The Minute Book
Sunday, 6 July 2014

War Inventions, Discoveries, Science
Topic: CEF

War Inventions, Discoveries, Science

The Canadian Annual Review War Series; 1918, by J. Castell Hopkins, F.S.S., F.R.G.S., published 1919 (pp. 71-74)

An important phase of the [First World] War which developed along opposing lines was that of discoveries in science and medicine and surgery, inventions in killing and curing, in transportation and industry. Aviation, from a painful effort by isolated enthusiasts, became one of the wonders of the War and one of its most effective instruments; Submarines from a Jules Verne atmosphere of utter improbability assumed a status which imperilled the commerce, shipping and transportation of the world; motor-cycles, motor-lorries, automobiles, electric trucks, many and varied forms of electric transport assumed a place of fundamental importance in the carriage of millions of men and hundreds of millions of tons of supplies, of artillery, of ammunition, &c. in motor-cycles alone the Germans used about 18,000 at the first Battle of the Marne, the British had 40,000 in the spring of 1915 and the French 11,000 while the total in use by all the belligerants during the War ran up to one million in number. Huge Tanks, super-tanks and little whippets, revolutionized the practices of war over difficult country and largely contributed to solve the trench problem which for two years had held up armies of millions and caused many sanguinary conflicts. To British ingenuity and initiative was due this discovery as were the chief Aeroplane war-improvements of the period. To Italy and the genius of Marconi were due the discovery and, first uses of Wireless Telegraphy; to War requirements were due the tremendous adaptations of this discovery between ships, and under water, in aeroplanes and moving trains, between countries and Continents.

When the War commenced Germany was popularly supposed to lead the world in scientific implements of warfare; as a matter of fact she lead chiefly in preparedness and quantity. As the struggle developed initiative passed to the British Allies whose aeroplanes knocked out the Zeppelins just as the British tank was perfected in face of German ridicule and the Machine gun, originally invented by a Frenchman, was perfected in the British Maxim. The British made the first big bombing war-plane—the Handley Page—and the German Gotha was only an inferior copy; the Stokes trench-mortar revolutionized for British armies the use of this otherwise ancient weapon. Poison gas was one of the German inventions, or adaptations of ancient barbaric warfare, with ; which they hoped to win and perhaps might have done so by its earlier use yet in 1918 they were denouncing the cruelty of Allied application of an improved and more powerful gas and declaring it contrary to Hague declarations! So effective had it become in their enemy's hands that Canadians on the Lens' front in one night alone, and in the greatest of the War's gas effects, projected 80 tons of liquid gas against the German lines. Meantime the horrible "mustard" gas had been invented by the Germans and at the close of the War the Americans had vast quantities of a new gas ready for use.

In Naval types and designs the British were dominant—even the Submarine in its discovery being a mixture of American and British inventiveness. There was the Super-dreadnaught with its biggest of all guns and its vast machinery oil-fired and turbine driven, there were the fastest of light cruisers, the Super-destroyer, the Coastal motor-boat. The invention of the Turbine was claimed by Americans as well as British; the first turbine ship was the Turbinia, a British Naval craft. The torpedo originally was a British invention as was the system of combined gun-fire on a battle-ship; the depth charge or water-bomb which did so much to arrest Submarine supremacy, also, was of British origin. Other inventions, mostly British in invention or application, were the listening or sound device by which Submarines could be heard and exactly located under water at a considerable distance—a sort of water Wireless which, also, promised to be most useful in days of peace and the marine under-water telephone or picking up of the human voice from one Submarine to another. The manufacture or preliminary use of concrete ships became a fact in Canada, and elsewhere, and might in time have proved another fatal obstacle to the submarine. Aero-photography was developed from aeroplanes to a high degree of scientific and war effectiveness. The utilization of rubbish, of war debris, of torn and smashed weapons, shells, fragments of castaway food, or garments, or utensils, was brought to a point of wonderful effectiveness. The dust-tin or garbage-can was mobilized throughout England and France, fertilizers were extracted from refuse, shipping was salvaged to a quite remarkable extent, bones were turned into glue or phosphates, or glycerine. Germany in these latter points had acknowledged eminence; isolation, necessity, scientific precision of knowledge, and application along certain lines, wrought wonders in the form of substitutes.

