The Minute Book
Friday, 7 November 2014

455084 Private William Mercer
Topic: The RCR

455084 Private William Mercer

455084 Private William Mercer

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 6 November 2014

Armistice Day and Thanksgiving, 1929
Topic: Remembrance

November 11 Named Thanksgiving Day

Coincides With Armistice Day—Proclamation Issued in Current Canada Gazette

The effect of the resolution would have been to make Thanksgiving Day movable with respect to the day of the week and to associate it inseparably with the solemn ceremonies of November 11.

The motion was negatived.

The Gazette, Montreal, Saturday, 28 September 1929
(By Canadian Press)

Ottawa, September 27.—Armistice Day and Thanksgiving Day coincide with respect to their both falling on November 11, this year, and the current issue of the Canada gazette accordingly publishes a proclamation declaring that day to be one of public thanksgiving.

In Canada the Monday of the week in which November 11 falls is "a legal holiday and," says the statute of 1921 "shall be observed as such under the name of Armistice Day." The statute goes on to say that the holiday commonly known as "Thanksgiving Day" shall be proclaimed and observed on the same day.

At the last session of Parliament F.W. Gershaw (Lib.–Medicine Hat) moved that "the day to be observed hereafter for national thanksgiving shall be Armistice Day, November 11." This was seconded by A.W. Neill (Ind.–Comox-Alberni).

The effect of the resolution would have been to make Thanksgiving Day movable with respect to the day of the week and to associate it inseparably with the solemn ceremonies of November 11.

Considerable opposition to the motion was developed during the ensuing debate. This was crystallized in the remarks of Col. G.R. Geary (Cons.–Toronto South) who deplored the possibility of seeing Armistice Day degenerate into a public holiday in which the celebration of the Armistice would play only a small part.

"I do not care what you do with Thanksgiving Day," he said, "but I do not believe there is any desire among our people that we should make a general play day or holiday of Armistice Day. Have Thanksgiving Day on any day you like, but not on November 11. Let us continue to celebrate the conclusion of the war by the most impressive two-minute silence on the morning of the day in memory of the men who lie over there, and of their deeds, in a spirit of thankfulness that their lives were not given in vain."

The motion was negatived.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 21 October 2014 7:54 PM EDT
Wednesday, 5 November 2014

477915 Pte Albert Morley Thomas
Topic: The RCR

477915 Pte Albert Morley Thomas

477915 Pte Albert Morley Thomas

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Public is Confused About Remembrance Day
Topic: Remembrance

Public is Confused About Remembrance Day

Ottawa Citizen, Thursday, 3 November, 1927

Many inquiries made of the Citizen indicate some confusion in the public mind with regard to the holiday on Monday and the celebration of Armistice Day. By federal act of parliament, since the war it has been enacted that Thanksgiving Day and Armistice Day shall be merged into one holiday. This holiday is set as the nearest Monday to Nov. 11. This arrangement has never satisfied ex-servicemen, who have all along protested and who insist on recognizing the anniversary of the original Armistice Day. Monday next, Nov. 7, will be the annual Thanksgiving day holiday. On Friday, Nov. 11, there will, at the request of King George V, be the usual observance of the two minutes silence at 11 a.m. throughout the Empire. This was the actual hour on Nov. 11, 1918, when the Armistice began.

In the evening on Friday, Nov. 11, there will also be the annual service on Parliament Hill, round the commemoration pylon, at the foot of which will be laid poppy and other wreaths in memory of those who fell in the Great War.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 3 November 2014

477609 Private Clifford Moss, M.M.
Topic: The RCR

477609 Private Clifford Moss, M.M.

477609 Private Clifford Moss, M.M.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 2 November 2014

Remembrance Day Proclamation 1921
Topic: Remembrance

Remembrance Day Proclamation 1921

In the years immediately after the First World War, November 11th was not celebrated as we know it in the modern era. Each year, the Armistice Day was announced by a proclamation that set the day, and it was portrayed as a day of thanksgiving for the victory and peace, which coincided with the event we now know as Thanksgiving. The following is the Proclamation of the Armistice Day for 1921

Canada Gazette, 22 October, 1921




GEORGE the FIFTH by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas KING, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.

To all to whom these presents shall come, or whom the same may be in anywise concern, GREETING:—


We do appoint Armistice day, Monday the seventh day of November next, as a day of general thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest and other blessings with which Canada has been favoured this year; and We do invite all Our loving subjects throughout Canada to observe the said day as a day of general thanksgiving.

