The Minute Book
Wednesday, 15 June 2016

"Tommy Atkins's" Career (Part 2 of 3)
Topic: British Army

"Tommy Atkins's" Career

Part II - (Vide illustrations)

The Sydney Mail, New South Wales Advertiser, 18 March 1882
By P.L.M.

Tommy Atkins's bedroom is rather estimable in point of commodiousness and simplicity, than noteworthy for any ostentatious elegance, either of design or garniture. In a barrack the rank and file are told off to various rooms, each of which is under the immediate charge of a non-commissioned officer; usually (in the infantry) a corporal, for that superior being the sergeant is allowed the dignity of a separate establishment. He enjoys the privilege of being a member of the Sergeant's Mess," where, by payment of a small monthly subscription, he obtains many little comforts; superior quality of food, spirituous and fermented liquors, recreation in the shape of games of chance and skill, newspapers, &c., besides the benefit of the exclusion from the vulgar herd of rank and file. He also usually has a diminutive apartment allotted to him for his own separate behoof as a bedroom.

Those, however, who have not attained a rank entitling them to these privileges, have to share the large barrack-rooms—there being generally from 15 to 20 men in one dormitory. This also has to serve as Tommy Atkins's dining-room. There is a row of trestle-tables running parallel with the lengthier walls; and benches or forms, similar to those used at schools, are ranged alongside them. The soldier's couch consists of an iron-bedstead capable of being turned up in the daytime, with palliase, bolster-pillow, coarse sheets, blankets and a sort of rug-counterpane. In this re reposes comfortably enough, and illustration 8 conveys a good idea of Tommy's "bedroom at home." It will be perceived that in view of the chilliness of the season he has converted his tunic into a feet-warmer; and we in Australia, at this time of year, are rather disposed to envy him the temperature which demands such a luxury. At reveille in the morning, which varies, according to the season, from 5.30 to 6.30 a.m. every man has to turn out, dress himself, and clear up the room generally, besides his own individual share of it, under the watchful superintendence of the non-commissioned officers. The bedding has to be neatly folded, and the bed irons doubled back. When this has been accomplished, the blankets, etc., are placed where in the picture the head of the sleeper is represented, and held together by a leather strap; and the rug is laid so as to cover the projecting portion of the bed irons, thus forming a seat for the soldier. Over his head, upon the shelf depicted, his uniforms are placed accurately folded; his rifle and accoutrements are upon large hooks fastened into the wall; and his box containing the smaller articles of his kit, his brushes, &c., is under the bed-irons. So that all Tommy Atkins possessions are stowed away together, compactly, neatly, and (above all), "according to regulation."

Not content with clothing, feeding, and disciplining our private soldiers, a paternal Government now-a-days refines their manners by the soothing influence of education. Every soldier who cannot read and write, and keep simple accounts has to go to school; and he is expected to obtain at least "a fourth class certificate," implying that he has grappled more or less successfully with the elementary rudiments of literature. Having obtained this he is at liberty to demand his emancipation from the pedagogic thrall. No doubt some of the recruits are pretty tough subjects; and illustration 9 represents the schoolmaster demonstrating to his class the subtleties of the proposition that "2 plus 2 = 4" with the assistance of blackboard and chalk. The scholar on the extreme right seems profoundly impressed, and those on the left somewhat inclined to levity. Probably they are all under the impression that it is rather late in the day for them to go to school; but there can be no doubt, that in thus affording education, however limited, to Tommy Atkins the Government is really acting paternally towards him. It is possible for a man to attain a very fair degree of education at these army schools if he chose to persevere and gain a first-class certificate; but very few do, and when we consider the tedious nature of the private soldier's duties, and the class from which as a rule he emanates, there can be little cause for wonder at this. Mr. Punch, as usual, contrives to evoke a good-humoured jest out of our military schools. He represents Private Atkins, brought a prisoner before his irate colonel, to whom he has had the cold-blooded audacity to write a letter—addressing an officer in writing being strictly forbidden. "What do you mean by this familiarity, sir?" demands the enraged commander, reading from the letter "My dear Colonel," "Please, sir," pleads the witness culprit, "I didn't write that letter at all, and I didn't do it out of no respect—" "here Sergeant-major," interrupts the disgusted colonel, "take this man away, and get him a fourth-class certificate."—i.e., capacity to read and write.

Tommy Atkins having passed his musketry course, is due for service abroad; and accordingly on morning we find him, knapsack on back, and rifle on shoulder, trudging along to inspiring strains of "The girl I left behind me" to the troop-ship which is to convey his humble fortunes to India; that gorgeous jewel of the Imperial diadem, wrested by guile, and maintained by blood. Troopships now-a-days are splendid roomy steamships, such as the "Crocodile," the "Serapis," &c. Illustration 10 represents the embarkation. The picture speaks for itself. The men are proceeding singly along the gangway, at the foot of which stands an officer, who is saluted by each as he passes. A number already on board are peering from the portholes; and a group of officers occupies the foreground. On the passage the men are divided into watches, which they keep with the sailors; and such drills, &c., are maintained as are compatible with ship discipline, including a general muster every morning. After Tommy Atkins has obtained his sea-legs, and his sea-stomach, he is not badly off; certainly not worse than the denizen of the average immigrant vessel.

Arrived in India he naturally proceeds to join his regiment. Illustration 11 represents him in the Barrack-square with his comrades of the new detachment, being inspected by the Commanding Officer and Adjutant. Very well drilled and proportionately sheepish most of the gallant fellows appear, for India is, of course, the them a terra incognita, and many a good story they will hear in the barrack-room during the first week or two of their sojourn. In the background a group of old soldiers may be observed "taking stock" of their comrades, with critical eyes, whilst on the right a syce, or native groom, is in attendance with the horse of one of the field officers.

(To be continued.)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 14 June 2016

"Tommy Atkins's" Career (Part 1 of 3)
Topic: Canadian Army

But, alas for the depravity of human nature! The young soldier is, in the majority of cases, not long before he gets into trouble.

"Tommy Atkins's" Career

Part I - (Vide illustrations)

The Sydney Mail, New South Wales Advertiser, 11 March 1882
By P.L.M.

The designation "Tommy Atkins," familiarly applied by military men to the British private soldier, is of very old standing, having been in use long before the Duke of Wellington's time and probably extending back to the days of Dettingen and Fontenoy. It took its origin from the circumstance that at one time all military forms set forth by authority as precedents for use in the service were headed (for instance), "Attestation Sheet of Thomas (or Tommy) Atkins," "I, Thomas Atkins," and so forth. In this manner Private Thomas Atkins played the same conspicuous part as that mysterious pair Messr John Doe and Richard Roe used formerly to do in legal phraseology; and the sobriquet "Tommy Atkins" came into universal acceptance as the equivalent of the private soldier, just as "John Bull" has become accepted as the typical Englishman.

The recruiting sergeant has for very many years played a conspicuous part in the enrolment of embryo heroes for the British army, and has always been characterised by shrewdness, acumen, and a profound knowledge of that species of human nature which it is his province to encounter. Many witty dramatists and novelists of the last century, and not a few of the present, have furnished amusing sketches of his various artful contrivances for persuading unwary yokels to "accept the shilling." During the 18th century the process of recruiting was somewhat summary. Immediately the mystified, or inebriated, or deluded countryman had been cajoled into allowing the old coin within his palm, he virtually became a soldier, and was taken, directly he was in a fit state, before an officer or a justice of the peace to be attested, when he was at once hurried away to his regiment. In our days the process is somewhat more circumlocutory. The recruit, haiving received the "Queen's shilling," which constitutes enlistment, is furnished with a copy of the War Office form desiring him to appear before a certain justice of the peace, at a certain time, to be attested; i.e., to have an oath administered to him, the nature of which is that he will bear faithful allegiance to her Majesty, her heirs and successors; and to declare that he has never previously served in the army, navy, or militia, and that the information he has given the recruiting sergeant with regard to his birthplace, &c., is correct.

The attesting or swearing-in is ordered not to take place until 24 hours after the enlistment or reception of the shilling, nor until the recruit has been passed by a doctor as physically fit to serve. This 24 hours' grace gives the man the chance of changing his mind; he is still at liberty, when appearing for attestation, to pay back the enlisting shilling, with 20s. "smart money," and any other pay and allowances he may have received, and go free. This holds good for 96 hours from the time of enlisting. Failure to appear, however, he is liable to be punished as "a rogue and a vagabond."

It will thus be perceived that the recruit has many more chances nowadays than he was allowed by the regulations of our ancestors, who procured "food for powder" in a manner rather expeditious than formal. The recruiting sergeant is still, therefore, as of yore, selected from amongst the smartest non-commissioned officers in the regiment. He must be a man of pre-eminent address, of immense volubility, intense capacity for gasconading, and a ready wit, enabling him to solve all doubts that arise on the minds of those on whom his is plying his powers of persuasiveness, and respond to all their queries in a manner calculated to carry conviction to the most vacillating. The creed he enunciates if\s "Gory" in the military sense of the term; and of course his doctrine is that all civilian modes of gaining a living are despicable, and that the only ladder to distinction is that which bears the soldierly grades as its rungs.

