The Minute Book
Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Heroes Among Us; Past and Present
Topic: Commentary

Heroes Among Us; Past and Present

We often see the word "hero" thrown around quite liberally today, applied to everyone from Victoria Cross recipients to anyone who has worn a military or emergency services uniform and then to anyone who has championed any cause. It's to the point where use of the word only regains meaning when context is added, so that the receiver of the message can apply their own filter on how applicable the label is; how well it matches their personal criteria for the description.

Undoubtedly, there are those in uniform who deserve that label in every context of the word. Sadly, the story of a member of the Canadian Armed Forces who commits a crime will have their deeds and military connection well declared in the news. But the stories of those decorated for heroism in battle, in the past or recent years, barely grace the pages or screens of our news systems, if they pass the editors' desks at all.

How many Canadians are aware of the awards received by soldiers that rank just below the Victoria Cross (VC) for heroism in the face of the enemy? Where once soldiers received the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and the Military Medal (MM), and officers might receive the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and the Military Cross (MC), Canadian service members today receive the Star of Military Valour (SMV) and the Medal of Military Valour (MMV).

How few of the stories of the recipients of the SMV and MMV are known to Canadians. How many stories of the recipients of the DSO, MC, DCM and MM are equally unknown, not lost, but mostly forgotten. There was a time when many Canadians would recognize the medals and ribbons of the older awards, how many would recognize the SMV or MMV today?

How many stories of local heroes are already forgotten in your community? When was the last time you walked through the local veterans' plot and actually noted the post-nominal inscriptions? What have you been doing to bring their stories back into notice, and to ensure the stories of our newer heroes are not forgotten?

The gravestone of 438285 Sergeant Peter McVicar, DCM, MM, in the Veteran's Plot at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, London. Ontario.

Citation for the Distinguished Conduct Medal – "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an attack against enemy "pill-boxes." When acting as a scout in front of his company he came under fire from two enemy snipers, but advanced against them and killed them both. He was one of those who crawled in close to one of the 'pill-boxes" and attracted the enemy's fire, thus permitting an attack upon it in strength" (London Gazette Issue No. 30601, 26 Mar 1918).

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 17 June 2014 12:17 AM EDT
Monday, 16 June 2014

Captain is Cashiered (1933)
Topic: Officers

Captain is Cashiered

Fellow Officer Reprimanded by Court Martial

The Montreal Gazette, 14 February 1933

Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)

Regimental Website

Battle Honours


Capt H.R. Rebbitt, M.C., D.C.M.

Citation for the Distinguished Conduct Medal

15295 Sjt. H.R. Rebbitt, Cav."For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During a raid he formed one of the covering party, and in order to avoid giving the alarm whilst our party was approaching the wire he allowed himself to be completely surrounded by an enemy patrol. On the torpedo exploding, he dashed at the enemy, killing some and dispersing the remainder into our barrage. He displayed great courage, judgment and skill."

Rebbitt was appointed Temp. Lieut. on 10 Apr 1918.

Citation for the Military Cross

Lt. Henry Rivers Rebitt, D.C.M., Cav."For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an advance. He led the leading troops of an advance guard squadron through the tanks, and went on and brought back twenty-five prisoners. A few hours later he led his troops on a special reconnaissance, and under very heavy rifle and machine-gun fire entered a village and took twenty-five prisoners, also inflicting great loss on the enemy who tried to surround him . He did fine work."

Winnipeg, Feb. 13—Captain Charles Graham Brown, of Lord Strathcona's Horse, today was dismissed from military service for his "scandalous conduct" in connection with an affair at Fort Osborne barracks last Hallowe'en night.

Captain Henry Rivers Rebbitt, fellow officer who was charged with firing a gun at Brown, after his wife said that Brown had molested her re reprimanded in the findings of a court martial made public today.

Both men faced trial before the military tribunal held in the barracks, where the offences were alleged to have occurred.

Findings of the court sentenced Brown to be cashiered but also expressed a plea for leniency because of his long service and gallant action in the field. It also was recommended that the convicted officer be granted his pension. Both recommendations were concurred in by the Privy Council and the Governor-General.

elipsis graphic

Further details of the case, and a more lenient conclusion for Captain Brown are revealed in a later news article:

The Winnipeg Tribune, 20 March 1933

Capt. Brown gets Medals, Rank and Is Retired From Army on Pension

Action By Ottawa Meets Demand That Case Be Reviewed

Capt. H. R. Rebbitt, One of Chief Witnesses Against Brown at Recent General Court Martial, is Retiring From Service on Pension Departmental Action Will be Officially Gazetted.

It is officially learned today that Capt. Brown has been reinstated in the army and retired on service pension, and that Capt Rebbitt will also retire. They were the principals in the court martial case In the Fort Osborne barracks here in January.

Captain C.G. Brown, Lord Strathcona Horse, recently dismissed from His Majesty's service following a general court martial, has been re-appointed and is now retired with rank, medals and service pension. The departmental action which brought this about is being officially gazetted and the decision of the militia department has been forwarded to Brigadier T. C. Anderson, officer commanding M.D. 10. Captain H.R. Rebbitt also Lord Strathcona Horse, who was one of the principal witnesses against Captain Brown, and whose conduct was also the subject of inquiry before the general court martial, Is retiring on pension. On the charge on which he was found guilty by th military court, he was sentenced to reprimand. Under the finding of the court- martial there was no alternative except dismissing Brown from the service. There was, however, a recommendation for mercy toward the accused, and In making the recommendation the military court pointed out his fine military service. He had passed through all ranks up to regimental sergeant-major of the Lord Strathcona Horse. He had received his commission on the Held, and his previous record had been wholly good. Recommended Mercy Further, In view of the accused's health (Captain Brown suffers from diabetes), and in view of the fact that it had no discretionary powers under the Army Act in passing sentence, the Court Martial "unanimously, and strongly and respectfully urged that mercy be shown." The return of his war and service medals to Captain Brown was a simple yet pleasant event between him and his commanding officer, Major C. W. Devey, which took place about ten days ago and fore shadowed the exercise of depart mental clemency toward the accused. Major Devey arrived at Captain Brown's residence with the medals and returned them. Since the war a new section of the British Army King's Rules and Orders permits the retention of war and service medals, at discretion, to a dismissed officer. The old practice had been to take them away. "I was very delighted to have this task of returning to Captain Brown his medals." declared Major Devey, In commenting on the event to The Tribune today. He explained that he had heard that the medical papers permitting Captain Brown to appear for medical examination for disability pension had come through. This will also give Captain Brown an opportunity for examination to decide whether he is entitled to disability pension also.

