The Minute Book
Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Routine for Defaulters (1968)
Topic: Discipline

Among the minor punishments that might be awarded to a soldier charged under the Code of Service Discipline were "Confinement to Barracks" and "Extra Work and Drill," which landed a soldier on parade as a Defaulter. Either of these, which might last a few days to a fortnight, or longer if poor performance as a defaulter led to new charges and additional periods of punishment. Defaulters Parade was meant to reinforce military discipline and instill habits of routine in marginal or disorderly soldiers. While it no doubt had the desired effect on many, others eventually came to see a fortnight as a Defaulter as a forced period of saving toward their next binge. The following were the regulations for defaulters at The Royal Canadian Regiment Depot, published in 1968.

Royal Candian Regiment cap badge

The RCR Depot existed as a training unit of the Canadian Army at Wolseley Barracks, London, Ontario, from 1953 to 1968. After this period, infantry soldiers for The Royal Canadian Regiment were trained at The RCR Battle School in Petawawa until 1995 when it moved to LFCA TC Meaford and was absorbed by that base/unit.

Standing Orders
The Royal Canadian Regiment Depot
London, Ontario
January 1968

Article 5.11 Routine for Defaulters

1.     Defaulters are confined to the area of Wolseley Barracks which is the fenced-in area bounded by Elizabeth Street on the WEST, Oxford Street on the NORTH, Sterling Street on the EAST, and the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks and 6 Area Ordnance Depot on the SOUTH.

2.     Defaulters are NOT allowed the privileges of the WET CANTEEN or the Coffee Bar and shall only be allowed to use the Dry Canteen during morning break and then only to purchase necessities.

3.     All personnel in Open Custody shall report on Staff Parade and at regular intervals until 2300 hrs or at such other times as ordered by the Depot Orderly Sergeant. Dress Roll Call Order.

4.     All personnel undergoing Medical Confinement to Barracks shall report on Staff Parade and at 1800 hrs and every hour thereafter until 2300 hrs. Dress Roll Call Order.

Parades – Daily Except Sat, Sun & Holidays

5.     a.     At 0600 hrs defaulters will be inspected by the Depot Orderly Sergeant. Dress will be Roll Call Order, rifle and bayonet.

b.     At 1745 hrs defaulters will report to the Depot Orderly Sergeant at No. 1 Barrack Block. He will inspect them and will then parade them to "B" Square for a period of drill from 1800 hrs to 1900 hrs. Dress shall be Training Dress, Battle Order with Rifles and Bayonets. (Rifles will not be carried by troops who have not received rifle drill.) This drill shall be of an instructional nature bearing in mind that each soldier may be at a different level of training.

c.     At 1930 hrs defaulters shall report to the Depot Orderly Sergeant and shall be employed on fatigues under supervision of the Depot Orderly Sergeant or the Depot Duty NCO until 2100 hrs.

d.     At 2300 hrs he shall report to the Depot Orderly Sergeant in Roll Call Order.

Saturday, Statutory and Regimental Holidays

6.     a.     At 0700 hrs defaulters will parade on "B" Square for 1 hrs dill. Dress will be Training Dress, Battle Order, Rifles and Bayonets. At 0900 hrs defaulters shall parade at the Depot Duty NCO's Room for Roll Call and inspection dressed in fatigue clothing and shall be employed on fatigues until 1200 hrs.

b.     At 1330 hrs defaulters will parade at the Depot Duty NCO's Room dressed in fatigue clothing and shall be employed on fatigues under the supervision of the Depot Duty NCO until 1630 hrs.

c.     At 1800 hrs defaulters will report to the Depot Duty NCO office dressed in fatigue clothing and shall be employed on fatigues under the supervision of the Depot Duty NCO until 2130 hrs.

d.     At 2200 and 2300 hrs defaulters shall report to the Depot Orderly Sergeant dressed in Roll Call Order.

e.      Depot Duty NCO will check at different places of employment several times Saturday and Sunday to ensure CB men are diligently employed.

Parades – Sunday

7.     a.     At 0700 hrs defaulters shall parade to the Depot Orderly Sergeant for Roll Call and inspection. Dress Roll Call Order.

b.     Defaulters will be required to report to the Depot Orderly Sergeant every 2 hours, on the hour, by day, until Staff Parade at 1800 hrs, then they will be required to report every hour on the hour until 2300 hrs.

c.     Defaulters will go to church on Sunday.

Dress for Defaulters – Battle Order

8.     a.     Web Equipment

Belts Web, Braces web equipment, left and right, two pouches basic, one frog bayonet (if armed with rifle), one carrier water bottle, one carrier, mess tins. Two straps, web supporting (from large pack).

b.     Contents of Pouches

(1)     Right Pouch: Squared up.

(2)     Left Pouch: Razor, shaving brush, toothpaste, comb, soap. One pair boot laces, one cup drinking small.

c.     Bayonet and Scabbard – will be worn on the left side by riflemen only;

d.     Water bottle – in carrier will be worn on right side by riflemen only;

e.     Mess Tins – In Mess tin carrier, worn on left side. Mess tins will contain knife, fork, spoon, cleaning cloth, and ration bag.

f.     Headdress – Appropriate headdress will be worn by defaulters.

g.     Small Pack – The small pack will contain the following items:

  • 1 sweater
  • 1 socks G.S.
  • 1 shirt O.D.
  • 1 hand towel
  • 1 drawers U/S
  • 1 T shirt or singlet U/S
  • 1 Boot brush
  • 1 Silvo
  • 1 Button stick
  • 1 Brass brush
  • 1 Shining cloth
  • 1 Pr Boot laces

Poncho is placed in small pack the same width as the pack and with 2" of poncho showing below flap of SP.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 16 September 2013

Elements of War; JFC Fuller, 1943
Topic: Military Theory

Canadian Army Training Memorandum No. 26, May 1943

Elements of War

Major-General J.F.C. Fuller

1.     The three elements of war are so closely related that they cannot be separated one from the other. This, both weapons and protection depend upon movement, and in war movement must have some offensive purpose, and in turn it must be protected if force is to be economized.

2.     There are three forms of movement—human, animal and mechanical. There are three vehicles of movement—earth, water, and air. And there are three dimensions of movement: one-dimensional, such as movement along rods and railways; two-dimensional, such as movements over land and water surfaces; and three-dimensional, such as movement under water and through the air.

3.     There are also three types of military movement—strategical, tactical and administrative. Tactical movements, which are the ultimate aim of strategy and administration, may be divided into protective and offensive movements. The first "approach movements," and the second "attack movements." During the former the one thought of the soldier is to prevent himself from being hit, and during the latter it is to hit his enemy. The more he can hit, the less he will be hit. Therefore, indirectly, though it may be, not only is the whole action protective in character, but it becomes more and more secure as the offensive succeeds.

4.     If we remember that the object of all attack movements is to develop weapon power against an enemy, and of all approach movements to prevent the enemy developing weapon power against ourselves, we shall at once understand that, when we are not attacking, we are approaching, even should we be sitting in a camp five hundred miles away from the battlefront. If the soldier remembers this, he will seldom be surprised, and surprise is far easier to effect to-day than in the past, because aircraft can almost as safely attack back areas as front lines. The correct appreciation of the approach and the attack carries with the maximum of security and offensive power. These can never, without danger, be divorced.

