The Minute Book
Saturday, 31 August 2013

Bars in Messes
Topic: Officers


Bars in Messes

Image and text excerpted from:

Book cover: Officers Mess Life and Customs in the Regiments

Officers' Mess Life and Customs in the Regiments, by Lt. Col. R.J. Dickinson, Essex Regt and RAOC; with illustrations by Lt. Col. Frank Wilson, Parachute Regt and Queen's; Chapel River Press, 1977

This delightful volume wonderfully describes officers' mess to the middle decades of the 20th century. It is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the regimental life of the British Empire officer of this period.

The scene is a station mess in India, at the end of the war. A Sikh Major who has long and gallant service in the Indian Army, is explaining the meaning of the expression 'Do Ungli Sikh Peg' (two finger Sikh peg) to two officers, whose knees are not yet brown. The forefinger and little finger are extended to measure a 'King size' whisky.

The barman is not amused, he is a Muslim, does not drink like Sikhs, or like them either. He has known better days with a famous regiment of Indian cavalry, when officers were 'pukka sahibs' relaxing leather arm chairs after polo, pig sticking or shooting.

The colonel is slightly sad at the change, but supposed that he will be doing the same thing in that old inn in his village when he retires in a few months.

The new fangled idea of bars in officers' messes was introduced during the last war. These bars were usually made of three ply wood and painted in gay colours. They were placed in what had been the card room, or often in a corner of the ante-room. They were decorated with beer labels, advertisements for whisky and 'cut-outs' of ladies with few clothes on.

Officers even stood each other drinks, unheard of in the old days. Such expressions as "What's yours?", "Have this on me", "Let me buy you a drink" or "It's my turn to stand a round" were heard.

The older members who remembered more rigid days viewed the subject with sorrow, but kindness.In the East they felt it probably made the 'young fellows' feel more at home and reminded them of their 'local' and was better than them having drinking parties in their rooms.

In the past a bell was rung ti summon the wine waiter. In India the bells rarely worked, a cry of "Koi-Hai" (anybody there) and an answer of "coming sahib" was the method getting refreshments.

In officers' messes where British and Indian officers got on happily together, there was only one slight flaw. At meals there were separate dishes for the British and the Indians.

The British officers far preferred the spicy curries to their own tough 'beef roast' and, as a result an Indian Officer arriving late discovered all Indian dushes 'were off the menu'!

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 30 August 2013

Canadian Volunteer Militia Rifle Companies (1865)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Instructions for Drill of the Canadian Volunteer Militia Rifle Companies (1865)

General Principles for Light Infantry Formations

Duties, Movements, training, etc.

Object of light infantry movements.

1.     The duties of light troops in the field are both varied and important; to them the safe guard of the camp is usually intrusted, and by them the cantonments of the army are protected from the sudden or unexpected approach of the enemy. When the army is in motion, the light infantry reconnoitre the country in its front, feel for the enemy, or clear the way for columns in advancing, and protect them from being too closely pressed upon or harassed, in retreating. The conceal and cover the movements and manoeuvres of the line, watch the motions of the enemy, and ascertain the nature of the ground and country in advance of the main body; and upon their efficiency, the general, often very much, depends for the necessary information to enable him to regulate and direct his columns.

Requisite qualifications of light troops.

2.     Judgment, tact, and decision on the part of officers, and individual intelligence and correctness of eye, whether in selecting cover, or in taking aim, are the chief requisites in good light troops, and which alone can insure the prompt and accurate performance of the duties enumerated in No. 1.

Battalions of the line required to practise movements in extended order.

3.     When battalions of the line are in perfect order in all in all the detail of line movements, it is essential that they should be practised in certain extended formations. It is always desirable that a battalion of the line, in the absence of any force of light infantry beyond the light companies of regiments, should be competent to assist in protecting the front and flanks of a column of march; and the formation of an advanced guard and the posting of piquets apply to all descriptions of infantry corps.

General remark.

4.     The first thing to be attended to in the training of light infantry is the careful instruction of officers and non-commissioned officers. These points, indeed, constitute the elements of discipline in every corps, whose excellence or deficiency will ever be in proportion to the degree of information possessed by those who instruct the soldier and superintend his actions; but in light corps especially, the necessity of devoting additional time and attention to this object will become at once apparent, when we consider the liability of this branch of the service to be detached in small parties, demanding in consequence, in most junior grades, an extent of judgment and capacity, the exercise of which, circumstances may daily call for in the field. the light infantry officer who, on service, is constantly intrusted with command, and thrown upon his own resources, ought therefore to possess that quick and certain coup d'oeil (only to be acquired by practice), which will enable him readily to adapt his measures to the ground on which he may be acting, whether in driving back an enemy, in advancing, or in checking his progress in retiring:---in a word, he should be trained so as to prepare him for every contingency that may occur in the field, and be taught to know and feel that there are few situations in which a small body, ably conducted, may not retire in safety and with honour in presence of a large one.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 4 August 2013 2:29 PM EDT
Thursday, 29 August 2013

Canadian Troops Outside the Corps
Topic: CEF

So much of our generalized understanding of the Canadian Corps in the First World War has been built up from the news stories we see around Remembrance Day each year. These views, with a focus on the worst conditions of the front lines in trench warfare, emphasizing the life of the infantry in the deepest mud, or of losses on the worst days of fighting, easily lead the recipient to forget about the many other roles filled by Canadian soldiers. Not only was there the diveristy of employment in a modern army within the four Divisions of the Canadian Corps, but there were also many soldiers employed ourtside the Corps. This excerpt, from the the Ministry for Overseas Military Forces of Canada report for 1918, describes some of the other duties and roles, each equally important for their contributions to victory and the support of the fighting man, fufilled by Canadians.

Canadian Troops Outside the Corps

From the Report of the Ministry; Overseas Military Forces of Canada; 1918


4th Battalion, Canadian Labour Corps


First Hussars, Canadian Cavalry Corps


8th Stationary Hospital


Canadian Forestry Battalion


4th Battalion, Canadian Railway TRoops

CEF_Vet Corps 11-2_200px.gif

Canadian Army Veterinary Corps

Source for images: CEFSG Cap Badge Collection. See this page for other CEF badges and better quality images for reference.

In considering the achievements of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada in the field, special reference must be made to the various Formations outside the Corps, each of which rendered much valuable service in its own sphere.

In addition to the Canadian Corps, which at the time the Armistice was signed had a total strength of 110,600, there were nearly 40,000 Canadian troops, separate and distinct from the Corps serving in different capacities in the war zone throughout France and Belgium. No other British Dominion had her sons so widely distributed on the Western Front or engaged in so many diversified capacities as Canada.

This force of approximately 40,000 men was made up of railway construction experts, of lumbermen, of cavalrymen, of doctors and dentists, of engineers, butchers, bakers, and so on. Some were stationed near the North Sea, some near the Spanish border, some in Central France, and others in almost every place where there were Allied Forces. There was a large Canadian Base Camp at Etaples, for the temporary accommodation of reinforcements passing through. There were also Canadian Corps reinforcement camps in the vicinity of Aubin St. Vaast, near Montreuil, where the training was continued until the personnel were required by their respective units. The personnel at these camps were on the strength of their respective Units at the front and on the lines of communication. The functions of most of the formations that made up the 40,000 troops outside the Corps are given in various sections of this Report, but it is only just that special attention should be drawn to the work of these troops as a whole.

With the exception of the thousands of pilots and observers who were in the Royal Air Force and Independent Air Force when the fighting ended on November 11, 1918, the Canadian. troops operating in France and Belgium were, for the most part, administered by Canadian authorities, though, like the Canadian Corps, they came under Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig for direction in all matters connected with military operations in the field.

