The Minute Book
Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Commodore says Navy run like Private Club
Topic: RCN

Commodore says Navy run like Private Club

Ottawa Citizen; 26 August 1963

"Commodore James Plomer launched a potentially damaging attack on the Canadian Naval establishment. In a wide-ranging, highly critical article published by Maclean's magazine on 7 September 1963, the recently retired Plomer systematically attacked the RCN's managment system, its equipment, its ability to confuct operations at seas and its personnel policies. Although Plomer's assertions were later repudiated and puiblicly shown to be self-serving, his onslaught did produce some fallout — especially in his criticism of the GP frigate program."

The Admirals: Canada's Senior Naval Leadership in the Twentieth Century, by Michael Whitby, Richard H. Gimblett, Peter Haydon; 2006

Toronto (CP)—Retired RCN Commodore James Plomer says a "self-perpetuating, self-electing" group of admirals is running the Royal Canadian Navy like a private club.

He makes the charge, and many others, in an article entitled The Gold-Braid Mind is destroying our Navy in the Sept. 7 issue of Maclean's magazine.

Commodore Plumer, former deputy naval comptroller who resigned last spring, says the navy has a fleet of ships which are "badly chosen, badly equipped and poorly manned."

"In my view, the people of Canada have been badly hoodwinked, both through press releases of the navy and through various ministers of defence, who have themselves been misinformed by their naval advisers," Commodore Plomer writes. He was formerly senior Canadian officer afloat.

"Canadian admirals have come to believe in themselves as a social institution, a marching society, a kind of Tammany Hall. Arrogantly, they believe that military law, the Naval Discipline Act and pageantry are all we need to make a modern navy."

Obsessed with Pomp

"Childish obsession with the pomp of a bygone age" was far stronger in the RCN than in any modern nanvy.

In the RCN's "parade-ground psychology," fresh paint on ships "means praise, whatever the internal shambles."

"Officers who have failed quickly under operational stress have become admirals. So have officers who dress up in sailor suits but rarely go to sea—the last admiral I worked for had been to sea less than two months since before the start of the war."

The admirals manipulated appointments "with all the underhandedness of a bungling, devitalized Mafia—but more gorgeously attired."

Commodore Plomer says morale is so low in the RCN, ships are unable to function effectively and many vessels break down during exercises.

He says he doesn't know of a single case where a commanding officer has faced a board of inquiry for even the grossest neglect of his ship.

He has made repeated representations to three admirals and two chiefs of naval staff on the condition of ships.

Reports Ignored

"My reports have been either politely or rudely ignored."

The admirals "have for years demonstrated an unholy genius for buying the wrong equipment."

The aircraft carrier Bonaventure was too slow, was not designed for the North Atlantic, had "obsolete" anti-aircraft guns and her accommodations was substandard and crowded.

It had taken six years and a "fantastic amount of money" to get three-inch destroyer guns in working order.

Commodore Plomer's charges are likely to be aired before the Commons defence committee this fall.

There was no immediate official comment from the Navy. Unofficially, it was said the charges have a kernel of truth in them but that Commodoe Plomer had overstated the case.

elipsis graphic

Commodore James Plomer, OBE, DSC*, CD

The following synopsis of Commodore Plomer's career is published at

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The 1st Battalion's Other Triple-MM
Topic: CEF

The 1st Battalion's Other Triple-MM

Many Canadians will have seen at least passing reference to Francis Pegahmagabow in news feeds or social media if they have any interest in the First World War. Canada's most decorated First Nations soldier of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), Pegahmagabow was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in battle three separate times. His medals are now on display in the Canadian War Museum. Pegahmagabow served in the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion, a unit of the CEF that is now perpetuated by The Royal Canadian Regiment.

But few Canadians are aware that 38 other men also received the Military Medal (MM) three times. This short list, out of 12341 recipients of the MM (1235 men received it twice), also includes a second three time recipient from the same battalion as Francis Pegahmagabow.

178218 Private William Anson Ogilvie was a miner and prospector in Porcupine, Ontario, when he enlisted for service in the CEF. Ogilvie joined the 87th Battalion Canadian Infantry (Canadian Grenadier Guards) at St. John's Quebec, on 17 February, 1916. 33 years old when he enlisted, Ogilvie was described as 5 feet 10 inches in height with a 44 in chest, dark complexion, grey eyes and dark hair.

The 87th Battalion, on reaching England, was absorbed into the reinforcement system supporting the Canadian Corps in France and Flanders. Ogilvie joined a draft of reinforcement for the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion.

