The Minute Book
Thursday, 18 December 2014

HMCS Algonquin (1953)
Topic: RCN

Famous Fighting Ship Docks Here In New Anti-Sub Role for R.C.N.

The Montreal Gazette; 28 October 1953

One of Canada's famous fighting ships, [H.M.C.S. Algonquin, has been] re-converted to carry on the tradition in a new role — commanded by Cmdr. Patrick F.X. Russell.

Originally commissioned in Feb., 1944, as a V-Class destroyer, the Algonquin was reconverted to an anti-submarine destroyer escort, to become the first ship of its type in the Royal Canadian Navy.

Fresh from N.A.T.O's "Exercise mariner", where she proved herself in her new anti-submarine fighting role, the Algonquin is a ship with a history.

She was one of many ships employed in attacks on the German pocket-battleship Tirpitz and in June 1944 played a part in Operation Neptune supporting the Normandy invasion. During this time she carried General Crerar and his staff to France.

In the latter half of the year she protected convoys to Murmansk. In one encounter with a German convoy off the Norwegian coast the Algonquin accounted for two German escorts and assisted in a third. In this fight eight of the 11 German ships were sunk and one driven ashore.

After being re-commissioned in February, 1953, ships officers said she was used to test various new weapons and methods of anti0submarine warfare. Now, they say, the evaluations of equipment are "pretty well complete."

Cmdr. Russell was born in England but came to Canada in 1922. He joined the Royal Canadian navy in as a cadet in 1934. His wartime sea appointments include service on H.M.C.S. Margaree, St. Francis and Skeena.

Among the ship's officers is Lt.-Cmdr. James C. Carter of Montreal west. He joined the R.C.N. as a cadet in Sept. 1941.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Rations in the South African War
Topic: Army Rations

The Army Service Corps in South Africa. See full image.

Rations in the South African War

Maj.-Gen. John Frederick Charles Fuller,
(1 Sep 1878 – 10 Feb 1966)

The Last of the Gentlemen's Wars; A Subaltern's Journal of the War in South Africa 1899-1902, Major-General J.F.C. Fuller, Mcmxxxvii

The Boer, his language and his dwelling did not, however, much concern us; for outside hunting down the enemy in the field and bringing in his womenfolk to the concentration camps established during the second half of the war, we seldom met him or occupied his house. From start to finish the war was a tented one, and wherever we went our tents went with us. We did not live in luxury as we did during the World War, and though food was seldom scarce it was exceedingly simple, the staple diet being ration biscuit (which looks like a small dog biscuit and is nearly as hard as a slab of concrete), bully beef, tinned stew and alum-settled dam water. Sometimes we had tomato jam, raspberry-flavoured, which came from Natal; sometimes tinned butter, fresh meat and bread, and at rare intervals tinned mutton or tinned ham. What we should have done without canned foods it is hard to imagine, and as the war lengthened out, more and more varieties made their appearance. I remember tinned eggs and bacon, tinned camp pie, tinned apple pudding, tinned slabs of bacon (good for greasing boots), besides the normal tinned foods which are to be bought at every store.

Of all the canned foods the one I disliked the most was the 'Knock-me-down' tinned stew. It was a mess of stewed meat and vegetables with an unmistakable twang. When turned out on a plate or a piece of newspaper it was the nearest approach to a dog's vomit that can be imagined. It had the further unpleasant habit of exploding directly a tin opener was applied to its container; and to make certain of not being gassed, an old hand would always examine his tin before piercing it. Should it show the slightest sign of a bulge it was as well to leave it alone, for by this one knew that it was in a truculent mood.

The only official drinks were raw rum and raw lime juice, the latter so sour and bitter that it had to be administered on parade, otherwise the men threw it away.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Rogue's March
Topic: Humour

Drummers of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

The Rogue's March

Military Customs, Major T.J. Edwards, M.B.E., F.R.Hist.S., 1947

Mention must be made of a musical custom which has happily disappeared from military life—the playing of "The Rogue's March" at the "Drumming-out" ceremony. Up to about the middle of the last century, when a soldier was discharged with ignominy he was "drummed-out," which, in practice, meant that the battalion formed up in two ranks facing inwards, one end touching the barrack gate: at the other end the prisoner and his escort were assembled, together with the Adjutant, who read out the man's offence and his sentence, after which the Provost Sergeant cut off his badges, buttons and shoulder straps. Then the party moved down the ranks while the drums and fifes played "The Rogue's March." This performance of reading the crime and sentence was repeated at intervals, and when the prisoner reached the barrack gate the smallest drummer boy administered a kick to his posterior.

Although the tune was generally well known during the last century, a lack of knowledge of it by a certain municipal body was responsible for a rather amusing incident. The band of a regiment was in attendance at a ceremony when the Mayor cut the first sod of the ground on which some much needed waterworks were to be constructed. At the conclusion of the ceremony the City Fathers insisted upon being played back to the Town Hall, much to the annoyance of the band who were eager to get back to barracks, which lay in the opposite direction, and in which some sports were in progress. However, the band struck up a tune and the Mayor and Corporation stepped out in a brisk manner, much to the amusement of the spectators. When the perspiring Mayor reached the Town Hall he enquired the reason for the hilarity on the part of the populace, and flew into a rage when he learned that he and his municipal brethren had been hurried, in a rather undignified manner, through the town to the tune of "The Rogue's March."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 10 December 2014 6:09 PM EST
Monday, 15 December 2014

Canadian Soldiers; Courage at Sea
Topic: Canadian Army

Canadian soldiers aboard a troopship arriving at Greenock, Scotland, 31 August 1942. Photographer: Laurie A. Audrain MIKAN Number: 3203270

Canadian Soldiers Receive Mention for Sea Conduct

Ottawa Citizen; 18 November 1942

London, Nov. 18—(C.P. Cable)—Eighteen Canadian soldiers have been commended in Canadian army routine orders for distinguished conduct when the ship in which they were crossing the Atlantic was damaged in a collision.

The stem of the troopship was damaged above and below the waterline by a collision with another vessel in a convoy bound for England.

The troopship was forced to leave the convoy because the captain fears the forward bulkheads of the chain lockers might give way. When volunteers were called for to help brace up the bulkheads, the 18 Canadian responded.

They are:

  • L.-Cpl. E.P. Hogan, Nelcon, B.C.,
  • L.-Cpl. W. Lehmann, Maillairdville, B.C.,
  • Tpr. J.M. Ewung, Medicine Hat, Alta.,
  • Tpr. E.J. Godin, London, Ont.,
  • Tpr. W.C. Guthrie, Tiverton, Ont.,
  • Tpr. O. Lawrence, Vancouver, B.C.,
  • Tpr. N. Swift, Vernon, B.C.,

all of the headquarters squadron of the 3rd Canadian Armoured Brigade;


  • L.-Cpl. W.E. Smith, Woodstock, Ont.,
  • Tpr. H.E. Jamieson, Port Stanley, Ont.,
  • Tpr. J. Dowell, St. Thomas, Ont.,
  • Tpr. W.E. Murray, London, Ont.,
  • Tpr. F.W. Cole, Talbotville, Ont.,

all of the Elgin Regiment;

  • Cpl. J.P. Greenought, Halifax, N.S.,
  • Pte. J.B. Sanford, Truro, N.S.
  • Pte. J.P. Phiney, Lower Five Islands, N.S.,
  • Pte. E.S. Davis, Lower Five Islands, N.S.,
  • Pte. P. McKenna, Charlottetown, P.E.I.,
  • Pte. H.L. Parks, Four Falls, N.B.,

all of the Canadian Forestry Corps.

