The Minute Book
Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Woods Recognition Cards; The Jacks
Topic: Cold War

The Woods Recognition Cards; The Jacks

Playing cards marked with silhouettes to practice recognition of armoured fighting vehicles and aircraft were a novelty given or sold to soldiers during the Cold War. A late edition of such cards was produced by Woods Manufacturing, of Ottawa, Ontario, (now Guthrie Woods).

The four jacks for this deck, pictured above, featured the following:


See also, the Jokers, the Aces, and the Kings.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Soldier's Rations
Topic: Army Rations

Soldier's Rations

The composition of the Russian emergency ration is a State secret.

The Sydney Mail, 23 December 1914


The British emergency ration, that is to say, a ration that each man carries in his knapsack and is supposed only to be eaten if he becomes detached from his comrades and is in danger of starvation, consisted of a compressed peas soup. It came into use first in 1878, when an enterprising Englishman supplied the British army during the Afghan war. When Roberts made his famous march to Khandahar his troops were fed almost exclusively upon this pea soup ration, which was so thoroughly concentrated that a single mule could carry a day's food for an entire battalion. It is generally conceded that peas are the best of all food, when the choice is limited to one variety. They are more nutritious than even lean meat, and are a "balanced" ration, that is to say, contain both fuel-producing elements and the protein that makes bone and muscle.

The British Army also uses a sort of dog biscuit, four inches square and weighing three ounces, and made of compressed whole wheat. Some time ago an effort was made to introduce the German emergency ration in the British Army, but the soldiers would not eat it. National tastes must be considered as well as the nutritive value of the food, and the British soldier certainly could not live and fight on rice as does the Japanese, nor on the "erbswurst," or pea sausage, that the German does his fighting on. The German ration is held to be largely responsible for the great marching of the armies in the war against France in 1870. It not only suits the German palate, but can be reduced to an extremely small bulk, and is so carefully prepared that it does not show any sign of deterioration years after its manufacture. The German Army also depends a good deal upon evaporised carrots, which are granulated to the size of small shot. This is not an emergency or so-called "iron" ration, but is used daily by the army cooks when fresh vegetables are not to be had.

The composition of the Russian emergency ration is a State secret, but it is said to taste like fresh bread after a piece of it has been placed in hot water. The French have a concentrated mixture of vegetables and meat, which is put up in 6 oz. boxes, each containing 21 tablets wrapped separately in paper. One of these, when dropped in hot water, yields a plate of delicious soup. The Belgian Army eats evaporated corn, and American army rations consist of lean dried meat, toasted cracked wheat, and chocolate. Bernard Shaw's comedy of "Arms and the Man," in which the soldier hero ate chocolates was not far from the truth, as all armies recognise the great value of chocolate.

Experts have long recognized the fact that soldiers who are in good spirits will fight better and march further and faster than soldiers who are conscious of deprivations. For that reason tobacco is a regular ration in all armies. An American lady in London who contributed £5000 to a British patriotic fund requested that the money be used to purchase smoking or chewing tobacco for the soldiers. The value of tobacco and some other stimulants or sedatives that have no sharp reaction is attested by the United States War Bureau, which reported not long ago that "under the influence of tea, coffee, or tobacco a man seems to be brought to a much higher pitch of efficiency than without them … A wise military leader will see to it that his men are not deprived of tobacco, or he will regret his carelessness."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 20 June 2016

Elmer Weber Gets Ten Years' Penal
Topic: CEF

Elmer Weber Gets Ten Years' Penal

Evaded Military Service Act—Sentence Commuted From Fifteen

The Toronto World, 6 February 1919

Elmer Joseph Weber, the young man of German descent, whose father is a reeve of the Village of Neustadt, near Owen Sound, was sentenced to 10 years' penal servitude as a defaulter under the Military Service Act, and the order was promulgated at Exhibition camp yesterday in the presence of the Canadian Garrison Regiment, drawn up in hollow square formation.

Captain R.A. Plato, regimental adjutant, read the sentence, and afterwards Weber was removed to detention barracks. He was taken to Kingston last evening.

The prisoner was tried before a general court-martial held in Toronto on Jan. 14, at which evidence was produced that showed him to have continually evaded military service ever since the passage of the act and therefore to have been a deserter. He is also alleged to have made unpatriotic remarks and to have said that he would shoot the first man who attempted to put him into the army. The findings of the court were forwarded to a committee of the Privy Council at Ottawa.

The committee officially stated that they had found that the trial had been conducted regularly and that the finding was properly made. The militia council was of the opinion that the sentence of the court, which was 15 years' penal servitude, should be confirmed. It was recommended, however, that the term of imprisonment should be reduced to 10 years, which was allowed.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 19 June 2016

Military Band Music (1895)
Topic: Martial Music

Military Band Music (1895)

Daily Mail and Empire, 9 November 1895

Apropos of the Montreal garrison parade (Sunday 27 October 1895), the Canadian Military Gazette says:—

"The Brigade church parade at Montreal furnished an eloquent object lesson on the blissful disregard of the standard cadence by the regimental bands of the Canadian militia. There were no two brass bands of the six on parade that observed the same tempo, and there was almost as much diversity of opinion on the same vital subject among the bugle and fife and drum bands. The whole way to and from the church the greatest difficulty was observed in preserving the intervals between corps. Quick marching regiments would catch up to slower ones in a few minutes, and orders to mark time and to halt were rendered frequently necessary. Standard metronomes should be furnished to all of the regimental bands in the service, and the observance of the regulation tempos and length of space strictly insisted upon. A thorough musical inspection of regimental bands and a regulation of their repertoires of marches would appear to be very much needed. Our bands are given too much to playing florid American and European marches, frequently of very trashy style and generally destructive of steady and comfortable marching."

elipsis graphic

The total number of men in line was 1,656, and again quoting from the Star, the distribution was as follows:—

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 19 June 2016 12:02 AM EDT
Saturday, 18 June 2016

Battle Honours; Conditions of Awards (1922)
Topic: Battle Honours

Battle Honours — Conditions of Awards (1922)

The guiding principle in the selection and allotment of battle honours will be that headquarters and at least 50 per cent of the effective strength of a unit in a theatre of war must have been present at the engagement for which the honour is claimed.

The Glasgow Herald, 15 September 1922

His Majesty the King has approved of the award to regiments and corps of the battle honours won by them in the Great War. Regiments and corps will have awarded to them and recorded in the Army List, in addition to those already shown, the honours due to them for taking part in the battles enumerated in the report of the Battles Nomenclature Committee under the columns headed "operations" and "battles" ("name" and "tactical incidents" included).

Following the honours previously earned and at the head of the list of honours granted for the Great War to be recorded in the Army List will be placed "The Great War," and the number of battalions of the regiment taking part, thus—The Devonshire Regiment—"The Great War"—Mons, Marne, Aisne, etc. There will be only one honours list for a regiment or corps, and within the meaning of regiment and corps will be included cavalry and yeomanry regiments. An infantry regiment or corps will include the Regular, Militia (or Special Reserve), Territorial, and Service battalions of the regiments concerned.

Regiments of cavalry and yeomanry, battalions of infantry, Regular Militia (Special Reserve), and Territorial will have emblazoned on their standards, guidon and colours not more than 24 honours, of which not more than 10 will be "Great War" honours, to embrace the whole history of the regiment concerned from the date on which it was raised to the end of the Great War, such honours to be selected by regimental committees from the list of honours to be shown in the Army List. The honours emblazoned on the colours will be the same for all units comprising the regiment concerned and will be shown in the Army List in thicker type. The guiding principle in the selection and allotment of battle honours will be that headquarters and at least 50 per cent of the effective strength of a unit in a theatre of war (exclusive of drafts which, although in a theatre of war, had not actually joined the unit) must have been present at the engagement for which the honour is claimed.

Regimental committees, under the chairmanship of their regimental colonels or of representatives to be nominated by the regimental colonels, will be set up to select the particular honours for regimental colours. Detailed instructions have been issued to the colonels of regiments concerning the preparation and submission of claims for the award of battle honours.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 17 June 2016

Sailing Maggie Home
Topic: RCN

HMCS Magnificent

Sailing Maggie Home

The Montreal Gazette, 11 April 1957

The Royal Canadian Navy is sailing the carrier Magnificent home to Britain. The carrier, on loan from the Royal Navy since 1948, is to be replaced by the new Bonaventure this year [1957], a vessel which is wholly Canadian-owned. The Bonaventure was commissioned in January.

