The Minute Book
Sunday, 29 September 2013

Historic Names For Camp Gagetown
Topic: Tradition

The current sign at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, soon to be changed to the 5th Canadian Division Support Base.

Historic Names For Camp Gagetown

Canadian Army Journal, Vol 13, No 4, Oct 1959
From A Public Relations Report Issued At Camp Gagetown, N.B.

Areas occupied by the Army garrison at Camp Gagetown, N.B., are to be named after persons prominent in Canada's growth and military history, it has been announced by the Camp Commander, Colonel C.H. Cook, ED, of Ottawa. Names selected perpetuate battles in which Canadian soldiers distinguished themselves, they include also a deceased Victoria Cross winner of the First World War, a deceased Canadian general, an early Canadian fort and others of historical and regimental significance. The names will identify messes, quarters and other accommodation occupied by Camp Gagetown's four major elements, including field and permanently-established units. Signs are to be erected in the areas so designated.

Parade at Camp Gagetown (circa early 1960s). MIKAN 4234182: Copyright belongs to the Crown; Credit: Canada. DND/LAC.

Fort Carleton, built by the Hudson's Bay Company on the North Saskatchewan river, will be perpetuated in the name to be applied to the area occupied by Camp Headquarters and the static units. The area will be known as "Fort Carleton Barracks". Choice of Carleton was made because of a county in New Brunswick of that name, and because of the former Carleton and York Regiment, now perpetuated in the Royal New Brunswick Regiment.

The name of a St. Catharines, Ont., soldier who won the Victoria Cross in the First World War, will be given to a junior ranks club for personnel of Camp Headquarters and static units. He is the late Lance Corporal Frederick Fisher who won the VC in the [1915] Battle of Ypres while serving with the 13th Canadian Infantry Battalion. The club will be known as "The Frederick Fisher Club".

The name of a former Honorary Colonel Commandant of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery will be bestowed on the area of the camp occupied by the 3rd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. He is the late Maj-Gen. H.O.N. Brownfield, of Brockville, Ont.

The junior ranks club of 3 RCHA will be called "The Grenade Club". because of the grenade insignia of the artillery and its association with the weapon.

Two battles of the First and Second World Wars will denote the barrack areas and junior ranks club of the 1st Regiment, 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's). The barrack areas will be known as "Cambrai Barracks", after the Battle of Cambrai in 1916 in which tanks were first used. The Hussars junior ranks club will be known as "The Coriano Club", commemorating the Battle of Coriano Ridge in Italy in 1944 in which the 8th New Brunswick Hussars (Princess Louise's) played a leading role.

Buildings at Camp Gagetown (circa early 1960s). MIKAN 4234336: Copyright belongs to the Crown; Credit: Canada. DND/LAC.

St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, lends his name to the barrack areas of the 2nd battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada. The cross of St. Andrew is duplicated on many of the Black Watch insignia.

The unit's junior ranks club will take its name from the brilliant red plume worn by members of The Black Watch on their balmorals, the red hackle. The club will be designated as "The Red Hackle Club". The red hackle originated with The Imperial Black Watch in 1795. At that time the regiment was covering the retreat of a British force at Gildermalsen, Holland, who were falling back before the French. An artillery unit left its guns in the retreat and The Black Watch counter-attacked, recovered the guns and manhandled them back to safety. In commemoration of this event, the artillery unit lost its right to wear the red plume on their headdress in favor of The Black Watch. The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, this country's oldest highland regiment, gained the right to wear the red hackle in 1915 for their part in the Battle of St. Zubien's Wood> in France.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Carden-Lloyd Carrier
Topic: The RCR

From the journal of The Royal Canadian Regiment, The Connecting File, 1965.

The Carden-Lloyd Carrier

By: Brigadier WJ Moogk

Carden-Lloyd Vickers Machine Gun Carriers were the first mechanical transport of [The Royal Canadian] Regiment acquired before the Second World War.

Their first operational use was in aid of the Civil Power at the Stratford Strike in 1933. They were excitingly described by the press as "whippet tanks." Thus the strikers gained a moral victory as the sad picture of labour being crushed by the brutal soldiery was fearfully exploited. The carriers came with top covers which lent some credence to this story. When these lids were down the result was nearly carbon monoxide poisoning for the driver and gunmen. needless to say the covers were soon removed permanently.