Orders said the men gained access to the chain lockers through a manhole in the forecastle and for more than seven hours they worked in small groups in an ill-ventilated, restricted space, knowing there was little chance of escape if the bulkheads yielded of if the ship were attacked by the enemy.

"The commander-in-chief of the 1st Canadian Army has directed that these acts of distinguished conduct be recognized by the promulgation of this order and recorded on these soldiers' conduct sheets," the order concluded.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 15 December 2014 12:08 AM EST
Sunday, 14 December 2014

Militia Training Schools 1924
Topic: Drill and Training

Many Soldiers at Training School

Revived Interest in Militia Service Shown by Enrolment for Canada
Officers and Non-Coms.
Classes for Infantry, Cavalry, Machine Gun and other Work Are Offered

The Montreal Gazette; 14 January 1924

Major & Brevet Lt.-Col. R.O. Alexander, D.S.O. (1933)

Major & Brevet Lt.-Col. R.O. Alexander, D.S.O. (1933)

More officers and non-commissioned officers are being trained for the various branches of the militia service at the present time than at any period since the conclusion of the war, with the subsequent drop in interest in military training, it was stated yesterday by Lt.-Col. R.O. Alexander, D.S.O., who, as general staff officer for Military District No. 4, is in charge of all this work.

Lt.-Col. Alexander said there was every indication of a recrudescence of interest in militia work, since all the schools for the qualification of officers and non-coms. in the district were crowded to capacity, with waiting lists. Indications pointed to a strong list of officers of all ranks during the coming year to supply the various battalions, with the number of young officers and non-coms. who are now qualifying for their certificates and commissions.

A school for qualifying officers and non-coms. will open tomorrow at the armouries of the Carabiniers Mont-Royal and the Grenadier Guards, with 40 provisional officers and non-coms. in attendance, to qualify for rank. This school is in command of Major H.L.M. Salmon, M.C., of the Royal Canadian Regiment, the attendance being as high as the lists will stand.

Capt. & Brevet Major W.J. Home, M.C. (1933)

Capt. & Brevet Major W.J. Home, M.C. (1933)

A machine gun school is being conducted for officers and non-coms. to qualify for rank at the armory of the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade on Jeanne Mance Street, and also at the armory of the 8th Machine Gun Brigade, Verdun. These classes are being conducted under Capt. W.J. Home. M.C., of the Royal Canadian Regiment, with 25 officers and non-coms. studying to qualify for rank.

A school of signalling will start today at the Craig street armories, under Company Sergeant Major Instructor Carruthers, of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signallers (sic), with a full class of subalterns and non-coms. working to qualify.

At Sherbrooke on January 21 an infantry school for officers and non-coms. will open, under Lt.-Col. S.W. Pope, C.M.G., commanding "D" Co. of the Royal Canadian Regiment in Montreal, for which a full list of entrants has been made.

Another infantry school will start at Three Rivers on February 11, under Capt. Home, of the R.C.R., for the officers and non-coms of the Three Rivers Regiment.

The militia staff course is progressing at militia headquarters here, with eleven officers taking the course. This is a particularly severe course, and will not end until April, when the final series of examinations and tests in actual work will be held. This course has been proceeding under Lt.-Col. Alexander's direction since November, and the candidates for staff certificates have been doing a lot of hard work in order to qualify for the highest honors of the service.

C.O.T.C. Course

The Canadian Officers Training Corps course for lieutenants and captains is going on with a large number of entrants, and the examinations in theory will be held about February 20, with a number of provisional officers from McGill University, Loyola College and the University of Bishop's College, Lennoxville. The practical examinations will take place for this course in February, with the written examinations on theoretical work in March. A number of instructors are engaged in this special training work, under Lt.-Col. Alexander.

A school of cavalry instruction is also being conducted at the St Johns barracks of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, with fifteen officers and non-coms. in attendance to qualify for their certificates in the cavalry service. A similar school for the training of infantry officers is proceeding at the Drummond Street barracks of the R.C.R., with six in attendance, this being a six weeks' course.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 13 December 2014

Guards Officers' Dress
Topic: British Army

Guards Officers' Dress

Even When Off Duty It Must be Strictly According to Rule

The Montreal Gazette; 13 December 1913
Via the London Standard

A check to the growing carelessness and slackness in the matter of men's garments has been administered by instructions that have been issued to the effect that all Guards' officers, when not in uniform, are to wear black coats and silk hats when in the neighbourhood of Buckingham Palace.

Instructions of this nature are not officially issued, but through channels that are just as stern, and they have caused considerable discussion in military circles. It is not generally credited that the new order is in deference to the wishes of the King, although the fact that it applies to the "neighbourhood of Buckingham Palace" would point to that conclusion. It is accepted that the order has come from the new General Officer Commanding the London DistrictMajor-General Sir Francis Lloyd, who succeeded Lieut.-General Sir Alfred Codrington on September 1 last.

Major-General Sir Francis Lloyd has a reputation as a very precise and exact soldier if not a martinet and on his appointment to his present command the officers of the Brigade of Guards expected some new and surprising orders. He has been a Grenadier Guardsman since 1874, and has seen considerable service in Egypt and South Africa. He vacated the command of the Welsh Territorials when appointed to his present position.

The discussion in service circles is; Should a Guardsman be compelled to be a dandy in his own time? Those in favour say a commission in the Guards carries with it social obligations of an exacting nature; that the traditions of the Brigade are that its officers should be the leaders of fashion in times of peace; that men join the Brigade well knowing these traditions, and should be prepared to keep them up. It is also advanced that the people of England look to the officers of the Guards to keep up their reputation for smartness both on and off parade, and that to see an officer in London dressed like a chauffeur or groom is a violation of the best traditions of the Brigade of Guards.

On the other hand, it is advanced that no laws are unchangeable; that the motor car and the growing popularity of golf have changed all the laws of fashion; and that to insist upon the silk hat in modern London is barely less extreme than to demand the revival of knee breeches, satin coats, lace ruffs, and three-cornered hats. It is also claimed that a gentleman looks a gentleman in any garb; that your true Guardsman is a Guardsman in his shirt sleeves; and that there is quite as much distinction and fashion to be got out of a tweed suit, cap, and mackintosh as there is in the silk hat or the frock coat, which is now little more than the mark of the shop assistant.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 12 December 2014

New Colours for Navy (1967)
Topic: RCN

HMCS Algonquin

Navy Bluer Than Ever

Person to person, By Shirley Foley
Ottawa Citizen; 9 November 1967

When Joan Broughton gets going with her paint brush the ship's captain may be found in the Blue Room.

The Royal Canadian Navy is scuttling the tradition that battleships are grey, inside and out. It has ordered a co-ordinated colour scheme for the control rooms of four soon-to-be-built destroyers.

Miss Broughton, colour consultant for a paint company, has been called in on the job. She is suggesting blue walls, off-white cabinets, and khaki trim. She sees the controls themselves in deep blue, rust or olive shades.

"I wasn't given any particular direction on the colour scheme," Miss Broughton says, "although one commander was a little apprehensive that I might come up with shocking pink."

What will the green-clad sailor think of a colour-coordinated control room?

