periods303344443530
 Administrative Periods
RTReception and Transfer189      918
MedMedical (includes dental and inoculations)333454545333
MT"M" tests11       1
PPay4 1 1 1 14
 Hours:— 37 hours and 30 minutes per week.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 18 August 2014

Characteristics Required in a Staff Officer
Topic: Officers

Ford Manor - a.k.a. Greathed Manor

Characteristics Required in a Staff Officer:

The following extract is from speaking notes of Brigadier C.R. Turner for a speech to the staff and candidates of the Canadian Junior War Staff Course, Ford Manor, 12 April 1941. Appended to the CMHQ report on the Closing Exercises, Canadian Junior War Staff Course. Published under the Canadian Military Headquarters (CMHQ) Reports 1940-1948.

Co-operation with other branches of the staff. All branches are important so don't think you are a notch above your opposite number just because he is in another branch.

Characteristics Required in a Staff Officer:

  • General Military Knowledge
  • Personal characteristics such as:
    • ability,
    • reliability,
    • initiative,
    • energy,
    • capacity for work,
    • loyalty,
    • personality,
    • physical fitness,
    • etc.

Also General Odlum's remarks that all officers must have character, intelligence and spirit.

Must always be ready to advise your Commander or Senior Staff Officer but once decision is given, even if you disagree, carry it our loyally. LOYALTY most important virtue, loyalty to your Commander, your senior staff officer and your fellow staff officers. Don't try to advance yourself by running down the other fellow.

Co-operation with other branches of the staff. All branches are important so don't think you are a notch above your opposite number just because he is in another branch.

Co-operation with the troops. Staff is there to serve them within the limits of prescribed policy. Get out with them, find out what they want, and let them see that you take an interest in them. Be human.

Orders. When preparing them put yourself in the position of the recipient, and ask yourself if essentials are included and non-essentials eliminated.

Keep fit. Only by doing so can you maintain the alert mind so necessary in a staff officer. Take your leave when your turn comes if operational circumstances permit and don't get stale.

Whether you go to a staff appointment immediately or subsequently after a period of regimental employments remember that if you are determined to profit from your period at Ford manor you are certain to make a worthy contribution to the great cause in which we are all engaged, particularly as one of the things you have been taught is that a staff officer must keep up-to-date in military thought and practice if he is to be efficient. A staff appointment demands hard work, initiative and ready acceptance of responsibility; these, however, are features which make any job worthwhile.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 17 August 2014

NCO Leadership in the Army
Topic: Leadership

NCO Leadership in the Army

The Leader; A Guide to Being a Successful Non-Commissioned Officer in the Army; Land Force Central Area (Second Edition, circa 2000)

"The kind of leaders we need today are more like great jazz musicians, thoroughly schooled in the fundamentals and absolutely technically competent but able to improvise on a theme." – General Gordon Sullivan

1.     The Canadian military, through two World Wars, Korea and the Gulf War, plus numerous domestic and international operations, has and continues to be held in high regard around the world. Revered as shock troops by the German Army in the First World War, Canadian soldiers proved themselves a formidable foe. Seasoned in battle during campaigns in Italy and Northwest Europe, Canadian's demonstrated yet again the fighting spirit of their forefathers and achieved remarkable success. Today, at home and abroad our troops are called upon collectively to assist our allies in preserving peace from Bosnia to Bangui in the Central African Republic.

2.     Collectively and individually, our soldiers are amongst the best in the world. Two recent examples immediately come to mind. First Sergeant Boudreau's section won the gold medal at the 1997 Cambrian patrol competition in Wales and Master Corporal Calis received the 'William O'Darby' award for outstanding performance on the Ranger course.

3.     Collectively and individually however, success is not always easy to achieve. It takes work, determination to be the best and a strong NCO core. With a doubt a dedicated and professional NCO has always been an integral, necessary and permanent part of any good army. The past has clearly shown, and it is true today, that only a special group of soldiers are selected to be NCOs. This special status carries the weight of additional duties, responsibilities and authority.

4.     Today, NCOs are also expected to preserve traditions and develop esprit de corps in an environment of rapid social and technological change, pressure to reduce expenditures and a high operational tempo. This must be done in a world where regional conflicts require professional troops like ours to carry out a wide variety of missions. Sometimes, it often seems that change is the only certainty. In this environment, it is a challenge to retain and exercise authority especially when the public, the media and our own members scrutinize decisions.

5.     There are, as you may expect, no simple answers or insightful phrases that can remedy the present state of affairs we all live in. During these turbulent times all leaders have to learn to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity while trying very hard to impart a clear sense of mission and purpose to our soldiers. We as a group and individuals are not immune to the changes occurring all around us; we must adapt like every Canadian. Times have changed: both leaders and soldiers are well educated and come from an evolving social environment; the classical autocrat is "out"—the listening leader is "in".

6.     As a leader, you have a tough, demanding, but very rewarding job and the soldiers you lead are the heart of the army, both regular and reserve. Your work is challenging because you direct soldiers at the action level where the important, day to day, fundamental work of the army is performed. You are the key to making your soldiers more capable by sharing what you know and encouraging them to use their initiative. 7.     Because you work very closely with your soldiers, you have the best opportunity to know them as they really are. You should be the first to identify and teach them how to best use their strengths, the first to detect and train them to overcome their shortcomings. Leading by example, you are in the best position to secure their trust and confidence. You have the advantage of a deeper understanding of your soldiers' behaviour because you were promoted directly from the ranks that you now lead.

Honour, Integrity and Dignity

8.     Good leaders conduct themselves with honour and integrity and treat their superiors, peers and subordinates with respect and dignity. This leads to willing and cohesive teams. Everyone knows their job, is proud of it and proud of their place on the team. The team breaks down completely when there is a lack of understanding, incompetence and/or abuse. You have a principle obligation to be technically competent for your rank and position. You have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that your troops perform their duties to the required standard. None of this is attainable when soldiers mistrust each other or their commanders.

