The Minute Book
Monday, 27 March 2017

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

New Badge for the Army (1947)

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

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

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

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

Canadian Army Battle Honours

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

The Canadian Army Round-Up for 1960
Topic: Canadian Army

The Canadian Army Round-Up for 1960

The Shawinigan Standard, Shawinigan, Quebec, 21 December 1960

The year 1960 saw the Canadian Army complete a decade of the most active and extensive operations in their peacetime history in service under the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty organization and, at home, in the vital role of planning national survival should the holocaust of nuclear war ever become reality.

During the same year, the Army entered a new, sensitive area of the troubled world scene as part of a UN protective force to preserve peace in the month-old Congo Republic.

Canadian soldiers now serve from the Middle east to the far east, from the Arctic Circle to the Congo equatorial belt.

Since 1950, more than 67,000 troops have served abroad in fulfillment of Canada's international obligations. Nearly half of them saw service in the Korean conflict. Another 3,000 have kept Canada's 5,500-man NATO brigade group at operational strength in West Germany. Others are serving with the UN Emergency Force on the Gaza Strip and with the Truce Commission in Indochina. Canadian soldiers also serve as UN Observers in Palestine, India, Pakistan, and Korea.

Across Canada troops of both regular and militia forces have become deeply involved in a new and serious role—planning for national survival under nuclear war. Army commitments in this field include responsibility for early warning of nuclear attack to the Canadian public and re-entry operations in devastated areas.

No small part of national survival preparedness has been the intensified programme during 1960 to qualify all troops in first aid under the St. John Ambulance. Some 17,000 soldiers received their official certificates from the St. John Ambulance.

Meanwhile the regular business of the Army in training for modern warfare goes forward. Militia units rendered obsolete by changing tactics of battle have been converted or absorbed. Brigade groups of the Regular Army continue to hold large scale exercises testing new battle tactics at major camps across Canada and in Germany. Mobile column are planned for national survival duties involving both regular and militia units.

In London, Ont., the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, has maintained a state of combat readiness throughout 1960 as Canada's standby force to assist the United nations if called upon.

Announcement of adoption of the 762mm Honest John rocket system was made during the past year and troops have been training on the use of the new weapon at U.S. bases. Other new weapons and equipment are undergoing field trials, notably the canadian designed troop-carrying vehicle, the bobcat.

The Army also adopted a new, NATO pattern steel helmet in 1960 and continued exhaustive trials on newly designed combat clothing and boots.

A paramount factor in adoption of any new item for the Army still evolves around possible NATO standardization.

Historical milestones of 1960 brought about the centennial year of the Queen's own Rifles of Canada, the Army's oldest infantry regiment that is but five years younger than the Canadian Army itself. One of the youngest corps—the Canadian Provost Corps—observed its 20th anniversary.

In the far reaches of the north country, a team from the Ottawa-base Army Survey Establishment covered nearly 50,000 square miles mapping little known Banks Island, northern Victoria Island and the Western Arctic Archipelago. This was done during the short summer months inside the Arctic Circle.

At the same time Canadian Army Engineers continued to maintain the vital Northwest Highway System linking Alaska over a 1,221-mile stretch of roadway. An important link in this system was restored last summer when the new peace River bridge was opened.

While the Army assumes new duties in the tropics, one of the oldest jobs in the vast Canadian north has been passed on to the Department of Transportation (DOT). Operation of the far-flung Northwest Territories and Yukon Radio System, a responsibility of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals for 36 years, was turned over to DOT last summer.

In the realm of personal amenities, 1960 was a good year for the soldier. Troops were granted a pay increase, Maple Leaf Services (MLS), a non-profit corporation operated by and for the Army, added new shopping centres in camps Petawawa, Borden and Valcartier. MLS chalked up nearly $13 million gross in sales, by far their biggest year yet. Every penny of net profit from MLS is channeled back to the soldier in providing recreation, welfare and related services.

Although the Canadian soldier is well fed in major camps, research continues to improve his rations in the field and isolated localities. A new rapid freeze-drying method of dehydrated foodstuffs has been developed. It will provide dehydrated raw pre-cooked meats the same in taste and appearance as the original following reconstitution by cooks.

In international competition, a Canadian soldier from New Westminster, B.C., Sgt. Gunnar Westling, won the coveted Queen's prize at Bisley, England, last July. This is the Commonwealth's highest shooting award.

Early in 1960, the Canadian Army became the first in the world to complete its official history of the Second World War. The third and final volume of this history completed the official story of Canadian soldiers at way from 1939 to 1945.

Canadian troops at home and abroad are encouraged to be good citizens as well as good soldiers. In Germany and other countries they are active in community affairs and helping the under-privileged. Soldiers serve on volunteer fire departments, scouting movements and charitable organizations. They are on call in times of disaster, search and rescue and the maintenance of order. During the past year troops were on hand to fight the rampaging floods of Quebec, the forest fires of the Maritimes and to blast away with artillery guns the threatening snow avalanches in the Canadian Rockies. Working with Department of Transport last summer, Army radar groups tracked rain-making aircraft as they seeded cloud formations.

Few nations in the world with a small peacetime regular Army are today maintaining such widespread global commitments for the preservation of peace as Canada. To provide for a reasonable rotation of troops serving on the more arduous and hazardous overseas posts, many soldiers have done two of more tours abroad during the past decade.

Because few complain may be one reason why senior officials have placed Canadian Troops 'among the most adaptable and resilient in the world.'

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Panic Said More Harm Than Gas (1938)
Topic: Canadian Army

Panic Said More Harm Than Gas (1938)

R.C.R. Lieutenant Disputes the Theory That Poison Gas Can Wipe Out Whole Communities

The Stouffville Sun-Tribune, Stouffville, Ontario, 26 May 1938

Mammoth air raids, with gas attacks which would wipe out entire communities as large as Hamilton, were visualized by the uninformed, in the event another war occurred, but there was no likelihood of such atrocities, Lieut. J.H.W.T. Pope, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, Toronto, declared last week when he gave an address and demonstration on chemical warfare before members of Hamilton Academy of Medicine.

To stage a chemical attack upon the Queen City, a concentration of gas would be necessary and 25,000 200-pound air bombs would have to be dropped to accomplish this. This effort would require 6,300 planes, and for any power to provide the necessary equipment would be impossible, the speaker said. Panic and fear resulting from the use of gas were the greatest casualty producers and not the poisonous fumes.

"It is an unpleasant way to talk, but the important effect of gas in war is that it is a casualty producer, which is considered more important than a mortality producer. If a man is dead, you do not have to worry about him, but if he lives and is unable to work he must be maintained. Thousands of such casualties create a great problem," said the speaker.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 26 January 2017

U.S., Canadian Army Deserters (Rome, 1944)
Topic: Canadian Army

U.S., Canadian Army Deserters held for Gang Robbery in Rome

The Montreal Gazette, 10 November 1944

Rome, November 9.—(AP)—Two gangs, composed in part of deserters from the United States and Canadian armies and the French Foreign Legion, have been rounded up by military police after terrorizing Rome and Naples for several weeks, it was announced today.

