The Minute Book
Monday, 19 January 2015

Basic Philosophy of Soldiering
Topic: Leadership

Basic Philosophy of Soldiering

Col. Glover S. Johns Jr.
(1912 – 1976

Colonel Glover S. Johns — OBITUARY — Col. Glover S. Johns Jr.

Colonel Glover Johns

1.     Strive to do small things well.

2.     Be a doer and a self-starter-aggressiveness and initiative are two most admired qualities in a leader-but you must also put your feet up and THINK.

3.     Strive for self-improvement through constant self-evaluation.

4.     Never be satisfied. Ask of any project, How can it be done better?

5.     Don't over-inspect or over-supervise. Allow your leaders to make mistakes in training, so they can profit from the errors and not make them in combat.

6.     Keep the troops informed; telling them "what, how, and why" builds their confidence.

7.     The harder the training, the more troops will brag.

8.     Enthusiasm, fairness, and moral and physical courage - four of the most important aspects of leadership.

9.     Showmanship-a vital technique of leadership.

10.     The ability to speak and write well-two essential tools of leadership.

11.     There is a salient difference between profanity and obscenity; while a leader employs profanity (tempered with discretion), he never uses obscenities.

12.     Have consideration for others.

13.     Yelling detracts from your dignity; take men aside to counsel them.

14.     Understand and use judgement; know when to stop fighting for something you believe is right. Discuss and argue your point of view until a decision is made, and then support the decision wholeheartedly.

15.     Stay ahead of your boss.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 10 January 2015 3:00 PM EST
Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Defence of Canada 1935
Topic: Canadian Army

The Defence of Canada 1935

In Defence of Canada; From the Great War to the Great Depression, James Eayrs, 1964

McNaughton's paper was entitled "The Defence of Canada." In it he reviewed the changing background of Canadian defence policy since the Great War, and furnished illustrations of existing deficiencies in equipment and ammunition:

"As regards reserves of equipment and ammunition, the matter is shortly disposed of. Except as regards rifles and rifle ammunition, partial stocks of which were inherited from the Great War…there are none.

As regards equipment, the situation is almost equally serious, and to exemplify it I select a few items from the long lists of deficiencies on file at NDHQ:

(i)     There is not a single modern anti-aircraft gun of any sort in Canada.

(ii)     The stocks of field gun ammunition on hand represent 90 minutes' fire at normal rates for the field guns inherited from the Great War and which are now obsolescent.

(iii)     The coast defence armament is obsolete and, in some cases, defective in that a number of the major guns are not expected to be able to fire more than a dozen rounds. To keep some defence value in these guns, which are situated on the Pacific Coast, we have not dared for some years to indulge in any practice firing.

(iv) vAbout the only article of which stocks are is practically useless….

(v)     There are only 25 aircraft of service type in Canada, all of which are obsolescent for training purposes….

(vi)     Not one service air bomb is held in Canada.

The situation as generally outlined above with respect to equipment and ammunition is one that can be viewed only with the gravest concern. And with the rapidly deteriorating international situation the position is becoming more and more disquieting …" ["The Defence of Canada," Memorandum by MacNaughton, 5 April 1935 (revised 28 May 1935) Army Records (112.3M2009.D7).]

McNaughton's memorandum was circulated among members of the Cabinet on 28 May. On the following day he appeared before the Cabinet. It was his last act as Chief of the General Staff.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 17 January 2015

CEF Discharge Depot: Invaliding
Topic: CEF

Adjutant-General's Branch

CEF Discharge Depot: Invaliding

Report of the Ministry
Overseas Military Forces of Canada; 1918

As it became necessary, from time to time, to despatch to Canada parties of men, principally those being returned by the Allocation Board, i.e,, men in a low category whose services were not required, as well as men who were being returned for special reasons, such as instructional purposes, it was essential that these men should be uniformly prepared and held for embarkation at short notice. A Unit was, therefore, organised and known as No. 1 Canadian Discharge Depot, and, in view of the fact that the majority of sailings took place from Liverpool, it was located at Buxton. During the year ending December 31, 1918, the Buxton Discharge Depot handled 21,622 men returning to Canada, of which number 1,152 were proceeding on furlough.

In the early part of 1918 permanent Transatlantic Conducting Staffs, who were in charge of reinforcements from Canada, reported at the Discharge Depot, Buxton, on arrival. They were then detailed by the Officer Commanding the Depot to take charge of whatever party was returning to Canada and, in addition to this Staff, an officer was detailed by Headquarters, Overseas Military Forces of Canada, to take charge of each district party under the command of the Officer Commanding the Permanent Conducting Staff.

In addition to personnel returning to the Discharge Depot, Buxton, there were men who, on account of their wounds or sickness, had been marked by the Medical Authorities as soldiers who should be invalided to Canad for further treatment. These men were known as Invaliding Cases, and until June, 1918, such men were returned to Canada in regular hospital ships which had been taken over by the Canadian Government and were making periodical crossings from England to Canada. After the sinking of H.M.H.S. Llandovery Castle, the practice of using hospital ships was discontinued, and vessels known as Ambulance Transports were employed. These vessels travelled under escort up to the time of the Armistice.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 16 January 2015

Canadian Navy Plans New Ship (1963)
Topic: RCN

Watch HMCS Brador on Youtube

Canadian Navy Plans New Ship

The Evening Independent; 21 September 1963
Copley News Service

Ottawa, Canada — An ocean-going hydrofoil ship is being developed for the Royal Canadian Navy for antisubmarine defence.

"No country has yet produced an ocean-going hydrofoil," Vice Adm. H.S. Rayner told the Parliamentary Defence Committee, at a recent hearing. "We hope Canada will be the first to do so."

A contract for the hydrofoil R-200, which Rayner called a "very interesting vessel," has been let to De Havilland.

It will be 151½ feet in length, have a bean of 21½ feet and a draft of 23 feet in displacement mode, and 7 1.2 feet when foil borne. It will displace 180 tons and cruise at 16 knots in the displacement mode and more than 50 knots when foil borne. Her crew will be more than 20 personnel.

If successful, the ship should place Canada in the forefront of hydrofoil design and construction, Rayner said. A design for a weapons system for the craft is being worked out.

The prototype is planned to be ready for trials in 1966, and it is expected that it will take eight to nine months to test the craft thoroughly. Weapons and sonar would be installed if the trials are successful, and the navy would decide sometime in 1967 whether to go ahead with a fleet of hydrofoils.

Hydrofoils which the Canadian navy has in mind would operate for seven or eight days at sea, mainly in the displacement mode, which would give them maximum endurance. They would step up to foil borne posture only to go somewhere in a great hurry, as when in contact with a submarine.

The cost of the prototype is estimated at $13 million. Not including money for development of a weapons system.

The Royal Canadian Navy entry on HMCS Brador as presented in Janes's Fighting Ships 1967-68.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Spirit of the Bayonet
Topic: Drill and Training

This photo, which shows the bayonet fighting team of The Royal Canadian Regiment in Bermuda (1915) illustates the seriousness with which this was taken as a military sport. Note the padded suits and protective helmets, as the training rifles with blunt tipped bayonet forms.

