The Minute Book
Sunday, 30 April 2017

Travel by Railway and Steamboat, Canadian Militia (1868)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Travel by Railway and Steamboat, Canadian Militia (1868)

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

Any spirituous liquors in possession of the men to be taken away and destroyed. The men should have been forbidden to take any liquor with them before starting.

When travelling by Railroad.

Battalions embarking on the railroad should form line fronting towards the train, each company being immediately opposite the car which they are intended to occupy, and on the command being given, should file in from both flanks; advancing arms if infantry, shouldering if rifles. The flank men should proceed to the middle of the car and take their seats in an orderly manner. In disembarking the men nearest the door, will be the first to leave, and will be instructed to take their proper places on the platform at once. A non-commissioned officer should be stationed at each door, who will prevent any man standing on the platform of the car, or leaving it at any stopping-places.

Officers should always be in the car containing their companies.

No men are to be allowed to get out of the carriages during a railroad journey except by special permission; or to get off a steamer at intermediate landing places.

The officer commanding is to see that the railroad cars are provided with ample supply of drinking water.

When travelling by Steamboat

The men should embark or disembark in a systematic and orderly manner. The men going on board should be at once marched away from the gangways and form up on deck, no man being allowed to leave the ranks until all are on board. They may then be permitted to pile arms, or place them in some safe place with their accoutrements, where all can be kept together, and a guard mounted over them, care must be taken that ammunition is placed in safety, with a sentinel mounted over it.

Any spirituous liquors in possession of the men to be taken away and destroyed. The men should have been forbidden to take any liquor with them before starting.

In steamers, no man should be allowed to tipple at the bar and a non-commissioned officer should be placed over the bar to prevent it.

The officers should constantly go among the men during a railway or steamboat journey, to attend to their wants, and to enforce orderly behaviour ; and during night journeys at least one officer per company should always be up, in addition to the officer detailed for duty, and visit the men frequently.

Complaints have been frequent that volunteers travelling by railway have committed wanton damages to the cars. It is certainly in the power of an attentive officer to prevent this. The commanding officer should observe the condition of the cars before entering, and again immediately before leaving. If auy damage has been committed, the station master should be requested to assess it, and if the individuals who have committed are not known: it must be charged against the pay of the company occupying the car. Before entering the car, men should be warned of this regulation.

If the officer commanding troops moved by railway or steamboat is not provided with a regular transport requisition, be will give the conductor, or purser, a voucher for the service performed, specifying the place and hour of departure, and stating the number of officers and men conveyed." — Regulations respecting Volunteer Militia.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 29 April 2017

Canadian Initiatives in the First World War
Topic: CEF

Canadian Initiatives in the First World War

The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs, 1918; by J. Castell Hopkins, FSS, FRGS, pub. Toronto, 1919.

As a Corps the Canadians were very seldom defeated or held up—at Passchendaele they had to make three attempts and success came in the third attack but this was a rare exception. As to initiative, F. D. L. Smith of the Toronto News, recorded (Sept. 10th, 1918) a series of incidents showing Canadian adaptability in various important matters:

(1)     They were the first to construct light railways behind the firing line, to use this means of transportation in conveying troops, munitions and supplies to the trenches, as well as in carrying wounded to the rear.

(2)     They were the first to lay down plank roads in order to carry heavy trucks and guns through the quagmires of Flanders and France.

(3)     They were the first to substitute temporary, lightly constructed waggon roads in place of the permanent highways in favour with the other Allies.

(4)     They were the first to originate trench raids for the purpose of breaking the enemy's morale, and obtaining necessary information regarding his forces.

(5)     They were the first to organize machine-gun batteries and to use machine-guns in indirect fire that is to say against invisible objects.

(6)     They were the first to combat the disease known as trench-feet with any considerable success and they invented the alkali bath to neutralize the poisonous effects of mustard gas.

(7)     They were the first of all the Allied armies to establish a Dental Corps, and as a result of this the dental health of the Canadian Army was of the highest character.

(8)     They were the first to introduce a de-lousing plant to rid soldiers' clothing of insects.

(9)     The Canadian Army Intelligence Department proved a model for others, and Canadian intelligence officers were called to reorganize departments of some of the armies on the Western and Italian fronts.

(10)     Canadians introduced a watch repair department, so that the tens of thousands of wrist watches worn by officers and men did not have to go to England for repair.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 28 April 2017

Sniper Badge Shooting Test (1951)
Topic: Drill and Training

Sniper Badge Shooting Test (1951)

Infantry Training; Vol. I, Infantry Platoon Weapons, Pamphlet No. 10; Sniping, 1951 (W.O. Code No. 8697)

Introduction, General, Para. 1

Between the wars, sniping has in many cases been overlooked and by some has become almost a forgotten art. When hostilities begin there is a frantic rush to get snipers trained, and because of this, full value is not always obtained from them. These circumstances are sometimes occasioned by lack of knowledge on the subject; there is, however, no excuse for allowing sniper training to lapse.