The largest body of Canadians on the Western Front, separate from the Canadian Corps, was the Corps of Canadian Railway Troops, a force of experts on railway construction.

For nearly two years prior to the signing of the Armistice, the Corps of Canadian Railway Troops had been responsible for the building of all the light railways in the areas occupied by the five British Armies, on a line running from the North Sea southward to the junction with the French Army. They had also been responsible for the construction of most of the new standard gauge lines radiating from the Channel Ports on the French Coast to the actual battle zones.

The Canadian Forestry Corps was the most widely-scattered body of Canadians in the Western theatre of war. There were Companies exploiting French forests near the borders of Spain, Switzerland, and Germany. Others were in Central France, at different points near the Front Line, on the Lines of Communication, and at many places in companies or smaller formations.

With the aid of attached Labour and 13 Prisoners of War Companies, the Canadian Forestry Corps supplied the greater percentage of all lumber used by the Allied Armies in France and Belgium. Only once during its career in France did the Canadian Cavalry Brigade take part as a mounted force in an engagement with the Canadian Corps. This was at Amiens on August 8. The rest of the time it fought exclusively with Imperial Forces, being attached to an Imperial Cavalry Division. It was attached to the 3rd Cavalry Division for the major portion of the time.

The Canadian Army Medical Corps had its havens of mercy widely distributed. At Boulogne there were No. 2 Canadian Stationary Hospital and No. 3 Canadian General Hospital. Nos. 1 and 7 Canadian General Hospitals were at Etaples, as was also No. 9 Canadian Stationary Hospital. No. 2 Canadian General Hospital was at Le Treport, not far from Dieppe, and Nos. 3 and 7 Canadian Stationary Hospitals were at Rouen. No. 10 Canadian Stationary Hospital was at Calais, No. 8 Canadian Stationary Hospital at Charmes, and Nos. 6 and 8 Canadian General Hospitals were in Paris. The four Canadian Casualty Clearing Stations or Hospitals, numbering 1 to 4, were moved from place to place as the military situation demanded. They were always situated within a few miles of the front line. No. 2 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station was for over two years in the British Second Army Area, being for most of that time located at Remy Siding, near Poperinghe, and almost opposite what were known as Connaught Lines, famous to Canadians in the early days of the War. It was there that several Canadian Battalions had their transport lines from time to time. The only units of the Canadian Army Medical Corps that were a part of the Canadian Corps were the Field Ambulances.

The Canadian Army Service Corps had supply units at several centres outside the Canadian Corps Area. There were four units of field bakeries and two units of field butcheries at Boulogne, while there were supply units at Etaples, Rouen, Calais, Havre, and Dieppe.

The Minister is represented at General Headquarters of the British Armies in France by what is known as the Canadian Section, and the most important functions of this Section are dealt with under a separate head.

The following list gives the chief Canadian formations that were operating outside the Canadian Corps Area in France and Belgium, with the relative strength of each, at the time the Armistice was signed:—

 OfficersOther Ranks
Corps of Canadian Railway Troops49114,390
Canadian Forestry Corps37611,375
Canadian Cavalry Brigade1412,719
Canadian Army Medical Corps3602,467
Canadian Army Service Corps571,675
Canadian Engineers Reinforcement Pool491,214
Canadian Labour Pool1,881
Canadian Base Signal Pool8432
Canadian Army Veterinary Corps9438
Canadian Army Dental Corps52104
Miscellaneous Details65479

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Kiska Regiments, then and now
Topic: Perpetuation

In August 1943, the 13th Canadian Infantry Brigade, of the 6th Canadian Division, participated in the combined US-Canadian force that assaulted the Island of Kiska in the Aleutians.

Taking place three months after the US forces assaulted the island of Attu, where casualties totalled 25% of the attacking force, Kiska was not expected to be any easier to defeat. The attack on Kiska, as it happened, met empty shores and vacant barracks and gun emplacements. The Japanese had managed to evacuate the island only two weeks before the assault, slipping through the picketing warships amidst in heavy for and rough seas.

But for the Japanese forces' luck in escaping the closing trap, Canadians might know of Kiska with the same sense of tragedy that we remember of the battles at Hong Kong and Dieppe.

The Kiska Regiments, then and now


The Canadian Army at Kiska; August 1943The Kiska Regiments Today
9th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Nil
19th Field RegimentNil
20th Field Regiment (shared with the 7th Canadian Infantry Division)20th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
21st Field Regiment21st Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
24th Field Regiment (shared with the 7th Canadian Infantry Division)24th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
25th Field Regiment56th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
13th Canadian Infantry Brigade
The Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)The Royal Canadian Regiment
The Winnipeg GrenadiersThe Winnipeg Grenadiers (Reduced to nil strength and transferred to the Supplementary Order of Battle on 28 February 1965.)
The Rocky Mountain RangersThe Rocky Mountain Rangers
Le Régiment de HullLe Régiment de Hull
24th Field Regiment, RCA24th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
46th Light AA Battery, RCANil
24th Field Company, RCENil
1 Company, St. John Fusiliers (M.G.)The Royal New Brunswick Regiment


Regimental badges of the Kiska Force, as displayed at The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum.



Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 July 2013 10:55 PM EDT
Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A Subaltern's Quarter, circa 1910
Topic: Officers

A Subaltern's Quarter in Officers' Mess, circa 1910.

Image and text excerpted from:

Book cover: Officers Mess Life and Customs in the Regiments

Officers' Mess Life and Customs in the Regiments, by Lt. Col. R.J. Dickinson, Essex Regt and RAOC; with illustrations by Lt. Col. Frank Wilson, Parachute Regt and Queen's; Chapel River Press, 1977

This delightful volume wonderfully describes officers' mess to the middle decades of the 20th century. It is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the regimental life of the British Empire officer of this period.

Left to right: Great coat, cartridge bag and father's gun; field glasses (used mostly when at races); helmet; group photo; first fox brush; fox mask; crop, pipes and hunting print; oil lamp; hunting map*; mug for morning tea; blanket and table, G.S.; training manuals (un-read), hunting boots, spurs, tennis racket, fishing rod and sword.

* Hunting map with circles in miles showing distance of 'meets' from barracks.

On mantlepiece – 'Mum', 'Sis', tobacco tin, invitations, cup for point to point, "Dad'.

Below: kettle for hot water bottle; brigg's umbrella; mess jacket and waistcoat; blankets; G.S. sheets – officer's for use of; pots, chamber – officer's for use of. Mess kit laid out by soldier servant (not batman in those days) now on coal fatigue. Window left open in order to draw up fire – rain pours in.

Note: Barracks probably built around 1810.

Compare to the subject of the Cornelius Kreighoff painting "An Officer's Room" displayed by the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

 See a larger version of the Kreighoff painting here.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 August 2013 12:04 AM EDT
Monday, 26 August 2013

The RCR at Esquimalt; 1914-17
Topic: The RCR

Capt. E.A. Seely-Smith, 1912

In August, 1914, the Canadian Government authorized the establishment of a new company station for The Royal Canadian Regiment. No. 6 Station, at Esquimalt, was home to "L" Company of the Regiment, and provided a western location for the Regiment's Permanent Force recruiting until the end of 1917. The first officer commanding "L" Company would be Captain Edward Albert Seely-Smith, who was in British Columbia en route to Australia and found his travel halted to organize and command the new company.

General Orders; 1914

Headquarters; Ottawa
1st August, 1914

G.O. 125 — Organization

Military District No. 11.— The organizations of a company of The Royal Canadian Regiment, with headquarters at Work Point Barracks, Esquimalt, is authorized.