The story of the Magnificent is representative of Canada's military duties and emergencies during the cold war period. She was not Canada's first carrier, but her second, HMCS Warrior, commissioned in 1946, was operated by the RCN for 18 months. The Warrior, however, was not equipped for cold-weather operation and was returned to Britain when the "Maggie" became available early in 1948.

This was a time when the world was watching and listening to the "Battle of the Carriers" in the United States , where the American Air Force and Navy chiefs were fighting for the watered-down military appropriations of the time. There was some discussion in Canada along the same lines.

The issue was somewhat different in Canada. Here is was largely a discussion with the RCN itself, for Canada's single carrier required more than 10 percent of the RCN's manpower at the time and operating costs took some 19 percent of total appropriations.

It was quietly resolved that the Magnificent should continue in service. During the following years, her main function was training ship's crews and aircrews. Based in Halifax, she was sent to European waters during the Korean War. She engaged in many major NATO naval exercises and completed her service career as an emergency transport carrying Canadian equipment, supplies and troops to the United Nations Emergency Force in Egypt in January of this year.

The "Maggie" fired no shots, launched no aircraft in anger, but the seamen and the airmen who will man the Bonaventure will remember her fondly as the floating home and training field where they learned their professions.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 16 June 2016

"Tommy Atkins's" Career (Part 3 of 3)
Topic: British Army

It has been well said that a soldier's best qualities are displayed in the field; his worst in quarters.

"Tommy Atkins's" Career

Part III - (Vide illustrations)

The Sydney Mail, New South Wales Advertiser, 25 March 1882
By P.L.M.

In India the soldier is drilled chiefly in the early morning, for the intense heat will not allow of military exercises during the day; and he not only escapes these, but is allowed a noon-day sleep. In illustration 12 we see him enjoying this, and we observe that his object now is to reduce his coverings to a minimum; doubtless he sighs for dear old England with its ice and snow, sludge and fogs. The barrack-room is rather more commodious than that of the old country, and it is ventilated by means of punkahs (wooden frames with curtains attached) one of which is slung over each bed, and they are kept in constant motion by native labourers, or "coolies." The temperature of the room has been further reduced by means of "latties" hung over the open apertures of the barrack-room on the windward side. These are lattice frames, filled in with a soft substance called kus-kus, which is constantly kept wet. Altogether Tommy's comforts are attended to upon a much more liberal scale than that which prevails in Europe "and still he is not happy."

It has been well said that a soldier's best qualities are displayed in the field; his worst in quarters. In a former picture we have seen him a drunken lout; an intoxicated ruffian, assaulting the police, and carried off to durance vile, like an insensate brute. In illustration 13 we see him as a hero; the impersonator and embodiment of the British bull-dog. War has broken out, and Tommy Atkins with a small party finds himself on some wild hill-side surrounded by a horde of howling gesticulating savages, as well versed in the use of the rifle as he is himself, and of dauntless courage. Private Atkins and his comrade are covering a wounded officer, who is prostrate upon the sward, but continuing to protect himself and assail the dusky foe with his six-shooter. Let us hope that Tommy and his friends will prove victorious. We wish that in all our recent galling little wars, he had always displayed himself as valourously; but, alas! The heights of Isandula, and other scenes of conflict are hard and stubborn facts to the contrary, and raise in the minds of military scientists grave doubts as to the policy of short service. In the days of Welling soldier enlisted for "unlimited service," in other words to be the slave of the pipe clay for the period of his natural life, or until shot, maimed, discharged worthless, or sent about his business with a penny-a-day pension, when unfit physically for further duty. Then afterwards he joined for 21 years, which practically amounted to nearly the same thing; for after a man has been so long a soldier, the meridian of his life is past, and it were useless for him to seek to turn to other employments, Now a days, a man may enlist for "short service," which means (in the infantry) six years with the colours, and six in the reserve, so that fresh blood is constantly being infused into the army; but the iron man of former days, the "hero of a hundred fights," the fellow who "soldiered" all over the world, the trustworthy, skilled, and experienced non-commissioned officer, where are they? The former almost extinct, the latter but little more numerous.

In illustration 14 we see Tommy Atkins in the pride of his manhood off to join the reserve, his six years' service having expired. In the stalwart, sturdy, moustached soldier of this picture is presented a marked contrast to the awkward lad first introduced to the reader, and it certainly seems a pity that his country should lose practically the benefit of his services just as they have become most valuable. The day may yet arise when the British Government will bitterly regret haiving infused into our army so large an element of young lads, untutored, and unswayed by association and the examples of veterans in their own ranks.

Having thus briefly sketched the career of the British private soldier as depicted by the artist, possibly a few words on the subject of the colonial "Tommy Atkins" may not prove unacceptable to our readers.

The only regular military force in this colony is that popularly, though erroneously, known as the "Permanent" Artillery; the proper designation of this corps being "The New South Wales Artillery," such being the title bestowed upon it in the various Government Gazettes under which the three batteries of which it is composed were raised. One battery of Artillery and two companies of Infantry were originally established under a statute known as the "Naval and Military Forces Act," of 1871. By this enactment authority was given to the Government to raise regular Naval and Military forces; and it was provided that the latter should be subject to the Imperial Mutiny Act and Articles of War for the time being, as well as the "Queen's Regulations" for the control of the army. When the Mutiny Act and Articles of War were superseded two years ago by the "Army Discipline Act," that also was adopted in the colony. Our little "army" is therefore in all respects a "regular" one, and in point of drill and efficiency, may challenge competition with any regiment in the Imperial Service. Indeed such distinguished officers as Sir William Jervais, R.A., Colonel Scratchley, R.A., Colonel Dounes, R.A., General Michel, R.A., and many others visiting the colony have expressed surprise at finding in this remote quarter of the globe, three batteries established upon a basis so perfectly akin to that of the Royal Artillery. The training of the men and the establishment of a system of interior economy conducive to this end, has been especially the object of the commanding officer, Colonel C.F. Roberts (late Major R.A.). The first officers appointed were Captains Airey and Spalding (both late R.M.). The first and only officers of the Infantry were Captain (Brevet Major) Fitzsimmons, Captain Heathcote, V.C., and Lieutenants Wilson, Strong, Underwood, and Chatfield. The two splendid companies of which this corps was comprised ceased to exist on December 31st, 1872, having been disbanded by Legislative action. The Artillery, however, were spared, and in 1876 a second battery was added; a third in 1877. At that strength the force has since remained.

The Colonial "Tommy Atkins" enlists for five years' service in almost exactly the same style as his Imperial prototype, save that it has not been found necessary to beat up for recruits with a recruiting-sergeant. He therefore applies to the adjutant at the brigade office, Dawes Battery, and if the responses to the questions addressed him prove satisfactory, he is sent to the medical officer (Surgeon-Major W.G. Redford) for examination touching his physical fitness. Care is taken to obtain none but men of good antecedents, and "sound wind and limb," and it is no exaggeration to state that half the candidates for the force are rejected by the adjutant, and two-thirds the remaining half by the medical officer. The limit of age is between 17 and 35, but exceptions are occasionally made in the case of old soldiers having good discharges. It may readily be conceived that with such precautions the forces comprises a fine stalwart body of young men; and indeed this is absolutely necessary, for our artillerymen have occasionally to "rough it" pretty considerably and perform some very hard work.

Having passed the ordeals alluded to, Tommy Atkins is regularly attested before an officer, and usually granted a 24 hours' pass to make his arrangements prior to joining. He is in many respects much better off than the Imperial soldier. His pay is 2s. 3d. per diem, or double that of the British mine-man; his rations include a liberal allowance of meat, bread, vegetables, tea, coffee, butter and groceries; and he receives "a free kit" comprising his uniforms, greatcoat, boots, and underclothing, besides such necessaries as brushes, knife, fork and spoon, haversack, hold-all, &c. In fact he receives everything that a soldier can require; and his tunic and trousers are composed of a cloth superior to that issued to the British private. In return for this, however, the scale of fines for drunkenness is exactly double that of the Imperial service; and stoppages for articles lost by neglect, &c., are made having the same consideration in view.

