The Minute Book
Saturday, 3 January 2015

The Farrier Sergeant's Whiskey
Topic: Humour

Officers of the Governor-General's Body Guard. Humboldt, Saskatchewan. [1885] "L. to r. standing: Maj. Dunn, Lt. Col. G.T. Denison, Capt. Denison, Lt. Merritt. Seated: Quartermaster Charles Mair, Lt. Fleming, Surgeon Baldwin." (1972-270; LAC; C-002594)

The Farrier Sergeant's Whiskey

Soldiering in Canada; Lt.-Col George T. Denison, 1900

[The farrier sergeant] came to me one day [during the 1885 campaign] with a requisition for some horse medicines, for I had no veterinary surgeon, as ours had left Canada just before we started. I looked over the list of things ordered, and forwarded it to Colonel Jackson at Winnipeg. The farrier sergeant told me to mention a particular druggist in Winnipeg, who had furnished us supplies before we left; I did so. Before the box, or large case of medicines, arrived I had a slight suspicion in my mind that he might send a little liquor with the medicines.

When the box arrived, addressed to me and marked veterinary supplies, I said: "Put that in my tent." Major Dunn was with me. I opened it and found some dirty-looking bottles marked colic drenches, regular horse medicine to all appearance. I drew the cork of one bottle, poured a little of the contents into a tin cup, smelt it, tasted it very carefully and passed it to Major Dunn. He tasted it, looked at me and said: "The d—:—d thief." I ordered a parade of all the men, put the farrier sergeant under arrest and the box in front of the line of men. I took the bottles one by one, opened them, generally by knocking the necks off, poured a little into a tin cup and called out the men whom I thought were experts and would know whiskey and not object to it, and would hand them the cup and ask them what it contained. They would say "That is whiskey, sir," and I would empty the bottle out upon the ground. I went on for a number of the bottles, calling up different men and giving them about a glass each, so as to have evidence that it was whiskey. Among others I called Sergeant Patrick Macgregor, who had been in the 13th Hussars, and was a splendid swords-man, and an equally good judge of whiskey, from an experience gained by drinking all he could get.

I poured out a fairly good glass for him, he drank it solemnly and I said "Well, Macgregor, what is it?" "Colonel," he replied, "if I am to take my solemn oath before a court, I would not feel safe to do it on such a small taste as that." I poured out another good glass and he drank it slowly, looking up now and again and taking sips and evidently enjoying it, and everyone laughing at his wise and solemn expression, until he finished it. He then felt himself over the waist, straightened himself up with an air of satisfaction and said very seriously: "Yes, Colonel, that is whiskey, Iam ready to go before any court and swear to it. And what is more, it is devilish good whiskey."

I poured out eighteen bottles in this way and also a gallon or two of alcohol which was in a tin case, and when all that was out, all the medicines left in the box could have been put into a teacup. The farrier sergeant begged me to let him leave the corps and not to have him tried for the fraud. I thought the simplest way todeal with him was let him go, so we got him into plain clothes and started him back to the East.

The fame of this incident spread all through the North-West. Such a thing as spilling liquor was unheard of, except by the Mounted Police, and they were not keen to do it, and I am afraid my reputation in all that country was not improved by the story. I telegraphed to Colonel Jackson to stop the payment to the druggist, and wrote a full report. I am afraid that this sort of thing was done a good deal in ihe campaign, and that I only let in one little ray of light. The result of this was that I got the reputation of being very severe, and one who would destroy liquor like a fanatic id I heard of it.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Rogue's March
Topic: Humour

Drummers of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

The Rogue's March

Military Customs, Major T.J. Edwards, M.B.E., F.R.Hist.S., 1947

Mention must be made of a musical custom which has happily disappeared from military life—the playing of "The Rogue's March" at the "Drumming-out" ceremony. Up to about the middle of the last century, when a soldier was discharged with ignominy he was "drummed-out," which, in practice, meant that the battalion formed up in two ranks facing inwards, one end touching the barrack gate: at the other end the prisoner and his escort were assembled, together with the Adjutant, who read out the man's offence and his sentence, after which the Provost Sergeant cut off his badges, buttons and shoulder straps. Then the party moved down the ranks while the drums and fifes played "The Rogue's March." This performance of reading the crime and sentence was repeated at intervals, and when the prisoner reached the barrack gate the smallest drummer boy administered a kick to his posterior.

Although the tune was generally well known during the last century, a lack of knowledge of it by a certain municipal body was responsible for a rather amusing incident. The band of a regiment was in attendance at a ceremony when the Mayor cut the first sod of the ground on which some much needed waterworks were to be constructed. At the conclusion of the ceremony the City Fathers insisted upon being played back to the Town Hall, much to the annoyance of the band who were eager to get back to barracks, which lay in the opposite direction, and in which some sports were in progress. However, the band struck up a tune and the Mayor and Corporation stepped out in a brisk manner, much to the amusement of the spectators. When the perspiring Mayor reached the Town Hall he enquired the reason for the hilarity on the part of the populace, and flew into a rage when he learned that he and his municipal brethren had been hurried, in a rather undignified manner, through the town to the tune of "The Rogue's March."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 10 December 2014 6:09 PM EST
Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Honi soit qui mal y pense
Topic: Humour

One panel of the cartoon "The Push"—in Three Chapters. By one who's been "Pushed", by Bruce Bairnsfather, published in Fragments from France.

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Dorothy Bradridge, VAD, No. 2 Red Cross Hospital, Rouen

The Roses of No Man's Land, Lyn MacDonald, 1980

I was working on the brass-hat ward, which meant that there was no rank lower than a major and they were all in separate rooms. Bruce Bairnsfather was one of my patients - or rather he was a patient while I was there, because VADs were only allowed to do very humble tasks in that ward. He was the cartoonist who invented the famous character of Old Bill, and on the wall of his room he had drawn a lifesize cartoon of a VAD sweeping dust about and raising great clouds of it with some gusto. She had a very plain face to my mind, because we actually considered ourselves to be a very goodlooking lot of VADs. I was foolish enough to ask him why he hadn't drawn a pretty VAD. 'A pretty VAD?' he exclaimed. 'Well, that's probably because I've never seen one.' It served me right for fishing for compliments! However, I always liked to feel that I got my own back on him at mealtimes because I always left his tray until last, and I left his bell unanswered as long as I dared. Needless to say, he was not a surgical or a serious case, so he was able to spend quite a time decorating the walls.* [Footnoted: Captain Bruce Bairnsfather was suffering from mild shellshock.]

Qhen Mary, during the First World War.

