The Minute Book
Friday, 14 October 2016

Airborne Brigade Group (1948)
Topic: Canadian Army

Airborne Brigade Group (1948)

… the only immediate danger on the defence horizon—the possibility of a diversionary attack.

Ottawa Citizen, 15 July 1948
By Douglas How, Canadian Press Staff Writer

The Airborne Brigade Group, slated to be the ever-ready 7,000 strong fighting segment of the permanent Canadian army, will start training as a unit next year, the chief of defence staff disclosed today.

It would then be ready, Lt.-Gen. Charles Foulkes said in an interview, to meet what Defence Minister Claxton recently pictured as the only immediate danger on the defence horizon—the possibility of a diversionary attack.

Gen. Foulkes said the group, to be a self-contained, all-arms body, now is in component unit concentrations, training at company and squadron levels in various camps across the country.

Set Up In Fall

Its infantry, armored, artillery and other regiments would step up their training to battalion or regimental levels this fall as a final prelude to schooling of the brigade as a brigade next year. A commander would probably be named then.

Its two-fold purpose was to act as a training ground for instructors, soldiers and commanders and to be ready to meet any emergency. Gen Foulkes said one of its three infantry battalions—The Royal Canadian Regiment, now at Petawawa; the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, now at Calgary, of the Royal 22e Regiment, at Valcartier—would start airportable training at Rivers [Manitoba] this autumn. The unit has not yet been picked.

More to Follow

It would be followed by the various other outfits until they were ready to take to the air to meet any emergency. As a further step, platoons from some of the units would do northern training this winter.

The group was estimated at better than 70 per cent of its target strength and would be recruited up to the total, possibly by next April. Its strength will be more than 25 per cent of the full army.

Its regiments are now scattered this way:

Mr. Claxton, when he recently announced that present recruiting targets would be ignored, visualized the possibility of an additional combat force if it "is considered necessary" to deal with the danger of any diversionary attack.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 13 October 2016

Infantry (1920)
Topic: Military Theory

The main objective of the infantry, therefore, to which all other operations are merely preliminaries, is to close with the enemy and destroy him by killing or capture.

Infantry (1920)

Field Service Regulations, Volume II; Operations, 1920 (Provisional), General Staff, War Office

1,     Infantry is the arm which in the end wins battles. The co-operation of the other arms is necessary, but neither separately nor together can they defeat the enemy.

2.     The weapons of the infantry consisting of the rifle and bayonet, the Lewis gun, the rifle grenade, the hand grenade, and the light mortar enable it to develop rapidly in any direction a large volume of fire, to combine fire and movement, and to engage an enemy at a distance or hand to hand.

3.     The movements of infantry on foot are slow, and the distance it can cover in a day is relatively small. On the other hand, infantry is capable of moving over almost any ground by day or night, and can find cover more readily than the other arms. When roads permit, it can be moved with rapidity in motor vehicles, and brought fresh into action at distant points.

4.     Fire alone will seldom force determined troops out of their position. To drive an enemy from the field, assault or the immediate threat of it is necessary.

5.     The main objective of the infantry, therefore, to which all other operations are merely preliminaries, is to close with the enemy and destroy him by killing or capture. It is this power of closing with the enemy which makes infantry the decisive arm in the fight.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 23 September 2016 10:32 PM EDT
Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Fudge Block Army Ration (1941)
Topic: Army Rations

Fudge Block Army Ration (1941)

Piece de Resistance Gives Food Value and Satisfies Sweet Tooth

Reading Eagle, Reading, Pennsylvania, 10 July 1941

Atlanta, July 10 (AP)—The piece de resistance of "iron rations" issued American soldiers on the arch is a domino-size fudge block—a sugary hunk that packs 125 calories of energy.

The army itself concocted the recipe for the one-ounce piece of candy serving the dual purpose of packing in the food value and satisfying the fighting man's sweet tooth. Vitamin C in the form of brewer's yeast is added in the ingredients of corn sugar and cane sugar, chocolate, vegetable fat, powdered egg albumen and powdered milk.

New Item on Display

This new item was on display along with an innovation in lollipops—a sucker employing a cord loop instead of a stick so the stumbling youngster won't spike his throat—in the exhibit room of three candy conventions in progress here.

The candy industry is gearing its production line to the national defense theme in two other items, said Philip C. Gott, of Chicago, president of the National Confectioners Association.

One is a four-ounce high vitamin candy block for parachute troopers and the other a salty gum drop fed to soldiers in sultry sections to replace body salt lost through perspiration.

The candies made for the army are not available to civilian retail trade, Gott said. Manufacturers who wish to bid on them obtain the recipes from the Quartermaster Corps, and rigid inspection is conducted, he added.

Given Exhaustive Trial

The type C or "iron rations" menu got an exhaustive test in the recent Tennessee maneuvers and the Fourth Corps Area quartermaster's office here, which feeds one-third of the U.S. Army, reported "excellent results."

Three of the one-ounce candy blocks go into a day's "iron rations" and other items include meat, vegetables, biscuits and soluble coffee. All are canned, conserving space and load.

"We could concoct a chemically pure food for soldiers, which the boys wouldn't eat—the army's food has to taste good," Lieut. Col.Rohland A. Isker said of the candy ration. Isker is in charge of the subsistency research laboratories of the army.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Comment Declined on Halifax Base (1929)
Topic: Halifax

Comment Declined on Halifax Base (1929)

Ottawa Interested in Intimation of Demilitarization in N.Y. Despatches

The Montreal Gazette, 11 October 1929
(By Canadian Press)

Ottawa, Oct. 10.—Canadian officials here received with interest but with no comment the intimation contained in New York news despatches from Washington that on his visit to Canada the Rt. Hon. J. Ramsay MacDonald, Prime Minister of Great Britain, would discuss with the Canadian Government the matter of demilitarizing the naval base at Halifax. This, the despatches said, would be done together with the dismantling of the British naval bases in the West Indies as a "grand gesture" of goodwill towards then United States.

The Imperial government has no authority whatever over Canadian military or naval activities, it was pointed out, all property which was once under Imperial jurisdiction having at various times passed into Canada's hands. The last Imperial troops to garrison Halifax left the Nova Scotian capital as far back as 1906, since when the Dominion has had complete control.

Canada's military and naval establishment in Halifax is extremely modest, and scarcely one that could be considered as constituting a menace to the United States.

At present there is one destroyer, the Champlain, on loan to this country from the British Admiralty, and two minesweepers, the Ypres and the Armentieres. There is also a shore training school, and a dockyard.

With regard to soldiers, Halifax is garrisoned by a small company of the Royal Canadian Regiment, some coast artillery and a few engineers, army service corps troops, ordnance and other administrative personnel.

During the Great War liberal use was made of the port of Halifax by the United States in the transportation overseas of American troops. Since then it has been visited by American warships conveying the midshipmen of the Annapolis Naval Academy on their summer cruise.

Officials here declined to comment on whether this demilitarization question might constitute an interesting feature of the projected London conference, to be held in January. It was suggested to them that the proposal would draw Canada directly into the discussion.

The Prime Minister, a few days ago, declared that no formal invitation had been received by Canada to attend the Assembly.

"There have been communications between this Government and Great Britain," he added, "I suppose these communications might be construed as an invitation."

In any case, he himself would not be able to attend, he declared, on account of the nearness of the parliamentary session to the date of the conference.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 10 October 2016

Canada's Militia Masquerade (1938)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canada's Militia Masquerade (1938)

Now Unpopular, Obsolete, it Needs Overhauling for National Service

The militia is ill-equipped. Service uniforms are old, badly fitted. Web equipment is broken. The men have no boots. Generally a lack of imagination has been shown.

The Financial Post, 3 December 1938 By Lt.-Col. Louis Keene

Lieut.-Col. Louis Keene, who rose from the ranks during the war and has served actively in the militia, in the accompanying article, urges the complete reorganization of Canada's defence forces which he brands as not just antiquated but unpopular. On the foundation of Canadian defence he would build a national service corps.

A few Sundays ago Toronto saw four parades all in the trappings of tradition. The Ancient Order of Foresters were there in their picturesque regalia, The Queen's Own in their last century rifle green uniforms, the Grenadiers in their guard's uniforms, the Toronto Scottish in their hodden grey kilts.

People on the street, if they thought at all, probably felt quite secure in the knowledge that the brave men of Canada's militia would meet the foe without flinching.

Equipped for action (as these men will be in ill-fitting uniforms, obsolete equipment and weapons, this whole force, despite their bravery, could be destroyed by one sections of two cars of trained, well-armored fighting vehicles.

