The Minute Book
Thursday, 13 November 2014

Canadian Army Training 1903
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canadian Army Training 1903

  the very fact that the soldier is now called upon to exercise "individuality" is just the very reason why he requires even more careful training than in the days when battle-drill and barrack-square drill were identical …

Blasts From the Trumpet
Quebec Saturday Budget, 28 March 1903

The Army and Navy Gazette says:

Signs are not wanting that Canada is seriously considering the question of reorganizing her military forces, so as to enable her to place trustworthy troops in the field at short notice. There seems, however, to lurk in her counsels one of the most dangerous heresies begotten of the late war—namely, that the modern soldiers requires less training than his ancestors. Accordingly, in the majority of cases, the very fact that the soldier is now called upon to exercise "individuality" is just the very reason why he requires even more careful training than in the days when battle-drill and barrack-square drill were identical, and the best-drilled troops were, other things being equal, superior to less perfectly-trained adversaries. Canada must not deceive herself. Her "back-woodsmen," indeed, may need but little training in order to render them very valuable troops indeed, but the citizens of her great towns have no greater claim to being "born soldiers" than the inhabitants of European cities. The latter depend for their efficiency entirely upon training, and, unlike the former, have nothing but whatever physical courage and stamina they may possess as the foundation of their military efficiency. The backwoodsman, like the Boer, is a natural soldier who needs only to learn how to work in harmony with his comrades as part of a tactical unit; but the townsman must learn everything. His initiative can only spring from acquired knowledge. He is an exotic as compared with the indigenous plant.

The Senior Subaltern

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

Medals Just Waiting For Their Owners
Topic: Medals

Medals Just Waiting For Their Owners

Ottawa Citizen, 12 November, 1958
By Fred Inglis, Citizen Staff Writer

A huge stack of medals—more than one third of the number earned by Canadians in the Second World War, remains unclaimed 13 years after the close of hostilities.

Of the 3,150,000 decorations minted, two million have been issued and a little over one million are stored in the Veterans' Affairs building, awaiting to be claimed by their rightful owners.

Reason for their non-delivery is the fact that DVA officials lack the veterans' present address.

The situation is much better the Canada than in New Zealand, where nearly three-quarters of the medals earns by that country's soldiers are unclaimed.

At the end of the war, 394,000 service medals were struck but only 105,000 have been issued. The remaining 289,000 remain unclaimed, to the embarrassment of New Zealand authorities.

Medals Boycotted

New Zealanders boycotted the medals because the government did not have them engraved and sent to recipients as was done after the First World War. Veterans there claim that a medal with no name on it is of no value. They also claim they should not have to apply for something that they have a right to receive.

"We'd like to issue our unclaimed medals," a DVA spokesman said, "but we just don't have the addresses of veterans we haven't heard from since they got their gratuity or re-establishment credit."

The department puts out stories from time to time, in an effort to interest veterans in claiming medals, and with some degree of success.

"We tried advertising a year ago in a concentrated area and pulled in a lot of applications," the DVA man said, "But this is too expensive to carry out all across Canada. It would have to be done in all daily and weekly newspapers to reach every veteran."

Exhibits of medals are displayed at Canadian Legion meetings and other events, in the hopes of impelling veterans to claim their medals.

1939-1945 Star Atlantic Star Air Crew Europe Star Africa Star Pacific Star Burma Star
Italy Star France and Germany Star Defence Medal Canadian Volunteer Service Medal 1939-1945 War Medal

Engraving Not Deterred

The fact that Canada's Second World War decorations are not engraved with the veteran's name has not deterred them from applying for medals, a DVA officer believed.

"Only three medals were issued in the First World War," he explained, "they were minted for us by the British and we distributed them. Only 640,000 Canadians were in service and only 420,000 of them went overseas.

"More than 1,080,000 Canadians served during the Second World War when eight [sic] medals were struck. Some got most of the eight. It would mean engraving five million medals. The job was just too big. Medals for the Korean action were engraved, however. But this was a much smaller job."

Canadian war service decorations have a price.

Any veteran who has lost a Second World War campaign star can get another one for only 75 cents.

Other medals, the round ones, which contain a more expensive nickel element [sic], cost $1.75 each.

But the Veterans' Affairs Department has more than one million medals it would like to give away, to their respective owners.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 11 November 2014

War's End; Cost and Achievements
Topic: CEF

War's End; Cost and Achievements

CANADA AT WAR; A Record of Heroism and Achievement; 1914-1918
By J. Castell Hopkins, F.S.S., F.R.G.S.

