Three Talks to Junior Officers or Officer Cadets to assist them in the handling of their men.

June, 1942

Prepared under the direction of The Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

(Reprinted in Canada (with Amendments No.1), (December, 1942), by permission of the Controller, His Majesty's Stationery Office.)

26/G.S. Publications/757
10M-12-42 (7683)


The gist of these three talks has been given at a number of officers' schools and O.C.T.Us. by an officer of wide practical experience in the subject about which he speaks.

They have now been printed in order to assist those officers whose duty it is to instruct young officers and cadets in the management and handling of men.

This is a subject which, though of the utmost importance for the fighting efficiency of the Army, presents considerable difficulty to the young officer when first commissioned, and actual experience in command of men is essential before it can be properly mastered.

This pamphlet is issued in order that the three talks can be given either verbatim as written, or be used as a guide by officers preparing their own notes for the giving of similar instruction.

The management and handling of men is much bound up with unit welfare-guidance on which is contained in "The Soldier's Welfare."


I am going to give you three talks on the subject of your relationship with your men, and how to understand them and look after them. I have given these talks the title of "Comrades in Arms" because that is the way in which an officer should always think of himself and his men.

This is a very important subject, but it is not, of course, a subject all on its own in a little water-tight compartment, which can be attended to at certain times, and left alone at others. Your relationship with your men, and how you understand them and look after them, is just one of the four ways of attaining real efficiency in war-the others being training, discipline, and administration.

All four are completely interdependent, and equally important, and on them the morale and efficiency of a unit depends. If one link is weak, the others lose much of their effectiveness, and morale and efficiency suffer accordingly.

It is already obvious to you, I hope, that you cannot get the best fighting efficiency unless you have good training, proper administration, and sound discipline.

It is equally true that you will never get the best results from training, administration, or discipline unless the fourth link in the chain of command has been well forged, and kept bright and free from rust.

It is the purpose of these talks to show you how so to forge this link that you may get the best possible results, both from the other aspects of command that you will learn here and from the men whom it will soon be your privilege to lead in battle.

Lecture No. 1 – The officer and man relationship

Lecture No. 2 – Understanding the men

Part I: The need for understanding and knowledge

Part II: Ways of getting knowledge and understanding

Lecture No. 3 – Looking after the men's welfare

Summing up

I trust that what I have said to you in these three talks will be of some help to you in your command of men. Never forget for a minute that the men in the ranks are the salt of the earth, that they deserve the best possible leadership, and that it is your privilege, as well as your great responsibility, to have the honour of commanding them. Every officer must try his utmost to be worthy of that honour and responsibility.

I hope that when, as comrades in arms, you have won this war together, you will return and work together in the same spirit of comradeship at the task of building the better world for which we are now fighting.