The Minute Book
Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Regimental Colours for Canadians (1943)
Topic: Tradition

Regimental Colours for Canadians

Fought in Dieppe Raid

The Glasgow Herald, 17 July 1943

The King, in the uniform of a Field-Marshal, presented their first colours to two famous Canadian regiments, the Royal Regiment of Canada and the South Saskatchewan Regiment, on a parade ground in the Southern Command yesterday.

Both regiments fought at Dieppe, and survivors of that famous raid were among those on parade.

The Queen stood at the King's side as he took the colours and handed them to kneeling officers of the two regiments.

The King said:—

"In olden days regimental colours were carried into action. They used to form the rallying point round which the battle raged, and they were more precious to all ranks than life."

"To-day colours are no longer carried on the battlefield, but they still remain the emblems and the inspiration of courage, self-sacrifice, and devotion to duty, and they are guarded no less jealously and no less reverently than those of old.

Officers and n.c.o.s of the Scots Guards, who trained the Canadians for their ceremonial drill, watched their pupils with critical eye, but found their marching and drill faultless.

The King and Queen lunched in the officers' mess of the Saskatchewans. The menu was cold chopped ham, cold peas and diced carrots, followed by a tart.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 17 November 2014

Montreal Military Tournament; 1928
Topic: Canadian Army

Royal Canadian Dragoons Musical ride at the Canadian National Exhibition ca. 1920 (NLA)

War Panorama in Panoply of Peace

Second Night of Military Tournament Again Enthused Audience With Admiration

The Montreal Gazette, Saturday, 19 May 1928

With the complete panoply of peace, where the spectacular is rendered beautiful yet reminiscent of the still more strenuous days preceding the last decade, Montreal's non-permanent active militia, with permanent force units from Kingston and St Johns, was enabled last night to demonstrate part of the rigorous training necessary to become efficient "Soldiers of the King." No check marred the second day of the Naval and Military Tournament, which was evolved rapidly before the dancing eyes of a packed Forum to end in a glorious crescendo, both of sound and color, banked together at one end of the amphitheatre. Nine hundred men, with massed regimental bands in rear, presented a veritable magician's carpet of color on the drab tan bark.

No dull moment was to be experienced throughout the whole programme, a great tribute to the organization committee, and the enthusiastic spectators showed their approval in no uncertain manner. Precision in the various movements, military or gymnastic, captured the applause of the audience who were ever anxious for more.

It was only natural that there should be outstanding features, but this was through no lack of perfection with which the different items were performed by respective units, but rather the nature of the display. Gentlemen Cadets of the Royal Military College caught the greatest measure of admiration and received an ovation on their every entrance to the arena. Their wok, or play as it appeared, was almost mechanical, except in the individual gymnastic performances, the individual was given more scope to show degrees of merit. No circus troupe could outshine the apparatus work, and the riding display was put on without a dingle fall.

Used alike by raw recruit and proficient senior at the college, the horses did not show that degree of trained intelligence which stamps a Cossack animal, but this did not prevent the performance of spectacular displays. In fact, a little touch of humor was added to the programme when a horse proved refractory.

The arm drill of the Gentlemen cadets, performed with rifles, demonstrated the drill, efficiency and discipline imparted, each exercise bringing a round of applause from the Forum gathering. It seemed almost incredible that any body of men should appear so mechanical, moving as one.

Other units were none the less efficient. The Canadian Grenadier Guards, with fifes and drums, opening the programme with "retreat," an impressive display practised daily by British troops wherever the flag is flown. The R.C.N.V.R. staged an interesting show, bringing two field guns into action. Another attractive exhibition was that of guard mounting, put on by the Royal Montreal Regiment and the Royal Highlanders of Canada.

"A" Squadron, Royal Canadian Dragoons, performed in a musical ride that was a spectacular item on the programme, perfect control of their fine mounts being shown at all times. This culminated in a charge with lowered lance and fluttering pennon. Under the leadership of Lieut. H.G. Jones, R.H. of C., selections were rendered by the massed bands. The musical drive of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, Kingston, provided a rare treat, the whole being at the canter in a relatively small area with a four-gun battery. Under these circumstances it was remarkable how taut the traces were kept.

In addition to their arm drill, the R.M.C. cadets figured in three events, each of which was met with acclaim. The trench raid was staged last night by Les Carabiniers Mont-Royal, with the co-operation of detachments from other units.

The R.C.H.A. band played the incidental music throughout, but did not participate with the massed bands on account of the instruments being of different pitch.

