The Minute Book
Saturday, 17 September 2016

Canada Infantry Workshop Vital to Korea Service
Topic: Canadian Army

Canada Infantry Workshop Vital to Korea Service

A typical month here saw 191 complete major repairs on 150 wheeled vehicles, seven tracked vehicles, 31 generators, 149 instruments, 126 small arms, three 25-pounder field guns, 92 stoves and 110 miscellaneous other items.

The Montreal Gazette, 6 May 1953
By Bill Boss

With the Canadians in Korea, May 5.—CP—"The boys who keep the show on the road," the men of the 191st Canadian Infantry Workshop, have been relieved by the 23rd Canadian Infantry Workshop and are en route back to Petawawa, Ont., their old home.

All members belong to the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. The technicians who service the army' tanks, trucks, jeeps, guns and other weapons, the stoves, compasses, binoculars and almost everything else.

As a unit, 191 has been here longer than most others in the brigade—two years. Others have been rotated after a year here. However, that's not as bad as it sounds. Rotation has been going on steadily on a man-for-man basis.

The workshop has had four commanding officers in Korea—Majors Ed Hallam of Ottawa, who brought it over, R.C. Lane of Kingston, J.M. McLaughlin of Ottawa and Amherst, N.S., and Don Campbell of Springhill, N.S.

Campbell is not returning to Ottawa with his unit. He is now at headquarters, 1st Commonwealth Division, as second-in-command of all electrical and mechanical engineers in the division.

Captain A.L. Macdonnell of Vancouver is commanding en route to Petawawa, where Maj. H.H.E. Erb of Ottawa takes over.

Much Work Done

The workshop's 187 technicians turned out a terrific volume of work.

They handled any job not requiring more than 30 hours' work to complete. They changed engines, installed transmissions and the like for anything from a jeep to a tank. Jobs requiring more work went back to United States army base workshops.

They also had to estimate the cost of repairs needed on major items, returned jeep jobs, for instance, costing less than $1000 entitled Canada to free new equipment replacements. Jobs costing more meant Canada had to buy the replacing equipment at full value.

A typical month here saw 191 complete major repairs on 150 wheeled vehicles, seven tracked vehicles, 31 generators, 149 instruments, 126 small arms, three 25-pounder field guns, 92 stoves and 110 miscellaneous other items.

The workshop is on paddy and barley fields bulldozed and pounded by traffic into standings for shops and tents. But the bulldozing destroyed the drainage system worked out by hundreds of years of terrace farming, and during rains the area is a quagmire.

Barbed-wire fences controlled by three penitentiary-like watchtowers surround the shop. Two soldiers man each searchlight-equipped tower nightly to discourage thieves.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 16 September 2016

Col Hughes' Vagaries
Topic: Sam Hughes

Col Hughes' Vagaries

From archived Governor General's office documents held by Library and Archives Canada comes this critique of Sam Hughes from Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught, Governor-General of Canada, to Sir Robert Borden, the Prime Minister.

3rd December, 1913.

Private & Personal

My dear Mr. Borden,

With reference to our conversation yesterday, I think it desirable to write to you in order to emphasize the various points then raised.

The regrettable incidents which have occurred in connection with Colonel Hughes, may not be of very great moment if taken singly, but their cumulative effect is likely to be of very real importance from a political point of view. Out of a number of incidents I may mention:—

(1).     The Vancouver speech, which caused a sensation throughout Canada and which has been used with effect at elections, more especially at South Bruce.

(2).     The trip to Europe with 20 officers and 19 ladies, which has given rise to a crop of newspaper articles similar to the enclosed.

(3).     The Halifax speech at which, at a public dinner, he referred to the officers of the Permanent Force as "bar-room loafers" — with other similar expressions.

It would be easy to enlarge this list indefinitely.

There is no doubt that these continual incidents and the vanities and eccentricities of the Minister of Militia are doing the Government a very great deal of harm. It is openly stated by Conservatives and true friends of the Government that Colonel Hughes is weakening it to no inconsiderable extent, and surprise is expressed that apparently no steps are being taken to deal with the question. From the military point of view the fact that the Militia Department is now little else than an autocracy, and that the Minister will listen to no advice from either Canadian or Imperial officers is making their position absolutely impossible.

The Imperial officers are a valuable tie between Canada and the Mother Country, quite apart from their military duties. Hitherto these have been the pick of the British Army. Their numbers are now being gradually reduced, the remainder are much discouraged by their treatment. In consequence it will be difficult to induce Imperial officers to come to Canada in future, and those that do come will not be of the same high quality. This fact will not tend to the efficiency of the Militia.

I hardly need say that it is profoundly distasteful to me to write to you in this strain about one of your Ministers, On the other hand, as Governor-General, I feel that I should be wanting in my duty if I did not draw your attention to a question which is being generally discussed in the country at the present time.

Believe me, yours truly,

(Signed) ARTHUR

elipsis graphic

Colonel Hughes— Notes

Colonel Hughes' assumption of the role of Commander-in-Chief is contrary to law, as laid down in the Militia Act, and also to established military custom, both at home and abroad.

(a)     General

1.     Colonel Hughes' vagaries have now reached such a pitch that they constitute a weakness for the Government. Firstly, his vanities and eccentricities, such as his ordering artillery salutes for himself, etc., etc., are becoming bywords, and bring ridicule upon him and consequently upon the Government. Secondly, the various wide-spread pieces of gossip concerning Colonel Hughes — typewriter gossip, drill halls built for no military reason, etc. — may culminate in a real scandal at any moment, which could prove most embarrassing to the Government. His recent tour through Europe with 20 officers and 20 ladies has produced a crops of articles similar to the enclosed.

2.     A valuable tie between the Mother Country and the Dominion is that hitherto formed by the Imperial officers in Canada. Hitherto they have been taken from the cream of Staff College officers, and have done invaluable work, not only in a military, but also in an Imperial sense.

Under Colonel Hughes' regime, not only are their numbers being reduced, but the high standard of efficiency which now distinguishes them, is bound to be lowered.

The last 4 vacancies have not been filled, and the officers who still remain in Canada are so discouraged and disgusted by the methods of the Minister of Militia, that they will take the first opportunity to return home. Even if the vacancies thus created are filled from England, the newcomers are certain to be officers of less valuable type.

3.     The reports of the General Staff officers who have returned to England are bound to find their way to the War Office. When then Chief of the Imperial General Staff learns how his best officers are being treated, the natural consequence will be, either that all Imperial officers will be withdrawn, or that only second or third class officers will in future be sent to Canada. In either case considerable friction will be engendered, and friction which is quite unnecessary.

4.     Colonel Hughes' treatment of the officers of the Permanent Force has caused grave discontent. Militia officers who have had little practical experience, and who have not even passed the necessary examinations, are brought into high positions in the Permanent Force, over the heads of the Permanent Force officers. Colonel Morrison, a professional journalist, is given the highly important position of Director of Artillery, for which a very technical training is essential. At a dinner in Halifax, Colonel Hughes, in a public speech which was reported in the Press, alluded to officers of the Permanent Force as "bar-room loafers," with other expressions of the same sort. The supposed breach of discipline which caused this outbreak was, as a matter of fact, the act of a Militia officer. The consequences of this is that the permanent officers consider that their position is impossible, subject, as they are, to the whims and vagaries of a Minister, who allows himself such license, and shows no little discretion in a public speech.

(b)     Military

1.     Colonel Hughes' assumption of the role of Commander-in-Chief is contrary to law, as laid down in the Militia Act, and also to established military custom, both at home and abroad.

2.     This centralization of all power in one man must inevitably lead to the destruction of the Militia. This may only take one year, it may take 5, but every day that the regime goes on is one additional step towards the disappearance of the Militia.

3.     Colonel Hughes' so-called democratic methods of dealing direct with junior officers, N.C.Os., and even private soldiers, has undermined discipline throughout the Forces. Nowhere is discipline so necessary as in a Militia, and in no country is discipline more necessary than in Canada.

4.     I am led to believe that the Militia Council rarely meets, and has practically ceased to exist as an entity. The Minister has replaced its authority by an autocracy. Even on so technical a matter as the details of military training, he claims a decisive voice.