Our illustration (No. 1) represents a group of recruiting sergeants assembled, probably, somewhere in the vicinity of Whitehall, and a "likely lad" in undergoing the process of being angled for. The treble-striped fraternity represent the three branches of the profession, "horse, foot, and artillery;" for they comprise a dashing lancer (who also has a candidate under surveillance), a gaudy horse-artilleryman, and a Highlander in the garb of old Gael; besides the bluff linesman in the foreground to whom the younger fellow with the pipe seems already half inclined to surrender. We can imagine the persuasions of this modern "Sergeant Kite." "Look at me," he seems to say; "observe my portly figure denoting ease and good living; remark my handsome and comfortable uniform! There's the life for you, my boys! Plenty to eat and drink, and money to spend, and her Majesty's uniform to wear, and nothing to do but amuse yourself, and pepper the blacks and foreign parts just for diversion. Join us, and it'll be the making of you; you'll be a colonel in a few years. What d'ye say? You will? There's a lad of spirit; put that shilling in your pocket, my boy, just to begin with."

It would be hard to surmise the origin of the lad he is addressing. Some indolent young citizen, apparently, who has made up his mind that commercial pursuits are not his vocation, and that a life where he has everything found and nothing to do will just suit him. In adopting a military career with the latter idea, however, he makes a terrible mistake, as he has yet to discover, when he runs the gauntlet of drill, fatigues, guards, picquets, barrack-room work, kit-cleaning, orderly duty, &c., &c. However, he enlists.

We presume that he has been duly passed "fit" by the medical authority, and that he has entirely exonerated himself from opprobrium as a "rogue and vagabond" by taking the attestation oath—for illustration No. 2 depicts him as brought before the commanding-officer and adjutant of his corps, under charge of the sergeant-major, by whom he has already been instructed to "stand to attention" in the dread presence. By the commanding-officer he is interrogated as to his name, age, trade, whether he is married, and whether he has ever served before, &c. If approved, he is measured, posted to a company, clothes, and receives "a free kit," or the outfit comprising such necessaries as a soldier is supposed to require. In the picture, the colonel, pince-nez­ duly mounted, is putting the requisite question; and the apartment is marked by that hardness and lack of convenience which seems to characterize orderly-rooms generally.

"Tommy Atkins," having been finally approved of, is sent to drill and illustration No. 3 represents him in the barrack-square undergoing the torments of "first steps" with other comrades of the "awkward squad." Such of our readers, as are or have been volunteers, will have a vivid recollection of the "goose-step," or (in the more dignified military phrase) "the balance step without gaining ground," followed by the "balance-step gaining ground," with the instructor's "One, two, three, four—one, two, three, four—one, two, three, four—Now, you've got it—Hang you, keep it," &c., &c. These are varied by "extension motions," for the purpose of expanding the chest and giving play to the muscles, in which the man has to touch his toes with the tips of his fingers, work his arms like the sails of a windmill and perform divers other refreshing exercises. The squad before us is certainly an angular one, and it may be safely predicted that the instructor who is drilling them, pace-stick in hand, has still a great deal of work before him. The object of the pace-stick is to measure off the length of the step, so that the recruit does not exceed the regulated number of inches, and this acquires at length the habit of invariably using the service pace of 30 inches in slow or quick time. In the distance may be observed another squad, who are being taught how to take up an accurate "dressing" in the ranks.

However, all things come to a termination; and this in illustration 4 we find Tommy and a comrade out for a walk. They have evidently proved apt pupils to the regimental teachers, for they are now well "set up," and have learned to wear their uniforms with the jaunty air of the soldier. The uniform is that of then line, and they are equipped in their regulation attire for the streets when not on duty—namely, tunic, waistbelt, Glengarry cap, and cloth trousers, whilst each one flourishes the light cane, which is all the regulation permits him to carry. Doubtless most recruits on finding themselves to duty, and fully clothed, feel not a little vain, and strut along the streets with no inconsiderable sense of their imposingness, especially in the feminine eye.

But, alas for the depravity of human nature! The young soldier is, in the majority of cases, not long before he gets into trouble. He falls into bad company, swallows and abnormal quantity of malt-liquor, and rapidly becomes ripe for "a row," yearning to display upon somebody his capacity for belligerent purposes. Neither is it long, usually, before he is accommodated. Illustration 5 represents him as engaged in a fight with the police.

The worthy civil custodian of las has seized the inebriated son of Mars with a tenacious grip upon the throat and left arm; while the soldier who has still his right at liberty, is giving the policeman a mauling with his belt. The waistbelt of the private soldier makes a most formidable weapon when used as depicted, and is one of which he is but too apt to avail himself if he gets into a disturbance. To such an extent is this carried on, that in many regiments there is an order prohibiting all except men of good character from wearing their belts when not on duty. The old soldier, however, seldom misuses his accoutrements in this manner. It is chiefly the raw material, such as represented in the picture.

The fighting soldier's comrade, who is very far gone in liquor, is clutching the rails to keep himself from falling; and on the left may be observed two disreputable civilians, who have, probably, in the origin had a good deal to do with the fracas.

Tommy Atkins is not, however, to be consigned to the station this time; for in illustration 6 we find that a picket of his regiment has arrived upon the scene, made him a prisoner, and are in the act of conducting him to the guardroom by a simple but most unpleasant expedient for compelling locomotion, entitled "The Frog's March." This consists simply in turning the rebel over on his face, when four men each take a leg or an arm, whilst a fifth sits on him if he attempts to rise; and thus he becomes perfectly helpless. The corpulent non-commissioned officer in command of the party is carrying the offender's Glengarry and belt.

After 24 hours of "suffering a recovery" in the seclusion of the guardroom, Tommy Atkins, having been paraded before the medical officer, and been by him marked "fit," is brought into the awful presence of his commanding officer, and hears the bead-roll of his iniquities duly recounted. As this is a flagrant case, he gets a term of "confinement to barracks," which involves "pack," or "defaulter-drill" (illustration 7). The defaulter, having to fulfill all ordinary duties, attend parades, &c., has to do not more than four nor less than two hours' "defaulter drill," administered an hour at a time, per diem. This is done in full accoutrements, belts, helmet, greatcoat, haversack, &c., in fact "heavy marching order." He has also to answer his name at intervals of hand-an-hour (when not actually on drill) all day long; thus it may truly be admitted that "taking one thing with another, a defaulter's life is not a happy one."

Our illustration depicts him with his brother delinquents performing their defaulter drill, under the auspices of a severe-looking sergeant.

(To be continued.)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 13 June 2016

Advise on the Bayonet Question
Topic: Cold Steel

For turning flapjacks the trowel bayonet has no rival.

Advise on the Bayonet Question

The Corvallis Gazette, Corvallis, Oregon, 15 June 1883

We perceive in a Washington paper that there is some talk in military circles of introducing a new style of bayonet into the army. It is a painful thing to the soldier to have a new kind of bayonet introduced, particularly after he has be come accustomed to the triangular, or trowel bayonet heretofore in use. The short, broad, triangular bayonet has several advantages possessed by no other implement of death. After a hostile Indian, or any other foe of Uncle Sam's has been bayoneted with the trowel bayonet, he may not like it at first, but he never will use any other kind in his family. In case of necessity, the trowel is intended to be used as an intrenching tool. If a company of infantry, armed with the trowel bayonet, is about to be attacked in a large open prairie, the soldiers can, in a few moments throw up a breastwork almost as high as their heads. Instead of doing away with the trowel bayonet, other weapons that might serve two or three purposes should be furnished our gallant soldiers. For turning flapjacks the trowel bayonet has no rival. With the ordinary long, narrow bayonet the soldier cannot possibly turn his flapjack without making a mess of it. In digging up mesquite roots for fuel on the boundless prairies of the West, the trowel bayonet is a perfect terror, so the soldiers say. Excellent as the trowel bayonet is, it might be improved somewhat. We think a kind of combined battle axe and pitchfork bayonet might be invented. It should be somewhat after the style of those table knives made for one-armed men, with a fork on the back of the knife, with which to impale the chunks of beef-steak that have been cut into by the blade of the implement. A weapon of this kind in the hands of our soldiers would be very effective. It is also our opinion that a combined spade and revolver, a kind of revolving spade, might be invented, that would deliver a dozen shots a minute, and dig up a ten acre field while it is being reloaded. We have very little practical military experience, and merely call the attention of General Sherman to these suggestions in a casual off-hand sort of way. We do not wish to be understood as dictating to the military authorities.

The Senior Subaltern

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

Soldiers' Rations (1913)
Topic: Army Rations

Regarding the tobacco issued to the men who took part in the trial march, Lieutenant-Colonel Melville mentions that the majority of the men preferred private supplies.

Soldiers' Rations (1913)

Results of Experiments
New Scale Adopted

The Glasgow Herald, 17 December 1913

A Blue-book was issued last night containing a report on two experimental marches carried out under the orders of the Army Council in the autumns of 1909 and 1910 with a view to furnishing material for the purpose of deciding on a satisfactory scale of field service rations. In a preface to the document it is stated that in April, 1911, the Army Council appointed a committee to consider the reports on the two experimental marches. The committee recommended that:—

1.     The field service ration should be of 3 lb. weight and 4500 calories.

2.     The emergency ration should be abolished.

3.     Immediate steps should be taken to lighten the soldier's equipment.

4.     The water-bottle and mess tins should be made of aluminum.

5.     An iron ration should be adopted weighing 2 lb. 6 oz. to be packed regimentally in canvas wrappers constructed to hold two rations.

6.     The iron ration should be carried in the haversack or greatcoat or in waggons according to circumstances.

7.     One mincing machine per company should be issued.

The Council approve the proposed field service ration and abolished the emergency ration.

It was directed that experiments in lightening the equipment should be continued, but the proposal to use aluminum water bottles and mess tins was held over to ascertain the result of trials.