Why perpetuate the obsolescent Canadian militia?

Antiquated, Unpopular

If my judgment is correct, it has little or no public support. It is antiquated, ill-equipped, unpopular. It has hew if any links with any other part of Canadian life.

A few weeks ago competent authorities stated that we are unable to protect ourselves on land, sea, or in the air. Some steps are now being taken to remedy this situation.

Following staff reorganization dating back to 1936, efforts have been made to remove some of the glaring weaknesses of our antiquated system. As yet the rank and file have felt little of its impact. And nothing has been done to fit the militia for the larger responsibilities of national and community life.

Yet canada spends from $15 to $20 millions annually on its militia. It boasts many fine traditions, much able, conscientious personnel.

Is it not time we looked closely at some of the criticisms which have been levelled at it; time we took a national stocktaking to see what might be done to link this branch of public service with the larger responsibilities of individual and national well being?

In other countries, soldiers are used to aid the community. A few years ago in Sweden there was a big forest fire and 10,000 Swedish troops were turned out to aid in putting out the flames.

Even the German army is used for helpful community work. This summer they were turned out to help the farmers fight a plague of caterpillars.

National Guards in the United States are called out to restore order and help in times of disaster. In France, service in a fire brigade is counted as service—army service.

Overall Army

Britain now has her "Overall" Army and her Women's Air Guard. She is paving the way for volunteer service which can be used for achievement in peace as well as strength in war. Why should Canada not have her own National Service Corps?

It could be of great peace-time service.

In northern communities it could be trained in fore protection to help preserve our timber wealth. Other communities have equally important public service jobs to be done. Jobs that would appeal to men and women with a sense of good citizenship. Equally important is the job such as National Service Corps could do to train the individual; to build up his physique, his morale, his technical skill. Yet today the Canadian militia is ignored, treated with indifference.

Why is this so?

For one thing our militia is antiquated.

It is an out-of-date carryover from the period of the Crimean War. It was formed at the time when England was so short of men that she had to withdraw all her troops from Canada. At that time our young country was told that it would have to look after its own defence. Immediately and enthusiastically the militia was formed. It was new and up to date, smart, popular and efficient.

As the peaceful years rolled by the threat of foreign foes ceased to worry us. The militia settled down to being a responsible part of Canadian life. No one of importance missed being in some way connected with their local militia unit. There was some remarkably fine shooting done years ago by the old militia. Even rural regiments had their fine shots who went to Bisley.

Pushed Aside in 1914

The great opportunity which came in practically every other military force in the world was, of course, the Great War. But in Canada the political situation, plus jealousy and muddling pushed the miltia to one side. A new setup was arranged.

Thousands of Canadians who fought in the war had nothing to do with the organized militia in any form either before, during or after the war. Great opportunities to build a desirable tradition were lost. When the war was over, few of the returning soldiers were interested in the militia.

The militia never got another chance to get back its rightful position in the community. After the war was over, General Sir Arthur Currie, at a famous reunion dinner, asked returned officers to look after the militia. This meant nothing to many of them. They didn't bother.

At the time of the Coronation, instead of a smart, single unit being sent over to represent the whole of Canada, a miscellaneous, conglomerate group was formed. It was one of the few units which was not youthful and dressed up for this gala occasion. Without the Royal Canadian Mounted Police the Canadian contingent would have made a very poor showing at the Coronation.

The crowning blow of all was at the time of the international crisis when war seemed neat—a matter of hours—and patriotic citizens rushed to military district headquarters and offered to raise battalions. The Canadian Corps offered to furnish a division of troops. The militia was not even considered, was again given a back seat.

The militia is ill-equipped. Service uniforms are old, badly fitted. Web equipment is broken. The men have no boots. Generally a lack of imagination has been shown.

Men do not like getting out of their own civilian clothes and putting on old uniforms.

Recently at Camp Borden we saw rifles tied with handkerchiefs to indicate anti-tank guns. Even the new anti-aircraft guns were on mounts dated 1918. At the last camp at Niagara-on-the-Lake, the airplane operating with us was 16 years old. The small arms ammunition we used at the rifle ranges was dated 1917.

The militia is ignored by most people. It has not the support of the employers of labor. Businessmen do not take it seriously.

Employers must be shown that the discipline and training which men can learn in camp should be of value to them in their business. Today they feel that by letting men go to camp they are doing them a great favor.

As now constituted, the militia has not the support of the workers. It has very little appeal to the imagination of youth who have many other spare-time attractions unknown 30 years ago.

Country Lulled to Sleep

For 20 years we have listened to people condemn the militia, condemn cadet training, so that the whole country has been lulled to sleep.

For years we have been subject to a continual barrage of pacifist literature, the Cry Havocs, the films. We have listened to sob lectures and our prayers have been full of the soothing syrup of peace so that we are now fat, coddled, comfortable, unafraid, unarmed, unprepared.

Napoleon said of London: "What a city to sack!" It might well be said now of Canada, what a country to exploit.

When any civilian job has to be done which would prove of military training value, militia are scarcely considered. For example, in building the Toronto-Hamilton highway, at least one bridge had to be blown up. Here would have been a grand opportunity for our militia engineers to have had the chance to try out their training in demolitions, an important part of their war-time activities.

Our militia is never expected to do anything constructive. There is no affiliation with the youth of the country, service clubs or other groups, and there is very little link with veterans. It stands alone. So, instead of being a tremendously vital thing in the community at large, of which the public is proud, it is struggling along with the aid of a few public-spirited officers, N.C.O.'s and men who must devote a great deal of their time to an expensive, unpopular duty.

Complete Overhaul

I suggest that a complete overhaul is necessary.

One alternative is to develop an organization with wider opportunities for constructive work with individuals, with the community, with the nation as a whole—an organization which will be of use for peace as well as war.

The name "militia" is long out of date. It has been abolished by every other country that ever used the term.

"Militia," like the name "Regiment of Foot," came into effect years ago. Both names have long since disappeared from the vocabulary of Anglo-Saxon countries except as historical terms.

The army in England has had a great capacity for improvisation, It has been slower to recognize the necessity for reorganization, yet during the last hundred years two extensive reorganizations have been carried out. The first was by Cardwell 70 years ago. The second was by Haldane 35 years later, following the Boer War.

When Cardwell came into office as Secretary of State for War at the end of 1868 he found the army in a state of obvious unfitness to meet an emergency, yet our reorganization was prior to this.

Haldane reorganized the militia and the volunteers. He converted the former into a special reserve to feed the regular army with drafts in war, and the latter into a territorial force. This was the end of the militia. We should have followed Britain's example and reorganized when we threw out the pill box.

Starting Points

One specific reform Canada should adopt at once from British experience is the appointments of a paid adjutant for each non-permanent militia unit. This should be the starting point for other improvements.

Another starting point in reorganization is new equipment. This must be forthcoming immediately in exchange for pre-war uniforms.

The militia needs tanks, steel helmets, gas masks, new equipment and up-to-date weapons if it is to be anything more than a defence farce.

Almost 90% of the time of the Canadian militia officers is spent trying to get the men to turn out. They are under no obligation to attend. They say they do not like the uniforms, they don't like the puttees, they don't like to wear ill-fitting jackets.

Machine power, not manpower, is the determining condition of success in modern warfare. We, in Canada, haven't a sprinkling of the essential machines, so we get more pre-war uniforms at not cost to the public because they are not issued or paid for by units themselves.

We must know something of the weapons which are to be used and we must have the men who can use these machines. If we had new weapons, an overwhelming interest would immediately be created and we would have no trouble getting men in the militia. We could pick and choose them, could interest men who are mechanically minded, students and others who are incorporated into all the other armies in the world.

What possible chance have we to train or make use of the skilled worker who must eventually be the soldier if we have nothing to train with?

We cannot possibly expect to enjoy the benefits of civilization, comfort, security, our boasted high standard of living, even our investments and savings, without doing something to protect them. The most dreadful thing now is that preparation for protection takes time. We cannot spring to arms without having something to spring to. Fortunately some steps in this direction are now being taken.

If a highly industrialized nation like Britain decides to re-arm and three years later is far behind because she has had to make all the basic machinery, dies, stamps before production commences, how much more are we in Canada helpless?

It is not time for new purposes?

If a policeman's sole job was to shoot murderers he would be looked upon very differently to the way we look on him now. The policeman of today is being continually called on to do helpful, constructive jobs. He is looked upon with respect and confidence.

Why can't the militia be linked up in a movement that will be popular, constructive and useful besides "forming fours" and being "steady on parade?"

