The Minute Book
Sunday, 21 September 2014

Cannon Girt Halifax
Topic: Halifax

Cannon Girt Halifax

A City Dominated by the Military

The Remarkable Strength of the Harbour's Defences—America the Nation at Which All Guns Point

(Extracts from an American visitor's description of his visit to Halifax.)

Boston Evening Transcript; Wednesday, 14 August, 1901
(Mark Sullivan — Special Correspondent of the Transcript.)

This map, from the Parks Canada History and Archaeology publication #46, Defending Halifax: Ordnance, 1825-1906 (Parks Canada, 1981), shows the locations of gun batteries surrounding Halifax Harbour in 1905.

Halifax, N.S., Aug 12.

"I wonder," said a fine old Roman Catholic priest, a chance companion of the voyage, who stood beside me on the forward deck as we rounded Sambro Light and faced the fort-lined sides of Halifax harbour, "I wonder if England ever stops to decide in her own mind just what her purpose is in spending a half million yearly on new fortifications for this harbour" Or does she keep it up like her court customs and her legal fictions, just because she began it a hundred and fifty years ago, and it would be a violation of precedent to stop."

"And I wonder, too"—here the priest pointed to the new redoubt on the left, built after the style of Gibraltar, where a dozen cannon mouths peer from holes in the solid rock like watchful giants in their caves taking a twilight look for lurking enemies before they go to bed—"I wonder, when an imaginative young lieutenant sights those guns in practice and aims them at the harbour mouth, what nation's flag he has in his mind's eye as a target? If he's learned anything at all at Sandhurst, more than how to keep his shoulders straight and carry his sword correctly, he must know that in the modern system of naval warfare, Germany and Russia and France, with their coal supply three thousand miles away, can't disturb him here."

"No, my friend," and the priest became very earnest, "if ever those guns are fired in anger, your country and mine will feel the wound. It's not nice, I know, in these days of Anglo-American billing and cooing to point out that while John Bull is squeezing out maiden fingers with one hand, he's getting a tighter grip on his sword with the other. And how futile it all is, after all; how Chinese to point guns at the inevitable, just like beating a drum to keep away thunder. It's a sure as fate you'll see the day, my friend—I won't for I am old; it will come either through trade of war or natural fellowship—when an American fleet will single-file down this harbor, and the American flag will fly on every fort from York Redoubt to the Citadel."

How soon or late Canada may seek, or accept under pressure, a union with the republic is a subject on which the priest and you and I and Canada may have each his own opinion (though it may be said in passing that one sanguine American's opinion has been changed by a recent trip through Canada); but of the enormous strength of the defences with which the empire is surrounding her "Warden of the North" there can be no manner of doubt.

At the Halifax Club they tell the story of an American naval officer who, shortly after the Venezuelan incident, visited the club as a guest of a fellow-countryman living in Halifax, and embarrassed his host and tested the urbanity of the British officers present by saying that when the incident began to look threatening he was in London, and cabled to Washington for permission to capture Halifax, adding that he had a plan by which he could do it without the loss of a ship.

Maybe he could; one does not know what plans and checks and counter-moves may lie in the drawers of locked cabinets in the Naval Department in Washington; but to the civilian tourist the regular indentations of the fortifications look like nothing as much as angry teeth, and Halifax harbor suggest the open mouth of a prostrate lion, sleeping now, but ready to crush and grind with those iron teeth when time hay serve. You are quite ready to believe what you are told a dozen times before you have been in Halifax a day, that on any one square foot of the harbour 200 guns can be trained at a moment's notice. When you know in addition that a man can sit at a keyboard in a room beneath twenty feet of stone and concrete on George's Island and manipulate wires which cover the bottom of the harbor like a piece of lace, then you wonder whether a spider on a chip could float down that harbor in safety. An attacking admiral would literally have

"Cannon to the right of him,
Cannon to the left of him,
Cannon in front of him."

After he had passed McNab's Island, if ever he got so far, he would have cannon back of him, to say nothing of the sunken mines and the two low, vicious little torpedo boats which hide in the coves and inlets and come darting out and scooting across the water like enormous insects, and at night point their search-lights about the harbor like watchful ogres.

And there are more fortifications than the casual tourist can see from the harbor. I had been in Halifax for a day and was driving through Point Pleasant Park, revelling comfortably in the mingled odors of wild roses and spruce and fir, as far as well could be from any thought of war, when we rounded a clump of trees and came plump upon a group of forty sweating Tommies tugging and straining to get a thirteen-inch gun with the paint of Woolwich fresh upon it into position in a new three-gun battery.

"Heavens," I exclaimed. "Another battery away up here. Why, you can't see this from the harbour."

Cabby was immensely tickled at his American fare's astonishment. "Of course you can't see it from the harbor," he said, "that's the reason it's here, and there's four more like it up here in the woods behind the hill." Then he added with a delightful grin, "Oh, I guess that man Dewey of yours won't come up this harbor very soon."

elipsis graphic

For a hundred and fifty years Halifax has been a scene of martial activity. War has always been kind to her. As I drove along the road to Bedford, cabby pointed to a handsome residence behind some maples: "one o' the richest families in Halifax," he said.

"Indeed," I replied; "How was the fortune made?"

"Privateerin', I think," said cabby.

On inquiry of better sources than cabby I learned that many of the older fortunes in Halifax, on which second and third generations now live in retired comfort date back to the early part of the century when the local merchants fitted out privateers to prey on the commerce of England's enemies. Still other fortunes rose from the enormous profits made on the captured prizes which the British men-of-war brought to Halifax to sell. Still later, during our Civil War, this garrison city was a hotbed of Southern sentiment and a rendezvous for hundreds of blockade runners; and many a retired Haligonian captain in slippered comfort sips rare wine today as the prize of four years of adventurous and profitable activity in eluding American men-of-war.

elipsis graphic

A garrison of two thousand soldiers, with more than a hundred officers, with the commander of his majesty's forces always a distinguished general and often a member of the royal family, with several score officers from visiting warships always in port, naturally the garrison dominates the social life of the city. It extends through all grades of society. While Lieutenant Trevelyan sings "Danny Dever" to my lady's accompaniment, Private Thomas Atkins dances for Jane below, and if, as Kipling assures us,

"The colonel's lady and Judy O'Grady
Are sisters, under their skins."

why, probably the tender nothings above stairs and below are much the same. Every time a regiment is ordered off for duty in South Africa or India or elsewhere, there are two results in the families of well-to-do Halifax; much sighing among the daughters and much searching for new maids and cooks among the mothers."

elipsis graphic

Truly, 't is "the army and navy forever" at Halifax. From morning till night the bugles keep the echoes flying about Chebucto head. In the morning you are wakened by the heavy clanking tread of a squad of the engineers' corps going from Citadel barracks to work on the new fortifications at Herring Cove. At breakfast you are startled by the booming of the cannon in the harbor; and the waiter tell you that a French man-of-war has just come in, and is giving two salutes—one to the military commander of the garrison, and one to Admiral Bedford of the British North Atlantic Squadron, whose flagship, the Crescent, spends the summer in Halifax, and the winter at Bermuda. Later on, a British officer, every detail of dress and manner the perfection of good form, gloved and booted and spurred, drops with clanking sword into the seat beside you on the street car. You take the ferry to Dartmouth, and pass H.M.S. Quail at the King's Dock, with a score of barefooted sailors washing down her decks; a little further up you see a line of dirty sailors carrying baskets of coal to the bunkers of the Indefatigable; out in the stream, a squad of marines are having sword drill on the Crescent, their sabres flashing rhythmically in the sun. At twelve o'clock you set your watch by the boom of cannon. After supper, "tea" it is in Halifax—you sit on the hotel porch and watch two thousand Tommies stroll by in all his varieties of uniform, but always with the same absurd little cane, his day's duties over, now mostly a-wooing bent.

