The Minute Book
Saturday, 13 August 2016

Rating Officers of Army (US Army, 1918)
Topic: Officers

Rules for Rating Officers of Army (US Army, 1918)

Officers Will Be Rated Every Three Months Hereafter, and Promotions Will Be Made Accordingly, Points Considered

The Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, South Carolina, 17 October 1918

Officers here are much interested in the new plan of rating officers, which has just been announced by the war department. The new scheme, which is to go into effect, provides that every officer in the army below the grade of brigadier-general, will hereafter be re-rated every three months. The ratings will be made by immediate superior officers and will be subject to review.

Officers will be judged by five standards, physical qualities, intelligence, leadership, personal qualities and value to the service, the latter counting for 40 per cent of the whole. According to the instructions which have been received here, the rules for making ratings may be based upon the following points.

1.     Physical qualities, including physique, bearing, neatness, voice, energy, endurance. An officer will be rated by the manner in which he impresses his command in these respects. The highest rating in this will be 15 points out of 100.

2.     Intelligence. Accuracy, ease in learning; ability to grasp quickly the point of view of a commanding officer, to issue clear and intelligent orders, to estimate a new situation, and to arrive at a sensible decision in a crisis. Highest rating to be given, 15 points.

3.     Leadership. Initiative, force, self-reliance, decisiveness, tact, ability to inspire men and to command their obedience, loyalty and co-operation. Highest rating, 15 points.

4.     Personal qualities. Industry, dependability, loyalty; readiness to shoulder responsibility for his own acts; freedom from conceit and selfishness; readiness and ability to co-operate. Highest rating, 15 points.

5.     General value to the service. Professional knowledge, skill and experience; success as administrator and instructor; ability to get results. Highest rating, 40 points.

The war department has announced that promotions in the future will be made upon these ratings, and officers are being urged to have the ratings made as accurate as possible.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 23 July 2016

Officers Mess Auction (1855)
Topic: Officers

Officers Mess Auction (1855)

With the rotation of British regiments in and out of garrisons throughout the Empire, or the reorganization of locally raised units, there were occasions which caused the Officers' Messes to dispense with property that could not economically be moved on to their next garrison location. The following newspaper notice, published in "The Public Ledger" of St. John's Newfoundland on 27 February, 1855, announces the auction sale of mess property at Fort Townshend. The funds raised would probably be used by the officers to establish their new mess wherever they were headed. The mess property list offers a glimpse of how well the officers lived once they had established and furnished their mess.

elipsis graphic

Major Edward D'Alton

Through the pages of the London Gazette, we can trace the career of Edward D'Alton:

  • Through the pages of the London Gazette, we can trace the career of Edward D'Alton:
  • 83rd Foot, Edward D'Alton, Gent. to be Ensign, without purchase, vice Keating, promoted in the 13th Foot. Dated 13th June 1830. – London Gazette, 11 Jun 1830
  • 83rd Foot, Ensign Edward D'Alton to be Lieutenant, by purchase, vice John James Edward Hamilton, who retires. Dated 2nd August 1833. – London Gazette, 2 Aug 1833
  • 83rd Foot, Ensign Edward D'Alton to be Captain, by purchase, vice Kelly, who retires. Dated 20th September, 1939. – London Gazette, 20 Sep 1839
  • 83rd Foot, Captain Samuel Burgess Lamb, from half-pay, Unattached, to be captain, vice Edward D'Alton, who exchanges. Dated 12th January 1848. – London Gazette, 12 Jan 1949.
  • Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment. Captain Edward D'Alton, from half-pay Unattached, to be Captain, vice Colman, who exchanged. Dated 14th October, 1851 – London Gazette, 14 Oct 1851.
  • To be Majors in the Army:—Edward D'Alton, Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment. – London Gazette, 11 Nov 1851.
  • Royal Newfoundland Companies. Brevet-Major Edward D'Alton, from half-pay Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment, to be Captain, vice Osborne West, who exchanges. Dated 6th July, 1852. – London Gazette, 6 Jul 1852.
  • To be Ensigns, without purchase:—Royal Newfoundland Companies. Captain Malcolm MacGregor, from half pay Unattached, to be Captain, vice Brevet-Major Edward D'Alton, retired on full pay. Dated 14th September, 1856. – London Gazette, 14 Nov 1856.
  • Brevet-Major Edward D'Alton, retired full-pay Royal Newfoundland Companies, to be Lieutenant-Colonel in the Army, the rank being honorary only. Dated 19th September, 1856. – London Gazette, 19 Sep 1856.
  • The New Army List, and Militia List, No. LXV. 1st January, 1855.

    "Major D'Alton served in the 83rd during the suppression of the Insurrection in Lower Canada in 1837; also in repelling the attacks of the American Brigade who landed near Prescott, Upper Canada, in 1838."

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Updated: Saturday, 23 July 2016 12:27 AM EDT
    Wednesday, 6 July 2016

    WAACs and Nurses Arrive in Africa (1942)
    Topic: Officers

    WAACs and Nurses Arrive in Africa

    Officers' Mess Undergoes Quick Change

    St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, Florida, 24 December 1942
    By Harold V. Boyle

    Allied Headquarters in North Africa—(AP)—The arrival of 31 American Army nurses and five WAAC officers has created a feminine oasis at Allied headquarters, where until now the art of war has been practices on a strictly masculine basis.

    The appearance at the officers' mess of the young women had immediate repercussions.

    When they first entered the long private dining room, looking as neat and fresh in their military garb as a Monday morning wash, all conversation halted momentarily. Heads of generals and second lieutenants alike turned as if they were on the same pivot to watch the women march a little self consciously to their table.

    Grey haired colonels who usually gnaw their rations in grumpy austerity dusted off their military gallantry and shamelessly sabotaged officers of lesser rank to get seats near the newcomers.

    "You know," said a major, "I never knew before how much it can mean to a man just to sit across the table from a young woman who speaks his own language.

    "After six weeks of Army life in Africa you forget there is another world with women in it as well as men."

    The major's reaction was typical, but one elderly general merely gazed dourly at the feminine contingent and remarked:

    "I don't know what's happening to war anyway. We never had anything like this before. Petticoat soldiers! Pass the potatoes."

    The WAACs have one privilege denied male officers. They can eat with their military caps on, and they do.

    How to introduce them has been something of a problem in Social-military etiquette. Fellow officers the first time usually burble out something like "Miss Smith, this is General Jones, er, er, I mean General Jones, uh, uh, meet Lt. Smith."

    Both the nurses and the WAACs have been besieged with dinner invitations and offers of assistance.

    The alert American press scored an initial scoop when two foreign correspondents took all five WAACs for their first dinner at a French restaurant. Army Air corps officers also were taken along after they begged to join the party and pledged they would pay for the food, buy the wine and get the correspondents a free airplane ride home after the war.

    "Listen, if you fix me up with a date with that pretty little blond—the lieutenant with the dimples—I'll wrap you up a bomber right now," said one flier, "and what's more, I'll give you a private hangar to keep it in."

