The Minute Book
Monday, 24 April 2017

Canadian Defence Budget Costs Mounting Steadily (1968)
Topic: Canadian Armed Forces

Canadian Defence Budget Costs Mounting Steadily (1968)

Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, Quebec City, 29 November 1968

Washington (CP)—The standard American army rifle in 1946 cost $31. Its modern equivalent costs $150.

That five-fold increase in buying today's simple bread and butter military equipment holds generally true through the vastly more complicated and expensive items in modern arsenals.

It helps explain, officials say here, the protracted nature of Canada's review of military commitments for NATO, for North American defence and elsewhere—as reconciled with other priorities.

Canada has become only a moderate military spender. The Institute of Strategic Studies in London, for example, rates the over-all Canadian defence budget sixth among the 15-country NATO alliance and Canada 12th in the slice of its gross domestic product allocated to defence.

It says nine other NATO countries maintain larger defence establishments.

But the simple maintenance of that status with new weapons to replace those now nearing their useful life will cost Canada tens of millions for aircraft alone at today's steadily-rising prices.

Newer Voodoos Needed

Three squadrons of Voodoo interceptor aircraft, acquired off the shelf from the U.S. for North American defence purposes, will be obsolete in 1973. They could be "stretched out" by swaps for some slightly newer American Voodoos. The U.S. price tag for each plane was $1,800,000.

Canada has six squadrons of CF-104 Starfighters with NATO, manufactured in Canada and also due to be retired in 1973. That price was about $2,000,000 a plane.

The Canadian defence department, mindful perhaps of the ill-fated Avro Arrow abandoned in 1959, recently decided against entering a consortium with European allies to build an all-purpose fighter interceptor aircraft.

Defence Minister Cadieux said 250 planes might have cost Canada as much as $2,000,000,000 over seven to eight years.

The alternative is to buy another off the shelf aircraft from the U.S., or some other supplier, unless the defence review leads to some other solution.

Canada also has 11 Canada-built Yukon and 24 Hercules transport aircraft to replace, not to mention that Canada-built Argus for anti-sub marine work.

Consider Giant Craft

Some consideration has been given to the world's largest aircraft being built by the U.S., the C5A, designed to carry about 700 troops each, or tanks or helicopters.

The U.S. defence department has just announced that the estimated price for each plane has gone up by $10,000,000—to about $35,000,000. It could be higher if labor and material costs, and technical bugs, continue their impact.

A strictly Canadian example of inflation is the four helicopter-carrying destroyers first planned in 1966 and perhaps earmarked for NATO use as Canada's contribution to the NATO response to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

The original cost estimate for all four was about $160,000,000 and it now exceeds $220,000,000.

A lengthy list of then and now arms prices was read into one congressional record in October, based on official U.S. list prices, as a warning not to expect any reduction in military spending in the future.

The old B-17 of Second World War fame cost $218,000 and the controversial F-111 fighter-bomber costs $7,000,000. The F-86 Sabre jet fighter used in Korea cost a little less than $300,000—Canada built about 1,800 at an average cost of $355,000—and the F-4 Phantom, the best U.S. plane in Vietnam, costs $2,100,000.

A Second World War submarine came at $4,700,000 and a modern nuclear attack sub costs $77,000,000. The battleship New Jersey cost $108,000,000 to build between 1940 and 1943. To get it out of mothballs, for a belated appearance off Vietnam recently, cost $20,000,000.

An 81 millimetre mortar cost $669 in 1946 and costs $2,430 this year.

Even the cost of a cot, canvas, folding, is up. It cost $6.00 eight years ago and now it costs $15.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 23 April 2017

England's Indian Army of 238,000 (1914)
Topic: British Army

England's Indian Army of 238,000 Is Available for Service in Europe

Forces Include the Ghurkas, Who Fight Like Wildcats, and the Gigantic Sikhs and Pathans—Several Crack Regiments of British Are Also There

Meriden Morning Record, Meriden, Connecticut, 31 August 1914
(New York Herald.)

England if necessary can pour into France from India 238,000 trained men, of which 75,000 are British troops, including some of the crack regiments of the royal army, and the 163,000 remaining are the fighting native troops of the Indian army, fit comrades on the firing line of France's Turcos and Spahis.

According to official figures the Indian army's strength in round numbers, is as follows: Infantry, 122,000; cavalry, 25,000; artillery, 10,000; engineers, etc., 6,000; total 163,000. Of this number 3,000 are English officers and non-commissioned officers; the rest are natives.

Thirty-nine regiments of cavalry, fifteen of them Lancers regiments, besides the bodyguard troops of the governor general and of the governors, and several independent troops, make up the mounted arm.

The main strength of the Indian army is in its infantry. Brahmans, Rajputs, Jats, Sikhs, Punjabis, Dogras, Mahrattas and Ghurkhas, of all castes and of several religions—Mohammedan, Hindoo, Buddhists—are all warriors who will lay down their lives in eagerness for the British Raj, and the dark skinned regiments of the Indian army form a fighting force hard to stop.

Ghurkas Natural Fighters

Among the most interesting as well as the most formidable fighting outfits in the Indian army are the Ghurkas. There are ten regiments of Ghurka rifles. These little fighters, who come from the region of Nepal, and who trace their descent from the Rajputs, would rather fight than eat. In appearance the Ghurkas are deceiving. They are short, stocky little men, of somewhat the appearance of the Japanese, although a little heavier. And they wear perpetual grins on their faces. The grin does not come off when they go into a fight.

The Ghurkas were conquered by the British in 1814 after years of fighting, and have become loyal subjects of England. When the Ghurka regiments were first made part of the Indian army they did not seem to take well to organized methods of warfare. It was not until the army authorities allowed them to make their national weapon, the kukri, part of their equipment that they regained their fame as fighters. The instructors could never make them use the bayonet. The kukri is a long, heavy curved knife.

Fight With Long Knives

In close quarters the Ghurka throws away his rifle and takes to the kukri, which he uses with telling effect. When charged by cavalry the Ghurkas stand up and fire at the horsemen until they are within sabering distance, when the natives fall. As the charging horsemen pass over them the little warriors are up and hamstringing the horses or clinging to the saddles and stabbing the riders.

This method of fighting is not unlike that of the Turcos of the French army, who also "play ‘possum" when charged by a heavier enemy, only to rise and take the attackers from the rear as soon as they have passed over them. Neither Ghurkas nor Turcos, however, do much defensive fighting except against cavalry, for they are usually leading any charge that may be taking place in their vicinity.

There seems to be a natural affinity between the Ghurka and the Scotch Highlander regiments. Like the Scotchmen, the Ghurkas use bagpipes, and their pipes accompany them on the firing line. Time and time again in Great Britain's campaigns overseas have the big Highlanders and little brown skinned Ghurkas charged side by side. The Ghurkas look down upon other colonial troops, but fraternize with white soldiers.

Would Surprise Germans

If the German infantrymen come face to face with a wave of charging Gurkas gone "musth" with the lust of battle and using their knives the Kaiser's troops will receive the surprise of their lives. The Ghurkas will not stop when once launched in a charge until, like the wildcats that they are, they come to grips with their opponents.

In direct contrast to the Ghurkas are the big Sikhs. Six footers all, slow, methodical, steady under fire, the Sikhs when once on the firing line will rather die in their tracks than retreat. The Sikhs have been loyal soldiers ever since the British took India. During the Indian mutiny the Sikhs fought and died beside their white officers, always faithful to their trust.

The Pathans are also big men. They are on the same order as the Sikhs, only quick thinkers and livelier on their feet. Sikh and Pathan both are fond of cold steel and always give good account of themselves in bayonet charges.

The artillery of the Indian army proper consists of eleven mountain batteries and one horse battery, beside garrison artillery.

There are three regiments of sappers and miners, and seven signal companies in the engineers corps.

Crack Regiments There

The British troops in India consist of 54,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry and 16,000 artillery. The famous cavalry regiments of England at present serving in India are the First and Seventh Dragoon Guards, the Inniskilling Dragoons, the Queen's Own, Royal Irish, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Hussars and the Seventeenth and Twenty-first Lancers. The last named regiment, sometimes known as the Bengal Lancers, is now called the Empress of India's.