Allied Headquarters said in an official announcement that the gans were charged with kidnapping military policemen, stealing their motorcycles and committing :many other hold-ups and robberies."

One of the gangs, led by a 23-year-old American soldier from Pennsylvania, was made up entirely of soldiers—six Americans and two Canadians—all absent without leave.

The second, led by a Yugoslav and a Corsican, both deserters from the French Foreign Legion, included five other deserters from the Legion, one American deserter and five Italian and Spanish civilians.

The American and Canadian soldiers face court-martial.

The all-soldier gang is accused of a number of hold-ups and other acts of violence, including the theft of the automobile of Lt.-Gen. Wladyslaw Anders, commander of the Polish Army Corps, and the kidnapping of several military policemen between Rome and Naples.

The break-up of this gang came after a jeep was wrecked in Rome and one of the Canadian members was injured. Military police charged that he carried a revolver taken from an American M.P. on the Rome-Naples road.

A guard was placed on the jeep and that night another Canadian, dressed as a United States officer, and an American dressed as a staff sergeant came to get it. Arrested, they tried to shoot their way out, but were overpowered. The prisoners were found to be ill and they were confined in a Rome hospital.

Then fellow gangsters appeared at the hospital attired as military policemen in an effort to "spring" the prisoners, but police scared them off.

From the three men in custody the police learned about the haunts of the gang and captured four more of the deserters at a Rome cafe.

The larger gang which used U.S. Army weapons as part of its equipment was taken into custody on information from a Spanish civilian.

Lt.-Col. Geoffrey White, deputy provost marshal in Rome, said the fact that many men A.W.L. were stranded in Rome without funds was responsible for the crimes. He said that even though these two gangs were broken up, it was probable that similar gangs in Rome and other cities remained.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 14 January 2017

Canadian Soldiers Wear Many Coloured Caps (1943)
Topic: Canadian Army

Canadian Soldiers Wear Many Coloured Caps (1943)

The Shawinigan Standard, 11 August 1943

Available from Service Publications:

"The Canadian Field Service Cap", by James J. Boulton and Clive M. Law

The dress cap for the Canadian soldier "walking-out", is a dazzling attractive affair, depending on what branch of the service he is in.

To walk along any of the streets in Canadian towns and cities these days and attempt to determine what units are represented by the many-coloured caps worn by Canadian soldiers, has become a real pastime.

While it would be almost humanly impossible to remember the details of colour combinations of all of Canada's old line regiments, all such hats have a very definite design authorized by the Major-General of the Ordnance, for dress-up occasions.

Furthermore, all such caps representing a specific regiment are worn with the badge of that unit on the left side of the wedge-shaped chapeau, and regulations have it that the lower edge of the cap is to be worn above the right ear.

Much easier to remember and identify are the caps of the various Army Corps, each of whom specialize in some certain activity. The Corps of Military Staff Clerks, for instance, differs from the Canadian Forestry Corps in that the Staff Clerks' cap is all blue, with white piping along the top, front and rear seams, while the Forestry men wear an all green cap with gold piping along the top of the cap flap which encircles the cap.

The Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers have a cap of complete royal blue, with yellow worsted braid along seams of the crown, front and rear.

The Canadian Dental Corps is more complicated in colour combination. The body and crown is of emerald green, while the peak and flap is of blue, with gold braid on seams of crown and flap, and front and back seams.

The Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps is all of a deep blue shade with scarlet piping along edge of crown, and front and back seams. Scarlet worsted braid is along top of flap.

The Royal Canadian Army Service Corps cap is completely of blue with another shade of blue piping along top of the flap.

The Royal Canadian Corps of Signals cap is of midnight blue, with yellow braid on top of cap and on the flap, but not on front or rear seams.

The Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps has the body and crown of dull cherry, while the peak and flap are of blue. No piping, at all.

The Royal Canadian Army Pay Corps has a blue body with a primrose yellow crown. The peak and encircling flap is of blue. Primrose yellow worsted braid runs along top edge of flap.

The Canadian Provost Corps cap has a red body, crown and peak, with a dark navy blue flap. White worsted trim piping is on crown, flap and peak.

The Royal Canadian Artillery dress cap has body and crown of scarlet with blue flap and peak. Yellow piping on all seams and flap.

The Veterans Guard of Canada cap, composed of the colours of the four divisions who went overseas in the last war, has a red peak, green body, gray crown and dark blue flap.

The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps cap is a plain black beret.

Canadian Parachute "Airborne" troops wear a wine-coloured beret.

One may indeed term these boys: the "flowers of Canada's manhood!"

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 18 December 2016

Worthington Favors United Army (1942)
Topic: Canadian Army

Worthington Favors United Army, Abolishment of Corps, Regiments

The Montreal Gazette, 8 July 1942

An Eastern Canada Army Camp. July 7.—(CP)—Maj.-Gen. F.F. Worthington, commander of the 4th Armored Division, expresses the opinion that the Canadian Army should be one and indivisible.

A crusader for divisional esprit de corps among the troops under his command, this pioneer Canadian expert in tank warfare would like to see the present system of dividing the army organization up into corps and regiments abolished.

In an exclusive interview with The Canadian Press at his eastern Canada training camp Gen. Worthington said when a man enlists he should join the Royal Canadian Army, just as when an airman enlists he joins the Royal Canadian Air Force and a sailor in the Royal Canadian Navy.

"If you do that you will wipe out a mass of administration," he said. "I would like to see this army brought up to date."

In the 4th Division now practically all officers and men wear the black beret and badges of the armored corps. Regimental caps and badges are passing out of fashion although the general has not yet insisted on complete uniformity. That is the way he wants it. He wants his men to feel they are a member of the division and not of the Mudshire Fusiliers.

"Unit esprit de corps is all very well," said Gen. Worthington, "but it must go higher. We don't want petty jealousies between units. We don't want one unit taking pride in doing better than another. We want each unit to be ready to help the other if necessary."

He went on to say that he would carry the idea even higher than the division, to the army as a whole.

"I think we should scrap the whole army system as we have it both in Britain and Canada and have a Royal Army and a Royal Canadian Army."

When a man joined the air force he was proud to belong to the air force and didn't care what squadron he served with or what capacity. A sailor was proud of the navy but didn't worry what ship he served on. The same could be made true of the army. All a man wanted to know was that the organization he joined was doing a job and that he would be given the work for which he was best fitted.

The general has ways of overcoming men's preferences for certain units when they come to his division. If a man wants to serve in the Mudshire Fusiliers, his choice of a name for sample regiment and with no ther he is not scolded but given a sight-seeing tour.