The Gazettes for William Anson Ogilvie' Military Medal awarded were published as follows:

  • Military Medal – 9 July 1917 (possibly a Vimy Ridge action)
  • 1st Bar – 11 February 1919
  • 2nd Bar – 23 July 1919

The list of triple Military Medal recipients as shown in John Blatherwick's Canadian Army; Honours – Decorations – Medals, 1902-1968 is shown below. This out of print reference is a valuable addition to any Canadian Army researcher's library.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 15 December 2015 8:02 AM EST
Monday, 14 December 2015

Scientific Support for Scarlets
Topic: Militaria

Scientific Support for Scarlets

"Blasts from the Trumpet," The Quebec Daily Telegraph, 11 February 1902

Several reasons are urged by scientific and military experts in favour of our infantry soldiers wearing scarlet coats. In the first place, scarlet affords the best attainable protection against the extremes of heat and cold to which soldiers are liable to be exposed. The darker the color protecting a warm body, the more rapidly radiation proceeds. With reference to protection from the sun, scarlet takes a far higher place than any of the blues, greens, or drabs and other shades often used for military clothing. Although scarlet or red is more conspicuous than grey when the sun shines directly on the troops it blurs on the sight and is consequently more difficult to hit. It is a distinct advantage that our men should bulk large in the decisive stages of an encounter, and there is no color which enables them to do this so effectively as scarlet. On the whole therefore every scientific consideration justifies the retention of scarlet as the best uniform for our troops.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 13 December 2015

The "BIG 12"
Topic: Leadership

The "BIG 12"

Leadership Lessons at Division Command Level - 2004; by Walter F. Ulmer, Jr., Michael D. Shaler, R. Craig Bullis, Diane F. DiClemente, T. Owen Jacobs; A report prepared under the direction of the United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, 5 November 2004

A compilation of survey and interview data led to the formulation of a list of critical behaviors for Division Commanders (and other leaders) that would best assure creation of "A Command climate that supports operational excellence ["Operating"] and also motivates competent people to continue their military service ["Improving".] They are taken from the Leader Behavior Preference (LBP) items and provide a convenient description of critical behaviors as seen by study participants. They are described as "The BIG 12":

The "BIG 12"

At the top of the list:

  • Keeps cool under pressure.
  • Clearly explains missions, standards, and priorities.
  • Sees the big picture; provides context and perspective.
  • Can make tough, sound decisions on time.

Also particularly significant:

  • Adapts quickly to new situations and requirements.
  • Sets high standards without a "zero defects" mentality.
  • Can handle "bad news."
  • Coaches and gives useful feedback to subordinates.
  • Sets a high ethical tone; demands honest reporting.
  • Knows how to delegate and not "micromanage."
  • Builds and supports teamwork within staff and among units.
  • Is positive, encouraging, and realistically optimistic.

The Senior Subaltern

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

SAF Code of Conduct
Topic: Discipline

SAF Code of Conduct

Singapore Armed Forces: "Our Army; Customs and Traditions, Understanding Why We Do What We Do," 2006

On 18 July 1967, the Code of Conduct was promulgated by the then Defence Minister of Singapore, Dr Goh Keng Swee. The code had been initially researched and drafted by a Jesuit Priest named Father Terence J. Sheridan.

This code was justified for two reasons: Professional efficiency and the relation between the Armed Forces and Society. The code is necessary to spell out in explicit terms for the guidance of the armed forces to establish high standards of behaviour. It then ensures sense of dignity and purpose prevails throughout the Army.

It is a set of rules which govern the daily conduct and behaviour of a serviceman. It is a constant reminder of the Core Values of Loyalty to Country, Discipline, Professionalism and Ethics and provide the moral compass in the serviceman’s daily dealings.

The Six Rules of Conduct are:

1.     We always honour our Nation. We will do everything to uphold it and nothing to disgrace it.

2.     At all times, we must bear in mind that we are the protector of our citizens.

3.     We are loyal to the Armed Forces and we take pride in our unit, our uniform, our discipline, our work, our training and ourselves.

4.     We must be exemplary in our conduct. We respect others, and by our conduct and bearing win the respect of others. We are courageous but not reckless.

5.     We are devoted to duty but not to ourselves.

6.     We guard our weapons as we guard secrets.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 11 December 2015

Such is the Reward of My Merit
Topic: Discipline

Such is the Reward of My Merit

"Military Matters," The Toronto Daily Mail, 21 June 1884

The following anecdote, extracted from Knox's "Campaigns in North America," under date the 11th December, 1757, may not be uninteresting to our readers.:---

"Yesterday a court martial sat on the grenadier (43rd Regiment) for absenting his command on the 8th inst., when attacked by the enemy. He was found guilty of cowardice, and I think the particular punishment ordered for him evinces great discernment in the members of that court. Their sentence ran thus:

"'It is the opinion of the court that the prisoner is a notorious coward, and they sentenced him to ride the wooden horse half an hour every day for six days, with a petticoat on him, a broom in his hand, and a paper pinned on his back bearing this inscription, "Such is the reward of my merit."'

