The Minute Book
Friday, 20 May 2016

Canada's Permanent Corps (1896)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canada's Permanent Corps (1896)

A Safe Target for Distorted and Misleading Criticism
The Cost of the Force and Its Good Work for the Dominion

Canada cannot afford a large standing army, nor from her isolation from the great military nations of the world does she require one.

The Quebec Saturday Budget, 14 November 1896

The officers and men of the permanent corps are so restricted by regulations as to be practically prohibited writing to the press: they form, therefore, a safe target for the criticisms of the amateur "who knows it all." Honest criticisms the corps should not object to; they are the servants of the public and the public has a right to have, as the Hom. Minister of Militia expressed it, "a hundred cents worth for every dollar expended." But as a rule the written attacks upon them either lack the 'essential element" or are so distorted as to be quite as annoying.

As an example, somewhere about a year ago the Military Gazette, published in Montreal, presented in an attack upon the permanent corps, an array of figures, evidently with the intention of persuading its readers that these corps absorb the greater portion of the militia funds, and it was boldly asserted that they were not worth their cost. Figures it is said, will not lie, but they may be presented as to lead to very erroneous conclusions.

In the article referred to it is made to appear that the permanent corps cost the country the previous year in round numbers $476,000, while the remainder of the militia cost only $211,000; as the whole militia vote for that year was $1,360,000, it might have spoiled the writer's argument, but it would have been more satisfactory to some at least of his readers, if he had told what became of the remaining $672,000.

The writer truthfully observes that "even this statement does not give the whole case." A careful examination of the Auditor-General's report and the official papers leads me to believe that the cost was much nearer $383,000 for the permanent corps and $477,000 for the "other militia," the balance being expended on fortifications, etc. For these sums we had on the one hand about one thousand officers and men well drilled, equipped and clothed ready to take the field at a moment's notice for the stern duties of war, who performed 329,960 days duty; on the other hand, 17,686 officers and men, many of the officers without sufficient military knowledge to make good non-commissioned officers, the majority of the men in the rural districts raw recruits, with scarce any equipment, who performed 212,232 days of elementary drill.

We have been told that the permanent corps have been a failure as schools of instruction. If it is meant that they have failed to grant certificates to men who did not deserve them, it is probably true. Experience has taught us that a small available force is a necessity in aid of the civil power, and all arguments to the contrary, notwithstanding, will be a necessity until the arrival of the millenium. The presence of a permanent corps in Quebec in times past has saved the authorities thousands of dollars, and even Montreal has not objected to them on several occasions. During the North-West unpleasantness the permanent corps were first in the field and last to leave, were always kept to the front, sustained the heaviest losses, did the hardest work, and got the least kudos. In other words, they have done their duty and their reward has been the approval of a good conscience and slanderous attacks which they are practically forbidden to reply to. That they are not perfect in every respect as their critics are, I will admit; there is room for reform and economy in the administration as there is in every department and profession, but in suggesting the better way do not drive truth from the field in order to score a point. Personally I object to the title of permanent corps, they should have retained their original titles as schools of instruction.

Canada cannot afford a large standing army, nor from her isolation from the great military nations of the world does she require one, but she does require "that degree of protection for self-defence that would compel other nations to hesitate before making war upon her" and this degree of preparation can be best secured by maintaining in the highest degree of efficiency schools of instruction for the militia, from which politics are entirely eliminated.

We read periodically, laudatory reports of the ability, knowledge and zeal of some 25,000 men, of the large quantities of military material and of the 600,000 men we have in reserve; but have these 25,000 men, beyond elementary drill, any real and valuable military knowledge? In no other calling in life would a similar amount of knowledge be considered worth a thought. Fancy even a college graduate, reading for the first time, theology, medicine or law for twelve days in a year, and their claiming to be an expert.

Of what use are 100,000 knapsacks if the material of which they are composed is rotten from age of insufficient care? Of what use are fuzes that will not act? Of ammunition of various makes and ages and unknown power or of obsolete patterns? What particular value are crumbling walls in the heart of a city armed with smooth bore guns on rotten carriages? Are 600,000 men invincible, without military training, modern arms and equipment, and without trained officers and non-commissioned officers to promptly organize, instruct and care for them and direct them in the field? It seems to me there is a very large field here for those military critics who are affected with cacoethes scribendi.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 19 May 2016

Military District No. 1 (Second World War)
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

History of Military District No. 1 in the Late War

Off Parade; newsletter of No. 1 District Depot, Wolseley Barracks, July 1946
By: Capt E. Kelleher, P.R.O., M.D. 1

Military District No. 1, which is rightfully proud of its ranking number on the national map of Canada, more than lived up to its fine military traditions in the Second World War.

At the outbreak of the war in 1939, there were only 400 permanent force troops in this District, while the non-permanent active militia were counted at some 3,500 men.

But the call to the Colours was answered in a swelling stream of combat manpower. It is a matter of record today that 80,000 Western Ontario men enlisted in the three services, and of that total 50,000 joined the Army. And one must pay tribute also to the large numbers of girls and women from the western counties who joined the C.W.A.C. and took over vital Army jobs.

M.D. No. 1 maintained a fast pace in the all-out war effort, first under Brig. (later Maj.-Gen.) D.J. MacDonald, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., who was District Officer Commanding at the outbreak of war; and then under his successor, Brig. P. Earnshaw, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., who still handles the reins of this key District.

No time was lost in setting up the machinery to school recruits for this stark business of war. Basic training centres were established at Chatham, Woodstock, Kitchener, Listowel, and Stratford. Chatham alone handled a total of 18,000 recruits in its career. Later came A-29 Canadian Infantry Corps Training centre at Camp Ipperwash, which graduated thousands of fully-trained soldiers to front-line units.

Woodstock developed into S-5 Canadian Driving and Maintenance School, which drew candidates from around the country for special training. It is estimated that 17,000 officers and men completed courses at that Centre.

And from men's basic training, Kitchener grew into No. 3 C.W.A.C. Basic Training Centre. One authority has said that more than two-thirds of the nation's C.W.A.C.'s took their "basic" at Kitchener. One of the most cosmopolitan of army camps, Kitchener was the alma mater of girls from Newfoundland, the United States, British West Indies, Bahamas, Bermuda, and even some who had escaped from Nazi-occupied countries of France, Poland and Czecho-Slovakia.

Eventually, Kitchener was the only C.W.A.C centre left on the war establishment, and it handled basic as well as officer training.

M.D. No. 1 also gained Central Mechanization Depot, located in London, and popularly known as Canada's "largest Army garage." With its branches in Hagersville and New Sarum, it still functions as the most extensive Army depot of its kind.

The Royal Canadian Regiment, the District's only permanent force unit, was the first to be mobilized.

The following N.P.A.M. regiments were also mobilized during the war:

  • 6th Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars) of London,
  • Essex Scottish Regiment of Windsor,
  • Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment),
  • Kent Regiment of Chatham,
  • Elgin Regiment of St. Thomas,
  • Perth Regiment of Stratford,
  • Highland Light Infantry of Canada, of Galt,
  • Scots Fusiliers of Canada, of Kitchener,
  • 30th Reconnaissance Regiment of Windsor, and the
  • Oxford Rifles of Woodstock.

