The Minute Book
Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Compensation; circa 1880
Topic: Canadian Militia

Compensation; circa 1880

From the Orders-in-Council documents archived on line by Library and Archives Canada, we find this memorandum on the payment of compensation in regards to the death of a soldier following a training accident. (17 May 1880)

Various online calculators place the value of $300 in 1880 at about $7000 in 2015. (1) (2) (3)

$300 in 1880 was, however, 600 days (1 yr, 7 mos, 3 wks) pay at a soldier's rate of 50 cents per day.

"On a report dated 17th May 1880 from the Honorable the Minister of Militia and Defence, stating that Trumpeter Harry Leslie, late of "B" Battery, while employed at mortar practice at St. Helen's Island on the 23rd July 1875 (sic), was accidentally wounded in the leg by a fragment of a shell, that in consequence of this wound, his leg had to be amputated and that he died subsequently from the effects of the injury thus received in the discharge of his duty.

"The Minister, therefore, recommends that the compensation to which Trumpeter Leslie would have been entitled, had he lived, be now granted to his mother who depended on him for support and that a sum of three hundred dollars ($300) be paid her in full of all claims against the Government in this case.

"The Committee submit the above recommendation for Your Excellency's approval."

Signed by the Prime Minister, John A. MacDonald, the memorandum was approved and counter-signed by the Governor-General, the Marquess of Lorne.

elipsis graphic

Accident Notice

Montreal Daily Witness; 31 July 1875

"A soldier by the name of Harry Leslie, while engaged at shell practice yesterday afternoon, received a severe injury on the knee from the explosion of one of the shells, a fragment of which bounded from a stone, inflicting the wound. He was conveyed to the Montreal General Hospital."

elipsis graphic

Obituary Notice

Montreal Daily Witness; 28 December 1875

"Leslie—[Died 27 December 1875] At the Montreal General Hospital from a wound received at mortar practice on St. Helen's Island, July 30th. Trumpeter Harry Leslie, B Battery, Canadian Artillery, aged 23 years and 10 months."

Harry Leslie is buried in Montreal's Mount Royal Cemetery.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 3 November 2015 12:04 AM EST
Monday, 2 November 2015

Rations at the Beginning of the 19th Century
Topic: Army Rations

Rations at the Beginning of the 19th Century

Inside the Regiment; The Officers and Men of the 30th Regiment During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, Carole Divall, 2011

Not only was the soldier clothed by the army; he could also rely on being fed by the army, except under the most severe campaigning conditions or when the commissariat failed. These two difficulties came together during the final days of the retreat from Burgos when the supplies took the wrong route. No wonder men of the third and fourth divisions resorted to shooting pigs while others scrambled for acorns as their only hope of sustenance. Nor was this an isolated incident. The commissary attached to the third division during the Waterloo campaign also failed in his duty. As a result, on Wellington's order, 'Mr Deputy Assistant Commissary General Spencer [was] removed from the Commissariat for quitting the 3d Division to which he was attached, without leave during the important operations recently carrying on.'

The official daily ration was one and a half pounds of bread, a pound of meat (half a pound if it was pork), a quarter of a pint of pease, an ounce of butter or cheese, and an ounce of rice. Since not all of these were always available, considerable variations in this restricted diet are recorded. In addition, some battalions encouraged officers to supply their men with vegetables. Bread and meat were the most predictable items, but although the quantity remained the same the quality varied greatly. There were many horror stories of adulterated food, particularly bread. As for meat, a pound might be more bone than flesh.

Inspecting generals in the two-battalion period often commented approvingly on the quality of the meat supplied. In November 1813, while the second battalion was stationed in Jersey, it was reported that 'The meat and bread are furnished by contract, of a good quality', while sixth months later, in Flanders, the men's messing is well attended to, & the meat and bread issued is generally good.' In Vaumorel's inspection at Cannanore, we read that 'The men's messing [is] strictly attended to, and good as the supplies on the Malabar Coast will possibly admit of.'

On campaign, the meat was likely to be on the hoof until shortly before it found its way into the men's camp kettles, or alternatively it might be salted. As in so many aspects of military life which related to the comfort of the soldier, the French organised things rather better for their conscript army, so it is no wonder that the chance to eat what the French had left behind in the course of a hurried departure was eagerly accepted. This was the good fortune of the 2/30th along with the 2/94th, when they crossed the river into Sabugal in 1811, and broke into the recently vacated castle.

The daily drink allowance was five pints of small beer, which on campaign would be converted into whatever happened to be the local drink. The Portuguese wondered at the British soldiers' capacity for drinking the rough red wine which they themselves were reluctant to touch; while in India the native arrack was the cause of much indiscipline. There is evidence to suggest that some soldiers would willingly have starved themselves in order to have more money for drink, but for the system of messing which put men into groups who cooked and shared the food in rotation. This made it impossible for the individual soldier to forgo his food Furthermore, the officer of the day, as part of his duties, was required to inspect kettles at the hour appointed for cooking, while supervising messing arrangements was one of the general duties of all company officers.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 10 October 2015 7:08 PM EDT
Sunday, 1 November 2015

The Militia Way of Life; Training (1980s)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Militia Way of Life; Training (1980s)

Canada's Militia; A Heritage at Risk, T.C. Willey, 1987 (Originally published under the title "A Heritage at Risk: The Canadian Militia as a Social Institution")

…it led me to wonder about the effectiveness of an artillery battery commander after a few days of this kind of life because I had always been taught that an officer should have more important things to do than look after himself.

On a Friday evening in May, the armory at Calgary, Alberta, was the center of a mighty thunderstorm, and the men and women of the Militia district were arriving after their day's work to load up for an exercise at the Suffield training area some two hundred miles away. The elements of an infantry battalion and an artillery battery were to defend a position against a live enemy provided by the armored regiment. The infantry was actually an under-strength company of about fifty, and the battery had about thirteen officers and other ranks for a total strength of about thirty, also, it was without any of its guns. The armored enemy were, like all their kind in 1980, borne in jeeps and numbered about thirty. The proceedings were timed to begin in the exercise area at midnight, but by this time only a few vehicles had arrived, and news came that the storm had delayed the main body's departure, so hurried plans were made to provide sleeping cover for the troops overnight, and the exercise was postponed until Saturday morning. By 0800 no breakfast rations had arrived, so there was a wait until the troops were fed, and it was nearing midday on Saturday before a cheerful group of officers was assembled for orders from the district commander, whose duties as a provincial court judge ended late the previous afternoon. He had spent the night with the rest, sleeping on the floor of a vehicle shed, but seemed none the worse for it, he described an invasion by "Fantasians" (who seemed to have connections with the USSR) that his troops would try to delay from positions to be dug into the bare hills five or six miles out in the plain.

And so about eight hours after the exercise had been planned to begin, the troops set off in bright sunshine for the plain. I accompanied my battery of six nonexistent guns to its first position where each was sited with proper care but in an unfortunate line with most of the vehicles, such that they would have been an attractive target for hostile aircraft. But no one seemed to worry about this because there was no "air situation" on this exercise, something that I found rather surprising. Despite the absence of guns, everyone took their jobs seriously, including the sentries who were posted over one hundred meters from the position ' to look out for infiltrating enemy.

It was late afternoon and things were happening very slowly; there was time to heat up the canned food, and just as it was ready a note of warlike realism was struck-an order to withdraw to new positions that were sought after we passed through the infantry who were digging slit trenches with fervor to await an expected assault during the night. I joined them with the battery commander, who was driving his own jeep and working his own radio set; for the last four hours of daylight, he had been planning fire support with the infantry while I walked round the troops noting their mood. With faces blacked and plenty of mud on their persons, they seemed to be enjoying the situation and were in what inspecting officers since time immemorial have called "good heart." Their CO, a lieutenant colonel who was normally a business executive, was taking the whole affair as real despite the handful of troops to defend a front of about four hundred meters, and I was reminded of the scene in so many other Militia situations across Canada where there is a senior officer handling a command that would usually be the lot of either a subaltern or, at most, a captain. But, as he said, "That's all I've got, and that has to be it."