The patients were fond of drawing on the bare walls, and nobody minded because it cheered the place up a bit. This led to an embarrassing occasion once when we had a royal visit. Queen Mary came with the Prince of Wales and a whole entourage of brass-hats. We knew she was coming and there had been tremendous 'spit and polish' for days beforehand. I think perhaps she had not been expected to go into this particular room because it had rather a risque drawing on the wall. It was a stockinged female leg with a garter at the top - very shapely and seductive-looking. But just at the side of the garter a large mirror was hung, so that when anyone glanced at it they naturally assumed that the rest of the picture was hidden behind the mirror. Needless to say, everyone pushed the mirror sideways to see what was underneath. That is exactly what the Queen did, and like everyone else she saw that there was no continuation of the picture but simply the words Honi soit qui mal y pense. She was not amused! Her face simply froze, so none of the other people who were following her could laugh either. Walking behind the Prince of Wales as part of an unofficial 'Guard of Honour' I could see the effort he was making not to laugh aloud. His shoulders were absolutely shaking!

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 29 November 2014 4:21 PM EST
Monday, 27 October 2014

Befuckled, and other Mission Task Verbs
Topic: Humour

Example task verbs and related map symbols. Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College, Mission and Task Verbs, Task Verbs Directory (c. 2005). This 93 page document set out compiled definitions for 31 task verbs.

Befuckled, and other Mission Task Verbs

In our generalized societal memory of past wars, the missions issued to troops and units were direct, simple, and clear to everyone watching the Hollywood blockbuster war movie of the moment. In the First World War, commanders chose between defend against the Hun, or attack the bastards. In the Second World War, the defence was mostly set aside for Hollywood's recreations, and the attack was nuanced into a variety of options: attack across the beach, attack up the cliffs, attack across the airfield, attack through the town. Rinse and repeat until Berlin. Korea was mostly cold and static, broken only by homemade martini binges with Hawk-eye and B.J.

In more modern times, the melding of the commander, the manager, and the marketer of "ops and plans" has resulted in those formerly simplistic mission verbs being supplanted by lengthy lists of options requiring reams of descriptive definitions to satisfy the need to have an exquisitely detailed plan of operations ready to be amended on the fly as soon as a Line of Departure is crossed and contact made. There doesn't seem to be a Canadian version of a task verbs reference available on line, but see this American publication Annex on Tactical Mission Tasks, and this set of flash cards to help young officers expand their tactical vocabularies.

Invariably, when young (and some not so young) officers arrive in Staff College to be met with challenges not of tactics to be employed, but of the semantical manipulations needed to describe intentions to the satisfaction of he Directing Staff, humour is often a result. The following are some examples of the lighter treatments of task verbs and definitions that have been created. Two are excerpts from The Frontenac Times, unofficial newsletter of the CLFCSC courses LFSC 9801 and TCSC 0101. The third, a lengthier and decidedly less politic presentation (you have been warned), is by an unknown hand.

The Frontenac Times, Volume 1, Issue No. 5.

The Frontenac Times, Volume 2, Issue No. 8.

Mission and Task Verbs; Befuckled and More.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 22 October 2014

"Any Complaints?"
Topic: Humour

Soldiers eating at Camp Sewell, Manitoba, [ca. 1914-1918]
Glenbow Archives image: NA-4051-2 (Source)

"Any Complaints?"

Lesser Known Regimental Records, James Hope, The British Army Review, Number 30, December 1968

"Any Complaints?" is a military cry that few who have served in the Armed Forces of the Crown can have failed to have heard at some stage of their careers. The 95% who serve in the lower non-commissioned ranks, and feed in the "Men's Dining hall," "Cookhouse," or "Men's Mess," depending on Regimental or Service terminology, are usually far too well mannered to express their opinions to the Orderly Officer in anything but the politest terms should they feel that all is not well with the fare that is placed before them. The Orderly Officer normally is left to judge by the look of pain and astonishment in the soldiers' eyes the real depth of their feeling.

Only on rare occasions are they driven to extremes, and the morning after it became common knowledge that the butcher had cut off a finger in the brand new (and rare in the 1930s) sausage machine, their eyes spoke volumes. Confronted by a silent dining hall, every man glaring balefully at his plate, the very young Orderly Officer rashly, perhaps, enquired "What's the matter?"

"The Bangers," said a sullen voice, after a pause.

Like a ship in full sail the Master Cook came to the rescue. Raising his voice to a parade ground bellow (Cook Sergeants were Regimental NCOs in those days), he thundered:

"So you think the Butcher's finger is in the bangers do you. Well you're wrong, and if you want the proof, here it is." Delving into the copious pockets of his whites, he produced triumphantly the missing finger, intact and unminced!

elipsis graphic

The scene was a small patch of the Borneo jungle early one very damp morning. Two bashas stood back to back; the one occupied by the Company Commander and his Sergeant major, the other by the Company Commander's orderly and a signaller, both from a village in the wildest parts of Scotland's Highlands. Breakfast from packs, ration 24 hours, was in the course of preparation. the dialogue ran something like this:--

Signaller: "Charlie, this porridge is terrible. I would'na give it to a dawg."

Charlie: "Fits the matter wie it?"

Signaller: "I doot even the Major'll eat it."

Charlie: "Weel, I'll gie ye its nae as guid as my Mither used tae mak, but Mither's nae here so ye'll just put up wie it."

There was a pause and sounds of porridge being tasted, then Charlie added: "Aye the CSM'll no eat it but it'll dae fur the Major. He's an orficer."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 18 July 2014

Military Definitions
Topic: Humour


The art of abusing every regiment but your own.

Military Definitions

Published in The Patrician (Journal of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry), Vol. IV, No. 3, October, 1937, as taken from "The Antelope" (Journal of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment) for November, 1935

The following military definitions were extracted from among the papers of the late Brig.-Gen. G.N.B. Forster, CMG, DSO, and have been contributed by his wife.


Adjutant: An officer whose duties consist in flattering the Colonel, flirting with his wife, nursing his children and swearing at the men.
Aide-de-Camp Ditto on a more extended scale.
Arrest: A very pleasant state of temporary retirement from the duties and the annoyances of the profession.


Barracks Damage: A poetical title for the rent paid by officers for their dog-holes. Battalion Drill: Agony on a large scale.

Brig.-Gen. G.N.B.Forster, DSO

George Norman Bowes Forster was born in October 1872. Educated at The United Services College, Westward Ho!, and the RMC Sandhurst. Commissioned in 1893, he joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and served in the Nile Expedition of 1898 (present at the Battles of Atbara and Khartoum) and served in the South African War from 1899 to 1902. He was Adjutant of the 1st Battalion of his regiment between 1902 and 1904.

Early in the First World War, Forster went to France with the 7th Battalion, rising in rank to command it. Wounded twice, he was also awarded the DSO. In August 1917 he was appointed to command the 42nd Infantry Brigade (part of 14th (Light) Division).

