The Minute Book
Monday, 18 November 2013

Duties of the Adjutant (1915)
Topic: Officers

Duties of the Adjutant (1915)

From: Hints to Young Officers in the Australian Military Forces, R. Stupart, published by Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1915

"The adjutant is the commanding officer's mouthpiece. Through him is the channel of communication with all the officers and men of the battalion. Under the direction of the commanding officer he issues all orders, makes all reports and returns, keeps all records and rosters, and has charge of all correspondence pertaining to the administration of the battalion His relations with the commanding officer are close and confidential, and he should give his chief his entire, unqualified support. His loyalty should be absolute, and under no circumstances should he ever, by act or word, criticise the action of the commanding officer, no matter how much he may himself personally disapprove of the same.

In neatness and correctness of dress, and in soldierly bearing, he should be faultless, setting an example to the rest of the command. He should cultivate soldierly qualities and amiability and should be just, pleasant arid courteous to everyone, performing his duties with partiality to none and fairness to all.

As the adjutant occupies an office which is regarded in the service as representing accuracy, method and precision, and as he is often required to call the attention of officers to the violation of, and non-compliance with, regulations and orders, he cannot himself be too careful and punctilious.

An efficient adjutant must have a general knowledge of the administrative duties of all the other battalion officers and company commanders, and special knowledge of his own duties. He must be a dose student of the Defence Act, Regulations and Standing Orders, the Drill and Training Manuals. the Manual of Ceremonial, etc., and should read carefully the Military and District Orders as soon as issued.

Under no circumstances should he permit any other officer of the command to be better informed than he is in these subjects. Unless he is well posted on the duties of his office, he cannot command the respect and enjoy the confidence of his fellow officers. By study, application, and observation he should inform himself upon all points of military usage and etiquette, and on proper occasions aid with his advice and experience the subalterns of the command.

He is responsible to his commanding officer for everything connected with organization and discipline. He should form up all the parades of the battalion, inspect guards and piquets before mounting and when dismounting, attend all parades, accompanying the commanding officer in his inspection, supervise the work in the orderly room, make out states and see that the duties are allotted companies in accordance with the roster.

He is answerable for all the orderly room work, books, returns and orders, and has under his special direction the battalion sergeant-major, band-sergeant, orderly-room-sergeant, etc., and provost-sergeant. He should regulate all duty rosters, that of the officers being under his especial care.

He should be responsible for the discipline of the band, buglers, etc., and take charge of all the regimental drills, but at which only officers who arc his juniors in the battalion need fall in. Should it be necessary for an officer senior to the adjutant to fall in at his drills for instruction, another officer senior to all should be present.

The drills of all recruits and young officers should be under his especial direction.

The adjutant should pay particular attention to the instruction of the non-commissioned officers;' he should also inspect them, together with the band and buglers before every commanding officer's parade.

He should enter into the characters and disposition of the non-commissioned officers and men of his battalion, so as to be able to assist them with advice and information, when he perceives defects; and so that he may be qualified to recommend men for advancement when occasion offers.

He should be the first to set an example to officers and men in dress, obedience to orders, punctual attendance at parades, alertness and unceasing attention to all the duties of a soldier.

He should be constantly vigilant and careful that the orders are attended to and obeyed with the most scrupulous exactness. He should be active and persevering, never taking for granted that anything is right, but constantly seeing that it is so, in forming the commanding officer when he finds neglects or irregularities which it is not in his power to correct.

The dress, appearance and carriage of the men, both on and off duty, should be particularly attended to by him.

He should parade and inspect guards and armed parties proceeding on duty, which should then be handed over to the charge of the proper officer.

Although the adjutant should not interfere in the interior arrangements of companies, he should take notice of all deviations from the orders, and any. other irregularities he may observe on the part of the officers, non-commissioned officers or men.

He usually acts as prosecutor at court martials, when he should be prepared, if necessary, to answer to the character of the accused, or any other particulars which may be required, taking care that the accused and witnesses have been previously warned, and that everything is in order so as to prevent unnecessary delay. He need not, however, be present at courts of inquiry and regimental investigations of that nature unless required.