"Men are simple to handle if you've got the patience," he added with a twinkle in his eye as he proceeded to outline the course given such recruits.

The Mudshire Fusiliers or Northing man is given a guide who takes him all around the division, lets him look inside tanks, handle the guns, send messages to his friends over the signaling apparatus. Soon the fellow sees some job he would like to do. He gets a chance to try out for the job, he likes it and he forgets about the Mudshire Fusiliers.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 18 December 2016 12:04 AM EST
Thursday, 17 November 2016

Camp Petawawa (1947)
Topic: Canadian Army

"Permanent force units now stationed [at Petawawa] are the Royal Canadian Dragoons, an armoured unit; the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment; "W" Battery, of the 81st Field Regiment, RCA, and "X" Battery of the 79th Field Regiment, RCA; No. 3 Engineer Stores Depot, No. 1 Air Observation Flight, RCA, and others known as the "services." Among these are the RCEME, Ordnance, dental, Medical and Army Service Corps." (Ottawa Citizen, 11 August 1953)

Camp Petawawa (1947)

Ottawa Citizen, 17 November 1947
By V.A. Bower, Citizen Parliamentary Writer

Petawawa military camp, 10 miles north of Pembroke, which during the war was one of Canada's greatest military camps, accommodating some 20,000 troops, is to have a new lease on life.

The camp, which since the end of hostilities has been used for reserve army troops with a few permanent force troops for maintenance, about the end of March will see the first influx of permanent force units who will in future make Petawawa their permanent home.

Infantry Formations

The camp, according to army authorities, will be occupied by infantry formations with their necessary ancillary and servicing troops and units. But before the winter is out the ranges formerly echoing to the thunder of 25-pounders of the Royal Canadian Artillery may echo once again, this time with the clanking of armoured corps units.

Plans are completed for the moving in of infantry units and consideration is being given to moving in armoured corps units, though decision in this latter move is not yet reached.

In all the strength of the camp will not come near the 20,000 figure of war time.

The Canadian Permanent Force, even if recruited to full strength, would number 25,000 troops. However, there will be several thousand new troops moving into the area. Total strength may go as high as 5,000.

Marriage Problem

One of the problems at present facing the authorities is the fact that many of the permanent force troops are married and in many instances have converted huts near their present stations into living quarters. This means new living quarters—married quarters as the army calls them—will have to be provided at Petawawa. There are ample buildings at the sprawling camp for the unmarried troops quarters, messes, canteens, garages, hospitals, and other use. But married quarters are scarce.

The army's idea is not to convert temporary barracks to married quarters since this would only be a temporary solution. Thus new married quarters will probably be erected on the station.

The military reservation of Petawawa embraces in all over 100 square miles which gives ample scope for both infantry and armoured corps training. The old artillery ranges which were abandoned when the RCA moved west are ideal for tank maneuvres, and will fill a need which the armoured corps has found lacking in Borden.

Camps Linked

Camp Borden and Petawawa are linked together in the scheme to give permanent units of the permanent force home stations in Ontario.

Royal Canadian Signal Corps, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, RCEME, RCAMC, and other troops sufficient to service the camp will also move to Petawawa.

The move will give new life to the town of Pembroke, long familiar with the marching feet of Canadian soldiers. The close down of the big camp came as a serious blow to Pembroke merchants and the news of the reopening on an expended scale is being received with satisfaction.

The removal of the RCA was not due to the presence of the Atomic plant at Chalk River, but rather due to the fact that modern artillery guns have a firing range too great for available ranges, army authorities said.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2016 7:04 AM EST
Friday, 14 October 2016

Airborne Brigade Group (1948)
Topic: Canadian Army

Airborne Brigade Group (1948)

… the only immediate danger on the defence horizon—the possibility of a diversionary attack.

Ottawa Citizen, 15 July 1948
By Douglas How, Canadian Press Staff Writer

The Airborne Brigade Group, slated to be the ever-ready 7,000 strong fighting segment of the permanent Canadian army, will start training as a unit next year, the chief of defence staff disclosed today.

It would then be ready, Lt.-Gen. Charles Foulkes said in an interview, to meet what Defence Minister Claxton recently pictured as the only immediate danger on the defence horizon—the possibility of a diversionary attack.

Gen. Foulkes said the group, to be a self-contained, all-arms body, now is in component unit concentrations, training at company and squadron levels in various camps across the country.

Set Up In Fall

Its infantry, armored, artillery and other regiments would step up their training to battalion or regimental levels this fall as a final prelude to schooling of the brigade as a brigade next year. A commander would probably be named then.

Its two-fold purpose was to act as a training ground for instructors, soldiers and commanders and to be ready to meet any emergency. Gen Foulkes said one of its three infantry battalions—The Royal Canadian Regiment, now at Petawawa; the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, now at Calgary, of the Royal 22e Regiment, at Valcartier—would start airportable training at Rivers [Manitoba] this autumn. The unit has not yet been picked.

More to Follow

It would be followed by the various other outfits until they were ready to take to the air to meet any emergency. As a further step, platoons from some of the units would do northern training this winter.

The group was estimated at better than 70 per cent of its target strength and would be recruited up to the total, possibly by next April. Its strength will be more than 25 per cent of the full army.

Its regiments are now scattered this way:

Mr. Claxton, when he recently announced that present recruiting targets would be ignored, visualized the possibility of an additional combat force if it "is considered necessary" to deal with the danger of any diversionary attack.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 17 September 2016

Canada Infantry Workshop Vital to Korea Service
Topic: Canadian Army

Canada Infantry Workshop Vital to Korea Service

A typical month here saw 191 complete major repairs on 150 wheeled vehicles, seven tracked vehicles, 31 generators, 149 instruments, 126 small arms, three 25-pounder field guns, 92 stoves and 110 miscellaneous other items.

The Montreal Gazette, 6 May 1953
By Bill Boss

With the Canadians in Korea, May 5.—CP—"The boys who keep the show on the road," the men of the 191st Canadian Infantry Workshop, have been relieved by the 23rd Canadian Infantry Workshop and are en route back to Petawawa, Ont., their old home.

All members belong to the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. The technicians who service the army' tanks, trucks, jeeps, guns and other weapons, the stoves, compasses, binoculars and almost everything else.

As a unit, 191 has been here longer than most others in the brigade—two years. Others have been rotated after a year here. However, that's not as bad as it sounds. Rotation has been going on steadily on a man-for-man basis.

The workshop has had four commanding officers in Korea—Majors Ed Hallam of Ottawa, who brought it over, R.C. Lane of Kingston, J.M. McLaughlin of Ottawa and Amherst, N.S., and Don Campbell of Springhill, N.S.

Campbell is not returning to Ottawa with his unit. He is now at headquarters, 1st Commonwealth Division, as second-in-command of all electrical and mechanical engineers in the division.