    The WAACs will be assigned to headquarters duty, thus relieving male officers for combat duty.

    The nurses, like the WAACs, already have sent out advance patrols to scour the city for stockings, which are as scarce as one-legged penguins.

    "I'll never be happy again until we invade Japan," sighed one young nurse. "Then I'm going to buy a big box of silk worms and grow my own stockings."

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Monday, 4 April 2016

    The "Affair" Between a Whaling Captain and a Military Officer
    Topic: Officers

    The "Affair" Between a Whaling Captain and a Military Officer

    'Only eight paces?' cried Lieut. James, a little surprised. 'O, very well'—and he measured it off, and placed his man at his post. Then advancing to Capt. Lovett, he presented him with a pistol.

    The Daily Pittsburgh Gazette, 8 August 1839
    (Boston Merchant Journal)

    Although this story can be found published variously in the 1830s and 1840s, searches for the principals or the brig Cinderella come up empty.

    Perhaps some of our readers may have heard of the story of the duel between old Captain Lovett, of New Bedford, and the English officer in Demerara. It has been variously related—but the only true version is as follows:—

    Captain Zechariah Lovett, after having perfumed several whaling voyages to the Pacific, found himself in command of a small brig belonging to New York, on a voyage to Demerara. He was a worthy man—and a good sailor—his heart was full of the milk of human kindness, but he possessed a noble spirit—which would neither give nor take an insult.

    While his little brig Cinderella lay at anchor in Demerara River, Captain Lovett, one afternoon, entered a Coffee House, where he met with a friend—and they amused themselves by knocking the balls about in the billiard room. Soon after, and before the game was half finished—some English military officers entered, one of whom, Captain Bigbee, stepped up to Capt. Lovett, who was arrayed in a very plain, not to sat ordinary costume, and with a bullying air demanded the table, as himself and brother officers wished to play a match.

    Capt. Lovett gave the red coated gentleman a stern look, but replied with courtesy, that he and his friend had engaged the table, and would play out their game, after which, if the gentlemen wished to play, it was at their service.

    'But we can't wait,' said Capt. Bigbee, in an insolent tone.

    'You must wait,' cooly replied Captain Lovett.

    'But we will do no such thing,' exclaimed the surly Briton—'we came here to play billiards—and have no idea of being disappointed by a couple of fellows who hardly know a mace from a cue, or a ball from a pocket. It will take you all afternoon to finish the game—so clear out!.

    Capt. Lovett and his friend played on.

    'Come,' continued the officer, 'enough of this—-marker, place the balls.' Saying which, with a most impudent air, he seized one of the balls, which Capt. Lovett's opponent had just driven into a pocket, and caught another one which was near him.

    The matter was growing serious. Captain Lovett's eye flashed fire—for although he had mingled a good deal among Quakers, and respected that moral sect for their humanity and quiet demeanor, he was no non-resistant man himself.—He dropped his cue, and doubled up a fist of portentous size. 'Put those balls upon the table, you scoundrel,' exclaimed he, imperatively, 'and leave the room.'

    'Who do you call scoundrel, you Yankee blackguard? Do you know you are talking to one of His majesty's officers? Take that for your impertinence,' at the same time suiting the action to the word, and giving Capt. Lovett a smart rap across the shoulder with his cue. But in an instant he received a blow on the forehead, exactly where Phrenologists locate the organ of Eventuality—which would have felled an ox, and submissively acknowledged the favor by measuring his length upon the floor!

    His brother officer, who were with him, had the good sense to see that Bigbee was to blame—and although they looked rather black at the Yankees, they wisely forbode to molest them further—but assisted the stunned bully to another room, where, by the help of some restoratives, he recovered his senses. His rage and mortification at the result of the rencontre knew no bounds, and with many a bitter oath he declared he would have satisfaction.

    Before Capt. Lovett left the coffee house, a billet was handed him by Lieut. James, which proved to be a challenge—a peremptory challenge from Captain Bigbee, in which it was insisted that arrangements should be made for an early meeting, that he might have the opportunity to wash off the affront he had received, in Capt. Lovett's heart's blood.

    Capt. Lovett smiled when he saw such manifestations of Christian spirit. 'Tell Capt. Bigbee,' said he, 'that I will not baulk him. He shall have the opportunity he so earnestly seeks. Although not a fighting man, I am familiar with the duel laws—and if he will be, tomorrow morning, on the bank of the green canal, near the South Quay, rather a secluded spot, he shall have satisfaction to his heart's content.'

    Lieut. James bowed politely and withdrew.—Capt. Lovett went on board the Cinderella soon after—and ordered his mate, Mr. Starbuck, also a veteran whale hunter, to select the two best harpoons, have them nicely ground, and fitted—as an opportunity might offer on the morrow, of striking a porpoise. Mr. Starbuck obeyed his superior officer with alacrity, although he wondered not a little why Capt. Lovett expected to find porpoises in Demerara River.

    The next morning, as soon as all hands were called, Capt. Lovett ordered the boat to be manned, and requested Mr. Starbuck to take the two harpoons, to each some eight or ten fathoms of rattling stuff were attached, and accompany him on shore. In a few minutes the boat reached the South Quay, where Captain Lovett was met by several of his countrymen, who have been attracted to the spot by rumor of the duel, as well as several merchants and other inhabitants of the place. The one and all remonstrated with Capt. Lovett, for consenting to fight with the English military bully, who was represented as a practised duellist—an expert swordsman, and an unrivaled marksman with a pistol, being sure of his man at twelve paces. Captain Lovett did not, however, show the least inclination to back out—but, on the contrary, seemed more eager for the engagement—'I'll give that quarrelsome fellow a lesson' said he, which will be of service to him—and which he will never forget, so long as his name is Bigbee.'

    The challenger, with his forehead ornamented with a large patch to cover the impression left with the Yankee's knuckles, and his swollen eyes dimly twinkling with anger and mortification through two huge, livid circles, accompanied by his second, soon made his appearance. He was followed by a servant with a pistol case, and an assortment of swords. He bowed stiffly to Capt. Lovett—and Lt. James, approaching the Yankee asking him if he was willing to fight with swords—'If so,' said he, 'I believe we can suit you. We have brought with us the small sword, a neat, gentlemanly weapon—the cut and thrust, good in a melee, and which will answer indifferently well in a duel—and the broadsword and cutlass, which is often preferred by those who are deficient in skill in the use of arms. My friend, Capt. Bigbee, is equally expert with either. You have only to choose. As the challenged party, you have an undoubted right to select your arms.'

    'Of that privilege I am well aware,' replied Captain Lovett, 'and mean to avail, myself of it. I shall not fight with swords.'

    'I expected as much,' resumed Lieut. James, 'and have brought with me a beautiful pair of dueling pistols, with long barrels, rifle bores, and hair triggers. What distance shall I measure off?'

    'Eight paces.'

    'Only eight paces?' cried Lieut. James, a little surprised. 'O, very well'—and he measured it off, and placed his man at his post. Then advancing to Capt. Lovett, he presented him with a pistol.

    'I do not fight with pistols!'

