The Minute Book
Monday, 10 April 2017

Sea-Soldiers (1887)
Topic: Marines

Sea-Soldiers (1887)

"Marines" in the American and British Navies

Montreal Daily Witness, 26 July 1887

Neither at home nor in this country is the general public so well acquainted with the marine forces as it is with the army or navy. But the British marines are indeed a credit to their country, and are generally allowed to be as fine as, of not finer, than any other branches of the service, with the exception, perhaps, of Her Majesty's Guards. Today, in Montreal, the United States marines are well represented on board the U.S. Man-of-War "Galena," and the visitor only needs to enter into conversation with them to find out what a smart and intelligent body they are. They muster but twenty-six, with one officer, Lieutenant B.R. Russell, in command, through whose courtesy the writer was enabled to find out a good deal of the interior economy, discipline, etc., of this fine corps. The "Galena" was present at Alexandria after the pillage and burning of the city, and at the bombardment; but Lieutenant Russell is the only officer on board the ship to day who was serving with her at that time. A detachment of sixty American marines was chivalrously sent by Admiral Nicholson to act with the Royal Marines of the British squadron, but their efforts were confined to putting down the plunderers and incendiaries,—after which they returned to their own ships. The "Galena" was afterwards ordered to South America.

Lieutenant Russell related how a lot of the officers of the ship barely escaped with their lives during this exciting an perilous time. Having gone ashore in uniform, they had to be sent plain clothes from the ship in order to insure their escape. They took 360 refugees of all classes on board, among them forty Americans missionaries. Not being able to accommodate any more, a merchant ship was chartered to aid in relieving the sufferers.

The total strength of the United States Marine Corps is 2,500 of all ranks. Unlike Britain, they have no marine artillery, but merely the light infantry corps. However, they act the same as the marine artillery when required to do do, and besides infantry tactics they are thoroughly instructed in gunnery, serving on land as well as at sea. In the States the marines have barracks at Brooklyn, Washington, Boston, Portsmouth (N.H.), and Portsmouth (Virginia), Mure Island (California), Annapolis (Maryland), and Philadelphia. In Britain the marines number five thousand men and 250 officers, and there are four places where they have barracks:—Marine Artillery (Eastney) at Portsmouth, and Marine Light Infantry at Gosport, Chtaham and Plymouth. The Marine Artillery Barracks at Eastney is a magnificent building, capable of holding 2,500 men, and is fitted up regardless of expense,—perhaps the finest barracks in England. The U.S. Marines are very proud—and justly so—of their splendid band, consisting of fifty pieces. It is quartered at Washington, and is admitted to furnish about the best military music in the States. The band of the marines at home would be difficult to beat, and is equal to any other, with the exception, perhaps, of the Royal Artillery at Woolwich. But this is not to be wondered at, the Marine divisional bands never leave their headquarters, and there are 250 officers to subscribe to keep them up. It is the same with the Artillery, Engineers' and Guards' bands. Some 2,500 officers of Artillery subscribe to the band at Woolwich, which never leaves that town.

The promotion of the United States marine officer is certainly remarkably slow compared with that of his British cousin. Lieutenant Russell has now seen eighteen years service, and before he gets his captaincy he expects to have served another three of four years as first lieutenant; but compared with other countries the pay of officers and men in the marines, in the army, and in then navy of the States is very good. A lieutenant gets $1,500 a year, and all officers an increase of 10 percent every five years up to 40 percent. After this, if they have not already got it, the must await promotion. A captain gets $1,800 a year, whereas an English captain's pay is only eleven shillings and seven pence a day, and a lieutenant's six shillings and sixpence (about $1,015 and $570 a year respectively). A second lieutenant in the United States marines gets $1,100 a year, and the private is far better off than the British marine. He receives $13 a month and everything found him; besides $209 every five years for clothing, out of which he can easily save at least $80. He has to serve three years at sea and two years in barracks; and, should he re-enlist for another five years, he will get $17 per month; but he must re-enlist within thirty days and will then forfeit no pay for absence. The private marine has $12.80 clear every month, as there is only one charge, and this is made to every one, officers, non-coms. and men,—viz. 20 cents for hospital,—whereas the soldier at home (provided he is particularly careful and well behaved) can barely clear eightpence a day out of his shilling, as he is deducted thee pence halfpenny daily for groceries and one half-penny for washing.

There are several men on board the "Galena" who have served Her majesty,—mostly in the infantry,—and they all speak highly of their treatment by the United States Government. The discipline is by no means so severe as it has been in the English service, and courts-martial are rare occurrences. No grog is allowed on board ship, but in barracks the men have canteens where they can run credit, up to the amount of six or seven dollars a month,—only receiving their pay monthly. The promotion to the rank of non-commissioned officer is rather rapid, for the reason that once a man is reduced he cannot be again promoted during the period of that enlistment; and a non-com. can be reduced without the usual court-martial, but merely by an order from the Colonel Commandant. Most of the marines on board the "Galena" are Irish and Irish Americans, with a few Germans. On no account is flogging resorted to by the United States authorities, nor branding of any kind; but, as regards this, things are better now in the British service than they were some few years since, and the British army owes many a debt of gratitude to the Duke of Cambridge—but none greater than for the "instructions" on corporal punishment recently issued by the War Office. In his younger days the Duke bore a reputation of being a rigid martinet, but the army papers at home say that he has the good sense to see that short service has brought an entirely new situation into existence. It is not merely that a much larger number of recruits must be attracted into the service to make good retirements, nor even the consideration that unless military life be made tolerably pleasant the soldiers will revert to civilian existence as son as their first term expires. The main reason for relaxing the code of discipline in a certain degree is that, the more constantly a young soldier undergoes punishment, the less chance is there of his ever becoming thoroughly efficient. The Commander in Chief accordingly instructs commanding officers to resort to courts-martial less frequently, while these latter tribunals are cautioned to temper justice with mercy to a greater extent than at present. The general annual return of the British army records show that in 1886, no less than 8,000 courts-martial were held, and 150,000 minor punishments were entered inti the defaulters' books. Such a thing as promotion from the ranks to a commission in the United States marines is unheard of. The aspirant to the rank of officer of marines must go to the Naval College of Annapolis between the ages of 14 and 18, and six years afterwards must make a final examination, having in the mean time spent two years at sea. He will then be appointed, if he passes the severe examination, either to the navy or marines as vacancies occur.

The marines are considered the corps d'elite of the American service, and, therefore, appointments are much sought after. The uniform is neat and serviceable, though not showy, and the equipment good; they carry the Springfield rifle, sighted up to 1,400 yards, 45 calibre, and bayonet; but the sailors carry the Hotchkiss rifle, which contains five rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber, and they are armed with a cutlass. Since the last administration in the United States, general officers have been abolished in the United States marines, and now they have merely a colonel-commandant, and the divisions in barracks are officered as a regiment of the line, carrying colors, etc., and all field officers are mounted; but the surgeons are detailed from the navy. The marine officer on board messes with the senior officers of the ship.

A word about the origin of the British marines. The first document referring to a special body of soldiers for service afloat appeared on the 26th October, 1664, in the reign of Charles II, authorizing 1,200 soldiers to be raised and distributed in His Majesty's fleet, and which were to be as one regiment, to be divided into six companies of 200 men each, and to be armed with fire-locks. Historians of the marine forces agree that the first corps specially set apart for sea service was the 3rd Regiment of the line (raised in 1663), and which in 1684 received the titles of the Duke of York and Albany's Marine Regiment. The uniform was yellow, lined with red, and their colors bore the cross of St. George, with the sun's rays issuing from each angle. In 1689 they went to Holland and joined the 2nd Foot Guards, and were called Prince George of Denmark's Regiment. By its reduction they became the 3rd Foot, now the celebrated 3rd Buffs, or, according to the army reform, "the Buffs or East Kent Regiment." From this corps the Royal Marines claim descent, and they share with the Buffs the privilege of marching through the city of London with colors uncased and drums beating. In 1755 fifty companies of marines were raised, and were stationed at Chatham, Portsmouth, and Plymouth, and since then there has always been a corps of marines in the peace establishment. In 1855 Her Majesty was please to approve the infantry division being styled the "Royal Marine Light Infantry," for their service in the Crimea.