Space does not admit or our giving a detailed account of the general routine of an artillery soldier's life; to do that we might well issue a special number. Suffice to say that as soon as Gunner Atkins joins, his work begins. He first goes through the routine of squad and setting-up drill, manual and firing exercises, and guard-mounting; he then proceeds to learn gunnery, and he is not considered dismissed in this until he has acquired a fairly competent knowledge of the drills appertaining to the 10 inch, 9 inch, and 80 pound M.L.R. guns, the 40 pound B.L. Armstrong, and the field gun, besides repository drill, comprising the mounting and dismounting and shifting of ordnance, &c. It may readily be imagined that this involves some time, and so it does; for it is rare than an average gunner can be made under about 18 months even with assiduous training. Whilst his military education is going on, he is of course becoming indoctrinated into the interior economy of a soldier's life, and taught habits of order, cleanliness, and discipline. If he be fond of soldiering and attentive, his life is a happy one enough; he need never be in trouble if he choose to abide by the regulations, which are not needlessly stringent, and his duty will become a pleasure. The lazy, unprincipled, or insubordinate, or those given to excess in liquor, however, will find their lines by no means cast in pleasant places if they join the N.S.W. Artillery. For them remain the guard-room, the defaulter-drill (of which we have already seen an illustration), the cells, and the Provost prison; besides fines, stoppages of pay, and minor punishments ad libitum. By a very wise provision also the Governor has been empowered, upon the recommendation of the commanding officer, to dismiss summarily as "worthless and incorrigible characters," any black sheep whom it may be deem undesirable to retain in the force. By this means the "bad character men" may be said to have been extirpated; and serious misconduct is a thing of rare occurrence.

That our N.S.W. Artillerists are well versed in their profession, the harbour guns they have mounted, the military works they have executed, and their well-known proficiency in drill are the best witnesses. Certainly in point of physique, intelligence, and conduct, it may well be doubted whether there are any three Imperial batteries to equal them; and whilst it may be conceded that 300 odd men are withdrawn from industrial pursuits, it is equally true that many a young man has found himself immensely improved at the end of his five years' service; and incalculably better fitted for civil life. Many of those taking their discharges with good characters are received into the police, or become warders in gaol, tram-guards, &c.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 15 June 2016

"Tommy Atkins's" Career (Part 2 of 3)
Topic: British Army

"Tommy Atkins's" Career

Part II - (Vide illustrations)

The Sydney Mail, New South Wales Advertiser, 18 March 1882
By P.L.M.

Tommy Atkins's bedroom is rather estimable in point of commodiousness and simplicity, than noteworthy for any ostentatious elegance, either of design or garniture. In a barrack the rank and file are told off to various rooms, each of which is under the immediate charge of a non-commissioned officer; usually (in the infantry) a corporal, for that superior being the sergeant is allowed the dignity of a separate establishment. He enjoys the privilege of being a member of the Sergeant's Mess," where, by payment of a small monthly subscription, he obtains many little comforts; superior quality of food, spirituous and fermented liquors, recreation in the shape of games of chance and skill, newspapers, &c., besides the benefit of the exclusion from the vulgar herd of rank and file. He also usually has a diminutive apartment allotted to him for his own separate behoof as a bedroom.

Those, however, who have not attained a rank entitling them to these privileges, have to share the large barrack-rooms—there being generally from 15 to 20 men in one dormitory. This also has to serve as Tommy Atkins's dining-room. There is a row of trestle-tables running parallel with the lengthier walls; and benches or forms, similar to those used at schools, are ranged alongside them. The soldier's couch consists of an iron-bedstead capable of being turned up in the daytime, with palliase, bolster-pillow, coarse sheets, blankets and a sort of rug-counterpane. In this re reposes comfortably enough, and illustration 8 conveys a good idea of Tommy's "bedroom at home." It will be perceived that in view of the chilliness of the season he has converted his tunic into a feet-warmer; and we in Australia, at this time of year, are rather disposed to envy him the temperature which demands such a luxury. At reveille in the morning, which varies, according to the season, from 5.30 to 6.30 a.m. every man has to turn out, dress himself, and clear up the room generally, besides his own individual share of it, under the watchful superintendence of the non-commissioned officers. The bedding has to be neatly folded, and the bed irons doubled back. When this has been accomplished, the blankets, etc., are placed where in the picture the head of the sleeper is represented, and held together by a leather strap; and the rug is laid so as to cover the projecting portion of the bed irons, thus forming a seat for the soldier. Over his head, upon the shelf depicted, his uniforms are placed accurately folded; his rifle and accoutrements are upon large hooks fastened into the wall; and his box containing the smaller articles of his kit, his brushes, &c., is under the bed-irons. So that all Tommy Atkins possessions are stowed away together, compactly, neatly, and (above all), "according to regulation."

Not content with clothing, feeding, and disciplining our private soldiers, a paternal Government now-a-days refines their manners by the soothing influence of education. Every soldier who cannot read and write, and keep simple accounts has to go to school; and he is expected to obtain at least "a fourth class certificate," implying that he has grappled more or less successfully with the elementary rudiments of literature. Having obtained this he is at liberty to demand his emancipation from the pedagogic thrall. No doubt some of the recruits are pretty tough subjects; and illustration 9 represents the schoolmaster demonstrating to his class the subtleties of the proposition that "2 plus 2 = 4" with the assistance of blackboard and chalk. The scholar on the extreme right seems profoundly impressed, and those on the left somewhat inclined to levity. Probably they are all under the impression that it is rather late in the day for them to go to school; but there can be no doubt, that in thus affording education, however limited, to Tommy Atkins the Government is really acting paternally towards him. It is possible for a man to attain a very fair degree of education at these army schools if he chose to persevere and gain a first-class certificate; but very few do, and when we consider the tedious nature of the private soldier's duties, and the class from which as a rule he emanates, there can be little cause for wonder at this. Mr. Punch, as usual, contrives to evoke a good-humoured jest out of our military schools. He represents Private Atkins, brought a prisoner before his irate colonel, to whom he has had the cold-blooded audacity to write a letter—addressing an officer in writing being strictly forbidden. "What do you mean by this familiarity, sir?" demands the enraged commander, reading from the letter "My dear Colonel," "Please, sir," pleads the witness culprit, "I didn't write that letter at all, and I didn't do it out of no respect—" "here Sergeant-major," interrupts the disgusted colonel, "take this man away, and get him a fourth-class certificate."—i.e., capacity to read and write.

Tommy Atkins having passed his musketry course, is due for service abroad; and accordingly on morning we find him, knapsack on back, and rifle on shoulder, trudging along to inspiring strains of "The girl I left behind me" to the troop-ship which is to convey his humble fortunes to India; that gorgeous jewel of the Imperial diadem, wrested by guile, and maintained by blood. Troopships now-a-days are splendid roomy steamships, such as the "Crocodile," the "Serapis," &c. Illustration 10 represents the embarkation. The picture speaks for itself. The men are proceeding singly along the gangway, at the foot of which stands an officer, who is saluted by each as he passes. A number already on board are peering from the portholes; and a group of officers occupies the foreground. On the passage the men are divided into watches, which they keep with the sailors; and such drills, &c., are maintained as are compatible with ship discipline, including a general muster every morning. After Tommy Atkins has obtained his sea-legs, and his sea-stomach, he is not badly off; certainly not worse than the denizen of the average immigrant vessel.

Arrived in India he naturally proceeds to join his regiment. Illustration 11 represents him in the Barrack-square with his comrades of the new detachment, being inspected by the Commanding Officer and Adjutant. Very well drilled and proportionately sheepish most of the gallant fellows appear, for India is, of course, the them a terra incognita, and many a good story they will hear in the barrack-room during the first week or two of their sojourn. In the background a group of old soldiers may be observed "taking stock" of their comrades, with critical eyes, whilst on the right a syce, or native groom, is in attendance with the horse of one of the field officers.

(To be continued.)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 14 June 2016

"Tommy Atkins's" Career (Part 1 of 3)
Topic: Canadian Army

But, alas for the depravity of human nature! The young soldier is, in the majority of cases, not long before he gets into trouble.

"Tommy Atkins's" Career

Part I - (Vide illustrations)

The Sydney Mail, New South Wales Advertiser, 11 March 1882
By P.L.M.

The designation "Tommy Atkins," familiarly applied by military men to the British private soldier, is of very old standing, having been in use long before the Duke of Wellington's time and probably extending back to the days of Dettingen and Fontenoy. It took its origin from the circumstance that at one time all military forms set forth by authority as precedents for use in the service were headed (for instance), "Attestation Sheet of Thomas (or Tommy) Atkins," "I, Thomas Atkins," and so forth. In this manner Private Thomas Atkins played the same conspicuous part as that mysterious pair Messr John Doe and Richard Roe used formerly to do in legal phraseology; and the sobriquet "Tommy Atkins" came into universal acceptance as the equivalent of the private soldier, just as "John Bull" has become accepted as the typical Englishman.