"In the last two years of strenuous fighting [the Canadian Corps] has never lost a gun, has never failed to take an objective and has never been driven from an inch of ground once consolidated, while its casualties among the rank and file bear the smallest percentage in proportion to its strength of all the British forces."

During this long struggle the total casualties of the Canadian Corps were 216,146, in which the deaths numbered 57,258 35,684 killed in action, 12,437 died of wounds and 4,057 died of disease, with 5,080 presumed dead or The total of the wounded was 155,830; finally missing. the troops who died in Canada and not included in the total casualties were 2,287. About 2,800 Canadians were taken most of them at St. Julien. prisoners during the War Half as many Canadians died in 1918 of the influenza epidemic as were killed at the Front by the Germans. As to the rest this great little army of the Empire distinguished itself in many ways apart from the courage and fighting skill which their Commander summed up in a cable to J.H. Woods, President of the Canadian Press Association: "In the last two years of strenuous fighting it has never lost a gun, has never failed to take an objective and has never been driven from an inch of ground once consolidated, while its casualties among the rank and file bear the smallest percentage in proportion to its strength of all the British forces." Their initiative was shown in directions which may be briefly summarized (from F.D.L. Smith, Toronto News 10 Sep, 1918) as follows:

(1)     They were the first to construct light railways behind the firing line, and means of transportation in conveying troops, to use this munitions and supplies to the trenches as well as in carrying wounded to the rear;

(2)     they were the first to lay down plank roads in order to carry heavy trucks and guns through the quagmires of Flanders and France;

(3)     they were the first to substitute temporary, lightly-constructed waggon roads in place of the permanent highways in favour with the other Allies;

(4)     they were the first to originate trench raids for the purpose of breaking the enemy's morale, and obtaining necessary information regarding any opposing enemy forces;

(5)     they were the first to organize machine-gun batteries and to use machine guns in indirect fire that is to say, against invisible objects;

(6)     they were the first to combat the disease known as trench-feet with any considerable success, and they invented the alkali bath to neutralize the poisonous effects of mustard gas;

(7)     they were the first of all the Allied armies to establish a Dental Corps and to introduce a delousing plant to rid the soldiers' clothing of insects.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 10 November 2014

Canadian Soldier Recounts Armistice Day Experiences
Topic: CEF

Canadian Soldier Recounts Armistice Day Experiences

War Time Happenings Told by Ex-Infantryman—Tree Saved Two Lives

Schenectady Gazette, Friday Morning, 3 November 1922

The armistice was signed November 11, 1918, Schenectady's observance of the day this year will be the most imposing so far carried out, with a mammoth parade including thousands of marchers. Local veterans are recounting their experiences on the last day of the war; two soldiers of the Unites States forces have recounted their experiences, and now an ex-soldier of the Canadian infantry recounts his. His letter follows:

"On November 7 we were in support of the battalions which we relieved and were under constant shell fire. The\rough those dozens of miles and the many more which followed we lived practically on vegetables from native gardens, as we were going too fast for the transport to keep in touch with us. In all those miles I saw but one goat to represent animal life. All the farmers' stock had been commandeered by the enemy; was not able to learn how the one goat escaped.

"It was some time in the middle of the night when we relieved the C.M.R. battalion outside Thulin, and we did not waste many minutes organizing our plans for advance. I was in charge of the signallers of number one company and so attached to company headquarters. Our company started in the lead and soon we were entering Thulin, receiving a hearty welcome from the enemy snipers and machine gunners who were left behind for rear guard action, as the main body of troops evacuated when they decided we intended to enter the town.

"the retreat at this time was so quickly forces and carried out that civilians were not evacuated, as had been the rule. Once established in Thulin we entered a house where we found the occupants still crouching in the cellar.

"Imagine their outbursts of joy when they found their friends instead of another invasion of the enemy! Shouts of 'Vive les Canadians' were heard from every corner. After a great deal of heavy marching and long hours I must admit that I was somewhat tired and glad of a chance to sit down for a minute. Revived by a little drink of 'madame's vin rouge' I felt that I could enjoy a smoke, since I had not had one for several hours.

"No sooner had I lighted the match than madame and all others shouted in one voice, 'Caspoot!' At any rate that is how it sounded to me and which afterwards I learned to mean 'kill.' We had been used to the word 'fini,' but in this occupied territory they had learned to express themselves in German war phrases. Suffice it to say that I had my smoke in peace and was soon able to convince the family that they were not in any immediate danger. Such contentment and ease was too good to last, and in less than an hour we were on our way again with dawn fast approaching.