Eleven batteries of the Royal Horse artillery and forty-five batteries of the Royal Field Artillery are in India, besides twenty-six batteries of garrison artillery. It is improbable that these last would be moved unless to reinforce Great Britain's own coast defences.

Many of England's crack infantry regiments have battalions in India. Among them are the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Berkshire, Border, Cameron Highlanders, Cheshire, Connaught Rangers, Dorsetshire, Dublin Fusiliers, Durham Light Infantry, Hampshire, Highland Light Infantry, Inniskilling Fusiliers, Irish Fusiliers, Royal Irish, Irish Rifles, Kent East (The Buffs), Kent West (Queen's Own), King's, King's own Scottish Borderers, King's Royal Rifles, Lancashire Fusiliers, Loyal North, Prince of Wales Volunteers, Leistershire, Leinster, Middlesex, Munster Fusiliers, Norfolk, Northumberland, Rifle Brigade, Royal Fusiliers, Royal Scots, Black Watch, Seaforth Highlanders, Somerset Light Infantry, Staffordshire, Surrey, Sussex, Welsh, West Riding, York and Lancaster, and Yorkshire Light Infantry regiments.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 2 April 2017 9:10 PM EDT
Saturday, 22 April 2017

Militia Notes; Sherbrooke, Quebec (1899)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Militia Notes; Sherbrooke, Quebec (1899)

Drill Season Opens—The Drill Shed—Band Will Be Under Regimental Control

The Examiner, Sherbrooke, Quebec, 13 March 1899

The 53rd Regiment in Sherbrooke would become The Sherbrooke Hussars.
The Regiment would not get a new Armoury until 1909, the structure is listed on Canada's Historic Places: Sherbrooke Armoury.

The drill season has opened, but up to the present there has not been the interest manifested either by the men or non-coms. that should be apparent at the opening of the season's work. Owing to the unsuitable condition of the Drill Shed the Battalion has been compelled to rent the hall in Griffith's Block for drill purposes. The room is a very comfortable one and much of the inconvenience that was sometimes felt in the old quarters is done away with.

Recruiting is very slow. This should not be the case. There are a large number of the young men of the city who would find it very profitable from a recreation point of view to enrol themselves in the Canadian Militia. Apart from that it should be the desire of every eligible young man to know something of drill and fire arms. The non-coms., therefore, should be alive to their duty and keep out 53rd Battalion up to the high state of proficiency which has characterized it in the past.

There is every prospect of the Battalion spending a few days under canvas this year at some central point. That is if the mobilization scheme, which is reported from headquarters will take place this year, matures. This would be of lasting benefit to the militia. There is too much ceremonial drill now gone through by the militia, and it is to be hoped that they will now get down and learn something more of the work of a soldier than that of marching past and trooping the colours.

Speaking of a new drill shed it is earnestly hoped that when the deputation from City Hall and Board of Trade interview the Government that they will receive some definite line of action. Certainly there is more than need for a drill shed. It is in a most deplorable condition, and is certainly not at all adequate for the use of the battalion. The Government cannot be ignorant of the state of affairs for an officer was here last fall and inspected the building. It is practically no use to the Battalion, for as above stated drill goes on in a hired hall and the armouries are in the post office building, in two rooms on the top story, alongside the dwelling rooms of the caretaker of the building. Certainly not at all a desirable place for either the caretaker or the Battalion.

Classes have been formed for the purpose of taking part in the proposed tournament which will be held shortly in this city in aid of the Battalion fund.

The 53rd Batt. Band will in future be under the control of the regiment. This was decided at a joint meeting of the Regimental Committee and band on Friday night. This is a step in the right direction, and will have the effect of placing the band on a much better footing. Negotiations are now going on for the purpose of securing a first class leader. The prospects are bright for the band this season, as it is the intention to considerably augment it.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 21 April 2017

Speed Marching
Topic: Marching

Speed Marching

Combat Lessons, Number 2, September 1946

Report of Commanding General, 3d Division, on its landing in SICILY:

"The importance of physical condition cannot be over-emphasized. Speed-marching proved of great value in developing physical condition, eliminating the unfit, and instilling confidence and pride in the individual. Asa general training objective, all units prepared for a landing on defended beaches and an advance inland of about 5 miles. Speed-marching continued, each unit being required to complete 5 miles in 1 hour, 8 miles in 2 hours, and 20 miles in 5 hours once a week. This training was largely responsible for the speed with which the assault of this Division was executed."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 May 2017 7:19 PM EDT
Thursday, 20 April 2017

A Modern Brutus (1864)
Topic: Discipline

A Modern Brutus

The Evening News, Providence, Rhode Island, 20 April 1864

In Toronto there lives a retired colonel of the British army, staunch and loyal, who allowed a private soldier of good character, in the 30th Regiment, to marry his daughter. His regiment, soon after he marriage, was ordered to Montreal, and he took his wife with him, where he deserted both her and the Queen's service, and came across the lines to the protection of the stars and stripes. The colonel indignantly sent for his daughter, and she has continued to live with him, hearing occasionally from her husband, but refusing, or rather permitting her father to do it for her, to go to him as requested. Last week they were suddenly surprised by the appearance of the deserter, who entered the house without ceremony. His wife flew to him and her father at him, the latter arresting him as a deserter from Her majesty's service. In vain did the son-in-law argue and the daughter weepingly plead. With Roman firmness the British colonel insisting upon handing him over to the authorities, assuring him that thus he should treat his son or his brother, had either been a traitor. With an unyielding conviction of duty, the colonel dragged his erring relative to the barracks, and gave him up to the penalties of the law.

elipsis graphic

The 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot was in Canada from 1861 to 1869 and during this period defended the border with the United States during the Trent Affair (1861) and the Fenian Raids (1866). 

elipsis graphic

Historical Records of the XXX. Regiment

"The regiment landed at Toronto on 12th July [1861], and were quartered, three companies at the New Barracks, and three at the Old Fort; the remaining companies under canvas, half at each barracks." (p. 210)

"On the 23rd September [1863], in accordance with instructions, the regiment proceeded from Toronto to Montreal. The regiment relieved the 1st Battalion 16th Regiment, and was quartered in the Molson College Barracks, and formed part of the 2nd Military Division, under the command of Major-General the Hon. James Lindsay." (p. 211)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Cavalry Horses Supplanted by Armored Cars
Topic: British Army

British Army Cavalry Horses Supplanted by Armored Cars

The Southeast Missourian, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, 10 March 1936

Many army officers thought the mechanization would stop there, but it was only the start of what one veteran warrior with military indignation described in a letter to The Times as "downright horse stealing."

London, March 10.—(UP)—Old army men are grumbling over their whiskies-and-sodas in the officers' clubs these days because the machine age has robbed the cavalry of its horses.

"Egad, sir!" they sputter, "What good is a soldier without a horse. Remember The King's Own Hussars at Khyber Pass, and the Ninth Royal Lancers in the siege of Delhi."

The government's decision to mechanize the cavalry, substituting armored cars and light tanks for steeds, has brought loud wails from old army men who assert that many of the most glorious fighting traditions of Britain's fighting forces will be shattered.

Cars Steel Plated

Eight of the nation's famous cavalry regiments will disappear and in their places will be units of steel-plated, fast-traveling cars carrying fighting men who once rode proudly into battle on horseback, lances tilted and swords flashing.

The revolutionary change did not come easily. The War Office argued for several years against the die-hards of the military service before winning them over to the idea that modern means of warfare have out-moded the cavalry.

Nowadays an army in the field moves rapidly, with 70-mile-an-hour tanks in advance. Fast protective reconnaissance is necessary—faster than horse cavalry.

Substitution of gasoline for hay and oats as the mobile fuel of Britain's lancers actually began two years ago when two cavalry regiments were converted into armored car regiments. They were the 11th Hussars, known as "Prince Albert's own" with the Duke of York as colonel-in-chief, and the 12th Royal Lancers whose colonel-in-chief was the Prince of Wales, now King Edward VIII.