Think what might be done for the individual by a well-rounded-out militia which would take its place in the larger field of community and national service. The physical instruction training programme in itself would be of great help to many of the organizations of youth, Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts, Girl Guides, Service Clubs, Y.M.C.A.'s. This branch of the service could supply physical, swimming and recreational instruction for boy's camps and the leaders in a general fitness campaign. It could and should work more closely with veterans' organizations.

The militia should have a rehabilitation programme to meet, help and guide unemployed youth, the transients who are now drifting across Canada. There must be given the right kind of leadership. Why should it not come from a national service organization of which the nucleus would be the militia.

Training Opportunities

There should be a training programmes so that members could have the opportunity of learning some other trades than their own outside of office hours and become artists, mechanics or professional men. In this way we could build for the future by increasing the usefulness and earning power of thousands of citizens.

We could give technical opportunities to men and women to learn telephone and telegraph work and other specialized trades, all vital in the life of a nation.

Our armouries are public buildings. Why should they not become centres of community and family life, embracing the activities of all members of the family. They could be used by Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, for all clubs and societies willing to commit themselves and their programme to national service.

In this way existing barriers and mistrust on the part of the general public would be overcome. The individual would benefit. So would the country and the community.

We cannot go on forever feeling that the youth and future of the country is going to be allowed by circumstances to drift safely down the middle of the stream. Responsibility must be taken and the right kind of leadership given. If not, we will suffer as others in the past have suffered when they became lazy and it became too much trouble to look after national affairs.

My plea is that there is no better starting point in such a campaign than a Canadian National Service Corps. To create such a body we should first overhaul the Canadian Militia.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 9 October 2016

Leadership and Tactics (1954)
Topic: Leadership

Leadership and Tactics (1954)

The section and platoon are the teams upon which, in war, the successful handling of the battalion rests.

Canadian Army, Manual of Training; Infantry Section Leading and Platoon Tactics, 1954


1.     A leader must first of all have the confidence of his men, and to gain this he must have confidence in himself. To have justified confidence in himself he must know his job. He must be able to make up his mind, and having done so, stick to his decision. He should keep calm. To show doubt and indecision is a sure way of shaking the confidence of his men. A stout-hearted man will always go on trying; and by doing so he will instil his own fighting spirit into his followers.

2.     Loyalty is an essential of leadership; unless a leader is himself loyal to his superiors, he cannot expect loyal support from his subordinates.

3.     Finally, he must understand discipline. He must command the men of his section firmly, but with common sense and fairness. He must give his orders clearly and, having given an order, must insist on it being efficiently carried out.


1.     The section and platoon are the teams upon which, in war, the successful handling of the battalion rests. Once committed to battle, success or failure will depend largely on the initiative of junior leaders and the efficient tactical handling of their sub-units.

Minor tactics is the application of weapons and formations to the ground. Every platoon and section commander must reach a high standard in the following:—

(a)     Weapon handling.

(b)     Fieldcraft and appreciation of ground.

(c)     Selection and construction of fire positions.

(d)     Concealment and the use and construction of cover.

2.     In war, platoon and section commander have power over the lives of their men. Junior leaders must make every effort to improve their military knowledge in all its aspects, and putting that knowledge into practice, justify themselves as leaders in action.

3.     Tactics are essentially common sense and officers and NCOs should regard them as such. There are certain factors which are constant. These are:—

(a)     The aim. The junior leader must always have a clear picture in his mind of the aim of the commander. From this he must decide on his own immediate aim and make his plan with that aim constantly in mind.

(b)     Surprise. The element of surprise must never be forgotten. Junior leaders should place themselves in the enemy's position and then avoid the obvious course which the enemy would be most likely to expect. Deceiving the enemy, concealment, and speed of action all go towards achieving surprise.

(c)     Simplicity of Plan. A simple, straightforward plan, executed with speed and determination, will always be better than a complicated one. The latter will take longer to prepare and details my be forgotten in the heat of battle.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 9 October 2016 12:06 AM EDT
Saturday, 8 October 2016

Tabloid Food Ousts Tommy's Bully Beef (1932)
Topic: Army Rations

Tabloid Food Ousts Tommy's Bully Beef (1932)

Scientific Ration to replace Soldiers' Tinned Food

The Pittsburgh Press, 21 March 1932

London, March 22.—The familiar bully beef tin is about to make way for a scientific food tablet in the British Tommy's pack.

The new emergency ration is a four-inch block of concentrated sugar, cocoa powder, tea powder, beef powder, oil of lemon and cocoa butter. It will sustain a man for 24 hours.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 7 October 2016

Given Ranking as Members of CEF
Topic: CEF

Given Ranking as Members of CEF

Members of the Headquarters staff and those employed in Canada in organizing or training corps for overseas are members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Order Issued by Militia Department Appreciated by Men Serving at Home

Ottawa Citizen, 17 May 1917

Members of the Headquarters staff and those employed in Canada in organizing or training corps for overseas are members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

This is made clear in an order which has just been issued by the Militia department. While those doing duty at home are thus given their ranking as among the C.E.F. thay are not entitled to the special pay or allowances for those who go overseas.

This notice will provide a welcome announcement to officers and men who are affected by the regulations. Many of them were prevented from going overseas, being retained in this country by the military authorities to carry on the organization and training of Canada's new troops. Others were recalled from service at the front to take up the work of training and supervising the troops in this country. At times the allegation has been made by people who were ignorant of the fact that these men were enjoying "soft" jobs, and were not doing their bit. But now the militia department has officially recognized them as full-fledged members of the Expeditionary Force, and has thus has shown the value of their services.

The Order

The order, as published by the Department of Militia and Defence, reads:—

"The Canadian Expeditionary Force is composed of the following classes of the Canadian Military Forces, namely:

"Those officers and men, who, during the present war have been are, or in the future shall be, serving under the government of the United Kingdom outside of Canada but in the pay of the Dominion Government.

"Those officers and men of the Canadian Military Forces who, during the present war have been are, or in the future shall be, serving in Canada with units intended to be sent overseas.

"Those officers who, during the present war, have been, are, or in the future shall be, serving as members of the Militia Council, and those officers and men of the permanent staff, and of the active militia, who have been, are, or in the future shall be employed in organizing, administering and training the units intended to be sent overseas.

Those officers and men of the permanent force of Canada, who, during the present war, have been, are, or in the future shall be, employed on garrison duty in Canada, or on instructional duties in connection with the units intended to be sent overseas.

"Nothing herein contained shall authorize or entitle the officers and men aforesaid to receive the special pay and allowances granted to the Canadian forces serving overseas, but they shall continue to be entitled to such pay and allowances as are prescribed for them by law and regulations."

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 6 October 2016

Regulations for the Annual Drill (1880)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Regulations Issued for the Annual Drill (1880)

The Sarnia Observer, 14 May 1880

In order to bring the expenditure for drill and training of the active militia, for the fiscal year 1880-81, with the appropriation made by Parliament, the strength of the force to be drilled and pid for that year, has been limited by Order-in-Council to 21,250 officers, non-commissioned officers and men, and 1,275 horses. Payments for drill to be made after the commencement of the financial year (1st July.) As the nominal strength of the active militia is in excess of the number which can be paid, and as it is not desirable to reduce the strength of corps below that established for drill and training of 1879-80, viz., forty-two non-commissioned officers and men, including staff sergeants and bandsmen, provision has been made for the selection of the corps which may drill in the different districts, each district being allotted its full quota in proportion to the total strength of all corps therein. The maximum number of officers, non-commissioned officers and men to receive pay for drill in each district will therefore be:—

  • Mil. Dis. No. 1 – 2,500
  • Mil. Dis. No. 2 – 3,600
  • Mil. Dis. No. 3 – 2,000
  • Mil. Dis. No. 4 – 1,300
  • Mil. Dis. No. 5 – 3,300
  • Mil. Dis. No. 6 – 1,500
  • Mil. Dis. No. 7 – 2,200
  • Mil. Dis. No. 8 – 1,500
  • Mil. Dis. No. 9 – 2,200
  • Mil. Dis. No. 10 – 400
  • Mil. Dis. No. 11 – 300
  • Mil. Dis. No. 12 – 450
  • Total – 21,250

In the selections from corps for drill of 1880-81, field batteries of artillery are to be first taken; 2nd, corps in cities; 3rd, corps not drilled last year; 4th, to complete quota authorized, corps to be selected from the different arms in each district, in proportion as their strength bears to each other. When practicable, the selection is also to be by battalion.