9.     It is imperative that your actions in relation to your troops are not inherently offensive, demeaning, belittling or humiliating to them. This is considered harassment. It is illegal, unprofessional and forbidden. You have a positive obligation to ensure that no other military person treats anyone else in such a manner. It must be reported immediately.

10.     There are two important concepts that must be understood – Ethics and Morale. They are more complex than you might think and there are no hard and fast rules that govern these concepts. Nevertheless they are integral to everything you do both on and off the job.

a.     Ethics. Essentially, if you follow the guidance in this handbook it is fair to say that you will be acting in an ethical manner. In many ways, ethics are just good common sense—simply doing the right thing with the people you deal with every day. Ethics are based on the respect for the dignity of all persons. We will not injure, bully, deceive, manipulate, discriminate against, harass, sexually harass, or unjustly treat any person. Ethics embodies qualities such as honesty, accountability, competence, diligence, courage, loyalty, obedience, fairness, discretion and most importantly, care of subordinates.

b.     Morale. Morale is the term used to describe the complex relationship between people and the environment in which they live and work. It could be described in terms of the attitudes or feelings possessed by an individual as he or she relates to the group. For the group, it is the commitment to pull together towards goals the members accept. High morale energizes and motivates troops to perform their tasks with greater effort and eagerness. To achieve high morale, leaders must be competent, goals must be clear, cohesiveness must be evident and there must be open communications up and down the chain of command.

Lead by Example

11.     This is the fundamental leadership secret for success. The army requires NCOs who have earned the respect of their superiors by demonstrating the ability to accomplish all assigned tasks. You will also win the respect of your soldiers by considering the effects of your actions on them and by placing their well being above your own. As you spend more time with your subordinates than your officers, your personal example must extend beyond normal duty and into your personal life. If not, can you demand a high standard of performance and behaviour from yGeraldour troops at all times? Therefore, set a good example both on duty and off.

Build Teamwork

12.     A team can be described as a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, shared performance goals, and an organized approach for which they hold themselves accountable. As a NCO your job is to optimize the performance of each member of your group. You must develop team spirit based on the fact that, on your team each person depends on the other, and all depend on well maintained and properly working equipment. Teamwork is learned by training, practice and experience.

Know Your People

13.     We are all volunteers who have offered our service to Canada. We place service before self. Our soldiers possess a spark of patriotism and love for adventure that needs constant attention and development. Operational situations have proven that Canadian soldiers will fight as willingly and as well as anyone on earth, when led with courage and wisdom. They are resourceful and imaginative, and the best results will be obtained by encouraging them to use their initiative. They are more likely to respond to a leader who has the will and intelligence to give a clear, sensible order than to obey one who has little in his or her favour but rank. They will display loyalty and discipline most readily when they are aware you trust them.

14.     Integrity, a sense of humour, pride in the service. Your demonstration of these qualities will impress your soldiers to a far greater extent than mere talk. We all love to complain but you must be able to distinguish between semi-humorous complaining and the sullen undertones of genuine unrest that result from favouritism or injustice.

Know Your Job

15.     To be a good NCO you must know your job—know it exceptionally well. This means being proficient in the employment, care and maintenance of equipment assigned to you. If you are a really good NCO you will at least be as good as, or better at all those things than any of your soldiers. This is the first step in leading by example. You are the coach, the team is the vital component; high performance is the payoff. In addition you need to think ahead to the day when you may have to be replaced. Your soldiers must be able to pick up, carry on, and get the job done in your absence.

Be Honest

16.     "Tell it like it is" - not what you think someone wants to hear. If something goes wrong, be willing to say so; do so in an objective straightforward way; present facts. If you make a mistake, admit it. Never sacrifice integrity. You may be able to fool those you work for; chances are that you will never be able to fool those who work for you—your soldiers. Remember, as a group, Canadian soldiers have an almost unerring ability to ferret out the truth. Any attempt to fool them is a serious gamble that is seldom worth the risks involved. If the team does a good job, share the credit; it is the team effort that was successful with you as the leader.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 16 August 2014

Toasts in the Army
Topic: Tradition

Very different in character … was the unofficial toast of "Bloody War or a Sickly Season," often drunk in India, but only on informal occasions. In the days closely following the Mutiny, when promotion was slow, subalterns were wont to express this sentiment and raise their glasses in the hope that if these evils came they might be the fortunate survivors.

Toasts in the Army

By Lieut.-Colonel C. C. R. Murphy, published in the Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, Vol. XCIII, February to November 1948)

A toast may be defined as a pledge in drinking, a way of expressing a wish for the health and happiness of persons or the success and prosperity of things. The custom of drinking them certainly bears the stamp and charm of antiquity. It had its origin in love or war, and so the first person to drink a toast must have been either a lover or a soldier; he was probably both.

Fighting is the oldest craft in the world; but although a standing army is, in these islands, a comparatively modern institution, let us not forget that there has been a British Army ever since the dawn of our history. What customs prevailed amongst our prehistoric soldiers we cannot say; but in the Middle Ages, when our Army was composed of its finest material—namely, the yeomen of England—the practice of drinking toasts was already well established. And it has outlasted the voluntary Army.

No doubt regiments that existed before the days of the standing Army—such as the Earl of Pembroke's Regiment, mentioned by Shakespeare in Richard III—honoured toasts of their own. The custom may have been started by one or more regiments drinking .a certain toast on a certain night of the week. Then, as it gathered popularity, regiments may have agreed amongst themselves to drink the same toast on the same night, until at last the custom became general and a fixed set of toasts was evolved and recognized throughout the Army. For some reason or other, these eventually became known as the Peninsular Toasts. The list is as follows: Monday, "Our Men; "Tuesday, "Our Women"; Wednesday, " Our Noble Selves; "Thursday, "Our Swords;" Friday, "Our Religion;" Saturday, "Sweethearts and Wives;" Sunday, "Absent Friends."