Public Indignation

Seldom has there been such a spontaneous outburst of public indignation as occurred In Winnipeg when it was learned that Captain Brown had been found guilty and discharged without pension, or hope of pension, since the recommendation that the pension be granted was rejected by the department. Every veterans' organization in the province passed resolutions praying the government to reconsider the case. Many friends of Capt. Brown came to his assistance, helping him along until his rights to pension for service as well as for disability, were vindicated by the reinstatement and retirement on pension announced today. The verdict of the court martial declared Captain Brown guilty on the first charge against him. It read, "that on Oct. 31. through the use of force he caused the wife of a brother officer, to wit. Captain H. R. Rebbitt, to accompany him to a single officer's room in the mess building, such room not being intended for any purpose connected with the dance, and there and then remained alone for an undetermined period of time during which he attempted to molest her. The second charge against him was that "he had alone with him In a single officer's room a lady, to wit, Mrs. H. R. Rebbitt," was cancelled by the guilty verdict on the first count. Charges Against Rebbitt The charge on which Captain Rebbitt was found guilty was that "to the prejudice of good order and military discipline he entered and quarters occupied by Captain Brown and then and there did display a firearm and make use of menacing language, namely 'stick 'em up; I have you covered' or words to that effect." A more serious charge against Captain Rebbitt, that of "offering violence to Captain Charles George Brown, his superior officer," was thrown out by the court martial.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 14 June 2014 2:02 PM EDT
Sunday, 15 June 2014

Wolseley Barracks, circa 1920s
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Wolseley Barracks, circa 1920s

Wolseley Barracks has undergone many changes with construction of buildings as needs arose and the removal of buildings as they became unnecessary or obsolete. While mention of specific buildings by name or purpose can be found in old documents, it's not always easy to place those buildings were plans with matching labels are hard to find.

This plan, a copy of which was photographed at The RCR Museum (original held in the Western University Archives), shows the locations of following named buildings, among others that are no longer extant:

  • The Eire Building (Erie Hospital)
  • The Isolation Wards
  • Tecumseh Barracks

Wolseley Barracks, circa 1920s
Click for larger version without the added labels.

Note that the plan is not to scale, in particular the shortening of Wolseley Hall on the east-west axis. The plan was apparently a drawing locating water lines coming to the buildings.

Compare to the 1922 aerial photo.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 14 June 2014

Permanent Force Recruiting (1919)
Topic: Canadian Army

Permanent Force Recruiting (1919)

The Toronto World, 12 May 1919

General Recruiting Depot, Toronto

Wanted—Recruits for the Permanent Force


Applicants for enlistment must be: Bona fide British subjects of good character. Unmarried and without dependents for whom they intend to claim Government Allowance. Between the ages of 18 and 45. In good health. Not less than 5 ft. 4 in. in height, and 34 inches around chest.

They will be enlisted for a period of two years, and pass a medical exam before attestation.

Corps.— The Royal Canadian Dragoons, Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery, Royal Canadian Engineers. Infantry— Royal Canadian Regiment, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. Canadian Permanent Army Service Corps, Canadian Permanent Army Medical Corps, Canadian Permanent Army Veterinary Corps, Canadian Permanent Ordnance Corps, Canadian Permanent Army Pay Corps, Corps of Military Staff Clerks.

Pay.—The pay generally will be the rates of pay of the C.E.F.

  Per diem. Total p. annum,
365 days
Field Allowance.
Warrant Officer2.000.302.30839.50
Regimental Sergeant Major1.850.202.05748.25
Squadron Battery or Company Sergeant-Major1.600.201.80657.00
Squadron Battery or Company Quartermaster-Sergeant1.500.201.70620.50
Orderly Room Sergeant1.500.201.70620.50
Lance-Corporals, Bomb. or 2nd Corporals1.050.101.15419.75

Free Rations, Barrack Accommodation and medical Attendance or Subsistence at 80 C per diem when rations and Barrack Accommodations not available.

Married Establishments.— When a vacancy exists in the married establishment, and this a filled by proper authority, Dependent's Allowance of $30 per month will be paid to the Dependents of those ranks below Warrant Officer, and to the Dependents of Warrant officers at $35 per month. No married man or single man with Dependents for whom he may claim Government Allowance, is to be enlisted without reference to Militia headquarters, and only when there is a vacancy on the married establishment.

Clothing and Regimental necessaries.—A complete kit of clothing and necessaries will be issued on joining, and periodical issues thereafter during the period of service.

Actual and necessary cost of transportation to the point of enlistment, not exceeding 410 in any case, will be refunded to the man on enlistment, upon satisfactory proof of such expenditure have been incurred.

The Following Trades will be required.— Royal Canadian Engineers: Carpenters, Masons, Electricians, Stationary Engineers, Plumbers, Steam Fitters and Helpers, Brick Layers, Telegraphists, Locksmiths, Painters, Paper hangers, Glaziers, Joiners, Cabinet Makers, Plasterers, Machinists. Canadian Permanent Army Service Corps: Automobile Mechanics, Chauffeurs, Clerks, Bakers, Butchers, Horsemen. Canadian Ordnance Corps: Carpenters, Smiths, Tailors, Tent Mender, Saddler and Harness maker, Tinsmith, Fitter.

Special Rates of pay.—Special rates of pay are provided for Surveyors, Draftsmen and various skilled mechanics and tradesmen, and selected clerks filling positions on Subordinate Staffs.

Pensions.—Pensions are paid after twenty years' service upwards, according to rank and length of service. Soldiers who have completed not less than fifteen years' service and are incapacitated through infirmity of mind or body, shall be entitled to retire and receive a pension for life.

Apply to the Officer Commanding Troops, Exhibition Camp, Toronto, for information, or see Recruiting Posters in Post Office at Toronto, Hamilton, Brantford and St. Catharines.

Department of Militia and Defence
Ottawa, April 16, 1919

H.Q. 1-1-29

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 13 June 2014

A Home Made Sniper Suit (1940)
Topic: Militaria

Two unidentified snipers, in "ghillie" suits, of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion during an inspection by King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Elizabeth, Salisbury Plain, England, 17 May 1944. Photographer: Elmer R. Bonter. Mikan Number: 3298173.
From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

A Home Made Sniper Suit (images)

Sketches A to E

A Home Made Sniper Suit (images)

Sketches F and G

A Home Made Sniper Suit (images)

Sketches H and I

Military Training Pamphlet No. 44
Notes on the Training of Snipers

Amendments (No. 1)
Appendix 9

A Home Made Sniper Suit

This sniper's suit is made in two pieces, a loose smock with flaps which break the sniper's form in any position, and a hood with flaps which breaks the outline of the head and shoulders. This hood can be worn independently.

To make the smock—Material: Rough hessian canvas (8-10 ozs.) or latrine canvas, sackings or sandbags sewn together. Fold a 6 ft. by 10 ft. piece as Sketch A and chalk out design as on Sketch B, making sure that folds are on the correct sides. Cut away the shaded area and lay the piece out as Sketch C. Stitch front and back together along the dotted lines with stout thread.

The dimensions shown in the chart are for a large man.

Neck—Turn over a 1-inch hem round the neck and stitch down after inserting cord as in Sketch E.

Flap—Run a line of stitching round slit to prevent fraying. Stitch flap to hang over a bit as in Sketch D.

To make the hood—Fold a piece of hessian 3 ft. by 5 ft. as for the smock, and chalk out design as in Sketch F. Cut away the shaded area and lay the piece out as in Sketch G. Stitch the back and front together with strong thread.

Eye apeture—Place hood over head and chalk an oblong, approx. 6 in. by 1 1//2 in., in front of the eyes—Sketch G. Cut all cross threads and sides and alternate threads along top and bottom of the oblong—and pull cross threads out.

Painting—Use any matte paint. When applying paint leave rough edges; coloured areas need not meet exactly as a gap between colours increases disruptive effect. Areas of natural hessian can be left unpainted. Suitable colours for painting—standard camouflage colours: Dark Colours—1a, very dark brown; 6a, dark green. Mid-tones— 9 or 7, mid-green; 2 to 5, warm grey or light earth. Design I is suited to hedge, field and parkland. Design II to rocks, earth or sandbags.

