The Minute Book
Friday, 23 September 2016

Reserve Units to be Disbanded or Merged (1954)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Some Reserve Units to be Disbanded or Merged With Others In Shake-Up (1954)

Ottawa Citizen, 21 June 1954

The reserve army is to be shaken up.

Announcement was made in the Commons last night near the end of the day-long scrutiny of the $2,000,000,000 defence appropriations which were approved.

Number of reserve force units will be substantially reduced but there was no immediate indication which units will be disbanded or merged with others.

Maj.-Gen. G.R. Pearkes, VC (Esquimalt-Saanich), progressive Conservative military critic, asked that names of units to be merged, disbanded or otherwise affected by published as soon as possible so that commanders can plan training schedules.

Earlier, Opposition Leader Drew said the 57,000-member reserve force---to be renamed the militia---is less capable of assuming its responsibilities in case of an emergency than at any time in the last 50 years.

For that reason the government should make public the report on the reserve army prepared for the Defence Department and which served as the basis for the sweeping changes in militia reorganization.

Claxton Statement

Mr Claxton said:

"There will be an extensive reorganization of militia units to relate them more closely to possible wartime requirements, effective peacetime training and local support.

"The changes proposed are planned to tap the resources of interested and available personnel so as to provide the best basis for the build-up of forces that may be required in the second or later stages of another world war.

"The over-all number of units will be substantially reduced. It is expected that at the outset these changes may result some reductions in the total number of officers and men on strength. But it is expected that they will result in more effective use of personnel.

"It is hoped to work out all these changes so that there will be as few as possible actual disbandments and no loss of existing support or local interest."

Major Changes

Some of the major changes:

1.     Maj.Gen. H.F.G. Letson of Vancouver, one of three reserve force officers who wrote the report, is to be adviser on militia matters to the chief of the general staff. The other two authors were Maj.-Gen. Howard Kennedy of Ottawa, chairman, and Maj.-Gen. E.J. Renaud of Montreal.

2,     Minimum attendance equivalent to 15 days' training will be necessary before a militia member is entitled to receive pay.

3.     A new bonus will be [paid each member attending annual campo provided he has attended not less than 75 percent of local unit training in the six months preceding camp.

4.     Income tax will be deducted at source for all members unless a member claims that his total next taxable income is below the minimum taxable and requests that no deductions be made.

5.     Present brigade and other formation headquarters will be replaced by a new type to be known as militia group headquarters.

6.     A number of artillery units will be converted to armored units; "excess" anti-aircraft will be converted to other types of artillery or amalgamated with units of other corps; coast defence units will become harbor defence units.

7.     A new directorate combining militia and cadets will be set up at army headquarters.

8.     Additional facilities will be provided for the militia "as funds permit."

Mr. Claxton said the militia itself approves of the reorganization and the changes had been discussed with the Conference of Defence Associations, which represents the 12 corps associations and all reserve force units in Canada.

Main Points

During the long debate on the service appropriations, these were some of the points made:

1.     Mr. Claxton said Canada would be expected to supply a full division in Europe in event of war. Equipment was being stockpiled in Europe for it.

2.     Gordon Churchill (PC, Winnipeg South Centre) said the Canadian Army has too little armor.

3.     Mr. Claxton said the army is trying to develop a new armored personnel carrier.

4.     Mr. Claxton indicated that he favors adoption of the Belgian .300-caliber Fabrique Nationale rifle as the army's standard infantry weapon. The standard rifle now used is the .303 Lee-Enfield.

5.     Douglas Harkness (PC, Calgary North) contended that the army's equipment is inadequate and outdated.

6.     Mr. Claxton said it would be impossible to close down RCAF fields near commercial air lanes as an air safety measure.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Calling Out the Militia (1868)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Calling Out the Militia (1868)

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, compiled by Major T.C. Scobie, 37th Battalion, Haldimand Rifles, C.V.M., Approved by the Adjutant General of Militia, Canada, 1868

An extract from the Militia Act of 1868.

60.     The officer commanding any military district or division, or the officer commanding any corps of active militia, may, upon any sudden emergency of invasion or insurrection, or imminent danger of either, call out the whole or any part of the militia within his command, until the pleasure of Her Majesty is known, and the militia so called out by their commanding officer shall immediately obey all such orders as he may give, and march to such place "within or without the district or division as he may direct."

61.     Her Majesty may call out the militia or any part thereof for actual service, either within or without the Dominion, at any time, whenever it appears advisable so to do by reason of war, invasion or insurrection, or danger of any of them; and the militiamen, when so called out for actual service, shall continue to serve for at least one year from the date of their being called out for actual service, if required so to do, or for any longer period which Her Majesty may appoint:

(2.)     And Her Majesty may, from time to time, direct the furnishing by any regimental division, of such number of militiamen as may be required either for reliefs, or to fill vacancies in corps on actual service; and whenever the militia or any part thereof are called out for actual service by reason of war, invasion, or insurrection; Her Majesty may place them under the orders of the commander of her regular forces in Canada.

62.     In time of war no man shall be required to serve in the field continuously for a longer period than one year; but any man who volunteers to serve for the war or any longer period than one year shall be compelled to fulfil his engagement; but Her Majesty may, in cases of unavoidable necessity (of which necessity Her Majesty shall be the sole judge), call upon any militiaman to continue to serve beyond his period of general service, or voluntary engagement, or beyond his one year's service in the field, for any period not exceeding six months.

63.     Whenever the militia or any part, or corps thereof, shall be called out for actual service, the officers, non-commissioned officers and men so called out shall be paid at such rates of daily pay as are paid to officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the relative and corresponding grade in Her Majesty's service, or such other rates as may for the time being be fixed by the Governor in Council.

64.     The active militia shall be subject to the Queen's Regulations and Orders for the army; and every officer and man of the militia shall, from the time of being called cut for actual service, and also during the period of annual drill or training under the provisions of this Act, and also during any drill or parade of his corps at which be may be present in the ranks or as a spectator, and also while wearing the uniform of his corps, be subject to the rules and articles of war and to the Act for punishing mutiny and desertion, and all other laws then applicable to Her Majesty's troops in Canada, and not inconsistent with this Act; except that no man shall be subject to any corporal punishment except death or imprisonment for any contravention of such laws; and except also that Her Majesty may direct that any of the provisions of the said laws or regulations shall not apply to the militia force; but any officer, non-commissioned officer, or man charged with any offence committed while serving in the militia, shall be held liable to be tried by Court Martial, and if convicted to be punished therefor, within six months after his discharge from the militia or after the corps to which he belongs or belonged is relieved from actual service : notwithstanding that he shall have been so discharged from the active militia, or that the corps to which be belonged shall have been so relieved from actual service: and any officer, non-commissioned officer, or private of the militia may be tried for the crime of desertion at any time, without reference to the length of time which may have elapsed since his desertion.

65.     It shall be the duty of the captain or other officer commanding any company of active militia, with the assistance of the officers and non-commissioned officers of his company, to make and keep at all times a correct roll of the company in such form as Her Majesty may direct; and it shall be the duty of the lieutenant-colonel or other officer commanding any battalion of active militia, and under him especially of the adjutant, to see that the company rolls above referred to are properly made out, and corrected from time to time by the captains or other officers commanding companies in such battalion, and to report such officers as fail to perform their duty in this respect.