5.     Rising from battle tactics to campaign tactics, the same holds good. we are confronted first by strategical movements, and secondly by tactical. In brief, the whole of strategy consists in placing an army in such a position that tactical movements can be carried out with the greatest economy of force.

elipsis graphic

The same page included the advice for officers that:

"Rigidity of thought and action is suicidal when fighting an enemy whose whole regime is revolutionary."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Canadian Forces Officers' Ceremonial Sword
Topic: Humour

Gunner Bulletin No. 16, 1989

The Canadian Forces Officers' Ceremonial Sword

by Warrant Officer K.R. Bell (A Weapons Technician, Warrant Officer Bell is employed in the Standards Cell at the Air Defence School. He emphatically denies any genealogical connection to anyone involved in the Secret Board of Inquiry.)

After years of speculation and minutes of research the true story behind the design of the Canadian Forces Officers' Ceremonial Sword has been unearthed. After much discussion with assorted security types in Chatham and in Ottawa (please don't ask for names, they are still classified), permission has been granted to declassify this contentious issue. A brief history of why the Canadian Forces Officers' Ceremonial Sword is made the way it is today.


The time: 2 November 1936

The place: Camp Borden, Ontario Headquarters Building

A secret Board of Inquiry has been convened to find out the reason why so many young officers across Canada have been injured while attempting the newly instituted Ceremonial Parade Sword Drill.


  • President - Major General Infantry
  • Vice - Colonel Armoured Corps
  • Secretary - Colonel Artillery
  • Major Engineers - Commander Navy - Squadron Leader Air Force
  • Court Clerk -Warrant Officer Clerical Corps


A. Officer Cadet to demonstrate Sword Drill
B. Cavalry pattern Officers' Sword Model 1934

The Events: as recorded by Court Clerk

While demonstrating sword drill, and in particular, the movement from At Ease, to Attention, the nervous Officer Cadet sliced off his right ear. Screaming in pain, he unintentionally threw the sword which sliced deeply into the right lower calf of Major Engineers.

Major Engineers, leaps up in pain, upsetting table, dumping hot tea onto groin of Squadron Leader who gasps, turns white, swoons, and falls face down with the sword under him.

Major General Infantry, and Colonel Artillery quickly pick up comatose Squadron Leader and place him in a chair.

Colonel Armoured Corps picks up sword, stating that his corps steel has once again drawn first blood. While wiping the blade, severely cuts his left thumb when Major Engineers bumps into him from behind.

Colonel Armoured Corps then says a very unofficer like word, and when Colonel Artillery laughs loudly, slams the sword angrily down on the Court Clerk's desk.

Commander Navy, in great excitement, and saying that the poor dear might never be the same, quickly pulls down the still swooned Squadron Leaders pants to check him for scalding.

Exclaiming "Oh my, how Air Force, it comes in pink!" He stands up and backs into the point of the sword which inbeds itself about three inches into his left buttock.

Things at this time were happening rather quickly, however, the clerk stated that the following were concurrently happening.

The Officer Cadet is screaming and looking for his right ear, while bleeding profusely.

The Major Engineers is hopping around on one leg also yelling and bleeding profusely.

The Squadron Leader is still swooned, sitting in a chair with his pants around his ankles.

Commander Navy is screaming "Pull it out, pull it out!", while bleeding profusely.

Colonel Armoured Corps is swearing loudly at Colonel Artillery, while bleeding profusely. Colonel Artillery, laughing so hard he now has tears flowing down his face, further upsets Colonel Armoured Corps by offering some unorthodox, and impractical medical advice.

Major General Infantry is standing with a very strange look on his face, obviously in shock.

The following is then documented.

Warrant Officer Clerk, showing his organizational and first aid skills, quickly bandages up Officer Cadet's head and finds his ear under the table. He then bandages Colonel Armoured Corps thumb, and Major Engineers lower calf. "Pulls it out" of Commander Navy and tells him to stick something in the hole that will "aid" him (a little play on words there) and gets Major General Infantry and Colonel Artillery to hoist Squadron Leader's pants and revive him.

Colonel Artillery picks up sword, and as he sheaths it to its leather scabbard, cuts his index finger.

Colonel Armoured Corps seeing this, roars with laughter, and Colonel Artillery punches him in the mouth with his good hand.

Major General Infantry steps between Colonel, and receiving an unintentional low blow from both Colonels at the same time, falls to the floor.

Warrant Officer Clerk, calls "Room". Restores order. Makes medical and physiological repairs. Arranges transportation to hospital for all members.

Prior to Court members leaving for the hospital, they vote unanimously that Warrant Officer Clerk redesign the Officers' Sword pattern as he sees fit, and they vow to sign without question his recommendations. They asked only for his discretion.

The following design changes were accepted, and enthusiastically endorsed by all board members.

  • The shape and length of the sword to be taken from the British Infantry Model of 1838. (in deference to the RC Infantry Corps, Queen of Battle, and because the Major General Infantry signed the final report)
  • The ordnance steel to be covered with a chrome plating. (to help young officers identify it when they misplace it).
  • The Guard to be a full basket in front with a single rail guard to pommel. (to remind us that our job is to protect young officers from their own folly, and attempt to keep them from harm)
  • Pommel to be decorative. (it might as well be, a pommel is good for nothing anyway)
  • The Hilt to be metal, and chromed. (again, to keep the Navy happy)
  • The Grip to be made of a non-slip material, black, and encircled by gilded wire. (to save them from dropping it on parade, and embarassing us all)
  • The Scabbard to be full metal, chromed, and the edges gently rounded. (to provide every bit of protection we as Senior Non-Commissioned Officers can give them)
  • A Guild Cord with decorative end to be attached to the rear of the guard under the pommel. (a wee dangley thing, to remind us of the Air Force)
  • The Blade to be always kept extremely dull. (to protect our Pension funds which would now be non-existent if the blades were still sharp)

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 14 September 2013

Brevet Rank
Topic: Officers

Comments on Brevet Rank

Rank badges of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Source: Their Glory Cannot Fade, a souvenir pamphlet published by the Canadian Pacific Railway, Christmas, 1918.
Click on thumbnail image for full size.

Extracts from Promotion by Brevet, by Major-General F.S.G. Piggott, C.B., D.S.O., Colonel Commandant, Royal Engineers, pubished in The Army Quarterly, Volume LIX, October 1949 and January 1950

There were three grades of brevets--to major, lieut.-colonel and colonel; they might be given in duplicate or even triplicate. That is to say a captain might receive a brevet majority and subsequently a brevet lieut.-colonelcy before his substantive promotion to major; similarly, a major might become a brevet lieut.-colonel and then a brevet colonel before substantive promotion to lieut.-colonel. There were one or two extreme examples of a captain holding the brevet rank of full colonel before reaching the rank of major in his unit.

By means of what were termed "delayed-action" brevets, subalterns were brought within the purview of the system. There being no such thing as a brevet captaincy, a subaltern was marked for a brevet majority "on promotion to the rank of captain." There was one remarkable instance of this in the First World War which, from memory, ran as follows in the London Gazette: "Lieutenant (acting Lieut.-Colonel) (temporary Brigadier-General) D. to be brevet Major on promotion to the rank of Captain."

elipsis graphic

Certain anomalies in the [brevet promotion] system were recognized and accepted; they were even admired as being peculiar to the British Arrny, analogous to the mysteries of the British Constitution.