Miss Broughton thinks the colourful environment will have a beneficial effect at sea as it has proved to have in industry. "It's just going to be a more colourful world from now on."

Working from the very imprecise colour names offered in the article, this is one possible interpretation of the proposed colour scheme for the control rooms Iroquios class destroyers.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 11 December 2014

Perpetuation of the CEF
Topic: CEF

Perpetuation of the CEF

Work of Several Years
War Records of 600,000 Canadians Were Examined

The Montreal Gazette; 30 September 1929
(By Canadian Press)

Ottawa, September 29.—Final approval has now been secured from His Majesty the King for the emblazoning of the regimental colour of Canadian permanent and non-permanent active militia units the honours won by those regiments during the World War. At present 68 regiments have been given definitive sanction to embroider those honours on their colour, and in due course the remainder of the militia will receive authority according to the qualifications of the regiments concerned. Thus a question that has consumed several years, and that has involved little short of scanning the war records of every one of the 600,000 Canadians who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, is settled once and for all. Every one of the "fighting" battalions of the Canadian Corps—50 in all—is perpetuated in the non-active militia (exclusive of the three infantry regiments of the permanent force). The perpetuating unit, therefore, has been accorded the right to carry the honours won by its corresponding Canadian Corps battalion.

There were, however, 260 battalions raised for overseas, and practically every man of those saw active service in one or other of the "fighting" battalions. The problem of how to award honours to those militia regiments who perpetuate the 210 battalions that were broken up in England to reinforce the Corps was a thorny one. The solution was reached after many months of deliberation that where it could be shown that a minimum of 250 men from a reinforcing battalion participated in any engagement for which a battle honour was awarded, the militia regiment which perpetuates that battalion would be entitled to carry the honour on its colour. Inasmuch as the men from such battalions were not infrequently distributed in small drafts among a number of Canadian Corps battalions, the necessity of closely checking the movements of practically every man—or at least, every group of men—was obvious. It was also arduous and painstaking work.

Toronto and Ontario

Thirty-one Ontario militia regiments have been given authority to carry the Battle Honours in this, the first allotment made. These, together with the Canadian Expeditionary Force units they perpetuate, are:

The following Toronto regiments:

The Mississauga Horse (4th Canadian Mounted Rifles)
The Queen's Own Rifles (83rd, 95th, 166th and 255th Battalions, C.E.F.)
The Royal Grenadiers (58th Battalion, C.E.F.)
The 48th Highlanders (15th and 134th Battalions, C.E.F.)
The Queen's Rangers, 1st American Regiment (20th and 35th Battalions, C.E.F.)
The Toronto Scottish (75th, 84th and 170th Battalions, C.E.F.)

The following city and country regiments:

The Canadian Fusiliers, of London (1st, 33rd and 142nd Battalions, C.E.F.)
The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, of Hamilton (4th and 204th Battalions, and The 86th Machine Gun Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, Hamilton (19th Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Princess of Wales Own Regiment, of Kingston (21th Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Dufferin Rifles of Canada, Brantford (4th, 36th and 125th Battalions, C.E.F.)
The Peterborough Rangers, Peterborough (2nd Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Ottawa Highlanders, Ottawa (38th Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Essex Scottish, of Windsor (18th, 99th and 241st Battalions, C.E.F.)
The Lake Superior Regiment, of Port Arthur, Ont. (52nd and 141st Battalions, C.E.F.)
The Ontario Regiment, of Oshawa (116th and 182nd Battalions, C.E.F.)
The Halton Rifles, of Georgetown (37th Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Oxford Rifles, of Woodstock (71st and 168th Battalions, C.E.F.)
The Elgin Regiment, of St. Thomas (91st Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Sault Ste. Marie Regiment, of Sault Ste. Marie (119th and 227th Battalions, C.E.F.)
The Northern Pioneers, of Huntsville (122nd Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Wentworth Regiment, of Dundas (129th Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Middlesex Light Infantry, of Strathroy, Ont. (135th Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Grey Regiment, of Owen Sound (147th Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Bruce Regiment, of Walkerton (160th Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Huron Regiment, of Goderich (161st Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Lincoln Regiment, of St. Catharines (176th Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Simcoe Foresters, of Barrie (177th Battalion, C.E.F.)
The Kent Regiment, of Chatham (186th Battalion, C.E.F.)

Typical Honour List

Only ten battle honours of the War can be embroidered on the regimental colour, irrespective of how many the unit concerned may be entitled to. Regiments, however, are credited with all honours in the Militia List. Those which are borne on the colour appear in the Militia List in heavy type, while those not carried on the colour are printed in ordinary light-face type. An illustration of this is furnished in the Peterborough Rangers, for example, which perpetuates the 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion. The battles in capital letters will be carried on the colour, while those in small letters are credited only in the Militia List, as follows:

"YPRES, 1915, '17, Gravenstafel Ridge, ST JULIEN, FESTUBERT, 1915, Mount Sorrel, SOMME, 1916, Pozieres, Flers-Courcelette, Ancre Heights, ARRAS, 1917, '18, VIMY, 1917, Arleux, Scarpe, 1917, '18, HILL 70, PASSCHENDAELE, Amiens, Scarpe, 1918, Drocourt-Queant, HINDEBURG LINE, Canal du Nord, Pursuit to Mons, FRANCE AND FLANDERS, 1915-18"

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Command Characteristics
Topic: Leadership

Command Characteristics

Men against Fire; the Problem of Battle Command in Future War, S.L.A. Marshall, Colonel, AUS, 1947

The characteristics which are required in the minor commander if he is to prove capable of preparing men for and leading them through the shock of combat with high credit may therefore be briefly described:

(1)     Diligence in the care of men.

(2)     Administration of all organizational affairs such as punishments and promotions according to a standard of resolute justice.

(3)     Military bearing.

(4)     A basic understanding of the simple fact that soldiers wish to think of themselves as soldiers and that all military information is nourishing to their spirits and their lives.

(5)     Courage, creative intelligence, and physical fitness.

(6)     Innate respect for the dignity of the position and the work of other men.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Honi soit qui mal y pense
Topic: Humour

One panel of the cartoon "The Push"—in Three Chapters. By one who's been "Pushed", by Bruce Bairnsfather, published in Fragments from France.

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Dorothy Bradridge, VAD, No. 2 Red Cross Hospital, Rouen

The Roses of No Man's Land, Lyn MacDonald, 1980

I was working on the brass-hat ward, which meant that there was no rank lower than a major and they were all in separate rooms. Bruce Bairnsfather was one of my patients - or rather he was a patient while I was there, because VADs were only allowed to do very humble tasks in that ward. He was the cartoonist who invented the famous character of Old Bill, and on the wall of his room he had drawn a lifesize cartoon of a VAD sweeping dust about and raising great clouds of it with some gusto. She had a very plain face to my mind, because we actually considered ourselves to be a very goodlooking lot of VADs. I was foolish enough to ask him why he hadn't drawn a pretty VAD. 'A pretty VAD?' he exclaimed. 'Well, that's probably because I've never seen one.' It served me right for fishing for compliments! However, I always liked to feel that I got my own back on him at mealtimes because I always left his tray until last, and I left his bell unanswered as long as I dared. Needless to say, he was not a surgical or a serious case, so he was able to spend quite a time decorating the walls.* [Footnoted: Captain Bruce Bairnsfather was suffering from mild shellshock.]

Qhen Mary, during the First World War.