This action shows that he will not admit that the duties of Minister, as laid down by law, and as established by universal custom, are those of an Administrator. The fact that the Minister bears the rank of Colonel does not affect this principle. The present War Minister in England is a Yeomanry Colonel, but he would no more attempt to lay down the principles of cavalry training than would have his predecessor, Lord Haldane.

elipsis graphic

Other Minute Book posts on Sir Sam Hughes:

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 16 September 2016 12:02 AM EDT
Thursday, 15 September 2016

Origin of the Victoria Cross
Topic: Medals

Origin of the Victoria Cross

The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 15 September 1928
By: R.K.P.

"For Valour" is the simple inscription for this most prized of all decorations, the Victoria Cross. Fashioned from a piece of bronze weighing but 434 grains, with an intrinsic value of tenpence, it stands as a means of rewarding individual officers and men of the army, navy and air force who might perform some signal act of Valour or devotion to their country in the presence of the enemy. Civilians of both sexes are eligible for its award under certain conditions. Generally the deed which won it is a condensed bald statement reading like a definition in a dictionary. These are always notified in the London "Gazette.' There are, however, many other incidents connected with its history that are not generally known.

"Noble fellows—I own I feel as if they were my own children; my heart beats for them as for my nearest and dearest. One must revere and love such soldiers as these," were the words uttered by Queen Victoria to her uncle, the King of the Belgians, one afternoon in May, 1855, when a number of naval and military Crimean veterans paraded before her to receive the medal bearing clasps for Alma, Inkerman and Balaclava. From that day we learn the Queen began to make plans for the decoration which we now know as the Victoria Cross. The idea of the award was hers, the method of granting it was hers, and the design, which is bold and fitting, we owe to her husband, the Prince Consort.

It is no easy task to evolve a token, worth an insignificant sum, which men prize so highly. This was what she was able to do, and with practically no official assistance. The smallest details were watched over by her. In the first place, for instance, it was suggested that the inscription should be "For the Brave." "No," replied the Queen, "this would lead to the inference that only those are deemed brave who have the Victoria Cross." She preferred "For Valour," and a more fitting inscription could not be found. On 5th February, 1856, the first official intimation dealing with the decoration was issued by the War Office. This was the first royal warrant that brought the cross into being.

The cross is cast in bronze, and on leaving the mould has the appearance of a golden piece. It is then placed in the hands of a highly-skilled workman, who spends many hours chasing the surface. When the detail has been properly set in relief, the piece is coated with a dark lacquer. The earliest crosses were cast in metal obtained from bronze guns taken from the Russians in the Crimea. A particular gun captured at Sebastopol has been used for the purpose, but Chinese guns have supplied the material for the crosses issued during the Great War of 1914-18. The cross when finished is one and half inches overall.

The first distribution of the cross took place on the morning of 26th June, 1857, in Hyde Park, London. The ceremony took less than an hour to perform. At 10 o'clock a Royal Salute was fired, and the Queen, on horseback, rode to the spot selected for the presentation, accompanied by the Prince Consort, the Prince of Wales (afterwards King Edward VII), and other distinguished personages. The Secretary of War held in his hand a list of the heroes—sixty-two in all—and, as he read out the names, one by one, the recipients stepped forward, and the Queen pinned the cross to their breasts.

Although the Cross was not instituted until February, 1856, the Queen decided that the award should be distributed as though it had come into being with the commencement of Russian hostilities. The first award was for an act on 21st June, 1854.

The first naval V.C. hero and the first man to win the cross was Charles David Lucas, a mate on H.M.S. Hecla. During the Crimean War a British Squadron was cruising in the Baltic Sea, and on 21st June, 1854, the Hecla and two other boats shelled the main fort of Bomarsund, but did little damage, as their ammunition was limited, and the buildings were proof against the explosives used in those days. During the engagement the Russian dropped a live shell on the Hecla. It was on the point of exploding, and had it done so the consequences would have been disastrous. Without a moment's hesitation Lucas rushes forward to where it lay, picked it up with his arms, and flung it overboard. His courageous act saved many of his comrades' lives. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and rose to the rank of rear-admiral, serving his country in later wars.

It is hard to define the first military V.C. holder, as six gallant men performed heroic deeds on the day of the storming of Alma, and no army crosses had been distributed prior to then. Perhaps the senior of the bunch, and the first to receive the cross on his breast by the Queen, was one Robert James Lindsay, who afterwards became Lord Wantage.

The first V.C. hero of the air was Lieutenant W.B. Rhodes-Moorhouse, of the Royal Flying Corps. On 20th April, 1915, he flew to an important junction of Courtrai, and dropped bombs on the railway line near that station. Having accomplished his work, he started on the return journey, but was mortally wounded. Although he must have suffered considerably, he succeeded in flying thirty-five miles to his destination, and there made a report of his operations. The plucky way in which he stuck to his machine and brought it safely back to the British lines evoked the highest admiration, but unfortunately he did not live to receive the cross in person.

Until 1902 there was a rules that no cross was to be forwarded to the relatives of a V.C. hero if the person died during the performance of the gallant deed. At a later date King Edward VII cancelled this, and ruled that in future cases the relatives of a dead hero were to be given the decoration, and that in every case where the cross had been withheld for this reason since the inception in 1856, the relatives could come forward and claim it, when it may be publically presented to the next of kin. The Victoria Cross is, if possible, always presented by the King in person.

Bars are added to the cross for additional acts of bravery. According to the official list of V.C. winners, only one so far has been awarded, the recipient being Arthur Martin-Leake, who gained his decoration during the South African War, where he acted as surgeon-captain to the South African Constabulary. He received the bar at Zonnebeke between 20th October and 8th November, 1914, when he rescued while exposed to constant fire a large number of wounded lying close to the enemy trenches.

Although the award is given for Valour in the presence of the enemy, one case is on record when, in 1858, during the Fenian raid in Canada (sic), Private Timothy O'Hea, of the Rifle Brigade, was awarded the cross for his courageous behaviour in helping to extinguish a fire in an ammunition railway car, the exploit not being in the presence of the enemy.

Many alterations have been made to the original warrant instituting the cross. Civilians are eligible for its award, although during the Indian Mutiny several Government officials received it. The blue ribbon for a naval V.C. is now discontinued, and all recipients, whether army, navy or air services, wear the cross suspended by a crimson ribbon. When the ribbon alone is worn a miniature bronze cross is placed on it, with an additional bronze cross for each bar.

An annuity of £10 is awarded with the cross, and this may be increased to £50 when age or infirmity have impoverished the recipient.

In all 67 crosses have been conferred on Australian soldiers for two campaigns. In the South African war, 1899-1902, five were awarded and 62 for the Great War, 1914-18. A number of these sacrificed their lives for it, and it may be said of them who did not survive to receive it that they died on the field of glory to live forever in the field of fame.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 15 September 2016 12:04 AM EDT
Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Daily Routine in Barracks or Billets (1868)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Daily Routine in Barracks or Billets (1868)

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, compiled by Major T.C. Scobie, 37th Battalion, Haldimand Rifles, C.V.M., Approved by the Adjutant General of Militia, Canada, 1868

At reveille every man will rise, wash and dress himself, and answer to the roll call. After roll call the windows are to be opened, the beds neatly rolled up, bedding folded, and berth swept out.

Every man must be washed, dressed, and ready for early parade half an hour after reveille.

Early morning parade under sergeant major.

Breakfast at eight o'clock, a.m.

Men for guard or piquet duty must be ready a quarter before nine o'clock, a.m.

Guard mounting at nine, am.

(The hours for parade will be regulated by the Commanding Officer.)