Young officers, in their studies of military law, were taught how to solve some of the problems that arose from the operation of the brevet system. For example: Major (1910) and Brevet Lieut-Colonel (1913) A., with Major B. (1908), both gunners, leave their barracks in uniform and walk to call on a neighbouring infantry battalion. Who takes the sentry's salute on leaving the artillery barracks, while walking through the town, and when entering the infantry barracks, respectively ? The answer is Major B. on leaving, and Lieut.-Colonel A. in the town and on arriving at the infantry barracks. Elementary, of course; but cunning variations could be introduced, such as their being joined by the C.O. of the local cavalry regiment, Lieut.-Colonel C. (1914), who persuades the two gunners to call at his Mess en route; who takes the salute on entering the cavalry barracks? Not quite so easy. The range and variety of these seniority problems could be indefinitely extended, and were frequently set in examinations.

The best-known anomaly of all, which intrigued everyone, was the case of the major of an infantry battalion with a brevet lieut.-colonelcy of an earlier date than that of the substantive rank of each of the commanding officers of the brigade. Naturally he took command of the brigade when the brigadier was away, as he was the senior officer, in the army, in the brigade.

These cases occurred periodically, and there was once an amusing, though possibly apocryphal, sequel: Major and Brevet Lieut.-Colonel X., in temporary command of a brigade during the absence of the brigadier, commented adversely on the performance of his own battalion at a brigade ceremonial parade; he told the brigade-major to inform the C.O. accordingly, and suggest some early morning drill; the injunction was duly " noted for action." Shortly afterwards the brigadier returned, and Lieut.-Colonel X. rejoined his unit; he found himself immediately detailed by his colonel to get on with the early morning drill.

The following notes on brevet rank were written by Strome Galloway, a past Colonel of the Regiment of The Royal Canadian Regiment:

BREVET rank ... is one of the most interesting "Nonsenses" of the 1920-1939 period, when Subordinates and Seniors were all mixed up in a glorious muddle of "who was Senior to who" - on what occasion and why?

Here is an example: The OC "D" Coy RCR was a Substantive Captain and therefore entitled to a butt salute only. One of his Pl Comds was a Lieutenant with a brevet majority - thus as he entered the barrack gate, wearing a crown on his shoulder he got a "Present Arms!" from the Sentry. The Coy Comd found this an intolerable situation and complained to Higher Authority, with the request that the Pl Comd be transferred elsewhere. NDHQ replied by transferring the Coy Comd and giving the Lt (Brevet Major) command of the company.

Brevet rank took precedence outside of regimental circles. When the RCR and RCD were "brigaded" for strike duty in Cape Breton in 1920 or thereabouts, the 2IC of the RCR became "Force Comd" with his own CO as one of his two Subordinate Comds. He was miserable to him; always complimenting the RCD CO on his regt and blasting his own CO for his inefficiency! I gather it was his last posting and he retired before the RCR returned to their barracks and he became 2IC of the unit again in his substantive rank of Major! Just as well!

BREVET Rank ... is easily explained, as "brevet" gave Army rather than Regimental status.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 13 September 2013

The Dakota; Cold War Workhorse
Topic: Cold War

The Douglas DC-3 Dakota (CC-129) was a workhorse for the Royal Canadian Ar Force from the Second World War until it was finally retired in 1988. Unofficially called the "Gooney Bird" by US flyers, it was nicknamed the "Dak" in Canada.

The 1960s recruting card above (image cropped) included the following text on the reverse:

"Often caled "old faithful", the Dakota has been part of the air fleet for more than 20 years. Cruising at 150 mph it can carry a maximum of 21 passengers a distance of 500 miles. Today, Dakotas are still providing transport for all commands of the service."

More on the Dakota:

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 13 September 2013 9:45 AM EDT
Thursday, 12 September 2013

Radio-Telephone Procedures (1943)
Topic: Drill and Training

The following is excerpted from a pocket card prepared for unit signallers. It provided tips for the preparation of messages and the use of radios by units of the Canadian Army in the Second World War.

DOs and DON'Ts
Message Writing and RT

March 1943

Code names for Appointments

  • Commander – SUNRAY
  • G (Ops) Staff – SEAGULL
  • I Staff – ACORN
  • AQ Staff – MOLAR
  • Signals – PRONTO

The deputy of an officer designated by a codename is referred to as MINOR, e.g., SUNRAY MINOR for 2IC.

Procedure Phrases

Over"End of transmission—a reply is expected."
Off"End of transmission—no reply is expected."
Off to You"I have finished with you and going to call someone else."
O.K."Pass our message" or "Message received" or "Understood" or "Reception is satisfactory."
Say Again"Repeat whole message."
Say Again From … To …"Repeat from … to …"
All After (or All Before)"Repeat all after (or all before) …"
Word After (or All Before)"Repeat word after (or word before) …"
As You Were"Cancel last phrase sent."
Wait"I have finished for the time being and will call you again later" Can be used to end a transmission instead of OVER or OFF. (The sender must switch to RECEIVE.)

Phonetic Alphabet


A — ABLEN — NAN 0 — ZERO (OWE in some fire control orders)

Radio-Telephone (RT) Procedure


  • DO learn RT procedure. Ask Sigs if you are not sure.
  • DO resort to RT only when the urgency of your message will brook no delay.
  • DO write down what you are going to say.
  • DO disguise the contents of your message by use of authorized RT and other codes.
  • DO provide yourself with codes, maps, etc., before starting conversation.
  • DO THINK. What is YOUR transmission going to tell the enemy? He is sure to be listening.
  • DO remember indiscretion may cost lives and material.
  • DO keep cool; speak slowly and distinctly.
  • DO employ "key conversation" if atmospheric conditions are bad.
  • DO say "WAIT" if faced with an unexpected question and not plunge into a badly framed indirect reply.
  • DO use your common sense with regard to security.
  • DO repeat important or difficult words, phrases and map references.
  • DO use the phonetic alphabet correctly when spelling words, code-signs, or coded map references.


  • DON'T use RT for messages related to future intentions and plans.
  • DON'T use names of officers or their nicknames. The enemy will soon know them.
  • DON'T make "asides" when your set is at "SEND," without first covering the mouthpiece of the "mike" with your hand.
  • DON'T shout.
  • DON'T use long and difficult words unless you must; keep them short and simple.
  • DON'T say "OVER" when you really mean "OFF."
  • DON'T forget to switch your set to "RECEIVE" when you have finished your conversation.
  • DON'T use unauthorized codes.
  • DON'T rely on using Urdu, French, Gaelic, Spanish or other foreign language to give security.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 8 August 2013 1:08 PM EDT
Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Military Athletic Sports; 1881
Topic: Canadian Militia

Active Militia of Canada

Military Athletic Sports

To be held at the
Exhibition Grounds, Toronto
Under the auspices of the
Toronto Garrison
Saturday, Tenth September, 1881

V. Sankey, Hon. Secretary,
Lieut. Queen's Own Rifles.


1.     All events open to members of Active Militia only, except Nos. 7, 10 and 12, which have been opened to members of any regular police force in Ontario. No member of the Militia is allowed to compete unless he shall have been an efficient member of the same for at lest three months preceding the date of competition, and shall, if required, produce a certificate to that effect from the commanding officer of his corps.

2.     The events appended hereto shall take place in the order in which they are set forth; and none but amateurs shall be allowed to compete in Nos. 1, 3, 7 and 12.

3.     The Entrance Fee for individual competitors shall be 25 cents each; for teams or squads of competitors, $1.00 per team or squad, except for No. 14, which shall be $1.00.