"During the day of the eighth it was cloudy and unsettled; somewhat chilly and depressive weather, but our morale was so high that weather conditions could not affect our gaiety. A few advanced guards, a little scouting mixed with an occasional flash of the lamp or a wag of a flag and preparations were ready for our attack on Henain, short but decisive, and the enemy was on his way, leaving the town in our care. Here we were greeted again by a population so overjoyed that they forgot all personal fears and marched by the hundreds down the streets with us, only hesitating occasionally when we were greeted by a sudden burst from a machine gun hidden in some mine shaft. An occasional bark of a field gun, a sudden crash, and another house was in flames and ruin but still the people were happy, ever eager to advise us of an enemy outpost in some old house, mine shaft or cluster of bushes, forgetting their danger in leading us to a place of vantage, where we could exercise our skill.

"Soon the way was forced open and we were now marching on to Boussi the next town, several kilometres distant. By such persistent advancing we were beginning to appreciate the fact that our battalion was slowly becoming weakened, as our casualties were quite numerous and no reinforcements. Tired and war worn with depleted ranks we moved forward along a railroad until heavy fire forced us to use open order skirmishing practice in the fields there to advance in short rushes and take cover as best as we could behind hay stacks, trees or whatever object was available.

"Poor Fritz! He hated to give up Boussu. There he had a hospital and many of our prisoners. Sharp and stubborn engagements took place with his rear guards to give them a chance to take their sick and wounded from the hospital. But again as always before when we had decided upon an objective it was soon in our keeping. In Boussu we entertained several of our allied prisoners who had escaped and got through enemy lines because now they didn't exercise much care in guarding them. Every prisoner that escaped meant one less to feed, and every ounce of food counted in those days. Finally establishing our right to Boussu about midnight, we remained there until morning. We had been on constant watch, move and offensive for about 30 hours without stopping to rest or eat, and in that time had covered a distance of many miles, relieved many thousand civilians and encountered several sharp engagements with the enemy.

"A few hours' rest, a feed and a few winks of sleep and Saturday, the ninth, began to dawn. Somewhat refreshed and a song of victory in our hearts once more we buckled on our armor; once more the incessant tramp, tramp, tramp as we followed closely upon the enemy, wondering and watching for our next encounter. Had he fled entirely? No shrieking of shells or twang of bullets pierced the air. A beautiful, fine morning dawned, and save for the distant roar of the guns on our flanks, the world seemed at peace. Too good to last, and soon we were awakened to realization of war once more. We were now close upon Hornu, which soon fell into our hands with scarcely a struggle, and so on to Ouaregnon with little resistance.

"Had the enemy seen the wisdom of retreating without trying to resist us? Not so. He had another object in view which he put into practice. He retired on through the next town Jemappes, with very little resistance and again we were met with maddening cheers from an overjoyed population at their freedom.

"Another three of four miles and we would be in the city of Mons, the city where first the British 'first 80,000' met the enemy a few days after the outbreak of the war, August, 1914. Here at Mons the enemy would resist an advance with vigor as they were resisted in '14. A sudden rustling noise broke through the roar of the guns and rifle fire which was being poured in upon us as soon as we got beyond Jencappes, and soon one of our eight field pieces of artillery drawn by galloping horses came rushing by us. Shouts of 'Good old third division' were heard ion every side as the gun and crew rushed by under the charge of their captain mounted on his war tired horse. This was the first piece of artillery to break through ahead of the infantry, but we gave them shouts of welcome.

"Halt! Action Front!" we heard the command and saw the gun swing into action a few yards ahead. What a difference from those early days of the war as we sat in mud with our artillery in the rear, sunk in the mud up to the hubs of the gun carriages, never moving for weeks. A puff of smoke, a sudden roar, and one machine gun post which had been causing us considerable alarm and annoyance ceased its rat-tat-tat. Now we are in the lead again, but soon the gun is rushed by us and again the unfamiliar order. Another post has ceased to exist, and so on up to the village of Cuenne, which is a suburb of Mons.

"There are two direct and main routes leading into Mons through Cuesmes—one to the left which crosses the railroad and canal, which we took, and the other to the right which number two company took, while three and four followed behind number two company. Needless to say that we were doubly welcomed in Cuesmes, and the inhabitants showed it by marching along with us, making out from estaminets with bottles of wine and light beer to show their gratitude and quicken our step, which was becoming fatigued from lack of sleep, rest and proper nourishment. Slowly advancing around a turn in the street we were halted by a sudden furious outburst from several machine guns close by.