Major-General J.H. MacBrien, C.B, C.M.G., D.S.O., late Chief of Staff, took the salute. He was accompanied in his box by Mayor George Hogg, of Westmount, and Mrs. Hogg, Brig.-General W.B.M. King, C.M.G., D.S.O., commanding Military District No. 4, and the Hon. Mrs. Shuttleworth King, Colonel W.H.P. Elkins, D.S.O., Colonel Commandant C.F. Constantine, D.S.O., commandant of the Royal Military College, and Mrs. Constantine, and Miss Currie.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 16 November 2014

Three Kinds of Integrity
Topic: Leadership

A Leader Needs Three Kinds of Integrity

Self-Care, Psychological Integrity, and Auftragstaktik, Faris R. Kirkland, Ph.D., LTC, USA-ret., 1996

To be fully effective, a leader needs three kinds of integrity: ethical, physical, and psychological. Each kind of integrity has an impact on the others, and all require self-care. Ethical integrity has to do with behaving in ways defined as good—telling the truth, taking care of one's troops, not ordering subordinates to do things one is not willing to do oneself. …

Physical integrity has to do with the physiological and bodily ability of a leader to function. The Army has held leaders responsible, in a punitive sense, for their own physical fitness for more than 30 years. But holding them responsible for getting enough food, water, and sleep for themselves is a new idea. During Desert Storm all soldiers were accountable for consuming adequate amounts of water to preserve their physical integrity. Some units organized sleep plans for continuous operations to assure that people on duty, particularly those in positions of leadership, would be capable of coherent thought. This was the operational birth of leader self-care. But it was not universal, and it was fortunate that the ground war only lasted four days. Self-care is still ethically suspect in the Army, and at the end of the ground war, a good many leaders were exhausted.

Psychological integrity is a new and possibly unwelcome concept. There is an emerging awareness that psychologically secure leaders perform more efficiently than those who are insecure. Military operations are fraught with uncertainty and danger, and those leaders who enter combat free of preexisting burdens of fear, anxiety, and doubt are best able to take the risks of trusting and empowering subordinates, bringing their initiative to bear to take decisive action, and making ethical judgments in the midst of the chaos of war. By preexisting burdens I do not mean neuroses that arose in childhood, but nonessential anxieties generated by maladaptive aspects of the psycho-social context of the Army—particularly the ways in which commanders treat their subordinates.

The most important factors supporting the psychological integrity of leaders are competence, knowledge of subordinates, and belief that their superiors are on their side. All of these factors can respond to policy. Competence is the product of military schools and training in units. Knowledge of subordinates is a function of policies that bear on the permanence of personnel in units. Belief that one's chief has an interest in one's welfare has not been the subject of policy initiatives to date, and it is the essential prerequisite for a leader to feel safe engaging in self-care. Such beliefs, and self-care by commanders, are not common in the US Army today. However there is a historical precedent, Auftragstaktik, that offers a framework for the policy initiatives to make them common.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 15 November 2014

“Royal Canadian Infantry” not a myth (1894)
Topic: The RCR

Royal Canadian Infantry

TThe Royal Canadian Regiment originated on 21 December 1883, when the 'Infantry School Corps' was authorized to be formed.
(For further details on the lineage of The RCR.)

The regiment originated on 10 August 1883, when the 'Regiment of Canadian Artillery' of the Permanent Active Militia was authorized to be formed. It was redesignated 'The Royal Canadian Artillery' on 24 May 1893.
(For further details on the lineage of the RRCA. Individual Artillery unit lineage documents may be found here.)

The Royal Canadian Dragoons originated in Quebec City, Quebec on 21 December 1883, when the 'Cavalry School Corps' was authorized to be formed. It was redesignated the 'Canadian Dragoons' on 14 May 1892.
(For further details on the lineage of the RCD.)

The Toronto Daily Mail, 8 December 1894

This letter was a response to this letter to the Editor.

To the Editor of The Mail:

Sir,—In a somewhat bitter letter that appeared in your columns recently, Lieut.-Col. O'Brien, 35th Battalion, makes a strong attack on the Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry with reference to the offer by our Government of that regiment in case of need. We will not stop here to reflect on the spirt of hostility to the permanent corps with which Col. O'Brien's letter abounds, though to any true soldier it is a most regrettable thing that men in high military and official positions should take such ground, but will deal with one or two statements which appear strongly in the foreground.