"Remember that every Boche you fellows kill is a point scored to our side; every Boche you kill brings victory one minute nearer and shortens the war by one minute. Kill them! Kill them! There's only one good Boche, and that's a dead one!"

The Spirit of the Bayonet

Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, Siegfried Sassoon, 1930

But the star turn in the schoolroom was a massive sandy-haired Highland Major whose subject was "The Spirit of the Bayonet". Though at that time undecorated, he was afterwards awarded the D.S.O. for lecturing. He took as his text a few leading points from the Manual of Bayonet Training.

To attack with the bayonet effectively requires Good Direction, Strength and Quickness, during a state of wild excitement and probably physical exhaustion. The bayonet is essentially an offensive weapon. In a bayonet assault all ranks go forward to kill or be killed, and only those who have developed skill and strength by constant training will be able to kill. The spirit of the bayonet must be inculcated into all ranks, so that they go forward with that aggressive determination and confidence of superiority born of continual practice, without which a bayonet assault will not be effective.

He spoke with homicidal eloquence, keeping the game alive with genial and well-judged jokes. He had a Sergeant to assist him. The Sergeant, a tall sinewy machine, had been trained to such a pitch of frightfulness that at a moment's warning he could divest himself of all semblance of humanity. With rifle and bayonet he illustrated the Major's ferocious aphorisms, including facial expression. When told to "put on the killing face", he did so, combining it with an ultra-vindictive attitude. "To instil fear into the opponent" was one of the Major's main maxims. Man, it seemed, had been created to jab the life out of Germans. To hear the Major talk, one might have thought that he did it himself every day before break fast. His final words were: "Remember that every Boche you fellows kill is a point scored to our side; every Boche you kill brings victory one minute nearer and shortens the war by one minute. Kill them! Kill them! There's only one good Boche, and that's a dead one!"

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 14 January 2015

LAC Research Guides
Topic: LAC

LAC Research Guides

From the Library and Archives Canada Blog, these links to research guides may help you in your ongoing research into the service of Canadian soldiers.:

Guide to Sources Relating to Units of the CEF (LAC Blog link)

The Guide to Sources Relating to Units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force is an indispensable starting point for researching the records that document Canada's participation in the First World War. It is a unique finding aid that brings together references to records and files scattered throughout several different archival fonds, which relate to almost every unit in the CEF.

The Guide was originally developed over many years by Barbara Wilson, an archivist with the former National Archives of Canada, now Library and Archives Canada. The guide has subsequently been updated with more recent acquisitions from official records, private papers and diaries, and by many other contributors from Library and Archives Canada. The guide was reviewed and updated with references to the Ministry of Militia and Defence records and daily orders, which are described by Library and Archives Canada as Record Group 9 or RG9.

New Research Guides (LAC Blog link)

Library and Archives Canada has announced two new guides: Guide to Sources Relating to the Canadian Militia, 1855 – 1988 and Guide to Sources Relating to Canadian Naval Vessels, 1909 – 1983. The guides were originally compiled over many years by the late Barbara Wilson (1931 – 2014), an archivist with the former National Archives of Canada, now Library and Archives Canada.


Guide to Sources Relating to the Canadian Militia, 1855 – 1988

This guide is an indispensable starting point for researching the records that document Canadian militia units. It is a unique finding aid that brings together, by militia unit name, references to records and files scattered throughout several different archival fonds held at Library and Archives Canada.

Guide to Sources Relating to Canadian Naval Vessels, 1909 – 1983

This guide is an indispensable starting point for researching the records documenting Canadian naval vessels that served with the Royal Canadian Navy. It is a unique finding aid that brings together—by ship's name—references to records and files scattered throughout several different volumes of archival fonds of the Department of National Defence.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2015 7:20 PM EST
Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Medal Sales; it's easy to be critical
Topic: Medals

Medal Sales; it's easy to be critical

I was reading a post on facebook not long ago where someone on a soldiers' memorial site posted a link to an auction for the medals and Memorial Cross to a Canadian airman who died during the Second World War. As often happens, this was followed by a post stating that they "should NOT be for sale. Whoever currently owns these should do everything possible to locate a family member of the deceased and return the medals free of charge," and another that this sale was "Inconceivable …", and that it was "disgusting making money off of them."

In balance, other posters held more moderate views. These posted comments such as "if they are for sale then someone in the family did not want them. It may be better to have them in the hands of a collector who will treasure them more. Later they may end up back with the family or in a museum."

It's easy to be critical of someone else's actions. Offering criticism, either directly or by "innocently" suggesting what "should" be done, costs nothing. One doesn't have to open their wallet to offer criticism. One doesn't have to do anything to offer criticism. Yet by offering such remarks, they portray themselves as speaking from a position of moral superiority, their beliefs being reinforced by comments of agreement from others.

For those who would be critical and feel they need to declare what the seller should be doing instead, I would (and did) offer the following advice:

"If anyone thinks that efforts should be made to find the families connected to medals that are for sale, and believe that the price involved should be sacrificed by the current owner, then feel free to buy them with your own money and conduct that search for the family. Just remember that these medals, in nearly every case, were sold by family members in the first place (and not all to buy bread during the Depression years), so do not be surprised if you later see them somewhere for sale again. Not all families and not all individuals share the same feelings for the historic and sentimental value of these medals as you might. A few would happily take them graciously with one hand and sell them the following week with the other. And if you find several competing "claims" for a free gift of medals from you, how will you choose which descendant, or distant relative in the case of no direct offspring, will you give them to?

In a not unfamiliar trend, comments on the post continued in the vein that the choice of a family member to sell medals was a foreign concept. At face value, this is a well supported sentiment by those who might frequent a Facebook page commemorating soldiers, but it also fails to acknowledge that other views are possible, and equally supportable by those who hold them.

In commenting on this view, I added:

"It's not hard to imagine at all. Some people just don't feel the same way about parts (or any, for some) of their family history. Searches on ebay for "my father's medals" or "my grandfather's medal" will occasionally turn up auctions where the sellers are completely open about passing them along that way. It's also not hard to imagine someone having a father's or grandfather's medals, only to associate them with the pain he might have suffered from injuries seen or unseen. Those medals, for some, may be reminders, not of pride and honour but of pain and suffering, and they want to remove that reminder from their lives. Who are we to determine what justification someone needs to keep medals, or what reasons might be appropriate for medals to be sold by a family member. Many people talk about the freedoms soldiers have protected for us, one of those might be considered the freedom to choose what to do with personal property. Sentimental value, for that is what we are discussing, is a personal choice, not something to be directed, or expected of others.

It's easy to suggest that others should share one's own feelings about medals, or anything else one chooses. Social media sites, like facebook, provide a perfect platform where those of like mind continue to reinforce each others' opinions. But, as a popular book and television series states "words are wind," and leave as little impression once they are past. For those who would decry the sale of medals, and vilify the dealers and collectors, I would ask this:—

"Why aren't you buying them and donating them to museums, or returning them to families? It costs nothing to suggest they should be donated, but is that sentiment strong enough to be worth your money to put into action? Are you ready to put your money where your mouth is?"