There is no circumstance in which the discipline of the battalion can in any way be concerned which the adjutant should think foreign to his observation, and its general efficiency will best evince his zeal and ability."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 17 November 2013

Care of Troop Horses (1902)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Horse Memorial, dedicated to the horses killed during the South African War (1899-1902).
This statue is reputed to be one of only three memorials in the world dedicated to horses. Source

General Order 17

Care of Troop Horses

As published in General Orders; The Canada Gazette, 1st February, 1902

The following digest of a Special Army Order dated 23rd Deceutber, 1901, is published for the information and guidance of the Militia:…

Commander-in-Chief desires to draw attention of all officers of mounted troops to the vital importance of taking proper care of their horses.

The efficiency of units during war is dependent upon the proper training of iudividuals during peace and all officers of mounted branches must regard horse management as one of the most important of their regimental dutius.

The abnormal losses in horses during the campaign in South Africa has been due partially to military necessity, partially to difficulties of transport and supply, scarcity of water, extremes of heat, and the influence of a long sea voyage and change of climate, but also a good deal to the inexperience of a large proportion of the men in the care of their mounts, and to injudicious managenent.

The following instructions should be impressed upon all:…

1.     Men should never be kept mounted when they can equally perform a duty on foot, and if officers insist upon their men dismountiug whenever possible when under their supervision, they will from force of habit, do the same when on detached or orderly duty. When halting even for a few minutes, dismounting affonds relief to both man and horse.

2.     Vadettes will on occasions be able to keep a better look-out on foot than on horseback, whilst at the same time they would ease their horse and be less visible to the enemy.

3.     On the line of march, when moving at a foot-pace, men should be frequently made to dismount and lead their horses.

4.     Whenever the ground admits of it, troops should move on a wide front, and files should be opened out, to avoid dust, and allow of fresh air passing between them.

5.     Officers commanding columns should regulate the pace to suit the slowest horse, or the slowest arm, with the column, and should study the ground to suit each branch. On a hard level road or down hill, draught horses will travel with less fatigue than cavalry whereas a soft surface, eepecially sand, or a long up-hill incline, tries gun horses far more than cavalry. If horses have been kept going a little beyond their pace at a trot, they canot effectually respond to the call on them for a gallop when speed is required.

6.     The importance of frequent watering and feeding should be intpressed on all. A horse's stomach is small, and he cannot digest large quantities of food at a time. If necessarily kept for long without food, or after exhausting work, the first feed should be small, and a larger feed given after a few hours' rest (Army Order No. 3 of 1902)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 16 November 2013

Patton on Issuing Orders
Topic: Staff Duties

Issuing Orders:

From: War as I Knew It, George S. Patton, Jr., 1947

The best way to issue orders is by word of mouth from one general to the next. Failing this, telephone conversation which should be recorded at each end. However, in order to have a confirmatory memorandum of all oral orders given, a short written order should always be made out, not necessarily at the time of issuing the order, but it should reach the junior prior to his carrying out the order; so that, if he has forgotten anything, he will be reminded of it, and, further, in order that he may be aware that his senior has taken definite responsibility for the operation ordered orally.

It is my opinion that Army orders should not exceed a page and a half of typewritten text and it was my practice not to issue orders longer than this. Usually they can be done on one page, and the back of the page used for a sketch map.

Commanders must remember that the issuance of an order, or the devising of a plan, is only about five per cent of the responsibility of command. The other ninety-five per cent is to insure, by personal observation, or through the interposing of staff officers, that the order is carried out. Orders must be issued early enough to permit time to disseminate them.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.

Avoid as you would perdition issuing cover-up orders, orders for the record. This simply shows lack of intestinal fortitude on the part of the officer signing the orders, and everyone who reads them realizes it at once.