"In all my 39 months of active service I laughed more at this particular instant than any time before. Even more, I believe, than when I saw some good musical comedy in the Follies Bergere in Paris. We were going up this wide street, which was lined with large trees in each side. As I stated before, during these engagements I was with the signal section. Now I'll give you some idea of the load I was carrying. Those days we could not use the telegraph system of visual methods. Each man was equipped with a flag, a disc and one electric lamp (24 pounds weight) to each company. Besides this signalling equipment we carried 170 rounds of ammunition, our rifle and our full marching order pack. The machine gunners had a great deal of .303 S.A.A. to carry for their Lewis guns besides all their other equipment, and some of them were almost exhausted. At that time I was carrying my regular equipment plus the lamp and one container of ammunition for a pal of mine in the gun crew, who was almost exhausted. With all that equipment slung over my shoulder I looked like Santa Claus on Christmas eve, especially since I had not had a shave in three days.

"Along this road was a ditch enclosed with a single strand barbed wire fence. When the machine gun barrage opened everyone disappeared through the barbed wire fence into the ditch, but a little fat French Canadian, another, and myself. He was too stout and clumsy to get through, while I was too heavily loaded. My next resort was to jump behind a large tree while the other fellow sprawled out upon the ground behind me. For once in my life I was thankful for a large tree, because that tree was poured full of lead, while I escaped without injury.

"You wonder what amused me? Well, there I stood doing my best to get untangled from my load so I could dive in the ditch with the others, while all the time talking as if I could be heard and heeded, 'Fritz, for Lord's sake, behave,' and at the same time my pal was shouting for me to get down. On the opposite side of the road stood another chap behind a tree and his mess kit was punctured like a sieve. What appealed to me as so funny was that this other chap, almost invisible reminded me very much like William S. Hart in one of his western pictures, and so the whole situation struck me as humorous. In any event I succeeded in getting into the ditch unharmed and later collected my equipment.

"It was while we were lying there in the ditch making ready top proceed further that we heard the rumor regarding the armistice. A dispatch rider from headquarters came up looking for the company of engineers to whom he had to report and he said they were talking about it at divisional headquarters. The German delegation had crossed our lines, so he told us, and were on their way to Paris. Well, we were quite sure they would accept the allied demands within the 72 hours allowed them, but still we couldn't give up until the time came. Perhaps you can realize to a certain extent how we felt then. Feeling almost certain the armistice would be signed soon and feeling a regular hail storm of machine gun fire and light artillery made things a little unpleasant and uncertain. You know it was 'quite tough' on those chaps who were wounded and killed after that. But we all had to take our chances and do our duty, carrying on 'just the same as if it were two or three years gone by.' Fritz marched through Mons in '14 and we decided to march through it in '18, no matter what he thought about it. We were supposed to be relieved by the R.C.R's before this, but we hadn't got inside the city as yet, so we were satisfied because we wanted to get in first. We did and soon had the enemy looking for safer sections on the opposite side of the city.

"Early Sunday morning the R.C.R's came up and went on into the city and we went back to Jemappes to have something to eat and a good sleep. We had the eats but there was too much excitement to sleep. I can't begin to describe the enthusiasm with which we were met on our return to that town. That night I slept on a bed, the first time I had slept on anything otherwise than the floor or ground since my trip to the hospital in February of that year. Early Monday morning we were met with shouts of joy and welcome. Other troops had arrived and the city was absolutely covered with flags and national colors. Where the people had them hidden in more than I ever learned. The enemy had withdrawn and just a few troops were guarding the entrances. The signal for the signing was to be blue flares dropped from the airplanes flying over the city. How so many planes were given the opportunity of giving the signal I don't know, but hundreds of them hovered over Mons. We were all drawn up in review order in front of the city hall waiting for the signal. At 11 o'clock on the dot as the big clock tolled, blue flares filled the air, as we presented arms to victory. The war was over, but we could not realize it until an hour or so later a German general drove into the city with his car decorated in white and stopped in front of the city hall. His mission I won't describe, but it was military."

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, 9 November 2014

Remembrance Day Legislated: 1931
Topic: Remembrance

In 1931, the Canadian Government established formally that Remembrance Day would be celebated each year on November 11th and would no longer require a Proclamation to set the date. This change required a dedicated messaging campaign to ensure the public understood the change and were not expecting the traditional Proclamation.