I have yet to see any grass roots movement to acquire medals to donate them to museums. Perhaps it is because some of those who might do so realize that medals in museums are often lost to public view, the space and money to display them being unavailable. Perhaps some actually realize that collectors do more to preserve and promote the history behind these medals them many museums are able to do. And perhaps some realize that dealers and collectors are willing to back their commitment to preserving history with time, energy and their own hard-earned money.

It's easy to criticize the selling of medals when you offer nothing but words.

I, for one, will continue to collect medals, to research the soldiers that were awarded them, and to add to my regiment's understanding of their service.

For those who would spend their time criticizing my hobby, perhaps you need one of your own.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2015 12:13 AM EST
Monday, 12 January 2015

Canadians on Salisbury Plain (1915)
Topic: CEF

Canadians Obtain Good Experience

Bad Roads help to harden Men for Work in France
Finishing Touches
Discipline Has Been the One failure—Disobedience Well Punished

The Toronto World; 12 January 1915
By John A. MacLaren, one of The World's Staff Correspondents with the Canadian Expeditionary Force

Salisbury, Eng., Dec. 22.—To turn the raw material into the finished product, to make the recruit—with his woeful lack of knowledge of matters military, probably the most important of which is discipline—into a real soldier, authorities have said that nine months of hard training is necessary. In the British regular army a soldier is not supposed to know all the ropes in less than that period. The Canadians have now been drilling for four months, and they believe they are ready to meet the enemy at any time. Their work has been harder than that of a recruit in the British army in times of peace. They have been living under practically active service conditions in the rain and mud of Salisbury, and not in barracks, with two or three weeks in the autumn of manoeuvres, which is the only occasion when the British regulars get a taste of what war may be like. So after our months, on account of the great emergency, the Canadian volunteers who have had to undergo untold hardships, may be almost as well equipped for genuine fighting as the an who spends nine months picking up the rudiments of the game in barracks.

There is much talk of the force going to France in the latter part of January, or five months after the call to arms was sounded throughout Canada, and if this should occur it will not come as a surprise but as a relief. The long waiting and suspense will be over.

Stand the Strain

There appears to be every indication that the finishing touches are being applied to the training course. It is recognized that the men are physically fit. Their muscles are hard, and working during such bad weather has placed them in splendid condition.

The old system of double company formation instead of platoons is now working smoothly, and officers, who were rather green at first, are handling their men with greater confidence and success. The reason for discarding the platoon formation was that it did not work satisfactorily in France. Right here it may be said that the men in harness in England getting ready to fight are taught to a great extent, according to wrinkles found in the firing line. The platoon system would not have been dropped had it not been found unwieldy in France.

There is a certain soldier greatly admired in England. He wears a blue and white ribbon on his sleeve. This is a sign that he has returned from the front on furlough. While he is in England his short vacation is not one entirely one of leisure. In many instances he is found teaching the young an idea of what he himself learned first hand. In the Canadian camp a few of these men have been giving instructions to those who are getting ready. For example, in the important matter of digging trenches they teach the Canadian the width and the depth of trenches and other valuable things in the use of the spade. It has been said that next to the gun the spade is winning this war. At all events the Canadians are taught how to dig trenches properly. These ditches zig-zag here and there across the downs, an indication of the industry of the men who may soon be performing similar work in France.

Leave Cut Off

As has been pointed out, I a cable all leave will be cut off after January 1st. One would imagine that this order would disappoint the men. But not so. It has had the other effect. The Canadians believe that it means a early departure, and that is what they want.

Some new equipment has been added to the force. Four or eight new machine guns will be used in each battalion, and each officer of a machine gun squad has been taking instruction on their use. The quick-firers are somewhat different from those formerly used. This type of weapon has been recognized as a great factor in the war. Capt. McKessock of the 48th Highlanders, Toronto, who practiced law in Sudbury for years, and Lieutenant Macdonald of the Queen's Own are both officers in command of machine guns. This branch od the service has proved very fascinating, if the large waiting list in any criterion.

Poor Discipline

One of the most difficult tasks confronting commanding officers is teaching their men to obey. There has been a lack of discipline apparent and this undoubtedly is due principally to the fact that neither Canadian officers nor men are professional soldiers. But there has been a great tightening up, and the men are gradually learning that it pays to obey. The penalty for disobedience is strict. Not long ago a man received his pay and went over to the canteen. He didn't come back for a week, for after visiting this little wooden hut where beer is served, he journeyed to London. When he returned he got thirty days in a military prison. It was his second offence. When the contingent first arrived here overstaying leave was quite common. But this has all changed.

The Canadians—many of them—salute only when necessary. They look upon this form of exercise as an inconvenience and unnecessary except when they meet one of their own officers. But, as in many other things, they are quickly learning to do the proper thing—to pay respect to the rank. British officers are sticklers for etiquette, consequently the British rankers are always very proper.

The other day General Pitcairn Campbell, commander of the Southern Command, while walking along a Salisbury street, passed a couple of westerners. They did not salute him. The general wheeled around and shouted, "Hey, hey, why the devil don't you salute me?"

No answer.

The Canadians immediately came to attention and saluted very briskly.

"You're not supposed to salute with one hand in your pocket," said the general to one of the offenders. "See that you salute an officer hereafter," and then the general and the two miscreants, which nerves were greatly on edge, parted company. The Canadian were thankful that nothing further occurred.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 12 January 2015 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 11 January 2015

How the Legion Halls are Failing
Topic: Commentary

How the Legion Halls are Failing Todays Veterans

Michael M. O'Leary

The Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) continues to promote itself as the voice of the Canadian veteran in dealing with the Government and other national agencies. Despite the upsurge of splinter veterans' groups, admittedly the result of so many ex-service members being made to feel unwelcome in Legion halls because they were not official "big 'V' Veterans" under the old rules, the RCL continues to dominate the discussions that influence change, Many of those splinter groups are represented, at the media face of their operations, by angry representatives whose vitriolic speech achieves little but a hardening of the bureaucracy to not be held hostage to empty threats and bombast.

But the Royal Canadian Legion has its own problems. Most significant among these is the disconnect between the institutional goals of the RCL to support and help veterans, and the local goals of Legion branches to sustain brick and mortar Legion halls and their perpetual schedules of dart and euchre tournaments, fish fry dinners, and how to keep the lights on over the horseshoe pits. Increasingly, these Legion branches have been run by committees with no (or very few) ex-serving members among themselves or, in some cases, among their membership at all.

Many Legion branches have reached the point where they have little connection to, or understanding of, the needs of younger veterans as individuals. Most of the veteran care initiatives they have brokered over the past few decades have been geriatric care issues. This lack of connection is especially so in regard to young, newly released (or even still serving) soldiers, sailors and airmen (and women). Much of this disconnect comes from a failure to understand what the Legion hall did in its original conception, and how that served the veterans who frequented them in the early days of the institution.