As the twilight dies away you make up your mind to take a lonely row up the Northwest Arm in the moonlight. As you push out into the harbor you see the black bulk of the flagship lit up with colored lights. A little later you hear the ship's band strike up the "Marseillaise," in honor of the visiting Frenchman. There is an interval of silence, and then the "Blue Danube" floats out across the water, and you realize that the officers of the fleet are giving a ball on the flagship; so you draw your boat close up under the shadow of the ship and listen to the music and the voices, and watch the gay uniforms and dresses.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 20 September 2014

How Front-Line Rations Arrive (1917)
Topic: CEF

The General Service Wagon

How Front-Line Rations Arrive

Nerve-Racking Work of the Canadian Army Service Corps
Germans Have Range
Food and Mail Must Be Brought Up Under Direct Fire

Toronto World, 8 July 1917

Paris.—"Give the word to limber up, sergeant-major. And you might tell my groom that I shan't walk my horse this evening. I'll walk instead."

"Very good, sir," says the sergeant-major as he salutes and goes out.

There arises a clattering on the cobbles of the farmyard; voices call out orders; the watercarts are filled; horses are harnessed to their limbers; the mail and the rations are piled on their wagons; and ten minutes later the whole column is standing ready in the dusk, the transport man mounted, the quartermaster, the transport officer, and a sergeant on foot.

The sound of a whistle, a straining of horses, the cracking of a whip, and the transport rumbles and jolts out of the farmyard gate on its way towards the trenches.

Away ahead the first star-shells shoot up and sink slowly in the brilliance to the earth again. All the way along the horizon little sudden pricks of flame come from the enemy's guns, the soft "pop" of bursting shrapnel sounds thru the darkness—for it would be folly to set out before night hid you from German observers, and the "heavies" away on the right crash and rumble and then crash again as they burst among the broken houses. The road—a narrow strip of pave with bottomless, clinging mud on either side of it—is thronged with limbers of other regiments, with cookers, ambulances, A.S.C. lorries laden with tools and trench stores and piles of sandbags, orderlies on bicycles, wounded men on their way back to the field ambulance, and men from hospital on the way back to their units. And thru or with this stream winds the transport officer at the head of his column.

Now and then there is a sudden halt—the enemy are shelling the road a little further up and there is nothing to do but wait. The transport officer fumes to and fro, for he has under his command a dozen men, more horses, and six or seven limbers, all packed tightly together on a narrow road with the Germans shelling in front and an interminable line of transport waiting behind. If the Boche gunners lengthen their range by a hundred yards of so—

"Lead on," comes the word from further up, and the whole road is movement again. The laden limbers crawl along over the pave till they reach a battered old building that looms up thru the night—the dumping ground where the supplies have to be left for the men in the trenches. Privates tramp to and fro with picks and shovels and ammunition; a sergeant is there to see that the rations for the different companies are placed in different piles; a post-corporal hurries hither and thither in search of "D" Company's letters, which have been mislaid, and the transport officer and quartermaster supervise and control everything—always in the most impenetrable darkness, save when a star-shell lights up the white faces, the sweating horses, the gleaming mud.

The transport officer gives the word, and the empty limbers jolt out of the yard on to the road again to join in the stream that flows back towards the billets and sleep.

Night after night there is the same slow crawl along the road pitted with shell-holes, and same halts, the same dead horse and broken limber in the ditch and the same knowledge that, in a moment or so, your own horses may be struggling in their death agony, your own limbers splintered and smashed, your own men lying dead and wounded.

And when the wagons are once more ranged in line against the wall of the farms, when the last of the men has climbed up to the hayloft where he sleeps, the transport officer sighs with relief as he drags off his muddy boots. "Thanks heaven that's over till tomorrow night," he mutters.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 19 September 2014

Weird Camp Assembly Line
Topic: Canadian Army

Personnel of the Canadian Army Show loading equipment into a truck, Guildford, England, 21 June 1945. (L-R): Captain Maurice Burke of The British Columbia Dragoons, the Show's liaison officer; Private Daphne Marshall; driver Luther Daniels. Photographer: Harold D. Robinson, Location: Guildford, England. Date: June 21, 1945. MIKAN Number: 3596554

Weird Camp Assembly Line

(Special to the Maple Leaf)

The Maple Leaf, 30 June 1945

Ever been to an army camp where, if you didn't step lively, you're liable to be trampled underfoot by hurrying, burly sergeants-major complete with lipstick and rouge? Or maybe your idea of a properly conducted military establishment doesn't include having OR's out in an open field tooting away on saxophones and clarinets.

Just outside Guildford is one of the strangest army camps. It is operated by Canadian Auxiliary Services Entertainment Unit (Army Shows) and is the spot where the troops shows are put together, hammered into smooth shape and put on the road.

At the moment, the organization has eight entertainment units in the field, five small groups touring hospitals, another five shows in rehearsal and talent for three more on the way over from Canada. A brand new show every week is being turned out by this show factory. That sort of activity needs plenty of talent and the army shows right now could use at least another 135 service performers. It's a mighty swell chance for anyone in khaki and with a bent for any department of the show business to acquire some valuable experience.

Greater Need

All the hectic activity on the entertainment front reflects recognition of the fact that, with active operations over, there is a greater need for good entertainment to take up the serviceman's time. The Army Shows these days are particularly pointing their talents toward entertaining the occupational forces and the lads who are getting ready to go home.

Canadian service personnel, of course, have been providing entertainment for their fellows ever since the early days of the war, principally through such groups as the Tin Hats, Forage Caps and Bandoliers—some of whose personnel are still in khaki shows. However, the present set-up did not really get going until around Christmas, 1943, when the big Army Show in Canada was broken up into five separate units and came overseas.

The whole organization at the time amounted to 135 people; total strength now is 864. Always the trend has been toward bigger and more elaborate shows. The early units went out with a piano, accordion and drums; now each once had at least a nine-piece band while three units boast a 16-piece orchestra. Biggest and best production to date has been "Apres le Guerre," which has 45 in it. This show was prepared strictly from scratch, made ready for the road in only three weeks and hjas just started on a Continental jaunt. All the army shows are being shot over to the continent as soon as they are ready, the boys there getting top priority in this high-grade Canadian brand of entertainment.

Each unit is completely self-contained, does its own cooking, hauling and fatigues and after the show is over all performers pitch in to move the scenery. All the necessary equipment is taken along with the show, including the power supply—each unit being equipped with a portable Diesel generator which is capable of supplying enough power to light up at least two miles of city street.

Quick, easy movement is a prime necessity for these units because during their three-month Continental sojourns they play up to 150 shows. When the war was on they very often moved up the line with fighting troops and played 500 yards from the enemy. A month after D-Day a unit under CSM Jimmy Shields and CSM Jimmy Hosack, both of Toronto, went to France and played from Arromanches right up to near Nijmegen. In eight days these entertainers put on 22 shows for the 3rd Div. with their theatre being a cleared out cave at Fontaine-Henri.