Captain A.L. Macdonnell of Vancouver is commanding en route to Petawawa, where Maj. H.H.E. Erb of Ottawa takes over.

Much Work Done

The workshop's 187 technicians turned out a terrific volume of work.

They handled any job not requiring more than 30 hours' work to complete. They changed engines, installed transmissions and the like for anything from a jeep to a tank. Jobs requiring more work went back to United States army base workshops.

They also had to estimate the cost of repairs needed on major items, returned jeep jobs, for instance, costing less than $1000 entitled Canada to free new equipment replacements. Jobs costing more meant Canada had to buy the replacing equipment at full value.

A typical month here saw 191 complete major repairs on 150 wheeled vehicles, seven tracked vehicles, 31 generators, 149 instruments, 126 small arms, three 25-pounder field guns, 92 stoves and 110 miscellaneous other items.

The workshop is on paddy and barley fields bulldozed and pounded by traffic into standings for shops and tents. But the bulldozing destroyed the drainage system worked out by hundreds of years of terrace farming, and during rains the area is a quagmire.

Barbed-wire fences controlled by three penitentiary-like watchtowers surround the shop. Two soldiers man each searchlight-equipped tower nightly to discourage thieves.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 15 August 2016

The Battle of Kiska
Topic: Canadian Army

The Battle of Kiska

In an Aleutians Islands operation in 1943, U.S. and Canadian troops found themselves pitted against three Japanese dogs.

Ottawa Citizen, 3 January 1956
By Warren Baldwin, Southam News Services

On August 15, 1953, an assault force of 29,000 Americans and 5,300 Canadians was dispatched to attack a force of three Japanese dogs.

The story of the Aleutian Island of Kiska, gleaned for the first time from both Japanese and Canadian military records, is included in the first volume of the official history of the Canadian army in the Second World War. The author, C.P. Stacey, Director of the Historical Section, General Staff, labels it "Fiasco at Kiska."

The story confirms finally the fact that the last Japanese had been evacuated from Kiska under cover of fog 18 days before the Canadian-American operation was scheduled to start. The decision to evacuate was not taken because of any knowledge of the assault but because the Japanese believed the forces occupying the island could be employed more usefully in the Kuriles, nearer home. It also strengthens Colonel Stacey's conclusion that at no time during the war did the Japanese have any plans for a full scale assault on Canada's west coast.

Political Motive

The Aleutian campaign to get the Japanese off Attu and Kiska, Colonel Stacey says, was more political than military. On the map, he points out, the Aleutians seem to form a natural bridge from Asia to North America, but appearances are deceptive. From the most westerly island, Attu, to Dutch Harbour is 800 miles and from Dutch harbour to Vancouver 1,650 miles. It might have been better, he suggests, to "leave the Japanese to freeze in their own juice on Kiska and Attu, where they were at most a nuisance to American operations in the Pacific."

But the people of Alaska and British Columbia were alarmed and critical and both Ottawa and Washington were concerned. Stacey reports elsewhere that by February, 1942, "public opinion of Canada's pacific Coast was in a state approaching panic." The Vancouver Sun was prosecuted under Defence of Canada Regulations in March for suggesting that Ottawa was treating British Columbia as expendable.

Attu was occupied in May, 1943, by the American 7th Division after "a nasty little campaign in which the Japanese fought to be killed and the Americans obliged them."

Canadian participation in the Kiska expedition of one brigade group was requested formally in a letter from Secretary of War Stimson to Defence Minister Ralston on May 31, 1943. The 13th infantry brigade formed for the purpose under the command of Brigadier H.W. Foster consisted of the Canadian Fusiliers, the Winnipeg Grenadiers (reformed after Hong Kong), the Rocky Mountain Rangers and Le Regiment de Hull. In addition, the first battalion of the U.S.-Canadian Special Service Force was brought up from a United States training base to join the expedition.

There was plenty of evidence Colonel Stacey points out, to indicate that the Japanese had evacuated previously. RCAF planes on August 11 reported no sign of life. But trickery was suspected. Major-General G.R. Pearkes, the Commander-in-Chief of Pacific Command, who had set up advance headquarters at Adak, wrote afterwards that it was thought the enemy had evacuated main camps and moved to battle positions on the beaches and hills.

Island Empty

It took four days for the troops to realize they had landed on an empty island. Japanese records state that nothing had been left on the island but three dogs.

One reason behind Ottawa's decision to participate was the opportunity to use draftees under the National Resources Mobilization Act on active service in order to break down the hostile attitude of the public towards "zombies." The Kiska affair, Stacey comments, had no such result, which was "particularly regrettable as the NMRA men had behaved admirably."

There had been some suggestion of a reconnaissance of the island by boat to check on air force reports, but this was not done.

"In the light of hindsight," he says, "this decision seems unfortunate. It was a pity to give the enemy the satisfaction of laughing at us."

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

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

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

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

"Tommy Atkins's" Career

Part I - (Vide illustrations)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(To be continued.)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 8 February 2016

Canadian Regiment Knows no "Attention"
Topic: Canadian Army

Canadian Regiment Knows no "Attention"

The Sunday Morning Star, Wilmington, Delaware, 25 August 1940
By United Press

Vancouver, B.C., Aug. 24—Moving of the British Columbia Regiment, Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles, from historic Beatty street armories to new wartime quarters outside Vancouver has focused attention on some of the unusual customs of the unit.

Officers of the regiment wear no lapel [badges]. They carry green and black whistle cords asd a reminder of the uniforms of England's old Rifle Brigade. The regiment has no flags, battle honors being recorded on cap badges.

The commands "slope arms" and "fix bayonets" are unknown to men of the British Columbia regiment. They carry swords, and on command affix them to their long rifles. Nor will the men come to "attention." To get this stance, a B.C. regiment officer must command his men: "Stand to your front! Rifles!"

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 24 January 2016 7:54 PM EST
Monday, 18 January 2016

Canadians Cited for Bravery
Topic: Canadian Army

When we talk about courage and soldiers, all too often our minds and conversations focus on battlefield actions, combat arms soldiers, and significant awards such as the Victoria Cross. Once that habit becomes entrenched, we begin, collectively, to forget about the many other awards of bravery, both on and off the battlefield that have been awarded to soldiers. The article which follows is about three of those brave soldiers who also deserve to be remembered for their actions in time of crisis. - TRR

Canadians Cited for Bravery

Ottawa Citizen, 26 June 1942

London, June 25—(C.P. Cable)—Three Canadian soldiers were cited tonight in Canadian army routine orders for distinguished conduct during a serious fire in the ordnance workshop of a Canadian infantry division.

The soldiers, Privates Thomas Francis Mitchell, of London, Ont., and John Ernest Kilcourse, of Tillsonburg, Ont., and Staff Sgt. John Wallace James of Verdun, Que., saved valuable machinery, including an army lorry valued at $17,000, from destruction by fire. The blaze occurred Feb. 21.