Many army officers thought the mechanization would stop there, but it was only the start of what one veteran warrior with military indignation described in a letter to The Times as "downright horse stealing."

The change-over from horse to motor strips romantic color from several cavalry regiments whose rich tradition extends back 250 years and through a dozen or more bitter campaigns.

Guards Date to 1685

One of these is the First King's Dragoon Guards, commonly known as the "K.D.G's." who date back to 1685 and the days of the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion. Every British schoolboy has read and recited of its valor in the battle of Sedgemoor and in Flanders under King William. It also served in the battle of Minden and in the Crimea before Sevastopol.

The Queen's Bays or Second Dragoon Guards also organized in 1685 to fight under King William in the Irish and Flanders campaigns. A hundred years later the regiment gained the honor of "The Queen's Bays" and every man was mounted on a long-tailed bay. It participated in the relief and capture of Lucknow.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Bayonets (1862)
Topic: Cold Steel

Bayonets (1862)

The Compiler, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 23 June 1862

The dispatches from General McClellan's army have several times spoken of a "regular bayonet charge." The pride of the English army has been in bayonet force.—But the dispatches state something unusual, and which must be considered complimentary to the enemy as well as to our own soldiers. We allude to the remark that the enemy were driven a mile, "during which one hundred and seventy-three rebels were killed by the bayonet alone." It is a very rare occurrence that men stand the approach of a well directed bayonet charge, and it is understood that the highest courage and daring are necessary to resists it. There are stories extant of regiments meeting bayonet to bayonet, and crossing weapons. But we do not find any authemtication of these. One favorite military anecdote relates that an English and a french regiment once met in that way and stood pressing against each other without wounding a man for a full half hour. In the Mexican war we carried several important points "with the bayonet," but this was seldom with any direct heavy charge in line.—We once asked a distinguished officer whether one of those charges was an old fashioned bayonet charge in solid rank.—He laughed and said it was very different. When the word "charge" was given the men started on a run, yelling and shouting, and throwing off all encumbrances as they ran. The very appearance of a body of furious tiger-like men, approaching at a full run, and making the air hideous with their cries, frightened the enemy from his position, and it was seldom that a man had a chance to touch another with his bayonet.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 18 March 2017 8:44 PM EDT
Monday, 17 April 2017

Soldiers Gratuities (1920)
Topic: CEF

Soldiers Gratuities

The Montreal Gazette, 24 March 1920

In a recent article dealing with the provision which has been made, and is still being made, for returned soldiers by the Canadian Government and Parliament, the statement was made that the liberality of re-establishment measures adopted in this country has not been approached by any other of the nations which took part in the war. In support of that assertion there was submitted a comparative statement of gratuities granted to returned soldiers in Canada, Great Britain, the United States, Australia and new Zealand. The figures then quoted represented correctly the situation as it existed in September [1919], when the facts referred to were placed before Parliament. Since that time, both Australia and New Zealand have substantially increased their gratuities. The effect has not been to place the Australian and new Zealand scale upon an equity with the Canadian scale, Canada still holding the undisputed first place as regards the amount given, just as Canada was the first country definitely to outline a system of was service gratuity at all. In order, however, that no injustice may be done to the other Dominions, the increased Australian and New Zealand gratuities have been included in the statement given below. The rates compared are those paid to privates, who are the great majority of recipients, base upon three years' service:

  • United Kingdom,
    • with or without dependents, overseas service, $82.73;
    • home, $53.53.
  • Australia,
    • without dependents, overseas service, $273.82;
    • with dependents, $289.35.
  • United States,
    • with or without dependents, overseas service, $60.00.
  • Canada,
    • without dependents, overseas service, $420.00;
    • home service, $210;
    • with dependents, overseas, $600.00;
    • home, $300.
  • New Zealand,
    • without dependents, overseas service, $427.80;
    • with dependents, overseas service, $447.96.

In Great Britain and in Australia, the gratuity is increased proportionately for periods of service exceeding three years. In the case of new Zealand, also, it is possible for a soldier to draw a larger amount than that given as the three year total, payment being made at a rate of one shilling and sixpence per day of service, calculated from the day of embarkation of the New Zealand main body, September 23, 1914, and up to the time of demobilization, June 20, 1919, a total possible period of four years and 278 days.

Of the Australian gratuity $175.20 is payable in 5¼% bonds only, the balance (about $100) being payable in cash. It has been claimed that as the Australian and New Zealand private received a larger payment while on active service than his brother from Canada, this more than made up for the lesser gratuity. The Australian private received 6s. per day as against the Canadian $1.10. This placed the single Australian at an advantage, but the married man was at a considerable disadvantage, as the pay and allowances to a married man were $53.40 against $63 in the case of a Canadian. In the ranks above private, when the pay reached $2.40 per day, no separation allowance was payable.

The New Zealand private received 5s per day and there appears to have been a small separation allowance. An allowance of 1s 6d per day for each child, up to three children, was made. Allowances for children were not issued by the Canadian Government, but this matter was placed in the hands of the Canadian Patriotic Fund. While this fund was largely voluntary, except in the case of Manitoba, it was virtually added taxation. The extra allowance issued by the Canadian Patriotic Fund equaled and, in some cases, exceeded the allowances issued by the New Zealand Government, the New Zealand authorities granted 28 days' post discharge pay to all returned soldiers, and the value of this has been included in the amounts set down as gratuity. The value of what is termed "the railway concessions" has not been included. A returned New Zealand soldier is granted free passage over the Government railways for 28 days, and this is claimed to represent an extra gratuity of $28.80, but it is doubtful whether many men availed themselves of this privilege.

One feature of the Australian, which goes a little beyond the Canadian, is that 7½ days pay of rank for each six months of service, plus sustenance allowance, is granted to the dependents of deceased soldiers.

On the whole, however, the Canadian scale will stand as the most liberal of all, and, so far as the gratuity itself is concerned, it will be very difficult to make out a case for raising the amount. Canada has sought to do justly and generously by the soldier and has good reasons to be satisfied with the result.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 16 April 2017

Company Officer's Experiences (1942)
Topic: Cold Steel

Company Officer's Experiences (1942)

The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 15 August 1942

The bayonet legend is also upheld by newspaper men who never miss an opportunity of referring to positions taken 'at the point of the bayonet.'

One of London's younger publishers is Michael Joseph. He served in the last war; in early middle age he has been caught up by the army again, and in 1939-41 served as a company officer with an infantry battalion guarding a stretch of England's coast when invasion was thought to be imminent. He has now written a very quiet, but not the less deadly, account of his experiences, having, obviously, not ceased to be a thinking and reflecting being because his new job brought him into intimate touch with War Office mentality. Mr. H.M. Tomlinson goes so far as to say that Mr. Joseph's little book—"The Sword in the Scabbard," by Michael Joseph (London; Michael Joseph)—should either have been censored "or else made compulsory reading at the War Office."