As anyone who has been watching the explosion of on line discussions about actually helping and supporting new veterans will realize, the most valuable resource they need and capitalize on is effective communication. This is not communications with existing veteran organizations, or with Government agencies, it is communications among themselves. Nothing has changed from the days when their grandfathers and great-grandfathers returned from the wars of their respective generations.

Many of the Legion branches across Canada trace their roots to the years after the First World War or the Second World War. They were formed by local veterans who, by sheer demographic participation, were present in platoon and company and battalion sized groups in large and small towns across the country. I use those specific terms for their groups intentionally. In the First and Second World War, it was most likely that men who knew one another enlisted together. They joined the same units, trained together, and served together. They came home to the same towns, having shared the same experiences, having lost the same friends, and were there to remember and to represent that service and loss to the families of their friends whose sons, brothers and fathers did not return. The evolution of the Legion halls was a natural formation of structure around the soldiers, sailors and airmen with shared service who found comfort and communication among themselves, Their connection was not that they had served, but that they had served together.

Today, new veterans don't join the Legion, and the Legion doesn't really understand why. Legion executive members without military service see the Legions as "places where veterans gather" and have no personal experience to understand the essential context of shared experience which leads to the needed levels of inter-communication between veterans. Those executives confuse what the Legion halls became over 60 or 80 years with what their original purpose in supporting returned veterans was. What the modern veteran needs, the current Legion branches with their halls and bars cannot provide.

So, what are the new veterans doing? They are seeking and developing ways to communicate, with each other. Not just with other veterans, but with the veterans they served with, the same benefit those veterans of the World Wars found in their hometown Legion halls with the fellow Legionnaires that they served with. The new veterans are building, in the online environment, exactly what their predecessors used to have. The existing Legion halls have no role in the way this informal communication network is evolving. In fact, the way the new veterans are building their own virtual groups is completely foreign to most of the current generation of Legion executive members and only by radical change will the Royal Canadian Legion be able to repurpose their facilities to serve the new generation of veterans.

The new veterans aren't looking for bars, they're probably the first generation of veterans that widely understand that taking your hurting friend to the bar is probably one of the worst options in assisting him in getting help. They also aren't looking for halls, those Legion branch halls that grew out of the need for the original Legionnaires' children and grandchildren to have a place for wedding receptions, and to have dances and expanded games events for married Legionnaires as the Branches changed from close-knit veterans support groups into community service clubs. The new veterans are looking for what the original Legion veterans had before worrying about paying an over-extended mortgage on a dilapidated building became the executive's biggest worry.

In the 1920s, an ex-soldier might go to the Legion hall after work on Friday, and sit at the bar next to the guy he shared a trench dugout with for over three years in France. In the 1950s, his son went to the Legion hall and sat beside the guys he crewed a tank with in Normandy. Today's veteran walks past the Legion hall in southwestern Ontario, because he knows his fire team partner went back home to Prince George, British Columbia, and they will possibly never have a weekly chat together in person. He also knows that no-one in that hall can fill that role in place of his fire team partner. So he goes home, logs into the internet and asks his buddy on facebook or by email how he is doing, and sends along one of the photos he took of that friend sleeping against a mud brick wall in Afghanistan. They connect, they talk, they check up on one another, but the current Legion hall has no role because its current format does not serve their needs.

Want to revamp your branch's Legion hall? Sit down with a few of the new veterans (you know the ones, some of them are barely out of their teens) and ask what they'd like to see. It may be time to tear down half your bar and install a modern coffee facility, and train your bartender to be a decent barista. Ask how they talk to their fellow soldiers, the ones they served with that now live a thousand miles away. It may be time to install a wifi network, add internet terminals in quiet rooms, and video conferencing capabilities that let them see each other and talk to one another, or even to play video games with each other across that digital divide (because they are not going to be joining your euchre league any time soon). Build communication networks, ones that multiple veterans in Legion halls across the country can use to share a discussion. Facilitate the communication they are seeking, don't presume to be the people they want to talk to. In this way, there's a chance for the RCL to provide what the Legion halls did for past generations, but it needs the realization that the bar was a place to sit and talk; it was not a purpose in itself.

Today's veterans aren't looking to immediately become the new generation of blue-jacketed Legionnaires at Remembrance Day ceremonies. But they do have the same needs as the veterans of the 1920s and 30s, and of the 50s and 60s. They need to be able to talk to each other as the most important capability the RCL can provide them. The challenge comes from the fact that they don't live in the same towns the way those earlier generations of veterans did. But that's ok, the means and technology exist to support their needs. All it will take within the Royal Canadian Legion is the will to make it happen, both at the institutional level and in the individual branches across the country.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 11 January 2015 12:08 AM EST
Saturday, 10 January 2015

Shifting Ordnance Competition (1876)
Topic: Drill and Training

Dominion Artillery Association
Competitive Practice

Militia General Orders; Ottawa, 15 December 1876
Published in the Canada Gazette

Circular 14—Shifting Ordnance competition.—Open to all Garrison Artillery corps affiliated with the Dominion Artillery Association:

A 50 cwt S.B. [smooth-bore] Gun mounted on a wooden garrison carriage (sights removed) to be dismounted by an Officer or N.C. Officer with a detachment of 20. The gun is not to be dismounted by throwing it off the side of the carriage, or overturning the latter sideways; which would be likely to damage it. After dismounting, the gun is to be remounted on its carriage by parbuckling on a single skid, and a round of blank ammunition fired. The detachment dismounting and firing in the shortest time to be declared winner. Any mistakes in drill to be corrected by the umpire, and the time so lost will count against the detachment which must work by numbers, and keep silence; 10 seconds will he deducted for every word spoken by any one of the detachment, except the commander.

Stores and side arms to be arranged on the ground before the word "commence" is given.

Stores allowed:—

  • 1 long parbuckling skid 20 feet 8 x 8;
  • 2 parbuckle ropes;
  • 1 short skid 6 x 9;
  • 1 short skid 4 x 4;
  • 1 12-ft. lever;
  • 8 6-ft. handspikes;
  • 6 scotches;
  • 2 skids to receive the gun on the ground.

For the competition, men must be in uniform, but tunics may be unbuttoned and belts removed.

Prize: Gold embroidered badge, and "Hand-book, for Field Service," for the commander of the winning detachment; $20 for the detachment."

In accordance with the above circular;

  • "B" Battery G.A. competed on the 28th November, 1876 — Time 7 minutes.
  • "A" Battery G.A. competed on the 28th November 1876. Time 1 minute 33.7 sec.

The following Dominion Artillery Association Prizes were therefore distributed as follows :

  • To Staff Sergeant Swaine "A " Battery G.A. in command of the successful squad, a Gold Embroidered badge of cross skids and Hand-book for Field Service.
  • To the successful competing squad of "A" Battery G.A. a sum of $20.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 9 January 2015

Army Restructure (1968)
Topic: Canadian Army

Restructure of Army Combat Groups Means More French Canadian Units

The Montreal Gazette; 20 August 1968
By Larry McInnis (Staff Writer, The Gazette)

Formation of four combat units in Canada meant little more than a redesignation of Infantry brigade groups in Calgary, Petawawa and Gagetown, but Valcartier, the 5th Combat Group of French-speaking units will mean a substantial "shot in the arm" to the Quebec City economy.

