The Minute Book
Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Some Notes On Quarterblokery (Part 1)
Topic: Humour

Some Notes On Quarterblokery (Part 1)

Canadian Army Journal, Vol 16, No 1, Winter 1962, reproduced by courtesy of the Irish Defence Journal (Dublin) from an article Entitled "MORE About Quarterblokery" by "H.E.D.H."

The Quartermaster may be regarded as one of the first "specialist" officers in western armies. From the beginning, he has been recognized as an essential appointment and in an age when commissions were by purchase and/or nepotism, was almost wholly commissioned from long service NCO's. George III said in 1775: "The proper persons to be recommended for quartermasters are active sergeants..." In a brilliant satire on British Army life which appeared about the same time, advice to various grades of officers was offered. To the Quartermaster it said: "The standing maxim of your office is to receive whatever is offered you, or you can get hold of, but not to part with anything you can keep...(You) are the steward of the Colonel; like a good steward, have regard for the master's servants, amongst whom is yourself... You must on all occasions endeavour to inculcate the doctrine of witchcraft and enchantment; it will be difficult to account on other principles for the sudden and frequent disappearance of various articles out of your magazine."

Mugs' Game

My first experience of the accounting methods of British Army quarter-masters was when soon after enlistment I broke the "mug, drinking, earthenware, 1-pint" I had been issued with as part of my kit. I presented myself at the stores and after being kept waiting a suitable period I was given an audience with the RQMS In what I afterwards came to realize was a much reiterated piece of patter, he swiftly dealt with the doubtful value to the Army of people such as myself, the disturbance caused to the demanding, accounting and even production arrangements of mugs of this sort, and, finally, ruled that I could only resume drinking like the rest of my comrades by paying for two mugs, "the one wot I had broke" and the new one he was about to issue to me. In my dazed and frightened state I accepted without question his decision and the reasoning on which it was based. It must not be thought that Quartermasters are dishonest - they are "sharp". They are, in fact, the businessmen of the army and a "good" QM will see that his regiment or battalion wants for nothing. Allied to his fellow QMs by many secret agreements, be is inclined to regard the rules and regulations about the issue and holding of stores as tests of his professional ability and knowledge of regulations in the way that businessmen and their accountant advisors study tax and anti-trust laws.

Influence of National Characteristics

National characteristics may influence the order of priorities but will not much change the methods of QMs. The Irish Guards History of the Second World War recounts a splendid story of a French Quartermaster. The Guardsmen were in a position on a Norwegian fjord and had been told they were to be joined by a battalion of the famous Chasseurs Alpins. Later they beheld what looked like a Seine barge, very low in the water, coming up the fjord. When it came into shore, "a short, fat man wearing a huge beret jumped ashore. He explained that he was the Quartermaster of the Chasseurs and asked permission to land the advance party and essential stores." This was granted, "whereupon the Frenchmen began to roll ashore many barrels of wine." The great French literateur, Andre Maurois, in his book, "The Silence of Colonel Bramble", gave an example of how such knowledge was put to use by the OC of a unit: "Colonel Boulton commanded an ammunition depot. He was responsible, among other things, for fifty machine guns. One day he noticed that there were only forty-nine in the depot. All the enquiries, and punishment of the sentries, failed to restore the missing machine gun. "Colonel Boulton was an old fox and had never acknowledged himself in the wrong. He simply mentioned in his monthly return that the tripod of a machine gun had been broken. They sent him a tripod to replace the other without any comment. "A month later, on some pretext or other, he reported the sighting apparatus of a machine gun as out of order; the following month he asked for three screw nuts; then a recoil place; and bit by bit in two years he entirely replaced his machine gun. And correspondingly, bit by bit, the Army Ordnance Department reconstructed it for him without attaching any importance to the requisitions for the separate pieces. "Then Colonel Boulton, satisfied at last, inspected his machine guns and found fifty-one. "While he had been patiently reconstructing the lost gun, some damned idiot had found it in a corner. And Boulton had to spend two years of clever manipulation of his books to account for the new gun which had been evolved out of nothing."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 5 November 2013

We Marched on our Stomachs
Topic: Army Rations

Major Oliver Woods MC with his brewed up tank after the regiment's return to Udem, 1945 (c).
(National Army Museum photo)

We Marched on our Stomachs

Gastronomic Memories of Africa and Europe

Captain Oliver Frederick John Bradley Woods, M.C., was awarded the Military Cross while serving in Sicily with the 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters). MC award Gazetted 21 October 1943.

By Oliver Woods, M.C., published in the Royal Armoured Corps Journal, Oct 1946

One evening, in those distant days before the battle of Knightsbridge, I was told off to take some petrol lorries up to the tanks which were on manoeuvres. Still somewhat of a novice to the desert, I nervously piloted myself by the wobbling compass over some twenty miles of camel-grass humps until, with intense relief, I saw the barrel of Bir Uaa, which told me that I had reached tho rendezvous.

It was a lovely spring evening and that drive was thirsty work. On board was my NAAFI ration and a bottle of neat gin, about as welcome at that point as the dry biscuit that the Red Queen gave to Alice. For there was no lime, no bitters, and only a very little water, reserved for-the more serious business of shaving and tea-making. It was then that I made the discovery of the Bir Uaa cocktail, where the well is in some form of limestone and the water, when mixed with gin, produces a natural "gimlet," unique and not to be reproduced in the Ritz bars of this world. The secret of Bir Uaa became mine and I disclosed it only to a chosen few—until one day we drove up and found a large military policeman washing his feet in it. Thus polluted and clouded with soap-suds, it was over-run by the Afrika Korps a few days later.

The incident at Bir Uaa taught me that the hardships and privations of war are spasmodic and not chronic; and having outdone Moses by producing a good cocktail out of the Libyan Desert, I used to speculate on what small luxuries the invasion of Europe would produce. In Sicily the answer was a lemon, which came hurled at me by a grinning peasant in a wideawake straw hat after the tanks broke through at Priolo and went racing through the orchards to Augusta. It was a terribly hot noon and there was not time to eat or "brew"; but suck lemons—the first for many years—we could and did.

At the Primasole bridge we found our first good Marsala. It was in a small castle which the artillery used as an observation post. The doctor brought us back a jar full of it, but it was an unhealthy place to visit as the Germans could see the tower from Mount Etna and used to shell it regularly. On going a few days later to replenish, I found our gunners had been drinking it from the great barrels and had left the taps running, an act of vandalism which I still find hard to forgive. For the rest, the wines of Mount Etna were "rough" but pleasant, having what the wine merchants call "a distinctive flavour" which derives from the lava on which the vines grow. In the farms were pigeons which we roasted, sitting among the rushes by the Gornalunga, having split them as we had seen the Egyptians do at the Casino des Pigeons in Cairo.