Men going to camp a distance of five miles of more will be allowed one and one-half cent per mile in lieu of transport. Six days, exclusive of Sundays, are to be spent in camp. Officers to receive the pay of their ranks. Men will be paid 60 cents per day, and for horses $1 per day will be allowed. For rations—i.e., fuel, food, water, and light—25 cents per day for each man will be allowed, and for horses 35 cents. The officers, non-commissioned officers, gunners and drivers will be paid for the days (not exceeding ten) they are actually present in camp as follows: The officers and non-commissioned officers the pay of their ranks; the gunners and drivers at the rate of 60 cents, and for horses 41 per diem. Rations and forage will not be issued in kind, but an allowance will be granted in lieu thereof for rations (food, fuel, water and light) at the rate of 25 cents for each officer, non-commissioned officer, gunner and driver per diem, and forage at the rate of 35 cents for each horse per diem.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Guns for New Fort at Halifax (1901)
Topic: Halifax

Guns for New Fort at Halifax (1901)

Military Wharves to be Extended and Other Improvements Made at Once

The Daily Telegraph, Quebec, 22 May 1901

Halifax, May 22—Orders were received from England to-day to have Bellevue, the residence of the commander-in-chief of British North America, put in thorough repair with all possible speed. This is taken to indicate the appointment of a new commander-in-chief before the arrival in Canada of the Duke and Duchess of York. It has also developed to-day that the steamer Evangeline, now on her way from England, has a number of guns for the new forts, southwest of York Redoubt. They are two 9.2 and four 8-inch quick-firing guns of the Cabot pattern.

York Redoubt is to have five new 9-inch and two 7-inch quick firing guns.

The present strength of MacNab's outside battery is two 6-inch breach-loaders and one ten-inch, all quick firing guns. These will be augmented by two more 7-inch guns.

Fort Cambridge will be supplied with two new 6-inch and four 4.7-inch quick-firing guns, while Ives Point battery will get two 9-inch and two 9.2-inch. Some of these are expected on the Evangeline.

Fort Ogilvie's two 6-inch quick-firing guns will be augmented by two more of the same calibre. The casement battery on MacNab's Island will be reconstructed, and three guns now there will be condemned and replaced by quick-firing ones.

It is intended to extend the military wharves on the island in order to get a sufficient depth of water to allow ocean steamers to land armament, etc., there. Fort Clarence is being extended, and a number of men on it will be kept busy there for some time to come. The old guns will be replaced by quick-firing ones.

It is stated that in the defence improvements contemplated, Great Britain is only keeping on her old policy of keeping pace in fortress improvements with those in the fleets of the different nations. Up to within a few years the Halifax forts were thought to be able, with the assistance of the British ships on the station, to cope with the fleet which any attacking nation might send, but there have been great improvements in fighting ships in recent years, and it is to keep pace with these improvements that the six years' work laid out is intended.

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Battery Locations at Halifax

The following map shows battery locations of the Halifax defences (from Defending Halifax: Ordnance, 1825-1906; A.J.B. Johnson, No. 46 History and Archaeology, Parks Canada, 1981):

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Equipment of Infantry (1943)
Topic: Militaria

Equipment of Infantry (1943)

… to equip an infantry division with war-like stores takes 179,101 packing cases, 4,165 road vehicles, and seven 10,000 ships. The equipment weighs 12,500 tons deadweight.

London Exhibition

The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 5 January 1943
Our Staff Correspondent

London, Jan. 7.—For the first time in the history of the British Army, the complete equipment of an infantry division has been assembled under one roof.

This exhibition has been arranged by Ordnance to demonstrate the complexity of modern equipment. It is being visited by British, Allied, and Dominion officers.

In a great hall is ranged every type of the equipment required to put a British infantry division in the field.

There are many new weapons on the secret list and others which already have been tested on the field of battle.

Some new developments can be mentioned. There are the new rifle and bayonet which are being issued to the British and Canadian armies. The rifle is not substantially different from the older model, but its simplified design makes mass production easier, and it weighs a few ounces less.

The bayonet, in comparison with last war's model, seems absurdly short, light, and toy-like.

Silent Speech

The general tendency towards simplification is especially notable in wireless equipment. An interesting development is a one-man wireless set, in which the voice is transmitted not from the mouth but by vibrations from the throat, enabling "silent speech."

The display of soldier's rations includes tins of self-heating soup. They are ordinary tins containing a cylinder of heating matter, which can be lighted from a cigarette and heats the tin in four or five minutes.

Coloured graphs on the walls enable staff officers to see at a glance the transport required to move divisional equipment. For example, to equip an infantry division with war-like stores takes 179,101 packing cases, 4,165 road vehicles, and seven 10,000 ships. The equipment weighs 12,500 tons deadweight.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 3 October 2016

[US] Army Tries to Reduce Pack Weight (1963)
Topic: Soldiers' Load

[US] Army Tries to Reduce Pack Weight (1963)

The Bulletin, Serving Bend and Central Oregon, 11 June 1963

Washington—(UPI)—the Army is doing its best to reduce the pack of the foot-slogging soldier, but progress has been slow, the Defence Department reported today,.

The fully armed infantry man now carries a total of 90 pounds of clothing, weapon and pack.

This compares with just over 100 pounds when the GI's surged over the beaches on D-Day in World War II, and with 92 pounds in the frigid cold of Korea.

Scientific studies have shown that, ideally, the infantryman should not carry more than 50 pounds, preferably by hand—or not more than 40 pounds in a shoulder pack. So there still is a long way to go.

Asks for Study

According to the independent Army-Navy-Air Force Journal, Defence Secretary Robert S. McNamara has asked for a study of the weight of the soldier's pack. The publication said that the study was included on a list of projects not yet made public.

But the Journal noted that every previous defense secretary has asked for similar studies, with little noticeable result.

The Army said the World War II and Korea packs were almost the same, except the latter was "lightened by using a bed roll instead of blankets."

Somewhat lighter packaging and thinner cartridge cases have helped trim off another two pounds wince the Korean War.

Makup of Load

The current distribution of the soldier's weight-load was given as follows:

  • Clothing, including a nine-pound armored vest, 23 pounds.
  • Battle load, including a rifle, grenades, ammunition, and so forth, 31 pounds.
  • The pack, called the "existence and comfort load" and including bed roll, gas mask, toilet articles, rations and such, 36 pounds.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 2 October 2016

British Compiling Dictionary to Preserve Slang of Tommy (1921)
Topic: Soldier Slang

British Compiling Dictionary to Preserve Slang of Tommy

Words and Phrases Used by English Soldiers in the Trenches to Be Placed in Museum—Seek History of Words

St. Petersburg Times, 19 November 1921

London, No. 18.—An effort is to be made to preserve in the British museum the war time slang of the British Tommy. For the benefit of the students of the great war a dictionary is in the course of compilations dealing with the many words and phrases born of the war.

The secretary of the imperial war museum has issued a request for notes on the subject giving the slang terms used in the British army, together with the meaning of the words and, if possible, their derivation.

Much of this slang was a legacy of the old regular soldier at Mons and originated for the most part in the east. The most popular and most romantic and sentimental was "blighty." That is now almost universally used. It was derived from the Hindustani and means home.

However, the history of such expressions as "kip," "posh," "wangle," "eyewash," "swank," "square pushing" or "wind-up" is not yet written, and the secretary aforesaid is now carefully collating his data. In his request for data the secretary naively suggests "that, of course, many of the army terms are not polite and hardly fit for publication."

As a rule, however, the slang of the British Tommy has a much more wholesome derivation than most of the French "argot les tranches."

One Trench Language

Perhaps the most astounding thing about the army slang of the British is the generality of its uses. Those knowing Great Britain know that the dialect of no two counties is alike. The accent of the Lancashiremen is as different as possible from that of his neighbor, the Yorkshireman, while the troops from Northumberland were completely and wonderfully unintelligible to the rest of the British Army. Many of the Welsh regiments, too, could speak no other language, but their native Welsh. Yet the language of the trench was the same for all.

To all a "brass hat" was a staff field officer. True, the Scotsman put two extra "rs" into it, and the Northumbrian, as he is wont, "gutturalled" the "r" and made it appear like—well, certainly nothing which could be printed.

Some of the examples are as follows:

  • Air-flappers—Army signallers.
  • Archie—An anti-aircraft gun. (Probably a corruption of air-craft.)
  • Bully—Bully Beef—Tinned corned beef. (A relic of South Africa.)
  • Buchshee—Anything which is to spare or can be borrowed. (Derived from the African beggars' terms backsheesh.)
  • Blighty—Home, England. (Hindustani.)
  • Bynt—A young woman (Arabic).
  • Cushy—Soft. (Derived from cushion. A cushy wound is a slight wound. A cushy job is a task which can be performed sitting down.)