    'Not fight with pistols—after having refused to fight with swords? What brought you here, then?'

    'To fight!' shouted Lovett in a thundering voice, which made the British officer start. 'I am the challenged party, and have a right to choose my weapons, according to the laws of the duello, all the world over—and you may rely upon it I shall not select weapons with which I am not familiar, and with which my antagonist has been practising all his life. Such a proceeding on my part is not only not required by the rules of honor, which after all, is a mere chimera, but would be contrary to all the dictates of common sense. No.—I shall fight with the weapons of honorable warfare, with which I have ever been accustomed. Swords and pistols, indeed!'

    'But, my dear sir,' cried the astonished Lieutenant, 'we must proceed according to rule in this business. What weapons have you fixed upon?' And in fancy's eye he beheld before him a huge blunderbuss, loaded with buckshot.

    Captain Lovell said nothing—but beckoned to Mr. Starbuck, who approached him with great alacrity, bearing the two harpoons. He seized one of the formidable weapons, and thrust it into the hands of Bigbee, who seemed absolutely paralized with astonishment.

    'My weapon,' said he, 'is the javelin—such as the Grecian and Roman knights often fought with, in olden times—a weapon which no man who challenges another, can refuse to fight with at the present day, unless he possesses a mean and craven spirit.'

    Thus saying, he took the station which had been assigned him, at eight paces distant from his startled antagonist. He cooly bared his sinewy arm—grasped the harpoon, and placed himself in an attitude. 'I'll bet,' said he, casting a triumphant look upon his friends, 'a smoked herring against a sperm whale, that I'll drive the harpoon through that fellow's midriff the first throw, and will finish him without the aid of the lance.' 'Mr. Starbuck, fiercely continued Captain Lovett, in a loud and rough voice, such as is seldom heard, excepting on board a Nantucket whaling vessel, when a shoal of whales is in sight, "Stand by to haul that fellow in!"

    The mate grasped the end of the line, his eyes beaming with as much expectation and delight. As if he was steering a boat bow on to an eighty barrel whale, while Captain Lovett poised his harpoon with both hands, keenly eyes the the British Captain—shouted in a tremendous voice, 'Now for it,' and drew back his arm as in the act of throwing the fatal iron!

    The Englishman was a brave man—which is not always the case with bullies—and he had often marched, without flinching, up to the mouth of a cannon. And if he had been in single combat, with an adversary armed with a sword or a pistol, or even a dagger or Queen's arm, he would have borne himself manfully. Indeed, he had already acquired an unenviable notoriety as a duelist, and had killed his man. But the harpoon was a weapon with which he was altogether unacquainted—and the loud and exulting tones of the Yankee captain's voice sounded like a summons to his grave. And when he saw the stalwart Yankee raise the polished iron—and pause for an instant, as if concentrating all his strength to give the fatal blow, a panic terror seized him—his limbs trembled—his features were of a ghastly pallor, and the cold sweat stood in large drops on his forehead. He had not the strength to raise his weapon—and when his grim opponent shouted, 'Now for it,' and shook his deadly spear, the British officer, forgetting his vows of chivalry—his reputation as an officer, and his honor as a duelist, threw his harpoon on the ground, fairly turned his back to his enemy—and fled like a frightened courser from the field, amid the jeers and jibes, and the hurrahs of the multitude assembled by this time on the spot.

    Capt. Bigbee's dueling days were over. No man would fight with him after his adventure with the Yankee. He was overwhelmed with insult and ridicule—and soon found it advisable to change into another regiment. But his story got there before him—and his was soon sent to "Coventry" as a disgraced man. He was compelled, although with great reluctance, to quit the service; and it may with great truth be said, that he never forgot the lesson he had received from the veteran whaler, so long as his name was Bigbee.

    The Senior Subaltern

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

    Active Militia; Officers of the Day
    Topic: Officers

    Active Militia; Officers of the Day (1868)

    The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, Major T.C. Scoble, 37th Battalion (Haldimand Rifles), C.V.M., 1868

    Form of Report for the Captain of the Day


    As captain of the day, yesterday, I visited the right or left wing (as the case may be) of the barracks, at the hours of breakfast and dinner; found the messing good, the men all present, the barracks clean and regular, and no complaints, (or otherwise).

    I visited the guard by day, and found I visited the all correct, (or otherwise).

    I visited the hospital and school, and found them clean and orderly.

    Enclosed is the report of the subaltern of the day.


    Report of the Subaltern of the Day


    1.—Bread and Meal.—As subaltern of the day yesterday, I attended at the delivery of bread and meat, and found them of good quality and the bread of proper weight, or otherwise.

    2.—Meals.—I visited the right or left wing (as the case may be) of the barracks at the hours of breakfast, and dinner, and evening meal, found the Messes regular, well supplied, the men all present, and no complaints, (or otherwise).

    3.—Guards and Prisoners.—I visited the different guards and sentries by night, also the prisoners in the guard room, defaulters' room, and cells, and found all correct, (or otherwise.)

    4.—School.—I visited the school of the non-commissioned officers and the canteen; found everything correct and regular.

    5.—Tattoo.—I attended at the hour of Tattoo when all the non-commissioned officers were reported present and regular, and the men reported all present, (or otherwise).

    6.—Lights.—I saw the lights and fires extinguished at the proper hour.

    7.—Dinners.—I saw the guards' dinners marched off at the proper hour.

    8.—Cook Houses.—I visited the cook houses previous to the time of the meal at dinner time and found all regular.


    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
    Friday, 4 March 2016

    A Duel in India (1828)
    Topic: Officers

    A Duel in India (1828)

    The Public Ledger and Newfoundland General Advertiser, 29 July, 1828 (New Monthly Magazine.)