When we invaded Italy that September, we found the whole of the Foggian plain overrun with turkeys, and Sherman crews, if not "Sherman's dashing Yankee boys," could cheerfully hum:

"How the turkeys gobbled which our commissariat found While we were marching through Georgia."

In the first flush of liberation the farmers gave them away free, but after two or three days they steadied to a market price of five shillings. Even so, the tanks rattled into action at Termoli festooned with plump birds to whom the outcome of the battle was all one, for it was a "Brew" for them other way. There was turkey for breakfast, luncheon, dinner and tea, and when the NAAFI imported tinned turkey for Christmas it was a case of "Owls to Athens."

Normandy, in retrospect, conjures a dismal picture of forces crowded into a constrained bridgehead with every building a ruin, every field full of decaying carcases and little comfort to be had anywhere. Yet there were compensations. My tank, lying some six hundred shell-covered yards from an undamaged farm, fed well for some days. For an exorbitant price, the farmer's wife would cook us each day for lunch a goose, a chicken or a rabbit, with excellent pommes de terres frites, conveyed under a napkin by my driver on a rickety bicycle, booty from German paratroops, in the manner of a waiter rushing a meal across tho street from a West End restaurant to a rich invalid. Here too, we filled our thermos flasks with salty butter, dug potatoes till Army Orders made it a court martial offence, and ate the round Camembert from Bayeux. Drinks were cider and hair-raising Calvadas.

Winter in Holland was an orgy of oysters and champagne. From Bergen-op-Zoom, Breda, Tilburg, and Eindhoven the excellent Zeelanders could be obtained at reasonable prices and in quantities sufficient to refute the complaint —"He had always eaten oysters but had never had enough." In the shops were assistants who opened them as fast as a man could eat. When we moved up for the Rhine assault, we had to devise means of transporting the oysters with us and constructed a mixture of salt water, seaweed and bran in which they lived and grew fat. Unfortunately, the only suitable receptacle was the Colonel's zinc bath-tub, so that on certain nights of the week all oysters had to be eaten in order to allow him to bathe in it.

Noted in my diary during the concluding phases of World War II I find the entry "The gallop through Germany has not been a noted gastronomic success. There is excellent hock and Moselle to be found, but the length of the advance has stretched to breaking point our lines of communication with Brussels and the French wine districts. The occupation is surely going to be a headache for P.M.Cs., and canteen corporals, and not that kind of headache either!"

Still, judged by civilian standards, these fears proved groundless. There was the evening when, following a loud report from the rear of the column, the mess sergeant appeared, saluted, and reported that he had "shot a pheasant and taken two Jerries prisoner, Sir!" (These two had been hiding in the ditch and on hearing his gun go off had popped up with their hands in the air.) And the capture, a few days before the surrender, of a Wehrmacht lorry carrying 600 gallons of Dutch gin proved an effective solution to the problem of organizing VE Day celebrations.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 5 November 2013 12:11 AM EST
Monday, 4 November 2013

The drill square became an asphalt Calvary
Topic: Drill and Training

The drill square became an asphalt Calvary

Albert Arthur Fisher by Martin Windrow; from M. Windrow and F. Wilkinson, The Universal Soldier, Fourteen studies in campaign life A.D. 43-1944, 1971

The tricks of improving one's turn-out came hard, and Bert went through hell before he mastered the art of smoothing the toe-caps with a hot spoon, and brushing the muddy blanco on to his webbing in just the right way to give a smooth, caked finish. The drill square became an asphalt Calvary, stalked by instructors who glared under the near-vertical peaks of their caps and howled at him in the weird mock-genteel accents of the British drill sergeant.

'Ho my GAWD ! H'I ain't nevah SEEN nuthink laike you lot ! 'Ow am I h'ever agoin' to turn this SHOWAH into SOLJAHS!… Squa-a-a-d SHUN! H'as'y' WERE ! Sufferin' CHRAIST 'ow many taimes do you need TELLIN'… THAT man there, yes YOU, you long streak o' piss, GET them h'elbows IN ! ' On and on, in a terrible sing-song rhythm, the voice rising to a falsetto screech … 'Lef'ri'lef'ri'lef'ri … Squa-a-a-a-d … HALT! Orda-a-a-h … HIPE! down two three across two three CUTAWAY ! Well that was bloody 'ORRIBLE Fishah, so the 'ole squad will now do it again for YOUR benefit … ' Sweat pouring down the back, arms and legs shaking with fatigue, the rough serge rasping the neck raw above the collarless flannel shirt, rigid and impotent while the contorted face bellowed and writhed inches from his own … 'Y'know what h'Im goin' to do, Fishah? H'Im goin' to CLAIMB up your front by the button'oles, FORCE your nostrils open with me pace-stick, CRAWL up into your pointy little 'ead, AND KICK SOME MUCKIN' SENSE INTO IT!'

And when it was over for another day they would collapse on their beds for a full half-hour before finding the strength to take off their equipment. The food was adequate but drably institutional—soggy boiled spuds, greasy, evil-looking bully beef, grey, unidentifiable mush of root vegetables, doughy puddings. In the evenings there was nothing but the N.A.A.F.I.—tepid beer and torn copies of Reveille or Blighty.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 3 November 2013

Rhymes Without Reason
Topic: Humour

Rhymes Without Reason

By P.B.I.

From the "Wipers Times" 1914-1918, reprinted in The Infantry Journal, No. 21, Spring 1991


Arise, My Muse, and from the muddied trench
Let us give utterance to the malicious thought,
Shouting aloud the things we never ought
Even to dream of: come, you shameless Wench,
With tongue in cheek let us set out to strafe
Gunners and Sappers, and the Gilded Staff.


Gunners are a race apart
Hard of head and hard of heart.
Like the gods they sit and view
All that other people do:
Like the Sisters Three of Fate,
They do not discriminate.
Our Support Line, or the Hun's, -
What's the difference to the Guns?
Retaliation do you seek?
Ring them up and - wait a week!
They will certainly reply
In the distant by-and-bye.
Should a shell explode amiss,
Each will swear it was not his:
For he's never, never shot
Anywhere about that spot,
And, what's more, his guns could not.


Sappers are wonderfully clever by birth,
And though they're not meek, they inherit the Earth.
Should your trenches prove leaky, they'll work with a will
To make all the water flow up the next hill
(And when I say "work", I should really explain
That we find the labour, while they find the brain).
They build nice deep dug-outs as quick as can be,
But quicker still mark them "Reserved for R.E."
And, strangely, this speed of theirs seems to decline,
As the scene of their labours draws near the Front Line.