The patients were fond of drawing on the bare walls, and nobody minded because it cheered the place up a bit. This led to an embarrassing occasion once when we had a royal visit. Queen Mary came with the Prince of Wales and a whole entourage of brass-hats. We knew she was coming and there had been tremendous 'spit and polish' for days beforehand. I think perhaps she had not been expected to go into this particular room because it had rather a risque drawing on the wall. It was a stockinged female leg with a garter at the top - very shapely and seductive-looking. But just at the side of the garter a large mirror was hung, so that when anyone glanced at it they naturally assumed that the rest of the picture was hidden behind the mirror. Needless to say, everyone pushed the mirror sideways to see what was underneath. That is exactly what the Queen did, and like everyone else she saw that there was no continuation of the picture but simply the words Honi soit qui mal y pense. She was not amused! Her face simply froze, so none of the other people who were following her could laugh either. Walking behind the Prince of Wales as part of an unofficial 'Guard of Honour' I could see the effort he was making not to laugh aloud. His shoulders were absolutely shaking!

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 29 November 2014 4:21 PM EST
Monday, 8 December 2014

Feeding an Army 1903
Topic: Army Rations

The standard vehicle for the movement of ammunition, engineer stores, food, and fodder was the General Service Waggon.

Feeding an Army

The problem in the Manoeuvres at Aldershot
South African Lessons
Soldier Learned Quite a Lot in His Years of Actual Experience of Living in the Field

The Gazette, Montreal, 17 October, 1903
(Special Correspondent, London Telegraph)

There is an impression among some people that a British soldier can carry enough food with him to last a week; but, unfortunately, no ground exists for the belief, despite the progress which has been made in the art of compressing nourishment, both solid and liquid, into a minimum of space. Apart from the questions of strategy, tactics, and the individual training of the soldier to the conditions of field service, the army manoeuvres are expected to tFeeding an Army 1903each some valuable lessons regarding the supply of necessaries and transport, two considerations which enter so largely into every problem of war. It is a true saying that a "soldier marches upon his stomach," and his fighting power depends upon the prompt arrival of bread and meat, as well as ammunition, from his base of supply. A portion may travel by train, but the regimental transport by road is the service upon which he must usually rely when operating in an enemy's country. In the case of the First Army Corps, which has just taken the field, the base of supply is Aldershot, to which a force of nearly 20,000 men must now look for the supply of their daily wants, and it will be the duty of the Army Service Corps to see that every unit of that force is provisioned, no matter to what part of the manoeuvre area of 1,600 square miles the soldiers may be called or driven by the fortunes of war. It is possible in real war to "feed your troops on the country" or to billet them upon the population; but in this September campaign, Tommy Atkins must rely upon his friends at Aldershot and some miles of wagon transport.

The manoeuvre ration is fairly liberal. It consists of five big biscuits and 2 1/2 ounces of Canadian cheese, carried in the haversack. In addition to bread and meat of excellent quality, sent from Aldershot, the soldier is allowed the following quantities per day.—Tea, 1/3 ounce; coffee, 1/3 ounce; sugar, 2 ounces; pepper, 1/32 ounce; salt, 1/2 ounce; condensed milk (1 tin to 20 men), 4/5 ounce; jam, 4 ounces; or if procurable, potatoes or other fresh vegetables, 8 ounces; bacon or German sausage (breakfast), 4 ounces.

Daily Fuel Allowance

To cook the foregoing an allowance of two pounds of fuel wood per man is made daily, or on the alternative one pound of coal, with one pound of kindling wood to every twenty pounds of coal. No less than 240,000 rations, consisting of the above items, were ordered for the manoeuvres of the First Army Corps alone, based on the assumption that provisions for twelve days was to be made for 20,000 men. It is estimated that a large proportion of the sum of £200,000 which the manoeuvres of the two army corps are supposed to entail will be expenses on these supplies, and a still larger sum will be swallowed up by transport to the fighting line. There will be a considerable excess of rations packed up at Aldershot and ready for travel which will not be required, seeing that Sir John French's force is less than 20,000, and that the men will be back in barracks within ten days at the most. Apart from the expense of surplus packing, however, no loss will be sustained, and the authorities will recoup themselves for Tommy's grocery bill by the somewhat drastic measure of deducting 3 1/2 d per day from his wage!

Meat and bread for the soldier are issued from the butchers and bakers of the Army Service Corps at Aldershot, but the remaining items are supplied by civilian contractors. The latter commenced work some weeks ago in two small tents at the base, whence they removed as stores accumulated to a spacious drill hall. I had the advantage of seeing and tasting the groceries, and can guarantee that the samples were excellent. They were packed in brown paper parcels suitable for messes of five, ten, twenty, and fifty men, and these parcels were encased in strong wooden boxes, which will bear the jolting of the regimental waggon. Some boxes contained only 250 parcels, and other as many as 1,000, according to the requirements of the unit for which they are intended. Messrs. R. Dickenson & Co., the army contractors, describe the bacon as smoked rolled shoulders, and the cheese as best Canadian, while the jam has been specially prepared in scaled tins. Each cheese weighs 80 pounds, and, like bacon, biscuit, and jam, is distributed to the troops not in parcels, but "in bulk," according to requirements. A man-of-war's-man with such a daily ration would deem himself lapped in luxury, but the sailor is taken in hand by his country much earlier than the soldier, and consequently is trained to a diet when at sea which would rather stagger Mr. Atkins. In one respect, however, the bluejacket fares better; he has a daily allowance of one-eighth of a pint of rum, mixed with two-thirds of water. The soldier, except on active service, enjoys no such concession, though his is allowed to buy during the manoeuvres as much as two pints of beer per day.

The rations having been prepared, we come to the task of forwarding and distributing them. For this work the Army Service Corps, one of the few departments which emerged with credit from the war enquiry, has made special preparations. The troops under Sir John French left Aldershot with two days' supplies carried in the transport waggons, and later the "supply park," or magazine, left for the front with a reserve.

The Beginning of Manoeuvres

With the commencement of the manoeuvres the supply proceeds under army corps arrangements and comes under the direct orders of the general officer commanding. The "supply park"—a square formed of waggons—is the distributing centre for the troops, and is kept replenished by other waggons, which proceed either to and from the base at Aldershot or to the nearest railways station, where bread and meat, dispatched in special train by London and Southwestern railway, are received daily. In addition to the rations for the troops, supplies of ammunition for the guns and forage for the horses, distributed over a very large and scattered area, must be maintained every day, a feat which accounts for the employment of a small army of civilian drivers and a large number of subsidized horses. The maximum load of the general service waggon is 2,600 pounds and two horses will generally suffice. In South Africa our supply waggons often carried 7,000 pounds weight of goods, drawn by thirty or more oxen, and the pace barely exceeded two miles per hour. The waggons of the First Army Corps, travelling over the high roads of the middle southern counties with no dongas and rough country to interrupt their progress, do much better.