These disruptive patterns are only intended to be used as guides. Pattern and colour must fit the local background.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 12 June 2014

Terms of Enlistment, 1905
Topic: Canadian Army

Permanent Force
Terms of Enlistment, 1905

Boston Evening Transcript; 8 May 1905

Extracted from: Garrisoning Halifax
By: E.W. Thomson
(Special Correspondence of the Transcript)

Recruits for the "Forces" may choose between cavalry, mounted rifles, field and garrison artillery, engineers, infantry, army service corps and army medical corps. Fancy a couple thousand men being enough to "go round" all these branches! The pay is 50 cents per day for privates and gunners for the first three years, or one term of enlistment, 60 cents for the next three years, and 75 cents thereafter. A master gunner at headquarters is to get $1 for his first three years in rank, $.25 the next three years, and $2.50 subsequently. Between his pay and that of the privates are a large variety of rates, according to rank and service and corps.

The terms of enlistment are about as good as those offered to United States regulars. Of course they include free rations, free quarters, and free medical attendance. In the Canadian soldiering trade an economical, sober man will be able to save ten or twelve dollars a month. Few young laborers, or even mechanics, can count on saving more. The life offers a sort of career, not unattractive even in a pecuniary sense, the chances of promotion being considered, with the certainty of a substantial pension for long service. By a wise provision, the good conduct pay is deferred, and lumped to the man on discharge, that he may have something to start his civilian career with. Lest too many American college graduates should flock over here to enlist, it may be observed that none but bona fide British subjects are admitted to the privilege.

It is not so attractive to able-bodied common schooled young Canadians as the West seems, but some of them, who do not feel keen for the competitive life, have joined. Probably the forces of Canada will become, as the Northwest Mounted Police tends to be, recruited largely from young old country immigrants. The Briton inclined to life as a Tommy, can get in the Canadian service more than twice as much as John Bull will give him for joining the thin red line of 'eroes. He can come out to enlist in Canada for practically nothing, since an allowance of $10 for travelling expenses is made, and steerage passage could be had for that, or less, last year.

An impression that the Ottawa Government ought to give better pay prevails among those who wish that the tiny Canadian regular "nucleus" should be national in the Canadian sense, and as the Mounted Police has been, as good as, if not better than, anything of its kind in the world. The brisk, hard, dour, efficient young Canadian, something of a presician, orderly, almost diabolically bent on suppressing the "bad man," is a type that reminds one of the young puritan trooper whom Kingsley sketched in one short passage of immortal prose. That young Canadian will be deterred from enlistment, not altogether by the poor pay, but by the sort of company that the poor pay will enlist. Widening the field of choice, so that the "good character" proviso might be most rigidly insisted on, would add one-half to, or double the pay. Then the men accepted might be highly intelligent, moral, and as efficient as twice their number of wastrels.

If there is anything more clear than another about the composition of modern armies it is that the human material ought to be of the best kind procurable for such service. Not only in the field, but in times of peace, one regiment of the first class is an example and inspiration to all who see its work, its life. Such a regiment may elevate the national conception of the regular, profoundly affect for good the morale of the volunteer, hugely influence to enlistment and to heroism the classes that now rather shun soldiering as a ruffianly trade. It seems a mistake for Canada not to cut wholly loose from the Old Country ideal of the regular, as a poor devil, kept on beggarly pay, and not fit to be allowed into respectable company. The ideal on which Cromwell raised the new model would pay better all round.

The reputation of the Dominion, to enhance which great sums are spent in advertising, would be advanced throughout the world if military men could truly say "Canada does this thing extremely well." This country needs nothing so much as the kind of pride which would thus be considerably fostered. Even as a matter of dollars and cents it would pay to make the "nucleus" exceedingly good, for its spirit, its economies, its efficiency, its perfect appearance, collectively and individually, the high character of its men and officers, would react on the entire volunteer force, and on the general population, too. It is a great thing to make a people proud of doing a difficult thing admirably. If the Government would appeal to this spirit, which was one of the best elements that contributed to the general regret for Lord Dundonald's departure, the people would respond heartily. Of course it would be necessary that the administration of the imagined, ideal little force should be high-minded and altogether devoted. That sort of administration cannot be got for a force conceived on a makeshift ideal. Sir Frederick Borden, the minister of militia, seems a big enough man to rise to the height of the argument, and Sir Wilfred Laurier is just the one to see the scheme put through in right shape, if once it fires his fine imagination.

There would be little use setting out on such a scheme, unless the remodelling of the uniform and equipment of the Canadian new model were patterned without the usual limitation of the British forces. In color, cut, texture, ease, the British soldier's garb is all wrong, and often idiotically so. His tight tunic, his comically useless forage cap, his clumsy boots, his belts, and buttons, and tightenings—they embarrass poor Tommy—they show that they were devised by a lot of military grannies who thought mainly of parade appearance and economy. The campaigning uniform of the American soldier is the real thing in comfort, and also in appearance, at least to those who think that nothing looks so well as what conforms to an ideal of efficiency. If the Canadian soldier were put into the hodden gray of his country, loosely made, and delivered from every vestige of the old "Fuss and feathers and button" aspect, he would present the appearance suitable to his work. Of course it scarcely matters a rap what garb you put on the sort of men who are apt to enlist in a low-paid, imitation-English force.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 11 June 2014

In Defence of "Spit and Polish"
Topic: Discipline

In Defence of "Spit and Polish"

Canadian Army Training Memorandum, No 62, May 1946

Canada is now engaged in the vital task of building a vigorous, streamlined army. One of the best methods of encouraging the right type of recruit is to impress upon him the smartness of the King's uniform and that means that every person now in uniform must be the acme of smartness in dress and bearing. Every officer should know his dress regulations and be able to instruct his men in them.

"I have heard it said that battles are not won on the parade ground. This is most untrue. `Spit and polish' is both a means and an end. It is the means of acquiring true discipline, morale and esprit de corps and it is the outward manifestation by which their presence is readily recognized and felt. It is not `eye wash', no mere frivolity, for it lives with the soldier in bivouac, marches with him in the field and bolsters his determination on the day of battle."

This statement was made by a U.S. Infantry officer in an article appealing for adequate recognition for the Infantry Corps. And it is timely. A Canadian officer has only to look about him to notice an ever-increasing untidiness in army dress. It can be explained, of course, by the fact that men in uniform now feel that because the battle is over, there is no longer any need to be quite so smart in their appearance, that they can relax. It can be explained — but it cannot be excused!

Those interested in the term "spit and polish" will find that it originated with the British soldier's traditional use of a little bit of "spit" and a lot of "polish" to bring boots and buttons to brilliance. Don't run away with the idea that this was primarily parade ground technique. "Spit and polish" also went with the British soldier into battle. The great captains of history realized that cleanliness, neatness and smartness went hand in hand with discipline in the making of a good soldier.

There has been considerable criticism by the public of the appearance of servicemen, particularly on the streets. This criticism dates from the end of the war. It was not vocal for a few months, citizens, in the main, taking the view that members of the Armed Forces deserved a hard-won opportunity to relax. Then things got worse. Many men began to look very untidy indeed! One of the most noticeable breaches of dress regulations was the appearance of men strolling along without head-dress; others included tunic collars open and no ties; pocket flaps open and pens and pencils showing; tunics and blouses unbuttoned an the way to the bottom; gaily-coloured socks worm with battle-dress; dirty brass and webb — the list is almost endless and covers dress from beret to boots.