(H.Q. 363-18-2).

G.O. 126 — Establishments, 1914-1915

Active Militia, Including Permanent Force

With reference to Establishments 1914-15, as published with G.O. 87, 1914, pp. 12 and 13, after column headed "No. 5 Station, Quebec," insert heading "No. 6 Station, Esquimalt," and in column below add the following:—

Major 1
Captain 1
Lieutenants 2
Quartermaster-Sergeant 1
Colour Sergeant 1
Orderly Room Clerk 1
Sergeants 4
Corporals 4
Lance Corporals 3
Privates 80
Buglers and Drummers 2
Total 100

Al totals to be amended accordingly.

By command,

Victor A.S. Williams, Colonel Adjutant-General.

Researching The Royal canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 July 2013 7:41 PM EDT
Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Woods Recogniton Cards; The Kings
Topic: Cold War

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

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


See also, the Jokers, and the Aces.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 July 2013 10:14 PM EDT
Saturday, 24 August 2013

Extra Duty Pay (1906)

At a time when the base rates of pay for the Permanent Force infantry sergeants, corporals and privates were $1.00, $0.80, and $0.50, respectively, the opportunities to be appointed to work with extra duty pay was not to be overlooked. Men with appropriate civilian skills who decided to enlist in The Royal Canadian Regiment (or other Permanent Force units), or who achieved the necessary certificates in military training, could supplement their pay well with available extra duty pay. The 1906 regulations regarding Extra Duty Pay show the range of duties which might be available to an N.C.O. or man and the daily rates (i.e., p.d. – per diem) he would be paid in addition to his regular pay.

Canadian Militia
Regulations Respecting Pay and Allowances

Canada Gazette; Ottawa, Saturday, May 4, 1906

Extra Duty Pay

126.     Soldiers temporarily performing the duties or acting in the situations specified in paragraphs 128 to 144 shall be granted in addition to ordinary regimental pay, extra duty pay at the rates laid down in those paragraphs.

127.     Extra pay shall not be issued to a N.C.O. or man in receipt of engineer pay, corps pay or working pay except as otherwise provided in these regulations, nor shall two rates of extra duty pay be drawn unless specifically authorized by the Minister in Militia Council.

128.     N.C.O, and men acting as pay-sergeants or accountants:—

  • For an establishment of eighty rank and file.
    • If above rank of corporal – $0.25 p.d.
    • If corporal or below that rank – 0.40 p.d.
  • For an establishment less than eighty rank and file and over twenty-five.
    • If above rank of corporal – $0.15 p.d.
    • If corporal or below that rank – 0.25 p.d.
  • For an establishment of over nine and less than twenty-six – $0.10 p.d.

129.     The N.C.O. or man keeping the accounts of special bodies or detachments of troops shall be paid the rates according to the establishment as above.

130.     The non-commissioned officers and men acting as provost sergeants, orderly room clerks, sergeant trumpeters and sergeant drummers. – $1.10 p.d.

131.     The non-commissioned officers and men acting as riding instructors, rough riders, or instructor in trumpeting. – $0.10 p.d.

132.     Carpenters, painters, plumbers, and other artificers when employed as such at infantry and cavalry depots for each working day of seven hours. – $0.25 p.d.

133.     Pioneers, whose duty is the care of wash houses and latrines. – $0.20 p.d.

(a)     One painter or plumber for the performance for necessary painting and plumbing, is allowed for each company of the Royal Canadian Regiment.

(b)     The hours during which work shall be performed are detailed in orders by the officer commanding at each station, and the acting quartermaster shall be required to certify to the number of working days each month for which extra pay is demanded.

134.     The N.C.O. and men doing duty as garrison police:—

  • If of the rank of sergeant. – $0.25 p.d.
  • If of the rank of corporal. – $0.20 p.d.
  • If of the rank of private. – $0.15 p.d.

135.     The N.C.O. and men doing duty as assistant prison warders:—

  • If of the rank of sergeant. – $0.30 p.d.
  • If of the rank of corporal. – $0.25 p.d.
  • If of the rank of private. – $0.20 p.d.

136.     The N.C.O. and men doing duty as assistant gymnastic instructors. – $0.25 p.d.

137.     The N.C.O. and men doing duty as telephonists, according to the amount of work, from 5¢ to $0.20 p.d.

138.     Extra instructors when absolutely required in large course of instruction at the Royal Schools. – $0.25 p.d.

139.     The N.C.O. and men who are thoroughly qualified to instruct drill and musketry according to the arm of the service to which they belong and are capable of imparting the instruction in both French and English. In addition to any other pay:—

  • First class instructors. – $0.20 p.d.
  • Second class instructors. – $0.10 p.d.

(a)     The syllabus and dates of examination shall be published from time to time in Militia Orders.

140.     The N.C.O. and men employed as assistant instructors in signalling for corps of Active Militia, while so employed:—

  • Holding Grade “A” certificate. – $0.50 p.d.
  • Holding Grade “B” certificate. – $0.40 p.d.

(a)     Of the staff of assistant instructors in signalling in each unit of the Permanent Force, the best five of the rank and file may be classified as paid signallers and receive throughout the year. – $0.10 p.d.

(b)     No signaller shall be qualified for the above extra pay unless re-examined every year and in possession of an assistant instructor's or grade “A” certificate.

141.     N.C.O.'s performing the duties of other N.C.O.'s of higher grade undergoing a long course of instruction in gunnery. – $0.10 p.d.

142.     The N.C.O. or man employed to attend fires or a furnace:—

  • For the period so employed. – $0.20 p.d.
  • After two years service if found thoroughly efficient and attentive. – $0.30 p.d.

143.     The N.C.O. or man whose duty it is to attend to a lawn:—

  • For the days so employed. – $0.20 p.d.

Band Pay

144.     The following rates of band pay may be drawn in addition to ordinary regimental pay:—

  • Bandmaster. – $1.50 p.d.
  • Band sergeant. – $0.25 p.d.
  • Band corporal. – $0.15 p.d.
  • Bandsman. – $0.10 p.d.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 July 2013 6:40 PM EDT
Friday, 23 August 2013

The Souvenir Habit
Topic: Drill and Training

The Canadian Army Training Memorandum No. 26, distributed May 1943, warned officers of the Canadian Army of a disturbing trend where the collection of souvenirs by soldiers was undermining Allied efforts at intelligence collection and research into German war technologies. The following description was provided for officers to train their troops in the expected handling of items they might be considering keeping as souvenirs.

The Souvenir Habit

First Canadian Army formation sign First Canadian Army - "The Army's strength was 177,000 in all ranks at the end of 1942. One year later it had grown to 242,000. At the time of the invasion of Normandy on 31 May, 1944, it was 251,000, of which 75,000 were in Italy."


1.     A desire to keep captured documents and equipment as souvenirs sometimes results in the loss of much information which would be helpful to the armed forces as a whole. This point is well illustrated by the case of a battalion commander who, in forwarding his unit war diaries to second echelon, made a special request that certain attached captured documents should not be removed from the file in which he was sending them. It was discovered that the documents had been captured sometime before, and unfortunately had never been passed on to the proper authority. Soldiers sending parcels home have included the following articles as souvenirs:

(a)     Binoculars and compasses, of which our own fighting troops are short.

(b)     Many rounds of ammunition (for a German anti-tank gun) that our own tank designer needed urgently for test purposes.

(c)     An electrical gyroscopic compass, also urgently wanted for research.

(d)     Enemy tank logbooks giving us valuable information regarding enemy tank production.

(e)     Many useful photographs of enemy equipment about which our information was not yet complete.