This is going a little far, because while Mr. Joseph points several morals, his narrative is concerned with the homely and sometimes amusing day to day life of a company commander. But the morals are important. One example will suffice: "I dare say the bayonet has its occasional uses, but I am prepared to wager not one infantryman in a thousand ever has a chance to use it. But the Army still swears by the bayonet. The bayonet legend is also upheld by newspaper men who never miss an opportunity of referring to positions taken 'at the point of the bayonet.' In case there should be any doubt as to the functions of this obsolescent weapon, the B.B.C. naively refers to 'hand-to-hand bayonet fighting.' Our troops are still taught that the Germans 'hate cold steel.' No doubt they do, but I somehow don't think we shall win the war by insistence on the vital importance of the bayonet in modern warfare. Bows and arrows were good weapons once."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 15 April 2017

Calling Out the Militia and Rates of Pay (1865)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Calling Out the Militia and Rates of Pay (1865)

Ottawa, 15th November, 1865

Militia General Orders

Canada Gazette, Ottawa, Saturday, November 18, 1865

1.     His Excellency the Administrator of the Government and Commander-in-Chief, having had under consideration the possibility that raids or predatory incursions on the Frontier of Canada, may be attempted during the winter, by persons ill disposed to Her Majesty's Government, to the prejudice of the Province and the annoyance and injury of Her Majesty's subjects therein;

And being impressed with the importance of aiding Her Majesty's troops in repelling such attempts, and for that purpose of placing a portion of the Volunteer Force on active service;

His Excellency directs one Volunteer Company be called out for service, for as long a period as may be thought necessary by His Excellency, from each of the undermentioned places, viz.:

Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Morrisburgh, Toronto, Port Hope, Hamilton, Woodstock, London;—the Companies so called out to be stationed at such places as His Excellency the Lieutenant General Commanding shall direct:

And that the said Volunteer Force shall, during the time it remains on active service, be placed under the command of His Excellency Lieutenant General Sir John Michael, Commanding her Majesty's Forces in North America; and that it shall be subject to the Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Army, to the Rules and Articles of War, to the Act for punishing mutiny and desertion, and to all other laws now applicable to Her Majesty's Troops in this Province, not inconsistent with the Acts respecting Volunteer Militia.

2.     The rates of pay of the Force so called out for Service are fixed for the below mentioned ranks, respectively, as follows:

Ranks.Rate of pay per day.Daily rate of allowance in lieu of barracks, rations, and all other allowances.
Lieut. Colonel$4.87$1.00
Adjutant with rank of Lieutenant2.44.90
Adjutant with rank of Ensign2.13.90

And that in addition to the free rations and Lodging, the Non-Commissioned Officers and privates be paid at the daily rate following:

Rank.Rate of pay per day. (cts.)
Quarter-Master Serjeant45
Paymaster's Clerk45
Orderly Room Clerk45
Hospital Serjeant45
Pay Serjeants40

3.     The Officers in Command of the different posts where the above named Volunteer Companies may be stationed shall receive all orders from the Lieutenant General Commanding, and make all reports direct to such Officers as the Lieutenant General may appoint; with the exception of matters related to finance and promotions, which are to be referred direct to the Adjutant General of Militia.

4.     His Excellency calls on all Officers in Command of Volunteer Corps in Canada to complete their numbers, and to hold themselves with their respective Corps in readiness for actual service, and to march at a moment's notice to such places as may be indicated to them.

5.     The undermentioned Officers are appointed to act temporarily, as below, viz.:

In Canada West

  • As Assistant Adjutants General:
    • Lt. Col. W.S. Durie, Commdg. 2nd Battn, "Queen's Own" Rifles, Toronto.
    • Lt. Col. Samuel Peters Jarvis, 82nd Regiment, Adjutant Staff College.
  • As Deputy Assistant Adjutants General:
    • Lt. Col. J.B. Taylor, Commanding Oxford Rifles, Woodstock.
    • Lt. Col. F.T. Acherly, late 30th Regiment.

In Canada East

  • As Assistant Adjutants General:
    • Lt. Col. W. Osborne Smith, Commd. Victoria Volunteer Rifles, Montreal.
    • Lt. Col. L.T. Suzor, Brigade Major, Quebec.
  • As Deputy Assistant Adjutants General:
    • Major George Browne, late 69th Regiment.
    • Lieut. L.A. Casault, late 109th Regiment.

Major T. de Montenach will perform the duty of Brigade Major at Quebec, during the employment of Lieutenant Colonel Suzor, on other duty.

6.     Major Hill, of the 1st (or Prince of Wales') Regiment, Volunteer Rifles, of Montreal, is appointed major in Command of the Volunteer Force to be stationed at Sandwich, Windsor and Sarnia.

By Command of His Excellency the Administrator of the Government and Commander-in-Chief.
P.L. MacDougall,
Colonel, Adjutant General of Militia,

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 28 January 2017 11:14 AM EST
Friday, 14 April 2017

American Troops in France Will Be "Armed to Teeth"
Topic: US Armed Forces

American Troops in France Will Be "Armed to Teeth"

Infantry Will Have Trench Knives, Machine Guns and Cannon in Equipment

Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 29 September 1917

American soldiers will literally be "armed to the teeth" when sent into the trenches against the Germans.

In addition to then usual rifles, bayonets and pistols with which the men are now armed, there will be added to the fighting equipment of each regiment 480 trench knives, 40 to each company; 1192 machine guns, 16 to each company, and three one-pound cannon.

Details of the new fighting equipment were given in a statement by Secretary Baker at Washington, D.C., outlining the new army organization for overseas service.

This reorganization increases the ratio of artillery to infantry from 3 to 9, as at present, to 3 to 4. A corresponding increase is made in machine gun strength. In addition, there are sections of sappers and bombers who have important parts to play in the new warfare.

The strength of the new organizations will be:

Division, 27,152; Infantry brigade, 5210; artillery brigade, 5068; infantry company, 256; machine gun company, 378.

Each infantry regiment will have a strength of 103 officers and 3652 men. There will be one headquarters company of 313, three battalions of four rifle companies each totaling 3078, one supply company of 140, one machine gun company of 178, and one medical detachment of 56.

The rifle company has 259 men and six officers. It is composed of a company headquarters with two officers and 18 men, and four platoons. Each platoon has two sections of riflemen of 12 each; one section of bombers and rifle grenadiers of 23 men, and one section of auto riflemen of 11 men and four guns.

Machine Guns

The 178 men of the machine gun company will be armed with 12 heavy machine guns and four spare guns.

The organization of the infantry devision in detail is as follows:

One division headquarters, 164; one machine gun battalion of four companies, 768; two infantry brigades, each composed of two infantry regiments, one machine gun battalion of three companies, 16,420; one field artillery brigade composed of three field artillery regiments, one trench mortar battery, 5068; one field signal battalion, 262; one regiment of engineers, 1666; one train headquarters and military police, 337; one ammunition train, 962; one supply train, 472; one engineer train, 84; one sanitary train composed of four field hospital companies and four ambulance companies, 949—total 27,152.

Each regimental headquarters will consist of seven officers and 294 men. There will be a headquarters platoon of 93, a staff section of 36, an orderlies section of 29, a hand section of 28, a signal platoon of 77, including a telephone sections; a sappers and bombers platoon of 44, a pioneer platoon of 55 for engineer work, and a one-pounder cannon platoon of 33 officers and men.

The transportation equipment to each regiment will be 22 combat wagons, 16 rolling kitchens, 22 baggage and rations wagons, 16 rations carts, 15 water carts, three medical carts, 24 machine gun carts, 59 riding horses, eight riding mules, 332 draft mules, two motorcycles with side cars, one motor car and 42 bicycles.

There will be 14 machine gun companies to the division. Each of the four infantry regiments will have one, each of the two brigades a machine gun battalion of three companies and the division will have a separate machine gun battalion of four companies.

This gives the division a mobile machine gun strength of 10 companies, which can be used as a special needs require, while each regiment still has its own machine gun equipment in one of its component companies. And, in addition, there are 48 sections of auto riflemen, each section carrying four light machine guns.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 30 December 2016 9:30 PM EST
Thursday, 13 April 2017

Militia General Orders; 13th April, 1866

Militia General Orders

Ottawa, 13th April, 1866

General Orders—Volunteer Militia

No. 1.—Brigade Majors will immediately require all efficient Militia Corps in their respective Districts not now on service, to parade and drill on two separate days in each week, under the provisions of and with the pay prescribed in General order No. 2 of 28th of March, 1866; and such corps are to be prepared for immediate service if they should be required.

No. 2.—To prevent misapprehension all Commanding Officers will warn their respective corps that the Volunteer Force is under the orders of the Lieutenant General Commanding Her Majesty's Troops, and under the provisions of the Articles of War, on the two days in each week, for which they receive pay and while serving on any guard ordered by the Major General of the District.

No. 3.—Corps of Volunteers accepted from and after this date will not be entitled to receive pay for the sixteen days of drill authorized for the year ending 30th of June, 1866.