In planning any operation, it is vital to remember, and constantly repeat to oneself, two things: "In war nothing is impossible, provided you use audacity," and "Do not take counsel of your fears." If these two principles are adhered to, with American troops victory is certain.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 15 November 2013

Restoring the Infantry's Confidence
Topic: CEF

The Fort Garry Horse training at the charge.
Source page at

Restoring the Infantry's Confidence

Herbert Hill; quoted in Guy Chapman, OBE, MC (Ed), Vain Glory; A miscellany of the Great War 1914-1918, 1937/1968

24th Mar. [1918]

We were crouching down in the narrow trench talking casually of when we had had a square meal last, and what was more important, the chances of getting one in the near future, when a jingling sound made us look round. We stared incredulously as a crowd of horsemen emerged from the trees. They took no notice of our heads, bobbing up from the ground, and manoeuvred their mounts into some kind of order. They were Colonials, and their uniforms were spick and span. The horses snorted and their coats shone. The men were big fellows and their bronze faces were keen and oddly intent. They were very splendid compared to us…

We ducked in alarm as the squadron spurred their horse into a gallop and came straight at us. With a thunderous drumming of hoofs they took our trench in their stride. From the bottom, as I cowered down, I had a momentary glimpse of a horse's belly and powerful haunches as they were over and away like the wind, sword in hand.

They spread out as they went into two lines and were half-way across the open when there came a sudden pulsating blast of fire and gaps appeared in the double line. Bullets came hissing about our heads. A man a couple of yards away from me slithered down to his knees, and then sprawled full length on the floor of the trench. Realizing our danger we ducked. Looking down I saw blood gushing from a wound in his throat…

Then uncontrollable excitement possessed me and, defying the bullets, I raised my head and looked at the cavalry. Their ranks were much thinner now. Just as the foremost of them reached the trees they hesitated, turned and came racing back, Iying low in the saddle.

The machine-guns barked triumphantly at their victory over mere flesh and blood. Only a handful of the once proud squadron put their blowing horses at the trench and lunged across to the shelter of the wood behind. Others tailed away on either side and in a moment were hidden from view among the friendly trees.

The whole thing from when we saw them first had only occupied a bare five minutes. We stared at each other in amazement. The fire died down. Looking over the top we saw that the ground in front, which before had been bare, was dotted here and there with shapeless mounds.

The screams of horses in agony pierced our ears with shrill intensity. As we looked animals struggled convulsively to their feet and galloped off at a tangent. Some of them swayed drunkenly and fell back, with their legs in the air. Smaller, more feeble movements showed that some of the troopers were still alive.

Single rifle-shots sounded, whether from our side or not, I didn't know, and by and by the horses were mercifully silent, but men moved at intervals—crawling behind the horses for cover, perhaps.

Footnote: The charge near Villescle was made by 150 of the Fort Garry Horse, of whom 73 were casualties. The Official History states: "And the confidence of the infantry was restored.")

Survivors of the Squadron of the Fort Garry Horse returning to the Canadian lines.
See source page.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Field Bakery
Topic: Humour

See full image.

The Field Bakery

From: With the Army Service Corps in South Africa, by Sir Wodehouse Richardson, 1903

I have extracted the following from an unofficial report of an officer I had sent to inspect along the line of communications:

Scene. - A supply depot on the veldt.

Dramatis Personae. - An Army Service Corps subaltern, with a section of bakers, engaged in constructing a field bakery on the latest Aldershot pattern.

[Enter General]

General: "What are you doing here?"

Subaltern (saluting): "Constructing a field bakery, sir."

General: "Then you are doing it all wrong."

[The General proceeds to teach the section how a field bakery should be constructed. After marking out the ground with pegs, he places bakers armed with picks and shovels opposite each other, telling no one to start till he gives the order, and then only the two men nearest him.]

General: Now you may commence.

[Of the two bakers, who both keep their eyes on the General, the one with the shovel stoops down and begins to dig, the other with a pick raises it over his shoulder, and, bringing it down smartly, strikes on the head the man with a shovel, who falls insensible. The remaining bakers obtain a stretcher from the nearest ambulance and convey the injured man to the hospital tent, while the construction of the field bakery is postponed sine die].

Published in the Los Angeles Herald, Monday Morning, November 20, 1899

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Maxims for the Young Officer
Topic: Officers
Images taken from a set of silk cigarette cards of Canadian Militia uniforms (early 20th century).

Images taken from a set of silk cigarette cards of Canadian Militia uniforms (early 20th century).

Maxims for the Young Officer

From: The Young Officer's Guide to Knowledge, by Senior Major, Fourth Edition, 1915

1.           Never do other people's work unless you are driven to it if you do, you will get an evil reputation for liking it.