4.     Each intending competitor shall lodge with the Honorary Secretary on or before the 5th September his name, with a list of Events for which he intends to enter accompanied by the necessary fee or fees, without which no entry will be received.

5.     In every Race the relative positions of the competitors, and in every other Event, the order in which they shall compete shall be determined immediately before the event by lot.

6.     Two bugle calls will be sounded before each Event, and immediately after the second call the Events shall take place, and in no case shall any event be delayed through the non-appearance of any competitor.

7.     All competitors shall appear in the proper uniform of their respective corps, excepting in Events 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12 and 13.

8.     Three to compete or only one prize; four to compete or only two prizes; six to compete or only three prizes, except in Nos. 8 and 11.

EventsPrizes (not money) will be given to the values undernoted.
1st2nd3rdTotal Value
1100 Yds Dash75315
2Tent Pegging127524
3Quarter Mile Race96419
4Dismounting Gun (9-pounder field gun)25  25
5Race Quarter Mile107 17
6Wheel Race—100 yds53210
7Half Mile Race117523
8Sword Exercise Mounted—"best squad of six"4224 66
9Open Amateur Race—Half-Mile107 17
10Obstacle Race15127(5)30
11Artillery Driving, Three Paces40302090
12Hurdle Race, "Foot" 220 yds125320
13Donkey Race, in Costume—Officers only108 18
14Hurdle Race, Mounted—Two miles. Open to all corps, officers and men.20  20
15Single Stick (Mounted)159 24
16Hurdle Race—Open to "mounted officers and men only," on chargers that have been regularly ridden at annual drill2515 40
17Drill Order Race—"Go as you please"—Half-Mile Race. Open to all corps, each competitor to carry a short rifle and sword bayonet of long rifle and bayonet.1512734
18Post Practice, "taking the Ring" (Mounted)128424
19Sword vs. Bayonet128 20
20Tug of War—12 men per team from each corps.24  24;

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 September 2013 12:54 AM EDT
Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Medical Categorization in the CEF
Topic: CEF

The photo above shows an unidentified soldier of The Royal Canadian Regiment with a friend.
Both men are wearing the standard dress for convalescing soldiers — Hospital Blues.


Adjutant-General's Branch

Medical Categorization in the CEF

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

For the purpose of knowing each soldier's medical condition and availability as a reinforcement, a system of medical categorization, somewhat on the lines in use in the Imperial Forces has been in force since 1917.

Medical categorization may, shortly, be described as the sorting of soldiers into groups in accordance with their medical fitness for Service.

This system created four distinct Medical Categories as follows:—

  • Category A. Fit for General Service
  • Category B. Not fit for General Service, but fit for certain classes of service Oversea or in the British Isles.
  • Category D. Temporarily unfit for Service in Category A or B, but likely to become fit within six months.
  • Category E. Unfit for Service in Category A or B, and not likely to become fit within six months. Awaiting discharge.

These categories were general classification of medical conditions, and the first three were sub-divided as follows:—

Category A into—

  • A 1. – Men actually fit for Service Overseas, in all respects, both as regards training and physical qualifications.
  • A 2. – Men who have not been Overseas, but should be fit for A 1 as soon as trained.
  • A 3. – Overseas casualties on discharge from Hospital, or Command Depots, who will be fit for classification as A 1 as soon as hardening and raining is completed in Reserve Units.
  • A 4. – Men under 19 years of age, who will be fit for A 1 or A 2 as soon as they attain that age.

Category B was sub-divided in accordance with the nature of the work it is considered by the Medical Authorities the men classified in the sub-divisions are capable of performing.

  • B 1. – Capable of employment in Railway, Canadian Army Service Corps, Forestry and Labour Units, or upon work of a similar character.
  • B 2. – Capable of work in Forestry, Labour, Canadian Army Service Corps, Canadian Army Medical Corps (Base Units), and Veterinary Units, and on Garrison or Regimental outdoor employments.
  • B 3. – Capable of employment on sedentary work as Clerks, Storemen, Batmen, Cooks, Orderlies, etc., or, if skilled tradesmen, in their trades.

Category D into—

  • D 1. – Soldiers discharged from Hospital to Command Depots who are not considered physically fir for Category A, but who will not be so upon completion of remedial training or hardening treatment.

Note:—The role of the Command Depots is to harden men discharged from Hospital before they join their Reserve Units for regular training. Under a trained staff, physical exercises and training are carried out at these Depots and supervised by a Medical Officer. When the Commandant and Medical Officer are satisfied that a man is sufficiently hardened he is despatched to his Reserve Unit and placed in Category A.

  • D 3. – A temporary Category, and denoted other ranks of any Unit under, or awaiting, medical treatment who, on completion of such treatment, will rejoin their original category.

In order to obtain a uniform classification throughout, the following standards were laid down as a gide in placing men in the various Categories:—

  • Category A. – Able to march, see to shoot, hear well and stand Active Service conditions.
  • Category B. – Free from serious organic disease, and, in addition, if classified under—
    • B 1. – Able to march at least five miles, see and hear sufficiently well for ordinary purposes.
    • B 2. – Able to walk to and from work a distance not exceeding five miles, see and hear sufficiently well for ordinary purposes.
    • B 3. – Only suitable for sedentary work, or on such duties as Storemen, Batman, etc., or, if skilled trade, fit to work at their trades.

It will be seen from the foregoing that category A was the highest in medical condition. The difference between category A 1 and category A 2 was purely one of training, and the responsibility for raising a soldier from A 2 to A 1 rested with the Officer Commanding the Unit in which the man was in training. The difference between Category A 1 and Category A 3 was jointly one of training and medical condition, and the responsibility for raising men from Category A 3 to Category A 1 rested with the Officer Commanding the Unit in which the man was in training., in conjunction with the Medical Officer of that Unit.

The differences in all other Categories were of a medical nature, and a soldier could only be raised from Category B or category D to category A by the Medical Authorities. For this purpose all soldiers who were placed in any of the sub-divisions of Category B were medically re-examined every month after having been placed in a sub-division of Category B, with the exception of men who were employed in certain offices or with Administrative Units, who were medically re-examined every two months. The Medical Officer making this re-examination had power to raise any soldiers in the sub-grades of Category B or into Category A, but if, in his opinion, the soldier was not physically fit for the Category in which he had previously been placed, arrangements were made for the soldier to appear before a Medical Board composed of three or more Medical Officers, and his category was determined by that Board.

All Canadian casualties, except local casualties admitted to British hospitals and discharged in the same Category as they were when admitted, were discharged, through Canadian Hospitals, and on being discharged from Hospital were placed in one of the foregoing Categories. The officer in charge of the hospital might place a casualty in Category A or in Category B, or might declare the casualty fit to be discharged in the same category as that in which he was admitted to Hospital, but if the soldier could not be classified by the Officer Commanding the Hospital, he appeared before a Medical Board at the Hospital, and was placed in a category by that Board.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 9 September 2013

The RCR Depot Kit Layout
Topic: Drill and Training

The Royal Canadian Regiment Depot
Junior Non-Commissioned Officer Course

Royal Candian Regiment cap badgeKit Layout

The inspection of recruits is a common and familiar theme when military training is shown in movies. What is seldom learned by those outside the military is that a return to a basic training style inspections happens with the training of non-commissioned officers. This is as much to create the desired training environment as it is to have candidates provide their peers a model section to practice instructional techniques on one another, and to practice inspections themselves when the Staff aren't doing so.