The recruiting sergeant has for very many years played a conspicuous part in the enrolment of embryo heroes for the British army, and has always been characterised by shrewdness, acumen, and a profound knowledge of that species of human nature which it is his province to encounter. Many witty dramatists and novelists of the last century, and not a few of the present, have furnished amusing sketches of his various artful contrivances for persuading unwary yokels to "accept the shilling." During the 18th century the process of recruiting was somewhat summary. Immediately the mystified, or inebriated, or deluded countryman had been cajoled into allowing the old coin within his palm, he virtually became a soldier, and was taken, directly he was in a fit state, before an officer or a justice of the peace to be attested, when he was at once hurried away to his regiment. In our days the process is somewhat more circumlocutory. The recruit, haiving received the "Queen's shilling," which constitutes enlistment, is furnished with a copy of the War Office form desiring him to appear before a certain justice of the peace, at a certain time, to be attested; i.e., to have an oath administered to him, the nature of which is that he will bear faithful allegiance to her Majesty, her heirs and successors; and to declare that he has never previously served in the army, navy, or militia, and that the information he has given the recruiting sergeant with regard to his birthplace, &c., is correct.

The attesting or swearing-in is ordered not to take place until 24 hours after the enlistment or reception of the shilling, nor until the recruit has been passed by a doctor as physically fit to serve. This 24 hours' grace gives the man the chance of changing his mind; he is still at liberty, when appearing for attestation, to pay back the enlisting shilling, with 20s. "smart money," and any other pay and allowances he may have received, and go free. This holds good for 96 hours from the time of enlisting. Failure to appear, however, he is liable to be punished as "a rogue and a vagabond."

It will thus be perceived that the recruit has many more chances nowadays than he was allowed by the regulations of our ancestors, who procured "food for powder" in a manner rather expeditious than formal. The recruiting sergeant is still, therefore, as of yore, selected from amongst the smartest non-commissioned officers in the regiment. He must be a man of pre-eminent address, of immense volubility, intense capacity for gasconading, and a ready wit, enabling him to solve all doubts that arise on the minds of those on whom his is plying his powers of persuasiveness, and respond to all their queries in a manner calculated to carry conviction to the most vacillating. The creed he enunciates if\s "Gory" in the military sense of the term; and of course his doctrine is that all civilian modes of gaining a living are despicable, and that the only ladder to distinction is that which bears the soldierly grades as its rungs.

Our illustration (No. 1) represents a group of recruiting sergeants assembled, probably, somewhere in the vicinity of Whitehall, and a "likely lad" in undergoing the process of being angled for. The treble-striped fraternity represent the three branches of the profession, "horse, foot, and artillery;" for they comprise a dashing lancer (who also has a candidate under surveillance), a gaudy horse-artilleryman, and a Highlander in the garb of old Gael; besides the bluff linesman in the foreground to whom the younger fellow with the pipe seems already half inclined to surrender. We can imagine the persuasions of this modern "Sergeant Kite." "Look at me," he seems to say; "observe my portly figure denoting ease and good living; remark my handsome and comfortable uniform! There's the life for you, my boys! Plenty to eat and drink, and money to spend, and her Majesty's uniform to wear, and nothing to do but amuse yourself, and pepper the blacks and foreign parts just for diversion. Join us, and it'll be the making of you; you'll be a colonel in a few years. What d'ye say? You will? There's a lad of spirit; put that shilling in your pocket, my boy, just to begin with."

It would be hard to surmise the origin of the lad he is addressing. Some indolent young citizen, apparently, who has made up his mind that commercial pursuits are not his vocation, and that a life where he has everything found and nothing to do will just suit him. In adopting a military career with the latter idea, however, he makes a terrible mistake, as he has yet to discover, when he runs the gauntlet of drill, fatigues, guards, picquets, barrack-room work, kit-cleaning, orderly duty, &c., &c. However, he enlists.

We presume that he has been duly passed "fit" by the medical authority, and that he has entirely exonerated himself from opprobrium as a "rogue and vagabond" by taking the attestation oath—for illustration No. 2 depicts him as brought before the commanding-officer and adjutant of his corps, under charge of the sergeant-major, by whom he has already been instructed to "stand to attention" in the dread presence. By the commanding-officer he is interrogated as to his name, age, trade, whether he is married, and whether he has ever served before, &c. If approved, he is measured, posted to a company, clothes, and receives "a free kit," or the outfit comprising such necessaries as a soldier is supposed to require. In the picture, the colonel, pince-nez­ duly mounted, is putting the requisite question; and the apartment is marked by that hardness and lack of convenience which seems to characterize orderly-rooms generally.

"Tommy Atkins," having been finally approved of, is sent to drill and illustration No. 3 represents him in the barrack-square undergoing the torments of "first steps" with other comrades of the "awkward squad." Such of our readers, as are or have been volunteers, will have a vivid recollection of the "goose-step," or (in the more dignified military phrase) "the balance step without gaining ground," followed by the "balance-step gaining ground," with the instructor's "One, two, three, four—one, two, three, four—one, two, three, four—Now, you've got it—Hang you, keep it," &c., &c. These are varied by "extension motions," for the purpose of expanding the chest and giving play to the muscles, in which the man has to touch his toes with the tips of his fingers, work his arms like the sails of a windmill and perform divers other refreshing exercises. The squad before us is certainly an angular one, and it may be safely predicted that the instructor who is drilling them, pace-stick in hand, has still a great deal of work before him. The object of the pace-stick is to measure off the length of the step, so that the recruit does not exceed the regulated number of inches, and this acquires at length the habit of invariably using the service pace of 30 inches in slow or quick time. In the distance may be observed another squad, who are being taught how to take up an accurate "dressing" in the ranks.

However, all things come to a termination; and this in illustration 4 we find Tommy and a comrade out for a walk. They have evidently proved apt pupils to the regimental teachers, for they are now well "set up," and have learned to wear their uniforms with the jaunty air of the soldier. The uniform is that of then line, and they are equipped in their regulation attire for the streets when not on duty—namely, tunic, waistbelt, Glengarry cap, and cloth trousers, whilst each one flourishes the light cane, which is all the regulation permits him to carry. Doubtless most recruits on finding themselves to duty, and fully clothed, feel not a little vain, and strut along the streets with no inconsiderable sense of their imposingness, especially in the feminine eye.

But, alas for the depravity of human nature! The young soldier is, in the majority of cases, not long before he gets into trouble. He falls into bad company, swallows and abnormal quantity of malt-liquor, and rapidly becomes ripe for "a row," yearning to display upon somebody his capacity for belligerent purposes. Neither is it long, usually, before he is accommodated. Illustration 5 represents him as engaged in a fight with the police.

The worthy civil custodian of las has seized the inebriated son of Mars with a tenacious grip upon the throat and left arm; while the soldier who has still his right at liberty, is giving the policeman a mauling with his belt. The waistbelt of the private soldier makes a most formidable weapon when used as depicted, and is one of which he is but too apt to avail himself if he gets into a disturbance. To such an extent is this carried on, that in many regiments there is an order prohibiting all except men of good character from wearing their belts when not on duty. The old soldier, however, seldom misuses his accoutrements in this manner. It is chiefly the raw material, such as represented in the picture.

The fighting soldier's comrade, who is very far gone in liquor, is clutching the rails to keep himself from falling; and on the left may be observed two disreputable civilians, who have, probably, in the origin had a good deal to do with the fracas.

Tommy Atkins is not, however, to be consigned to the station this time; for in illustration 6 we find that a picket of his regiment has arrived upon the scene, made him a prisoner, and are in the act of conducting him to the guardroom by a simple but most unpleasant expedient for compelling locomotion, entitled "The Frog's March." This consists simply in turning the rebel over on his face, when four men each take a leg or an arm, whilst a fifth sits on him if he attempts to rise; and thus he becomes perfectly helpless. The corpulent non-commissioned officer in command of the party is carrying the offender's Glengarry and belt.

After 24 hours of "suffering a recovery" in the seclusion of the guardroom, Tommy Atkins, having been paraded before the medical officer, and been by him marked "fit," is brought into the awful presence of his commanding officer, and hears the bead-roll of his iniquities duly recounted. As this is a flagrant case, he gets a term of "confinement to barracks," which involves "pack," or "defaulter-drill" (illustration 7). The defaulter, having to fulfill all ordinary duties, attend parades, &c., has to do not more than four nor less than two hours' "defaulter drill," administered an hour at a time, per diem. This is done in full accoutrements, belts, helmet, greatcoat, haversack, &c., in fact "heavy marching order." He has also to answer his name at intervals of hand-an-hour (when not actually on drill) all day long; thus it may truly be admitted that "taking one thing with another, a defaulter's life is not a happy one."

Our illustration depicts him with his brother delinquents performing their defaulter drill, under the auspices of a severe-looking sergeant.

(To be continued.)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 13 June 2016

Advise on the Bayonet Question
Topic: Cold Steel

For turning flapjacks the trowel bayonet has no rival.