Realizing Men must laugh,
Some Wise Man devised the Staff,
Dressed them up in little dabs
Of rich variegated tabs:
Taught them how to win the War
On A.F.Z. 354:
Let them lead the Simple Life
Far from all our vulgar strife:
Nightly gave them downy beds
For their weary aching heads:
Lest their relatives might grieve
Often, often, gave them leave,
Decoration, too, galore:
What on earth could man wish more?
Yet, alas, or so says Rumour,
He forgot a sense of Humour!


And now, Old Girl, we've fairly had our whack,
Be off, before they start to strafe us back!
Come, let us plod across the weary Plain,
Until we sight Tenth Avenue again.
On up the interminable C.T.,
Watched by the greater part of Germany:
And, as we go, mark each familiar spot.
Where fresh work has been done - or perhaps not:
On, past the foot boards no one seems to mend,
Till even Vindin Ally finds an end,
And wading through a Minnie-hole (brand-new),
We gingerly descend to C.H.Q.
Our journey ended in a Rabbit-hutch -
"How goes the Battle? Have they Minnied much?"

  • AFZ 354 – An Army form number
  • CT – Communications Trench
  • CHQ – Company Headquarters
  • Gunners – The Artillery
  • Minnie – A German trench mortar
  • PBI – Poor Bloody Infantry
  • RE – Royal Engineers
  • Sappers – The EngineersvStaff – The Generals and other officers at headquarters behind the front lines
  • Tenth Avenue – A trench
  • Vindin Alley – A trench

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 2 November 2013

Does this sound familiar?
Topic: Commentary

Does this sound familiar?

"Years ago it was sufficient if the soldier gave a more or less rigid, unwavering, physical adherence to his leaders and comrades. Nowadays, however, his adherence must be mainly intellectual. Standing in line to meet the massed attacks of advancing battalions required another type of discipline--which we are not losing very fast. The absolute subordination of the man was the only criterion of those days. Individuality was ruthlessly suppressed, and if at times it did display itself, it was in spite of, and not because of, the system of training then in existence. Marching, shooting, and obedience were about the only things which a soldier of former days had to learn. To-day the soldier is, comparatively speaking, an intellectual giant. To-day, our soldiers are not only required to march, shoot and obey, but they actually dabble in the realms of science. They study physics, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry and what not. Men who are able to tackle such subjects cannot be disciplined by the old methods of constant soul-killing drill. Instead of instilling in the soldier the fear of punishment we must inculcate ideals of conduct and achievement; we must develop his mental faculties and we must encourage a display of reasonable judgment and initiative. There must be an appeal to the soldier's intelligence and our training must be moral training of the highest type."

We often hear such word spoken of our soldiers today, that they are smarter, better educated, and more aware of the word around them then their predecessors. Even as we demand more of our soldiers, for them to be the "Strategic Corporal," to learn and effectively employ ever more complex technologies for communicating, finding the enemy, and killing him, yet we still also find that some soldiers have always maintained a propensity to misbehave. Those unavoidable combinations of youth, immaturity, alcohol, testosterone and the predilection for males to head butt one another (physically or metaphorically) over everything from a woman's attention, a favoured sport's team's legacy, or even a perceived slight against one's cap badge, lead to the fact that the Discipline volume of Queen's Regulations and Orders is as important and useful as it ever was.

We may have better educated soldiers (on average) with each passing decade, but they are still soldiers. As much as some things change, others never really do. For some of those troops that keep landing on the sergeant-major's naughty list, some of that old school parade square discipline may not be a bad thing.

Oh, and that quote above … it was written in 1925. — Taken from "Discipline and Personality," by Sergt.-Major E.J. Simon, The RCR, Canadian Defence Quarterly, Vol. II, No. 3, April, 1925.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 1 November 2013

Mobile Command, circa 1978
Topic: Canadian Army

Photo provided courtesy of Al Ditter (The RCR). Although this photo shows Canadian atmy M113s and Centurian tanks, it actually shows 3 Cdo, and unit of 4 CMBG (which was not part of FMC).

Mobile Command, circa 1978

From: The Defence of Canada, by Colonel Norman L. Dodd, The Army Quarterly and Defence Journal, Vol. 108, No. 1, Jan 1978

The Commander of Mobile Command has his headquarters at St. Hubert, Quebec, and is responsible tor providing operationally ready land and tactical air forces to meet any military commitments decided upon by the Government. He is also the Commander of the Eastern Region. The strength of his command is about 17,000 regulars with 4,520 civilian employees and some 17,700 militia men and women. The latter correspond to the British TAVR and play an important part in all major exercises and provide reinforcements for the limited regulars.

Mobile Command is presently undergoing a reorganization which will result in the formation of one brigade group in the West with its HQ at Calgary and another brigade group at Valcartier, Quebec, in the East. An air droppable/air portable combat group is moving to Petawawa, Ontario, from Edmonton. Out of these formations must come the Canadian land contribution to the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force (AMF), this consists of an infantry battalion, a field battery, some logistic personnel and is supported by a squadron of CF-5 fighter aircraft provided by the air command. Canada has also agreed to provide other reinforcements for operations in North Norway in emergency, the exact numbers and their deployment is presently under discussion with General Haig, the Supreme Commander Allied Powers in Europe (SACEUR). Mr Danson said in early 1977 that the Canadian role in NATO must be credible, reinforceable and supportable and he considered that the main role in the Central Front of NATO is a realistic one.

The 5,000 strong Canadian 4th Mechanized Brigade Group (4 CMBG) and the 1st Canadian Air Group (1 CAG) are located at Lahr in the Central Army Group/4th Allied Tactical Air Force sector of Allied Command Central Europe. The 1 CAG has three squadrons of CF-104s and a Kiowa helicopter squadron. The main armament of the Canadian armoured units is still the Centurion tank of which there are about 225 in service. However an order has been placed for a total of 128 Leopard tanks from Germany. Thirty-five Leopards have been loaned to the 4 CMBG and are in use at present, these will be returned as the main order is fulfilled. It is the intention to have sufficient for three squadrons in Germany although normally only two will be manned in peacetime.

Other army equipment includes 50 105 mm pack howitzers, 150 105 mm howitzers, 50 M- 109 mm SP howitzers, 150 TOW anti-tank guided missiles, 100 Blowpipe surface to air missiles, 170 Lynx recce vehicles and 170 Ferret armoured cars. In the modernization programme 350 general purpose six wheeled armoured vehicles have been ordered. They are of Swiss design and will be built by General Motors in London, Ontario. There will be three models; 152 will be Cougar fire support vehicles with a 76 mm gun in the British Scorpion turret, 175 Grizzly armoured personnel carriers each able to carry nine infantrymen and 19 Husky maintenance and recovery vehicles. They have a good cross country performance, a speed of 100 kph, a range of 600 km and are air transportable. The armour, built in Canada, is proof against small arms and shell fragments. The new vehicles will be used in Canada mainly by the Militia, for UN peacekeeping duties and in Germany.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 11 November 2013 8:20 PM EST
Thursday, 31 October 2013

Corporal Dunphy's War
Topic: Leadership

Corporal Dunphy's War

2PPCLI in Korea

From: Pierre Berton, Corporal Dunphy's War, June 1, 1951, reprinted in Canada at War; from the archives of MacLean's, 1997

A section, normally ten men, is the smallest infantry unit in the army and a section leader the most common casualty. A corporal gets only four dollars a month more than a private but his chances of going for the long sleep are infinitely greater (the Canadians had seven killed and wounded in the first three weeks of action). He has some of the responsibility of a commissioned officer but none of the privileges. In action, the lives of nine men depend to a great degree on what he does.