    The ___ Regiment of Foot, was quartered at Vellore, when the tragical occurrence took place which deprived poor captain Bull of his existence. He was yet only in his early manhood, beloved by all who knew him, and much respected in the hussar regiment, which he quitted in exchange for a company in the regiment in India, which he had joined only a few months. At Vellore, he found a set of officers chiefly Irish, and by no means favourable specimens of that country, either in its virtues or its failings. He felt therefore, as was natural, little or no inclination to associate with them farther than military duty required. The mess of the regiment was convivial and expensive; and Capt. Bull having been affianced to a young lady who was coming to India, had the strongest and most laudable motives for living economically. He therefore intimated, but in terms of politeness his disinclination to join the mess, stating his expectations of being shortly married, and the consequent expense which he was so soon to incur. But the majority of the mess, the Irish part of it in particular, with the confusion of head incident to those who are resolved to quarrel, interpreted his refusal as a personal affront. It was then unanimously agreed amongst nine officers present, that they should draw lots which of them was to call Captain Bull out. The lot fell to Lieut. Sandays, who in the name of himself and his brother officers, sent the challenge which Bull had too much spirit to decline, though determined, as he told his second, not to fire, having no personal injury to redress. They went out, Sandays fired, and Captain Bull fell. The systematic cowardice of the plot, and the untimely fate of so excellent a young man, strongly agitated the feelings of all. Sandays, and Yeaman, his second, were brought down to the presidency, and tried at the ensuing sessions for wilfull murder. The grass-cutters and the horse-keepers, who had observed them going out together, and returning, and a water-bearer, who had actually seen the duel, were somewhat at a loss to identify Sandays, and Yeaman; and the prisoners had moreover the advantage of a jury of Madras shop-keepers, who serving the different regiments with stores, had on former occasions acquitted officers under similar charges; and, aggravated sd the present case was, probably felt a like indisposition to convict. They were acquitted, therefore, but against the strong and pointed direction of the judge, Sir henry Gwillin, who told the jury that it would be trifling with hos oath not to tell them that is was a case of foul and deliberate murder. The deliberated or pretended to deliberate, for half an hour; and during this time, the judge who could not imagine that any other verdict could be brought in than that of "Guilty" had already laid his black cap upon his note book, prepared to pass the sentence of the law upon them, and which as he told the prisoners, it was his intention to have carried into effect. "You have had," said he, addressing them with great solemnity, "a narrow escape and too merciful a jury, If they ca, let them reconcile their verdict to God and the consciences. For my part, I assure you, had the verdict been what the facts of the case so fully warranted, that in 24 hours you should have been cold and unconscious corpses—as cold and unconscious as that of the poor young man whom, by a wicked conspiracy and a wicked deed you drove out of existence. Begone! Repent of your sins. You are men of blood, and that blood cried up to heaven against you." Sandays and Yeamen were afterward tried by a court martial, found guilty of the conspiracy against the life of Capt. Bull, and broke. The sentence was confirmed by the King, with an additional clause, declaring them "incapable for ever of again serving his Majesty."

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
    Wednesday, 24 February 2016

    Instructions for Officers on First Joining
    Topic: Officers

    Instructions for Officers on First Joining a Regiment or Depot,—Memorandum

    The Public Ledger and Newfoundland General Advertiser, 13 October 1854

    1.     The General Commanding-in-Chief had, in the course of last year, been twice under the necessity of expressing to every regiment, at6 home and abroad, his apprehensions that a few inconsiderate officers might bring their regiments to disrepute unless, in their social conduct towards each other at their mess-table and in their barrack rooms, their behaviour should be regulated by a higher standard of what is due to the honourable position in which they stand as the holders of commissions in her Majesty's army.

    2.     The first case which required Viscount Hardinge to assemble a court-martial on any officer was that of the 50th Regiment, on which occasion four subalterns were tried for forcibly seizing a young ensign, taking him to a pump, and there pumping upon him.

    Two of these officers were sentenced to be dismisses the service, and two were reprimanded.

    The memorandum containing Viscount Hardinge's comments was dates 5th of July, 1853, and was read to the officers assembled of every regiment in the service. It is given in the appendix.

    3.     The second instance occurred in the 62nd Regiment in October, 1854.

    A captain in command of two companies had repeatedly annoyed and disturbed the subaltern of his own company, and, accompanied by other officers, had been in the habit of bursting into his room, and taking his bed to pieces, &c.

    The lieutenant had the proper spirit to make his report to the regiment.

    The officer commanding the regiment did his duty firmly; he supported the subaltern, and reported his case to the Horse Guards.

    4.     A third instance has now occurred. It is that in the 46th Regiment. The case originated in a disgraceful scene of deep gambling in a barrack room at Windsor, between Lieutenant Greer and Lieutenant Perry, terminating in a violent assault, in the course of which the most disgusting language was applies by Lieutenant Greer to Lieutenant Perry.

    5.     At the close of the trial of Lieutenant Greer a letter was handed to the President of the court-martial by Lieutenant Perry, charging his commanding officer, Colonel Garrett, with grave acts of injustice, and stating that he (Lieutenant Perry) had sent a letter to his commanding officer, threatening to appeal to the general officer of the district, &c. Colonel Garrett denied these acts of injustice imputed to him, and he denied that any such letter had ever been sent to him by Lieut. Perry.

    6.     The General Commanding-in-Chief took the same course in this case as he had done in that of the 50th and for the same reasons viz., his determination not to consent to a compromise in any of these cases, but to eradicate the unmanly system. The charges made by Lieutenant Perry against Colonel Garrett were specific. They amounted to a breach of Her Majesty's regulations, and apparently were in defiance of the admonitions and orders circulated in July and December, 1853.

    The General Commanding-in-Chief resolved, therefore, that the truth or falsehood of these charges should be investigated by a court-martial on oath.

    7.     The result of that court-martial, as well as the two preceding trials in the 46th Regiment, is given in the appendix, in order that every young officer may have on his first joining his regiment, by means of these examples, a clear understanding of his own position.

    He will carefully read the Articles of War, given in the Appendix, together with a letter of the Judge-Advocate-General of 1814, which was published to the army, with the Mutiny Act and Articles of War of that year.

    If the ensign is firm, and has the proper spirit of an officer and gentleman, he can have no difficulty, without any loss of honour or of temper, in resisting coarse practical jokes.

    But, if he submits to them on the plea that they are the customary probation of an officer entering the British army, he will justly submit himself to the charge of having tamely submitted to insult; and it is his duty, on every account, and especially for the purpose of insuring his military efficiency, which depends upon character, that he should not suffer any liberties to be taken calculated to expose him to the derision of his brother officers and the men under his command.

    8.     These coarse irregularities, termed practical jokes, and the use of disgusting language have increased, it is said, since the introduction of those Articles of War in 1854, which more strictly prohibited dueling in the army.

    Public feeling had, in the preceding year, been greatly shocked by two officers, who were brothers-in-law, having fought a duel, in which one was killed.

    The better and truer reason, however, for the increased strictness of the articles prohibiting duelling was, that the tone of society had improved, and that all men were united in reprobating so barbarous a mode of settling a dispute.

    A few men of coarse and ungenerous tempers, since the severer Articles of War have been published, may have sought to take advantage of the apparent impunity which the prohibition afforded, and have taken greater liberties with their brother officers than they did when under the apprehension of immediate personal consequences.

    Such practices cannot be permitted; they must be repressed, for they are degrading to the character of an officer. They render him unfit to command his men, for they cannot feel for him the respect which is the basis of all enduring authority. They render him unfit to associate with his brother officers, who must now hold him in contempt, or have themselves unk so low as not to shrink from contact with men of such coarse vulgarity.

    It can never be endured that the manners of the officers shall fall below the standard recognized by gentlemen.

    As far as duels were permitted at all, they were suffered as means supposed to be conducive to the maintaining in the barracks and mess room the language and behavior of gentlemen.

    But it would be a fatal mistake to infer, that because duelling had been prohibited, any lower standard of manners will be tolerated in the British army. The language and behaviour which formerly held to justify a challenge must now, therefore, be visited by the removal of the offender from the society of which he has shown himself to be an unworthy member.

    9.     Every assistance and support are to be given to the young officer in his endeavours to avoid rendering himself liable to these consequences.

    In May last, before the spring inspections, the general officers ands staff officers inspecting regiments were ordered to report whether any practical jokes have been carried on at the mess table or elsewhere, or any steps taken to prevent them.