My own pride in assuming command of this early example of mobile armour was exceeded only by my ignorance of their care and handling. hence when Graeme Gibson returned from exchange in England, all "batted up" with the latest lore and Regimental course was set up I was greatly pleased to be included. The candidates who were to learn about these fearsome objects came from the London, Toronto and St. Jean Stations.

The greatest fun was derived from driving. Steering was accomplished by "braking" one track at a time. Two penalties of a sudden turn were either stalling the motor or "throwing" a track. The second resulted in the tiresome procedure of replacement. A heavy, dirty and disagreeable hour's work. The motor made a further contribution to dangerous living by having a penchant for bursting into flame.

With all her faults we loved her still and the full value of this Carden-Lloyd course would be difficult to overestimate. few of us had more mechanical skill that sufficient to operate a bicycle. Only the members of the Sergeants' Mess could afford cars. We were exposed to the rudiments of motors and the driving system and driving. We were among the few prepared for mechanization which burst on us shortly.

It is also highly probable that this pool of mechanical lore, as well as the Carden-Lloyds, was an important factor in the decision to form the Armoured Fighting Vehicle School at Wolseley Barracks. This School became the nucleus of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps and [The Royal Canadian] Regiment may take pride in having provided important assistance in the formation of this great corps.

Carden-Lloyd Carrier Course – 1935. left to right, front row. Lt JHWT Pope, Lt RM Crowe, Capt TG Gibson, Lt WJ Moogk, 2Lt DC Spry; Back row, Pte Smith, Pte G Taylor, LCpl Dean, SSgt Jim Fawcett, Pte Ron Spurgeon, Pte JP Cook, Cpl Paddy Garritty.

  • Lt JHWT "Billy" Pope – Joined The RCR, 1932. Killed in action, 1943, while serving with The RCR in Sicily.
  • Lt RM Crowe – Joined The RCR, 1933. Killed in action, 1943, while commanding The RCR in Sicily.
  • Capt TG Gibson – Joined The RCR, 1931. Retired at the rank of Brigadier; CBE, DSO, CD. Deceased, 3 Jan 1986.
  • Lt WJ Moogk – Joined The RCR, 1934. Retired at the rank of Brigadier. Deceased 3 May 1990.
  • 2Lt DC Spry – Joined The RCR, 1933. Retired at the rank of Major-General. Deceased 2 Apr 1989.
  • Pte Smith
  • Pte GA Taylor – Regt no 15191. Attained appointment of Company Sergeant Major. Deceased 7 Jun 1989.
  • LCpl Dean – Regt no 16001.
  • SSgt Jim Fawcett – Regt no 12375. Retired at rank of Major. Deceased 3 Dec 1967.
  • Pte Ron Spurgeon – Attained appointment of Regimental Sergeant Major. Deceased 15 Nov 1990.
  • Pte JP Cook – Regt no 13157. Retired at rank of Major. Deceased 31 Jan 2002.
  • Cpl Paddy Garritty

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 17 September 2013 2:35 PM EDT
Friday, 27 September 2013

Halifax Armouries; Floor Plans
Topic: Halifax
Cunard Street elevation

Halifax Armouries – Floor Plans

The following images, taken from a foldout plan published in Canadian Architect and Builder, Volume XI., No. 2, February 1897 show the floor plans of the Halifax Armouries, as draen by the architect, Thomas Fuller, Chief Architect, Department of Public Works, Ottawa. The "Armouries" drill hall opened in 1897. Close examination of the floor plans reveals the originally intended occupation of the building.

Click on the images to see larger versions.


Halifax Armouries, floor plan, basement level

Drill Floor Level

Halifax Armouries, floor plan, drill floor level

Balcony Level

Halifax Armouries, floor plan, balcony level

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 27 September 2013 8:55 AM EDT
Thursday, 26 September 2013

4.2 inch mortar
Topic: Mortars

The 4.2 inch mortar as shown in a 1960s, recruiting souvenir card. The text on the reverse of the cards reads:

"The 4.2-inch mortar is a rifled, muzzle-loaded weapon. Its principal mission is the delivery of high angle, indirect fire. The mortar can be hand-carried for short distances when dismounted into five loads. A sight is provided to lay the mortar for elevation and direction. It has a maximum range of 6,000 yards."

Heavy mortars on the Canadian Army have been fielded by both the infantry and the artillery.