66.     Any militiaman who when called out for actual service, shall without leave absent himself from his corps, for a longer period than seven days, shall be deemed a deserter, and may be tried by Militia Court Martial.

67.     Each militiaman called out for actual service shall attend at such time and place as may be required by the officer commanding him, with any arms accoutrements, ammunition, and equipment he has received, and with such provisions as such officer may direct.

68.     When any officer or man is killed in actual service, or dies from wounds or disease contracted on actual service, provision shall be made for his wife and family out of the public funds:

(2)     And all cases of permanent disability, arising from injuries received or illness contracted on actual service, shall be reported on by a medical board, and compensation awarded, under such regulations as may be made from time to time by the Governor in Council; and any medical practitioner who shall sign a false certificate in any such case, shall incur a penalty of four hundred dollars.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 8 August 2016 7:38 PM EDT
Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Daily Routine in Barracks or Billets (1868)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Daily Routine in Barracks or Billets (1868)

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, compiled by Major T.C. Scobie, 37th Battalion, Haldimand Rifles, C.V.M., Approved by the Adjutant General of Militia, Canada, 1868

At reveille every man will rise, wash and dress himself, and answer to the roll call. After roll call the windows are to be opened, the beds neatly rolled up, bedding folded, and berth swept out.

Every man must be washed, dressed, and ready for early parade half an hour after reveille.

Early morning parade under sergeant major.

Breakfast at eight o'clock, a.m.

Men for guard or piquet duty must be ready a quarter before nine o'clock, a.m.

Guard mounting at nine, am.

(The hours for parade will be regulated by the Commanding Officer.)

Half-an-hour before the parade is formed the "dress" will sound; ten minutes after the "dress," the sergeants' call for the inspection of non-commissioned officers, band, and buglers, by the adjutant. Two minutes after the sergeants' call, the call for coverers will sound; and as soon as they are placed by the sergeant-major the "fall-in" will sound. The men will fall in one pace in rear of their coverers. On the command from the sergeant-major "dress-up," the men will step into their places, and the coverers will face to the right and dress them. The coverers will call the roll of their company, and fall in on the left. The "officers call" will then sound; coverers take one pace to the front, face to the right, and give the word "fix bayonets," and open the ranks, Captains will then inspect their companies, close the ranks, and order the men to "stand at ease." The companies will then be equalized by the sergeant-major; told off and proved by the captains. The "coverers' call" will again sound, and the coverers be placed by the adjutant. The "advance" will then sound, and the companies will be marched on their coverers by the captains, halted, and ordered to "stand at ease" —the officers remaining in their places, and the strictest silence being observed.

The parade will then be taken over by the officer appointed.

At all parades the recruits will fall in on the left of their respective companies for inspection, after which they will be marched off for recruit drill.

Dinner at one o'clock, p m.

Afternoon parade.

Retreat will sound at sunset. Guards will be under arms and picquets inspected.

First post at nine o'clock, p.m.

Tattoo, or " last post," at half-past nine, p. m.

At tattoo the sergeant-major parades the orderly sergeants, who hand in their reports. (Form 3.) The picquet is inspected by the orderly officer.

All men not "on pass" must be in barracks by tattoo. Any absent without leave will be confined on their return.

"Lights cut" at ten o'clock, p.m. No smoking or talking must be allowed after lights out. Stove-dampers must be closed. No man allowed out of his room without the permission of the non-commissioned officer in charge.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 11 September 2016

Troops Engaged in Mimic Battle (1929)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Troops Engaged in Mimic Battle (1929)

12th Canadian Infantry Brigade Held Exercises on Mountain Slope

For the purpose of the attack the brigade was formed into a composite battalion, each regular battalion representing a company in the composite unit, in order that there might be sufficient men in this composite battalion to represent a unit of full war strength.

The Montreal Gazette, 15 October 1929

A determined attempt to capture the high ground in the vicinity of the Park Slide clubhouse on Mount Royal, held by a well-informed garrison of 150 men and machine-guns, was made last night by a strong attacking force of local infantry, 600 strong. The slopes of the mountain were quickly transformed into the scene of a brisk encounter, with the cracking of rifles and the whiz of flares echoing out far into the night.

Tactical manoeuvres in the form of a sham battle engaged in by the 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade, composed of the Victoria Rifles of Canada, the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, the 42nd Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, and the Royal Montreal Regiment, were the occasion for this unusual spectacle, which assumed all the seriousness of a grim field skirmish.

For the purpose of the attack the brigade was formed into a composite battalion, each regular battalion representing a company in the composite unit, in order that there might be sufficient men in this composite battalion to represent a unit of full war strength. The defence force comprised the surplus officers of each battalion forms into platoons, as well as a machine gun battalion.

Let by Lt.-Col. J.D. MacPherson, M.C., of the Royal Highlanders of Canada, the composite battalion which formed the attacking force proceeded in formation from Cote de Neiges up Shakespeare Road. On reaching a point close to the riding ring in front of the Park Slide, the force halted and split up into small units, extending out along the riding ring. From here the battalion advanced carefully toward the guarded position near the clubhouse. The attack was greeted with a counter attack and some active skirmishing took place in the vicinity of the slide.

Lieut.-Col. MacPherson has as his second-in-command, Major Stuart Rolland, of the Victoria Rifles of Canada, and as adjutant, Capt. H.W. Woods, of the Royal Montreal Regiment. The Victoria Rifles company was commanded by Major L. Banmore, M.C., the 13th Battalion company by Major A.T. Howell, the 42nd Battalion company by Major J.M. Morris, M.C., and the Royal Montreal Regiment company by Major V. Whitehead, M.C.

The defence force was under the command of Lt.-Col. C.B. Price, D.S.O., of the Royal Montreal Regiment, with Lieut.-Col. Brooks, M.C., in charge of the machine gun battalion.

The Brigade Staff consisted of Col. D.R. McCuaig, D.S.O., commanding, Major H.W. Morgan, M.C., brigade major, and Capt John Heaton, staff captain.

Twenty rounds of blank ammunition were served out to each man taking part in the manoeuvres.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 9 September 2016

Starving the Militia
Topic: Canadian Militia

It is idle to suppose that we can do without a militia. No country, unfortunately, is independent of armed defenders. We do not require a large and menacing force, but a moderate and well-drilled force.