On 4 Apr 1918 his brigade HQ was overrun near Villers Bretonneux, Brig.-Gen. Forster was reported missing. Brig.-Gen. Forster has no known grave, he is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial.


Cavalry: A branch of the Service, useful in promoting the smell of stables in drawing-rooms.
Colonel: An individual with brass spurs and an exaggerated estimate of his own importance.
Company Drill: Agony on a small scale.
Court-Martial: A military tribunal in which the judges, like a bull in a china shop, have it all to themselves.


Dress (v.a): To force a given number of soldiers into one continuous straight line by means of loud vociferations and strong personal abuse.
Drill (v.a): To arrange human beings in unnatural positions and unornamental figures.


Ensign: An emancipated schoolboy.
Esprit-de-Corps: The art of abusing every regiment but your own.


Field Day: A given number of hours of misery.


General: A military biped, much addicted to long stories.
Goose-step: A painful mode of standing on one leg.


Household Troops: Gentlemen at large.


Infantry: A branch of the service, useful in macadamizing roads.
Inspection, half-yearly: An opportunity afforded by custom to soldiers of seeing a live general twice a year.


Knapsack: An ingenious contrivance invented for the purpose of exemplifying how little it is possible to get in a square box.


Leave of Absence: Gentlemanly existence, and very pleasant when you get it.


Mess: A regimental victualling establishment instituted for the purpose of placing inebrity within reach of officers of modest income.
Mufti: A description of costume worn by officers when they wish to be taken for gentlemen.


Non-commissioned officer: A person whose duty it is to furnish the captain with the words of command on field days.


Officer: An unhappy victim of delusion.


Padre: The Protestant appellation of purgatory.
Promotion: A word fallen into disuse, but used among the ancients to signify a rise from one grade to another.


Quarters (officers): Inferior sort of dog-kennels.


Recruit: A speedily to be undeceived dupe.
Roster: A fabulous list of rotation, on which you are always first for duty and last for elave.


Shop: The discussion of obnoxious topics military.
Soldier of fortune: A penniless officer.
Soldier (private): One who consents to dress himself in a grotesque costume and perform various diverting manoeuvres for a small daily stipend.
Square: A military figure formed by soldiers productive of considerable inconvenience to the toes of officers during the time of peace … and of still greater to the cavalry of the enemy in time of war.
Subaltern: An individual placed by fate in a position very inadequate to his merits.


Transport: A vessel having been condemned for pigs and cattle, is appropriated by the Admiralty for the conveyance of troops.


Unanimity: That feeling in a regiment which entitles a brother officer (however cordially you may detest him) to smack you on the back and call you a "brick" with impunity.
Uniform: A dress, only varying from a footman's livery inasmuch as you do not receive quite such high wages for wearing it.


Veteran: A man who holds your button and bores you with "Badajos."
Volunteer: A man of weak intellect.


War: A noisy and unpleasant substitute for democracy.


(Doubled): A liquor drunk by officers in hot countries.


Yard (Barrack): An enclosed space set apart for the amusement and recreation of defaulters.


Zeal: A sort of disease, formerly prevalent, but now almost obsolete.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 18 July 2014 12:06 AM EDT
Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Sick Parade
Topic: Humour


Canada in Warpaint, Capt. Ralph W. Bell, 1917

"The Company," read the orderly Sergeant, "will parade at 8.45 A.M., and go for a route march. Dress: Light marching order."

A groan went up from the dark shadows of the dimly-lighted barn, which died down gradually on the order to "cut it out." "Sick parade at 7.30 A.M. at the M.O.'s billet Meninlee-Chotaw," announced the O.S. sombrely. "Any of you men who wanter go sick give in your names to Corporal Jones right now."

Yells of "Right here, Corporal," "I can't move a limb, Corporal," and other statements of a like nature, announced the fact that there were quite a number of gentlemen whose pronounced view it was that they could not do an eight-mile route march the next day. Corporal Jones emerged, perspiring, after half an hour's gallant struggle. Being very conscientious he took full particulars, according to Hoyle: name, number, rank, initials, age, religion, and nature of disease. The last he invariably asked for by means of the code phrase, "wossermarrerwiyou?"'

Having refused to admit at least half a dozen well-known scrimshankers to the roll of sick, lame, and lazy, he finished up with Private Goodman, who declared himself suffering from " rheumatics hall over. Me legs is somethin' tur'ble bad."

There were thirteen names on the report.

Meninle-Chateau being a good three kilometres distant, the sick fell in at 6.30 A.M. the next day. The grey dawn was breaking in the East, and a drizzling rain made the village street even more miserable-looking than it was at all times. As OD all sick parades, all the members thereof endeavoured to look their very worst, and succeeded admirably for the most part. They were unshaven, improperly dressed, according to military standards, and they shuffled around like a bunch of old women trying to catch a bus. Corporal Jones was in a very bad temper, and he told them many things, the least of which would have made a civilian's hair turn grey. But, being "sick," the men merely listened to him with a somewhat apathetic interest.

They moved off in file, a sorry-looking bunch of soldiers. Each man chose his own gait, which no injunctions to get in step could affect, and a German under-officer looking them over would have reported to his superiors that the morale of the British troops was hopeless.

At 7.25 A.M. this unseemly procession arrived in Menin-le-Chateau. In the far distance Corporal Jones espied the Regimental Sergeant-Major. The latter was a man whom every private considered an incarnation of the devil! The junior N.C.O.'s feared him, and the Platoon Sergeants had a respect for him founded on bitter experience in the past, when he had found them wanting. In other words he was a cracking good Sergeant-Major of the old-fashioned type. He was privately referred to as Rattle-Snake Pete, a tribute not only to his disciplinary measures, but also to his heavy, fierce black moustachios, and a lean, eagle-like face in which was set a pair of fierce, penetrating black eyes.

"If," said Corporal Jones loudly, "you all wants to be up for Office you'll walk. Otherways you'll march! There's the Sergeant-Major!"

The sick parade pulled itself together with a click. Collars and the odd button were furtively looked over and done up, caps pulled straight, and no sound broke the silence save a smart unison of " left-right-left " along the muddy road. The R.S.M. looked them over with a gleam in his eye as they passed, and glanced at his watch.

"'Alf a minute late, Co'poral Jones," he shouted. "Break into double time. Double … march! "The sick parade trotted away steadily–until they got round a bend in the road. "Sick!!!" murmured the R.S.M.

"My H'EYE!"

A little way further on the parade joined a group composed of the sick of other battalion units, some fifty in all. Corporal Jones handed his sick report to the stretcher-bearer Sergeant, and was told he would have to wait until the last.

In half an hour's time the first name of the men in his party was called–Lance-Corporal MacMannish.

"What's wrong?" asked the doctor briskly.