The citation said James entered the burning building and removed valuable equipment until almost overcome by fumes when he had to be lifted through a window. Mitchell and Kilcourse entered the building and drove a truck through a wall after local firemen had abandoned attempts to recover it.

elipsis graphic

The Award Citation

The text of the citation for James, Mitchell, and Kilcourse is shown below:

elipsis graphic

A Subsequent Award

Private Thomas Francis Mitchell was subsequently awarded the British Empire Medal for his actions on the night of 21 February 21942.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 10 January 2016

Hard-Hitting Army Now Nations' Need
Topic: Canadian Army

Hard-Hitting Army Now Nations' Need

Major-General A.G.L. McNaughton Traces Evolution of Weapons of War
Speed, Range Factors
Old Linear Battle is Thing of Past, Chief of General Staff Declares

The Montreal Gazette, 1 February 1934

Modern weapons of war, as applicable in particular to the protection and support of infantry on the offensive, were discussed last night by Major-General A.G.L. McNaughton, C.M.G., D.S.O., Chief of the General Staff, before a large and distinguished group of officers in the Mess of the Canadian Grenadier Guards. His address, which was profusely illustrated, traced the development and evolution of bellicose equipment from the crude club and wooden shield, through the phase of Assyrian, Egyptian and other Asiatic chariots, spears and javelins of the pre-Christian era, to the bow and arrow, crossbow, catapult, mangon, Saracenic trebuchets, the beffrot and the battering ram in use before the advent of cannon in the middle of the fourteenth century.

Continuing, General McNaughton showed a picture of "Mons Meg," a cannon now at Edinburgh Castle that was constructed about the middle of the 15th century, with a bore of 20 inches and capable of projecting a stone of 350 pounds. In 1453, at the siege of Constantinople, Mahomet II is reported to have had weapons with a bore of 48 inches and capable of throwing projectiles of some 2,200 pounds.

For six hundred years preceding the Great War, the history of combative machines is that of guns and hand firearms, the Chief of Staff explained. Since the close of hostilities, he revealed that the range has been increased at least two fold in all natures; new propellants have been introduced that are more uniform and simpler to manufacture; shell design has been improved to increase the ballistic coefficient and to decrease the effect of wind and weather conditions on accuracy; the weight of explosive in shells and its available energy per pound on detonation have been improved substantially; while highly perfected gas and smoke shells have been made available. Furthermore, the effect of very high velocity light bullets on armour fives some suggestion that a special cartridge for the modern rifle might be developed for use against tank armour at short ranges.

Harder Hitting Armies

"I am more convinced than ever that we must move forward in our war organization to smaller, faster, harder-hitting armies of great range or action and long endurance, commanded and staffed by officers who can think in terms of combination of units and concentration of forces in areas measured in hundreds of square miles. The new mobility has certainly established the fact that the old linear battle is a thing of the past," General McNaughton continued, "Today a marching column is just as likely to be struck in rear or on its inner flank as it is to be attacked in front."

"With the intense development in weapons and warlike stores, proceeding with unrestricted attention in all the principal countries of the world, we must seriously consider the question as to whether we can properly rest our national security on the type of organization suitable to conditions of twenty years ago. That question cannot be answered until a definite and general trend of opinion finds expression. Our militia has not only the duty of bearing arms in defence of Canada, but as a citizen force it largely rests with its members to form opinion in these matters," the Chief of the General Staff declared.

Of special interest to the infantry, General McNaughton mentioned the new rifle, which has better shooting qualities, a more efficient "spike" bayonet, which will penetrate winter clothing and web equipment, a simple and sure method of of attaching the bayonet and grenade discharger, and general simplification of manufacture. Attention was also directed to the latest anti-aircraft funs, which can project 15-pound shells to an altitude of 30,300 feet, and with the aid of a predictor have a high degree of accuracy. Reference was made to the "Paris Guns," eight of which were built. Only 367 rounds were actually fired into the French capital. Pictures of the latest 18-pounder field guns, tanks, tractors, armored cars and Carden Loyd carriers were also shown.

"On history, we are not long concerned with nations unable or unwilling to keep pace with armament development," General McNaughton concluded. "However notable their civilization, however brave their warriors, and however adept their statesmen in the art of treaty-drafting, they soon pass from the stage before the onward march of those well able to forge and wield the newer weapons."

Lieut.-Col. F.R. Phalen, D.S.O., M.C., V.D., commanding the Canadian Grenadier Guards, introduced the Chief of the General Staff and expressed appreciation of all present for the honour conferred upon them by General McNaughton in consenting to deliver the address. Others present included: Brigadier W.W.P. Gibsone, district officer commanding at Montreal; Brigadier F.S. Meighen, honorary colonel of the "Guards"; Col. W.L. Gear, Col. W.S.M. MacTier, Col. J.D. Macperson, Col. R.P. Wright, and Lieut.-Colonels E.L. Caldwell, B.W. Browne, R.M. Gorssline, G.S. Stairs, A. Fleming, A.T. Howard, G.V. Whitehead, H.L. Trotter, S.A. Rolland, A.H. Cowie, F.J.B. Stephenson, A. Hay, K.M. Perry, H. Wyatt Johnston and P. Abbey.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Military Estimates 1921
Topic: Canadian Army

The Military Estimates 1921

Debates of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada, Vol. CXLVIII, 1921

Dramatis personæ

Charles Gavan Power, MC, PC
Liberal, Quebec South

Major General William Antrobus Griesbach, CB, CMG, DSO
Unionist, Edmonton West

John Wesley Edwards, PC
Minister, Department of Health and Minister of Immigration and Colonization
Unionist, Frontenac

Fred Langton Davis
Unionist, Neepawa

Permanent Force, $6,255,000

Mr. Power: Before this item carries I should like to have obtained considerable information from the minister, but the time before six o'clock is too short. To bring the matter to a head, I move for the reduction of this Estimate by the sum of $2,000,000. In support of this reduction I argue as follows: We are asking for this large amount of $6,255,000 to maintain a Permanent Force, that is, a force of men who could all the year round be in uniform and be trained for warlike purposes. The force amounts in all to 3,800 men. The amount required to pay them at $1.75 per day—in contraindication to the $1.10 which the private soldier was paid during the war—would be $2,249,000.

Mr. Griesbach: What about the officers?