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The Sniper's Task

The sniper's task is to kill individual enemy with single shots very quickly aimed if necessary; he will never fire a rapid succession of shots except in self defence. As a guide, the standard of shooting to be demanded of a sniper is that he should be able to hit a man's head regularly at 200 yards and a man's trunk up to 400 yards rage; this standard may well be improved upon. Extreme accuracy can be obtained in target shooting at 1000 yards with the sniper but shooting at anything approaching this range should be discouraged in the field unless there is some very special reason for so doing.

elipsis graphic

Sniper Badge Shooting Test

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The Hawkins Position

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 27 April 2017

School of Military Instruction, 1865
Topic: Canadian Militia

Militia General Orders

His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief has made arrangements with His Excellency the Lieutenant General Commanding Her Majesty's Forces in British North America, for the establishment of a School of Military Instruction at London.

Quebec, 27th April, 1865

Service Militia, Canada

General Orders, No. 1

His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief has made arrangements with His Excellency the Lieutenant General Commanding Her Majesty's Forces in British North America, for the establishment of a School of Military Instruction at London, in connection with the 1st Battalion of the 16th Regiment of Her Majesty's Forces.

This school will be opened for the reception of candidates, on Tuesday, the 16th day of May proximo, and His Excellency is pleased to order the following Rules and Regulations for the guidance of all concerned, viz.:

1.     All Candidates for Commissions in the "Service" Militia, will be required before appointment, to obtain a certificate, as hereinafter mentioned, from the Commandant of one of the Schools of Military Instruction; and no person shall be appointed or promoted to the rank of Field Officer in the "Service" Militia who shall not have obtained a "First class" certificate.

2.      A "First class" certificate shall be given to those candidates who shall have proved themselves, to the satisfaction of the Commandant of the School of Military Instruction, able to drill and handle a Battalion in the field, and who shall have acquired a competent acquaintance with the internal economy of a Battalion.

3.     A "Second class" certificate shall be given to those candidates who shall have proved themselves able to command a Company at Battalion drill, and to drill Company at "Company drill," and who shall have acquired a competent acquaintance with the internal economy of a Company and the duties of a Company officer.

4.     All candidates for admission to the Schools of Military Instruction will be required, before admission, to satisfy a Board of officers of their competence for the position of commissioned officers of the Militia.

5.     No candidate shall be permitted to remain at any of the Schools of Military Instruction after he shall have obtained a second class certificate, without the special permission of the Commander in Chief.

6.     No certificate of either class shall be given to any candidate who is not himself perfectly drilled as a private soldier.

7.     No candidate shall be permitted to remain at any of the schools for a longer period than three calendar months from the date of his entry.

8.     The traveling expenses of all candidates in coming to, and returning to their homes from the school shall be paid.

9.     All candidates on obtaining a "Second Class" Certificate, shall be paid the sum of Fifty dollars, and on obtaining a "First Class" certificate, the further sum of Fifty dollars in addition.

10.     All Candidates for Commissions, while attending the school, shall be considered for all purposes of drill and discipline to be attached to the Regiment which shall constitute the School of Instruction; and it shall be competent to the Commander-in-Chief, on a representation from the Commandant, to dismiss any candidate from the school, for misconduct or other sufficient cause.

11.     Candidates for Commissions, while attending the school, shall not be Members of the Mess of the Regiment which constitutes the school.

No. 2.

The following officers are appointed as a Board of Examiners of candidates for admission to the School of Military Instruction at London:—

  • The Commandant of the School,
  • Lieut.-Colonel Shanly, Commanding Volunteers,
  • Major Moffat, Brigade Major.

By Command of His Excellency the Right Honorable the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief.
Walker Powell, Lt.-Colonel, Deputy Adjutant General of Militia, Upper Canada

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Respecting Orders Given on Parade (1880)
Topic: Discipline

Militia General Orders

Headquarters, Ottawa, 8th October, 1880

General Orders (19), No. 1

Respecting Orders Given on Parade

The following is published for general information and warning:—

In one of the Corps of the Militia of the Dominion, a Lieutenant commanding a company had occasion, on parade, to find fault with the drill of one of his men, a Private. The Private not only answered him while in the ranks, but afterwards, off parade, went to the officer and argued with him as to the correctness of the order he had received. This provoked the Officer to such an extent that he so far forgot himself as to use personal violence towards the Private Soldier, and to subsequently exceed his authority by striking the name of the Private off the Roll of his Corps.

To mark his disapprobation of conduct so subversive of all military discipline, the Minister of Militia and Defence has approved of the removal from the Service of both the Officer and private, and their names will therefore be erased from the Roll of their Corps. The Major General hopes that what has unfortunately occurred may act as a warning to the Militia Service generally so that it may be thoroughly understood that an order given to Soldiers on parade must not be answered or abjected to, but obeyed; that a Soldier who feels himself aggrieved must not go to his Officer unless accompanied by a non-commissioned Officer who has been previously informed of the man's object in wishing to speak to his Officer; and that Officers must on no account use violence, or take the law into their own hands.

