The Minute Book
Thursday, 2 March 2017

The Militia Camp; 17 Sept 1885
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Militia Camp; 17 Sept 1885

Settling Down to Steady Drill
The Strength of the Brigade Over 2,100

At former camps a visitor would meet with one soldier with a tunic of red flannel and no trimming, another with a red tunic and white trimmings; and others with red shoulder straps and collars, and other again with blue collars and shoulder straps. An issue of new clothing has been made and has done away with this state of things.

The London Advertiser, London, Ont., 17 September 1885

The first night in camp [on Carling's farm, present location of Wolseley Barracks, London, Ontario] was not one of unalloyed comfort. The weather was rather cold, with several showers, and many of the men had but very slim shake-downs. However, to-day everything was in good shape and everybody made comfortable. The night was uneventful, with the exception of a row in which a member of the 30th Battalion quarreled with two civilians and was knocked down and kicked in the face, and both eyes blackened. This morning marching drill in companies was commenced, and although in some of the battalions the majority of the men are new recruits and undisciplined, they are rapidly picking up their drill. Sergt.-Major Byrne, of the 7th [Fusiliers], who is brigade sergeant-major, is the right man to bring them up to the work. Although a Canadian, and still in the prime of life, he has served 21 years in the British army and is a thorough soldier. A better selection could not have been made to fill one of the most important posts connected with the camp. No one visiting the camp can fail to notice the bright, smart-looking appearance of the volunteers. At former camps a visitor would meet with one soldier with a tunic of red flannel and no trimming, another with a red tunic and white trimmings; and others with red shoulder straps and collars, and other again with blue collars and shoulder straps. An issue of new clothing has been made and has done away with this state of things. Some years here the absurd way in which some of the battalions were dressed was enough to make them the laughing stock of all old military men. Now they have a smart, soldierly appearance. If the Minister of Militia would make another move and issue a regulation cap for all infantry corps it would further add to the appearance of the men. Here you'll meet two men, one with a round cap on his head and the other with a Scotch cap, neither of which afford the least protection from the sum. Here and there a private may be met with an officers' cap on, while some of them haven't caps at all, but appear in their "stiff felts."

The Strength of the Brigade

The strength of the brigade as shown by the number of rations drawn yesterday, was 2,060 and the staff.

The force is divided up as follows:

  • Cavalry, 126 men and 11 officers;
  • Artillery, 182 men and 8 officers;
  • 21st Battalion, 210 men and 19 officers;
  • 22nd Battalion, 340 men and 27 officers;
  • 24th Battalion, 230 men and 15 officers;
  • 25th Battalion, 200 men and 20 officers;
  • 28th Battalion, 230 men and 27 officers;
  • 30th Battalion, 380 men and 32 officers;

The total number, however, will exceed this when all are settled down.

Brigade Orders; Brigade camp, London, Sept. 16

Detail for to-morrow—Field officer of the day, Lt.-Col. McNight, 28th Battalion, next for duty, Lt.-Col. Munroe, 22nd Battalion; surgeon of the day, Surgeon King, First Regiment of Cavalry; next for duty, Surgeon Smith, 28th Battalion; the 24th Battalion will furnish brigade duties, viz., guard, picket, band, etc.; next for duty, 25th Battalion.

No. 1—Officers commanding corps of infantry are particularly requested to see that non-commissioned officers and men under their command are instructed in the use of the rifle and its sights, how to align the latter, and that in aiming the men place themselves in a proper position. Target practice will be carried out during camp, Major Bigger, brigade musketry instructor, will supervise all instructions.

No. 2—There being but one medicine chest for the whole brigade, it will be kept in charge of tent opposite and south of the brigade orderly tent, in order that surgeons may be supplied with the medicines they may require for the use of the members of their respective corps.

No. 3—All mail matter will be delivered to the Brigade orderly tent until further orders.

M. Aylmer, Lieut.-Col.

The Pipes Are There

The 22nd Oxford Rifles have with them two Highland pipers, Mr. George Gordon Fraser, of Woodstock, and Mr. Wm. Gunn, of Embro. They have their bagpipes with the, and for a certain time each day enliven the camp with their characteristic strains. Mr. Fraser in an old soldier, who served in a Highland regiment through the Chinese war. Mr. Gunn is a Highlander by birth.

Notes

No word of General Middleton's proposed visit has been received by the brigade officers here. However, as he is at present at the Niagara camp, it is probably he will also visit London.

The London Field Battery under Captain Williams went into camp yesterday, 40 strong.

The London troop of cavalry makes a fine turnout under Major Peters, 39 strong. They have some excellent horseflesh under them, and are a credit to the city. Mr. Owens is sergeant-major and Mr. John Siggins quartermaster-sergeant.

The various battalions will be put through a course of musketry instruction and rifle practice during the camp. This is a new feature of the camp, but a practical one for all that. The fact that efficiency with the rifle is more necessary to a corps in active service than being able to march past a saluting point in good line seems gradually beginning to be recognized. The rifle practice will be done at the Cove range.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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