"Which sentence was duly executed, to the inexpressible mirth of the whole garrison, and of the women in particular."

"In a footnote the author adds: "This poor fellow on many subsequent occasions approved himself a remarkably gallant soldier, insomuch that I have heard his captain (now a field officer) sat that, if he was ordered on any desperate service, he could wish all his party as well to be depended upon."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 10 December 2015

His Majesty's Sanction
Topic: Canadian Militia

His Majesty's Sanction

From the archived correspondence of the Governor-General of Canada, held by Library and Archives Canada.

Dated 26 April, 1907, the following "Circular" was distributed to the Dominions of the Empire from the office of Secretary of State for the Colonies, who was, at the time Victor Alexander Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin.

Downing Street,
26th April, 1907.


The attention of His Majesty's Government to the diversity of practice which prevails in various parts of the Empire in regard to the granting of honorary distinctions and titles to Military Units; and, I have now, by His Majesty's command, to indicate to you the procedure which it is considered desirable should be observed in such matters.

2.     As all honorary distinctions (not only decorations and medals) must be held to emanate from the Sovereign, they should not in any case be granted without His Majesty's sanction having been first obtained.

3.     Changes of title which include the use of the words "Royal" or "Imperial" or introduce the name of a member of the Royal Family (e.g., Duke of Connaught's Own) should likewise be submitted in the first instance for His Majesty's sanction. Any application, therefore, to use such designations or for the grant of honorary distinctions should be made to the Secretary of State who will take the King's pleasure on the subject, after conferring with the Army Council.

4.     Any other changes of title need only be formally reported to the Secretary of State for information, with a statement of the reasons for the changes where such changes are made on military grounds (e.g., the change of Infantry to Mounted Rifles).

It will be necessary for the above-mentioned procedure to be carried out before any honorary distinction or change of title can be recorded in the Army Lists published by the War Office.

I Have the honour to be,
You most obedient, humble Servant,

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Canadian Navy 1910
Topic: RCN

The Canadian Navy 1910

The Glasgow Herald, 11 February 1910

Ottawa.—Not all vessels of the Canadian navy are to be built in Canada after all. Sir Frederick Borden, Minister of Militia and Defence, in the course of the debates on the Naval Bill, announced that the Canadian Government is negotiating with the Imperial Admiralty for the purchase of the cruiser Niobe. This purchase is intended to take the place of a projected cruiser of the Boadicea class, originally included in the Canadian plans.

The announcement has caused considerable discussion, and is regarded as a concession to that party in the House which has been clamouring for a direct contribution towards Imperial Dreadnoughts. It is considered likely that other vessels will be bought instead of built, for that policy will achieve more immediate results.

The energy of the Government is having a good effect, accompanied as it is by the contention of Sir Frederick Borden that Canada, in spite of all the criticism, is doing more for Imperial naval defence than either New Zealand or Australia.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 9 December 2015 12:07 AM EST
Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Patton's General Combat Principles
Topic: Military Theory

Patton's General Combat Principles

Instructions to the Third United States Army, General George S. Patton, Jr., 3 April 1944

1.     There is no approved solution to any tactical situation.

2.     There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is: "To so use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wounds, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum time."

3.     In battle, casualties vary directly with the time you are exposed to effective fire. Your own fire reduces the effectiveness and volume of the enemy’s fire, while rapidity of attack shortens the time of exposure. A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood!

4.     Battles are won by frightening the enemy. Fear is induced by inflicting death and wounds on him. Death and wounds are produced by fire. Fire from the rear is more deadly and three times more effective than fire from the front, but to get fire behind the enemy, you must hold him by frontal fire and move rapidly around his flank. Frontal attacks against prepared positions should be avoided if possible.

5.     "Catch the enemy by the nose with fire and kick him in the pants with fire emplaced through movement."

6.     Hit hard soon; that is, with two battalions up in a regiment, or two divisions up in a corps, or two corps up in an army—the idea being to develop your maximum force at once before the enemy can develop his.

7.     You can never be too strong. Get every man and gun you can secure, provided it does not unduly delay your attack. The German is the champion digger.