Advise on the Bayonet Question

The Corvallis Gazette, Corvallis, Oregon, 15 June 1883

We perceive in a Washington paper that there is some talk in military circles of introducing a new style of bayonet into the army. It is a painful thing to the soldier to have a new kind of bayonet introduced, particularly after he has be come accustomed to the triangular, or trowel bayonet heretofore in use. The short, broad, triangular bayonet has several advantages possessed by no other implement of death. After a hostile Indian, or any other foe of Uncle Sam's has been bayoneted with the trowel bayonet, he may not like it at first, but he never will use any other kind in his family. In case of necessity, the trowel is intended to be used as an intrenching tool. If a company of infantry, armed with the trowel bayonet, is about to be attacked in a large open prairie, the soldiers can, in a few moments throw up a breastwork almost as high as their heads. Instead of doing away with the trowel bayonet, other weapons that might serve two or three purposes should be furnished our gallant soldiers. For turning flapjacks the trowel bayonet has no rival. With the ordinary long, narrow bayonet the soldier cannot possibly turn his flapjack without making a mess of it. In digging up mesquite roots for fuel on the boundless prairies of the West, the trowel bayonet is a perfect terror, so the soldiers say. Excellent as the trowel bayonet is, it might be improved somewhat. We think a kind of combined battle axe and pitchfork bayonet might be invented. It should be somewhat after the style of those table knives made for one-armed men, with a fork on the back of the knife, with which to impale the chunks of beef-steak that have been cut into by the blade of the implement. A weapon of this kind in the hands of our soldiers would be very effective. It is also our opinion that a combined spade and revolver, a kind of revolving spade, might be invented, that would deliver a dozen shots a minute, and dig up a ten acre field while it is being reloaded. We have very little practical military experience, and merely call the attention of General Sherman to these suggestions in a casual off-hand sort of way. We do not wish to be understood as dictating to the military authorities.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 12 June 2016

Soldiers' Rations (1913)
Topic: Army Rations

Regarding the tobacco issued to the men who took part in the trial march, Lieutenant-Colonel Melville mentions that the majority of the men preferred private supplies.

Soldiers' Rations (1913)

Results of Experiments
New Scale Adopted

The Glasgow Herald, 17 December 1913

A Blue-book was issued last night containing a report on two experimental marches carried out under the orders of the Army Council in the autumns of 1909 and 1910 with a view to furnishing material for the purpose of deciding on a satisfactory scale of field service rations. In a preface to the document it is stated that in April, 1911, the Army Council appointed a committee to consider the reports on the two experimental marches. The committee recommended that:—

1.     The field service ration should be of 3 lb. weight and 4500 calories.

2.     The emergency ration should be abolished.

3.     Immediate steps should be taken to lighten the soldier's equipment.

4.     The water-bottle and mess tins should be made of aluminum.

5.     An iron ration should be adopted weighing 2 lb. 6 oz. to be packed regimentally in canvas wrappers constructed to hold two rations.

6.     The iron ration should be carried in the haversack or greatcoat or in waggons according to circumstances.

7.     One mincing machine per company should be issued.

The Council approve the proposed field service ration and abolished the emergency ration.

It was directed that experiments in lightening the equipment should be continued, but the proposal to use aluminum water bottles and mess tins was held over to ascertain the result of trials.

A further committee was appointed to consider the manner of carrying the iron ration, its composition, and the issue of mincing machines. This committee's recommendations as to the composition of the iron ration (namely, 1 lb. prepared meat, 6 biscuits, 3 oz. cheese, 1 grocery ration, and 2 cubes of meat extract), and the issue of various types of mincing machines for trial received the Council's approval. It was further decided that one iron ration should be carried on the soldier and that the second iron rations should usually be carried with the transport, and be transferred to the soldier to carry when likely to be required.

The reduction of the soldier's load by the transference of some ammunition from the man to transport waggons has also been approved.

Abolition of Potato Ration

In his report on experimental marches Lieutenant-Colonel Charles H. Melville, R.A.M.C., the superintending officer, explains that the energy value of the ration issued to the men on the first march was 3465 calories gross and the weight 3 lb. The Committee which carried out the experiments were of opinion that the amount of energy furnished under ordinary conditions of active service should be 4500 calories, and that there should be a certain elasticity about the scale permitting of an increase up to 5000 calories. They held that it was impossible to furnish as much as 4000 calories in a ration weighing only 3 lb. without introducing the defect of over-concentrating. The ration which they sketched admittedly contained this defect. It eliminated the potato ration, which possesses the least energy value of any of the constituents of the field service ration. Moreover, it is bulky and does not transport well. There is roughly 1000 calories of a deficiency between the energy standard of the old ration and the minimum proposed by the Committee. This deficiency, the Committee proposed, should be made up by substituting bacon and cheese for potatoes and doubling the jam ration. For a ration furnishing the energy of 4500 to 5000 calories without the defect of over-concentration the Committee consider that 3 ¾ lb. to 4 lb. was necessary.

Regarding the tobacco issued to the men who took part in the trial march, Lieutenant-Colonel Melville mentions that the majority of the men preferred private supplies. The brand issued, he says, was good but too strong. The men who used it complained of this. The taste of the class from which the men are drawn seems to have changed distinctly in this matter. Instead of the old-fashioned highly flavoured tobaccos they seem to prefer a lighter variety. A tobacco too strong for the taste of the individual using it is apt to cause digestive disturbances. No restrictions were placed on pipe smoking, but cigarettes were prohibited on the march and restricted to two or three times a day in camp.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 11 June 2016

Canada's Military Contingent (Jubilee 1897)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canada's Military Contingent (Jubilee 1897)

A Creditable Sample of Our Citizen Soldiers

The Sarnia Observer, 11 June 1897

Her Majesty Queen Victoria

A stamp celebating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

Obverse of the Jubilee medal 1897.

Reverse of the Jubilee medal 1897.
"In Commemoration of the 60th Year of the Reign of Queen Victoria 20 June 1897"

A Victoriam shoulder strap badge worn by The Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry. now The Royal Canadian Regiment.

Quebec, June 7.—To the strains of "The Maple Leaf," sung by the men themselves after the military bands ashore had played "God Save the Queen," and with the enthusiastic cheers of thousands of their admiring fellow-countrymen ringing in their ears, the Canadian militia contingent that is to represent the Dominion in the Jubilee pageant in London, sailed from Quebec on the Vancouver, at half past nine yesterday morning.

The inspection of the contingent Saturday was one of the most interesting military functions which has taken place in Canada for years. It appeared at its very best, and it can safely be said, without the least possible fear of contradiction, that is was the unanimous opinion of every one of the many military men present that Lieut. Colonel Aylmer's contingent of "elegant extracts" from some of the representative corps of the Canadian service will do the Dominion proud in London.

As the men stood there in a line expressions of admiration were outspoken and general. Everyone agreed that the contingent was an immense success, that it looked soldier-like and smart, and would be in every respect a credit to Canada in England. Thanks to the arrangement of the units the disadvantage of the large variety of uniforms appeared to have been turned to advantage. Out of weakness had been created strength. Instead of imparting a crazy-quilt appearance to the contingent the diversity of uniforms really seemed to have increased the soldierly appearance and spectacular effect of the parade.

It was impossible to help admiring the men all through the contingent. Of six footers there are many, while, if there was any man present under five feet nine it was hard even for the eyes of trained soldiers to pick him out. Uniforms all along the line were clean and well fitted, and arms and equipment, of course, in the pink of condition. The arm drill was splendid all through, and the marching fairly steady in all cases considering the height of the grass, of a little lacking in life in some units. The week's training in England before the Jubilee will doubtless remedy any little defects which do exist.

But while admiration was rightly expressed for every detachment, the North West mounted police were the lions of the hour. As they stood in line they formed a military picture which, while fairly rivetting the eye of every soldier present, impressed every beholder. The average of the detachment is nearly six feet, and there is not two inches difference between the heights of the tallest and the shortest man. The eye fails to detect any difference. While practical uniformity in height has been observed in selecting these fine men, so has uniformity in chest, shoulder and limb measurement, and the effect can be well judged. They are all men of a type, and that type the very beau ideal of a soldier. Tall, well proportioned, muscular fellows they are, with clean-cut bronzed faces, and not a surplus ounce of flesh anywhere about them. They drill like machinery, and stand so steady on parade that not a finger moves except by word of command, and apparently not an eye winks. Her Majesty's household cavalry may equal Major Perry's men; they certainly cannot excel them.