(f)     Valuable items of signal equipment.

(g)     Specimens of Axis food which would have provided useful clues for our blockade authorities.

(h)     Many types of fuzes, or igniters, and detonators, some of which were new to us and all of which were helpful in some way.

(i)     Italian shoulder straps and a German football jersey with a badge, which gave us valuable identifications, including the fact that a new unit had been formed.

elipsis graphic

The same page included the advice for officers that:

"We must develop aggressiveness and aggressiveness can be developed only by aggressive instruction."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 22 August 2013

The General Service Wagon
Topic: CEF

At the beginning of the First World War, the motive power in armies was provided by feet; the feet of infantry soldiers, and the feet of the horses and mules used to move cavalry, artillery and supplies. The standard vehicle for the movement of ammunition, engineer stores, food, and fodder was the General Service Waggon. Ubuiqitous and built on standard patterns, the G.S. Waggon can often be found mentioned in memoirs and histories, but the details of its construction and capability were often too mundane, too well known to the writer and anticipated readers, to need much details. For those of us who explore the world of the Canadian Expeditionary Force now. almost a centuery after its war, the following details for the General Service Waggon are taken from Canadian Army Service Corps Training (1914).

Waggon, G.S. M.D. Mark I

With two grease boxes, pole draught, M.D. No. 1; two swingletrees G.S. No. 11; swingletree double, M.D. No. 2; two clevises, M.D. No. 2; bar supporting pole, M.D. No. 2; brake, spanner, nut, axletree, M.D. No. 3; seat, cushion; removable shelving; set of straps securing.

This waggon is similar to the standard farm waggon generally used in Canada, but differs principally in the following particulars: the materials used are of better quality; it is furnished with a brake and brease boxes; all parts are interchangeable with similar waggons.

The box is ten feet five and one-half inches long inside; depth inside, minus shelving thirteen inches; width inside, thirty-eight inches. The shelving is flared eight inches, removable, running full length of box and across the back. On the outside of the box are ten hooks for rope lashings.

The driver's seat is full width of body, supported by springs and furnished with cushions strapped to seat.

The gearing is of oak, well ironed and braced.

Front and hind gear are of clipped construction, instead of the usual bolt construction.

The waggon is furnished with a brake clipped to the axle and operated from driver's seat by hand lever and ratchet. the axletrees are of steel skein and best white hard maple construction.

The waggon is supplied with a bar supporting pole, M.D. No. 2, two swingletrees No. 11, Mark I, double swingletree, M.D. No. 2, and two clevises M.D. No. 2.

The wheels are of the wooden hub construction with two-piece bent rims. Tires two and one-half by one=half inches; height of front wheels three fet eight inches hind wheels four feet six inches.

The grease boxes are secured to the rear of the rear axletree.

Dimensions, etc.FeetInches
Length, with pole213
Length, without pole112
Height, with seat61
Height, without seat48
Distance between centre of axletrees71
Floor space, length100
Floor space, width32
Dimensions of space occupied in boats,Length119
Minimum space required to turn in320
Weight complete1,380 lbs.
Capacity5,000 lbs.

The Waggon, light transport, M.D. Mark 1, was only slightly smaller than the General Service waggon, but carried only 40 per cent of the same load.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A Regimental Guest Night, circa 1930s
Topic: Officers

01.35 hr. A Regimental Guest Night for the Brigadier and his staff, the Master of Foxhounds and a rich landowner (between the two great wars). The band have gone home.

Image and text excerpted from:

Book cover: Officers Mess Life and Customs in the Regiments

Officers' Mess Life and Customs in the Regiments, by Lt. Col. R.J. Dickinson, Essex Regt and RAOC; with illustrations by Lt. Col. Frank Wilson, Parachute Regt and Queen's; Chapel River Press, 1977

This delightful volume wonderfully describes officers' mess to the middle decades of the 20th century. It is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the regimental life of the British Empire officer of this period.

Right to left.

A.     The Mess waiter. – 'Basher' Barker (or 'Basher boy') employed in the Officers' Mess so that he will get better food to strengthen him for the finals of the army middleweight championship and so gain credit for the regiment. He has enjoyed the evening enormously, at the expense of a few nips on the regimental guest's fund. He does not seek promotion, he does not fear man nor beast, nor generals, or such like. All he wants, in his simple way, is to get the Brigadier to accept his brandy before he, 'Basher', goes to his 'bunk' for a deep sleep and 'roadwork' under a P.T. Sgt at 07.00.

B.     The Master of Foxhounds. – (thinks) "A nice lot of chaps – must reduce the hunt subscription for these keen young boys from the camp."

C.     The Brigadier – Known to the troops as 'Stop me and buy one', now mellowed, is telling his favourite story about a 'grass widow' on a houseboat in Kashmir.

D.     The Colonel – Doubled up with laughter by the Brigadier's story which he has heard twice before. It is important that the Brigadier enjoys his visit to the regiment as the Colonel longs for promotion, having three sons at public school.

E.     The Second in Command – A gallant officer – rather 'fond of the bottle' but has no axe to grind. Spent all his service in the regiment. Is a bachelor and has little to look forward to excet a bed-sitter in the Cromwell Road, long chats about the old days in the bar of his club, and cheap meals in the 'new fangled' snack bar. Known kinfly by his troops as 'Old Daddy Boy.'

F.     The Brigade Major – A keen polo and billiards player – can concentrate (hence P.S.C.) but he's heard the Brigadier's story 47 times. Too ambitious to show his feelings.

G.     The Local 'Box Wallah' or industrialist who has the best shoot in the county to which officers hope to be invited. He is being made 'too much of' by a captain who is an excellent shot but too poor to afford a gun in a syndicate.

H.     In the background – the 'warts' or subalterns. They are unable to afford a drink or leave til all the guests go. Other 'warts' are asleep in the ante-room or playing rough simple games. Later they will wake up and play 'billiard fives', no doubt.

The more serious of the elderly are playing bridge in the silence of the bridge room.

A few crafty subalterns have crept away – probably to be dragged out of bed later by those who have stuck out the long night.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Captain Frederick William Campbell, V.C.
Topic: The RCR

For most conspicuous bravery on 15th June, 1915, during the action at Givenchy. Lt. Campbell took two machine-guns over the parapet, arrived at the German first line with one gun, and maintained his position there, under very heavy rifle, machine-gun and bomb fire, notwithstanding the fact that almost the whole of his detachment had then been killed or wounded. When our supply of bombs had become exhausted, this officer advanced his gun still further to an exposed position, and, by firing about 1,000 rounds, succeeded in holding back the enemy's counter-attack. This very gallant officer was subsequently wounded, and has since died.

Thus reads the Victoria Cross citation published for Captain Frederick William Campbell of the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion. (London Gazette, No. 29272, dated August 20, 1915)

A more detailed description of Campbell's VC action is found in Annals of Valour; Empire Day, Friday May 23rd, 1919 (pub by A.T. Wilgress, 1919) and is provided below:

The Battle of Givenchy

The last Victoria Cross of 1915 was won near the village of Givenchy in the Lens district, where, in 1917, many Canadians were to win the great distinction in the successful struggle for "Hill 70" and the mining suburbs of Lens.

The Battle of Givenchy in the middle of June, 1915, was one of the minor actions fought during that summer when the British armies were still only mustering, and the Allies were ill-equipped with artillery and munitions compared with the vast supplies which the enemy had in hand. The result was that what was gained by the dauntless courage of the British, was often speedily lost "owing to the weight of the enemy's gun-fire". In the case in point, the strong positions so gallantly won soon had to be abandoned.