8.     The larger the force and the more violence you use in the attack, whether it be men, tanks, or ammunition, the smaller will be your proportional losses.

9.     Never yield ground. It is cheaper to hold what you have than to retake what you have lost. Never move troops to the rear for a rest or to reform at night, and in the daytime only where absolutely necessary. Such moves may produce a panic.

10.     Our mortars and artillery are superb weapons when they are firing. When silent, they are junk—see that they keep firing!

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 30 October 2015 12:22 PM EDT
Monday, 7 December 2015

Establishment of Petawawa
Topic: Canadian Militia

Establishment of Petawawa

From the Orders-in-Council documents archived on line by Library and Archives Canada, we find this memorandum on the acquisition of land near Petawawa, Ontario, to establish a firing range for artillery and rifles.

"On a memorandum dated 14th March 1907 from the Minister of Militia and Defence reporting the urgent necessity for the defence of Canada of acquiring and area of ground conveniently situated to the capital upon which the artillery of the militia may safely practice with the long range guns with which they are armed and where the infantry may be trained to use their rifles under modern service conditions.

"The Minister states that he has caused a number of localities in Ontario and Quebec to be examined and reported upon by competent officers, with a view to the selection of the most suitable area, and having considered the reports and all the circumstances of the case, he is of the opinion that the area hereinafter described situate within the Province of Ontario is the most suitable one for the purpose.

"The Minister is informed that there are certain outstanding timber licenses issued by the Government of Ontario conferring the right upon the licensees for the present to cut the trees growing upon the said lands.

"Portions of the said lands are also in the possession of settlers who are entitled upon the performance of further settlement duties, or upon making further payments to the Government of Ontario, to obtain patents for the lands so occupied by them.

"Except as to the aforesaid rights of the timber licensees and of the settlers in possession, the said lands are absolutely in His Majesty under the administration of the Government of Ontario.

"British North America Act, 1867 - Enactment no. 1

117. The several Provinces shall retain all their respective Public Property not otherwise disposed of in this Act, subject to the Right of Canada to assume any Lands or Public Property required for Fortifications or for the Defence of the Country. (Source)

"The Minister further states that it is not intended by the present recommendation to interfere with the existing rights of the said timber licensees or with the present interests of the settlers in possession, but he recommends that, subject to these rights and interests as they now exist, all the lands hereinafter described be, under the authority of section 117 of the British North America Act, 1867, assumed by Your Excellency in the right of the Government of Canada for the defence of the country.

"The lands recommended to be so assumed are described as follows:—

"All that parcel or tract of land situate and being within the Province of Ontario, bounded:—

  • on the South by the South Branch of the Petawawa River,
  • on the North by the boundary line between Concessions 8 and 9 of the Township of Wylie, the Chalk River to the boundary line between the Townships of Wylie and Buchanan, the line between Concessions 7 and 8, of the Township of Buchanan, the line between lots 18 and 19, Range A, and lots 18 and 19, Range B, of said Township of Buchanan,
  • on the East by the Ottawa River, and
  • on the West by the Western boundary of the Townships of MacKay and Wylie.

"The whole being portions of the Townships of Petawawa, MacKay, Wylie and Buchanan in the County of Renfrew, in the Province of Ontario.

"The Minister further recommends that the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario be notified by the Secretary of State of the assumption of said lands for the purposes aforesaid.

"The Committee submit the same for approval."

Signed by the Prime Minister, Wilfred Laurier, the Order-in-Council document was counter-signed in approval by the Governor-General, Lord Grey.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 6 December 2015

Discipline (QOR, 1924)
Topic: Discipline


A Guide to Riflemen of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, by Lieut.-Col. Reg. Pellatt, 1924

Discipline means obedience to orders, and this duty of a soldier. It is the foundation upon which the superstructure of a military organization is erected. Without it, the largest masses of men and material are quite useless, and the most brilliantly conceived tactical and strategical schemes are impossible to execute. Obedience must be prompt, respectful, and without a murmur. Every Rifleman must learn that his first duty as a soldier is to obey. Should he feel himself aggrieved he may complain in the proper manner after the duty, whatever it may be, has been performed. Discipline also is necessary in every walk of is the first life, and is the key to efficiency. To the civilian mind, military discipline too often appears to be a conglomeration of petty tyrannies and restrictions. This is by no means the case, however, and it should be regarded instead, as the lubricant which oils the wheels of the administrative machinery, thus enabling the whole organization to run smoothly. The efficiency and good name of the Regiment will depend upon the loyal co-operation of all ranks in maintaining a high sense of duty, which should inspire the conduct of all.