2.           Always ask for leave at all times and in all places. In the end, you will acquire a kind of right to it.

3.           Remember that there is a time to work and a time to play. The time to work is when you are being watched.

4.           Abandon every hope of individuality. In the Service it is considered indecent, and verges on insubordination. Most young officers join with a distressing amount of "originality," and it is only on reaching the status of member of the Army Council that an officer can be said to be completely purged of it.

Study the fads of your superiors. If the General is looking on, be assiduously practising his little hobby. It does not matter how foolish it is — in fact the sillier it is the more he will like it, as he fully appreciates the fact that you are making a fool of yourself for his benefit. The same rule applies to the C.O.. Only in a lesser degree. The higher the rank, the more abandoned your antics should become. This is why so much leave is required in the Army, the mental strain on the zealous officer being excessive.

elipsis graphic

There are other points in connection with G.O.C.'s inspection which it is well not to overlook, such as the following:—

(a)     Never be at a loss for an answer. In nine cases out of ten the accuracy of your statements will not be questioned.

(b)     Do not volunteer information. You assume an awful responsibility if you presume to know too much, and it turns out to be incorrect.

(c)     If the G.O.C. is fond of asking the men questions, put all the Company idiots on fatigue.

(d)     Always bear in mind Maxim No. 4 [Study the fads of your superiors]. Whatever the General's fad is, study it well. It may be boots, it may be barrack-room shelves, it may be potato-peeling, or it may be an unsavoury delight in examining bare feet. The General may be a Toothy Brush Maniac or a Refuse Heap Wizard. In any case, always anticipate him.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

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

Brewing up in the RCASC
Topic: Army Rations

Convoy in England, 1940. See the photo albums at (See full image.)

Brewing up in the RCASC

From: Wait for the Waggon, The Story of The Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, 1961

[Drivers of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps] also learned the art of "brewing-up"—something we didn't know anything about until we joined the 8th Army.

Brewing up—is done in a pail, or anything handy which has a handle and will hold water. It is carried swinging from the rear axle of the vehicle. It bounces around as the vehicle goes along the road, collecting dust, or anything that flies in. When you stop to brew-up, you take this container and, without bothering to shake out the accumulation, you put in water from any convenient source—frequently from the radiators of the vehicles, as far as I could figure it out. Then you add three or four handfuls of tea, scoop out a little hole in the roadside, pour in a quart or so of gasoline, back up about ten feet and throw a match in it. Then you put this pot on top of it until it boils.

You have what is called "brew," and you pour it into mugs and drink it, hot. An egg would float in it with the greatest of ease—sort of a combination of tea and anything you pick up en route.

My Drivers got into the habit of brewing-up, and I encouraged it. In normal convoy driving they always took a ten-minute break every hour, and they would brew-up. I liked what it seemed to do for them. The Drivers from each packet, or section, would brew-up together. They would talk and laugh and tell the latest stories. Then they would get back into their vehicles relaxed for another fifty minutes of driving.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 16 October 2013 4:37 PM EDT
Monday, 11 November 2013

Rolls of Honour
Topic: The RCR

Rolls of Honour

As someone with an interest in regimental history, admittedly focused on my own Regiment, the topic of the Roll of Honour occasionally comes up. One aspect that provokes both strident opinions in some, and careful reflection in others, is the question of how to decide what names belong on a given Roll of Honour. The sticky point, though seldom expressed as such, is a perception that naming a soldier on a Roll of Honour is somehow a binding act of "ownership" and that this should be an exclusive right.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We all share a responsibility, as a nation, to honour our fallen. We strengthen the bonds of that responsibility with every addition of a soldier to our many Rolls of Honour that commemorate their service and sacrifice, as long as we understand (and, as needed, identify) what connects them to our regiment.

Opportunities for Change and Improvement

Allow me to describe one restrictive example. Within Volumes I and II of the regimental history of The Royal Canadian Regiment, annexes comprising the casualty lists of each of the Regiment's periods of wartime service. At first glance they appear to be comprehensive and have been accepted as such by many. But these lists were limited to those Royal Canadians who died while serving with the applicable overseas unit. Oddly, this excluded Brigadier John Kelburne Lawson who died commanding Canadian troops in Hong Kong. Brigadier Lawson served with The RCR from 1923. he had previously served in the Canadian Machine Gun Corps during the First World War, and was awarded the Military Cross. Lawson's gravestone in Hong Kong even identifies his regiment as The Royal Canadian Regiment.