E.L. NEWCOMBE, Deputy Minister of Justice, Canada.

Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God in his great goodness to vouchsafe this year unto Our Dominion of Canada a bountiful harvest and other blessings,—

We therefore considering that these blessings enjoyed by Our people throughout the said Dominion do call for a solemn and public acknowledgement, have thought fit by and with the advice of Our Privy Council for Canada to appoint and We do appoint Armistice day, Monday the seventh day of November next, as a day of general thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest and other blessings with which Canada has been favoured this year; and We do invite all Our loving subjects throughout Canada to observe the said day as a day of general thanksgiving.

Of all which Our loving subjects and all others whom these presents may concern, are hereby required to take notice and govern themselves accordingly.

In Testimony Whereof, We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent and the Great Seal of Canada to be hereunto affixed. Witness, Our Right Trusty and Well-beloved Julian Hedworth George, Baron Byng of Vimy, General on the Retired List, and in the Reserve of Officers of Our Army, Knight Grand Cross of Our Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Member of Our Royal Victorian Order, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Our Dominion of Canada.

At Our Government House, in Our City of Ottawa, this twelfth day of October, in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and twenty-one and in the twelfth year of Our Reign.

By Command,

Under-Secretary of State

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 1 November 2014

The King Proposes Two Minutes' Silence; 1919
Topic: Remembrance

The King Proposes Two Minutes' Silence; 1919

Copy of telegram from the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the Governor General

Canada Gazette; 15 November, 1919

6th November, 1919


I am commanded by His Majesty the King to send you for immediate publication the following message which is addressed to all the peoples of the Empire, begins,—

To all my People: Tuesday next, 11th November, is the first anniversary of the armistice which stayed the world wide carnage of the four preceding years, and marked the victory of right and freedom. I believe that my People in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that great deliverance and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

To afford an opportunity for the universal expression of this feeling it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the armistice came into force, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month there may be for a brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of our normal activities. During that time, except in rare cases where this might be impracticable, all work, all sound and all locomotion should cease, so that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.

No elaborate organization seems to be necessary. At a given signal, which can be easily arranged to suit the circumstances of each locality I believe that we shall all gladly interrupt out business and pleasure whatever it may be and unite in this simple service of silence and remembrance.


This will be published in the Press here tomorrow morning. Arrangements are being made for the general observance of the two minutes silence at eleven o'clock next Tuesday. Trains will be stopped on the railways, traffic on the streets, ships as far as possible at sea, and every effort will be made to get work suspended everywhere, in schools, shops, mines, and factories and to ensure complete silence.

His Majesty hopes that Your Ministers may be willing to arrange for a similar observance.

It is, of course, impracticable owing to the distance that the ceremony should synchronize throughout the Empire. It is therefore suggested that eleven a.m. local time should be adopted everywhere.

Similar message being sent to India and to every Dominion and Colony in the Empire.


Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 21 October 2014 7:53 PM EDT
Friday, 31 October 2014

Canadian Army Recuiting; 1949

Canadian Army Recuiting; 1949

"Canada's Insurance for Peace"

Published in McLean's magazine on 15 June 1949, this Canadian Army recruiting advertisement seeks recruits for the Canadian Army in the Regular or Reserve Force.

RCAF recuiting advertisement; 1949
Click image for larger version.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 30 October 2014

Remembrance Day Restored as Holiday 1947
Topic: Remembrance

Remembrance Day Will Again be Observed as Statutory Holiday

Dead Of Two Wars To Be Honored November 11.

Shawinigan Standard, 5 November 1947

By common consent, Tuesday, Nov. 11, will be celebrated — as last year — as a statutory holiday to commemorate the dead of the First and Second World Wars.

Shortly after VJ-Day, some discussion arose as to whether a separate day should be observed to commemorate the Second World War dead. However, a convention of the Canadian legion voted to keep Nov. 11 as Remembrance Day for both wars, and government officials inclined to the same view.

Nov. 11 was first declared a statutory holiday after the First World War, under the Armistice day Act, the name of which later was changed to the Remembrance Day Act. During the war, it was one of three holidays waived under the War Measures Act, the others being Easter Monday and Victoria Day.

With the expiration of the War Measures Act, Remembrance Day automatically resumed its role as a statutory holiday. Like other statutory holidays, its observance depends on custom, since the Federal Government has power only to close Federal Government offices and banks.

"The day is established as Remembrance Day for both wars by what appears to be common consent," said J.C.G. Herwig, secretary of the Canadian legion.