I left them in their trenches with my battery commander, an environmental scientist in civilian life, and walked back about a mile to the new gun position that like its predecessor, awaited air attack and annihilation with equanimity because it was again pointed out that there is no air situation this time." More tinned food came and then the rain, which fell in torrents from dusk onward and a gale-force wind to boot. Because nothing was happening, I sought shelter in the back of a truck while the troops huddled in a tent that looked, and was, precarious. Much had been organized by a brisk and good-looking young woman sergeant, who, with the others, was much concerned for the comfort of the professor;' whose vulnerability to the storm was apparently taken to be great. So I was given the back of the truck despite my protests that I could sleep underneath; "what, and be crushed if the truck sinks in the mud" was the sage advice with which I did not argue. About midnight or later I heard my battery commander arriving, and I saw a solitary figure looking round in the rain for somewhere to put his bedroll. I wondered about the hot drink, food, and place to sleep with which I was provided by my team of driver and batman when I was in a like situation many years before. Again, I was reminded of a frequent Militia scene: the officers at all regimental levels doing for themselves just as their soldiers had to and so extolling the virtues of living as a democratic Army. As before, it led me to wonder about the effectiveness of an artillery battery commander after a few days of this kind of life because I had always been taught that an officer should have more important things to do than look after himself.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 31 October 2015

Airmen; RCAF, 1940
Topic: RCAF


The Air Force Guide (Chap. III. Sec. 25), by "Group Captain," Toronto, 1940

1.     Airmen should be distinguished from civilians by their smartness, cleanliness and sobriety, by their honesty and respect for authority, and by their cheerful readiness to carry on under difficulty. In short, their conduct at all times should be such as will honour the Force to which they have the honour to belong.

2.     Every airman is bound to render assistance to the civil or military police when called upon to do so, and will remain with them until he is told that he is no longer required.

3.     An airman is not permitted to take part in any political demonstration, nor to join in any procession, whatever its object. He will at all times avoid quarrels or disputes with civi1ians.

4.     An airman is responsible for keeping his arms, equipment, clothing and necessaries at all times in serviceable condition; he will not lend, make away with, alter or deface any article or portion of them without the permission of the Officer Commanding his unit, and he will be required to replace, at his own expense, any article which has become unserviceable or incorrect by his own action or neglect.

5.     Airmen will not waste or misuse their food. The habit of its careful use acquired in peace will be of utmost value in war.

6.     Airmen will sit down to all meals in clean fatigue dress without caps.

7.     When passing a funeral an airman will salute the body.

8.     While an airman is not permitted, in any way, to question an order which he receives, and has no choice at the time but to obey, he has the fullest and freest right of appeal to his Squadron Commander, and through him to his Commanding Officer, whenever he considers that he has suffered injustice, or has other ground for complaint. No Warrant or Non-Commissioned Officer is permitted, on any consideration, to impede an airman in the exercise of this right. An airman is not subject to punishment on the ground of his complaint being frivolous nor on anyother ground except that of willful misstatement. The subject of any complaint made by an airman must, however, relate solely to himself; he is not permitted to act as the leader or spokesman of others.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 30 October 2015

Topic: CEF


Trench Warfare; A Manual for Officers and Men,, J.S. Smith, Second Lieutenant with the British Expeditionary Force, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1917.

It is only under very exceptional circumstances that under-cutting a trench wall is allowed, and then the shelter should be cut in the rear wall only. These shelters must be carefully supervised and watched by the officer, as men are very often careless, with the result that the shelters are dug in a hurry and poorly. Then it rains, the shelter falls in, and the men are no more, It should be high enough for a man to sit up straight, and long enough for him to lie down in, and deep enough for two men to lie side by side. It should be raised at least a foot above the floor level in the trench to prevent water from the trench floor coming in. A shelter smaller than these dimensions is useless. It has a demoralizing effect, destroying all activity, mental and physical. These shelters can only be properly made by cutting into the rear trench wall the necessary depth and length and right to the top. Then, with any material which is convenient, such as corrugated iron, brush wood, old rubber sheets, revet the sides and back. A corrugated iron roof is supported on posts at a depth of about a foot to a foot and a half below the normal level of the ground. Then, when possible, cover this with rubber sheets. If not possible to procure rubber sheets, simply cover with dirt excavated from shelter, taking care that it does not rise higher than your parados.

A fire-trench, however, is not a proper place for shelters, and they are generally better as a weather protection than a shell-proof shelter. Even this should not be favored too much, as it tends to cause obstruction, delay and inconvenience in the passing of troops. The real dugouts for the accommodation of men holding a line are generally behind the fire-trenches in an immediate support line, or as in the case of T-bays, in the control trench and communication trenches leading to and from them. These are large dug-outs, having a depth of 30 and 40 feet, and in some cases capable of holding 100 to 250 men, generally having from 5 to 10 exits and entrances. Here the men stay during bombardments and are generally safe from any caliber shell which may light on top, unless a half dozen should light in the same particular spot.

This work is generally of a very skilled and technical kind. Plans, drawings and labor are supervised by the engineers, expert tunnelers being used in constructing work, although the infantry supplies working parties to dispose of the dirt, etc., resulting from these excavations and to carry the materials and tools needed and required in the construction.

The design and general scheme of a small dugout which can be made by the infantry under the supervision of an officer, without the aid of an engineer, are here given.

The dugout should be approximately 6 feet from floor to roof and about 8 feet wide, with an approximate length of 12 feet, thus allowing men to lie down and yet leave room for passage through. The width depends upon the number you intend to have occupy it. Each man requires 18". Depth to be dug below ground depends entirely to what extent you may raise the roof upon the ground without making an unduly exposed hump which will at once tell the enemy a dugout is there. The thickness of the roof should be approximately 6 feet, constructed with sideposts, cross beams, corrugated iron, water proof oilcloth, sandbags and soil. Sandbag revetments should be used in the strengthening of side posts. When possible, although hardly ever so, walls should be lined with waterproof oilcloth and entrances so placed that they get as much sun as possible.

Great care and attention must be given to these dugouts, and even though taking a little longer than seems necessary, care must be taken to see that they are substantially constructed, otherwise they are in a constant source of danger of cave-ins during heavy shelling and bad weather. Not more than 10 men should occupy one of these dugouts. Then, if accidents happen, your casualties are not so great.

The roof of these dugouts should be prepared in a manner tending to withstand as high shell shock as possible, and for this purpose the following table would be of some use, any part of which, or a combination of all, will give some idea of what is required.

Resistance of Roof Materials

(a)     Shrapnel bullets—Stout planks suitably supported and covered with corrugated iron and 12" of earth or 3" of shingle.

(b)     Ordinary guns of 3" caliber—Strong timber supporting 4 ft. of earth with a top layer of heavy stones or broken bricks to cause early shell burst.

(c)     Field howitzers (of less than 6" caliber)—12" logs, supporting 8 ft. of earth with top layer of heavy stones or broken brick and lightly covered over with some earth.

(d)     "Jack Johnsons"—20 ft. of earth or 10 ft. of cement concrete, reinforced with steel and covered over with a covering of heavy stone or broken brick.

It is very often the case that there is a line of trenches with very few dugouts. Those that exist are mainly occupied by first aid stations with a medical officer in charge, and officers' headquarters. When such is the case, very narrow, deep trenches, known as retirement trenches, are dug roughly from 20 to 50 yards behind the firing line, so that every one, except those on sentry duty, may retire there during the heavy shelling. It is very obvious that excellent communication must be kept up between trench and the firing line.