Starving the Militia

The Toronto Daily Mail, 19 March 1892

The colonel in command of the Guards at Ottawa has resigned because, it is understood, the Government declines to pay certain sums of money due to his regiment. This is not the first time the Guards have been left without a commander; nor is the resignation of the colonel on account of the indisposition of the Administration to do what is right financially at all a novelty. One of the peculiarities of the Militia Department is its failure to recognize at their true value the requirements and the merits of the force under its management. During the past decade the energies of the Bureau, through the influence of Sir Adolphe Caron, have been directed rather to the establishment of the permanent corps than to the encouragement of the volunteer soldiers. As a result there have been large expenditures upon the growing fixed establishment, and relatively small ones upon the outside regiments. The accounts for last year tell, in part, the story of monetary discrimination. No less a sum than $1,279,000 was spent under the head of militia. Of this amount a proportion was devoted to the payment of the staff, and the providing of clothing and equipment. The balance was divided between the permanent corps and the militia regiments. The former, including the Military College, received in all $527,902; whereas the latter was awarded $272,098 for the annual drill and $35,996 for drill instruction, or $308,094 in all. There is reason to believe that the Major-General, after making a thorough inspection of the organization, has reached the conclusion that too much money is spent in frills and not enough upon the main body of the militia. His first deliverance with regard to the force was not at all enthusiastic. On Thursday he took another slap at the system by observing that the artillery at least had not degenerated into a mere body for the purposes of parading or marching past; although it had suffered from faulty administration which had sent it into camp without proper equipment. What report the General will make in the forthcoming blue book on the state of the militia it is not difficult to foretell. He will no doubt complain of the general control, and of the equipment, and will demand an annual drill. Many of the commanders have long been in favour of the resort every year to camps of instruction. Nor is this in the slightest degree remarkable. The force necessarily changes. Men enter for three years and disappear at the end of the term. Should they enlist during the year in which there is no drill they will pass out of the militia with only one experience, and that very brief, of active military life. In some quarters the ordinary instruction is not prosecuted, and the consequence is that the militiaman has no more intimate knowledge of his arms or his duties than is gleaned during the period of encampment. For the militiamen it can be said that no more devoted soldiers can be found anywhere. All they require is encouragement in the performance of their duties; and it is certain that if they receive this they will render to the country an abundant return for the interest lavished upon them. It is idle to suppose that we can do without a militia. No country, unfortunately, is independent of armed defenders. We do not require a large and menacing force, but a moderate and well-drilled force. Let the Government provide this, and be reasonably liberal to the men who devote themselves to the service of their country, and militia duty will become a pleasure and the militia itself a source of pride—even to the General.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 August 2016 3:12 PM EDT
Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Canadian Infantry Organization (1916)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canadian Infantry Organization (1916)

The infantry is the main arm of every Army.

The Organization, Administration and Equipment of His Majesty's Land Forces in Peace and War, First Edition, by Lieut.-Colonel William R. Lang, m.s.c, 1916

Infantry Units in Canada

The infantry is the main arm of every Army. The following are the Infantry units in Canada:—

Permanent Force:—

The Royal Canadian Regiment. The R.C.R. dates its organization as a Regiment from Dec. 21st, 1883, and has its Regimental Headquarters at Halifax, Nova Scotia. It maintains detachments or companies at various stations, namely at London, Toronto, Fredericton, N,B., Halifax, N.S., Quebec, P.Q., Esquimalt, B.C., where in peace time Schools of Instruction are held for Officers and N.C.O.'s of the non-permanent Militia. The establishment of the R.C.R. in officers and men is given in Appendix 1.


  • 11 Contingents Canadian Officers' Training Corps. (footnoted: "Form part of the Infantry of the non-permanent Militia with precedence immediately before the G.G.F.G.")
  • Governor-General's Foot Guards
  • 2 Regiments of 2 battalions.
  • 106 Regiments of 1 battalion.
  • 2 Independent Companies.

Infantry in the British Army

In the British service the infantry comprises the Brigade of Guards—Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards, known as Household Troops, their duties in peace being connected with the security of the Sovereign—and the Infantry of the Line. Each Regiment, of Guards and of the Line, is composed of 2 or more battalions. (footnoted: "The battalions of the Guards are as follows:—Grenadiers, 3, with a 4th Reserve Bn.; Coldstream, 3, with a 4th Reserve Bn.; Scots, 2, with a 3rd Reserve Bn.; Irish and Welsh, 1 each with a 2nd Reserve Bn.")

Previous to 1882, few of the latter had more than one battalion, when the system of linking individual line regiments in pairs under a Territorial designation came into effect and the old numbers ceased to be employed officially, the expressions "1st (or 2nd) Battalion the Blank and Dash Regiment" being adopted. The same re-arrangement was made with respect to the old County Militia regiments (footnoted: "The Militia trained for 28 days annually in camp or barracks and drew pay; recruits assembled 2 weeks previously for preliminary training.") which became the 3rd (and 4th) battalion of the regiment whose Depôt was established in the county. Similarly the Volunteers (footnoted: "Volunteer units received no pay, but a capitation grant for each "efficient" with extra grants drawn for each officer who passed certain of the examinations set for officers of the Regular Army.") abandoned their old numbers and became the "1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) Volunteer Battalion, the Blankshire Regiment," and adopted (in many cases) the uniforms of their respective line battalions, with this difference that silver or white lace and cord took the place of the gold or yellow worn by the Regulars. (footnoted: "Militia officers wore gold and the letter M on the shoulder straps below the badges of rank.")

The Territorial and Reserve Forces Act of 1907 changed the foregoing arrangement. A few Militia battalions were disbanded, and the great majority became the 3rd and 4th "Special Reserve" battalions of those regiments possessing 2 line battalions, or the 4th and 5th of those with 4. The Yeomanry (footnoted: "Cavalry corps originally enlisted from amongst the yeoman or farmer class.") and Volunteers became the Territorial Force, and now appear in the Army List as the 5th (6th, etc.)—Battalion of their line regiment. The use of silver in place of gold on scarlet (or blue) uniforms no longer obtains, the letter T on the shoulder indicating that the wearer belongs to the territorial force. In service-dress, the T is worn below the collar badges.

Canadian Regiments of Infantry and Rifles

The Canadian Regiments of Infantry and Rifles as classified as being either City or Rural.

  • City Corps—Corps of the Active Militia (non-permanent) not rural corps. Rural Corps—A Corps of the Active Militia (non-permanent) which performs its annual training in camp.
  • The seniority of units is that shewn in the Militia List and is according to their numerical sequence, though in some cases numbers formerly held by regiments, since disbanded, have been given to newly organized units.

The Rifle Regiments are 25 in number, namely,—2nd, 3rd, 8th, 11th, 20th, 22nd, 30th, 38th, 39th, 41st, 43rd, 49th, 51st, 56th, 58th, 63rd, 68th, 76th, 90th, 97th, 103rd. These are in most cases designated further with some territorial or personal reference, such as "Queen's Own Rifles," "Soo Rifles," "Earl Grey's Own Rifles," etc. Rifle regiments are differentiated from other regiments of foot in that their uniform is dark green and that they march past at the "trail" without fixed bayonets instead of at the "slope."

The remainder are styled variously:—

  • Grenadier Guards (1st);
  • Chasseurs (4th);
  • Highlanders (5th, 48th, 72nd, 78th, 79th, 91st, 94th);
  • Fusiliers (7th, 11th, 21st, 62nd, 66th, 88th, 101st, 104th, 105th);
  • Voltigeurs (9th);
  • Grenadiers (10th,100th);
  • Rangers (12th, 57th, 74th, 99th, 102nd);
  • Light Infantry (15th, 26th, 29th (Highland), 67th, 82nd, 106th);
  • Pioneers (23rd);
  • Borderers (27th);
  • Franc Tireurs (18th);
  • Foresters (35th);
  • Carabiniers (54th, 65th).

Others have a territorial designation in addition to a number, while some use the number only. A few are authorized to be termed "Royal."

The existing establishments of the infantry and rifle regiments are in a condition of change, some having been authorized to organize on the new 4 (double) company system. On the 8 company system, City corps have 47 privates, and Rural corps 30, except the 29th, 45th, 69th, 73rd, 76th, 82nd, 85th, 89th, 94th, 99th and 108th, which have 47. the 10th and 48th Regiments have 88 privates per company. One is on a 6, and a few on a 4 company basis.