  • The current Canadian "Holidays Act."
  • Status of Remembrance Day varies across Canada (; 8 Nov 2013)

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Topic: The RCR

In the Army

"Bones," self-appointed mascot of The RCR at Wolseley Barracks

The News and Eastern Townships Advocate, 24 July 1958

"Bones" is a nondescript mongrel of uncertain age and parentage who, years ago, adopted The Royal Canadian Regiment as his very own.

His history is vague, but then so is Bones. He is nor officially recognized as a regimental mascot, but just sort of taken for granted. He has no special master nor any special home. Nor even any special battalion. He lived fort several years with the 1st Battalion of the Regiment, and then transferred his rather uncertain allegiances to the 2nd Battalion.

As far as can be learned, Bones and The RCR joined forces about seven years ago; and he was far from being a pup in those days too. His age is now guessed at about 12 years, but no one is sure, not even Bones.

At Wolseley Barracks in London, the home of the Regiment, Bones is the only dog allowed complete freedom. He insists on it. He will live with one company for awhile and then move on to another. Sometimes he eats in the officers' mess, sometimes in the men's kitchen, sometimes with the sergeants. No special loyalty for Bones.

When the 2nd Battalion moved the 400 miles from Camp Borden to Camp Petawawa recently (100 miles on foot) Bones moved with them. No one in particular looked after him. When the battalion marched, Bones marched, when the battalion rested, Bones rested, and when the battalion rode, Bones rode.

Now he is resting his tired old feet in the unit bivouac area near the Algonquin Park boundary at Camp Petawawa. He still wanders from company to company and from kitchen to kitchen.

Bones holds no special brief for any particular soldier. He tolerates them. But only if they're RCR.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Tips for Officers, Before and After Joining (1906)
Topic: Officers

Regulations for Admission

A Few Tips for Officers, Before and After Joining

Aid to Obtaining an Infantry Certificate, by Capt. A.P.B. Nagle, R.C.R., Second Edition 1906

The officers, N.C.O. and men attached to the school of instruction, from time to time, shall be held to be called out for active service and will be subject to the laws and regulations under the Militia Act, which apply to officers, N.C.O. and men, called out for such service.

The attached officers will rank among themselves, according to their militia rank, but on all duties connected with the school they will, whatever rank they hold, be considered junior to the officers of the corps comprising the school.

If attached officers are detailed for court martial they are entitled to their militia seniority.

  • C.O. - Commanding Officer
  • D.O.C. - District Officer Commanding
  • O.C.R.S.I. - Officer Commanding Royal School of Infantry

Officers who wish to join will send in an application to their C.O., who will forward it to the D.O.C. Of their district, who will refer it to the O.C.R.S.I., asking if there will be a vacancy. If there is, the commandant will notify the D.O.C. And will issue transport to the officer, informing him upon what date he is to join.

Officers authorized to join should supply themselves with the following articles:— Red and blue serge, undress cap, trousers, "Sam Brown" belt (or if not worn, in their corps, waist belt and sword), gloves; in winter, fur cap, gloves, great coat and long boots.

On arrival at the station they will report themselves at once to the adjutant, when accommodation will be made for them.

Attached officers will be members of the Regt. Mess for the time they are undergoing a course. They will pay an entrance subscription of three dollars and an additional subscription of three dollars a month. They will be given a copy of the mess rules. The mess bills will form a first charge on their pay. They will receive $1 per day quarters, rations of fuel, and light.

Officers on joining should have their hair cut according to regulation. They should be particular about shaving and always neat when in uniform. They should, when speaking to the commandant, address him as "Sir"; when meeting him they should salute. All senior officers on parade should be addressed as "Sir."

Attached officers will be allowed a soldier servant. If he neglects his duty the matter should be reported to the adjutant. Complaints should be made to O.C. attached co'y; if not attended to they should report them to C.O. At orderly room hour.

Officers will wear gloves, not carry them, when walking on the street in uniform, they will not smoke. They will not enter the sergts. mess or canteen except on duty. No "treating" is allowed in the officers' mess. They will check all undue familiarity of N.C.O. and men, and report the same to the adjutant.

The duty roster is kept by the adjutant and can be seen by officers at any time. Should an exchange of duty be desired, the application should be sent to the adjutant (for approval of C.O.), signed by the officers wishing to exchange before twelve noon, on the day before the exchange is desired. Once in orders for any duty, officers cannot be relieved unless on very urgent affairs.

Should officers require leave, they will first ascertain if they are for any duty, if they are not, they should either enter their names in the leave book or submit a written application.