This selective approach to recording our regimental casualties has resulted in losing connections to others as well.

During the Second World War, Lieutenant John Blair Hunt landed in Sicily as The RCR's Intelligence Officer. Wounded in late 1943, he returned as a reinforcement to the PPCLI with whom he was killed two days later at San Leonardo on 14 Dec 1943. Regimental histories for both The RCR (Vol. 2, Stevens, 1967) and the PPCLI (Vol III, Stevens, 1957) agree in their texts that Lieut. Hunt had "been loaned by The Royal Canadian Regiment as a company commander two days before" when he was killed in action (quoted from PPCLI Vol III, p. 133). Despite this, Lieut. Hunt is officially recorded as a casualty of the PPCLI and was not recorded as a regimental casualty in the Regiment's Roll of Honour.

The choice of restrictive bounds in constructing any Regiment's Roll of Honour means many are forgotten by those who owe them a debt of Remembrance. Adding those who have any service connection to a Regiment to that Regiment's Roll of Honour does not detract from their entitlement to be included on other Rolls. We should be encouraging the development of expansive rolls, commemorating the many connections we have to our fallen, no matter who they went on to serve with after marching in our own ranks. We all share the burden of remembering their service, and commemorating their sacrifice.

"Once a Royal Canadian, always a Royal Canadian" is often quoted to suggest that once someone has served with The RCR, they are obliged to remember that service and always be proud of it. It is a sentiment expressed by many regiments, and it's an obligation that should be placed as much on the regiment as on the soldier.

Published Rolls; not always complete

The published Rolls of Honour for The Royal Canadian Regiment, and likely those of many units that have not re-examined them, were not complete. I began examining the Rolls of Honour when I was serving as the Regimental Adjutant, and was surprised by what I discovered in comparing the lists to the available information. (Updated versions can now be found on the Regiment's website.) The figures below show the scope of change.

  Published regimental history: Revisited research: An increase of:
First World War77481844 (5.7%)
Second World War37141443 (11.6%)
Korean War9614851 (53.1%)

How, you might ask, can the numbers change for the World Wars and Korea? The differences come with the readily available information in online databases such as the Canadian Virtual War Memorial and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Rolls researched and published in the 1930s and 1960s did not have the advantages of such readily accessible information, or the ability for researchers to search for names which had not previously been identified to regiments by the administration (in particular for soldiers who died of woulds or service related illnesses after repatriation and discharge from the military, but still within the date ranges for recognition).

Those numbers are not yet complete. The revisited Second World War list includes Brigadier Lawson, who lies under an RCR marked gravestone, but not yet Lieutenant Hunt, who is recorded officially as PPCLI. That requires a more open attitude to how to include names, and how to identify them; for example, by noting the unit they were serving in at time of death and their connection to the Regiment.

We can still build on this Roll in other directions. This applies not only for the modern era where soldiers under many cap badges were serving with the Regiment in Afghanistan, but also for past wars. As we improve our shared understanding of regimental history and lineage, we also develop and broaden our understanding of our responsibilities to commemorate. In doing so, we can find other soldiers who deserve to be remembered by our regiments too. We can take as our example the continuing work at the national level to add deserving names to the Books of Remembrance, the national Roll of Honour.

The Great War

Not long ago, in my research on The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War, I revisited that Roll of Honour once again. In cross-referencing the wartime nominal roll that I had developed to Ted Wigney's CEF Roll of Honour, I identified another 39 officers, NCOs and soldiers of the First World War who served with The RCR in the field and later died while on the strength of other units. Some were RCR soldiers who had been posted to other units without a change of parent regiment. Others were initially soldiers of The RCR and later changed both units and badges. Still others spent periods with the Regiment for familiarization in the trenches or while awaiting commissioning, and still more were taken on the strength of The RCR only to be transferred again days or weeks later to another front line unit as the reinforcement system struggled to make up and balance losses. These too, were Royal Canadians, however briefly, and deserve to be remembered as such.