The 2nd and 5th Regiments possess 2 battalions and have a special establishment.

elipsis graphic

Establishment of the R.C.R.

  • Officers – 30
  • Other ranks – 296
  • Total effective strength – 326

(Not including supernumeraries such as Instructional cadres, Physical Training Instructors, and others not doing duty with the unit.)

elipsis graphic

Appendix II—Infantry and Rifles

Peace establishments of regiments of the non-permanent Militia on the 8 company basis. Previous to the adoption by certain units of the 4 (double) company system—under authority from M.H.Q.—two establishments obtained, a higher for City Corps, and for the following Rural Corps, 29th, 45th, 69th, 73rd, 76th, 82nd, 85th, 89th, 94th, 99th and 108th and a lower for the remainder of the Rural Corps. Changes are occurring from time to time but what follows indicates the composition of each as taken from Canadian Establishments and amendments to the same, which book must be consulted for exceptions.

HeadquartersHigher Estb.Lower Estb.Remarks
Majors22Only 1 if a 4 C. Regt.
Musketry Instructor11 
Signalling Officer11 
Quarter-Master11Honorary rank.
Paymaster11Only City Corps, and only Rural Corps whose Paymasters were appointed prior to G.O. 172 of 1910. 
Medical Officer11Now being attached from the A.M.C.
Sergeant-Major11May be a Warrant Officer.
Bandmaster or Band Sergeant11May be a Warrant Officer.
Quarter-Master Sergeant11 
Orderly-room Sergeant11 
Pay Sergeant11 
Included in Headquarters11 
Stretcher-bearer Sergeant11 
Privates, stretcher-bearers8  
Sergeant Cook11Not authorized for a regiment of less than 6 companies. 
Sergeant Drummer11 
Signalling Sergeant11 
Signalling Corporal11 
Privates, signallers88 
Pioneer Sergeant11 
Machine gun N.C.O.'s22If corps is in possession of machine guns. 
Privates, M.G. detachment66
Bandsmen2424G.G.F.G. has 32.
Total all ranks included in H.Q.7676 
Company EstablishmentHigher Estb.Lower Estb.Remarks
  • 4 Company Regts, 24th, 68th, 84th, 98th.
  • 6 Company Regt., 99th.
  • 10 Company Regt., 30th.
  • 16 Company Regts., 2nd, 5th.
1 Independent Company of Rifles is localized at Grand Forks, B.C., and 1 of Infantry at Nanaimo, B.C.
Colour Sergeant11

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 3 September 2016

Gen Gascoigne's Bombshells (Halifax, 1897)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Gen Gascoigne's Bombshells (Halifax, 1897)

Startle Two of the Halifax Battalions

The Sixty-Third Rifles Censured for Slovenly Drill—The Sixty-Sixth Has Too Many Army Reserve Men—Capt. Heckler Ordered to take Off His German Medals—The Officers Determined to Make the General Retract

Daily Mail and Empire, Toronto, 17 November 1897

Halifax, N.S., Nov. 16.—(Special.)—General Gascoigne has been in Halifax for the past week, and has availed himself of the opportunity to inspect the Canadian militia here, and give the force a regular overhauling. He held a levee on Saturday; and one of the officers who called on him was Captain Heckler, of the 63rd Rifles, whose breast was adorned with medals gained in the Franco-Prussian war. General Gascoigne asked him if he had permission to wear them, and, being answered in the negative, the order was, "Take them off till permission is received."

Last night the 63rd Rifles were inspected. The regiment was severely censured for the slipshod way in which the officers gave their orders, and in which the men carried them out.

To-night General Gascoigne inspected the 66th, P.L.F. [Princess Louise Fusiliers], and he caused a new sensation in delivering the following speech:—"I have a great deal of pleasure in meeting you for the first time. But the regiment I came to Halifax to see was a regiment of the Canadian militia. What do I find? I find that one-half or more, probably two-thirds, are [British] army reserve men. This is not what I expected to see. A regiment of Canadian militia is what I anticipated seeing. A man cannot lawfully draw pay from two sources—the pay of the army army reserve and of the Canadian militia. How would the 66th P.L.F. look if all the army reserve men were called back to the colours? I like to see a mixing of the ranks, but it is not the intention that there should be a mixing of the kind that I see before me in the 66th P.L.F. to-night. I regret my introduction to this sort of regiment. Of course, it is smart; how could it be otherwise, when the majority of the men belong to the army reserve? The drill is good, the turnout is clean, the work of the officers is excellent. I would be perfectly satisfied with the battalion if it were composed of the men intended that it should contain—a regiment of Canadian militia. But, under the circumstances, as I find them, I cannot call the inspection satisfactory. It is indeed not satisfactory for this cause. I feel the utmost has been done, the men have drilled well, and turned out clean. I would be only too willing to praise if I could, but this is impossible, for the fact remains that the battalion is not what it pretends to be. This must not occur again. It must cease from to-night."

The 66th officers are confident they will make General Gascoigne retract. They say that they can prove instead of two-thirds of the regiment being army reserve men, the battalion contains, out of an establishment of 600 men, only 32 army reserve men. Three of the companies have none, two of them only two, and the band none. It is openly stated that General Gascoigne has made the mistake of confounding ex-soldiers free of the army in every respect with the army reserve, and the determination is expressed to make him retract.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2016 11:31 PM EDT
Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Severe Arraignment of the Management of the Militia (1903)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Severe Arraignment of the Management of the Militia

In the Ontario camp this year no battalion mustered more than 180 men out of 253. In the London district 1,248 men were in camp out of 3,611 men and this occurred everywhere.


St. John Daily Sun, St. John, New Brunswick, 1 July 1903

At the evening session [of the 9th Canadian Parliament] Mr. Thompson of Haldimand, on going into supply, spoke at length on the militia. He quoted the promise made by the ministers at the colonial conference to improve the forces. He declared that the rural militia, which constituted three-fifths of the whole force, was far worse off to day than two years ago, and if the decline continued in a few years the battalions would be demoralized. He credited this to the small pay, and urged that the allowance should be increased from 50 cents to a dollar a day. In the Ontario camp this year no battalion mustered more than 180 men out of 253. In the London district 1,248 men were in camp out of 3,611 men and this occurred everywhere. Old men and babies now made up the regiments. An increase in pay would involve an expenditure of $221,673 a year. This was less than the cost of the Halifax garrison, now disbanded, and the money could be devoted to the militia, generally. If there was not sufficient money to go around, the city militia's pay could be kept as it is and if this were done increase in expenditure would amount to $134,658. Mr. Thompson also put in a word for camp chaplains, who should be given accommodations and paid at least $2 per day. He warned the government that if the militia were called out too often for strikes ill effects would follow, and he urged that the permanent force be used on such occasions.

Mr. Thompson also advocated further assistance to rifle clubs and school cadets and advocated sending out organizers to work up an interest in rifle clubs.

Mr. Gourley spoke in favour of giving every encouragement to the militia. He was glad to see the conservatives were more generous in opposition towards the militia than the liberals were. He declared that Laurier by raising the cry of militaryism (sic) stamped himself a demagogue.