Each of the combat groups will be composed of two infantry battalions, an armored regiment, an artillery regiment, and supporting units.

The 3rd Combat Group at Gagetown, for example, was formerly the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade Group, and was made up of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of The Royal Highland Regiment (Black Watch) of Canada (infantry), the Royal Canadian Dragoons (armored), and one of the four regiments of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery — plus the usual support elements.

The new new designation does not change this structure, except that each of the infantry battalions will now have three rifle companies instead of four, and the armored and artillery regiments will have two instead of three squadrons of batteries.

In Valcartier, though, the situation is quite different. In the past, it has been the home of three battalions of the Royal 22nd Regiment. And one of these has always been on duty overseas, in Germany or Cyprus.

At a press conference last Friday Brigadier-General Roland Reid, who will command the new combat group, confirmed that the existing strength of personnel in field units at Valcartier will increase from approximately 2,500 to 3,500 with formation of the new armored and artillery regiments.

At a rough guess, this increase will mean an additional $6,000,000 annually pumped into the Quebec City area economy as the result of wages alone.

Brig-Gen. Reid also confirmed that there would be a need for expanded permanent accommodation to correspond with the increase in troops strength.

Asked to put an estimate on the value of new construction, Brig-Gen. Reid said that although planning was underway, it was not far enough advanced to make a monetary estimate at this time.

The fact that an armored regiment is part of the new combat group will mean additional expenditures in preparation of adequate tank-range facilities. This is the first time that an armored regiment will be based at Valcartier.

Perhaps it was with a tank range (and artillery firing range) in mind that the Department of National Defence expropriated enough land just a couple of years ago to triple the size of the Valcartier training area. Although the residents of Shannon protested at the time, the expropriations stood, and while those expropriated didn't suffer financially, contractors are bound to benefit greatly over the next few years.

Equally important as construction in the fact that he formation of new units in Quebec marks the first time that there have been any real changes in the military structure in the province for a good many years, other than the usual change of names and roles of various units.

The new armored regiment — 12e Régiment blindé du Canada — will be equipped with the new Lynx reconnaissance vehicles that are currently being brought into service to replace the antique Ferret scout cars.

The Lynx is a first cousin of the M-113-A1 armored personnel carrier used by the infantry, so the maintenance problems should be simplified.

The establishment calls for a regimental headquarters squadron, three reconnaissance squadrons and a helicopter squadron. Due to the economic situation and peacetime restrictions, one reconnaissance squadron and the helicopter squadron will not be activated.

Choice of the name of the armored regiment is also interesting. During the Second World War, the Three Rivers Regiment (now called the Régiment de Trois Rivières) was designated the 12th Armored Regiment, and it is the Three Rivers Regiment that is being perpetuated.

Régiment de Trois Rivières is a Militia unit (armored) based at, naturally enough, Three Rivers. Brig-Gen. Reid surprised everyone, including many senior officers, at his press conference Friday when he said that the reserve unit has been called the 12e Régiment blindé du Canada (Militia) since may. All the glory of the reserve unit, including its battle honors and flags, will become property of the Regular element of the unit.

Officers at the conference only smiled when it was suggested that the name choice came because General Jean-Victor Allard, Chief of the Defence Staff, is from Three Rivers and in the fall of 1966 he was honored by the city with a presentation of historical documents of the area, and honored again in a long ceremony staged by the Régiment de Trois Rivières.

Gen. Allard, the first French-Canadian to command not only the land forces of Canada but all the forces, started his military career in Three Rivers.

The new units is described as a light armored regiment, with its primary role as reconnaissance. Realistically, however, it will be equipped not with any new, light tanks, but with the aging Centurion.

The artillery regiment will fare a little better. It will be equipped with the L-5, Italian designed 105 mm, howitzer. The new weapon is air portable, and so fits in well with the overall mobility plans of Mobile Command, which controls all the new combat groups. The Lynx, also, is easily adapted to air transportation.

But the Centurion …

The infantry battalions will suffer somewhat also. They are being trimmed from four to three rifle companies, primarily because it is expected that quite a few personnel now serving in the infantry units will transfer to the new armored and artillery units.

Besides that, though, only one of the three companies in each battalion will be equipped with the M-113-A1 armored personnel carriers. The other two will be motorized rather than mechanized, and will travel in trucks.

As one battalion commander pointed out, this does not mean that one company will be designated custodians of the carriers. All troops will be trained and practiced on them. And as far as training is concerned, he said, the new system will mean that personnel can be rotated on a man-for-man basis with personnel serving with the 4th Canadian mechanized Brigade Group in Germany, whereas in the past it required entire units for rotation.

Across Canada, the whole concept means a trimming down of establishment to fit the personnel available.

In Quebec, the approach is equally practical, but perhaps in a different direction.

Of all the young men joining the Canadian Armed Forces, 27 per cent come from French-language homes. However, the retention rate is so poor that of all those serving at present, only 15 per cent have French as their primary language.

The new combat group of French-language units, it is hoped, will reverse this trend and entice not only more French-Canadians to join the service, but will entice them to stay in. Another factor, of course, is that the working language will be French for the greater part of most careers, and families can attend French-language schools in Quebec.

In May, 1968, when the news that the French-language units would be formed (The Gazette, May 8, 1968), there was a lot of hard feelings in other parts of Canada, and particularly in the Maritimes. The issue was bitterly fought out in Cabinet before the 25 June election, and apparently those who favored the new system, such as Defence Minister Léo Cadieux, won out. There has been little comment or criticism since.

As yet it is hard to put a complete price ag on the benefits which will accrue to the Province of Quebec, but considering accommodation (military and private), development, construction projects, supplies, and that many, many other services required by the military from civilian sources, the cash amount pumped into the province should be substantial indeed, perhaps as high as $15,000,000.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 8 January 2015

Topp Commands the GGFG (1926)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Governor General's Foot Guards on parade, 1927.

Colonel Topp Now Gazetted O.C. of Guards

Col. R.F. Parkinson Goes to Reserve of Officers After Four Years at Head of Crack Regiment
Mentioned for Brigade Command before Long
New Commanding Officer Serving With Distinction During Great War

The Ottawa Citizen; 12 April 1926

C.B. Topp

C. Beresford Topp was born in Bracebridge, Ontario. He served in both the First and Second World Wars and was wounded three times in the First, when he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and bar and the Military Cross and bar as an officer of the 42nd Battalion, CEF (Royal Highlanders of Canada). For his services in the Second World War he was awarded the Order of the British Empire. He became commandant at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa, during WW II. He was secretary of the Pensions Appeal Board from 1924 to 1935 and a member of the pensions commission from 1956 to 1964. Upon his death in 1976 he held the rank of Brigadier- General.