But the First World War also opens up the broadest scope for commemorating our fallen, once we consider our responsibilities to those units our regiments perpetuate. With perpetuation, we not only accepted the honours awarded to those units, but we also accepted the responsibility to remember their histories, their contributions, their service, and their sacrifice.

Continuing with The RCR for my examples, these are the perpetuated units of The RCR (admittedly, each of these lists needs more detailed work):

1st Canadian Infantry Battalion — about 6000 soldiers passed through the ranks of the 1st Cdn Inf Bn, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Database lists 1430 casualties identified as 1st Cdn Inf Bn.

33rd Canadian Infantry Battalion — The sailing list for the 33rd Cdn Inf Bn includes 1499 officers, NCOs and soldiers. Of these, 385 are listed as casualties of the war, dying while serving with 40 different units. Another twelve 33rd Battalion casualties have also been identified.

71st Canadian Infantry Battalion — The sailing list for the 71st Cdn Inf Bn includes 1293 officers, NCOs and soldiers. Of these, 284 are listed as casualties of the war, dying while serving with 57 different units. Another seven 71st Battalion casualties have also been identified.

142nd Canadian Infantry Battalion — The sailing list for the 142nd Cdn Inf Bn includes 607 officers, NCOs and soldiers. Of these, 78 are listed as casualties of the war, dying while serving with 19 different units. Another five 142nd Battalion casualties have also been identified.

168th Canadian Infantry Battalion — The sailing list for the 168th Cdn Inf Bn includes 721 officers, NCOs and soldiers. Of these, 148 are listed as casualties of the war, dying while serving with 18 different units. One other 168th Battalion casualty has also been identified.

2nd Battalion, Canadian Machine Gun Corps — The website developed by Bett Payne commemorating the 6th Canadian M.G. Company and the 2nd Battalion, CMGC, identifies 141 casualties of this battalion after its formation. (This does not include the prior casualties of the four M.G. Companies that formed the 2nd Battalion, C.M.G.C.)

Fusiliers and Riflemen. The CWGC database also identifies seven soldiers of the 7th Fusiliers who are official casualties of the Great War. The data for the Second World War lists six soldiers of the Canadian Fusiliers and four from The Oxford Rifles. How many went on to die serving in the units those regiments' soldiers went to as reinforcements is unknown as of this writing.

Living Documents

The Rolls of Honour that we see, however familiar they may be to us, are not static lists. They can and should change as we find new names that that have connections to our regiments. We can evolve and improve our understanding of how names were selected for them in the past and revise how we select names for them now and in the future. The Rolls of Honour will grow as we open ourselves to the broadest acceptance of our responsibility to commemorate out nations' fallen soldiers.

As we approach the centennial of the First World War, the responsibilities of perpetuation become ever more important. While we may readily count the Battle Honours our regiments hold from those perpetuated units, and acknowledge the post war connections that perpetuation established, we must also understand that with those connection came the responsibility to honour their sacrifice.

Too restrictive an approach in developing Rolls of Honour can lead to overlooking thousands of soldiers who deserve to be remembered, by each of the regiments to which their service connects. No fallen soldier is diminished because more than one regiment remembers him.

Lest we Forget

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 10 November 2013 8:04 PM EST
Sunday, 10 November 2013

Some Notes On Quarterblokery (Part 3)
Topic: Humour

Some Notes On Quarterblokery (Part 3)

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."