"'A have got a pain in here, sirr," said MacMannish, "an' it's sair, sorr," pointing to the centre of his upper anatomy.

"Show me your tongue? H'm. Eating too much! Colic. Two number nine's. Light duty."

Lance-Corporal MacMannish about-turned with a smile of ecstatic joy and departed, having duly swallowed the pills.

" What did ye get, Jock?"

"Och! Light duty," said the hero with the air of a wronged man justified," but you'll be no gettin' such a thing, Bowering!"

"And why not?" demanded the latter scowling. However, his name being then called put an end to the discussion.

"I have pains in me head and back, sir," explained Mr. Bowering, "and no sleep for two nights." The doctor looked him over with a critical, expert eye.

"Give him a number nine. Medicine and duty. Don't drink so much, Bowering! That's enough. Clear out!"

"He's no doctor," declared the victim when he reached the street. "Huh! wouldn't trust a cat with 'im!"

The next man got no duty, and this had such an effect on him that he almost forgot he was a sick man, and walloped a pal playfully in the ribs on the doorstep, which nearly led to trouble.

Of the remaining ten, all save one were awarded medicine and duty, but they took so long to tell the story of their symptoms, and managed to develop such good possible cases, that it was 8.45 before the parade fell in again to march back to billets, a fact which they all thoroughly appreciated!

Wonderful the swinging step with which they set forth, Corporal Jones at the head, Lance-Corporal MacMannish, quietly triumphant, bringing up the rear. They passed the Colonel in the village, and he stopped Corporal Jones to inquire what they were.

"Your men are marching very well, Corporal. 'A' Company? Ah, yes. Fatigue party, hey?"

"No-sir, sick-parade-sir!"

"Sick Parade! God bless my soul! Sick! How many men were given medicine and duty?

"Nine, sir."

"Nine, out of thirteen… 'A' Company is on a route march this morning, is it not?"


"My compliments to Major Bland, Corporal, and I would like him to parade these nine men in heavy marching order and send them on a nine-mile route-march, under an officer."

"Very good, sir!"

Next day there were no representatives of "A" Coy. on sick parade!

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 2 June 2014

The General's Inspection
Topic: Humour


Tank crews of The British Columbia Dragoons lined up in front of their Sherman tanks during a review by General H.D.G. Crerar followed by a mounted marchpast, Eelde, Netherlands, 23 May 1945.
Photographer: Jack H. Smith. Mikan Number: 3223023.
From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

The General's Inspection

By Colonel E. R. Rivers-Macpherson, OB, Ottawa, (Late The Gordon Highlanders)
Canadian Army Journal, Vol 11, No 1, Jan 1957

How often one looks back and smiles on the harmless subterfuges we used to resort to in the old days to try, if possible, to deceive the General on his annual inspection of the regiment. I expect the General smiled too-well remembering that he had done the self-same things, though the technique had altered somewhat over the years. [This anecdote appeared originally in The Forces Magazine (United Kingdom) and is reproduced by courtesy of that magazine and the author. - Editor, CAJ.]

"I well remember one such inspection when I was a very young subaltern. In the early part of the century, long before the NAAFI came into being, the regiment ran its own canteen and recreation rooms, then known as the "Regimental Institutes". The junior subalterns all took it in turn to keep the accounts under the Second-in-Command. The annual GOC's inspection coincided with my tour of duty and I thus became enmeshed in the intrigue whether I liked it or not. The great day drew near, and as the recreation room was not very popular with the troops (it was very dark, gloomy, and most unattractive), I was instructed to parade enough men of my Company and to distribute them around the tables playing checkers, dominoes, cards, etc. The idea was to impress the General with the popularity of the room. I was further told to arrange for a young drummer to remove a book ("Pilgrim's Progress") from the bookshelf as the General came around. The General was delighted to see the room crowded and beamed on the smiling faces of the men (the Sergeant-Major had previously ordered them to "smile happily" when the General entered the room). "Splendid! Splendid!" remarked the GOC. "Jolly good show!" (He probably wondered why he had never thought that one up when he was a subaltern!). Then going up to a young soldier, he said: "Well, my man what a real home-from-home you have here. I suppose you spend all your spare time here?" "Beggin' your pardon, sir," replied the soldier, "I nivver enter this perish'n rat-hole, and I only came here today `cause I was blinkin' well marched in." There was complete consternation around, of course. I could see the General longing to guffaw but, controlling himself, he made some excuse and left the room, only giving a casual glance at my cherubic drummer who was piously engrossed in "Pilgrim's Progress"! Well, I expect the same kind of dodges are being perpetrated today when the Generals inspect the regiments. And, you know, I really think the old boys get a kick out of it too!"

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 25 May 2014

What Every Young Officer Needs
Topic: Humour
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).

What Every Young Officer Needs

From "The Boozilier Annual," a parody 'trench' newspaper, 16 December 1932


Mr. __________________ regrets exceedingly his deplorable conduct while a guest at your

(    ) Dance (    ) Dinner (    ) Party

last ___________________ and humbly craves your pardon for the Breach of Etiquette checked in the adjoining column.

(    ) Striking Hostess with bottle.
(    ) Spanking Hostess or female guests.
(    ) Riding to Hounds in drawing room.
(    ) Excessive Screaming.
(    ) Frequent Absence from party.
(    ) Protracted Absence from party.
(    ) Extreme Inebriation.
(    ) Excessive Destruction of Furniture.
(    ) Partial Loss of Equilibrium.
(    ) Complete Loss of Equilibrium.
(    ) Throwing Glasses.
(    ) Insulting Guests.
(    ) Indiscreet Petting.
(    ) Nausea.
(    ) _____________________

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Dig a hole in your back yard
Topic: Humour

Dig a hole in your back yard

Up Front, Bill Mauldin, 1945

Dig a hole in your back yard while it is raining. Sit in the hole until the water climbs up around your ankles. Pour cold mud down your shirt collar. Sit there for forty-eight hours, and, so there is no danger of your dozing off, imagine that a guy is sneaking around waiting for a chance to club you on the head or set your house on fire.

Get out of the hole, fill a suitcase with rocks, pick it up, put a shotgun in your other hand, and walk on the muddiest road you can find. Fall flat on your face every few minutes as you imagine big meteors streaking down to sock you.

After ten or twelve miles (remember, you are still carrying the shotgun and suitcase) start sneaking through the wet brush. Imagine that somebody has booby-trapped your route with rattlesnakes which will bite you if you step on them. Give some friend a rifle and have him blast in your direction once in a while.

Snoop around until you find a bull. Try to figure out a way to sneak around him without letting him see you. When he does see you, run like hell all the way back to your hole in the back yard, drop the suitcase and shotgun, and get in.

If you repeat this performance every three days for several months you may begin to understand why an infantryman sometimes gets out of breath. But you still won't understand how he feels when things get tough.