    The reports are satisfactory; few regiments, however, have been inspected, owing to the greater part of the regiments having previously embarked for foreign service.

    10.     The captain of the company to which the ensign, on joining, is appointed, will give him advice and support.

    The major intrusted by the commanding officer with this branch of the interior discipline of a regiment will do the same, and be held responsible that he does it effectually; and if any case should arise requiring interference or a reprimand, the terms of the reprimand and the record of the letters must be forthcoming, to be shown to the general officer, and sent up to the Horse Guards. The necessity is apparent after the recent trials in the 46th Regiment, and all serious cases will at once be reported to the Adjutant-General, for the decision of the General Commanding-in-Chief.

    11.     No case of a practical joke appears to have occurred in the 46th Regiment since October, 1853, with the exception of the case of Lieutenant Dunscombe at Weedon, in 1854.

    12.     General Viscount Hardinge confidently asserts that the regimental system of the British army, now so long established, has proved its efficiency as bing admirably adapted for all the varied duties of war and peace.

    He trusts that the irregularities and mischievous tendencies resulting from practical jokes can and will be corrected, and disappear for ever.

    A firm but temperate exercise of authority on the part of commanding officers of regiments will effect the object desired; they will find, by a faithful discharge of their duty, that they will obtain the respect and support of their officers, and the esteem of their fellow subjects.

    By command of General Viscount Hardinge, General Commander-in-Chief.

    G.A. Wetherall, Deputy Adjutant-General (From the London Times.)

    elipsis graphic

    If there were any consonance between the professions and practice of the Horse Guards, Mr. Perry would at this moment have been acquitted, Mr. Greer have been summarily dismissed from the Queen's service, Lieut. Waldy by lying under an indictment for perjury, and Colonel Garrett be brought before a suitable tribunal to answer for his conduct since he has been in command of the 46th Regiment. Nothing can be more excellent than the spirit of Lord Hardinge's orders. Let young officers act as he recommends, and they will be creditable servants of the public. Let Lord Hardinge abide by them, and he will be a very good Commander-in-Chief. We subscribe most entirely to his theories, and can only wonder that the first man practically to set them at defiance has been the Commander-in-Chief himself. For the moment we will address ourselves rather to the general bearing of the case as effects the British army than to the individual instance of Mr. Perry. It is, however, right that Lord Hardinge should be told, and that his royal mistress should clearly understand, that the outrage perpetrated on this young officer in defiance of justice and common sense has had for effect upon the public mind to lower the character of every officer who holds the Queen's commission. There are not two opinions as to the scandalous method in which the second trial was conducted, nor as to the finding of the Court-martial in barefaced defiance of the evidence. As far even as the form of trial was concerned, it was obvious that even if Lord Hardinge had wished to test the validity of the charges against Colonel Garrett, a for of trial was selected which gave that person every advantage, and laid his accuser under every difficulty. It was only by an oppressive stretch of power that, under all the circumstances of the case, a second charge against Mr. Perry was fudged up at all. He had been made the subject of a scandalous outrage. The hand of every officer in his regiment was against him upon his first trial. He escaped by a miracle from their malevolence; and yet a second time he was sent to trial upon charges which he could, as the prosecution was managed, only make good by the testimony of those who regarded him with feelings of the bitterest hostility, and who were only required to 'forget' in order to secure his expulsion from the service. Still, despite of all this, and debarred as Mr. Perry was from the power of effectually cross-examining the miserable creatures who were brought in one after the other to say 'they had really forgotten,' he made out a defence which should, one would have imagined, have put it out of the power of fifteen reasonable men to assert their conviction that Mr. Perry maliciously and willfully lied when he asserted that Garrett had called him a fool, that he had threatened to complain to the General of the district, and that a man of the name of Nicholas in the regiment was a general bully. However, fifteen men were found for the work, and they did it. Lord Hardinge was also sufficiently courageous to sanction the finding, and to involve his royal mistress in the transaction, as approving of a decision which, as the Queen's name has been mixed up with it, we will not characterize by the term it deserves. Now, what is the set-off against all of this. A set of general orders, breathing a spirit of the purest morality and the most high-toned chivalry. The good folks at the Horse Guards manage their little affairs much in the style of Augustus Tomlinson, the sentimental villain of Bulwer's novel. They knock a man down with the butt end of a horse-pistol and, standing over the prostate body, declaim in swelling periods upon the advantages of humanity and justice. As we said before, we have no fault to find with the orders; the only pity is that Lord Hardinge should have set them at defiance and turned Mr. Perry out of the army for following his injunctions.

    elipsis graphic

    Sentence of Lieutenant Greer

    This officer was tried upon a charge of having been guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the following instances:—

    1.     For having, on or about the night of the 28th or morning of the 29th of June last, willfully struck and offered other personal violence to Lieutenant Edward James Perry, of the 46th Regiment.

    2.     For having, at the same time and place, used provoking, insulting, and disgusting language to the said Lieutenant Perry, calling him a "swindler," "blackguard," and using other language of an offensive and insulting nature.

    Acquitted, but ordered to sell out.

    elipsis graphic

    Lieutenant Waldy was ordered to be severely reprimanded, in consequence of his conduct in connexion with the letter written by him to Lieutenant Perry and produced in court after denying its contents.

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
    Updated: Sunday, 31 January 2016 2:56 PM EST
    Wednesday, 17 February 2016

    Col. Sam Hughes is a Talker
    Topic: Officers

    Col. Sam Hughes is a Talker…

    The Daily Sun, St. John, N.B., 15 July 1904

    Col. Sam Hughes is a talker as well as a fighting globe trotter. His tongue is sharper than the crack of a Mauser rifle. Gunning after Hon. Sydney Fisher, for his interference with the formation of the 13th Scottish Light Dragoons in the Eastern Townships, the colonel let off the following volley:—

    "I am informed that it has appeared in the newspapers that amongst the officers this gentlemen (Fisher) was instrumental in forcing on the Dragoons, two of them are no credit to anybody. One of them came into Laprairie camp with a pair of garters and a little spur screwed into the heel of the garter so that he could not ride, and he had two swords, one on his right and one on his left, and one splendid black eye. He remained in camp long enough to make an exhibition of himself and then he was sent home. I may be wrong, but I understand that these are the facts. Another of the minister of agriculture's officers for some offence was brought before the civil authorities and fines $20 or some other large sum for breach of the civil law. These are two of the men that the minister of agriculture held up the Scottish Light Dragoons to appoint, and as a result of which we have lost the best general officer commanding that ever stood on Canadian soil."