Getting these swiftly-paced shows together is a highly detailed job and their excellence is a tribute to the talent and technical efficiency of the whole Army Show organization. Biggest share of credit belongs to Major Rai Purdy, CO of the outfit, who used to run his own radio production set-up in Toronto.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 18 September 2014

Guelph Armoury
Topic: Armouries

Guelph Armoury

Guelph, Wellington 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.

Guelph Armoury.

The Drill Hall.

The brickwork and stone crenellations.

Historic guns at the Guelph Armoury.

The Soldiers' Obligation, wall plaque in the armoury Drill Hall.

NameGuelph Armoury
Military DistrictM.D. No. 1
Electoral DistrictWellington, S.R.
H.Q. FileL. 13-8-26
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.Built in 1909 by Department of Public Works at a cost of $132,000.
(a)Drainage, sewer and water connection. To be shown on site plan. 
(b)Foundation.Stone and concrete.
(c)Walls.Bick and cut stone.
(d)Roof framing.Wood truss timber 10 x 10 with 1 1/4" turnbuckle and anchor rods supporting and binding the truss.
(e)Roof covering (Type and date).Composition paper, waterproofing coated.
(f)Floor, main hall.Composition paper, waterproofing coated.
(g)Other floors.Department of National Defence
(h)Partitions.Brick patitions and metal lath and plaster.
5.Miniature rifle range—Description.Miniature range – 4 target.
6.Bowling alleys, badminton courts, indoor baseball or other facilities for games.Two bowling alleys in basement..
7.Heating system— 
(a)General Description.Good hot water circulation system throughout entire building.
(b)Make and size heating apprs.Two Stoker fired Taylor Forbes Boilers.
(c)Fuel per annum.60 tons approx.
(d)Engineer and fireman specially employed.No.
8.Lighting system—General description.Building rewired 1945.
9.Fire protection. Show position of standpipes in building, on site or on street Fire Department, one stand pipe and fire extinguishers.
(a)Military or Civilian.Civilian (two).
(b)Quartered in Armoury.One quartered in Armoury.
(c)Does he tend heating apprs.Yes.
11.Units in occupation. 
12.General condition (Adequate space or not).Adequate
Clothing, Equipment, fixtures (adequate or not). 
13.Any special remarks not included above.Adequate
(a)Ownership.Department of National Defence
(b)How acquired, date, cost and present value.Purchase, assessed at $5,000.
(c)Who holds deed.District Enginering Officer, M.D. No. 1, London, Ontario
(d)Size and area.3.003 acres
(e)Name of street and number of lot.Corner of Huskisson and Farquahar Streets,
(f)Fences, walks, and roadways on site.Steel fence with concrete posts.
(g)Surface—whether grass and whether kept in condition, and by whom.Grass kept in condition by caretaker.
(h)Is any part of site used for other than military purpose. Give details.No.
(i)Are there any other structures on site. If so give details.No.
(j)State nature of surface of roads, also sidewalks on adjoining street.Paved street in front and concete walks.
(k)Any remarks on site not included above. 

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 17 September 2014

RCAF Recruiting, 1949
Topic: RCAF

RCAF Recuiting; 1949

Men With a Purpose

Published in McLean's magazine on 1 March 1949, this Royal Canadian Air Force recruiting advertisement seeks to inspire men to join the RCAF as Flying Officers.

Offering a monthly pay of $284 after completion of basic training, requirements for applicants were:

  • Age 18 to 24.
  • Unmarried.
  • Junior Matriculation or better—a University degree is an advantage.
  • Junior Matriculants are eligible for a short service commission of 6 years duration—University graduates for a permanent commission.
  • A selected number of personnel holding short service commissions are granted permanent commissions on a competitive basis. The remainder receive a substantial gratuity on the termination of their engagement.

RCAF recuiting advertisement; 1949
Click image for larger version.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Permanent Force Reductions, 1914
Topic: Canadian Army

As the following news article shows, only weeks before the outbreak of the First World War, Col Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia, was set to reduce the strength of Canada's Permanent Force (the Regular Force). Never a supporter of the Permanent Force, this is just one more example of Hughes' attitudes towards the regulars.

Reduce Strength Canadian Militia

Colonel Sam Hughes<br />Minister of Militia

Colonel Sam Hughes
Minister of Militia

Engineers and Army Service Corps to be Cut Down

The Daily Telegraph; 15 July, 1914

Ottawa, July 17.—The permanent strength of two units of the permanent force, the engineer corps and the army service corps is to be reduced by the Minister of Militia.

The numbers of both units as at present constituted are considered too great, and Col. Sam Hughes intends to reduce both of them to a workable size. The Canadian army service corps is now one-third as great numerically as that for the whole British army, in spite of the great disparity in the size of the Canadian and British force. These units were constituted in their present strength ten years ago.

The present strength of the army service corps is about 450 and of the engineering corps about 300.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 September 2014 12:09 AM EDT
Monday, 15 September 2014

Left Out of Battle
Topic: CEF

Left Out of Battle

S.S. 135 — The Division in Attack; Issued by the General Staff, November, 1918
Appendix J – Number of Officers and Other Ranks to be Left behind before an Attack

1.     Infantry battalions, machine gun companies and light trench mortar batteries must not go into an attack with their full complement of officers and other ranks; a certain proportion must always be left behind to provide a nucleus upon which to reorganize the unit in the event of heavy casualties.

2.     The following is the minimum number of officers and other ranks which must remain behind when the battalion goes into action. Such officers and other ranks will not be available as reinforcements.

Battalion H.Q.
    C.O. Or 2nd in Command.1   
    Adjutant or asst. adjutant.1   
    Signallers. 2  
    Instructors. 4  
    Batmen. 228
4 Company H.Q.
    Company commander or 2nd in command.4   
    C.S.M. 2  
    Signallers. 4  
    Batmen. 4410
16 Platoon H.Q.
    Platoon commanders.4   
    N.C.O.s 12  
    Batmen. 4416
64 Sections.   16

3,     A minimum of 25 per cent. of officers and other ranks must be left behind by machine gun companies and light trench mortar batteries when going into action. Such officers and men will not be available as reinforcements.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 14 September 2014

Officers' Uniform Costs, 1866
Topic: Canadian Militia

Prices of Officers' Uniforms for the Canadian Militia, 1866

Published in The Annual Volunteer and Militia Service List of Canada, 1st March, 1866

Circular Memo, Sept. 5, 1864: Informed Officers of the Militia that the following Articles may be obtained from the Militia Department at the prices stated.

These prices include the Ocean and Inland transport, as well as Insurance and all other incidental expenses.