A further committee was appointed to consider the manner of carrying the iron ration, its composition, and the issue of mincing machines. This committee's recommendations as to the composition of the iron ration (namely, 1 lb. prepared meat, 6 biscuits, 3 oz. cheese, 1 grocery ration, and 2 cubes of meat extract), and the issue of various types of mincing machines for trial received the Council's approval. It was further decided that one iron ration should be carried on the soldier and that the second iron rations should usually be carried with the transport, and be transferred to the soldier to carry when likely to be required.

The reduction of the soldier's load by the transference of some ammunition from the man to transport waggons has also been approved.

Abolition of Potato Ration

In his report on experimental marches Lieutenant-Colonel Charles H. Melville, R.A.M.C., the superintending officer, explains that the energy value of the ration issued to the men on the first march was 3465 calories gross and the weight 3 lb. The Committee which carried out the experiments were of opinion that the amount of energy furnished under ordinary conditions of active service should be 4500 calories, and that there should be a certain elasticity about the scale permitting of an increase up to 5000 calories. They held that it was impossible to furnish as much as 4000 calories in a ration weighing only 3 lb. without introducing the defect of over-concentrating. The ration which they sketched admittedly contained this defect. It eliminated the potato ration, which possesses the least energy value of any of the constituents of the field service ration. Moreover, it is bulky and does not transport well. There is roughly 1000 calories of a deficiency between the energy standard of the old ration and the minimum proposed by the Committee. This deficiency, the Committee proposed, should be made up by substituting bacon and cheese for potatoes and doubling the jam ration. For a ration furnishing the energy of 4500 to 5000 calories without the defect of over-concentration the Committee consider that 3 ¾ lb. to 4 lb. was necessary.

Regarding the tobacco issued to the men who took part in the trial march, Lieutenant-Colonel Melville mentions that the majority of the men preferred private supplies. The brand issued, he says, was good but too strong. The men who used it complained of this. The taste of the class from which the men are drawn seems to have changed distinctly in this matter. Instead of the old-fashioned highly flavoured tobaccos they seem to prefer a lighter variety. A tobacco too strong for the taste of the individual using it is apt to cause digestive disturbances. No restrictions were placed on pipe smoking, but cigarettes were prohibited on the march and restricted to two or three times a day in camp.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 11 June 2016

Canada's Military Contingent (Jubilee 1897)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canada's Military Contingent (Jubilee 1897)

A Creditable Sample of Our Citizen Soldiers

The Sarnia Observer, 11 June 1897

Her Majesty Queen Victoria

A stamp celebating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

Obverse of the Jubilee medal 1897.

Reverse of the Jubilee medal 1897.
"In Commemoration of the 60th Year of the Reign of Queen Victoria 20 June 1897"

A Victoriam shoulder strap badge worn by The Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry. now The Royal Canadian Regiment.

Quebec, June 7.—To the strains of "The Maple Leaf," sung by the men themselves after the military bands ashore had played "God Save the Queen," and with the enthusiastic cheers of thousands of their admiring fellow-countrymen ringing in their ears, the Canadian militia contingent that is to represent the Dominion in the Jubilee pageant in London, sailed from Quebec on the Vancouver, at half past nine yesterday morning.

The inspection of the contingent Saturday was one of the most interesting military functions which has taken place in Canada for years. It appeared at its very best, and it can safely be said, without the least possible fear of contradiction, that is was the unanimous opinion of every one of the many military men present that Lieut. Colonel Aylmer's contingent of "elegant extracts" from some of the representative corps of the Canadian service will do the Dominion proud in London.

As the men stood there in a line expressions of admiration were outspoken and general. Everyone agreed that the contingent was an immense success, that it looked soldier-like and smart, and would be in every respect a credit to Canada in England. Thanks to the arrangement of the units the disadvantage of the large variety of uniforms appeared to have been turned to advantage. Out of weakness had been created strength. Instead of imparting a crazy-quilt appearance to the contingent the diversity of uniforms really seemed to have increased the soldierly appearance and spectacular effect of the parade.

It was impossible to help admiring the men all through the contingent. Of six footers there are many, while, if there was any man present under five feet nine it was hard even for the eyes of trained soldiers to pick him out. Uniforms all along the line were clean and well fitted, and arms and equipment, of course, in the pink of condition. The arm drill was splendid all through, and the marching fairly steady in all cases considering the height of the grass, of a little lacking in life in some units. The week's training in England before the Jubilee will doubtless remedy any little defects which do exist.

But while admiration was rightly expressed for every detachment, the North West mounted police were the lions of the hour. As they stood in line they formed a military picture which, while fairly rivetting the eye of every soldier present, impressed every beholder. The average of the detachment is nearly six feet, and there is not two inches difference between the heights of the tallest and the shortest man. The eye fails to detect any difference. While practical uniformity in height has been observed in selecting these fine men, so has uniformity in chest, shoulder and limb measurement, and the effect can be well judged. They are all men of a type, and that type the very beau ideal of a soldier. Tall, well proportioned, muscular fellows they are, with clean-cut bronzed faces, and not a surplus ounce of flesh anywhere about them. They drill like machinery, and stand so steady on parade that not a finger moves except by word of command, and apparently not an eye winks. Her Majesty's household cavalry may equal Major Perry's men; they certainly cannot excel them.

Saturday they paraded with carbines in their handsome dragoon uniforms of scarlet, orange trimmed tunics, black breeches, with broad orange stripes, white helmets, brown waist belts, and revolver pouches, and bandoliers frilled with brightly burnished cartridges. The men are anxious to parade in London in their "prairie service uniform," which they consider more distinctive. To give the militia authorities an idea of this uniform, Sergt. Major Bagley turned out in prairie uniform on Saturday, and mounted on a handsome young remount supplied by the Royal Canadian Artillery, horse and man made a handsome picture. The horse wore ordinary police saddlery, including the picturesque and comfortable Oregon saddle with the rider's carbine slung in the regulation way across the "horn" of the pommell. The Sergeant wore the regulation black, orange striped breeches, brown canvas jacket, brown belt and bandolier, brown gauntlets and a large grey leather-trimmed sombrero hat, secured to his head in the orthodox cowboy style by a strap under the back of his poll.

This is the uniform the police wear on their duties on the prairie, and it is at once soldierlike, serviceable and highly picturesque. Each man takes his service uniform home with him besides his scarlet tunic and serge. During the march past Bagley showed what the "riders of the plains" can do on horseback. His young mount became factious, and three dogs attacking her ferociously at once did not improve her temper, and she insisted on not going past the flag. Bagley sat the beast like a statue, sitting solemnly at attention moving not even a muscle of his face, much less his eye or a hand. He did not even use the spur, but by the imperceptible pressure of the knees controlled the animal and guided it past the flag in spite of itself.

The inspection was brief. Lord Aberdeen expressed his gratification and gave the men some goof advice as to their conduct while in England. Before the contingent marched off, Major General Gascoigne stepped to the front, took off his hat, ordered "off head dresses" and three cheers for Her Majesty the Queen, the General leading with hip-hip-hip, the men responding with hurrahs.

All of the contingent are armed with rifles of carbines except the field artillery, who have swords only.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 January 2016 7:31 PM EST
Friday, 10 June 2016

"Battle Honours"---Source of Pride
Topic: Battle Honours

"Battle Honours"—Source of Pride

Ottawa Citizen, 19 January 1957

Displayed on ornamental shield plaques in suitably prominent positions on board many warships are "battle honours," otherwise known as battle scrolls. The record the engagements and battles in which ships have participated and are a source of pride to all those serving in the ship, recording as they do the deeds of those who have gone before. It is the Navy's practice to perpetuate in new construction the names of ships with a good record of service. Accordingly, some ships of the Royal Navy have battle honours going back for hundreds of years. The battle honours on board HMCS Magnificent (aircraft carrier) recall, for example, series of battles in which the first Magnificent, a 74-gun ship-of-the-line, took part. These include a series of fierce engagements between Admiral Rodney's British West Indies Fleet and a French fleet under Admiral de Gutchen in 1780 and the Battle of the Saintes, off Dominica, in the West Indies in 1782, between fleets under Admiral Rodney and Admiral DeGrasse. The battle honours of HMCS Crescent have an even longer listing and date back to the time of the Spanish Armada in 1588. But those of older ships of the Royal Canadian Navy are for the most part of comparatively recent origin, recording their exploits in the Second World War or off Korea.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Burden the Soldier Boy Carries (1918)
Topic: Soldiers' Load

The Burden the Soldier Boy Carries

What the 70-Pound Load Means in Comfort, Security and Living

The Sunday Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, 13 January 1918
By Clive Marshall

According to a statement issued by the War Department, it costs Uncle Sam $156.71 to equip an infantryman for service in France. Clothing costs $101.62; eating utensils, etc., $7.73, and fighting equipment, $47.86.

War is a burden, all the way around, any way you take it, up, down and around, over and over and all together, war is a burden—and the burden begins with the individual man.

The man who stays at borne burdened with war taxes, and the man who goes to the front is burdened with a soldier's field kit. which, while it is probably heavier than the kit carried by the soldier in any other war in modern history, is, nevertheless, the most complete, serviceable, compactly built and carefully figured out kit in point of greatest serviceability with least weight that has ever been designed for a nation's fighter.