Saturday they paraded with carbines in their handsome dragoon uniforms of scarlet, orange trimmed tunics, black breeches, with broad orange stripes, white helmets, brown waist belts, and revolver pouches, and bandoliers frilled with brightly burnished cartridges. The men are anxious to parade in London in their "prairie service uniform," which they consider more distinctive. To give the militia authorities an idea of this uniform, Sergt. Major Bagley turned out in prairie uniform on Saturday, and mounted on a handsome young remount supplied by the Royal Canadian Artillery, horse and man made a handsome picture. The horse wore ordinary police saddlery, including the picturesque and comfortable Oregon saddle with the rider's carbine slung in the regulation way across the "horn" of the pommell. The Sergeant wore the regulation black, orange striped breeches, brown canvas jacket, brown belt and bandolier, brown gauntlets and a large grey leather-trimmed sombrero hat, secured to his head in the orthodox cowboy style by a strap under the back of his poll.

This is the uniform the police wear on their duties on the prairie, and it is at once soldierlike, serviceable and highly picturesque. Each man takes his service uniform home with him besides his scarlet tunic and serge. During the march past Bagley showed what the "riders of the plains" can do on horseback. His young mount became factious, and three dogs attacking her ferociously at once did not improve her temper, and she insisted on not going past the flag. Bagley sat the beast like a statue, sitting solemnly at attention moving not even a muscle of his face, much less his eye or a hand. He did not even use the spur, but by the imperceptible pressure of the knees controlled the animal and guided it past the flag in spite of itself.

The inspection was brief. Lord Aberdeen expressed his gratification and gave the men some goof advice as to their conduct while in England. Before the contingent marched off, Major General Gascoigne stepped to the front, took off his hat, ordered "off head dresses" and three cheers for Her Majesty the Queen, the General leading with hip-hip-hip, the men responding with hurrahs.

All of the contingent are armed with rifles of carbines except the field artillery, who have swords only.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 January 2016 7:31 PM EST
Friday, 10 June 2016

"Battle Honours"---Source of Pride
Topic: Battle Honours

"Battle Honours"—Source of Pride

Ottawa Citizen, 19 January 1957

Displayed on ornamental shield plaques in suitably prominent positions on board many warships are "battle honours," otherwise known as battle scrolls. The record the engagements and battles in which ships have participated and are a source of pride to all those serving in the ship, recording as they do the deeds of those who have gone before. It is the Navy's practice to perpetuate in new construction the names of ships with a good record of service. Accordingly, some ships of the Royal Navy have battle honours going back for hundreds of years. The battle honours on board HMCS Magnificent (aircraft carrier) recall, for example, series of battles in which the first Magnificent, a 74-gun ship-of-the-line, took part. These include a series of fierce engagements between Admiral Rodney's British West Indies Fleet and a French fleet under Admiral de Gutchen in 1780 and the Battle of the Saintes, off Dominica, in the West Indies in 1782, between fleets under Admiral Rodney and Admiral DeGrasse. The battle honours of HMCS Crescent have an even longer listing and date back to the time of the Spanish Armada in 1588. But those of older ships of the Royal Canadian Navy are for the most part of comparatively recent origin, recording their exploits in the Second World War or off Korea.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Burden the Soldier Boy Carries (1918)
Topic: Soldiers' Load

The Burden the Soldier Boy Carries

What the 70-Pound Load Means in Comfort, Security and Living

The Sunday Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, 13 January 1918
By Clive Marshall

According to a statement issued by the War Department, it costs Uncle Sam $156.71 to equip an infantryman for service in France. Clothing costs $101.62; eating utensils, etc., $7.73, and fighting equipment, $47.86.

War is a burden, all the way around, any way you take it, up, down and around, over and over and all together, war is a burden—and the burden begins with the individual man.

The man who stays at borne burdened with war taxes, and the man who goes to the front is burdened with a soldier's field kit. which, while it is probably heavier than the kit carried by the soldier in any other war in modern history, is, nevertheless, the most complete, serviceable, compactly built and carefully figured out kit in point of greatest serviceability with least weight that has ever been designed for a nation's fighter.

The American soldier, today, in active service is expected to carry as much as possible, but he must carry nothing that is not absolutely necessary to the best service in the ordinary, to-be-expected experiences of war, and necessary, too, in emergencies. That "much as possible" must be figured with a careful regard to weight and an ever clear, designing eye to compactness of parts and precision of distribution so that the kit will work a minimum of hindrance to the movements of the fighting man carrying it. Therefore the field kit of the soldier must have all that it should have, even to the call of emergency, weighing the least that all can weigh, assembled as compactly as possible and put upon the body of the fighter in a way designed to render it the least likely to impede his action on the march or in battle.

Load of 70 Pounds Carried

The total load earned by the American soldier in the present war, counting in the weight of the clothes which he wears, approximates 70 pounds. The field kit, which includes the rifle and other fighting equipment, together with eating utensils, weighs 54 pounds, and Army officials have figured it down to ounces in metal, cotton, wool, leather and wood, and have said thus far and no farther; it can weigh no less and be serviceable; it is serviceable and must weigh no more.

The chief fighting tool of course, is the rifle. The official title, of the American Army rifle today is "303 pattern '17." It is a mixture of Springfield and Enfield rifles, but because the name Enfield has been popularly attached to the rifle and because Enfield seems to belong with Lee as naturally as Krag with Jorgenson, the man on the street has decided forthwith that the rifle is the old Lee-Enfield. In fact, however, the British-designed rifle being manufactured here for our Army is of a pattern of 1914 and has little in common with the old British Lee-Enfield. This rifle complete with bayonet weighs 11 pounds, and on this point the arm has met with some criticism. It takes a pretty husky man to handle the present Army rifle dexterously in the bayonet fighting now in style on the European battlefields, and the critics contend that rifle weighing nine or nine and one-half pounds with bayonet fixed would give a great advantage.

Modem warfare also compels the soldier to carry a shovel for trench digging. This shovel is a short-handled, round-pointed spade, somewhat of the "common garden variety," and has been made to weigh 25 ounces in iron and steel and four ounces in wood. The equipment of every American soldier contains this small shovel, but on the European battle field the trench tools of tho soldiers are divided among the members of a squad—eight men—as follows: four shovels, two pick mattocks, one polo or hand ax and one wire cutter. So it seems that in what ever re-equipping of the fighters on arrival on the firing line, four out of every eight soldiers are given either pick mattocks, hand axes or wire cutters in place of their shovels. Every American fighter, however, is sent away with a shovel which is reduced to the minimum of weight and strapped snugly to his back in such a way that he may march, run at double-quick, engage in hand-to-hand combat, or drop on his stomach in position of firing without feeling inconvenienced or hindered by the presence of the trench tool.

The rifle, bayonet, trench tool and cartridges complete the soldier's fighting equipment. Every soldier carries 100 cartridges, distributed in pockets attached to a belt, five cartridges to a clip. These 100 cartridges have, a combined weight of 47.4 ounces in brass, 36.4 ounces in metal in bullets and 12 ounces in explosives. The cartridge belt itself weighs ten ounces in brass and 14.1 ounces in cotton.

The actual fighting equipment of the up-to-date soldier makes up less than half of the total load he carries; the remainder is made up of what he carries for his own bodily needs, protection and comfort.

Contents of the "Kit"

Every soldier in the American Army today carries with him sufficient food, water, clothing and means of protection and shelter to take care of himself for a short period in case he should become separated from his company. The number of articles making up this part of the kit is surprisingly large. Each kit carried contains, besides extra clothing, a blanket, rubber pouches, a canteen, a mess kit, including meat can, knife, fork, spoon and cup, toilet articles, a first aid package, gas mask, steel helmet and shelter tent.

One of the most useful things a soldier carries is this shelter tent, commonly called a "dog-tent." Each man carries one tent cover, one tent pole and five tent pins, which make one-half of a shelter tent, and two men can combine their halves and set up a "dog" in a few minutes. This tent, of course, is used only in temporary camps on forced marches.

According to a statement issued by the War Department, it costs Uncle Sam $156.71 to equip an infantryman for service in France. Clothing costs $101.62; eating utensils, etc., $7.73, and fighting equipment, $47.86.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Discharged---With Ignominy
Topic: Discipline

…the non-commissioned officer in charge of the escort steps forward and, amid a silence almost to be felt, with a sharp knife divests the prisoner of all military distinctions in the form of medals, badges, buttons, &c.

Discharged—With Ignominy

The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 8 March 1930
By Montague Norman

Some gave them white bread,
and some gave them brown,
Some gave them plum cake,
and drumm'd them out of town.