Lt.-Col. R.F. Parkinson, D.S.O., for the past four years the commanding officer of the Governor General's Foot Guards, ceases to command that regiment as from October 4 last, and major C.B. Topp, D.S.O., M.C., is promoted to Lt.-Colonel commanding the regiment.

Lt.-Col. Parkinson has completed the prescribed three years in command and an extra year by request. He thus automatically goes on the reserve list, is slated, it is understood from unofficial sources, for a brigade command in the neat future.

Lt.-Col. Parkinson has completed twenty-five years in the active militia of Canada, having enlisted first in the Collegiate Institute Cadet Corps of Woodstock, Ont., and later the 22nd Regiment, Oxford Rifles. On coming to Ottawa, he was given a commission in the 43rd Regiment Duke of Cornwall's Own Rifles, in which corps he had attained the rank of captain in 1914 with the command of “F” Company.

On Active Service

At the end of 1914, when the 38th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force was being organized in Ottawa, he was appointed captain and had the responsibility of organizing and mobilizing “A” Company of that unit, the recruits for which came largely from the 43rd Regiment.

Later, in the field, he filled the posts of company commander, with the rank of major, adjutant and second-in-command of the 35th Battalion, and after Vimy Ridge, 1917, commanded the battalion at various times in 1918, and in September of that year he was appointed to the personal staff of Canada's minister in England, Sir Edward Kemp. At the same time in addition to secretarial duties he became director of the Canadian War Records in succession to Lord Beaverbrook.

In Command G.G.F.G.

Lt.-Col. Parkinson returned to Canada in 1919 and was demobilized in June of that year. He was mentioned in despatches in June, 1917, and June, 1918. also being awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1918.

The colonel actively identifying himself with the reorganization of the Governor General's Foot Guards in 1930, was, on October 4, 1921, gazetted to command the crack regiment of the Capital. After serving the prescribed three year term he was requested, in view of past service, to accept a year's extension, the expiration of which now marks the change in command.

While he commanded the regiment the Governor General's Foot Guards established a record among Canadian regiments for rifle shooting, winning, in addition to the majority of team prizes at the big rile shooting competitions, such individual wins as the King's Prize and the Governor General's Medal. In addition the regiment secured more places on the Canadian Bisley team than any other single unit.

It was during Lt.-Col. Parkinson's regime that the regiment celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Guards' New O.C.

Lt.-Colonel C.B. Topp. D.S.O., M.C., new commanding officer of the Governor General's Foot Guards, was, at the outbreak of the war, a member of the editorial staff of the Toronto Mail and Empire. He proceeded to France with the first Canadian Division as a war correspondent. Shortly after his arrival in France he resigned from the staff of the Mail and Empire in order to join the fighting forces. After receiving a commission as a lieutenant he became an officer of the 42nd Highlanders of Montreal and served with distinction with that unit during 1916, 1917 and 1918, having the honor to command that famous battalion at various intervals, including the final days of the great struggle. He was wounded three times, and for his conspicuously gallant services was awarded the D.S.O. and the Military Cross and bar in additions to being mentioned in despatches.

Returning to Canada, Lt.-Col. Topp assumed charge of the Returned Soldiers' Branch of the D.S.C.R., and organized this important undertaking and remained in charge of administration until the period during which the returned soldiers' insurance was being given was ended. He then became secretary of the Federal Appeal Board, holding this post at the time of his present appointment.

At the present time in addition, he is an acting commissioner of the Federal Appeal Board.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Good Conduct Pay (1906)
Topic: Pay; the Queen's shilling

Good Conduct Pay

Canadian Militia; Regulations Affecting Pay and Allowances
Canada Gazette; 5 May 1906

Service Chevrons (1906)

The Quebec Saturday Budget,
6 January 1906

In order to provide a means of distinguishing those men under the rank of sergeant, and who have served continuously in their corps for three years, and has re-enlisted therein for a second period of three years of similar service, there will be issued to each a service chevron of one bar to be worn when in uniform (on the left arm below the elbow) during the period of re-enlistment.

An additional chevron of one bar will be issued, to be worn similarly, to those who re-enlist for further service, after completion of each period of three years.

147.     Acting bombardiers, lance corporals and men under those ranks shall be paid good conduct pay at the rate of twp cents per diem for the first, three cents per diem for the second and four cents per diem for the third year of service to be issued at the termination of engagement; and on re-engagement for a further period of three years shall be paid good conduct paay at the rate of five cents per diem for the first, six cents per diem for the second and seven cents per diem for the third year of re-engagement; issuable as above.

The latter rate, viz:—seven cents per diem, shall be continued without further increase to those who re-engage for a further period. (Para. 1003, R. & O., 1904)

148.     The issue of good conduct pay shall be, however, in any instance, dependent upon the service being continuous, dating from first enlistment in the corps. (Para. 1004, R. & O., 1904)

149.     Good conduct pay for three months, at the rate paid during the year, shall be forfeited for each entry against the individual in the Regimental Defaulter's Book (Para. 1005, R. & O., 1904)

150.     Hereafter, subject to the above provision, good conduct pay may issue for broken periods, completed prior to expiration of enlistment or re-engagement in cases where men are discharged by purchase or are physically unfit for service. (Para. 1006, R. & O., 1904)

151.     Men discharged on termination of period of enlistment or by purchase or otherwise, and subsequently re-enlisting in any branch of the permanent force, may reckon previous service for good conduct pay on the following conditions:—

(1) That he acknowledged his former service at time of re-enlistment; (2) that he was, when discharged, in possession of two good conduct badges; (3) and that he re-enlisted within one year of discharge. (Para. 1007, R. & O., 1904)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Dry Canteens (CEF)

General Orders; 1915

Ottawa, 1st April 1915

General Order 43
King's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Militia, 1910 — Amendments

The following is added as Paragraph 954 a:—

Dry Canteens

1.     The establishment of dry canteens for each unit of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and also for each unit of the Active Militia during the period of training is authorized.

2.     These canteens are to be organized, administered and carried on under the supervision and direction of the officer commanding the unit, or a committee appointed by him. They are to be inspected daily by an officer, and once a month by the commanding officer the unit, or n officer appointed by him, at which inspection the books, accounts and vouchers, and also an audited cash statement are to be submitted.

3.     These canteens are to be maintained solely for the use and benefit of the unit and are not, on any account, to be sub-let or handed over to any other person or persons. They are to be managed by a member of the unit and no one else is to be employed in connection with the canteen unless he is an enlisted soldier of such unit. Any profits arising from these canteens are to be applied for the use and benefit of the non-commissioned officers and men of such unit.

4.     Garrison, Regimental or Corps Regulations governing such canteens, and also the hours of opening and closing of the same will be published in regimental or corps orders for the information of all concerned.

5.     The provisions of Paras. 950-954 inclusive, K.R. & O. 1910, will apply, as far as practicable, to all dry canteens established under the authority of this order.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 5 January 2015

New Emergency Kits for Seamen (1943)
Topic: RCN

New Emergency Kits for Seamen (1943)

Include Rum, Cigarettes
British Tell How to Scare Sharks

Ottawa, Jan. 22.—AP—The Royal Canadian Navy, which recently issued an emergency ration container to provide torpedoed seamen with concentrated foods and water for a number of days, announced today the production of a supplementary kit to help them battle the elements while on lifeboats and rafts.