Blue Frock$13.50
Each pair of Silver Stars or Crowns1.50
Scarlet Tunic22.00
Each pair of Gold Stars or Crowns1.50
Trowsers, Oxford Mixture6.00
Shako, with Ornaments and Silk Glazed Cover4.00
Sword, with Leather Scabbard, Gilt Mountings, and Chamois-lined Bag11.00
Sword, with Steel Scabbard, Gilt Mountings, and Chamois-lined Bag11.00
White Patent Leather Sword Belt, with Plate "Canada Militia"4.50
Gold Sword Knot2.40
Silk Sash, weighing 8 ozs7.80
Silk Sash, weighing 10 ozs9.50
Forage Cap2.40
Badge for Forage Cap1.75


Each pair of Silk Stars or Crowns1.00
Trowsers, Oxford Mixture6.00
Shako, with Ornaments and Silk Glazed Cover3.25
Sword, with Chamois-lined Bag8.50
Black Patent Sword Belt2.40
Black Leather Sword Knot0.50
Black Patent Shoulder Belt and Pouch, with Ornaments5.10
Forage Cap2.40
Badge for Forage Cap1.00


Sword with Lined Bag$8.50
White patent Sword Belt.50

Infantry Sergeant's Sashes$1.75

Officers making a requisition for any of the above articles, will be required to send with the requisition a deposit receipt from the Bank of Montreal, to the credit of the Receiver General of the Province, for such a sum as will cover the price of the articles required; and in all cases where Shakos, Tunics, and Trowsers are required, it will be necessary to give the size of the head, the height, and the Waist and Breast measure.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 13 September 2014

Fairey Barracuda
Topic: RCN

Fairey Barracuda

In the months follwing the Second World War, Canada among other nations was determining what its armed forces would look like in the post-war era. Canada planned to acquire an aircraft carrier, and it would require aircraft for its naval air program. This advertisement, published in McLean's magazine on 15 June 1945 shows that aircraft manufacturers were already busy adjusting to the new operating environment that would dictate future sales, and they were working on convincing the Canadian public that they had the aircraft Canada's Navy would need.

The Royal Canadian Navy took delivery of 12 radar-equipped Mk II Fairey Barracudas (this was a Canadian designation, in British service these were the Mk. III). These aircraft were assigned to the newly formed 825 Sqn. which conducted flight operations from the aircraft carrier HMCS Warrior. HMCS Warrior waspaid off in 1948 and returned to Britain along with the Barracuda aircraft.

The Senior Subaltern

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

Elora Armoury
Topic: Armouries

Elora Armoury

Village, Wellington County, Ontario

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

Heritage Landmark Plaque.

The Elora Drill Shed Historical Plaque.

The Elora Drill Shed.

Floor Plan.

Floor plans.

Site Plan.

Area Map.

NameElora Armoury
Military DistrictM.D. No. 1
Electoral DistrictWellington S.R.
H.Q. FileL. 13-12-1
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.Particulats of construction not available. Present value $5,000.
(a)Drainage, sewer and water connection. To be shown on site plan.Drain to river. Drilled well on property, not connected.
(d)Roof framing.Wood framed roof, 2" x 6" rafters, 1" sheathing.
(e)Roof covering (Type and date).Corrigated iron.
(f)Floor, main hall.Hard maple over dressed lumber on 2" x 10" joists.
(g)Other floors.Pine.
(h)Partitions.Lath and plaster on 2" x 4" studs.
5.Miniature rifle range&#8212;Description.Nil.
6.Bowling alleys, badminton courts, indoor baseball or other facilities for games.Nil.
7.Heating system&#8212; 
(a)General Description.Two Hot Air Furnaces and One Stove.
(b)Make and size heating apprs.One New Idea Pipeles Furnace for Drill Hall, 1 Kelsey Furnacse (in bad condition) for rooms, 1 McClary No. 45 stove in canteen.
(c)Fuel per annum.10 tons coke.
(d)Engineer and fireman specially employed.Nil.
8.Lighting system&#8212;General description.Electric, open wiring and drop lights.
9.Fire protection. Show position of standpipes in building, on site or on street plan.Village volunteer fire department. No hydrants on property.
(a)Military or Civilian.Civilian.
(b)Quartered in Armoury.No.
(c)Does he tend heating apprs.Yes.
11.Units in occupation.2nd 11th Field Ambulance.
12.General condition (Adequate space or not).Adequate.
Clothing, Equipment, fixtures (adequate or not). 
13.Any special remarks not included above.Adequate.
(a)Ownership.Department of National Defence
(b)How acquired, date, cost and present value.Donated by the Village of Elora. Present value $500.
(c)Who holds deed.District Enginering Officer, M.D. No. 1, London, Ontario
(d)Size and area.0.15 acres
(e)Name of street and number of lot.Lots No. 1 and 2 North High Street
(f)Fences, walks, and roadways on site.None on site.
(g)Surface&#8212;whether grass and whether kept in condition, and by whom.Grass, no care given.
(h)Is any part of site used for other than military purpose. Give details.Used by Village of Elora as a concert hall on a 99 years lease at a rate of $1.00 per annum. Dated 1909.
(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.Gravel roads, cement sidewalks.
(k)Any remarks on site not included above. 

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 11 September 2014

Topic: Officers


Customs of the Army, The War Office, February, 1956

(a)     Own regiment or corps. An officer must never run down his regiment or corps in the hearing of outsiders. This is being disloyal.

(b)     Any other unit with which he may serve. An officer may have to serve in other units than his own and his behaviour should be the same as in his own unit.

(c)     Courtesy to other regiments. Esprit de corps must not tempt the officer into running down other regiments; it is bad manners and does harm. A junior officer should keep his opinions and criticisms to himself until asked for them.

(d)     The Army. Every officer must be careful not to decry the "Army" in the presence of civilians. There is a tendency to criticise the "powers that be" and, in particular, the "War Office" for any unpopular aspect of Army life. Such criticism is generally based on ignorance of the true facts and unjustified. In any case it is bad for the Army and achieves no useful purpose.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Remembrance in Wheatley Cemeteries
Topic: Remembrance

Remembrance in Wheatley Cemeteries

Over the past few years, my wife and I have fallen into the habit of wandering through cemeteries when we find the opportunity. She looks for those gravestones that hint at family stories of sadness or celebrations of life, while I am invariably attracted to the "soldier's stones." These soldier's stones, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission style markers (though not all have been placed by the CWGC) identify the graves of soldiers, sailors and airmen who have served our country at home and abroad. It is always a welcome experience to find the range of services, units and corps among the service men and women in a cemetery, often marking collective centuries of service spanning all of Canada's conflicts.

In two cemeteries in Wheatley, Ontario, we discovered a unique and striking way that has been used to mark veterans' graves. Scattered throughout each cemetery, with no immediately apparent pattern, were 2-foot tall white metal crosses. Each of these crosses bore a simple label with the name of the honoured individual. They were placed on otherwise unmarked graves, beside family stones and, in the few cases where "soldier's stones" had been erected, beside each of these as well.

These crosses are one of the more visually appealing, graceful and comprehensive approaches to marking and honouring veteran graves that I have seen. This was so much better than the Royal Canadian Legion poppy stickers you find on some graves, which have invariably faded to white plastic squares or been peeled off to leave ugly glue residue.

The cemeteries may not have expended extra funds on their fence or gates, but they are well maintained, both institutionally with beautifully cut and trimmed grass throughout the cemetery, and at the individual level with a number of family plots showing fresh flowers placed on loved ones graves. But the white veterans' crosses make these cemeteries and this community stand out.

In Wheatley, Ontario, they have not forgotten.

Erie Cemetery

Fairview Cemetery

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 September 2014 12:10 AM EDT
Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Creeping Barrage (1918)
Topic: CEF

The Creeping Barrage (1918)

S.S. 135 — The Division in Attack; Issued by the General Staff, November, 1918
Appendix A – Artillery in Attack


(i.)     Object.—The object of the barrage is to prevent the enemy from manning his defence and installing machine guns in time to arrest the advance of the assaulting infantry. The barrage must be sufficiently heavy, therefore, to keep the enemy in his dug-outs, and sufficiently accurate to allow the infantry to get so close to the points to be attacks that it can cross the remaining distance before the enemy is able to man his defences. The barrage should be organized in depth to ensure, as far as possible, the protection of the infantry from effective rifle and machine gun fire. What the depth of each actual barrage may be, depends primarily on the artillery resources available, the configuration of the ground and the enemy's dispositions for the defence. The enemy's machine gun fire may prove dangerous at ranges up to 2,500 yards from the attacking infantry.