It's an unpleasant picture — and a picture for which officers are in large part responsible. How many times have YOU walked along the street, noticed flagrant breaches of dress regulations and yet done nothing about it? You can't defend yourself by arguing that it's a job for the M.P.'s; it's primarily your responsibility — a responsibility you accepted when you received your commission.

Our army is only as good as its men. Trite but true. We can hardly say that the man is only as good as his dress, but we can say that a man is only as good as his discipline. Discipline is bound up with dress; discipline is a combination of alertness, cleanliness and a smart uniform.

The "show window" of the Canadian army is its dress. And it's the "show window" that the public sees. To them a slovenly soldier means a slovenly army.

To illustrate further: On VJ Day, CATM went about designing a cover for its next issue. It was to be dedicated to the private soldier who had played such a large part in winning the war. The artist sketched a soldier flushed with victory — and a two-day growth of beard. The editor submitted the sketch, for approval, to an officer who had commanded troops in battle.

"Fine", said the officer. "But why the beard?"

"Well, we thought … he's just come out of battle, sir."

"Battle, nothing! Whenever humanly possible, I saw to it that my men shaved — every morning — battle or no battle. That was in Italy, and I discovered that they felt better for it. A clean soldier makes a better fighter. You never saw a Canadian soldier with a stubble like that, even in action, if he had a commander worth his salt. Take his beard off!"

All ranks should be consciously proud of the King's uniform. It is the outward sign that they belong to the best and bravest profession. Fighting garb is a part of esprit de corps.

Canada is now engaged in the vital task of building a vigorous, streamlined army. One of the best methods of encouraging the right type of recruit is to impress upon him the smartness of the King's uniform and that means that every person now in uniform must be the acme of smartness in dress and bearing. Every officer should know his dress regulations and be able to instruct his men in them.

Remember: "Spit and polish" still plays its part in discipline and esprit de corps. "Spit and polish" by itself never won a war, but it is one of the biggest single factors in making soldiers who will.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Civil Defence Order 1959
Topic: Cold War

Civil Defence Order 1959

Extracted ftom the Canadian Army Manual of Training; Survival Operations (1961), (Revised May 1962); CAMT 2-91

1.     This Order may be cited as the Civil Defence Order, 1959.

2.     In this Order, the expression "civil defence powers, duties and functions includes powers, duties and functions relating to the matter of "preparation for civil defence against enemy action" mentioned in section 4 of the National Defence Act.

3.     The Minister of National Defence shall have and exercise the following civil defence powers, duties and functions:

a.     provision of technical facilities and operation of a system to give warning to the public of the likelihood and imminence of an attack;

b.     determining the location of a nuclear explosion and the pattern of fallout, and giving the necessary warning of fallout to the public;

c.     assessment of damage and casualties from attack and fallout;

d.     controlling, directing and carrying out re-entry into areas damaged by a nuclear explosion or contaminated by serious radioactive fallout, decontamination work in those areas, and the rescue and provision of first aid to those trapped or injured;

e.     direction of police and fire services in seriously damaged or contaminated areas which are the object of re-entry operations, including the control of traffic and movement of people in those areas;

f.     direction of municipal and other services for the maintenance and repair of water and sewer systems in seriously damaged or contaminated areas;

g.     provision of emergency support to provincial and municipal authorities in the maintenance of law and order and in dealing with panic or the breakdown of civilian authority; and

h.     maintenance and operation of emergency communication facilities.

4.     The Minister of National Health and Welfare shall have and exercise the following civil defence powers, duties and functions:

a.      assistance to provincial and municipal governments and to others in connection with the organization, preparation and operation of:

(1)     medical, nursing, hospital and public health services, and

(2)     services to provide emergency accommodation, emergency feeding, emergency supplies, guidance and welfare assistance for persons who have lost or left their homes because of acts of war or apprehended acts of war; and

b.     maintenance and operation of the Civil Defence School at Arnprior, Ontario.

5.     The Minister of Justice shall have, and through the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, shall exercise the civil defence power, duty and function to assist provincial governments and municipalities and their police forces, except as provided in section 3 above, in

a.     maintaining law and order; and

b.     controlling and directing traffic in connection with civil defence exercises and operations.

6.     The Prime Minister shall have, and through the Emergency Measures Organization, shall exercise the following civil defence powers, duties and functions:

a.     the ca-ordination of civil defence planning by departments and agencies of the Government of Canada;

b.     the preparation of civil defence plans in relation to matters that are not the responsibility of any other department or agency of the Government of Canada;

c.     assistance to provincial governments and municipalities in respect of preparation for civil defence where assistance is not the responsibility of any other department or agency of the Government of Canada; and

d.     general liaison with other countries, with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and with provincial governments on matters relating to civil defence.

7.     Where any matters in sections 3, 4, 5 or 6 would, but for this Order, be a power, duty or Function of a Minister other than the one referred to therein, that power, duty or function is hereby transferred to the Minister referred to in the section in which that matter is mentioned.

8.      This Order does not have the effect of transferring the control or supervision of any members of the public service from one Minister of the Crown to any other Minister of the Crown, or from one department or portion of the public service to any other department or portion of the public service."

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 9 June 2014

Royal Navy Abolishes the Whistle (1963)
Topic: RCN

Royal Navy Abolishes the Whistle

Ottawa Citizen, 14 May, 1963 By the Canadian Press

The 1937 manual of seamanship listed 22 pipes. This number was reduced to 15 in 1951 and now only six pipes are in general use in the RCN. There is no indication [in 1963] it plans to drop them.

"Incredible" says the Royal Canadian Navy report that the Royal Navy has abolished the boat-swain's call because public address systems have made it obsolete.

The call is a two-note musical instrument used to pipe orders. The 1937 manual of seamanship listed 22 pipes. This number was reduced to 15 in 1951 and now only six pipes are in general use in the RCN. There is no indication it plans to drop them.

The pipes still in use are the "still," "carry on," "general call," "pipe the side," "dinner," and "pipe down." The pipes which have fallen into disuse have to do mainly with heaving and hoisting; for instance, "heave round the capstan."

No one, with the exception of the Queen, is entitled to a pipe unless in naval uniform, "pipe the side" is jealously guarded as a mark of respect. It has its origin in the pipe used for hoisting a person in or out of ship by means of a yard-arm whip and boatswain's chair when the ship is at sea.

Started in Crusades

"Pipe down" means "hands turn in."

Every sailor must know how to use the call and how to pipe orders.

The use of the call dates back to the days of the Crusades, 1248 AD. The call was worn as an honoured badge of rank, probably because it had always been used to pass orders. It was worn as the badge of office of the Lord High Admiral of England between 1485 and 1562. It has been known as the boatswain's call since about 1671. Today the call is the badge of the Chief Boatswain's mate, quartermasters and boatswain's mates.

A naval tradition resulting from piping of orders is that whistling is forbidden in ships lest it be confused with the sound of the call.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 8 June 2014

Traditional Officers' Rank Insignia
Topic: Militaria

High resolution scan: Officers' cuff rank during the First World War.
Click for full-size.

Traditional Officers' Rank Insignia

In 2014, the Canadian Army was directed to change the officers' rank insignia from the stripes adopted on Unification of the Services back to a system of crowns and stars. Originally presumed to only require the removal of rank stripes from dress uniform tunics and the addition of new rank insgnia, the final plan will require the replacement of tunics for every officer. This additional requirement will increase the costs of this proposal, which was initially proposed, in part, as a low cost reversion to a system of rank badges that predated nearly every serving officer.