Half-an-hour before the parade is formed the "dress" will sound; ten minutes after the "dress," the sergeants' call for the inspection of non-commissioned officers, band, and buglers, by the adjutant. Two minutes after the sergeants' call, the call for coverers will sound; and as soon as they are placed by the sergeant-major the "fall-in" will sound. The men will fall in one pace in rear of their coverers. On the command from the sergeant-major "dress-up," the men will step into their places, and the coverers will face to the right and dress them. The coverers will call the roll of their company, and fall in on the left. The "officers call" will then sound; coverers take one pace to the front, face to the right, and give the word "fix bayonets," and open the ranks, Captains will then inspect their companies, close the ranks, and order the men to "stand at ease." The companies will then be equalized by the sergeant-major; told off and proved by the captains. The "coverers' call" will again sound, and the coverers be placed by the adjutant. The "advance" will then sound, and the companies will be marched on their coverers by the captains, halted, and ordered to "stand at ease" —the officers remaining in their places, and the strictest silence being observed.

The parade will then be taken over by the officer appointed.

At all parades the recruits will fall in on the left of their respective companies for inspection, after which they will be marched off for recruit drill.

Dinner at one o'clock, p m.

Afternoon parade.

Retreat will sound at sunset. Guards will be under arms and picquets inspected.

First post at nine o'clock, p.m.

Tattoo, or " last post," at half-past nine, p. m.

At tattoo the sergeant-major parades the orderly sergeants, who hand in their reports. (Form 3.) The picquet is inspected by the orderly officer.

All men not "on pass" must be in barracks by tattoo. Any absent without leave will be confined on their return.

"Lights cut" at ten o'clock, p.m. No smoking or talking must be allowed after lights out. Stove-dampers must be closed. No man allowed out of his room without the permission of the non-commissioned officer in charge.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Presentation of South Africa Medals
Topic: Medals

Regulations Regarding Presentation of South Africa Medals

St. John Daily Sun, 13 September 1901

Ottawa, Sept. 13.—Ever since the publication of regulations respecting the presentation of the South African Medals, there has been dissatisfaction among the Ottawa men, who are entitled to this recognition. Many of the men are not now members of the militia, but a considerable number are still enrolled in the Ottawa regiments. A meeting was held last evening, at which both classes were represented, about 40 being present. It was then decided to disregard the regulations and parade to receive medals wearing khaki uniform. Their decision soon reached the ear of the military authorities, as a result which the following order was promulgated today:

"Some misapprehension appears to exist as regards the instructions for the dress of those persons who are to receive South African medals from H.R.H. the Duke of Cornwall and York during his tour in Canada. Officers, non-commissioned officers and men serving in units of the active militia must attend in the prescribed uniform of the militia corps to which they belong, in accordance with Canadian regulations. To do otherwise would be an act of gross disrespect to His Royal Highness, of which no Canadian soldier should be guilty. Individuals who have been discharged from any of the special service corps, and who are not now enrolled in Canadian unit, are simply civilian, and as such are not in any way under the orders of the militia department."

The effect of this order is that any man entitled to a medal, not a member of the militia, can appear in any garb he pleases, but as for those belonging to any existing corps, he will have to appear in the uniform of such corps or run a chance of being court martialled.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

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

First Canadian Rifle Brigade (1946)
Topic: British Army

First Canadian Rifle Brigade Began and Ended in Aurich


Historical Section, Canadian Military Headquarters

Report No. 174,

The Canadian Army Occupation Force in Germany, May 1945 to June 1946 (PDF)

The Maple Leaf, 11 April 1946

Aurich, Germany—(Special)—This town was the formation of the first rifle brigade in Canadian army history, and with the recent departure of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Aurich was also the scene of its breakup.

A rifle brigade in the Canadian army had long been the hope of many military men in the various rifle regiments, but efforts to form one in England during pre-invasion days were unsuccessful.

Brig. T.G. Gibson, peacetime commander of the Queen's Own Rifles, who led the Winnipegs during battle and who commanded them and the Royal Regina Rifles at the start of the occupation of Germany, pushed the formation of a rifle brigade.

He succeeded in having the QOR transferred to 2/7 Brigade to replace the Canadian Scottish, thus completing the first rifle brigade in the Canadian army.

All rifle regiments originated in Canada, their lightness, speed and mobility fitting them admirably to Canadian conditions. Present-day rifle regiments carry on the tradition, with their fast pace of 140 comparing with 110 for Scottish and 120 for infantry in the line. They also fall in at the double.

As the RWRs prepared to leave for Canada, the last brigade parade was held at Aurich, each unit with its newly-formed bugle and drum band.

The three bands, on their first appearance together on a parade square countermarched as a massed band in front of the brigade. Lt.-Col. J.N. Medhurst, of Toronto, brigade commander, took the salute.

Following the parade, the QOR, RRR and Brigade HQ moved off first and lined the roads to say goodbye to the RWR, whose departure signified the end, overseas, of Canada's first rifle brigade.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 11 September 2016

Troops Engaged in Mimic Battle (1929)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Troops Engaged in Mimic Battle (1929)

12th Canadian Infantry Brigade Held Exercises on Mountain Slope

For the purpose of the attack the brigade was formed into a composite battalion, each regular battalion representing a company in the composite unit, in order that there might be sufficient men in this composite battalion to represent a unit of full war strength.

The Montreal Gazette, 15 October 1929

A determined attempt to capture the high ground in the vicinity of the Park Slide clubhouse on Mount Royal, held by a well-informed garrison of 150 men and machine-guns, was made last night by a strong attacking force of local infantry, 600 strong. The slopes of the mountain were quickly transformed into the scene of a brisk encounter, with the cracking of rifles and the whiz of flares echoing out far into the night.

Tactical manoeuvres in the form of a sham battle engaged in by the 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade, composed of the Victoria Rifles of Canada, the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, the 42nd Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, and the Royal Montreal Regiment, were the occasion for this unusual spectacle, which assumed all the seriousness of a grim field skirmish.

For the purpose of the attack the brigade was formed into a composite battalion, each regular battalion representing a company in the composite unit, in order that there might be sufficient men in this composite battalion to represent a unit of full war strength. The defence force comprised the surplus officers of each battalion forms into platoons, as well as a machine gun battalion.

Let by Lt.-Col. J.D. MacPherson, M.C., of the Royal Highlanders of Canada, the composite battalion which formed the attacking force proceeded in formation from Cote de Neiges up Shakespeare Road. On reaching a point close to the riding ring in front of the Park Slide, the force halted and split up into small units, extending out along the riding ring. From here the battalion advanced carefully toward the guarded position near the clubhouse. The attack was greeted with a counter attack and some active skirmishing took place in the vicinity of the slide.

Lieut.-Col. MacPherson has as his second-in-command, Major Stuart Rolland, of the Victoria Rifles of Canada, and as adjutant, Capt. H.W. Woods, of the Royal Montreal Regiment. The Victoria Rifles company was commanded by Major L. Banmore, M.C., the 13th Battalion company by Major A.T. Howell, the 42nd Battalion company by Major J.M. Morris, M.C., and the Royal Montreal Regiment company by Major V. Whitehead, M.C.

The defence force was under the command of Lt.-Col. C.B. Price, D.S.O., of the Royal Montreal Regiment, with Lieut.-Col. Brooks, M.C., in charge of the machine gun battalion.

The Brigade Staff consisted of Col. D.R. McCuaig, D.S.O., commanding, Major H.W. Morgan, M.C., brigade major, and Capt John Heaton, staff captain.

Twenty rounds of blank ammunition were served out to each man taking part in the manoeuvres.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 10 September 2016

Medals to 1,000,000 Veterans
Topic: Medals

Will Soon Issue Medals to 1,000,000 Veterans

Ottawa Citizen, 10 September 1949
By the Canadian Press

At long last the stars and medals for service in the Second World War are ready for distribution.

The Veterans Affairs Department announced yesterday that it will begin Oct. 1 mailing the campaign medals and stars to more than 1,000,000 men and women who served in the Canadian armed forces and merchant navy.

Distribition will involve a total of 3,100,000 stars and medals with an additional 524,000 clasps signifying at least 60 days service outside of Canada.

In most cases the veterans will have to write into the department for their medals.

"The reason for this is we do not have up-to-date addresses for thousands of veterans," Veterans Affairs Minister [Milton Fowler] Gregg said.

"There are many thousands who have gone quietly back into civilian life and have not been in contact with the department since their discharge. As a result we must have these applications to have accurate addresses."