Surgical and medical developments were one of the miracles of War. That, with the single exception of the Influenza epidemic near its close, 50,000,000 men could grapple over a term of years in deadly conflict, amid the devastation of whole countries and nations, without any general spread of contagious diseases, or epidemics of deadly and world-wide nature, was due to expert sanitation and surgery. There were, of course, local exceptions such as the Typhus which ravaged Serbia early in the War and at times attacked the Austrian and German armies; but, as a whole, these conditions were not of the nature so greatly feared in preceding wars. The use of anti-typhoid and anti-tetanus sera to prevent infection was wide-spread and to these and other advanced application of bacteriology, with hygiene and sanitation, the British and French armies owed their wonderful health. So, with the large proportion of wounded men saved as to their lives, or made efficient again as fighting units or private citizens, the result was due (1) to the masterly control of wound infections and (2) to a surgery such as the world had never before known or believed to be possible. As to the former the Germans claimed that at least 60 per cent. of their wounded returned to the field; it was alleged by Allied medical men that of the wounded who survived 6 hours 90% recovered. Anaesthetics and antiseptics had much to do with this and Dr. Woods Hutchinson in his book, The Doctor in War, declared after a year at the Allied front that chlorin had saved more lives in wounds and in drinking water than it had killed in gas:

The armies in Flanders and Northern France last winter, out in open trenches in some of the vilest and 'sickliest' weather troops ever had to face, had less sickness and fewer deaths from pneumonia and all other diseases than they used to have in barracks in time of peace, and far less than the general civil population at home. Instead of five men dying of disease to every one in battle, in the British army on the Western front, only one life has been lost by disease to every ten in battle. In fact, disease as a factor in the Army death rate has been almost wiped out, completely so in the sense that the amount of sickness in the camp and the deaths from disease at the Front have been barely half what they were in barracks in times of peace.

As to Surgery the most marvellous things were done in saving life to the smashed and broken human frame or in replacing flesh and skin with imitations which seemed to take the place of the original. Let a quotation from Colonel Pierre Duval of the French Reserve Medical Corps, as expressed (Nov. 1, 1918) at Fort Oglethorpe, in the United States, indicate the surgical situation: "I have removed the human lung from the chest cavity with forceps, tied its bleeding blood vessels, cleansed its outer surface and while still holding it in my hands and manipulatingit as you would a handkerchief, I have run thin pieces of gauze up its tracts. Feeling my way carefully along its walls I have removed a bullet or shell fragment. Then, after suturing the aperture, I have placed the respiratory organ back into the cavity of the chest. In two-thirds of the cases upon which I have so operated the patient lived."

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 5 July 2014

RCR Returm to Wolseley Barracks
Topic: The RCR

Royal Canadians Returned Today

Recalls Departure of Little Company in August, 1914
Fine Record in War
Reorganized Regiment Is Under Command of Lieut.-Col. Hill

The Free Press, London, Ontario; 7 December 1920

Shortly after 2 o'clock this afternoon the detachment of the Royal Canadian Regiment, which is to constitute the permanent force for Military District No. 1, in this city, was officially welcomed to the city by Mayor E.S. Little.

The R.C.R. left Toronto at 10 o'clock and detrained at the Quebec street station, where they received the official welcome of the city. The detachment numbers about 200 officers and men, and is under the command of Lieut.-Col. Hill.

Six years ago last August, "K" Company, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, then engaged in musketry training at the Cove ranges, entrained here for Halifax on mobilization orders, and the departure of the only permanent force unit in London district brought home to citizens here more vividly the meaning of Great Britain's declaration of war a few hours later. It was the first time Wolseley Barracks had been without an infantry detachment since the opening of the Royal Infantry School on March 31, 1888, with Lieut.-Col. (now Brig.-Gen.) Henry Smith as Commandant. From the outbreak of the war until after its close there were expeditionary force troops here in varying numbers, but the first permanent force unit to be stationed here since was the new P.P.C.L.I., now transferred.