Mr. Power: I am coming to those in a moment. To board those soldiers would require something like $1,000,000, so that we would have to set apart about $3,500,000 for their pay and board. Now I come to the officers. We would have over $2,000,000 left to pay the officers. We have already paid nineteen generals and twenty-five or thirty colonels $265,000, and we are told that their duty consists in looking after this force. I fail to see why we should be called upon to pay an extra $2,000,000 to them. But, lest I be accused of preaching as a demagogue, I will give a further reason. Our Permanent Force of 3,800 men represents, roughly, one man for every mile of boundary line which divides us from our neighbours to the south. The Minister of Militia the other evening stated that he had cut down his Estimates to the lowest possible figure consistent with safety. When I asked him what danger he anticipated, he was unable to tell me. I am forced to conclude that the only danger he sees is the danger of aggression from our neighbour to the south. If he thinks 3,800 men are sufficient to defend us from that quarter, and soldier in the House will tell him that one man per mile is not sufficient. If this force is for training purposes—and I presume this is its principal purpose—I submit that we do not need to train soldiers at the present moment, for we have 400,000 of the best soldiers in the world that only two years ago returned from fighting in the greatest of all wars. They have learned how to fight on the bitterest of all fields, and they have become efficient enough to earn encomiums from the nations of the world. I do not say that as time goes on and these men disappear we will not have to replace them, and that we will not have to go in for further military training, but I submit that at the present moment, when we have no enemy either near or far to face, when, even if we had, we have a stronger and better disciplined and more efficient fighting organization in our returned men than we have ever in our history, when this organization can be called together in a matter of a few weeks to face any foe,—there is no necessity to incur this heavy military expenditure.

Mr. Edwards: Why does my honorable friend limit his cut to two million? Why does he not move that the whole item be eliminated?

Mr. Power: I limited the reduction to two millions because it was supposed to be necessary to have the skeleton on an army in case of any sudden uprising.

Mr. Edwards: My honorable friend is arguing that there is no such necessity.

Mr. Power: I argue that for the present there is no great necessity; is my honorable friend will back me up, of course, I will move to cut out the whole thing. If I cannot get his consent to that I would ask him to go with me a littler way in that direction.

Mr. Edwards: I feel very highly flattered to think that my honorable friend's judgment on military matters should be so influenced.

Mr. Power: My judgment in all matters in connection with parliamentary affairs is influenced a great deal by the way my honorable friend expresses himself and the way he votes. Ever since I came into this House I have followed his speeches and his views with considerable attention and have governed myself accordingly. For a number of years I have been endeavouring to obtain better treatment for the widowed mothers of soldiers. I am told that approximately $2,000,000 a year would well look after this class of our people who suffered through the war. I prefer that this $2,000,000 should be spent in this way rather than to train people to begin another war. My view is that before we embark on any further warlike or belligerent undertakings we should pay our debts to those who suffered as a result of the last war. Let is see that the widows and orphans of those who laid down their lives obtain something which shall prevent from having to scrape in order to earn a living. If honorable gentlemen opposite di not wish to spend this money, through pensions and re-establishment, for the benefit of widows and orphans, it could be devoted to the relief of the distress caused by unemployment and to look after the returned soldiers who so gallantly fought in the great war. If we did this we would alleviate in some degree the unrest and the bitter feeling which prevails among the returned men who since coming back to Canada have felt that promises were made to them during the war were made only to be broken. I move, Mr. Chairman, that this item be reduced by $2,000,000.

Mr. Guthrie: This item is reduced by a quarter of a million from the amount voted last year. It provides now for 4,000 rank and file and 412 officers, at an average of $1,350 each. My honorable friend's calculation is very wide of the mark. He has taken the basis of the pay of a private soldier only as a first-year man. He has allowed nothing for non-commissioned officers, nothing for the 950 horses we have to maintain, nothing for thirty or forty other items which he has not mentioned. We have already cut this item to the bone. In fact, unless there are some desertions during the summer, we may be just a little short. But in the hot weather there are always a certain number of desertions, and allowing for these the item will suffice, I trust, for the present fiscal year.

Mr. Davis: Where and in what numbers are the men of the Permanent Force stationed?

Mr. Guthrie: The following is a list of the military districts with the number of men at each:

  • No. 1, London, 261;
  • No. 2, Toronto, 580;
  • No. 3, Kingston, 435;
  • No. 4, Montreal, 321;
  • No. 5, Quebec 463;
  • No. 6, Halifax, 664;
  • No. 7, St. John, 82;
  • No. 10, Winnipeg, 512;
  • No. 11, Victoria, 409;
  • No. 12, Regina, 63;
  • No. 13, Calgary, 210.

Amendment (Mr. Power) negatived; yeas, 37, nays, 60.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 8 October 2015

Annual Training of the Permanent Force (1912)
Topic: Canadian Army

Annual Training of the Permanent Force (1912)

From the archived correspondence of the Governor General at Library and Archives Canada

The annual training of the Permanent Force took place at Petawawa camp from August the 17th to September the 14th. In all, a force of 1,250 was assembled under the command of Major-General Colin Mackenzie, Chief of the General Staff. The units present were:—

Regimental training was carried out for the first two weeks under Commanding Officers, the remainder of the period being devoted to combined training including field firing and night operations. At the conclusion of the training, September 10th, 11th & 12th, continuous manoeuvres took place in the country-side lying southeast of the Military Reserve, in the vicinity of Pembroke.

On the first day of these operations which were directed against a flagged enemy, all arms worked in combination, and after a stiff fight in the neighbourhood of Stafford the Infantry bivouacked near the ground they had won, whilst the Cavalry pressed on in pursuit of the beaten enemy, chased him across the Indian River and finally went into bivouac at Locksley Station, eighteen miles South of Petawawa, whilst the Horse Artillery which had supported the pursuit, rejoined the Infantry at Stafford. A severe electric storm and torrential rain, which lasted all night, rendered the bivouac an uncomfortable one for the troops.

On the second day, and in continuation of the same scheme of operations, the Cavalry carried out an extended reconnaissance from Locksley to the line of the Bonnechere River, during then course of which some of the patrols covered nearly fifty miles.

Information concerning the enemy, such as would have been obtainable from a friendly population in actual warfare, had been previously mailed by the directing staff to post-offices throughout the Area, and patrols were instructed to collect this information and transit it to the Commanders of their supporting squadrons by the quickest available method, viz. Either by telephone, visual signalling or despatch riders. On receipt of the various messages, Squadron Commanders were requited to make dispositions to meet the various situations as stated in the messages and had to communicate their intentions or orders to other bodies of troops acting on their flanks. The last message received was from one of the most distant points and contained instructions for the Cavalry to return to their bivouac of the previous night at Locksley Station. On arrival here at about 9 p.m. the Cavalry found the Artillery and Infantry snugly bivouacked beside blazing camp fires and engaged in drying out the blankets which had been soaked by the previous night's downpour. In the course of their march from Stafford, the Artillery and Infantry has encountered considerable opposition at the Indian River, from a detached force of the enemy which had been marching to effect a junction with their forces already broken up by our Cavalry on the previous day.

The operations provided useful information in the choice of positions from which to cover the passage of a river in the face of the enemy, and emphasized the importance of seizing tactical points, mutual co-operation and covering fire.