Other units mobilized in M.D. No. 1 included:

  • Royal Canadian Artillery (R.C.A.)
    • 100th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, Listowel.
    • 98th (Bruce) Anti-Tank Battery, Pert Elgin.
    • 16th Field Battery, Guelph.
    • 26th (Lambton) Field Battery, Sarnia.
    • 29th Field Battery, Guelph.
    • 43rd Field Battery, Guelph.
    • 55th Field Battery, London.
    • 63rd Field Battery, Guelph.
    • 99th Field Battery, Wingham.
    • 12th Medium Battery, London.
    • 97th Field Battery, Walkerton.
    • No. 1 Artillery Holding Unit, London.
    • No. 4 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, R.C.A., London.
    • 48th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, R.C.A., Watford.
    • 9th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, R.C.A., Walkerton.
  • Royal Canadian Engineers (R.C.E.)
    • 7th Field Company, London.
    • 11th (Lambton) Field Company, Sarnia.
    • 1st Field Park Company (Lambton), Sarnia.
    • No. 1 Road Construction Company, R.C.E.
    • 9th Field Company, London.
    • H.Q. 2nd Infantry Division, Sarnia.
  • Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (R.C.C.S.)
    • 1st Canadian Division Signals, London.
    • 1st A.A. Brigade H.Q., London.
  • Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (R.C.A.S.C.)
    • No. 3 Company, London.
    • No. 11 Company, London.
    • 4th Division Petrol Company, R.C.A.S.C., London.
  • Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (R.C.A.M.C.)
    • No. 2 Base Depot of Medical Stores, Kitchener.
    • No. 11 Field Ambulance, Guelph.
    • No. 15 Field Ambulance, London.
    • No. 24 Field Ambulance, Kitchener.
    • No. 3 General Hospital, Windsor.
    • No. 10 General Hospital, London.
    • 28th Field Ambulance, R.C.A.M.C., London.
    • 1st Field Hygiene Section, R.C.A.M.C., London.
  • Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps (R.C.O.C.) .
    • No. 1 Armoured Brigade Ordnance Field Park.
    • No. 1 Army Field Workshop, R.C.O.C.
    • No. 2 Mobile Laundry and Decontamination Unit.
    • No. 4 General Labour Section, R.C.O.C.
    • No. 4 Mobile Laundry and Decontamination Unit, Windsor.
  • Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.C.E.M.E)
    • 16th L.A.D.
    • 17th L.A.D.
    • 18th L.A.D.
    • 19th L.A.D.
    • 20th L.A.D.
    • 21st L.A.D.
    • 22nd L.A.D.
    • 23rd L.A.D.
    • 24th L.A.D. (all of London)
  • Canadian Provost Corps (C. Pro. C.)
    • 3rd Provost Company.
    • 4th Provost Company.
    • 8th Provost Company.
    • 11th Provost Company.
  • Veterans' Guard of Canada.
    • No. 2 Company.
    • No. 40 Company


Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 16 April 2016 3:12 PM EDT
Wednesday, 18 May 2016

To Test New Equipment (US Army, 1911)
Topic: Soldiers' Load

To Test New Equipment (US Army, 1911)

The Milwaukee Sentinel, 27 March 1911

The maneuvres of the United States army along the Mexican border will afford an opportunity to try out the more modern and lighter personal equipment for the individual soldier. Ever since military experts began a real study of conditions with the intention, if possible, of lightening the infantryman's burden, the one foremost idea has been in lessening the number of pounds of accoutrements necessarily carried when under full field equipment. Full field equipment is the new and official term used in place of the old heavy marching order.

Under the present army regulations the full field equipment for active service, including rifle and ninety rounds of ammunition, weighs fifty-four pounds. Although some reports of the mobilization have said that each man received 200 rounds, it was pointed out by an expert that while the particular organization of troops carried such a supply with them, only the prescribed ninety rounds were doled out to each soldier. Only in extreme cases—that is, when a body of men are to be immediately engaged in actual battle—are the extra cartridges supplied.

With fifty-four pounds as the present weight of the individual equipment for an infantryman, it is the hope of the military experts to reduce that from fifteen to seventeen pounds; but the ever present idea remains in their mind, namely, that an equal efficiency must be obtained from the lighter articles. The use of aluminum plates, knives, forks and spoons, together with haversacks, tent halves, ponchos, tent poles, etc., of lesser weight, it is thought will bring down the total number of pounds per man.

Under the present ruling a soldier carries besides hi piece, a Springfield magazine rifle which weighs nine and a half pounds, and ninety rounds of cartridges which weigh four and a half pounds, a bayonet, bayonet scabbard, a rifle sling, cartridge belt, a pair of cartridge belt suspenders which tend to lessen the weight by help from the shoulders, a first aid packet, a canteen and strap, a set of blanket roll straps, a haversack, a meat can, once cup, one plate, one knife, one fork, one spoon, half a shelter tent, one tent pole and five tent pegs. Then in addition to that comes his field kit, the weight of which is included in the total fifty-four pounds; consisting of a blanket, a poncho and personal effects, such as a comb, toothbrush, towel, extra underclothing, soap, etc.

But besides the soldier's individual load there are intrenching tools which are given out and carried by company and squad. A full company is made up of 108 men and officers in time of war and sixty men and officers in time of peace. A squad, the second unit of a company, consists of eight men. The intrenching tools are four hand picks, to be carried by company, a pick mattock per squad, three shovels per squad, three wire cutters per company and a two foot folding rule per company. These tools are an addition to the fifty-four pounds and the soldiers take turns in carrying them.

Most of the troops in the Mexican border war game are equipped with the fifty-four pound outfit; but enough are using the lighter articles to insure a thorough tryout.. Tin plates, meat cans, etc., instead of aluminum ones are the staple mess equipment carried by the majority of these soldiers.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 17 May 2016

The Canadian Force at the Front (1918)
Topic: CEF

The Canadian Force at the Front (1918)

Each Division contained 19,000 to 20,000 troops, and there were about 10,000 Corps troops, making about 90,000 men in the Corps.

Canada's Part in the Great War, 3rd Edition, Issued by the Information Branch, Department of External Affairs, Ottawa, May 1921

The distribution of the Canadian troops in France and Belgium on September 30, 1918, was as follows:—

The Canadian Army Corps, forming part of the British Army, consisted of four Divisions and Corps Troops.

Each Division consisted of three Infantry Brigades, each of which was made up of four Battalions of Infantry and one Trench Mortar Battery, and the following Divisional Troops:

  • Artillery—Two brigades, two medium and one heavy Trench Mortar Batteries, and a Divisional Ammunition Column;
  • One battalion of the Machine Gun Corps;
  • Engineers—three Engineer Battalions, one Pontoon Bridging Transport Unit, and one Divisional Employment Company;
  • Divisional Train of four Companies;
  • Medical Services—three field Ambulances, one Sanitary Section and one Mobile Veterinary Section;
  • Divisional Signals of four Sections, one at Divisional headquarters and one with each Brigade.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

The Corps Troops were as follows:—

Corps Artillery: Three Brigades of Garrison Artillery containing twelve Siege Batteries and two Heavy Batteries, one Anti-Aircraft Battery of five sections, three Brigades of Field Artillery, two medium and one heavy Trench Mortar Batteries, one Divisional Artillery Ammunition Column, and two Motor Machine Gun Brigades.

Corps Engineers: Pontoon Bridging Unit, five Army Troop Companies, two Tramway Companies, and Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Company and Corps Survey Section.

Corps Medical Services: One Field Ambulance, one Sanitary Section, the Dental Laboratory and the Veterinary Evacuating Station.

Corps Signalling Services: The Corps Signal Company, two Motor Aid Line Sections, four Cable Sections, four Brigade Signal Subsections and one C.D.A. Brigade Detachment.

Army Service Corps: Headquarters Mechanical Transport Column, seven Mechanical Transport Companies, one Divisional Artillery Mechanical Transport Detachment, one Artillery Brigade Park Section and one Divisional Train Detachment.

Ordnance Services: Three Ordnance Mobile Workshops.

Miscellaneous: Infantry School, Machine Gun School, Lewis Gun School, Signal School, Gas Services School, Instructors' Pool, Gymnastic Staff, Canadian Records List, Y.M.C.A. Services, Corps Military Police and two Railhead Army Post Offices. Labour Services—Labour Group Headquarters, four Labour Companies, a Pontoon Bridging Officers' Establishment and five Canadian Area Employment Companies.

Each Division contained 19,000 to 20,000 troops, and there were about 10,000 Corps troops, making about 90,000 men in the Corps.

The Canadian Cavalry Brigade formed part of the Third British Cavalry Division belonging to the Third Army and consisted of three Cavalry Regiments, a machine Gun Squadron, the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, a Signal Troop, a Field Ambulance and a Mobile Veterinary Section. There were about 3,000 men in the Brigade which was part of the Third Army.