Daily orders are to be seen in the officers' mess. Officers should make a point of seeing them.

Warning for parade is sounded 20 minutes before parade. Officers should set their watches by the bugle, as no excuse can be taken for being late for any duty.

When on orderly duty officers will not leave barracks except by special permission of C.O.

All members of the mess will dress for dinner; attached officers may wear the blue serge jacket. No smoking is allowed in the ante-room after the 1st mess bugle, which goes on half hour before mess call. No official books are to be taken into the ante-room. No caps, gloves, coats, or sticks are to be left in the ante-room. Should the commandant enter the ante-room, officers will stand up for a second. Dinner is a parade, and officers on entering the ante-room before dinner will address the senior officer. No one should leave the dinner table before the wine has been past, except by permission of the senior officer. No discussion of a personal, religious, or political character is allowed on mess premises. If officers have complaints to make about messing, waiters, or anything in the mess, they will make it to the Mess Secretary. They should consider the mess their "home" and use it as such.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 18 October 2014 1:40 PM EDT
Monday, 27 October 2014

Befuckled, and other Mission Task Verbs
Topic: Humour

Example task verbs and related map symbols. Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College, Mission and Task Verbs, Task Verbs Directory (c. 2005). This 93 page document set out compiled definitions for 31 task verbs.

Befuckled, and other Mission Task Verbs

In our generalized societal memory of past wars, the missions issued to troops and units were direct, simple, and clear to everyone watching the Hollywood blockbuster war movie of the moment. In the First World War, commanders chose between defend against the Hun, or attack the bastards. In the Second World War, the defence was mostly set aside for Hollywood's recreations, and the attack was nuanced into a variety of options: attack across the beach, attack up the cliffs, attack across the airfield, attack through the town. Rinse and repeat until Berlin. Korea was mostly cold and static, broken only by homemade martini binges with Hawk-eye and B.J.

In more modern times, the melding of the commander, the manager, and the marketer of "ops and plans" has resulted in those formerly simplistic mission verbs being supplanted by lengthy lists of options requiring reams of descriptive definitions to satisfy the need to have an exquisitely detailed plan of operations ready to be amended on the fly as soon as a Line of Departure is crossed and contact made. There doesn't seem to be a Canadian version of a task verbs reference available on line, but see this American publication Annex on Tactical Mission Tasks, and this set of flash cards to help young officers expand their tactical vocabularies.

Invariably, when young (and some not so young) officers arrive in Staff College to be met with challenges not of tactics to be employed, but of the semantical manipulations needed to describe intentions to the satisfaction of he Directing Staff, humour is often a result. The following are some examples of the lighter treatments of task verbs and definitions that have been created. Two are excerpts from The Frontenac Times, unofficial newsletter of the CLFCSC courses LFSC 9801 and TCSC 0101. The third, a lengthier and decidedly less politic presentation (you have been warned), is by an unknown hand.

The Frontenac Times, Volume 1, Issue No. 5.

The Frontenac Times, Volume 2, Issue No. 8.

Mission and Task Verbs; Befuckled and More.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 26 October 2014

Rations Show Effect of Scientific Study (1941)
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.

Standard Canadian Army Rations Show Effect of Scientific Study (1941)

Maj.-Gen. E.J.C. Schmidlin, Quartermaster-General

Edward James Carson Schmidlin, born in Brantford, Ontario, in August 1884. Attended Royal Military College, Kingston, where he won the Sword of Honour and the Governor-General's Gold medal.

On graduation from RMC, received a commission in the Royal Engineers as a Second Lieutenant and promoted to Lieutenent in 1908. Schmidlin was appointed to a commission in the canadoan Permanent Force as a Lieutenant iin the Canadian Enigneers in 1910.

In Nov, 1914, Schmidlin was appointed Adjutant of the 2nd Cdn. Div Engineers at the rank of Captain. He arrived in France in Sep, 1915, and served in that appointment until July, 1917, having received the Military Cross in the 1917 New Year's Honours List. In July, 1917, he was appointed to command No. 12 Fiedl Company, C.E., he ended the war as Commanding officer of the 8th battalion, C.E.

Between the wars Schmidlin continued to serve with the Canadian Engineers. Appointed professor of miltary engineering, Jul 1919; professor of enginering Oct 1921; senior professor and professor of engineering, Sep 1926; director of engineering services at NDHQ, Jan 1934; ann appointed acting quartermaster-general, Apr, 1940. Schmidlin was named quartermaster-general, with the rank of Major-General in July 1940.