Now that the Royal Canadian Navy has returned to the executive curl on their officers' uniforms, and the Canadian Army is returning to crowns and stars, it remains to be seen if the Royal Canadian Air Force follows suit.

First World War

Army officers' rank badges could be found in two locations on the service dress uniform during the First Worls War. These are the cuff and the shoulders. Officers rank is indicated in cuff rank by stars and crowns and by the number of stripes around the cuff. On the shoulder the stars and crowns are used. ("Pips" is the commonly used name for the rank stars.)

Rank badges of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Source: Their Glory Cannot Fade, a souvenir pamphlet published by the Canadian Pacific Railway, Christmas, 1918.
Click on thumbnail images for full size.

Second World War

From the Canadian Army's 1942 Training Pamphlet No. 1, titled A General Instructional Background for the Young Soldier comes the following illustratings of traditional rank for the army, navy and air force.

The Canadian Army's New "Traditional" Rank Insignia

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 23 May 2014 2:26 PM EDT
Saturday, 7 June 2014

Garrisoning Halifax (1905)
Topic: Canadian Militia

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Garrisoning Halifax (1905)

Boston Evening Transcript; 5 May 1905

Canadians Not Martial

They Refuse Offer of Garrison Enlistment
Dominion Cannot Man the Coast Fortifications
Hardly a Hundred Men Take the Service

Washington, May 5—A Halifax despatch says:

Canada's attempt to garrison the fortifications at Halifax and Esquimault, B.C., with Canadian troops has, it is stated, practically failed. The recruiting officers sent to the cities and towns of the Dominion have been unable to enlist more than one hundred men. The Government also held out tempting offers to young Englishmen of military ambition to enlist in the Canadian army, but very few took advantage of the opportunity. Under the new plan the Imperial troops were to have left Halifax in July, but from the present outlook they will remain on this station for at least two years longer. So far, Canada has not sufficient troops to take over the garrisons, and a prominent imperial officer declares that the Fifth Royal Garrison Regiment will remain in Halifax, and that the Canadian Government will annually contribute $850,000 toward the maintenance of the Imperial troops.

Removal of the British garrisons in Canada, at first explained as a merely strategic measure for releasing the troops to other and more necessary service, was really a concession to Canada's desire for something approaching an independent establishment. The garrisons have been small, and their only usefulness, aside from showing Imperial sovereignty, was to keep up the fortifications. The Dominion Government has long contributed to the cost of keeping up and improving the coast fortifications, and it was gratifying to its pride to have them given into her exclusive charge. In 1903 an elaborate reorganization of the militia was begun, and it was announced that a naval reserve would be established by the incoming Parliament. These plans seem to have originated at the imperial conference of 1902, and to have taken definite shape about the time when Sir Frederick Borden, Canada's minister of militia and defence, was welcomed, in 1903, to the Imperial Defence Committee in London. An expert of the Royal Engineers, Captain Naish, soon afterward came out to serve the militia department as advisor on fortifications. An Ottawa Council for military administration, on the plan of the new London system, replaced the antiquated, unworkable scheme in which a general officer commanding was a perennial friction-maker. The limitation of the chief command to an officer of Old Country regulars was done away with. Ottawa's vote for military purposes was increased about one-half. This appeared superfluous at the time, but later all signs deemed to point to a previously concealed concert of Ottawa and London to put on Canadians the proper responsibility for their own defence.

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Boston Evening Transcript; 8 May 1905

Garrisoning Halifax

Canada Has Not Scored a Failure
Officials at Ottawa Deny the Reports That Not Enough Canadians Are Volunteering — Preparations for the Transfer Are, However, Proceeding Slowly, and the Date May Be Postpones — The Terms of Enlistment Comparatively Liberal — Respects in Which They Might Be Improved

By: E.W. Thomson
(Special Correspondence of the Transcript)

Ottawa, May 8—Officials of the Militia Department here deny the report that Canada has failed to enlist enough men for the permanent Dominion forces which are to replace the imperial garrisons at Halifax and Esquimault. Plenty of good men have volunteered and as many as are presently needed have been accepted. Reports to the contrary are fatuously spread by persons who dislike the transfer of the fortified places to Canada or who imagine that they may serve their own interests by trying to create an impression that the transfer will not be effected. There is not even a "hitch" in the process of devolution though it is true that the formal transfer may not occur as early as was expected, viz., on the first of July. The British War Department moves slowly and there is in the case no need for hurry. Indeed, some benefits may accrue from a few weeks or even months delay. Canada has plenty of men, but not plenty of trained men. You can't make efficient artillerymen and engineers in half a year. Certain experts of the imperial service may linger for some considerable time, aiding to train those who are to succeed them. It is possible some of the old country skilled men may be induced, by the goodwill of both Governments, to accept transfer from the Imperial to the Canadian service. Working out the details of the transfer takes time, it may take a trifle more time than was expected and that, according to the officials here, is all there is to the story that has been sent from Halifax to the United States press.

The total enlistment will be of about two thousand men. They are invited, by placards placed in many public places, to join "the permanent forces of Canada." Lord Dundonald wished Dominion forces to be dubbed "the Canadian Army," or the "Army of Canada," but the saving sense of humor intervened against the proposal. Also, it was obnoxious to the general Canadian dislike for and fear of "militarism." The country will be able to minimize or magnify its "permanent forces," or let them vanish away as softly if less suddenly than the Snark, without incurring the reproaches or suspicions that arise from monkeying with an "Army."

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To suppose that an abandonment of Canada by Great Britain is signified by the withdrawal of imperial forces, and the transfer of Halifax to those of Canada, is to wholly mistake the significance of the proceedings. The United States does not abandon Massachusetts in leaving the State military to the State—if one may say this without being supposed to misunderstand the relations of the State to the Federal Government. Great Britain does voluntarily, as a matter of high policy, what Washington has to do by the Constitution of the republic. Canada has gradually assumed voluntarily what Massachusetts retained on entering the Union—control of her entire militia system, and the taking over of Halifax and Esquimault is as if Massachusetts soldiers were to garrison federal fortifications in Massachusetts. The cases do not run exactly on all fours but there is no more breach of political connection in one instance of garrisoning than in the other.

The cheerful thing to observe is that John Bull has at last got it through his head that Canada is to be trusted to the last degree. And if Canada, of course the other great self-governing colonies. Now this implies, as surely as confidence begets affection in honorable hearts, a new drawing together of the British world. It implies at once an enhanced Colonial disposition to stand by the Old Country, and an increase of Colonial forces, voluntarily, the creating of new power to back up hearty sentiments. This results from a step in decentralization. What more probable than that the process of decentralization will thus be encouraged anew. Is not the very idea on which the programme of Imperial Federation began likely to be supplanted by the idea that a congeries of independencies under the common crown is the true solution of the British problem? It would seem that the great dream of Imperial Federation has performed its appointed work. Its champions, working twenty-five years with a splendid enthusiasm, have so affected the general hearty that their own plan is seen to be superfluous. A formal bond, a leash, could be but an embarrassment, a hindrance, to those on whom fortune and independence devolve by the same affections of the mothers, to whose glory and preservation they are bound by ties for which the words blood, and language, and gratitude, and history are but passionless symbols for sentiments that must endure as long as hearts throb and blood runs.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 6 June 2014

Canadians sink four German warships
Topic: The Field of Battle

A Universal Carrier of The Lake Superior Regiment, Cintheaux, France, 8 August 1944. Photographer: Ken Bell. MIKAN Number: 3396172. From the Library and Archives Canada Faces of the Second World War Collection.