The American soldier, today, in active service is expected to carry as much as possible, but he must carry nothing that is not absolutely necessary to the best service in the ordinary, to-be-expected experiences of war, and necessary, too, in emergencies. That "much as possible" must be figured with a careful regard to weight and an ever clear, designing eye to compactness of parts and precision of distribution so that the kit will work a minimum of hindrance to the movements of the fighting man carrying it. Therefore the field kit of the soldier must have all that it should have, even to the call of emergency, weighing the least that all can weigh, assembled as compactly as possible and put upon the body of the fighter in a way designed to render it the least likely to impede his action on the march or in battle.

Load of 70 Pounds Carried

The total load earned by the American soldier in the present war, counting in the weight of the clothes which he wears, approximates 70 pounds. The field kit, which includes the rifle and other fighting equipment, together with eating utensils, weighs 54 pounds, and Army officials have figured it down to ounces in metal, cotton, wool, leather and wood, and have said thus far and no farther; it can weigh no less and be serviceable; it is serviceable and must weigh no more.

The chief fighting tool of course, is the rifle. The official title, of the American Army rifle today is "303 pattern '17." It is a mixture of Springfield and Enfield rifles, but because the name Enfield has been popularly attached to the rifle and because Enfield seems to belong with Lee as naturally as Krag with Jorgenson, the man on the street has decided forthwith that the rifle is the old Lee-Enfield. In fact, however, the British-designed rifle being manufactured here for our Army is of a pattern of 1914 and has little in common with the old British Lee-Enfield. This rifle complete with bayonet weighs 11 pounds, and on this point the arm has met with some criticism. It takes a pretty husky man to handle the present Army rifle dexterously in the bayonet fighting now in style on the European battlefields, and the critics contend that rifle weighing nine or nine and one-half pounds with bayonet fixed would give a great advantage.

Modem warfare also compels the soldier to carry a shovel for trench digging. This shovel is a short-handled, round-pointed spade, somewhat of the "common garden variety," and has been made to weigh 25 ounces in iron and steel and four ounces in wood. The equipment of every American soldier contains this small shovel, but on the European battle field the trench tools of tho soldiers are divided among the members of a squad—eight men—as follows: four shovels, two pick mattocks, one polo or hand ax and one wire cutter. So it seems that in what ever re-equipping of the fighters on arrival on the firing line, four out of every eight soldiers are given either pick mattocks, hand axes or wire cutters in place of their shovels. Every American fighter, however, is sent away with a shovel which is reduced to the minimum of weight and strapped snugly to his back in such a way that he may march, run at double-quick, engage in hand-to-hand combat, or drop on his stomach in position of firing without feeling inconvenienced or hindered by the presence of the trench tool.

The rifle, bayonet, trench tool and cartridges complete the soldier's fighting equipment. Every soldier carries 100 cartridges, distributed in pockets attached to a belt, five cartridges to a clip. These 100 cartridges have, a combined weight of 47.4 ounces in brass, 36.4 ounces in metal in bullets and 12 ounces in explosives. The cartridge belt itself weighs ten ounces in brass and 14.1 ounces in cotton.

The actual fighting equipment of the up-to-date soldier makes up less than half of the total load he carries; the remainder is made up of what he carries for his own bodily needs, protection and comfort.

Contents of the "Kit"

Every soldier in the American Army today carries with him sufficient food, water, clothing and means of protection and shelter to take care of himself for a short period in case he should become separated from his company. The number of articles making up this part of the kit is surprisingly large. Each kit carried contains, besides extra clothing, a blanket, rubber pouches, a canteen, a mess kit, including meat can, knife, fork, spoon and cup, toilet articles, a first aid package, gas mask, steel helmet and shelter tent.

One of the most useful things a soldier carries is this shelter tent, commonly called a "dog-tent." Each man carries one tent cover, one tent pole and five tent pins, which make one-half of a shelter tent, and two men can combine their halves and set up a "dog" in a few minutes. This tent, of course, is used only in temporary camps on forced marches.

According to a statement issued by the War Department, it costs Uncle Sam $156.71 to equip an infantryman for service in France. Clothing costs $101.62; eating utensils, etc., $7.73, and fighting equipment, $47.86.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Discharged---With Ignominy
Topic: Discipline

…the non-commissioned officer in charge of the escort steps forward and, amid a silence almost to be felt, with a sharp knife divests the prisoner of all military distinctions in the form of medals, badges, buttons, &c.

Discharged—With Ignominy

The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 8 March 1930
By Montague Norman

Some gave them white bread,
and some gave them brown,
Some gave them plum cake,
and drumm'd them out of town.

How many reading or hearing the words of the old nursery rhyme ever give a thought to the meaning of those contained in the second portion of the last line? Few of us, I'm sure, and yet there is a very interesting meaning to them. Without any doubt, Lewis Carroll, when penning "Alice's Adventures Through the Looking Glass," knew all about them, for we see in the older editions of this classic of our childhood a picture of Alice holding her ears against the din created by phantom sticks in the air all around her. And to military custom we may turn for an explanation.

Some sixty or seventy years ago the British Army recorded amongst the list of authorised punishments for certain crimes under its jurisdiction that of being "discharged—with ignominy." This sentence was carried out, where awarded, with full military honors—or, rather, dishonors, the delinquent soldier being literally "drummed out" of his regiment.

During the war, as a member of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, I was on one occasion posted to the reserve battalion of the regiment at its depot at Parkhurst Barracks, Isle of Wight. Curiously enough, it was at these barracks that almost the last case of "drumming out" took place. At that time, somewhere in the sixties or seventies, the barracks were the depot of the North Devon Regiment. With a first-hand knowledge of the locality, it is easy for me to reconstruct the scene depicting the last act in the regimental life of the degraded soldier.

Picture the gravelled parade ground, some one hundred and fifty yards across, and bounded in the front, as we stand in the roadway, by a high iron picket and stone pillar fence, and on the other three sides the barrack buildings, with the officers' mess and quarters on the right. Drawn up on parade is the battalion, forming three sides of a hollow square, the fourth side being peopled by the prisoner and escort, the colonel and the adjutant, and finally the battalion fife and drum band. A brisk command brings all ranks stiffly to attention, and no sound is heard save the voice of the adjutant as he reads loudly in a clear voice the details of the crime of which the prisoner has been found guilty and the sentence awarded him by the court-martial by which he has been tried—"to be discharged—with ignominy."

The reading of the sentence concluded, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the escort steps forward and, amid a silence almost to be felt, with a sharp knife divests the prisoner of all military distinctions in the form of medals, badges, buttons, &c. One by one they are cut off, and one by one thrown in the dust, until at last the culprit stands, divested even of support for his nether garments, and gripping tightly to tunic and trousers to keep them in place. Follows the pinning of these garments, and the N.C.O. stands back, ready for the next scene in the drama of shame. The battalion is formed into two ranks, the prisoner handcuffed, and the actual drumming-out commences. Out steps the smallest drummer boy in the band, holding a rope with a running noose in his hand. This he slips around the neck of the degraded man, and, led by the drums and fifes shrilling the Rogue's March, a piece of music written especially for just such an occasion, a procession is formed, which marches from the right of the line to the left and back again, between the ranks.

The march concluded, and every man having had a good look at his erstwhile companion, the procession now directs its steps to the main gate, which opens on Cowes-Newport road. Here the band wheels to the right to permit of the little drummer performing his last rites—the removal of the rope and the hearty kick to help the departing man on his way to—the arms of the civil authorities, who dispose of him as they see fit, usually by a term of imprisonment.

And thus did the British army, in the "good old days" of sixty or seventy years ago, "drum out" and rid itself of a member who might prove himself an undesirable constituent of her majesty's forces.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Jubilee Regiment (1897)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Jubilee Regiment (1897)

It Sailed for England on the Vancouver Yesterday
Inspected on Saturday
By Lord Aberdeen and Major-General Gascoigne—The Regiment is a Credit to the Country

Her Majesty Queen Victoria

A stamp celebating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

Obverse of the Jubilee medal 1897.

Reverse of the Jubilee medal 1897.
"In Commemoration of the 60th Year of the Reign of Queen Victoria 20 June 1897"

A Victoriam shoulder strap badge worn by The Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry. now The Royal Canadian Regiment.

The Montreal Gazette, 7 June 1897
(From our own correspondent.)

Quebec, June 6.—The weather this morning was perfect and some 10,000 people saw the Canadian jubilee military contingent embark on R.M.S. Vancouver for England. All the wharves, the Princess Louise docks and the Terrace were thronged with spectators, and the streets are almost impossible as the regiment marched to the breakwater where the Vancouver was lying. At 7.45 the Queen's Own Canadian Huzzars (sic) and Eighth Royal Rifles with bands marched own to the breakwater to receive the troops who followed in about ten minutes, headed by the R.C.A. band and accompanied by the Ninth Battalion and Quebec Field Battery. There was much enthusiasm, and the men were repeatedly cheered as they embarked and when the reappeared on the vessel's deck. The bands played "The Girl I Left Behind Me" and other lively tunes on the way to the wharf, and all four bands "Auld Lang Syne" before the vessel sailed, amidst repeated cheering. As the Vancouver pulled out "God Save the Queen" was played, and there was more cheering. Then the men on board the steamer sang "The Maple leaf." General Gascoigne and Col. Lake, C.M.G., were present to see the troops off and were greatly pleased at the demonstration. Before embarking the men of the Ninth Battalion were presented by admirers with $250 in gold. The contingent presented a splendid appearance, and were loudly applauded by the steamer's passengers when they appeared. All were well and in the very best of spirits. Such a demonstration of popular feeling has not been seen here for many years past, and greatly pleased the men.