The following images are from the student handbook provided by The Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) Depot to candidates on Junior Non-Commissioned Officer Courses. The RCR Depot existed as a training unit of the Canadian Army at Wolseley Barracks, London, Ontario, from 1953 to 1968. After this period, infantry soldiers for The RCR were trained at The RCR Battle School at CFB Petawawa until 1995 when it moved to Land Force Central Area Training Centre (LFCA TC) Meaford and was absorbed by that base/unit.

These layouts, or variations of them, will be familiar to many serving and retired Canadian service members.

Kit Layouts for:

  • (1) Commanding Officer's (CO's) Inspection
  • (2) Daily Inspection



Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 8 September 2013

Platoon Weapons and Ammunition (1942)
Topic: Soldiers' Load

Infantrymen of Lieutenant D.S. Barrie's platoon of The Highland Light Infantry of Canada relaxing during a rest period, France, 20 June 1944. Location: France. Date: June 20, 1944. Photographer: Ken Bell. Mikan Number: 3205673. From the Library and Arcives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

Memorandum on Platoon Battle Drill
20 July 1942

The Infantry Platoon (1942)
Distribution of Weapons and Ammunition

The platoon can easily be broken up into four sections of eight men each for Fieldcraft or Battle Drill training.

This is done by putting the following men into a 4th section:

  • Platoon Commander
  • Platoon Sergeant
  • No. 1 Anti-Tank
  • No. 2 Anti-Tank
  • No. 1 Mortar
  • No. 2 Mortar
  • Runner
  • Batman

By falling in every day in the Platoon, especially if each man's position is changed daily, all will learn the organization of the platoon almost without giving thought to it.

elipsis graphic

Appendix A
Weapons and Ammunition Carried on Men in Platoon

Platoon CommanderNormal equipment of an officer.
Platoon SergeantRifle & Bayonet, 50 rounds S.A.A., 3 BREN magazines.
BatmanSame as Pl. Sgt.
RunnerSame as Pl. Sgt. plus Very Pistol and 12 white, 6 red and 6 green flares.
No. 1 Anti-TankAnti-Tank Rifle, 100 rounds S.A.A., 1 A/Tk magazine.
No. 2 Anti-TankRifle & Bayonet, 50 rounds S.A.A., 1 set Utility Pouches, 5 A/Tk magazines.
No. 1 MortarMortar, 4 H.E. in basic pounches, 1 case H.E.
No. 2 MortarRifle & Bayonet, 50 rounds S.A.A., 1 case 6 H.E. and 1 case 6 Smoke, 4 H.E. in basic pounches.

Carried by each Section:

Section CommanderTommy Gun, 5 magazines, wire cutters.
Section 2ICRifle & Bayonet, 50 rounds S.A.A., 3 BREN magazines.
No. 1 Sniper as Section 2IC.
No. 2 SniperSame as Section 2IC.
No. 1 BrenBREN Gun, 3 BREN magazines, spare parts wallet.
No. 2 BrenRifle & Bayonet, 50 rounds S.A.A., 9 BREN magazines, 1 set Utility Pouches.
No. 1 GrenadierRifle & Bayonet, 50 rounds S.A.A., 4 H.E. grenades.
No. 2 GrenadierRifle & Bayonet, 50 rounds S.A.A., 4 Smoke grenades.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 7 September 2013

A short chamber Boxer Henry point 45 caliber miracle
Topic: Commentary

"A short chamber Boxer Henry point 45 calibre miracle"

The military affectation for complicating language.

Colour Sergeant Bourne: It's a miracle.
Lieutenant John Chard: If it's a miracle, Colour Sergeant, it's a short chamber Boxer Henry point 45 calibre miracle.
Colour Sergeant Bourne: And a bayonet, sir, with some guts behind.

" It is worth noting that one of the tests used by the Germans for admission to officer rank is the ability to translate the technical language of the instruction books into everyday words understood by the average recruit."

The above quote, as many will recognize, is from the move Zulu. More than a humorous line of dialogue, it also captures a stereotypical affectation of some soldiers; the fetishization of technical detail.

Many professional soldiers have successfully completed careers without obsessing over details that were not part of their decision-making processes, at either the tactical or strategic level. They dispensed with what they considered useless knowledge to focus on the important factors that led to success. Clearing their mind of clutter, even the clutter that the training system puts there, was essential for them to achieve their goals.

Knowing how many rounds are in your magazines is important when you're reaching for the next one. Knowing how many lands and grooves are in the barrel of your rifle is not. Knowing how many tanks the enemy is approaching your defensive position, gained from real time intelligence is inherently valuable. Knowing exactly how many tanks are in his higher doctrinal organization is not, and can always be found in a reference if needed. (Notably, in stories many of my generation heard of the Staff College experience of our seniors, mixed amongst the tales of drunken battlefield tours in Europe were always the struggles to memorize, down to the smallest detail, each Soviet Army divisional organization.)

Armies, and not just the Canadian Army, tend to put technical trivia and jargon into publications, and then, in turn, makes those details part of formal classroom instruction. A soldier doesn't need to read a PowerPoint slide to learn how heavy a weapon system is, and each of it's parts to the gram. He would better use that time carrying it to understand the realities of the balance and bulk weight problems in moving it (a test that the planners and manual writers would do well to emulate before calling something "man-portable"). The only time the soldier ever uses those memorized numbers is to regurgitate them on a written test, which confirms his ability to memorize facts and exactly nothing about his ability to employ the weapon.

Many military trades are dependent upon knowing, in an instant, what others may consider esoteric facts. That knowledge may be critical to one or another task of that trade, and carries with it functional importance. In these cases, that knowledge is not fetishized, and is taught and tested with due importance.

The fetishized vocabularies of the military, whether of technical details, or the rote memorization and repetition of needlessly complex military publication prose, only serves to slow the learning process, or to create an aura of understanding where little might exist. This confusion between trivia and professional knowledge is increasingly evident in our electronically connected world. How many of us have seen the confused look on a professional soldier's face when some young Call of Duty fan eagerly wants to discuss the technical differences between all of the weapons he has studied and used in that game? And the professional soldier's response? Indifference. Because the gamer's intense readiness to memorize such details has so little overlap with what the professional learned and, further, retained after application of the useful parts of his training.

Admittedly, there are committed detail-minded soldiers whose personal and professional interests encompass every area of technical trivia and detail. For those with interests in small arms, they do know how many lands and grooves, and they know the effects of internal ballistics between different bullets and barrel lengths. But their knowledge and how they apply it within the army (for those in the right appointments) helps to improve weapons systems being placed in the hands of many others who do not need to know those things. They are experts, self-made or by appointment, and their involvement with the knowledge is to embrace the functional, not to simply boast that they know it.

Where the Army goes wrong is when it embeds the trivia and the awkward turns of phrase as the critical knowledge requirements at every level of training. This is when the training approach can impede the learning process. And it's not a new problem:

Technical Vocabulary and Unfamiliar Words


This uninteresting learning of meaningless names of parts is closely associated with a general danger that words unfamiliar to the average recruit will often be used: e.g., in Lesson I (Bren Gun), "gas operated," "tripod," "convertible." I myself was puzzled when told that it was "air-cooled," not having heard before that earlier machine guns were water-cooled. If I had never driven an air-cooled Morgan three-wheeler I should have been still more puzzled.

In an Army instruction film I saw, dealing with anti-tank guns, a sergeant appeared on the film and stated that, at a certain angle of incidence, the bullet would "result in a penetration." Why not "go through"? Why should holes be called "apertures"? Perhaps the best example is the phrase "segmentation to assist fragmentation," which one officer quotes from the description of a Mills hand grenade.