On the last day the troops, all arms being again reunited, were exercised in a fresh scheme which brought the manoeuvres to a close, about 12. noon and the units then marched back to camp independently, the total distance covered by the Infantry, in marching order, on this day being 18 miles.

On the following day, September 13th, there was a meeting of all the officers who had taken part in the manoeuvres, upon which occasion Major-General Mackenzie, having then had time to consider the reports of the umpires, gave a narrative of the events as they occurred during the operations, and called attention to the lessons which were to be learnt and the points to which special attention should be directed upon future occasions.

In connection with the training of the Permanent Force, mention must be made of the work of the Corps of Guides detachment belonging to the 3rd & 4th Divisions, which underwent their annual training during the last 16 days of the camp. The first part of their training consisted of a hurried reconnaissance of the area, some 360 square miles, in which the operations referred to above, took place. A skeleton map was corrected and supplements so far as time would permit and the Guides were subsequently attached to the various units of the Permanent Force, in the final manoeuvres, as intelligence officers and as such gave a good account of themselves.

Two special features, aside from the practical nature of the training, characterized the combines manoeuvres, one was the cheery spirit of the men, who enjoyed the training and showed great willing ness; the other was the excellent relations between the troops and the farmers over whose ground they worked. On being sounded in advance as to whether they would object to having troops work over their firlds after the harvest was got in, the inhabitants unanimously agreed. They turned out in considerable numbers to see th operations, and they showed good will in every particular, and asked them to come again next year. The troops on their side behaved well, and no claim for compensation was made. The General Staff take the view that the operations go far to prove that manoeuvres cam be held over any part of the country without annoyance to or objection from the landowners when once the crops are off the ground.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 8 October 2015 12:04 AM EDT
Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Canadian Army in the Second World War
Topic: Canadian Army

The Canadian Army in the Second World War

Maple Leaf Against the Axis; Canada's Second World War, David J. Bercuson, 1995

A Canadian infantry division was a large and complex body of men. Commanded by a major-general, its basic war establishment was some 18,376 men. The largest single group of those men were the 8418 infantrymen organized in nine infantry battalions (the eventual infantry battalion establishment was thirty eight officers and 812 men). Each battalion had a support company, and four rifle companies. Each rifle company was made up of a company headquarters and three platoons of one officer (a lieutenant) and thirty-six men. The support company would eventually comprise a carrier platoon, a mortar platoon, a pioneer platoon, and an anti-tank platoon. Three battalions would be joined in an infantry brigade, commanded by a brigadier; an infantry division had three infantry brigades.

The bulk of the men in a Canadian division were not infantry; they were a combination of field artillery (2122 men), Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (1296), engineers (959), medical personnel (945), Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (784), signal corps (743), anti-tank artillery (721), and others. A study done after the war by Major-General E.L.M. Burns (who was a corps commander in Italy) concluded that Canadians allocated more men to medical and other ancillary services than they needed to…certainly more than the British did…and that Canadian divisions had far fewer combat troops as a proportion of their total strength than did American infantry divisions (which contained 14,037 men). Yet Max Hastings, who has written extensively on the Second World War, pointed out in his book on the Normandy campaign that only 65.56 percent of an American division consisted of fighting soldiers, against 89.4 percent in a German panzergrenadier (mechanized) division.

In general, therefore, Canadian divisions were far weaker in overall fighting strength than those of their allies and their enemies. That imbalance would later prove a source of great difficulty in combat and would hamper the Canadian Army in its efforts to keep its front-line units up to proper fighting strength. Put bluntly, the Canadian Army contained too many cooks and bottle-washers and too few riflemen, and the blame for this must be laid totally at the door of National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ) in Ottawa, which set the establishment for Canadian divisions.

Lack of equipment, lack of space for training, and a poorly designed divisional structure were not the only difficulties hampering the Canadian Army; leadership was a major problem, especially in the early stages of the war when most of the officers in charge of army units were incapable of leading men into battle. Since most of the army units being prepared for war in the fall of 1940 were militia units, most of the officers were militia officers. Few of them lasted even until their units entered battle; many of those who did succeed them in command proved inadequate. Many were veterans of the First World War and too old or too set in their ways to fight a new kind of war. For one thing, they did not have the physical stamina that younger men possessed.

When British General Bernard L. Montgomery reviewed Canadian units and their commanders in the spring of 1942, he concluded that almost one-quarter of the battalion commanders were totally unsuited to the job of training their men or leading them in combat. As a result, there was a wholesale housecleaning of officers right up to the divisional level. But in an army as wedded to the regimental system as the Canadian Army was, some of the retired battalion commanders were replaced by men who were little better. Still, there were some militia officers who were excellent and, by the time the war moved into its final year, they had come to the fore from the battalion level right up to divisional commands. Two of Canada's best field generals…Bert Hoffmeister, who eventually commanded the 5th Canadian Armoured Division, and A.B. Matthews of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division…were both militiamen.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 11 June 2015

Mascots; Second World War
Topic: Canadian Army

Services Mascots earn Place in Photo Gallery

One Mascot Sailed

The Coaticook Observer,
29 December 1939

Ottawa.—"No Mascots" was the effect of an order to all units of the First Division of the canadian Active Service Force and apparently, only one lot got away with a modest infraction of the rule, a lively Airedale pup scrambling past some one's blind eye. The Airedale had been smuggled into the port of embarcation by an Ontario Scottish unit. There are stringent quarantine regulations across the seas and it is highly probable the pup will have an enforced stay "Somewhere."

This was in strong comparison with the sailing of the First Contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1914. No unit was complete without its mascot and the fleet assembled in Gaspe Basin sheltered a varied assortment of dogs, big and little, bear cubs and goats. This Noah's Ark contingent was promptly gathered up on arrival in England but even that drastic measure failed to diminish the army's faith in animal mascost.

Ottawa Citizen, 8 May 1948
By James B. Roe, Evening Citizen Staff Writer

As part of its week-long "Be Kind To Animals" campaign the Ottawa Humane Society's display of animal photographs in the Little Gallery on Spark street has already been visited by hundreds of persons. Although the display is devoted mainly to a pictorial appeal on behalf of the British Society fo the Protections of Animals in North Africa, which is supported by Canadian funds in part, two panels commemorate mascots of the Canadian armed forces who served with our fighting men during the war.

Made Life Happier

Many Ottawa ex-servicemen will remember these doughty comrades, whose devotion and friendship frequently made life a little bit happier for soldiers, sailors and airmen in strange wartime surroundings.

Mrs. James Schwartz, convener of the display for the Society, says that it will remain open another week. Already a considerable amount has been collected through voluntary contributions to aid the North African society in its efforts to rehabilitate thousands of mules, horses, and camels who served and suffered with the Allied troops during the Tunisian campaign of 1942-43.