Easy to Apply

To make it easy for application, special postage-free cards will be placed in all Canadian post offices. These cards will also be available in all branches of the Canadian Legion.

Merchant seamen and former members of the merchant navy are advised to apply to the Department of Transport at Ottawa, submitting with their application their certificate of discharge. From this, the department will decide what awards they are entitled to, and forward the medals they have earned.

As for members of the permanent force, they'll receive their decorations through the Department of National Defence. Application will not be necessary in their case. Nor will it be necessary for certain reserve units, for which arrangements have already been made.

To Next-Of-Kin

Mr. Gregg said the next-of-kin of deceased veterans will be eligible to receive the stars and medals which would have been awarded to the veteran.

"There will be no necessity for applications from the next-of-kin of veterans who died on active service or as a result of a service connected disability," he said.

"The department has accurate addresses for these people. However, the official next-of-kin of those who have died since discharge of a non-service disability should make application in the same way as the veteran."

All told the department will distribute 11 different stars and medals.

The largest number will be of the War Medal 1939-45 which goes to all members of the forces with 28 days service. A total of 1,060,000 of these have been ordered.

Next is the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, of which 900,000 will be distributed. These go to all who volunteered for active service. To 524,000 of the recipients will go clasps signifying at least 60 days service outside Canada.

Following are other medals and stars to be distributed:

  • Defence Medal, 460,000;
  • 1939-45 Star, 288,000;
  • France and Germany Star, 250,000;
  • Italy Star, 102,000;
  • Atlantic Star, 40,000;
  • Africa Star, 12,000;
  • Pacific Star, 10,825; and
  • Burma Star, 5,200.

In addition, 25,870 clasps to stars will be awarded.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 10 September 2016 12:36 AM EDT
Friday, 9 September 2016

Starving the Militia
Topic: Canadian Militia

It is idle to suppose that we can do without a militia. No country, unfortunately, is independent of armed defenders. We do not require a large and menacing force, but a moderate and well-drilled force.

Starving the Militia

The Toronto Daily Mail, 19 March 1892

The colonel in command of the Guards at Ottawa has resigned because, it is understood, the Government declines to pay certain sums of money due to his regiment. This is not the first time the Guards have been left without a commander; nor is the resignation of the colonel on account of the indisposition of the Administration to do what is right financially at all a novelty. One of the peculiarities of the Militia Department is its failure to recognize at their true value the requirements and the merits of the force under its management. During the past decade the energies of the Bureau, through the influence of Sir Adolphe Caron, have been directed rather to the establishment of the permanent corps than to the encouragement of the volunteer soldiers. As a result there have been large expenditures upon the growing fixed establishment, and relatively small ones upon the outside regiments. The accounts for last year tell, in part, the story of monetary discrimination. No less a sum than $1,279,000 was spent under the head of militia. Of this amount a proportion was devoted to the payment of the staff, and the providing of clothing and equipment. The balance was divided between the permanent corps and the militia regiments. The former, including the Military College, received in all $527,902; whereas the latter was awarded $272,098 for the annual drill and $35,996 for drill instruction, or $308,094 in all. There is reason to believe that the Major-General, after making a thorough inspection of the organization, has reached the conclusion that too much money is spent in frills and not enough upon the main body of the militia. His first deliverance with regard to the force was not at all enthusiastic. On Thursday he took another slap at the system by observing that the artillery at least had not degenerated into a mere body for the purposes of parading or marching past; although it had suffered from faulty administration which had sent it into camp without proper equipment. What report the General will make in the forthcoming blue book on the state of the militia it is not difficult to foretell. He will no doubt complain of the general control, and of the equipment, and will demand an annual drill. Many of the commanders have long been in favour of the resort every year to camps of instruction. Nor is this in the slightest degree remarkable. The force necessarily changes. Men enter for three years and disappear at the end of the term. Should they enlist during the year in which there is no drill they will pass out of the militia with only one experience, and that very brief, of active military life. In some quarters the ordinary instruction is not prosecuted, and the consequence is that the militiaman has no more intimate knowledge of his arms or his duties than is gleaned during the period of encampment. For the militiamen it can be said that no more devoted soldiers can be found anywhere. All they require is encouragement in the performance of their duties; and it is certain that if they receive this they will render to the country an abundant return for the interest lavished upon them. It is idle to suppose that we can do without a militia. No country, unfortunately, is independent of armed defenders. We do not require a large and menacing force, but a moderate and well-drilled force. Let the Government provide this, and be reasonably liberal to the men who devote themselves to the service of their country, and militia duty will become a pleasure and the militia itself a source of pride—even to the General.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 August 2016 3:12 PM EDT
Thursday, 8 September 2016

Military Weddings
Topic: Tradition

Military Weddings

Military Weddings Follow Traditions Which Provide Very Picturesque Settings

The bridegroom usually takes the responsibility of seeing that the groomsmen are equipped with proper trappings and borrows swords or sabers for those who do not have their own.

Ottawa Citizen, 29 May 1942

If the bridegroom is an army, a navy or an air force man, the bride-to-be should plan her wedding along military lines.

The chief difference between the military or naval wedding and and the ordinary civilian wedding is that the bridegroom is in uniform, and his ushers, chosen from among his military friends, are likewise in uniform. And another exciting difference is the formation of an arch of sabers or swords at the conclusion of the ceremony and again as the newlyweds leave the church.

The best man may or may not be a civilian, as it is considered only fitting that this member of the wedding party be the bridegroom's closest friend. All military personnel in the wedding party wear sidearms, and carry their caps. No boutonnieres are ever worn with the uniform.

The bridegroom leaves hi cap in the vestry. He enters from the front, the same as in any wedding, and the formation at the altar is usually similar to a civilian wedding.

After the ceremony has been performed and the couple start to leave, the ushers draw their sabers—or swords for navy—at the command "Draw Sabers" (from one of the ushers) at the foot of the chancel steps and the bride and bridegroom pass beneath the arch. After they have passed through the ushers each take a bridesmaid down the aisle and out of the church. In marching out of the church, the bridegroom, best man and ushers offer their right arms to the bride, maid-of-honor and bridesmaids, thus avoiding entanglement of sabres or swords and dresses, and leaving the left hand free to carry the cap.

At the chapel steps the ushers reform the arch of swords for the bridal party to again pass under.

There is generally a toast to the bride at the reception, welcoming her into the army or navy, after which the best man and the ushers draw their sabers or swords together at the commands "Draw" and "Sabre" and cross them, forming an arch above the bride's head. The glasses are held high in the left hand and the toast is generally concluded with "How!"

Saber to Cut Cake

The bride cuts the cake with her husband's saber or sword. The husband may help her do this. She makes only the initial cut and should make a wish while doing so.

The bridal party enters the church as follows: Ushers, two by two; bridemaids, matron-of-honor, bride and father. There is no difference be tween a civilian and a military ceremony here, except that the ushers always walk together.

The bridegroom enters the church with the best man at the at the side entrance, or from the rector's study, taking an oblique position in front of the lectern. The bridal party marches down the aisle, and divides at the chancel steps, the ushers taking oblique positions half facing the congregation and the bridesmaids facing the same way only in front of and between each usher. The matron-of-honor takes her position opposite the best man. The bride and her father come down the aisle together and stand in the center facing the minister.

The bridegroom usually takes the responsibility of seeing that the groomsmen are equipped with proper trappings and borrows swords or sabers for those who do not have their own.

Air corps weddings follow the same pattern as laid-down for other military type weddings.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Canadian Infantry Organization (1916)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canadian Infantry Organization (1916)

The infantry is the main arm of every Army.

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

Infantry Units in Canada

The infantry is the main arm of every Army. The following are the Infantry units in Canada:—

Permanent Force:—

The Royal Canadian Regiment. The R.C.R. dates its organization as a Regiment from Dec. 21st, 1883, and has its Regimental Headquarters at Halifax, Nova Scotia. It maintains detachments or companies at various stations, namely at London, Toronto, Fredericton, N,B., Halifax, N.S., Quebec, P.Q., Esquimalt, B.C., where in peace time Schools of Instruction are held for Officers and N.C.O.'s of the non-permanent Militia. The establishment of the R.C.R. in officers and men is given in Appendix 1.