Montreal Gazette, 2 July 1941

Ottawa, July 1.—(CP)—Feeding the Canadian soldier has become a scientific business and rule of thumb methods were abandoned years ago, national Defence headquarters said yesterday.

Maj-Gen E.J.C. Schmidlin, Quartermaster-General, said that when the present war started the old ration scale used in Canada during the last war was adopted, with certain minor changes. This ration consisted of the standard ration, consisting of 16 commodities per soldier per day, plus certain exchange issues, the issue of these based on weight instead of cost.

"While this ration produced a perfectly wholesome diet, it soon appeared that its variety was too restricted and further, it did not produce quite as balanced a diet as was considered desirable," Maj-Gen Schmidlin said.

"It was decided to review the existing ration, and in order to obtain the most expert Canadian advice available, the National Research Council was invited by the Department of National Defence to form a committee of expert advisors on nutrition, hygiene, household science, agriculture and allied subjects to consider the ration and make recommendations for its amendment, keeping in mind the necessity for not unduly increasing the cost.

"From the meetings of this committee was proposed a ration scale which, with several minor changes and additions in the authorized exchanges, was made effective."

The standard ration has the following:

  • Beef, 14 ounces;
  • bread, white or brown, 14 ounces;
  • bacon, three ounces;
  • cheese, one ounce; rice, two ounces;
  • jam, two ounces;
  • butter, two ounces;
  • evaporated milk, five ounces;
  • tea, one-quarter ounce;
  • coffee, one-third ounce;
  • fresh potatoes, 14 ounces;
  • fresh vegetables, eight ounces;
  • raw apples, five ounces;
  • split peas, one ounce;
  • white sugar, three ounces;
  • salt, one-half ounce;
  • pepper, 1-72 ounce.

That is the standard ration. Alternatives available for beef are mutton, pork and fish. Instead of bread, an alternative issue of 12 ounces of flour plus lard and baking powder may be made.

The standard ration statement provides that 14 ounces of biscuit may be issued in lieu of 14 ounces of bread, but only in sufficient issues to keep an emergency ration on hand with a periodical turnover.

Instead of bacon, eggs or salt pork may be provided, and rolled wheat, cracked wheat, rolled oats, macaroni or tapioca instead of rice. Alternatives for jam are raisins, prunes, corn syrup, molasses, honey and maple syrup. Where available, fresh pasteurized milk may be issued instead of the evaporated product.

The issue of fresh vegetables or canned tomatoes is compulsory twice a week. When raw apples are not obtainable, dried apples, canned apples or canned Pumpkin may be issued.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 25 October 2014

British Army Acquires Carrier Pigeons 1897
Topic: British Army

Carrier Pigeon Service (1897)

Blasts from the Trumpet
The Quebec Daily Telegraph, 13 March 1897

Following in the footsteps of all the other European governments, England has arranged for the use of carrier pigeons in the army. In time of war it is urged that these swift couriers of the air can be used when railway, telegraph, messengers and other usual means are cut off, and pigeon lofts will be established at suitable places where they will prove most effective.

In the beginning England will have but few birds, but more will be added as time and money will permit. Germany has the most complete carrier-pigeon service of any country in the world. There is hardly a town of any importance in the German Empire that hasn't a pigeon loft, and the German Emperor annually distributes numerous prizes for long and rapid flights. The annual appropriation for the pigeons is about $6,000. France has more birds than Germany and spends $20,000 a year in maintaining them, but they are not so well distributed.

There are scores of private lofts in Germany that will be in the service of the Government in time of need. France learned the value of pigeons during the siege of Paris, when they were used to convey messages to the seat of government at Tours. Nearly fifty messages were successfully despatched during the siege, and since then the value of the pigeons has not been questioned. It seems that carrier pigeons are not able to make the speed that is popularly supposed. German experts say that the average pigeon can fly thirty-five miles an hour and not more.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 2:05 AM EDT
Friday, 24 October 2014

The "Man-in-the-Dark"
Topic: Military Theory

The "Man-in-the-Dark"

The "Man-in-the-Dark" Theory of Infantry Tactics and the "Expanding Torrent" System of Attack.

By Captain B.H. Lidell-Hart, K.O.Y.L.I., [Presented] On Wednesday, November 3rd, 1920, at 3 p.m. and published in the Journal of The Royal United Service Institution; February, 1921

Thus the man-in-the-dark resembles the commander in modern war. Let us examine the correct principles of action which a man seeking to attack an enemy in the dark would naturally adopt.

"The Man Fighting in the Dark."