(ii.)     Organization.—In accordance with the foregoing principles, the barrage is organized in several belts of fire, the belt nearest to the advancing infantry being composed of the fire of the major portion of the 18-pdr. guns and generally known as the "creeping barrage."

The 4.5" howitzers and the remainder of the 18-pdrs. form a barrage in advance of the "creeping barrage"; their fire, while dwelling on strong points, and working up communication trenches, is at the same time organize in depth.

Beyond this again, a further belt of fire is formed by medium and heavy howitzers and a proportion of the 60-pdrs. their fire is directed so as to search all ground which commands the line of advance of the infantry or from which it is possible that indirect machine gun fire might be brought to bear through the creeping barrage. Especial attention must be paid to localities from which flanking fire can be brought to bear on the front of attack.

All these barrages roll hack according to a time table, the main principle being that there should always be a searching fire up to 2,000-2,500 yards in front of the advancing infantry. The fire, other than that of the "creeping barrage" should not follow as even cadence, or lift in regular lines. It should be so handled that the enemy's machine gunners may be unable to realize when the lift has taken place.

Finally, from the beginning of the barrage, the fire of long-range guns of all natures should be, used against the probable approaches of troops which may be brought up for the purpose of counter attack.

(iii.)     The Creeping Barrage.—In the first assault, the "creeping barrage" opens and dwells a few minutes on the enemy's foremost position. If the opposing 1ines are so close that this cannot be done without endangering the attacking troops, or if the position of our own front line is uncertain, it is advisable to withdraw the troops slightly before they form up for the assault in order that there may be no danger of opening fire beyond any locality which the enemy may occupy with advanced machine guns.

In an attack on an entrenched system the barrage does not as a rule lift direct from one trench to another, but creeps slowly forward, sweeping all the intervening ground in order to deal with any machine guns or riflemen pushed out into shell-holes in front or, of behind, the trenches. This creeping barrage will dwell for a certain time on each definite trench line to be assaulted.

From both an artillery and an infantry point of view simplicity in the organization of the barrage is desirable; curves and irregularities must be avoided as far as possible. The advance of the infantry will be much facilitated if the creeping barrage is moved forward in a straight line parallel to the line of departure of the assault.

The barrage should be arranged so as to help any change of direction which the troops may have to make. Direction is a matter of particular importance. Troops are trained to keep up to the barrage and can only do so by conforming to its shape. Curves and irregularities in the barrage are, therefore, always apt to cause a loss of direction.

(iv.)     Pace of the creeping barrage.—(a) The pace of the barrage is governed by the pace decided on for the infantry advance. The pace decided on for the infantry advance is dependent on local conditions, and it is impossible, therefore, to lay down as a general rule any definite rate of movement for the barrage, the pace of which will, with rare exceptions, be identical with that decided on Eor the infantry.

In estimating the correct rate of advance, the following factors should be carefully weighed:—

First—the probable resistance of the enemy, depending on the moral, quality and number of his troops, the nature of his dispositions and the strength of his defences.

Secondly—The state of ground and weather. The extent to which the ground has been cut up by shell fire, the presence or absence of mud, wet or dry weather conditions, and the existence of woods, houses, villages and streams in the line of advance, all affect the pace at which the infantry can move.

Over good ground, and in the absence of serious opposition, infantry can advance at a rate varying, according to the depth of the advance, between 50 and 100 yards a minute.

Thirdly—The length of the advance. A uniform pace for the barrage throughout the advance is, as a rule, unsound; the general principle should be for it to move more quickly at the start and to reduce its pace during the later stages, in order to allow the infantry time to reorganize.

In the case of a long advance, the attacking troops should be afforded the opportunity of recovering their places close up to the barrage by means of short pauses between the different objectives; the barrage should also be kept on each objective for an increased period in order to ensure that the attacking troops are closed up and ready to rush to the assault immediately the lift takes place.

Fourthly—The moral effect on the attacking troops. A slow advance checks, a rapid advance stimulates the keenness of the attacking troops.

(b)     If the pace decided on is too rapid, the whole advantage of the barrage will be lost, since the attacking infantry will fail to keep up with it and the enemy will be given time to man his fefences before he is attacked.

As a result, the advance may be brought to a standstill in close range pf the enemy's rifle and machine gun fire, while the barrage will continue to move on in accordance with the time table.

If, on the other hand, the pace decided on is too slow, the rear portions of the attacking force will tend to push on too fast and will become mingled with the leading portions, thereby forming a denser line and incurring heavier casualties, and also losing the momentum of the attack. Further, the enemy will be given time in which to withdraw his guns and infantry, and to reorganize his defence.

Finally, it must be remembered that the slower the rate of advance the greater will be the amount of ammunition expended in the barrage. This is an important factor for consideration in cases where the rapidity of the general advance may have rendered ammunition supply a matter of difficulty.

(v.)     Barrage Tables (or maps).—The arrangements for the barrages are made, as part of the corps artillery plan, by the corps commander after consultation with the divisional commanders, particular attention being paid to the points of junction between divisions to ensure that the barrages on each divisional front overlap properly.

Lifts and timings worked out are then embodied in a time table or map and issued to all concerned, the corps being responsible that these maps or tables are issued in sufficient time to enable the artillery to carry out the necessary arrangements. [From a later paragraph these arrangements include the supply of additional ammunition to batteries, the working out of firing data for the guns, and the setting of fuses and preparation of ammunition according ti the firing plan]

When the barrage maps or tables have been approved and issued by the Corps, no alterations by subordinate commanders are allowed, unless there is a change in the general plan of attack.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 9 September 2014 7:43 AM EDT
Monday, 8 September 2014

Kingsville Military Museum
Topic: Militaria

Kingsville Historical Park

"A Military Museum Plus …"

Tucked in behind Royal Canadian Legion Branch 188 in Kingsville, Ontario, is a military museum that is worth seeking out for anyone traveling through the area. Dedicated to the service and sacrifice of local men and women who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces abroad and at home, in wartime and in peace, this museum has a collection worth taking the time to visit.

See the brochure scan below for hours and directions. If you will be visiting outside of their normal operating hours, call ahead, one of their volunteers may be available to ensure you dont miss this opportunity.



Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 7 September 2014

Dress and Equipment (1918)
Topic: Soldiers' Load

Dress and Equipment (1918)

S.S. 135 — The Division in Attack; Issued by the General Staff, November, 1918
Appendix K – Dress and Equipment

1.     Officers. — All infantry officers taking part in an attack must be dress and equipped exactly the same as their men. Sticks are not to be carried.

2.     Fighting Order. — It is impossible to lay down definitely the equipment rto be carried in an attack. It must depend upon the distance of the objectives, the condition of the ground and other circumstances. Weight must always be the guiding factor in arriving at a decision in the matter of equipment. The following is suggested as a normal fighting order for all ranks of infantry, machine guns, light mortar and engineer units:—

(i.)     Clothing, etc. Worn on the man. — As issued.

