Quotes - Officers (page 6)

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It is important that officers should learn the difference between servility or fawning upon their senior officers and the ordinary courtesy due to superiors in rank. - Customs of the Service (Advise to those newly commissioned) by A.H.S., 1939

October 9th [1914] A foxhound that attached itself to us on the march to the Wells is still with us. He lives on scraps from the officers' mess, and did rather too well the first day, getting his tail down a bit. However, he has now been sick in the adjutant's tent, and feels much better. He parades with us in the morning. - Anon., A Soldier's Diary of the Great War, 1924

Officers and others making [military sketches of any unmapped portion of the command; reconnaissance or road reports] must clearly understand that work of this nature, executed by them when serving on full pay, is public property; they are not entitled to compensation or remuneration for it, and they have no right to retain the originals or be given copies. - The King's Regulations and Orders for the Army, 1908

Officers who have nothing to discuss except their daily routine become intolerable bores. - Customs of the Service (Advise to those newly commissioned) by A.H.S., 1939

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

Only three people realized the full potential of armor, they were Major General JFC Fuller, Captain BH Liddell Hart and General Sir Percy Hobart. ...but they were not taken seriously by their compatriots. Fuller dismissed the value of the horse in modern warfare and thus violated one of the sacred cows of the traditional British officer corps. - HW Koch, History of Warfare

Since 1950, no serving Canadian Forces officer above the rank of Colonel has written anything beyond descriptive articles and none that challenged even mildly the extant views of strategy in NATO, NORAD, or the UN or made anything but safe recommendations for national policy. The paucity of intellectual activity in their chosen profession paints the Canadian officer corps as a body that is either thoroughly cowed, completely lacking in imagination, or uninterested in its profession. - Douglas Bland, Chiefs of Defence: Government and the Unified Command of the Canadian Armed Forces

Subalterns should treat their seniors as they would a rich uncle from whom they have expectations. - Royal Canadian School of Infantry, Hints for Young Officers, Halifax, N.S., May 1931

The brigade-majors of those days [1920] were not the efficient machine-turned Staff College article of today, but they did add a spice of variety to a conference. - Field-Marshal Sir William Slim, K.G., G.C.B., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., G.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., Unofficial History, 1960

The British military is studying a plan to award good conduct and long-service medals to officers as well as enlisted personnel. In the past, officers didn't get them, says The Sunday Times of London, because it was considered unthinkable that a gentleman holding a commission would lead anything other than a blameless life. - Social Studies by Michael Kesterton, The Globe and Mail, 27 June 1996

The courage of the British soldier is officially supposed to be above proof, and, as a general rule, it is so. The exceptions are decently shoveled out of sight, only to be referred to in the freshest of unguarded talk, that occasionally swamps a Mess-table at midnight. Then one hears strange and horrible stories of men not following their officers, of orders being given by those who had no right to give them, and of disgrace that, but for the standing luck of the British army, might have ended in brilliant disaster. These are unpleasant stories to listen to, and the Messes tell them under their breath, sitting by the big wood fires, and the young officer bows his head and thinks to himself, please God, his men shall never behave so unhandily. - Rudyard Kipling, The Drums of the Fore and Aft, Wee Willie Winkie, Penguin Classics, 1988

The dictum of "good management is good leadership", itself erroneous, became perverted even more into the belief that an officer could literally manage his men to their deaths in support of a mission. - Gabriel, Richard A. and Savage, Paul A., Crisis in Command, Mismanagement in the Army, 1978

The soldierly qualities of the British officer have been learnt in the regimental mess. It is the only possible school, for tradition cannot be taught on the blackboard, no more than its spirit can be recorded by the historian. - Colonel W.N. Nicholson, C.M.G., D.S.O., Behind the Lines, 1939

The success of Kapyong [April 24-5, 1951] was due mainly to high morale and to good company, platoon and section commanders. ...That is something we should never overlook in our military training. Too much officer training is aimed at high levels of command and not enough at the company and platoon level. - Colonel J.R. Stone, "Memoir: Kapyong," CF Infantry Newsletter, 3 (1974), quoted in John A. English, A Perspective on Infantry, 1981

The system [of each officer contributing personal furniture, dishes etc., to a common 'mess' formed by a mutually agreed group of officers] had the great advantage that it did not lead to such extravagance as regimental messes undoubtedly do; the officer could live as economically as he pleased, there were no public nights with their following heavy bills for wine, no mess balls or parties with their attendant extravagance, and no member of the little mess was called upon for any expense beyond that of his daily food. If any member was economizing to pay for a gun or a horse, some member of the mess would be sure to share with him his bottle of beer or modicum of wine, and he knew exactly what his expenses would be. Regimental messes, as managed in England, are very pleasant for young men with abundant means - I can say nothing else in their favour. - Major-General Sir Thomas Seaton, K.C.B., Cadet to Colonel, Vol I, 1866