Joseph Shuter Smith

Joseph Shuter Smith was an American author born in Philadelphia in 1893. He spent his childhood in Alaska during the Gold Rush and spent his years before the Great War as a lumberjack, miner, surveyor and cowboy. In 1914, continuing his adventurous streak, he went to Canada and enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, declaring his birthplace to be Port Hope, Ontario (with next of kin in Oakland, California). Smith enlisted with the 29th Canadian Infantry Battalion at Vancouver. He served in France and Belgium as a soldier in the CEF and, after being commissioned in August, 1916, as an officer of the British Army with The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment). He resigned his Imperial commission after a year to return to the US and enlist in the American Army. Joseph Smith also wrote the memoir: Over There and Back in Three Uniforms; Being the Experiences of an American Boy in the Canadian, British and American Armies at the Front and through No Man's Land.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 29 October 2015

Marching Like Majors
Topic: Humour

Marching Like Majors

Military News, The Daily Mail and Empire, Toronto, Ontario, 25 September 1897

In a certain New York regiment that was disbanded not many years ago were two field officers—the lieutenant-colonel and major—who, while they really thought a great deal of each other, never let an opportunity pass to give each other a sly dig. And, as under Upton's tactics, each field officer posted the guides or markers in successive formations, our two friends invariably insisted upon posting the other's guides, which naturally led to a great many hot disputes after the drill was over. While the posting of guides has no bearing on the point of the story it is simply cited to show the weak points of two otherwise excellent officers.

One evening at dress parade, while the regiment was in State camp, at the conclusion of the ceremony, and while the 1st sergeants were marching their respective companies off in the old echelon order, and the officers were, as usual, grouped in rear of the colonel, a lieutenant remarked to his captain:—"See, Co. H., coming up? They march like majors."

The major overhead this remark, and, turning to the lieutenant-colonel, who stood near-by, said:—"You hear that, colonel? Majors are the standard by which everything good is measured. You never hear anyone say they march like lieutenant-colonels; it is always like majors."

"My dear major," said the lieutenant-colonel "if a man is drunk, you never hear anyone say that he is drunk as a lieutenant-colonel. He is always drunk as a major."

It is needless to say the major subsided.

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Military Estimates 1921
Topic: Canadian Army

The Military Estimates 1921

Debates of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada, Vol. CXLVIII, 1921

Dramatis personæ

Charles Gavan Power, MC, PC
Liberal, Quebec South

Major General William Antrobus Griesbach, CB, CMG, DSO
Unionist, Edmonton West

John Wesley Edwards, PC
Minister, Department of Health and Minister of Immigration and Colonization
Unionist, Frontenac

Fred Langton Davis
Unionist, Neepawa

Permanent Force, $6,255,000

Mr. Power: Before this item carries I should like to have obtained considerable information from the minister, but the time before six o'clock is too short. To bring the matter to a head, I move for the reduction of this Estimate by the sum of $2,000,000. In support of this reduction I argue as follows: We are asking for this large amount of $6,255,000 to maintain a Permanent Force, that is, a force of men who could all the year round be in uniform and be trained for warlike purposes. The force amounts in all to 3,800 men. The amount required to pay them at $1.75 per day—in contraindication to the $1.10 which the private soldier was paid during the war—would be $2,249,000.

Mr. Griesbach: What about the officers?

Mr. Power: I am coming to those in a moment. To board those soldiers would require something like $1,000,000, so that we would have to set apart about $3,500,000 for their pay and board. Now I come to the officers. We would have over $2,000,000 left to pay the officers. We have already paid nineteen generals and twenty-five or thirty colonels $265,000, and we are told that their duty consists in looking after this force. I fail to see why we should be called upon to pay an extra $2,000,000 to them. But, lest I be accused of preaching as a demagogue, I will give a further reason. Our Permanent Force of 3,800 men represents, roughly, one man for every mile of boundary line which divides us from our neighbours to the south. The Minister of Militia the other evening stated that he had cut down his Estimates to the lowest possible figure consistent with safety. When I asked him what danger he anticipated, he was unable to tell me. I am forced to conclude that the only danger he sees is the danger of aggression from our neighbour to the south. If he thinks 3,800 men are sufficient to defend us from that quarter, and soldier in the House will tell him that one man per mile is not sufficient. If this force is for training purposes—and I presume this is its principal purpose—I submit that we do not need to train soldiers at the present moment, for we have 400,000 of the best soldiers in the world that only two years ago returned from fighting in the greatest of all wars. They have learned how to fight on the bitterest of all fields, and they have become efficient enough to earn encomiums from the nations of the world. I do not say that as time goes on and these men disappear we will not have to replace them, and that we will not have to go in for further military training, but I submit that at the present moment, when we have no enemy either near or far to face, when, even if we had, we have a stronger and better disciplined and more efficient fighting organization in our returned men than we have ever in our history, when this organization can be called together in a matter of a few weeks to face any foe,—there is no necessity to incur this heavy military expenditure.

Mr. Edwards: Why does my honorable friend limit his cut to two million? Why does he not move that the whole item be eliminated?

Mr. Power: I limited the reduction to two millions because it was supposed to be necessary to have the skeleton on an army in case of any sudden uprising.

Mr. Edwards: My honorable friend is arguing that there is no such necessity.

Mr. Power: I argue that for the present there is no great necessity; is my honorable friend will back me up, of course, I will move to cut out the whole thing. If I cannot get his consent to that I would ask him to go with me a littler way in that direction.

Mr. Edwards: I feel very highly flattered to think that my honorable friend's judgment on military matters should be so influenced.

Mr. Power: My judgment in all matters in connection with parliamentary affairs is influenced a great deal by the way my honorable friend expresses himself and the way he votes. Ever since I came into this House I have followed his speeches and his views with considerable attention and have governed myself accordingly. For a number of years I have been endeavouring to obtain better treatment for the widowed mothers of soldiers. I am told that approximately $2,000,000 a year would well look after this class of our people who suffered through the war. I prefer that this $2,000,000 should be spent in this way rather than to train people to begin another war. My view is that before we embark on any further warlike or belligerent undertakings we should pay our debts to those who suffered as a result of the last war. Let is see that the widows and orphans of those who laid down their lives obtain something which shall prevent from having to scrape in order to earn a living. If honorable gentlemen opposite di not wish to spend this money, through pensions and re-establishment, for the benefit of widows and orphans, it could be devoted to the relief of the distress caused by unemployment and to look after the returned soldiers who so gallantly fought in the great war. If we did this we would alleviate in some degree the unrest and the bitter feeling which prevails among the returned men who since coming back to Canada have felt that promises were made to them during the war were made only to be broken. I move, Mr. Chairman, that this item be reduced by $2,000,000.

Mr. Guthrie: This item is reduced by a quarter of a million from the amount voted last year. It provides now for 4,000 rank and file and 412 officers, at an average of $1,350 each. My honorable friend's calculation is very wide of the mark. He has taken the basis of the pay of a private soldier only as a first-year man. He has allowed nothing for non-commissioned officers, nothing for the 950 horses we have to maintain, nothing for thirty or forty other items which he has not mentioned. We have already cut this item to the bone. In fact, unless there are some desertions during the summer, we may be just a little short. But in the hot weather there are always a certain number of desertions, and allowing for these the item will suffice, I trust, for the present fiscal year.

Mr. Davis: Where and in what numbers are the men of the Permanent Force stationed?

Mr. Guthrie: The following is a list of the military districts with the number of men at each:

  • No. 1, London, 261;
  • No. 2, Toronto, 580;
  • No. 3, Kingston, 435;
  • No. 4, Montreal, 321;
  • No. 5, Quebec 463;
  • No. 6, Halifax, 664;
  • No. 7, St. John, 82;
  • No. 10, Winnipeg, 512;
  • No. 11, Victoria, 409;
  • No. 12, Regina, 63;
  • No. 13, Calgary, 210.