As will be seen, they are brief, simple and inclusive, and of course quite unconnected with politics or sects. No exception could be taken to any of them—not even to that of "Our Swords," which in those days were never drawn without cause and never sheathed without honour. These toasts, some of which may be centuries, older than their collective name implies, were honoured by regiments, irrespective of whether they had served in the Peninsular War or not, which had nothing to do with the case. Perhaps the most popular of them were "Sweethearts and Wives", and "Absent Friends." The first of these was proposed by the junior officer at the table or else was drunk informally; whilst to the second the words "and ships at sea "were sometimes added.

I believe Mr. Winston Churchill has referred to the Peninsular Toasts in his writings, though I cannot remember where. Andre Maurois, in Les Silences du Colonel Bramble, has given a list of toasts for each night in the week as drunk in the British Army, but it differs slightly from the Peninsular list. (Footnote to original: "Among other informal toasts, that of 'Fox-hunting' was honoured from time to time by enthusiasts of the chase.")

Very different in character from the above was the unofficial toast of "Bloody War or a Sickly Season," often drunk in India, but only on informal occasions. In the days closely following the Mutiny, when promotion was slow, subalterns were wont to express this sentiment and raise their glasses in the hope that if these evils came they might be the fortunate survivors.

The XVIIIth Century found a divided loyalty to England and, after the "Forty-five," certain regiments disaffected towards the Sovereign were ordered to drink his health. To salve their consciences, the Jacobite officers of the day used to stretch their glasses over their finger-bowls and drink to "The King over the water." Ever since those days it has not been the custom to put finger-bowls on the mess table. (Footnoted: Major R.M. Grazebrook, O.B.E., M.C., in the ]ournal of the Society for Army Historical Research.) Some regiments of the old Army, such as the Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, the King's Royal Rifles, and many more, priding themselves that their loyalty was never in doubt; did not drink the health of the Sovereign at all. Others, equally trusty, drank it every night.

The actual procedure followed in honouring the loyal toast was marked by some interesting variations in different regiments. For example, the 1st Royal Sussex, the Royal Norfolk, the East Surreys, and the Border Regiment (except on guest nights when the band played) used to remain seated when drinking it. The Black Watch drank to the King and Queen, whilst the old 54th Foot always drank the Sovereign's health in a bumper toast. In the case of the Lancashire regiments, the loyal toast in certain circumstances took the form of "The King, Duke of Lancaster."

Special reference must be made to two toasts connected With the Peninsular War. The first of these was "The Emperor," drunk by the 14th Hussars, the origin of it being as follows, During that campaign the regiment captured part of the baggage train of the Emperor Joseph Napoleon, and amongst other things found therein was a fine silver domestic utensil bearing his coat of arms. From it the health of "The Emperor" was always drunk on guest nights. The other toast is that of "Dyas and the Stormers," drunk by the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. It commemorates the gallantry of Ensign John Dyas, 51st Light Infantry, who at Badajos on three separate occasions led the storming parties in the face of almost certain death, His conduct must have been of an exceptionally high order, because the toast was sometimes drunk in the messes of other regiments—a very unusual circumstance.

Some of the regiments who served in the Peninsula celebrate particular battles of that war either at mess or by setting aside their anniversaries as regimental holidays. For instance, every year on 16th May, the old 57th Foot used to drink "To those who fell at Albuhera," in memory of the 415 " Die-hards " killed in that battle. Similarly, the 50th Foot, on the anniversary of Corunna, used to drink to the "Corunna Majors,!' who led the regiment on that occasion and attracted the favourable notice of Sir John Moore. The two officers concerned were Charles Napier and the Hon. Charles Stanhope, who was killed. Battles of other wars, such as Dettingen and Minden,' were also commemorated; b1it strange to say, glasses were seldom raised to those who fought and fell at Waterloo—the most famous battle in the history of the world.

Most of the Scotch, Irish and Welsh regiments drank to the pious memory of their Patron Saint on the appropriate day, though St. George was not honoured to the same extent by English regiments. On St. David's Day, the ceremony of eating the leek was also observed by the Royal Welch Fusiliers. In the Cameronians, it was not the practice to honour toasts at all. In the case of the 1st Battalion, the origin of this goes back to the early days of the Covenanters when the drinking of healths was contrary to their religious beliefs. The 2nd Battalion, formerly the 90th Perthshire Light Infantry, did not observe the loyal toast either; but according to the wits of the day, this was because they had not been granted the Prince Regent's Allowance!

In passing, a word about this special mess allowance will not be inappropriate. It was instituted by the Prince Regent at the beginning of the Peninsular War, and amounted to £250 a year in the case of a regiment of full establishment. This enabled the officers to obtain, duty free, four pipes of port, and thus put them on a more or less equal footing with the Navy who already enjoyed a drawback of the duty on wines consumed on board ship. In those days and until recent years, no officer in the British Army under the rank of Captain could live without private means. He had to payout of his own pocket for the honour of serving. In the Navy, the position was different; nevertheless, it was felt that there was no justification for the disparity between the two Services in the matter of excise duties. This, of course, had been the reason for its introduction; but after being- in existence for just over a century, it was suddenly abolished during the reign of King George V.

One of the most inspiring regimental toasts was that of the Seaforth Highlanders, given in Gaelic by the Pipe-Major on guest nights. It ran as follows:—

"The land of hills, glens, and heroes; where the ptarmigan thrives and where the red deer finds shelter; as long as mist hangs o'er the mountains and water runs in the glens, may the deeds of its brave be remembered, and health and victory be with the lads of the Cabar Feidh."

In 1940, a regulation was issued permitting officers to drink the King's health in water or other non-alcoholic beverages—a portent of the watery grave to which the old Army with all its traditions was about to be committed.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 15 August 2014

Canadian Military Values
Topic: Discipline

Canadian Military Values

Duty With Honour; The profession of Arms in Canada
A-PA-005-000/AP-001, 2003; Published under the auspices of the Chief of Defence Staff by the Canadian Defence Academy – Canadian Forces Leadership Institute

Canadian military values – which are essential for conducting the full range of military operations, up to and including warfighting – come from what history and experience teach about the importance of moral factors in operations, especially the personal qualities that military professionals must possess to prevail. But military values must always be in harmony and never in conflict with Canadian values.