Section leaders are chosen for a variety of qualities: ability to lead, efficiency, general savvy. Cpl. Karry Dunphy, leader of No. 1 Section, No. 4 Platoon, Baker Company, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, was given his chance because he has a knack of keeping up morale. Although he is not yet considered a truly first-rate NCO, men will listen to him and follow him because of his personality.

Dunphy is the kind of man who emcees all battalion parties, writes a column in the battalion paper, can sing all the old army songs to the fiftieth verse and make up new ones on the spur of the moment. After taking over his section he dubbed it the Leper Colony—a steal from the movie Twelve O'Clock High, and his slogan, "Once a Leper Always a Leper," worries his officers because it tends to make Dunphy's section a tight clique within the platoon.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A Day in the Life of a Sub
Topic: Officers

A Day in the Life of a "SUB" in Divisional Reserve by Himself

From: The Church Times; with which is incorporated in The Wipers Times, No 4. Vol 1., Monday, 29th May, 1916

"Leave," a cartoon by First World War artist Bruce Bairnsfather. Published in "Fragments from France."
Click to see full image.

12:40 a.m.:— Sleeping peacefully.

12:45 a.m.:— Not sleeping peacefully.

12:50 a.m.:— Awakened by a noise like a fog-horn gone quite mad.

12:55 a.m.:— Realise someone has smelt gas, cannot find gas-helmet or shirt.

1 a.m.:— Grope about for matches and candle— find out to my discomfort several extra articles of furniture in the hut:— curse volubly.

1:05 a.m.:— People rush in to remind me that I am orderly "bloke." Have heated altercation with "next for >duty" as to when term of office ends. Matter settled by the entrance of C.O.— AM orderly officer.

1:15 a.m.:— Stumble round camp— rumour of "Stand-to"— curse abominably.

1:30 a.m.:— Rumour. squashed— gas alarm false somebody's clockwork motor-bike horn came unstuck:— curse

again:— retire to bed.

3:30 a.m.:— Sleeping peacefully.

3:35 a.m.:— Alarming noise. Somebody with bigger feet than sense of decency, enters the hut; and knocks over >a bullybeef box doing excellent work as a chair, collides with everybody's field-boots, mistakes my bed for his, and sits down on same—…

3:59 a.m.:— Order restored by Company Commander.

6:00 a.m.:— Reveille.

6:30 a.m.:— Get up, and wearily put on one or two garments, including somebody else's tie. Spend pleasant moments searching for my wandering collar stud.

7 a.m:— Go out and wave my limbs about for 45 minutes to the tune of "Head backward be- e-e-nd."

7:45 a m:— Try to shave:— we have one mirror amongst six.

8 a.m.:— Breakfast. The cook has plentifully peppered the sausage, put salt in my tea by mistake.

9 a.m.:— Take party to and from the baths:— one man has no cap badge— collect a bird from Adjutant. Have a bath myself, when nicely soaped the water gives out, becoming mud— curse offensively.

10 a.m.:— Orderly room:— attend with Company conduct sheets, collect another bird. Make arrangements for a cage and a supply of seed for same.

11 a.m.:— Retire to hut and quaff a stoop of ale.

11:05 a.m.:— Two in-command arrives inopportunely, speaks his mind and retires.

11:10 a-m.:— Inspect my huts and men, their clothes, rifles, gas-helmets, feet, etc.

12 noon.:— Realise I am not being as offensive as I might be, so go and annoy the next Company (who were working last night); by creeping in, starting their gramaphone with the loudest, longest and most loathed record, and creeping out again.

12:10 p.m:— Angry "sub" in pyjamas enters; am busy writing letters. After a few choice remarks about people in general and myself in particular, he goes away.

1 p m.:— Lunch.

2 p.m.:— Sleeping peacefully.

4 30 p.m :— Tea.

5 p.m.:— Fall in working party, astonishing number in my platoon suffer from bad feet at this hour: Discuss their ailment with them, and inspect members affected.

6:30 p.m.:— Reach lorries and pack men in. No. 9999 Pte Jones, X falls off and sprains his ankle, and proceeds to camp.

7:30 p.m.:— Arrive at rendez-vous and await R.E.

8 p.m.:— Await R E.

9 p.m.:— Await R.E.

9:15 p.m.:— R.E. arrive in the shape of one most intelligent sapper.

9:30 p.m.:— Loaded with material, proceed to job.

9:45 p m.:— My sergeant rushes up. Pte McNoodle, a sheet of corrugated iron, a duckboard, and a crump-hole full of water have got rather mixed. Leave a lance-corporal to straighten matters.

10 p.m.:— German machine-gun annoying. Grateful for tin hat.

1 a.m.:— Return to lorries.

2 a.m.:— Reach camp and retire to bed.

The Senior Subaltern

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 12 October 2013 1:42 PM EDT
Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Rifle Practice for NCOs and Men (1888)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Militia General Orders
Headquarters, Ottawa, 1st June, 1888

General Order No. 4

Permanent Corps

System of Rifle Practice for Non Commissioned Officers and Men

Preliminary Practice

To consist of position drill, (when practicable) and blank firing.

Target Practice

1st Stage – 30-50 rounds

All ranks to fire 5 rounds at each range of 50, 100, 150, 200, 400 and 500 yards. At least 8 points to be made at each range before proceeding to the next, and for this purpose an additional series of 5 rounds to be fired, and repeated if necessary, until the necessary number of qualifying points are obtained, or until a total of 50 rounds have been fired.

2nd Stage – 20-30 rounds

All non-commissioned offioers and men qualifying in let stage , to fire 1 0 rqunds . eaoh,at 400 and 600 yards.

At least 20 points to be made at each range before proceeding to the next and for this purpose practice will be continued until 15 rounds are fired at each range or until the necessary qualifying points are obtained.

3rd Stage – Final – 30 rounds

All N.C. officers and men qualifying in 2nd stage to fire 10 rounds each at 200, 500 and 600 yds, quàlifying points, 20 at each range. All men obtaining 165 points or upward in the three stages, and who have qualified in each stage, to be considered marksmen.