  • 11 Contingents Canadian Officers' Training Corps. (footnoted: "Form part of the Infantry of the non-permanent Militia with precedence immediately before the G.G.F.G.")
  • Governor-General's Foot Guards
  • 2 Regiments of 2 battalions.
  • 106 Regiments of 1 battalion.
  • 2 Independent Companies.

Infantry in the British Army

In the British service the infantry comprises the Brigade of Guards—Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards, known as Household Troops, their duties in peace being connected with the security of the Sovereign—and the Infantry of the Line. Each Regiment, of Guards and of the Line, is composed of 2 or more battalions. (footnoted: "The battalions of the Guards are as follows:—Grenadiers, 3, with a 4th Reserve Bn.; Coldstream, 3, with a 4th Reserve Bn.; Scots, 2, with a 3rd Reserve Bn.; Irish and Welsh, 1 each with a 2nd Reserve Bn.")

Previous to 1882, few of the latter had more than one battalion, when the system of linking individual line regiments in pairs under a Territorial designation came into effect and the old numbers ceased to be employed officially, the expressions "1st (or 2nd) Battalion the Blank and Dash Regiment" being adopted. The same re-arrangement was made with respect to the old County Militia regiments (footnoted: "The Militia trained for 28 days annually in camp or barracks and drew pay; recruits assembled 2 weeks previously for preliminary training.") which became the 3rd (and 4th) battalion of the regiment whose Depôt was established in the county. Similarly the Volunteers (footnoted: "Volunteer units received no pay, but a capitation grant for each "efficient" with extra grants drawn for each officer who passed certain of the examinations set for officers of the Regular Army.") abandoned their old numbers and became the "1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) Volunteer Battalion, the Blankshire Regiment," and adopted (in many cases) the uniforms of their respective line battalions, with this difference that silver or white lace and cord took the place of the gold or yellow worn by the Regulars. (footnoted: "Militia officers wore gold and the letter M on the shoulder straps below the badges of rank.")

The Territorial and Reserve Forces Act of 1907 changed the foregoing arrangement. A few Militia battalions were disbanded, and the great majority became the 3rd and 4th "Special Reserve" battalions of those regiments possessing 2 line battalions, or the 4th and 5th of those with 4. The Yeomanry (footnoted: "Cavalry corps originally enlisted from amongst the yeoman or farmer class.") and Volunteers became the Territorial Force, and now appear in the Army List as the 5th (6th, etc.)—Battalion of their line regiment. The use of silver in place of gold on scarlet (or blue) uniforms no longer obtains, the letter T on the shoulder indicating that the wearer belongs to the territorial force. In service-dress, the T is worn below the collar badges.

Canadian Regiments of Infantry and Rifles

The Canadian Regiments of Infantry and Rifles as classified as being either City or Rural.

  • City Corps—Corps of the Active Militia (non-permanent) not rural corps. Rural Corps—A Corps of the Active Militia (non-permanent) which performs its annual training in camp.
  • The seniority of units is that shewn in the Militia List and is according to their numerical sequence, though in some cases numbers formerly held by regiments, since disbanded, have been given to newly organized units.

The Rifle Regiments are 25 in number, namely,—2nd, 3rd, 8th, 11th, 20th, 22nd, 30th, 38th, 39th, 41st, 43rd, 49th, 51st, 56th, 58th, 63rd, 68th, 76th, 90th, 97th, 103rd. These are in most cases designated further with some territorial or personal reference, such as "Queen's Own Rifles," "Soo Rifles," "Earl Grey's Own Rifles," etc. Rifle regiments are differentiated from other regiments of foot in that their uniform is dark green and that they march past at the "trail" without fixed bayonets instead of at the "slope."

The remainder are styled variously:—

  • Grenadier Guards (1st);
  • Chasseurs (4th);
  • Highlanders (5th, 48th, 72nd, 78th, 79th, 91st, 94th);
  • Fusiliers (7th, 11th, 21st, 62nd, 66th, 88th, 101st, 104th, 105th);
  • Voltigeurs (9th);
  • Grenadiers (10th,100th);
  • Rangers (12th, 57th, 74th, 99th, 102nd);
  • Light Infantry (15th, 26th, 29th (Highland), 67th, 82nd, 106th);
  • Pioneers (23rd);
  • Borderers (27th);
  • Franc Tireurs (18th);
  • Foresters (35th);
  • Carabiniers (54th, 65th).

Others have a territorial designation in addition to a number, while some use the number only. A few are authorized to be termed "Royal."

The existing establishments of the infantry and rifle regiments are in a condition of change, some having been authorized to organize on the new 4 (double) company system. On the 8 company system, City corps have 47 privates, and Rural corps 30, except the 29th, 45th, 69th, 73rd, 76th, 82nd, 85th, 89th, 94th, 99th and 108th, which have 47. the 10th and 48th Regiments have 88 privates per company. One is on a 6, and a few on a 4 company basis.

The 2nd and 5th Regiments possess 2 battalions and have a special establishment.

elipsis graphic

Establishment of the R.C.R.

  • Officers – 30
  • Other ranks – 296
  • Total effective strength – 326

(Not including supernumeraries such as Instructional cadres, Physical Training Instructors, and others not doing duty with the unit.)

elipsis graphic

Appendix II—Infantry and Rifles

Peace establishments of regiments of the non-permanent Militia on the 8 company basis. Previous to the adoption by certain units of the 4 (double) company system—under authority from M.H.Q.—two establishments obtained, a higher for City Corps, and for the following Rural Corps, 29th, 45th, 69th, 73rd, 76th, 82nd, 85th, 89th, 94th, 99th and 108th and a lower for the remainder of the Rural Corps. Changes are occurring from time to time but what follows indicates the composition of each as taken from Canadian Establishments and amendments to the same, which book must be consulted for exceptions.

HeadquartersHigher Estb.Lower Estb.Remarks
Majors22Only 1 if a 4 C. Regt.
Musketry Instructor11 
Signalling Officer11 
Quarter-Master11Honorary rank.
Paymaster11Only City Corps, and only Rural Corps whose Paymasters were appointed prior to G.O. 172 of 1910. 
Medical Officer11Now being attached from the A.M.C.
Sergeant-Major11May be a Warrant Officer.
Bandmaster or Band Sergeant11May be a Warrant Officer.
Quarter-Master Sergeant11 
Orderly-room Sergeant11 
Pay Sergeant11 
Included in Headquarters11 
Stretcher-bearer Sergeant11 
Privates, stretcher-bearers8  
Sergeant Cook11Not authorized for a regiment of less than 6 companies. 
Sergeant Drummer11 
Signalling Sergeant11 
Signalling Corporal11 
Privates, signallers88 
Pioneer Sergeant11 
Machine gun N.C.O.'s22If corps is in possession of machine guns. 
Privates, M.G. detachment66
Bandsmen2424G.G.F.G. has 32.
Total all ranks included in H.Q.7676 
Company EstablishmentHigher Estb.Lower Estb.Remarks
  • 4 Company Regts, 24th, 68th, 84th, 98th.
  • 6 Company Regt., 99th.
  • 10 Company Regt., 30th.
  • 16 Company Regts., 2nd, 5th.
1 Independent Company of Rifles is localized at Grand Forks, B.C., and 1 of Infantry at Nanaimo, B.C.
Colour Sergeant11

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The Essence of Warfare
Topic: Military Theory

The Essence of Warfare

Introduction to the Principles of War, Japanese Ground Defence Force Staff College, 1969 (Translated by Dr. Joseph West, US Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth)

What is Warfare?

War is a clash of opposing wills, a struggle between beliefs, and victory goes to the party that crushes the enemy's will and destroys his "beliefs.

In other words, the warfare discussed here is a struggle for victory, using "power" to cause the opponent's will to yield and our will to prevail.

Hence, "the essence of warfare" is "power" and its maximum use. Its objective is to crush the opponent's power of resistance and cause him to submit to our will, and its measures are to use power to destroy the opponent's fighting power (material, spiritual). In other words, it is nothing less than the seizure of victory.