No. 4.—The designation of the "Royal Guides" as No. 4 Troop of Montreal Cavalry as by General Order, 7th February, 1862, is hereby cancelled. The designation will henceforth be "The Royal Guides, or Governor General's Body Guard," according to the General Order of the 17th April, 1863; and the "Governor General's Body Guard" will take precedence of all other Volunteer Cavalry Corps in Canada.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 12 April 2017

No Home Service Medal
Topic: Medals

No Home Service Medal

Ottawa Citizen, 12 April 1923

Hon. Hugh Guthrie said that he understood that so far no medal had been issued to Canadian troops who served only in Canada during the war. These soldiers were not given either the Allied medal or the British War Medal, and consequently were left without a war medal. He wished to know if it was the intention of the government to issue a Canadian war medal.

Mr. Graham said that this question had been before the department for years. Personally he had always thought it would be a good thing if a Canadian medal could be issued. The difficulty was that the cost would probably be in the vicinity of a million dollars, and no minister had seen fit to recommend this expenditure at the present time.

To Sir Henry Drayton the minister stated that Canada had paid for the war medals and service badges issued by the British government to the Canadian soldiers.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Drill Manœuvres of Seven Armies (1927)
Topic: Film

Drill Manœuvres of Seven Armies (1927)

In Repertory of Movie Soldiers

Gettysburg Times, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 22 October 1927

Hollywood, Cal.—(AP)—If there should be another world war tomorrow the doughboys drawn from Hollywood would astonish the military experts.

Many of the American service men working in pictures can drill in seven languages. They are as much at home doing the goose-step as if they were born on the Rhine, and when a producer wants a crack company of British infantrymen he orders a crowd of the boys who went over with Pershing.

About 6,000 former soldiers are registered with the Central Employment Bureau for Veterans, which works in close cooperation with the central casting bureau maintained by the studios. That is several thousand more than are needed; so those who are ambitious and want to work in the pictures regularly learn the manual of arms and squad and company formations of as many armies as possible.

During a wait between scenes on location, one finds a company of "Austrians" taking their ease while the director thinks.

"Whaddya say we have a little French drill?" suggest someone, and the make-believe boys from Vienna forget their Austrian uniforms and snap into the French manual of arms. If that goes smoothly they may try a little goose-stepping or, at the request of a new man who wants to learn it, the British manual of arms.

Men who work together on the same picture for weeks frequently are able to develop a proficiency in one of the foreign manuals of arms that sets them apart from other extras as a drill team worthy of special consideration.

Many veterans registered with the bureau actually served with an allied army. One of the oldest veterans saw service with the French army in the war of 1871.

Ross Lopez, manager of the veterans' employment bureau, has a quick way of disposing of imposters when he is collecting a company of a battalion of soldiers needed in some war picture. He keep a rifle in the corner of his office; not to shoot those who would bluff their way into jobs but to try them out on the manual of arms.

"So you were in the army, were you?" he asks an applicant. "All right, pick up that gun over there in the corner, Now! Right shoulder arms! Left shoulder arms!"

Left shoulder arms is too much for the average four-flusher. He comes up with an extra hand dangling on the wrong side of the gun and a sheepish look that lets him out of the "army" for that day.

Just how the underground military telegraph of filmdom works is nor clear, but Lopez says he has received an order for 200 men at 8 o'clock with only two applicants in sight outside, and at 10:30 had to begin turning them away.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 10 April 2017

Sea-Soldiers (1887)
Topic: Marines

Sea-Soldiers (1887)

"Marines" in the American and British Navies

Montreal Daily Witness, 26 July 1887

Neither at home nor in this country is the general public so well acquainted with the marine forces as it is with the army or navy. But the British marines are indeed a credit to their country, and are generally allowed to be as fine as, of not finer, than any other branches of the service, with the exception, perhaps, of Her Majesty's Guards. Today, in Montreal, the United States marines are well represented on board the U.S. Man-of-War "Galena," and the visitor only needs to enter into conversation with them to find out what a smart and intelligent body they are. They muster but twenty-six, with one officer, Lieutenant B.R. Russell, in command, through whose courtesy the writer was enabled to find out a good deal of the interior economy, discipline, etc., of this fine corps. The "Galena" was present at Alexandria after the pillage and burning of the city, and at the bombardment; but Lieutenant Russell is the only officer on board the ship to day who was serving with her at that time. A detachment of sixty American marines was chivalrously sent by Admiral Nicholson to act with the Royal Marines of the British squadron, but their efforts were confined to putting down the plunderers and incendiaries,—after which they returned to their own ships. The "Galena" was afterwards ordered to South America.

Lieutenant Russell related how a lot of the officers of the ship barely escaped with their lives during this exciting an perilous time. Having gone ashore in uniform, they had to be sent plain clothes from the ship in order to insure their escape. They took 360 refugees of all classes on board, among them forty Americans missionaries. Not being able to accommodate any more, a merchant ship was chartered to aid in relieving the sufferers.

The total strength of the United States Marine Corps is 2,500 of all ranks. Unlike Britain, they have no marine artillery, but merely the light infantry corps. However, they act the same as the marine artillery when required to do do, and besides infantry tactics they are thoroughly instructed in gunnery, serving on land as well as at sea. In the States the marines have barracks at Brooklyn, Washington, Boston, Portsmouth (N.H.), and Portsmouth (Virginia), Mure Island (California), Annapolis (Maryland), and Philadelphia. In Britain the marines number five thousand men and 250 officers, and there are four places where they have barracks:—Marine Artillery (Eastney) at Portsmouth, and Marine Light Infantry at Gosport, Chtaham and Plymouth. The Marine Artillery Barracks at Eastney is a magnificent building, capable of holding 2,500 men, and is fitted up regardless of expense,—perhaps the finest barracks in England. The U.S. Marines are very proud—and justly so—of their splendid band, consisting of fifty pieces. It is quartered at Washington, and is admitted to furnish about the best military music in the States. The band of the marines at home would be difficult to beat, and is equal to any other, with the exception, perhaps, of the Royal Artillery at Woolwich. But this is not to be wondered at, the Marine divisional bands never leave their headquarters, and there are 250 officers to subscribe to keep them up. It is the same with the Artillery, Engineers' and Guards' bands. Some 2,500 officers of Artillery subscribe to the band at Woolwich, which never leaves that town.

The promotion of the United States marine officer is certainly remarkably slow compared with that of his British cousin. Lieutenant Russell has now seen eighteen years service, and before he gets his captaincy he expects to have served another three of four years as first lieutenant; but compared with other countries the pay of officers and men in the marines, in the army, and in then navy of the States is very good. A lieutenant gets $1,500 a year, and all officers an increase of 10 percent every five years up to 40 percent. After this, if they have not already got it, the must await promotion. A captain gets $1,800 a year, whereas an English captain's pay is only eleven shillings and seven pence a day, and a lieutenant's six shillings and sixpence (about $1,015 and $570 a year respectively). A second lieutenant in the United States marines gets $1,100 a year, and the private is far better off than the British marine. He receives $13 a month and everything found him; besides $209 every five years for clothing, out of which he can easily save at least $80. He has to serve three years at sea and two years in barracks; and, should he re-enlist for another five years, he will get $17 per month; but he must re-enlist within thirty days and will then forfeit no pay for absence. The private marine has $12.80 clear every month, as there is only one charge, and this is made to every one, officers, non-coms. and men,—viz. 20 cents for hospital,—whereas the soldier at home (provided he is particularly careful and well behaved) can barely clear eightpence a day out of his shilling, as he is deducted thee pence halfpenny daily for groceries and one half-penny for washing.