Makeup of the 1897 Canadian Jubilee Contingent

Saturday's Inspection

The regiment was inspected on Saturday by Lord Aberdeen and Major-General Gascoigne. The inspection began about noon, the man having first marched down, headed by the R.C.A. band, in the following order: Dragoons, Hussars, Mounted Police, Field Artillery, Garrison Artillery, infantry and rifles. Lieut.-Col. Aylmer, adjutant-general, was in command and treated the force as a brigade. His Excellency the Governor-General and Major-General Gascoigne inspected the line together in a most critical manner, paying special attention to the Mounted Police detachment, who were in full dress like the other corps, and to Sergt.-Major Bagley, of E Division, who was mounted and in "parade uniform," with his rifle strapped across his saddle and wearing the jacket used on active service, as well as a sombrero. His Excellency and Major-General then retired to the saluting point with their staff and witnessed the march past, the advance in review order, etc. After this the flanks faced inwards, forming three sides of a hollow square.

Lord Aberdeen Speaks

Lord Aberdeen addressed the men. On behalf of both himself, the General and the public, he heartily congratulated the men upon their fine appearance and wished them a pleasant journey. He felt sure that they would prove themselves worthy representatives of their country, and read them a little leisure, in which he advised them to behave in a gentlemanly manner, as their social as well as their military conduct would be taken into account by people in judging of Canada by them.

Major-General Gascoigne then called upon the men to remove their headdresses and give three cheers for Her Majesty, which was done with a will. The contingent afterwards marched off in fours and back to the Citadel, where they were photographed several times. Some men have been weeded out of the corps and replaced, others have straightened up, and many of the uniforms have been made to fit, so that in the magnificent body of soldiers which paraded today no one would recognize the somewhat unmilitary looking lot of men who at the outset called out so much unfavorable newspaper comment. Today the force proved that is could honestly be called a good average representative one, not, perhaps, the best that could be picked, but, at the same time, one well fitted to do Canada credit. The Mounted Police undoubtedly came in for the greatest part of the praise universally award to the contingent, though all heartily deserved it. Sergt.-Major Bagley, however, received about as much praise as all the rest combined, and gave an admirable exhibition of horsemanship, while his uniform excited much favorable comment. It is pretty well understood that the Mounted Police will appear in "prairie uniform" in the London procession.

Officers in Command

The officers commanding units, etc., are as follows:

  • Officer Commanding—Lieut.-Col. Aylmer, adjutant-general,
  • Adjutant—Capt. MacDougall, R.R.C.I.,
  • Orderly Officer—Lieut.-Col. Longhurst, P.E.I. Brigade G.A.
  • Paymaster—Lieut.-Col. Munroe, 22nd Battalion,
  • Officer Commanding Cavalry—Major Evans, R.C.D., Winnipeg,
    • No. 1 Troop—Capt. Fleming, G.G.B. Guards,
    • No. 2 Troop—Capt. Brown, Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, Ottawa,
    • No. 3 Troop—Major A. Brown Perry, Inspector Northwest Mounted Police, "E" Division,
  • Officer Commanding Artillery—Major Hendrie, Hamilton Field Battery,
  • Garrison Artillery—Major Hibbard, Montreal G. Artillery,
  • Officer Commanding Infantry—Lieut.-Col. Mason, Royal Grenadiers, Toronto,
  • Second in Command—Major Pellatt, Q.O.R.,
    • No. 1 Company—Capt. Thompson, 37th Battalion, Haldimand,
    • No. 2 Company—Capt. Pelletier, 65th Battalion

The 8th is Angry

Grave dissatisfaction exists in the 8th Royal Rifles, of this city, over their not being represented on the Canadian jubilee regiment. The men claim that their officers did not make proper efforts to have them represented, and are now more indignant than ever since the officers refused to allow them to go to Montreal for the jubilee celebration, although they were willing to pay their own expenses. The crack company, number four, subsequently offered to pay its own way if allowed to go, and was again refused. Consequently many men and non-coms. Have resigned, and many more say that they will do so.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 6 June 2016

Trimming the Militia, 1874
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Recent Militia General Order

The Ottawa Times, 11 June 1874

The Globe of the 6th [June, 1874] contains a full, and upon the whole fair, criticism of the changes entailed by the recent Militia General Order, a few of the leading points of which have reference to the numbers to be drilled, the period of training, and the pay of the Active Militia for the years 1874 and 1875. It takes exception, however, in some degree, to the striking off of some corps from the list for pay at the annual encampment for this and the coming year, and also to the nor permitting others, who had not performed the annual drill for 1873 and 1874, to perform it now or hereafter.

We are of the same opinion, however, taking the General Order of 3rd June itself, that the grounds upon which the changes have been made are of the most equitable character. The money appropriation for drill purposes for '74/'75, is only sufficient for the training of 30,000 of all ranks, while the entire force numbered something over 46,000; hence it will be seen that some plan had to be adopted for the striking out of 16,000. In considering this plan the great object in view was to avoid doing injustice to any, or at all events to give precedence in the force to those who had, all things considered, best earned it.

To effect the required reduction, the acting Adjutant General, as will be seen by the general order above referred to, has pursued the only course, by which, according to our view of the matter, the desired result could be fairly arrived at. First, by striking off all corps that had been gazetted, but never equipped; second, by removing from the active list such corps as had become disorganized; and third, by leaving off the list for pay for '74 and '75, all corps that at the annual drill for '73-'74, had mustered under 30 non-commissioned officers and men. The use of the pruning knife here seems to have been highly judicious.

The Globe claims that in the application of the rule, as against corps that had not mustered thirty men at their last drill, some exceptions should be made in favor of companies who had earned a good name and whose quality in every other respect was of a high order. The maintenance of a certain numerical standard is ever as essential to efficiency and as necessary to a deserving character as any other quality; and its absence or a disregard of it must be held to be worthy of the treatment accorded to such corps in the recent General Orders. We cannot see that there is any ground of special indulgence that would fairly free any corps from the operation of this order.

It does appear, however, with respect to another point of objection by the Globe, that it is worthy of consideration. Corps that have been actually caught by the General Order in the act of performing their dill should be dealt with as having "completed" it. But those who might otherwise undertake to do it only after they have been admonished that if they neglected it they would suffer a certain disqualifications, are very properly prevented by the strict terms of the General Order. The reduction, we conceive, has been accomplished with remarkable fairness. It would so far as we can see, by proper under the circumstances, and since the appropriation made by Parliament has been reduced, its propriety is all the more marked.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 5 June 2016

What a Soldier Carries
Topic: Soldiers' Load

What a Soldier Carries

The Average Pack Weighs 62.41 Pounds
Continual Efforts to Make Equipment Lighter

Boston Evening Transcript, 23 May 1908

Washington, May 23.—The problem of the soldier's field equipment is one that is continually before the military authorities. On the one hand every effort is made to lighten his pack in order that he may be able to march and to fight better; on the other hand, the improvements in material and the changes in conditions of warfare constantly demand additions to his pack; intrenching tools, range finders, cooking utensils, tools for removing obstructions (wire entanglements, etc.), and others too numerous to mention. The weight of the arms, ammunition and equipments carried by the infantry soldier of the different armies of the world is as follows:

Germany60.71 pounds
France57.48 pounds
France (Alpine troops)70.61 pounds
Italy64.10 pounds
Italy (Alpine troops)63.02 pounds
Japan (summer)62.40 pounds
Austria-Hungary58.55 pounds
Russia64.25 pounds
Switzerland (old pack)66.41 pounds
Switzerland (experimental pack, 1907)56.96 pounds

The French infantryman therefore carries the lightest pack and the French Alpine chasseur the heaviest. The average pack weighs 62.41 pounds. The United States soldier marches very light, but then he has no prescribed intrenching tools or individual cooking implements (other than his mess kit) to carry, so that it is not possible to compare his equipment directly with that of the European soldier.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 4 June 2016

The Woods Recogniton Cards; The Queens
Topic: Cold War

The Woods Recogniton Cards; The Queens

Playing cards marked with silhouettes to practice recognition of armoured fighting vehicles and aircraft were a novelty given or sold to soldiers during the Cold War. A late edition of such cards was produced by Woods Manufacturing, of Ottawa, Ontario, (now Guthrie Woods).