Hon. Mr. Borden said he could not take such comfort as Thompson out of the remarks made by ministers at the colonial conference. If Thompson had painted a true picture of the condition of the militia it was a most severe arraignment of the government. In 1896 $1,000,000 was voted for the militia, and now with $1,750,000 devoted to the service, it was a serious matter to find the force in such a disorganized state. The government should take immediate steps to supply a remedy. If increase in pay would do what was claimed for it every member would support it.

Mr. Bourassa thought that if the militia was as represented the numbers should be reduced. He would not consent to any increase in expenditure.

Mr. Clarke made a vigorous speech, in which he declared that Canada was not here on sufferance, and he would never consent to allow the defences of the country to drift to decay. He urged the department to take action to correct the abuses complained of.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Militia Camps (1889)
Topic: Canadian Militia

It is stated, for example, that at Niagara last year eighty per cent. of the men had never before handled a rifle.

The Militia Camps (1889)

The Toronto Daily Mail, 27 May 1889

In a few weeks the town and rural militia corps ordered to perform drill will be under arms. Though the city regiments would have liked to have participated in the exercises at the coming camps the militia authorities have not seen their way clear to admit them. It is understood that the expense involved stands in the way, and that the regular training the men receive throughout the year at headquarters is regarded as ample to ensure their efficiency.

Altogether 19,225 officers and men will receive training at the camps. This number is 1,464 less than last year. In every province a decrease in the strength for drill has been effected. There is, for example, a decrease of 521 in Ontario, of 265 in Quebec, and of 372 in Manitoba. It is noted as a curious circumstance that while in each province there is a reduction in the number ordered for drill, there is in one district in Quebec an actual increase of 120 men. This district is No. 7 — that in which the Minister of Militia himself is most interested, his associations all being there.

These camps cost us annually just upon $300,000. Last year the figure was $281,000. That they do good it would be impossible to deny. They afford the men at least an insight into the business of soldiering, and teach them that, regardless of social distinctions, they must obey their officers. In this country, where in civil life the men are sometimes the superiors of the officers, the strict idea of military duty is somewhat difficult to enforce. It must, however, be impressed upon all concerned, or in the time of service the militia will be unmanageable. In the matter of actual military work the camps have a good purpose, but it is feared they do not invariably fill it. They give the men a brief drill and they afford them the opportunity of firing twenty rounds at a target. The drill is frequently of no permanent value, owing to the circumstance that many rank and file arrive at the camp completely innocent of military orders. This results in part from the failure to drill men at headquarters during the interval between the former and the present camp, and in part from the practice of filling up the regiments at the last moment with recruits who have not received, as the candidates for camp life should receive, elementary instruction in their duties.

In the use of the rifle the firing of twenty rounds at a camp is no guarantee of proficiency, and very little assistance in that direction. Some of the musketry instructors speak in their annual reports very dolefully of their pupils. It is stated, for example, that at Niagara last year eighty per cent. of the men had never before handled a rifle. To march these men to the targets and to suppose, after allowing them to fire five rounds at 100, 200, 300 and 400 yards, that they really know anything about the use of the weapons, is to practice the grossest self-deception. The instruction is altogether insufficient. It is gratifying to observe that the department had made an endeavour to improve matters by ordering that this year men shall not be advanced from one target to another until they should have made at least four points at the shorter distance. This will do good, in that it will cause the men to demonstrate that they can hit a barn at a hundred yards before they are allowed to try the same experiment at two hundred yards; but it will not afford all the instruction necessary. At best, twenty rounds shot by a man in two years—for two years elapse before the militiaman returns to camp, if he has not tired of glory in the meantime—is but poor practice. It should be supplemented by training at the local headquarters in the interval.

While a small reform is to be effected in the musketry business, no change, though it has been earnestly petitioned for, is to be made with respect to the equipment of the men. On of the hardships of camp life is the sleeping accommodation. Allowed but one blanket, the volunteer is compelled to wrap this as a martial cloak around him, and to seek repose on the bosom of mother-earth with his clothes on. This might be a very necessary experience during actual service, but it is not essential at the camps. As the country has bales of blankets in store, the men have urged the allotment to them of two blankets instead of one. The Government, however, holds that they are warm and dry enough with one blanket, so no inroads are to be made upon the stores. The path of glory must therefore be pursued in the face of hardships, some of which are altogether uncalled for.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 11 August 2016

Permanent Force Made Royal (1893)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Permanent Force Made Royal (1893)

Militia General Orders

Ottawa, 11th August, 1893

Special General Order

General Order 34 of 2nd June, 1893, is cancelled.

The following Special General Order is issued in lieu thereof, and is dated the 2nd May, 1893:—

On the occasion of Her Majesty's birthday, the Queen has been graciously pleased to signify her approval, that the Regiments now comprising the Permanent Militia of Canada be henceforth designated as follows viz.:—

Her Majesty has been further graciously pleased to authorize the above named Royal Regiments to wear on their equipment Her Imperial cypher V.R.I., surmounted by the Imperial crown.

By Command, Walker Powell, Colonel Adjutant General of Militia, Canada

elipsis graphic

The superseded General Order 34 of 2nd June, 1893, read as follows:—

Permanent Corps

Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to signify Her approval of the several corps of the Permanent Force, being designated "Royal."

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2016 11:32 PM EDT
Saturday, 9 July 2016

Sam Hughes Gets Schooled
Topic: Canadian Militia

Sam Hughes Gets Schooled

"My own idea is that the Militia Force of Canada is like one of those big-hatted, hobble-skirted girls one sees walking along the sidewalks—all feathers and top."

From archived Governor General's office documents held by Library and Archives Canada comes this critical observation by Sir Sam Hughes after visiting the Militia Camps in 1912. Following is the reply from the Chief of the General Staff.

July 9, 1912


To:—The Chief of the General Staff
Department of Militia and Defence

It is my desire to consider thoroughly the whole question of the training of the militia.

As judged by their actions, there is scarcely a trained Officer in the Force, scarcely an Officer that has the master spirit developed; even the subordinate Officers seem to lack initiative.

It is my wish to greatly extend the provisional Schools of Instruction, and the Sergeant Instructors for Battalion Headquarters, and the sooner we get together and get out plans all considered, the more it will be to the benefit of the Force.

In nearly every Camp visited, there seemed to be an absence of the master mind in Divisions, in Brigades, in Regiments and in Companies.

Colonel Smart was, by all odds, the best Camp Commandant I met. There were a number of good Brigade Commanders, a few Regimental Commanders and not very many Company Commanders. The men were splendid, all they wanted was a chance.

Please think over remedies and see if, when we all meet together, we can get something devised to bring about a change.

My own idea is that the Militia Force of Canada is like one of those big-hatted, hobble-skirted girls one sees walking along the sidewalks—all feathers and top.

To my mind, we must lay foundations good and solid.

Sam. Hughes

elipsis graphic

The Chief of the General Staff's less than accomodating reply:

"Units will be found to vary in efficiency in direct proportion to the efficiency of their officers.

The Hon. The Minister of Militia and Defence.

I have received your memorandum giving the conclusions you have arrived at as a result of your recent visit to various Camps. They do not surprise me. The conditions you have found should be well known to any one who is conversant with the facts. I believe the same conditions have existed for some years.

If you expect, with your present inadequate military system, that the Militia will obtain any high degree of efficiency you will be disappointed; though no doubt an improvement can be effected.