Lt.-Col. C.H. Hill, D.S.O. (1919)

Lt.-Col. C.H. Hill, D.S.O., Commanding Officer (1919)

The return of the Royal Canadians brings headquarters and two double companies, or more than half the personnel of the regiment. The detachment which left London in 1914, under Capt. (now Lieut.-Col. C.H. Hill, was 40 strong. Lieut.-Col. Hill now commands the regiment.

The Royal Canadian Regiment was established on December 21, 1883. Service overseas was under C.E.F. terms of enlistment and the three-year term in the permanent force expired long before the war was over. But a regiment never dies, and there was still a framework with which to carry on when the R.C.R., C.E.F. was disbanded last fall. The Government then inaugurated a two-year term of enlistment and began recruiting for the three permanent infantry regiments, which replace the one existing before the war—the R.C.R.

The R.C.R. took part in the operations of 1885, went to South Africa in 1899, sent a disciplinary force to the Yukon in 1899, and added luster to Canada's fame in South Africa. Their deeds of valour in the late war were many, and their list of battle honours long.

In the Great War

On the outbreak of the European war the regiment was mobilized at Halifax and brought to war strength by a draft of 900 men at Camp Valcartier. The regiment was then, on September 9, sent to Bermuda to relieve the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, remained there until August of the following year, when relieved by the 38th Battalion, C.E.F. It then proceeded to France via England, where it was rearmed and re-equipped.

On November 1, 1915, the R.C.R. landed at Boulogne and moved up to the line, becoming Corps troops under Lieut.-Gen. Sir A.E.H. Alderson, K.C.B. It went into the trenches for the first time at Messines with the 1st Canadian Division.

At the beginning of 1916 it was one of the battalions comprising the 7th C.I.B., under Brig.-Gen. A.C. Macdonell, C.M.G., D.S.O., of the newly formed 3rd Canadian Division, under Major-General Mercer, C.B. The brigade consisted of the Royal Canadian Regiment, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, 42nd Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, 49th Battalion, Edmonton Regiment.

The regiment's first general action was that of the German attack on June 2 and 5, on Sanctuary Wood and Hooge, in the salient.

Between June and August the regiment carried on trench raids. In September it moved south to the Somme, where they took part on September 15 in attacks on the enemy northeast of Courcelette. Again the following day, the 16th, two companies of the regiment, with the 42nd Battalion, R.H.C., attacked in broad daylight over ground heavily swept by machine gun and rifle fire, being practically wiped out when 500 yards from the enemy trench, where the whole battalion was reduced to less than 100 fighting men.

In November the R.C.R. moved to Neuville St. Vaast near Vimy Ridge, where nothing of much importance took place, as this was a very quiet sector, although some successful raids were carried out. On April 9 the regiment took part in the attack on Vimy Ridge on a three-company frontage with one company in support. This was one of the most perfectly planned and executed attacks, and every man knew what his job was, and for two months they had practiced over taps trenches. Although we suffered very heavy casualties, both in officers and in men, still very heavy casualties were inflicted upon the enemy and many prisoners taken.

Hill 70 and Lens

At the end of April, 1917, the regiment took part in Hill 70, suffering heavy casualties, and later moved south of Lens, opposite Memcourt. At the end of October it moved up north and took part in the attack on Passchendaele and later, on November 14, held the line here for three days until relieved by the Imperials. Christmas day was spent in Gouchey Valley with the Brigade in the line at Lierin, opposite Lens. In February, 1918, it moved to "Le Pendu" Camp, near Mont St. Eloy; moved in line opposite Avion and put in 56 days in the front and support lines. On May 1 they were relieved by Imperials and moved out to Bourecq, between Aire and Lillers. Here the division came under General Foch and was known as general reserve. At the end of June it moved into the line south of Arras, at Neuville Vitasse, and later to Amiens, where on August 8 it took part in the battle of Amiens, connecting up with the French army, who were also in this attack. Later on in August it moved again to Arras and on August 26 attacked Monchey-le-Preux, where they suffered very heavy casualties.