Operated by a six-man detachment, the M107 4.2-inch mortar was employed by "L" Battery of the 4th Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, from 1964 until 1969, when it was replaced by the L5 pack howitzer. The Battery had eight mortars to sustain the airportable support role necessary for Canada's Allied Mobile Force commitments.

Standing Orders – Chapter 10; A Condensed History of The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, 1793-1998

In the early fifties, each of the four Regular Force [Artillery] regiments were provided with a fourth battery armed with 4.2-inch mortars. In the mid-fifties the RCHA regiments turned in their 25-pounders for the US 105mm M1A1 towed howitzer (the C1 in its Canadian form), and in 1958 replaced the 4.2-inch mortar in the light batteries with M114 155mm medium towed howitzers.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Discipline and Military Law (1918)
Topic: CEF

Adjutant-General's Branch

Discipline and Military Law

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

The discipline of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada for the year 1918 was distinctly satisfactory and this was largely due to the efficient administration and discipline by Commanding Officers and the the esprit de corps which has been nourished and developed among all ranks of the Canadian Forces.

Originally, the administration of Military aw affecting the Canadian Troops in this country was carried out solely by the Imperial Authorities acting through the Army Council and the General Officers commanding the different Imperial Commands. Since December, 1916, however, this position was carefully but steadily modified by the adoption of the principles of control of Canadian troops in England by the Canadian Government through the Minister, Overseas Military Forces of Canada and his Military Advisors.

The first modification arose in connection with the applicability to Canadian Troops of the Royal Warrant for their pay, etc., and early in 1917 it was established that Canadian Orders in Council and Canadian Pay Regulations should govern this subject exclusively.

Since then the principle has been extended to all disciplinary regulations. King's Regulations (Imperial) are still, it is true, in general use, but this is for the most part a matter of convenience and it is recognized that they are only applicable where they are consistent with Canadian Regulations bearing on the same subject. Army Council Instructions and Routine Orders are only made available to the Canadian Forces when considered desirable by the Canadian Authorities. No Imperial Order or Army Council Instruction is applicable to the Overseas Military Forces of Canada unless made so in Headquarters Canadian Routine Orders.

Further resources:

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Principles of War for the Platoon Commander; 1943
Topic: Military Theory

The Eight Principles of War as Applicable to the Platoon Commander's Job

Canadian Army Training Memorandum, No 22, January 1943

Lieutenant W. Smith, a platoon commander, and Sergeant F.G. White, a platoon sergeant, both of The Royal Canadian Regiment, resting after the capture of Pontecorvo, Italy, 24 May 1944.
Photographer: C.E. Nye; Mikan Number: 3202714. From the Library and Archives Canada presentation Faces of War.

1.     Maintenance of the Object:

Never forget your job. Remember you are here to turn out a platoon of fully competent soldiers. Stick to it night and day. Before you take time off- Think! Is there anything you slacked on that you could make up Now I Time lost can never be regained, keep on the job.

2.     Concentration:

Are you using all the stores available to you for the job. Are you wasting time on useless "palaver and bitching"? Are your N.C.Os doing their best, are they concentrating on the job? Do you find yourself for hours in the Mess or at the Show. Put all your excess time and energy on your job, that's where it does the most good!

3.     Economy of Force

Don't send a man to do a boy's job, a boy to do a man's job. Distribute your N.C.Os to the best advantage. Keep your men fit, in camp a full strength platoon each day. See that your men get only a fair share of fatigues, training is the thing.

4.     Offensive Action:

Don't dodge your problems, sink your teeth into them and tear them apart. Work hard! Think hard! Play hard! You are in this thing to win I Give it everything you've got I When the day is done, and your dog tired, the O.C.'s a grouch, the Adjutant is cracked and the Company Commander a bloody fool-forget it! Be a man and give that extra bit to show the world you are.

5.     Surprise:

Get a new idea, surprise the C.O. with a bright suggestion, if you are shy and distant with the platoon-surprise 'em. Show them that you are human- If your crowd is slack-surprise 'em, show them you can crack down. Bowl them over with something new-if it makes sense, you can keep them interested every minute.

6.     Security:

Keep your mouth shut, train your men to do the same. Don't be a cad, your rank and appointment gives you the dangerous privilege of knowing information on which may depend the lives of thousands of men, if one dies because you talked, his blood is on your head, you have dishonoured your rank and betrayed your country's trust in you. Be Thoughtful! Be Cautious! Be Honourable!