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 4 May 2014 5:52 PM EDT
Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Wangling, Scrounging, and Winning
Topic: Humour

Wangling, Scrounging, and Winning

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

He was taught the three arts of war, so much more necessary than musketry, field engineering or tactics. Or were they, perhaps, part of tactics?

Wangling, Scrounging, and Winning. …

Wangling was the art of obtaining one's just due by unfair means. For instance, every officer and man of the B.E.F. had his allotted daily rations, his camp or billet, his turn for leave. In practice, to get these necessities, it was well to know the man who provided them and do him some small service—a bottle of whiskey, the loan of transport (if you had any) or of a fatigue party. Wangling extended to the lowest ranks. Men wangled from the N.C.O.s the better sorts of jam and extra turns off duty. …

Scrounging could be defined as obtaining that which one had not a shadow of a claim by unfair means. It was more insidious that as the Wangle, but just as necessary—men scrounged the best dug-outs off one another, or off neighbouring sections. N.C.O.s scrounged rum by keeping a thumb in the dipper while doling it out, Officers scrounged the best horse lines from other units. Colonials scrounged telephone wire to snare rabbits …

The Art of Winning. It may be defined as Stealing. More fully, it was the Art of obtaining that which one had no right to, for the sake of obtaining it, for the joy of possession. … Some say it was simply the primeval joy of loot, …

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 30 March 2014

Advice to Officers
Topic: Humour

Advice to Officers

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

One of the most telling, and enduring, satires at the expense of the British officer appeared in 1782. It is attributed to Francis Grose, a one-time adjutant of militia. His Advice to Officers of the British Army has been reprinted many times, and deservedly

Admirably pinned down is the subaltern, whose failings change but slightly from one generation to another. In his advice to commanding officers, the writer says:

"The subalterns of the British army are but too apt to think themselves gentlemen; a mistake which it is your business to rectify. Put them, as often as you can, upon the most disagreeable and ungentlemanly duties; and endeavour by every means to bring them upon a level with the subaltern officers of the German armies."

Then the writer offers his advice to subalterns:

"The fashion of your clothes must depend on that ordered in the corps; that is to say, must be in direct opposition to it: for it would show a deplorable poverty of genius if you had not some ideas of your own in dress.

"Never wear your uniform in quarters, when you can avoid it. A green or a brown coat shows you have other clothes besides your regimentals, and likewise that you have courage to disobey a standing order…

"If you belong to a mess, eat with it as seldom as possible, to let folks see you want neither money nor credit. And when you do, in order to show that you are used to good living, find fault with every dish that is set on the table, damn the wine, and throw the plates at the mess-man's head … if you have pewter plates, spin them on the point of your fork, or do some other mischief, to punish the fellow for making you wait.

"When ordered for duty, always grumble and question the roster. This will procure you the character of one that will not be imposed on.

"Never read the daily orders. It is beneath an officer of spirit to bestow any attention upon such nonsense … it will be sufficient to ask the sergeant if you are for any duty.

"When on leave of absence, never come back to your time; as that might cause people to think that you had nowhere to stay, or that your friends were tired of you."

No rank or category of officer escapes without a well-placed barb in a tender spot. For example:

The aide-de-camp: "Let your deportment be haughty and insolent to your inferiors, humble and fawning to your superiors, solemn and distant to your equals."

The quartermaster: "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."

The surgeon: "Keep two lancets, a blunt one for the soldiers and a sharp one for the officers: this will be making a proper distinction between them."

The paymaster: "Always grumble and make difficulties when officers go to you for money that is due to them: when you are obliged to pay them endeavour to make it appear granting them a favour, and tell them they are lucky dogs to get it."

The chaplain: "At the mess always provide yourself with a spare plate to secure a slice of pudding, pie or other scarce article which else might vanish before you were ready for it; for the good things of this world are of a very transitory nature, particularly at a military mess."

The adjutant: "When at any time there is a blundering or confusion in a manoeuvre, ride in amongst the soldiers, and lay about you from right to left. This will convince people that it was not your fault."

The major: "In exercising the regiment, call out frequently to the most attentive men and officers to dress, cover or something of that nature: the less they are reprehensible, the greater will your discernment appear to the bystanders, in finding out a fault invisible to them."

No one who has served in the Army can have failed to see the latter technique applied--more usually by sergeant-majors and drill sergeants.

The satirist, it will be seen, uses the phrase "If you belong to a mess." By no means all regiments kept up an officers" mess as it would be recognised today; such communal life as the officers enjoyed was usually found in taverns. The mess proper was largely a nineteenth-century growth. A general who inspected the Buffs in 1774 wrote in his report: "The officers eat and live together in friendship, Major Nicholson excepted." No clue is given as to why Major Nicholson was thus invidiously named. It may be that he had taken to himself a wife, but as a major he would be perfectly entitled to do so.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 30 January 2014

Brasso, Blanco & and Bull
Topic: Humour

This book is for anyone who enjoys stories of army life. We've all heard of training under Corporals over-acting in exercising their authority, and Regimental Sergeants Major whose bring forth emotions a recruit's mind that evolve from terror to admiration, or simply the trials and tribulations of learning to survive by the Army's own rules. This book captures so many of those scenes, and many others, with a personal touch that finely captures that balance between comedy and tragedy. In his brief time as a National Service soldier with the British Army, Tony Thorne has captured the spirit of soldierly experience in a wonderfully expressed way that will have you laughing as you imagine people you know in the roles he describes.

Brasso, Blanco & Bull

Brasso, Blanco & and Bull is available at Amazon


By: Tony Thorne, 23339788

A shout of "Mess" from the corridor outside our barrack room was the signal for us to grab our knife, fork and spoon, together with our white china drinking mug and race outside. There the ordeal began. We were required to line up in single file holding our white china mugs at the high port. This inspection was a Biggy. All three squads would be lined up in the corridor and this inspection would call for at least two, and sometimes even three, corporals. When we were all assembled, the pantomime began.

Cpl Jones pulls up opposite me. He peers into my spotless white china mug.

"'Ere look at this, Cpl Prudence."

Cpl Prudence scurries alongside Cpl Jones.

"What's this in there!" shrieks Prudence, pointing his little index finger inside my mug.

"Er, it's the bottom of my mug."

"CORPORAL! Call me CORPORAL. You shithead. What's that in your fockin' mug! You...."

"Er nothing, CORPORAL."

Prudence to Jones, leering. "What's that in that mug, Corporal!"

"Sheeet! " screams Jones. " 'E's got shit in his mug."

Prudence to me, "Now what's in that fockin' mug soldier!”

" Shit, CORPORAL."

"Louder," screams Prudence and Jones în unison. "Louder."