Volley Firing

At the conclusion of the practice all N.C. officers and men to fire 10 rounds each, volley firing at 300 yds, in two ranks with bayonets fixed, front rank kneeling.


At ranges from 50 to 200 yds will be standing, over 200 yds, any military position.

Targets for Range Practice

3rd class. — Size, 6 ft . by 4 ft.

  • Bull's eye. — 12 in in diameter.
  • Centre. — 3 ft in diameter.
  • Outer. — Remainder of the target.

2nd class. — Size, 6 ft . square.

  • Bull's eye. — 2 ft. in diameter.
  • Centre. — 4 ft. in diameter.
  • Outer. — Remainder of the target.

3rd class targets to be used at distances from 50 yds to 300 yds. inclusive.

2nd class targets, from 300 to 600 yds, inclusive volleys to be fired at a target 6 ft. by 12 ft.

Value of hits.

  • Bull's eye, 4.
  • Centre 3.
  • Outer 2.

When the circumstances of the Range will permit, the system of scoring will be as detailed on p. 113, Regulations for Musketry Instruction 1887, but in all cases the above dimensions of targets and value of hits to be maintained.

Note. — Not more than 20 rounds per diem are to be fired by any soldierat above practice.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 10 October 2013 9:18 AM EDT
Monday, 28 October 2013

This Bloody Bird
Topic: Humour

This Bloody Bird

From: The Memoirs of Field-Marshal the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, K.G., 1958

I returned to the Western Front in France early in 1916, this time as a brigade-major. During the Somme battle that summer an infantry brigade, which had better remain nameless, was to be the leading brigade in a divisional attack. It was important that the Brigade Commander should receive early information of the progress of his forward troops since this would affect the movement of reserves in the rear. The problem then arose how to ensure the early arrival of the required information, and intense interest was aroused at Brigade H.Q. when it was disclosed that a pigeon would be used to convey the news. In due course the bird arrived and was kept for some days in a special pigeon loft. When the day of the attack arrived the pigeon was given to a soldier to carry. He was to go with the leading sub-units and was told that at a certain moment an officer would write a message to be fastened to the pigeon's leg; he would then release the pigeon which would fly back to its loft at Brigade H.Q. The attack was launched and the Brigade Commander waited anxiously for the arrival of the pigeon. Time was slipping by and no pigeon arrived; the Brigadier walked feverishly about outside his H.Q. dugout. The soldiers anxiously searched the skies; but there was no sign of any pigeon.

At last the cry went up: "The pigeon," and sure enough back it came and alighted safely in the loft.

Soldiers rushed to get the news and the Brigade Commander roared out: "Give me the message."

It was handed to him, and this is what he read: "I am absolutely fed up with carrying this bloody bird about France."

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 27 October 2013

Austerity Measures
Topic: Commentary

The Officers' Quarters at Wolseley barracks, London , Ontario, now surreounded by contractors fencing. The building is being demolished as part of measures to reduce DND infrastructure as a long tem cost saving measure.

Austerity Measures

As every Government Department seeks ways to economize to meet new Government austerity targets, the Department of National Defence among them, the following excerpts show that periods of austerity are not new to the canadian Armed Forces. Of course, anyone who was serving in the 1980s will remember the last such period, when some unit budgets were so tightly controlled that asking to borrow the use of a photocopier was often replied with by the question: "Did you bring your own paper?"

Austerity was now the order of the day. Interspersed at regular intervals among the files of National Defence Headquarters for 1931-33 are the chits by which its senior members meticulously indicated the disposition of street car tickets for transportation between the Woods Building and the various ports of call on official business in the capital. Any extra expenditure, however slight the project or small the amount, came before the Chief of the General Staff for his personal consideration and decision. "I think that the O.C. [Camp Borden] has made a case for the dish washing machine, the mixing machine, and the toaster in addition to the bread slicer," General McNaughton wrote to the Quartermaster General on 23 March 1931, "and that on its merit this proposal should be approved." ["Memorandum by the Chief of the General Staff for Quartermaster- General," 23 March 1931, McNaughton Papers (C.G.S., 76)] Less fortunate was a proposal that the men's barracks at Borden should be converted into officers' quarters The Minister "thinks that after the 1st May [the officers] should be able to manage under canvas for six months," a General Staff officer wrote plaintively to McNaughton in January 1932, "and that, in the meantime, they must shift as they are at present. If the personnel attending training courses … cannot be furnished with improvised accommodation, then he says some of the courses must be cancelled…" [Lt.-Col. H.H. Matthews to MacNaughton, 28 Jan. 1932, Ibid.] A few days later he reported that "a proposal is now being put before the Minister to fix up the interior of the Men's Barrack Block and kitchen accommodation at a cost of about $6,000… This seems a reasonable solution of the difficulty, but it is possible the Minister may not sanction the spending of even this amount of money just now."" [Lt.-Col. H.H. Matthews to MacNaughton, 3 Feb. 1932, Ibid.] And, on 9 February: "The Minister continues resolutely to refuse to authorize any expenditure which he thinks can be postponed. Consequently no real progress has been made regarding the fixing up of accommodation for the Air Force officers at Camp Borden…"" [Lt.-Col. H.H. Matthews to MacNaughton, 9 Feb. 1932, Ibid.] – James Eayrs, In Defence of Canada; From the Great War to the Great Depression, 1964

The "rust out" of vehicle fleets, i.e., the loss of vehicles through wear and tear before replacements are acquired, and the deleterious effect of same on the training of soldirs are not new problems either:

Since the withdrawal of harness from practically all the militia batteries, the guns have become completely immobile. No adapters have been issued, which makes it impossible to move them with trucks which could be obtained locally, nor would authority be granted even if we had the equipment in any of the larger centres, because the guns are not equipped with the rubber tires which are necessary to make it reasonably safe to move the field pieces over hard roads. As a result, all we can do is train the gunners on guns which almost assume the role of garrison pieces, and train the other specialists independently. It is true that very valuable preliminary training can be carried out before going to camp, but it is not very effective in teaching a gunner his real job, which is that every member of the battery takes his part in directing the shell fire of the battery at a given target… [Drew to D.M. Sutherland, 3 Dec 1931. Bennet Papers] – James Eayrs, In Defence of Canada; From the Great War to the Great Depression, 1964

The question for those who continue to serve always remains: "How best to maintain required levels of training of essential skills in an environment defined by reduced resources and budgets?" This is the new challenge for a generation of soldiers and commanders that enjoyed great support, of all kinds, during a decade of combat operations.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 26 October 2013

Artillery Practice (1889)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Militia General Orders
Headquarters, Ottawa, 17th May, 1889

General Order No. 1

Active Militia – Artillery Practice

Artillery Practice (1889)

Field Batteries 9-pr. R.M.L. Guns.