On June 15th, the 7th (British) Division was detailed to drive the Germans from a strong position called "Stony Mountain", while the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion was to cover the right flank of the attacking Division. This meant that the Canadians must, for their part, capture 150 yards of German front line running from "Stony Mountain" to another stronghold which they called "Dorchester".

On this occasion the British batteries began to bombard the enemy's positions late in the afternoon. At two minutes to six a mine was exploded close to the first German trench, and, while the air was still full of dust and smoke, the leading company of Canadians leaped out of their trenches, dashed across the seventy-five yards of No Man's Land despite the fierce machine-gun fire from "Stony Mountain", cleared the foe out of the "Dorchester" defences, and began to work their way toward the British on the left.

Captain Frederick William Campbell, V.C.

Captain F. W. Campbell. – A second wave of Canadians now surged across No Man's Land, and with it went a machine-gun officer. Lieutenant (acting-Captain) Campbell, with two guns and their crews.

Campbell was quite a remarkable man. It chanced that this tumultuous day of battle, on which he was to win the little bronze cross "for valour", was his forty-seventh birthday. He was the first Canadian farmer to find a place on the roll of V.C.'s. He was also a veteran of South Africa (having served in a Maxim gun squad), and, consequently, was one of the comparatively few members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who, before this great war, had "seen a cannon fired in anger”.

There is in the Citadel of Quebec a curious memento of Campbell's presence in South Africa, in the shape of the wheel of a 'gun-carriage fashioned out of the legs of a table from a Boer house. The gun-carriage had been struck by a shell at the Modder River; and the gun must have been abandoned had it not been for Campbell's ingenuity.

From his early youth he had been a member of the active militia, serving first as a private, and later becoming successively Lieutenant and Captain of the 30th Wellington Rifles. At the time of his birth, his father, Ephraim B. Campbell, was teaching a school in Oxford County. Six months later he moved to a farm in Normandy Township, Grey County; and thus his only boy was brought up to farm. Before his marriage the young man bought another farm near that of his father. He made a specialty of raising horses, and was a director of the Mount Forest Agricultural Society. But when the call to arms rang through the Empire, Campbell did not even wait to let the busy summer season go by, nor did he hold back on account of his three children – the eldest a boy of ten and the youngest a little girl of three.

He went at once to Valcartier and was accepted for service as Lieutenant in the 1st (Western Ontario) Battalion. He sailed with the First Canadian Contingent on September 24th, 1914, and reached France in February, 1915. His Battalion took part in the awful fighting at Ypres, though it was in reserve at the beginning of the gas attack; and now he was celebrating his birthday in this fierce struggle at Givenchy.

starting from the "jumping-off" trench with two machine-guns, as already stated, Lieutenant Campbell reached the German front trench with only one gun and a part of its crew. The whole crew of the other gun had been put out of action in the dash across the open. He pressed on along the trench toward "Stony Mountain", but was soon held at a block in the trench. Now he had but one man left. Private Vincent, but this big lumberman from Bracebridge proved a host in himself. When Campbell failed to find a suitable base for the gun, Vincent offered to support it with his broad back; and this enabled the Lieutenant to fire more than a thousand rounds upon the Germans who were massing to attack. Between them the gallant pair frustrated the enemy's schemes; but, as they were retiring, Campbell was seriously wounded, and four days later he died at No. "7" Stationary Hospital, Boulogne, leaving behind him a noble memory of courage, kindness, and cheerfulness. He was buried in a beautiful cemetery on a hill-top which sloped toward the sea and the little Island-Mother of the Empire that lay across the shining waters.

The 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion was perpetuated by the Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (M.G.) after the First World War. On amalgamation with The Oxford Rifles and The Royal Canadian Regiment in the 1950s, this perpetuation, and the responsibility to honour and remembers all of that unit's achievements, passed to The RCR.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 July 2013 11:10 PM EDT
Monday, 19 August 2013

Farewell to Rainbow (1974)
Topic: RCN

From the Canadian Armed Forces publication Sentinel, Volume 11, Number 3, 1975/3.

Farewell to Rainbow

HMCS Rainbow (SS / 75) steams by Clover Point at Victoria, B.C. in the summer of 1974 during her last sailpast with Maritime Forces Pacific. Canad's only submarine on the west coast was paid off at CFB Esquimalt December 31, 1974.

The "Tench" class submarine was a true veteran, having been first commissioned in January 1945 as the USS Argonaut. She completed one combat patrol in Japanese waters before the end of the Second World War.

The Argonaut served with the U.S. Navy until December 2, 1968, when she was purchased by Canada. On that day she was commissioned as HMCS Rainbow, am since then has served with Maritime Forces Pacific at Esquimalt.

She was primarily a training vessel, developing not only her crew's skills but also the anti-submarine capabilities of the west coast destroyer squadrons and maritime patrol aircraft. An indication of her active career is her record of dives — she passed the ten thousand mark last summer.

The Rainbow's last few months were as unusual as any of her career. Originally scheduled to be paid off on August 1, 1974, during June her service was extended to the end of the year. With many of the boat's crew already assigned to new duties, the captain faced a manning problem.

A call for volunteers went out, and soon the ranks were full of ex-Rainbow crewmen, east coast submariners, and naval reservists. there was even one paratrooper who had never been onboard a submarine before. they all pulled together, and the submarine successfully completed its program.

But there were to be no more extensions for the rainbow. On 31 December the Canadian flag was lowered for the last time.

The Rainbow was a good boat. She will be missed.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 July 2013 1:49 PM EDT
Sunday, 18 August 2013

Relics of Base London
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Carling Farms, Wolseley Barracks, No. 1 District Depot, Canadian Forces Base London, Area Support Unit London — the property has been known by a variety of names to generations of Canadian soldiers from Southwestern Ontario. Those soldiers lived at worked at "the barracks," it was from here they enlisted, trained, and marched off to Canada's wars, and from which many who were lucky enough to return to Canada were later demobilized to return to civilian life. Others served full, or nearly all of their, careers at Wolseley Barracks, watching the base grow and change with each passing decade.

The last major change to (then) Canadian Forces base London was the sale of half the property after the departure of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (1RCR), in 1992. The old Base Transport grounds is now a major grocery store, and much of what the soldiers who left knew as the "1RCR unit lines" is now a housing development of 125 homes.

And yet, even as the Base perimeter has shrunk, some remnants of previous eras of construction by the Department of National Defence remain.

The Old Stores Building.

Located behind McMahen Park and now serving a variety of uses as office space, the old Military Stores building can be seen on the 1922 aerial photo. This solid structure is a testament to its quality of construction and once marked the south-west corner of the base property.


1RCR Transport

Behind the Stores building is a garage. Once the home of 1RCR's Transport Platoon and the company Transport Sections, it is now a municipal facility operated by the City of London. Much of the parking area once used to store the vehicles of the Battalion is now a skate board park.


The Base Gym

Next we find the Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre, constructed during the late 1950s. Although the running track is now a community garden space, this building will be familiar to many old soldiers under it's previous moniker "the base gym."


1RCR Lines

All of these remaining building are along what was once the south side of the base property. between them and the current base boundary, where much of the 1RCR unit lines used to be, is a housing development of 125 homes. This view is taken from what was once the southwest corner of the parade square westward towards where McMahen Gate sat. Behind the houses on the right is the current base boundary fence.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 18 January 2022 5:20 PM EST
Saturday, 17 August 2013

CEF Unit Organization and Administration: Miscellaneous Regulations
Topic: CEF

Instructions Governing
Organization and Administration of CEF Units

Appendix X

Miscellaneous Regulations and Instructions issued from time to time by Militia Headquarters, Otawa, Still in Effect.