There are several men on board the "Galena" who have served Her majesty,—mostly in the infantry,—and they all speak highly of their treatment by the United States Government. The discipline is by no means so severe as it has been in the English service, and courts-martial are rare occurrences. No grog is allowed on board ship, but in barracks the men have canteens where they can run credit, up to the amount of six or seven dollars a month,—only receiving their pay monthly. The promotion to the rank of non-commissioned officer is rather rapid, for the reason that once a man is reduced he cannot be again promoted during the period of that enlistment; and a non-com. can be reduced without the usual court-martial, but merely by an order from the Colonel Commandant. Most of the marines on board the "Galena" are Irish and Irish Americans, with a few Germans. On no account is flogging resorted to by the United States authorities, nor branding of any kind; but, as regards this, things are better now in the British service than they were some few years since, and the British army owes many a debt of gratitude to the Duke of Cambridge—but none greater than for the "instructions" on corporal punishment recently issued by the War Office. In his younger days the Duke bore a reputation of being a rigid martinet, but the army papers at home say that he has the good sense to see that short service has brought an entirely new situation into existence. It is not merely that a much larger number of recruits must be attracted into the service to make good retirements, nor even the consideration that unless military life be made tolerably pleasant the soldiers will revert to civilian existence as son as their first term expires. The main reason for relaxing the code of discipline in a certain degree is that, the more constantly a young soldier undergoes punishment, the less chance is there of his ever becoming thoroughly efficient. The Commander in Chief accordingly instructs commanding officers to resort to courts-martial less frequently, while these latter tribunals are cautioned to temper justice with mercy to a greater extent than at present. The general annual return of the British army records show that in 1886, no less than 8,000 courts-martial were held, and 150,000 minor punishments were entered inti the defaulters' books. Such a thing as promotion from the ranks to a commission in the United States marines is unheard of. The aspirant to the rank of officer of marines must go to the Naval College of Annapolis between the ages of 14 and 18, and six years afterwards must make a final examination, having in the mean time spent two years at sea. He will then be appointed, if he passes the severe examination, either to the navy or marines as vacancies occur.

The marines are considered the corps d'elite of the American service, and, therefore, appointments are much sought after. The uniform is neat and serviceable, though not showy, and the equipment good; they carry the Springfield rifle, sighted up to 1,400 yards, 45 calibre, and bayonet; but the sailors carry the Hotchkiss rifle, which contains five rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber, and they are armed with a cutlass. Since the last administration in the United States, general officers have been abolished in the United States marines, and now they have merely a colonel-commandant, and the divisions in barracks are officered as a regiment of the line, carrying colors, etc., and all field officers are mounted; but the surgeons are detailed from the navy. The marine officer on board messes with the senior officers of the ship.

A word about the origin of the British marines. The first document referring to a special body of soldiers for service afloat appeared on the 26th October, 1664, in the reign of Charles II, authorizing 1,200 soldiers to be raised and distributed in His Majesty's fleet, and which were to be as one regiment, to be divided into six companies of 200 men each, and to be armed with fire-locks. Historians of the marine forces agree that the first corps specially set apart for sea service was the 3rd Regiment of the line (raised in 1663), and which in 1684 received the titles of the Duke of York and Albany's Marine Regiment. The uniform was yellow, lined with red, and their colors bore the cross of St. George, with the sun's rays issuing from each angle. In 1689 they went to Holland and joined the 2nd Foot Guards, and were called Prince George of Denmark's Regiment. By its reduction they became the 3rd Foot, now the celebrated 3rd Buffs, or, according to the army reform, "the Buffs or East Kent Regiment." From this corps the Royal Marines claim descent, and they share with the Buffs the privilege of marching through the city of London with colors uncased and drums beating. In 1755 fifty companies of marines were raised, and were stationed at Chatham, Portsmouth, and Plymouth, and since then there has always been a corps of marines in the peace establishment. In 1855 Her Majesty was please to approve the infantry division being styled the "Royal Marine Light Infantry," for their service in the Crimea.

Now that the United States marines are here, it may be of interest to know that three marine regiments were raised in new York in 1740, and were clothed in "camlet coats, brown linen waist coats and canvas trousers." At the present time the uniform of the English marine is similar to that of the line, with blue facings. The badges of the Royal marine forces (artillery and light infantry) are "The Globe," with the motto, "Per mare, per terram," the crown, the anchor and the laurel; Her majesty's cypher. H.R.H the Duke of Edinburgh is their colonel. The marines have upheld the honor of their country and gained distinction in every portion of the globe; and it is only necessary to read the papers to tell how the marine battalions and camel corps employed during the late Egyptian war and in the Soudan were the admiration of all for their "gallant bearing, splendid physique and admiral discipline." The last time the writer had a chance of seeing the American marines was at Portsmouth in 1869, when he was adjutant of the 46th Regiment, and was on duty at the Dock Yard with that corps when the Americans sent their man-of-war to England to convey the body of the world renowned philanthropist, the late Mr. Peabody, back to his native land, the remains being escorted to this side of the Atlantic by the British man-of-war "Warrior," on the deck of which ship the body lay in state until the arrival of the American man-of-war in Portsmouth.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 9 April 2017

40 Years Ago Today Canadians Took Vimy (1957)
Topic: CEF

40 Years Ago Today Canadians Took Vimy (1957)

Ottawa Citizen, 9 April 1957
By David McIntosh, Canadian Press Staff Writer

April 9, 1917, was Easter Monday.

On that day in France Zero Hour was 5:30 a.m. Sleet swept over the countryside, changing to blinding snow as that bloody day of glory wore on.

Under a thunderous barrage by 983 field, heavy and siege guns, the men crawled out of their shell holes, tunnels and trenches and swept forward through the mud, wire and murderous chatter of the machine-guns.

The Canadian Corps did not halt until it had captured Vimy Ridge. The Ridge never fell from Allied hands during the rest of the First World War.

Forever Canada

In fact, 248 acres of the Ridge remain forever Canada. This plot on Hill 145 was ceded to Canada in perpetuity by the French nation. On it, July 26, 1936, in the presence of 8,000 Canadians, King Edward VIII unveiled the Vimy Memorial on which are inscribed, in English and French, these words:

"To the valour of their countrymen in the Great War and in memory of their 60,000 dead this monument is raised by the people of Canada”

Vimy Ridge forms a barrier nine miles long across the western edge of the Douai Plain. The northern end rises abruptly to a height or 200 feet. Southwards, the main body of the Ridge rises another 150 feet to the main summit, Hill 145.

The French tried to retake Vimy in December, 1914, and failed. They tried again with 18 Divisions—more than 250,000 me—in the spring of 1915 and were repulsed again, suffering 100,000 casualties in six weeks while inflicting 80,000 casualties on the Germans.

Fall Third Time

In the fall of 1915 the French tried yet again to take Vimy. They advanced only 200 yards and suffered 40,000 casualties.

The Canadian Corps took over the sector in the fall of 1916. In January. 1917, elaborate preparations began for an Allied spring offensive.

The frontage of the Canadian Corps for the attack on Vimy was 7,000 yards. Across this whole front, to a depth of 700 yards, the German field works comprised three lines of trenches protected by dense belts of barbed wire. Behind this was another network of trenches and wire linking concrete machine-gun forts and on the crest were more belts of wire.

There were 97,184 Canadians in the Corps. The four Canadian divisions faced six German divisions on the Ridge.

Heavy Bombardment

The artillery bombardment before the assault lasted two weeks. Never before had the Canadians engaged in such a set-piece attack. Under Corps Commander Lt.-Gen. Sir Julian Byng (later Baron Byng of Vimy, Governor General of Canada), a full-scale plan of the battlefield was laid out in the rear area on which the troops rehearsed repeatedly.

The Canadians, on 9 April, downed a tot of rum and went over the top.

Across the mass of shell holes, craters and churned mud of No Man's Land they swept in wave afater wave. Despite the terrible bombardment, the Germans fought doggedly and many had to be killed in hand-to-hand fighting.

In 35 minutes, the 1st Division under maj.-Gen. Arthur Currie (later Gen. Sir Arthur Currie) had carried its first objective.

The 2nd Division (Maj.-Gen. E.H. Burstall) and 3rd Division (Maj.-Gen. L.J. Lipsett) had equal success.