It is with extreme regret that the Major General finds it necessary to publish this order.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 23 January 2017 9:41 PM EST
Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Believe the War Will Be Humane (1914)
Topic: Military Medical

Believe the War Will Be Humane (1914)

US Army Surgeons Point to Advances in Surgery
Methods Bar Cripples—Amputations Fewer Than before but Instant Death Common

Kentucky New Age, Hopkinsville, Kentucky, 24 August 1914

The prevention methods and improved sanitation arrangements which have developed within the last generation in the armies of the world are generally regarded as even more important than the treatment of the wounded.

United States Army surgeons and New York stations agree that the impending European war will be settled in much shorter order than most persons believe possible, and that it will be the most humane ever waged. There will be no lengthy mortality list from disease, and no army of cripples will result, they are convinced.

Recent advances in surgery and sanitation will be the cause. The high power quick firing military rifle and the development in artillery will however tend to make the mortality list greater than in any previous war. Those who die will die quickly. Deaths will be due to accuracy, long range and rapid firing, and not to disease or infected wounds.

"Gangrene and infection," declared an army surgeon who is recognized as an authority, "will be practically unknown qualities in the wars of the future."

Until the Russo-Japanese war black powder and a large calibre bullet comprised the ammunition of the armies of the world. The bullets were of unsheathed lead, greased to overcome friction in the barrel. Their muzzle velocity was less than one half that of the missiles in arms now employed.

Up to that time bayonet and sabre charges, prolific of hideous and dangerous wounds, were common. Such charges are now considered medieval. The bullets now used are of less diameter than the ordinary lead pencil and are jacketed with steel, nickel or lead. They have a tremendous velocity and low trajectory.

Wounds from the old time muskets and military rifle, with their soft, mushrooming bullet, resulted in shattered bones and crushed flesh. Infection of gunshot wounds was almost inevitable. A wound in the abdomen was necessarily fatal. The death rate from wounds was enormous.

Nowadays, with military rifles such as all the great powers use and the degree to which surgery has advanced, a soldier may be shot through what once was regarded as a vital spot and walk unsupported to the field hospital at the rear. Such cases are on record.

Great Britain uses the Lee-Enfield rifle, caliber 7.7 mm., the bullet coated with cupro-nickel. French soldiers are equipped with the Lebel rifle, caliber 8 mm., with bullets coated with nickel. Germany employs the Mauser rifle, caliber 8 mm., with bullets steel and copper coated. Russia uses Mosin-Nagant rifles, caliber 7.62 mm., with bullets cupro-nickel coated. Austria's small arm is the Mannlicher, caliber 8 mm., with a steel sheet coat over the bullet.

Beyond 350 yards the wounds inflicted by such bullets are clean cut frequently passing through bone tissue without splintering. The arteries are seldom injured by such wounds which were formerly fatal, or at least necessitated amputation, are now healed without such an operation. Formerly a bullet wound through a joint such as the knee or elbow, necessitated the amputation of the limb. Now such a wound is opened and dressed and healed without amputation.

Russia, which once lagged behind the other great powers in medical and sanitary efficiency, learned a lesson in her war with Japan.

Russia, France, Great Britain, Germany and Austria now use vaccine to combat typhoid, once the fatal scourge of every campaign.

All these nations have been busy in the last twenty years building up a fine medical corps. Their hospital services employ the latest ideas in army sanitation, many of them copied from the hospital service of the United States army. The hospital corps are composed of especially selected men trained in caring for the sick and wounded, as well as in preventive work.

Every army division is supplied with four field hospitals, each capable of caring for 108 patients. There are also two evacuation hospitals with a capacity for 700 each, for each division. These may be from twenty-five to fifty miles in the rear of the army and it is from them that the more seriously wounded are shipped back to the hospitals at home.

Besides the hospital corps, which has bearers on the field of battle ready to rush the wounded back to the field hospitals, each officer in the American and European armies is instructed in first aid treatment, so that there need be no delay in caring for the wounded and no excuse for allowing infection to set in, even in the heat of battle.

The prevention methods and improved sanitation arrangements which have developed within the last generation in the armies of the world are generally regarded as even more important than the treatment of the wounded. In the Civil War eight soldiers died of disease to everyone who succumbed to wounds. Experts have figured that in the European war not more than three will die of disease to one killed in battle.

The camp pestilences have always been typhoid and dysentery. Until about fifteen years ago the causes of these diseases and the prevention were not known. Now both have been ascertained and are effectively fought. The typhoid germ is attacked by vaccination and the dysentery parasite by sterilizing drinking water.

During the Spanish war there were 20,000 cases of typhoid among the American soldiers in less than three months. About 1,600 deaths resulted. Now, with an army of 80,000 about half that number in the field during the Spanish war, one case of typhoid is not reported in a year.

Neglect of proper sanitation precautions is now regarded by every world power as suicidal. History shows that the fate of nations and dynasties may hang upon sanitation. In 1792, when the disciplined Prussian troops marched to the relief of Louis XVI, they were met and repulsed by the raw levies of the young republic. The report of Gen. Du Mouriez, the commander of the French troops shows beyond a doubt owing to neglect of ordinary sanitary precautions pestilential dysentery had attacked the Prussian army and rendered it unfit for service.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
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

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