Canadians sink four German warships with fire from tanks and infantry weapons

The Maple Leaf; 10 November, 1944
By: Capt. Jack Golding

Canada's soldiers have been credited with many bizarre accomplishments in their scrapping throughout France, Belgium and Holland but one of the most unique operations to date happened very recently when men of the Lake Superior Regiment and the 28th CAR (British Columbia Regiment) engaged four naval vessels in the little harbor of Zijpe on Duiveland, east of Steenbergen, and sank them with tank and infantry weapons.

They licked the Jerry patrol ships on their own home waters in one of the most lustrous actions f the Canuck fight along the uncomfortable Dutch front. All this happened amid the wild acclaim of a liberated and cooperative Flemish population at St. Phillipsland, where an old world atmosphere of costume and custom made the incident seem like a nebulous tale from Henty, the Arabian Nights or Edgar Allen Poe.



Personnel of The Lake Superior Regiment (Motor) with a captured German flag, Friesoythe, Germany, 16 April 1945. (In the group): Privates G.A. Visseau, T. Janakas, A.J.L. Poirier, E.H. Kanarr, G.A. Zeigel, G.E. Horn, Captains C.J. Crighton and E. Howe. Photographer: Alexander Mackenzie Stirton. MIKAN Number: 3229352. From the Library and Archives Canada Faces of the Second World War Collection.

A company of the Lake Superiors with some BCRs had finished their push to Bruges. They had been engaged in infantry work, uncommon to their role, and were assigned the task of moving out the St Phillipsland isthmus to take a look-see.

St Phillipsland they found to be a quaint Dutch village, bubbling with hilarity at liberation.

Here it was learned that German gunboats were across a 1,300 yard stratch of water opposite the tiny town of Sluis a bit farther up the isthmus. So Lieut Buck Wright, Kenora, was sent ahead by Capt Roy Styffe, company commander, Port Arthur.

Wright found a water tower at Sluis and clambered up to do a bit of O-pipping. To his amazement he saw men in German naval uniforms walking about blandly, Nazi ensigns flapping and leisurely activity in progress. He couldn't see all the scene for the little harbor was in two parts, divided in the center.

He reported back with the dope but his comrades thought the story a little tall. Finally they checked again and moved up a scout platoon, a troops of tanks, two six pounders and two three inch mortars. There weren't many men involved but the firepower was potent. The balance remained in Phillipsland.

Sgt Curley McLean, Fort William, and Sgt Reg Bullough handled the six pounders and mortars and Lieut Dusty Gopele of the BCR's growled his tanks into position. They estimated ranges and let go!

Plenty of stuff crossed the water to the Jerry navy for five minutes, then reprisal began. They poured it back in a hurry, for each of the four boats there, one like a small corvette and the other three converted landing craft, carried two 88's, two 20 centimeter guns, plenty of machine guns and were manned by 50 to 60 men apiece.

The Canadian regrouped their tanks behind dykes; used indirect fire on corrected ranging and kept the barrels hot for 10 minutes.

Then the enemy stopped suddenly.

All that night the Canadians kept the sky alight with mortar flares for they didn't want the pint-sized flotilla to escape. No move to depart eas in evidence. The boys thought they had gone, however, for they received a civilian report to that effect.

Capt Styffe decided it was time to investigate matter so he, Lieut Bernard Black, Fort William, and Lieut Tommy Henderson, Winnipeg, plus 40 men set sail on their own private invasion in three small boats. One was a cutter, one a fishing schooner and the other a police boat. They needed the latter for there weren't enough Mae Wests to go around.

Capt Styffe had a radio aboard and he kept contact with Wright and Gopele on the front at Sluis. They landed to the left of Zijpe; slipped around toward the back of the harbour under covering fire by Henderson and his men at the beach head and kept their fingers crossed.

On entering the town the first place they struck was the naval commander's billets. Warm food was on the table and there was every evidence of a hurried departure. They ran into four Jerries in the street and relegated them to their forefathers. They thought they saw some masts sticking up at the outer part of the harbor, shielded from view of the force near Sluis.

Black, Cpl M.M. Shaw, Chatham, Ont., and Cpl T.E. Mitchell, Toronto, got a rubber dinghy and paddled out. It was cold and wet and a high November wind whipped the water into a choppy surge. It was true! The three converted landing craft were sunk and the corvette was afire. No-one would believe this. The just had to get proof.

Ensigns as Evidence.

So the intrepid three sailed the bumpy water and grabbed some Nazi ensigns. Then the assault force returned to St Phillipsland with the tale of their success.—and the white hooded Dutch women and their husbands were delighted.

Lieut Blackwas itchy the next day and he persuaded his OC to let him go back again. This time he took Cpl Mitchell, Pte R.A. Cox, Saskatchewan, and Pte L.M. Seeley, Snowden, Sask. What they didn't find wasn't worth finding. Fire had reached the ship's magazine and shrapnel was flying about.

The corvette type craft yielded full length leather suits, silk underwear and champagne. Twenty Germans had been killed and 80 wounded. The rest had flown to the nethermost part of the island. It had been an "Iron Cross" ship with a kill to its credit. The citizens rounded up five Hun sailors and two collaborators.

Another of the patrol vessels had two aircraft to its credit.

Captain's Body Found

At 1,300 yard the Canuck mortars, six pounders and 17 pounders had smacked their targets on the button. The tank fire had sunk the boats. One shell went through four and a half inches of steel and a half inch of concrete on the bridge of the larger vessel to kill the captain. His body was found lying in the wheelhouse with his hands still in his pockets. It was the AF 92.

Prisoners told the Canadians that they, too, had seen them early in the show when neither side knew the other was near. They had reported seeing Allied soldiers but were "pooh poohed" and told they were Nazi paratroopers. They claimed not to like the Nazi regime, but were reported to be well trained men.

The Canadians didn't have a single casualty.

When Capt Styffe received the ship's log, he made the last entry: "Gersunken by Lake Superior Regiment—Canadian Army."

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 5 June 2014

A Good Soldier
Topic: Discipline

A Good Soldier

Major General Christopher Vokes CB CBE DSO CD (13 April 1904 – 27 March 1985)

By Maj.-Gen. Christopher Vokes, General Officer Commanding, Western Command, Edmonton, Alberta
Canadian Army Journal, Vol 7, No 2, July 1953

To be known as a good soldier by his comrades, his subordinates and his superiors in rank, should be the goal of every soldier in the Canadian Army. It is the height of military achievement no matter what the rank. Skill-at-arms is not the only requirement for this. There is much more to it. In addition, the soldier must possess in himself:

1.     A strong sense of duty;

2.     Honesty;

3.     Willing obedience;

4.     A respect for authority – military or civil;

5.     Decent manners, morals and speech; and

6.     Loyalty to his comrades, to his unit and to the Canadian Army in which he has the honour to serve.

A good soldier is a man skilled in the profession of arms who by his personal conduct earns and holds the respect of his fellow Canadians, whether soldiers or civilians.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 4 June 2014

3.5-inch Rocket Launcher (M20 Super Bazooka)
Topic: Militaria


Amendment No. 1

"Until such time as men become proficient in the firing of the rocket launcher, all practices will be fired with the rocket launcher rested in either filled sandbags or on the bipod."