Amendment (Mr. Power) negatived; yeas, 37, nays, 60.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Hughes, The RCR, and Bermuda
Topic: The RCR

Hughes, The RCR, and Bermuda

Debates of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada, Vol;. CXX, 1915

The following is a statement by Major General Sam Hughes in the House of Commons on 25 March, 1915:—

"I have been charged with being unfriendly to the permanent corps. What I have done is see that the permanent corps get no favour over the militia corps. We are all the active militia of Canada. But when the war broke out it was my desire that the Royal Canadian Regiment should not go to the front as a unit but that some of the non-commissioned officers and certain of the officers of this corps should be distributed among the other regiments in order to give them the benefit of their training, because they are simply instructional corps. However, about this time the British Government—there is no harm in saying it—requested that we should send the Royal Canadian Regiment to Bermuda and release the Lincolnshire regiment then garrisoning Bermuda. We got the order, we recruited the regiment up to full strength by the addition of 400 or 500 men, and in four days that regiment was sailing for Bermuda, a feat of which my officers are very proud. They are there yet. If the British Government want them at the front all they have to do is ask them to go to the front and I am sure the Government of Canada would be only too pleased to accede to the request. From time to time and personally against the judgment of the regularly trained officers of the department I have been endeavouring to pick out some of these good fellows from that regiment and send them with other regiments; but the officers of that department think that the regiment should be kept intact as a body and that if they go to the front they should go as the Royal Canadian Regiment."

elipsis graphic

This was given by Hughes in reply to a question as to why Canada, after having spent so much maintaining a Permanent Force infantry regiment, should send them off to Bermuda at the outset of the war instead of to the front. Hughes' reply admits to not only his original intent to break up The Royal Canadian Regiment within the First Contingent, but following attempts to drain off the experienced non-commissioned officers and men for his own purposes. Also implied is his readiness to leave the Royal Canadian Regiment in Bermuda until such time as the British Government "asks them to go to the front," at which time Canada might agree to the request. Hughes may be claiming that the perceived "unfriendliness" toward the Permanent Force was simply his attempt at "fairness," but by his own admission he made efforts to prevent The Royal Canadian Regiment from being employed as a fighting unit. In the end, his efforts were ultimately unsuccessful, and The Royal Canadian Regiment reached France in November, 1915, as part of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade in the 3rd Canadian Division.

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 26 October 2015

Officers; Responsibility (RCAF, 1940)
Topic: Officers

Officers; Responsibility

The Air Force Guide (Chap. IV. Sec. 28.), by "Group Captain," Toronto, 1940

Responsibility.—The late Field Marshal Lord Wolseley said: "An inefficient officer is a swindle upon the public."

i.     An officer is responsible at all times for the maintenance of good order and the rules and discipline of the service. K.R. (Air) 44.

Good discipline is the outward sign of a well-trained unit. Nothing is so indicative of a poor unit as careless saluting. All ranks should realize that the salute when given, is a tribute to the King's Commission and its smart acknowledgment a mark of mutual esteem and goodwill. Furthermore, it is a breach of regulation to fail to salute when required to by the King's Regulations and Orders. K.R. (Air) 1783-1793.

ii.     Junior officers when in uniform must be most meticulous in saluting officers of Field rank (Squadron Commander or above) and of acknowledging with a proper full salute compliments paid to them by other ranks. K.R. (Air) 1793.

iii.     Officers will salute those officers of the Royal Navy and the Army, when in uniform, who would be saluted by individuals of corresponding ranks in their own service. K.R. (Air) 1789.

iv.     When in civilian clothes, a junior officer meeting a field officer will raise his hat and will acknowledge in the same way any compliments paid him by other ranks.

v.     When in uniform, an officer never raises his head-dress. This is an unpardonable error.

vi.     It is important for officers to gain the confidence and respect of their men. This, for the most part, is a matter of psychology. It can best be achieved by paying particular attention to their comfort and welfare, by studying their individual characters and treating them accordingly, and by being scrupulously fair in dispensing reward and punishment. Air-men do not respect the indolent soft-hearted officer who makes light of discipline; indecision and inconsistency will never command their confidence.

vii.     If an officer sees that his airmen are well clothed, well fed, well housed, kept busy during working hours and able to enjoy suitable amusements when off parade, he has gone a lone way to discharging his responsibility in this regard.

viii.     A non-commissioned officer should never be reproved within hearing of his juniors.

ix.     Officers may, on occasion, accept the formal hospitality of the Serjeant's Mess, but under no circumstances should individual visits be paid to drink with their non-commissioned officers.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 25 October 2015

"Circus Day"
Topic: Discipline

"Circus Day"

Military News, The Daily Mail and Empire, Toronto, Ontario, 25 September 1897
(From the London Daily Mail)

A good many strange things have been done in the name of discipline; but for sheer eccentricity a usage that has just been introduced at Foston Barracks, the headquarters of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, Portsmouth Division, would be very hard to beat.

A week or so back some privates of the corps saluted an officer whom they met in the street in what he deemed to be a slovenly fashion. He reported the matter, with the result that a few days later a number of non-commissioned officers were stationed on the road outside the barracks, and each of these the men had to salute as they passed. This, however, did not satisfy the adjutant, who has substituted for it what the men have not inaptly dubbed "a circus day." This comes every Friday, the day on which the corps is paid. The men go to the pay-office in companies, and it is after they have got their money that the circus begins. After leaving the pay-office each man of a company—the old hands are trotted around as well as the recruits—has to walk around the barrack square, which is lined with sergeants, each of whom the men have to salute.

Every man has to carry an article of clothing on his arm, and each time that he salutes this said article has to be shifted from one arm to the other. In the middle of the barracks square stands the adjutant—or "the ringmaster," as the men describe him—who narrowly watches each man. Should anyone fail to salute in a manner satisfactory to the adjutant, the delinquent has to trot round a second time. And should he not acquit himself to the adjutant’s liking on the second round he is called into the centre of the square and given a special lesson by the "ringmaster" himself in the whole art and mystery of saluting.

"Circus day" has now been established for the past three weeks, and at first the novelty of the sight—it is an amusing one enough except to the poor "jollies"—attracted large numbers of spectators. Last Friday, however, the colonel-commandant gave orders that the public should be shut out, and the "circus" went on in strict privacy within the barrack square. The introduction of this extraordinary and unprecedented saluting parade into the ordinary routine as created much dissatisfaction in all ranks.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 24 October 2015

In the Trenches
Topic: CEF

In the Trenches

Trench Warfare; A Manual for Officers and Men, J.S. Smith, Second Lieutenant with the British Expeditionary Force, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1917.

On relieving the fire trenches, the men should make no noise, and rifles must be carried so that they do not show over the parapet. This is necessary even if enemy's trenches are at a distance, as there is always the possibility of a listening or observation post being quite near.

Each man should pair off with one of the party occupying the trench and find out from him any points which may be useful.

A commander should consult the officer or N.C.O. in charge of the outgoing party and obtain the fullest information possible in connection with the position. Particular points on which information should be obtained from the outgoing officer are generally:

(a)     behavior of enemy during period preceding relief and any point in their requiring special information, such as enemy may have cut wire as though preparing line to attack;

(b)     machine gun implacement may be suspected at some particular point;

(c)     anything ascertained by patrols about ground between firing lines, thus avoiding unnecessary reconnoissance

(d)     any standing arrangement for patrols at night, including point at which wire can best be passed, ground to be patrolled, or place where they can lie under cover;

(e)     any parts of trench from which it is not safe to fire. Such positions are apt to occur in winding trenches, and are not always recognizable in the dark;

(f)     special features of trench, recent improvements, work not completed, dangerous points (on which enemy machine guns are trained at night), useful loopholes for observation;

(g)     places from which wood and water can be safely obtained;

(h)     amount of ammunition, number of picks, shovels and empty sandbags in that section of the line.

Information on these points cannot always be given by word of mouth. Written notes and plans should, therefore, be handed over to a platoon commander taking over for the first time.

In the meantime the incoming party should fix bayonets and all go temporarily on sentry at posts taken over. Occasional shots should be fired, so that the enemy's suspicions may not be roused. The outgoing party then starts back, and when clear, the relieving party should be numbered off and sentries posted and dugouts allotted. When practicable sentries should be taken from the dugout closest to his post.