How many reading or hearing the words of the old nursery rhyme ever give a thought to the meaning of those contained in the second portion of the last line? Few of us, I'm sure, and yet there is a very interesting meaning to them. Without any doubt, Lewis Carroll, when penning "Alice's Adventures Through the Looking Glass," knew all about them, for we see in the older editions of this classic of our childhood a picture of Alice holding her ears against the din created by phantom sticks in the air all around her. And to military custom we may turn for an explanation.

Some sixty or seventy years ago the British Army recorded amongst the list of authorised punishments for certain crimes under its jurisdiction that of being "discharged—with ignominy." This sentence was carried out, where awarded, with full military honors—or, rather, dishonors, the delinquent soldier being literally "drummed out" of his regiment.

During the war, as a member of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, I was on one occasion posted to the reserve battalion of the regiment at its depot at Parkhurst Barracks, Isle of Wight. Curiously enough, it was at these barracks that almost the last case of "drumming out" took place. At that time, somewhere in the sixties or seventies, the barracks were the depot of the North Devon Regiment. With a first-hand knowledge of the locality, it is easy for me to reconstruct the scene depicting the last act in the regimental life of the degraded soldier.

Picture the gravelled parade ground, some one hundred and fifty yards across, and bounded in the front, as we stand in the roadway, by a high iron picket and stone pillar fence, and on the other three sides the barrack buildings, with the officers' mess and quarters on the right. Drawn up on parade is the battalion, forming three sides of a hollow square, the fourth side being peopled by the prisoner and escort, the colonel and the adjutant, and finally the battalion fife and drum band. A brisk command brings all ranks stiffly to attention, and no sound is heard save the voice of the adjutant as he reads loudly in a clear voice the details of the crime of which the prisoner has been found guilty and the sentence awarded him by the court-martial by which he has been tried—"to be discharged—with ignominy."

The reading of the sentence concluded, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the escort steps forward and, amid a silence almost to be felt, with a sharp knife divests the prisoner of all military distinctions in the form of medals, badges, buttons, &c. One by one they are cut off, and one by one thrown in the dust, until at last the culprit stands, divested even of support for his nether garments, and gripping tightly to tunic and trousers to keep them in place. Follows the pinning of these garments, and the N.C.O. stands back, ready for the next scene in the drama of shame. The battalion is formed into two ranks, the prisoner handcuffed, and the actual drumming-out commences. Out steps the smallest drummer boy in the band, holding a rope with a running noose in his hand. This he slips around the neck of the degraded man, and, led by the drums and fifes shrilling the Rogue's March, a piece of music written especially for just such an occasion, a procession is formed, which marches from the right of the line to the left and back again, between the ranks.

The march concluded, and every man having had a good look at his erstwhile companion, the procession now directs its steps to the main gate, which opens on Cowes-Newport road. Here the band wheels to the right to permit of the little drummer performing his last rites—the removal of the rope and the hearty kick to help the departing man on his way to—the arms of the civil authorities, who dispose of him as they see fit, usually by a term of imprisonment.

And thus did the British army, in the "good old days" of sixty or seventy years ago, "drum out" and rid itself of a member who might prove himself an undesirable constituent of her majesty's forces.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Jubilee Regiment (1897)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Jubilee Regiment (1897)

It Sailed for England on the Vancouver Yesterday
Inspected on Saturday
By Lord Aberdeen and Major-General Gascoigne—The Regiment is a Credit to the Country

Her Majesty Queen Victoria

A stamp celebating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

Obverse of the Jubilee medal 1897.

Reverse of the Jubilee medal 1897.
"In Commemoration of the 60th Year of the Reign of Queen Victoria 20 June 1897"

A Victoriam shoulder strap badge worn by The Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry. now The Royal Canadian Regiment.

The Montreal Gazette, 7 June 1897
(From our own correspondent.)

Quebec, June 6.—The weather this morning was perfect and some 10,000 people saw the Canadian jubilee military contingent embark on R.M.S. Vancouver for England. All the wharves, the Princess Louise docks and the Terrace were thronged with spectators, and the streets are almost impossible as the regiment marched to the breakwater where the Vancouver was lying. At 7.45 the Queen's Own Canadian Huzzars (sic) and Eighth Royal Rifles with bands marched own to the breakwater to receive the troops who followed in about ten minutes, headed by the R.C.A. band and accompanied by the Ninth Battalion and Quebec Field Battery. There was much enthusiasm, and the men were repeatedly cheered as they embarked and when the reappeared on the vessel's deck. The bands played "The Girl I Left Behind Me" and other lively tunes on the way to the wharf, and all four bands "Auld Lang Syne" before the vessel sailed, amidst repeated cheering. As the Vancouver pulled out "God Save the Queen" was played, and there was more cheering. Then the men on board the steamer sang "The Maple leaf." General Gascoigne and Col. Lake, C.M.G., were present to see the troops off and were greatly pleased at the demonstration. Before embarking the men of the Ninth Battalion were presented by admirers with $250 in gold. The contingent presented a splendid appearance, and were loudly applauded by the steamer's passengers when they appeared. All were well and in the very best of spirits. Such a demonstration of popular feeling has not been seen here for many years past, and greatly pleased the men.

Makeup of the 1897 Canadian Jubilee Contingent

Saturday's Inspection

The regiment was inspected on Saturday by Lord Aberdeen and Major-General Gascoigne. The inspection began about noon, the man having first marched down, headed by the R.C.A. band, in the following order: Dragoons, Hussars, Mounted Police, Field Artillery, Garrison Artillery, infantry and rifles. Lieut.-Col. Aylmer, adjutant-general, was in command and treated the force as a brigade. His Excellency the Governor-General and Major-General Gascoigne inspected the line together in a most critical manner, paying special attention to the Mounted Police detachment, who were in full dress like the other corps, and to Sergt.-Major Bagley, of E Division, who was mounted and in "parade uniform," with his rifle strapped across his saddle and wearing the jacket used on active service, as well as a sombrero. His Excellency and Major-General then retired to the saluting point with their staff and witnessed the march past, the advance in review order, etc. After this the flanks faced inwards, forming three sides of a hollow square.

Lord Aberdeen Speaks

Lord Aberdeen addressed the men. On behalf of both himself, the General and the public, he heartily congratulated the men upon their fine appearance and wished them a pleasant journey. He felt sure that they would prove themselves worthy representatives of their country, and read them a little leisure, in which he advised them to behave in a gentlemanly manner, as their social as well as their military conduct would be taken into account by people in judging of Canada by them.

Major-General Gascoigne then called upon the men to remove their headdresses and give three cheers for Her Majesty, which was done with a will. The contingent afterwards marched off in fours and back to the Citadel, where they were photographed several times. Some men have been weeded out of the corps and replaced, others have straightened up, and many of the uniforms have been made to fit, so that in the magnificent body of soldiers which paraded today no one would recognize the somewhat unmilitary looking lot of men who at the outset called out so much unfavorable newspaper comment. Today the force proved that is could honestly be called a good average representative one, not, perhaps, the best that could be picked, but, at the same time, one well fitted to do Canada credit. The Mounted Police undoubtedly came in for the greatest part of the praise universally award to the contingent, though all heartily deserved it. Sergt.-Major Bagley, however, received about as much praise as all the rest combined, and gave an admirable exhibition of horsemanship, while his uniform excited much favorable comment. It is pretty well understood that the Mounted Police will appear in "prairie uniform" in the London procession.

Officers in Command

The officers commanding units, etc., are as follows:

  • Officer Commanding—Lieut.-Col. Aylmer, adjutant-general,
  • Adjutant—Capt. MacDougall, R.R.C.I.,
  • Orderly Officer—Lieut.-Col. Longhurst, P.E.I. Brigade G.A.
  • Paymaster—Lieut.-Col. Munroe, 22nd Battalion,
  • Officer Commanding Cavalry—Major Evans, R.C.D., Winnipeg,
    • No. 1 Troop—Capt. Fleming, G.G.B. Guards,
    • No. 2 Troop—Capt. Brown, Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, Ottawa,
    • No. 3 Troop—Major A. Brown Perry, Inspector Northwest Mounted Police, "E" Division,
  • Officer Commanding Artillery—Major Hendrie, Hamilton Field Battery,
  • Garrison Artillery—Major Hibbard, Montreal G. Artillery,
  • Officer Commanding Infantry—Lieut.-Col. Mason, Royal Grenadiers, Toronto,
  • Second in Command—Major Pellatt, Q.O.R.,
    • No. 1 Company—Capt. Thompson, 37th Battalion, Haldimand,
    • No. 2 Company—Capt. Pelletier, 65th Battalion

The 8th is Angry

Grave dissatisfaction exists in the 8th Royal Rifles, of this city, over their not being represented on the Canadian jubilee regiment. The men claim that their officers did not make proper efforts to have them represented, and are now more indignant than ever since the officers refused to allow them to go to Montreal for the jubilee celebration, although they were willing to pay their own expenses. The crack company, number four, subsequently offered to pay its own way if allowed to go, and was again refused. Consequently many men and non-coms. Have resigned, and many more say that they will do so.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 6 June 2016

Trimming the Militia, 1874
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Recent Militia General Order

The Ottawa Times, 11 June 1874

The Globe of the 6th [June, 1874] contains a full, and upon the whole fair, criticism of the changes entailed by the recent Militia General Order, a few of the leading points of which have reference to the numbers to be drilled, the period of training, and the pay of the Active Militia for the years 1874 and 1875. It takes exception, however, in some degree, to the striking off of some corps from the list for pay at the annual encampment for this and the coming year, and also to the nor permitting others, who had not performed the annual drill for 1873 and 1874, to perform it now or hereafter.