To an officer, his regiment is home and family, and in it ties of friendship are formed that death alone can sever. Hardships undergone, battles fought side by side, wounds, sickness, and suffering, all the great and varied trials of a soldier's life, endured together, only strengthen the bonds that are thus formed. - Major-General Sir Thomas Seaton, K.C.B., Cadet to Colonel, Vol I, 1866, in two volumes

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

We will call on your leadership, your innovation, and your energy, as young officers, to deal with many of the challenges facing this nation. - Marcel Masse, P.C., M.P., May 91 - Letter from the MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE, to RRMC graduates

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

... He volunteered on the storming party at Badajos, for his ensigncy, in the 59th, and escaped; he then volunteered on the storming of Ciudad Rodrigo, and there also escaped, -got his Lieutenancy. Again at the storming of St. Sabastian he would volunteer, - and like a hero he mounted the breach. ... I counted sixteen ball-wounds in his body. ... Rashness is very often the bane of courage. - The Military Sketch-Book, Reminiscences of Seventeen Years in the Service at Home and Abroad, by an Officer of the Line, 1827, Vol I

...any officer who served a stint as a corporal would "gain experience no military academy can ever give...Whatever respect one may have for military colleges and the general and technical training they give, no military college graduate is fit to bear the title and responsibility of `officer' before he has served for a period as a section-leader." - Allon, The Making of Israel's Army, quoted in John A. English, A Perspective on Infantry, 1981

The tightening of the regulations on promotion [of officers in the early 1800s] kept out the more irresponsible adventurers. In the early stages, peacocks and prodigals fell by the wayside; only the lean and vigorous survived. As always, there were those who went to war for no other purpose than the pursuit of glory; but there was a leavening of strangely serious young men who looked on the war as a crusade against tyranny and were concerned to keep the taint of revolution from Britain's shores. There were vicars' sons as well as squires' sons, even butchers' sons and tailors' sons; there were still-in spite of the regulations-ensigns under sixteen, straight from school and dazzlingly brave; there were volunteers of the old type, hoping to win commissions by displays of valour; and there was an ever-growing number of ranker officers. To the men they commanded, says Rifleman Edward Costello, all these officers fell quite simply into two categories: the 'come on' and the 'go on.' - E.S. Turner, Gallant Gentlemen; a portrait of the British Officer 1600-1956, 1956

Until late in 1941, an aspirant for a commission from the ranks was sent, initially, before a board of regimental officers, who decided after an interview of about fifteen minutes whether he was worth recommending for posting to an OCTU. To secondary schoolboys, car salesmen, intellectuals and commercial travellers the board put their routine questions: 'What was your occupation ?' 'What does your father do ?' 'What games did you play at school ?' and 'Were you a prefect ?' Almost always they asked, 'Why do you want to be an officer?' (for which everyone had what he was assured was the appropriate answer ready). They sometimes set a pitfall with, 'What do you think of Army discipline? Do you think it could be improved?' An unlucky candidate might be faced with a conundrum like: 'Imagine you are an officer and you have entered a train compartment full of soldiers. Nobody rises to give you his seat. You must not stand. What would you do ?' - E.S. Turner, Gallant Gentlemen; a portrait of the British Officer 1600-1956, 1956

British Army officer candidate selection boards - After three days a 17-point 'profile' of each candidate was drawn up. The headings were: leadership experience, unit report, officer intelligence rating, educational suitability, planning ability, practical ability, athletic ability, level of aims, effectiveness in pursuit of aims, military compatibility, sense of responsibility, social interest, quality of personal relations, range of personal relations, dominance, ability to stimulate and stability of health. - E.S. Turner, Gallant Gentlemen; a portrait of the British Officer 1600-1956, 1956

For the British regiment, with its complex and highly individual accretion of traditions, local affinities, annual rituals, inter-company rivalries, fierce autonomy and distinctive name--King's Shropshire Light Infantry, Loyal North Lancashire, Duke of Wellington's, Royal Fusiliers --was an extension, indeed a creation of the Victorian public school system. Simply by being themselves, therefore, the first amateur officers provided their untrained soldiers both with an environment and a type of leadership almost identical to those found in a regular, peacetime regiment. They organized games for the men, and took part themselves, because that was the public school recipe for usefully occupying young males in their spare time. They organized competitions between platoons and companies--in cross-country running, rifle shooting, trench digging - because competition was the dynamic of public school life. They saw to the men's food, health, cleanliness, because as seniors they had been taught to do the same for junior boys. They administered automatically the military code of rewards and punishments, because it mirrored the system in which they had been brought up. And they took their men to church because it was there on Sundays that the school went en masse. - John Keegan, The Face of Battle, 1976

In the summer of 1950, Canada had only one brigade under arms. On March 31 1950, less than three months before the outbreak of the Korean War, enlistments for the Canadian forces stood at 9,359 for the Navy, 20,652 for the Army, and 17,274 for the Air Force, providing a total active force of only 47,285. The army, in particular, was top-heavy with officers above the rank of captain and short of junior officers. - Robert Hepenstall, Find the Dragon, The Canadian Army in Korea 1950 - 1953, 1995

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