By day the number of sentries varies, butshould not be less than one in six. The platoon sergeant is responsible for changing sentries, who are generally not on duty more than one hour at a time, unless under exceptional circumstances. When the maximum amount of labor must be obtained from the battalion holding the line, sentry duty is of any length that fits in with working arrangements. Every man must see that he has a good clear position for all directions. Section commanders must satisfy themselves that men have done this and reported such. When these arrangements are completed, word must be quietly passed down for men not on sentry to stand clear, and they are all not in that position again until the "Stand to" hours, generally the hour nearest dusk and the hour before dawn.

After dark, unless the moon is bright, rifles should be kept in a firing position on the parapet, and all men not on duty should keep rifles with bayonets fixed while in the trench.


Continuous survey of the enemy's lines through disguised steel loopholes should be made when the trenches are being held for any lengthy period, and such loopholes must always be sideways. Sites may be chosen by day, and made and disguised by night. Two steel loopholes about 3 yards apart enable a man with leveled rifle to wait by one while another with field glasses watches for target through the other. An observer watching persistently through glasses in complete security should make himself so familiar with the look of the opposite trenches as to enable him to observe any alteration in the enemy's wire entanglements, or notice immediately if a new sap has been run out from the enemy trenches under cover of night. He should watch points suspected of being machine gun implacements, and especially at night when the flashes can be detected. Observers should be told what marks, etc., to look for on men exposing themselves, and any result of these observations at once reported to the officer or N.C.O.


A platoon commander should make frequent examination of trenches; at least once daily, go around with platoon sergeant and section commanders and decide on the necessary work to be done. Section commanders are responsible for carrying it out.

Before handing over a trench, a platoon commander should make a rigorous inspection to see that it is as clean as possible and that latrines are left in a satisfactory state. This includes the removal of old tins, paper, scraps of food, etc., which should be buried or burned, if possible. Empty cartridges should also always be kept cleared out, as they get imbedded in trench floors and hinder subsequent digging.

Joseph Shuter Smith

Joseph Shuter Smith was an American author born in Philadelphia in 1893. He spent his childhood in Alaska during the Gold Rush and spent his years before the Great War as a lumberjack, miner, surveyor and cowboy. In 1914, continuing his adventurous streak, he went to Canada and enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, declaring his birthplace to be Port Hope, Ontario (with next of kin in Oakland, California). Smith enlisted with the 29th Canadian Infantry Battalion at Vancouver. He served in France and Belgium as a soldier in the CEF and, after being commissioned in August, 1916, as an officer of the British Army with The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment). He resigned his Imperial commission after a year to return to the US and enlist in the American Army. Joseph Smith also wrote the memoir: Over There and Back in Three Uniforms; Being the Experiences of an American Boy in the Canadian, British and American Armies at the Front and through No Man's Land.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 23 October 2015

Checking the State of the Rations
Topic: Humour

Checking the State of the Rations

Military News, The Daily Mail and Empire, Toronto, Ontario, 18 September 1897

The following story, related by Sir Evelyn Wood, in the English Illustrated, is thought to be quite too delicious:—

"I have said," remarks the distinguished writer, "that soldiers are much better behaved than they were when I entered the service. They are certainly more intelligent, with the increase of education, but nevertheless they are still sufficiently drilled into automation-like procedure and rigid obedience as occasionally to produce a comical situation. Four years ago, when in command of the Aldershot Division, I was riding past a regimental cook-house. I had been taking considerable interest in the preparation of the men's rations, and, seeing a soldier coming out of a cook-house with his mess-tin and what appeared to be very thin soup a few minutes before one o'clock, when the dinner bugle had only just sounded, I ordered the man to halt, and another man to bring me a spoon from the cook-house. 'Hand me up that tin,' said I, and the man obeyed and stood motionless while I tasted the liquid. Getting rid of it as rapidly as possible, I said, 'It appears to me to be nothing but dirty water,' when the man answered, with the most stolid gravity, 'Please, sir, that's what it is; I am washing the tin out.'"

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 22 October 2015

Load Bearing Equipment Tips, Vietnam, 1970
Topic: Drill and Training

Load Bearing Equipment Tips

Combat Recon Manual, Republic of Vietnam; 1970
Prepared by Project (B-52) Delta, H.Q. NhaTrang
Detachment B-52; 5th Special Forces Group (Abn), 1st Special Forces

1.     Be sure that all snaps and buckles are taped. Do not use paper tape.

2.     Place triangular bandages (in original containers) in the ammo pouches. This makes it easier to remove magazines, and increases the first-aid capability of your unit.

3.     Cut the front corners of ammo pouches 1/2"-3/4" to make it easier to remove magazines during the rainy season. Also have 2 magazines with pull-tabs in each pouch. If they are available, use canteen covers to carry magazines rather than ammo pouches. They hold more magazines, are easier to open and you won't need so many pouches hanging from your web gear.

4.     Tie a string or lanyard between M-79 and web belt so you won't lose it when firing the M16.

5.     Keep your URC-10 secured to your harness during use. If lost with the beeper on, it will negate oil other signals on that frequency until the battery runs down.

6.     Always carry some type of knife on patrol.

7.     Snap links should be secured around the shoulder harness. NOT on the cloth loops.

8.     For survival, each individual should carry. in a first aid pouch on the harness one tube of bouillon cubes, one tube of salt tablets and one bottle of water purification tablets. One bullion tube in one canteen of water, when dissolved will give energy for one or two days.

9.     All team members should carry a mixture of fragmentation, CS and WP grenades on their belts for the following reasons:

a.     Fragmentation grenades are good for inflicting casualties.

b.     CS grenades are ideal for stopping or slowing down enemy troops pursuing your team. In addition they will stop dogs from pursuing you in wet weather when CS powder will dissipate due to wetness.

c.     WP grenades have a great psychological effect against enemy troops and can be used for the same purpose as CS Grenades. The use of CS and WP at the some time will more than double their effectiveness.

10.     Smoke grenades should be carried in or on the pack and not on the web gear or harness You don't fight with smoke grenades and if you need one, 99 times out of 100, you will have time to get it from your pack.

11.     Fold paper tape through the rings of grenades and tape the ring to the body of the grenade. The paper tape will tear for fast use, where plastic or cloth tape will not. Also it keeps the ring open for your finger, stops noise and prevents snagging.

12.     12. Camouflage grenades using black or OD spray paint.

13.     Do not bend the pins on the grenades flat. The rings are too hard to pull when needed.

14.     Make continuous daily checks on all grenades when on patrol, to ensure that the primer is not coming unscrewed.

15.     Each team should carry one thermite grenade for destruction of equipment, either friendly or enemy.

16.     Do not carry grenades on the upper portion of your harness because the enemy will shoot at them trying to inflict several casualties with one shot.

17.     Sew a long slim pocket on the side of your rucksack to accommodate the long antenna.

18.     Ensure that the snap link on your rucksack is snapped through the loop in the upper portion of your rucksack's carrying straps so that you won't lose it during extraction if you have to snap it on a ladder or McGuire Rig.

19.     Insect repellent leaks and spills easily, therefore, isolate it from your other equipment in the rucksack. Also squeeze air from repellent container and screw on cap firmly.

20.     An indigenous poncho and / or a ground sheet along with a jungle sweater and a rain jacket are sufficient for sleeping.

21.     A claymore bag, sewn onto the top flop of the rucksack is extremely useful to carry binoculars, extra handsets, camera or URC-10, prepared or any other special equipment. This gives easy access to those items while on patrol or when you have to ditch the rucksack.

22.     Keep smoke grenades on rucksack between pockets.

23.     Always use the water from canteens in or on your rucksack before using water in the canteens on your belt. This will ensure a supply of water should you lose your rucksack.