Col. O'Brien speaks of the "Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry," as a legal myth existing in the minds of the Dominion Government, and he further states that money is granted not for a royal regiment but for the maintenance of schools of instruction. Let us review the situation from the inception of these schools, and we will see that the Government is pursuing exactly the same policy as it did ten years ago. When these schools were established they were then, as now, in connection with a permanent body of men enlisted for continuous service under the Queen's Regulations, and even then were intended not only for instruction but as a nucleus for a force which should be better able to take the field at a moment's notice than the militia. These bodies of men were not, however, as Col. O'Brien would suggest, independent, unorganized companies. On the contrary, their title was that as the "Infantry School Corps," in which the permanent officers, whether at Fredericton or Toronto, held rank and precedence. A subaltern at St. John's or London was then a lieutenant in the Infantry School Corps, as he is to-day in the Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry, and the body of men who constituted the Royal School of Infantry at Toronto were then "C" Company, Infantry School Corps, as they now are No. 2 Company, R.R.C.I. In 1893 the name was changed to that of the Canadian Regiment of Infantry, the different companies, as before, constituting schools of instructions for the various districts, and shortly afterwards her Majesty was graciously pleased to allow them the title "Royal" and the imperial cypher, an act of no little significance. No doubt it is sad to think that no such regiment really exists, and that her Majesty had been deluded by a "legal fiction," but we will hope that she will not see Col. O'Brien's letter.

By the way, what about the Regiment of Royal Canadian Artillery and the Royal Canadian Dragoons? Do they not exist either? Col. O'Brien sneers at the idea of a comparatively few men presenting themselves as the Canadian contingent. I would call his attention to the fact that when, two years ago, a mere handful of officers and men from the permanent corps presented themselves in England they got a reception that could not be excelled; and if Canada did send men to the help of the Mother Country it would be as a regiment of not less than five hundred men. Yet the spirit that prompts, and not the number sent, is what counts. There are, indeed, in the militia, of which I have the honour to be a subaltern, many thousand men who would gladly respond to the call of the Mother Land for help, but obviously the ones first to go are those without responsibility as private citizens and who are also so perfect in drill, equipment, and clothing.

But, after all, Col. O'Brien might have spared himself the trouble, for second and more authentic reports are to the effect that the Canadian Government offered the R.R.C.I. to the Imperial Government to garrison Halifax citadel. This would have allowed the King's Liverpool Regiment, now quartered there, a start of at least six days over their comrades from England in their race to the Orient. Also, the R.R.C.I., could still have performed their duties of imparting military instruction while at Halifax.

One question more. The Government has made arrangements whereby officers may take a course of instruction at the citadel in Halifax with the King's Regiment. Does this arrangement invalidate the claim of the British troops there to be called a regiment?

Yours, etc. Infantry Officer Eastern Ontario, Dec 1

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 15 November 2014 12:08 AM EST
Friday, 14 November 2014

Guns for New Fort at Halifax (1901)
Topic: Halifax

Guns for New Fort at Halifax

The Daily Telegraph, Quebec, 22 May 1901

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

Halifax, May 22.—Orders were received from England to-day to have Bellevue, the residence of the commander-in-chief of British North America, put in thorough repair with all possible speed. This is taken to indicate the appointment of a new commander-in-chief before the arrival in Canada of the Duke and Duchess of York. It has also developed to-day that the steamer Evangeline, now on her way from England, has a number of guns for the new fort, southwest of York Redoubt. They are two 9.2 and four 8-inch quick-firing guns.

York Redoubt is to have five new 9-inch and two 7-inch quick-firing guns.

The present strength of McNab's outside battery is two 6-inch breach-loaders and one ten-inch, all quick-firing guns. These will be augmented by two more 7-inch guns.

Fort Cambridge will be supplied with two new 6-inch and four 4.7-inch quick-firing guns, whiles Ives Point Battery will get two 9-inch and two 9.2. Some of these are expected by the Evangeline.

Fort Ogilvie's two 6-inch quick-firing guns will be augmented by two more of the same calibre. The casemate battery on McNab's Island will be reconstructed, and three guns now there will be condemned and replaced by quick-firing ones.

It is intended to extend the military wharves on the island in order to get a sufficient depth of water to allow ocean steamers to land armament, etc., there. Fort Clarence is being extended, and a number of men on it will be kept busy there for some time to come. The old guns will be replaced by quick-firing ones.

It is stated that in the defence improvements contemplated, Great Britain is only keeping on her old policy of keeping pace in fortress improvements with those in the fleets of the different nations. Up to within a few years the Halifax forts were thought to be able, with the assistance of the British ships on the station, to cope with the fleet which any attacking nation might send, but there have been great changes and improvements in fighting ships in recent years, and it is to keep pace with these improvements that the six years' work laid out is intended.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
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

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