7.     Co-operation:

Do your job with regard to the jobs of others, you are a small cog in the machine but if you don't click the whole machine is out. Think before you curse the Q.M., he's human, think before you call the M.O. a bloody fool, he only has two hands and a small staff. Remember the Adjt. is a harassed careworn individual, when he wants information get it fast and straight. Learn to work with others and they'll work with you.

8.     Mobility:

Keep your mind open and agile. Don't become a slave to Manuals and Pamphlets. Learn to meet the situations as they arrive and be alert to change your plans accordingly-remember a fast mind is often better than a fast vehicle-out of it comes the practicable application of all the other principles.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 23 September 2013

Halifax Armouries; Elevations and Cross Section
Topic: Halifax
Cunard Street elevation

Halifax Armouries – Elevations and Cross Section

These images, taken from a foldout plan published in Canadian Architect and Builder, Volume XI., No. 2, February 1897 show the elevations and cross-section of the Halifax Armouries as drawn by the architect, Thomas Fuller, Chief Architect, Department of Public Works, Ottawa. The outside views show the sides of the building facing Park Street and Cunard Street, and section A.B., (through the centre of the main entrance on Cunard Stereet). The "Armouries" drill hall opened in 1897.

Click on the images to see larger versions.

Park Street Elevation

Halifax Armouries, Park Street elevation


Halifax Armouries, cross-section

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 22 September 2013

The RCR Museum - 28 Sep 2013
Topic: Events

Everyone is Invited to The RCR Museum

On 28 Sep 2013, The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum, at Wolseley Barracks, London, Ontario, will be hosting an event to celebate the opening of new Galleries. Held during Doors Open London, for which the Museum will be open throughout the day, the ceremony will be the official opening of the recently expanded Museum.

Click this invitation image for a larger version (please note that the stated "attire" is for official guests, it is not necessary for members of the public who wish to attend):

See new Gallery spaces covering:

  • The Cold War
  • The RCR in Afghanistan
  • Infantry Weapons and Communications
  • Bands of The RCR
  • The Reserve Heritage and Lineage of The RCR

Tour the Museum before or after the opening ceremony (please make sure you sign their guest book). At the opening ceremony you will also see:

London Heritage Council

Doors Open London

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 22 September 2013 1:10 AM EDT
Saturday, 21 September 2013

The Soldier's Load; a historic problem
Topic: Soldiers' Load

The Soldier's Load; a historic problem

The 1700s

Meanwhile the strength of the army was being eaten away by the physical demands of the march. Until the truck and the armoured personnel carrier were invented in the twentieth century, those requirements had differed very little over the centuries. With remarkably consistency the load of the foot soldier has amounted to as much as any man can bear over a length of time, which comes to about 60 pounds. By English, Hanoverian and Prussian calculations the approximate weight of the components amounted to 10 or 11 pounds for the musket and its bayonet, 10 pounds for the cartridge pouch with sixty rounds, 3 pounds for the sword and its belt, the empty knapsacks at 3 1/2 pounds, brushes, shirts and other small items of clothing or equipment at 8 pounds, and bread for one or two days at 2 pounds per day, to which must be added the clothing which the soldier wore on his person, the water bottle, and extra items like shovel, axe or light pick, tent pegs or tent poles, or the Kameradschaft's field kettle.

Over the course of history the soldier's burden has been carried in styles which have proved equally uncomfortable in different ways, according to which part of the anatomy bears the main load. For most of our period the belts of the knapsack and haversack crossed with that of the cartridge pouch over the chest (with the sling of the musket sometimes added on top), which caused deep and permanent bruising and an actual indentation in the chest. Towards the end of the century a fashion set in for transferring the weight of the knapsack to small straps which passed over the shoulders and under the armpits. The soldiers considered the new style unmilitary, and they found that it caused the arms to swell up and grow numb. - Christopher Duffy, The Military Experience in the Age of Reason, 1987

The American Civil War; A Study in Contrasts

In speaking of our soldiers [in May 1863],…[e]ach man had eight days' rations to carry, besides sixty rounds of ammunition, musket, woolen blanket, rubber blanket, overcoat, extra shirt, drawers, socks, and shelter-tent, amounting in all to about sixty pounds. Think of men, (and boys too) staggering along under such a load, at the rate of fifteen to twenty miles a day.