Now that the United States marines are here, it may be of interest to know that three marine regiments were raised in new York in 1740, and were clothed in "camlet coats, brown linen waist coats and canvas trousers." At the present time the uniform of the English marine is similar to that of the line, with blue facings. The badges of the Royal marine forces (artillery and light infantry) are "The Globe," with the motto, "Per mare, per terram," the crown, the anchor and the laurel; Her majesty's cypher. H.R.H the Duke of Edinburgh is their colonel. The marines have upheld the honor of their country and gained distinction in every portion of the globe; and it is only necessary to read the papers to tell how the marine battalions and camel corps employed during the late Egyptian war and in the Soudan were the admiration of all for their "gallant bearing, splendid physique and admiral discipline." The last time the writer had a chance of seeing the American marines was at Portsmouth in 1869, when he was adjutant of the 46th Regiment, and was on duty at the Dock Yard with that corps when the Americans sent their man-of-war to England to convey the body of the world renowned philanthropist, the late Mr. Peabody, back to his native land, the remains being escorted to this side of the Atlantic by the British man-of-war "Warrior," on the deck of which ship the body lay in state until the arrival of the American man-of-war in Portsmouth.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 9 April 2017

40 Years Ago Today Canadians Took Vimy (1957)
Topic: CEF

40 Years Ago Today Canadians Took Vimy (1957)

Ottawa Citizen, 9 April 1957
By David McIntosh, Canadian Press Staff Writer

April 9, 1917, was Easter Monday.

On that day in France Zero Hour was 5:30 a.m. Sleet swept over the countryside, changing to blinding snow as that bloody day of glory wore on.

Under a thunderous barrage by 983 field, heavy and siege guns, the men crawled out of their shell holes, tunnels and trenches and swept forward through the mud, wire and murderous chatter of the machine-guns.

The Canadian Corps did not halt until it had captured Vimy Ridge. The Ridge never fell from Allied hands during the rest of the First World War.

Forever Canada

In fact, 248 acres of the Ridge remain forever Canada. This plot on Hill 145 was ceded to Canada in perpetuity by the French nation. On it, July 26, 1936, in the presence of 8,000 Canadians, King Edward VIII unveiled the Vimy Memorial on which are inscribed, in English and French, these words:

"To the valour of their countrymen in the Great War and in memory of their 60,000 dead this monument is raised by the people of Canada”

Vimy Ridge forms a barrier nine miles long across the western edge of the Douai Plain. The northern end rises abruptly to a height or 200 feet. Southwards, the main body of the Ridge rises another 150 feet to the main summit, Hill 145.

The French tried to retake Vimy in December, 1914, and failed. They tried again with 18 Divisions—more than 250,000 me—in the spring of 1915 and were repulsed again, suffering 100,000 casualties in six weeks while inflicting 80,000 casualties on the Germans.

Fall Third Time

In the fall of 1915 the French tried yet again to take Vimy. They advanced only 200 yards and suffered 40,000 casualties.

The Canadian Corps took over the sector in the fall of 1916. In January. 1917, elaborate preparations began for an Allied spring offensive.

The frontage of the Canadian Corps for the attack on Vimy was 7,000 yards. Across this whole front, to a depth of 700 yards, the German field works comprised three lines of trenches protected by dense belts of barbed wire. Behind this was another network of trenches and wire linking concrete machine-gun forts and on the crest were more belts of wire.

There were 97,184 Canadians in the Corps. The four Canadian divisions faced six German divisions on the Ridge.

Heavy Bombardment

The artillery bombardment before the assault lasted two weeks. Never before had the Canadians engaged in such a set-piece attack. Under Corps Commander Lt.-Gen. Sir Julian Byng (later Baron Byng of Vimy, Governor General of Canada), a full-scale plan of the battlefield was laid out in the rear area on which the troops rehearsed repeatedly.

The Canadians, on 9 April, downed a tot of rum and went over the top.

Across the mass of shell holes, craters and churned mud of No Man's Land they swept in wave afater wave. Despite the terrible bombardment, the Germans fought doggedly and many had to be killed in hand-to-hand fighting.

In 35 minutes, the 1st Division under maj.-Gen. Arthur Currie (later Gen. Sir Arthur Currie) had carried its first objective.

The 2nd Division (Maj.-Gen. E.H. Burstall) and 3rd Division (Maj.-Gen. L.J. Lipsett) had equal success.

Suffer Heavily

Hill 145 was taken by the 4th Division (Maj.-Gen. D. Watson) after first being checked by machine-gun fire and suffering heavily. Consolidation of the position proceeded through April 10 and two days later The Pimple, last feature on Vimy held by the Germans, was carried by the 10th Brigade.

The Canadian suffered 11,297 casualties. Of these, one third were killed and one-third were knocked out of the war.

The is no record of total German casualties but two German divisions lost more than 3,000 men each.

The importance of the Canadian capture of Vimy did not become wholly apparent until the great German offensive in the spring of 1918. Vimy, held by the Canadians, was the only part of the Allied line between Rhiems and Ypres, a distance of 125 miles, which did not yeild.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:07 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 9 April 2017 12:08 AM EDT
Saturday, 8 April 2017

The Canadian Militia (1860)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Canadian Militia (1860)

(To the Editor of the Morning Chronicle)
The Morning Chronicle, Quebec, 6 November 1860

To His Excellency Lieut.-General Sir Fenwick Williams, Bart., Administrator of the Government

In my former communications I proposed some change in the Active Volunteer Militia for of the Province, Which I believe will, if adopted, have the effect of rendering that force much more efficient than it is at present. The cost of maintaining the force, under the proposed arrangement (about £12,000 per annum) would be much less than under the present system. It is satisfactory to be able to state that, every brother officer of the volunteers to who I have spoken, has expressed his approval of the changes proposed in my letter.

Militia Staff

Colonel Sewell has kindly favoured me with his manuscript, which gives full details of the plan proposed by him for the formation of militia staff.

I therefore proceed to notice the leading points, as an officer of long experience who has seen some service in the army, and who had taken a warm interest in everything relating to the Canadian Militia for the last forty years, his plan deserves the careful attention of the Government, and of every Canadian who takes an interest in the welfare of the country.

The Colonel proposes that the Government should lay out certain portions of wild lands at "Militia locations" in different parts of the Province; those locations would be surveyed, and marked off into lots of 100 acres each. Volunteers would then be called for, each man receiving his 100 acres, upon which he would settle, and proceed to clear a portion of his land. The term of service for which he would engage would be 12 years, at the expiration of which the land would belong to him forever, on his paying one shilling per acre; the money so obtained by the Government to be placed to the credit of the Militia Fund.

The men would be told off in companies of 40 men each; over each company would be placed a captain of militia staff, and a lieutenant, who would receive their lots of 300 acres each, upon completing six years service, at the same rate as the men. Each location might contain a battalion, say 10 companies of 40 men each. Six of these "militia locations" in different parts of the province would thus give to us a force of 2400 bayonets. The companies would be numbered from 1 to 60, and would represent and constitute the staff of sixty battalions of the Canadian Militia. The men would be properly drilled, as hereafter described. Each company would bear the number of the battalion district to which it appertained; and, in case of threatened invasion or war, would be ordered to proceed to that district. For instance, say that the Island of Orleans was battalion district No. 26; the captain of No. 26 company militia staff would then be ordered to take his men to the Island, and to form as battalion out of the men residing on the Island who would be liable to service, appointing 24 of the most intelligent men as sergeants and the remaining 16 as captains. The staff captain would then receive the rank of lieut. colonel and take command of the battalion, the staff lieutenant becoming major.

Those 40 well drilled men in the battalion would be of great service in instructing the men in the duties of a soldier, indeed without their aid it would require a long time to bring the Battalion up to that degree of efficiency which would warrant its being brought into the presence of a hostile force.

After the men would have built their log homes, and become somewhat settled on their land, they should set to work and make good serviceable roads from the location to a turnpike road or to the nearest railway station. For this work they would be paid by the government; they would, of course, work cheaply, and this would be a first rate method of opening up the country. Intending settlers would take advantage of those good roads and in a short time the land for miles around the Militia locations would be taken up for settlement, even at an advanced rate of purchase.

Colonel Sewell proposes that the law allow the men to be ballotted for, if Volunteers not be forthcoming; but there would be no necessity for this. At the present moment there are thousands of our hardy young countrymen working in the factories of the United States; the agricultural districts of Lower Canada have furnished a large proportion of those young men, who have left their homes and country to seek a living among strangers. The number of our young men, especially farmers' sons in Lower Canada who annually emigrate to the United States, is almost incredible and the man who will show us how to check this constant flow of the bone and sinew of our country to a foreign and (at times) not very friendly neighbour, deserves something of his countrymen. The plan proposed by Colonel Sewell is admirably adapted to effect this, and if adopted will have the effect of turning thousands of acres of comparatively worthless wild lands into well cultivated districts, and enable us to retain in our midst thousands of our hardy young peasantry, the pride of our country who will otherwise, inevitably become citizens of a foreign and rival neighbouring country, and perchance hereafter bear arms against us.

Colonel Sewell proposes to divide the 12 years' service into two portions, the first of three years, the second nine years. The the first period the men shall be drilled for three hours daily during an annual period of three months. In the second period they shall be drilled daily for one month, between seed time and harvest. This amount of drill will be considered sufficient to give the men a good knowledge of the duties as soldiers. The following will show the annual cost for the maintenance of one Battalion of 400 men during the first period; the second period would be less expensive.

10 Staff Captains92days at5s£230 3 0
273days at3s409 10 0
10 Lieutenants92days at4s184 0 0
273days at2s 6d341 5 0
20 Sergeants92days at2s184 0 0
273days at7 1/2 d170 12 6
20 Corporals92days at1s 6d138 0 0
273days at7 1/2 d170 12 6
300 Privates 92days at1s1656 0 0
273days at7 1/2 d3071 5 0
Clothing for 400 men to be renewed every 3 years at £3—£1200 or per annum400 0 0
 £6955 5 0

So that, for maintaining six battalions of Militia Staff equal to 2,400 bayonets, the annual expense to the Province would be about £40,000.

If the Active Volunteer Force were reduced to the footing proposed in my former letter, there would be sufficient quantity of arms in store to arm the Militia Staff. It would perhaps be better to serve out the Enfield Rifles to only one company per battalion; the remainder might be armed with the old musket, till they are better acquainted with the use and care of arms. It would be the duty of the paid Musketry Instructors to devote a portion of their time in instructing the Militia Staff. The uniforms to be served out by the province to the Militia Staff, would be coarse, strong and serviceable; a great coat, forage cap, tunic and trousers. Cloth of our own manufacture, or étoffe de pays, would be cheap and serviceable. Colonel Sewell, in his manuscript, goes into the details of this system, but the outline which I have given will serve to enable the public to form a fair idea of the admirable plan which he has proposed for the organization of our Canadian Militia, which at present is sadly deficient in anything like organization.

In my former communication the annual cost to be incurred for the maintenance of the Volunteer Force was estimated at about £12,000 0
Add cost of maintaining 6 battalions Militia Staff, on the plan proposed by Colonel Sewell40,000 0 0
Expense of Adjutant General's Department, including pay of Field Officers, Storekeepers, repairs of arms, travelling expenses, &c.6,000 0 0
Total annual cost of maintaining Canadian Militia.£58,000 0 0

This amount may seem large at first sight, but when we consider the advantages which the Province would reap from this expenditure, in opening up new districts of country, the encouragement given to emigration, the retaining our young peasantry in the country, the facilities afforded for training 60,000 men in case of war or invasion, and the confidence imparted to the country at large from a knowledge of our strength, those advantages, it must be confessed, would be cheaply acquired.

We must not lose sight of the fact that there would always be at the disposal of the Government, in different parts of the country, a considerable force of well-disciplined men, whose services could be obtained at an hour's notice.

If the expenditure involved is considered too large for the present state of our finances, let a beginning be made, and the experiment tried by forming a location for only one battalion; this would involve an annual expenditure of only £7,000 (seven thousand pounds,) and a short time would show how the system worked.

The large quantity of land that we should bring under cultivation, and the revenue which the Province would derive from the adoption of this plan are well worth considering; while it will be readily admitted that every industrious farmer whom we should induce to settle in Canada, and every young habitant whom we could persuade to remain at home, would materially increase the revenue and develop the resources of the country.

Six Battalions of 400 men each—2400 men at 100 acres per man, would give 240,000 acres, which at the end of twelve years would yield at one shilling per acre£12,000.
If the lands around the Militia location were sold to Emigrants at an annual rent of one shilling per acre, we may safely conclude that double the quantity of land occupied by the Militiamen would be taken up by Emigrants. Thus 480,000 acres at one shilling per acre, would give annually £21,000, or at the end of 12 years£388,000
Total increase in 13 years£300,000
or an average of £25,000 per annum.  

Colonel Sewell also recommends that, at the end of every three years, as the 240 men would have completed their first period, or "active service," a new quota of men should be called out to replace them. The men who had completed their first period of service would then be denominated "available service men," their cost to the province during the nine years of available service would be a mere trifle. By this means a much greater extent of country would be settled, and a larger revenue acquired.

Having thus alluded to the important subject of a properly organized Provincial Militia, a subject which, it is well known, has not failed to receive due attention from your Excellency, as well as from our esteemed Governor General, I may be allowed to express the hope that the powerful influence at your Excellency's command, will not cease to be exerted in favor of our obtaining for Canada, a system of Colonial defence which shall be consistent with our means, and commensurate with the growing requirements of this important portion of the British empire, always bearing in mind the axiom of those dark and unsettled times, "the best was to preserve peace is to be prepared for war."

An Officer of Volunteers.
Quebec, 3rd November, 1860.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 7 April 2017

Canadian Naval Defence (1928)
Topic: RCN

Canadian Naval Defence (1928)

Editorial, The Ottawa Evening Citizen, 5 May 1928

"In 1931, the RCN underwent a major facelift when the first ships specifically built for the RCN, the destroyers HMCS Saguenay and HMCS Skeena, were commissioned at Portsmouth, England." – Wikipedia

Compared with the naval expenditure of other nations within the British Commonwealth, Canada has certainly practiced thrift. While Great Britain spent about $290,000,000 last year, Canada spent only $1,755,000. Australia spent $28,000,000, and even New Zealand spent nearly twice as much as Canada. The cost of naval defence divided according to population would figure out for last year about as follows:

  • Great Britain – $6.10 per head
  • Canada – $0.10
  • Australia – $6.82
  • New Zealand – $1.75

The decision of the Department of National Defence to order two new torpedo boat destroyers for Canada this year may be allowed to pass without much serious criticism. It is estimated that the pair of destroyers will cost $3,000,000.

Of course, three million dollars is an enormous sum of money. It may be objected that Canada has survived for ten years since the war without building new warships. Nobody can say, however, that the placing of one new destroyer on the Atlantic coast of Canada and one on the Pacific coast is a grave departure in the direction of aggressive navalism.

The destroyers will obviously be maintained for nothing more than patrol purposes. No other country with such an export trade as Canada has so far shown so much confidence in the good-will of the rest of the world. Nor is there any reason to believe that with the present able minister, Col. J.L. Ralston, at the head of the Department of National Defence, there will be any departure away from the policy of reasonable economy.

Canada is becoming more than ever a maritime nation with growing interest in markets abroad. No party in Canada will say that the defence policy of this country should be based on non-resistance. There are several alternatives. One is to depend on British naval defence as in the last war. Another is to depend upon the United States navy without frankly admitting it. But neither policy would receive the approval of the Dominion electorate.

Without plunging headlong into any such policy of naval expansion as the Australian Commonwealth is committed to—where the defence situation is entirely different—the credit of Canada does apparently require reasonable provision for naval defence. The responsible minister can reasonably ask parliament to vote the necessary provision.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 6 April 2017

Procurement of Garrison Supplies, 1842
Topic: British Army

The Bread to be fresh, sweet, and good, to be Manufactured from fine Flour, and to be baked in 4 and 2 pound Loaves.

Procurement of Garrison Supplies, 1842

Government Notice

The Canada Gazette, Kingston, Ont., Saturday, August 6, 1842

Sealed tenders will be received at the Commissariat Office, Kingston, until noon, on Monday the 23rd of August next, from Persons desirous of supplying Her Majesty's Forces at Presque Isle, with

Bread, Fresh beef, Fuel, Wood,
and Straw for Barrack Bedding

For one year from 1st October, 1842, to 30th September, 1843. the Tenders must express the rate in Currency, in words at length, at which each supply will be furnished.

  • Bread at _______ Currency per lb.
  • Fresh Beef at _______ Currency per lb.
  • Fuel Wood at _______ Currency per Cord of 128 feet.
  • Straw at _______ Currency per bundle of 12 lbs.

The Bread to be fresh, sweet, and good, to be Manufactured from fine Flour, and to be baked in 4 and 2 pound Loaves.

The beef to be of the best quality, Ox or Heifer, and no other, Head, feet, and offal to be excluded, but no Suet withdrawn.

The Fuel Wood, to be of fair proportions of sound, Merchantable, hard Maple, Black and Yello Birch, and Beech, each stick to be four feet long from scarp to point, and none no less than three inches diameter at the small end. The Wood must have been cut at least two Months before delivery to the Troops.

The Straw, to be good, sweet and sound Oaten or Wheaten Straw, and to be put up in bundles of 12 lbs. each.

The Bread, fresh beef, Fuel Wood, and Straw for bedding, to be delivered by the Contractors free of all expense to the Government, at the respective barracks and Quarters of the Troops.

Unexceptional security, subject to the approval of the Commissariat, will be required; and the names of two persons, willing to enter into a Bond with the principal, for the due performance of the Contract, must be stated on the Tender. Payment will be made by Check on a Chartered bank.

Further information required, may be obtained by application at the Commissariat.

Kingston, 22nd July, 1842

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Canadians Succeed in Seven Dashing Raids
Topic: CEF

Canadians Succeed in Seven Dashing Raids

Rain, Hail and Steel Fail to Check Minor Operations—Number of Prisoners Taken, and Counter-Attacks Easily Beaten Off

To these daring raids the only reply of the enemy has been a few feeble counter-attacks. On no occasion have our trenches been occupied.

The Toronto World, 5 April 1917

London, April 4.—The following communique, issued by the Canadian war records office, covers activities of the Canadian Corps from March 25 to April 1:

A year ago the proportion of rain, hail and sleet which has been experienced during the last week on the Canadian corps front would have been said to have brought operations almost to a standstill. Nowadays weather has little effect on minor operations. There are no "quiet" days in the old sense of the term. The old stagnation of trench warfare is disappearing. Almost nightly there are raids on one or the other part of the front. The enemy is given no peace. Our artillery pound his defences and communication trenches night and day unceasingly. When his is not being raided by night our patrols are continually searching No Man's Land, often reaching the enemy's wire and trenches and bringing back valuable information as to the state of his defence and his methods of holding the line.

Carry Our Seven Raids

The records of minor operations carried out since last Sunday includes seven raids in all. As usual, a number of prisoners were taken.

One night and early one morning small parties of a certain famous regiment crossed No Man's Land and entered the enemy's lines. On both occasions much damage was done to dugouts and defences, and in a second raid a German post was driven from its position in a crater. Our men occupied the post for a short time, inflicting heavy casualties on the retreating enemy with their own bombs which they had left behind in their hurry to get away.

Another evening a raid was carried out. A party went over to the enemy's trenches, and finding the line strongly held, proceeded to drive him into his support line. In the process five Huns were captured and the usual ruin was made of his dugouts and defences.

The enemy retaliation for this little enterprise was not long delayed, and unfortunately one of their shells caught three of the prisoners and their escort on the way back to our lines.

On another occasion we drove an enemy post from its advanced position in a crater. In their counter-attack the enemy suffered heavy losses from our accurate Lewis machine gun fire.

The first raid in April was responsible for the capture of some prisoners. Nine dugouts which were known to be occupied were bombed. In addition many dead were seen in the enemy's lines.

To these daring raids the only reply of the enemy has been a few feeble counter-attacks. On no occasion have our trenches been occupied.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Historical US Amy Rations
Topic: Army Rations

Historical US Amy Rations

The Soldier and His Food, prepared by The Women's Interest Section, War Department, Bureau of Public Relations, 1942

The story of the development of the Army mess presents a pageant of foods, all the way from hardtack to French dressing.

Revolutionary War

On November 4, 1775, the day after creating the office of General, and electing George Washington to fill that post, the Continental Congress passed a resolution: "That there be one Commissary General of Stores and Provisions."

The ration consisted of:

  • 1 pound beef, or 3/4 pound pork, or 1 pound salt fish per day.
  • 1 pound bread or flour per day.
  • 3 pints peas or beans per week.
  • 1 pint milk per day.
  • 1/2 pint rice or 1 pint Indian Meal per week.
  • 1 quart spruce beer or cider per day, or 9 gallons molasses per 100 men per week.
  • 3 pounds candles per 100 men per week, for guards.
  • 8 pounds hard soap per 100 men per week.

A legislative history, printed in 1877, from which this report is taken, points out that the reference to milk was interesting, for it was not available that first winter and from then on was not mentioned in the ration for over 100 years.

In 1799 the liquor was discontinued, but the Commander in Chief of the Army or the Commanding Officer of any detachment was authorized to issue to the troops "from time to time, rum, whiske”y, or other ardent spirits (not to exceed 1/2 gill per man per day except on extraordinary occasions)."

In those "good old days", the soldier was issued his ration uncooked each day. It was to be prepared by himself, later, over die glowing embers of the camp fire.

War of 1812

1812 brought a slight change in the ration allowance.

  • Per man per day:
    • 1 1/4 pounds beef or 3/4% pound pork.
    • 18 ounces bread or flour.
    • 1 gill rum, whiskey, or brandy.
  • Per 100 rations:
    • 2 quarts salt.
    • 4 quarts vinegar.
    • 4 pounds soap.
    • 1 1/2 pounds candles.


In a southern climate the ruling became "Give molasses in lieu of whiskey and beer, and add to the ration l/2 pint of peas, beans, or rice per day." Orders were given to cultivate garden vegetables at permanent posts. The Secretary of War, J. C. Calhoun, made a long speech about Army feeding. He felt the food should be improved in both quantity and quality and urged that spirits be dispensed with.

A quaint nutrition note was issued: "Pickles, on account of the vegetable acid, are both a pleasant and healthy stimulant to the stomach."

War between the States

There were three rations in effect during this period, all substantially the same, with a decrease in this commodity balancing an increase in that one.

Basically, the ration consisted of beef, flour, dry beans, green coffee, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Yeast powder and black pepper were the outstanding additions. Soap and candles were still included. The history of Army feeding recalls that during the Civil War rations were "not always available" and that frequently the soldier had to live by foraging upon the surrounding country.

Spanish-American War

The significant change in this ration was the disappearance of the much disliked hard tack.

World War I

At the time the United States entered the World War, the Army was using a Garrison ration established in 1913. This was used in the continental United States throughout the war, except that in 1918 two articles (sweet potatoes and corn meal) were added to the list of substitute articles

  • Beef – 20 oz.
  • Flour – 18 oz.
  • Baking powder – .08 oz.
  • Beans, dry – 2.4 oz.
  • Potatoes, fresh – 20 oz.
  • Prunes – 1.28 oz.
  • Syrup – .32 oz.
  • Coffee, R. & G – 1.12 oz.
  • Sugar – 3.2 oz.
  • Milk, evaporated – .5oz.
  • Vinegar gill – .16 oz.
  • Salt – .64 oz.
  • Pepper, black – .04 oz.
  • Cinnamon, ground – .014 oz.
  • Butter – 0.5 oz.
  • Lard – .64 oz.
  • Flavoring extract, lemon – .014 oz.
  • Soap – .64 oz.
  • Candle – .24 oz.

The Army’s food bill for 1917-18 was $727,092,430.44. The daily cost of feeding a soldier was 26 cents.

Today’s soldier eats 48 cents worth of food a day. Today’s soldier gains, on the average, from 6 to 10 pounds during the first few months of camp life. Today’s soldier is the best fed soldier in the world and in history.

But today’s soldier, like every soldier in history and in the world, loves to get a cake from home.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 3 April 2017

Underaged Soldiers of the Great War
Topic: Humour

Underaged Soldiers of the Great War

That under-aged soldier you're feeling all that sympathy for isn't anything like that kid you know today:

15 Years Old, in:

Left school after grade 6, bravely facing reality because he needed to go to work to help support the family.Got anxious because he was attending an new school for Grade 7.
Thought about joining the army at 15 after working full time for two years.Thought that two hours helping mom in the garden was a hard labour punishment.
Went to the recruiting sergeant, lied about his age, and joined the army.Lied about his age on the internet to join a Call of Duty clan.
Sent two-thirds of his monthly pay, $20, home to mother. Expects $20 spending money every week from parents, and any other time he "needs" it.
Slept in a tent in a training camp for six months, getting up at 6 a.m. every day for military training.Went camping overnight and panicked when his phone battery died.
Ate bully beef and hard tack in the trenches.Complained because there was pineapple on the pizza.
Went to a red light district with other soldiers, and got VD.Got tongue-tied when a girl spoke to him.
Felt angry, after a year in the trenches, when pulled out for being found out as under-aged and put in a young soldiers battalion.Felt angry when not allowed into an "R" rated movie.
Will go home after the war with medals and a swagger.Will think about swaggering into a recruiting center and expect to go straight to the Special Forces on the basis of his Call of Duty experience.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 2 April 2017 9:15 PM EDT
Sunday, 2 April 2017

Court of Enquiry---Cornwall (1866)
Topic: Discipline

But while expressing his strong condemnation of such unsoldierlike conduct, His Excellency must remark that if the general discipline of the administrative battalion had been better, such a discreditable occurrence would probably not have taken place.

Militia General Orders

Headquarters Ottawa, 10th August 1866

General Orders Volunteer Militia

Court of Enquiry—Cornwall

No. 1.

The proceedings of a Court of Enquiry, lately assembled at Cornwall, to investigate the circumstances connected with a disturbance which broke out in camp at that place, have been forwarded by the Major General Commanding to His Excellency, the Commander in Chief, who is pleased to order the publication of the following remarks:

It is clear from the evidence that the discipline of the administrative battalion at Cornwall was by no means creditable.

1.     One non-commissioned officer states that he had been drinking in the canteen with two of the officers. If such was the habit in the battalion, it is not surprising that the officers had little influence over the men under their command; for it is one which is certain to destroy all discipline.

2.     Another evidence states that he was kept on sentry from six p.m. on the 3rd until three a.m. next morning, that is to say for nine consecutive hours.

3.     Lt.-Col. Hawkes states in his evidence, as the reason of not being able to discover the men who fired their rifles on the night of the 3rd July, that the rifles had been fired with blank ammunition on the morning of the 3rd July. That is to say, Lt.-Col. Hawkes allowed his men to return their rifles to the arms racks after firing without having cleaned them. This is most discreditable, and it is little surprising that the rifles in the hands of the volunteers should become worthless, if such a practice is permitted by the Lt.-Colonel of a battalion of volunteers, who has had considerable experience in the regular service.

The evidence given before the Court is very conflicting, but it tends to show that shots were fired by both the Ottawa Volunteers and men of the Hochelaga Regiment. But while expressing his strong condemnation of such unsoldierlike conduct, His Excellency must remark that if the general discipline of the administrative battalion had been better, such a discreditable occurrence would probably not have taken place.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 1 April 2017

War Trophies to be Seen to Advantage (1918)

War Trophies to be Seen to Advantage (1918)

Government Collection With Many Trophies Recently Received From the Front

Ottawa Citizen, 7 September 1918

One of the outstanding places of attraction at the exhibition will be the extensive booth under the grandstand where will be shown the official Canadian war posters and trophies and the official war photographs of Vimy Ridge. A wonderful array of battle trophies has been collected for this exhibit, nearly everything new to Ottawa, most of the collection arriving from London only a month ago. It has been on view at the Quebec exhibition and Lieut.-Col. A.G. Doughty of the archives left for Quebec this morning to supervise its transportation to Ottawa.

Included in the exhibit is a huge German battleplane captured by one of the Canadian aviators. In fact all trophies are the spoils of the Canadian troops and this should therefore make the exhibit of added interest to the people of the Capital. A magnificent collection of war posters has been secured, representative of the British, Canadian, Russian, American and other allied countries' call to arms. There will be numerous guns of heavy and light caliber. A big Russian field gun will be on view and the different types of machine guns now in use, also. Ammunition in prodigious quantities as used on the various fronts will be a part of the exhibit and a wonderful array of trophies picked up on the battlefield by various Canadian regiments. German helmets, badges and uniforms, rifles and bayonets, trench mortars and the other weapons which have been devised as the result of this war, bombs of all kinds and gas masks will be sure to attract and hold the attention of those who pay a visit to the exhibit.

Lieut. G. Shouldice will assist Col. Doughty in explaining the different trophies on view to visitors.

Shown with these trophies will be Lord Beaverbook's was pictures, Some of these were recently shown at the base recruiting office. They are a particularly fine collection.

The trophies will again be shown under the grandstand but a much larger and better place has been provided for them. Last year many were willing to say the trophies were the best thing sat the fair and this year the collection is even better.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 31 March 2017

The Soldier in Battle (US Army, 1917)
Topic: Discipline

The Soldier in Battle

Home-Reading Course for Citizen Soldiers (Lesson No. 24, of 30)

Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 25 September 1917

The average civilian, no matter how brave he might be, has little desire to go into battle. Even though he knows very well that the chances of his being killed or wounded are comparatively small, yet the thought of placing himself in a post of danger face to face with a well trained and courageous enemy is more or less terrifying to him.

This state of mind is entirely natural. Every man goes through it. The bravest soldiers of the civil war and of all wars testify to their dread of entering battle; but this is a feeling that can be conquered even by a man who is physically timid.

Self-Confidence Is Necessary

As a man's military training progresses, his body becomes stronger and therefore better able to stand the strain and intense activity. He grows accustomed to the noise of heavy firing. He gets practice in handling his rifle and his bayonet with skill, so that he becomes confident of his ability to defence himself. He learns how to advance over ground apparently swept by bullets without exposing himself to really effective fire. He grows used to the idea of meeting enemies face to face in battle.

Private soldiers are not required to study tactical problems. These are solved by higher officers. But every man should thoroughly understand the following elementary principles of combat:

1.     The offensive wins.

2.     Battles are won by the individual soldier. It is emphatically "up to" him. Splendid leadership and fine equipment are of avail only when each private does his utmost.

3.     Victory depends more on nerve and fighting spirit than on the best weapons and armor in the world.

Defensive action alone never wins victories. The army which succeeds must be ready and anxious to attack. There are many advantages to taking the offensive. The destruction of hostile trenches by heavy bombardment preceding the attack weakens the enemy's spirit and sometimes leads to the surrender of men who are in no condition to withstand assault. The chief advantage, however, is the fact that the attacking side chooses its own time and place to strike, forcing the enemy to readjust his defences accordingly.

All these remarks tend toward one conclusion, namely, that the discipline of the army is a big factor in giving men the tenacity which enables them to go into battle with dauntless courage and to win victories. Discipline can accomplish wonders even among men who are naturally lacking in brains and self-reliance. It can accomplish as great deal more, however, among those who possess these natural qualities.

Men who are thoroughly disciplined, and yet within the limits of discipline possess the priceless quality of initiative, make ideal soldiers. They are the men who can always be trusted to pull themselves out of tight places, to carry attacks through until success is won, to hold out against all odds.

Army Success Depends on Men

Men of this type will be found in the national army—tens of thousands of them.

Within the next few months the national army will be formed into a splendid body of troops filled with a spirit of loyalty and of enthusiasm for our just cause, efficient from top to bottom, in which every man will be fitted and ready to do his duty. Such an army backed by all the resources of the country—resources of men, of money, and of materials practically without limit—is bound to go forward to victory. There may be temporary reverses and periods of gloom, as in all other wars; but in the end victory must and will be won.

This is the object toward which all your training is to be directed. Put into that training all your own earnestness and energy. Fit yourself to wear with pride and credit the uniform of an American citizen soldier.

This is the road of honor and of real service to the nation.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 30 March 2017

The Militia Camp; 18 Sep 1885
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Militia Camp; 18 Sep 1885

General Middleton to be Here on Tuesday
The Review Fixed for Wednesday the 22nd

The easiest solution of the difficulty would be to abolish the salute altogether. It takes a long time to learn, and when a man does know it he can't shoot at an enemy with any greater degree of precision.

The London Advertiser, London, Ont., 18 September 1885

Wednesday night proved particularly cold on Carling's farm [present location of Wolseley Barracks, London, Ontario], and many of the volunteers found it impossible to obtain much sleep. Two blankets is far too little at this season of the year, and if a man puts one under him the other amounts to very little when thrown over him. However, a brisk 6 o'clock parade in the morning set all this right, and gave the men a good appetite for breakfast. Fortunately they fare better in the matter of food than clothing, the eatables furnished by the contractors being of first-class quality.

Rifle Practice

Immediately after breakfast yesterday morning, four companies of the 21st battalion marched to the Cove range and spent the day in rifle practice under the supervision of Major Bigger, musketry instructor. Some very fair scores were made, but the majority of the men show want of practice. The other battalions were put through their marching drill, and they already begin to show rapid improvement. Corps which only go into camp every second year can hardly be expected to turn out a large number of efficient soldiers Still, through the strenuous efforts of energetic officers, the majority of the battalions in the district have been brought to camp in a tolerably fair condition, and some of them far better than could be expected. What some recruits find it hardest to get through their heads, however, is the salute.

The Salute

There are so many different ways, under different circumstances, that this is not to be wondered at. It is easy enough for a volunteer to understand that when passing an officer it is proper to salute with the hand furthest away. He can remember that all right. But when his is required to remember, also, that in case the officer passes him as he stands he has simply to stand at attention; again, if his hands are full, he has only to look toward the officer, or, if he be on a sentry beat, to shoulder arms, and turn to his front for a company officer and present arms for a commanding officer; or if he is mounted, simply to turn his eyes towards the officer; or if he is carrying a rifle, in passing and officer to bring the rifle to the shoulder and pass the left hand across the body and touch the sling. No volunteer with ten days' drill could ever be expected to get all these different modes of salutation down to perfection, and consequently amusing mistakes sometimes occur. For instance, the other day an officer stepped up to a sentry, and said: "Here comes the main guard; see that you present arms properly." The officer was surprised a moment later to see the sentry bring his rifle to the shoulder, cock the hammer, and draw a bead on the leading rank. Another sentry was observed walking up and down his beat with his rifle at the "present," when a staff sergeant was passing. The easiest solution of the difficulty would be to abolish the salute altogether. It takes a long time to learn, and when a man does know it he can't shoot at an enemy with any greater degree of precision.

The Review

General Middleton has intimated that he will probably be hereabout the 22nd inst., and the review has therefore been fixed for the succeeding day. It will commence between 10 and 11 o'clock in the morning and last until about 3. Owing to the presence of three batteries of artillery and four troops of cavalry, together with a larger number of infantry than usual, nearly 1,800 altogether, it is expected it will be much better and more interesting than former ones.

Brigade Orders; Camp, London, Sept. 17

Detail for to-morrow—Field officer of the day, Lt.-Col. Munroe, 22nd Battalion, next for duty, Lt.-Col. Wilkinson, 21st Battalion; surgeon of the day, Surgeon Smith, 28th Battalion; next for duty, Surgeon Holmes, 24th Battalion.

No. 1—All mail matter will be delivered at the provost tent, as per paragraph No. 11, brigade orders, 5th September, inst.

No. 2—No officers' servants or orderlies will be permitted to leave the camp unless properly dressed.

No. 3—The battalion furnishing the duties for the day will detail two non-commissioned officers for gate duty, the one to relieve the other at the main entrance to the camp, and they will be held responsible that all men leaving the camp by the main entrance have passes and are properly dressed. These non-commissioned officers will parade with the main guard, with waist belts and side arms only; any assistance required by these non-commissioned officers will be furnished by the main guard.

No. 4—Two waiting men, properly accoutred, will accompany the several guards at guard-mounting daily.

No. 5—The whole of the brigade will parade tomorrow, in drill order, at 2:45 p.m., rear of the provost tents facing south, the battalion markers to be on the ground five minutes before the hour named to take up the position for their respective corps.


Diarrhoea is rather bad among the men, and a large number are on the sick list from this complaint.

Large numbers of visitors watch the volunteers drilling every afternoon.

To-day the whole brigade will be inspected by Lieut.-Col. Clarke and will march past in double quick time, in open and close column, etc. These movements will be worth witnessing.

The Y.M.C.A. have, as usual, opened a tent upon the ground, where the volunteers are furnushed with accommodations for writing, reading the daily papers, etc., gratis.

Major Martin, on our report the other day, was credited with coming from Tilsonburg. It should have been Tilbury East.

Lieut. Fairbanks, of the London Field Battery, arrived and took up his quarters in the camp to-day. He was warmly welcomed by the "boys."

The drill instructor of the 22nd Battalions is Sergt. Wilson, of the Kentish (England) Regulars. He is an excellent instructor, and has one of the best-drilled, neatest battalions in the camp.

Rev. Mr. Ball, chaplain of the 7th Fusiliers in the Northwest, is again out at camp, and will officiate at the service to the volunteers there on Sunday morning.

A number of volunteers came down to Barnum's circus the other night, and afterwards got drunk. While noisily going along the street a policeman told a sergeant if he wasn't quieter he would arrest him. The sergeant drew his sword-bayonet and dared the policeman to do it, and the policeman accepted the challenge, collared him, and made him put up the sword, and took him to the Police Station. At the request of his captain the magistrate let him off lightly next morning.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Leaders vs. Inertia
Topic: Leadership

Leaders vs. Inertia

Combat Lessons, Number 2, September 1946

Lieutenant Colonel R.E. O'Brien, Cavalry, Observer With Fifth Army, ITALY:

"In spite of the fact that I observed many interesting things in the practice of tactics and technique, still the one lesson that stands out in my mind above all others is the one that is so well known by military men that its statement here amounts to little more than a platitude. I mention it, however, because it had such a profound effect upon me. That lesson is the importance of and need for adequate leadership.

"The effect on most men of the impact of battle is to cause them to want to do nothing. A determined effort must be exerted to accomplish even simple tasks, and men are likely to neglect duties which they know must be performed. There is no force other than a driving leadership to overcome this inertia, this tendency to carelessness, and to infuse a determination to succeed in the minds of the individual men. When this spark of leadership is present the individual knows that others feel it too and that his effort is not alone.

"However, I was not leader in this campaign, so I will quote, an officer who is a successful commander in an Infantry regiment, the wearer of a Silver Star, an officer who has a fine reputation:

" 'Tell your people when you return, that the hardest job they will have here is getting things done. My men know their weapons arid tactics thoroughly. My effort is simply to require them to do the things they know must be done, posting security, dispatching patrols, seeking a field of fire, retaining their equipment and making sure that it is in working order. You have to check all the time.' "

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Gay Deceivers (1858)
Topic: British Army

Gay Deceivers (1858)

The Military Gazette, Quebec, P.Q., 5 June 1858 From the United Service Gazette

The departure of a Regiment from one of our colonial possessions to another leads us to reflect upon the effects of a social evil, which seems to have grown up under the very eyes of the authorities, both in church and state, unchecked. Everyone has heard and smiled at the sold saying, said of our tars, about a wife in every port! But everyone knew what it was worth, and what it meant. The evil now referred to, is a practice which some men indulge in, of "marrying" at every Foreign station where they have the opportunity; purposely, and of malice aforethought intending to abandon the "wife," upon his Regiment being ordered away to another part of the world, again "to love and to ride away!" This arises from the desire on those of the fair portion of the inhabitants of all Garrison towns to ally themselves with the English Soldiers, in preference to making a match with their own country men, letting alone the singular and almost irresistible attraction found by the softer sex in the red coat. But chiefly, in the facility with which a certain sort of marriages are performed in the colonies. The Soldier cannot persuade the Military Chaplain to tie the know, without the sanction of the Commanding Officer; but this just suits the purpose; he does not wish to be ties, for better for worse; and she is persuaded, on the grounds that the Colonel is very ill natured and won’t give him leave, to accompany him to some dissenting minister, who goes through the ceremony, no doubt to the satisfaction of his own conscience, but with no more legal authority, in some instances, than if any other layman had spliced them. The route arrives, and with it the hour of parting—the gay deceiver ploughs the main, on fresh matrimonial thoughts intent, while the poor girl finds that she is not only abandoned, but that she is not his wife!

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 27 March 2017

New Badge for the Army (1947)
Topic: Canadian Army

New Badge for the Army (1947)

Ottawa Citizen, 27 March 1947
By Fred R. Inglis, Evening Citizen Staff Writer

A distinctive new badge for the Canadian army, recently approved by His Majesty the King, has already been taken into use by at least one branch at Army headquarters.

The new badge which embodies a crown, crossed swords and maple leaves, will be produced on army letterheads, pamphlets, Christmas cards, crests and possibly as shoulder patches on army uniforms. Army Public Relations at Ottawa, which drafted the design, uses the new badge at the top of army news releases and as an identifying imprint on army photos intended for publication.

Official description of the design as approved by the King, is "Three hard maple leaves conjoined on one stem red; upon two crusaders' swords saltirewise, points upwards, blade and grip in natural colors, guards and pommels, gold; ensigned with the Imperial crown.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 26 March 2017

Confidential Reports---Officers (1859)
Topic: Officers

Confidential Reports—Officers (1859)

Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Army, Adjutant General's Office, Horse Guards, 1st December 1859

Whether each officer is in possession of the latest edition of "The General Regulations and Orders," and of the "Rules and Regulations for the Field Exercise and Evolutions of the Army."

In these confidential reports the General Officer is to report on the following heads of information, viz.:—

Commanding Officers

  • What officers have been in command since the period of the last inspection not adverting, however, to any occasional command of a few days.
  • Whether the officer usually in command appears to discharge his important duties with zeal and ability.
  • Whether by a firm but temperate exercise of his authority a well-regulated discipline is established in the corps.
  • Whether his mode of carrying on the established system is such as to command the respect and esteem of the officers and the cheerful obedience of the men.
  • Whether attention has been paid by him to the instruction and training of the officers and men in the prescribed exercises and movements.
  • Whether the orders, which have been issued from time to time, are consistent with the general regulations of the service.
  • Whether the officers who may have been placed in temporary command have evinced ability, and a due attention to the maintenance of the system and discipline of the regiment.
  • Whether the system of command and treatment of the non-commissioned officers and soldiers, as enjoined in the regulations, has been strictly pursued, and the use of coarse and offensive language carefully avoided by officers of all ranks.
  • Whether a due gradation of responsibility is established in the regiment, and particularly whether the captains are placed in the charge of their respective companies, and made responsible to the commanding officer for every part of its discipline, interior economy, and arrangement.

Field Officers.

  • Whether the field officers, from their attention and acquirements, appear to be properly qualified for command.
  • Whether they render due support and assistance to the commanding officer, in the various details of regimental duty.


  • Whether the Captains appear to be well acquainted with the interior economy of their troops or companies, and to be competent to command them in the various situations of Service.
  • Whether they are duly qualified, and are habituated to “exercise discipline their troops or companies.” Subalterns.


  • Whether the subalterns are active, intelligent, and have acquired the necessary degree of information on subjects connected with their duty, particularly in the practice of courts-martial.

The Senior Subaltern

Officers of Cavalry.

  • Whether they have been taught to apply the use of the different formations directed to be practised in the field, to situations in which they may be placed before an enemy.
  • Whether they have been in the habit of placing piquets, posting videttes, conducting patrols, &c.


  • Whether from his zeal and acquirements, he is duly qualified for his situation.

Quarter-master and Pay-master.

  • Whether they appear competent to their situations, and discharge their duties in a satisfactory manner.
  • Whether the books consigned to their care are kept with accuracy and regularity.

Officers in General.

  • Whether the officers in general appear to have been properly instructed, and to understand their duties in the field and in quarters, and are intelligent and zealous in the performance of them
  • Whether, according to their several situations, they afford the commanding officer that support he is entitled to require from them.
  • Whether unanimity and good understanding prevail in the corps.
  • Whether each officer is in possession of the latest edition of "The General Regulations and Orders," and of the "Rules and Regulations for the Field Exercise and Evolutions of the Army."
  • Whether any of the officers appear, from age, infirmity, or any other cause, to be unfit for the service.
  • Whether any officer has been absent from the regiment for an unusual length of time.
  • Whether any officer recommended by the commanding officer for purchase of promotion appears not to be properly qualified.
  • Whether all confidential communications regarding the conduct of officers, whether arising from courts-martial or otherwise, have been handed over and preserved.
  • Whether any practical jokes are carried on at the mess table or elsewhere, and what steps have been taken to prevent them.

In the event of any officer not being qualified to perform his duty with advantage to the regiment, a special report of his incapacity is to be made and when any officer has been absent for an unusual period, the circumstances which may have occasioned his absence are to be fully reported.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 25 March 2017

France Trails the Military Bicycle
Topic: Militaria

France Trails the Military Bicycle

The French tests of the Bicycle as a War Machine

Military Matters, The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, 26 December 1896

The serious consideration that France is giving the bicycle in connection with service in war, has led the military experts all over the civilized world to take up the matter, but as an admirable article in the London Daily Mail says: "Little has been done by any of the great Powers, although experts have long agreed that the bicycle will play an important part in the next war." But it is not the "faddy" or "ornamental" order with which the French have taken it up. Captain Gerard, a young officer of the French army, is proving by severe tests that bicycle corps can be trained to very nearly take the place of cavalry. He has been training his men to the performance known as the "cleaving of the Turk’s head" with the bicycle instead of the horse. It was found to be extremely difficult at first, and the slightest shifts in the saddle caused a spill. But the men soon acquired great proficiency, and demonstrated that the weight and impetus of the horse count as little, and that the feat is accomplished by strength and dexterity alone.

Rapid firing machine guns are carried on several types of machines, including tandems, double tricycles and the regular bicycle. On the regular safety the rapid-firing gun is fixed between the handles. It is an easy matter to perceive that a charge made by a couple of hundred men riding abreast and armed in this way would be more deadly than a charge of twice that number of cavalry. The tricycle, or military duplex safety, as it is called, is thought of favourably, for the reason that the space between the two rear wheels is well adapted to the carrying of ammunition. The gun is rigged on a crossbar between two saddles, and is easily manipulated by one of the riders. Another machine in use is a tandem fitted with two rapid fire guns.

It is, however, in skirmishing that the bicycle promises most. A commander marching into an enemy’s country has had in times past to rely upon a corps of fleet horsemen to "feel the way" and follow the movements of the enemy. The extent of territory over which this could be done daily was limited by the powers of the horse. The bicycle skirmishers, however, would suffer under no such limitations. The transportation of fodder for the horses is one of the most serious problems that confront a military commander, and their care entails a vast amount of labour, which takes so many men out of the list of available fighters. Many times in history the approach of an enemy has become known by the tramping of the horses, which, upon a hard road, can be heard a long way off on a still night. Experienced campaigners have detected this ominous sound when the horses were miles away. Nothing of this kind would be possible. Again, a mounted horseman makes a large object at night, but a cyclist crouching low could only be seen with difficulty, and would make a very difficult target to hit. The tandem skirmishers are specially formidable. They have a speed which no horse can attain. In times of danger the rider in front can bend low and work the pedals while his companion can fire over his shoulder. Altogether the French officer in charge of the experiment has demonstrated to his own satisfaction the superiority of the bicycle over the horse for many purposes in warfare.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 24 March 2017

"On Its Stomach"
Topic: Army Rations

"On Its Stomach"

The Fighting Force of an Army
Australian's Ration Allowance
Food in Depot Camps

The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 24 March 1918

Whatever the Australian troops may be called upon to undergo in the nature of hard rations in the field, when they are in the depot and standing camps in Australia they have abundant and excellent food. Their ration is more liberal than that of almost any army in the fighting fields today, or amongst the forces of the mobilised central powers. Bully beef and biscuits, jam, biscuits and bully beef, jam, alternated, disguised with a dash of vegetables, was the ration at Anzac. It was a good ration, too, for any army fighting and moving every day, and with an abundant water supply available. But it was monotonous diet for such a campaign as Gallipoli, and unhealthy as well when the water supply was so strictly limited. Casting aside the condiments, and the little extras that came to hand, this was the staple food of the Australian army in the field. Compare it with the 1 ¼ lb. bread (or 1 lb. biscuit), and 1 1/2 lb. meat (or 1 lb. fresh or salt fish), 1 lb. potatoes and 8 oz. mixed vegetables that the troops at the camps throughout the Commonwealth have as the basis of their daily meals. Flour, rice and curry powder are a weekly ration, which helps the cooks to give variety to a breakfast, lunch or dinner. An army fights on its stomach; it builds up reserve in physique, muscle and toughened sinew by long hours of drilling, marching, exposure to the elements; it lives and prospers on the rations that are provided after a day of vigorous training and campaigning.

They trained us in the desert, fed us like fighting cocks, taunted us and flung us against the Turks; no wonder we thrashed them, was the summing up of a soldier from the battle field of Lone Pine. The scene at the feeding centre at a typical standing camp is interesting.

Behind the rows of tents a Royal Park were five blackened chimneys sticking like stems out of white painted brick works. The first four letters of the alphabet were blackened on the white walls, one for each company of a battalion, and an H.Q. for headquarters and the cooks. A red-roofed shed covered five rows of fire trenches, and a cook house and a picturesque garden of flowers surrounded the whole. That was the cooks' lines of a battalion. There are three at Royal Park.

Sergeant Cook here. very straight, very tall. And very burned, the head cook, the chef, as he is familiarly called, stepped out from a group of six men who were bending over a row of steaming dixies. What's for dinner?

Now it had been obvious to the senses that the ration was roast meat and onions. As a matter of fact it was a more elaborate meal than one would suspect, consisting of either baked potatoes and roast leg of lamb, or boiled mashed potatoes and boiled mutton and tea. The cook explained:

But different from the old camping days, sir, when the militiamen went to Semour and those places. Better'n we had in South Africa in any of the camps I was in. No man need complain, there is enough for all, though to speak plainly we could do with a bit more meat when the camp is a bit empty; but when there is a full battalion, a thousand odd men, then it is alright and a bit to spare. No, no waste, except it might be very occasional when a squad of a hundred or so are sent off up country , and they don't bother to carry their ration, trusting to luck to get it on the journey. It doesn't happen often. Got to watch some of the lads that they don't go and take a double ration on me. Like to try the soup? We use up a bit of the rice that is part of the ration and onion and the stock we get from last night's boiled meat. Good as meat as you would wish to get anywhere; they have sent us along a number of ewes, more's the pity, for after the drought they fattened them up and they brought good prices. Yes, I was in a line regiment is South Africa, and then cook, and when I can back went on to a station. Yes, ought to be used to cooking for numbers. Best way to see that the men appreciate what they get is to have a cook at the bins. The chaps who contracted for the waste for his pigs don't get much out of it; seldom quarter filled. Only time as when the time is too short to peel the potatoes—no use leaving them in their jackets—men too hungry to peel them I suppose. And the sergeant cook, smiling, commences to lift the lids of the huge cauldrons of stews and sizzling potatoes.

Time was, not five years ago, when it was only after the greatest effort that the cooks could be induced to dig their fire trenches narrow enough just to rest a dixie—that very handy cooking utensil of the army—on, or go to the trouble of constructing an Aldershot oven. To-day the fire trenches are bricked to the required width, the draught being created by the chimney stack at the end. The cooks, anxious at all times to economize labor, have found that the large-sized rubbish bins (there was something very familiar about these cauldrons) make the finest cookers, boiling or roasting enough meat for over 100 men. It saves in this way the labor of polishing the dixies bright again after every meal. They are ready piled, handy to be used for distributing the ration and tea into the tents.

A shower of sparks is flung in the air from a fire that is burning under an ordinary square iron tank. Here it is possible at all times day and night for hot water to be obtained; no restriction is placed on the troops for getting what they require for washing or bathing purposes.

It is all a little too luxurious for a camp! Between the comfort of a home and the hardships of the firing line lies a huge gulf. Such small luxuries as these help to bridge it; the spirit and the fighting power of the army depends on its stomach. Exactly to-day every Australian officer and soldier while in camp has for his scale of ration:—

  • 1 ¼ lb. bread or 1 lb. biscuit.
  • 1 ½ lb. fresh meat or 1 lb. fresh or salt fish.
  • 1/3rd oz. coffee.
  • 1/32nd oz. pepper.
  • 8 ox. mixed vegetable or 2 oz. cheese.
  • 1 lb. potatoes.
  • 3 oz. sugar.
  • ¼ oz. salt.
  • ½ oz. tea.
  • ¼ lb. jam.

Weekly he has ½ lb. flour and the same of rice, and 1 oz. curry powder. In the hands of trained cooks it is a ration calculated to strengthen the stomach to fight, to 'stick it' to the bitter end, in every true Australian.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 23 March 2017

Field Service Dress for Officers (1892)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Field Service Dress for Officers (1892)

Militia General Orders

Headquarters, Ottawa, 24th March, 1892

General Order (5)—No. 1
Field Service Dress for Officers

The Serge Patrol Jacket of the pattern approved for the Imperial Army has been adopted for the officers of the Canadian Militia, and will be worn in marching, field-day and drill order.

A detailed description is appended and sealed patterns will be issued to the Royal Schools of Instruction to secure uniformity.


Serge Patrol Jacket. Blue; (in Canadian Mounted Rifles and 3rd Prince of Wales' Dragoons, scarlet,) of the same cut as the serge frock now issued at the Royal School of Cavalry, Quebec, for non-commissioned officers and men. Full in the chest, collar and cuffs of the same colour and material as the rest of the jacket. Shoulder-straps of cloth of the colour of the regimental facings, with a small regimental button at the top. Badges of rank in gold.


Blue Serge: Welted seams; stand-up collar, square in front, fastened with one hook and eye, a grenade, two and one-quarter inches long, in gold embroidery at each end; shoulder-straps of the same material as the garment, fastened at the top with a small black netted button, half an inch in diameter, badges of rank embroidered in gold. Five gilt ball-buttons down the front; a slit on each side, sleeves ornamented with flat plait, forming crow's feet six inches from bottom of the cuffs; two inside breast pockets and watch pocket.

Infantry and Engineers

Scarlet Serge: Full in the chest. Collar, cuffs and shoulder-straps of cloth of the same colour of the regimental facings. A small regimental button at the top of the shoulder-strap. Badges of rank in gold. Collar rounded in front with black enamelled leather tab and hook and eye. Two pleats on each side; on the left side an opening for the support of the sword belt. Five small regimental buttons down the front. A patch pocket with pointed flap and small button on each breast. Cuffs pointed five inches deep in front, and two inches deep behind. Scarlet lining, no collar badge.


Rifle Green Serge: Square in front, stand-up collar with hook and eye and black silk tab. A body seam on each side, seven regimental horn buttons down the front. Two pockets on each side with pointed flaps. A small button with tab under each flap. A drawing string inside at the waist. Shoulder-straps of the same material as the garment, a small button at the top. Badges of rank in bronze. Collar and cuffs of the same colour at the regimental facings.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Medal Buyer Hits War Museum Sales
Topic: Medals

Medal Buyer Hits War Museum Sales

Ottawa Citizen, 22 March 1979

London— (CP)—The Canadian War Museum came in for harsh criticism Wednesday from a London dealer who paid more than twice the previous world record for a group of medals won by a young Canadian more than 60 years ago.

J.B. Hayward and Son paid £17,000 ($40,000) for a bar of medals which included the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry, the Military Cross and the Military Medal, and two service decorations.

The medals were awarded to Lieut. G.B. McKean of Edmonton during the First World War and were put up for sale by the widow, Mrs. C. McKean-Raby, who lives in England.

Immediately after the sale, John Hayward criticized the Canadian museum for "disposing of unawarded Canada General Service Medals, Distinguished Conduct Medals and Military Medals."

These unawarded medals, going for possibly $50 or $75 on the market," were falling into "unscrupulous hands."

False names were being engraved on them and the medals resold for "up to $500."

The previous world record for a Victoria Cross was £8,200 ($19,700) paid last year.

"The museum was really interested in this group," Hayward says, "Canada can have it (the Victoria Cross) any time they want it, providing they promise not to dispose of any more unawarded medals. I would like that in writing."

Rosamund Hinds-Howell of Sotheby's said that McKean's widow, now 86, put the medals up for auction because she did not wish to become a burden on her family.

elipsis graphic

George Burdon McKean, V.C., M.C., M.M.
(4 Jul 1888 – 28 Nov 1926)

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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