The following Canadian Units, separate from the Canadian Corps, were attached to the five British Armies:—

First Army: Two Casualty Clearing Stations, one Sanitary Section, one Railhead Supply Detachment and two Battalions of Railway Troops.

Second Army: One Casualty Clearing Station, one Advanced Depot Medical Stores, two Battalions of Railway Troops, two Auxiliary Horse Transport Companies, one Field Butchery, two Depot Units of Supply, a Railhead Supply Detachment, and a Tunnelling Company.

Third Army: One Casualty Clearing Station, one Railhead Supply Detachment, three Battalions of Railway Troops and the Overseas Railway Construction Corps.

Fourth Army: One Medical Corps Mobile Laboratory, four Battalions of Railway Troops, one Light Railway Operating Company, and one Broad Gauge Operating Company.

Fifth Army: One Battalion of Railway Troops.

On the Line of Communications and attached to British General Headquarters were the following: Thirteen Depot Units of Supply, four Field bakeries, and two Field Butcheries, which were distributed at Boulogne, Calais, and Dieppe; six General Hospitals and six Stationary Hospitals, which were at eight different places; the General Base Depot, the Infantry Base Depot, the Machine Gun Base Depot, the Labour Pool, the Report Centre, the Command Pay Office, the Dental Store, two Field Auxiliary Post Offices, the base Post Office, one Veterinary Hospital, one Battalion of Railway Troops, one Wagon Erecting Company, and one Engine Crrew Company. The following troops of the Canadian Forestry Corps were distributed at eleven places in France: Sixty-three Forestry Companies, five District Workshops, one Construction Company, one Technical Warehouse, one Forestry Hospital, and two Detention Hospitals.

There were altogether about 160,000 Canadians serving in France on September 30, 1918.

The Canadian Army Corps was commanded by Lieut.-General Sir Arthur Currie, with the following divisional commanders: 1st Division, Maj.-Gen. A.C. MacDonell, 2nd Division, Maj.-Gen. Sir H.E. Burstall; 3rd Division Maj.-Gen. F.O.W. Loomis; 4th Division, Maj.-Gen. Sir D. Watson

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 16 May 2016

Adjustment of the soldier to an Oversea Environment
Topic: Leadership

Adjustment of the soldier to an Oversea Environment

Department of the Army Pamphlet 350-14; Training Guide for Commanders of Company Sized Units; 31 July 1967

The astute commander must not only be a leader and trainer of men, but a student of psychology and human nature as well.

a.     The soldier who steps off the ship or plane upon his arrival overseas is faced with the problem of adjusting to two types of new environment, geographical and situational. In most instances, this will be his first trip outside the United States; specifically his first experience in a foreign country. But even if he has been overseas before, he will find many changes and feel the necessity of adjusting to these changes. As with all other problems in a command, it's the commander who is responsible to see that the soldiers become adjusted.

b.     The new arrival should be indoctrinated in the customs of the country in which he is stationed. He should be encouraged to meet his new neighbors, learn their ways, study their language, and become familiar with their history. Commanders exercising the proper guidance and indoctrination can reap unending benefits from an effective orientation, not only through better community relations, but in higher morale of their troops. Once he has adjusted to his new surroundings, the strangeness of being in a foreign country will gradually wear off and he will become more productive as a soldier.

c.     Being away from home may tend to lower the morale of the new arrival, but if his energies are directed into the right channels, all will benefit. Facilities for off-duty education are available and their use should be encouraged. For those who shy from "book-learning" but would like some practical acquaintance with geography, history, and local customs, the recreation and travel opportunities are unlimited, and as such as probably available to many for the first and last time. Each commander should guide and encourage his men to take maximum advantage of these unique opportunities.

d.     Simultaneously with adjustment to his new geographical environment must come adjustment to his new situational environment. This transformation is one of attitude, in which the new arrival must be made to realize that he is no longer in a basic training or garrison situation. He must now apply the training principles and garrison experience he has gained. He must be made aware of the seriousness of his situation—that he is in the front line of defense against aggression. While there are many educational and recreational diversions overseas, the commander must keep the new arrival constantly alert to the necessity of keeping himself combat ready. The astute commander must not only be a leader and trainer of men, but a student of psychology and human nature as well. He must be able to instill in his men the feeling that they can enjoy their tours of duty overseas, benefit by the experience, and at the same time be prepared to assume more serious endeavors when called upon.

e.     Each individual should be thoroughly indoctrinated concern­ing the importance of his job and how it fits into the "big picture," An individual who feels he occupies an important place in the organization will generally be more effective. He will have a better understanding of the heavy training requirements, of the need for field exercises, and of his small but important part in the free world's fighting forces.

f.     You as a commander now have a new replacement. His future value in your unit depends on you. Proper orientation and a continuing program of profitable training, guidance, and information will help him and you. Without these, and left to his own devices in a local gasthaus or bar, he can become a disciplinary problem.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 15 May 2016

Year's Work of Canada's Militia (1913)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Year's Work of Canada's Militia (1913)

Annual Report of Militia Council is Presented by Col. Sam. Hughes
No Important Changes
Permanent Force Now Comprises 3,118 men, Including Officers—Increased Expenditure was $791,947

The Montreal Gazette, 15 January 1913

Ottawa, January 14.—The year's work in the Canadian Militia is reviewed in the annual report of the Militia Council presented by Colonel the Hon. Samuel Hughes. The one object sought, says the report in part, was preparedness for war, the power to mobilize at short notice a force of adequate strength, well-trained and fully equipped. In the scheme of defence a few adjustments have been made, but no important changes introduced.

Respecting mobilization, the general scheme is assuming definite shape. It depends for its success on decentralization, Division commanders will be given as free a hand as possible and not required to adopt a uniform system. The peace strength of the militia compared to war establishments is relatively low.

An inter-departmental committee, composed of the director of the naval service, chief of the general staff, and general staff officer for mobilization has been formed. Seventeen officers took instructional courses in England during the year. The report deals at length with the instructional schools of the militia in Canada, which in the last fiscal year granted certificates to 1,724 officers. In the year forty officers were appointed to the permanent staff.

The permanent force now comprises 3,118 men, of which 202 are officers. The largest number, 1,201, are at Halifax, Quebec coming second with 404, Toronto with 346, and Kingston with 345. The year's expenditure under votes was $7,558,284, and by statute $21,600. This was an increase of $791,947. A total of 38,994 men received efficiency pay aggregating $174,053.

"The main obstacles to our efficiency," remarks General Otter, "present themselves in two forms—lack of money on the one hand and the profusion of it in the form of successful enterprises on the other. The former, militating against the provision of armories and equipment, rifle ranges and training grounds, and so placing obstacles in the prosecution of effective training in its full significance; the latter prevents individuals from sparing the time necessary to fit themselves for the military duties they have assumed."

General Otter goes on to say that not enough serious thought is given to neglect of preparation for defence. Is it not imperative, he asks, that we possess a military force adequate to bear the first brunt of conflict or in any event cause the invader to stop and think on the threshold. He expresses the belief that the plaudits for church or ceremonial parades may have lulled us into the belief that we are fit and capable for any invasion and that we are encouraging a rude awakening and irreparable loss some day.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 14 May 2016

British Army; Personnel Statistics, 1882
Topic: British Army

British Army; Personnel Statistics, 1882

"Military Matters," The Toronto Daily Mail, 28 January 1882

Thus the average British soldier is about 23 years of age, about 5 ft. 7 in. in height, and about 37 in. round the chest.

The last general annual return of the British Army has been issued, and contains a great deal of interesting information on many points affecting the military efficiency of the Empire. It shows that the average strength of the regular forces, officers and men, during the year was 188,986, of whom 7,817 were officers, 12,431 sergeants and farriers, 3,472 trumpeters, drummers, and buglers, and 165,266 rank and file.