1.     In the first place he must seek his enemy. Therefore, the man stretches out one arm to grope for his enemy, keeping it supple and ready to guard himself from surprise.

This may be termed the principle of "protective formation."

2.     When his outstretched arm touches his enemy, he would rapidly feel his way to a highly vulnerable spot, such as the latter's throat.

This is the principle of "reconnaissance."

3.     The man will then seize his adversary firmly by the throat, holding him at arm's length so that the latter can neither strike back effectively, nor wriggle away to avoid or parry the decisive blow.

This is the principle of "fixing."

4.     Then while his enemy's whole attention is absorbed by the menacing hand at his throat, with his other fist the man strikes his opponent from an unexpected direction in an unguarded spot, delivering out of the dark a decisive knock-out blow.

This is the principle of "decisive manoeuvre."

5.     Before his enemy can recover the man instantly follows up his advantage by taking steps to render him finally powerless.

This is the principle of full and immediate "exploitation" of success.

To follow these principles is the only sure path to victory. We can only neglect the fixing phase, if our enemy commits some mistake, such as the neglect of his own security, by which he fixes himself without our intervention and so exposes himself to our decisive blow.

Now the whole action of our man-in-the-dark can be simplified into two categories:-

When the man has fixed his enemy, he delivers a decisive knockout blow. It will be obvious that the harder this blow the more likely it is to be decisive. Hence the man must put his maximum possible force into it, while he only uses the necessary minimum of strength to carry out the preparatory operations. This is the principle of "Economy of Force." But the man can increase the effect of his available strength by surprising the enemy; by his speed; by the momentum or "follow through" behind his blows; by striking his opponent's most vulnerable spots; by full exploitation of every opening or advantage; by husbanding his energy; and by moving his limbs and muscles in harmony like the parts of a well-oiled machine. All these are means to promote economy of force, and therefore can be grouped under that principle.

Thus we see that there are two, and only two, supreme governing principles - Security and Economy of Force.

Read the complete paper by Liddell-Hart.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 23 October 2014

Sunday Parades
Topic: Canadian Militia

Sunday Parades

The Toronto Daily Mail; 12 May 1892

To the Editor of the Mail.

Sir,—Having a reverence for the Christian Sabbath I must protest against the military and other parades which make every Sunday a noisy holiday. Worst of all, this wrong is done in the name of religion.

About 99 per cent of the motive in these parades is vanity, the remainder may, perhaps, be attributed to religious devotion. Let the Highland regiment attend church in plain clothes and without the buglers, brass bands, and bagpipe accompaniment, and fifty thousand men, women, and children would not wait for hem along the streets or surge around St. Andrew's church a lawless mob, requiring a strong force of constables to keep them in order. I am afraid the Highland regiment couldn't muster a corporal's guard to attend church in such a commonplace way.

Our regulars of the Infantry school manage to attend the ordinary church services in groups at the different churches of their choice on Sunday mornings without any trumpeting and show, and without announcing in the papers the route they intend to take, to make a show of their religion—or themselves. This is how is should be.

I am not surprised that ministers of the W.F. Wilson type, whose chief end is their own glory, should apologize for Sunday parades while enjoying the patronage of the paraders, but we look for beter things from D.J. Macdonnell. Those of us who regard the Sabbath as God's day, the sanctity of which ought not to be violated in this unnecessary way, will say "Shame on the paraders," but louder, "Shame on the ministers who thus lend themselves to its desecration."

Yours, etc.

W.A. Skeans
Toronto, 10 May

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 22 October 2014

"Any Complaints?"
Topic: Humour

Soldiers eating at Camp Sewell, Manitoba, [ca. 1914-1918]
Glenbow Archives image: NA-4051-2 (Source)

"Any Complaints?"

Lesser Known Regimental Records, James Hope, The British Army Review, Number 30, December 1968

"Any Complaints?" is a military cry that few who have served in the Armed Forces of the Crown can have failed to have heard at some stage of their careers. The 95% who serve in the lower non-commissioned ranks, and feed in the "Men's Dining hall," "Cookhouse," or "Men's Mess," depending on Regimental or Service terminology, are usually far too well mannered to express their opinions to the Orderly Officer in anything but the politest terms should they feel that all is not well with the fare that is placed before them. The Orderly Officer normally is left to judge by the look of pain and astonishment in the soldiers' eyes the real depth of their feeling.