Dogs Accompanying Overseas Units

It is pointed out for the information of all concerned that dogs are not to be permitted to accompany any of the officers of men of any unit proceeding overseas as they cannot land in England and are usually left on shipboard where they are either destroyed or turned loose on the ship's arrival at a Canadian Port and so lost (H.Q. G54-21-16-9, vol. 2, dated 11/6/15.)

Granting of Warrant Officer Rank

Warrant Rank will not be granted to any N.C.Os. of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Canada, promotion of Sergeants-Major to this rank can only be considered after arrival in Canada.

Badges of Rank

Under Canadian Regulations badges of rank are worn on the shoulder strap but under Imperial Regulations they are worn on the sleeve.

Inasmuch as the Canadian Expeditionary Force on leaving Canada, pass under the control of the Imperial Authorities, badges of rank in the case of officers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force should be worn on the sleeve, and this change must be made before proceeding overseas.

Solicitation of Subscriptions by Units of the C.E.F.

It has been brought to the attention of Headquarters, Ottawa, that units for Overseas Service are soliciting subscriptions from the public for the purchase of articles of equipment, band instruments, etc., and the creation of a Regimental Fund, and it has been reported that some units have charged an admission fee to witness parades, etc., for such purposes.

The practice above referred to does not commend itself and no appeals for subscriptions will be permitted except with the express permission obtained beforehand from the Militia Council, through the proper channels.

Units of the Overseas Force are supplied by the Department with everything necessary for their equipment and it should not be necessary to appeal to the public for assistance. (H.Q. 54-21-33-71).

Appointment of N.C.Os to the C.E.F.

All N.C.Os appointed to the C.E.F. will hold provisional appointments only, so that they can be reverted at any time when the interests of the service so require. They will not be confirmed in rank until after the unit arrives in England.

Working Pay

The following is a copy of a recent Order in Council respecting working pay:

The Committee of the Privy Council have had before them a report, dated 1st November, 1915, from the Minister of Militia and Defence, stating, with reference to Order in Council Np. 2284 of 3rd September, 1914, fixing rates of pay for the Canadian Expeditionary Force, that when these rates were under consideration in the Department of Militia and Defence, it was represented that working pay for cooks, tailors, bakers, butchers, motor car drivers, mechanics, smiths, farriers, wheelers, and such like, at rates varying from 50c to $1.00 a day in addition to the ordinary rate was necessary in order to induce the men of those trades to enlist, and accordingly this extra pay was recommended and approved.

In the light of further experience, however, it is now considered advisable to cancel this working pay, as those who are drawing it have as a rule easier and less dangerous tasks to perform than the men in the trenches, who do not receive it. Furthermore, no difficulty is now anticipated in recruiting men of these trades.

The Minister, therefore, recommended that beginning with 1st January, 1916, that part of the Order in Council of 3rd September, 1914, authorizing working pay will be canceled, and those in receipt of same who are unwilling to continue on at the ordinary rates be allowed to take their discharges as soon as their places can be filled.

Medical care of the Feet of Men in Units of the C.E.F.

Attention has been called to the great importance of having the feet of the men of all units of the C.E.F. carefully inspected at least once a month, with a view to detection and correction of any conditions which may lead to impairment of efficiency.

The Medical Officers of all units concerned should, as part of their duties, give such instructions to the men under their charge as may be necessary to assist them in caring for their feet. A number of men in the proportion of at least two per infantry Company should be specially instructed in Chiropody, in order that they may render assistance to the Medical Officer in carrying out this special service (H.Q. 54-21-37-3.)

Soldiers Medically Unfit detained pending Discharge

In cases where soldiers belonging to Unit of the C.E.F., which has not yet proceeded abroad, are found medically unfit for future military service and are detained in a hospital or sent to a convalescent home, etc., pending final disposal and discharge, they may be struck off the strength of their unit and placed under the direct orders of the A.A.G. Division or District.

Separation Allowance in connection with men who marry after enlistment

Certified Copy of a Report of the Committee of the Privy Council, approved by His Royal Highness the Governor General on the 28th January, 1915.

The Committee of the Privy Council have had before them a report, dated 23rd January, 1915, from the Acting Minister of Militia and Defence, stating, that applications have been received from men who have enlisted in the Corps raised for Overseas Service to be allowed to marry and to have their wives placed on the Separation Allowance list, and that many have already married since enlistment without asking permission and are claiming this allowance.

The Minister observes that these applications have hitherto been refused on the ground that the Separation Allowance was intended to provide for families of married men who has enlisted as such and whose families would, otherwise, be in want or become a burden on the Patriotic Fund, and that it was not the Government's intention to encourage men to marry after enlistment as that would increase the already heavy expenditure under Separation Allowance, and in case of the soldier's death would necessitate placing his widow on the pension list.

As, however, the applications hitherto are from men who had, prior to enlistment, given a promise to marry, the Minister recommends that, in consideration of this and the sudden call for volunteers permission to marry be granted provided the application has the recommendation of the Officer Commanding the Corps in which the man is serving and that the marriage takes place within twenty days after application of this order, and that, as regards application of this kind from men enlisting hereafter, permission be granted only to those who apply at the time of enlistment and that if not married within twenty days thereafter the permission be cancelled.

If a man marries after twenty days of enlistment and reasons exist which entitle him to special consideration, O.Cs should submit a report of the case for consideration at Militia headquarters, Ottawa, who may grant Separation Allowance as a Special Case.

Kit Bags to be carried by men on train

Officers commanding Overseas Units, prior to leaving to embark for overseas, will see that each man caries his kit bag with him on the train, as if they are stored in the baggage car the embarking of troops is delayed, owing to these kit bags have to be distributed to the men before going on board.

Drawing Balance of Ordnance Stores at Embarkation Point

Officers in charge of units of rafts leaving for Overseas should, immediately the point of embarkation is reached, get in communications with the Ordnance Oficer at that point with a view to drawing from Ordnance Stores any additional stores which have been sent to that point for the unit concerned.

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 July 2013 12:05 AM EDT
Friday, 16 August 2013

Right of the Line
Topic: Tradition

Standing Orders for The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery (1963)

Right of the Line

The Regimental Badge of
The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery

The Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (RCHA) Badge

141.     Although all Gunners are aware of the Royal Regiment of Artillery's order of precedence as "The Right of the Line", very few know how this honour was acquired.

142.     It has not been clearly established exactly when the Royal Artillery was given its position on the "Right of the Line" but it was very likely in Flanders l742-l748. There is a record where, in l742, at a camp at Lexden Heath near Colchester, "The Artillery on its own authority, moved from the left of the camp to the right, which was its customary place."

143.     In l756, the matter was brought to official notice on a complaint by a Capt Pattison, whose company of artillery was denied its usual place on the right during a parade to witness the execution of a deserter. He based his claim on the custom in Flanders. The claim was upheld and the official letter on the subject concluded as follows:

"It is the Duke of Cumberland's order that Colonel Bedford write to Capt Pattison and acquaint General Blond, it is His Royal Highness' command that the Artillery take the right of all FOOT on all parades and likewise of Dragoons when dismounted."

144.     In 1773, at Gibraltar, the Commander Royal Artillery protested that the governor had changed the accepted order of precedence in parading the Guards. The protest was then taken to His Majesty, who upheld the Gunners claim. The custom was again upheld in 1787 when it was questioned whether the Royal Irish Artillery should parade on the right or left of the Royal Military Artificers who were then next in order of precedence after the Royal Artillery. The answer to this question was: "The Royal Artillery to be on the right, either English or Irish, there is no exception."