On Active Service

QMs really come into their own on Active Service when the "interlocking" peacetime system of accounting is in abeyance and replacement stores can be demanded on a certificate. This method is not abused for personal gain, but only in the laudable but sometimes misguided feeling that they must have "a bit in hand". This is particularly so if the supply system is not working too well, and they do not feel confident about rapid replacement. The "good" QM will have his "bit in hand". He will do it quietly and discreetly, and no one will ever know he's got it. The "bad" QM will acquire his reserve by crude skulduggery which will be spotted by the Staff and the Supply Service, and, worst of all, when the war suddenly gets mobile, he will bring lorry loads of stores into the divisional dump which neither he nor they can move. Most regular Quartermasters are not indifferent psychologists either, and set out to find out the best method of softening up whoever they want to get anything out of. As a Divisional Ordnance Officer it was my job to tour units to see, by physical inspections, how scarce quantities of clothing could best be apportioned. One QM used to take me to his tent door and as we stood discussing our troubles a well-organized charade would take place for my benefit. Several men from different directions would come past, each one worsely arrayed than the one before him. Clean and polished, they would be threadbare, patched or newly torn, wearing shrunken suits or enveloped by ill-fitting garments many sizes too big. At last my heart would melt. "O.K. Send a truck into Division in the morning and you can have 100 sets of clothing." When I was in the BEF most Ordnance Stores were scarce, and various forms of control were tried. In my Division we thought we would curb extravagance by keeping records of the comparative consumption of certain staple items, and then publishing our findings. We produced these figures on a graph and this made the "bad" boys look really bad and the "good" boys very good; it told the story in a more striking form than numerals published in Routine Orders would, so the DADOS (f) decided that we would get all the QMs (some 30-40) and the Div Q Staff in to look at the graph instead.

The End of a Chart

Messages summoning them were sent out and we added a few frills to the chart and hung it up in the largest room in our offices. They were duly assembled, and, being astute men, at once spotted the graph and saw what it was about. At this point DADOS was called away to take a telephone call from the Base, and the QMs were left alone. When we returned it was to find several of them beating out the flames from what was left of the charred graph, it having been "inadvertently" set on fire by someone's cigarette whilst they were all standing around. Our dramatic evidence gone, our denouement fell flat and all they got was a routine harangue on economy from the AQMG. On another occasion in the BEF an order came out authorizing units to hold "small stocks" of medal ribbon on a scale of 1-inch per medallist to issue when torn or worn clothing was replaced. At my Divisional HQ we reckoned we knew our units pretty well and did a calculation based on their previous stations, make-up of personnel and such like. We checked their indents against this "control" and found most of them reasonable except one. This was from a TA battalion of a famous Highland Regiment which had recently come into the Division. Their indent began "Ribbon, silk, medal, Victoria Cross, 36 inches". Increduously, we sent it back with a note "Please confirm that you have 36 holders of this decoration in your battalion." A few days later the Major Quartermaster, himself with two rows of ribbons, came in and explained. "Oh, he said, "we've no got them yet, but we'll have them alright and I want a wee bit by me when the time comes." Boastful? Not really; maybe a little arrogant, but this is the stuff of which fighting men are made. Poor gallant Highlanders; in action against over-whelming enemy forces, the whole battalion was captured at Saint Valery and passed into captivity. To end on a lighter note, perhaps one of the best stories illustrating Quartermasters' minds and methods is told of an Irish Regiment in the old days. Bread had "come up" and the QM's private storeman was apportioning it to the companies. "If you please, sorr," he said, "I am one loaf short who shall I give it to?" "Keep it yourself, Mick," was his master's reply.

 Read Part 1 of Some Notes On Quarterblokery

 Read Part 2 of Some Notes On Quarterblokery

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 9 November 2013 12:32 PM EST
Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Timeless Verities of Combat
Topic: Military Theory

Battle of Waterloo, by William Sadler.

The Timeless Verities of Combat

From Understanding Combat; History and Theory of Combat, Col. Trevor N. Dupuy, US Army, Ret., Paragon House Publishers, 1987

1.     Offensive action is essential to positive combat results.

2.     Defensive strength is greater than offensive strength.

3.     Defensive posture is necessary when successful offence is impossible.

4.     Flank or rear attack is more likely to succeed than frontal attack.

5.     Initiative permits the application of preponderant combat power.

6.     Defenders' chances of success are directly proportional to fortification strength.

7.     An attacker willing to pay the price can always penetrate the strongest defences.

8.     Successful defence requires depth and reserves.

9.     Superior combat power always wins.

10.     Surprise substantially enhances combat power.

11.     Firepower kills, disrupts, suppresses and causes dispersion.

12.     Combat activities are always slower, less productive, and less efficient than anticipated.

13.     Combat is too complex to be described in a single, simple aphorism.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 8 November 2013

Some Notes On Quarterblokery (Part 2)
Topic: Humour

Some Notes On Quarterblokery (Part 2)

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."