By faithful discharge of its duties under all circumstances, the Regiment will be able to maintain the glorious traditions of the past.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 1 November 2015 12:55 PM EDT
Saturday, 5 December 2015

The Soldier's Load in Vietnam
Topic: Soldiers' Load

The Soldier's Load in Vietnam

Men at War; True Stories of Heroism and Honor, Robert Barr Smith, 1997

The jungle-covered limestone ridges [of the Dak To] took a physical toll even with-out the lung-busting effort of combat. A load for an American soldier on the move might weigh as much as fifty pounds all told. Typically, he lugged at least five hundred rounds for his M-16, loaded eighteen or nineteen to a magazine. He was issued belt pouches to carry his magazines, but he often packed some of them in canteen covers or in a cloth claymore mine bag for easier access.

He carried three or four quart canteens of water, four or more fragmentation grenades and a couple of smoke grenades, a knife or bayonet or machete, and usually a belt for one of the M-60 machine guns or a LAW antitank rocket for busting NVA bunkers. He often carried one or two claymores as well. He sometimes packed as much as three days' C rations—in tin cans—although on short patrols he might carry only a single meal in a bootsock tied to his harness. Add in the weight of his steel helmet, tack on more pounds for his M-16 or M-79 grenade launcher or M-60 machine gun, and the soldier had plenty to sweat about before anybody fired a round.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 4 December 2015

Appointments to the Permanent Force (1905)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Appointments to the Canadian Permanent Force (1905)

From the Orders-in-Council documents archives on line by Library and Archives Canada, we find this memorandum amending the conditions for appointments of new officers to the Permanent Force:

"The Minister of Militia and Defence recommends for approval the General Orders (Special) dated 14th July, 1905, containing regulation to govern appointments to the Permanent Force, the same having been recommended by the Militia Council.

"The Committee submit the same for approval."

The memo was signed off by the Prime Minister, Sir Wilfred Laurier, and counter-signed in approval by the Governor-General, Earl Grey on 20 July, 1905.

elipsis graphic

General Orders – 1905 (Special)

Headquarters, Ottawa, July 14th, 1905.

King's Regulations and Orders for the Militia of Canada, 1904.

Paragraph 933, and amendments thereto published in General Orders Nos. 55 and 115, 1905, are hereby cancelled, and the following substituted in lieu thereof:—

933 (1).     A candidate to be eligible for first appointment to a unit of the permanent force must fulfill the following conditions:—

(a)     He must be unmarried, and be between the ages of 18 and 25 on the first day of January of the current year,

(b)     He must be a British subject by birth of naturalization.

(c)     He must be certified by a medical board to be in every respect fit for military service.

(d)     He must be in possession of a diploma of graduation, or a certificate of military qualification, from the Royal Military College of Canada, and be recommended for appointment by the Commandant of the College; or,

(d 1)     He must have attended two annual trainings of a corps of the active militia, and be recommended by his commanding officer and the officer holding the higher command (or, when the district is not within a command, by the officer commanding the district), as being in every way fitted for appointment to a commission in the permanent force, and have obtyained an officer's long course certificate; or,

(d 2)     He must have served satisfactorily as an officer of His Majesty's regular army for at least six months; or,

(d 3)     He must have served for at least two years in the field in South Africa during the Boer War with one of the Canadian contingents, one year of such period as a commissioned officer and be recommended by the commanding officer under whom he served as in every way fitted and eligible for appointment to the permanent force, and have passed such literary examination as may be prescribed.

(2)     Applicants for commissions in the permanent force, not qualified as above described in paragraphs (d), (d 1), (d 2) and (d 3) may be attached for duty to a unit of the permanent force for the purpose of obtaining an officer's long course certificate. In no case, however, will such applicant be attached for a longer period than 18 months.

(3)     Appointments to the Army Service Corps, Army Medical Corps, Ordnance Stores Corps and the Pay Department will be specially considered by the Minister of Militia in Militia Council.

(4)     All first appointments in the Canadian permanent engineers and permanent artillery, and every alternate commission in the permanent cavalry, mounted infantry and infantry, will be offered in the first instance, to graduates of the Royal Military College of Canada.

(5)     Three commissions will be given annually, should vacancies exist, to the graduating class, viz:–every year one in the Canadian permanent infantry; and each alternate year:—

(a)     one in the permanent engineers and one in the permanent fiedl artillery,

(b)     one in the permanent cavalry or mounted infantry and one in the permanent garrison artillery.