Only on rare occasions are they driven to extremes, and the morning after it became common knowledge that the butcher had cut off a finger in the brand new (and rare in the 1930s) sausage machine, their eyes spoke volumes. Confronted by a silent dining hall, every man glaring balefully at his plate, the very young Orderly Officer rashly, perhaps, enquired "What's the matter?"

"The Bangers," said a sullen voice, after a pause.

Like a ship in full sail the Master Cook came to the rescue. Raising his voice to a parade ground bellow (Cook Sergeants were Regimental NCOs in those days), he thundered:

"So you think the Butcher's finger is in the bangers do you. Well you're wrong, and if you want the proof, here it is." Delving into the copious pockets of his whites, he produced triumphantly the missing finger, intact and unminced!

elipsis graphic

The scene was a small patch of the Borneo jungle early one very damp morning. Two bashas stood back to back; the one occupied by the Company Commander and his Sergeant major, the other by the Company Commander's orderly and a signaller, both from a village in the wildest parts of Scotland's Highlands. Breakfast from packs, ration 24 hours, was in the course of preparation. the dialogue ran something like this:--

Signaller: "Charlie, this porridge is terrible. I would'na give it to a dawg."

Charlie: "Fits the matter wie it?"

Signaller: "I doot even the Major'll eat it."

Charlie: "Weel, I'll gie ye its nae as guid as my Mither used tae mak, but Mither's nae here so ye'll just put up wie it."

There was a pause and sounds of porridge being tasted, then Charlie added: "Aye the CSM'll no eat it but it'll dae fur the Major. He's an orficer."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Garrisoning Halifax 1905
Topic: Halifax

One Thousand Men Will Go To Halifax

As fast as British leave Canadians Will Take Their Place

The Daily Telegraph; Quebec, Thursday, 30 November, 1905

Ottawa, Nov. 30—By the middle of next week Canada will have over a thousand men in Halifax. This is about two thirds of the number of men Canada will have there when the defence is entirely taken over. At the present time Canada has about 450 men at Halifax; 250 infantry, 100 artillery and 100 engineers. Most of the artillery and engineers were enlisted from the British garrison.

On Monday two officers and 62 infantrymen and 8 officers with 213 artillerymen will leave Quebec for Halifax. Tuesday one officer with 41 infantry men will leave London, One officer and 170 artillerymen will leave Toronto and two officers with 62 infantrymen will leave St. John's, Quebec. This makes a total of 583 to be moved on the first of the week and with the 450 at Halifax now will bring the total number of Canadian defenders to 1,033.

As fast as accommodations are made for Canadians by the departure of the British forces men will be sent on to Halifax from the various places where they are being gathered. The eventual strength of the garrison will be 720 infantry, 525 artillery, 100 engineers and 200 made up of details of army service corps, store medical corps and ordnance corps. This will make the strength between 1,550 and 1,600.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 20 October 2014

RCAF Recruiting, 1949
Topic: RCAF

RCAF Recuiting; 1949

A Man to Look Up To

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

Offering positions as pilots, radio operators and navigators, successful applicants will receive a monthly pay of $284 after completion of basic training.

IN the background and in the sky over the head of the pictured flyer is a the DH 100 Vampire. Eighty five Vampires were in Canadian service between 1948 and 1956, including with Canada's first RCAF squadron to be deployed in a NATO air defence role in Europe. In the 1950s, the Vampires were replaced by the F86 Sabre.

RCAF recuiting advertisement; 1949
Click image for larger version.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 1 September 2014 12:01 PM EDT
Sunday, 19 October 2014

Trompette's Defence of Canada's Permanent Force

Trompette's Defence of Canada's Permanent Force

"Trompette" was the nom de plume of the person, likely a well-connected officer of the Militia whose byline accompanied the weekly column Blasts from the Trumpet in The Quebec Daily Telegraph for many years.

Blasts from the Trumpet
The Quebec Daily Telegraph, 10 April 1897

"Economist," in the last issue of the Canadian Military Gazette, says of the Permanent Corps "It has been clearly demonstrated in the very able lecture delivered at the Military Institute by Capt. Cartwright, R.R.C.I., that the permanent schools as instructional bodies are a very expensive luxury and that the public are paying too dearly for this whistle. The Northwest campaign of twelve years ago also fully demonstrated that as a fighting body they were a lementable failure. Again, the Militia Report proves beyond dispute that as military organizations something very radically wrong exists in the management of these bodies, and it is time that the Government took action on the recommendation of Gen. Herbert and appointed a commission to enquire into the militia system as applied to these corps." The italics are mine.