Suffer Heavily

Hill 145 was taken by the 4th Division (Maj.-Gen. D. Watson) after first being checked by machine-gun fire and suffering heavily. Consolidation of the position proceeded through April 10 and two days later The Pimple, last feature on Vimy held by the Germans, was carried by the 10th Brigade.

The Canadian suffered 11,297 casualties. Of these, one third were killed and one-third were knocked out of the war.

The is no record of total German casualties but two German divisions lost more than 3,000 men each.

The importance of the Canadian capture of Vimy did not become wholly apparent until the great German offensive in the spring of 1918. Vimy, held by the Canadians, was the only part of the Allied line between Rhiems and Ypres, a distance of 125 miles, which did not yeild.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:07 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 9 April 2017 12:08 AM EDT
Saturday, 8 April 2017

The Canadian Militia (1860)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Canadian Militia (1860)

(To the Editor of the Morning Chronicle)
The Morning Chronicle, Quebec, 6 November 1860

To His Excellency Lieut.-General Sir Fenwick Williams, Bart., Administrator of the Government

In my former communications I proposed some change in the Active Volunteer Militia for of the Province, Which I believe will, if adopted, have the effect of rendering that force much more efficient than it is at present. The cost of maintaining the force, under the proposed arrangement (about £12,000 per annum) would be much less than under the present system. It is satisfactory to be able to state that, every brother officer of the volunteers to who I have spoken, has expressed his approval of the changes proposed in my letter.

Militia Staff

Colonel Sewell has kindly favoured me with his manuscript, which gives full details of the plan proposed by him for the formation of militia staff.

I therefore proceed to notice the leading points, as an officer of long experience who has seen some service in the army, and who had taken a warm interest in everything relating to the Canadian Militia for the last forty years, his plan deserves the careful attention of the Government, and of every Canadian who takes an interest in the welfare of the country.

The Colonel proposes that the Government should lay out certain portions of wild lands at "Militia locations" in different parts of the Province; those locations would be surveyed, and marked off into lots of 100 acres each. Volunteers would then be called for, each man receiving his 100 acres, upon which he would settle, and proceed to clear a portion of his land. The term of service for which he would engage would be 12 years, at the expiration of which the land would belong to him forever, on his paying one shilling per acre; the money so obtained by the Government to be placed to the credit of the Militia Fund.

The men would be told off in companies of 40 men each; over each company would be placed a captain of militia staff, and a lieutenant, who would receive their lots of 300 acres each, upon completing six years service, at the same rate as the men. Each location might contain a battalion, say 10 companies of 40 men each. Six of these "militia locations" in different parts of the province would thus give to us a force of 2400 bayonets. The companies would be numbered from 1 to 60, and would represent and constitute the staff of sixty battalions of the Canadian Militia. The men would be properly drilled, as hereafter described. Each company would bear the number of the battalion district to which it appertained; and, in case of threatened invasion or war, would be ordered to proceed to that district. For instance, say that the Island of Orleans was battalion district No. 26; the captain of No. 26 company militia staff would then be ordered to take his men to the Island, and to form as battalion out of the men residing on the Island who would be liable to service, appointing 24 of the most intelligent men as sergeants and the remaining 16 as captains. The staff captain would then receive the rank of lieut. colonel and take command of the battalion, the staff lieutenant becoming major.

Those 40 well drilled men in the battalion would be of great service in instructing the men in the duties of a soldier, indeed without their aid it would require a long time to bring the Battalion up to that degree of efficiency which would warrant its being brought into the presence of a hostile force.

After the men would have built their log homes, and become somewhat settled on their land, they should set to work and make good serviceable roads from the location to a turnpike road or to the nearest railway station. For this work they would be paid by the government; they would, of course, work cheaply, and this would be a first rate method of opening up the country. Intending settlers would take advantage of those good roads and in a short time the land for miles around the Militia locations would be taken up for settlement, even at an advanced rate of purchase.

Colonel Sewell proposes that the law allow the men to be ballotted for, if Volunteers not be forthcoming; but there would be no necessity for this. At the present moment there are thousands of our hardy young countrymen working in the factories of the United States; the agricultural districts of Lower Canada have furnished a large proportion of those young men, who have left their homes and country to seek a living among strangers. The number of our young men, especially farmers' sons in Lower Canada who annually emigrate to the United States, is almost incredible and the man who will show us how to check this constant flow of the bone and sinew of our country to a foreign and (at times) not very friendly neighbour, deserves something of his countrymen. The plan proposed by Colonel Sewell is admirably adapted to effect this, and if adopted will have the effect of turning thousands of acres of comparatively worthless wild lands into well cultivated districts, and enable us to retain in our midst thousands of our hardy young peasantry, the pride of our country who will otherwise, inevitably become citizens of a foreign and rival neighbouring country, and perchance hereafter bear arms against us.

Colonel Sewell proposes to divide the 12 years' service into two portions, the first of three years, the second nine years. The the first period the men shall be drilled for three hours daily during an annual period of three months. In the second period they shall be drilled daily for one month, between seed time and harvest. This amount of drill will be considered sufficient to give the men a good knowledge of the duties as soldiers. The following will show the annual cost for the maintenance of one Battalion of 400 men during the first period; the second period would be less expensive.

10 Staff Captains92days at5s£230 3 0
273days at3s409 10 0
10 Lieutenants92days at4s184 0 0
273days at2s 6d341 5 0
20 Sergeants92days at2s184 0 0
273days at7 1/2 d170 12 6
20 Corporals92days at1s 6d138 0 0
273days at7 1/2 d170 12 6
300 Privates 92days at1s1656 0 0
273days at7 1/2 d3071 5 0
Clothing for 400 men to be renewed every 3 years at £3—£1200 or per annum400 0 0
 £6955 5 0

So that, for maintaining six battalions of Militia Staff equal to 2,400 bayonets, the annual expense to the Province would be about £40,000.

If the Active Volunteer Force were reduced to the footing proposed in my former letter, there would be sufficient quantity of arms in store to arm the Militia Staff. It would perhaps be better to serve out the Enfield Rifles to only one company per battalion; the remainder might be armed with the old musket, till they are better acquainted with the use and care of arms. It would be the duty of the paid Musketry Instructors to devote a portion of their time in instructing the Militia Staff. The uniforms to be served out by the province to the Militia Staff, would be coarse, strong and serviceable; a great coat, forage cap, tunic and trousers. Cloth of our own manufacture, or étoffe de pays, would be cheap and serviceable. Colonel Sewell, in his manuscript, goes into the details of this system, but the outline which I have given will serve to enable the public to form a fair idea of the admirable plan which he has proposed for the organization of our Canadian Militia, which at present is sadly deficient in anything like organization.

In my former communication the annual cost to be incurred for the maintenance of the Volunteer Force was estimated at about £12,000 0
Add cost of maintaining 6 battalions Militia Staff, on the plan proposed by Colonel Sewell40,000 0 0
Expense of Adjutant General's Department, including pay of Field Officers, Storekeepers, repairs of arms, travelling expenses, &c.6,000 0 0
Total annual cost of maintaining Canadian Militia.£58,000 0 0

This amount may seem large at first sight, but when we consider the advantages which the Province would reap from this expenditure, in opening up new districts of country, the encouragement given to emigration, the retaining our young peasantry in the country, the facilities afforded for training 60,000 men in case of war or invasion, and the confidence imparted to the country at large from a knowledge of our strength, those advantages, it must be confessed, would be cheaply acquired.

We must not lose sight of the fact that there would always be at the disposal of the Government, in different parts of the country, a considerable force of well-disciplined men, whose services could be obtained at an hour's notice.

If the expenditure involved is considered too large for the present state of our finances, let a beginning be made, and the experiment tried by forming a location for only one battalion; this would involve an annual expenditure of only £7,000 (seven thousand pounds,) and a short time would show how the system worked.

The large quantity of land that we should bring under cultivation, and the revenue which the Province would derive from the adoption of this plan are well worth considering; while it will be readily admitted that every industrious farmer whom we should induce to settle in Canada, and every young habitant whom we could persuade to remain at home, would materially increase the revenue and develop the resources of the country.