145.     The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery holds the place of honour on the "Right of the Line" by reason of the fact that the Canadian Army has adopted many of the customs and traditions of the British Army.

The same Standing Orders provided that precedence within the Artillery would be as follows:

a.     Field Artillery Branch

(1)     Royal Canadian Horse Artillery Regiments
(2)     Field Artillery Regiments
(3)     Medium Artillery Regiments
(4)     Surface to Surface Missile Units
(5)     Locating Units
(6)     Air Observation Post Units

b.     Air Defence Artillery

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 15 August 2013

Punishable by Death (1914)
Topic: Discipline

Manual of Military Law (1914)

Army Act – Discipline (Crimes and Punishments)

Offenses punishable more severely on active service than at other times.

6.     (1)     Every person subject to military law who commits any of the following offences, that is to say,

(a.)     Leaves his commanding officer to go in search of plunder; or

(b.)     Without orders, from his superior officer, leaves his guard, picquet, patrol, or post; or

(c.)     Forces a safeguard; or

(d.)     Forces or strikes a soldier when acting as sentinel; or

(e.)     Impedes the provost-marshal, or any assistant provost-marshal, or any officer or non-commissioned officer, or other person legally exercising authority under or on behalf of the provost-marshal, or, when call on, refuses to assist in the execution of his duty the provost-marshal, assistant provost-marshal, or any such officer or non-commissioned officer, or other person; or

(f.)     Does violence to any person bringing provisions or supplies to the forces; or commits any offence against the property or person of any inhabitant of or resident in the country in which he is serving; or

(g.)     Breaks into any house or other place in search of plunder; or

(h.)     By discharging firearms, drawing swords, beating drums, making signals, using words, or by any means whatever, intentionally occasions false alarms in action, on the march, in the field or elsewhere; or

(i.)     Treacherously makes known the parole, watchword, or countersign, to any person not entitled to receive it, or treacherously gives a parole, watchword, or countersign different from what he received; or

(j.)     Irregularly detains or appropriates to his own corps, battalion, or detachment any provisions or supplies proceeding to the forces, contrary to any orders issued in that respect; or

(k.)     Being a soldier acting as sentinel, commits any of the following offences; that is to say,

(i)     sleeps or is drunk at his post; or

(ii)     leaves his post before he is regularly relieved,

shall, on conviction by court-martial,

if he commits any such offence on active service, be liable to suffer death, or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned; and

if he commits any such offence not on active service, be liable, if an officer, to be cashiered, or to suffer less punishment as is in this Act mentioned, and if a soldier, to suffer imprisonment, or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.

(2)     Every person subject to military law who commits any of the following offences (that is to say),

(a.)     By discharging firearms, drawing swords, beating drums, making signals, using words, or by any means whatever, negligently occasions false alarms in action, on the march, in the field or elsewhere; or

(b.)     Makes known the parole, watchword, or countersign, to any person not entitled to receive it; or, without good and sufficient cause, gives a parole, watchword, or countersign different from what he received,

shall on conviction by court-martial be liable, if an officer, to be cashiered, or to suffer less punishment as is in this Act mentioned, and if a soldier, to suffer imprisonment, or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned.

Selected Notes:

1.     Subs. (1) The punishment for the offences here mentioned varies very widely according as the offences are committed on active service or not on active service; and where a man is charged with committing any of them on acive service, those words must always be inserted in the charge. For the definition of active service, see section 180(1).

2. (a.)     This paragraph, having regard to the special military significance of the term "plunder," is applicable only to offences committed on active service.

4. (c.)     Safeguard. A safeguard is a party of soldiers detached for the protection of some person or persons, or of a particular village, mansion, or other property. A single sentry posted from such party is still part of the safeguard, and it is as criminal to force him by breaking into the home, cellar, or other property under his especial care as to force the whole party.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 July 2013 10:19 PM EDT
Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Regimental History is Social History
Topic: Commentary

Regimental History is Social History

Many researchers and authors, when studying the history of a regiment, tend to focus on periods of conflict. This conflict studies approach places an inordinate focus on the actions of the regiment in wartime, often to the exclusion of other aspects of the regiment. Similarly, the long tradition of such focus on "special events" in examining our own regimental histories tends to minimize the equal importance of recording the normal routines of regimental life both during and between periods of intense activity.

But a regiment is a sum of all its parts, and battlefield actions, while inarguably important, are only one part of a much broader, and richer, whole. While one slice of a regimental history is definitely conflict studies, the overall study of a regiment is a much broader social history.

The enduring character of a regiment is based on how it perceives itself, and how it is perceived by others. The roles and attitudes adopted by a regiment in peace and war, as well as the slings and arrows directed at a Regiment and its reputation, with good or ill humour, are as important to understand as its list of Battle Honours. Take, for example, the Canadian Army's two English-speaking Regular Force infantry regiments; The Royal Canadian Regiment (The RCR) and the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI).

The RCR began in 1883 as the Infantry School Corps, with the expressed purpose of being formed to maintain Schools of Instruction for the training of Militia officers and non-commissioned officers. In this role, The RCR, both institutionally and in the actions of individuals, became the strict schoolmasters of the Army. Their responsibility to teach others "by the book" and to correct those who strayed from the doctrinal path as they came from diverse home units to the Royal Schools. The reputation to be sticklers for detail, referenced even by the Regiment's motto to "Never Pass a Fault" are deeply embedded in the attitudes that many in the Regiment hold to; adhering to known courses of action and proven procedures that will not create confusion when time does not allow for thorough preparation of new options. This institutional desire for stability, however, is often interpreted as inflexibility. Conversely, the many adherents of "flexibility" above other options attempt to follow so many different paths, that to a stereotypical Royal Canadian they can seem to be embracing chaos without concern for compatibility of procedure or repeatability. From its earliest roots, The Royal Canadian Regiment has maintained at least a vestige of this stabilizing attitude, even while keeping pace with the Army's evolution over more than a century and, despite the Regiment's accomplishments in recent decades, it's reputation as described by others often reflects the strictest perceptions of its original role.

The PPCLI, in comparison, have taken a very different path with regard to their origins and reputation. They were created in Ottawa in 1914, formed by the targeted recruitment of ex-British Army soldiers, many of whom had seen active service in the Imperial Army. In fact, the regimental history (Williams, pg. 7) states that the first recruiting posters advertised that "Preference will be given to ex-regulars of the Canadian or Imperial Forces; or men who saw service in South Africa." From that beginning, the PPCLI saw themselves as a very British regiment. They started their service in France during the First World War in the 80th Brigade of the British Expeditionary Force, and only joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in late 1915 when the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division was formed. Brigaded with The RCR in the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade, the old soldiers of the two regiments probably had much more in common with each other than either did with the many new recruits of the CEF. Three years later, with the rate of reinforcements delivered by the CEF throughout the war, there was probably little difference between the two units by late 1918, except for those attributes maintained by old and new traditions in the ranks of each.

After the First World War, both The RCR and the PPCLI were maintained as active regiments in Canada's Permanent Force, with each being assigned company stations to continue the role originally played by The RCR before 1914. The RCR re-occupied stations in central and eastern Canada, while the PPCLI went west, where it underwent a metamorphosis. While it may have been expected that the PPCLI would evolve to be more like that of The RCR, given the parallel roles they filled in the years between the World Wars, that didn't happen. The RCR, and its reputation, returned to their roots, and their reputation as sticklers for detail was sustained. The PPCLI blazed a new path and built a reputation for doing so. Despite taking on the training role, the PPCLI, probably in large part through the change in their recruiting base, of those attracted to the West, coupled with a force of regimental will to set themselves apart, successfully remodeled their own reputation. Both internally and as perceived externally, they changed dramatically, into a self advertised regiment with a western maverick attitude, filled with bold soldiers unafraid to live up to the spirit of that heritage.