Into each kit, with which each liferaft, boat and float is to be equipped, goes 35 ounces of rum, 180 cigarettes in a waterproof package and large-head fusees, or "wind matches" to light them. A waterproof flashlight, a highly polished mirror for day signaling, a clasp knife, fish hooks, lines, sinkers and trolling spoon, field dressings for injuries, jellies for treatment of burns and five tines of "canned water."

At the same time the British Government in London issued a booklet of instructions to seamen on how to save their lives if torpedoed at sea.

Besides advising them to jump feet first over the lower side to avoid fracturing the heels on the keel or receiving bad injuries from barnacles, the booklet told how to swim through burning oil to avoid bad burns.

"Jump feet first through the flames," it said. "Swim as long as possible under water, then spring above the flames and breathe, taking a breast stroke to push the flames away, then sink and swim under water again."

The booklet dismissed the danger of sharks in five lines. They may rub themselves against the lifeboat, it said, not to overturn the raft but to rid themselves of sea lice. They can usually be scared off by vigorous splashing.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 29 December 2014 10:18 PM EST
Sunday, 4 January 2015

Topic: Drill and Training


A mechanical aide memoire for Tactical Exercses Withour Troops (TEWT) developed by Major A.D.M. Matheson, Royal Canadian Dragoons (later Colonel A.D.M. Matheson, OMM, CD).

Click the cropped images below to open a larger scan of each side of the TEWT-O-GRAF.



The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 4 January 2015 12:07 AM EST
Saturday, 3 January 2015

The Farrier Sergeant's Whiskey
Topic: Humour

Officers of the Governor-General's Body Guard. Humboldt, Saskatchewan. [1885] "L. to r. standing: Maj. Dunn, Lt. Col. G.T. Denison, Capt. Denison, Lt. Merritt. Seated: Quartermaster Charles Mair, Lt. Fleming, Surgeon Baldwin." (1972-270; LAC; C-002594)

The Farrier Sergeant's Whiskey

Soldiering in Canada; Lt.-Col George T. Denison, 1900

[The farrier sergeant] came to me one day [during the 1885 campaign] with a requisition for some horse medicines, for I had no veterinary surgeon, as ours had left Canada just before we started. I looked over the list of things ordered, and forwarded it to Colonel Jackson at Winnipeg. The farrier sergeant told me to mention a particular druggist in Winnipeg, who had furnished us supplies before we left; I did so. Before the box, or large case of medicines, arrived I had a slight suspicion in my mind that he might send a little liquor with the medicines.

When the box arrived, addressed to me and marked veterinary supplies, I said: "Put that in my tent." Major Dunn was with me. I opened it and found some dirty-looking bottles marked colic drenches, regular horse medicine to all appearance. I drew the cork of one bottle, poured a little of the contents into a tin cup, smelt it, tasted it very carefully and passed it to Major Dunn. He tasted it, looked at me and said: "The d—:—d thief." I ordered a parade of all the men, put the farrier sergeant under arrest and the box in front of the line of men. I took the bottles one by one, opened them, generally by knocking the necks off, poured a little into a tin cup and called out the men whom I thought were experts and would know whiskey and not object to it, and would hand them the cup and ask them what it contained. They would say "That is whiskey, sir," and I would empty the bottle out upon the ground. I went on for a number of the bottles, calling up different men and giving them about a glass each, so as to have evidence that it was whiskey. Among others I called Sergeant Patrick Macgregor, who had been in the 13th Hussars, and was a splendid swords-man, and an equally good judge of whiskey, from an experience gained by drinking all he could get.

I poured out a fairly good glass for him, he drank it solemnly and I said "Well, Macgregor, what is it?" "Colonel," he replied, "if I am to take my solemn oath before a court, I would not feel safe to do it on such a small taste as that." I poured out another good glass and he drank it slowly, looking up now and again and taking sips and evidently enjoying it, and everyone laughing at his wise and solemn expression, until he finished it. He then felt himself over the waist, straightened himself up with an air of satisfaction and said very seriously: "Yes, Colonel, that is whiskey, Iam ready to go before any court and swear to it. And what is more, it is devilish good whiskey."

I poured out eighteen bottles in this way and also a gallon or two of alcohol which was in a tin case, and when all that was out, all the medicines left in the box could have been put into a teacup. The farrier sergeant begged me to let him leave the corps and not to have him tried for the fraud. I thought the simplest way todeal with him was let him go, so we got him into plain clothes and started him back to the East.

The fame of this incident spread all through the North-West. Such a thing as spilling liquor was unheard of, except by the Mounted Police, and they were not keen to do it, and I am afraid my reputation in all that country was not improved by the story. I telegraphed to Colonel Jackson to stop the payment to the druggist, and wrote a full report. I am afraid that this sort of thing was done a good deal in ihe campaign, and that I only let in one little ray of light. The result of this was that I got the reputation of being very severe, and one who would destroy liquor like a fanatic id I heard of it.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 2 January 2015

The Art of Command
Topic: Leadership

The Art of Command

By; A.C.K.; published in the Sabre and spurs : the regimental journal of Lord Strathcona's Horse (R.C.) Cadets. Vol. 1, no. 1 (1933)

"Is command an art?" will perhaps be asked by some who feel that nothing can be easier than giving orders. Anyone, however, who thinks so, ignores the fact that the only man capable of command is the man who has learned to obey, and that an order is only justified, if, under the circumstances of the case, it was absolutely necessary. Even then, it can only be approved if it be unobjectionable both in matter and manner.

Every order places the subordinate to whom it is given in a position of constraint to which he willingly submits without any question if he recognizes the necessity for it, in such a case obedience is not a servile submission, but the free gift of a free man, but he complied with an order unwillingly it it is dictated merely by the pleasure of giving orders, or the desire to magnify one's own importance.

Fondness for domineering leads to tyranny and incites insubordination; it does no good but compromises discipline. We can see this in thousands of cases in the army, where there are superior officers who compel the willing obedience even of insubordinate men, while there are others to be found who make even the best men refractory.

Only the man who himself knows how to obey, who has learned from personal experience how grievous an inopportune or superfluous order can be, and how inexpressibly hard it is, in such a case, to resist the impulse to revolt, only such a man will avoid blunders when he is himself in a position of command.

We should always keep this fact before out eyes; we want a cheery and willing, nor a slavish servile obedience. It is the first alone which conduces to happiness in the regiment, ensures a firm unshaken discipline and inspires men to heroic deeds in action. It is the first kind of obedience alone, which acts educationally and forms the character.

Another serious drawback involved in a mania for giving orders is that all independence, all initiative, and all love of responsibility on the pay of subordinates are killed. Modern conditions require thoughtful leaders trained to be independent, and self-restrained men, capable, from devotion to their officers and their regiment, of proving their firm will to conquer even when their leaders are absent.