The four queens for this deck, pictured above, featured the following:


See also, the Jokers, the Aces, and the Kings.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 3 June 2016

Ideal Army Ration (1899)
Topic: Army Rations

Ideal Army Ration (1899)

What a Soldier Gets and What He Should Get

The Montreal Gazette, 29 July 1899
(Dr. Louis L. Seaman, in Leslie's Weekly)

The ration of the army today consists of the following constituents:—

  • Fresh beef, or mutton when the cost does not exceed that of beef, twenty ounces;
    • or pork or bacon, twelve ounces;
    • or salt beef, twenty-two ounces;
    • or, when meat cannot be furnished, dried fish, fourteen ounces;
      • or pickled fish or fresh fish, eighteen ounces;
      • or cornmeal, twenty ounces.
    • Baking powder for troops in the field, when necessary to enable them to bake their own bread, sixteen twenty-fifths ounces.
    • Beans or peas, two and two-fifths ounces;
      • or rice or hominy, one and three-fifths ounces.
    • Potatoes, sixteen ounces;
      • or potatoes, twelve and four-fifths ounces, and onions, three and one-fifth ounces;
      • or potatoes, eleven and one-fifth ounces, and canned tomatoes, four and four-fifths ounces,
      • or four and four-fifths ounces of other fresh vegetables, not canned, when they can be obtained in the vicinity of the post or transported in a wholesome condition from a distance.
    • Coffee, green, one and three-fifths ounces,
      • or roasted coffee, one and seven twenty-fifths ounces;
      • or tea, green or black, eight twenty-fifths ounce.
    • Sugar, two and two fifth's ounces;
      • or molasses or cane syrup, sixteen twenty-fifths gill.
    • Vinegar, eight twenty-fifths gill;
    • salt sixteen twenty-fifths ounce;
    • pepper, black, one twenty-fifth ounce.
  • A proper diet for the tropics, obviously, should be of a vegetable character. This would supply the elements of energy, without unduly heating the body. This is just what the ideal ration should accomplish. It should accommodate itself to the needs of the individual everywhere. In the north it should supply him with the abundance of heat-producing elements demanded by the colder climate, while in the south it should limit that supply and provide him with the diet suited to his new environment. It should, further, in southern or tropical campaigns, when barrack or camp life is abandoned for active work in the field, readily adapt itself to the increased demand of the system for nitrogenous elements; for field work with its greater activity, requires greater energy producing food than does the quieter life in the barracks. This was illustrated in several regiments that visited Puerto Rico, notably in one of the artillery regiments, which landed about the same time as did my own, the First United States Volunteer Engineers. This particular regiment saw the hardest kind of work from the very moment of its arrival, until, upon the signing of the protocol, it was sent North. During its stay on the island—about six weeks—the troops subsisted almost entirely upon the "travel ration" (much worse than the field ration when viewed from the standpoint of the ideal), but they had comparatively little sickness, the effect of the excess of the nitrogenous element having been neutralized by the tremendously active life the men had been compelled to lead.

    In order to reach the ideal, then, the present ration should be radically changed. The beef and salt pork component should be cut in two, and farinaceous food and fish substituted. There would be plenty of meat left even then, for the old theory that meat alone makes brawn and muscle has long since been exploded. Beef has been beaten time and again on the athletic field; and on the plains of Marathon, in the great international games recently held in the presence of the king and assembled thousands, the victorious champion in the twenty-five mile foot race was he who had not tasted a single ounce of meat in his long course of training. Salted rations should also be issued but once, or most, twice during the week, and fresh supplies should be provided from beef on the hoof at the point where issued. Of the cereals, one of the best is hominy, which is not only nutritious and easily digested, but it relished by the men as well. Equally valuable is the rice component, and its present issue should be quadrupled in quantity. The black or red bean (frijol), of the tropics should be substituted, in southern latitudes, for the white bean of this country and dried fruits, especially apples and prunes should be added to the ration.

    The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Three Main Rules of Discipline
Topic: Discipline

The Three Main Rules of Discipline
And The Eight Points For Attention

Instruction of the General Headquarters of the Chinese People's Liberation Army

Selected Military Writings of Mao Tse-Tung, Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1968

Our Army's Three Main Rules of Discipline and Eight Points For Attention have been practiced for many years, but their contents vary slightly in army units in different areas. They have now been unified and are hereby reissued. It is expected that this version will be taken as the standard one for thorough education in the army and strict enforcement. As to other matters needing attention, the high command of the armed forces in different areas may lay down additional points in accordance with specific conditions and order their enforcement.

Three Main Rules of Discipline are as follows:

(1)     Obey orders in all your actions.

(2)     Do not take a single needle or piece of thread from the masses.

(3)     Turn in everything captured.

The Eight Points For Attention are as follows:

(1)     Speak politely.

(2)     Pay fairly for what you buy.

(3)     Return everything you borrow.

(4)     Pay for anything you damage.

(5)     Do not hit or swear at people.

(6)     Do not damage crops.

(7)     Do not take liberties with women.

(8)     Do not ill-treat captives.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Active Service; 1 June 1866
Topic: Canadian Militia

Corps Called Out for Active Service; 1 June 1866

Militia General Orders

Ottawa Citizen, 4 June 1866

Ottawa, 1st June, 1866

The Governor General and Commander in Chief directs that the following corps be called out for actual service, and that the said corps be immediately assembled and billeted at their respective headquarters, there to await such orders for their movements as may be directed by the Commander in Chief:—

Upper Canada

  • Windsor Garrison Battery
  • Goderich Garrison Battery
  • St. Catharine's Garrison Battery
  • Toronto Garrison Battery
  • Port Stanley Naval Company
  • Mount Pleasant Infantry
  • Paris Rifle
  • Brantford Rifle (two)
  • Kincardine Infantry (two)
  • Paisley Infantry
  • Southampton Rifle
  • Vienna Infantry
  • St. Thomas Rifle
  • Windsor Infantry
  • Sandwich Infantry
  • Leamington Infantry
  • Amherstburg Infantry
  • Gosfield Rifle
  • Durham Infantry
  • Mount Forest Rifle
  • Caledonia Rifle
  • Stewarttown Infantry
  • Georgetown Infantry
  • Norval Infantry
  • Oakville Rifle
  • Seaforth Infantry
  • Chatham Infantry (two)
  • Blenheim Infantry
  • 19th Battalion, 6 Companies, St. Catharine's
  • 20th Battalion, 5 Companies, St. Catharine's
  • 7th Battalion, 5 Companies, London
  • Komoka Rifle
  • Villa Nova Rifle
  • Simcoe Rifle
  • Port Rowan Rifle
  • Walsingham Rifle
  • Ingersoll Infantry
  • Drumbo Infantry
  • 22nd Battalion, Oxford Rifles, 4 Companies, Woodstock
  • Brampton Infantry and Rifle Companies
  • Albion Infantry
  • Derry West Infantry
  • Alton Infantry
  • Grahamsville Infantry
  • Stratford Infantry
  • Bradford Infantry
  • Barrie Infantry and Rifle Companies
  • Collingwood Rifle Company
  • Cookstown Rifle Company
  • Orangeville Infantry
  • Fergus Rifle
  • Elora Rifle
  • 13th Battalion Infantry, 6 Companies, Hamilton
  • Aurora Infantry
  • Lloydtown Infantry
  • King Infantry
  • Scarborough Rifles, 2nd Battalion, Queen's Own Rifles, 11 Companies, Toronto
  • 10th Battalion, Royals, 8 Companies, Toronto

Lower Canada

  • Franklin Infantry
  • Durham Infantry
  • Hinchinbrooke Rifle
  • Athelstan Infantry
  • Rockburn Infantry
  • Huntingdon Infantry
  • Hemmingford Infantry
  • Roxham Infantry
  • Lacolle Infantry (21st Battalion) St. John's, four Infantry Companies
  • Havelock Rifle
  • Grandby Infantry (two)
  • Waterloo Infantry (two)
  • Frelighsburgh Infantry
  • Philipsburg Infantry
  • Montreal (six Companies)

And the Governor General further directs that the said Volunteer Force shall, during the time it remains on actual service, be placed under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir John Michel, commanding Her Majesty's forces in North America, and that it shall be subject to the Queen's Regulations and orders for the Army, to the rules and articles of war, to the act for punishing mutiny and desertion, and to all other laws now applicable to Her Majesty's Troops in this Province, not inconsistent with the acts respecting the Volunteer Militia.

At former times the Commander in Chief has had occasion to call for the Active Service of the Volunteer Force, to maintain International obligations, and as a precaution against threatened attack.

Those threats have now ripened into into actual fact. The soil of Canada has been invaded, not in the practice of a legitimate warfare, but by a lawless and piratical band in defiance of all moral right, and in utter disregard of all the obligations which civilization imposes on mankind.

Upon the people of Canada the state of things imposes the duty of defending their altars, their homes and their property from desecration, pillage and spoilage.

The Commander in Chief relies on the courage and loyalty of the Volunteer Force and looks with confidence for the blessing of providence on their performance of the sacred duty which circumstances has cast upon them.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Militia Uniforms
Topic: Canadian Militia

What the militia want is a full dress uniform which will be ornamental and a working uniform which will be useful.

Militia Uniforms

Ottawa Citizen, 8 February 1902

The Canadian Militia Gazette, commenting on the opposition in militia circles to the continuation of the practice of the Canadian authorities blindly following the perennial chopping and changing of uniform and equipment by the British war office, says:—

That practice has been one of the most insane of our practices—insane, because it is not suited to the condition of our organization; insane, because it is not suited to our climatic conditions; insane, because under it the officers of a regiment are never "uniformed," though they may be dressed; insane, because it is inordinately expensive. Not today, nor yesterday, but for years, observing militia officers have seen the folly of it. The recent war office letter of warning to which our correspondent refers (it is not yet a regulation to be acted on) has created an unwonted furore in Canada. Why this is I fail to see, for the change which it foreshadows cannot apply to our militia unless it is adopted by the Dominion authorities. The mere publication of the letter (for general information) is not an adoption.

The reason the system has been pursued is because the militia has never been consulted on the subject and had to blindly submit to orders. There would have been no "unwonted furore" in this instance if the Citizen had not lifted up its voice against it, and the Gazette knows quite well that the changes foreshadowed in the "cautionary order" would have gone through. As a matter of fact some of the changes have already been made. The sabretache has been abolished, though it is decidedly ornamental in full dress and much more useful than the sword and belts because you can carry despatches and other papers in it. What the militia want is a full dress uniform which will be ornamental and a working uniform which will be useful. The minister should put his foor down.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 30 May 2016

Sir Garnet Wolseley
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Sir Garnet Wolseley

The New Adjutant-General of the Imperial Forces

The Toronto Daily Mail, 24 December 1881

Sir Garnet Wolseley, the newly-appointed adjutant-general of the Imperial army, is well known to every Canadian, having been actively engaged as assistant quartermaster-general in Canada in 1870-71, and in the former year commanded the Red River expedition. Sir Garnet Wolseley is the eldest son of the late Major G.J. Wolseley, of the 25th Regiment of Foot, and grandson of the late Sir Richard Wolseley, Bart., of Mount Wolseley, in the county of Carlow, a member of the ancient house of Wolseley of Wolseley, on the county of Stafford, one of whose younger sons went to Ireland as a captain in King William's army, and who fought by the King's side at the battle of the Boyne, and was created a baronet for his service.