Remembrance Day a National Holiday Without Proclamation

Established by Legislation, It Stands in Same Position as labor Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day, Government Wishes It Observed as Armistice day in Past

Ottawa Citizen, 6 November 1931

Remembrance Day stands in the same position as the 1st of July, Labor Day, Christmas Day or New Year's Day. As it is a holiday established by legislation, there is no necessity for His Excellency the Governor-General to proclaim the day as a holiday. Neither is it necessary for any provincial or municipal authority to proclaim a holiday. The intention is that Remembrance Day shall be observed in the same way as Armistice day has in the past. The desire of the government is that Remembrance Day "be observed and honored throughout the country."

In an official statement issued late yesterday, these declarations of the government with respect to the observance of Remembrance Day, and the secretary of state of Canada considers it advisable to make a public statement in order to avoid uncertainty in the matter.

"By legislation of the last session of Parliament, the 11th of November was fixed as a public holiday and described as Remembrance Day. There is no difference between holidays as set out in the Interpretation Act. Remembrance Day stands in the same position as the 1st of July, Christmas Day or New Year's Day. As it is a holiday established by legislation, there is no necessity for His Excellency the Governor-General to proclaim the day as a holiday. Neither is it necessary for any provincial or municipal authority to proclaim a holiday.

"It has already been announced that in many cities of Canada the day will be observed by parades of war veterans and militia, solemn silence and similar ceremonies, and it is the intention that Remembrance Day shall be observed in the same way that Armistice day has been in the past.

"At Ottawa, ceremonies in honor of the day will take place on Parliament Hill, at which His Excellency the Governor-General, the Prime Minister and other members of the government will be present and it is the desire of the government that Remembrance Day be observed and honored throughout the country."

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 21 October 2014 7:24 PM EDT
Saturday, 8 November 2014

A Bill to Legislate Armistice Day on Nov. 11 (1931)
Topic: Remembrance

Armistice Day

The Gazette, Montreal, Tuesday, 21 March 1931

It has become a settled conviction that the question of the statutory observance of Armistice Day and Thanksgiving Day was settled for all time by the adoption in 1921 of legislation which fixed the two events for the Monday in the week in which 11th November shall occur. November 11 was the date in 1918 on which the World War was concluded by an armistice.

Prior to 1921, the holiday commonly called Thanksgiving Day was fixed by proclamation as a day of national thanks-giving for the harvest. Sometimes the holiday was set for a date in late October, sometimes for a date in early November. The principle reason for uniting Armistice and Thanksgiving celebrations on one day was to obviate business inconveniences through the recurrence of a statutory holiday within a very brief period of time. This "fixture" necessarily compels deviation from the calendar anniversary of the armistice, and because many people in all parts of the Dominion consider the precise date the more appropriate for the solemn event, they have continued to perpetuate November 11 as a day of thanksgiving, not for victory over the enemy, but for the armistice that ended the war, and always on that day they pay grateful and just tribute to the memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice in the war. In fact and in law, then, we have two celebrations of Armistice Day in Canada, except on the rare occasions when November 11 falls on a Monday.

It is apparently on behalf of those who regard the double celebration as something of an anomaly that Mr. A.W. Neill has introduced into the House of Commons a bill which proposes to repeal the Armistice Day Act of 1921 and to substitute therefor a law which provides that throughout Canada in each and every year the celebration of Armistice Day shall be held on November 11, and on no other day.

There could be, for a commemoration in regard to the Great War, no more fitting day than the date which the calendar marks as the anniversary of the ending of the greatest struggle that men have faced since the Ice Age nearly ended the human race altogether. The war held a medley of surpassing heroism, false hopes and tragic loss, and there in much sympathy to be felt for all whose desire it is that the people should perpetuate the memory of that heroism and that loss on the very day that recalls the beginning of a peace that was ratified later by negotiation and treaty, rather than that there should have to be some mental figuring every year to find out just on what date the public would be called to commemorate the event. This year Armistice Day and Thanksgiving Day fall on November 9. Mr. Neill's bill makes no reference to Thanksgiving day. As the bill is not a Government measure, its adoption is a matter of conjecture. Were it to be passed as drafted, the date of the Thanksgiving holiday would be left an open question. In the circumstances, it would seem a logical thing to add to the Neill bill a clause providing that whenever appointed the festival of thanksgiving for the harvest shall be proclaimed for and observed on Armistice day, the legal holiday to fall on Monday whenever November 11th falls on a Sunday. Otherwise, procedure would presumably revert to the practice that prevailed prior to 1921, when by proclamation the Government could fix the date of Thanksgiving Day a spirit wholly compatible with the sentiments that annually find expression in Armistice Day commemoration on November 11.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
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

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