24.     Test straps on the rucksack before packing for each patrol. Always carry some parachute cord or repair strap on patrol.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 21 October 2015

"Tommy Atkins"
Topic: British Army

"Tommy Atkins"

The best and strongest argument against "Tommy Atkins" is that, for some reason, from Commander-in-Chief to private, nobody likes the name.

Military News, The Daily Mail and Empire, Toronto, Ontario, 25 September 1897
(From the Broad Arrow)

Many people share Lord Wolseley's opinion that it is a piece of impertinence to call the private soldier "Tommy Atkins." It is a mistake to suppose that it is equally applied to the non-commissioned officer, rather it is a distinguishing mark between the two. Yet that opinion is far from universal, for when the term is used it is rarely, if ever, in an offensive sense. It runs through Barrack Room Ballads and in this month's issue of the United Service Magazine five different writers on military subjects employ the alleged opprobrious appellation, viz., a military critic, a civilian, an old colonel of the Sutlej days, and two army chaplains. It cannot therefore be supposed for one instant that the five are guilty of intentional insult. In what then does the offence consist? We have in the sister service the "Jack Tar," shortened to "Jack" for daily use, and the song says, "They all love Jack." The corresponding name for the soldier—taking Thomas as the starting point—would be "Tom Pipe-clay," but there is no rule in this manner of nicknames. They crop up like mushrooms without ever having been sown, although "Tommy" is clearly the outcome of the Thomas Atkins of officialdom, the invention of the War Office itself. The public made it "Tommy," not "Tom"; it is conceivable they might have made the "John" of the navy into "Jacky," but "Jack," being more euphonious, was adopted. If we have "Blue Jackets" we should also have "Red Coats" and "Blue Coats," but we have not got beyond "Tommies." At the same time there is nothing sacred about the name; apparently it is out of fashion and opposed to the conspicuous refinement of the fast-vanishing days of the nineteenth century, and therefore the sooner it is dropped the better. But who can say what will follow? Not a reversion, it is to be hoped, to "sodger," which was current before the more familiar and friendly "Tommy" came into general use. Once upon a time it used to be "Gentlemen of the First Life Guards, draw your swords," Are we coming to that form of command once more? Perhaps the phonetic " ‘Tshun" may be replaced by "Soldiers of the First Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders, Ross-shire Buffs, the Duke of Albany's, have the kindness to come to attention." The best and strongest argument against "Tommy Atkins" is that, for some reason, from Commander-in-Chief to private, nobody likes the name. It is only popular outside the service; whilst in the navy "Jack" is popular throughout, afloat and ashore, with the poet and the writer of prose, and with the public generally. Once there is a suspicion that "tommy" is an intentionally uncomplimentary mode of referring to our soldiers, soldiers, at all events, should drop it.

[In a brief piece on sailors' nicknames for naval things, in the same issue of this paper, it is noted that: "Jack Tar" is a creation of the landsman, and is never used in the naval service.]

elipsis graphic

Military News, The Daily Mail and Empire, Toronto, Ontario, 25 September 1897

Military Editor, Mail and Empire:

Sir,— In your column today you reproduce an article from the Broad Arrow advising all, particularly soldiers, to drop the name "Tommy Atkins," as applied to British infantry men. If the origin of the name was as it is given by a writer in the Navy and Army Illustrated of September 3rd in an article on "Zeal in the Army," then it is a name to be proud of. The following extract may interest your readers:—

"In 1857, when the Sepoys at Lucknow mutinied, some Europeans fled to the Residency, pursued by the rebels. On their way they encountered a private of the 32nd (now 1st Batt., Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry), on sentry duty at an outpost, and told him to fly. He stoutly refused to quit his post until properly relieved. Before that time he was numbered among those who fell on that memorable day. That gallant man's name was Thomas Atkins. All through the terrible mutiny if at any time a man especially distinguished himself by any deed of bravery his comrades used to call him "a regular Tommy Atkins,"

and it was thus the name of the hero was handed down to posterity.

Yours, etc., Veteran

Peterborough, Sept. 18.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Preparatory to Entering Trenches
Topic: CEF

Preparatory to Entering Trenches

Trench Warfare; A Manual for Officers and Men, J.S. Smith, Second Lieutenant with the British Expeditionary Force, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1917.

Things to be taken note of before entering:

(a)     Check periscopes, wire cutters, field glasses, water carriers, stretchers, field dressings, emergency rations, smoke helmets, rifles, identity discs, sandbags, ammunition.

(b)     See that water bottles are filled.

(c)     Each officer to have an orderly.

(d)     Magazines to be charged and bayonets fixed and unfixed beforehand to insure proper working.

When taking over the trenches, the first thing to be done is:

(a)     Ascertain position of officers' dugouts.

(b)     Arrange telephones.

(c)     Check stores, tools, and reserve ammunition, and its position.

(d)     Obtain rough sketch of front and number of traverses to be manned.

(e)     See that entanglements in front of trnches are absolutely intact.

(f)     Arrange for water and ration parties and find out position of latrines.

Joseph Shuter Smith

(Joseph Shuter Smith was an American author born in Philadelphia in 1893. He spent his childhood in Alaska during the Gold Rush and spent his years before the Great War as a lumberjack, miner, surveyor and cowboy. In 1914, continuing his adventurous streak, he went to Canada and enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, declaring his birthplace to be Port Hope, Ontario (with next of kin in Oakland, California). Smith enlisted with the 29th Canadian Infantry Battalion at Vancouver. He served in France and Belgium as a soldier in the CEF and, after being commissioned in August, 1916, as an officer of the British Army with The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment). He resigned his Imperial commission after a year to return to the US and enlist in the American Army. Joseph Smith also wrote the memoir: Over There and Back in Three Uniforms; Being the Experiences of an American Boy in the Canadian, British and American Armies at the Front and through No Man's Land.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 19 October 2015

Testing Army Rations (1900)
Topic: Army Rations

Testing Army Rations (1900)

The Emergency Ones to be Put on Trial by War Department

The Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 5 November 1900

Fort Reno, Okla., Nov. 4.—The board of officers detailed by the war department to find, if possible, an emergency ration that will meet all the requirements of troops engaged in active warfare while away from their base of supplies and in a hostile country where provisions are scarce, left here yesterday with a detachment of twenty-five men from Troop A, Eighth Cavalry, for experimental purposes. The men will observe the same routine as if they were engaged in an active campaign against an enemy. The members of the board are Capt. W. Fountain, Eighth Cavalry, and Capt. S.W. Foster, Fifth Cavalry. Captain and Assistant Surgeon J.D. Poindexter, stationed at Fort Reno, accompanied the expedition. A single ration is supposed to contain enough food to sustain a man a day, and in its package weighs slightly more than a pound.

The board has two emergency rations, with which it will experiment. The first is a ration prepared by the board after an examination and analysis of the food preparations used in nearly all European armies. The board's observations and conclusions are embodied in the ration, which was manufactured under its supervision.

The second is a ration produced by a company at Passaic, N.J. the New Jersey ration consists of tea in place of chocolate and a combination of meat and breadstuffs compactly arranged.

The board's own ration consists of two cakes of pure sweet chocolate, three cakes of a combination of meat and breadstuffs in compressed form, and a small quantity of salt and pepper for seasoning.

Capt. Fountain, who is president of the board, said of the experiment: "Our expedition will leave Fort Reno just as if it had been called suddenly away from its base of supplies to fight an enemy in an unknown and hostile country. The routine of daily life will approximate as closely as possible the conditions of actual warfare. Five regular field rations and five of the board's emergency rations will be issued to each man at the start. For two days the men will live on the regular army ration. On the third day this field ration will be abandoned and the men put on the emergency ration, which will be their only food for five days. The test will be as rigorous as possible, so far as food is concerned. The results will form the basis of the board's report to the war department.

"At the end of the seventh day we will reach Fort Sill. The men will still have a three days' supply of regular field rations which will be enough to carry them back to Fort Reno."

elipsis graphic

New Army Ration

Ingrediants Secret, but Believed to Include beef, Wheat, Salt and Chocolate.