Six Battalions of 400 men each—2400 men at 100 acres per man, would give 240,000 acres, which at the end of twelve years would yield at one shilling per acre£12,000.
If the lands around the Militia location were sold to Emigrants at an annual rent of one shilling per acre, we may safely conclude that double the quantity of land occupied by the Militiamen would be taken up by Emigrants. Thus 480,000 acres at one shilling per acre, would give annually £21,000, or at the end of 12 years£388,000
Total increase in 13 years£300,000
or an average of £25,000 per annum.  

Colonel Sewell also recommends that, at the end of every three years, as the 240 men would have completed their first period, or "active service," a new quota of men should be called out to replace them. The men who had completed their first period of service would then be denominated "available service men," their cost to the province during the nine years of available service would be a mere trifle. By this means a much greater extent of country would be settled, and a larger revenue acquired.

Having thus alluded to the important subject of a properly organized Provincial Militia, a subject which, it is well known, has not failed to receive due attention from your Excellency, as well as from our esteemed Governor General, I may be allowed to express the hope that the powerful influence at your Excellency's command, will not cease to be exerted in favor of our obtaining for Canada, a system of Colonial defence which shall be consistent with our means, and commensurate with the growing requirements of this important portion of the British empire, always bearing in mind the axiom of those dark and unsettled times, "the best was to preserve peace is to be prepared for war."

An Officer of Volunteers.
Quebec, 3rd November, 1860.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 7 April 2017

Canadian Naval Defence (1928)
Topic: RCN

Canadian Naval Defence (1928)

Editorial, The Ottawa Evening Citizen, 5 May 1928

"In 1931, the RCN underwent a major facelift when the first ships specifically built for the RCN, the destroyers HMCS Saguenay and HMCS Skeena, were commissioned at Portsmouth, England." – Wikipedia

Compared with the naval expenditure of other nations within the British Commonwealth, Canada has certainly practiced thrift. While Great Britain spent about $290,000,000 last year, Canada spent only $1,755,000. Australia spent $28,000,000, and even New Zealand spent nearly twice as much as Canada. The cost of naval defence divided according to population would figure out for last year about as follows:

  • Great Britain – $6.10 per head
  • Canada – $0.10
  • Australia – $6.82
  • New Zealand – $1.75

The decision of the Department of National Defence to order two new torpedo boat destroyers for Canada this year may be allowed to pass without much serious criticism. It is estimated that the pair of destroyers will cost $3,000,000.

Of course, three million dollars is an enormous sum of money. It may be objected that Canada has survived for ten years since the war without building new warships. Nobody can say, however, that the placing of one new destroyer on the Atlantic coast of Canada and one on the Pacific coast is a grave departure in the direction of aggressive navalism.

The destroyers will obviously be maintained for nothing more than patrol purposes. No other country with such an export trade as Canada has so far shown so much confidence in the good-will of the rest of the world. Nor is there any reason to believe that with the present able minister, Col. J.L. Ralston, at the head of the Department of National Defence, there will be any departure away from the policy of reasonable economy.

Canada is becoming more than ever a maritime nation with growing interest in markets abroad. No party in Canada will say that the defence policy of this country should be based on non-resistance. There are several alternatives. One is to depend on British naval defence as in the last war. Another is to depend upon the United States navy without frankly admitting it. But neither policy would receive the approval of the Dominion electorate.

Without plunging headlong into any such policy of naval expansion as the Australian Commonwealth is committed to—where the defence situation is entirely different—the credit of Canada does apparently require reasonable provision for naval defence. The responsible minister can reasonably ask parliament to vote the necessary provision.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 6 April 2017

Procurement of Garrison Supplies, 1842
Topic: British Army

The Bread to be fresh, sweet, and good, to be Manufactured from fine Flour, and to be baked in 4 and 2 pound Loaves.

Procurement of Garrison Supplies, 1842

Government Notice

The Canada Gazette, Kingston, Ont., Saturday, August 6, 1842

Sealed tenders will be received at the Commissariat Office, Kingston, until noon, on Monday the 23rd of August next, from Persons desirous of supplying Her Majesty's Forces at Presque Isle, with

Bread, Fresh beef, Fuel, Wood,
and Straw for Barrack Bedding

For one year from 1st October, 1842, to 30th September, 1843. the Tenders must express the rate in Currency, in words at length, at which each supply will be furnished.

  • Bread at _______ Currency per lb.
  • Fresh Beef at _______ Currency per lb.
  • Fuel Wood at _______ Currency per Cord of 128 feet.
  • Straw at _______ Currency per bundle of 12 lbs.

The Bread to be fresh, sweet, and good, to be Manufactured from fine Flour, and to be baked in 4 and 2 pound Loaves.

The beef to be of the best quality, Ox or Heifer, and no other, Head, feet, and offal to be excluded, but no Suet withdrawn.

The Fuel Wood, to be of fair proportions of sound, Merchantable, hard Maple, Black and Yello Birch, and Beech, each stick to be four feet long from scarp to point, and none no less than three inches diameter at the small end. The Wood must have been cut at least two Months before delivery to the Troops.

The Straw, to be good, sweet and sound Oaten or Wheaten Straw, and to be put up in bundles of 12 lbs. each.

The Bread, fresh beef, Fuel Wood, and Straw for bedding, to be delivered by the Contractors free of all expense to the Government, at the respective barracks and Quarters of the Troops.

Unexceptional security, subject to the approval of the Commissariat, will be required; and the names of two persons, willing to enter into a Bond with the principal, for the due performance of the Contract, must be stated on the Tender. Payment will be made by Check on a Chartered bank.

Further information required, may be obtained by application at the Commissariat.

Kingston, 22nd July, 1842

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Canadians Succeed in Seven Dashing Raids
Topic: CEF

Canadians Succeed in Seven Dashing Raids

Rain, Hail and Steel Fail to Check Minor Operations—Number of Prisoners Taken, and Counter-Attacks Easily Beaten Off

To these daring raids the only reply of the enemy has been a few feeble counter-attacks. On no occasion have our trenches been occupied.

The Toronto World, 5 April 1917

London, April 4.—The following communique, issued by the Canadian war records office, covers activities of the Canadian Corps from March 25 to April 1:

A year ago the proportion of rain, hail and sleet which has been experienced during the last week on the Canadian corps front would have been said to have brought operations almost to a standstill. Nowadays weather has little effect on minor operations. There are no "quiet" days in the old sense of the term. The old stagnation of trench warfare is disappearing. Almost nightly there are raids on one or the other part of the front. The enemy is given no peace. Our artillery pound his defences and communication trenches night and day unceasingly. When his is not being raided by night our patrols are continually searching No Man's Land, often reaching the enemy's wire and trenches and bringing back valuable information as to the state of his defence and his methods of holding the line.

Carry Our Seven Raids

The records of minor operations carried out since last Sunday includes seven raids in all. As usual, a number of prisoners were taken.

One night and early one morning small parties of a certain famous regiment crossed No Man's Land and entered the enemy's lines. On both occasions much damage was done to dugouts and defences, and in a second raid a German post was driven from its position in a crater. Our men occupied the post for a short time, inflicting heavy casualties on the retreating enemy with their own bombs which they had left behind in their hurry to get away.

Another evening a raid was carried out. A party went over to the enemy's trenches, and finding the line strongly held, proceeded to drive him into his support line. In the process five Huns were captured and the usual ruin was made of his dugouts and defences.

The enemy retaliation for this little enterprise was not long delayed, and unfortunately one of their shells caught three of the prisoners and their escort on the way back to our lines.

On another occasion we drove an enemy post from its advanced position in a crater. In their counter-attack the enemy suffered heavy losses from our accurate Lewis machine gun fire.

The first raid in April was responsible for the capture of some prisoners. Nine dugouts which were known to be occupied were bombed. In addition many dead were seen in the enemy's lines.

To these daring raids the only reply of the enemy has been a few feeble counter-attacks. On no occasion have our trenches been occupied.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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