By the summer of 1864 Major Robert Stiles drew a much neater picture of the veteran Southern infantryman in what he called, "Campaign trim:"

This meant that each man had one blanket, one small haversack, one change of underclothes, a canteen, cup and plate of tin, a knife and fork and the clothes in which he stood. When ready to march, the blanket, rolled lengthwise, the ends brought together and strapped, hung from left shoulder across under the right arm; the haversack— furnished with towel, soap, comb, knife and fork in various pockets, a change of underclothes in the main division, [of the sack] and whatever rations we happened to have in the other—hung on the left hip; the canteen, cup and plate, tied together, hung on the right; toothbrush at will, stuck in two button holes of jacket or in haversack; tobacco bag hung to a breast button, pipe in pocket. In this rig,…the Confederate soldier considered himself all right and all ready for anything; …and this "all" weighed about seven or eight pounds. - Gregory A. Coco, The Civil War Infantryman; In camp, on the march, and in battle., 1996

The British Army in Africa; the 1870s

Accouterments had finally received some professional attention in 1868, and ammunition pouches, knapsack, mess tin, waterbottle, greatcoat, blanket and spare boots had been strapped and buckled into a complicated unit. Properly worn, the ammunition pouches were in front, a haversack for rations and loose gear on the hip, and everything else behind, where the various items stretched from the ears to well below the hips.

The equipment cut into the small of the back and banged into the buttocks on the march, and on campaign the men carried the pouches and a haversack and slung everything else into a company wagon. Fully accoutered, with rifle, seventy rounds of ammunition and two days' rations, each man carried 57 pounds.

The Army was equipped with an excellent single-shot breech-loading rifle. The Model 1871 Martini-Henry fired a black-powder .45 caliber center-fire Boxer cartridge of thin rolled brass, with a heavy lead slug weighing 480 grains, paper-wrapped at the base to prevent its melting in its passage down the bore. The breechblock was hinged at the rear and dropped to expose the chamber when the lever behind the trigger guard was depressed, flipping out the expended case. A fresh round was laid atop the grooved block and thumbed home, and the piece was cocked when the lever was raised. There was no safety. …

The men carried no arms except for the rifle and the old triangular bayonet they called the "lunger." Their cartridges came in paper packets of ten rounds; each man carried four packets in the leather ammunition pouches on his belt, ten loose rounds in a small canvas ex pense pouch and two additional packets tucked into his knapsack. If an alarm was sounded in camp, he would grab his rifle and belt and fall in with fifty rounds; on the march he carried the full seventy. - Donald R. Morris, The Washing of the Spears; The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation, 1965

The CEF in 1917

Some problems seemed almost insoluble. Obviously soldiers in the Somme battles were hopelessly overloaded. Experts concluded that a healthy man could carry up to sixty-six pounds (modern thinking puts the maximum load at under a third of body weight). A post-Somme reform was "fighting order," but what did a soldier actually need to fight? The list had to include his uniform, a weapon and ammunition, a shovel, a respirator, a haversack with food, a waterproof sheet, a mess tin, a water bottle, and his share of the grenades, machine-gun belts, and aircraft flares. Despite imaginative efforts, the load never got close to sixty-six pounds. In 1917, a rifleman carried at least sixty-eight pounds of clothing, kit, and arms, a bomber or rifle grenadier seventy-eight pounds, and the Lewis-gunner ninety-two pounds. The tactics of the war were governed by a soldier's back and legs. After endless debate, the major reduction of a soldier's load was elimination of a second water bottle: "Men must be trained to drink sparingly." - Desmond Morton, When Your Number's Up, The Canadian Soldier in the First World War, 1993

1959 – The British in Oman

Our main load was ammunition." recounts Cpl. "Lofty" Large of the Jebel Akhdar campaign in Oman, 1959: "I remember having two 3.5 rockets, four 90 (Energa) grenades … Eight No 36 grenades, six No 80 (white phosphorous) grenades. Five 20-round magazines of rifle ammunition, plus 100 rounds in bandoliers. One 250-round box of .30 calibre machine-gun ammunition … My bergen rucksack, loaded and ready to go, weighed 98lb. My belt weighed 22 lb. – 120 lb total [without] my rifle. Everyone had similar loads to carry. - Lofty Large, One Man's SAS

1962 – The US Army

Concerning the load each man had to carry, SLA Marshall once recommended that the soldier be extended the same courtesy as the pack mule--not to load either with more than 1/3 his body weight. He went on to say the average soldier weighed 153 pounds; therefore, his load should not be more than 51 pounds.