Some Hindu, Too.

  • Dekko—To look. (Hindustani.)
  • Eyewash—Over-elaboration, generally in some scheme to hoodwink a general.
  • Emma Gees—The signalling term for the initials M.G., i.e., machine gunner.
  • Jerry—A German soldier.
  • Kip—To sleep; a bed.
  • Lancejack—A lance corporal.
  • Leaf—Leave of absence (Corruption of leave.)
  • Monjy—Bread, or something to eat. (Corruption of the French.)
  • Posh—Ultra smart.
  • Padre—An army chaplain.
  • Quarter bloke—The quartermaster.
  • Red Cap—An army policeman who wears a red cap.
  • Scupper—To wipe out completely.
  • Square Pushing—To walk out with a sweetheart in a soldier's best uniform.
  • Sapper—An engineer.
  • Swanking—Four-flushing.
  • Snob—The regimental bootmaker.
  • Snips—The regimental tailor.
  • Wangle—To achieve an objective by doubtful means. "Wangling leaf" means to get leave of absence by giving a false reason.
  • Wind-up—To be nervous and apprehensive. It does not necessarily mean frightened; many of the bravest soldiers confessed to having the "wind up." In the officers' mess it was known generally as the "vertical breeze" or the "draught."
  • Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 23 September 2016 9:25 PM EDT
Saturday, 1 October 2016

Over at the Camp (1900)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Over at the Camp (1900)

How the Militia Pass Their Time at Laprairie
Major-General's Visit
Inspected the men and Their Surroundings Yesterday—Was Well Pleased With What He Saw

The Montreal Gazette, 3 July 1900

Laprairie camp is not at its height, and hard work is the order of every day. Yesterday began the second week of training, and the soldiers now wear the look of veterans. Confederation and its memories were not allowed to interfere with the instruction of "Tommy," and yesterday was, if anything, the hardest day yet. Owing to the bad weather at the end of last week, not over much was done, and on Saturday the officers say that commands simply could not be heard even at short range, on account of the violent wind and rain storm.

The number of volunteers in camp is somewhat less than last year. In all three brigades there are 2,276 officers, non-commissioned officers and men. The cavalry brigade, which is quite a large one, occupies the lower ground to the west, next the river. Above this are the D.O.C.'s and staff headquarters. Then, extending in a long line, parallel with the river, and high up on the ridge, are the two main brigades, English and French, the latter being to the west.

Colonel Aylmer, adjutant-general, and acting Major-General Commanding, arrived at camp yesterday morning, and inspected the men and their surroundings. This was not the final inspection, which will only take place on Thursday, probably, but Colonel Aylmer expressed himself as very well pleased with what he saw, and spoke in particularly complimentary terms of the French brigade. Everyone knows that these men labor under considerable disadvantage, when competing against others, and the words of command are all necessarily in English. The adjutant-general will be at camp again today, and will likely remain until the end of the week. After a field day and inspection, the camp will break up on Saturday. Some of the regiments leave early in the morning.

The general health of the men is excellent. The weather has, of course, been quite cool, and consequently there have not been the usual number of sunstrokes, and other troubles. Drill lasts pretty continuously throughout the day, until four o'clock, when the men are free to do what they like; except those who are detailed for duties, as picquet, guard, etc. Discipline also has been well maintained, and good progress is being made in the drill.

The bearer company will go into camp on Thursday, and be inspected along with the rest. Major Birkett had been working hard, and has got them into good shape. Major Birkett himself has been at camp during the whole time. Accidents have been few, though one man shot his finger off at the ranges the other day. There is no artillery present in camp. They will probably go in September.

The men are all in good spirits, and have not had any "complaints." Many of them yesterday afternoon came across to the city to enjoy themselves as well as they might, after their day's routine was through. Among the officers and their friends there was some convivial confederation for the sake of the Dominion.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 30 September 2016

Operation Orders
Topic: Staff Duties

"It is essential that subordinates should not only be able to work intelligently and resolutely in accordance with brief orders or instructions, but should also be able to take upon themselves, whenever necessary, the responsibility of departing from, or of varying, the orders they may have received".

Operation Orders

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

Combatant officers of every rank are required to issue orders of some kind or other, and orders for operations should always be committed to paper when circumstances permit. The object of an operation order is to bring orders of about a course of action in accordance with the intentions of the commander, and with full co-operation between all units.

Operation orders of a complicated nature are unlikely be to required from the pen of infantry officers in the junior ranks, and the rules for drafting orders are stated in detail in the official text-books, for the use of officers of the ranks that will be required to issue them.

The general principles underlying orders of all kinds are that they should be "fool proof," and it has been remarked that the writer of orders should always remember that at least one silly ass will try to misunderstand them. They must, therefore, be void of all ambiguity, and while containing every essential piece of information, and omitting everything that is clearly known already to the recipients, they should be confined to facts, and conjecture should be avoided.

"An operation order must contain just what the recipient requires to know and nothing more. It should tell him nothing which he can and should arrange for himself, and, especially in the case of large forces, will only enter into details when details are absolutely necessary. Any attempt to prescribe to a subordinate at a distance anything which he, with a fuller knowledge of local conditions, should be better able to decide on the spot, is likely to cramp his initiative in dealing with unforeseen developments, and will be avoided. In particular, such expressions as 'Will await further orders' should be avoided" ("Field Service Regulations," vol. ii. (1921)).

Apart from the standing rules as to the printing of names of places in block type, including a reference to the map used, dating and signing the orders, numbering the copies, and stating the time and method of issue, etc., the general tenor of all operation orders will always be" The enemy are … My intention is … You will … In other words, all that is known about the enemy, and of our own troops, that is essential for the purposes of the order, should be revealed; then the general intention of the commander who issues the orders; then the part in the operations that is to be played by the recipient. But the method of attaining the object will be left to the utmost extent possible to the recipient, with due regard to his personal characteristics. "It is essential that subordinates should not only be able to work intelligently and resolutely in accordance with brief orders or instructions, but should also be able to take upon themselves, whenever necessary, the responsibility of departing from, or of varying, the orders they may have received" ("Field Service Regulations," vol. ii. (1921)).

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 29 September 2016

50,700 War Medals Still Unclaimed (1931)
Topic: Medals

50,700 War Medals Still Unclaimed

Number Represents About One-Seventh of Those Who Served Overseas

The Montreal Gazette, 31 December 1931
(By the Canadian Press)

Ottawa, December 30.—War medals are still awaiting distribution to 50,700 former members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, or about one-seventh of the personnel who enlisted and proceeded to the front. Recently a general impetus seems to have been given to the demand for these decorations, and distribution has been made at a greater rate than for some considerable time past. Officials feel that the cause may lie in the growing feeling of the veterans that, with the rising generation which was in it infancy during the war asking the well-worn question: "What did you do in the Great War, Daddy," the tokens of service will be sufficient evidence to enlighten the questioners.

Replacements for lost discharge certificates are in great demand by ex-service men. Throughout the years many of these parchments have disappeared from family records, and for very much the same reason substitutes are being sought. In place of a duplicate of the discharge certificate the men are given a "record of service," which for all official purposes has exactly the same value.

With the Great War now fading into the past, veterans are more and more manifesting pride in the services which in the years between 1914 and 1918 they rendered to Canada and to the world.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 10 September 2016 1:32 PM EDT
Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Sam Boast
Topic: Officers

Sam Boast

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

Sam Boast. In the late 1920s the officers of 2nd Battalion The South Lancashire Regiment subscribed towards a piece of silver which would serve as a memorial to those of their brother officers who had died in the Great War. The well-known sculptor Ried Dick was commissioned to make a silver statuette of a subaltern of the 82nd dressed in field service uniform. The honour of being the model fell to 2nd Lieutenant S.W. 'Sam' Boast MC because he seemed to symbolise the tradition of family service, the mutual trust and respect between officers and men, and the unifying and sustaining spirit of the Regiment. The Boasts had a tradition of service with the South Lancashires and at one time four of the family were serving together as Quartermaster, Platoon Commander, Drum Major and Drummer, while three Boast brothers won the Military Cross during the Great War. Sam, having been commissioned in the field, was decorated for gallantry in 1918. The sculpture was completed in 1930 and has had pride of place in the 1st Battalion Officers' Mess ever since. By tradition, Sam is never cleaned because the unpolished silver conveys the rugged feel of the mud of Flanders. His helmet, however, is shiny from the touch of generations of Regimental officers who, by leaning on Sam, can identify with the deeds of their forebears. At first sight, Sam looks rather stern and aggressive, but this is superficial. He represents, above all else, the good-humoured determination of the fighting men of Lancashire to succeed whatever the cost.