The Evening News, San Jose, Cal., 12 March 1901

As a result of an exhaustive test, conducted under actual conditions of military service, and emergency ration has been obtained for the United States army superior to that used by the troops of any other nation.

That is the opinion of the board of officers designated to prepare a ration and examine others submitted and test them in comparison.

The ration which developed the greatest merit was adopted for trial by the board after the most careful consideration of the several elements comprising it. The board examined and celebrated the iron ration of Germany and the emergency ration of Great Britain. The one, in the opinion of Captain Fountain, would be eaten by men only on the verge of starvation. The other weighs more than two pounds and is consequently almost as heavy as the regular ration of the American army.

The ration of the board was tested for five days, and an equally long trial was given to two rations submitted by private persons.

The components of the ration prepared by the board have not been made public, but it is believed to contain powdered beef, parched wheat, salt and chocolate.

With a detachment of 25 men, physically fit, of Troop A, Eighth Cavalry, Captains Fountain and Foster left Fort Reno early in November and for three days lived on the regular army ration. Then officers and men started on the emergency ration test. The men were required to march 20 miles each day and perform the usual routine incident upon field service. At the expiration of the five days officers and men were weighed. The average loss of weight sustained was found to be about two pounds, and the men returned to their post in good physical condition.

Another detachment of 25 men of Troop A went out two days later under command of Captains Fountain and Foster, After three days' use of the regular army ration the test of the second emergency ration began. Cases of dysentery occurred. The test of the third emergency ration, under the same conditions, gave the same results.

In order that there might be no question as to the value of the first ration, detachments of 25 men from Fort Reno and 25 men from Fort Sill left these two posts and arranged to meet at a point equally distant under various conditions of service. They seemed to relish it and suffered no diminution of vigor.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sending of NCOs to Schools for Instruction
Topic: Canadian Militia

Sending of NCOs to Schools for Instruction

Military News, The Daily Mail and Empire, Toronto, Ontario, 16 October 1897

In reference to Royal Schools of Instruction, the general officer commanding has observed that the class of non-commissioned officers and men sent for instruction to those schools is not always credible to the corps to which they belong, and that proper care is not exercised in their selection. He therefore deems it expedient to remind officers commanding units that these schools of instruction are not maintained either for the purpose of affording temporary employment to the unemployed or for the training of recruits.

The regulations and orders for the militia are quite specific in this respect, and the general officer commanding intends that in future the principles therein defined shall be strictly adhered to in order that due value may be received by the public for the expenditure.

The following additional instructions will, until further orders, be adhered to in selection of non-commissioned officers and men for courses of instruction; not only must officers commanding corps exercise great care in selecting or recommending men for courses of instruction , but they must also ascertain that, besides physical fitness, these men possess more than an average degree of intelligence that they have fair educational attainments, and that they possess the aptitude for imparting the instruction they may receive to others.

As a general rule non-commissioned officers only will be recommended. Only where these qualifications are possessed in a marked degree will a private soldier be recommended.

Non-commissioned officers or men recommended must have completed at least twelve months' service in the corps to which they belong, and must have attended the last annual meeting of their corps.

Officers commanding corps neglecting to comply with these instructions will incur a very serious responsibility, for which they will be strictly held to account.

Commandants of schools will not only see that these instructions are complied with, but they will so arrange that by constant supervision of an officer detailed for the purpose, attached con-commissioned officers and men who give evidence by want of intelligence of educational attainment that they are not likely to become efficient non-commissioned officers are likely to be immediately returned to their corps. And the cases promptly reported to headquarters.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 17 October 2015

A "Plan of Discipline"
Topic: Military Theory

A "Plan of Discipline"

Journals of Major Robert Rogers, as published in a 1769 Dublin edition.

1.     All Rangers are to be subject to the rules and articles of war; to appear at roll- call every evening, on their own parade, equipped, each with a firelock, sixty rounds of powder and ball, and a hatchet, at which time an officer from each company is to inspect the same, to see they are in order, so as to be ready on any emergency to march at a minute's warning; and before they are dismissed, the necessary guards are to be draughted and scouts for the next day appointed.

2.     Whenever you are ordered out to the enemies forts or frontiers for discoveries, if your number be small, march in a single file, keeping at such distance from each other as to prevent one shot from killing two men, sending one man, or more, forward, and the like on each side, at the distance of twenty yards from the main body, if the ground you march over will admit of it, to give the signal to the officer of the approach of an enemy, and of their number &c.

3.     If you march over marshes or soft ground, change your position, and march abreast of each other to prevent the enemy from tracking you (as they would do if you marched in a single file) till you get over such ground, and then resume your former order and march till it is quite dark before you encamp, which do, if possible, on a piece of ground which that may afford your centries the advantage of seeing or hearing the enemy some considerable distance, keeping one half of your whole party awake alternately through the night.

4.     Some time before you come to the place you would reconnoitre, make a stand, and send one or two men in whom you can confide, to look out the best ground for making your observations.

5.     If you have the good fortune to take any prisoners, keep them separate, till they are examined, and in your return take a different route from that in which you went out, that you may the better discover any party in your rear, and have an opportunity, if their strength be superior to yours, to alter your course, or disperse, as circumstances may require.

6.     If you march in a large body of three or four hundred, with a design to attack the enemy, divide your party into three columns, each headed by a proper officer, and let those columns march in single files, the columns to the right and left keeping at twenty yards distance or more from that of the center, if the ground will admit, and let proper guards be kept in the front and rear, and suitable flanking parties at a due distance as before directed, with orders to halt on all eminences, to take a view of the surrounding ground, to prevent your being ambuscaded, and to notify the approach or retreat of the enemy, that proper dispostions may be made for attacking, defending, &c. And if the enemy approach in your front on level ground, form a front of your three columns or main body with the advanced guard, keeping out your flanking parties, as if you were marching under the command of trusty officers, to prevent the enemy from pressing hard on either of your wings, or surrounding you, which is the usual method of the savages, if their number will admit of it, and be careful likewise to support and strengthen your rear-guard.

7.     If you are obliged to receive the enemy's fire, fall, or squat down, till it is over; then rise and discharge at them. If their main body is equal to yours, extend yourselves occasionally; but if superior, be careful to support and strengthen your flanking parties, to make them equal to theirs, that if possible you may repulse them to their main body, in which case push upon them with the greatest resolution with equal force in each flank and in the center, observing to keep at a due distance from each other, and advance from tree to tree, with one half of the party before the other ten or twelve yards. If the enemy push upon you, let your front fire and fall down, and then let your rear advance thro' them and do the like, by which time those who before were in front will be ready to discharge again, and repeat the same alternatively, as occasion shall require; by this means you will keep up such a constant fire, that the enemy will not be able easily to break your order, or gain your ground.

8.     If you oblige the enemy to retreat, be careful, in your pursuit of them to keep out your flanking parties, and prevent them from gaining eminences, or rising grounds, in which case they would perhaps be able to rally and repulse you in their turn.

9.     If you are obliged to retreat, let the front of your whole party fire and fall back, till the rear hath done the same, making for the best ground you can; by this means you will oblige the enemy to pursue you, if they do it at all, in the face of a constant fire.

10.     If the enemy is so superior that you are in danger of being surrounded by them, let the whole body disperse, and every one take a different road to the place of rendezvous appointed for that evening, which must every morning be altered and fixed for the evening ensuing, in order to bring the whole party, or as many of them as possible, together, after any separation that may happen in the day; but if you should happen to be actually surrounded, form yourselves into a square, or if in the woods, a circle is best, and, if possible, make a stand till the darkness of the night favours your escape.

11.     If your rear is attacked, the main body and flankers must face about to the right or left, as occasion shall require, and form themselves to oppose the enemy, as before directed; and the same method must be observed, if attacked in either of your flanks, by which means you will always make a rear of one of your flank-guards.