(ii.)     Arms. — As issued.

(iii.)     Entrenching Tool. — As issued.

(iv.)     Accoutrements. — As issued.

(v.)     Box Respirator.

(vi.)     Solidified Alcohol. — As issued.

(vii.)     Articles Carried in the pack. — Mess tin, cardigan jacket, when issued, pair of socks, spare oil tin, holdall, iron ration, unexpended portion of day's ration, waterproof sheet, and two sandbags.

(viii.)     Ammunition. — 170 rounds, except for signallers, scouts, runners, machine, Lewis, and Stokes mortar gunners and carrying parties, who will only carry 50 rounds.

(ix.)     Bombs. — The number to be carried must be determined by the task to be carried out, the condition of the ground and the general physique of the men. (See S.S. 182, "Instructions on Bombing," Part II, para 28.)

(x.)     Aeroplane Flares. — Two, carried one in each bottom pocket of the jacket. They are not required by engineer, pioneer, machine gun and light mortar units.

(xi.)     Water. — One filled water bottle. A second water bottle is useful when there is likely to be difficulty in sending up water, or in warm weather.

3.     Disposal of Surplus Clothing and Equipment. — The surplus clothing and equipment of each man will be tied up in his haversack or a labelled sandbag, which will be stored under cover at the unit's transport lines or in some suitable building, if available.

4.     In addition to the munitions and stores mentioned in paragraph 2, the following ammunition stores, etc., may be required:—

(i.)     Wire Cutters and Breakers. — Wire cutters must be attached to the man's shoulder strap by a string, and cutters tucked into his waist belt.

(ii.)      Picks and Shovels. — The tools should be carried on the back.

(iii.)     S.O.S. Signals. — Twelve should be carried by each company, to be distributed among the reserves.

(iv.)     Artillery Flags or Discs. — One to be carried by a selected N.C.O. Or man in each platoon of assaulting troops.

(v.)      P. or K.J. Bombs. — Carried by parties especially detailed for clearing trenches and dug-outs.

(vi.)     Hand and Rifle Bombs. — Carried by bombers and rifle bombers, either in waistcaots, haversacks or canvas buckets. (See S.S. 182, "Instructions on Bombing," Part II, para 28.)

(vii.)     Very Pistols. — Two 1-in. Very light pistols should be carried with each company headquarters for signalling to the artillery.

5.     Issue of S.A.A., Tools, etc. — In order to save the men unnecessary fatigue, it may be possible to issue the S.A.A., bombs, tools, flares, S.O.S. Signals, etc., mentioned in paragraphs 2 and 4, which are not part of the man's ordinary equipment, at a forward dump. This dump must be sufficiently far back, however, to avoid the danger of heavy shell fire and the resulting confusion.

These stores, which are additional to the establishment fixed for the dump, should be laid out beforehand, so that no time may be lost in issuing them.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 6 September 2014

Feeding Canada's Forces (1940)
Topic: Army Rations

Unidentified airwomen preparing food in the test kitchen, No.1 Nutritional Laboratory, R.C.A.F., Guelph, Ontario, Canada, 3 April 1944. Location: Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Date: April 3, 1944. Photographer: Unknown. Mikan Number: 3583196 Visit the virtual exhibition Faces of War.

Feeding Canada's Forces (1940)

Canada's Greatest Housekeeper May Buy Food By Gallon or Ton But Only Accepts Best Quality

Responsibility for the feeding of all armed forces in Canada, which each month consume tons of butter, meats, cereals and jam, belongs to the foodstuffs section of the Munitions and Supply Department, referred to at times as Canada's greatest housekeeper.

Like any group of healthy, hard-working youth, Canada's growing family of soldiers, sailors and flyers works up a big appetite during each day's operations, and comes clamoring for its three husky meals.

Some idea of the gargantuan appetite of the army, navy and air force can be grasped from a supply department statement that 305 tons of butter were purchased to feed Canada's armed forces during the three months ended June 30.

Like any conscientious housekeeper, the Supply Department has its hands full in buying the best quality products and seeing that its boys get well-balanced meals and plenty of pure, wholesome food.

Every product must come up to specifications based on government standards, and supplies are reckoned in tons and gallons instead of pounds and quarts.

Supplies for a larder properly stocked to last one camp for a single month, according to the Supply Department, include 10 tons of corn beef, 49 tons of vegetables, 135 tons of potatoes, three tons of honey, 4 1/2 tons of cracked and rolled wheat, 9 1/2 tons of jam and two tons each of tea and coffee.

The Supply Department has nine buying centers across the Dominion to facilitate its food purchases. Tenders are issued specifying quantities and qualities, delivery dates and points of delivery.

Fish in Variety

For example, the tender forms for fish list a dozen varieties of fresh fish, including halibut, haddock, shad, sole and pickerel as well as fresh fillets and smoked fish. It states the exact form of each type---with or without head and fins, and other culinary details, and concludes by specifying that the quality must meet with the approval of the officer to whom it is delivered.

Milk specifications include exact standards for everything from butter-fat content to pasteurization temperature.

All standard kinds of meat except veal are purchased, as well as canned foods ranging from butter and fruit to soups, boiled dinners and beef stews. Canned foods are largely destined for naval use, and are particularly useful on the smaller craft engaged in defending Canadian shores, the Supply Department said.

Canadian soldiers top off their meals with such items as apples, jam, raisins, corn syrup, prunes, molasses, honey and maple syrup.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 5 September 2014

Minister Lays Corner Stone of Watford Armoury
Topic: Armouries

Minister Lays Corner Stone of Watford Armoury

Members of Parliament Are the Guests at Holiday Gathering at East Lambton

Colonel Hughes Tells of Department's Aims

Stirring Speech by Joseph Armstrong, M.P.—Reeve Stapleford Extends Official Welcome

The Free Press, London, Ont., Thursday, July 31, 1913
By Staff Reporter

Watford, July 30.—East Lambton turned out in force to-day to welcome the minister militia, Hon. Sam Hughes, on the occasion of the laying of the corner stone of the new armouries and drill hall now in course of construction here. In spite of the torrid weather, and the busy times for the farmers, over 3,000 people turned out to meet him. The greeting was most enthusiastic, and the first visit of the "war minister" was indeed an occasion long to be remembered.

Colonel Hughes arrived at noon, accompanied by Colonel Hodgins and Mr. John Farrell, of the reception committee. He was met by Reeve Stapleford and the Council together with Mr. Jos. E. Armstrong, M.P., member for East Lambton, R.J. McCormick, M.P.P., Dr. C.O. Fairbank, Petrolea, and other prominent citizens.

The Lambton Regiment was raised 14 Sep 1866 as the 27th Lambton Battalion of Infantry at Sarnia, Ontario. It was redesignated 27th Lambton Battalion of Infantry St. Clair Borderers on 1 Mar 1872, and again redesignated The Lambton Regiment 1 Dec 1920, and disbanded on conversion to artillery and engineers on 15 Dec 1936.

Escort from 27th

An escort from the Twenty-Seventh Lambton Borderers, under command of Captain R.G. Kelly, Lieutenant T.L. Swift, and lieutenant Reg. Brown and a detachment of the First Hussars, in command of Captain Abel, Lieutenant McEwen and Lieutenant Taylor, was provided. The Watford Band, reinforced by several members of the Twenty-seventh band were on hand, and as the colonel stepped from the train they struck up "O Canada." Colonel Hughes and Colonel Hodgins inspected the detachments and the parade formed.