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Sam Boast's Medals

In 2015, Sam Boast's medals were acquired at auction by his Regiment.

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Dix Noonan Webb Auction; 25 Feb 2015 catalogue

M.C. London Gazette 3 June 1918:

'For distinguished service in connection with Military Operations in France and Flanders.'

Sidney William Boast arrived in France as a Corporal in the 2nd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment on 14 August 1914, in which capacity he would have first gone into action at Frameries on the 24th. The Battalion suffered heavy casualties during the retreat from Mons, Captain H. Whalley-Kelly recording five officers and 149 other ranks killed, seven officers and 301 other ranks wounded or missing (Ich Dien - The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire) 1914-1934, refers).

Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in his old battalion in October 1916, he was subsequently awarded the M.C. and mentioned in despatches (London Gazette 28 December 1918, refers). Mention of him is to be found in Ich Dien - The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire) 1914-1934:

'On the 23rd [October 1918], it was found that the enemy had destroyed the pontoon bridge by shell fire, but orders were issued for another to be constructed that night, and 'D' Company, under Lieutenant S. W. Boast, M.C., was detailed to establish themselves on the east bank. At 1.50 a.m. on the 24th the bridge was completed, and a platoon, under 2nd Lieutenant P. J. Nolan, crossed without opposition. Once across, Lieutenant Nolan advanced rapidly, no enemy being encountered until a burning house was reached several hundred yards beyond the river bank. At this point the platoon came under point-blank machine-gun fire from a building about 100 yards away, and also from other enemy post in the vicinity. One of these was located and rushed with the bayonet, whereupon two Germans were seen running from the building carrying what appeared to be the machine gun; they were fired upon, but the result is not known. Lieutenant Nolan then continued to work his way forward, but almost at once his platoon again came under heavy machine-gun fire, making further progress impossible, and he withdrew it to a position covering the bridge, where the sections entrenched. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Boast, with two of the other platoons, had crossed and established a position on the east bank. At 4 a.m. both banks were heavily shelled with gas and high explosive, and the pontoon bridge again destroyed, while 'D' Company's hastily organized defences became untenable as soon as daylight disclosed their exact location to the enemy. At 7 a.m. Lieutenant Boast withdrew his company to the west bank via the bridge on the front of the battalion on the right. The bold handling of 'D' Company on this occasion was a fine example of the policy of harassing the retiring Germans without intermission, even though the main advance might be temporarily held up owing to the difficulty of getting supplies forward across the devastated regions in the wake of the pursuers, and the desire to avoid needless casualties. These harassing tactics, in the conditions of open warfare now prevailing gave ample scope for initiative and skill on the part of company and platoon commanders, and the account of the various minor operations carried out in the last few weeks of the war shows that those of the Battalion let no opportunity slip.'

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Militia Organization in New Brunswick (1864)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Militia Organization in New Brunswick

Morning Chronicle, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 27 September 1864

Upon instituting a comparison between the condition of discipline existing in the militia of this [i.e., Nova Scotia] and the adjoining Province of New Brunswick, it would appear that in point of order and efficiency the contrast is strikingly in our favour. From all parts of Nova Scotia we have received most flattering accounts of the success of the movement, and notices commendatory of the earnestness, zeal, and attention which characterized the militiaman in the performance of the duties required of them, have occupied more or less space in all the local papers throughout the Province. With trifling exceptions, the best of order and decorum have been present without recourse to any stringent or severe measures for the enforcement of duty. Speaking generally, the militia have performed the service, by law demanded, with a readiness and cheerfulness worthy of all commendation. Our New Brunswick neighbors, however, have not been so fortunate in this respect. The Freeman, in noticing the annual muster of St. John militia on the barrack square, of that city, on Wednesday last, says:

"The men were almost as frolicsome if not as unruly as last year, and it was hard work to get them into anything like order, or to keep them in it; and they laughed, cheers, applauded, or hooted, as their fancy prompted. An attempt was made to drill them, but little success could be hoped for in so short a time and under such circumstances. Two or three disorderly men, it was said, were put under arrest and sent to gaol in the early part of the day."

The St. John Telegraph, in noticing the same muster, says:

"After the companies were got into position to muster, rolls were called and then the work of drilling commenced; and such drilling was surely never seen since the days of Falstaff and his ragged regiment. It was possible to get the militia into line after a fashion, but very attempt to move them resulted in general "demoralization." The most sage tactician in the service could not have marched companies around the town pump, even with the aid of a military guard to keep them straight, and the real soldiers who looked from the windows of the barracks upon the scene must have been much amused at the mockery of military drill that was displayed yesterday. Lieut. Col. Robertson threatened to keep some of the companies at drill until 6 o'clock, forgetting that to execute such an order would have required a much greater military force than he had at his command if the companies chose to rebel, which they undoubtedly would have done."

The following colloquy occurred between an officer of rank and a straggler:—

Colonel—"What the deuce are you doing here? This ain't your company."

Militiaman—"I'm looking for Capt. Tisdale's company"

Colonel—"Why the d—l don't you find it then?"

Militiaman—"I don't know where to find it."

Colonel—"I'll soon make you find it."

With this the Colonel ran at him with his horse and tried to run him down, but the man made his escape amidst a torrent of abuse.

Col. Robertson pronounced Company No. 3 the worst on the field, although it contained a number of first class merchants. We are sorry to hear such an account of them, but we fear they will never be able fully to appreciate the beauties of our Militia Law.

Some of the officers did not appear to know much more about the drill than their men; others, however, understood their business better and presented a very creditable appearance.

The following speech was made by Captain Rowan to his Company, and may be accepted as a fair example of military eloquence:—

"Now, men if you would become soldiers, stand up straight; hold up your heads, eyes front; draw in your toes; lean well forward on your feet; expand your chest, draw in your belly; and stand ready for the word of command." (Merriment and "hear, hear" from the Company.)

He told them to keep in as straight a line as possible, which general order, we are sorry to say, was not precisely kept to the letter.

Some of the orders given by the officers on horseback to those on foot were quite singular to a professional ear—such as "More to the right, Davidson"—"Take up your dressing, Skinner"—"Do you call that dressing, Hammond."

After the militia had been put through their facings, and marched around the parade ground once—an experiment which they did not repeat—They were again brought to a stand and formed in line. Great insubordination had by this time begun to prevail, and every one wanted to get home. Some had notes to pay, some had bills to collect, and some wanted their dinners. Company 2 had been boiling over with indignation ever since the Colonel told them he would keep them on the field until 6, and swore they would not stay 15 minutes longer for all the Colonels in New Brunswick. At this juncture the Colonel seemed about to make a speech, but the cheering and yelling was so great that not a word could be heard. The only part of it they understood was the order to disband, and this they did with an alacrity which showed their hearts were in the work. In ten minutes not a civilian was to be seen in the field where a thousand stood before. Thus ended the greatest farce of the year."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 26 September 2016

Officer's Right to Wear His Uniform
Topic: Discipline

Officer's Right to Wear His Uniform

Case Against Major ("Foghorn") MacDonald Opened in Police Court
Disputed Regulation
Defence Contended That Major Could Not Be Discharged During Duration of War

The Montreal Gazette, 14 September 1918

An earlier Minute Book entry on "Foghorn" MacDonald - "Foghorn" MacDonald Attains Distinction in Service at Front (1916)

Questions as to the legality of the act of the Adjutant-General of Canada in striking Major Neil Roderick ("Foghorn") MacDonald from the strength of the active list of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces and transferring him to the reserve of officers were set by Mr. W.K. McKeown, K.C., counsel for the defence, when the trial charging Major MacDonald with wearing a uniform without permission when off duty opened in the Police Court before Judge Leet yesterday.

Mr. McKeown, throughout the course of the proceedings, declared that it was the intention of the defence to prove that the act was not in conformity with the agreement entered into between the King and major MacDonald, when the latter enlisted as a private in the Canadian Army. Another serious question raised by the attorney for the defence was whether the Canadian Expeditionary Force is part of the Canadian Militia and governed by the King's regulations for the Canadian Militia, or whether it was part of the British army and governed by the King's regulations for the Imperial army. The legal points were the subject of much debate among the lawyers and Lieut.-Col. Hill. G.S.O., who was the star witness for the for the prosecution.