Perhaps the best answer to this would be a few extracts from Militia Reports. First, as to the Permanent Corps, Gen. Herbert in his report for 1891, says:

"I must bear witness to the excellent work it has done, in spite of many disadvantages. It possesses some excellent officers and no-commissioned officers, to whose constant devotion to duty done, is to be ascribed the marked results that are visible, in the superior training of every officer and man of the Active Militia that has passed under their instruction. The faults, that I have noted, are, in the majority of cases, due to primary defects of organization."

"As a rule, there is no lack of desire on their part to improve themselves, but they require the means and encouragement to do so."

In his report of 1892, he says:

"Both the Cavalry and the Infantry of the Permanent Force are far below the standard of efficiency which has been attained by the Artillery."

After explaining the reasons for this he adds:—

"They deserve, however, none the less credit for the measure of success which has attended their efforts, and for their endeavours to make good their deficiency of early training."

Speaking of officers and N.C.O. attached to Imperial units for instruction, he says:

"The visible result has amply justified the expenditure."

In his report for 1894:

"Three officers this year have been sent to England. It is pleasing further to record, in this connection, that all, who have thus been associated with the Imperial Forces in England have earned themselves an excellent reputation, from the officers under whom they served."

"Generally speaking, if these regiments have not yet attained the full degree of efficiency, which I should wish to see, they constitute nevertheless a very valuable force, of which Canada may feel justly proud."

In the report for 1895, Col. Powell says:

"The Permanent Corps perform their duties of instruction as satisfactorily as circumstances will allow, and aside from their ordinary duties are carrying on a most useful and necessary work in the aid they give to those branches of the service that need it, &c."

As to their fighting qualities in 1885, I find from official reports that of the 270 officers and men of the permanent Corps that were in the neighbourhood of the fighting, there were 25 casualties, or more than nine and one half per cent. Of the 2,200 of other corps the casualties were 86, or less four per cent, and a considerable proportion of these casualties were in the Mounted Police, which more properly should be considered permanent Corps. With the above opinions and facts on record, the Permanent Corps can afford to smile at the slanderous attacks of "Economist" and others of that ilk.

But let me quote further. Report, 1891, Gen. Herbert, says, of City Militia:—

"As regards military training, city corps are at a great disadvantage. They acquire the forms of drill in the drill shed, but have no means of learning their practical application."

Rural Corps:—

"The rural corps are very deficient in instruction, but their organization is still more defective."


"The existence of an energetic and capable staff is indispensable to secure the efficiency of any military organization whether it consists of regular or militia troops."

Now mark the following in connection with the last paragraph, quoted from "Economist." The General is speaking of the active militia, not of the Permanent Corps:—

"That the militia act has not fulfilled the expectations formed 25 years ago, is sufficiently evident to anyone who carefully examines the present condition of the force, &c."

"The times seems to have arrived when a fresh enquiry should be made into the working of the Militia Act, in order to ascertain how far it has provided an organization capable of adapting itself to ever changing conditions and increased responsibilities."

"It is a common error to confuse drill with organization and to suppose that because a certain number of men, each year, are given twelve days elementary instruction in military exercises, therefore, a military organization exists. There can be no greater or more fatal misapprehension. The men thus drilled are but the elements from which a defensive military force may be created.

Further comment appears unnecessary.

elipsis graphic

Blasts from the Trumpet

The Quebec Daily Telegraph, 1 May 1897

A short time ago I compared "Economist's" statements as to the value of the Permanent Militia as instructional bodies with facts drawn from Militia reports, and thereby showed—to put it mildly—how very unreliable he was. My attention has been called to another sentence in his truthful letter which is as follows:— "It is not generally known by the Canadian taxpayer that out of a body of 800 enrolled men, no fewer than one-fourth desert, &c.," and far more ingeniously that ingenuously, he pretends to quote from Militia Report of 1895 in support of his assertion. He says that 22 men deserted, but omits to tell his readers that 38 returned from desertion, leaving the net loss 184, the strength being 904. He also omitted saying that this was by far the largest number of desertions in any one year since the first establishment of the corps. He will also probably forget to tell his readers that the net loss during the year 1896 was 58, or that the average loss during the past six years has been less than one-seventh of the strength. Perhaps he is not aware of the fact that a generous Government permits the corps canteen to bear a large share of the cost of arresting deserters, and that the facilities at every station for getting away are all that a deserter could wish. I fear that even "Economist" has neither sufficient "common sense nor knowledge of human nature" to correctly predict, when a recruit offers for enlistment, whether he will complete his term of service, or desert or become non-effective through disease, death or other cause.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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