The following number of rounds are allowed for instructional practice, to Batteries in camp where a suitable range is available, viz:

Common shell percussion fuze — 24
Shrapnel shell, time fuze — 8
Total — 32

The following number of rounds are allowed to be expended by each detachment at a general meeting for Field Artillery practice, to be held at Kingston during September, viz :_

Eight N.C. officers or gunners selected as marksmen to fire six rounds each.

4 common shell, percussion fuze — 32
2 shrapneIl shell, time fuze — 16

Officers instructional practice—

3 common shell, percussion fuze — 12

Trial shots—common shell percussion fuze — 2

Total — 63

Detailed instructions for the above gun practice composed, will be issued by the Inspector of Artillery.

Garrison Batteries

The number of rounds allowed, to be expended as follows :—

8 marksmen, selected as above, to fire — when S.B. guns are used, — 5 rounds each, viz :

3 solid shot — 24
1 common shell, with time fuze — 8
I shrapnel shell, with time fuze — 8
Trial shots and instruction—Solid shot — 4
Total — 44

64-32-pr. R.M.L. Guns.

Eight competitors to be selected by the officer commanding the Battery, from amongst the best and most efficient N.C. officers and men, to fire two rounds each, viz:—

2 common shell plugged — 16
Trial shots—common shell, plugged —
Total — 18

The above rounds to be fired deliberately, and the result of each shot signalled from the range. Range to be at least 1,700 yards.

The four competitors making the highest score at above practice to fire three rounds each, viz:—

2 common shell, plugged — 8
1 shrapnell shell, time fuze — 4
Officers instructional practice—common shell, plugged — 9
Total — 21

Total rounds — 39

When 40-pr. R.B.L. guns are used in the preliminary practice each competitor will fire:—

2 common shell, plugged — 16
1 shrapnell shell, time fuze — 8
Trial shots—common shell, plugged — 2
Total — 26

And in subsequent competition

3 common shell — 12
1 shrapnell shell — 4
Officer's instructional practice – common shell, plugged — 9
Total — 25

Total rounds per Battery — 51

Officers are not eligible as competitors, but should act as instructors, and note the result of each man's shooting.

Annual gun practice of Garrison Batteries will be held under arrangements similar to those in force for the past year, the Inspector of Artillery will make the necessary arrangements.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 10 October 2013 9:16 AM EDT
Friday, 25 October 2013

Football in South Africa (1900)
Topic: The RCR

Football in South Africa (1900)

Cap badge worn by the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, in South Africa (1899-1900).

The Queen's South Afrca Medal.

From: With the Royal Canadians, Stanley McKeown Brown, 1900

The day was celebrated by a great football match in the afternoon between the officers of the Gordon Highlanders and the Royal Canadians' officers, which went to our men by a score of eight to nothing. Two tries, and the Scotch gentlemen failed to score.

I had seen many football matches but never one exactly like this. It was a colored panorama, but still a white man's game.

Lieut. Marshall of Hamilton, of Tiger fame, who seemed so much at home among the hills there, put a few choice words of advice in the ears of the Canadians before they scampered out to the gridiron in true college fashion. Each winked at the other as if he understood what the Hamiltonian meant when he spoke.

Bloemfontein people came all the way from town to see the struggle, anxious Tommies crowded the touch-lines, and an empty cab, with a driver not quite so empty, supplied the grandstand.

Meanwhile our officers were busy looking up English rules under which the game was played. Having fully considered the seriousness of the proposition the Canadians left their dressing quarters, and headed by Capt. Maynard Rogers of Ottawa, with a solemn face, the procession started for the enemy's country.

The Canadian's team was dressed and undressed this way:—

  • Chaplain Almond, resplendent in new underwear, a Boer hat and a smile or two on his determined face.
  • Lieut. Temple, "B" Company, looked dainty in red and black, with bright socks and a becoming "T" on his breast.
  • Capt. Barker, "C" Company, wore a cigarette and dum-dum bullets, a cap three shades too small and leather stockings. His hair was neatly brushed, so were his boots.
  • Lieut. Swift, " E ' Company, came in the garb of a Quebec lacrosse player and was very spry in his trim white outfit. He had been looking back and forward to the game for a long time.
  • Lieut. Marshall, "C" Company (captain of the team), had a tickled look on. also a pair of kharki trousers shorn from the knees down. He wore large boots and no stockings.
  • Lieut. Armstrong, "E" Company, arrived in a choice red sweater of Alfred the Great pattern. He was also adorned in dress trousers and a sleeping cap.
  • Lieut. Lawless, "D" Company, hove in sight in the swimming suit which had made him famous in Ottawa and Hull, with a reinforcement of duck trousers. He donned a peanut cap and looked airy and light.
  • Lieut. Willis, "G" Company, was buried beneath a bunch of woollens, which looked like blankets. His knees were the only parts of his anatomy visible.
  • Lieut. Oland, "H" Company, was dressed as an Italian count, who had recently struck hard luck. He brought extra boots with him.
  • Lieut. Lafferty, Quartermaster, flew on to the grounds in his Yukon suit, and struck fear in the hearts of the Highlanders.
  • Lieut. Stewart, "D" Company, wore whiskers and also had on a toboganning outfit from the Canadian capital.
  • Lieut. Laurie, "E" Company, had a sort of Sing Sing jersey with klcGill University colors on it. He was also well groomed.
  • Capt. Burstall, "B" Company, waddled in with an outfit which may have belonged either to Poundmaker or Noah.
  • Capt. Weeks, came decked in the same suit that his great-grandfather wore in the charge of the Light Brigade. He wore the latest shape in soft veldt hats.
  • Capt. Fraser, "E" Company, wore lace and chiffon, and, up to the time that he was released from the team, looked extremely smart.

The Canadian officers took the lead and the result was never in doubt.

It was a novel affair in war time, the most interesting part being the study of the Canadian football uniforms worn on that occasion.