The Essence of Warfare and its Characteristics

The first essential element of warfare is the fact that, "in warfare, there are opponents." Moreover, both parties are characterized by having free will.

The second is that both parties have the will to overthrow the opponent (enemy). War is a struggle between the free wills of both parties, and victory is determined by which one has confidence in it. In other words, it also can be said to be a struggle of faith.

The third is that power is used to cause submission of the opponent's will. The direct instrument for fighting is "power," and when this power is brought to bear against the opponent, it is used for the violent effect of causing submission of the opponent's will.

The fourth is the actual battlefield situation, which is extremely important for our study of tactics and is a basic condition. The actual battlefield situation arises from the above essential elements of warfare and varies according to the time period, the place of combat, and the type and scale of warfare, etc.

The most important of these are that, in warfare, the situation always is uncertain, unstable, and unclear, and the normal state is that there is a succession of inconsistencies and mistakes, danger to life is ever-present, mental and bodily difficulties of fear, exhaustion, etc., are encountered, the situation does not develop as expected, etc.

In the study of the principles of war and in the study of tactics, if thorough consideration is not airways given to the actual battlefield, one will end up in worthless speculation.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 5 September 2016

Stolen Valour: Won Five Medals Now Washes Windows
Topic: Stolen Valour

Won Five Medals Now Washes Windows

The Southeast Missourian, Cape Girardeau, 12 December 1919
(By Associated Press)

New York, Dec. 11.—Awarded five decorations for gallantry as an airman during the war, including the prized Victoria Cross of the British Empire, Frank Percy, 26 years old, has been forced to wash windows for a living. His pay is $75 a month.

"I had to have a job," he said, "so I started on the first one that was offered. It may have been offered as a joke, but it was no joke on me." Percy, as an Acting Major of the Royal Air Force, won the Victoria Cross when he commanded a squadron of six planes which brought down a score of German machines on the western front. He also is entitled to wear the French War Cross, Mons Medal, General Service Medal and Victory Medal.


elipsis graphic


Frank Percy does not appear on the list of Victoria Cross recipients of the Royal Air Force.

The only Victoria Cross recipient named "Percy" was General Lord Henry Hugh Manvers Percy VC, KCB, who received the VC for valour at the Battle of Inkerman on 5 November 1854.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 August 2016 9:05 PM EDT
Sunday, 4 September 2016

The Subaltern's Cup
Topic: Tradition

The Subaltern's Cup

The Regimental Handbook of The Duke Of Lancaster's Regiment, Preston, 2007

The Subaltern's Cup. The 1st Battalion possess an old silver chalice, known as the Subaltern's Cup on account of it being entrusted to the care of the senior subaltern for the time being and set before him in the Mess. On the senior subaltern's promotion to Captain it has been the custom for the cup to be handed over to his successor after dinner in the Mess when all the senior officers have left the room. The cup is filled with champagne, which the newly promoted captain has to drain at one draught. His successor, followed by all the subalterns in turn, then do the same at the new captain's expense. Should any officer fail to drain the cup at one draught, he has to stand another round of champagne to all present.

The cup hallmarked London 1769, was presented to the Mess of the 47th by Lieutenant Thomas Faunce on retirement from the Regiment in 1770. On one side is engraved the arms and motto of the Faunce family and the other side has his crest and the initials 'TF'. Thomas Faunce (1737-1807) was commissioned into the 47th in 1758 and fought with them the following year at Quebec, where he was wounded. He later served as Town Major of Quebec 1785-1807. His son Alured Faunce (1775-1850) was commissioned into the King's Own in 1795 and served with great distinction in Spain and America. He fought under Sir John Moore at Corunna and in the battles of the Peninsula campaign. At the battle of Salamanca, 1812, the Light Company 30th Regiment were in a composite Light Battalion under his command when they captured the Eagle of the French 22nd Regiment. Faunce later commanded the King's Own (1822-27) in the West Indies and Portugal, and became a Major-General. This is the oldest piece of silver in continuous use in the Regiment.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 3 September 2016

Gen Gascoigne's Bombshells (Halifax, 1897)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Gen Gascoigne's Bombshells (Halifax, 1897)

Startle Two of the Halifax Battalions

The Sixty-Third Rifles Censured for Slovenly Drill—The Sixty-Sixth Has Too Many Army Reserve Men—Capt. Heckler Ordered to take Off His German Medals—The Officers Determined to Make the General Retract

Daily Mail and Empire, Toronto, 17 November 1897

Halifax, N.S., Nov. 16.—(Special.)—General Gascoigne has been in Halifax for the past week, and has availed himself of the opportunity to inspect the Canadian militia here, and give the force a regular overhauling. He held a levee on Saturday; and one of the officers who called on him was Captain Heckler, of the 63rd Rifles, whose breast was adorned with medals gained in the Franco-Prussian war. General Gascoigne asked him if he had permission to wear them, and, being answered in the negative, the order was, "Take them off till permission is received."

Last night the 63rd Rifles were inspected. The regiment was severely censured for the slipshod way in which the officers gave their orders, and in which the men carried them out.

To-night General Gascoigne inspected the 66th, P.L.F. [Princess Louise Fusiliers], and he caused a new sensation in delivering the following speech:—"I have a great deal of pleasure in meeting you for the first time. But the regiment I came to Halifax to see was a regiment of the Canadian militia. What do I find? I find that one-half or more, probably two-thirds, are [British] army reserve men. This is not what I expected to see. A regiment of Canadian militia is what I anticipated seeing. A man cannot lawfully draw pay from two sources—the pay of the army army reserve and of the Canadian militia. How would the 66th P.L.F. look if all the army reserve men were called back to the colours? I like to see a mixing of the ranks, but it is not the intention that there should be a mixing of the kind that I see before me in the 66th P.L.F. to-night. I regret my introduction to this sort of regiment. Of course, it is smart; how could it be otherwise, when the majority of the men belong to the army reserve? The drill is good, the turnout is clean, the work of the officers is excellent. I would be perfectly satisfied with the battalion if it were composed of the men intended that it should contain—a regiment of Canadian militia. But, under the circumstances, as I find them, I cannot call the inspection satisfactory. It is indeed not satisfactory for this cause. I feel the utmost has been done, the men have drilled well, and turned out clean. I would be only too willing to praise if I could, but this is impossible, for the fact remains that the battalion is not what it pretends to be. This must not occur again. It must cease from to-night."

The 66th officers are confident they will make General Gascoigne retract. They say that they can prove instead of two-thirds of the regiment being army reserve men, the battalion contains, out of an establishment of 600 men, only 32 army reserve men. Three of the companies have none, two of them only two, and the band none. It is openly stated that General Gascoigne has made the mistake of confounding ex-soldiers free of the army in every respect with the army reserve, and the determination is expressed to make him retract.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2016 11:31 PM EDT
Friday, 2 September 2016

Nine Ex-Soldiers Awarded M.S.M. (1931)
Topic: Medals

Nine Ex-Soldiers Awarded M.S.M.

Honor Available to Pensioners of Permanent Force Limited to 75

The Montreal Gazette, 18 June 1931

Ottawa, June 17.—The most coveted award available to pensioners of the permanent force of Canada, the Meritorious Service Medal, has been bestowed upon nine ex-soldiers, who fulfilling all the exacting qualifications required, now join the ranks of the 66 other holders of that decoration in the Dominion. Holders of the M.S.M. constitute a "Legion d'Honneur" limited to 75 persons in this country. All must have served 21 years in the permanent force, must have held the rank of sergeant or higher, be in possession of the medal for long service and good conduct, and have been awarded as exemplary character.

Awards of the M.S.M. are made only to fill up the ranks of this "Legion" when it becomes depleted by death. In the case of one of those to whom the award has just been made—Q.M.S. T.J. Pierson, now living at Westcliffe-on-Sea, England, he has waited 19 years. Mr. Pierson was pensioned from the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps in 1912 after 25 years of service.