On the 1st of January, 1880, the number of the rank and files was 167,909, or 3,794 over the establishment; while on the corresponding day of the present year it was 165,320, or 397 over the establishment. The numbers voted (rank and file) of each arm of the service on the latter day were: —

  • Household Cavalry, 1,029
  • Cavalry of the Line, 13,592
  • Royal Horse Artillery, 4,827
  • Royal Artillery, 25,473
  • Royal Engineers, 4,053
  • Foot Guards, 5,250
  • Infantry of the Line, 104,460
  • Colonial Corps, 2,146

– the remainder being the Departmental Army Service and Army Hospital Corps.

Regarding the question of the age of men joining the army, it appears that 1,021 were under 17 and 156 between 17 and 18 years of age. In both cases they were probably for the bands. Those joining: —

  • from 18 to 19 years numbered 6,611;
  • from 19 to 20, 5,510;
  • from 20 to 21, 3,667;
  • from 21 to 22, 2,525;
  • from 22 to 23, 2,081;
  • from 23 to 24, 1,785;
  • from 24 to 25, 1,968;

– while a few — 289 — were enlisted over 25.

Regarding the height of the men, the numbers are: —

  • Under 5 ft. 5 in., 9,360;
  • 5 ft., 6 in., 24,756;
  • 5 ft., 7 in., 37,033;
  • 5 ft., 8 in., 37,389;
  • 5 ft., 9 in., 29,806;

Then the numbers fall off considerably, until only 3,502 are left at 6 ft. and upwards.

In the point of chest measurement in inches there are: —

  • 3,192 under 33 in.;
  • 5,819 from that to 34 in.;
  • 20,082 from that to 35 in.;
  • 32,599 from that to 36 in.;
  • 40,348 from that to 37 in.;

– after which a progressive fall takes place and only 7,373 are described as over 40 in.

Thus the average British soldier is about 23 years of age, about 5 ft. 7 in. in height, and about 37 in. round the chest.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 13 May 2016

Public Service Advisory - Artillery Firing at Camp Petawawa
Topic: Drill and Training

Public Service Advisory – Artillery Firing at Camp Petawawa

Canada Gazette, 15 June 1907

Published in the Canada Gazette, the following public service advisory cautioned civilians about artillery firing at Camp Petawawa. Of note is the information that the public was not restricted from accessing the range area when the artillery was not in action. Even more surprising is the reward offered for shells found by members of the public.

"Notice. The public are hereby cautioned that Artillery Practice will take place at Petawawa, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily, except Sundays, from the 17th July to about the 1st September, 1907.

"The danger zone will be an area bounded on the west by the Canadian Pacific railway, on the south by a line drawn north-east from the railway bridge over the Petawawa River, north of Petawawa Station, to the Ottawa River, on the north by the right bank of the Chalk River from the Canadian pacific Railway Bridge to Sturgeon lake, thence to Allumette Bay, on the Ottawa River.

"The public are also cautioned not to touch any whole shells found on the range as they are dangerous, but to report their whereabouts to the Camp Commandant, Artillery Camp. Petawawa. The sum of 60 cents will be paid for each shell so reported."

Camp Commandant,
Artillery Practice Camp, Petawawa

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 12 May 2016

Using the Bayonet
Topic: Humour

Using the Bayonet

The Toronto World, 2 May 1915

Of all the weapons employed in modern warfare, the most useful is undoubtedly the bayonet. The rifle may be more effective at 100 yards; the heavy artillery more adaptable for knocking down a Dardenelle the Maxim gun for shooting small game for the pot. But, for general utility, give my kind regards to the bayonet, says Ashley Stern in London Opinion.

In order to fully appreciate its manifold beauties, the best plan is to procure one and gaze long and earnestly at it. This may be done in two ways: by enlisting, and thus obtaining the loan of one for the period of the war or three years; or by asking the sentry outside Buckingham Palace to lend you his rifle.

For argument's sake, I will assume that you have failed to pass the censor for the army, and have had perforce to adopt the second method. A close examination of the rifle will now reveal to you that at the end of the barrel there is affixed a long spike made of steel. In this spike there is a groove, and if you run your finger—any finger will do—along this groove in an upward direction you will come to the end of it. This end is called the point, and is very sharp. It will go through anything. I once saw one that had gone through the entire South African war. The point broadens downwards into edges, which are also very sharp, and will cut through a slab of unadulterated margarine as if it were so much fresh butter as per contract. This, then, is the bayonet.

Contrary to what you may expect it is not fired from the rifle. Neither is it hurled through the air like a javelin, nor yet detached and used as a dagger. When required for action it remains indelibly fixed to the end of the barrel, and is manipulated by grasping the rifle in both hands and jabbing the sharp point into whatever it may be into which you desire to jab it. I am told by those who have experienced a bayonet jab that it is exceedingly uncomfortable; and one doughty warrior of my acquaintance, who is at present engaged in growing a moustache—if not exactly for England and home, at any rate for beauty—and whose fatter calf was punctured at bayonet practice by the energetic gentleman immediately behind him, has informed me that on future occasions, unless he be permitted to rehearse alone in the centre of the parade ground, he will pay an extra half-crown and have gas.

So much for the bayonet from the offensive point of view. As such you will probably have observed that its scope is somewhat limited. In short, it can merely be jabbed in and pulled out. But it is an article of general utility, rather than as a weapon, that its remarkable versatility is displayed. It makes, for example, an excellent toasting fork. Practically any sort of provender may be thus treated at the bayonet's point. A notable exception is the domestically constructed crumpet of the kind that Cousin Connie's constantly cooking for corporals. More bayonets have been blunted by attempts to impale these delicacies than by any other means, and there is a large staff at Woolwich Arsenal ceaselessly employed with their noses to the grindstone in repointing them.

As a tin-opener the value if the bayonet would be hard to over-estimate. Anybody who has had experience of the elusive and untrustworthy habits of tin-openers can testify to their inability to cope with anything made of more robust material than cigaret-paper. This has long been a national disgrace; but the war office, I am happy to say, has now recognized the inefficiency of the ordinary implement, and had approved the appointment of the bayonet to the honorary post of official tin-opener to the army. Thus there is no longer any fear that when Sister Sarah's sending sardines off to sergeants there will be any reluctance on the part of the tin to disgorge its oleaginous contents.

Then, too, as a pencil sharpener, a letter-opener, a hat-peg, a croquet-stick, a meat-skewer, and (when heated to red-heat) a salamander, the bayonet has been known to do yeoman service. A couple of them affixed to the heels of a cavalryman's boots will even—at a pinch—make very effective emergency spurs. But probably the most unique office ever filled by a bayonet is that shown in the following incident.

When the Honorary Infantry Company (known as the H.I.C., and not to be confused with the H.O.C. or H.A.C.) acted as a guard of honor on the occasion of the unveiling of a new section of the Tube, a strong wind was blowing, causing one unfortunate man's busby (which only fitted his head at rare intervals) to assume and angle of 45 degrees to the horizon. Twice had the officer in command threatened to mention his in dispatches for slovenliness of headgear, and a third caution he knew would means his being led out in front of the ranks, deprived of his watch and chain and loose cash, and riddled with blank cartridges as per King's Regulations, Vol. 3, Act 2, Scene 4. However, when the officer had gone to lunch, the owner of the recalcitrant busby was seized with a bright idea. Snatching his bayonet from its socket, he thrust it through his busby in such a manner as to gather up with it a quantity of his hair, which fortunately chanced to be standing on end through fright. The result was that his busby remained for the whole of the performance in a state of stable equilibrium, and although this is the only recorded instance of the use of the bayonet as a hatpin, the incident serves, I think, to show that its uses are not yet exhausted. Indeed, I quite expect to hear before very long that some ingenious soldier at the front has split the point of his and converted it, with the aid of a set of bagpipes, into a fountain pen.

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Feeding Uncle Sam's Big Army
Topic: Army Rations

Feeding Uncle Sam's Big Army

Hot Meals at All Hours

Illustrated Sunday Magazine, The Gazette Times, Pittsburgh, 23 June 1907
By: Brig.-Genl. Henry G. Sharpe, Commissary General, U.S.A.

The Commissary Department of the Army of the United States has been brought to perfection and the American soldier is better fed than the man who bears arms under any other flag on earth.