It must be confessed that the South African experience developed for making the soldier's capacity for making the most of his raw materials. The meat from Aldershot may be cooked, as usual, with the primitive appliances of a "field kitchen" and fire trench, but the bully-beef and biscuit exact more careful treatment. Mr. Atkins can improve both. He has a mess tin which serves alternately as a saucepan, frying pan, and teapot. The bully-beef is made quite tasty for a hungry soldier when stewed with a few vegetables, which can be found throughout the manoeuvring area, and the biscuits when boiled with the condensed milk and sugar take the place of pudding. Experiments are to be made with a new patent oven, of which great things are expected, also with a water sterilizer apparatus, which is to be tried for the first time. In South Africa the field service ovens often lost their way, but the soldier found that a large anthill when scooped hollow and an aperture made for draught, answered as well. I have eaten bread made of two parts flour and one of bran, cooked in such ingenious fashion, by the British soldier, which I prefer to the regimental biscuit, as more tasty and digestive. The regimental biscuit, to speak frankly, is often a tooth-destroying, temper-provoking diet, which may be tolerated on active service, but should only form the emergency diet at manoeuvre times. I have not tasted the biscuit of the First Army Corps, but am told it is vastly superior to that with which South African campaigners are familiar.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 7 December 2014

A French Tank Company at Dunkirk
Topic: The Field of Battle

A French Tank Company at Dunkirk

The Miracle of Dunkirk, Walter Lord, 1982

"I am counting on you to save everything that can be saved—and, above all, our honor!" [General Maxime] Weygand telegraphed [Admiral Jean] Abrial. "[General J.G.M.] Blanchard's troops, if doomed, must disappear with honor!" the General told Major Fauvelle. Weygand pictured an especially honorable role for the high command when the end finally came. Rather than retreat from Paris, the government should behave like the Senators of ancient Rome, who had awaited the barbarians sitting in their curule chairs.

This sort of talk, though possibly consoling at the top level, did not inspire the poilus in the field. They had had enough of antiquated guns, horse-drawn transport, wretched communications, inadequate armor, invisible air support, and fumbling leaders. Vast numbers of French soldiers were sitting around in ditches, resting and smoking, when the 58th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, passed by on May 28. As one of them explained to a French-speaking Tommy, the enemy was everywhere and there was no hope of getting through; so they were just going to sit down and wait for the Boches to come.

Yet there were always exceptions. A French tank company, separated from its regiment, joined the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers at Gorre and proved to be a magnificent addition. The crews bristled with discarded British, French, and German weapons and were literally festooned with clanking bottles of wine. They fought with tremendous élan, roaring with laughter and pausing to shake hands with one another after every good shot. When the Fusiliers were finally ordered to pull back, the tank company decided to stay and fight on. "Bon chance!" they called after the departing Fusiliers, and then went back to work.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 6 December 2014

A Gun Carriage for Final Trip
Topic: Tradition

The gun carriage used in the funeral procession of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's), on 28 October, 2014, in Hamilton, Ontario.

A Gun Carriage for Final Trip

Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph; 21 March 1967
By Patrick Nicholson

Many Ottawans lining the streets at the funeral of the late Governor General Vanier—and no doubt many more television viewers were intrigued by the transportation of the coffin.

Why, they wondered, was it not driven in the usual glass-walled Cadillac hearse?

Why was it drawn on an artillery carriage by men of the Royal Canadian Navy?

This is a tradition at state funerals. Many will remember the impressive phalanx of naval bluejackets which was so prominent at the funeral procession of Churchill.

But it is not old, as traditions go, dating only from the funeral of Queen Victoria on February 2, 1902.

Like many of the trappings of tradition prone navies, its English origin has been adopted by other countries; just as many navies copy the British sailor's uniform in adding three white stripes around the collar, commemorating the three great victories of history's most famous sailor, Nelson.

Bluejackets drawing the gun carriage in the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill.

Great White Queen

Queen Victoria died at her favourite home, Osborne House in the Isle of Wight, in the 82nd year of her life and the 64th year of her reign.

He body was brought by train to Windsor for the funeral service in that historic castle; from that point I will quote an eye-witness account, from the Times newspaper of London, of Feb. 4, 1901:

"After the Queen's remains had been transferred from the royal train and placed upon the gun carriage, the procession began to move up to the mournful roll of the muffled drums. Chopin's 'Marche Funebre' by the band, the funeral tolling of the Castle bells, and the salute fired by the 'Eagle' battery of the Royal Horse Artillery.

"At this moment an unfortunate incident marred, for a time, the progress of the cortege. The artillery horse, which for some reason had become rather restless, had only moved a few paces when one of them reared and plunged in an exceeding dangerous manner in front of the gun carriage, behind which the King, the German Emperor, and the Duke of Connaught were walking.

"All attempts to pacify the animal were altogether unavailing, and at last, as the procession was being seriously delayed, the entire team was removed and their places were taken by a large number of Bluejackets who formed the Naval guard of honour.

"With their ever ready handiness, they turned the traces and chains of the harness into draw ropes, fitted them to the gun carriage, and themselves drew it with its precious burden from the station to the chapel.

"The King later sent a message to the Naval Brigade, conveying his thanks for the timely aid which they had rendered and for the seamanlike manner in which they had carried out their unexpected duty."

Bluejackets drawing the gun carriage in the state funeral of King Edward VII.

A Tradition is Born

Still in the charming leisurely prose of that day, the Times commented editorially:

"Even at the awkward contretemps at Windsor, when the artillery horses refused to move and were quickly replaced by Bluejackets, is scarcely to be regretted, since it served to show once more the resourcefulness, the utility and the ubiquity of the Navy."

Ever since then at state funerals in England—and in some other countries—naval bluejackets have been accorded the honoured role of hauling from front, and restraining from the rear, the gun carriage bearing the coffin.

The officers in command of Queen Victoria's last naval guard of honour, who masterminded that improvised human team, were Lieut. A. Boyle of HMS Excellent, Sub-Lieut. Percy Noble of the Royal Naval College, and Midshipman Stanley Holbrook, of HMS Majestic.

Boyle, a son of the Earl of Shannon, rose to be Admiral and died in 1949. Stanley Holbrook also ended a distinguished career in the Royal Navy at the rank of Admiral, and now lives in retirement in England.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 5 December 2014

Canadian Women’s Army Corps
Topic: Canadian Army

Personnel of the Canadian Women's Army Corps at No. 3 CWAC (Basic) Training Centre. Kitchener, Ontario. April 6, 1944.

Here's How Jenny Gets Her Gun

Wide World Feature

Lewiston Evening Journal; Lewiston, Maine, 17 July 1942

Wondering what America's new women's army will be like?

You can learn a thing or two from Major Joan Kennedy, head of Canada's Women's army corps.

Major Kennedy made a recent visit to New York. When she and her staff assistant, Captain Phyllis Lee-Wright, passed through Grand Central Station they caused more craning of necks than a visiting movie queen. Every passing eye took in their natty, brass-buttoned khaki hued uniforms.

Major Joan Kennedy

What Major Kennedy said was of great interest too—especially to women who may soon be in army uniform themselves.

Good Soldiers

"Women have adapted themselves splendidly to military procedure and army life," she told me. "They get on well with the men. And the men have welcomed them, for they are glad to be freed of such jobs as cooking and clerking and get out on active service."

Then she gave a graphic picture of Canadian women's army life as her corps of 2,800 knows it. The one-time stenographers, waitresses, lawyers, and dieticians begin their recruit service with a 30-day training in squad drill, map reading, first aid, protection against gas, physical training, military procedure, and army discipline and law. That finished, they are given any special training required for their jobs and then stationed at any one of 200 army posts or training centers. They do stenographic work, cook in commissaries, wait table in mess hall, care for stores of uniforms and ammunition, drive staff cars and light trucks. They draw two-thirds of a soldier's pay and most of them live in army barracks. They are up at 6:15 reveille.