Sir Garnet was born in the vicinity of Dublin in June, 1833, and is therefore only 48 years of age. He obtained his commission in 1852, and left England to take part in the Burnah war the same year. He was severely wounded in action during this war, and had the honour of being favourably mentioned in the despatches of the general in command of the expedition. He subsequently returned home, and having recovered from his wounds, was able to take part in the Crimean war, arriving at Sebastopol in December, 1854. From the time of his arrival in the Crimea till the fall of Sebastopol he served in the trenche s as an engineer, and was again honoured on several occasions by being mentioned in despatches. He was on duty in th trenches on the memorable 18th of June, 1855, and on the 30th of August was badly wounded in a sortie.

On the conclusion of the war he sailed for China with his regiment, and was shipwrecked during the voyage. He saw considerable active service in India during the mutiny of 1858-59, and was present at the siege and relief of Lucknow, and at the defence of Alumbagh. He afterwards held the position of Quartermaster-General under general Sir J. Hope Grant in the province of Oudh. In 1870 he was in China as Assistant Quartermaster-General during the war, and was present at the storming of the Taku forts. After this he was sent to Canada, and his career since then is pretty well known to every Canadian. Sir Garnet has always spoken of the Canadian volunteers in the highest terms, and considers that with proper training they would make as fine soldiers as are to be found anywhere.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 29 May 2016

Desirable Traits of a Leader
Topic: Leadership

Desirable Traits of a Leader

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

a.     Bearing. Creating a favorable impression in carriage, Appearance, and personal conduct at all times.

b.     Courage (physical and moral). A mental quality which recognizes fear of danger or criticism, but enables the individual to meet danger or opposition with calmness and firmness.

c.     Decisiveness. Ability to make decisions promptly and then express them in a clear and forceful manner.

d.     Dependability. The certainty of proper performance of duty with loyalty to seniors and subordinates.

e.     Endurance. Mental and physical stamina measured by the ability to stand pain, fatigue, distress, and hardship.

f.     Enthusiasm. The display of sincere interest and exuberance in the performance of duties.

g.     Initiative. A quality of seeing what has to be done and commencing a course of action.

h.     Integrity. Uprightness of character and soundness of moral principle: the quality of absolute truthfulness and honesty.

i.     Judgment. Weighing facts and possible solutions on which to base sound decisions.

j.     Justice. Being impartial and consistent in exercising command.

k.     Knowledge. Acquired information including professional knowledge and an understanding of your subordinates.

l.     Loyalty. Faithfulness to country, the Army, your unit, your senior, and subordinates.

m.     Tact. The ability to deal with others without creating offense.

n.     Unselfishness. The avoidance of providing for one's own comfort and personal advancement at the expense of others.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 29 May 2016 12:06 AM EDT
Saturday, 28 May 2016

Iron Rations for Troops (US Army, 1895)
Topic: Army Rations

Iron Rations for Troops (US Army, 1895)

Emergency Diet for United States Soldiers
Independent of Supply Trains
Carrying His Own "Grub"—Foods Condensed by Evaporation—But tons of Coffee and Tea—Concentrated Loaves of Bread, and Soups in Cigarette Packs—The Kola Nut for Military Purposes

Hartford Weekly Times, 24 October 1895

Within a few weeks from now United States soldiers will be provided for the first time with an "iron ration." The boards appointed to consider the question of emergency foods, representing the various departments of the army, are sending in their reports, upon which final conclusions will be based. Problem: To make up a food package of small bulk, which shall render the fighting man independent of supply trains for a short period, in case of an exigency such as might arise from his being wounded or cut off with a detachment from the main command.

"Experiments in this line are being made by all the great powers," said Major Woodruff at the War Department yesterday. "They are trying everything imaginable for the purpose. Here, for example, is an element of the British emergency ration. It looks like a dog biscuit, doesn't it? Three ounces it weighs, and it is four inches square. It is composed simply of whole wheat solidly compressed. A condensed loaf of bread you may call it. The French have a new ‘war bread,' which is to replace hard tack for the use of their army. Its ingredients and the processes for making it are a secret. When a piece of it is put into hot water or soup, it swells up like a sponge, and it is said to be virtually the same as fresh bread.

"In future wars the utmost efforts will be made to furnish the troops with fresh articles of dier in the field. Dried foods are only suitable for emergency foods. Germany and France, by the help of cold storage, have perfected arrangements for shipping fresh beef to the front by rail. When practicable, fresh bread will be forwarded daily to the fighting line. This was done from Washington to the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War. The French government has constructed a number of bakeries on wheels for use in campaigns—wagons, that is to say, containing ovens and all necessary appliances, so that bread may be made on the march.

"For emergency rations, evaporated vegetables have been tried, but not with great success. They are not nutritious enough, and they do not keep well. Here is a one-pound can of evaporated onions. Smells strong, doesn't it? It ought to, inasmuch as it represents ten pounds of fresh onions. In the same way potatoes, carrots, turnips and cabbages are put up. Desiccated foods are now being produced on an enormous scale by many firms in this country and abroad. A good thing which we may adopt if this desiccated beef. One ounce of it is equal to five ounces of ordinary meat, because it is absolutely water-free. It is too hard to cut with a knife without trouble, and so the soldier chops off a small hunk of it. He puts the piece into a little machine like a coffee mill and grinds it up. It comes out in fine shavings, ready to be eaten on bread or to be used for soup stock.

"Beef-tea, used as a stimulant, is a good thing for soldiers. For an emergency ration, it is put up in capsules, one of which makes a cup. Each capsule contains the necessary seasoning and costs two cents. Beef-tea contains almost no nutriment, but only the flavoring and stimulating qualities of the meat. When a person is informed that a teaspoonful of extract represents several pounds of beef, he infers that it is equally nourishing. The truth is that the nourishment is left behind in the boiler. A human being will starve to death on an unlimited supply of beef-tea. The most important element of the British iron ration is pemmican—a preparation of beef, fat and salt. Its manufacture is a secret. It is put up in tin cans of four ounces, equal to one pound of meat, and is eaten without further cooking. However, it may be made into a hash or soup by boiling it with vegetables. It keep sound for years, though exposed to air. With the pemmican goes a can of the same size, containing a mixture of cocoa and honey.

"It is certain that canned foods will play an important part in future wars. The Belgian iron ration is a ten-ounce cut of corned beef put up in a liquor that is flavored with vegetables. The German emergency ration is a one-pound can of preserved meat, with hard bread and pea sausage. A biscuit composed of meat and flour has been tried for the German army, but the soldiers would not eat it. The biscuit was supposed to furnish the fighting man with everything that was necessary for his physical support, water excepted. To be satisfactory, a ration must be palatable as well as wholesome and nutritious. A dietary for troops cannot be settled on a basis of theory alone; it must be tested in practice. What will satisfy soldiers of one nation may not suit those of another.

"Very likely, United States soldiers would not put up with the German ‘erbswurst.' Yet that species of pea sausage is said to have been a leading cause of the success of the German arms in the Franco-Prussian war. Without it the troops could not have endured the fatigues to which they were subjected. The sausage is made pf pea-meal, fat and bacon. It was devised by a German cook, from whom the invention was purchased by the government for $25,000. The secret lies in the method of preparation by which the article is rendered proof against decay. It was first used on a large scale by the second army under Prince Frederick Charles. A factory established at Berlin put up enormous quantities of these sausages and other preserved meats, furnishing to the troops 40,000,000 rations. Each sausage is eight inches long, and makes twelve plates of nutritious soup. There could hardly be a better emergency ration.

"Among other things under consideration by our own War Department are condensed soups. This little packet, which looks somewhat like a bundle of cigarettes, contains just three ounces of desiccated pea soup. You observe, it is so compressed as to be quite hard. I break it up and throw it into this saucepan. To it I add one quart of water, and I place it on the gas stove here to boil. For flavoring, though it is not necessary, let us add a small quantity of these evaporated onions. In the course of fifteen minutes I will offer you a plate of every excellent pea soup. Soups, you understand, are most useful in rations. For health it is not sufficient to put a certain amount of nutriment into the body; the stomach must be distended. Soup does that. Incidentally, the soldier who consumes one of these rations absorbs one quart of sterilized water.

"Condensed soups may be purchased in tablets three inches square and half an inch thick. Each tablet weighs four ounces, and makes six plates of soup. In food value one tablet is equal to one and three-quarters pounds of potatoes. Bean, mock-turtle, green-corn, barley and potato soups are desiccated in this form. Tomato, vegetable, and fish chowder soups are similarly prepared. What do you suppose this is? It looks like a button, doesn't it? It is a cup of tea condensed. All you have to do is drip it into a cup of hot water and stir it up. The sweetening is in the bottom with the tea. No, the sweetening is not sugar, but a coal-tar product called ‘saccharine,' which is more than 200 times as sweet as sugar. Thus the quantity added needs to be very small. Coffee is put up in the same way, with saccharine, as well as in a shape that looks like black molasses.