When the case was opened Mr. M.L. Gosselin, K.C., acting for the prosecution, declared that Major MacDonald had been struck off the strength of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on December 14, 1917 and that by routine order of march 18, 1918, Major MacDonald was transferred to the reserve of officers. He was off duty since December 14, and had been warned to take off his uniform, which he had been wearing in public. Mr. McKeown, however, contended that Major MacDonald had enlisted for the duration of the war and six months after it had concluded if necessary, and had made a contract with the King. He went overseas as a private and rose to the rank of major. Application was then made for his transfer to the Forestry Corps, and after serving for three years in France he was successful, last fall, in securing a furlough for three months. While in Canada, he was struck off the strength without his request. The defence, therefore, contended that a man could only be struck off the strength for three reasons, viz., death, discharge, and the stopping of pay.

Liable for Service

Judge Leet then asked Mr. Gosselin if Major MacDonald could be called upon to render military services while a member of the reserve of officers, and Mr. Gosselin replied in the affirmative, stating that any man is liable to be called up. In the meantime, however, he is not serving. "If they had needed Major MacDonald's services," said Mr. Gosselin, "they would have kept him on active service. This man has tendered his resignation."

Judge Leet—"Has it been accepted?"

Mr. McKeown—"No. My Lord, that's what we contend."

Lieut.-Col. Hill was then called to the stand to give evidence. He explained that Major MacDonald had no right to wear the King's uniform after December 14, when he was struck off the strength of the C.E.F., and his pay stopped. When asked who issued the order regarding Major MacDonald's discharge, Col. Hill said that it came from the Adjutant-General at headquarters.

At this point the question whether the C.E.F. was part of the Canadian Militia or the British army was raised. Col. Hill declared emphatically that the C.E.F. was part of the Canadian Militia, while Mr. McKeown was of the opinion that it was part of the British army, and Judge Leet seemed to think along the same lines as the lawyer.

"While in England," said the colonel, "they come under the direct control and supervision of the Overseas Minister of Militia. When in France they come under the British army."

Col. Hill, in continuing his evidence, said that Major MacDonald had received forms from the Adjutant-General asking him to fill them in if he desired to be placed on the Reserve of Officers. Instead of that Major MacDonald said he wished to return to the infantry.

Mr. Gosselin—"Did you see Major MacDonald last February?"—"In February or early in March."

"In connection with the uniform?"—"Yes. It was reported to me that this officer was appearing in public in uniform. I had written to him on February 28 about this matter, and had advised him not to wear it again. After he received the letter he came to see me. He gave me to understand that he was shortly to get his civilian clothes, and as soon as they were ready he would discontinue wearing his uniform.

Serve During War

Mr. Mckeown—By the declaration made by officers do they engage to serve during the war similar to the men?—I think so.

Do you know of any document signed by Major MacDonald which would modify those attestation papers?—he was notified that he was struck off the strength and was transferred to the reserve of officers. He acknowledged this and thereby accepted it.

Do you refer to the document regarding the transfer in which he stated that he wished to be transferred to the infantry?—Yes.

You referred to this as an application of transfer to the reserve. Is it not true that this document shows nothing of the kind, that there is nothing said in it indicating that Major MacDonald thereby applied to be transferred to the reserve? Is there any mention of the reserve in this document?—Not on the face of it.

Have you any other documents to indicate whereby Major MacDonald in any way modified the terms of the original attestation in December, 1914?—No, there is no record. There is a record of his having signed a document promoting him for commissioned rank.

You have stated, Col. Hill, that Major MacDonald was struck off the the strength on December 14, 1917, what was the procedure by which major MacDonald was struck off the strength at that time?—A letter from the Adjutant-General at headquarters to the O.C. of Military District No. 4 informing him that in accordance with his request Major MacDonald had been struck off the strength.

How long have you been with the Militia?—Twenty-two years.

Are you conversant with the King's regulations and orders which govern the Canadian Militia, which govern the British army?—We have the King's regulations for the Canadian Militia and there are also the King's regulations for the Imperials.

Which apply to members of the Canadian Militia?—Both.

Which has the precedence?—In Canada, the Canadian, overseas the Imperial.

From Adjutant-General

Are you familiar with these two sets?—Fairly well.

Can you indicate to the court the authority for the letter dated Ottawa, December 28, 1917, purporting to report that Major MacDonald had been struck off the strength from December 14, 1917?—That's a letter from the Adjutant-General or one of his deputies. That letter was written under the authority given the Adjutant-General,

Which set?—General order No. 1 of 1905, under the duties of the Adjutant-General.

Is there anything in the King's regulations and orders for the Canadian Militia giving authority for the letter, apart from section 11, paragraph c.?—Undoubtedly, I don't happen to know it.

I mean is there any other order which will justify this letter?—Not that I know of.

Can you indicate anything in the King's regulations and orders authorizing the striking off strength of officers and their transfer to the reserve list?—Paragraph 26.

Are there any other provisions in the King's regulations and orders dealing with the transfer of officers to the reserve?—Not that I know of.

According to you, under which set of these regulations does Major MacDonald fall?—The regulations for the Canadian Militia.

Is it not a fact that the officers are struck off the strength only in virtue of district orders, and not by letters?—Not necessarily. A letter from the Adjutant-General is sufficient authority.

Now is there any cause assigned anywhere for the action in striking Major MacDonald off the strength?—yes.

The witness then produced a letter from the Adjutant-General to major-General Wilson, dated November 14, 1917, stating that Major MacDonald's leave expired on December 13, 1917, and that a communication had been received from overseas saying his services would be more valuable in Canada than overseas. The letter informing the Adjutant-General of this was written by Major Moorhead, director-general of timber operations.

In continuing the cross-examination, Col. Hill said that Major MacDonald's record was a clean one, and that he had risen from the ranks to a high post in the army.

Mr. McKeown told Judge Leet that there was absolutely no power or authority by which the militia could discharge Major MacDonald from the active force and transfer him to the reserve list.

Col. Hill also admitted that the transfer to the reserve did not change Major MacDonald's status, and that being struck off the strength did not affect his standing as an officer. It merely meant that he was not a member of the active force.

Capt. J.S. Livingstone, provost-marshal, was the second and last witness to be called by the prosecution.

Did you see him in the month of August in connection with the wearing of his uniform?—I did.

What was your object in speaking to him?—To have him take it off.

The witness declared that Major MacDonald had informed Col. Piche, acting O.C. for Military District No. 4, that he would take off his uniform.

This concluded the evidence, and Judge Leet announced that the case would be adjourned until Thursday morning next, when the defence will be heard.

elipsis graphic

Charge Against Soldier Dropped

Concerned Major ("Foghorn") MacDonald's Right to Wear Uniform New Order-in-Council Gave Power to Try By Courts Martial, But Major Appeared in Mufti

Montreal Gazette, 20 September 1918

An effective compromise in the case of Major "Foghorn" MacDonald's persistence in wearing his uniform in defiance of orders from the provost marshal and the military authorities to the contrary developed yesterday afternoon in the Police Court, when the defendant appeared for the first time in mufti and Mr. Louis Gosselin, K.C., representing the plaintiff, withdrew the case because the order-in-council under which he had been prosecuting the defendant had been superceded by a new order-in-council lately issued. Mr. W.K. McKeown, K.C., for Major MacDonald indicated that his client abated not one jot or tittle of his claims that he had the right to wear the uniform but had resumed mufti because his understood that it had been the intention to arrest him on the withdrawal of the police court proceedings in order to try the case by court martial under the new order-in-council. It was intimated by Mr. McKeown that the case would next reappear on the floor of the House of Commons.

Mr. Louis Gosselin, K.C., opened the proceedings by saying, "I wish to make a statement regarding the MacDonald case. The authority underlying the prosecution of Major MacDonald for the wearing of his uniform while not actually on active service and without permission was order-in-council, P.C. 17, dated January 4, 1918. Dince this case began the order-in-council 17 has been replaced by order-in-council P.C. 2161. The new order-in-council does not reserve any pending litigation. The authority under which this prosecution was commenced having lapsed, it had become necessary to withdraw this case. Such a case as the present one now finds authority under order-in-council P.C. 2161, which grants recourse either to a court martial under Section 40 of the Army Act or to the Civil Courts.

"I now find that since the adjournment this morning Major MacDonald has discarded his uniform and is now in mufti. This is in compliance with the law which was all we wanted. Under these circumstances, I suppose the case will be dropped.