Ask a "Patricia" to compare the Regiments, and you will hear of the Royal Canadian's tendency to follow the manual, perceived as seldom seeking a new path, and to uphold themselves as the stable defenders of tradition (of course, they will probably use a variety of very different descriptive terms). Ask a "Royal Canadian" the same question, and the reply will emphasize their own Regiment's stability, with a comparative description of the Patricia's impetuousness and overt readiness to change the rules. But put the officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the two regiments together on a task and, after getting past their cultural differences they will find themselves not that far apart on the desire to efficiently execute the mission or in willingness to forge new options as the situation demands.

Regimental reputations and stereotypes are as much forged in peacetime as they are on the field of battle. The culture of a regiment is a unique combination of its own perception of self, its recruiting base and serving personnel, and the traditions and memories it maintains, most significantly those maintained in the enduring oral narratives that form the basis of internal cultural understanding in a self-propagating manner. In understanding these cultural evolutions, and their place in the social history of regiments, we gain a better understanding of who our nation's soldiers are, and how they perceive themselves and each other as they serve our nation, in peace and war.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 August 2013 2:19 AM EDT
Tuesday, 13 August 2013

An Interrupted Ritual
Topic: Officers

An Interruption to the Ritual of Tying on of the Cummerbund during the hot weather in N. India

Image and text excerpted from:

Book cover: Officers Mess Life and Customs in the Regiments

Officers' Mess Life and Customs in the Regiments, by Lt. Col. R.J. Dickinson, Essex Regt and RAOC; with illustrations by Lt. Col. Frank Wilson, Parachute Regt and Queen's; Chapel River Press, 1977

This delightful volume wonderfully describes officers' mess to the middle decades of the 20th century. It is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the regimental life of the British Empire officer of this period.

Officers in India wore white mess jackets and cummerbunds in the hot weather. Some regiments wore white drill overalls, others trews or overalls of blue serge.

The officer revolved gracefully like a ballet dancer. His bearer, large safety pin clenched in remaining teeth, then secured it behind his 'master.'

In the Indian Cavalry the cummerbund was usually the full dress lungi (turban) of a Sowar (trooper) of his regiment. In the British Army it was often shorter, and of the facings of the regiment.

The scene shows an officer of the Indian Cavalry who looks disturbed although looking forward to his iced soup in the garden of the mess, even if it contains the wings left by flying ants.

The Regimental Orderly arrives with a secret message from the Adjutant Sahib Bahadur. It states 'C' Squadron will march at 21.00 hours down the Grand Trunk Road to Fort Govindgarh, outside the walls of Amritsar for communal riot duty. Details to follow.

The Orderly knows all this as the office Dafadar, Mubhab Ali, comes from the same village north of the Jhelum River, and married his uncle's daughter.

He assures the officer who had just taken over command of 'C' Sqn. that Risalar Sultan Khan Sahib, the senior Indian officer in the squadron, has everything under control. He is also a relation and knew, in his wisdom, that this would happen. Horses will now be watered and fed, feed bags filled and Chaupatis are now being cooked for haversack rations. Water bottles have been filled, arms and ammunition will be issued from the rifle kote at a time suggested by the Captain Sahib Habadur.

The orderly has also taken the liberty to call at the officers' mess on the way to inform the mass Dafadur that the captain sahib would need sandwiches and two bottles of beer 'sharab' – to be iced, till called for.

This is not news to Sowar Sher Khan, the captain's orderly. He knew what was brewing from chat he heard in the bazaar that afternoon.

The captain's charger is ready and saddle prepared. He himself is equipped to happily destroy either side and delighted to have a change from schooling the captain sahib's polo ponies.

The captain's bearer, Gulab Mohd, a Pathan who looked after the 'chota sahib's' father, a really splendid man, who became a 'burra sahib', is not pleased. He will have to lay out his marching order, tke down the mosquito net, pack his bedding roll, keep the creditors at bay and see that his 'Shaitan' (devil) of a dog is alive on his return.

A British regiment of foot is also going to march, but not so fast.

No Officers of the army were so well cared for by their men as those of the Indian Army. For 'sowars' and 'sepoys' reasoned that if their officers were 'kush' (happy) then they would not be cross with their soldiers. they were also trusted and were fond of their officers, for in time of trouble they were 'man-bap' (mother and father) to them.


1.     The only telephones in a regiment were usually to the colonel's bungalow, the second in command, the adjutant and the mess.

2.     Invitations to tea and tennis 'The Dancants' at the club, lunch, dinner or cocktail parties, were sent by 'chit' by hand of the Mali, Masalchi or some unimportant servant.

3.     This was a good practice, as the recipient in the cold weather had time to make out an excuse, i.e., not to meet 'some jolly girls', who he knew were plain and dull and had come out from England with the 'fishing fleet'. The one excuse that never worked was 'I am afraid I am orderly officer'. The mem-sahibs knew who was orderly officer.

4.     Dogs in India had their miniature charpoys (beds) to keep the creeping insects away from them. They lay stretched out to keep their stomachs as cool as possible.

A busy stream of ants goes back and forth in military procession to collect bits of cake dropped by the captain sahib, as he had his tea before a few chukkers of slow polo with other officers and their orderlies.

The rains have broken and outside, and in, it is hot and humid. Flying bugs are everywhere, especially around the lights.

5.     The room in a bungalow, shared with other officers, is large and high. From the ceiling there would be an electric 'punkah' or fan.

6.     All furniture, charpoy (or Indian bed), dhurrie (carpet), curtains, tables, table fan, etc., are hired from the 'suddar bazaar', the only extras the officer owns is the dog's bed, a rug he bought from a Kabuli carpet wallah, his pictures, some heads of wild animals he shot, tushes of a giant pig he got as 'first spear' out pig sticking, his bedding and clothes --- and probably a few debts to friendly money lenders in the bazaar who lent rupees at 3% a month, or 4% is sahib was in England on leave.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 12 August 2013

Rules of Realism for Small-Unit Training Exercises
Topic: Drill and Training

Realistic Combat Training; and How to Conduct It

By Robert B. Rigg, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army; Military Service Publishing Company, 1955.

Remember this when you put your unit into a realistic training exercise: tell your men what is coming dangerwise. Don't give away your gimmicks and surprises. Suspense is part of the job—but warn them that—

  • There is danger from explosives.
  • The chips are down for a real workout.

Realistic training … requires several things before you can conduct it—

  • First, an imaginative CO who approves;
  • Second, topflight safety and control officers;
  • Third, extra labor.

Rules of Realism for Small-Unit Training Exercises

1.     Provide grim, rugged scenery and surroundings.

2.     Inject the maximum amount of explosives, smoke, fire, and noise into the exercise.

3.     Project problems into full reality of situation and objective.

4.     Frame all exercises in logical sequences.

5.     Utilize all possible devices of pressure and suspense.

6.     Insure the Aggressors are "lean and mean."

7.     Delay, disrupt, divert, and surprise all units.

8.     Stress competition between opposing sides.

9.     Declare sudden and lasting casualties in men and vehicles on both sides.

10.     Make medics and aid men take active part in all actions of combat nature.

11.     Allow no attacks against well-prepared positions until the attacker has good information.

12.     Insist on a high standard for all gunnery.

13.     Train consistently and proportionately at night.

14.     Integrate CBR and intelligence into all problems.

15.     Pose constant and positive Aggressor threat.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 12 August 2013 12:20 AM EDT

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