Library and Archives Canada Database - Soldiers of the South African War (1899 - 1902)

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 24 October 2013

Confectionery in Army Rations
Topic: Army Rations

Confectionery in Army Rations (c. 1900)

Medical Record, published in the Journal of the Military Service Institute of the United States, Vol. XXVI., No. CV., May, 1900

The Germans about ten years ago [i.e., circa 1890] introduced the use of candy into the diet of their soldiers. The idea was the outcome of experiment undertaken by the German government. It was demonstrated that the addition of candy and chocolate to the regular ration greatly conduced to the improvement of health and endurance of the troops, and at the present time the army authorities in Germany issue cakes of chocolate and a limited amount of other confectionery. The British were the next to follow this example, and the queen, as has been extensively advertised, forwarded five hundred thousand pound of chocolate in half-pound packages as a Christmas treat for the soldiers in South Africa. Jam has also found great favor with the British War Office, and, 450,000 pounds have been dispatched to South Africa as a four months' supply to 116,000 troops. The United States is following in the same path, and candy has been added to the regular army ration of the American soldier. It is stated that one New York firm has shipped more than fifty tons of confectionery during the past year for the armies in the Philippines, Cuba, and Porto Rico. The candy supplied is of excellent quality, consisting of mixed chocolate creams lemon drops, cocoanut maroons, and acidulated fruit drops. These are packed in tins specially designed to fit the pockets of a uniform coat. The question of providing jam with the army ration is also under consideration.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Jomini's Twelve Essential Conditions
Topic: Military Theory

Jomini's Twelve Essential Conditions

Jomini and his Summary of the Art of War, Condensed Version, edited by Lt. Col. J.D. Hittle, U.S.M.C., 1947

Twelve essential conditions in making a perfect army:

1.     To have a good recruiting system,

2.     A good organization,

3.     A well-organized system of national reserves,

4.     Good combat, staff, and administrative instruction,

5.     A strict but not humiliating discipline, and a spirit of subordination and punctuality, based on conviction rather than on the formalities of the service, and

6.     A well-established system of rewards, suitable to excite emulation,

7.     The special arms of engineering and artillery to be well instructed,

8.     To have an armament superior, if possible, to that of the enemy, as to both offensive and defensive arms,

9.     A general staff capable of applying these elements and organized to advance the theoretical and practical education of its officers,

10.     A good system for the commissariat, hospitals, and of general administration, and

11.     A good system of assignment to command and of directing the principal operations of war;

12.     To excite and keep alive the military spirit of the people.

None of these twelve conditions can be neglected without grave inconvenience.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 October 2013 12:19 AM EDT
Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Canadian Red Ensign, seeking the owner.
Topic: Militaria

Received from the Deputy Director, Administration, of the Royal Canadian Legion:

A flag (see images) was recently donated to The Royal Canadian Legion by an American citizen.  Its background is a bit sketchy however the story goes like this:

An American soldier as part of the European WWII effort took this flag from a captured German soldier.  The German soldier told his captor that this flag was taken from a Canadian soldier at Dieppe (uncertain whether that soldier was alive or dead).  The American soldier intended to return it to the Canadians however he did not encounter any while in Europe and therefore kept it in a locker until he passed away.  A friend of this American soldier located in Virginia contacted the Legion to donate the flag or perhaps return it to the rightful owner(s) relatives or regiment – that was all the information provided.

Research reveals that  this version of the Red Ensign dates to just after Manitoba joined Confederation, but before BC.  That means 1870-1873.  The flag itself may or may not be that old.  You will also note that it measures 20” tall by 33” wide.  It has a very thin sleeve sewn onto the left side that would fit a radio antenna – the sleeve material is not the same as the flag material.

This e-mail is an attempt to find out the history of the flag and to discover its rightful owner – be it a regiment or an individual.  If anyone has any information that could help in this search or knows someone who does please contact Danny Martin through e-mail or the numbers listed in the signature block. 



Deputy Director, Administration
Directeur adjoint, Administration
The Royal Canadian Legion
Dominion Command
La Légion royale canadienne
Direction nationale
86 Aird Place, Ottawa, K2L 0A1
613-591-3335 ext 249

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 October 2013 12:03 PM EDT
Don't Salute the Bandmaster
Topic: Officers

"Leave," a cartoon by First World War artist Bruce Bairnsfather. Published in "Fragments from France."
Click to see full image.

Don't Salute the Bandmaster

From: Gallant Gentlemen; a portrait of the British Officer 1600-1956, by E.S. Turner, 1956

In an attempt to save new subalterns [during WWI] from social pitfalls, the veterans began to publish little books of 'useful advice.' Besides listing those taboos which survived from days of duelling—no mentioning of ladies' names in the mess, no unsheathing of swords in the ante-room—these authors offered detailed instructions on the drinking of toasts and the circulation of the port. In his Straight Tips for Subs, Captain A. H. Trapman added these:

  • Don't salute the bandmaster;
  • Never address a captain by his military rank alone—it is only tradesmen who do that;
  • Don't resent being fallen in for drill with ordinary recruits;
  • Always say 'Good morning' when returning a soldier's salute;
  • When marching with your men you may salute ladies and personal friends unless your men are marching to attention;
  • You are not expected on entering the mess to invite anybody to have a drink—so don't do it;
  • When the senior subaltern speaks to you seriously it is wise to listen and to take notice, for he has the power to convene that totally illegal assembly, a subaltern's court-martial, if your general behaviour gives him any excuse.

The author of The Making of an Officer, who signs himself 'C.N.', is anxious that no subaltern shall spend his leisure time 'motor-cycling with females' or becoming a 'kinema creeper, bookworm, or bar-loafer.' He pictures a senior subaltern haranguing a newcomer who is showing signs of slackness—and the period, be it noted, is 1916:

'You have got to adjust your ideas. By the mercy of Heaven, you've come into the finest regiment in the British Army. You are on trial—if we don't like you, you will have to go. Up to date youve done very well; you haven't talked too much or butted in when other fellows were gassing—but now we want a bit more. This regiment hunts; we always have hunted, we always shall hunt. You need not drink, you need not smoke if you are hard up--but hunt you must. If you are hard up you can quit toddling up to town for the week-end; nothing runs away with money like that. You can keep two horses on what you spend on a couple of weekends in town; and in this regiment we will have fellows spending their money the right way. It's the tradition of the regiment … When you can ride hard without turning your head there's plenty of time to think of messing about with girls.'

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 12 October 2013 1:39 PM EDT
Monday, 21 October 2013

Equitation for Officers of Dismounted Units
Topic: Canadian Militia

Militia General Orders
Headquarters, Ottawa, 1st December, 1897


Equitation for Officers of Dismounted Units

(1.)     Courses for instruction in Equitation will be laid on follows:—

  • "A" Squadron, R.C.D., Toronto. A course each month.
  • "B” Squadron, R.C.D., Winnipeg. A course each month.
  • "A" Battery, R.C.A., Kingston. January, February and December in each year.
  • "B" Battery, R.C.A., Quebec. January, February, March, November and December in each year.

Courses will commence on the 1st day of the month , except the 1st should he a Sunday when they will commence on the following day.

Duration of Course

(2.)     A Course will last for a period not to exceed 28 days; but so soon, after the commencement of a Course, as any candidate is prepared to qualify, his examination will take place.