We are of the same opinion, however, taking the General Order of 3rd June itself, that the grounds upon which the changes have been made are of the most equitable character. The money appropriation for drill purposes for '74/'75, is only sufficient for the training of 30,000 of all ranks, while the entire force numbered something over 46,000; hence it will be seen that some plan had to be adopted for the striking out of 16,000. In considering this plan the great object in view was to avoid doing injustice to any, or at all events to give precedence in the force to those who had, all things considered, best earned it.

To effect the required reduction, the acting Adjutant General, as will be seen by the general order above referred to, has pursued the only course, by which, according to our view of the matter, the desired result could be fairly arrived at. First, by striking off all corps that had been gazetted, but never equipped; second, by removing from the active list such corps as had become disorganized; and third, by leaving off the list for pay for '74 and '75, all corps that at the annual drill for '73-'74, had mustered under 30 non-commissioned officers and men. The use of the pruning knife here seems to have been highly judicious.

The Globe claims that in the application of the rule, as against corps that had not mustered thirty men at their last drill, some exceptions should be made in favor of companies who had earned a good name and whose quality in every other respect was of a high order. The maintenance of a certain numerical standard is ever as essential to efficiency and as necessary to a deserving character as any other quality; and its absence or a disregard of it must be held to be worthy of the treatment accorded to such corps in the recent General Orders. We cannot see that there is any ground of special indulgence that would fairly free any corps from the operation of this order.

It does appear, however, with respect to another point of objection by the Globe, that it is worthy of consideration. Corps that have been actually caught by the General Order in the act of performing their dill should be dealt with as having "completed" it. But those who might otherwise undertake to do it only after they have been admonished that if they neglected it they would suffer a certain disqualifications, are very properly prevented by the strict terms of the General Order. The reduction, we conceive, has been accomplished with remarkable fairness. It would so far as we can see, by proper under the circumstances, and since the appropriation made by Parliament has been reduced, its propriety is all the more marked.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 5 June 2016

What a Soldier Carries
Topic: Soldiers' Load

What a Soldier Carries

The Average Pack Weighs 62.41 Pounds
Continual Efforts to Make Equipment Lighter

Boston Evening Transcript, 23 May 1908

Washington, May 23.—The problem of the soldier's field equipment is one that is continually before the military authorities. On the one hand every effort is made to lighten his pack in order that he may be able to march and to fight better; on the other hand, the improvements in material and the changes in conditions of warfare constantly demand additions to his pack; intrenching tools, range finders, cooking utensils, tools for removing obstructions (wire entanglements, etc.), and others too numerous to mention. The weight of the arms, ammunition and equipments carried by the infantry soldier of the different armies of the world is as follows:

Germany60.71 pounds
France57.48 pounds
France (Alpine troops)70.61 pounds
Italy64.10 pounds
Italy (Alpine troops)63.02 pounds
Japan (summer)62.40 pounds
Austria-Hungary58.55 pounds
Russia64.25 pounds
Switzerland (old pack)66.41 pounds
Switzerland (experimental pack, 1907)56.96 pounds

The French infantryman therefore carries the lightest pack and the French Alpine chasseur the heaviest. The average pack weighs 62.41 pounds. The United States soldier marches very light, but then he has no prescribed intrenching tools or individual cooking implements (other than his mess kit) to carry, so that it is not possible to compare his equipment directly with that of the European soldier.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 4 June 2016

The Woods Recogniton Cards; The Queens
Topic: Cold War

The Woods Recogniton Cards; The Queens

Playing cards marked with silhouettes to practice recognition of armoured fighting vehicles and aircraft were a novelty given or sold to soldiers during the Cold War. A late edition of such cards was produced by Woods Manufacturing, of Ottawa, Ontario, (now Guthrie Woods).

The four queens for this deck, pictured above, featured the following:


See also, the Jokers, the Aces, and the Kings.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 3 June 2016

Ideal Army Ration (1899)
Topic: Army Rations

Ideal Army Ration (1899)

What a Soldier Gets and What He Should Get

The Montreal Gazette, 29 July 1899
(Dr. Louis L. Seaman, in Leslie's Weekly)

The ration of the army today consists of the following constituents:—

  • Fresh beef, or mutton when the cost does not exceed that of beef, twenty ounces;
    • or pork or bacon, twelve ounces;
    • or salt beef, twenty-two ounces;
    • or, when meat cannot be furnished, dried fish, fourteen ounces;
      • or pickled fish or fresh fish, eighteen ounces;
      • or cornmeal, twenty ounces.
    • Baking powder for troops in the field, when necessary to enable them to bake their own bread, sixteen twenty-fifths ounces.
    • Beans or peas, two and two-fifths ounces;
      • or rice or hominy, one and three-fifths ounces.
    • Potatoes, sixteen ounces;
      • or potatoes, twelve and four-fifths ounces, and onions, three and one-fifth ounces;
      • or potatoes, eleven and one-fifth ounces, and canned tomatoes, four and four-fifths ounces,
      • or four and four-fifths ounces of other fresh vegetables, not canned, when they can be obtained in the vicinity of the post or transported in a wholesome condition from a distance.
    • Coffee, green, one and three-fifths ounces,
      • or roasted coffee, one and seven twenty-fifths ounces;
      • or tea, green or black, eight twenty-fifths ounce.
    • Sugar, two and two fifth's ounces;
      • or molasses or cane syrup, sixteen twenty-fifths gill.
    • Vinegar, eight twenty-fifths gill;
    • salt sixteen twenty-fifths ounce;
    • pepper, black, one twenty-fifth ounce.
  • A proper diet for the tropics, obviously, should be of a vegetable character. This would supply the elements of energy, without unduly heating the body. This is just what the ideal ration should accomplish. It should accommodate itself to the needs of the individual everywhere. In the north it should supply him with the abundance of heat-producing elements demanded by the colder climate, while in the south it should limit that supply and provide him with the diet suited to his new environment. It should, further, in southern or tropical campaigns, when barrack or camp life is abandoned for active work in the field, readily adapt itself to the increased demand of the system for nitrogenous elements; for field work with its greater activity, requires greater energy producing food than does the quieter life in the barracks. This was illustrated in several regiments that visited Puerto Rico, notably in one of the artillery regiments, which landed about the same time as did my own, the First United States Volunteer Engineers. This particular regiment saw the hardest kind of work from the very moment of its arrival, until, upon the signing of the protocol, it was sent North. During its stay on the island—about six weeks—the troops subsisted almost entirely upon the "travel ration" (much worse than the field ration when viewed from the standpoint of the ideal), but they had comparatively little sickness, the effect of the excess of the nitrogenous element having been neutralized by the tremendously active life the men had been compelled to lead.

    In order to reach the ideal, then, the present ration should be radically changed. The beef and salt pork component should be cut in two, and farinaceous food and fish substituted. There would be plenty of meat left even then, for the old theory that meat alone makes brawn and muscle has long since been exploded. Beef has been beaten time and again on the athletic field; and on the plains of Marathon, in the great international games recently held in the presence of the king and assembled thousands, the victorious champion in the twenty-five mile foot race was he who had not tasted a single ounce of meat in his long course of training. Salted rations should also be issued but once, or most, twice during the week, and fresh supplies should be provided from beef on the hoof at the point where issued. Of the cereals, one of the best is hominy, which is not only nutritious and easily digested, but it relished by the men as well. Equally valuable is the rice component, and its present issue should be quadrupled in quantity. The black or red bean (frijol), of the tropics should be substituted, in southern latitudes, for the white bean of this country and dried fruits, especially apples and prunes should be added to the ration.

    The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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