It is as well to be clear as to certain points. You specifically mention "training and provisional schols of instruction." What do you mean by these terms? The intention of the instructions for training in camp for 1911 and 1912 was that units should learn drill sufficient, and no more, to allow of their being moved about for manoeuvre purposes without disorder; apart from this that all attention should be directed to teaching them the duties that they would have to carry out in war. That the same idea should be kept in view at other than camp training. Does this accord with your conceptions on the subject?

A "Provisional School of Instruction" is intended to provide officers and N.C,.Os. Who are unable to go to the Regular Schools of Instruction with a convenient local means of qualifying for their positions, and of obtaining the same instruction, and going through the same courses, as if they were attending a regular school of instruction. The existing regulations on the subject recently approved by the Militia Council provide for this, and were specially brought in to prevent irregularities and to prevent officers and others getting a qualifying certificate which in most cases had not in the past been worth the paper it was written on. Is this your idea of what provisional schools should be?

What is your machinery for carrying on training, provisional or other schools, and instruction generally? You have the Permanent Force and the Active Militia. It is not probable you will obtain Militia officers to give up their civil vocations and follow the somewhat thankless task of teaching their fellows. You say you wish to extend the system of provisional schools and increase the number of sergeant instructors, but on the other hand you have, since coming into office, reduced the Permanent Force, and it is a matter of common knowledge that you held that force in very little esteem. This has had a bad effect. The Permanent Force of Canada has had no chance under the existing system of learning their work, I refer particularly to their field duties, they are, like most men, what their environment has made them, but whether good or bad, they are the only instrument you have for carrying out instructional work, and the better you make them the better will the Militia be, and its is as well, if they are to be your instructional medium, that this fact should be recognized. If you are going to rely on other instruments the matter is of less account.

The establishment of sergeant instructors (The Instructional Cadre) is now just complete. Thirty cavalry and seventy one infantry. This is the proportion of one instructor to two regiments. There is no insuperable difficulty in increasing this to make it one per regiment—in fact that was the initial intention. It is, however, a big demand on 4 weak squadrons of cavalry and 1 battalion of infantry to provide respectively 60 cavalry and 142 infantry instructors. Do you think the present meagre establishment of the Permanent Force can do it?

While on the subject of training, instruction and provisional schools it may be pointed out that though a sergeant instructor is capable of teaching N.C.Os. There is not one in twenty who is capable of instructing officers in the duties, and especially the field duties, which fall to an officer's lot in war, knowledge of tactics, etc. This being so, it is necessary that such instruction should be imparted by competent officers. What officers are available for this purpose?

You have found some Militia officers in camp more efficient than others. Units will be found to vary in efficiency in direct proportion to the efficiency of their officers. You probably noticed a difference between the two cavalry brigades you saw at Petawawa. One was in command of a competent officer who knew what to do and he had a competent regular officer as brigade major, the other brigade had neither of these advantages. The obvious immediate remedy is to remove incompetent officers. You perhaps do not care to do this. A further necessary step is to avoid making officers Brigade Commanders, etc., who are known to be unfit for such positions. Are you prepared to act on these lines? It may be remembered that the policy of trying to make Brigade Commanders something more than figure heads, and of bringing home to them their duties and responsibilities is of very recent origin.

The general inefficiency of Militia officers of which you complain is in my opinion largely attributable to the purely nominal courses of instruction which, up to 1911-12, they went through when obtaining certificates qualifying them for the several ranks. I have returns showing that about 90% of the courses are "special 7 day courses." Officers of all ranks attended at the same time, no syllabus was laid down and the result, as far as learning anything useful is concerned, was practically nil. Your kindly but as I consider mistaken efforts to provide provisional schools and individual instruction in cases when it was not feasible to put officers and N.C.Os. through the course that is now authorised has been one of the many difficulties in the endeavour to try and ensure that a qualifying certificate should be a reality and not a farce.

A good system of command and administration, discipline, suitable terms of service and ground for field exercises are also closely connected with any general improvement in training. Since your advent into office you have completely changed the system at Militia Headquarters in that you are exercising executive command as well as administrative control. You issue executive orders direct from your office on various matters intimately affecting different military branches at Headquarters. This is not in accordance with the military constitution of the country as laid down in the Militia Act. I mention the fact but do not presume to comment on it. I have been at Militia Headquarters long enough to be able to observe the results of this change of system. One result is that the heads of the military branches of the department are ceasing to carry on their work on their own initiative and responsibility, nor does the matter end here. Commanders of Divisions and Districts are exercising little initiative and accept no responsibility they can avoid. Officer in Canada having no opportunity of developing their character for command and responsibility in field exercises and manoeuvres, it is all the more important they should be trained to exercise their judgment and accept responsibility in every other direction.

The present tendency at Headquarters is no help to that end. A military system in which each individual does not take his own responsibility and do his own work will not produce any good result.

You told the Militia Council of some professorial experiences of your own, when, after some months of hard work, you discovered that those you were instructing had learn't nothing, because you had, on the blackboard, been doing the whole work yourself. Are you sure that you are not again repeating that procedure? If training, etc., is to improve, the entire system is involved, and the question arises whether a big department and a military system embracing a large country can be controlled on its administrative and on its executive side, and in all its details, by one man. I think the results will prove disappointing.

The weakness of a Militia Force when first embodied for service is admittedly lack of discipline. You have at a large meeting of Militia officers stated your views on this subject. I doubt if you would find any support for those views from professional soldiers of experience in any army in Europe. They may all be wrong. The broad results at present are that an individual who has failed, or thinks he will fail if he asks, to obtain from a properly constituted military authority something that he wants, turns to some gentleman of influence, usually political influence, or addresses you direct. Men of the permanent Force complain to you direct. I have been observing with anxiety the spread of this new doctrine. It is very damaging to military authority. I do not think it will make easier the observance of regulations for improved training and efficiency.

What degree of military efficiency can be expected from a man who does between eight and twelve days training in his life time? Yet that is the general condition to-day, as from 30 to 80% of the Militia serve only for one year. Sir John French in his report laid special stress on the necessity of making men fulfill their obligation, undertaken on enlistment, or serving three years. A captain recently applied the law and took proceedings against some men who failed to attend camp. The barrister for the accused took the ground that your remarks on then case, communicated to the press, constituted an official repudiation of the captain's action. If service is to be for one year no marked improvement in the general efficiency of the rank and file, beyond that now prevailing, can be anticipated, unless the period of annual training is increased.

Having decided on the nature of training to be given, ground is required for practical experiences. Drill and simple movements can be carried out on the Farnham field, at Niagara and at Sussex, but little else.

15th July 1912.

Maj. General,
Chief of the General Staff.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Garrison Church Parade (1895)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Garrison Church Parade (1895)

Daily Mail and Empire, 9 November 1895

Toronto has every reason to be proud of the magnificent showing made by the garrison at last Sunday's divine service parade. The total number of men in line, 2,041, was larger than any such previous occasion. The marching and general appearance of the men was magnificent, and in this connection an extract from Major-General Gascoigne's letter to Lt.-Col. Buchan, which appeared in full in The Mail and Empire of Monday, is worthy of repetition:—

"Not only did the numbers present on parade exceed my expectations, but the general smartness and magnificent appearance of the troops, as well as their steadiness and evident knowledge of drill and training, gave me the highest gratification. I am proud to have the honour of commanding such troops."