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
    Monday, 15 February 2016

    More "Practical Joking" Among Officers
    Topic: Officers

    More "Practical Joking" Among Officers

    The Public Ledger, St. John's Newfoundland, 29 May 1855

    Canterbury, April 23.—This morning, at our Guildhall, a charge was preferred before the magistrates against Cornets Edward Baumgarten and John Evans, both of the 6th Inniskillin Dragoons, for meeting to fight a duel. The hostile rencontre, thus fortunately prevented, arose out of a series of scandalous indignities to which, it is stated, the former officer (a quiet inoffensive young man) has been for some time subjected at the hands of his brother officers. According to reports current in the regiment some of these "jokes" have proceeded beyond the limits of common decency, and prohibit specific allusion. The following may be mentioned;— Cornet Baumgarten's sword was broken to pieces and the plume of his helmet destroyed. Two buckets of water thrown into his bed, and his clothes placed in the bath, while the chest containing his clean linen was filled with water. Six panes of glass in his window, and his looking glass smashed. The chamber utensils broken and placed in his bed, the door fastened, as well as the window, while he was in his room. His horse (which cost 80 guineas) has been deprived of its tail and topped. In consequence of this treatment Cornet Baumgarten sent Cornet Evans a challenge, as he imagined that he was the ringleader in the affair; and Saturday last was fixed for carrying it into execution. The parties met at the time appointed, accompanied by Adjutant Webster of the Depot, a surgeon of the town, and other gentlemen. It appeared however, that Sergeant Brodie, of the 1st Royal Dragoons, having suspicions of what was going on, had reached the spot before the officers, and on their arrival intimated to them that he should put a stop to what was proposed to take place. Adjutant Webster immediately ordered him to leave the ground, and to consider himself a prisoner. The adjutant then went off to the barracks for a file of the guard to arrest Sergeant Brodie. While he was gone the sergeant went up to Mr. Baumgarten, and said, "You shall not fight this Duel, sir; you shall shoot me first." Mr. Baumgarten tried to get away, but Brodie procured the assistance of some men working in an adjoining field, and ultimately Mr. Baumgarten was detained and taken into a farmhouse. The sergeant was returning to the barracks, when Adjutant Webster and Mr. Harloop came up with a file of men. The Adjutant told them to arrest the sergeant, and to "knock him down with the butt end of their carbines if he made any resistance." the sergeant was then taken away to the barracks. The above facts having been deposed to, and Mr. Austin solicitor, having addressed the bench for the defendants.

    The mayor and magistrates, having consulted for a few moments, ordered the two defendants to enter into their own bonds of £100 each, and two sureties in £50 to keep the peace towards each other. The required bail was quickly found, and the officers left with their friends.

    A memorandum has been issued from the Horse Guards in reference to a case of practical joking, in which reference was made in the Daily News of last week, and in which Ensigns Sanders and Neville, of the 30th Regiment, were the aggressors, and Ensign Falkner, 50th Regiment, the officer insulted. The memorandum, after giving a summary of the facts of the case, reprimands Brevet-Major Campbell, 30th Regiment, and Capt. Tilbrook, 50th Regiment, commanding depot companies of the respective regiments, for having unjustifiably, injudiciously, and irregularly compromised the affair by agreeing to accept an apology from the two ensigns, instead of making known the complain of Ensign Falkner of Colonel Passy, their commanding officer. Ensign Sanders and Neville, it is stated, may think themselves fortunate that by the "mistaken leniency" in question they have escaped the inevitable consequences of their ungentlemanlike conduct. A very severe admonition is then given to Ensign Neville, who, after apologizing to Ensign Falkner, had again insulted that officer. This opinion, expressing the "severest displeasure" of the Commander-in-Chief, is ordered to be read in the presence of all the officers of the depot battalion at Fermoy, with an assurance that on the recurrence of similar misconduct on the part of Ensign Neville, Viscount Hardinge will consider it his duty to recommend to the Queen that that officer's name should be erased from the list of the army. The conduct of Ensign Falkner is highly commendable for having reported, as he did, the unmerited insulted offered to him by Ensigns Sanders and Neville; and had he not done so, in accordance with the orders of the army, Viscount Hardinge would have deemed it imperative upon him to submit his name to her Majesty for removal.

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
    Updated: Monday, 15 February 2016 12:04 AM EST
    Sunday, 20 December 2015

    Army Cookery; Classes for Officers
    Topic: Officers

    Army Cookery; Classes for Officers

    "Blasts from the Trumpet," The Quebec Saturday Budget
    20 January 1906

    In the past officers have been obliged to take the word of the sergeant-cook as law in connection with Army cookery. But this state of affairs will not last much longer, as it has been decided to form at Aldershot a class for officers at the Army School of Cookery. For many years this school of cookery has trained Army cooks, but hitherto the work has been confined to non-commissioned officers. The subject is now considered of such importance as to demand special supervision at the hands of a commissioned officer in each unit, and at present the quartermasters have been selected to attend this special course. Their duty will not only consist in the supervision of the cooking ion barracks, where there is every convenience, but in the field, where rough-and-ready methods have to be adopted, and where experience has shown the greatest necessity there is in our Army for an improvement.

    "Blasts from the Trumpet," The Quebec Saturday Budget
    20 October 1906

    Imperial army officers have regularly to inspect their men's rations, but few of them have the knowledge to say whether the food has been properly cooked or not. Acting on a suggestion of the Duke of Connaught, the authorities have ordered the officers at Aldershot, immediately after the present manoeuvers, to undergo a course of cookery instruction in the school of cookery in the Badajoz Buildings, under the direction of Staff Sergeant-Major Herbert Wood.

    To Major Home, D.A.G., is due the credit of working up the plans for the new course. The instructions will be of the most practical kind, and will include such subjects as selection of foods, "balancing of rations," the proper mingling of various articles in the dietary to obtain the best working results; the various methods of preparation, the building an maintenance of field kitchens, dietetic economy, the value and purchase of stores and the proper cooking of food. The construction and working of the field kitchens have been brought to a science at Aldershot, where many of them are to be seen.

    "While it is not proposed to turn each officer into a chef, the military authorities are determined," said an officer at Aldershot yesterday, "to teach him what is proper messing for the men. A very large proportion of the officers are at present blissfully ignorant of the mysteries of food preparation, although they know well that 'an army marches on its stomach,' and that the p[roper cooking and serving of the men's food is of vital importance to good generalship."

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
    Thursday, 5 November 2015

    Officers and Study (1850s)
    Topic: Officers

    It was not enough to read these works, the author said; the officer should make extracts and comments.

    Officers and Study (1850s)

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

    Early in the 1850s an anonymous military tutor wrote a book, The Pattern Military Officer, designed to help officer candidates to pass their entrance examination. Among the requirements of the examiners, he said, was that the candidate should be able to translate any passage in Livy's History of Rome (Books 21-25 inclusive), and any portion of the Aeneid (Books 1 to 3), with parsing and prosody. Non-classical scholars were to translate a given passage in French or German. All candidates had to know the names of the European capitals, and be able to trace in the presence of the examiners a front fortification according to Vauban's First System, and the profile of a rampart and a parapet.

    This military tutor recommended an officer to equip himself with:—

    [and] various works on military fortification and strategy and a technological dictionary.

    It was not enough to read these works, the author said; the officer should make extracts and comments.