Veterans of the Civil War will recall the doggerel in which the fare of the boys who wore blue was designated. It was:

Beans for breakfast;
Beans for dinner;
Beans for supper;
Beans, Beans, Beans!


The men who followed the stars and bars were not so fortunate as to have a regular diet of even beans. The frequently subsisted for weeks at a time on a few pounds of parched corn, and they fought well under that diet, too. But for years now the best thought of the commissaries of the army has been devoted to the improvement of the food conditions and Brigadier-General Henry G. Sharpe, Commissary-General of the Army, has prepared the following article for the Illustrated Sunday magazine on the food of the Army, in which he gives some interesting data concerning the method of feeding Uncle Sam's defenders,

elipsis graphic

While in garrison the enlisted man in the United States Army is entitled to draw each day twenty ounces of fresh beef or mutton, or twelve ounces of bacon. Should it be found impracticable to obtain fresh meat he has in lieu thereof sixteen ounces of canned meat, or canned fish, fourteen ounces of dried fish, or sixteen ounces of pickled fish. He may, on occasion, draw from the commissary and can of beef and vegetable stew containing twenty-eight and one-half ounces. He is entitled each day to eighteen ounces of flour or its equivalent in bread, or in lieu thereof twenty ounces of corn meal.

Of vegetable components he has his choice of beans, peas, rice and hominy and a pound of potatoes, onions or canned tomatoes. In addition thereto he is supplied each day with about an ounce and a half of prunes, evaporated apples or peaches. An ounce and a third of roasted coffee or a third of an ounce of tea is given to each man we well as a little more than three ounces of sugar, and a sufficient quantity of vinegar, pepper and salt.

This is the ordinary garrison ration. When located at army posts convenient to city markets the mess may exchange any portion of its rations for fresh vegetables, fruits or other delicacies which strike the fancy.

The field ration differs in its essential particulars only slightly from that issued in garrison. Jam takes the place of dried fruits and with each portion of flour is supplied baking powder or yeast.

It has been the aim of the Department for some time past to improve the method of feeding the troops in the field. With this end in view a school of cookery has been established at Fort Riley, Kansas, with branches at the Presidio in California and at the Washington Barracks, District of Columbia. The men at these schools are instructed in the art of baking bread of various kinds and in general plain cookery, the idea being to establish a corps of army cooks who can take the ordinary rations and prepare them in such a manner as to tempt the appetite of the enlisted men. The result of this training is that the army cooks today are able to prepare meals out of the supplies furnished to each mess which would do credit to an ordinary hotel. The receipts used in these cooking schools embrace a dozen different soups, five or six methods of preparing fish and oysters, ten or twelve sauces and gravies, besides fifty or more ways of serving the various meals and vegetables which are furnished as regular rations, to say nothing of the numerous methods of making different kinds of breads, cakes, muffins, puddings and pies. In short the men of the army today, when in garrison, are better served than the men in civil life in like conditions.

The army cooking schools will result in the ultimate establishment of a corps of cooks and bakers capable of preparing appetizing meals at all times for the troops of the Unites States and will assure to them better and more varied food than the soldiers of any other country can hope to have. Still we are up to the present time behind the European armies in the matter of movable ovens. At the outbreak of the Spanish War such contrivances were practically unknown to the Army. Out soldiers were compelled to depend largely upon hard tack for their bread, although the German and French armies had adopted the movable oven long before that time. And even now we have few of these very necessary adjuncts to the Commissary Department although it is likely that under new regulations, recently adopted, these will soon be supplied.

One of the longest steps forward in the way of providing for the men of the army on the march is now being perfected by this department. That is the construction of what is generally known as "the fireless cooker," a modification of the Norwegian hay-oven. For two or three years past we have been experimenting with a view to the adoption of the best possible method for supplying hot meals to the troops in the field in the quickest possible time. The fireless cooker, or hay-oven, is no new thing. It has been used in Europe for a great many years. The main idea is to partially cook a meal and then to place the food in a receptacle that will retain the heat, with as little loss as possible, and to permit the retained heat to finish the coking operations. Everybody knows that water boils at two hundred and twelve degree Fahrenheit, but very few people realize that water never gets any hotter than that and few even seem to know that it is unnecessary to bring food up to even the degree of temperature required to boil water provided the heat can be retained, to insure perfect cooking.

Experiments have shown that partially cooked food can be thoroughly cooked if kept at a temperature anywhere above 170 for a certain period of time and that is what is being done with the fireless cooker, which we hope to be able to perfect so as to make it available for the army.

There are in the market today a great many such appliances, ranging from wooden boxes, packed with asbestos of mineral wool, up to elaborate metallic contrivances, several inches thick in the rim packed with some sort of non-conductor of heat, such as wood fibre or asbestos. What the army wants is a contrivance of this character in which partially cooked foods may be placed which will retain heat for many hours and to this end our experiments are being made with a fair degree of success thus far. Not long ago a squad of men started on a march from Fort Riley, Kansas, followed by a wagon containing a partially cooked meal; sufficient for the entire squad. After a march of six hours the fireless cooker in which this meal was contained was opened and it was found that the meat, vegetables, and macaroni, contained therein was perfectly prepared and ready for dinner.

The theory is a simple on. It is that heat retained by a non-conductor and prevented from escaping will complete the operation of cooking food. The hay-box of Norway has been used for a generation or more and we want to adopt the idea into the army of the United States; when this is done a squad of troops started out on a day's march can be followed by supply wagons with fireless cookers, they have been packed when camp is broken in the morning, and will have a nutritious hot meal ready to serve to them immediately when camp is made again at night.

Heretofore it has been found necessary in order to give our soldiers hot food on a march to carry a supply of fuel from camp to camp. And even then a great deal of time is consumed in building the fires and in cooking the meals. It will be readily understood that any method which promises the elimination of the necessity of hauling large quantities of fuel and at the same time eliminate the loss of time will be of enormous advantage and that the result will be highly appreciated by the men to be fed.

Manufacturers have in many instances prepared devices which are entirely satisfactory in a small way and which appear to be excellent for domestic purposes but up to the present time none of them has designed a "fireless cooker" satisfactory for the needs of such a number of men as the Subsistence Department must provide for. We are looking for lightness in weight, combined with an absolute stability in construction. We want a cooker that will stand long travel over all sorts of roads and assure the perfection of the contents at the end of the journey. Each receptacle containing foods must be absolutely air tight, easily cleansed and readily adjusted. We have secured, through our own officers, several devices which seem to fill the bill and I am confident that before long it will be possible to start out a regiment of soldiers from camp in the morning with a wagon containing fireless cookers supplied with a full ration of partially cooked food which will be fit to serve in the form of a palatable well cooked meal by the time camp is reached at the end of the day.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Control of Militia Arms
Topic: Canadian Militia

Control of Militia Arms

The following General Orders regarding the use, control, and storage of Militia arms were published in the Canada Gazette.

elipsis graphic

Toronto, 8th June, 1858

Militia General Orders

No. 1

His Excellency the Right Honorable the Governor General and Commander in Chief directs that no Corps of Volunteer Militia of the Active Force of the province, shall appear Armed or Accoutred, except when at Drill, at Target Practice, or required to act in aid of the Civil Power under due authority, unless permission for such Corps to appear under Arms has previously been applied for and granted by His Excellency's Orders.

elipsis graphic

Toronto, 4th February, 1859

Militia General Orders
Active Force

No. 1

With reference to General Order No. 1, of the 8th June last, His Excellency the Commander in Chief directs that all the Artillery Carbines, Cavalry Swords and Pistols, Rifled and Percussion Muskets, with Bayonets and Accoutrements complete of the whole of the Active Force, when not in use under the provisions of the said General Order, shall be kept in the Government Armory at all the stations where there is one, and in private Armories at all the other posts; and His Excellency will hold commanding Officer of Corps, and all others concerned, responsible that this Order is carried into effect.

His Excellency is persuaded that the Officers of the Force will see the propriety, and indeed the necessity, of strictly carrying out these instructions.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 10 May 2016 12:02 AM EDT
Monday, 9 May 2016

Wolseley Barracks
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

The Old Barracks

Off Parade; newsletter of No. 1 District Depot, Wolseley Barracks, July 1946
By: Colonel Francis B. Ware, D.S.O., V.D.