These military values are understood and expressed within the Canadian military ethos as follows.

DutyFirst and foremost, duty entails service to Canada and compliance with the law. It obliges members to adhere to the law of armed conflict while displaying dedication, initiative and discipline in the execution of tasks. Duty further demands that Canadian Forces members accept the principle of the primacy of operations and that military leaders act in accordance with the professional precept of "Mission, own troops, self," as mentioned previously. Performing one's duty embraces the full scope of military professional excellence. It calls for individuals to train hard, pursue professional self-development, and carry out their tasks in a manner that reflects pride in themselves, their unit and their profession. Overall, this concept of duty motivates personnel both individually and collectively to strive for the highest standards of performance while providing them with purpose and direction throughout the course of their service.

Loyalty must be reciprocal and based on mutual trust. To have integrity is to have unconditional and steadfast commitment to a principled approach to meeting your obligations while being responsible and accountable for your actions. Courage requires constant nurturing and is not suddenly developed during operations.

LoyaltyLoyalty is closely related to duty and entails personal allegiance to Canada and faithfulness to comrades across the chain of command. For loyalty to endure, it must be reciprocal and based on mutual trust. It requires that all Canadian Forces members support the intentions of superiors and readily obey lawful orders and directions. However, it also imposes special obligations on all leaders and commanders.

Leaders must ensure their subordinates are treated fairly, and prepare and train them spiritually, mentally and physically for whatever tasks they're assigned. Subordinates must be given opportunities for professional development and career advancement. Downward loyalty further demands that Canadian Forces members be properly cared for, that their desires and concerns be heard and that their personal needs be tended to, both during the time of their service and after it. This is especially so if they have been wounded or injured in the course of their duties. And this concept of loyalty extends to the immediate families of Canadian Forces members, who are entitled to official recognition and consideration for the important contribution they make to the morale and dedication of loved ones in uniform.

IntegrityTo have integrity is to have unconditional and steadfast commitment to a principled approach to meeting your obligations while being responsible and accountable for your actions. Accordingly, being a person of integrity calls for honesty, the avoidance of deception and adherence to high ethical standards. Integrity insists that your actions be consistent with established codes of conduct and institutional values. It specifically requires transparency in actions, speaking and acting with honesty and candour, the pursuit of truth regardless of personal consequences, and a dedication to fairness and justice. Integrity must especially be manifested in leaders and commanders because of the powerful effect of their personal example on peers and subordinates.

CourageCourage is a distinctly personal quality that allows a person to disregard the cost of an action in terms of physical difficulty, risk, advancement or popularity. Courage entails willpower and the resolve not to quit. It enables making the right choice among difficult alternatives. Frequently, it is a renunciation of fear that must be made not once but many times. Hence, courage is both physical and moral. Both types of courage are required because of their essential complementarity and to meet the serious demands the profession of arms makes on individuals. Courage requires constant nurturing and is not suddenly developed during operations. Ultimately, "Courageous actions are dictated by conscience, of which war is the final test".

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 14 August 2014

Kincardine Armoury
Topic: Armouries

Kincardine Armoury

Kincardine, Bruce 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.


The Kinkardine Armoury Building (2014)


District Engineer's Plan Label.


Site Plan.




Ground Floor


First Floor.

NameKincardine Armoury
Military DistrictM.D. No. 1
Electoral DistrictBruce
H.Q. FileL. 13-13-7
Date31 March 1944
1.Building Ownership.Department of National Defence
2.If purchased, date, conditions, cost, etc., and value.No.
3.If constructed, date and cost and what Department and value.Built in 1913 by the Department of Public Works at a cost of approximately $8,750. Present value $10,000.
(a)Drainage, sewer and water connection. To be shown on site plan.Cesspool in rear of building. Water connection to street.
(d)Roof framing.Framed Timber.
(e)Roof covering (Type and date).Ashphalt shingles 1942.
(f)Floor, main hall.Maple on dressed pine on 2" x 10" joists at 2' centres.
(g)Other floors.Maple on 2" x 10" joists.
(h)Partitions.V matched lumber two sides, on 2" x 4" studding.
(i)Balconies.Balcony 4' wide across building at north end.
5.Miniature rifle range—Description.Nil.
6.Bowling alleys, badminton courts, indoor baseball or other facilities for games.None.
7.Heating system— 
(a)General Description.Hot Air Furnace and Stoves.
(b)Make and size heating apprs.McClarys Sunshine Hot Air Furnace #30. Two Happy Thought Radiant Standard #20 A. Stoves in Drill Hall.
(c)Fuel per annum.18 tons.
(d)Engineer and fireman specially employed.None.
8.Lighting system—General description.Electric. Drop lights throughout building.
9.Fire protection. Show position of standpipes in building, on site or on street plan.No stand pipes. Hydrants on street.
(a)Military or Civilian.Civilian (part time only).
(b)Quartered in Armoury.No.
(c)Does he tend heating apprs.Yes.
11.Units in occupation.2/98th (Res) Field Battery, R.C.A.
12.General condition (Adequate space or not).Not.
Clothing, Equipment, fixtures (adequate or not). 
13.Any special remarks not included above.Not.
(a)Ownership.Department of National Defence
(b)How acquired, date, cost and present value.Purchased in 1885 for $400. Present value $1,000.
(c)Who holds deed.District Enginering Officer, M.D. No. 1, London, Ontario
(d)Size and area.52' x 218'; contains 0.26 acres.
(e)Name of street and number of lot.Part of lot #8 Lambton St. North.
(f)Fences, walks, and roadways on site.Walk, concrete to Front Entrance.
(g)Surface—whether grass and whether kept in condition, and by whom.Grass, cared for by the paart time caretaker.
(h)Is any part of site used for other than military purpose. Give details.None.
(i)Are there any other structures on site. If so give details.None.
(j)State nature of surface of roads, also sidewalks on adjoining street.Paved road and concrete walks.
(k)Any remarks on site not included above. 
15.Remarks.Brick Curling Rink situated on the west side of Quen Street, north of Dundas St. And shown on attached site plan, is used for 8 months of the year for drilling. Rent, $15,00 per month.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:13 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 14 August 2014 12:14 AM EDT
Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Canadian Army Rates of Pay; 1942
Topic: Pay; the Queen's shilling

Unidentified Canadian infantrymen negotiating an assault training course, England, August 1942. Photographer: Alexander Mackenzie Stirton. Mikan Number: 3205243. From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibition Faces of War.