A Question of Carts and Bottles

In the pre-1939 days, the British Army had a number of Reserve Army horsed cavalry regiments known as Yeomanry. A small permanent staff of sophisticated Regulars was attached from the affiliated Regulars regiments to the Yeomen to assist them in their training and administration. Yeomanry regiments attracted well to-do men who could afford to keep horses in private life and they looked forward to the annual fortnight's training in camp as a great get-together when they would work hard, train hard and play hard. When they came into camp, a "set" of camp equipment, including tentage, bedding and whatever vehicles and equipment was necessary for their sojourn, was issued to them by the local Ordnance Depot. At the end of one of these camps, one regiment of Yeomanry found that they were, amongst other things, deficient of a water cart, or, as QM Argot would put it: "One, carts, water, MK. VI" (valued approximately at BP120). As gentlemen, they cheerfully decided that they would have to pay up. But they had a regular Quartermaster. "You don't want to do that, sir." he old the Colonel. "Leave it to me." Stores were handed back and receipts obtained and at the same time certain minor deficiencies were admitted to, "eluding a debit voucher for one "Bottles Water, Mk. VI" (value 3/8ïd) which may or may not have been missing. After a decent interval had lapsed, the QM, knowing the "system" well, and that all the documents would be pigeon-holed and in the charge of junior clerks, sent a somewhat scruffy routine memo to the Depot which stated tersely, "Ref. my DV/1994 (Q) d. 17.8.38 for `bottles' substitute `carts'." Such a nondescript piece of information was beneath the level of the Depot officers who scrutinize and, as the QM foresaw, it was dealt with by some plodding clerk who mechanically took the voucher out and made the amendment without any reaction. Some time later, the question of the missing water cart was brought up by the Issuing Depot. After sending a number of polite but vague interim replies, the Yeomanry QM referred them to the fact that it had been paid for on his DV/1994, etc. Routine confirmation of this was obtained from the clerks and that, as far as the "Mummerset Yeomanry" were concerned, was the end of the matter.

Technique of Hand-over

As I have said, QMs are inclined to regard the various supplying agencies as fair game. When the Regimental Depot of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps moved from Woolwich to Portsmouth in the 1920's, they took over a barracks there from a brigade of field artillery. A Board of Officers presided over the "Marching In and Hand-over". Among the items to be taken over were a quantity of wooden trestle tables and six-foot wooden barracks forms. These were duly found in a shed, beautifully stacked and "countable" so good in fact that the professional instincts of the Ordnance "Quarter bloke" were aroused and he hesitated. "Get on with it," said the Board, who were by then getting fed up. "You can see they're all there." The Gunners nodded affirmatively. "I'm sorry," said the Ordnance man, "but I can't count them at the back; can we have them out?" The Gunners demurred, it would hold things up, unnecessary work, etc., but they began to dismantle the neat stacks. The front stacks were correct, but the rear ones were found to be tables and forms cut neatly in halves and so laid that in the gloom of the shed the lack of length would not be apparent. Of course, no one felt outraged by this - it was part of the "system"... referred to, and the Gunners were just unfortunate in having an Ordnance man to hand over to.

 Read Part 1 of Some Notes On Quarterblokery


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 7 November 2013 11:54 PM EST
Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Soul of Every Battalion
Topic: Tradition

The Soul of Every Battalion

From: The Washing of the Spears; The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation, by Donald R. Morris, 1965

The soul of every battalion resided in the Colours. Each battalion of infantry of the line carried two gold-fringed silken standards: a Sovereign's Colour of the Union Jack charged with the Crown and the regimental title, and a Regimental Colour that matched the color of the facings and bore the regimental crest and the battle honors. They had originally served to rally units disorganized in the shock of battle, and in 1879, for the last time, they were still being taken into action. They were carried cased on the march and kept in the guard tent in camp, uncased only on Guest Night in the mess, at special ceremonies when one Colour at a time was trooped to show it to the men, and in battle. Battalions might carry their Colours for half a century and more, and when the worn fabric was hopelessly frayed, they laid them up in the regimental cathedral and were issued new ones. The loss of a Colour was a disgrace felt so keenly that officers and men would unhesitatingly risk their lives to save what Rudyard Kipling once described as something looking like "the lining of a brick-layer's hat on a chewed toothpick."

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
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

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