For more than two decades following the Rebellion of 1837, London was garrisoned by famous British regiments, and many are the stories told of the gay life of the young city, as its charming debutantes flirted, danced and married the dashing young soldiers of the Queen.

In those far-off days of a century ago, Victoria Park, Wellington Street to waterloo and Piccadilly south to Dufferin Avenue was all Government property, reserved for barracks, ordnance and supply depots and parade grounds, while there may be some who still remember the depression where the C.P.R. station and freights sheds now stand, for there the Royal Engineers created Lake Horne, as shown on the early maps of London, where in the summertime the troops enjoyed, with their civilian friends, boating, swimming, and aquatic sports.

And then with the withdrawal of the Imperial garrisons and the gradual transfer of the army property to the Corporation of London and to individuals for park and residential purposes, the Government purchased the old Carling farm and the south-east corner of Oxford and Adelaide Streets and there, for over three-quarters of a century, the Cavalry, Artillery and Infantry regiments of the district have carried out their annual training.

The increasing interest being shown in the various volunteer units of the district, and the activity accentuated by the departure in April, 1885, of the Seventh Fusiliers to the Canadian North-West to help quell the Riel Rebellion was no doubt a contributing factor in the decision that London, the capital of the prosperous and growing counties of south-western Ontario, was the logical spot for the establishment of the new military school, to be built on Carling Heights at the north-west corner of the farm.

The first sod was turned and the great building started on the 5th May, 1886. Two million bricks were made by the old London firm of Walker, Bros., for the general contractors, Messrs. Hook & Toll and, on Dominion Day, the 1st of July, the foundations were in and all was in readiness for the ceremony of the laying of the cornerstone.

It was a gala day in London, with the camp in full operation, and over 5,000 visitors thronged the streets of the young city.

Sir Adolphe Caron, the Minister of Militia, had come from Ottawa to officially lay the stone, the distinguished visitor and the senior officers attending camp were tendered a banquet at the City Hall and, at its close, the troops which had been on the route march escorted Sir Adolphe and his party, which included Sir John Carling, Mr. A. McKenzie, M.P.P., and Mr. W.R. Meredith, M.P.P., to the decorated platform on the Heights, where Mayor Hodgins read the address of welcome.

With the stone well and truly laid, the official party and the thousands of visitors witnessed a stirring Review of the three thousand men attending camp, and then came one of those old-fashioned sham fights with the opposing forces fighting in plain view of each other.

The plans of the building proved the architect of the day to be one of vision. The frontal section, which commanded a fine view of the camp and the city to the south-west, provided quarters for the Commandant, senior and junior officers, mess and lecture rooms and offices. The east wing contained the N.C.O.'s married quarters, men's dormitories and mess rooms, band and store rooms; while the west wing had married quarters, Sergeants' mess, guard rooms and the station hospital.

In 1867, there came to Canada, as the senior Staff Officer, a brilliant young soldier who, though but 34 years of age, had already seen service in the Crimea, at the Relief of Lucknow and in China, and who, in 1870, was chosen by Ottawa to command the Red River Expedition to the then almost unknown Canadian West, where the rebel Louis Riel headed an uprising to establish a Republic of North-West Canada.

After incredible hardships and difficulties encountered in moving the Force from the head of Lake Superior to the rebel station at Fort Garry (Winnipeg) the uprising was subdued, and a garrison left to prevent further trouble.

In 1882, as a reward for his distinguished service, this young officer was promoted to the rank of General, and raised to the Peerage with the title Baron Wolseley of Cairo and Wolseley.

It was, therefore, most fitting that Ottawa should decide to call the new Military School "Wolseley Barracks," in recognition of the great service which that gallant officer had rendered to Canada during his tour of duty here.

The School was formerly opened on the 31st March, 1888, with Colonel Henry Smith, a veteran of the North-West Rebellion of 1885, as Commandant, and the barracks became headquarters of "D" Company, Royal Infantry (sic). The establishment of the School was six Officers and one hundred N.C.O.'s and men, many of whom were recruited locally; and then started the first courses of instruction.

Space will not permit me to dwell on the glories of the old barracks, which today stand strong, barely showing effects of the sixty years that have passed since the cornerstone was laid, but what a multitude of pictures pass in review before memory's eye — The Royal Canadian Regiment and the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry; the courses attended by officers and N.C.O.'s from all over Canada, many of whom distinguished themselves on the field of battle; the Permanent Force officers of other days, Smith, Dennison, Peters, Young, MacDougall, Hodgins, Shannon, MacDonnell, Carpenter, Gibsone, Uniacke, Eaton, Hill, Hemming, Balders and others; the brilliant dress uniforms of the officers, their dog-carts and horses; the band concerts on the terrace, and the drums on the Square; the stately mess dinners and receptions to Governor-generals, and other eminent Empire citizens; and through the years the thousands of men as the marched away through the arcade to fight for Queen or King and country.

But now the scene is changed: battle dress is the order of the day. No longer are the men going away to war but, instead, the Barrack Square rings to the tramp of returning heroes.

The old motto was "In time of peace, prepare for war," and so will Wolseley Barracks continue to train our young Canadian in the defence of our fair Dominion and those freedoms for which the whole Allied world has fought and must continue to guard.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 9 May 2016 7:27 AM EDT
Sunday, 8 May 2016

Infantry Battalion Oraganization, 1915-16
Topic: CEF

War Establishment of an Infantry Battalion for Overseas Service, 1915-16

The Organization, Administration, and Equipment of His Majesty's Land Force in Peace and War, First Edition, by Lieut.-Colonel William R. Lang, m.s.c., General Stafff (temporary), 1916

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 7 May 2016

Active Militia Pay 1874
Topic: Pay; the Queen's shilling

Regulations for the Annual Drill of 1874-75, Dominion of Canada


General Order No. 14, Canada Gazette, 6 June 1874

The following are the established rates of pay per diem for corps in Brigade Camp:—

Lieut.-Colonel in command of a battalion$4.87
Ensign, 2nd Lieutenant of Cornet1.28
Adjutant, with rank of Lieutenant2.44
Adjutant, with rank of Ensign2.13
Quarter-Master Sergeant.90
Paymaster's Clerk.90
Orderly Room Clerk.90
Hospital Sergeant.90
Pay Sergeants.80
Buglers and Trumpeters.60

Officers must bear in mind that in all cases of leave of absence from camp, no pay is to be drawn for the day or days any officer or man is absent on such leave.

Regimental officers who may be required to act temporarily in a higher position than their regimental rank, will only receive the pay of their actual rank.

No mounted officer will be allowed for more than one horse, actually used by him.

The pay for horses to cover any expense incurred for shoeing while at drill.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 6 May 2016

The Militia Under Fire
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Militia Under Fire

The Toronto Daily Mail, 2 February 1893

As a rule the British general who settles in Ottawa as the commander of the Canadian forces opens his regime with a flattering description of his army and closes it with a deadly fire all round. It has sometimes been said that the changed attitude towards the country's defenders has resulted from a very slight circumstance. Sir Selby Smyth, for example, is reported to have lost confidence in the military because he was saluted by a subordinate with an everyday "how do?" instead of the regulation movement; and General Luard, after a quarrel about a towel, is alleged to have suffered his respect for the soldier-citizenry to diminish.

But possibly these trivial yet suggestive affairs were not the actual causes of the official outbursts. The various general may have found after a brief experience that there was a weakness in the organization and equipment of the militia that Ministerial responsibility was not sufficiently prompt to repair.

General Herbert is pursuing altogether different tactics to those adopted by his predecessors. He is commencing with an assault, in the hope, no doubt, that he will be able to terminate his command with a well-earned eulogy. The General's first report upon the militia was a severe criticism of the entire establishment. He pointed out, first, that the permanent corps were composed too largely of recruits and that the instruction these men received was too frequently wasted, seeing that they retired to make room for raw men after a very brief experience in the regular corps.