The other recipients are:—

  • C.Q.M.S. S.A. McLean, Halifax, a veteran of the South African War;
  • C.Q.M.S. K. White, pensioned in 1919 after 25 years' service in the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery, Halifax;
  • Staff Sergeant H.E. Taylor, pensioned from the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, after 44 years' service in 1928, Dartmouth, N.S.;
  • Sergt. J.E. Gould, Long Creek, N.B., pensioned in 1917 after 25 years' service in the Royal Canadian Regiment;
  • R.Q.M.S. W.J. Connolly, Halifax, discharged after 23 years' service in the R.C.R.;
  • Sergeant-Major B. Coffin, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Kingston, Ont., pensioned after 23 years' service;
  • Sergeant-Major G.A. Jacques, of Victoria, B.C., pensioned in 1930 from the Lord Strathcona's Horse after 25 years' service;
  • Sergeant-Major H.C. Baldwin, pensioned from the Royal Canadian Dragoons after 22 years' service, Birchcliff, Toronto.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 1 September 2016

Presenting Colours to H.M. 81st Regiment (1826)
Topic: Battle Honours

Presenting Colours to H.M. 81st Regiment

Historical Record of the Eighty-first Regiment, or Loyal Lincoln Volunteers; containing an Account of the Formation of the Regiment in 1793, and of its Subsequent Services to 1872, by S. Rogers, Gibraltar, 1872

The Eighty-First Regiment or Lincoln Loyal Volunteers, bears on the Regimental Colour:

The word "MAIDA." in commemoration of its distinguished service at the Battale of Maida, in 1806.

The word "CORUNNA," in testimony of its "steady and gallant conduct" at the Battle of Corunna fought in 1809, where the regiment was one among the few on which "the brunt of the action fell."

The word "PENINSULA," in recognition of its intrepid and meritorious services in the Peninsula from 1808 to 1814.

On the fourteenth of June [1826] a new set of colours was presented to the Eighty-first by His Excellency Sir James Kempt, K.C.B., Lieutenant-Governor of Halifax, and Colonel of the regiment; upon which occasion the following ceremony took place:—

About noon the three Regiments (the Eighty-first, Seventy-fourth, and Rifle Brigade), were drawn up in line, and received His Excellency with a 'general salute'; they then formed three sides of a square, the area of which was occupied by His Excellency and Staff, Admiral Lake, &c.—The General's carriage, containing Mrs. Creagh whom he had been requested to present the Colours for him, was then drawn up in front of the Eighty-first; immediately afterwards the ceremony commenced by prayer, and, an appropriate address having being delivered by the Rev. T. Twining, chaplain to the forces, the Banners were placed in the hands of His Excellency, who immediately stepped up to the carriage and presented them to Mrs. Creagh, with the following words:—

"The Colours of the Eighty-first Regiment will come with peculiar propriety and grace from your hands; and I request you will do me the honour of presenting them."

Ensigns De Rottenburg and Creagh then stepped forward, and Mrs. Creagh delivered to them and to the Regiment, the handsome address which is given beneath:

"In having the flattering honour conferred on me of presenting Colours to a Regiment, in which my tenderest affections, and most friendly regards are centred, it is difficult for me to give expression to all the feelings, which a ceremony so imposing and so deeply interesting to my heart excites. I cannot pray for more than that, while serving under these new banners, you may display the same ardour and invincible bravery which so brightly shone forth under your old Colours at Maida, when the Eighty-first was so gloriously led to victory by its distinguished General. May Maida, Corunna, and the other glory commemorating inscriptions on your Colours, be always present to your minds, and, with the blessing of the Almighty, ever lead and preserve you in the path of honour and virtue."

"Into your hands, my young friend, I present your King's Colour; and into your charge, my beloved son, I give the Colour of your regiment" (at this part of the address Ensigns De Rottenburg and Creagh advanced, and each were presented with a banner). When your Country requires your defence, I, even as a Mother, can say they never should be abandoned, but in death. And may you, while fighting under them, and during your whole military lives, endeavour to pursue the splendid career of your illustrious General; and may you, like him, be distinguished with the well-merited rewards of a grateful Country."

The two Ensigns having retired to resume their usual station in front of the regiment, Lieut.-Colonel Creagh spoke in the following manner:—

"Those Colours, which, by the distinguished favour of His Excellency Sir James Kempt, have just been presented to the Eighty-first in a manner so truly gratifying to my feelings, shall, I can promise, never be sullied by the corps I have the honour and happiness to command. And in the day of battle, I trust, they will ever wave triumphantly as did our old colours, when the path of victory was pointed out to the Eighty-first, by the General under whom we now have the good fortune to be placed."

The Colours were then trooped, after which the various regiments marched past, and moved off to their respective barracks.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 31 August 2016

CEF Traffic Men
Topic: CEF

CEF Traffic Men

Story of Death in Village on Western Front

The Pittsburgh Press, 14 April 1918

With the Canadian Army in the Field, April 13.—If you should happen to wander into this village—either on duty or on pleasure—you will notice that many of its houses are roofless, that what were shops are in some instances nothing but demolished wall and broken beams, that numerous cottages are closed, and that many dwellings are marred by broken windows and lesser damage. If you are unlucky you will hear the warning whine of a shell, and you may be deafened by an explosion and smothered in dust while flying debris plays havoc around you. If not, you may meet the cure, and he will tell you the history of the slow demolition of a town which the enemy is slowly reducing to a ruin and a memory. It is a long story, covering a period of nearly two years. It was penetrated by shells and by death, and it is the history of many such a town and many a village throughout the war area in France and Belgium. It was in the middle of May, 1915, that the first four shells fell into the town. Then week by week bombardment followed bombardment, sometimes two and three a day. Some of the townspeople left, but courage runs high in France, and most of them stayed. Their homes were laid waste in a day. As the air war developed other homes were destroyed in the night, the horror of blackness adding to the horror of bombs and shells. Fathers lost daughter—mothers sons—the cure grew old because of broken hearts and the cemetery of the little church and filled before its time. But the day's work went on as it is going on now. And the fields were tilled as they are being tilled today, with the women working while the men fight. Such is the ordeal which is part of the tragedy of France, such is the spirit of her people which is her glory.

The Traffic Man

The cure will finish his story. You will leave on your way to the front or back to the base and, as you go, you will ask for directions at the first cross roads. You will be sent five miles out of your way and be bogged in a hopeless road, but you will swear respectively, for he who directed you wore the red arm band of the traffic control. His kind were at Vimy and on the Somme, at Ypres and Passchendaele. "Her Majesty's Jollies," you will remember, "stood still to the Birkenhead drill—a damn tough bullet to chew." From the middle of October to the middle of November when the Canadian corps was fighting the battle of Bellevue Farm, the Passchendaele spur, the Village and the Ridge—the traffic men stood at corners of roads that led in and out of Ypres. They stood there—that was their business. By day, enemy airmen bombed those roads, sometimes coming over in squadrons of 10, 15 and 20 machines. "Parti Tout Suite" was the popular pastime under such conditions and muddy, shell-torn fields were green and pleasant. The traffic men stood to their posts. Some of them died. You could count the shells—one by one they would creep up a road. The traffic men counted them and counting, stayed where they were, Horses were killed. Lorries were blown into bits of torn machinery and kindling wood. All who could made for less public places. The traffic men could not. At night the enemy bombed and shelled. Men hastened up the roads, hurriedly fixing their gas masks. It was black and dreary and desperately lonely on the highways. The traffic men stood on their corners. Many were wounded. Others died. At times when they are heavily shelling the village you just left you will find the extra traffic patrols on duty. They will tell you where not to go. They know where the worst shelling is. They can count the shells and see the damage. They cannot leave their posts. Some of them are wounded. Some of them died. Their work is called "bomb proof" save when there is hell around. Then their drill is not less than the Birkenhead drill.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Lesson For Our Army (1906)
Topic: Cold Steel

Lesson For Our Army (1906)

Russian Army's Notes Officially Distributed
Fire of Modern Infantry Wasteful of Ammunition
Practice in Estimating Distance Needed
Captain Soloviev's Views Regarded of Great Value

Boston Evening Transcript, 14 November 1906

Washington, Nov. 14—From the foreign officers who were attached to the opposing armies as observers in the Russo-Japanese War the world has received many valuable reports concerning the operations in Manchuria, the condition and conduct of the troops engaged and other subjects of general military interest. Several officers of the contending armies have also contributed to this fund of information, and one of these, Captain L.Z. Soloviev, of the Thirty-fourth East Siberian Rifle Regiment, has prepared a paper entitled "Actual Experiences in the War—Battle Action of the Infantry—Impressions of a Company Commander," which is of such importance that it has been translated into English by order of the general staff for distribution among the officers of the United States Army. "This officer," says the general staff, in an official memorandum, "has shown such a keen and appreciative observation in his description of great battles as seen from a company commander's point of view, and his remarks cover so many moot questions in regard to the battle tactics of today, that the little work has been deemed worthy of publication in English for distribution to the army."