"SHIT, CORPORAL," I scream.

"Blimey," says Prudence to Jones, " 'E's got shit in his mug."

Jnes peers into my mug much as Sir Lancelot would have peered into the Holy Grail. "What are we going to do about it Corporal!" He asks earnestly of his colleague.

"Smash it. Smash it," they cry out gleefully together. Then they fight each other to grab the mug from my hand and hurl it down onto the concrete floor where i smashes into a thousand pieces.

New mugs had to be purchased from the quartermmaster's store and the stock market saw the price of North Staffordshire Potteries Ltd move to new heights daily.

This ritual was repeated three times a day, every day and the corporals never tired of it. Often the corridor looked like a snowstorm. Twice I bought a brand new mug and had it smashed the same day. On one occasion the whole of No. 3 Squad had their mugs smashed. Mug-smashing was a perk of Corporaldom and they loved it.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 30 January 2014 12:04 AM EST
Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Importance of the Sergeant-Major
Topic: Humour

The Importance of the Sergeant-Major

Beau Geste, Percival Christopher Wren, 1927

He ignored me and all other insects.

How to attract his attention ?

I coughed gently and apologetically. I coughed appealingly. I coughed upbraidingly, sorrowfully, suggestively, authoritatively, meekly, imperiously, agreeably, hopefully, hopelessly, despairingly, and quite vainly. Evidently I should not cough my way to glory.

"Monsieur le Capitaine," I murmured ingratiatingly.

The man looked up. I liked him better when looking down.

"Monsieur would appear to have a throat-trouble," he observed.

"And Monsieur an ear-trouble," I replied? in my young ignorance and folly.

"What is Monsieur's business?" he inquired sharply.

"I wish to join the Légion Étrangère," I said.

The man smiled, a little unpleasantly, I thought.

"Eh, bien," he remarked, "doubtless Monsieur will have much innocent amusement at the expense of the Sergeant-Major there too," and I was quite sure that his smile was unpleasant this time.

"Is Monsieur only a Sergeant-Major then?" I inquired innocently.

"I am a Sergeant-Major," was the reply, "and let me tell Monsieur, it is the most important rank in the French army.'

"No?" said I, and lived to learn that this piece of information was very little short of the simple truth.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Billies
Topic: Humour

Christmas Billies

The Roses of No Man's Land, Lyn MacDonald, 1980

Christmas 1917 fell like a faint beam of light across the shadowed days of the fourth winter of the war. There were hardly enough boats to carry the huge quantities of cards, letters and parcels for the troops on active service, and the comforts that everyone wanted to send to the sick and wounded in the hospitals. Although people had been adjured to 'Post Early', there was a ho!d up at Southampton in early December and it took fully three weeks of gargantuan effort on all sides to ship everything across to France in the week before Christmas.

It was fortunate that the Red Cross had made sure that all their own supplies of Christmas cheer were in France by the beginning of December. In addition to the supplies sent to Italy, Salonika and the Middle East, the Red Cross warehouses in Boulogne were stacked high with 40,000 tins of sweets, four tons of Brazil nuts, four tons of filberts, ten tons of almonds, four tons of walnuts, four tons of chestnuts, twelve tons of dried fruit, 40,000 boxes of Christmas crackers, 80,000 Christmas cards and innumerable cases of coloured paper garlands to decorate hospital uards and Mess huts for the festive season. Just before Christmas, boatloads of chickens and turkeys arrived in France, plus a mammoth consignment of 25,000 Christmas puddings, which had been lovingly prepared by hundreds of voluntary groups throughout the country who had willingly sacrificed their ration of sugar and a quantity of precious dried fruit to ensure that the boys had a proper Christmas dinner. Most of the puddings were stuffed as full of lucky sixpences as they were with hoarded raisins, and were rnixed with libations of stout or brandy.

It took all the considerable organizational powers of the Red Cross and a large slice of the resources of the Army Transport Corps to distribute, across the length and breadth of the Western Front, the largesse that came from every quarter of the globe. From America there was a shipment of beef; from South Africa, a boatload of grapes, peaches and nectarines; from Canada, 10,000 cases of red apples; and from Australia, a towering mountain of 'billy-cans' packed with comforts and goodies for the Aussies.

By 1917 the 'Christmas billies' had become a tradition. Back home in Australia, volunteers started packing them in August. Each community undertook to supply a certain number, filling each one with oddments of their own choice, and sent them in good time to a central depot from which they were shipped on to Australian soldiers overseas. It was a charming as well as a practical idea. The billy-cans themselves, as Australian as the strains of 'Waltzing Matilda', spoke of Home to the soldiers far away; when empty they were useful items to have on active service, and they were sturdy enough to be shipped without any further wrapping. They also held a surprising amount- chocolate, tobacco, cigarettes, sweets, a pipe, razor blades, soap, concentrated beef cubes notebooks, writing pads, candles, toffee, sardines, potted meat, socks and mittens (or at least a fair selection of these items) could all be stuffed in. All of them contained a different assortment, but the universal verdict was that they were 'Bonzo'.

The exception was the unfortunate Aussie who was particularly pleased to find in his billy-can a pair of socks knitted in the finest wool, and donned them for a long march. Within half an hour he was limping badly, and at the first rest stop removed his boots to look for the trouble. There were no protruding nails, nothing to be seen. The march continued, and by the time it ended the man was practically crippled by a mammoth blister on his foot. He found some water in which to bathe it, and when he pulled off the sock to immerse his foot in the soothing bath, to the ribald amusement of his comrades a small scrap of paper fell to the floor. On it was written in a shaky hand, 'God bless you, My Dear Boy.' It was fortunate that the kindly donor was unable to hear her Dear Boy's reaction.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 19 December 2013

Never a word of a lie in it!
Topic: Humour

Never a word of a lie in it!

Sergeant-Major Timothy Gowing, Voice from the Ranks; A Personal Narrative of the Crimean Campaign by a Sergeant of the Royal Fusiliers, edited by Kenneth Fenwick, 1954

A man of my company was continually getting himself into trouble. He had proved himself, from the commencement of the campaign, a valiant soldier. About a month before Sevastopol fell, I gave him some money with which to go and purchase some soap; at the same time Pat asked for the loan of a couple of shillings. He did not turn up any more that day.

Next morning he was a prisoner in the guard tent. We all knew that he was on his last legs, but, as he was a general favourite with the company, the men pitied him. Some were of opinion that his wit would not forsake him when brought - before the commanding officer, and he told the man who brought his breakfast to him that morning that he would get over it with flying colours.

In due course, he was brought before the tribunal and the charge read out: 'Absent from camp from 10 a.m. on the 15th August until 5 a.m. 16th August'.

'Well, Welsh, you have heard the charge. What have you got to say for yourself?'