Rocket Launcher – 3.5 Inch; M20

CATP 11-7; 1952


(a)     The launcher is carried as a two-piece unit which is assembled into a 60 3/4-inch launcher for firing.

(b)     A magneto-type firing device in the firing grip provides the current used for firing the rocket.

(c)     There is very little recoil as the rocket is jet-propelled.

(d)     There is a definite backblast.

(e)     It is highly mobile (the launcher weighs 14 lbs.), and it is operated by two men.


(f)     The HEAT (high explosive, anti-tank) rocket will penetrate 11 inches of homogeneous armour plate.

(g)     The maximum range of the rocket is 960 yards.

(h)     The rocket weighs 8 ½ lbs., and has a muzzle velocity of 340 feet per second.

(j)     The HEAT rocket is used primarily against tanks; it can be used against secondary targets such as gun emplacements, pill boxes, and personnel. It will penetrate 12 inches of masonry or timber. It has a fragmentation area of 25 yards radius from the point of impact.

Note:…Impact with mud, sand, or water may not detonate the rocket.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Manual of Field Engineering (1911)
Topic: CEF

Manual of Field Engineering (1911)

1.     By Field Fortifications is implied all those measures which may be taken for the defence of positions intended to be only temporarily held. Works of this kind are executed either in face of the enemy or in immediate anticipation of his approach.

2.     Field Fortification presupposes a defensive attitude, and, though recourse to it may under certain circumstances be desirable, it must always be regarded as a means to an end, and not an end in itself.

3.     The principal aim of field fortification is to enable the soldier to use his weapons with the gates effect, the second to protect him against the adversary's fire. By thus reducing losses and increasing the power of resistance in any part of the theatre of operations or field of battle, more troops are available to swell the force destines for decisive action there of elsewhere.

Thus begins the 1911 Manual of Field Fortification. Many people perceive the beginning of trench warfare was during the First World War, where th occupation and fighting from extensive trench systems was a defining feature of the western front in France and Flanders. But the concepts of trenching and trench warfare were well developed before they were tested on such a massive scale between 1914 and 1918.

The manual shows, in its language and diagrams, its point of evolution from classic siege warfare entrenchments to the more expedient infantry entrenchments of the American Civil War and the Russo-Japanese War, both of which had British Army officers observing their actions, and the South African War. With Manuals such as this one, officers of the British army and the Canadian Expeditionary Force had a ready manual for the basics of field fortifications in hand as they took to the field of battle.

The following points should be borne in mind when examining a locality which it is desired to strengthen:…

(a)     The strong and weak points of the position to be defended should be carefully studied, and the site for entrenchments chosen with due regard to tactical requirements and economy of men.

(b)     The enemy in attacking should be exposed to the fire of the defenders, more especially for the last 300 to 400 yards. To ensure this, the foreground may require clearing.

(c)     The enemy should be deceived as to the strength and dispositions of the defending troops, and the character of their works.

(d)     The defenders should be screened from the enemy's view, and sheltered from his fire by natural or artificial cover, so arranged as to permit the maximum development of their own rifle fire.

(e)     The free movement of the attacking troops should be hampered by obstacles to detain them under fire and to break their order of attack.

(f)     The free movement of the defenders should be facilitated by improving communications within their position, and clearing the way for counter attack.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 19 May 2014 4:13 PM EDT
Monday, 2 June 2014

The General's Inspection
Topic: Humour


Tank crews of The British Columbia Dragoons lined up in front of their Sherman tanks during a review by General H.D.G. Crerar followed by a mounted marchpast, Eelde, Netherlands, 23 May 1945.
Photographer: Jack H. Smith. Mikan Number: 3223023.
From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

The General's Inspection

By Colonel E. R. Rivers-Macpherson, OB, Ottawa, (Late The Gordon Highlanders)
Canadian Army Journal, Vol 11, No 1, Jan 1957

How often one looks back and smiles on the harmless subterfuges we used to resort to in the old days to try, if possible, to deceive the General on his annual inspection of the regiment. I expect the General smiled too-well remembering that he had done the self-same things, though the technique had altered somewhat over the years. [This anecdote appeared originally in The Forces Magazine (United Kingdom) and is reproduced by courtesy of that magazine and the author. - Editor, CAJ.]

"I well remember one such inspection when I was a very young subaltern. In the early part of the century, long before the NAAFI came into being, the regiment ran its own canteen and recreation rooms, then known as the "Regimental Institutes". The junior subalterns all took it in turn to keep the accounts under the Second-in-Command. The annual GOC's inspection coincided with my tour of duty and I thus became enmeshed in the intrigue whether I liked it or not. The great day drew near, and as the recreation room was not very popular with the troops (it was very dark, gloomy, and most unattractive), I was instructed to parade enough men of my Company and to distribute them around the tables playing checkers, dominoes, cards, etc. The idea was to impress the General with the popularity of the room. I was further told to arrange for a young drummer to remove a book ("Pilgrim's Progress") from the bookshelf as the General came around. The General was delighted to see the room crowded and beamed on the smiling faces of the men (the Sergeant-Major had previously ordered them to "smile happily" when the General entered the room). "Splendid! Splendid!" remarked the GOC. "Jolly good show!" (He probably wondered why he had never thought that one up when he was a subaltern!). Then going up to a young soldier, he said: "Well, my man what a real home-from-home you have here. I suppose you spend all your spare time here?" "Beggin' your pardon, sir," replied the soldier, "I nivver enter this perish'n rat-hole, and I only came here today `cause I was blinkin' well marched in." There was complete consternation around, of course. I could see the General longing to guffaw but, controlling himself, he made some excuse and left the room, only giving a casual glance at my cherubic drummer who was piously engrossed in "Pilgrim's Progress"! Well, I expect the same kind of dodges are being perpetrated today when the Generals inspect the regiments. And, you know, I really think the old boys get a kick out of it too!"

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 1 June 2014

Battle Honours; not a scoring system
Topic: Battle Honours

Retired Colours of The Royal Canadian Regiment, in the Quiet Room (chapel) of The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum, London, Ontario.

Battle Honours; not a scoring system

"Battle Honours,", Major T.J. Edwards, M.B.E., F.R.Hist.S.
The Army Quarterly and Defence Journal, Volume LXXIII, January 1957

The publication of awards [i.e., Battle Honours] to regiments for the [Second World War] will inevitably cause those "enthusiasts" who make a hobby of totting up each regiment's list to declare that this or that regiment is the "best" on active service, whatever that might mean, because it has more "names" of actions than any other regiment. It is impossible to assess the value of regiments or corps on this basis, if only for the fact that not all are granted battle honours, and never have been, although practically all are represented in every expedition of any size. There are other reasons also. Some regiments have been awarded honours when their strength at some engagements was well below 50 per cent, a fact which applies to composite battalions particularly. One Regular Regiment bears an honour though it had less than 25 per cent and no headquarters in the campaign. As already shown, honours have not been granted under identical rules, e.g., for the three days' hard fighting 16th-18th June, 1815, the solitary honour "Waterloo" was awarded, yet some quite minor affairs of a few hours' duration in the Middle and far east have been commemorated by battle honours for each. For some campaigns an honour has been granted for each separate action, and, in addition, a campaign honour, e.g., "Peninsula" and "Afghanistan, 1878-79," whereas in other campaigns no campaign honour has been awarded, e.g., Marlborough's wars, the Crimea, Indian Mutiny, Mahratta war. The mention of Marlborough's wars reminds one that no honours at all have been awarded for the concurrent operations in Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession, except for the capture of Gibraltar. There are far too many variable features connected with this question to enable anything like an accurate assessment to be made.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 1 June 2014 12:06 AM EDT
Saturday, 31 May 2014

Assimilation of New Weapons
Topic: Military Theory

Assimilation of New Weapons

The Evolution of Weapons and Warfare, Colonel T.N. Dupuy, 1980

The invention of a weapon that is potentially more lethal is only the first of three steps toward realization of that lethality. It must be adopted by a military establishment, and it must be assimilated into tactics, doctrine and organization.