Many a Canadian ex-soldier will remember the "wonderful mules of Tunisia" who were hastily pressed into service to meet the exigencies of the moment in war and are now returned to the old ill treatment and over-work disabilities at the hands of their North African civilian masters.

The display panels concerned with Canadian service mascots strike a lighter, happier note. Here are shown "Cheetah", the little monkey who served as an Able Seaman in HMCS "Restigouche" on many a North Atlantic convoy. Among "Cheetah's" Ottawa ship-mates in those days were the writer, Lieut. Commander Ralph Hennessey, Lieut. Commander Fred Toller and John Dunne, and many others.

Another naval protagonist shown is "George," a sea-gull who served his time, fair weather and foul, in HMCS "St. Stephen", serving as a weather ship in Arctic waters under command of Lieut. E.M. Chadwick, RCN, of whom he was a special chum.

Then there is another "George", the English bull mascot of the Royal 22nd Regiment in Sicily, who usually took great pride in mounting guard outside battalion headquarters.

Shown also are the Saskatoon Light Infantry's donkey, "Flakers"; the kitten mascot of HMCS "Sault Ste. Marie", who was part of the ship's company on her maiden voyage in 1943, and scores of others.

In a world eternally an unfortunately distinguished by the propensity to talk too much and act too sparingly, man has long valued the animal as a companion and work-mate. When the going gets tough, the animal conforms in mute devotion and wordless sympathy. Sometimes that trust is abused.

elipsis graphic

From the Library and Archives Canada on line archive Faces of the Second World War, the following images of unit mascots can be viewed:

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 3 May 2015 6:59 PM EDT
Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Regimental Designation; PPCLI
Topic: Canadian Army

Regimental Designation; PPCLI

Regimental Manual of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, 2012

1.     The designation of the Regiment is "Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry" and the authorized abbreviation is "PPCLI."

2.     Editor's Note. It should be noted that the word "The" is not used in the official designation, nor are periods used while using the abbreviation, "PPCLI."

3.     The term "Patricia's" is commonly used as a short title for the Regiment. Careful note of the correct use of the apostrophe should be made when referring to the Regiment or to a group of two or more soldiers from the Regiment. When referring to the Regiment as an entity, the correct term is "Patricia's" as in "the Patricia's have an honourable history." A soldier in the Regiment is commonly referred to as a "Patricia" and it follows that two or more soldiers would be referred to as "Patricias" as in "three Patricias won the Victoria Cross."

4.     Although the Regiment bears the name "Light Infantry," it has never been organized or equipped solely in the traditional light infantry manner. The designation was chosen by the Founder Hamilton Gault, to reflect the "irregular force" of his original idea, and captured the traditional philosophy of light troops, that of the "fighting, thinking soldier" epitomized by the original members and carried on by the Regiment ever since.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Canadian Athletes Enlist 1940
Topic: Canadian Army

Many Canadian Athletes Enlisted in Non-Permanent Militia Units

Survey Shows Practically All National Hockey League Players in This Country Have Signs for Home Defence. Football Stars Also Taking Training.

Ottawa Citizen, 7 August 1940 By Dick Sheridan, Canadian Press Staff Writer

Coast to Coast: Hockey in Canada to the Second World War

John Chi-Kit Wong (Editor), 2009

"The government quickly passed the National Resources Mobilization Act (NRMA) in June 1940, providing for national registration of all Canadians … The immediate intent of the Act was to provide for national registration and a training period (initially thirty days) for men who were eligible for call-up, to be administered by a newly formed Department of National War Service (DNWS). Since it was announced that voluntary militia enlistment would end on 15 August 1940, thousands volunteered in August to avoid the stigma of being conscripted and lebelled as unwilling to fight for their country.

"In response to the NMRA, NHL managers actively encouraged their players to sign up with Non-Permanent Active Militia (NPAM) units." (p. 89)

Toronto, Aug. 6.—In two's and three's and even teams, Canada's athletes are flocking to the recruiting depots throughout the country to enlist in the Non-Permanent Active Militia units before the Aug. 15 deadline. And leading the parade is the country's most valuable athletic asset—her hockey players.

A survey conducted by The Canadian Press today disclosed that practically all of the National Hockey League players in this country have signed up for home defence. Crowding them are nationally-known football players from such squads as Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Canadian champions, Toronto Balmy Beach, Toronto Argonauts and Sarnia Imperials.

Manager Conny Smythe of Toronto Maple Leafs announced today the majority of his players had enlisted in the Toronto Scottish and will go into active training almost immediately. Players from other N.H.L. teams residing in Toronto joined the Scottish also.

Frank Boucher Enlisted

Canadiens' players living in Montreal are slated to enlist with the 17th Duke of York Royal Canadian Hussars while the Scots Fusiliers have enrolled Boston and new York Rangers players living in Kitchener.

The famous Kraut line of Milt Schmidt, Bobby Bauer and Porky Dumart of the Boston team is with the Fusiliers. Jack Shewchuk, Boston defenceman, is with the Dufferin and Haldimand Rifles.

Frank Boucher, Ranger coach, join the Princess Louise Dragoon Guards at Ottawa, and was accompanied by a number of other players living in the Capital. The Royal Winnipeg Rifles unit has players from Ranger, Toronto Leafs, Boston and Chicago Black Hawks in its ranks.

Ted Reeve Among Group

Syd Reynolds, Cec Fotheringham, Bert Haigh and George Shield, current or former Balmy Beach players, are members of the Toronto Scottish, along with Floyd Muirhead, sponsor of the club. Ted Reeve, sports columnist and a member of the Balmy Beach championship team a decade ago, is with the Scottish.

Alex Hayes and Hugh (Bummer) Stirling help give Sarnia Imperials representation in the N.P.A.M. Hayes, a great quarterback, is with the Essex Scottish. Stirling, the brilliant backfielder, enlisted with the 55th Battery, London.

Joe Miller, Toronto Argonaut, and Eddie Thompson, Balmy Beach, are both in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Entire Team Training

Calgary Stampeders, Allan Cup finalists last year, is the only hockey team known to have enlisted as a unit. Stampeders joined the Calgary (Tank) Regiment and are expected to be known as the "Tankers" this coming season.

Athletes enlisting in the N.P.A.M. are able in most instances to arrange their period of training in camp so that it does not interfere with the playing of their respective games. This applies particularly to the N.H.L. players.

Many other athletes are with Canadian Active Service Force units and a number of these are already in England. These include Ross (Sandy) Somerville, former amateur golf champion, and Johnny Loaring, Windsor hurdler.

elipsis graphic

More Ottawans Enlist

Orville Burke, star Rider quarterback, has enlisted in the Governor General's Foot Guards, it was learned last night. Two other local athletes—Jack Wilkinson, former Ottawa Senator hockey star, and Rick Perley of the Rough Riders—joined the First Field Brigade Royal Canadian Artillery on Monday night. Several other athletes of the Capital were already in this brigade.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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