In spite of historical examples and combat experience, the soldier's load is still too heavy. Machinegunners carry a load of 78 pounds; rifle squad leaders, 62 pounds; and M14 (modified) gunners, 61 pounds. If the platoon leader is made to carry all the equipment so often required, he would carry 68 pounds!

The soldier cannot fight with the burden he inherited… - Maj Joseph J. Ondishko, Jr., Infantry; "A 32-pound Rifleman," from [US Army] Infantry, January-February 1962

The US Army in Vietnam

All these studies and experiments notwithstanding, the Vietnam Gl was frequently loaded down with close to 60 pounds of ammunition and equipment. One battalion of the 1st Infantry Division required each rifleman to carry fourteen magazines of ammunition, two smoke grenades, two fragmentation grenades, a gas mask, weapon-cleaning equipment, two canteens, three boxes of C rations, a Claymore mine, trip flares, an entrenching tool, twenty sandbag covers, poncho, and poncho liner. On operations where commanders expected to need extra ammunition or specialized equipment, the GI's combat load could easily exceed the normal 50-60 pounds carried in the tropical heat of Vietnam. Echoing the German medical students of seventy years before, an infantryman with the 2d Battalion, 35th Infantry in Vietnam observed: "It doesn't take long to get you run down when you're carrying everything you own on your back."

"Extra gear or ammo deemed personally useless was frequently dumped at the first opportunity," recalled Igor Bobrowsky, who served with the Fifth Marines, "… in spite of the knowledge that what was only dumped but not destroyed would probably end up in Charlie's hands. As frequently as possible extra loads were eased by unloading them via the expedient of "lighting up" some target of real or invented opportunity. This of course lightened the individual's load of "useless" ordnance, such as LAWs, mortar rounds, etc.—and also tended to level a lot of the surrounding countryside. Of course, there were many times when it turned out that what had been thus unloaded was very much missed when the "fit hit the shan." - Ronald H. Spector, After Tet, 1993

1982 – The Falklands

Lying before us was about twelve kilometers of ground and a river. My kit alone weighed about a hundred pounds, possibly more. Many lads in our group had to swap kit throughout the march – a machine gun for a tripod for example. Milans, being bulky and awkward, went from shoulder to shoulder. As daylight faded I could see the thin line of troops disappearing into the darkness, struggling with their kit … - Vincent Bramley, Excursion to Hell – The Battle for Mount Longdon

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 20 September 2013

Attila on: "Custom"
Topic: Tradition

Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun

By: Wess Roberts, Ph.D.; Warner Books, 1985

NOTE (from the Preface): "The aphorisms spoken by Attila in this book have no basis of authenticity as ever having been said by the King of Huns. they are rather, ones that I have written based upon my own experiences, research and observations. The have been reviewed and tested by some demanding critics and were only incorporated after having survived considerable scrutiny."

Attila on: "Custom"

Excerpted from Chapter 3: Becoming a Hun: "Customs"

All who are Huns and those who seek to become one of us must learn, adapt and adhere to our custom s. If they are not Huns, then we must suspect them to be Romans or to be allies of the empire; therefore, we must treat them with caution.

It is not essential that a Hun compromise those characteristics that make him a unique warrior. Every Hun, however, must be willing to conform to those things that distinguish us as a nation of strong, united tribes. We must be single in purpose, yet individuality that does not distract from the tribe or nation must be preserved.

What is good for the Hun must be good for the tribe and nation. Conversely, what is good for the tribe and nation must be good for the Hun; otherwise, he will desert to the Romans.

When we prescribe dress for battle, celebration, ceremony or other occasions, Huns will see to it that they wear that which is customary.

When we establish Hunnish methods, they must be taught to our young so they will know what is expected of them in every situation. If Huns do not learn the rules, their chieftains cannot expect them to be followed.

Our songs and dances must be unique in the celebration of our noble heritage. We must not introduce into them contaminants that may cause our heritage to become confused.

Our approach toward exacting tribute and loyalties from those we have chosen as the opposition must continue to use and increase the strength of the nation. Only when we fail to recognize our power and influence over the adversary have they set us back.

We must modify our customs when the situation warrants, if such an alteration will strengthen our position. We cannot, however, distill those customs that remain key to the success of the Hunnish nation. We cannot permit strong chieftains or groups of young Huns to attempt the founding of customs that serve only the their purpose. Customs are of nations, not of individuals.