"An iron ration is a short-weight and highly concentrated diet intended to cover only a brief period. It is not to be used except when the regular food supply cannot be obtained. Supposing the army supplies to be regularly furnished, the fighting man ought to return from the campaign carrying in his haversack the same emergency ration with which he started our originally. But it may happen that his regiment or brigade is cut off from the main body, and in that case the emergency rations may be literal salvation. Or he may be left wounded on a field of battle, unable to obtain anything to eat for days, unless he has it with him. During the recent war with China the Japanese found emergency rations a necessity of active service. An army, or a large part of it, may be thrown rapidly forward to hold a position and it takes a week or or more to make roads so as to get supplies to the front. This very thing occurred at Vicksburg, where for lack of emergency rations, Grant's men suffered severely from hunger.

"No army in the world is so well supplied with food as ours. During the Civil War the management of the Union commissariat was a model, On one occasion president Lincoln said to the commissary general of the army: ‘I rarely hear of your department. It works like a well-regulated stomach, so that one scarcely knows one has it.' It is high time then, that our troops should be provided with emergency rations. One of the questions to be decided is whether the ration shall be carried at the belt or in the haversack. Three days' allowance, weighing two and a half pounds, may be packed conveniently in a sealed tin and attached to the belt. The tin is readily opened with the finger and serves as a cooking utensil. A typical iron ration for one day would consist of five ounces of oatmeal, a tablet of coffee, a quarter ounce of salt, and a five-ounce soup tablet composed of dried beef, pea meal, potatoes and suet.

"Soldiers suffering from hunger may be supplied with small quantities of alum, a pinch of which taken from time to time contracts the stomach. Thus the organ, not requiring so much to fill it, can get along with less than the normal diet for a while without complaining. A trouble about condensed foods is that soldiers are apt to eat too much of them, not realizing their concentration. I have known men to devour a quantity of compressed wheat-cake and then drink a lot of water, the result being very distressing. Foods may be arranged for a field ration so that the fighting man will have the exact amounts of all the elements required for the support of life, and yet certain things will be missing whose absence brings disease and death. A percentage of indigestible matter is necessary for the digestive organs to work upon. If the concentrated food be a powder or a liquid, no solids being furnished, a law is violated. There is no chewing, and without mastication saliva, which is one of the most important digestive fluids, is not secreted and poured into the stomach. A human being ordinarily will secrete from a quart to three pints of saliva, mostly at meal-times, in twenty-four hours. The soldier fed on liquids only will suffer from diarrhea and colic.

"Stimulants are necessary to soldiers. They keep up their cheerfulness and enable them to endure fatigue and privations. Depressed troops do not fight well. Accordingly, tea and coffee are included in emergency rations. It seems not unlikely that the kola nut may be used for military purposes, on account of its wonderful power as a stimulant, reviving the exhausted, mitigating hunger and thirst, and enabling men to do much more work. It acts in an exaggerated manner like tea of coffee, without producing any subsequent reaction or bad effects. South American Indians use the cocoa leaf for this purpose on long marches without food across the pampas; but the cocoa is dangerous. The kola is equally efficient and is harmless. Already experiments have been made in the French army with so-called accelerating rations, composed of kola nuts, flour and sugar in cakes. But they proved a failure because they were made from worthless dried nuts

"The kola nut, to be worth anything, must be fresh. Before long, doubtless, it will be a common commercial article. It is successfully cultivated in the West Indies and along the adjacent shores of South and Central America, where it is consumed in immense quantities, almost replacing teas, coffee and alcohol. It is the fruit of a large tree, and is about as big as a horse-chestnut, growing in pods of three to eleven nuts in a pod. Undoubtedly the tree would grow in southern California, and very likely it might be cultivated in the Gulf states. Chewing the nut stimulates the brain and acts as a tonic on the muscles. Its peculiar action is due to a specific alkaloid called ‘kolanin,' which has not yet been isolated in a pure state. In military life the use of the kola would be limited to rare occasions, as in forced marches or just before a battle. If two equal armies face each other, and one, by help of the kola, can do one-tenth more than the other, it will be successful, other things being equal. For, if there are 250,000 men engaged on each side, the effect will be the same as a reinforcement of 25,000 men."

Rene Bache

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 27 May 2016

Canada's Great War Naval Service
Topic: RCN

The Naval Service

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


At the outbreak of war in 1914 the Canadian Government possessed only two naval vessels, the Niobe, a cruiser of 11,000 tons displacement, with a main armament of sixteen 6-inch guns, stationed at Halifax, and the Rainbow, a small cruiser of 3,600 tons displacement, armed with two 6-inch, six 4.7-inch, and four 12-pounder guns, stationed at Esquimalt, on the Pacific. The Rainbow, which was ready for sea, patrolled, with other ships on the Pacific stations, as far south as Panama, and captured several ships carrying contraband of war. After the entry of the United States into the war, she became depot ship on the Pacific coast. The Niobe was made ready for sea in September, 1914, and remained in commission one year, during which she steamed over 30,000 miles on patrol duty. She afterwards became depot ship in Halifax.

Smaller Vessels

At the beginning of hostilities, various small craft were taken over by the Naval Department from the Departments of Marine and of Customs, and were armed and manned from the R.C.N.V.R. for the performance of patrol duties off the Atlantic coast. Two submarines, which were bought just before the declaration of war, patrolled the approached to Victoria and Vancouver and helped in keeping Admiral von Spee's squadron away from the Pacific ports. H.M. sloop Shearwater was taken into the Canadian service as mother ship to these submarines and, in the summer of 1917, these the vessels went, by way of the Panama canal, to Halifax.

Trawlers And Drifters

A patrol and mine-sweeping service was carried on after the outbreak of war. The vessels used first were Government and privately owned vessels which were taken over and equipped for the purpose. Some of these were placed at the disposal of the Government free of charge. Early in 1917 the Department of the Naval Service undertook to have 60 trawlers and 100 drifters built in Canada for the Imperial Government. These vessels were built at various places on the St. Lawrence and the Great lakes; many of them were in service in Canadian and European waters in the year 1917, and all were in service in 1918.

The area patrolled under the Department stretched from the straits of Belle Isle to the Bay of Fundy, and from Quebec to east of the Virgin Rocks. Within this area the Department had control of patrols, convoys, mine-sweeping, the protection of fishing fleets, etc. only one large vessel was lost by enemy attack in this area.

At the date of the armistice the vessels in the Canadian Naval Service were as follows:—

On The Pacific

H.M.C.S. Rainbow, depot and training ship; H.M.S. Algerine, sloop; auxiliary patrol ship Malaspina; several motor launches tor harbour defence.

On the Atlantic

H.M.C.S. Niobe, depot and training ship; H.M.C.S. Shearwater, submarine depot ship, and two submarines; H.M C.S. Grilse, torpedo-boat destroyer; nine auxiliary patrol ships, forty-seven armed trawlers, fifty-eight armed drifters, eleven armed mine-sweepers and tugs, and a large flotilla of motor launches.


The crews of these vessels consisted of men from all parts of Canada, principally members of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. At the date of the armistice the personnel of the service was:—

  • Officers and men of the Royal Canadian Navy, 749.
  • Officers and men of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve, 4,374.

Naval College

Canada is fortunate in the possession of a small but excellent Naval College. More than 50 officers who passed out of the College as cadets served in either the Imperial or Canadian Navy. Many of them have gained distinction, and four lost their lives in the battle of Coronel.

Canadians in the Imperial Naval Forces

In addition to the men serving on Canadian vessels, over 1,700 men were recruited in Canada for the Imperial Navy, 73 Surgeon Probationers and a number of Hydrographic Survey Officers were sent from Canada, and 580 Canadian enrolled as Probationary Flight Lieutenants in the Royal Naval Air Service, before recruiting for the Royal Air Force began in Canada. More than 500 Canadians holding commissions in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve were in the British Auxiliary Patrol and similar services.

Naval Air Service

The Royal Canadian Naval Air Service was established in the summer of 1918, with stations at Halifax and North Sydney. It co-operated with the United States Naval Aviation Corps in patrolling the coast and escorting convoys through the danger zone.

Wireless Service

The Canadian Radiotelegraph Service controlled about 200 stations ashore and afloat. Several new stations were erected or taken over by the Department of Naval Service, and there was an unbroken chain of radio communication from St. John's Newfoundland, to Demerara. The Department opened a training school for wireless operators, from which about 200 men were sent out for service in all parts of the world.


Important refitting, repairing and supply work was done ny Canadian dockyards. Large refits of Imperial and other ships were made at Esquimalt, including H.M.S. Kent, after the battle of the Falkland Islands, and the Japanese Battleship Asama, after grounding the coast of lower California. Several large cruisers were refitted at Halifax and Montreal. Other work included the defensive armament of merchant ships, the refitting of transports for troops, horses, and special cargo, and the loading and securing on ships' decks of 600 launches, tugs, etc., of large size.

The Halifax dockyard was seriously damaged by the explosion in the harbour on December 6, 1917, but immediate steps were taken to enable the services of the yard to be carried on.


The Canadian Naval Service provided supplies for the ships of the Royal Canadian Navy and for a number of Imperial and Allied ships in Canadian waters, as well as many of the requirements of H.M. dockyards at Bermuda and Hong Kong. Large supplies were shipped from Halifax dockyard for provisioning the fleets in European waters. A large coaling depot was established at Sydney for the use of patrolling vessels and of all convoys leaving the St. Lawrence.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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