By Command,
B.H. Vidal, Col.
Adjutant General

Document initialled: "F.W.B." – Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence, 1896-1911)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 3 December 2015

Officers' Orderlies: Napoleons, Every One
Topic: Humour

Officers' Orderlies: Napoleons, Every One

The Good Soldier Schwiek, Jaroslav Hasek, 1930

Officers' orderlies are of very ancient origin. It would appear that Alexander the Great had his batman. I am surprised that nobody has yet written a history of batmen. It would probably contain an account of how Fernando, Duke of Armavir, during the siege of Toledo, ate his batman without salt. The duke himself has described the episode in his Memoirs and he adds that the flesh of his batman was tender, though rather stringy, and the taste of it was something between that of chicken and donkey.

Among the present generation of batmen there are few so self-sacrificing that they would let their masters eat them without salt. And there are cases where officers, engaged in a regular life-and-death struggle with the modern type of orderly, have to use all possible means to maintain their authority. Thus, in 1912, a captain was tried at Graz for kicking his batman to death. He was acquitted, however, because it was only the second time he had done such a thing. On the other hand, a batman sometimes manages to get into an officer's good graces, and then he becomes the terror of the battalion. All the N.C.O.'s try to bribe him. He has the last say about leave, and by putting in a good word for anyone who has been crimed he can get him off. During the war, it was such batmen as these who gained medals for bravery. I knew several in the 91st Regiment. There was one who got the large silver medal because he was an adept at roasting geese which he stole. And his master worded the proposal in support of the decoration as follows:

"He manifested exceptional bravery in the field, showing a complete disregard for his own life and not budging an inch from his officer while under the heavy fire of the advancing enemy."

Today these batman are scattered far and wide throughout our republic, and tell the tale of their heroic exploits. It was they who stormed Sokal, Dubno, Nish, the Piave. All of them are Napoleons: "So I up and tells our colonel as how he ought to telephone to brigade headquarters that it was high time to get a move on."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 31 October 2015 12:59 PM EDT
Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Odeirno's Leader Expectations
Topic: Leadership

Odeirno's Leader Expectations

Leadership Principles for the new ADP 6-22; A Monograph by Major Gregory W. McLean, US Army, SAMS, AY 2012-001

In early 2012, General Raymond T. Odeirno, former Commander of 4th Infantry Division, Commander of all forces in Iraq, and the current Chief of Staff of the Army, introduced his intent and vision for the Army. He referred to it as his Marching Orders; General Odeirno defined his intent, priorities, principles, and his leader expectations. He was able to develop in eight bullets exactly what a leader must do to fulfill his vision for the Army. The leader expectations are:

  • Have a vision and lead change.
  • Be your formation's moral and ethical compass.
  • Learn, think, and adapt.
  • Balance risk and opportunity to retain the initiative.
  • Build agile, effective, high performing teams.
  • Empower subordinates and underwrite risk.
  • Develop bold, adaptive, and broadened leaders.
  • Communicate – up, down, and laterally; tell the whole story.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Build an All-Canadian Navy
Topic: RCN

Build an All-Canadian Navy

Build an All-Canadian Navy is Advice of Lord Jellicoe Given in His Official Report

The Toronto World, 11 March 1920

Ottawa, March 10.—(By Canadian Press).—An all-Canadian navy, preferably directed by a naval board, which will be under the civil control of parliament and of which the minister of the navy will be head, is, in a word, the recommendation of Viscount Admiral Jellicoe, whose report on Canadian naval affairs was tabled in the house of commons by Hon. C.C. Ballantyne this afternoon. The admiral strongly recommends that naval affairs be placed in charge of a minister who will be responsible for them and nothing else. He makes two suggestions with regard to the constitution of the Canadian navy, one designed to satisfy a desire for a navy, which will be engaged merely in the protection of Canadian ports, and the other for a naval organization to cooperate in the general needs of the empire.

elipsis graphic

Four Alternative Suggestions For a Canadian Battle Fleet

In his report to the Canadian government on naval affairs, Admiral Jellicoe submits four alternative suggestions for a Canadian fleet:

First—Twenty-five million dollar fleet:

  • Two battle cruisers,
  • seven light cruisers,
  • one flotilla leader,
  • six destroyers,
  • one destroyer parent-ship,
  • sixteen submarines,
  • one submarine parent-ship,
  • two aircraft carriers,
  • four fleet minesweepers,
  • four local defence destroyers,
  • eight "P" boats,
  • four trawler minesweepers.

Second—Seventeen and a half million dollar fleet:

  • One battle cruisers,
  • five light cruisers,
  • one flotilla leader,
  • six destroyers,
  • one destroyer parent-ship,
  • one aircraft carrier,
  • eight submarines,
  • one submarine parent-ship,
  • two fleet minesweepers,
  • four local defence destroyers,
  • eight "P" boats,
  • four trawler minesweepers.