Then he turned his attention to the militia. He mentioned that the rural battalions suffered by comparison with the city corps, that their instruction was not efficient, and that the money voted for drill instruction went for other military purposes that ought to be separately provided for. The equipment moreover was inferior and the physique of the men, in some cases, "wretched."

This year's report is not less sweeping than that of last year; but it deals chiefly with the materials upon which the men have to work. Everything in use is obsolete and bad. The stores are filled with old and worn out material. The clothing is issued under an imperfect system; the leather of which the boots are made is of the consistency of paper. The rifles are useless; the ammunition manufactured at the Quebec cartridge factory is antiquated. The soldiery will not stand a twelve days' drill. The rifle ranges are, with one honorable exception, too small for practice with a modern rifle. The great guns are ancient, and the gun carriages cannot bear the strain of heavy firing. Altogether the War Department is in a very bad state, and it is a serious question with the General whether in a case of emergency we could defend ourselves.

There can be little doubt that the comments which dotted General Herbert's report of last year on the subject of the condition of various battalions were the result of the remarkably high standard he has set for the militia. He is accustomed to the discipline and the physique of the regular army, and he expects to find our battalions made up of middle-aged men exhibiting, as a result of their ten days' drill, all the military knowledge of the veteran who is answering to the word of command day in and day out for years. That the regulars should be made the standard by which to gauge a militia is unfair. But it is the more so when we come to reflect that in arduous service the volunteers who have not made so impressive a display on parade have shown themselves to be, upon the testimony of so good a judge as Lord Wolseley, excellent soldiers.

But there is a great deal to be said on General Herbert's side in relation to the equipment. Out militia is working with much of the cast-off material that was sent here after the Crimean war. That these old munitions ought to have been replaced goes without saying. But the fact is the General's predecessors have pressed upon us permanent establishments, as, for example, the Military College, which, however good in themselves, help to eat up the vote which otherwise might have been applied to the militia proper. Out of the $1,270,264 spent last year upon defence no less than $513,000 went to the permanent corps and the college. When it is remembered that of the balance only $325,000 was devoted to the drilling of the militia, and that nothing was spent upon war material, there is little room for surprise that the main body of the force is not up to the high standard of the regulars of that the equipment is getting out of date.

If the General can pursue the equipment question with the success which attended the efforts of the former Generals to supply us with a regular military establishment, he will not find it necessary at the end of his Canadian career to offer rasping criticisms touching the appearance of the rank and file at inspections.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 5 May 2016

Sabre-Bayonet Manual
Topic: Cold Steel

Sabre-Bayonet Manual

Close Fighting Guide being prepared

Boston Evening Transcript, 20 September 1905

Washington, Sept. 20.—The General Staff of the army is hard at work on the new manuals for the sabre and the bayonet for the army. Hitherto these manuals have called for much skill on the part of enlisted men, so much, indeed, that few of them can acquire the art of wielding either weapon in a satisfactory manner. It is proposed to omit from the manuals everything of a fancy fencing character, such as is taught in the private drillrooms. It is intended that there shall be a return to the simplest methods, and that everything shall be on the most practical and useful basis. Both weapons are meant for use in time of war, and especially is this so of the bayonet. The officers who have been on duty in Manchuria with the Russian and Japanese armies are furnishing special reports to the General Staff on the subject, and such experts as Captain Herman J. Koehler, the master of the sword at the Military Academy, and Civil Engineer Cunningham, of the navy, who is an expert swordsman, and who had charge of the Naval Academy fencing last year, are also giving valuable advice along the line indicated. The War Department recently adopted a new type of sabre, which will be kept with a sharpened edge and carried in a wooden scabbard. A new bayonet was adopted several weeks ago, based on the results of the observations of our military attaches with the troops in Manchuria. The sabre and bayonet are therefore of fighting value, and the manual will be of a kindred practical spirit.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Canadian Cavalry (1916)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canadian Cavalry (1916)

The Organization, Administration and Equipment of His Majesty's Land Forces in Peace and War, by Lieuet.-Colonel William R. Lang, m.s.c., 1916

Permanent Force :—

  • The Royal Canadian Dragoons.
  • Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians).

The headquarters of the Royal Canadian Dragoons is in Toronto, with a station also at St. Jean, P.Q., at each of which places are situated Royal Schools of Cavalry.

The headquarters of Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) is at Winnipeg, where is established a Royal School of Instruction at which officers and N.C.O.'s are trained for both Cavalry and Infantry qualifications.


  • Governor-General's Body Guard.
  • 35 Other Cavalry Regiments and one independent squadron.

These are designated variously, as Dragoons, Hussars, Horse, Light Horse, and Rangers.

A Regiment is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel with a Regimental Staff consisting of a Major (second in Command), an Adjutant, a Signalling Officer, a Medical Officer, a Quarter-Master, a Paymaster, a Veterinary Officer, and a Chaplain. It is organized in 3 squadrons, each commanded by a Major with a Captain assisting him, and is divided into 4 troops each under a Subaltern. The distribution of the Cavalry Regiments in Canada into Mounted Brigades will be found in the Militia List.

The Cavalry of Canada is armed with a sword and with a rifle. Though shock-action and the use of the arme-blanche are considered to be the metier of the cavalry soldier, they have been almost entirely used as mounted riflemen during the wars of the past 15 years.

Higher Formations.

The higher formations of mounted troops are the Cavalry Brigade and the Cavalry Division. In Canada the former are known as Mounted Brigades, each comprising:

  • Headquarters.
  • 3 Cavalry Regiments.
  • 1 Field Battery Canadian Artillery, and Cavalry Brigade Ammunition Column (not organized).
  • 1 Field Troop C.E.
  • 1 Wireless Detachment C.E.
  • 1 Cavalry Brigade Transport and Supply Column (A.S.C.)
  • 1 Cavalry Field Ambulance (A.M.C.)

Were Cavalry Divisions to be organized they would doubtless be based on the model of the British Service which allots to such a unit:

  • Headquarters.
  • 4 Cavalry Brigades.
  • Headquarters Cavalry Divisional Artillery.
  • 2 Horse Artillery Brigades with Ammunition Columns.
  • Headquarters Cavalry Divisional Engineers.
  • 4 Field Troops C.E.
  • 1 Signal Squadron.
  • 4 Cavalry Field Ambulances.

The inclusion in the cavalry division engineers, signal units, and mobile units of on it the power of acting independently and of its subdivision into self-contained constituted.

Regiments with 2 squadrons:— 36th

Regiments with 3 squadrons:— 1st, 6th, 8th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 24th, 26th, 27th, 38th, 32nd, 34th, 35th.

Regiments with 4 squadrons:— G.G.B.G., 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 25th, 29th, 30th, 31st.

One independent squadron at Victoria, B.C.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Rifled 9-Pounder Gun (1880s)
Topic: Militaria


The Gun.

Manual of Field Artillery Exercises, Canada, 1884

Designation.—Ordnance, wrought Iron rifled, M.L. 9 Pr. 8 cwt.

  • Length
    • nominal - 5 feet 8.5 inches.
    • total - 6 feet.
    • of bore - 5 feet 3.5 inches.
    • of rifling - 4 feet 11.8 inches


  • Preponderance - 7 lbs.
  • Calibre - 3 inches.
  • Nominal weight - 8 cwt. 1 qr. 6 lbs.
  • Grooves - 3. French modified.
  • Twist of rifling, uniform - 1 in 30 calibres.
  • Initial Velocity - 1,381 feet.


Construction.—The 9 Pr. Muzzle-loading rifle gun consists of two pieces — one shrunk over the other; the "A tube" or "barrel," and the "breech coil."

The "A" tube," which extends the whole length of the gun is formed from a cylinder, or ingot, of cast-steel, bored and turned to the proper dimensions, after being toughened in a "bath" of oil.

The "breech coil" is of wrought iron, and is composed of two pieces welded together, the part in rear of the trunnions being manufactured from bar-iron, which is coiled round a mandrill and welded, the fibre of the iron running round in the direction of the length of the bar, whilst the part from close behind the trunnions to the front, is forged solid, this latter piece, after being rough-turned and bored, is welded to the coil.