Canadian Army Rates of Pay; 1942

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

Pay of the Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of the Canadian Army (Active)

Financial Regulations and Instructions
Regimental Rates of Pay

The following daily rates of pay are authorized for warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men.

Warrant Officers, Class I

Master Gunner, 1st Class
Staff-Sergeant-Major, 1st Class
Regimental Sergeant-Major
Garrison or Camp Sergeant-Major
Foreman of WorksSergeant-Major
Foreman of Signals
Clerk Signals
Draughtsman, Signals
Accountant, Signals
Engineer, Accountant
Topographical Surveyor
Engineer Draughtsman
All other Warrant Offiers, Class I$3.90

Warrant Officers, Class II, N.C.Os. And Men

Master Gunner, 3rd Class$3.10
Regimental quartermaster-sergeant
Staff quartermaster-sergeant
Squadron, battery or company sergeant-major$3.00
Warrant Officer, Class III$2.75
Squadron, battery or company quartermaster-sergeant$2.50
Staff sergeant
Lance sergeant$1.90
Corporal or bombadier$1.70
Lance-corporal or lance-bombadier$1.50
Private (over 18 years of age)$1.30

A warrant officers, non-commissioned officer or man performing the duties of a higher rank or appointment may be granted the acting rank and the rate of pay and allowances for such rank or appointment in the following circumstances only:

(a)     Providing he is covering off a vacancy in an authorized establishment;

(b)     Where there is adequate reason for filling the vacancy; and

(c)     When the candidate is qualified for the rank in question.

W.Os., N.C.Os. and men holding acting rank will revert to their permanent rank on ceasing to perform the duties for which such acting rank was granted. Particulars will be published in Part II Orders of unit concerned.

Tradesmen's Rates of Pay

In addition to regimental races of pay, soldiers who qualify as Army tradesmen and who fulfill the necessary requirements, may become eligible to receive tradesmen's rates of pay in one of three classes. The rates are 75 cents, 50 cents and 25 cents per diem, and are issuable according to the trade and the qualification obtained by the soldier concerned.

To qualify for tradesmen's rates of pay, a soldier must fulfill the following conditions:

(a)     Pass the appropriate Army trade test.

(b)     Be covering off a vacancy in the appropriate rank and trade in the War Establishment of his unit, except when held as an unposted reinforcement within the authorized quota.

(c)     Has completed the basic training for his Arm of the Service.

The Senior Subaltern

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

Seventh Regiment Troops the Colours (1908)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, troops the Regimental and Queen's Colours. The 7th Regiment, Fusiliers,was amalagamated with The Royal Canadian Regiment on the 1950s.

Seventh Regiment Troops the Colours (1908)

Impressive Military Spectacle Witnessed at the Armories Last Night

The Free Press, London, Ont., Tuesday, 12 May 1908

Last night at the armories the Seventh Regiment "trooped the colors" for the first time this season, and in spite of the men being greatly handicapped because of the lack of room in the drill shed they did excellent work, taking into consideration that it was the first practice of the year. This impressive ceremonial drill originated hundreds of years ago in the old country, and is still executed every morning by the Royal Guards at St. James Palace, England.

Last night the colors were borne by Lieut. Howard Ingram, who carried the regimental colors, and Lieut. Mortimore, who carried the King's colors, while Capt Becher commanded the escort.

The brass and bugle bands take an important part in the drill, playing both stirring martial music and also slow marches, which make very man feel the honor due the flag they are sworn to defend.

The swords of the officers and the bayonets of the men glistening in the light, combined with the bright uniforms of the men presented a pleasing spectacle to the civilians in the gallery, who applauded as each military move was completed.

For about two hours the drill was practiced under the adjutant, Capt. McCrimmon, the men improving all the time, until the adjutant was convinced that they would make a good showing at Galt, where the regiment appears on the 25th.

The undivided attention of the audience in the galleries was held from the time the officers advanced toward the saluting base where the drill is completed.

One of the most impressive parts of the drill is when the sergeant-major or the next senior sergeant advances, receives the colors and returns towards the escort, while the lieutenants move out four paces in front of the captain, and after saluting the colors return their swords to the scabbards, receive the colors, place them in their belts and turn about.

The escort is then ordered to "present arms." The sergeant-major salutes, the sentries present arms and the band plays "God Save the King."

The parade last night was one of the largest of the season, over four hundred men being on the floor.

On Monday night the regiment will parade for inspection by General Lake, the inspector-general, and Col. Peters, the district officer commanding.

Drill will be held next Friday night, but it has not been decided whether the colors will be trooped or not.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 12 August 2014 12:04 AM EDT
Monday, 11 August 2014

Bonaventure Commissioning
Topic: RCN

Bonaventure Commissioning

First Canadian-Owned Carrier is Up-To-Date

Ottawa Citizen, 21 January 1957

The commissioning of Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Bonaventure at Belfast, Northern Ireland, on January 17 marked an important milestone in the history of the Royal Canadian Navy and, in particular, of Canadian aviation.

The Bonaventure is the first carrier to be Canadian-owned and embodies many features and developments that are uniquely Canadian. Most important is her capacity to handle the more advanced aircraft with which the RCN's operational squadrons are being re-armed. Among her up-to-date facilities are the angled deck, steam catapult and stabilized mirror landing aid.