What particularly impressed Captain Soloviev was the fact that many of the things he had to do in battle were not what he had been taught, and that much he had been taught was not applicable to combat, which may or may not be a blow to "military education" derived from the books. According to the regulations, the observer says, "effective rifle fire began at a range of from 1000 to 1400 paces," whereas rifle fire was found to be effective at a range of 2333 yards. Attention is called to the difficulty of keeping fire discipline well in hand during a battle, and of maintaining a reasonable and well sustained fire—difficulties which are increased during the fight. He says: "Sometimes a man will fire in his sleep and hundreds of shots follow, thus bringing about a useless loss of cartridges, a sleepless night, fatigue, nervous tension, wounded and killed by stray bullets, and there is before the men the prospect of days in battle."

Another thing that struck this observer was the extreme wastefulness of rapid fire. He states that one infantry regiment at Liao-Yang fired 1,200,000 cartridges, a vast expenditure that charred the stocks of the rifles and distorted the ends of the bayonets from the heat. Captain Soloviev asks if it would not be better to fire more slowly, with greater accuracy and better aim. The mass of fire takes place of accuracy while the short term of service tells upon the trueness of aim. It is difficult, too, to determine the distance of the objective, there remains as a principal means the eyesight, a mode of range finding that was used most frequently and by which the firing had to be guided. "This is why," adds the writer, "we deem it most important that during peace time frequent exercises should stake place in estimating distances by the eye, taking advantage of each favorable occasion, and not treating it as a tedious formality." One serious result observed during the campaign was the frequent deterioration of rifles caused by such intense fire, and it is observed there is only one means of replacing the disabled rifle in battle—the utilization of the pieces belonging to the killed and wounded. The local conditions of dust, rains and changes in temperature contribute top this disastrous end.

Captain Soloviev places a high estimate on the value of the bayonet as an infantry weapon, declaring that the late war "demonstrated most vividly all its power and moral importance, which, it is probable, it will maintain unaltered as long as there are wars." More than once there were fierce hand-to-hand fights, when the Russian depended upon their bayonets and used them with success, although there are no statistics to show the vital effect of such raids. There were instances where lines of intrenchments were taken with the bayonet as at Tumilin Pass. At another time "a bayonet fight was raging along the entire front of our enemy," when an entire corps fought with the bayonet. Captain Soloviev says the data on losses caused by the bayonet are very convincing, and that the losses "are almost as large as those caused by artillery fire, in spite of the enormous development of the latter."

Of the general characteristics of modern infantry combat, Captain Soloviev says: "Speaking of the characteristics of modern infantry combat, we note the following general traits:—

  • the deployment of large units as a skirmish line;
  • the absence of small partial reserves; the desire to develop at once the greatest intensity of fire;
  • the advance of skirmishers at a run, bent double, and sometimes creeping;
  • the advance under effective fire, one by one; the movement in the zone of fire in chain formation;
  • the difficulty of controlling fire discipline and the necessity of developing fire discipline in time of peace;
  • the unparalleled development of ammunition;
  • the necessity for an uninterrupted supply of cartridges to the fighting line, and a close touch of regiments to the artillery parks;
  • the deterioration of rifles and the necessity of replacing them frequently, as a rule;
  • enormous losses in infantry combat, and the tenacity and duration of infantry combats without decisive results."

Captain Soloviev speaks in praise of the Japanese infantry and artillery. Emphasis is laid on the fact that a new factor in artillery combat was the firing against invisible targets, for in battles the battery does not see its opponent. The Japanese had apparently adopted the rule of ceasing fire under well-aimed fire of the enemy. If the Russian battery found the range of the Japanese battery and aimed well the Japanese immediately sought to change its position unawares. Captain Soloviev pronounces the Japanese infantry as far behind the Japanese artillery in accuracy of aim. The Japanese rifleman is described as a veritable machine-gun, on account of the rapidity with which he loads and fires his rifle, but most of the shots go high, and there was dexterity without aim too often. The Russian rifle appears to have been a satisfactory weapon, but the revolver was useless beyond seven paces, while the infantry sword is of little value. The supply of food was sufficient, and much praise was bestowed upon the system of the wheeled field kitchen, a provision for furnishing hot food to the soldier wherever he may be and for which method the commissary general of our own army has been striving indefatigably. It is remarked that more than one of these kitchens bore the marks of bullets.

In view of the modern effort at invisibility in military dress and equipment, it is interesting to know that Captain Soloviev found that quality to be the principal characteristic of the field. His first experience in battle produced a sense of insecurity and irresolution. He heard the bullets, but he saw no trenches or fortifications or enemy. He found the soldier in battle of "astounding simple and everyday demeanor, with betrayal of nervousness only in his rapid firing," in which condition the officer in command comes to his great task of controlling the men. The tension is terrible with the protracted battles of the day, and the demand upon the mental and physical powers is unrelaxing.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 29 August 2016

Discipline and Mobility
Topic: Discipline

Discipline and Mobility

Lectures on Land Warfare, A Tactical Manual for the Use of Infantry Officers, Pub. William Clowes & Sons, Ltd., 1922

"…it is better to lose one man in marching than five in fighting."

The discipline, courage, and endurance of the troops, as well as the cause for which they are fighting, are at least of equal importance to their armament and numbers. "If their discipline and leading be defective, Providence seldom sides with the big battalions ... and troops that cannot march are untrustworthy auxiliaries ("The Science of War"). "An army which cannot march well is almost certain to be outmanoeuvred. A general whose strategy is based upon time calculations that are rendered inaccurate by the breakdown of the marching power of his troops runs grave risk of disaster. It is therefore necessary that the question of marching should be studied, not only by generals and staff officers, but by regimental officers and men. It is on the latter that the hardships and exertions fall, and their cheerful endurance can best be ensured by teaching them the great results attainable by an army which can move faster and further than its adversary, as well as the dangers incurred by an army which allows itself to be out-marched. Superior mobility alone enabled Frederick the Great to move 'like a panther round an ox' so as to place his army across the enemy's flank. The discipline of his troops enabled him to apply the "principles of combination" (General Sir E. B. Hamley). "Nothing compensates for absence of discipline; and the constant watchfulness that is necessary in war, even when danger seems remote, can only be secured by discipline, which makes of duty a habit." (General R. Taylor, C.S. Army). At the Battle of Hastings (Oct. 14, 1066) lack of discipline and disobedience of orders changed the fate of the English nation and brought about the Norman Conquest. Harold, the English king, had defeated the forces of Harold Hadraade, King of Norway, at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire (Sept. 25, 1066). Four days later, Duke William of Normandy landed in Pevensey Bay, with 60,000 horse and foot. Harold hastened south to meet him with troops exhausted by battle and marching. After King of Norway, halting six days in London to collect reinforcements, the English force entrenched itself on the hill of Sautlache and awaited attack. The Normans were unable to penetrate the abattis, but they gained the victory which changed the whole history of the English race by the stratagem of a feigned retreat. Harold's undisciplined auxiliaries, contrary to direct orders (which were obeyed by the regular troops in the centre), swarmed out of the palisades in pursuit of the fleeing Normans, who suddenly turned about and penetrated the English lines mingled with the discomfited auxiliaries. Had the "irregulars" shown the same sense of discipline as the regulars there had been no Norman Conquest.

With regard to marching, General T.J. Jackson once observed, in reply to an allusion to his severe marching, that "it is better to lose one man in marching than five in fighting."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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