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
    Monday, 26 October 2015

    Officers; Responsibility (RCAF, 1940)
    Topic: Officers

    Officers; Responsibility

    The Air Force Guide (Chap. IV. Sec. 28.), by "Group Captain," Toronto, 1940

    Responsibility.—The late Field Marshal Lord Wolseley said: "An inefficient officer is a swindle upon the public."

    i.     An officer is responsible at all times for the maintenance of good order and the rules and discipline of the service. K.R. (Air) 44.

    Good discipline is the outward sign of a well-trained unit. Nothing is so indicative of a poor unit as careless saluting. All ranks should realize that the salute when given, is a tribute to the King's Commission and its smart acknowledgment a mark of mutual esteem and goodwill. Furthermore, it is a breach of regulation to fail to salute when required to by the King's Regulations and Orders. K.R. (Air) 1783-1793.

    ii.     Junior officers when in uniform must be most meticulous in saluting officers of Field rank (Squadron Commander or above) and of acknowledging with a proper full salute compliments paid to them by other ranks. K.R. (Air) 1793.

    iii.     Officers will salute those officers of the Royal Navy and the Army, when in uniform, who would be saluted by individuals of corresponding ranks in their own service. K.R. (Air) 1789.

    iv.     When in civilian clothes, a junior officer meeting a field officer will raise his hat and will acknowledge in the same way any compliments paid him by other ranks.

    v.     When in uniform, an officer never raises his head-dress. This is an unpardonable error.

    vi.     It is important for officers to gain the confidence and respect of their men. This, for the most part, is a matter of psychology. It can best be achieved by paying particular attention to their comfort and welfare, by studying their individual characters and treating them accordingly, and by being scrupulously fair in dispensing reward and punishment. Air-men do not respect the indolent soft-hearted officer who makes light of discipline; indecision and inconsistency will never command their confidence.

    vii.     If an officer sees that his airmen are well clothed, well fed, well housed, kept busy during working hours and able to enjoy suitable amusements when off parade, he has gone a lone way to discharging his responsibility in this regard.

    viii.     A non-commissioned officer should never be reproved within hearing of his juniors.

    ix.     Officers may, on occasion, accept the formal hospitality of the Serjeant's Mess, but under no circumstances should individual visits be paid to drink with their non-commissioned officers.

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Tuesday, 1 September 2015

    Classification of Officers
    Topic: Officers

    Classification of Officers

    The Memoirs of Field-Marshal Montgomery, 1958

    Up to this point in my career [January 1920] I had received no training in the theory of my profession; I had behind me the practical experience of four years of active service in the field, but no theoretical study as a background to that experience. I had read somewhere the remarks of Frederick the Great when speaking about officers who relied only on their practical experience and who neglected to study; he is supposed to have said that he had in his Army two mules who had been through forty campaigns, but they were still mules.

    I had also heard of a German general who delivered himself of the following all-embracing classification about officers, presumably those of the German Army. I understand that he said this:

    "I divide my officers into four classes: the clever, the stupid, the industrious and the lazy. Every officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for high staff appointments; use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy is fitted for the highest command; he has the temperament and the requisite nerve to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a danger and must be removed immediately."

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Updated: Tuesday, 28 July 2015 6:08 PM EDT
    Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Officers' Dress in Combat
    Topic: Officers

    Officers' Dress in Combat

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

    In a far-off Indian campaign a young officer, before the attack was due to be launched, took off his epaulettes and the plate and feather from his cap, so that, in Shipp's view, he looked like 'a discharged pensioner.' Asked why he had taken this 'imprudent and improper course' he replied that he hoped the enemy might be unable to distinguish him from a private. This young officer 'never re-established his former character' and had to leave the regiment.

    But in a day of increased fire-power and deadly sniping [WWI] the idea began to gain ground that an attack might be likelier to succeed if the officer in command of it had more than a two-seconds chance of survival. Hence the transfer of 'pips' from cuff to shoulder and the wearing of ordinary soldiers' tunics. Hence, also, the decline of the vogue for light riding breeches, which had singled out scores of subalterns for a priority death. The officer's courage was never higher, but any tradition which served to squander it deserved to go under, unregretted.

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Thursday, 6 August 2015

    The Unfashionable Study of War
    Topic: Officers

    The Unfashionable Study of War

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

    The battalion left Peshawar at the end of 1910 and moved to Bombay for the last two years of its foreign service tour. I had now begun to work hard and seriously. Looking back, I would put this period as the time when it was becoming apparent to me that to succeed one must master one's profession. It was clear that the senior regimental officers were not able to give any help in the matter since their knowledge was confined almost entirely to what went on at battalion level; they had little or no knowledge of other matters.

    When the battalion arrived at a new station the first question the C.O. would ask was: "How does the General like the attack done?"

    And the attack was carried out in that way; whatever might be the conditions of ground, enemy, or any other factor.

    At this time there did seem to me to be something lacking in the whole business, but I was not able to analyse the problem and decide what exactly was wrong; nor did I bother unduly about it. I was happy in the battalion and I had become devoted to the British soldier. As for the officers, it was not fashionable to study war and we were not allowed to talk about our profession in the Officers' Mess.

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Wednesday, 22 July 2015

    Topic: Officers

    General Stilwell enjoys his Christmas dinner, 1943


    Defeat Into Victory, by Field Marshal Sir William Slim (London, 1956)

    I was struck, as I always was when I visited Stilwell's headquarters, how unnecessarily primitive all its arrangements were. There was, compared with my own or other headquarters, no shortage of transport or supplies, yet he delighted in an exhibition of rough living which, like his omission of rank badges and the rest, was designed to foster the idea of the tough, hard-bitten, plain, fighting general. Goodness knows he was tough and wiry enough to be recognized as such without the play acting, for it was as much a bit of stage management as Mountbatten's meticulous turn-out under any conditions, but it achieved its publicity purpose. Many people sneer at generals who wear quaint head-dress with too many or too few badges, carry odd sticks, affect articles of civilian attire in uniform, or indulge in all sorts of tricks to make themselves easily recognizable to their troops or to anybody else. These things have their value if there is a real man behind them, and, for the rest, his countrymen should forgive almost anything to a general who wins battles. His soldiers will. Stilwell, thank heaven, had a sense of humour, which some who practise these arts have not, and he could, and did, not infrequently laugh at himself.

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Sunday, 19 July 2015

    We Behaved Disgracefully
    Topic: Officers

    We Behaved Disgracefully

    Tapestry of War; A Private View of Canadians in the Great War, Sandra Gwyn, 1992

    "We have some daring ladies from The Sketch and illustrated weeklies pinned to the walls—one balanced on a diving board in a diminutive bathing suit of flaming red with black borders … another with piled-up yellow hair plucking feathers from Cupid for her hat. These ladies are often the subject of comment. We discuss their characters. They are attractive but disturbing and create restless wishes for home or Piccadilly."