Being a Hun requires dedication and devotion to the cause of our nation. Following our customs is a tribute to our heritage and to our present and future.

Huns are required to make oaths of lasting obligation to the nation. We, in turn, as leaders, must ensure that we have customs—strong traditions—worthy of such lasting conviction and must welcome into our tribes and nation all who adhere to those principles and ways we value now and forever.

To a nation of such robust and independent heritage, I, Attila, give counsel as to those things we admonish all to honor as our customs:

  • It is the custom of all Huns to hold strong to personal and national honor. This is a cardinal virtue. Ones word must prevail over all other considerations, including political expediency.
  • We must value the capable Hun, whether of lowly or of noble birth. We must appoint our chieftains from among those most qualified to lead, regardless of ancestry.
  • We must not retaliate against the innocent, use unscrupulous tactics or kill unsuspecting or trapped enemies. We must be fierce in the eyes of all we seek to influence, yet the use of unnecessary terror is ignoble.
  • A nation of one ancestry and race is weak. We must hold strong our custom of welcoming all foreigners who seek to join our cause, treating them with dignity and respect and teaching them our language and customs.
  • Our accepted differences and diversities must be pooled into a common purpose worthy of our efforts as tribes and as a nation.
  • Our racial, cultural, moral and social concepts, inherited from our ancestors of Asia and Europe, must be recognized and honored by all, through respect for our fellow man, his faculties and well-being.
  • We must never build pyramids in our own honor. While we hold strong the custom of individual and national pride, we must not fall victim to pompous, practices that weaken the fiber of our vitality and appeal to those we serve.
  • We must hold fast to our custom of high ideals and optimism—never being discouraged by those who would seek to gain personal or national advantage over us.
  • Our songs, dances, games, jests and celebrations must always remain steadfast as propitious opportunity to renew our allegiance and identity as Huns.

You chieftains have the responsibility to continue to teach and practice the customs that make our diverse people and tribes a strong and powerful Hunnish nation, lest they falter for lack of an identity.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 6 September 2013 2:46 PM EDT
Thursday, 19 September 2013

A.F.V. Ration Pack (1942)
Topic: Army Rations

General Motors T17E1 Staghound armoured cars of “A” Squadron, 12th Manitoba Dragoons, in the Hochwald, Germany, 2 March 1945. Location: Hochwald Forest, Germany. Date: March 2, 1945. Photographer: Smith, Jack H. Mikan Number: 3202099. From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibition Faces of War.

Operational Feeding
The Use of Field Rations

A.F.V. Ration Pack (1942)

Armoured fighting vehicle ration pack is a tinned ration and similar to the composite ration, made up in suitable packs for stowing inside tanks, but it is only used when the normal ration cannot be delivered to and cooked by A.F.V. crews for operational reasons. Since the vehicles must replenish with petrol, such occasions will be of rare occurrence.

Armoured fighting vehicle ration pack

This a similar scale to composite ration, but it is packed in special containers suitable for storing inside tanks. These packs are made up for two, three or five men; the latter becoming obsolete as a pack for five can be made up from a two and a three pack. The manufacture of A.F.V. packs in war presents certain difficulties and entails the use of a high proportion of tin plate. their use should therefore be limited to those shown in sub-para. (a) below and only for periods of operational mobility. During active operations, tank and armoured car personnel must be capable of cooking and feeding on a crew basis since halts must, of necessity, be of uncertain length and at uncertain times and A.F.Vs. will be dispersed over a wide area for the greater part of the 24 hours. The composite ration cannot be distributed and stowed satisfactorily in a tank or armoured car to meet such conditions. When armoured forces are at rest, tank and armoured car crews, etc., will be able to feed on composite ration pack or field service ration.

Tanks and armoured cars will land overseas carrying A.F.V. packs for consumption in lieu of mess tin rations.

(a)         Armd. Div. H.Q.
Armd. Bdes. including Motor Bns.
Armd. Bde. Coys. R.A.O.C.
Armd. Car Regt.
Recce. Regts. and Sqns. (Scout Troops only).