Lieut. Milton Fowler Gregg, V.C., M.C. Lieut. Milton Fowler Gregg, V.C., M.C.

Lieut. Milton Fowler Gregg, V.C., M.C.

Later in September the regiment took part in the battle of Cambrai, where it suffered very heavy casualties, losing 22 officers and very many men. Here the adjutant was killed and the commanding officer wounded. The latter was then Col. C.R.E. Willetts, D.S.O., who now commands the P.P.C.L.I.

At the end of October the R.C.R. took part in the action at Bois de Raimes, north of Valenciennes, and on November 10 followed up the enemy with the 42nd R.H.C. and were the first troops to capture and enter Mons.

Lt.-Col. C.R.E. Willets, D.S.O.

Lt.-Col. C.R.E. Willets, D.S.O. (1918)

The division did not go to Germany, but was kept in the vicinity of Mons and Brussels, where later in January, 1919, started to move back towards the base, then proceeded to Bramshott, England, and arrived home on March 8 in Halifax, where it was disbanded as a C.E.F. unit.

Numerous decorations were won, Lt. Milton Fowler Gregg winning the V.C. at Cambrai.

The regiment was commanded by Lieut.-Col. A.H. Macdonnell, C.M.S., D.S.O., on first going to France, and in April, 1916, Lieut.-Col. C.H. Hill, D.S.O., took over command and held it until June, 1918, when it was commanded by Lieut.-Col. C.R.E. Willetts, D.S.O., who held command until wounded at the battle of Cambrai. The command was then taken over by Lieut.-Col. George MacLeod, D.S.O., formerly 49th Battalion, who held the command until February, 1919, when the command was again taken over by Lieut.-Col. Hill, D.S.O., who brought the regiment back to Canada.

Researching The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 4 July 2014

The Mainguy Report - Recommendations for Improvements
Topic: RCN

HMCS Magnificent

The Mainguy Report (1949)

Historic Report

Ottawa Citizen; 2 Nov 1949
By the Canadian Press

The naval report, tabled in the Commons by Defence Minister Claxton, found "evidence of general inexperience of many officers, chiefs and petty officers" aboard the warships involved and criticized the failure to punish the offenders.

The report by Rear Admiral E.R. Mainguy, chief naval officer on the Atlantic Coast, Leonard W. Brockington, Ottawa lawyer, and L.C. Audette, wartime naval officer and a member of the Canadian Maritime Commission, constitutes a landmark in Canada's naval story. It has already gone out to all ships and 5,000 additional copies are being printed for the men.

It bared a broad demand within the ranks for "canadianization" of the force and underlines unfavorable results that sometimes arise when Canadian officers, given British naval training at a formative stage, come to handle the Canadian sailor who "is not the same kind of man" as the British Tar.

Recommendations for Improvements in Navy

Ottawa Citizen; 2 November 1949
By the Canadian Press

Here, briefly, are the major recommendations of a three-man commission for improvements in Canada's navy.

Defence Minister Claxton said yesterday that of 41 recommendations virtually half have been or are being implemented and others are under study.

These are the recommendations and, in brackets, an explanation of what is being done about them:

1.     The navy should be given a breathing space for essential training and the strengthening of men and ships. (The navy's main functions are absorption of new men and anti-submarine training.)

2.     One or more training ships should be commissioned to extending and intensifying officer training. (The cruiser Ontario has been assigned to full-time training duties.)

3.     The "bed-of-roses" approach to recruiting through professional advertising channels should be eliminated. ("Full cognizance of the recommendation has been taken.")

4.     All recruits should be class as ordinary seaman and not assigned specific roles until towards the end of new-entry training.

Fully Equipped

5.     Recruits should be fully equipped with uniform and kit. (Mr. Claxton said at a press conference that this has been fixed up and only occurred at one period because of the high rate of influx.)

6.     Greater emphasis should be placed in recruit-training on the traditions of naval service, the navy's customs and place. (With the opening of a recruit-training base at Cornwallis, "a far greater emphasis has been placed on inculcation of traditions and customs.")