There may, in some instances. be reasons for using less usual words as names, for the sake of rapid identification at later stages; but in early lessons easy words should be used instead of unfamiliar ones, or at least along with the unfamiliar terms as an explanation. In long peace-time training the meaning of unfamiliar terms would gradually sink in, but in quicker war-time training that is not likely.

Some of my students say indeed that instructors at times cannot explain the meaning of words they repeat when they are asked. It is worth noting that one of the tests used by the Germans for admission to officer rank is the ability to translate the technical language of the instruction books into everyday words understood by the average recruit.

- C.W. Valentine, M.A., D.Phil., The Human Factor in the Army; Some Applications of Psychology to Training, Selection, Morale and Discipline, 1943

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 7 September 2013 9:16 AM EDT
Friday, 6 September 2013

Regimental Retorts
Topic: Humour

From the Canadian Force Base Gagetown Junior Officers' Journal
Edition 3, Volume 2, December 1978
Editor: Captain D.C.D. Milne

Regimental Retorts;
Humour from the CLFCSC Lines Book

Submitted by Major J.S. Cox

1.     Overheard … when a PPCLI officer asked an RCR officer how he shone his new cloth cap badge the Royal said:— "We just find a Patricia officer and say, 'Here boy, go polish this'."

There's nothing to fire planning – even a gunner can do it.

3.     Being an armoured corps officer these days is almost a tankless job.

4.     DS:— "Yes, the British Army had labour battalions that were made up of non-violent types – mostly conscripts called Pioneers …"

Student:— "Oh yeah, we had them too, but called them Patricias."

5.     1st Student (Cavalry type):— "I've always had trouble on road moves when it comes to effecting liaison with civilian police."

DS:— "I disagree. If you approach them properly I think you'll find bend over backwards for you."

2nd Student (RCR type):— "But that's just it Sir. The cavalry would prefer that they bend over forwards."

6.     Remark of Cavalry Student regarding a herd of curious cattle watching RCR student present his solution to a TEWT problem:— "They've been attracted by the smell of bullshit."

7.     Overheard during Airborne operations TEWT:— "We will land the Hungarian paratroopers in the cabbage patch and they can do cabbage rolls."

8.     What is gross ignorance? 144 pilots attending a briefing.

9.     Infantry Officer during Fire Planning exercise:— "in our appreciation we concluded that it would take four minutes to get from H to H+4."

10.      Infantry Officer explaining how to achieve depth in a section:— "… put the trenches perpendicular to the enemy approach."

11.     "… a fourth task for tanks in the night attack is to shoot up all the motels and kill all the helicopter pilots."

12.     DS:— "What will the extended barrels on the M109 give us?"

Artillery Student:— "A longer barrel."

13.     Pilot overheard discussing recce plan:— "We should put an OP in the silo; the Germans do it in the movies."

14.     After a remark by a former Deputy Commandant about haircuts and the need thereof:

1st Student:— "Gee, you'd think Colonel Barret had shares in the local haircutting industry …"

2nd Student:— "Nope, he's just jealous …"

15.     The TACP is made up of two signals testicles and one Air Force prick.

16.     Artillery and Engineers are like canaries—too pretty to kill and too chicken to fight.

17.     Overheard Pilot:— "In the next life, if I can't be a pilot I think I'll return as an officer."

18.     DS to Pilot:— "I understand you have to be a Brigadier-General to fly 707's."

Pilot:— "No Sir. You just get Brigadier-General's pay."

19.     DS:— "Give me one of the major characteristics of armour."

Student:— "It's thick …"

DS:— "Like the officers …"

20.     Engineer Student:— "Why are there three engineers to man each assault boat?"

Infantry Student:— "Two to hold the engine and one to steer."

21.      1st Student:— "Did you see that guy wearing the RCR tie and blazer doing that animal act in the Legion last Friday?"

2nd Student:— "Yeah … I forget his name but he's a Patricia."

22.     Commandant's remark following a guest speaker's talk on mobilization:— "Some people get all disturbed about the number of RMC graduates leaving the service. I think its just marvelous."

23.     During an Internal Security TEWT:

DS:— "… and what's the problem associated with having guards escort the children to school?"

Artillery Student:— "You may educate the infantry …"

24.     During organization period:

DS:— "Where do you see the Dental Company deploying?"

Infantry Student:— "On the parade square—drilling."

25.     Armoured Student to Infantry Student during discussion of harbour occupation:— "I need people like you to protect people like me from people like you … or something like that."

26.     Artillery DS on the capabilities of an Infantry Battalion Mortar Platoon:— "Give enough monkeys enough pencils and eventually they'll write the Bible."

27.     During discussion about withdrawal operations—an Infantry Officer tutpring a Pilot:—

Infantry Student:— "… and who is the last man off the platoon position?"

Pilot:— "… the slowest guy?"

28.     DS breaking up a boring discussion:— "The French Canadians I knew before weren't French Canadians—they wee just guys from the Van Doos."

elipsis graphic

  • CLFCSC – Canadian land Force Command and Staff College
  • DS – Directing Staff
  • PPCLI – Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
  • [The] RCR – The Royal Canadian Regiment
  • TACP – Tactical Air Control Party
  • TEWT – Tactical Exercise Without Troops

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 5 September 2013

Letters to an Adjutant (1924) - The Mess
Topic: Officers

Detail from "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."—from Officers' Mess Life and Cusroms in the Regiments by Lt. Col. R.J. Dickinson

Letters to an Adjutant; No. 10

By: "CIX", as published in the Army Quarterly, July, 1924

Letters from Lieut.-Colonel T.G—t, to Lieut. John D—n, 1st Bn. The —— Regiment

I have heard many different opinion as to the position of an Adjutant in the Mess, and strangely enough, there is no aspect of an Adjutant's position on which I hold stronger opinions than this.

I take it that the proper conception of a Mess is that it is one's home—at least a bachelor's home—and that its conduct should approximate as nearly as possible to that of the home of an average English gentleman. This presupposes the complete abolition of rank (without abolishing the normal respect which youth gives to age) and the minimum number of reuls and restrictions. In other words, we should all behave perfectly naturally.

There are only two people who have any standing in the Mess, in virtue of their position—the P.M.C. and the senior subaltern. The former deals with all the domestic arrangements and with the staff; the duties of the latter are too well known to require description. But you should be very careful not to trespass on the duties of either. Anything which you bring to the notice of the former—I mean, of course, on domestic matters—you do as an officer of the Regiment, and as any one else would do. Anything you bring to the notice of the senior subaltern should be done outside the Mess.

I told you that your position as Adjutant gave you no seniority in the Regiment; I tell you now that it gives you no special standing in the Mess.

The position you hold in the Mess and the influence you wield depends—as it should—on your character and personality as an individual.

There might be occasions on which you have to act as the Adjutant in the Mess. These are unpleasant occurrences and should be very rare.

Don't discuss your duties in the Mess; don't allow people to refer to you as "The Adjutant" (but by your name); don't discuss what goes on in the Orderly Room; and don't talk "shop."

When I say don't talk "shop" I am not precluding the discussion of military subjects of general interest; I am begging you to leave regimental matters alone. The relative merits of Lance-Corporal Fishface and Corporal Halfwit are no subjects for discussion in a Mess.