Third—Ten million dollar fleet:

  • Three light cruisers,
  • one flotilla leader,
  • eight submarines,
  • one submarine parent-ship,
  • four local defence destroyers,
  • eight "P" boats,
  • four trawler minesweepers.

Fourth—Five million dollar fleet:

  • Eight submarines,
  • four local defence destroyers,
  • eight "P" boats,
  • four trawler minesweepers.

"Dealing with the question of administration, it is impossible to omit mention of the immense advantages that result from keeping the naval service outside the region of party politics.

"The organization under which the Royal Navy is administered by a board of admiralty has stood the test of time and has, indeed, been followed in this general principle in the present organization of the British war office."

elipsis graphic

Summarized Conclusions

Summarized the conclusions are:

(A)     It is very desirable that there should be a minister for the navy responsible only for that service.

(B)     In the event it is suggested that all other seafaring affairs should be conducted by another minister with, perhaps, the title of "The Minister of Marine and Fisheries."

(C)     It is proposed that a shipping committee, comprising representatives of shipowners, fishery firms, the marine department, and the naval staff, should meet periodically to consider questions of general development of marine resources. Their functions would be purely advisory in peace, but in war they would take control of shipping, their chairman acting as shipping controller.

(D)     A member or branch of the naval staff should be concerned with trade and fishery questions and the war training and the constructional work involved.

On Outbreak of War

(E)     On the outbreak of war, in addition to the shipping committee possessing the same powers and functions as the ministry of shipping in England during the late war, the naval staff branch referred to in (D) should carry out the duties of the mercantile movements division.

In this way organizations already existing would be in a position to take up their war-time duties without difficulty or loss of time.

(F)     Arrangements concerning the strengthening of hulls to take defensive armament in merchant ships and fishing vessels would be dealt with by this shipping committee, recommendations being made to the director of naval ordnance for the armament when approval was obtained.

(G)     It is desirable that a knowledge of naval warfare should form part of the qualifications of merchant service officers for a certificate.

(H)     Design of fishing craft should be encouraged along lines tending to efficient auxiliary vessels for naval use in war time, so far as is consistent with their ordinary work.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 30 November 2015

Pay at the Beginning of the 19th Century
Topic: Pay; the Queen's shilling

Pay 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

Overall, the soldier was adequately clothed, at a cost of £1.16.6d in 1811. The regiment provided him not only with his jacket, trousers and shoes, but also with a kersey waistcoat and a cap, the last being replaced every two years, whereas the rest of the uniform was renewed annually. This headgear changed from a tricorne to a shako in 1806, the original stovepipe shako being replaced by the Belgic, with its raised front, by the time of Waterloo. Both were topped with a feather cockade. Since shakos were made of stiffened felt, they rarely retained their shape in wet weather. It was possible, however, to cover them with an oilskin protector which extended over the neck, thus offering some slight protection against rain.

The soldier was stopped 1/6d a week for what were termed his necessaries. These comprised in part the rest of his uniform: three shirts, one pair of gaiters while these were still worn, three pairs of worsted or yarn socks, worsted or yarn mitts, the much-hated black stock, and a foraging cap. Some other necessaries were required to maintain smartness: a clothes brush, three shoe brushes, black ball, hair ribbon and leather bag (while still required), two combs, and straps for carrying a greatcoat. This last was also regarded as a necessary and was renewed every three years. The other necessaries were all related to the upkeep of the musket: turnscrew, brush and worm, emery, and brick oil. They were paid for at public expense. The final necessary, of course, was the knapsack, which carried all this paraphernalia.

Necessaries were easy to lose, exchange for ready cash, or steal, and as a result they figure frequently in regimental courts martial records. For example, in the regimental courts martial recorded in the November 1814 inspection of the first battalion twelve men were recorded as having made away with part of the regimental necessaries, for which they received punishments which could be as much as three months' solitary confinement or as many as 300 lashes, with stoppages.

elipsis graphic

Finally, there was the question of pay, a shilling a day for the first seven years of service, rising to l/1d after seven years, and 1/2d after fourteen years. This needs to be compared with civilian rates. For example, agricultural labourers earned an average of 2/- a day, while skilled textile workers might earn as much as 4/- a day. In addition, the soldier received a penny a day as beer money, and sixpence for subsistence when on the march, twopence of which remained his after fourpence had been paid to the innkeeper who fed him. Since food, clothing and accommodation were all provided, he might well feel satisfied with his lot — were it not for the deductions the army demanded. Stoppages for necessaries, as we have seen, could amount to 1/6d a week maximum, while a further 4/7d maximum might he taken for messing expenses, including the supply of vegetables. If the full amounts were exacted, the soldier would be left with 1/6d a week, hardly a princely sum. And yet some men managed to leave a considerable sum upon their death, anything between five and ten pounds not being unusual.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 29 November 2015