In the first motor, driven by Mr. R. Prentis, were a number of prominent residents of the village and visitors, Colonel Hughes, Reeve Stapleford and Mr. Joseph E. Armstrong were directly in front of the band, and the parade ended at the Lyceum, where the Daughters of the Empire, with Mrs. A.G. Brown in command, served a dainty luncheon. At the head table Reeve Stapleford presided. Colonel Hughes, Mr. Armstrong, Mr. McCormick, Dr. Fairbank, Mayor Pollard, Reeve Stirrett and other prominent visitors were with him. Four charming young ladies, Misses Isabel Harris, Muriel Brown, Kate Harris and Muriel Taylor looked after their desires.

There were no speeches at this gathering. At 1.45 the parade formed and the distinguished visitors were escorted to the armouries, where the exercises were to take place.

Cornerstone laid by Colonel Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia and Defence, on 30 July 1913.

This small plaque is inset in the Watford Drill Hall cornerstone.

Reeve's Address

Briefly, Reeve Stapleford welcomed the visitors, and then read the following address:

Colonel Sam. Hughes, Minister of Militia:

"On behalf of the citizens of Watford we extend to you a most cordial welcome to our town, and request that you lay the corner stone of the armory and drill hall, now in course of construction, and which, when completed we feel sure will be a great convenience to our local militia and an incentive to our young men to properly fit themselves for the defence of their country, should occasion require. While 100 years have elapsed since a foreign foe has attempted to lay foot on Canadian soil, we realize that being prepared to meet an enemy id the surest guarantee of peace.

"We also wish to assure you of our appreciation of the keen interest you have always taken in the militia of our country, and trust that you may long be spared to give it your counsel.

"Signed on behalf of the municipality, Sanford Stapleford, Reeve.

Hon. Sam. Hughes was given a great reception on arising. He thanked the residents of Watford and vicinity for their cordial welcome. Little Blanche Stapleford, daughter of the reeve, presented him with a bouquet.

"You know, I have not had a bit of rest until I promised Mr. Jos. E. Armstrong, your valued member, that I would build an armory and drill hall in Watford," he declared. "I do not mind confiding to you that he led me an awful life until I did promise, and you see to-day the results of his efforts. When he invited me to come to Watford to lay the corner stone, I could not refuse."

Work of Department

Colonel Hughes gave a most interesting talk on the aims of the department. The militia was intended to inculcate into boys and young men the love of order and discipline. Lads who roamed the streets at night, untrained and undisciplined, would not become good citizens, and it was for the purpose of bringing these under the control of competent officers, to teach them the respect of authority and inculcate in them the love of country and of th empire that drill halls were being established throughout the Dominion. Military training made for good citizenship, and that made for an orderly, prosperous and happy country. Discipline, not repression, stability and usefulness, not idleness and waywardness were the aims of the department, and the results during the past two years had shown that such a policy was in the nest interests of the dominion.

The youth who went to the annual training camps was not the only care of the militia department. The cadet corps were near to his heart.

"We want to give the boys a chance," he declared. "These halls are to be their home and here they will find training in all that makes a man. We will teach then shooting, military drill, and physical training and the boys will come out better men and better citizens.

Colonel Hughes spoke of is efforts to stamp out the drink traffic at camps and in armories.

"The man who would suggest that canteens should be established in high schools or public schools would be taken to an insane asylum," he declared. "Why should drink be put in the way of boys and men in military camps. There is no difference whatever."

The military camps during the past two years has shown what had been done along these lines. The soldiers came home sober and decent, when in the past they had disgraced themselves and the uniform they wore. The ministers of the country had come to see that military camps had done much good in up-building the manhood of the country, and they were loud in their praise of the effects of the department.

Here Colonel Hughes presented Lieutenant Reg. Brown, of Watford, with the Royal Humane Society Medal, for rescuing Frank Little from drowning at Hillsboro, Lake Huron, last year.

"I am proud to present this medal, and am more proud that you wear the King's uniform," declared Colonel Hughes.

Reeve Stapleford then briefly addressed the gathering. He was pleased to welcome do large a gathering, and he was more than delighted to welcome the Minister of Militia.

"Colonel Hughes has done much for us," he declared. "We appreciate his services, and the interest our member, Mr. Joseph Armstrong, has taken in the riding, not only on this occasion, but at all times.

Mr. Armstrong

Mr. Armstrong spoke briefly. He eulogized Colonel Hughes for the great work he had accomplished in bringing the militia of the country to a higher plane. He had banished liquor from the camps, he had made the department a telling force in Canadian life. He urged a more patriotic outlook on the future of Canada. It was time that this country came to the aid of the motherland, by gifts of ships and inculcate here a more sympathetic love for the homeland.

"I say shame on the man who says that Great Britain has done nothing for us," he declared, "We owe so much to the empire, and let is stand by her loyally and manfully."

Dr. C.O. Fairbank, Mayor Pollard, and Reeve Sterrett, of Petrolea, spoke briefly as did Mr. John Farrell.

"Colonel Hughes is on the right track," said Mr. R.J. McCormick, M.P.P. "If he will keep liquor away from the camps, he will do a great deal of good, not only to the boys, but to the country."

Colonel Hodgins spoke on the work of the militia from a piratical standpoint, and urged upon the citizens to stand loyally behind the officers, in order to make the various companies strong and useful.

The distinguished visitors were escorted to the G.T.R. train by the band and guard of honor.

Much credit is due Reeve Stapleford, and the Councillors W. Doan, Jacob Fowler, John McKercher, and N. Hawn, and Messrs, R.H. Stapleford, Thomas Harris, E.D. Smith, Chester Howden, E.A. Brown, T.B. Taylor, Colonel Kenward, R. Newell, and other citizens for the successful entertainment. Captain R.G. Kelly and Lieutenant Swift were untiring in their efforts to make the affair a success, and particularly for the fine showing made by the guard of honor. The ladies were also worthy of praise.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 4 September 2014

Battle Drill Training Examples
Topic: Drill and Training

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.

In this scheme, called "Into battle," carriers, complete with equipment, were "gone over" by the instructors; mechanical faults were set up in the vehicles, and weapons and ammunition were tampered with. The crews were them given an hour to be ready to go into action.

Battle Drill Training Examples (1944)

From an Appenix to Report No. 123 on Battle Drill Training. Published under the Canadian Military Headquarters (CMHQ) Reports 1940-1948.

Examples of Exercises and Schemes Used at C.T.S. in Battle Drill Training

1.     Battle Drill Training offers constant surprises to accustom the soldier to the unusual. The unexpected is bound to happen! The following small observation scheme has been used with good results:

In the middle of a lecture an Assistant Instructor dressed as an Italian prisoner bursts into the lecture hall and stops momentarily as if surprised where he is. He then bolts for the stage platform and clambers up on it. He is hotly pursued by two other Assistant Instructors who catch him on the platform and a short struggle ensues. Then into the hall burst two M.P's. One of them fires two shots at the crowd on the platform and the lecturer appears to be shot and falls. A whistle is blown and all disappear. The students are asked a number of questions, e.g., (1) How many shots? (2) How many were in the struggle? (3) Who appeared to be shot? Etc.

This was made as realistic as possible and was particularly designed to take the students by surprise. (C.M.H.Q. file 2/Reports/4/2: Report of C.T.S. July 1943).