It was noticeable that despite the immense crowds lining the streets on the route to and from Massey hall the men were in no way inconvenienced thereby. The efforts of the police in keeping the roadways clear were ably seconded by the public. In this respect it is interesting to compare the following from the Montreal Star of the 28th October in connection with the church parade on the 27th of the same month:—

"The church parade of the Montreal brigade of active militia yesterday afternoon resulted in the thronging of the city streets with the densest crowds that have gathered in Montreal for years. The Champ de Mars, where the brigade was formed up, was so densely packed with humanity that it was with the greatest difficulty that the General and his staff could pass from one corps to the other to conduct his inspection. The whole way along the lengthy line of march to St. George's church, the streets were so jammed with spectators that the troops barely had room to pass through, while the southern half of Dominion square was black with people. A fact which was emphasized by the parade was the incapacity of the police to handle big crowds or their lack of will to do so. Not the least attempt was made at keeping the Champ de Mars or the streets along the route clear. The ranks were squeezed in all the way along the route, and at cross streets electric cars and other vehicles were allowed to cross the line of march with impunity."

"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
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
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
Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Active Service; 1 June 1866
Topic: Canadian Militia

Corps Called Out for Active Service; 1 June 1866

Militia General Orders

Ottawa Citizen, 4 June 1866

Ottawa, 1st June, 1866

The Governor General and Commander in Chief directs that the following corps be called out for actual service, and that the said corps be immediately assembled and billeted at their respective headquarters, there to await such orders for their movements as may be directed by the Commander in Chief:—

Upper Canada

  • Windsor Garrison Battery
  • Goderich Garrison Battery
  • St. Catharine's Garrison Battery
  • Toronto Garrison Battery
  • Port Stanley Naval Company
  • Mount Pleasant Infantry
  • Paris Rifle
  • Brantford Rifle (two)
  • Kincardine Infantry (two)
  • Paisley Infantry
  • Southampton Rifle
  • Vienna Infantry
  • St. Thomas Rifle
  • Windsor Infantry
  • Sandwich Infantry
  • Leamington Infantry
  • Amherstburg Infantry
  • Gosfield Rifle
  • Durham Infantry
  • Mount Forest Rifle
  • Caledonia Rifle
  • Stewarttown Infantry
  • Georgetown Infantry
  • Norval Infantry
  • Oakville Rifle
  • Seaforth Infantry
  • Chatham Infantry (two)
  • Blenheim Infantry
  • 19th Battalion, 6 Companies, St. Catharine's
  • 20th Battalion, 5 Companies, St. Catharine's
  • 7th Battalion, 5 Companies, London
  • Komoka Rifle
  • Villa Nova Rifle
  • Simcoe Rifle
  • Port Rowan Rifle
  • Walsingham Rifle
  • Ingersoll Infantry
  • Drumbo Infantry
  • 22nd Battalion, Oxford Rifles, 4 Companies, Woodstock
  • Brampton Infantry and Rifle Companies
  • Albion Infantry
  • Derry West Infantry
  • Alton Infantry
  • Grahamsville Infantry
  • Stratford Infantry
  • Bradford Infantry
  • Barrie Infantry and Rifle Companies
  • Collingwood Rifle Company
  • Cookstown Rifle Company
  • Orangeville Infantry
  • Fergus Rifle
  • Elora Rifle
  • 13th Battalion Infantry, 6 Companies, Hamilton
  • Aurora Infantry
  • Lloydtown Infantry
  • King Infantry
  • Scarborough Rifles, 2nd Battalion, Queen's Own Rifles, 11 Companies, Toronto
  • 10th Battalion, Royals, 8 Companies, Toronto

Lower Canada

  • Franklin Infantry
  • Durham Infantry
  • Hinchinbrooke Rifle
  • Athelstan Infantry
  • Rockburn Infantry
  • Huntingdon Infantry
  • Hemmingford Infantry
  • Roxham Infantry
  • Lacolle Infantry (21st Battalion) St. John's, four Infantry Companies
  • Havelock Rifle
  • Grandby Infantry (two)
  • Waterloo Infantry (two)
  • Frelighsburgh Infantry
  • Philipsburg Infantry
  • Montreal (six Companies)

And the Governor General further directs that the said Volunteer Force shall, during the time it remains on actual service, be placed under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir John Michel, commanding Her Majesty's forces in North America, and that it shall be subject to the Queen's Regulations and orders for the Army, to the rules and articles of war, to the act for punishing mutiny and desertion, and to all other laws now applicable to Her Majesty's Troops in this Province, not inconsistent with the acts respecting the Volunteer Militia.

At former times the Commander in Chief has had occasion to call for the Active Service of the Volunteer Force, to maintain International obligations, and as a precaution against threatened attack.

Those threats have now ripened into into actual fact. The soil of Canada has been invaded, not in the practice of a legitimate warfare, but by a lawless and piratical band in defiance of all moral right, and in utter disregard of all the obligations which civilization imposes on mankind.

Upon the people of Canada the state of things imposes the duty of defending their altars, their homes and their property from desecration, pillage and spoilage.

The Commander in Chief relies on the courage and loyalty of the Volunteer Force and looks with confidence for the blessing of providence on their performance of the sacred duty which circumstances has cast upon them.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Militia Uniforms
Topic: Canadian Militia

What the militia want is a full dress uniform which will be ornamental and a working uniform which will be useful.

Militia Uniforms

Ottawa Citizen, 8 February 1902

The Canadian Militia Gazette, commenting on the opposition in militia circles to the continuation of the practice of the Canadian authorities blindly following the perennial chopping and changing of uniform and equipment by the British war office, says:—

That practice has been one of the most insane of our practices—insane, because it is not suited to the condition of our organization; insane, because it is not suited to our climatic conditions; insane, because under it the officers of a regiment are never "uniformed," though they may be dressed; insane, because it is inordinately expensive. Not today, nor yesterday, but for years, observing militia officers have seen the folly of it. The recent war office letter of warning to which our correspondent refers (it is not yet a regulation to be acted on) has created an unwonted furore in Canada. Why this is I fail to see, for the change which it foreshadows cannot apply to our militia unless it is adopted by the Dominion authorities. The mere publication of the letter (for general information) is not an adoption.

The reason the system has been pursued is because the militia has never been consulted on the subject and had to blindly submit to orders. There would have been no "unwonted furore" in this instance if the Citizen had not lifted up its voice against it, and the Gazette knows quite well that the changes foreshadowed in the "cautionary order" would have gone through. As a matter of fact some of the changes have already been made. The sabretache has been abolished, though it is decidedly ornamental in full dress and much more useful than the sword and belts because you can carry despatches and other papers in it. What the militia want is a full dress uniform which will be ornamental and a working uniform which will be useful. The minister should put his foor down.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 20 May 2016

Canada's Permanent Corps (1896)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canada's Permanent Corps (1896)

A Safe Target for Distorted and Misleading Criticism
The Cost of the Force and Its Good Work for the Dominion

Canada cannot afford a large standing army, nor from her isolation from the great military nations of the world does she require one.

The Quebec Saturday Budget, 14 November 1896

The officers and men of the permanent corps are so restricted by regulations as to be practically prohibited writing to the press: they form, therefore, a safe target for the criticisms of the amateur "who knows it all." Honest criticisms the corps should not object to; they are the servants of the public and the public has a right to have, as the Hom. Minister of Militia expressed it, "a hundred cents worth for every dollar expended." But as a rule the written attacks upon them either lack the 'essential element" or are so distorted as to be quite as annoying.