Appendix C – A.F.V. Pack

CommodityScale for each man a daySize of tinNo. of tins for each pack
2 men3 men5 men
Preserved meat12 ozs.12 ozs.235
Service biscuit10 ozs.10 ozs.235
Unsweetened condensed milk2 ½ ozs.6 ozs.122
Sardines2 ozs.4 ozs.123
Margarine1 ½ ozs.2 ¾ ozs.123
Tea¾ oz.1 ½ ozs.123
Sugar ½ ozs.3 ozs.123
Beans4 ozs.8 ozs.11
12 ozs.11
Jam4 ozs.4 ozs.231
16 ozs.1
Latrine paper6 sheets 12 sheets sheets sheets

The above is all packed in one square container, except the biscuits, which are packed separately in a round tin.

Catering advisers with armoured formations will assist with advice regarding the best method of utilizing the A.F.V. pack, to suit the particular circumstances in which operations are taking place.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Stages of the Wounded from the Battlefield to "Blighty."
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.


Canadian Army Medical Corps


Stages of the Wounded from the Battlefield to "Blighty."

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

It was the policy of the Canadian Authorities to provide beds in sufficient numbers in Canadian Hospitals in the British Isles to meet the requirements of the casualties among the Canadian Troops in France. So far as was practicable and possible, too, the Canadians evacuated from France were distributed to Canadian Hospitals. In times of stress, however, mainly to meet the exigencies of Ambulance Railway Transport in England they had, of necessity, to be distributed to both British and Canadian Hospitals. That, after severe fighting was inevitable ; but every effort was bent towards placing Canadians in Canadian Hospitals, and how successful was this endeavour is evident in the expansion of Canadian bed capacity alone. Where it was necessary, owing to the demands of the moment to place Canadians in British Hospitals, the British Authorities were prevailed on to place Canadians in Hospitals in areas most easily accessible to the Canadian Authorities and to the Canadian patients' relatives and friends.

It is interesting to glance for a moment at the progress of a casualty from the time he was hit in the Field up to the time he reached his Canadian haven of refuge in the land of respite from war, which, to the Imperial and Canadian troops alike, was known affectionately and popularly as "Blighty."

When the Canadian soldier-officer or man-was wounded in the Field he was first tended by the stretcher-bearers of his Unit who bore him back to the Regimental Aid Post, unless, of course, the casualty were what is known as a "walking wounded."

At the Regimental Aid Post the Medical Officer supplemented whatever additional treatment he could to that which had already been administered by the bearers.

As quickly after that as might be, the casualty was moved on to the Advance Dressing Station for Field Ambulances, which perhaps might be one or two miles in the rear. Sometimes, of course, it was possible for the wounded man to proceed on foot, but the more serious cases were conveyed by stretcher and at times by horse ambulance. The latter was the method most used during the Battles of Amiens, Arras and Cambrai.

At the Advance Dressing Station the patient again received every care which could be given there, and thence he was hurried on by Motor Ambulance or light railway to the main dressing station of the Field Ambulance and thence the Casualty Clearing Station. During the last 12 months of the war standard gauge trains linked the main Dressing Stations to the Casualty Clearing Stations, and the comfort of the wounded was thereby greatly increased.

At every stopping place indeed, everything that it was humanly possible to do was done for the wounded men. From the time of their arrival at the Regimental Aid Post and throughout their subsequent journey those cases which could take nourishment were amply provided with comforting drinks and food.

It was not, however, until the Casualty Clearing Station was reached, that whatever operation was necessary was performed, other of course, Than the control of haemorrhage, removal of utterly destroyed limbs, treatment of shock and the initial treatment of gassed cases. Here at the Casualty Clearing Station, teams of skilled surgeons, including specialists, worked with ordered and skilful haste. Here, too, the casualty was bathed and clothed and put into a clean bed until such time as it was considered safe to move him to the Stationary or General Hospital located on the Lines of Communication, or on the coast at Etaples, Boulogne or Calais.

From the Casualty Clearing Station to the Hospital all wounded were conveyed in a specially-equipped Hospital Train which carried Medical Officers and Nursing Sisters. At the hospital the wounded men remained until they were fit to be evacuated to a convalescent camp in France or carried to England in a floating hospital for further treatment there. Such is the bald outline of the journey towards rest of the happy warrior who had found peace with honour.

It does not, however, convey all the wonderful surmounting of difficulties during that journey out of the hurly-burly, from the Regimental Aid Post, around which the shells always fell, to the final happy refuge in one of Canada's great palaces of healing in "Blighty." Nor could any words convey the kindness, the humanity and the skilled care which eased the bodies and cheered the spirits of the men who journeyed on that pilgrimage of pain.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
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

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