The "breech coil" takes the form of a jacket to the barrel barrel, the two pieces having been turned and bored to the proper dimensions, the "breech coil" is expanded by heat, and then lowered over the "barrel " which is placed in a vertical position to receive it, the coil, on being allowed to cool, contracts so as to grip the barrel, the two pieces, in a measure, thus becoming one.

Sighting —The gun is sighted centrally with a tangent scale or hind sight, and a dispart or foresight.

The tangent scale consists of a rectangular steel bar, with head also of steel, the bar is graduated in degrees, each cross degree being subdivided into twenty divisions, a division being equal to three minutes of elevation. The cross head is grooved on the top, and is fitted with a gun metal leaf, which can be moved either to the right or to the left, to compensate tor accidental deflection, caused by wind, one wheel being higher than the other, etc., the front of the cross head is bevelled, and graduated right and left of the centre, in divisions reading three minutes each. The leaf is moved or clamped by means of a thumbscrew working in a slot in the back of the crosshead. The tangent scale works in a gun metal socket inserted in the breech of the gun at an angle of 1 deg. 30 mins. to the left, that being the angle which compensates for the derivation of the projectile, caused by the rifling. The cross head is fixed on the bar with a corresponding dip to the right so as to be horizontal when the scale is in use. When the tangent scale is lowered to zero its apex is flush with the upper surface of the gun this protects it from injury when not in use; when raised it is kept in position by a gun metal thumb screw.

The dispart sight is a small steel "leaf," screwed into the gun near the muzzle. The metal of the gun at this part is made the same thickness as at the breech, so as to form a dispart patch," and give a line parallel to the axis of the gun. This sight, also, is protected from injury in mounting, discounting, etc., by being fixed in a recess

Trunnions — The trunnions are 3.5 inches in length and diameter, and their axis coincident with that of the bore.

Vent — A hardened copper cone vent is screwed in so as to strike the curve at the bottom of the bore, both to ensure that the whole of the unconsumed portion of the cartridge may be blown out, and also for the purpose of firing very reduced charges. The highest initial velocity would be given by striking the cartridge at a point four-tenths of its length from the base, but the strain on the gun would be proportionately greater.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 2 May 2016

The Bayonet in Battle
Topic: Cold Steel

The Bayonet in Battle

The Journal of Commerce, Montreal, 30 September 1914

The bayonet is proving to be the last argument of battles in the present war. Previous to the war, military critics in various countries declared that the day of the bayonet was past, and that in future wars artillery and rifles would settle the day. It is undoubtedly true that artillery and rifles are playing a very important part in the present war. Heavy siege guns, field artillery, rapid fire guns of every description, as well as the latest and best rifles, thunder out their messages of death to the opposing force. Apparently, however, the two sides are so evenly matched in artillery that no progress can be made either way, Whatever gains have been made by the Allies have been accomplished at the point of bayonet.

The bayonet has always been a favorite with the British soldiers. The big, brawny Scots, and the other stalwarts who constitute the backbone of the British army, have always loved to fight at close quarters. Despatches from the front tell of a hundred occasions when the Germans gave way before the furious bayonet charges of the allied troops. Every soldier back from the front tells the same story of the Germans being unable to face cold steel. In addition to the terrible loss which can be inflicted by the bayonet, there is a psychological reason why me should be unable to withstand a bayonet charge. Men cannot see a bullet coming, and know nothing of it until they are hit. With bayonets it is different. Soldiers can see a long line of glistening steel, which wavers, falters, comes on faster and faster. They see the determined faces of the men behind the bayonets, can read he lust for blood in their eyes, and know that in a few minutes these visible instruments of death will be buried in their bodies. The psychological effect of a bayonet charge is enough to unnerve any but the very bravest and most fearless fighters. In every battle where the Allies have gained ground, it has been done by means of the bayonet, which forced the Germans out of their entrenched positions.

There is perhaps an added reason why the Germans fear the bayonet attacks of the Allies. Both the British and the French bayonets are longer than those in use by the Germans, and a few inches in length in a hand-to-hand fight makes all the difference between life and death. Added to this, it is undoubtedly true that the British have always excelled in bayonet work, which the scientifically trained German was taught to rely entirely upon artillery and rifle fire. As a result of the fighting in this war, and the splendid results achieved by the bayonet, it is likely to retain its place as an effective arm.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 1 May 2016

Active Militia; Cavalry (1868)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Active Militia; Cavalry (1868)

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, Major T.C. Scoble, 37th Battalion (Haldimand Rifles), C.V.M., 1868

Cavalry.—The horse moves 400 yards at a walk, in about 3.9 minutes; at a trot in about 2 minutes; at a gallop in 1.4 minutes. His stride in walking is about 0.917 yards; at a trot 1.23 yards; at a gallop 3.52 yards. He occupies in the ranks 3 feet; in file 9 feet; in marching 12 feet. The heavy dragoon horse actually carries 270 pounds; if provided with one day's rations, 296 pounds, The light cavalry horse carries from 250 to 260 pounds, rations included. A cavalry horse should weigh about 1,000 pounds; height about 15.3 hands; girth round chest 80 inches. A day's rations for a horse is 10 pounds oats, 12 pounds hay, and 8 pounds straw in stable; 8 pounds oats, 18 pounds hay, 6 pounds straw, in billets; 32 pounds hay where no oats or bran are given; 9 pounds of oats are equal to 14 pounds bran. He will drink about 7 gallons of water daily. A horse should not be watered too early in the morning in cold weather. Horses' backs should be examined closely on saddling and unsaddling the least flinching should be taken notice of, and hot fomentations applied constantly. Kicks and contusions should be treated by hot fomentations, poultices, and cold water. A dose of physic may be necessary, depending on extent of tumefaction and pain. Sprains should be fomented; a dose of physic given, and cold water bandages applied. Cough and cold: soft diet, a fever ball with a little nitre; stimulate or blister the throat, if sore. If bleeding is necessary, rub the neck on the near side close to the throat, until the vein rises; to keep it full, tie a string round the neck, just below the middle; strike the fleam into the vein smartly, with a short stick. If the blood does not flow freely, the blow being properly struck, it may be made do so by holding the head well up, and causing the horse to move its jaws. After a march, first take off the bridles, tie up horses by headstall chains; loosen girths, turn up crupper and stirrups; sponge nostrils and eyes, and rub the head with a dry wisp; pick and wash feet, and give hay; wipe bit and stirrups. After the men have had their meal, saddles are taken off and the horses cleaned, watered, fed, and bedded. Upon the vigour with which grooming is performed, greatly depends the condition of the horse, when exposed to fatigue or exposure to the weather. Hand rubbing the legs and ears, not only till they are dry, but until the blood circulates freely, should be particularly observed.

In forming for attack upon infantry, a regiment of cavalry should be divided into three bodies— distinguished as "First Line," "Support," and "Reserve" — with intervals of 400 yards between each. The "First Line" should not be more than one-third of the force. They generally advance the first 400 yards at a walk, approaching to a gentle trot the next 400 yards at a round trot and the last 200 yards at a gallop —the time consumed being about seven minutes and three seconds.

The "Support" and "Reserve" follow the advance at the same pace as the "First Line," checking the pace when the "First Line" commences to charge, but prepared to follow up the success, or protect the reforming of the First Line. The "First Line," if unsuccessful, should rally behind the "Reserve," instead of falling back on the "Support," and thus destroying the steadiness and order of its attack.

When cavalry act in support of artillery, they are formed up 400 yards in rear. When cavalry and artillery act together against infantry, the cavalry harass and manoeuvre on the flanks, in order to induce the enemy to form square, in which formation they would suffer most from artillery fire. In a cavalry attack, guns come into action on one side of the cavalry they support; in order to have a clear front, and to cover a retreat more effectually.

In advanced guards, and piquet duty, the same general rules apply to cavalry as to infantry; it being borne in mind that they can communicate more quickly than infantry, and consequently need not be so near the main body.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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