Mr McKeown's Statement

Mr. W.J. McKeown, K.C., made the following statement on behalf of Major MacDonald:

"On behalf of Major MacDonald I wish to publicly declare that he has had no participation whatever in the move just made by the militia authorities in withdrawing the charge of wearing his uniform as a major without right.

"The proof already of record by the witnesses for the prosecution shows that from the time of his enlistment in September, 1914, to date, there has never been any charge whatever made against Major MacDonald, and that on the contrary his services to his king and country on the battlefields of Flanders earned for him successive promotion from private to the rank of major. After three years' service he applied for an was granted three months furlough and it was while Major MacDonald was here in Canada enjoying a well-earned rest, that the militia authorities took it upon themselves to dispense with his further services.

For Duration of War

"Major MacDonald's contention has always been and still is that in virtue of his attestation papers of September, 1914, and order-council No. 372, his enlistment was for the duration of the war and his status that of an officer of the British army, and that he is in no way subject to the orders of the Militia Department at Ottawa, and in any event, that no authority exists for the action of the adjutant-general taken in December last in striking him off the strength of the C.E.F. or for the routine and district orders of March following purporting to transfer him to the reserve list of C.E.F. officers.

"It having been intimated to Major MacDonald that it is the intention of militia authorities immediately upon the withdrawal of the police court proceedings, to cause his arrest for trial by court martial under an order-in-council dated the 5th of the present month, and not yet published in the Canada Gazette he has, upon advice of counsel decided to return to mufti so that the substantial question of his status and rights may be neither obscured nor jeopardized by a decision of a court martial upon a technical offence involving only the matter of his right to wear his uniform.

"It is, however, the intention of Major MacDonald's friends to pursue what they believe to be his rights in the connection, and to maintain the same by every legal means available and it is quite likely that the current subject will be aired upon continuance of the House of Commons in the next session. There is no objection to the withdrawal of the complaint on the present occasion."

Military Discipline

Judge Leet—"What is the distinction between the old and the new authority?

Mr. Gosselin—"The new authority provides that the man who wears the uniform without right is by that act made subject to military discipline and law and may be dealt with under Section 40 of the Army Act for conduct contrary to discipline. The fact of wearing a uniform subjects a civilian to military discipline for the purposes of that offence only. Under those circumstances I could not proceed but had to take the prosecution under the new order-in-council and that will only permit a trial before court martial. A man wearing the uniform is made subject for that purpose to a court martial. We are not after punishment of any kind but we did desire that the major should comply with orders. The theory of the Militia Department is that he is already discharged. He was requested to take his uniform off and on two occasions he promised. He is in mufti now, and we are satisfied."

Judge Leet—"As the original authority has been superseded, I don't see that there is anything to do but to allow the withdrawal."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 25 September 2016

Bayonets and Sabres (1878)
Topic: Cold Steel

Bayonets and Sabres (1878)

Boston Evening Transcript, 13 August 1878
[From the New York Times]

General Winfield Scott used to assert that such a thing as a bayonet wound inflicted in a charge was almost unheard of in his experience; and General Grant says in effect that in modern warfare "neither the sabre nor the bayonet is of use."

General Grant is reported to have said recently, at Berlin, to an officer in the German Army detailed to his suite, that he questioned very much whether in modern war the sabre of the bayonet was of use. "What I mean," said the general, "is this: Anything that adds to the burdens carried by the soldier is a weakness to the army. Every ounce he carries should tell in his efficiency. The bayonet is heavy, and if it were removed, or if its weight in food or ammunition were added to its place, the army would be stronger. As for the bayonet as a weapon, if soldiers come near enough to use it, they can do as much good with the club end of their muskets. The same is true as to sabres. I would take away the bayonet, and give the soldiers pistols in place of sabres. A sabre is always an awkward thing to carry."

The general had no doubt war showed instances when the bayonet was effective, but those instances were so few that he did not think that they would pay for the heavy burden imposed upon an army by the carrying of the bayonet. The German officer was not convinced by the general's reasoning, and said he "knew of cases where effective work had been done with the bayonet, and that the Prussians would not abandon it."

Now, he could hardly have read the statistical abstract, published in 1877, of the returns of killed and wounded on the German side in what is officially known as the "German Campaign in France," for where, in that great war, the bayonet killed its units and tens, the bullet destroyed its thousands and tens of thousands. Nor, comparatively speaking, were the wounds inflicted by cold steel severe. Three officers and eighteen men were killed by lance or bayonet, to a total of five hundred and seventy-four injured by those weapons. The most harmless, however, of all instruments of warfare would seem to be the sabre, which, in the furious charges of the valary regiments engaged at Sedan, and in all the battles of the war, killed but six men.

Great interest is being taken in many countries in this subject of "cold steel in time of war." and efforts are being made to prove the truth of falsity of the saying attributed to the humorous though ferocious Souvaroff, that "the bullet is a silly thing, but the bayonet firm and heroic."

In our own army the discussion was initiated by General Sherman, upon a recommendation of General Benet, chief of ordnance, that the bayonet and sabre shall cease for form part of the armament of troops. The general-in-chief called, not only for the views of officers of the line and staff who can speak as experts, and commanders whose men are thus armed, but also instructed Lieutenant Green, our military representative with the Russian Army in the late campaign, to make a special study of the question involved. So far as the views of our officers are concerned, a majority of them seem to be in favor of a retention of these time-honored weapons; but the theory of the minority is equally good argument for their abolition. Lieutenant Green, however, had excellent opportunities for proving the truth of the maxim of Napoleon, that "theory and practice are not the same thing in war." In the Turco-Russian was several instances occurred in which bodies of men closed with one another on the actual field of battle, and when, consequently, the bayonet was used, with more or less decisive effect. These hand-to-hand encounters were, it is true, never of very long duration, but while they lasted the fighting was exceedingly fierce. On more than one occasion, so it is reported, no quarter was either asked for or given after once bayonet had crossed bayonet; but official statistics may possibly disclose the fact that these sanguinary and stubborn contest were not more fatal than during the German campaign.

While the weight of evidence given by American officers is in favor of the retention of the sabre and bayonet, that of foreign officers is in the opposite direction. This is particularly true as regards the sabre. Colonel Dennison, in his prize essay on cavalry, goes so far as to pronounce the the sabre contemptible, and advocates a charge revolver in hand. An "English Cavalry Officer," in a work entitled "Notes on Cavalry tactics, Organization, etc.," is of opinion that the sabre of lance is the first weapon of the cavalry soldier; but he thinks firearms of some sort, in fact, indispensable. The Germans go beyond this. In a precis of an article from the Militair Wochenblatt, Colonel Ouvry says, "The view that the sabre is the arm which forms the essential characteristic of the cavalryman must, since the experiment of 1870-71, falls to the ground. The most complete independent action for cavalry must be the watchword in the future, and to aid this a good firearm must be supplied." We may add that in Germany even the lancers have a certain proportion of rifles in every squadron.

What is so much lost sight of in this kind of argument is the fact of the enormously increased value of firearms. The increased use of intrenchments on battle ground will, it is believed, tend to circumscribe the action of cavalry. The extreme range and rapid firing of the rifle and the increased power of the cross fire will, as a rule, enable the infantryman to hold his own, not only against horsemen in any formation and moving at any speed, but against infantry charges as well. But opportunities may occur in the best regulated battles, and, though they would suffer dreadfully in passing the zone of fire, the attacking party might, in a hand-to-hand fight, have their revenge. With a view, however, to such a chance, a cavalryman should be armed with a straight weapon, being the one best adapted for giving point, inasmuch as a cut is seldom deadly, while a thrust is generally so. As for "terror in a long line of glittering steel," or as to its not being "in human nature to stand and wait for bristling bayonets," there is perhaps a good deal of nonsense in such expressions. At any rate, the Confederate soldiers in front of Thomas at Chickamauga, and of Schofield at Resaca, were not so intimidated, much to the surprise, not to say disgust, of those who were trying hard to convince them that these charges were irresistible. The testimony on this subject of three great captains may be epitomized as follows: Napoleon, at St. Helena, said that he knew not "a single instance in which twenty pieces of cannons, judiciously placed and in battery, were ever carried by the bayonet"; General Winfield Scott used to assert that such a thing as a bayonet wound inflicted in a charge was almost unheard of in his experience; and General Grant says in effect that in modern warfare "neither the sabre nor the bayonet is of use." Such testimony as this should strengthen rather than weaken the recommendations made by the chief of ordnance. It is by no means unlikely that such fighting behind earthworks will have so large a place in warfare of the future, some armor covering for the head, neck, and perhaps arm, may be desired for infantry, in which event they will have to be relieved of much of the weight they now carry.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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