7.     Recruit training is too short.

8.     Recruits in barracks should have a life that is "a fair approximation" of that at sea. (Such conditions are "actually simulated at Cornwallis.")

Glorious History

9.     There should be a greater appreciation throughout the navy not only of the "short but glorious history" of the Canadian navy but of surviving naval customs. A booklet should be published.

10.     There should be the "greatest care" in the choice of officers to train recruits.

11.     The divisional system—the framework of command—should be more fully explained to new men and they should learn how to air grievances. (The divisional system now "is fully explained" to recruits "and they are taught carefully how to air their grievances and discuss their problems.)

12.     Welfare Committees — for talks between officers and men — should be established at sea an ashore. ("Definite orders" have been given for this.)

13.     After recruit training, the sailor should get two weeks leave. (They now get 30 days before going to sea.)

14.     Officer-cadet training at Royal Roads tri-service college should be lengthened; practical and theoretical work should be more closely integrated; Royal Roads training should be followed by experience on Canadian training ships with consideration for "a partial diversion" to U.S. Ships. )Mr. Claxton said any exchanges with the U./S. would probably be made later in an officer's career.)

15.     Improved and extended divisional training for chiefs and petty officers should be established immediately. (A special course in leadership is now being given them.)

16.     Locker space at bases ashore should be provided for civilian clothes of men at sea.

17.     If the naval benevolent trust fund—for distressed naval veterans and seamen—is not supported voluntarily from canteen funds a fixed percentage of canteen profits should be taken.

Unfavorable Reports

18.     It should be mandatory that officers be acquainted with unfavorable reports on them. (Officers are acquainted with such reports.)

19.     The same provision should be made for the men.

20.     The base at Esquimalt should get laundry facilities like those at Halifax.

21.     All ships should obtain the benefits of practical results from experiments in improving living conditions aboard the destroyer Sioux. (If the new arrangements prove advantageous, progressive reconstruction of all other ships will be considered.)

22.     There should be "the quickest possible advance" in barrack construction for single men and in construction of married quarters. (Construction has started on a new barracks block in Halifax and a similar program has been recommended for Esquimalt. Married quarters are being pressed forward "as rapidly as possible.")

23.     Civil servants of high rank should be used to remove some of "the undue burden of administrative detail" from valuable senior officers.

24.     The navy should get announcements of policy before the public.

25.     Naval authorities should consider the liquor question and report to the minister. (Officers get wardroom bar privileges and the men get a daily issue of rum or cash payment in lieu.)

26.     Navy men get $60 to cover renewals of kit and clothing; soldiers and airmen get them free without any allowance. The practice should be uniform.

27.     One free transportation warrant should be made to the home of officers and men for annual leave. (Mr Claxton said this would have to be considered in the light of all three forces.)

Working Methods

28.     After referring to frequent changes in routine aboard ships, the commission said "experts are inquiring into working methods" and added "if this results in the abolition of unnecessary "flummery," useless parades and pointless mustering and a greater attention to the essential work of a ship a most useful and necessary purpose will be served."

29.     Officers should be trained "far more frequently and intensively" in the qualities of leadership; young officers should get a chance to study "successful" leaders. (Training is being increased both in length and in general subjects, Mr Claxton said.

30.     The officers should get a better grounding in the humanities, embracing literary, artistic and social influences.

31.     Canada shoulder flashes should be issued the men; maple leaves should be placed on warships funnels. (The first is under study, the second is being done.)

32.     There was a broad feeling that the navy should be more Canadian. (Every effort is being made to Canadianize the force and to inform members of its story.)

33.     Recreational facilities should be improved both at sea and ashore.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 3 July 2014

The RCR Depot - Inspections
Topic: Drill and Training

Ortona Platoon graduated at Wolseley Barracks, 11 October, 1968.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Depot
Command Junior NCO Course - 1960s

Instructions to Assist Platoon Commanders and Platoon Sergeants in Carrying Out an Inspection


1.     The following points become second nature with experience and in a good unit, both in being noticed at inspection and in their observance by the men.

