Quotes - Duty (page 1)

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If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white,
Remember it's ruin to run from a fight:
So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,
And wait for supports like a soldier.
- The Young British Soldier, Rudyard Kipling, Rudyard Kipling's Verse, Doubleday & Co., 1940

"You are ordered abroad as a soldier of the King to help our French comrades against the invasion of a common enemy. You have to perform a task which will need all your courage, your energy, your patience.
Do your duty bravely.
Fear God.
Honour the King."
Kitchener, Field Marshal - first and last lines of Kitchener's message to the BEF, August 1914; Col. George G. Nasmith, Canada's Sons and Great Britain in The World War, 1919

A soldier in one of the Prussian regiments had a watch chain of which he was very proud. because he could not afford a watch he used to wear a bullet attached to the chain's free end. One day Frederick [the Great] noticed this strange ornament and, deciding to have some fun with the man, took out his own diamond-studded watch. "My watch tells me that it is five o'clock," he said. "What time does yours tell?" replied the soldier: "my watch does not tell me the hour, but tells me every minute that it is my duty to die for Your Majesty." - The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes, 1985

Don't grouse. However irksome the duty, remember that others have been put to the same inconvenience - and worse - scores of times before. Try to do what you have to do cheerfully. It is all in a day's work. - MGen D. O'Callaghan, CVO, The Young Officers `Don't' or Hints to Youngsters on Joining, 1907

If the Army is to change, every officer must come to accept the responsibility of exposing himself to the dangers to which his men are exposed and, if necessary, to follow the dictum of the British NCO who, when asked where his officers were, replied, "When it comes time to die, they'll be with us." - Gabriel, Richard A. and Savage, Paul A., Crisis in Command, Mismanagement in the Army, 1978


On learning of the mutiny (Salerno, 1943), Field-Marshal Montgomery said that although the Mutineers' actions were quite inexcusable and could not be condoned in any way, `where soldiers get into trouble of this nature, it is nearly always the fault of some officer who has failed in his duty.' - J.M. Bereton, The British Soldier; A Social History from 1661 to the Present Day

On the eve of your departure from Canada, I wish to congratulate you on having the privilege of taking part, with the other forces of the Crown, in fighting for the honour of the King and Empire. You have nobly responded to the call of duty, and Canada will know how to appreciate the patriotic spirit that animates you. I have complete confidence that you will do your duty, and that Canada will have every reason to be proud of you. You leave these shores with the knowledge that all Canadian hearts beat for you, and that our prayers and best wishes will ever attend you. May God bless you and bring you back Victorious. - Field Marshall, HRH the Duke of Connaught, to the CEF, Oct 1914; Col. George G. Nasmith, Canada's Sons and Great Britain in The World War, 1919

Thank God, I have done my duty. - Horatio Nelson, Viscount Nelson 1758-1805, At the battle of Trafalgar [October 21, 1805]. From Robert Southey, Life of Nelson [1813], ch. 9

The concept of Auftragstaktik of "mission tactics" ... made it the responsibility of each German officer and NCO ... to do without question or doubt whatever the situation required, as he personally saw it. Omission and inactivity were considered worse than a wrong choice of expedient. Even disobedience of orders was not inconsistent with this philosophy. - John A. English, A Perspective on Infantry, 1981

The last order we heard was, Fix bayonets and die like British soldiers do." - The Graphic, a London newspaper reporting on Rorke's Drift, 22 Jan, 1879

The truest Glory is the conscientious performance of Duty. - A Handbook of the Boer War, 1910

There they stood on Vimy Ridge that 9th day of April, 1917; men from Quebec stood shoulder to shoulder with men from Ontario, men from the Maritimes with men from British Columbia, and there was forged a nation tempered by the fires of sacrifice and hammered on the anvil of high adventure. - Lord Byng, 1922, at the unveiling of a Manitoba war-memorial, quoted in Strome Galloway, The General Who Never Was, 1981

To-day the Colours of the 1st Batt. 24th were brought here for the Queen's inspection, when she placed on the Queen's colour a wreath in remembrance of the gallant conduct of the two officers [Lts Melville and Coghill] who saved their Colours, but lost their lives in doing so. - letter by Gen. Ponsonby, refering to the 24th Regiment's Colours at Isandhlwana, from Philip A. Wilkins, The History of the Victoria Cross 1904

While an officious officer is most objectionable, especially when inexperienced, no officer should perform his Regimental or Garrison duties in a perfunctory manner, whether through boredom or because he is loath to create trouble. - Royal Canadian School of Infantry, Hints for Young Officers, Halifax, N.S., May 1931

Without troop discipline and strong leadership, the structure of our forces crumble, and our ability to do our duty is compromised. We must not lose sight of the operational imperatives of our mission. We still need to be combat-capable, and ready at all times to go to war, if necessary. We are, first and foremost, a fighting force. - Admiral J.R. Anderson, CDS, to Candidates on the Senior CWO/CP01 Course, CFB Borden, Sep 30, 1993

You do well apprehend that good order and military discipline are the chief essentials in an army. But you must ever be aware that an army cannot preserve good order unless its soldiers have meat in their bellies, coats on their backs and shoes on their feet. All these are as necessary as arms and munitions. I pray you will never fail to look to these things as you may do to other matters ... - Marlborough, to his Quartermaster-General, Dec 1703, quoted in J.M. Bereton, The British Soldier

Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less. - Robert E. Lee

I am sending you forward again; see that you fight like true Prussians. - King William, to the commander of a retiring regiment, at Koeniggraetz, quoted in Major General Baron Hugo von Freytag-Loringhoven, The Power of Personality In War, 1911 (translated by the Historical Section, [US] Army War College, 1938; pub 1955)

I regard you now as one of the veteran Divisions of this Army, just as good as any, if not better. I knew the Canadians on the Western Front in the last was and there were no finer soldiers anywhere. I wonder what they would say to you now if they could speak to you. I think they would say something like this: "Well Done, We have handed you the sword and you have wielded it well and truly." - General Montgomery, to the Canadian First Brigade, August 20th 1943, quoted in S. Galloway, Some Died at Ortona

...the legitimate fatigue of responsible command. - T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, 1926

...the mountain gun section on Talbots.
This section was an oddment, which General Clayton had seen in Egypt, and had sent down to us in an inspired moment. Its six Talbots, specially geared for heavy work, carried two ten-pounders with British gunners. It was wicked to give such good men such rotten tools; yet their spirit seemed hardly affected by the inferior weapons. Their commander, Brodie, was a silent Scotsman, never very buoyant and never too anxious; a man who found difficulties shameful to notice, and who stamped himself on his fellows. However hard the duty given them, they always attacked it with such untroubled determination that their will prevailed. On every occasion and in every crisis they would be surely in their place at their moment, perspiring but imperturbable, with never a word in explanation or complaint. - T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, 1926

A Manchester n.c.o. whose unit won ground [at Somme], provided a glimpse of the price paid: 'Just in front of me lay a boy I had cursed just the night before for being drunk. He lay quite flat, and might have been resting, except there was a big ragged hole at the base of his skull where a bullet had come out. Next to me, a man was trying with grimy hands to dab a field dressing on the back of a lance corporal who had been shot through the chest and sat up clutching his knees and rocking to and fro. My platoon officer lay on his back. His face and hands were as white as marble. His lungs were labouring like bellows. In a minute or two, he was dead. 'D'you think there's any chance for us, sergeant?' a man whispered. I said it would be all right. - Alan Lloyd, The War in the Trenches, 1976

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