The Bonaventure, built by Harland and Wolff Ltd., has a riveted steel hull and main bulkheads/ Aluminum was used where practical in the superstructure and the majority of her secondary bulkheads are of marinite panelling.

Twin Shaft

She has twin-shaft steam turbines and displaces approximately 19,000 tons fully loaded. She is 700 feet long, with a beam of 80 feet, excluding the angled deck.

Her gunnery armament include the latest anti-aircraft guns and fire control equipment.

Radar equipment was installed for full coverage of fighting requirements, as well as navigation purposes. A closed television system for inter-ship communication was tested experimentally ion board.

The main electrical power generated in the ship is direct current to a maximum of 3,200 kilowatts, developed by four turbine-driven generators and four diesel-driven generators. There are also about 300 kilowatts of alternating current power, catering mainly to the electronics system.

Internal communications, except for the experimental television, are normal for the class and operational role. Flourescent lighting was used in many places, including pilots' briefing room. Flight deck lighting represents the latest developments for night flying operations.

Canadian standard habitability has been built into the ship, which has a complement of approximately 1,200 officers and men. The crew sleep in bunks and are fed cafeteria-style in separate eating spaces.

Mainly Electrified

Galleys are mainly electrified, with a few steam-operated pressure cookers. Enhancing the domestic are automatic potato-peelers, automatic dishwashing machines and meat tenderizers.

The bakery will be capable of meeting full requirements of the ship's complement, and a canteen has been installed, complete with soda fountain and ice-cream making machinery. Sixteen m.m. sound motion picture projectors were supplied to the ship for movies in the hangar.

A new first in naval engineering has been achieved with the production of aviation fuelling equipment for the Bonaventure which will ensure the only pure, properly constituted aviation fuels can be pumped into the tanks of the carrier's aircraft.

The aircraft, with which the Bonaventure is equipped, are the Canadian-produced CS2F1 anti-submarine aircraft, known as the Tracker, and the radar-equipped all-weather Banshee jet aircraft.

Target figure for the Tracker is 100. The De Havilland Aircraft Company of Canada Ltd. delivered the first of these in the fall of 1956 and production will continue at the rate of approximately two a month until mid-1960.

The Tracker, also an all-weather aircraft is literally packed with electronic devices for navigation and for detection of submarines.

Eight-Hour Endurance

It is powered by two Wright 983C94EI nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engines with propeller reduction drive. Each engine has a take-off rating of 1,525 h.p. The aircraft has an endurance of eight hours. Its maximum speed if over 300 m.p.h.

With an all-up weight of 23,000 pounds, its wing span is 69 feet eight inches and its length is 42 feet.

Detection equipment includes radar, sonobouys, magnetic airborne detector (MAD) and a searchlight. Armament includes homing torpedoes and rockets.

The RCN had 39 Banshee jet fighters on order. One banshee squadron now is in service at HMCS Shearwater, RCN air station at Dartmouth, N.S., while awaiting the commissioning of the carrier, and delivery of the balance of the aircraft is expected to be completed by nmid-1957.

Banshee is powered by two Westinghouse J34-WE-34 turbojet engines rated at 3.250 pounds thrust each, giving that aircraft a speed of approximately 600 miles as hour. It has an initial rate of climb of over 6,200 feet per minute, a service ceiling of 40,000 feet and a maximum range of over 2,000 miles. Its armament consists of four 20-m.m. cannon, and high velocity aircraft rockets or two 1,000-pound bombs.

The number of aircraft operating from the Bonaventure will range between 25 and 30, depending upon her operational or exercise role. The proportion of Trackers to Banshees will vary according to the requirements of these roles.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 6 July 2014 12:37 PM EDT
Sunday, 10 August 2014

London, M.D. No. 1, and the Military School; 1895
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

This image of Wolseley Hall, printed in the programme of the 1895 Military Review, shows the training battery position at the south east corner of the building.

London, Military District No. 1, and The Military School; 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

ALTTEXTLondon; The Western Military Centre

London's military history dates as far back as 1838, in January of which year the 32nd Regiment arrived here, and the place for the first time became a military post. With more or less regularity, Imperial troops were stationed here till the breaking out of the Crimean war. Then Her Majesty's regular forces were withdrawn from Canada, and it was not until February, 1862, when trouble threatened over the Trent affair, that the London garrison was again filled. From that year until the close of the American Civil War, various corps were stationed here, including the Royal Canadian Rifles, the 60th Rifles, the 53rd and 63rd Regiments, besides Military Train, Sappers and Miners, Batteries of Artillery, &tc. Many members of these secured their discharge while where, and to-day are among London's most respected citizens. As the majority of Londoners will remember, these troops were quartered in the barracks which had been erected on what is now the northern half of Victoria Park, but during the sixties the garrison grew to such dimensions that it was found necessary to use buildings on the old Ordnance Lands, on the east side of Wellington street, north of Dufferin avenue (then Duke street), as well as the old Royal Exchange on Ridout street, near Dundas, and other premises close by.

The presence in the city for years of Imperial troops could not but have its effect on the young men of the day. It inspired them with a martial ardor and enthusiasm that still animates the breasts of those who have not yet gone over to the great beyond, and has been transmitted to their sons—the young men who form the citizen-soldiers of to-day, and it is the development of this spirit that it is desired specially to deal with here.

First Military District

The military sentiment and organization in London had, in 1866, grown to such proportions that when the organization of districts was derided on, the Government had no hesitation in selecting London as the headquarters of Military District No. 1. Lieut.-Col. J.B. Taylor was gazetted Deputy Adjutant-General, and Lieut.-Col. James Moffat, Brigade Major. Both these gentlemen (since deceased) had taken active part in the formation of local companies, and their appointment was received with general favor by officers and men throughout the district. In 1882, Cols. Taylor and Moffat were succeeded respectively by Cols. Jackson and Aylmer, two thorough soldiers.