Officers may doff uniforms and don frills for an evening engagement, if they wish. But not the rank and file. When they have a date with the boyfriend, they go in uniform. Officers can wear silk stockings too, but the rank and file get there in lisle.

Drivers of No.3 Section, Motor Ambulance Convoy, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (R.C.A.S.C.), await the departure of a convoy, Farnborough, England. (L-R): Privates Mina Bray, Elda Austin, Olive Baguley, Mary McLennan, Elfreda Duggan, Roonie Sigurdson and Gladys Deneau. 12 January 1945. Photographer: Karen M. Hermiston.

Cap Angles

For a time Women's Army Corps caps were a matter of some concern. Some of the women wore them tilted at too exaggerated an angle. But now the caps are regulated to a tilt of 15 degrees to the right. The women are allowed a light makeup and may dress their hair as they please, provided the coiffure is neat and clears the collar. But colored nail polish and jewelry—except a watch and wedding ring—are taboo.

Major Kennedy, 38, blue-eyed and English-born, came to Canada with her family in 1911. They returned to England during the last war and then came back to Victoria, British Columbia. The girl who was to head Canada's first women's army took a business course, held a secretarial job for several years and in 1929 married Norman R. Kennedy, a Victoria engineer.

Major Kennedy says a lot of the members of her corps are married too. One of their husbands, who cannot join the army because he is needed in civil service, may have voiced the thought of more than one when he said: "It's a heck of a note when a man's best girl goes off to war and he has to stay behind and tend home fires."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 4 December 2014

Second Battalion to be Perpetuated
Topic: CEF

Old Fighting Unit, Second Battalion, To Be Perpetuated

Brilliant Ottawa Regiment, G.G.F.G., to Carry on Traditions of One of Outstanding Units of C.E.F.

Ottawa Citizen, 18 Dec 1931

Perpetuation of one of the most outstanding units of the old Canadian Corps has been granted to one of Canada's most brilliant regiments in the non-permanent active militia, the Governor General's Foot Guards, who will hereafter carry into militia history the name and achievements of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion. In doing so the Foot Guards become associated also with the Peterborough Rangers, sharing with that regiment the perpetuation of the Second. Efforts of the Foot Guards extending over two years have thus been crowned with success; while the announcement has been received with pleasure by the former personnel of the 2nd Battalion.

Soliciting the co-operation of the 2nd Battalion historical committee in the selection of battle honours for their new colors, the Foot Guards have had the following recommended to them as most representative of the active service of the 2nd Battalion; St. Julien; Festubert, 1915; Pozieres; Vimy; Arleaux (which includes the action at Fresnoy on May 3, 1915); Hill 70; Passchendaele; Amiens; Drocourt-Queant; and Canal du Nord.

Only ten battle honours [of the First World War] may be carried on the color of any militia regiment, the remainder being recorded in the militia list. The 2nd Canadian Battalion enjoys the distinction of more than twenty such honours.

Originally drawn from all over Ontario, parts of Quebec and northern New Brunswick, the 2nd Battalion was later re-established on territorial lines and formed one of the four units comprising the Eastern Ontario Regiment. The others were the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, the 21st Battalion, and the 38th Battalion. The new distinction thus sees Ottawa regiments perpetuating two battalions of the Eastern Ontario regiment, since the thirty-eighth traditions are carried on by the Ottawa Highlanders.

Commanding Officers

The first commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion was the late Major General Sir David Watson, K.C.B., of Quebec, who assumed charge when the battalion was mobilized at Valcartier in 1914. He was later promoted to the command of the 4th Canadian Division, and was succeeded by Brigadier General E. Swift, D.S.O., and officer who advanced to a brigade of the 5th Division. When this formation was dispersed for reinforcing purposes, General Swift took command of Canadian infantry operations in Siberia.

Lieut.-Colonel W.M. Yates, a Westerner from Swift Current, Sask., held command for a brief period and was succeeded by Brigadier General R.P. Clark, C.B., D.S.O., M.C., of Vancouver, B.C., a former commanding officer of the 14th (Royal Montreal Regiment) Battalion. The longest tenure, however, was that of Colonel L.T. McLachlin, C.M.G., D.S.O. (and two bars), of Bowmanville, Ont. This officer's administration continued from June, 1917, until demobilization in April, 1919.

The Adjutants

Adjutants of the 2nd Battalion were: Col. H. Willis O'Connor, D.S.O., Ottawa, Ont., the late Captain E.D. O'Flynn, Belleville, Ont., Major W.O. White, M.C., Toronto, Ont., Lieut-Col S.B. Pepler, Toronto, Major R. De W. Waller, M.C., Brandon, Man., and Captain W.W. Murray, M.C., Ottawa.

In Every Engagement

The 2nd Infantry Battalion participated in every engagement involving the 1st Canadian Division (the Old Red patch) during the war from the Second Battle of Ypres to the pursuit to Mons. It was the first Canadian unit to attack on the Somme in 1916, was specifically praised for its stubborn defence of Hill 70, made the deepest penetration of Canadian units in the two days of the Amiens fighting in August 1918, initiated the drive to Mons when it stormed across the Canal de la Sensee in October of that year and was the first organized unit of Canadian infantry to invade Germany, marching over the frontier at Poteau ay nine o'clock in the morning of December 4, 1918.

The battalion was demobilized at Kingston, Ont., on April 23, 1919, four years to the day from its "Bapteme de feu" at Ypres.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 3 December 2014

South Africa; by companies or a battalion
Topic: The RCR

Regimental Idea Still In Doubt

Further Officers of Contingent Named
Methods of Enrolment
Orders for Permanent Corps Wishing to Volunteer—Must Be Transferred From Headquarters

The Daily Mail and Empire; Toronto, 19 October 1899
Special to The Mail and Empire

Ottawa, Ont., Oct. 18.—Dr. Borden returned from Toronto this morning. He informed your correspondent that the department will continue to organize the South African contingent on the basis of eight company units. The Minster would not say whether there was any possibility of changing to the regimental idea, but said the whole question would be left to the War Office. Military men here take this to mean that the Canadian companies will therefore be attached to different British battalions.

elipsis graphic

Methods of Enrolment

Militiamen volunteering for South Africa will join in their uniform, which they will demand from captain of their company, giving a receipt for same.

Non-commissioned officers and men serving in the R.C.R.I. and R.C.A. (garrison division) who wish to volunteer for special services in South Africa will send their names to the officer commanding their company, who will have them medically inspected. The names of men passed as fit will be at once communicated by the officers commanding companies to Lieut.-Col. Otter, Toronto, who will allot them to the companies of the special service force according to his judgment.

The foregoing will not apply to No. 1 company, as the officer commanding No. 8 Military District has been ordered to allot volunteers to the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick companies of the special service force.

Volunteers from the permanent force will not be attested nor permitted to join the companies wo which they are allotted until their transfer has been ordered from headquarters.

A militia order issued this morning gives the schedule of officers' field kit, as authorized in the British service. The approximate weight of articles worn or carried on the person of mounted officers is 27 ¾ pounds, and of articles carried on the horse 71 ½ pounds. The approximate weight of articles worn, or carried on the person of dismounted officers is 34 ½ pounds.

Another order issued to-night states that a grant of $125 will be given to officers of the force towards defraying expenses of outfit. An advance of pay to the amount of $60 will also be allowed. Cheques for these amounts will be forwarded.