2.     A night scheme in Battle Drill Training involved a platoon which was assumed to have been cut off during the day's operations. The platoon commander was ordered to attempt to rejoin his unit. This necessitated a move of the platoon back to its own lines through enemy infested territory. It demanded:

(a)     Choosing of route from map and by ground observation during daylight.

(b)     Control of movement at night and maintenance of objective.

(c)     Interpretation of sounds, occurrences, etc., at night.

(d)     Pinpointing any enemy activity which is met on the way, i.e., tank harbours, patrol posts, enemy headquarters, M.G. posts, number of enemy wounded at R.A.P., etc. The object was to demonstrate the need for initiative at night as well as by day, and the necessity for acquiring all information in an accurate form so that it can be acted upon, namely, target co-ordinates to C.S.O., areas of troops concentrations, tank harbours, etc., to B.M. controlling patrol activity in that sector. (C.M.H.Q. file 2/Reports/4/2: C.T.S. Reports, May 1943).

3.     In this scheme, called "Into battle," carriers, complete with equipment, were "gone over" by the instructors; mechanical faults were set up in the vehicles, and weapons and ammunition were tampered with. The crews were them given an hour to be ready to go into action. (C.M.H.Q. file 2/Reports/4/2: C.T.S. Reports, May 1943).

4.     Rifle students march and fight their way across 15 miles of country to the Downs. They arrive there about dusk. Company vehicles then come up with food and greatcoats. They then have to arrange all-round protection, night administration, sent out patrols to locate an enemy A.F.V. harbor, then they must organize and attack it at dawn. They then march to the Assault Course, go over it and march home. (C.M.H.Q. file 2/Reports/4/2: C.T.S. Reports, May 1943).

5.     On a scheme where they were behind the enemy's lines, the students were given slips of paper telling them where they could find friends and where they could find ammunition. Out of a hundred students not one was noticed who memorized the information and destroyed the paper. As a result, the enemy---whom the students knew were operating in the area and on the lookout for them---were able to capture a few and from the information gained smash the whole plan. (C.M.H.Q. file 2/Reports/4/2: C.T.S. Reports, March 1943).

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Short Rifle, Magazine Lee-Enfield (Mark III)
Topic: Militaria

Short Rifle, Magazine Lee-Enfield (Mark III)

Once Canadian troops in the First World War divested themselves of the Ross Rifle, which had proven very unsuitable for battlefield use, this was the weapon they carried to victory in 1918.

The following is paraphrased from Wikipedia.

The Lee-Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle was the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century. It was the British Army's standard rifle from its official adoption in 1895 until 1957. It featured a ten-round box magazine which was loaded with the .303 British cartridge manually from the top, either one round at a time or by means of five-round chargers. The Lee-Enfield was the standard issue weapon to rifle companies of the British Army and other Commonwealth nations in both the First and Second World Wars (these Commonwealth nations included Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, among others). Although officially replaced in the UK with the L1A1 SLR in 1957, it remained in widespread British service until the early/mid-1960s and the 7.62 mm L42 sniper variant remained in service until the 1990s. The Canadian Forces' Rangers Arctic reserve unit still use Enfield No.4 rifles as of 2012, with plans announced to replace the weapons sometime in 2014 or 2015. Total production of all Lee-Enfields is estimated at over 17 million rifles.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Wolseley Barracks Will Not Be Closed (1913)
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Wolseley Barracks Will Not Be Closed, Says Department

Story Sent Out From Toronto is Characterized As a Canard — It Was To the Effect That Toronto Will in Future Have Corps Now Stationed at London and Kingston

The London Evening Free Press; London, Ontario, 31 July, 1913
Special to the Free Press

Barracks Remain But Men Might Be Moved

The Free Press, London, Ont., Friday, 1 August 1913

No word has been received at divisional headquarters regarding the report that the permanent force will be removed from Wolseley barracks to Toronto. There is a persistent rumor that the men will be removed on the completion of the new barracks, but no official confirmation can be obtained. Col. Hodgins stated today that he had heard absolutely nothing on the matter, either officially or unofficially.

"It may or may not be true." he said. "I absolutely know nothing about it. The making of Toronto as a center would no doubt reduce the cost of maintenance as there would be one big mess instead of two. The matter is entirely in the hands of the department at Ottawa and I have never had an inkling that a change was contemplated. As far as I am concerned, it may or may not be true."

Ottawa, Ont., July 31.—At the militia department to-day the report that the Wolseley Barracks are to be closed was characterized as wholly unfounded.

According to the story, Wolseley Barracks, which for 25 years has been the home of a permanent military corps in London, was to pass out of existence and the corps removed from the city.

The militia department was said to be planning to move the permanent force from London and Kingston to locate it at Toronto in the interests of economy and efficiency.

A new barracks was to be erected at Long Branch, near Toronto, which would accommodate 1,200 officers and men, the contact for which will be let in a few days. Work on the new barracks was to commence in September, and the cost would be considerably over $1,000,000.

Opening of the Barracks

The rumor recalls to mind many interesting events in connection with the military life of the city of days gone by. The present barracks were first opened in 1888, the order for the erection of the building being issued two years previous, and No. 1 Company, Royal Canadian Infantry was the first to occupy the post. Colonel henry Smith was the first commandant and remained until 1898, being succeeded by Colonel Holmes.

Two million bricks were used in the construction of the building, and they were manufactured within a short distance of the structure.

The present site of Victoria Park was at one time the headquarters of the permanent force, but came into the city's possession by providing the department with the site for Wolseley Barracks, though London had for years previous to this used the old barracks grounds for park purposes. In 1888 R. pritchard and A.B. Powell with Mayor Cowan were appointed trustees for the administration of the lands, and when they relinquished their trust in 1894 their accounts showed that the city had been a considerable gainer by the transaction.

Built by Ex-Ald. Hook

Ex-Ald. Joseph Hook, a well-known contractor of years ago, built the barracks, the cost of which was considerably more than the tender submitted. He lost a considerable sum of money on the contract.

The strength of the regiments stationed at the barracks varied at different times, there being from 25 to 130 men located here.

Up To Strength Now

At the present time the corps is up to the strength required by the department, and consists of between 60 and 70 men. Of late years the barracks has supplied Halifax and other points, which have a permanent force, with trained men. This has caused the number here to be reduced materially.

On account of the permanent force being located here, the city has long been looked upon as a military center, and the high efficiency of the volunteer corps of this city is in a large measure responsible for having trained men here at all times. The officers of the permanent corps are in the same position as the school teachers to the pupils. They are trained to a high efficiency and disseminate their knowledge of the volunteers.

Once Flourished

The citizens have enjoyed the entertainment furnished by the officers and men of Wolseley barracks, which at one time, when it was known as "D" school, had a first-class band, which furnished concerts twice weekly at Victoria Park. The removal of the barracks will not mean that divisional headquarters, with its staff of officers, will go to Toronto. The work of the divisional officers extends over all of Western Ontario, and the permanent corps here is only one small part of the unit under its control and supervision.

Since the advent of Colonel Hodgins as commander of the district there has been a remarkable growth of militarism. The fact that it was possible to organize an army service corps and corps of engineers here is evidence of the efficient work being done.

"I have not heard a word regarding the removal," said Colonel Hodgins to-day. "I notice a dispatch in the papers to that effect. It would make no difference to divisional headquarters."

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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