12.     If you determine to rally after a retreat, in order to make a fresh stand against the enemy, by all means endeavour to do it on the most rising ground you come at, which will give you greatly the advantage in point of situation, and enable you to repulse superior numbers.

13.     In general, when pushed upon by the enemy, reserve your fire till they approach very near, which will then put them into the greatest surprize and consternation, and give you an opportunity of rushing upon them with your hatchets and cutlasses to the better advantage.

14.     When you encamp at night, fix your centries in such a manner as not to be relieved from the main body till morning, profound secrecy and silence being often of the last importance in these cases. Each centry therefore should consist of six men, two of whom must be constantly alert, and when relieved by their fellows, it should be done without noise; and in case those on duty see or hear any thing, which alarms them, they are not to speak, but one of them is silently to retreat, that proper dispositions may be made; and all occasional centries should be fixed in like manner.

15.     At the first dawn of day, awake your whole detachment; that being the time when the savages chuse to fall upon their enemies, you should by all means be in readiness to receive them.

16.     If the enemy should be discovered by your detachments in the morning, and their numbers are superior to yours, and a victory doubtful, you should not attack them till the evening, as then they will not know your numbers, and if you are repulsed, your retreat will be favoured by the darkness of the night.

17.     Before you leave your encampment, send out small parties to scout round it, to see if there be any appearance or track of an enemy that might have been near you during the night.

18.     When you stop for refreshment, chuse some spring or rivulet if you can, and dispose your party so as not to be surprised, posting proper guards and centries at a due distance, and let a small party waylay the path came in, lest the enemy should be pursuing.

19.     If, in your return, you have to cross rivers, avoid the usual fords as much as possible, lest the enemy should have discovered, and be there expecting you.

20.     If you have to pass by lakes, keep at some distance from the edge of the water, lest, in case of an ambuscade or an attack from the enemy, when in that situation, your retreat should be cut off.

21.     If the enemy pursue your rear, take a circle till you come to your own tracks, and there form an ambush to receive them, and give them the first fire.

22.     When you return from a scout, and come near our forts, avoid the usual roads, and avenues thereto, lest the enemy should have headed you, and lay in ambush to receive you, when almost exhausted with fatigues.

23.     When you pursue any party that has been near our forts or encampments, follow not directly in their tracks, lest they should be discovered by their rear-guards, who, at such a time, would be most alert; but endeavour, by a different route, to head and meet them in some narrow pass, or lay in ambush to receive them when and where they least expect it.

24.     If you are to embark in canoes, battoes, or otherwise, by water, chuse the evening for the time of your embarkation, as you will then have the whole night before you, to pass undiscovered by any parties of the enemy, on hills, or other places, which command a prospect of the lake or river you are upon.

25.     In padling or rowing, give orders that the boat or canoe next the sternmost, wait for her, and the third for the second, and the fourth for the third, and so on, to prevent separation, and that you may be ready to assist each other on any emergency.

26.     Appoint one man in each boat to look out for fires, on the adjacent shores, from the number and size of which you may form some judgment of the number that kindled them, and whether you are able to attack them or not.

27.     If you find the enemy encamped near the banks of a river or lake, which you imagine they will attempt to cross for their security upon being attacked, leave a detachment of your party on the opposite shore to receive them, while, with the remainder, you surprize them, having them between you and the lake or river.

28.     If you cannot satisfy yourself as to the enemy's number and strength, from their fires, &c. conceal your boats at some distance, and ascertain their number by a reconnoitering party, when they embark, or march, in the morning, marking the course they steer, &c. when you may pursue, ambush, and attack them, or let them pass, as prudence shall direct you. In general, however, that you may not be discovered by the enemy upon the lakes and rivers at a great distance, it is safest to lay by, with your boats and party concealed all day, without noise or shew; and to pursue your intended route by night; and whether you go by land or water, give out parole and countersigns, in order to know one another in the dark, and likewise appoint a station for every man to repair to, in case of any accident that may separate you.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 16 October 2015

Wife's Consent Not Needed
Topic: CEF

CNE Military Camp, 1915. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 3588

Wife's Consent Not Needed

Militia Department Abolishes Bar to Enlistment—Niagara Camp Notified
Seven Thousand Men
Recruits Have Joined at the Rate of One Entire Battalion a Week

The Toronto World, 21 August 1915

The consent of wives of married men who enlist, or the parents of young men over 18 years of age, is not needed, according to the text of an official message received from the divisional headquarters at Niagara camp yesterday. This regulation is already in force at the recruiting depot. No one under 18 years of age will be allowed to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force in any capacity, and those who say they are 18 when they have not reached that age are liable to be charged with perjury.

Only single men will be accepted for service with the permanent forces of Canada.

Official orders are expected within a couple of days authorizing a new system of recruiting, where by each unit will have four recruiting sergeants, who will be paid by the recruiting depots.

In the last seven weeks Toronto has recruited no less than 7000, making the enlistment at the rate of one entire battalion per week. The number of men passing through the recruiting depot Thursday was 196, making the high water mark for the week, and insuring that a complete battalion will be secured this week.

The supply of uniforms for recent recruits has been delayed because they are all being made in Canada, according to a statement made by Major-General Lessard yesterday. He said that the Canadian manufacturers had been doing very well, considering the heavy demand they had been asked to meet. Everything possible was being done to expediete the manufacture of uniforms.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 15 October 2015

Feeding an Army When in Field
Topic: Army Rations

Feeding an Army When in Field

Emergency Ration Carried into Action by Every English Soldier

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash., 8 November, 1914

The Manchester (Eng.) Guardian says: The English Soldier, when he goes into action, carries with him an emergency ration (known in the service as the 'iron' ration). Which is securely packed in a canvas receptacle on the man's equipment.

elipsis graphic

The new chain of supply gives between one and two days 'iron' rations in the haversack, half a day's ration in the cook's wagon, and one ration and grocery in the train or supply column, making a total of two and a half to three and a half days' rations with the field units, as against five and a half days' supply under the old system.

elipsis graphic

Opened Only in Emergency

The present 'emergency ration' for use on active service consists of chocolate, with added plasmon or other suitable milk proteid. The food is wrapped in vegetable parchment paper, and packed in tins, each containing sic and a half ounces. This ration is not to be opened except by order of an officer or in extremity. It is calculated to maintain strength for 36 hours, if eaten or drunk in small quantities at a time. To prepare the beverage the scrapings of a ration are boiled in a half pint of water. The 'iron' ration is made up of one pound of preserved meat, 12 ounces of biscuit, five-eights ounce of tea, two ounces of sugar, one-half ounce of salt, three ounces of cheese and two cubes (one ounce) of meat extract.

The traveling kitchen has for years been tried and approved in the French, Russian and German armies, and is now being used by each of these armies in the field. The English field kitchen is a two-horse limbered vehicle. It cooks for 250 men, allowing 10 quarts of hot food for every 12 men. The rear part of the wagon contains a fire and four cooking pots in addition to a hot water boiler. Groceries, too, are carried. The only drawback to these cooking carts is that they materially increase the length of the baggage columns, and as an army corps with its baggage takes up 17 miles of road this is a serious objection. But the traveling kitchens have proved their value. They enable a soldier to have a hot meal on reaching his bivouac.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

The Regimental Rogue.

Follow The Regimental Rogue on facebook.

« November 2015 »
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Army Rations
Battle Honours
British Army
Canadian Armed Forces
Canadian Army
Canadian Militia
Cold Steel
Cold War
Drill and Training
European Armies
Forays in Fiction
Martial Music
Military Medical
Military Theory
Pay; the Queen's shilling
Sam Hughes
Soldier Slang
Soldiers' Load
Staff Duties
Stolen Valour
Taking Advantage
The Field of Battle
The RCR Museum
US Armed Forces
Vimy Pilgrimage
Wolseley Barracks

You are not logged in. Log in
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile