The Minute Book
Monday, 6 March 2017

Canadian Regiment for Halifax Garrison (1900)
Topic: The RCR

Canadian Regiment for Halifax Garrison

Details of Formation of Canadian Regiment
To Replace Regulars
Four Companies to Concentrate here—Lt.-Col. Vidal in Command

The Citizen, Ottawa, Ont., 6 March 1900

A militia order has just been approved by the department providing for the formation of a battalion to take the place of the regular [British] garrison at Halifax. The order is as follows:

"The formation of a provisional battalion of infantry from the active militia (the permanent corps, cavalry and afield artillery, and the active militia of the city of Halifax, which is already allotted to the defence of Halifax in the Imperial defence scheme excepted), is authorized to replace, temporarily, the First Battalion, Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians), at Halifax, N.S.

"The establishment of this battalion is as follows: One lieutenant-colonel, two majors, one adjutant, eight captains, eight lieutenants, eight second lieutenants, one quartermaster, total officers, 29; one regimental sergeant-major, one regimental quartermaster-sergeant, five staff sergeants, eight color sergeants, thirty-two sergeants, total sergeants of the regimental staff and sergeants, 47; 49 corporals, 16 drummers and buglers, 872 privates, total rank and file, 928, or a total of 1,004 of all ranks.

The Qualifications

"The qualifications for enrolment are:

"Age, between 18 and 45 years, chest measurement, minimum of 34 inches, height, minimum 5 feet 5 inches, to be unmarried.

"To pass the medical examination required for enrolment in the permanent corps of Canada.

"To be enrolled in a corps of the active militia, within the limits laid down in paragraph 1 of this order, and to have performed at least one annual training.

"Men not enrolled in the active militia but who have previously belonged to it and have performed annual training are eligible, provided they first enrol in a corps of the active militia within the limits above laid down and are carried on the strength of such corps.

"Officers, non-commissioned officers and men while serving in this battalion will be considered and returned as "on command" of the respective corps.

"Officers, non-commissioned officers and men serving in this corps will be paid the rates of pay and allowances provided for the active militia, which they will draw, in the case of officers, from the date on which they report for duty, and in the case of non-commissioned officers and men, from the date of enlistment.

Where They Will Be Raised

"Companies will be formed as follows:

"A—Right half from military district No. 11 at Victoria. Left half from military district No. 10 at Winnipeg.

"B—Military district No. 1, at London.

"C—Military district No. 2, at Toronto.

"D—Right half from military districts Nos. 3 and 4, at Kingston. Left half from the Ottawa brigade.

"E—Military district No. 5, at Montreal.

"F—Right half from military district No. 6 at St. John's, Que. Left half from military district No. 7 at Quebec.

"G—Three sections from military district No. 8 at St. John N.B. One section from military district No. 12, at Charlottetown, P.E.I.

"H—Military district No. 9, at Halifax.

"Companies will be formed of four sections of thirty men each.

District officers commanding will apportion the number to be enrolled from their district among the corps entitled to furnish men according to the strength of such corps. In the event of any of the number apportioned to their corps failing to contribute its quota the deficiency will be made up from corps having men to excess.

Three Years' Enlistment

"The men are to be enlisted in the corps to which they belong (militia form C. 1) for a period of three years, and enrolled in the provisional battalion by officer commanding districts for general service for a period not exceeding one year.

"The medical inspection will be at points of concentration of companies, and performed by the medical officers attached to permanent units, or where there are no such officers, by a medical officer belonging to the active militia, selected by the district officer commanding (militia form B. 4, embodies medical certificate). In the latter case, upon the completion of the enrolling, a statement of the number of men examined will be forwarded to chief staff officer, headquarters, Ottawa, certified to by the district officer commanding, for payment of remuneration.

"Distruict officers commanding will provide the recommendation required for the medical examination, and for the necessary clerical work, in his office, the drill hall, or elsewhere. He will also provide the necessary stationery, and if necessary, procure additional clerical assistance.

"All men will be enrolled as privates. Officers commanding companies may make temporary appointments of non-commissioned officers pending approval of the commanding officer.

During Formation

"The administration of companies during formation will be as follows:

(a)     "The companies during formation will be under command of the district officer commanding, but the officers commanding may correspond direct with the officer commanding the regiment respecting all regimental matters.

(b)     "At stations where units of the permanent force are quartered, the companies will be attached to such units for discipline, rations and accommodation. Blankets may be drawn from store, also barrack furniture.

"At other stations district officers commanding will act on their judgment. The men will either be accommodated in drill halls or other buildings, and a contract entered into for their rations at a rate not exceeding 20 cents per meal.

"Men enrolled will be kept at the enrolling centers until the company is complete, unless otherwise ordered. District officers commanding will immediately report to chief staff officer, headquarters, Ottawa, when the companies are complete, if it becomes apparent to them that the quota from their district will not be enrolled in time to proceed to place of concentration by the date hereinafter stated.

"An imprest of $200 is forwarded to district officers commanding, out of which they will pay all expenses incurred by these instructions, furnishing afterwards receipts in duplicate. They may request a further advance when needed, and will be held responsible that due economy is exercised, but they will carry out the enrolment, accommodation and rationing without incurring delay by asking for approval of their arrangements.


"Companies B, C and D will be concentrated at Ottawa not later than Thursday the 15th instant, and A company by Thursday the 22nd instant. E and F companies will be concentrated at Quebec City not later than Friday the 16th instant and G and H at Halifax by Saturday the 17th instant.

"District officers commanding will warn the officer commanding the regiment at Ottawa, and district officers commanding concerned, in order that the necessary preparations may be made before the arrival of the troops.

"The troops will be clothed and equipped at points of concentration.

"Companies B to F will be concentrated by orders from headquarters at Halifax by Thursday the 22nd instant.

"The regimental staff will be formed at Ottawa by Lieut.-Colonel B.H. Vidal, who will temporarily assume command of the battalion.

"Company officers will see that men to act as their servants are included among those enrolled in their company."

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Prison Life in Germany (1917)
Topic: The RCR

Wounded L.A. Boy Writes Mother of Prison Life in Germany (1917)

Struck Down by Shrapnel While Leading Charge in 'No Man's Land'
Serving With Canadians
Acting a Sergeant Major When Taken Prisoner in Battle

Los Angeles Herald, Number 96, 21 February 1917

Young Preston gave his address as No. 477741, Sergeant Preston, Royal Canadian Regiment, British prisoner of war, Wahn Rhld, Germany.

A Los Angeles mother today read of how her son was wounded in a charge over "no man’s land in France and captured by the Germans.

The news was contained in a letter writen by the boy in a German prison camp.

The mother is Mrs. E. Preston of 201 Lakeshore terrace. The boy is Norman Preston. The letter was dated January 1, 1917 It read:

My Dear Mother: I hope you received my first card so that you will be able to write to me all the sooner.

"We made the charge at 4:50 a. m. on the morning of the 8th and about half an hour later I had about half the calf of my left leg blown off. I don’t know what did it and I wasn’t in much pain.

"It was rather unfortunate that I got it when I did. I was acting sergeant major of my company and it is quite possible I should have been confirmed if I had come out O.K.

"I crawled to a dugout which had fallen into our hands and a German doctor and his orderlies were still working in it attending to the wounded.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Wound Was Dressed

They treated me very well indeed. I stayed in there about two hours, when the Germans came over and recaptured the place and I was taken to another dressing station and so on to a succession of hospitals.

"Fortunately I was out of my head for seven days so I didn’t feel the effect of the operation of taking the shrapnel and bullets out of my leg.

As luck would have it, nothing had touched the bone and I am now well on the road to recovery. I can walk with a very slight limp and I expect if nothing unforeseen occurs to walk as well as ever in another month’s time.

"The leg healed wonderfully well. I think I have been fortunate in coming out of the fray with what I did. I saw some awful sights. Men with limbs blown off, men blinded, men lying in every conceivable position dead and wounded, friend and foe alike.

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Wants a New Pipe

"I am glad to say that my regiment upheld its name as usual. "I lost my pipe in the charge. In fact I lost everything when I was captured. All I had when I got here was a shirt. Of course, I was carried in on a stretcher.

"Now, mother dear, you will have no cause to worry for you know how it all happened and I am whole except for a dent in my leg, which, of course, will be permanent. Otherwise I am O.K. I wish that you or Arthur (his brother) would send me a pipe like the one home for remembrance. If you send one get a straight stem, black mouthpiece. They are the best.

"Well, mother, I am being treated well here, and being a sergeant I don't have to do manual labor when I go into camp.


"P. S.—Write as soon as you can and tell Arthur to do the same. Well, mother dear, keep a good heart and write often. I remain your loving son. — Norman.

Young Preston gave his address as No. 477741, Sergeant Preston, Royal Canadian Regiment, British prisoner of war, Wahn Rhld, Germany.

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Listed in Ted Wigney's Guests of the Kaiser:

Preston, Norman Henry Geo., 477771; Sgt; RCR; POW Oct. 8/16;
Rel. Dec. 18/18; SOS Halifax July 18/19; died Victoria Mar. 5/66

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Military Ball (Fredericton 1888)
Topic: The RCR

The Military Ball (Fredericton 1888)

The Beauty, Chivalry, and Aristocracy of the Capital Entertained by the Officers of the Infantry School Corps and Their Ladies—The Drill Hall Gorgeously Decorated—Who Formed the Quadrille h'Honneur—The Names of Those Invited, and the Guests Present

The Capital, Fredericton, N.B., 11 February 1888

Although the invitation card merely contained the words:

The Commandant Royal School of Infantry,
Officers "A" Company, Infantry School Corps,
Thursday Evening, 9th February, 1888,
at 8.30 o'clock.
Dancing—Drill Hall. An answer is requested to Mess Secretary.

The affair, on Thursday evening, in every respect, was a ball, an unequaled success, and a most enjoyable one to all who had the good fortune to be present.

The Drill Hall was so completely metamorphosed by the gay decorations as to be almost unrecognizable. From a large, plain raftered hall, designed only for the winter parades of the Infantry School Corps and instructional purposes for the Officers, N.C.O. and men attached from time to time, and for the 71st Battalion, the rare good taste of Adj't Young, Lieut. Hemming, Quarter Master Sergt. Walker, Mess Sergt. Boutelier, and Sergt. Kearney, ably assisted by numbers of the rank and file of the infantrymen, who declared their determination that the decorations of this ball of their officers should surpass all previous affairs in the history of the Permanent Corps,—the Drill Hall was changed into a really magnificent Ball Room.

The decorations were in harmony with the traditions of the imperial troops. Dazzling stars, made of bayonets and crossed swords and rifles, adorned the walls in every direction, while evergreens, bunting in profusion, and beautiful pictures and photographs were utilized with the most charming effect.

The Commandant's orderly room, on the ground floor, on the right-hand side of the entrance to the Drill Hall, was transformed into a pretty drawing room; while the opposite orderly room, on the left-hand side of the entrance, was used as the Ladies' Dressing Room. Up-stairs, overhead, the Recreation Rooms thus did duty:—No. 1 Room as a Gentlemen's Dressing Room, and No. 2 Room as a Card Room. The Band, under the baton of Bandmaster Hayes, occupied the Gallery over the inside front entrance to the Hall. On the upper end, adjoining the Band Room and Orderly Room of the 71st Battalion, the Supper Room was partitioned off, the tables being plentifully supplied, during the whole evening, with the choicest dainties prepared under the special directions of that eminent caterer, mess Sergt. Boutelier, and which was an attractive quarter during the entire evening.

The Band Gallery was very beautifully ornamented with caribou heads, bayonet stars, bunting, and evergreens; while from the centre was suspended the Colors of the Corps.

On the left-hand side of the Ball Room, bayonet stars, crossed rifles, and crossed swords were arranged with grand effect. At intervals, all along this side, pictures in various colors and gilded frames lit up by the sombre tint of the greening.

Occupying conspicuous places on the walls, were pictures of the Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Marquis of Lorne and Princess Louise, General Middleton, and a group of officers in full uniform, consisting of Col. Turnbull, Commandant of the Cavalry School, Quebec; Col. Maunsell, D.A.G, Commandant of "A" School, Fredericton: Col. D'Orsonnens, Commandant of "B" School, St Jean's Que.; and Col. Otter, D.A.G., Commandant of "C" School, Toronto. There were also pictures of groups of officers comprising the various Permanent Corps in the Dominion, and several groups of officers who have been attached to the Fredericton School. The right-hand side, or that nearest the river, was profusely decorated with flags, evergreens, stars of burnished swords, bayonets, etc., while a handsomely designed monogram of the Corps—"Pro Patria"—added to the embellishment.

On entering the Ball Room, the eye was dazzled with an Italian garden scene, with feudal castle in the background, and lake and forest scenery, at the opposite end. By a skillful use of the theatrical scenery of the Corps, this gorgeous effect was produced. Behind this was the Sapper Room. Overhead, the rafters were entwined with evergreens, and suspended from them were many-colored Chinese lanterns, gold and silver balls, and brilliant chandeliers, which threw a blaze of light over the fairy like scene.

In the upper right-hand corner of the room there was a very picturesque log-cabin. In it, by a subdued, tranquilizing light, many a tete-a-tete was had by those preferring to "sit out a dance."

Opposite this was a small blanket wig-wam, while near the entrance, a bell-tent was pitched, carpeted with furs, the trophies of Col. Maunsell's rifle.

Although 8.30 was the hour named on the card, it was after nine before any considerable number of guests arrived—the fear of being the first-comers, no doubt, causing the delay. They were received most cordially by the wives of the officers of the Corps, viz.:—

  • Mrs. Maunsell,
  • Mrs. Brown,
  • Mrs Douglas Young,
  • Mrs. Hemming.

The absence of Mrs. Gordon (owing to her being on a visit to Kingston) was universally regretted.

The gusts were announced by Staff-Sergeant Polkinghorn, in full uniform.

Outside the Officers of the I.S.C. (who wore shell jackets), the three arms of the service were represented by officers in the full uniform of their respective Corps; vis., by Capt. Campbell, 8th Cavalry; Capt. George Seely, Garrison Artillery; and by several Officers of the 71st Infantry.

At 9.30 the programme was commenced. The quadrille d'honneur was composed of:—

Col. MaunsellMiss Temple
Judge FraserMrs. Maunsell
Surgeon BrownMrs. Hilyard
Thomas Temple, MPMrs. Douglas Young
Att'y General BlairMrs. T.C. Allen
Adj't Douglas YoungMrs. Chas. W. Beckworth
Hon. B.R. StevensonMrs. Brown
Sheriff SterlingMrs. Geo. N. Babbitt
Lieut. HemmingMrs. O'Malley
Mayor HazenMrs. Hemming

The following was the programme:—

2Bouquet of Valses Ar'd Hayes
4LanciersHit and MissAr'd Hayes
5ValseFern HillCol. Maunsell
8QuadrilleEscapadeAr'd Hayes
9ValseGerman Love SongsStrauss
10MazurkaAnnaCol. Maunsell
11PolkaBon BouchaWaldtenfeld
13ValseSpirit of LoveHartmann
14ValseMy DreamWaldtenfeld
16ValseSoldiers' SongsGungi
17PolkaJubileeCol. Maunsell
18LanciersBric a BracHayes
19ValseLove's DreamlandRoeder
20GalopGay and HappyRipley
God Save the Queen.

Dancing was kept up until 3 o'clock in the morning, the excellence of the music attracting the notice of all present, and being the subject of universal praise.

(The orginally published article concludes with a list of the invited gusts, which is annotated to show who attended the ball.)

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 20 January 2017

Attitudes Towards the Royal Infantry Schools (1897)
Topic: The RCR

Attitudes Towards the Royal Infantry Schools (1897)

The Daily Telegraph, Quebec, P.Q., 14 October 1897

Major-General Gascoigne says some sarcastic things of the way some officers treat the Royal Infantry Schools, in an order promulgated this week. He takes the commanding officers to task in the following language:

"The general officer commanding has observed that the class of non-commissioned officers and men sent for instruction to these schools is not always creditable to the corps to which they belong, and that proper care is not exercised in their selection. He therefore deems it expedient to remind officers commanding units that these schools of instruction are not maintained for the purpose of affording temporary employment to the unemployed, or for the training of recruits. The regulations and orders for the militia are quite explicit in this respect, and the general officer commanding intends that in future the principles therein defined shall be strictly adhered to in order that due value may be received by the public for the expenditure."

Additional restrictions are presented to provide against a continuation of the abuse. Under them men must have seen 12 months' service, must be intelligent, and qualified for the schools.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 17 October 2016

Filling Gaps in Ranks (RCR, 1915)
Topic: The RCR

Filling Gaps in Ranks (RCR, 1915)

Royal Canadians Have No Difficulties in This Respect

The Montreal Gazette, 15 September 1915
(Special to the Gazette)

Halifax, N.S., September 14—The Royal Canadian Regiment. Which arrived in England a week ago, sent a request for sixty-six men to go overseas at once to fill gaps in the ranks. Sydney, hearing of this, telegraphed that sixty recruits there had volunteered for this service and their offer was accepted.

The other six will be taken from Halifax and will be forwarded without delay. The Royal Canadians hereafter will take drafts every three months and possibly at shorter periods if necessary. Halifax, being the depot for this regiment, it follows that all training will take place here. These drafts will give an opportunity for recruits who wish to go overseas at once to gratify their desire, a chance which no other force in Canada has yet had.

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Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

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The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

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The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 27 August 2016

Royal Canadians to be Disbanded (Halifax, 1902)
Topic: The RCR

Royal Canadians to be Disbanded

Will Be Replaced at Halifax by 5th Regiment Royal Garrison Artillery
The Official Notice Sent
On Service for Over Two years—Cost to Canada of Maintaining Garrison at Halifax

The Montreal Gazette, 27 August 1902

Ottawa, August 26.—(Special)—Official corroboration has been received of the report that the Canadian Regiment at Halifax is to be relieved from duty by a regiment of the Imperial army. The conformation has come in the form of a cablegram from the quartermaster-general in England to General Parsons, officer commanding the Imperial troops at Halifax, stating that the Fifth Regiment, Royal Garrison Artillery, has been ordered to embark for Halifax about the middle of next month, to replace the Third (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment. A copy of the cablegram was sent on to Lord Aylmer, the adjutant-general.

To Be Disbanded

The Militia Department will probably have the regiment disbanded at once. The officers and men were originally enrolled for one year. At the termination of that period the regiment was re-enlisted for a year, with a provision that in case its services were not requested for the full twelve months the regiment might be disbanded at any time by allowing the officers and men a month's pay. The probability is that this will be done, but that most of the men will go into the permanent corps, the several schools of instruction being at present away below strength.

The regiment has been on service for about two and a half years, having been organized in March, 1900, to relieve the imperial garrison at Halifax, for duty in South Africa. The cost to Canada of maintaining the garrison at Halifax has been about $364,000 a year, so that Canada's contribution in this way to the expense of the South African campaign will be nearly a million dollars.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Regimental Records in Hands of the Boers
Topic: The RCR

Regimental Records in Hands of the Boers

Colonel Otter Reports Loss While Being Taken From Bloemfontein
Some Remarkable Marching Done
First Contingent Achieved 1,000 Miles' Continuous Progress

Daily Mail and Empire, Toronto, Ont., 6 October 1900
Special to the Mail and Empire

Ottawa, Oct. 5.—The South African mail, which arrived to-day, brought several reports to the Militia Department. Lieut.-Col. Otter, in his report for the week ending 24th August, from Krugersdorp, says:— "In connection with the past month's service it may interest you to know that the battalion has so far completed 1,000 miles of straight marching since its arrival in this country, and that during the last two weeks we have not had a man fall out on the march, although our average was 17 miles a day. The battalion when it reached Krugersdorp, August 22, was very weak, under 400, all ranks, but was certainly in first class marching trim. General Hart, on our leaving Krugersdorp, took occasion to express his gratification with the conduct of the battalion, and his regret at parting with it, and wished it every good fortune. This expression from an officer of general Hart's stamp I consider a great compliment. During our recent marches I have tried the experiment of organized singing, and found this to work admirably.

"I am very glad to be able to report that Capt. MacDonnell has rejoined the battalion from being a prisoner in the enemy's hands since June 7th last. He has appeared before the usual board of officers (Imperial) and has been exonerated from all blame. He is looking very well, and gives a very interesting account of his experience in the enemy's hands. Although well treated, he still underwent a good deal of priva and physical hardship while being hurried across the country with Gen. De Wet's commando."

Regimental Records Lost

Col. Otter reports with regret the loss of the following regimental records:—

  • Order books from date of debarkation to February 11;
  • Record officers' services,
  • Regimental defaulters' books,
  • Court-martial,
  • Boards of officers,
  • Courts of enquiry,
  • Files of important regimental papers,
  • of reference, and
  • Medical sheets.

These records were left at Bloemfontein in charge of a non-commissioned officer for safe-keeping, but when Capt. MacDonnell came along he undertook to transport them to the regiment, and they were lost when he fell into the enemy's hands at Roodeval on the 7th June. The matter will be enquired into.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 7 January 2016

"Esprit de Corps"
Topic: The RCR

"Esprit de Corps"

From the Orders-in-Council documents archived on line by Library and Archives Canada, we find this memorandum on the change of title of the Permanent Corps units of infantry and cavalry addressed to the Minister of Militia and Defence:

Headquarters, Ottawa, 27th April, 1892


In view of measures which I propose to take for increasing the efficiency of the Permanent Corps of Active Militia, as indicated in my report for the year 1891-92 I have the honor to bring to your notice the desirability of conferring, on the corps now known as the "Cavalry School Corps" and "Infantry School Corps", titles more in accordance with their actual organization, and more calculated to maintain the feeling of "Esprit de corps" so necessary for the maintenance of efficiency.

The title I propose to substitute for the above designations are "Canadian Dragoons" and "Canadian Regiment of Infantry."

I have the honour to request that you will authorize the preparation of a recommendation to Council to the above effect.

I have &c. (sd) Ivor Herbert, M/Genl. Comdg. Canadian Militia

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The Minister's memorandum, dates 12 May 1892, was submitted for approval as requested by Major-General Herbert, and it was subsequently submitted for the approval of the Governor General.

On 14 May 1892, approval was granted by the Governor General, Lord Stanley.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 21 December 2015

Toronto Military Camp 1884
Topic: The RCR

Toronto Military Camp 1884

"Military Matters," The Toronto Daily Mail, 21 June 1884

Today a camp of nearly 2,000 men will be formed on the Garrison common for the purposes of military instruction. The officer commanding will be Col. Denison, D.A.G., of this district. It is fortunate in one way that the camp will be in Toronto. It will give many an opportunity of seeing citizen soldiery under canvas, while visiting Toronto during the Semi-Centennial celebration. It will also give the men themselves an opportunity of taking part in the celebration, a thing they would have been unable to do if the camp had been at Niagara.

There is this drawback, however. The location of military camps near large towns or cities always has a tendency to take the men away from their lines. The attractions offered by a large city are sufficient to keep many out after hours even when without the necessary pass. This leads, of course, to trouble on their return to camp, and a feeling that they are being hardly dealt with is often the result. It will save the men and officers and great deal of unnecessary trouble if all will make a point of being in before last post. Hitherto volunteer officers have been in the habit of coming into camp at every hour, and when challenged by the sentry the answer is "Officers," and they are allowed to pass to their quarters. Officers certainly have privileges not accorded to the rank and file, but surely they might set a good example to their men; even if they are privileged to remain out after the last post they might forego the pleasure, and let their men see they have an interest in their welfare, by remaining in camp and looking after their interests. There are too many officers even who are none too well posted in the field exercises and the Queen's regulations, to whom the perusal of these books would prove of far greater benefit than a trip to "downtown."

To the members of "C" Company Infantry School, who will be under canvas, the various corps will look for an example of soldierly bearing and discipline. All eyes, so to speak, will be upon them, and there is no doubt they will maintain the credit of their corps, and leave an impression upon their comrades from a distance that a "regular," after all, is worth imitating.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Hughes, The RCR, and Bermuda
Topic: The RCR

Hughes, The RCR, and Bermuda

Debates of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada, Vol;. CXX, 1915

The following is a statement by Major General Sam Hughes in the House of Commons on 25 March, 1915:—

"I have been charged with being unfriendly to the permanent corps. What I have done is see that the permanent corps get no favour over the militia corps. We are all the active militia of Canada. But when the war broke out it was my desire that the Royal Canadian Regiment should not go to the front as a unit but that some of the non-commissioned officers and certain of the officers of this corps should be distributed among the other regiments in order to give them the benefit of their training, because they are simply instructional corps. However, about this time the British Government—there is no harm in saying it—requested that we should send the Royal Canadian Regiment to Bermuda and release the Lincolnshire regiment then garrisoning Bermuda. We got the order, we recruited the regiment up to full strength by the addition of 400 or 500 men, and in four days that regiment was sailing for Bermuda, a feat of which my officers are very proud. They are there yet. If the British Government want them at the front all they have to do is ask them to go to the front and I am sure the Government of Canada would be only too pleased to accede to the request. From time to time and personally against the judgment of the regularly trained officers of the department I have been endeavouring to pick out some of these good fellows from that regiment and send them with other regiments; but the officers of that department think that the regiment should be kept intact as a body and that if they go to the front they should go as the Royal Canadian Regiment."

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This was given by Hughes in reply to a question as to why Canada, after having spent so much maintaining a Permanent Force infantry regiment, should send them off to Bermuda at the outset of the war instead of to the front. Hughes' reply admits to not only his original intent to break up The Royal Canadian Regiment within the First Contingent, but following attempts to drain off the experienced non-commissioned officers and men for his own purposes. Also implied is his readiness to leave the Royal Canadian Regiment in Bermuda until such time as the British Government "asks them to go to the front," at which time Canada might agree to the request. Hughes may be claiming that the perceived "unfriendliness" toward the Permanent Force was simply his attempt at "fairness," but by his own admission he made efforts to prevent The Royal Canadian Regiment from being employed as a fighting unit. In the end, his efforts were ultimately unsuccessful, and The Royal Canadian Regiment reached France in November, 1915, as part of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade in the 3rd Canadian Division.

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 9 August 2015

Death of Cpl. Burns
Topic: The RCR

Death of Cpl. Burns

Wolseley Barracks

Death of Corporal James E. Burns…Biographical Sketch

The Daily Free Press, London, Ontario, Thursday, 16 January 1896

There died at Wolseley Barracks yesterday afternoon a former soldier of the Canadian militia, whose decease removes, perhaps, one of the best known, but certainly the best drill instructor, the Canadian militia could boast of. Corporal James Edward Burns was born at Niagara-on-the-Lake some forty years ago, and in his early boyhood joined the 14th Battalion, Prince of Wales Own Rifles, at Kingston, and served for a couple of years as a bugler. Later on he was found in the ranks of the Royal Canadian Rifles, which regiment was disbanded in 1870. He served in the Provisional Battalion in Red River in 1873, having been in the Red River Expedition under the present Lord Wolseley, commander-in-chief of Her Imperial Majesty's Imperial army. He next served a term in "A" Battery, Royal Canadian artillery, and from there went to "C" Company (now No. 2 Company, Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry). With this corps he took part in the North West Rebellion of 1885. He was transferred to London on the organization of the Company, and has served here ever since. His term of service expired on the 14th, inst., and not twenty-four hours later he joined the silent army of the dead. Corporal James Burns was known far and wide. He has acted as drill instructor to almost every Battalion in this district, and what he did not know regarding drill, to use a common expression, "was not worth knowing." As a soldier he served his Queen and country well and faithfully, and his decease leaves a vacancy it will be hard to fill. He was well known to the members of the 7th Battalion, having been their instructor for several months under Col. Payne and Col. Tracey, and was highly esteemed by all their non-com. officers. He took an active part in all the athletic sports, at both the Barracks and the Asylum, and was ever ready to lend a helping hand at any and every amateur performance where his services were required. He will be sadly missed at Wolseley Barracks, where he was a general favourite, and where his manly conduct, thorough soldierly bearing and genial disposition endeared him to the hearts of all. His father is Chief of Police at Niagara-on-the-Lake, and is not at all in good health at present. Corporal Burns was married and leaves a sorrowing widow to whom the heartfelt sympathy of all is extended. The funeral will be a military one to the Grand Trunk station on Friday morning. Full military honours will be paid to the deceased soldier.

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Funeral of an Old Soldier

Daily Mail and Empire, 18 January 1896

The funeral of Corporal James Edward Burns took place this morning. The procession left Wolseley Barracks and marched to the Grand Trunk station, where the body was taken on the noon train for interment at Niagara-on-the-Lake. The regular and attached men made the largest showing in the history of the barracks. The coffin was carried on a London Field Battery gun carriage, and the artillery detachment was in charge of Lieut. R. Shaw-Wood. The Union Jack covered the casket, and on the flag reposed the side arms and helmet of the dead soldier.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Three Musketeers
Topic: The RCR

South African War Anecdotes

The Three Musketeers

Canadian Army Journal, Vol 16, No 4, Fall 1962
Contributed by Dr. A.S. McCormick

It is June 1900, and the First Provisional Battalion is in Kroonstad, Orange Free State. It is composed of men who have been left behind because of illness or wounds. Eventually the battalion will catch up with the main body and the men will rejoin their regiments. No. 5 Company is composed of 17 members of The Royal Canadian Regiment under Corporal A.S. McCormick, 25 Gordon Highlanders under Corporal Buggins, and 40 Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. It is an easy life: no drill, no duties - just be available for any call. Food is a tiresome repetition of the same old thing. So Lance-Corporal MacDonald of Halifax, N.S., Pte. Woodliffe of London, Ontario, and I decide to do something about it. At 10 p.m. with everyone else in bed, we set out on our expedition. We cross the dam over the Valch River and go to a supply depot on the far side of the town. We stop far enough from the depot not to be seen by the sentries. Woodliffe scouts around to see the layout. Then when the two sentries have met, turned about, and started back along the beat, he darts in and grabs a box and hurries to join McDonald and me. In the dark we make out the label "biscuits" - hardtack, the last thing anyone would select for a change of diet. "Blasted old biscuits," exclaims Woodliffe and he makes another raid. This time he brings a box with 12 two-pound tins of Bruce's Army and Navy rations a lovely stew. Now my Corporal's stripes do their part. The two men shoulder the boxes and I march them through the streets as a fatigue party. We pass two or three men in whose hearing I angrily say: "This is a fine time to send out a fatigue party!" We stop to rest. Through the darkness looms a figure with slow and measured tread. Looks like a police man, confound it. If it be a military policeman, he is about to see three men make a new world record for the mile. My heart is in my throat and if I cough, I am likely to spit it out. But we wait, the figure approaches, peers into each face and moves on. It is a Kaffir policeman. We breathe again. We continue the march. In camp, we open the boxes and divide the loot. A Gordon sticks his head out of his blanket tent, we beckon to him and when he approaches, hand him a tin. "J—-," he says and goes back to his tent. Happy over a brave deed carried out in the manner worthy of the best traditions of The Royal Canadian Regiment, we sleep like innocent babes. And as long as the food lasts we live happily. But in the long history of The RCR, no men were ever so frightened as we three when that policeman approached. Had our thievery been discovered, it would have been just too bad for the Three Musketeers.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 6 April 2015

Milton Gregg, V.C., Sergeant at Arms
Topic: The RCR

Sergeant-at-Arms Gallant Record

The Montreal Gazette, 1 March 1934

He brings to his new duties a genuine wish to fill the post of sergeant-at-arms in a manner wholly in keeping with the finest traditions of the public service. There is no doubt, too, that his appointment meets with the acclaim of all his comrades of the Great War who realize that his selection is a tribute to the entire Canadian corps, living and dead.

Captain William Q. Ketchum writes, in the Calgary Daily Herald of the gallant record of Major M.F. Gregg, V.C.

An important symbol of British parliamentary tradition, the post of sergeant-at-arms of the Canadian House of Commons, calls for unusual qualities, he says.

These particular qualities are possessed to a marked degree by Major Milton Fowler Gregg, V.C., M.C. and Bar, who has been selected from a host of applicants including a number of officers of senior rank. A remarkable feature of the appointment is that Major Gregg, until a recent meeting with Mr. Bennett in Ottawa, was personally unknown to him and, in fact, it is understood, had not even applied for the position.

The new sergeant-at-arms, who succeeds Col. H.J. Coghill, is president of the Vimy Branch of the Canadian Legion in Halifax. Among returned soldiers from coast to coast the appointment is construed, and perhaps rightly so, as an indication that Canada continues to regard the best of her citizenry soldiery as worthy of the highest in her gift to confer.

Of United Empire Loyalist Descent

Major Gregg, who is 41 years of age, was born in Mountain Dale, New Brunswick, the son of George L. Gregg, a prosperous farmer. Through his mother, Elizabeth Myles, Major Gregg is the descendant of United Empire Loyalists, who came from the Thirteen Colonies to Parr Town, now Saint John, New Brunswick, with the "Spring Fleet," in 1783.

He was educated at the Provincial Normal School, Fredericton, and was graduated from Acadia with the degree of M.A. For a time he taught school in Carleton County, New Brunswick.

At the age of 20 he enlisted with the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, and is still partial to the kilt by reason of this association. Wearing the famous Black Watch tartan he was wounded at Festubert in 1915 and was convalesced at Edmonton, a hospital in the suburbs of London. Obviously Major Gregg had qualities which singled him out for early promotion even in the picked Montreal battalion, and it occasioned no surprise to his friends when he was recommended for a commission before he became a casualty.

After recovering from the effects of his wound he qualified for the rank of lieutenant at the officers' training course at Cambridge, and was gazetted to that rank in the territorials of the Imperial Army, with the King's Own Lancasters. He remained for two months only with this unit and on the eve of going to France was sent to Canadian headquarters in Argyle House. At this time it was decided to divide the Canadian territorially and as a Maritimer, Major Gregg was sent to the Nova Scotia Regiment at Bramshott, and afterwards transferred to The Royal Canadian Regiment, remaining with this infantry battalion until the end of the war.

He was wounded three times, in 1915, 1917, and 1918.

Major Gregg won his first decoration, the Military Cross, after leading a successful night trench raid at Vimy, June 9, 1917. The Canadian had introduced the practice of making raids on enemy sectors to secure prisoners and documents to ascertain the disposition of enemy troops, and to identify units. Following a three-minute artillery barrage, Lieut. Gregg and a handful of resolute companions went through the wire into the shell-pocked No Man's Land until the German front line was reached. This was cleared out and the second line penetrated where a number of prisoners were captured in a deep dug-out. The raid was highly successful and the intrepid young New Brunswick officers received the white-bordered blue-centred Military Cross. He gained the bar to this distinction at Monchy during the Arras show and the Victoria Cross at Cambrai.

Winning the Victoria Cross

Few winners of the Victoria Cross survive the sacrifice of their heroism. Major Gregg, however, has done so and his friends and official records have supplied the details.

Many Canadian soldiers will remember the Hindenburg Line with its deep dugouts. It was in the Marcoing Line, a section of this system with its deep tunnels, and strong points hitherto considered impregnable that he won the coveted bronze decoration for valor instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856.

Lieut.-Col. C.R.E. Willets, D.S.O., officer commanding The Royal Canadian Regiment, was wounded, the adjutant was killed and the gallant regiment, suffering numerous casualties found its advance obstructed by a heavily defended position. Nothing was visible but bands of uncut wire.

Lieut. Gregg saw no possibility of going forward, but after a quick survey discovered an opening in the wire to the left. Through this gap he crawled on hands and knees, revolver in hand and pockets bulging with Mills bombs. He reached the German line, landed in a shallow trench which he followed to a strong point from which a German machine gun crew of three were pouring murderous fire into khaki-clad Canadians held up by the wire. The R.C.R. officer killed one German with his revolver, wounded the other and the argument of his business-like weapon proved too overwhelming for the third, who surrendered. He advanced to a second menacing strong point where the sight of a Mills bomb with the pin out induced fifteen Germans at the entrance to a deep dugout to throw up their hands.

Their morale restored somewhat when they saw themselves opposed by only one lone figure, the Germans, not knowing how to reach the Canadian lines, wandered off toward a nearby strong point, but Gregg seized a German rifle, picked one or two off and the others capitulated.

In the meantime, inspired by Gregg's gallant conduct, several members of the regiment had followed in his footsteps, so that the position was consolidated.

On that fateful day Lieut.-Col. C.B. Topp, D.S.O., took over The Royal Canadian Regiment for a short time and his personal knowledge of the resourcefulness, courage and initiative shown by Major Gregg, coupled with five other recommendations, won for the young officer the Victoria Cross.

Major Gregg, who is the exemplification of modesty, expresses scepticism over statements that there are men who are never frightened when confronted by the bright eyes of danger, he thinks that what has buoyed up good soldiers in tight situations in the old British tradition of conveying the impression that fear is an alien quality in their make-up. In other words, the theory is to make the other chap feel you are not frightened to stiffen him up. There is a pardonable vanity behind it all, too, in his opinion.

Major Gregg returned to Canada as adjutant of The Royal Canadian Regiment and for a time he held the rank of captain in the Governor-General's Foot Guards.

He has been connected with the New Brunswick Rangers and is brigade major of the 16th Infantry Brigade. His military qualifications are of a high order and include a pass in the militia staff course. He was among the Canadian winners of the Victoria Cross who attended the last reunion in London, England, at which the Prince of Wales took a leading part.

A pre-war romance which had its inception in old Acadia days culminated following the conflict when he parried an old classmate, Miss Amy Dorothy Alward.

He brings to his new duties a genuine wish to fill the post of sergeant-at-arms in a manner wholly in keeping with the finest traditions of the public service. There is no doubt, too, that his appointment meets with the acclaim of all his comrades of the Great War who realize that his selection is a tribute to the entire Canadian corps, living and dead.

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 14 March 2015

"C" Company, Infantry School Corps
Topic: The RCR

Our Permanent Troops, III.

"C" Company, Infantry School Corps, Toronto.

The Dominion Illustrated, Vol. VI. No. 136; Montreal and Toronto, 7 January 1891

This well-known company was raised at the same time as "A" and "B" companies, under the following officers: Lieut.-Col. Otter, Commandant; Major Smith, Lieutenants Sears and Wadmore, Sr. Strange. Particulars of the recruiting and organization of the corps has already been fully given in this journal (Vol. v., p. 303. — Unfortunately, this edition is not in the accessible archive).

The detachment now under mention was stationed in Toronto, occupying the New Fort barracks. The buildings were erected in 1840-41, and were continuously occupied by Her majesty's troops until 1870, when all Imperial garrisons were withdrawn from British North America, with the exception of Halifax; the barracks are of a most substantial nature, replacing the ruinous sheds known as Old Fort, so long the only home of the garrison. On the memorable 27th March, 1885, when the news flashes through Canada of the armed rebellion in the North-West, and of the killing and wounding of many loyal volunteers by the rebel half-breeds, "C" Company was one of the first corps ordered out for active service. Its record there was an highly honorable one, and can best be summed up by a paragraph in one of General Middleton's reports:—

"C" School, owing to its comparative propinquity to the scene of the action, was the only one of the schools fortunate enough to go to the front in the late expedition. Its conduct during the severe and trying march through the gaps, and subsequently during the campaign, whether on the march or in the face of the enemy, was such as to deserve the highest praise, and redounds greatly to the credit of its commandant, Lieut.-Col. Otter, and his officers. Lieut.-Colonel Otter also did good service in command of a column.

Proportionately to the strength of the Company, it suffered severely throughout the campaign, having 11 casualties. It was engaged in the actions at Fish Creek, Cut Knife and Batoche, at which fight a detachment, under command of Major Smith, was on board of the steamer "Northcote," intended to operate in conjunction with the main body of the land forces under General Middleton. "C" Company remained on duty in the North-est until November, 1885, when it returned to Toronto, and since then has been of great service as the school for the military instruction of the officers and non-commissioned officers of the Ontario Militia, no less than 340 officers and 560 non-commissioned officers and men having been admitted within the last six years. The company is under the command of Lieut.-Col. Otter, who is also the Deputy Adjutant-General for Military District No. 2. A detailed sketch of the life and services of this talented officer will be found on page 342, volume V., of this journal (see below). Lieut.-Col. Otter is ably assisted by the following officers, portraits of whom will be found on another page of this issue, namely: Major Vidal, Capt. MacDougall, Lieuts. Evans and Laurie, and Dr. Strange, surgeon of the detachment.

We also present views of the officers quarters, barracks and other buildings used by the corps; they are beautifully situated on the shores of lake Ontario, and we sincerely hope that before long they and the other barracks occupied by the several companies of the Infantry School Corps will be tenanted by battalions instead of by companies, and that our Canadian Regular Infantry will thus form a brigade with the very moderate establishment of three thousand men. Such an increase would do wonders for the active militia at large by the ability of the permanent troops to then furnish adjutants and sergeants-major to every volunteer regiment in the Dominion, besides furnishing ample detachments to keep occupied and in repair the various forts and military buildings bequeathed to us by the Imperial authorities, and which are presently rapidly falling into decay and utter ruin. In case of war the very points, now neglected, would be of vital importance in the defence of Canada, and their preservation should be of deep interest to the people at large as on them might depend the security of our homes from an invader.

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Lieut.-Col. William Otter, D.A.G., Toronto.

The gallant soldier is a native on Ontario, having been born at Clinton, Huron County, on the 3rd of December, 1843. He received his education in part at the Grammar School, Goderich, and in part at Upper Canada College, Toronto. In October 1861, Mr. Otter joined the Victoria Rifles, Toronto, (Now "F" Company of the Queen's own Rifles) and in December, 1864, was promoted to a lieutenancy in the latter corps. He served as an officer of that rank in the 2nd Administrative Battalion on the Niagara frontier in the winter of 1864-65. In the following August, Lieutenant Otter was appointed adjutant, and in that capacity took part in the repulse of the Fenian raid of 1866, being present at the action of Limeridge. In June, 1869, he was advanced to the status of major, and went to England as second in command of the Wimbledon team in June, 1875. A year later he was made lieutenant-colonel by brevet, and in the summer following obtained command of the corps. During the unhappy riots in Toronto, towards the close of 1875, and in the Belleville G.T.R. strike riots of 1877, he had command of the regiment. In 1883 he commanded the Wimbledon Team, and later in the year was sent to Aldershot to acquire information in connection with the proposed formation of military schools. It was during the North-west rebellion of 1885 that Col. Otter especially distinguished himself. He had command, during the campaign, of the Battleford, or centre column, and made a forced march from the Saskatchewan across the prairie to Battleford (a distance of 190 miles) in five days and a half. He commanded the reconnaissance after Poundmaker, the rebel Indian chief, whose junction with Big Bear he prevented by the engagement at Knife Hill. Had those two chiefs effected a combination and been enabled to reach Riel, the issue of conflict would, at least for a time, have been different. Col. Otter also commanded the Turtle lake column sent out in pursuit of Big Bear at the close of the rising. In July, 1886, he was appointed to the command of Military District No. 2, which he held along with the charge of the Toronto Infantry School Corps ("C" Company) which had been assigned him on his return from England in 1883. Col. Otter is the compiler of a useful manual of military interior economy called "The Guide," which has been accepted as a text book in all our schools of military training. The Colonel, who is now Deputy Adjutant-General, has been married since October, 1865, his wife being a daughter of the late Rev. James Porter, Inspector of Public Schools, Toronto, and formerly Superintendent of Education for New Brunswick. By religious profession Col. Otter is a zealous member of the Church of England.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 15 February 2015 12:30 PM EST
Sunday, 1 March 2015

"A" Company, Royal School of Infantry
Topic: The RCR

Our Permanent Troops, II

"A" Company, Royal School of Infantry

The Dominion Illustrated, 6th December 1890

The Royal School of Infantry for the Maritime Provinces is, like that for the Province of Quebec, already described in The Dominion Illustrated, based on the Infantry School Corps—"A" Company and staff being stationed at Fredericton, N.B. In this issue we reproduce photographs of the staff, the corps on parade, and the principal barracks. The corps was organized on the 25th December, 1883, the then three commandants, Lieut.-Colonels Maunsell, D'Orsonnens and Otter, having previously been attached to the force at Aldershot, England, and the Company officers, including Major Gordon and Captain Hemming, of "A" Company, to Her Majesty's troops, at Halifax, N.S., with the view to picking up modern ideas in "soldiering." Since that time the wisdom of basing this branch of Canada's permanent force upon British infantry regulations and traditions has been proved—the regimental system of the corps has, step by step, developed and improved, and the practical utility of the school has been amply tested. On the 19th July, 1887, another, Company "D," that at London, Ont., has been added to the corps, and Lieut.-Colonel Smith, after much experience, appointed to command.

At the time of the North-West rebellion, May, 1885, "A" Company, with staff I.S.C., was used as the basis of a battalion to represent New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island on active service. With marvellous rapidity a most efficient battalion (569 strong) was formed, the call to arms having been promptly responded to, alike from town and country, from village and hamlet. Representatives of every industry, every profession, every class and creed were found in this battalion. The following composed the staff:—

  • Commandant—Lieut.-Col. Maunsell, D.A.G.
  • Majors—
    • Lieut.-Colonel Beer, 74th Battalion;
    • Lieut.-Colonel Blaine, 62nd Fusiliers.
  • Captains—
    • "A" Company — Major Gordon, I.S.C.
    • "B" Company — Lieut. Young, I.S.C.
    • " Company — Capt. Sturdee, 62nd Batt.
    • "D" Company — Lieut. Gosard, 62nd Batt.
    • "E" Company — Lieut. Hegan, 62nd Batt.
    • " Company — Lieut. Edwards, 62nd Batt.
    • "G" Company — Lieut. Baker, 67th Batt.
    • "H" Company — Lieut. Howe, 71st Batt.
    • "I" Company — Lieut. Harper, 74th Batt.
    • "J" Company — Lieut. McNaughton, 73rd Batt.
    • "K" Company — Lieut. Stewart, 82nd P.E.I.
    • "L" Company — Lieut. MacLeod, 82nd P.E.I.
  • Adjutant—Capt. McLean, 62nd.
  • Paymaster—Lieut.-Col. McCulley, 73rd.
  • Quartermaster—Major Devlin, 62nd.
  • Surgeon—Surgeon Brown, I.S.C.
  • Assistant Surgeon—Assistant Surgeon McFarland, 62nd.

The battalion having proceeded en route to the front, encamped at Sussex, and their services being no longer required, having received the thanks of the authorities, returned to their homes on the 26th May.

It may be interesting to note that the School of Infantry, at Fredericton, serves as a mean of military education for the following battalions of infantry in the Maritime Provinces:—

  • Nova Scotia
    • 63rd Battalion, Halifax Rifles;
    • 66th Battalion, Princess Louise Fusiliers;
    • 68th, King's County Battalion of Infantry;
    • 69th, 1st Annapolis Battalion of Infantry;
    • 72nd, 2nd Annapolis Battalion of Infantry;
    • 75th, Lunenburg Battalion of Infantry;
    • 78th, Colchester, Hants and Picton Battalion of Infantry, "Highlanders;"
    • 93rd, Cumberland Battalion of Infantry;
    • 94th, "Victoria" Battalion of Infantry, "Argyle" Highlanders;
  • New Brunswick
    • 62nd Battalion, St. John Fusiliers;
    • 67th Battalion, Carleton Light Infantry;
    • 71st, York Battalion of Infantry;
    • 73rd, Northunberland Battalion of Infantry;
    • 74th Battalion of Infantry;
    • St John Rifle Company.
  • Prince Edward Island
    • 82nd, Queen's County Battalion of Infantry.


During the seven years the school has been in operation 167 officers and 342 non-commissioned officers have been instructed and receive certificates of qualification. This speaks volumes foe th practical utility of the schools, the commandant receiving abundant support in the bring forward of officers and non-commissioned officers for instruction from staff officers Lieut.-Colonel Worsley, D.A.G. Nova Scotia, and Lieut.-Colonel Irving, Brigade Major, Prince Edward Island, who are well aware that without an efficient means of instruction for officers and non-commissioned officers battalions of the active militia must deteriorate, and in proportion to the numbers and competence of officers and non-commissioned officers so is the degree of efficiency attainable and attained.

On the Queen's Birthday, 1886, Lady Tilley, who, as well as H.H. the Lieut. Governor, is ever ready to foster and encourage that which has for its object the good of the service, or the good of the community, with the sanction of the Lieut.-Governor in command, presented a regimental colour to this detachment of the I.S.C., regarding its importance not only as a mere Company of Infantry, but as the nucleus of a battalion, with a regimental staff and efficient band, and knowing that everything calculated to create esprit de corps tends to increase efficiency.

So much, in brief, regarding the corps, its organization, its steps of progress and its usefulness.

A word, in conclusion, as to the barracks at Fredericton, of which we give two sketches, may not be without interest. There are three (3) barracks, viz.:—1. Officers' quarters (stone and wood); 2. Mens' barracks (stone); 3. Married non-commissioned officers' and mens' quarters—Park barracks—(wood). These barracks were originally built for a half-battalion of Imperial Infantry, with a Battery of Garrison Artillery, but, by using temporary quarters in town for officers and men, a whole battalion of infantry has, at times, been stationed at Fredericton. With modern requirements, however, these barracks are now adapted for 6 officers, 10 attached officers, 100 permanent non-commissioned officers and men, 30 attached non-commissioned officers and men; total 146 all ranks.

On the formation of the Infantry School Corps—January, 1884—these barracks were found to be much in need of repairs and remodeling.

When the improvement in class and education of the modern recruits is considered, as compared with the status of the so-called common soldier of the past, improvement in quarters and surroundings becomes a necessity. Not only is this improvement now to be found in the barrack rooms—the "home" of the soldiers at this station—but also in the providing suitable recreation rooms and library in the Drill Hall, as well as in the providing comfortable quarters, with gardens, for the non-commissioned officers and men on the married strength. All this is in addition to improved conditions of service, as to pay, clothing, rations, &c., referred to in previous issue. It may be added that increased attention is not paid to the care of grounds,—the officers' barracks grounds being laid out in gardens, lawn tennis courts, gravel walks, &c. The dates of erection of these barracks are as follows:—Officers' barracks, 1841; mens' baracks, 1827; married non-commissioned officers' and men's quarters (Park barracks), 1838; isolated quarters therein, 1789.

The following troops have occupied the barracks from time to time since 1846, within the memory of the "oldest inhabitant": H.M.'s 33rd Regiment, Duke of Wellington's; H.M.'s 97th Regiment, West Kent; H.M.'s 72nd Regiment, Seaforth Highlanders; H.M.'s 76th Regiment; H.M.'s 62nd Regiment; H.M.'s 63rd Regiment; H.M.'s 15th Regiment, East Yorkshire; H.M.'s 22nd Regiment, Cheshire. This last named regiment left Fredericton May, 1869, from which time until January, 1884, no troops have been stationed at Fredericton.

Services of Lieut.-Col. Maunsell, Major Gordon and Dr. Brown

Lieut.-Colonel Maunsell, D.A.G.

  • May, 1855 — Final examination, Sandhurst Royal Military Academy.
  • May 15thh, 1855 — Ensign, H.M.'s 15th Regiment.
  • 1855-56 — Mediterranean stations, reinforcing troops, Crimean war.
  • 1857 — Course of instruction in military engineering (branch of senior department of the Royal Military College), Aldershot.
  • 1857-58 — Employed, temporarily, on the staff at Aldershot in connection with above course of instruction.
  • November 27th, 1857 — Lieutenant, H.M.'s 15th Regiment.
  • 1858-59 — Course of instruction, School of Musketry, Hythe. 1St Class certificate January 26th, 1859.
  • February 10th, 1859 — Instructor of musketry, 15th Regiment.
  • March 12th, 1861 — Captain, H.M.'s 15th Regiment.
  • 1861-62 — Acting Adjutant and Instructor of Musketry, 8th department Battalion, Pembroke Dock, South Wales.
  • 1862-63 — Commanded departments of 15th and 84th regiments, respectively, Pembroke Dock.
  • January, 1864 — sailed for Halifax, N.S., en route to New Brunswick, to rejoin headquarters, 15th Regiment.
  • 1865 — Attached to General Grant's staff—Army of Potomac—during whole spring campaign 1865, ending with taking of Richmond.
  • November 2nd, 1865 — Gazetted Lieut.-Colonel and Adjutant-General of Militia, New Bunswick.
  • 1866 — defence of frontier of New Brunswick against Fenian invasion.
  • January 1st, 1869 — After confederation of Provinces, gazetted Deputy Adjutant General M.D. No. 8, Province of New Brunswick.
  • 1871 to 1880 — Commanded several tactical brigade camps in New Brunswick, also infantry schools of instruction at St. John and Fredericton.
  • 1880 — Attended course of studies at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, certificate granted.
  • April 1st, 1881 — Transferred from military district No. 8 to No. 4 with headquarters at Ottawa and Brockville and School of Instruction (Infantry) at Ottawa.
  • July 21st, 1883 — Sailed for England; attached to H.H's. Forces at Aldershot.
  • November, 1883 — Returned to Canada.
  • December 31st, 1883 — Gazetted Commandant of School of Infantry—Infantry School Corps—Fredericton.
  • May 16th, 1884 — Re-appointed Deputy Adjutant General M.D. No. 8, holding at the same time command Royal School of Infantry.
  • May, 1885 — Formed temporary battalion (10 companies) for immediate active service in North-West Territory.

Major Gordon

  • Major W.D. Gordon joined 14th P.W.O. Rifles, Kingston, Ont., in 1867.
  • Promoted ensign, 1869.
  • Lieutenant, 1871.
  • Captain, 1873.
  • Brevet Major, 1878.
  • Major, 1883.
  • Adjutant 1876 to 1883.
  • Appointed to Infantry School Corps, 1883.
  • A.D.C. to Lieut. Governor of New Brunswick, November, 1885.
  • 1st class certificates from Military School and School of Artillery.
  • 1st class certificate for course of instruction with Imperial forces at Halifax, 1883.

Dr. Brown

T. Clowes Brown, M.D., Surgeon Royal School of Infantry, Fredericton, N.B., was born in Mangerville, Sunbury County. His father held a commission as Captain in the Sunbury Militia. After graduating as an M.D. at the Pennsylvania Medical College, Philadelphia, he commenced the practice of his profession in York County, and was gazetted surgeon at that time of the 2nd Battalion York Count Militia, under the late Col. John Allen. Upon the formation of the 71st York Volunteers Battalion in A.D. 1869, he was appointed assistant surgeon thereto, and became surgeon of said battalion upon the death of Surgeon Gregory in 1881, which position he resigned from upon being gazetted Surgeon of the Infantry School Corps at Fredericton in December, 1883.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 1 March 2015 12:19 AM EST
Saturday, 21 February 2015

"B" Company, Royal School of Infantry
Topic: The RCR

Our Permanent Troops, I

"B" Company, Royal School of Infantry

The Dominion Illustrated, 1st November 1890

Royal Military Schools

On the 25th of May 1883, the Governor-General assented to an amended Militia Act, which had been introduced by the present popular Minister of Militia, Sir A.J. Caron, which provided for the organization of three companies of infantry, to be permanently maintained. The object was, in the words of the Act, "to provide for the care and protection of forts, magazines, armaments, warlike stores and such like service, also to secure the establishment of schools for military instruction." Such schools had previously existed in Canada, and, as a matter of fact, did exist at the time this act was passed. Their previous existence will be remembered by many, for they were in connection with Imperial regiments stationed in Quebec, Montreal, and elsewhere. The secure attendance at these Imperial regimental schools did not require a commission in the militia. Any one could attend, and, upon getting a pass certificate, secured a certain money payment. Hundreds availed themselves of this privilege. The withdrawal of the Imperial troops from Canada in 1871, necessitated the Canadian Government organizing regular troops of their own, to garrison the Citadel at Quebec and Fort Henry at Kingston. To perform this work, A and B Batteries of Canadian Artillery were called into existence on the 20th of October, 1871. These batteries were to consist of two divisions—"Field and Garrison"—and were shortly after called upon to perform the "school duties" which had hitherto been carried on by Imperial troops. In addition to their true military designation, they had given them the title of "Royal Schools of Artillery." To these schools went many officers of the militia force for instruction; but the infantry officers felt that an "artillery school" was hardly the place at which to get first-class infantry education. To meet this difficulty, the amended Militia Act of 1883 gave authority to call into existence three permanent companies of infantry. On the 21st of December, 1883, a Militia general order, the substance of which is as follows, appeared in the Canada Gazette:

Infantry School Corps

The formation of three schools of infantry having been authorized, the requisite number of militiamen will be enrolled and formed into one corps, to be known as the "Infantry School Corps."

The stations of these schools were to be: "A" Company at Fredericton, N.B., under Lieut.-Col. Maunsell, commandant; "B" Company at St. Johns, P.Q., under Lieut.-Col. D'Orsonnens, commandant; "C" Company at Toronto, under Lieut.-Col. Otter, commandant. Subsequent authority was given to organize a fourth company—"D" Company—and it was an is stationed at London, Ont., where a splendid new barracks were specially erected. In 1883 a troop of permanent cavalry—"The Cavalry School Corps"—was organized, under Lieut.-Col. Turnbull, and stationed in Quebec. In 1885 a company of mounted infantry was formed and stationed at Winnipeg, and in 1887 another battery—"C" Battery—was called into existence and stationed at Victoria, B.C. The three Batteries of Artillery—A, B and C—form "the Regiment of Canadian Artillery," under the command of Lieut.-Col. Irwin. By the end of January, 1884, the required number of men were enlisted for the infantry and cavalry—the period of enlistment three years—and in the spring of that year their educational work began and has continued ever since. Some three years ago Her Majesty was pleased to bestow upon them the title of "Royal Schools." The course of instruction lasts three months, and there are three courses in the year. The officers attached for instruction live and mess in barracks and receive one dollar a day pay. The instruction is carried on by the permanent or regular officers and non-commissioned officers under the direction of the commandant. In addition to militia officers, militia non-commissioned officers and men can also be attached. They receive fifty cents a day pay. The pay of the regular Canadian private soldier is forty cents a day and a full kit. The only stoppages are 15 cents a day when in hospital and a trifling stoppage for hair-cutting. Such is a brief outline of the organization of our small force of Canadian regulars—a portion of whose duty is that of "military schools" for our volunteers, the officers of which must qualify of lose their commission. To render the qualifying as easy as possible at the end of each regular course, special courses lasting about two weeks are given.

This issue of the Dominion Illustrated we devote largely to illustrating the Royal Military School in connection with "B" Company, Infantry School Corps, stationed in the barracks at St Johns, P.Q. A recent issue contained a view of the officers' quarters from the tennis ground and another taken from the river. The ground on which the barracks is built is memorable ground in connection with the early history of this country, and saw stirring scenes when occupied by the French, as it also did when assailed by an American force. The old French earthworks, which are still in a good state of preservation, show that the fort covered a considerable piece of ground and mounted a number of guns. The present barracks were erected in 1839, as we are informed by a brass plaque on the hall of the officers' quarters, which bears the following inscription:

This Barrack for
3 F. Officers, 27 Officers, 12 Sergeants, 800 Men
and Hospital for 80 Patients
Commenced June, 1839 — Completed December, 1839
Amount Estimated £19,209 1 5 ¼ stg.
Amount expended £117,231 5 7 ½ stg.
Executive officer, Major Foster, R.E.
Commanding Royal Engineers, Canada.
Col. Oldfield, K.H.

Old residents of St. Johns speak with feelings of pride when they tell of the famous British regiments which in turn have been quartered in the barracks, among them the 43rd and 71st. The late Col. Dyde once told the writer, of the gay scenes which marked the residence there of the latter regiment under Sir Hugh Dalrymple. Upon one occasion he with two or three good friends had gone out on "guest night" to dine with the officers. A snow storm of extraordinary severity came on and they were not able to get back for several days. Every night became a "guest night," "And a jollier crowd," said the old colonel, "I never saw." Even in those later days such an occurrence is not uncommon, and more than once, guests of "'B' Company—to Dinner" on guest night, have been compelled to remain till next day, because of an old-fashioned Canadian snowstorm.

In this connection let us say a word as to the hospitality of the permanent officers of "B" Company, Infantry School Corps. They are few in number, but a more generous lot of fellows it would be hard to find. Many an officer of the Montreal volunteer force has experienced it, and not a few of our Montreal citizens can testify that they have received a cordial welcome on "guest night" at the barracks, which is every Thursday night. At 6.30 the bugle sounds for dinner, and at 7 p.m. the call to dinner is resounding in the corridors. Then the ante-room presents a gay scene—the permanent officers in their beautiful scarlet mess jackets and dark blue vests; the attached officers, some in scarlet and some in rifle green; the civilian guests in full dress. As the mess door opens, the mess sergeant announces "dinner is served," the guests troop in, the band in the kiosk on the tennis ground, begins to play and continues to do so at intervals during the dinner. If the scene in the ante-room was gay, the mess room is even more so. The dinner table is beautifully laid, and is in season nicely decorated with flowers, while the officers' servants, acting as waiters, dressed in the regimental livery, (tail coat, with large brass buttons and scarlet vest and regimental trousers), move about, quietly attending to the wants of the guests. The only toast drank is "The Queen." Dinner over, the ante-room is once more occupied; then coffee and cigars; after which, cards for some, while others take to the billiard room. Any guest from Montreal wishing to do so can return by train, leaving St. Johns at five minutes to eleven, reaching his home by midnight. If he decides to stay all night, he gets a soldier's bed and a soldier's welcome. The band of the Company for its strength is an exceptionally good one. The officers, however, state that it is very difficult to keep it in good condition, as it hardly ever gets any outside engagements. The company is a short of two lieutenants—Captain Freer, who rejoined his regiment, and Lieut. Roche, transferred to Fredericton, not having been replaced. The school suffers in consequence. A few words now regarding our illustrations.

The Guard House and Barracks Guard.—The Guard Room is a new one—built some four years ago, the old one having been burned previous to the barracks being occupied by Canadian troops. It contains an officer's room, a room for the guard, a room for prisoners, and four cells. The barrack Guard consists of three privates, a bugler, and a non-commissioned officer. Occasionally for instruction an officer's guard is mounted. Sentry-go is two hours on and four hours off. On a blustry cold winter's night sentry duty at this post is cold work.

Barrack Gate and Guard House.—The approach to the Barrack gate from the town is over a road which is said to have once been splendid, but now it is always bad, and in wet weather a perfect "slough of despond." Pedestrians fare better, as the Government have given them a good wooden sidewalk. The gate is shut at 9.30; "last post" at 10 p.m., and at 10.15 p.m. "lights out" is sounded. A sickly lamp attempts to show the homeward bound soldier where the gate is, being placed above it. As a beacon it is a poor one; as a light to dispel darkness it is not a success.

Permanent Officers of "B" Company, Infantry School Corps.

In the centre of this group is the commandant Lieut.-Col. D'Orsonnens, whose whole life has been passed in the military service of his country. He served as an officer in the prince of Wales Rifles, in the Montreal Cavalry, and on the Niagara frontier during the time that Canada, owing to the American Civil War, kept a small volunteer force on the permanent frontier duty. Col. D'Orsonnens also served during both Fenian Raids. He subsequently became the Brigade Major at Quebec, from which place he was promoted to the position of Commandant of "B" Company, Royal School of Infantry. About a year ago he was appointed Deputy Adjutant-General of the 6th Military District. As a drill instructor Colonel D'Orsonnens is perfect, and as a Commandant of a School he is said to be about as perfect as it is possible for a man to be.

Surgeon-Major F.W. Campbell.—Dr. Campbell has had charge of the School since its formation, having been transferred to "B" Company, Infantry School Corps, from the Sergeoncy of the Prince of Wales Rifles, which he held for twenty-three years. He saw service during the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870. Both officers and men speak highly of the attention and kindness of their surgeon. That he has performed his duties will is proved by the fact that, notwithstanding a great amount of serious illness, the Company has had only one death since its formation.

Captain Charles J.Q. Coursol.—Captain Coursol is the son of the well-known late C.J. Coursol, for many years M.P. for Montreal West and Police Magistrate. He was at one time a member of the Victoria Rifles, and was transferred to the Infantry School from the 65th Battalion in which corps he held a captain's commission. He is an excellent officer and is beloved by his men.

Captain and Acting Adjutant Chinic.—Captain Chinic began his military career as an officer in the 4th Battalion (Quebec). When the North-West Rebellion broke out, Lieut. Chinic was taking a long course (then a year—now nine months) at this School. A portion of this course entails attendance for three months at the Royal Military College, Kingston, and while there he was attached to the Battery of Artillery for messing. The battery being ordered to the North-West he went with it and served with distinction. On his return he received his commission as an officer of the Infantry School Corps. He wears the North-West medal. Captain Chinic is an excellent adjutant. He is well up in his work and is admittedly a careful and painstaking officer.

Quarter-Master and Honorary Captain Frenette.—Captain Frenette served with the 9th Battalion (Quebec) throughout the North-West Rebellion, and, therefore wears the North-West medal. He is well up in his work, and does everything he can to make his fellow officers and the men comfortable.

"B" Company, Infantry School Corps (Royal School of Infantry) on Parade.—In this engraving the Company with band are drawn up on the Barrack Square. The attached officers are between the band and the Company, and the permanent officers are on the right. As the Company is only allowed 100 men, it is never possible to put a strong Company on parade. There is always to be deducted from any parade, guards, prisoners, men in hospital, cooks, officers' servants, mess men, etc. Those acquainted with the work these companies have to perform say that an addition of at least twenty-five, or even fifty, men is urgently needed.

Officers' Quarters from the Barracks Square.—This is the reverse view of the officers' quarters from that published in a previous issue. The barracks consist of two other wings occupied by the men and running at right angles to the officers' quarters. When originally built, a fourth wing completed the Barrack Square, but it was burned down a number of years ago, and as it was an unsightly ruin, it was removed some six years ago. In the centre of the Barracks Square stands the flag staff.

Hospital of "B" Company, Infantry School Corps.—The original Hospital of the Barracks was built outside of the Barrack Square, facing the river. It still stands but is not occupied. It was made to accommodate eighty patients. Such large hospital accommodation was not required for a force at most (with attached men) of one hundred and thirty. The Government, at the suggestion of Dr. Campbell, fitted up the building at present used as a hospital. Tot was originally the commissariat store building of the barracks. It contains ten beds, with room to increase to ten more. It is a model hospital in every way, and, in addition to two good sized wards, contains a surgery and the quarters of the hospital sergeant. Hospital Sergeant Cotton, which is in charge, may well feel proud of his neat and clean hospital. Surgeon Campbell says that he is a model hospital sergeant.

In conclusion, the Montreal volunteers take much pride in this military school; but while admitting its value where it is at present stationed, state that its value would be increase tenfold if it was where it ought to be—in the city of Montreal. They point to the visit which the School made to Montreal on the occasion of the review on the Queen's Birthday in 1889, and the enthusiasm which that visit created, as a proof of the assertion they make. The grounds which surround the officers' quarters have, under the horticultural guidance of Col. D'Orsonnens, have changed from a scene of desolation to that of beauty, the like of which, it is claimed, is not to be seen at any other military school in the Dominion. In future issues we hope to publish illustrations of the other military schools.

The Commandant's residence occupies the north-east portion of the officers' quarters. The ground in front us arranged in a tasteful manner, and is luxuriant with flowers.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 3 December 2014

South Africa; by companies or a battalion
Topic: The RCR

Regimental Idea Still In Doubt

Further Officers of Contingent Named
Methods of Enrolment
Orders for Permanent Corps Wishing to Volunteer—Must Be Transferred From Headquarters

The Daily Mail and Empire; Toronto, 19 October 1899
Special to The Mail and Empire

Ottawa, Ont., Oct. 18.—Dr. Borden returned from Toronto this morning. He informed your correspondent that the department will continue to organize the South African contingent on the basis of eight company units. The Minster would not say whether there was any possibility of changing to the regimental idea, but said the whole question would be left to the War Office. Military men here take this to mean that the Canadian companies will therefore be attached to different British battalions.

elipsis graphic

Methods of Enrolment

Militiamen volunteering for South Africa will join in their uniform, which they will demand from captain of their company, giving a receipt for same.

Non-commissioned officers and men serving in the R.C.R.I. and R.C.A. (garrison division) who wish to volunteer for special services in South Africa will send their names to the officer commanding their company, who will have them medically inspected. The names of men passed as fit will be at once communicated by the officers commanding companies to Lieut.-Col. Otter, Toronto, who will allot them to the companies of the special service force according to his judgment.

The foregoing will not apply to No. 1 company, as the officer commanding No. 8 Military District has been ordered to allot volunteers to the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick companies of the special service force.

Volunteers from the permanent force will not be attested nor permitted to join the companies wo which they are allotted until their transfer has been ordered from headquarters.

A militia order issued this morning gives the schedule of officers' field kit, as authorized in the British service. The approximate weight of articles worn or carried on the person of mounted officers is 27 ¾ pounds, and of articles carried on the horse 71 ½ pounds. The approximate weight of articles worn, or carried on the person of dismounted officers is 34 ½ pounds.

Another order issued to-night states that a grant of $125 will be given to officers of the force towards defraying expenses of outfit. An advance of pay to the amount of $60 will also be allowed. Cheques for these amounts will be forwarded.

To ensure the proper fitting of clothing, headgear, and boots, officers commanding the companies will send in at once to the chief staff officer size rolls for the volunteers already enrolled and will send in size rolls daily for those further enrolled. These size rolls will give height of men, the measurement of breast and waist, and circumference of head and size of boots, according to the following instructions:—

1.     The height is to be in stocking feet.

2.     The breast measurement is to be taken by a measuring tape, over the undershirt and shirt only, and close to the arms. The waist measurement is to be taken over the trousers and down fairly tight.

3.     The height, breast and waist measurements are to be carefully made, so as to be as accurate as possible, as the garments will be made considerably looser than the measurement.

4.     For taking the head measurement for a helmet, a hat which fits the man should be measured, and not the man's head. Field service caps will be issued in sizes half an inch larger than helmets.

5.     The size of the boots generally worn is to be given. Demands will be met from a supply that will be in store at Quebec. Should it be found necessary in some cases to provide insoles, one pair will be issued with the boots.

The Officers

The complete list of officers for the contingent will not be ready until tomorrow. There has been a good deal of telegraphing to-day, and as the desire is to grant the commissions fairly the Minister hesitates before giving to the public what may be only a tentative list. As foreshadowed last night, however, certain arrangements were made to-day, which are well received in this city. Thus, Major Rogers, of the 43rd Battalion, to-day received his appointment as captain of the Eastern Ontario company. His subalterns will be Capt. W.T. Lawless, of the G.G.F.G., and two other officers, from the western part of the district.

British Columbia is just as enthusiastic as Ontario over the expedition. The representatives of the Pacific province will leave Vancouver on the 24th and reach Quebec on the 29th or 30th. Two officers from British Columbia have been given commissions. They are Capt Blanchard, of the 5th Artillery, Victoria, and Capt. A.E. Hodgins, of the Nelson Rifles Company, an 1882 graduate of the Royal Military College.

elipsis graphic

The enrolment of volunteers in Ottawa commenced to-day, within a few hours after Major Rogers had received his appointment. Col. Cotton, commanding the Ottawa brigade, put in an appearance at the Drill-hall early in the afternoon, and was astonished at the number of men seeking enrolment. It is certain that Ottawa could supply half the contingent, and if the enthusiasm shown here is a criterion of the public feeling in Canada 20,000 men could be sent to South Africa as readily as 1,000. To-night the drill-hall was again a scene of great activity, scores waiting to interview the captain of the company.

elipsis graphic

The medical staff of the Canadian Regiment will consist of Surgeon-Major Wilson, of the 3rd Montreal Field Battery; Surgeon-Major Osborne, of the 4th Hamilton Field Battery; Surgeon-Lieut. E. Fiset, of the 89th Temiscouata and Rimouski Battalion.

It is understood that four officers will be appointed to the staff of the Canadian contingent. It is settled that Col. Sam Hughes, M.P., will either be offered one of these positions or else a captaincy.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A Soldier's Suicide; 1888
Topic: The RCR


An Infantry School Soldier Ends His Life With a Revolver

The Capital, Fredericton, NB, Saturday, 26 May 1888

Michael Kelly, a private in the Royal School of Infantry, fired a shot on Sunday evening last, that caused his death the following morning at 4 o'clock. Kelly was addicted to drink, but for two years, up to a fortnight before his death, he did not touch it. Getting off to St. John, however, he broke out, and on his return home, last week, went into hospital, from which he was discharged Friday week in good health. On Sunday he was detailed for guard, and was to have gone on at 2 o'clock. He, however, got a substitute and spent the afternoon around town. As far as can be learned Kelly did not drink any that day. The sergeant of the guard says he was perfectly straight when he left him at 2 o'clock and it is believed at the barracks that he has not taken liquor since returning from St. John, and that the cause of his attempt in his life was nervous prostration, the result of the St. John experience.

The shooting occurred about nine o'clock in the evening. Kelly, who acted strangely on the veranda of the barracks, was taken to his room by Privates Purchase and Patterson, who left him with his shirt and pants on, lying on his bed. They had been gone from the room only a moment when the report of a revolver was heard, and on returning they found the unfortunate man on the floor weltering in blood, which flowed freely from a gaping bullet hole in his left breast.

Kelly was at once removed to the hospital. Surgeon Brown, Dr. Currie and Dr. Frank Brown were quickly at his side, and dressed the wound. The doctors found the bullet had entered the breast just at the upper edge of the heart which was perceptibly grazed, cut through the left lung and breaking a rib in the back embedded itself there. The bullet was extracted.

The poor fellow was conscious for an hour and a half after the shooting (recognizing the doctors, the officers of the corps, his aunt and Rev. Father McDevitt, who came to administer spiritual comfort) but did not utter a word. He died at 4 o'clock on Monday morning.

The unfortunate man belonged to Fredericton. His father, Jeremiah Kelly, died 21 years ago, and his mother 14 years ago. Before entering the infantry school when it was first started, he was a printer and worked in the Farmer and Gazette offices. He is about 25 years of age. The weapon from which the bullet was fired was a 32 calibre Smith & Wesson revolver. Only one chamber was emptied.

On Monday afternoon Coroner Currie held an inquest on the body in the hospital. The witnesses examined were: Hospital Sergeant Cochrane, Corp. Patterson, Pte. Purchase, Dr. Frank M. Brown, and Surgeon T. Clowes Brown. The main pointed elicited, in addition to the foregoing, are that Kelly returned from the street to the barracks at seven on Sunday night; that an hour later he had told Patterson and purchase, who occupied the same room with him, that he wanted to go out again, being then in his stocking feet. He comrades remonstrated with him and asked him to put on his shoes. Kelly replied that he would never need shoes again. Patterson would not allow the deceased to go out alone and he then said he would go to bed, but the men thinking his actions and his words were rather strange. Determined to take him to the hospital. This they did but Sergt. Cochrane was out and they brought Kelly back to his room. They then retired to the veranda to talk over what was best to do, leaving Kelly lying on his back in his cot.

Patterson, apprehensive of something, stepped to the window commanding a view of Kelly, and in less than a minute saw Kelly turn on his left side and raise his right arm. The report of a revolver rang out, and Kelly's career as closed by his own hand. Patterson and Purchase ran in, sounded the alarm, and the wounded man was borne to the hospital. The revolver was found behind the bed. He had deliberately bared his breasts and aimed at his heart. In the hospital, while yet conscious, he admitted to Dr. Brown that he fired the shot himself and enquired both of the doctor and Adjt. Young if there was any hope of saving his life. When asked his motive for the deed he only sadly shook his head.

Surgeon Brown made an autopsy of the body, and found the fatal bullet embedded in the muscles of the back, having pierced the lung and broken a back rib. The bullet was battered almost out of shape.

The evidence of all the witnesses confirmed the impression that Kelly was perfectly sober when he committed the deed, and that he was laboring under temporary insanity. The verdict of the jury was in accordance with the evidence.

The remains were interred Tuesday morning at 7:30 o'clock, with full military honours. The whole of the troops in Barracks, with firing party and band, marched to St. Dunstan's Church, where the service for the dad was celebrated by the Rev. Father McDevitt. The remains were interred in the Roman Catholic Cemetery. Kelly was 25 years old.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 19 November 2014 12:20 AM EST
Saturday, 15 November 2014

“Royal Canadian Infantry” not a myth (1894)
Topic: The RCR

Royal Canadian Infantry

TThe Royal Canadian Regiment originated on 21 December 1883, when the 'Infantry School Corps' was authorized to be formed.
(For further details on the lineage of The RCR.)

The regiment originated on 10 August 1883, when the 'Regiment of Canadian Artillery' of the Permanent Active Militia was authorized to be formed. It was redesignated 'The Royal Canadian Artillery' on 24 May 1893.
(For further details on the lineage of the RRCA. Individual Artillery unit lineage documents may be found here.)

The Royal Canadian Dragoons originated in Quebec City, Quebec on 21 December 1883, when the 'Cavalry School Corps' was authorized to be formed. It was redesignated the 'Canadian Dragoons' on 14 May 1892.
(For further details on the lineage of the RCD.)

The Toronto Daily Mail, 8 December 1894

This letter was a response to this letter to the Editor.

To the Editor of The Mail:

Sir,—In a somewhat bitter letter that appeared in your columns recently, Lieut.-Col. O'Brien, 35th Battalion, makes a strong attack on the Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry with reference to the offer by our Government of that regiment in case of need. We will not stop here to reflect on the spirt of hostility to the permanent corps with which Col. O'Brien's letter abounds, though to any true soldier it is a most regrettable thing that men in high military and official positions should take such ground, but will deal with one or two statements which appear strongly in the foreground.

Col. O'Brien speaks of the "Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry," as a legal myth existing in the minds of the Dominion Government, and he further states that money is granted not for a royal regiment but for the maintenance of schools of instruction. Let us review the situation from the inception of these schools, and we will see that the Government is pursuing exactly the same policy as it did ten years ago. When these schools were established they were then, as now, in connection with a permanent body of men enlisted for continuous service under the Queen's Regulations, and even then were intended not only for instruction but as a nucleus for a force which should be better able to take the field at a moment's notice than the militia. These bodies of men were not, however, as Col. O'Brien would suggest, independent, unorganized companies. On the contrary, their title was that as the "Infantry School Corps," in which the permanent officers, whether at Fredericton or Toronto, held rank and precedence. A subaltern at St. John's or London was then a lieutenant in the Infantry School Corps, as he is to-day in the Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry, and the body of men who constituted the Royal School of Infantry at Toronto were then "C" Company, Infantry School Corps, as they now are No. 2 Company, R.R.C.I. In 1893 the name was changed to that of the Canadian Regiment of Infantry, the different companies, as before, constituting schools of instructions for the various districts, and shortly afterwards her Majesty was graciously pleased to allow them the title "Royal" and the imperial cypher, an act of no little significance. No doubt it is sad to think that no such regiment really exists, and that her Majesty had been deluded by a "legal fiction," but we will hope that she will not see Col. O'Brien's letter.

By the way, what about the Regiment of Royal Canadian Artillery and the Royal Canadian Dragoons? Do they not exist either? Col. O'Brien sneers at the idea of a comparatively few men presenting themselves as the Canadian contingent. I would call his attention to the fact that when, two years ago, a mere handful of officers and men from the permanent corps presented themselves in England they got a reception that could not be excelled; and if Canada did send men to the help of the Mother Country it would be as a regiment of not less than five hundred men. Yet the spirit that prompts, and not the number sent, is what counts. There are, indeed, in the militia, of which I have the honour to be a subaltern, many thousand men who would gladly respond to the call of the Mother Land for help, but obviously the ones first to go are those without responsibility as private citizens and who are also so perfect in drill, equipment, and clothing.

But, after all, Col. O'Brien might have spared himself the trouble, for second and more authentic reports are to the effect that the Canadian Government offered the R.R.C.I. to the Imperial Government to garrison Halifax citadel. This would have allowed the King's Liverpool Regiment, now quartered there, a start of at least six days over their comrades from England in their race to the Orient. Also, the R.R.C.I., could still have performed their duties of imparting military instruction while at Halifax.

One question more. The Government has made arrangements whereby officers may take a course of instruction at the citadel in Halifax with the King's Regiment. Does this arrangement invalidate the claim of the British troops there to be called a regiment?

Yours, etc. Infantry Officer Eastern Ontario, Dec 1

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 15 November 2014 12:08 AM EST
Friday, 7 November 2014

455084 Private William Mercer
Topic: The RCR

455084 Private William Mercer

455084 Private William Mercer

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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