To ensure the proper fitting of clothing, headgear, and boots, officers commanding the companies will send in at once to the chief staff officer size rolls for the volunteers already enrolled and will send in size rolls daily for those further enrolled. These size rolls will give height of men, the measurement of breast and waist, and circumference of head and size of boots, according to the following instructions:—

1.     The height is to be in stocking feet.

2.     The breast measurement is to be taken by a measuring tape, over the undershirt and shirt only, and close to the arms. The waist measurement is to be taken over the trousers and down fairly tight.

3.     The height, breast and waist measurements are to be carefully made, so as to be as accurate as possible, as the garments will be made considerably looser than the measurement.

4.     For taking the head measurement for a helmet, a hat which fits the man should be measured, and not the man's head. Field service caps will be issued in sizes half an inch larger than helmets.

5.     The size of the boots generally worn is to be given. Demands will be met from a supply that will be in store at Quebec. Should it be found necessary in some cases to provide insoles, one pair will be issued with the boots.

The Officers

The complete list of officers for the contingent will not be ready until tomorrow. There has been a good deal of telegraphing to-day, and as the desire is to grant the commissions fairly the Minister hesitates before giving to the public what may be only a tentative list. As foreshadowed last night, however, certain arrangements were made to-day, which are well received in this city. Thus, Major Rogers, of the 43rd Battalion, to-day received his appointment as captain of the Eastern Ontario company. His subalterns will be Capt. W.T. Lawless, of the G.G.F.G., and two other officers, from the western part of the district.

British Columbia is just as enthusiastic as Ontario over the expedition. The representatives of the Pacific province will leave Vancouver on the 24th and reach Quebec on the 29th or 30th. Two officers from British Columbia have been given commissions. They are Capt Blanchard, of the 5th Artillery, Victoria, and Capt. A.E. Hodgins, of the Nelson Rifles Company, an 1882 graduate of the Royal Military College.

elipsis graphic

The enrolment of volunteers in Ottawa commenced to-day, within a few hours after Major Rogers had received his appointment. Col. Cotton, commanding the Ottawa brigade, put in an appearance at the Drill-hall early in the afternoon, and was astonished at the number of men seeking enrolment. It is certain that Ottawa could supply half the contingent, and if the enthusiasm shown here is a criterion of the public feeling in Canada 20,000 men could be sent to South Africa as readily as 1,000. To-night the drill-hall was again a scene of great activity, scores waiting to interview the captain of the company.

elipsis graphic

The medical staff of the Canadian Regiment will consist of Surgeon-Major Wilson, of the 3rd Montreal Field Battery; Surgeon-Major Osborne, of the 4th Hamilton Field Battery; Surgeon-Lieut. E. Fiset, of the 89th Temiscouata and Rimouski Battalion.

It is understood that four officers will be appointed to the staff of the Canadian contingent. It is settled that Col. Sam Hughes, M.P., will either be offered one of these positions or else a captaincy.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The “Royals” Sorel Day Parade 1941
Topic: Tradition

Left: The Second World War period Tudor-crowned (i.e., colloquially named King's crown) badge of the Royal Regiment of Canada. Right: The drumhead ceremony of the 2012 Sorrel Day parade of the Royal Regiment of Canada.

Ontario Regiment in U.K. Observes Annual Sorrel Day

Ottawa Citizen; 2 July 1941
By Ross Munro, Canadian press War Correspondent
Somewhere in England

July 1.—Even in the defensive areas with the overseas army, a central Ontario regiment remembered its annual Sorrel Day ceremony which has been traditional since 1917.

With a drumhead service in its camp here and regimental ceremonial which is infrequent in England, the regiment commemorated the 1916 victory at Mount Sorrel, near Ypres, of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Battalion, one of the battalions which the present regiment perpetuates.

At Mount Sorrel, the 3rd Battalion won special mention but lost 16 officers and 412 men out of 650 engaged.

Since 1917, a sprig of wood-sorrel has been worn by all ranks on this day, except in 1940 when the battalion was en route to serve in Iceland before joining the Canadian corps in England. This year the tradition was followed as usual.

Brilliant color and stirring martial music was provided by the Royal Marines Band.

Presents Sorrel

Before the service and the march past, with Maj.-Gen. Victor Odlum, 2nd Division Commander taking the salute, Mrs. A.G.L. McNaughton, wife of the corps commander, presented boxes of sorrel to warrant officers, under R.S.M. Eric Gaiger of Toronto, to be distributed to the men, and personally gave each officer his sprig of this green, three-leaf plant.

All ranks wore the sorrel in the buckles of their steel helmets instead of on forage caps as in previous ceremonies. This was the first time since the last war that they observed the day in full battle kit.

A large number of senior Canadian officers attended and among the civilian visitors was Sir Eustace Fiennes, a British barrister who fought with the regiment at Batoche in the 1885 Northwest Rebellion. He is 77.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 1 December 2014

Battle Honours Supplementary List 1929
Topic: CEF

First stand of Colours of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (1936-1967). (Source)

Princess Pats Win Big Award

Supplementary List Battle Honours Also Includes Other Ottawa Regiments

Ottawa Citizen, 11 October 1929

In the supplementary list of battle honours which militia regiments are entitled to emblazon on their colours and on colours of the Canadian Expeditionary Force which such regiments perpetuate, 160 battalions are disposed of, thus reducing the number still to be dealt with to a small one. The Department of National Defence today has caused the information regarding those battle awards to be published in district headquarters orders.

Heading the supplementary list is a the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry who, in their 1915 selection, carry the envied honour "Frezenburg." The Patricia's alone of the Canadian troops which operated in France are entitled to this particular award.

Three militia regiments, nine Canadian Corps infantry battalions, 136 reinforcing battalions of the C.E.F., four Canadian Corps machine gun battalions, and four machine gun units of the active militia, six pioneer battalions, one battalion of railway construction troops and four forestry units are dealt with in this second list. Additional to these are the 259th and 260th Battalions which receive the award "Siberia."

An analysis of the awards shows that all battalions of the Canadian Corps with the sole exception of the 7th British Columbia Battalion have now received their colour honours. It also discloses that only one infantry battalion has rejected all of the 1918 battles from its colour, including "Amiens," "Drocourt-Queant," and "Canal du Nord." This is the 2nd Battalion perpetuated by the Peterborough Rangers. The official list reveals that in their places those responsible for the selection have chosen the less definite "Hindenburg Line" to represent all the fighting wherein this unit participated in 1918. Every other battalion of the Canadian Corps has selected "Amiens," which, as Ludendorff said, was "the black day of the German army." In view of the fact that the 2nd Battalion fought through Amiens in on August 8 and 9, 1918, to the peak of the Canadian penetration and culminated their efforts by capturing Rouvroy en Santerre, which marked the limit of the Canadian advance on the second day of the battle, the rejection of "Amiens" as a colour honour is unique.

The Canadian Light Horse is the only cavalry regiment that has failed to accept "Amiens." In 1918, however, the C.L.H. were corps troops as distinguished from the regiments of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade.

Regimental and King's Colours of the 38th Canadian Infantry Battalion.