    As racy—perhaps even a bit unnerving to a Philadelphia belle—were Talbot's descriptions of the rough male camaraderie that characterized the trenches and sometimes erupted into wild horseplay as a way of letting off steam when the regiment was out of the line. "We live now in a sort of a hut," he explained in mid-August. "It is built of coloured canvas to deceive aviators. Eight of us live in each hut in two rows with a lane down the middle. Our sleeping bags are spread upon the uneven earth and we each have a soapbox to support a candle in a bottle and small articles. The 'Baron,' i.e., Captain Van Den Berg, lives opposite to me. Last night I was rolling off my puttees when the Baron, who is a pugnacious devil, suddenly swung round and batted me on the foot with his cane. I naturally went for his throat. We each secured a stranglehold and for several moments dust and clothes and legs and arms rose and fell in confusion. Eventually we arranged terms of peace. Later, for some reason which I cannot recall I fired five rounds of ammunition with accuracy against Barclay's candle, which was extinguished; Barclay then retaliated on my bottle with equal success.… We behaved disgracefully, I admit."

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Updated: Saturday, 4 July 2015 8:09 PM EDT
    Saturday, 11 July 2015

    An Officer and Gentleman
    Topic: Officers

    An Officer and Gentleman

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

    He was a tall well-built chap, with big, blue eyes, set far apart, and dark wavy hair, which he kept too closely cropped to allow it to curl, as was meant by nature. He had a cheery smile and a joke for every one, and his men loved him. More than that, they respected him thoroughly, for he never tolerated slackness or lack of discipline for an instant, and the lips under the little bronze moustache could pull themselves into an uncompromisingly straight line when he was justly angry.

    When he strafed the men, he did it directly, without sparing them or their failings, but he never sneered at them, and his direct hits were so patently honest that they realised it at once, and felt and looked rather like penitent little boys.

    He never asked an N.C.O. or man to do anything he would not do himself, and he usually did it first. If there was a dangerous patrol, he led. If there was trying work to do, under fire, he stayed in the most dangerous position, and helped. He exacted instant obedience to orders, but never gave an order that the men could not understand without explaining the reason for it. He showed his N.C.O.'s that he had confidence in them, and did not need to ask for their confidence in him. He had it.

    In the trenches he saw to his men's comfort first—his own was a secondary consideration. If a man was killed or wounded, he was generally on the spot before the stretcher-bearers, and, not once, but many times, he took a dying man's last messages, and faithfully wrote to his relations. A sacred duty, but one that wrung his withers. He went into action not only with his men, but at their head, and he fought like a young lion until the objective was attained. Then, he was one of the first to bind up a prisoner's wounds, and to check any severity towards unwounded prisoners. He went into a show with his revolver in one hand, a little cane in the other, a cigarette between his lips.

    "You see," he would explain, "it comforts a fellow to smoke, and the stick is useful, and a good tonic for the men. Besides, it helps me try to kid myself I'm not scared—and I am, you know! As much as any one could be."

    On parade he was undoubtedly the smartest officer in the regiment, and he worked like a Trojan to make his men smart also. At the same time he would devote three-quarters of any leisure he had to training his men in the essentials of modern warfare, his spare time being willingly sacrificed for their benefit.

    No man was ever paraded before him with a genuine grievance that he did not endeavour to rectify. In some manner he would, nine times out of ten, turn a "hard case" into a good soldier. One of his greatest powers was his particularly winning smile. When his honest eyes were on you, when his lips curved and two faint dimples showed in his cheeks, it was impossible not to like him. Even those who envied him—and among his brother officers there were not a few—could not bring themselves to say anything against him.

    If he had a failing it was a weakness for pretty women, but his manner towards an old peasant woman, even though she was dirty and hideous, was, if anything, more courteous than towards a woman of his own class. He could not bear to see them doing work for which he considered they were unfit. One day he carried a huge washing-basket full of clothes down the main street of a little village in Picardy, through a throng of soldiers, rather than see the poor old dame he had met staggering under her burden go a step farther unaided.

    The Colonel happened to see him, and spoke to him rather sharply about it. His answer was characteristic: "I'm very sorry, sir. I forgot about what the men might think when I saw the poor old creature. In fact, sir, if you'll pardon my saying so, I would not mind much if they did make fun of it."

    He loved children. He never had any loose coppers or small change long, and two of his comrades surprised him on one occasion slipping a five-franc note into the crinkled rosy palm of a very, very new baby. "He looked so jolly cute asleep," he explained simply.

    Almost all his fellow-officers owed him money. He was a poor financier, and when he had a cent it belonged to whoever was in need of it at the time.

    One morning at dawn, he led a little patrol to examine some new work in the German front line. He encountered an unsuspected enemy listening post, and he shot two of the three Germans, but the remaining German killed him before his men could prevent it. They brought his body back and he was given a soldier's grave between the trenches. There he lies with many another warrior, taking his rest, while his comrades mourn the loss of a fine soldier and gallant gentleman.

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Friday, 3 July 2015

    Company and Platoon Commanders
    Topic: Officers

    Company and Platoon Commanders

    Canadian Army Training Memorandum, No 28, July 1943

    1.     Do you want to know what one high Commander in a theatre of war thinks the most vital things for his junior officers to know ?

    2.     Here they are:—

    (a)     Speedy decision and aggressive action. Automatic decision and action without waiting to be told, without wasting time, waiting for orders from the next higher commander.

    (b)     Manoeuvre—how to put on a quick flanking attack when it is needed how not to throw troops away by pounding straight ahead against well organized resistance.

    (c)     Map reading—especially foreign maps that may be the only ones available in that particular theatre of operations.

    (d)     Handling your command at night—the approach march-marching to the assembly and forming up positions-night attacks-keeping direction-accurate use of the compass-the silent approach and the bayonet attack.

    (e)     Re-organization—replenishment of ammunition, food and water, when you have captured your objective.

    3.     Are any of these new? Are any of these special? Are not they the common sense of battle-the things in the book-the things every small unit commander with any common sense and imagination knows are going to be vital later on?

    4.     Are there any of these things that any Commander of any rank does not recognize as of utmost importance in training?

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Updated: Sunday, 21 June 2015 6:08 PM EDT
    Wednesday, 1 July 2015

    Company and Platoon Commanders
    Topic: Officers

    Company and Platoon Commanders

    Canadian Army Training Memorandum, No 28, July 1943

    1.     Do you want to know what one high Commander in a theatre of war thinks the most vital things for his junior officers to know ?

    2.     Here they are:—

    (a)     Speedy decision and aggressive action. Automatic decision and action without waiting to be told, without wasting time, waiting for orders from the next higher commander.

    (b)     Manoeuvre—how to put on a quick flanking attack when it is needed how not to throw troops away by pounding straight ahead against well organized resistance.

    (c)     Map reading—especially foreign maps that may be the only ones available in that particular theatre of operations.

    (d)     Handling your command at night—the approach march-marching to the assembly and forming up positions-night attacks-keeping direction-accurate use of the compass-the silent approach and the bayonet attack.

    (e)     Re-organization—replenishment of ammunition, food and water, when you have captured your objective.

    3.     Are any of these new? Are any of these special? Are not they the common sense of battle-the things in the book-the things every small unit commander with any common sense and imagination knows are going to be vital later on?

    4.     Are there any of these things that any Commander of any rank does not recognize as of utmost importance in training?

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:12 AM EDT

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