(3.)     Gencral Order (13 ) of 1896 (Syllabus for Equitation for Officers of Dismounted Units) is hereby cancelled and the following in substituted therefor, and will be added to paragraph 1082 Regulations and Orders for the Militia, 1897:—

  • Equitation Course — 100 marks.
  • Sword Exercise — 25 marks.
  • Stable Duties — 25 marks.
  • Fitting Saddlery — 25 marks.
  • Total — 175

Of the total marks obtainable 70 per cent will be neccesary to qualify for a certificate.

Pay, Subsistence and Transport

The provisions of Regulations and Orders for an ordinary "Special" Course will be applicable for these Courses.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 20 October 2013

Walking Wounded, North Africa 1943
Topic: Leadership

Walking Wounded, North Africa 1943

[North Africa, 1943] "The fighting here was very heavy and many casualties occurred. My Sergeant was Allen Watson and he would often ask me to accompany him on patrols, these were extremely dangerous and I would not have been with anyone else. Later when I was positioned about two hundred feet up on the side of Green Hill, the Germans had launched their usual dawn attack causing many wounded, and I received a chest wound. The medical orderlies were unable to evacuate the wounded quickly as the ground was so precarious when hauling stretchers. The Company Commander therefore ordered all walking wounded to make their own way to a gully below, where they would be collected and taken to headquarters situated about a quarter of a mile away. I was bleeding rather badly so holding a field dressing to my chest I decided to make my way down to the gully. I rolled and staggered to the bottom of the hill, and then after a pause to readjust the dressing and check direction, went on my way. My progress was rather a stoop—stagger—and rest. Moving towards the headquarters I had not been mobile for long when I was abruptly halted by a roar, "Corporal Sheriff—if you can't walk in a soldierly manner—lay down!" Naturally I quickly obliged and I saw RSM Lord standing over me. As he was carrying a sten gun in his right hand I thought he might just shoot me. "What's your trouble Corporal?" he asked. I replied that I had a chest wound, hoping vainly for some show of sympathy. John Lord glanced me up and down for a brief moment then said "You haven't shaved this morning Corporal", "No sir, I admitted, "I didn't have time as the Germans attacked at dawn." There was a pause as 'J.C.' [Lord] growled that this was no excuse, but he then softened, suddenly stooped and made me comfortable and handed me a cigarette. He then went away to find a couple of men to carry me in, and still affected by the confrontation, I was laying in a position of attention and smoking by numbers when he returned. As we waited he spoke of the days gone by and of the many men of the battalion who were now missing." – Corporal Ray Sheriff, 3rdBattalion, The Parachute Regiment; quoted in To Revel in God's Sunshine; The story of the Army career of the late [Sandhurst] Academy Sergeant Major J.C. Lord, MVO, MBE, compiled by Richard Alford

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 8 October 2013 4:36 PM EDT
Saturday, 19 October 2013

Oldest vs. Senior
Topic: Tradition

From the cover of Sentinel 1974/5, A Centurion tank of the Royal Canadian Dragoons passes through a town in the Federal Republic of Germany during a NATO exercise.

Oldest vs. Senior; Precedence and Component

The Canadian Armed Forces Magazine Sentinel, in their Volume 10 (1974), Issue No. 5, made the following statements in an article on the Royal Canadian Dragoons.

Canada's Senior Armoured Regiment

The Royal Canadian Dragoons, Canada's oldest permanent force cavalry regiment, was formed just over 90 years ago on December 21, 1883, in St. Jean. P.Q., as the Cavalry School Corps.

These seemingly innocuous statements resulted in two letters to the editor, in each case with further editorial reply. These are presented below, and well illustrate the long and often repeated debates in both the armoured and infantry corps regarding regimental seniority, and the complications of precedence dictated by component.

"Oldest" Controversy

As published in Sentinel, Volume 11 (1975) , No. 1

I do not wish to split hairs, but your article in Number 5, Volume 10 of the Sentinel uses the words "senior" and "oldest" as though they were synonymous.

The RCD are indeed Canada's senior Armoured (and senior Cavalry) Regiment; however, they are not the oldest. That distinction belongs to the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's) who were formed as a Regiment in 1848 from eleven independent cavalry troops, the first of which was raised in 1825. I refer you to CFSO 43/72 and to Hansard of 4 April 1973.

J.R. Beveridge (Col.)
CFB Suffield
Ralson, Alberta

Director of History, W.A.B. Douglas, confirms that the date of formation of 8 CH was established as April 4, 1848. The date was officially recognized when CFSO 43, published Feb. 4, 1972 corrected the organizational date of the regiment, previously listed as Jan. 3, 1866. Thus 8 CH began as The New Brunswick Yeomanry Cavalry of the N.B. Militia.

The Director of History points out that the date of formation is not the only consideration in determining a regiment's position in the order of precedence. So 8 CH takes the "left of the line" to LSH and RCD, because as a regular unit it only dates from Jan. 29, 1957, while the other two regiments were regulars from their formation on July 1, 1901 and Dec. 21, 1883, respectively. — Editor.

RCD Guidon

The Guidon of the Royal Canadian Dragoons (above) and the Standard of the Governor General's Horse Guards (below), as seen on the Directorate of History and Heritage page for Colours:Armoured Regiments. (See the DHH page for larger versions.)

GGHG Standard

Senior Shock

As published in Sentinel, Volume 11 (1975) , No. 4

I was amazed at the statements made both by Sentinel and Col Beveridge (1975/1), under the illusion that the RCD and the 8CH are the senior regiments of this country. I am shocked that neither of you knew this was an accomplishment of the Governor General's Horse Guards in Toronto. This honour was awarded to the Governor General's Body Guards on 27 April 1866, General Order No. 1 states this fact. Therefore, the regiment is the SENIOR regiment of either armour or cavalry, and the GGHG provides mounted escorts for ceremonial occasions with a full squadron of cavalry. The only claim to fame of the RCD's is that they are the senior regular unit.

A note worthy to add, if you check the CFAO's is that the GGHG is the only Canadian cavalry or armoured unit to parade a Standard. The RCD and 8CH carry only Guidons. This tradition is copied from the British who only allow the senior regiment to parade a Standard.

E. Heidebrecht (O/Cdt)
Toronto, Ont.

(Officials in Ottawa's Directorate of Ceremonial advise that the senior armoured or cavalry regiment in the Forces is the RCD, as regular regiments take precedence over militia regiments. However, the senior militia regiment of cavalry is the Governor General's Horse Guards, as by tradition Horse Guards take precedence over other cavalry regiments, in this case, the older 8 CH.

The statement that the British only "allow the senior regiment to parade a standard" is, of course, wrong. The Life Guards, The Blues and Royals, and all regiments of Dragoon Guards are authorized a standard, as was the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards of Ottawa before its disbandment. The GGHG is authorized a Dragoon Guards type of standard, not a Household Calvary standard. — Editor)

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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