The old rogue pulled a long face, and then commenced:

'Shure, yer honour, the whole regiment, you know, was very fond of our poor old Colonel Yea, that was kilt on the 18th of June. And, shure, yer honour—I wouldn't tell ye a word of a lie. I wint and sat on the poor old jintleman's grave, and sobbed and sobbed till I thought my heart would break; for, sur, he was a sodjur, every inch of him! And shure I fell asleep and slept till morning, and then got up and walked to the guard tent.'

'Now, Welsh, are you telling the truth? You know I promised you a court martial if ever you came before me again for absence.'

With both hands uplifted he exclaimed, 'Och, shure, yer honour, never a word of a lie in it!'

Some of the young officers came to the rescue and stated that they had frequently seen men standing and sitting round the Colonel's grave; and thus he got over it without punishment.

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Canadians Rank High
Topic: Humour

Corporal T.C. Mackenzie [Loyal Edmonton Regiment], Sergeant R.W. Williams [Calgary Highlanders], Private N.E. Smith [North Nova Scotia Highlanders] and Gunner H.D. Gingell [13 Canadian Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery], who all received Military Medals, at Buckingham Palace, London, England, 27 June 1945. Photographer: Harold D. Robinson. Mikan Number: 3205673. From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

Canadians Rank High

The Windsor Star, 6 Sep 1940

London, Eng., Sept. 6 – Canadian soldiers rank high in popularity with girls who go dancing in the Covent Garden district. A survey showed this order of favour:

1.     British sailors.

2.     Canadians.

3.     Royal Air Force.

4.     Foot Guards.

5.     New Zealanders.

6.     French sailors (who used to be at the top of the list before France capitualted).

7.     All other troops in khaki.

8.     Civilians.

Australians were not included, it was explained, because they don't seem to find time for dancing.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 8 December 2013

My dug-out was on fire
Topic: Humour

A Bruce Bairnsfather cartoon.

"My dug-out was on fire…"

From: Captain Norman C.S. Down, 14th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders, quoted in Jon E. Lewis, The Mammoth Book of War Diaries and Letters; Life on the battlefield in the words of the ordinary soldier, 1775-1991, 1998

SAME PLACE, June 12th 1915

Cherie (French),

Still here, and no word of being relieved. That's only nineteen days that we've been in the front line without a relief, and we haven't lost more than two hundred men during the time, so we aren't doing so badly.

All the same, life's hardly worth living. From dewy dawn till the stars begin to peep the Hun shells us, shell after shell the whole day long, and we just have to sit and look pleasant. Our own artillery do their best, but all they can do is to polish their guns and think how nice it would be to have something to fire out of them. If only we could have the man here who said that there was no shortage of shells.

I'm not being very cheerful, am I, but at present I'm suffering rather badly from lack of sleep. This morning after "stand to" I told my servant to make me a cup of cocoa. Before it was ready I had fallen asleep and he had to wake me. I took the cocoa from him and tried to drink it, but it was too hot, and so I sat down and waited for it to cool. I must have fallen off again directly, as I woke up with a start to find scalding liquid tickling down my kilt and on to my bare knees. I didn't want to let my man see what a fool I had made of myself, so I raked up an old Tommy's Cooker and put a dixie of water on it. My dug-out was on fire when I woke up again, and I had to use all my remaining water to put it out. After this I gave up all idea of a hot drink and went to sleep on the sopping floor of the dug-out. Five or six hours later a small earthquake roused me to the fact that all around me was dark. This was astonishing for midday in June. A shell had closed up the dug-out door, an ungentlemanly thing to do, but better perhaps than coming in through the door. When my men dug me out they told me that this sort of thing had been going on for over an hour, and that they had retired to the far end of the trench, and had wondered why I didn't do likewise…

Later.–I've been hit, Phyllis, and am feeling a regular wounded 'ero. I was walking along the trench when there was a bang, and I was thrown forward on to my face. "You're hit, sir, hit in the back," said one of my men, and with a breathless haste my tunic and shirt was tom off, to disclose a shrapnel ball clinging lovingly to my spine in the midst of a huge bruise. The skin had just been scratched. Oh, I was sick, I had fully expected a nice cushy one, and a month down the line, with perhaps a fortnight's sick leave in England to top up with, and then to find it was the merest scratch. Oh, it was cruel. However, the news got round, and I had a message from battalion H.Q. asking whether they should send along a stretcher! And when I went down to the dressing station to get some iodine put on the wound the M.O. turned round to the orderly and said, "Just put some iodine on this officer's wound, will you. You'll find it if you look long enough". That put the lid on it. No more wounds for me. Till next time. Your wounded hero.


The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 29 November 2013

Like many Sappers I have met
Topic: Humour

An observation balloon being prepared by the Royal Engineers at the Battle of Magersfontein, with the hills occupied by the Boers in the background. Source: Battle of Magersfontein, at Wikipedia.

Like many Sappers I have met, this man was quite mad.

From: Major-General J.F.C. Fuller, The Last of the Gentlemen"s Wars; A Subaltern"s Journal of the War in South Africa 1899-1902, Mcmxxxvii

A Sapper one day appeared and asked for a fatigue party to dig up a mine he had laid in a neighbouring drift.

"Did you say a mine?" I exclaimed incredulously.

"Yes," he answered, "three or four on each side of the drift."

"Good heavens!" I cried, "when did you lay them? for I and my scouts have used this drift a dozen times!"

"Oh! months ago," he replied, rather annoyed that we had not all been blown up, which seemed to him a reflection on his technical skill.

So off he went with a fatigue party and dug up the mines—several cases of dynamite.

"As I have got to destroy this stuff," he said, "I am going to make another mine and just touch it off"—this apparently was to vindicate his honour.

"Well", I answered, "in that case I will take a snapshot of it," and when the time came I asked where I should stand.

"Oh, just here," he replied.

"But surely that is very close," said I.

"Not a bit," he answered, "from here you will get a splendid view of it"—and I did. He pressed the button of his battery and the whole world rose at my feet. I dropped my Kodak and raced back for dear life, great clods of earth and clouds of dust descending from the skies about me.

"What a fool you are!" I exclaimed when I had regained breath.

"Not at all," he answered, "you do not seem to understand that the closer you are to a mine, the safer you are. If you had only stood still all this dirt would have flown over your head."

According to this theory, I suppose, the safest place is to stand on the mine itself, in the closest possible contact with it, and this apparently is what we unknowingly had done with his mines in the drift. Like many Sappers I have met, this man was quite mad.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 21 November 2013

Murphy's Laws of Combat Operations
Topic: Humour

Murphy's Laws of Combat Operations

1.     Friendly fire – isn't.

2.     Recoilless rifles – aren't.

3.     Suppressive fires – won't.

4.     You are not Superman; Marines and fighter pilots take note.

5.     A sucking chest wound is Nature's way of telling you to slow down.

6.     If it's stupid but it works, it isn't stupid.

7.     Try to look unimportant; the enemy may be low on ammo and not want to waste a bullet on you.

8.     If at first you don't succeed, call in an airstrike.

9.     If you are forward of your position, your artillery will fall short.

10.     Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself.