You will perceives that I am advising you to be your natural self; to choose your friends from amongst the subalterns and the captains, and not to make bosom friends of field officers.

If you don't remain your natural self, you will build up a position of unhappy social isolation. If by behaving as a normal individual you lose any standing as an Adjutant, you have shown yourself quite unfitted for the position you hold.

It should be quite possible for a stranger to lie in your Mess for a month without even knowing who was Adjutant of the Battalion, unless, indeed, he detected it by your spurs (and for God's sake, John, wear them high on the counter and echew "chains").

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 5 August 2013 7:08 PM EDT
Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Medals, Honours and Awards
Topic: CEF


Adjutant-General's Branch

Medals, Honours and Awards

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

It is gratifying to record that since the Overseas Military Forces of Canada first went into action they have been awarded upwards of 17,000 Medals, Honours and Awards, including 53 Victoria Crosses, 1,885 Military Crosses, 19 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 1,204 Distinguished Conduct Medals and 6,610 Military Medals.

Medals.—At the present time the general question of Service medals is under consideration by the Authorities. Up to date, the services of soldiers who have served in a theatre of war previous to certain dates mentioned below have received recognition by the grant of distinctive decorations known as the Mons Star and the 1914-15 Star respectively. All Canadian who served in a theatre of war previous to November 22-23, 1914, are entitled to the Mons Star, while those who served between that date and December 31, 1915, are entitled to the 1914-15 Star.

Owing to the distance of Canada from the scene of active operations and the time involved in transporting her troops to England and France, the number of Canadian entitled to the Mons Star is largely confined to those who saw service with Imperial Units.

Amongst those entitled to the 1914-15 Star are those who crossed to France with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, the First and Second Divisions, the Cavalry Brigade and certain Lines of Communications and Artillery Units. A few members of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada are in possession of the Mons Star, having served in a theatre of war with a Medical Unit within the prescribed period.

Gold Wound Stripe.—The Gold Wound Stripe is issued to all ranks who have been wounded, or shell-shocked, in the presence of the enemy; it is also being issued in the case of wounds, etc., resulting from enemy air raids in the British Isles. The condition for the award of this stripe is that the name and casualty are published in the Official Casualty List.

Chevrons for Overseas Service.—These Chevrons are issued to all ranks, and in the case of members of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada the date of leaving Canada is the date for the award of the first Chevron. An additional Chevron is issued 12 months from this date, and so on. All those members of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada who left Canada prior to midnight, December 31, 1914, are entitled to a Red Chevron as the first Chevron and a blue Chevron for each additional 12 months served out of Canada. Those who left Canada since December 31, 1914, do not receive the Red Chevron.

Good Conduct Badges.—Briefly, a Good Conduct Badge is awarded to a member of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada after having served two years in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and a second Good Conduct Badge after the completion of five years service. Former service in the permanent Force or in the Imperial Forces is allowed to reckon towards these badges, and men are also allowed to wear any Good Conduct Badges they may have earned by previous service in either of these Forces.

Silver War Badge.—Broadly speaking, the Badge is awarded to any member of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada on resignation or discharge from the Service on account of wounds or sickness caused by service, and on retirement or discharge as over age, the age limit being fixed at 45 years. In the case of surplus officers, it has not been possible to fix a definite age limit, and each case is treated on its merits. Service in a theatre of war is not necessary for the award of this Badge, it having been approve that service outside Canada is equivalent to service Overseas from England, which is the qualifying factor in the case of the award of this badge to Imperial soldiers. In Canada the Silver War badge is known as the "B" badge.

Badges known as "A," "B," "C." and "D" Badges are issued in Canada, and the conditions for the award of these Badges are laid down by Order in Council P.C. 1296. The "B" Badge (Silver War Badge) is the only Badge issued in England.

The King's Certificate on Discharge.—This Certificate is awarded to officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men who have served since August 4, 1914, Overseas in a theatre of operations with an Expeditionary Force in the present war, and been discharged under para. 392 (XVI.) or (XVI.a) King's Regulations, and whose disablement has been certified to have been caused or aggravated by Military Service, provided disablement or ill-health was not due to misconduct. It is also awarded to all ranks, who, not being included in provisions as above, were discharged under para. 392 (XVI.) or (XVI.a) King's Regulations, whose disablement has been certified to be directly attributable to the action of the enemy in air or naval raids.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 3 September 2013

"Holy Roller," Victoria Park, London, Ontario
Topic: Militaria

It is fitting that in one of London, Ontario's oldest Parks, Victoria Park, and the site of the original British garrison in the city, rests a monument to the city's oldest Militia (Now Reserve) Regiment. "Holy Roller," an M4 Sherman tank which served with the 1st Hussars in the Second World War campaigns from D-Day to the liberation of the Netherlands, is a reminder to all who pass of the service and sacrifice of Canadian soldiers in that war.


For those who enjoy discovering connections, a walk to the other end of the park will lead to the Carillon. From the City's Special Events Policies and Procedures Manual:

"The Canadian Veteran's Memorial Carillon is located in the Veteran's Memorial Garden of Victoria Park. The Dutch community of London and its partners presented the Memorial Carillon as a gift to the City of London as an expression of thanks to Canada and its Armed Forces for their immense role in the liberation of the Netherlands and Belgium."

See also:

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 5 August 2013 5:12 PM EDT
Monday, 2 September 2013

The RCN Four-Stackers
Topic: RCN

Images (except where noted) from the September, 1972, edition of the Canadian Armed Forces Journal Sentinel.

In 1939, at the start of the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) had 13 ships and 3000 personnel. During the war, the RCN expanded to a peak strength for 350 ships and over 90,000 personnel and was, by the end of the war, the third-largest allied navy, after the United States Navy and the Royal Navy.

But that expansion from a small fleet of barely over a dozen vessels to the third largest allied navy was not a simple matter of building ships. The needs of all the Allied navies in the first years of the war overwhelmed the ship-building industry and alternatives were necessary. As a result of this need, Britain arranged the Lend-Lease Agreement with the United States. Among the items acquired under the Lend-Lease were 50 First World War era destroyers — the four-stackers. Of these, seven would serve with the Royal Canadian Navy.

The USN built 237 of these four-stack destroyers as the First World War was drawing to and end, intending to operate them as fleet destroyers, their role to attack the enemy from behind a protective smokescreen as part of encounters between main battle fleets. But battles like Jutland were, like the four-stackers, of an earlier era, and the destroyers were less well suited to operating on escort duties in the North Atlantic. But they, and the RCN persevered as they waited for newly constructed vessels to replace them.


The RCN Four-Stackers

The RCN Four-Stackers were part of the newly designated Town-class destroyers. They joined the RCN at a time when the Nacvy was to face its greatest challenge, the Battle of the Atlantic.

HMCS Annapolis (I-04) — (ex-USS MacKenzie (DD-175))

HMCS Annapolis sailed with the Halifax and Western Local Escort Forces escorting convoys from Newfoundland, to New York. In April 1944, she was attached to HMCS Cornwallis, as a training ship until the end of the war. On 4 June 1945, she was turned over for scrapping.

HMCS Columbia (I-49) — (ex-USS Haraden (DD-183)

Columbia was assigned to Atlantic convoy duties. Columbia escorted convoys and performed anti-submarine patrols until 25 February 1944, when she struck a cliff in foul weather off the coast of Newfoundland. She was not fully repaired after the accident but used as a fuel and ammunition hulk in Nova Scotia until sold for scrapping at the end of the war.