The Military School

In 1886 the Government realized the necessity for a Military School in the west, and London, being the headquarters of the district, was, of course, chosen as the location of the new institution of military education. The site selected is the most suitable it is possible to procure. Indeed, so satisfied was the department of this, that some years ago Carling's Heights, as the grounds surrounding Wolseley Barracks are called, was chosen as a permanent site for the holding of annual brigade camps.

The work of erection began on May 5th, 1886, and on March 31st, 1888, the school was opened. Col. Henry Smith was commissioned Commandant and Deputy Adjutant-General as well—positions which he continues to fill. The other members of the staff are—Major and Lieut.-Col. Vidal, commanding No. 1 Company, Royal Regiment of Canadian Infantry; Lieut, and Capt. Hemming; Lieut. and Capt. Dennison; Lieut. Carpenter and Surgeon-Major Hanovan. No. 1 Company, R.R.C.I., consists of a permanent force of about one hundred men. The staff is a most efficient one, the Commandant being one of the most thorough officers in the service in Canada—a fact ample proof of which is found in the splendid condition of No. 1 Company, and the thoroughness of the system of training employed in the school.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 9 August 2014

Bayonets in Basra
Topic: The Field of Battle

Bayonets in Basra - A Case Study on the Effects of Irregular Warfare

Prepared by the Urban Warfare Analysis Center, by Edwin Halpain and Justin Walker, 27 Jan 2009


See the orginal report.

About the Urban Warfare Analysis Center

The Urban Warfare Analysis Center produces innovative research and analysis of irregular warfare conducted in urban environments. We bring together personnel from diverse analytical disciplines – including science and technology, social sciences, linguistics, and military studies – to create unique insights across the full range of military operations. The UWAC serves clients in the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and broader national security arena. For additional information, please see the UWAC website at

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

The Royal Regiment of Scotland

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders are an infantry regiment of the British Army with a rich history. It is one of Scotland's oldest fighting forces. It is best known for forming the legendry "thin red line" at the Battle of Balaklava in the Crimean War against Russia in 1854. It later fought with distinction in World War I and World War II, including intense jungle warfare in Malaya. After Iraq, it served in Afghanistan before returning home in 2008.

Motto Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
No One Assails Me With Impunity

Executive Summary

In May 2004, approximately 20 British troops in Basra were ambushed and forced out of their vehicles by about 100 Shiite militia fighters. When ammunition ran low, the British troops fixed bayonets and charged the enemy. About 20 militiamen were killed in the assault without any British deaths. The bayonet charge appeared to succeed for three main reasons. First, the attack was the first of its kind in that region and captured the element of surprise. Second, enemy fighters probably believed jihadist propaganda stating that coalition troops were cowards unwilling to fight in close combat, further enhancing the element of surprise. Third, the strict discipline of the British troops overwhelmed the ability of the militia fighters to organize a cohesive counteraction. The effects of this tactical action in Basra are not immediately applicable elsewhere, but an important dominant theme emerges regarding the need to avoid predictable patterns of behavior within restrictive rules of engagement. Commanders should keep adversaries off balance with creative feints and occasional shows of force lest they surrender the initiative to the enemy.

I. Overview of Bayonet Charge

On 21 May 2004, Mahdi militiamen engaged a convoy consisting of approximately 20 British troops from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 55 miles north of Basra. A squad from the Princess of Wales regiment came to their assistance. What started as an attack on a passing convoy ended with at least 35 militiamen dead and just three British troops wounded. The militiamen engaged a force that had restrictive rules of engagement prior to the incident that prevented them from returning fire. What ensued was an example of irregular warfare by coalition troops that achieved a tactical victory over a numerically superior foe with considerable firepower.

Atmosphere Preceding the Attack

After a period of relative calm, attacks escalated after coalition forces attempted to arrest Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. British soldiers in southern Iraq said they were "stunned" by the level of violence near Basra. In particular, Mahdi militiamen conducted regular ambushes on British convoys on the roads between Basra and Baghdad. Frequent, uncoordinated attacks inflicted little damage, although precise data is unavailable in open sources. Since the Scottish and Welsh troops arrived in Basra, Shiite militias averaged about five attacks per day in Basra.

The Bayonet Charge

The battle began when over 100 Mahdi army fighters ambushed two unarmored vehicles transporting around 20 Argylls on the isolated Route Six highway near the southern city of Amarah. Ensconced in trenches along the road, the militiamen fired mortars, rocket propelled grenades, and machine gun rounds. The vehicles stopped and British troops returned fire. The Mahdi barrage caused enough damage to force the troops to exit the vehicles. The soldiers quickly established a defensive perimeter and radioed for reinforcements from the main British base at Amarah – Camp Abu Naji. Reinforcements from the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment assisted the Argyles in an offensive operation against the Mahdi militiamen. When ammunition ran low among the British troops, the decision was made to fix bayonets for a direct assault.

The British soldiers charged across 600 feet of open ground toward enemy trenches.6 They engaged in intense hand-to-hand fighting with the militiamen. Despite being outnumbered and lacking ammunition, the Argylls and Princess of Wales troops routed the enemy. The British troops killed about 20 militiamen in the bayonet charge and between 28 and 35 overall. Only three British soldiers were injured.8 This incident marked the first time in 22 years that the British Army used bayonets in action. The previous incident occurred during the Falklands War in 1982.

II. Why the Bayonet Charge Was a Tactical Success

The bayonet charge by British troops in Basra achieved tactical success primarily because of psychological and cultural factors. It also shows that superior firepower does not guarantee success by either side. In this case, the value of surprise, countering enemy expectations, and strict troop discipline were three deciding characteristics of the bayonet charge.

Surprise as a Weapon

The Mahdi fighters likely expected the British convoy to continue past the attack. Previous convoys of British vehicles had driven through ambush fire.10 British military sources believe the militiamen miscalculated the response of the convoy and expected the Scots to flee.

lthough the raid is a well-honed tactic practiced by jihadist and Arab irregulars, the A surprise raid has been an effective tool against Arab armies, both regular and irregular. Irregular fighters usually are not trained in the rigid discipline that professional counterparts possess, and the surprise attack exploits this weakness.