As an example, somewhere about a year ago the Military Gazette, published in Montreal, presented in an attack upon the permanent corps, an array of figures, evidently with the intention of persuading its readers that these corps absorb the greater portion of the militia funds, and it was boldly asserted that they were not worth their cost. Figures it is said, will not lie, but they may be presented as to lead to very erroneous conclusions.

In the article referred to it is made to appear that the permanent corps cost the country the previous year in round numbers $476,000, while the remainder of the militia cost only $211,000; as the whole militia vote for that year was $1,360,000, it might have spoiled the writer's argument, but it would have been more satisfactory to some at least of his readers, if he had told what became of the remaining $672,000.

The writer truthfully observes that "even this statement does not give the whole case." A careful examination of the Auditor-General's report and the official papers leads me to believe that the cost was much nearer $383,000 for the permanent corps and $477,000 for the "other militia," the balance being expended on fortifications, etc. For these sums we had on the one hand about one thousand officers and men well drilled, equipped and clothed ready to take the field at a moment's notice for the stern duties of war, who performed 329,960 days duty; on the other hand, 17,686 officers and men, many of the officers without sufficient military knowledge to make good non-commissioned officers, the majority of the men in the rural districts raw recruits, with scarce any equipment, who performed 212,232 days of elementary drill.

We have been told that the permanent corps have been a failure as schools of instruction. If it is meant that they have failed to grant certificates to men who did not deserve them, it is probably true. Experience has taught us that a small available force is a necessity in aid of the civil power, and all arguments to the contrary, notwithstanding, will be a necessity until the arrival of the millenium. The presence of a permanent corps in Quebec in times past has saved the authorities thousands of dollars, and even Montreal has not objected to them on several occasions. During the North-West unpleasantness the permanent corps were first in the field and last to leave, were always kept to the front, sustained the heaviest losses, did the hardest work, and got the least kudos. In other words, they have done their duty and their reward has been the approval of a good conscience and slanderous attacks which they are practically forbidden to reply to. That they are not perfect in every respect as their critics are, I will admit; there is room for reform and economy in the administration as there is in every department and profession, but in suggesting the better way do not drive truth from the field in order to score a point. Personally I object to the title of permanent corps, they should have retained their original titles as schools of instruction.

Canada cannot afford a large standing army, nor from her isolation from the great military nations of the world does she require one, but she does require "that degree of protection for self-defence that would compel other nations to hesitate before making war upon her" and this degree of preparation can be best secured by maintaining in the highest degree of efficiency schools of instruction for the militia, from which politics are entirely eliminated.

We read periodically, laudatory reports of the ability, knowledge and zeal of some 25,000 men, of the large quantities of military material and of the 600,000 men we have in reserve; but have these 25,000 men, beyond elementary drill, any real and valuable military knowledge? In no other calling in life would a similar amount of knowledge be considered worth a thought. Fancy even a college graduate, reading for the first time, theology, medicine or law for twelve days in a year, and their claiming to be an expert.

Of what use are 100,000 knapsacks if the material of which they are composed is rotten from age of insufficient care? Of what use are fuzes that will not act? Of ammunition of various makes and ages and unknown power or of obsolete patterns? What particular value are crumbling walls in the heart of a city armed with smooth bore guns on rotten carriages? Are 600,000 men invincible, without military training, modern arms and equipment, and without trained officers and non-commissioned officers to promptly organize, instruct and care for them and direct them in the field? It seems to me there is a very large field here for those military critics who are affected with cacoethes scribendi.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 15 May 2016

Year's Work of Canada's Militia (1913)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Year's Work of Canada's Militia (1913)

Annual Report of Militia Council is Presented by Col. Sam. Hughes
No Important Changes
Permanent Force Now Comprises 3,118 men, Including Officers—Increased Expenditure was $791,947

The Montreal Gazette, 15 January 1913

Ottawa, January 14.—The year's work in the Canadian Militia is reviewed in the annual report of the Militia Council presented by Colonel the Hon. Samuel Hughes. The one object sought, says the report in part, was preparedness for war, the power to mobilize at short notice a force of adequate strength, well-trained and fully equipped. In the scheme of defence a few adjustments have been made, but no important changes introduced.

Respecting mobilization, the general scheme is assuming definite shape. It depends for its success on decentralization, Division commanders will be given as free a hand as possible and not required to adopt a uniform system. The peace strength of the militia compared to war establishments is relatively low.

An inter-departmental committee, composed of the director of the naval service, chief of the general staff, and general staff officer for mobilization has been formed. Seventeen officers took instructional courses in England during the year. The report deals at length with the instructional schools of the militia in Canada, which in the last fiscal year granted certificates to 1,724 officers. In the year forty officers were appointed to the permanent staff.

The permanent force now comprises 3,118 men, of which 202 are officers. The largest number, 1,201, are at Halifax, Quebec coming second with 404, Toronto with 346, and Kingston with 345. The year's expenditure under votes was $7,558,284, and by statute $21,600. This was an increase of $791,947. A total of 38,994 men received efficiency pay aggregating $174,053.

"The main obstacles to our efficiency," remarks General Otter, "present themselves in two forms—lack of money on the one hand and the profusion of it in the form of successful enterprises on the other. The former, militating against the provision of armories and equipment, rifle ranges and training grounds, and so placing obstacles in the prosecution of effective training in its full significance; the latter prevents individuals from sparing the time necessary to fit themselves for the military duties they have assumed."

General Otter goes on to say that not enough serious thought is given to neglect of preparation for defence. Is it not imperative, he asks, that we possess a military force adequate to bear the first brunt of conflict or in any event cause the invader to stop and think on the threshold. He expresses the belief that the plaudits for church or ceremonial parades may have lulled us into the belief that we are fit and capable for any invasion and that we are encouraging a rude awakening and irreparable loss some day.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Control of Militia Arms
Topic: Canadian Militia

Control of Militia Arms

The following General Orders regarding the use, control, and storage of Militia arms were published in the Canada Gazette.

elipsis graphic

Toronto, 8th June, 1858

Militia General Orders

No. 1

His Excellency the Right Honorable the Governor General and Commander in Chief directs that no Corps of Volunteer Militia of the Active Force of the province, shall appear Armed or Accoutred, except when at Drill, at Target Practice, or required to act in aid of the Civil Power under due authority, unless permission for such Corps to appear under Arms has previously been applied for and granted by His Excellency's Orders.

elipsis graphic

Toronto, 4th February, 1859

Militia General Orders
Active Force

No. 1

With reference to General Order No. 1, of the 8th June last, His Excellency the Commander in Chief directs that all the Artillery Carbines, Cavalry Swords and Pistols, Rifled and Percussion Muskets, with Bayonets and Accoutrements complete of the whole of the Active Force, when not in use under the provisions of the said General Order, shall be kept in the Government Armory at all the stations where there is one, and in private Armories at all the other posts; and His Excellency will hold commanding Officer of Corps, and all others concerned, responsible that this Order is carried into effect.

His Excellency is persuaded that the Officers of the Force will see the propriety, and indeed the necessity, of strictly carrying out these instructions.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 10 May 2016 12:02 AM EDT

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