Good leaders and good men are not produced by orders, superfluous in themselves, and beside the mark; but we undoubtedly do get them if we give no more orders than are absolutely essential, and if we praise every independent action, even if it be not altogether apt or appropriate. In such a case what is wrong must be reproved, but not severely, not sharply, not in the form of censure, but only in the way of kindly instruction.

No man likes to be found fault with, but everyone is willing to accept instructions, and does better another time. The man who has cause to fear fault finding, forswears initiative. With regard to the form of an order, it should be borne in mind that only a definite distinct order, as short as possible, in which not a needless word is said, and which cannot be misunderstood. Every superior who finds that he has been misunderstood should first look for the fault in himself; if after careful consideration, he finds that it was not his fault, then, and not till then, he may take his subordinates to task.

We learn most from mistakes and misunderstandings, and it is therefore well to let them run their course. Untimely interference, repeated orders and such like, produce instead of trustworthiness, independence, and initiative which should be our aim, a feeling of insecurity and uncertainly which destroys all willing ness to accept responsibility.

This much is certain, that superior officers who give their subordinates…everywhere it is possible to do so…the independence which is their due, and even demand such power of initiative from them, will never be left in the lurch.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Sergeant Major's Welcoming Address
Topic: Drill and Training

The Sergeant Major's Welcoming Address

Sergeant-Major Rafuse's standard welcome to new recruits at Camp Aldershot, beginning around 1939.

A cartoon sketch from an earlier war, but showing the same spirit of presence that Sergeant Major Rafuse undoubtedly strived to maintain.

He spoke, "My name is Clifford Rafuse." Then, taking his swagger stick and touching the crown insignia on his arm, he would say, "I am a Sergeant-Major. You will not address me as Clifford, Cliff, Rafuse, sir, hey you, or any of the foul names you really think of me in your pea-sized brains. I am a Sergeant-Major – here, in the shower, in the latrine, in my drawers, in my pajamas, or when I am dead. I am, and always will be Sergeant-Major Rafuse to you. If you pumpkin-heads see me on the street twenty-five years from now—and most of you won't survive this training to live that long—I will still be addressed as Sergeant-Major by you. Do you understand that?" Then bellowing again, he demanded they scream an answer: "Yes, Sergeant-Major."

He would then go on: "I'm not your mother; I won't tuck you in bed; and I won't be your pal. I will make you bleedin', sloppy, unwashed, useless, pudgy loafers who thought this army was a holiday camp into battle shape. I shall turn your pudgy asses into such shape that you will have muscles in your defecation. Some few of you who fooled your way through some little school may think you are smart and will think you will fool me because you know the ABC's! You will not fool me; you are not smart. And when I say "jump", you say "How high". When I say "defecate", you say "Yes, Sir, and what colour, Sir?. I shall make you baggy, civilian lot of unwashed, sloppy, buggers into cleaned, shined, well-spoken, and obedient battle-ready troops. Or … you will suffer a fate and terror worse than heck.

"Your Mother can't save you. Nobody is tougher than I am. I am tougher than any Kraut you ever encounter. Even the Padre is scared of me. I'll march you, drill you, train you, punish you, and toughen you into soldiers. Don't talk back; don't complain, even to the Padre; because my words will even bring tears to his eyes. Now tighten up those soft pudgy asses, pull in those sagging chins, and suck in those baggy guts. Hands by your sides with thumbs down the seams of those potato-bag looking trousers.

"Like this," as he demonstrated, "and when you get that right, we'll take you ladies to a lovely King's breakfast of such quality you'll be glad when we let you work in our kitchen. Our next present to you slobs will be a visit to His Majesty's barber so as you can get that bleedin', mangled, lady-length, dirty, bug-infested civilian hairdo cut off. You will then, at least, not look like a bleedin' civilian, with a filthy mat on your head. Now fall out, ladies, and form up for the cookhouse. MARCH – quickly, before I lose my f…n' temper"

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Where the War-Dead Rest
Topic: Remembrance

Holten Canadian War Cemetery

Where the War-Dead Rest

The Beauty of the War Graves Commission Cemeteries

The Evening Citizen; Ottawa, Ont.; 6 November 1948

The well-kept beauty of the Canadian military cemeteries in Northwest Europe is a tribute not only to the care and skill of the Imperial War Graves Commission, but to the people of the surrounding areas. Writing in The Legionary, organ of the Canadian Legion, Major Colin McDougall, Canadian army photographer who visited Europe last summer, describes what he saw.

At Holten in eastern Holland, where lie men killed in the last stages of fighting in Holland and Germany, soil conditions were not right for landscaping, and in the past two years the weather has been bad. Yet the seed grass sown has now grown into a lovely lawn. Lying amid rolling country, the setting with its growths of Scots pines and a profusion of purple heather, reminds visitors of parts of Scotland.

The district is used as a holiday resort, and each day during the season hundreds of visitors enter the cemetery to view its 1,300 graves. At the head of each grave flowers bloom, and all around the flowers is the soft grass.

Similar scenes may be viewed at Groesbeek, also in Holland, where the cemetery, situated on a hilltop, overlooks the Rhine and the Hochwald, which Canadians will recall as the scene of particularly bitter fighting in February, 1945, when the drive to smash the northern flank of the Siegfried line was launched; and at Beny-sur-Mer and Bretteville-sur-maize in Normandy. At the former, one can see the English Channel over which the invasion fleet sailed to France, while the cemetery at Brettville is associated with the straight road from Caen to Falaise, scene of one of the bitterest struggles in Canadian Military annals.

The Imperial War Graves Commission plans to replace the crosses that now mark the graves with headstones, each with a Maple Leaf and a cross engraved on it. The Commission, which acts on behalf of, and is financed on a pro rata basis by all the Commonwealth governments, has kept in mind the overall simplicity and uniformity of design which is desired in these burial grounds. The caretakers it engages are veterans who approach their task with a sense of dedication.

Assisting the Commission is the National War Graves Committee, formed by the Dutch people. Through this committee many families and institutions in Holland have adopted allied graves on their soil. They visit the cemeteries regularly, to lay cut flowers on the graves, to pay homage to and pray for the men buried there. Many correspond with Canadian relatives of the dead, and inform them of the care received by the graves of their loved ones. And in Norandy, the people have similarly interested themselves in the Canadian cemeteries.

Besides visiting the cemeteries where rest the dad of the Second World war Major McDougall spent a brief time at Ypres, Belgium. Here at the Menin Gate each night Belgian veterans sound the Last Post in memory of the 50,000 men of the British Empire who perished in the Ypres Salient in the First World War. Damage to the area caused in the last war, is now being repaired. Workmen are restoring the historic Gate to its original perfection. Beside the new Cloth Hall built on the site of the old, some of the ruins have been left standing.

Each of the Canadian cemeteries was visited last summer by General H.D.G. Crerar, war-time commander of the First Canadian Army, while he was a member of as special Canadian mission which attended the coronation of Queen Juliana of The Netherlands.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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