I wanted to put the fear of God into the enemy. I could see some dead bodies and eight blokes, some scrambling for their weapons. I've never seen such a look of fear in anyone's eyes before. I'm over six feet; I was covered in sweat, angry, red in the face, charging in with a bayonet and screaming my head off. You would be scared, too.

Corporal Brian Wood
Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment

Enemy Expectation that Coalition Troops Would Avoid Combat

Propaganda by Sunni and Shiite jihadists regularly advertised the perception that American and British soldiers were cowards. Similar rhetoric increased after the battles of Fallujah in April 2004, perhaps to steady the resolve of militia fighters in the face of aggressive coalition attacks.13 In addition, British convoys did not engage significantly during previous ambushes, which probably validated the narrative for many Mahdi militiamen. Because many of the Mahdi fighters were teenagers, it is also likely that the Mahdi army used these ambushes for training and recruiting. The attacks were an opportunity for young fighters to use weapons in combat with little risk of serious reprisal.

In short, the bayonet charge not only surprised the Mahdi militiamen, it also debunked the perception that coalition troops were reluctant fighters seeking to avoid conflict.

There was a lot of aggression and a lot of hand-to-hand fighting. It wasn't a pleasant scene. Some did get cut with the blades of the bayonet as we tumbled around, but in the end, they surrendered and were controlled. I do wonder how they regard life so cheaply. Some of these Iraqis in those trenches were 15 years old – against trained soldiers.

Colonel Mark Byers
Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment

Strict Discipline

A crucial distinction during the bayonet charge was the professional discipline of the British troops in contrast to the disunity and confusion of the militia fighters. Irregular militia often fight with passion and benefit from knowledge of the local terrain. Professional soldiers, however, formally trained in tactics and squad unity can often overcome these and other obstacles. During the bayonet charge, the soldiers rarely lost their nerve and not a single soldier lost his life. Many of the militiamen fled.

Discipline is a tool that can be leveraged in irregular warfare against troops that lack professional training. The individual commander needs to recognize which tactics capitalize on troop discipline and then exploit the enemy's weakness in this area.

III. Conclusion

In irregular warfare, Western military forces have options beyond just superior firepower. The bayonet charge in Basra by British troops showed the value of spontaneous surprise attacks under the right conditions. The attack also refuted the jihadist narrative in the area depicting coalition troops as cowards afraid of tough combat, probably swinging the psychological advantage back to coalition troops.

Other nonconventional means of fighting could achieve similar results as the bayonet charge. Drawing from "lessons learned" across areas of operation and from historical case studies could produce multiple options for small unit tactics with minimal changes to operational structure. All irregular warfare methods, however, must be carefully studied for possible second-order consequences.

For example, the use of attack dogs by coalition troops could provoke fear among some militia fighters, but also infuriate local public opinion by giving the impression that U.S. soldiers care more about their dogs than other human beings.

At the least, this case study suggests the importance of changing tactics and procedures to keep enemy fighters off balance. Even within restrictive rules of engagement, commanders should seek periodic "spike" actions that prevent coalition procedures from becoming routine and easily predictive.

Sometimes actions as simple as unexpected changes in appearance or shows of force can regain the initiative. At the same time, commanders must weigh all operational actions in the larger context of persuading the local civilian population to support the consistent, constructive, and stabilizing actions of the coalition as a whole.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 8 August 2014

The War of Life
Topic: CEF

The War of Life

Letter from the Rev. Albert Woods to his wife in Winnipeg (undated); republished in "My Grandfather's War; Canadians Remember the First World War, 1914-1918," William D. Mathieson, 1981

Now let us suppose a man is wounded in the front trench. He is at once picked up by the stretcher bearers, given first aid, placed on a stretcher and brought to the R.A.P., where he is examined, iodine put on his wound and redressed. If the patient is suffering and if the wound permits, a small dose of morphia is given. His Regimental Number, Name and Unit, nature of wound, and Treatment given is indicated on a card and fastened to the patient's tunic.

If the wound is dangerous, or serious, a red card is red, if slight, white, all these particulars are entered in a book kept solely for the purpose by the Battalion M.O. The patient is given a drink of hot coffee and sent on to the Advanced Field Ambulance Dressing Station where he is again examined and sent on to the main Dressing Station by Motor Ambulance, usually about three miles behind the firing line. Here the patient is given a dose of anti-toxin as s preventative of Tetanus. His wounds are redressed, dry socks put on if needed and available. Here he is given plenty of hot food and drink. If he is a serious case he's sent on ac once co the Casualty Clearing Station where necessary operations are performed. Thus I have known patients entered at the C.C.S. only five hours after they were wounded.

The whole system works like an endless chain propelled by an unseen power; there is no confusion under the most severe stress. Every ounce of energy is used to the best advantage, nothing being wasted, the thing moves as in a circle. We do not as a rule credit the Medical men with a keen business ability, but at the front (I know nothing of the conditions as they exist in England) there is no department of this vast and complicated Military Machine that is better organized, more efficiently managed, or has produced better results than the Canadian Army Medical Service. When the Field Ambulances have delivered their patients to the Casualty Clearing Station, their responsibilities cease. The C.C.S.

are aways situated on a railway line and as soon as possible the patients are moved by Ambulance train to one of the Stationary Hospitals and from there to England. At the C.C.S. there is a large staff of nurses, or "angels in white" as we call them, and the patients receive the same attention they would receive in an old established hospital. They are well equipped with the modern appliances, such as X-Ray machines, etc. The best Surgeons procurable are found there. So amongst all the misery of war and within easy distance of its relentless activities are found the more civilized and humane endeavours of humanity; the desire to alleviate suffering. The war of life against death and pain. On the one hand it is science straining every nerve to accomplish man's destruction, on the other hand it is science working overtime to save his his life.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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