11.     Never go to bed with anyone crazier than yourself.

12.     Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.

13.     If your attack is going really well, it's an ambush.

14.     The enemy diversion you're ignoring is their main attack.

15.     The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions: — when they're ready.     — when you're not.

16.     No OPLAN ever survives initial contact.

17.     There is no such thing as a perfect plan.

18.     Five second fuzes always burn three seconds.

19.     There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.

20.     A retreating enemy is probably just falling back and regrouping.

21.     The important things are always simple; the simple are always hard.

22.     The easy way is always mined.

23.     Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at.

24.     Don't look conspicuous; it draws fire. For this reason, it is not at all uncommon for aircraft carriers to be known as bomb magnets.

25.     Never draw fire; it irritates everyone around you.

26.     If you are short of everything but the enemy, you are in the combat zone.

27.     When you have secured the area, make sure the enemy knows it too.

28.     Incoming fire has the right of way.

29.     No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.

30.     No inspection ready unit has ever passed combat.

31.     If the enemy is within range, so are you.

32.     The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.

33.     Things which must be shipped together as a set, aren't.

34.     Things that must work together, can't be carried to the field that way.

35.     Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support.

36.     Radar tends to fail at night and in bad weather, and especially during both.)

37.     Anything you do can get you killed, including nothing.

38.     Make it too tough for the enemy to get in, and you won't be able to get out.

39.     Tracers work both ways.

40.     If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will get more than your fair share of objectives to take.

41.     When both sides are convinced they're about to lose, they're both right.

42.     Professional soldiers are predictable; the world is full of dangerous amateurs.

43.     Military Intelligence is a contradiction.

44.     Fortify your front; you'll get your rear shot up.

45.     Weather ain't neutral.

46.     If you can't remember, the Claymore is pointed towards you.

47.     Air defense motto: shoot 'em down; sort 'em out on the ground.

48.     'Flies high, it dies; low and slow, it'll go.

49.     The Cavalry doesn't always come to the rescue.

50.     Napalm is an area support weapon.

51.     Mines are equal opportunity weapons.

52.     B–52s are the ultimate close support weapon.

53.     Sniper's motto: reach out and touch someone.

54.     Killing for peace is like screwing for virginity.

55.     The one item you need is always in short supply.

56.     Interchangeable parts aren't.

57.     It's not the one with your name on it; it's the one addressed "to whom it may concern" you've got to think about.

58.     When in doubt, empty your magazine.

59.     The side with the simplest uniforms wins.

60.     Combat will occur on the ground between two adjoining maps.

61.     If the Platoon Sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.

62.     Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can sleep.

63.     The most dangerous thing in the world is a Second Lieutenant with a map and a compass.

64.     Exceptions prove the rule, and destroy the battle plan.

65.     Everything always works in your HQ, everything always fails in the Colonel's HQ.

66.     The enemy never watches until you make a mistake.

67.     One enemy soldier is never enough, but two is entirely too many.

68.     A clean (and dry) set of BDU's is a magnet for mud and rain.

69.     The worse the weather, the more you are required to be out in it.

70.     Whenever you have plenty of ammo, you never miss.     Whenever you are low on ammo, you can't hit the broad side of a barn.

71.     The more a weapon costs, the farther you will have to send it away to be repaired.

72.     The complexity of a weapon is inversely proportional to the IQ of the weapon's operator.

73.     Field experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

74.     No matter which way you have to march, its always uphill.

75.     If enough data is collected, a board of inquiry can prove anything.

76.     For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.     (in boot camp)

77.     Airstrikes always overshoot the target, artillery always falls short.

78.     When reviewing the radio frequencies that you just wrote down, the most important ones are always illegible.

79.     Those who hesitate under fire usually do not end up KIA or WIA.

80.     The tough part about being an officer is that the troops don't know what they want, but they know for certain what they don't want.

81.     To steal information from a person is called plagiarism.     To steal information from the enemy is called gathering intelligence.

82.     The weapon that usually jams when you need it the most is the M60.

83.     The perfect officer for the job will transfer in the day after that billet is filled by someone else.

84.     When you have sufficient supplies & ammo, the enemy takes 2 weeks to attack.     When you are low on

supplies & ammo the enemy decides to attack that night.

85.     The newest and least experienced soldier will usually win the Medal of Honor.

86.     A Purple Heart just proves that were you smart enough to think of a plan, stupid enough to try it, and lucky enough to survive.

87.     Murphy was a grunt.

88.     Beer Math ––> 2 beers times 37 men equals 49 cases.

89.     Body count Math ––> 3 guerrillas plus 1 probable plus 2 pigs equals 37 enemies killed in action.

90.     The bursting radius of a hand grenade is always one foot greater than your jumping range.

91.     All–weather close air support doesn't work in bad weather.

92.     The combat worth of a unit is inversely proportional to the smartness of its outfit and appearance.

93.     The crucial round is a dud.

94.     Every command which can be misunderstood, will be.

95.     There is no such place as a convenient foxhole.

96.     Don't ever be the first, don't ever be the last and don't ever volunteer to do anything.

97.     If your positions are firmly set and you are prepared to take the enemy assault on, he will bypass you.

98.     If your ambush is properly set, the enemy won't walk into it.

99.     If your flank march is going well, the enemy expects you to outflank him.

100.     Density of fire increases proportionally to the curiousness of the target.

101.     Odd objects attract fire – never lurk behind one.

102.     The more stupid the leader is, the more important missions he is ordered to carry out.

103.     The self–importance of a superior is inversely proportional to his position in the hierarchy (as is his deviousness and mischievousness).

104.     There is always a way, and it usually doesn't work.

105.     Success occurs when no one is looking, failure occurs when the General is watching.

106.     The enemy never monitors your radio frequency until you broadcast on an unsecured channel.

107.     Whenever you drop your equipment in a fire–fight, your ammo and grenades always fall the farthest

away, and your canteen always lands at your feet.

108.     As soon as you are served hot chow in the field, it rains.

109.     Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.

110.     The seriousness of a wound (in a fire–fight) is inversely proportional to the distance to any form of cover.

111.     Walking point = sniper bait.

112.     Your bivouac for the night is the spot where you got tired of marching that day.

113.     If only one solution can be found for a field problem, then it is usually a stupid solution.

114.     If the enemy is in range so are you.

115.     Field experience is something you never get until just after you need it.

116.     All or any of the above combined.

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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