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The invention of a workable weapon has not in the past guaranteed either that it would be promptly purchased by any armed force or that, if bought, it would be purchased in sufficient quantity to be standard issue.

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It is fairly easy to ascertain from observation or from the record that a weapon has not been assimilated, that is, that its capabilities are not fully realized and it is not being used to the best advantage. It is almost as easy to recognize that a weapon has in fact been assimilated and is an effective part of a military establishment. But it is less easy to pinpoint exactly when the process of assimilation was accomplished.

When a radically new weapon appears and is first adopted, it is inherently incongruous with existing weapons and doctrine. This is reflected in a number of ways: uncertainly and hesitation in coordination of the new weapon with earlier ones; inability to use it consistently, effectively, and flexibly in offensive action, which often leads to tactical stalemate; vulnerability of the weapon and of its users to hostile countermeasures; heavy losses incident to the employment of the new weapon, or in attempting to oppose it in combat. From this it is possible to establish the following criteria of assimilation:

a.     Confident employment of the weapon in accordance with a doctrine that ensures its coordination with other weapons in a manner compatible with the characteristics of each.

b.     Consistently effective, flexible use of weapon in offensive warfare, permitting full employment of the advantages of superior leadership and/or superior resources.

c.     Capability of dealing effectively with anticipated and unanticipated countermeasures.

d. Sharp decline in casualties for those employing the weapon, often combined with a capability for inflicting disproportionately heavy losses on the enemy.

There have been three basic preconditions historically for assimilation of new weapons or ideas:

1.     An imaginative, knowledgeable leadership focused on military affairs, supported by extensive knowledge of, and competence in, the nature and background of the existing military system.

2.     Effective coordination of the nation's economic, technological-scientific, and military resources.

3.     Opportunity for battlefield experimentation as a basis for evaluation and analysis.

When these conditions have been present, there has usually been a time lag of approximately twenty years, or one generation, between the initial experimental adoption of a new weapon and its full assimilation. It is notable that this time lag does not seem to have changed much over the course of the past century, despite the fact that science and technology have been producing new weapons, or adaptations of weapons, in accelerating numbers and at an accelerated pace. When the conditions have not been present (which was frequently the case before 1830), the process of assimilation has been slower.

New weapons, or modifications of new weapons, have generally been developed because scientists, technicians, or soldiers have perceived an opportunity to develop a new weapon or improve an existing one. Only rarely have new weapons been designed for the specific purpose of coping with a tactical problem.

There has been a natural reluctance to make a sweeping change in tactics, or organization, by widespread adoption of a new and untried weapon before it has been thoroughly investigated under battle conditions. There is some evidence (not conclusive) that intelligent boldness in this respect can pay handsome dividends (as in the case of Prussian adoption of needle guns). Despite this reluctance and despite the likelihood that optimum assimilation will be impossible without battlefield testing, the increasing pace of invention is placing pressure on the military today to make such sweeping changes.

elipsis graphic

The German experience and those of the other great powers who have followed the German pioneering work in general-staff concepts and in related military affairs to national society as a whole suggest additional preconditions for assimilation in the mid-twentieth century:

a.     There must exist industrial or developmental research institutions, basic research institutions, military staffs and their supporting institutions, together with administrative arrangements for linking these with one another and with top decision-making echelons of government.

b.     These bodies must conduct their research, developmental, and testing activities according to mutually familiar methods so that their personnel can communicate, can be mutually supporting, and can evaluate each other's results.

c.     The efforts of these institutions—in related matters—must be directed toward a common goal.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 31 May 2014 12:36 AM EDT
Friday, 30 May 2014

Responsibilities of the Staff
Topic: Military Theory

The front gates of Fort Frontenac, Kingston, Ontario,
home of the Canadian Army Command and Staff College.

Responsibilities of the Staff (1899)

From the Lecture on "The Evolution of the Canadian Army" by Capt. C.F. Winter, the G.G. Foot Guards; The Officers' Association of the Militia of Canada; Transactions of the Semi-Annual Meeting 1899

In peace time the General Staff work out all details belonging to mobilization, marching, stationing, manoeuvres, and all military matters connected with railways and telegraphs. They should study all possible theatres of war — the preparation of maps, and the elaboration of plans, &c., for possible movements based upon a careful study of past experiences in similar emergencies also the instruction of younger officers in Staff duties.

In war time their duties become of greater importance. They are thus laid down by General von Schellendorf:—

1.     Working out ail arrangements for the quartering, security, marching and fighting of troops, according to the varying conditions of the military situation.

2.     Communicating the necessary orders, either verbally or in writing, at the right time and in sufficient detail.

3.     Obtaining, collecting and working out in order all materials which concern the natural and the military features of the theatre of war and the procuring of maps.

4.     Collecting and estimating the value of information received concerning the enemy's forces and reporting on the same to the higher military authorities.

5.     Keeping up the fighting condition of the troops and being constantly informed of their condition in every respect.

6.     Charge of day books publishing reports of engagements and the collection of important materials to afterwards form a history of the war.

7.     Special duties, viz: — reconnaissances.

Now you may have possibly gathered from all this that this General Staff becomes a lot of "knows-alls" with perhaps "swelled heads," and form a sort of Corps of Officers of somewhat different make-up to the other officers of in the National Force, but this is quite an error — in all the larger European Armies experience has taught that officers selected and trained in the duties of the General Staff are kept at their best by frequent returns to regimental duty and periods of training with the different arms. There is no desire to place themselves on a superior plane to their regimental comrades, but rather to ensure throughout the whole army of the country that systematical co-operation which alone can give success to any military effort. It is to this end that the initial training of a party of our Officers is now proceeding under Col. Kitson at the Royal Military College, Kingston.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 29 May 2014

German Infantry in Action (1941)
Topic: Drill and Training

German_Infantry_in_Action_coverGerman Infantry in Action (1941)

German Infantry in Action (Minor Tactics), Prepared by the General Staff, The War Office, February, 1941; Reprinted in Canada, May 1941.

Section Formations

There are two normal formations for the section when extended, i.e., single file and extended line. The section should only be split up in exceptional circumstances, and if it is, must still operate as a complete unit.

Platoon Formations

The platoon normally deploys into one of two formations, 1.e., arrowhead or wide arrowhead. The platoon commander can, however, order other formations, e.g., sections one behind the other in file or single file or two sections forward and two in rear.

Company Formations

The Company normally deploys in one of two formations, i.e., arrowhead or wide arrowhead. The distances between platoons are given only as a guide.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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