HMCS Niagara (I-57) — (ex-USS Thatcher (DD-162)

HMCS Niagara departed Halifax on 30 November 1940 for the British Isles to join the 4th Escort Group, Western Approaches Command, based in Scotland. Later transferred to the Newfoundland Escort Force, Niagara conducted convoy escort duties into the summer of 1941 and took part in the capture of U-570, providing the prize crew and towing the submarine to port in Iceland. Niagara became a torpedo-firing ship in the spring of 1945 for the training of torpedomen. Decommissioned in September 1945, she was later broken up for scrap.

HMCS St. Clair (I-65) — (ex-USS Williams (DD-108)

HMCS St. Clair sailed for the British Isles on 30 November to join the Clyde Escort force, where she escorted convoys in and out of the western approaches to the British Isles. Late in May 1941, she became involved in the operations to destroy the German battleship Bismarck. St. Clair, near the battle area, came under attack and shot down one, possibly two, enemy planes. St. Clair joined the Newfoundland Escort Force in June 1941 for convoy escort duty to Iceland until the end of 1941. Reassigned to the Western Local Escort Force in early 1942, St. Clair operated out of Halifax over the next two years, escorting coastal convoys until withdrawn from this service in 1943. St. Clair then operated as a submarine depot ship at Halifax until August 1944, after which she was used as a fire-fighting and damage control hulk until 1946. She was sent for disposal on 6 October 1946, and subsequently broken up for scrap.

HMCS St. Croix (I-81) — (ex-USS McCook (DD-252)

HMCS St. Croix conducted escort and patrol duties in Canadian waters, joining the Newfoundland Escort Force in August 1941 for escort duties between Newfoundland and Iceland. St. Croix sank U-90 on 24 July 1942, which, with other U-boats, had attacked her convoy (ON 113) on the 23rd, sinking two merchantmen and damaging a third. On 4 March 1943 with Convoy KMS 10, she assisted HMCS Shediac (K100) in sinking U-87 off the Iberian coast.

On 16 September, St. Croix, on patrol with an offensive striking group in the Bay of Biscay, went to the aid of convoys ONS 18 and ON 202, both under attack a wolfpack. In the battle defending these convoys St. Croix was the first of three escorts to be sunk, being torpedoed on the 29th of September. The next morning, HMS Itchen picked up 81 survivors from St. Croix. The following day, 22 September, Itchen herself was torpedoed. Three men were rescued, two from Itchen, and one from St. Croix. St. Croix had escorted 28 convoys before her sinking.

Image from the April, 1972, edition of the Canadian Armed Forces Journal Sentinel.

HMCS St. Francis (I-04) — (ex-USS Bancroft (DD-256)

HMCS St. Francis left Halifax 15 January 1941 for Scotland to join the 4th Escort Group. On 20 May she rescued all the survivors of the steamship Starcrose which had to be sunk after being torpedoed. At the end of June that year she escorted a troop convoy to the Middle East after which she joined the Newfoundland Escort Force. Between 1941 and 1943 St. Francis sailed as escort to 20 convoys and engaged the enemy on five occasions.

After refitting at Halifax, St. Francis joined Escort Group C.2 in the Western Approaches Command in June 1943 but that August was transferred to the 9th Escort Group (RCN), working from Northern Ireland. She returned to Halifax the following month. From early 1944 she was employed on training duties at Digby, Nova Scotia, and there, on 1 April 1945, was declared surplus. While on her way to Baltimore to be scrapped in July 1945, she sank as a result of a collision off Cape Cod.

HMCS Hamilton (I-04) — (ex-USS Kalk (DD-170), ex-RN HMS Hamilton)

HMCS Hamilton remained in North American waters escorting convoys from St. John's to New York. On 2 August 1942, she engaged a German U-boat and prevented its attack on the convoy. Declared unfit for operations, she became a tender to HMCS Cornwallis at Annapolis, Nova Scotia in August 1943. Decommissioned 8 June, 1945, at Sydney, Nova Scotia, from which she departed to be scrapped but was lost while being towed to Boston.

Ready Aye Ready

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 5 August 2013 10:59 AM EDT
Sunday, 1 September 2013

Composition Ration (14-man pack) (1942)
Topic: Army Rations

Private W. Sutherland (left) of The Westminster Regiment (Motor) and Private V.A. Keddy of The Cape Breton Highlanders repacking compo rations at a supply depot, Cassino, Italy, 18 April 1944. Photographer: Smith, Strathy. Mikan Number: 3210988. From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibition Faces of War.

Operational Feeding
The Use of Field Rations

Composition Ration (14-man pack) (1942)

The composite ration pack, which is composed entirely of tinned commodities packed in wooden cases containing 14 rations (i.e., food for 14 men for one day) and which is used until such time as fresh rations become available. This ration supersedes the older type of compo pack which contained 12 rations, and which will no longer be issued except for training.

This, like the mess tine ration, is composed entirely of tinned commodities and has nine different varieties of daily ration scale. It is intended to be used for the first four to six weeks until it is possible to issue fresh rations, which involves baking bread and handling fresh meat through cold storage facilities. The food is contained in a wooden box of 2 cubic feet. It is sufficient food, in bulk, for 14 men for one day, or for say seven men for two days, but it does not lend itself to being sub-divided into 14 single rations. It is intended that cooking facilities should be available when the composite ration comes into use, but for isolated detachments improvised cooking will be necessary. No Tommy cookers are included in the pack, but a limited scale is available for issue in addition to the pack. Units when drawing or demanding compo rations from R.A.S.C. sources should make certain that they get varieties of packs, otherwise they will not have the advantage of the different types to vary their daily diet. There are seven cigarettes for each man a day.

Appendix B – Composite ration Pack Type "A" †

(14 men for one day.)
Contents and suggested use.


Tea # 3 tins (2 tall, 1 flat—Tea, Sugar and Milk Mixture).
Sausage (1 hour) ‡2 tins.
Biscuit #1 tin.
Margarins #1 tin.
(k Items marked thus are also to provide for other meals.)


Steak and kidney pudding (1/2 hour) ‡11 tins.
Vegetables (3/4 hour) ‡4 tins (2 large, 2 small).
Tinned fruits2 tins.


Tea(# see above.)
Biscuit(# see above.)
Margarine(# see above.)
Jam1 tin.


Baked beans (3/4 hour) ‡3 tins.
Biscuit(k see above.)


Cigarettes2 tins (1 round, 1 flat—7 cigarettes for each man)
Sweets1 tin.
Salt—(packed with sweets above.)
Matches—(packed with sweets above.)
Chocolate—(1 slab for each man—packed with biscuit.)
Latrine paper.


Tea, sugar and milk powder:—Use a dry spoon and sprinkle powder on heated water and bring to a boil, stirring well. Three heaped teaspoonfuls to 1 pint of water.

‡ May be eaten hot or cold. To heat, place unopened tins in boiling water for minumum period as indicated. Sausage may be fried (using margarine) is preferred.

† This is only one of nine types. The others are B, C, D, E, F, G and X and Y, containing items such as:—

BBaconSteak and kidney
Date pudding
CSausageIrish Stew
Sultana pudding
DBaconStewed steak
Rice pudding
ESausageHaricot oxtail
Marmalade pudding
F MeatPreserved meat
Mixe fruit pudding
GSausageM. and V. Ration
Treacle pudding
XLuncheon MeatPreserved meat
Tinned fruit
YSausageM. and V. Ration
Tinned fruit

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
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

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