Regimental and King's Colours of the 38th Canadian Infantry Battalion. These Colours are displayed in the museum of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa. (Source)

Among the units in Ottawa and district awarded additional battle honours for the Great War are:


Hull230th Canadian Infantry Battalion, C.E.F., perpetuated by Le Regiment de Hull

Brockville156th Canadian Infantry Battalion, C.E.F., perpetuated by the Brockville Rifles

Cornwall154th Canadian Infantry Battalion, C.E.F., perpetuated by the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders

Perth130th and 240th Canadian Infantry Battalions, C.E.F., perpetuated by the Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 30 November 2014

A Halifax Explosion Averted (1905)
Topic: Halifax

Halifax Threatened by Fire on George's Island

One of the Buildings of Fort Charlotte Burned But the Great Quantities of Explosives are Dumped Into the Harbour by Bluejackets and Soldiers

One of the military officers told your correspondent that had the magazine blown up not a whole pane of glass would have been left in Halifax.

St. John Daily Sun; 28 October 1905
(Special to the Sun)

Halifax, N.S., Oct 27.—One of the strongest and oldest forts which protect Halifax harbor is Fort Charlotte, on St. George's Island, its frowning embrasures facing the seaward, commanding the approaches. It is the centre of the submarine mining operations which are carried on extensively in the surrounding waters. In the oil department of the main store building on this island fore broke out this evening and for two hours the flames licked the building, devoured a great deal of valuable property, and threatened the submarine mines building. In this building was a vast quantity of submarine mine supplies, officially estimated as worth a quarter of a million dollars. Had the wind been a few points more to the eastward, this building could not have escaped, but as things turned out, it was not perceptibly damaged. The main store building, where the fire originated, and where it burned itself out, was completely destroyed. In this building, which formerly was a barracks, which was located beside the oil department, the carpenter shop, the general mechanical department, the cook house, and a large space devoted to stores. The light, inflammable material furnished just the kind of stuff for a rapid spread of the fire and the flames licked their way along so quickly that in a few minutes after discovery they were rising in red forks and great sheets through the roof.

At first the men on duty on George's Island thought they could fight the fire alone, but they saw the futility of this, and assistance from the fleet and mainland was asked by submarine telephone. There was indeed cause for genuine alarm, for in the burning building was a large quantity of dynamite and some powder. But before the fire reached the dynamite section, sailors from the second cruiser squadron and soldiers from the Wellington barracks, who had responded to the call for help, had dumped the explosive into the harbor, where it can be recovered by divers. The gun cotton, of which there was enough to shake Halifax, a half mile distant, had it exploded, was lying loose, in which condition it burned harmlessly as if but so much paper.

The fire fighting appliances on George's Island at the disposal of the military were meagre and primitive, consisting of several hand engines which produced a very feeble stream, but, such as they were the soldiers and sailors worked them with vim and made the most of them. The bucket brigade was almost as effective as the hand engine men, passing water up from the harbor saturating the dry grass and adjoining buildings. Stray lots of powder blew up, but the magazine was some distance away, underground, and the tremendous disaster that would have followed its ignition and explosion was never more than a remote possibility.

One of the military officers told your correspondent that had the magazine blown up not a whole pane of glass would have been left in Halifax. The chief loss is the mechanical stores, one of the heaviest items in this being an immense quantity of platinum for electrical purposes. The submarine wire cables were also destroyed. When the sky was most lurid with the reflections of the burning buildings and people were fearful that a terrible explosion might occur at any moment, the towboats with appliances responded to a call and the powerful streams that were directed by them were so effective that by 9.30 o'clock all danger of further spread of the flames was past. The origin of the fire is a mystery and no one on the island could offer any explanation of its cause.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 29 November 2014

Canadian Infantry in Sicily
Topic: Canadian Army

Private D.B. MacDonald of The Royal Canadian Regiment, who carries a Bren light machine gun, near Campobasso, Italy, October 1943. Photographer: Jack H. Smith. FRom the Faces of War collection at Library and Archives Canada.

Canadian Infantry in Sicily Produced Goods

Ottawa Citizen, 1 September 1943
By Ross Munro

With the Canadians in Sicily, Aug. 31,—(CP)—Canada's P.B.I. (poor bloody infantry) came through with the goods in the Sicilian victory.

The nine infantry battalions in the 1st Canadian Division lived up to everything that was expected of them and more. In face of German machine guns, under mortar and artillery fire they were as brave as men could be.

They endured the blazing heat of the Mediterranean, the smothering dust of the roads and fields, days and nights of forced marches and fighting and they battled and beat some of the finest troops in the German army.

To Canada's gallant infantry in Sicily goes the lion's share of praise for the brilliant success of the Canadian advance from Pachino to the western slopes of Mount Etna.

Infantrymen themselves will say, however, that they could not have done it without the support of the Royal Canadian Artillery, Canadian tank units, mortar crews, machine gunners and reconnaissance troops which always backed them up.

Spectacular Exploit

The most spectacular infantry exploit was probably the storming of the Assoro cliffs by the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment. This surprise attack was like a repeat of Wolfe at Quebec.

Ranking with it was the work of the Edmonton Regiment in the mountains northwest of Aderno. The Edmontons' assault on Hill 736 and on Mount Revisotto, while only carried out by comparatively small forces, was classed among the big successes.

To the Seaforth Highlanders goes great credit for fighting before Agira and the attack to the Simeto river valley in front of Aderno when the Highlanders teamed up with tanks and a reconnaissance squadron. The Seaforths also shared in the heavy fighting at Leonforte with the Edmontons and the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

Actions the Patricias will always recall are the final attack on Leonforte which led to the capture of the town and the successful breakthrough at Nissoria behind the heaviest artillery concentration in the Canadian campaign.

The Royal Canadian Regiment was engaged over a longer period than any unit, going into action shortly after landing, in skirmishes it captured the Pachino airdrome and cleaned out a strong Italian coast artillery position on a wooded hill northwest of Pachino. Its fiercest fight was at Nissoria on the bloody slopes east of the town.

The 48th Highlanders also rate Nissoria as its roughest battle but will remember Valguarnera and the Leonforte-Assoro ridge when they recall this campaign in their mess years from now.

While not in action as much as other infantry battalions the West Nova Scotias, the Royal 22nd and the Carleton and York fought skilfully in the battle before Enna and at Catenanuova when the bridgehead over the Dittaino river was gained. The daring night crossing by the Royal 22nd over the Simeto river in the final phase of the operation which broke the Etna line will live in that regiment's history.

Add Skirmishes

These are the highlights of the infantry engagements, but to them you add numerous skirmishes fought by platoons and companies which are almost forgotten in the heat of larger battles. There was the landing itself and while it was practically unopposed, it was a nerve-wracking business that tested the spirit of everyone. There were those long marches through hostile country whether the troops never knew when machine guns would open up from the next ridge or turn in the road.

There was the ambush at Grammichele where the Hastings handled themselves so creditably after the Germans had shot up their forward elements. Everywhere the "Red Patch Devils," as the Canucks became known to the enemy, proved themselves terrors in attack. Never during the whole campaign on the Canadian front did the Germans attempt a large scale counter-attack which indicated a hearty respect for their Canadian opponents.

These infantrymen have seen death and tumult of battle but they haven't changed much. Possibly they are a little sterner but they haven't forgotten the humor which helped them so much through four English winters with nothing to spur them on but hope for a campaign like this.

They have learned to soldier like their 8th Army comrades, know angles on bivouacking, on dodging mortar fire and shells, on digging slit trenches and living on all sorts of rations. They have learned to supplement army rations with Sicilian fruit and onions, tomatoes and the harsh "vino" of the country.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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