Extracts from the Militia Act (1924)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Extracts from the Militia Act

A Guide to Riflemen of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, by Lieut.-Col. Reg. Pellatt, 1924

The term of enlistment is for three years. (No non-commissioned officer or rifleman shall be given a discharge until he has completed his term of service, but in order to provide for the varying conditions of the men in respect to their civil employments, the Commandant may grant to any well conducted non-commissioned officer or rifleman, a certificate of service, if good reasons are given for his desiring the same, and put his name in Orders as struck off the strength of the Regiment.

By the Militia Act, the offences enumerated below are made punishable by Civil Law upon the complaint of the Officer Commanding, or the Ajutant of a battalion. Prosecutions cannot, however, be made later than six months after the commission of the offence, unless it be for the unlawful buying, selling, or having in possession arms, accoutrements or other articles issued to the Militia.

Neglecting to attend parade

Any officer, non-commissioned officer or man who, without lawful excuse, neglects or refuses to attend any parade or drill or training at the hour and place appointed, or refuses or neglects to obey any lawful order at or concerning such parade or training, a penalty, if an officer, $10.00, if a non-commissioned officer or man $5.00 for each offence, absence for each day being a separate offence.

Interrupting drill

Any person who interrupts or hinders the Militia at drill or trespasses upon the bounds set out by the officer in comand of such drill, is subject to arrest and detention during the drill and a penalty of $5.00.

Failing to keep arms, etc., in order

Any non-commissioned order officer or man who fails to keep in proper order the arms, accoutrements or clothing entrusted to him, or appears at drill or parade with them out of proper order, deficient or unserviceable, a penalty of $4.00 for each offence. Disposing of arms, etc.

Any person who unlawfully disposes of, or receives arms, accoutrements or clothing, belonging to the Crown or a corps, or refuses to give up the same when required, or has them in his possession for unlawful use, a penalty of $20.00 for each offence.

Refusal to aid the Civil Power

Any officer, non-commissioned officer, or man who, when his corps is lawfully called upon to act in aid of the Civil Power refuses or neglects to go out with such corps, or to obey the lawful order of his superior officer, a penalty, if an officer, not exceeding $100.00 if a non-commissioned officer or man not exceeding $20.00 for each offence.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 28 November 2015

Four Life-Saving Measures
Topic: Leadership

Four Life-Saving Measures

The Memoirs of Field-Marshal Montgomery; 1958

An army today is a self-contained community; it contains everything its members need for war, from bullets to blood banks. I will always remember Churchill's anger when he heard of several dentist's chairs being landed over the beaches in Normandy! But we have learnt since the 1914-18 war that by caring for a man's teeth, we keep him in the battle. The good general must not only win his battles; he must win them with a minimum of casualties and loss of life. I learnt during the 1939-45 war that four things contributed to the saving of life:

1.     Blood transfusion.

2.     Surgical teams operating well forward in the battle area, so that a badly wounded man could be dealt with at once without having to be moved by road to a hospital.

3.     Air evacuation direct to a Base hospital many hundreds of miles in rear, thus saving bumpy journeys by road or rail.

4.     Nursing sisters working well forward in the battle area. When I joined the Eighth Army in 1942, nursing sisters were not allowed in the forward battle area. I cancelled the order. Their presence comforted and calmed the nerves of many seriously wounded men, who then knew they would be properly nursed. No male nursing orderly can nurse like a woman, though many think they can.

All these things, and many others like them, have to be in the mind of the modern general.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 27 November 2015

It Was Not Mice
Topic: Humour

It Was Not Mice

Generals and Generalship, General Sir Archibald Wavell, 1941

Yet the British soldier himself is one of the world's greatest humourists. That unglamourous race, the Germans, held an investigation after the late War into the causes of moral, and attributed much of the British soldier's staying power to his sense of humour. They therefore decided to instil this sense into their own soldiers, and included in their manuals an order to cultivate it. They gave as an illustration in the manual one of Bairnsfather's pictures of "Old Bill" sitting in a building with an enormous shell-hole in the wall. A new chum asks: "What made that hole?" "Mice," replies "Old Bill." In the German manual a solemn footnote of explanation is added: "It was not mice, it was a shell."

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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