Full wear must be extracted from clothing and as long as it is serviceable it must be worn. There is however no reason why part-worn clothing should not be clean, correctly pressed and in good repair.

It is usual to inspect, starting at the right hand man of the front rank, from the heaf downwards, the front of the rank before the back of it, and the men before their arms.

General Impression

2.     Is the soldier clean? Is his uniform clean, well-fitted, pressed and correctly put on? Is he standing at the correct position of attention? Are his weapons clean?

Note: Before starting to inspect see that any incorrect positions are put right. The inspecting officer should be accompanied by the next senior on parade who will note anything he is told.


3.         (a)     Is the cap clean and free from sweat and hair grease?

(b)     Does the cap sit squarely on the man's head?

(c)     Is the badge in the correct position?

(d)     Are the badges and buttons clean and shiny and free from all foreign matter?

(e)     Is the chin strap shining?


4.         (a)     Is the face and neck clean and closely shaven?

(b)     Is the hair short and have the sideburns been removed to a reasonable height?

(c)     Is the hair on the top of the head a reasonable length?

Check at this point to ensure the eyes of the troops are not following the inspecting officer.

Battle Dress Jacket

(a)     From the front:

(i)     Does the jacket fit?

(ii)     Does the fly of the jacket make a straight line through the belt buckle with the fly if the trousers?

(iii)     Are all buttons done up?

(vi)     Is the jacket belt done up and snugly fastened?

(v)     Are the flashes clean and properly sewn on?

(vi)     Have all the loose threads been removed?

(vii)     Are the pockets stuffed with papers, cigarette packages, etc?

(viii)     Is the tie properly positioned and neatly tied?

(ix)     Is the collar of the shirt neat and clean?

(x)     Does the shirt fit properly?

(b)     From the back:

(i)     Is the jacket fastened to the trousers with the buttons provided?

(ii)     Is the jacket properly pressed?

(iii)     Is the shirt collar clean?

Web Belt

(a)     From the front:

(i)     The belt must fit snugly so that during a long parade the weight of the bayonet cannot pull it down to one side.

(ii)     The buckle must be central and in line with the fly of the trousers.

(iii)     Is the brass clean and highly polished?

(vi)     Is the belt clean, not caked with cleanser?

(v)     Are the ends of the belt correctly fastened and squarely under the outer part of the belt?

(b)     From the back:

(i)     Is the bayonet frog on the left hip and not under the arm or in the small of the back?

(ii)     Is the bayonet clean and free from rust?

(iii)     Is the belt properly positioned?


7.         (a)     Are the hands clean and free from stains?

(b)     Are the finger nails clean and trimmed?

Battle Dress Trousers

(a)     From the front:

(i)     Are the trousers ell up on the hips?

(ii)     Are braces being worn?

(iii)     Are the trousers hanging the right distance from the ground?

(vi)     Are they clean and well pressed?

(v)     Are the puttees correctly rolled?

(vi)     Are the puttees around the bottom of the trousers?

(b)     From the back:

(i)     Do the trousers fit well in the rear?

(ii)     Are the jacket and trousers buttoned together?


(a)     From the front:

(i)     Are the boots clean and shined all over?

(ii)     Are the boots laced correctly?

(iii)     Are the ends of the bootlaces concealed?

(vi)     Do the bootlaces lie flat and are not twisted?

(b)     From the back:

(i)     Are the boots in a good state of repair? (Have some men lift one foot at a time.)


10.     It will soon become apparent to all men that they must be well turned out to avoid being checked on inspection.

Take your time initially and you will soon find that you will become very observant and will be able to conduct your inspection thoroughly in a minimum amount of time.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Wolseley Barracks; pre-1992
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Wolseley Barracks; pre-1992

This undated site plan shows the buildings of Wolseley Barracks, then known officially as Canadian Forces Base London, some time before the move of the First Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, from London to Petawawa in 1992. Some of the buildings have had their titles and uses change over time; any additional information of corrections are welcome. Any assistance in narrowing the date of this site plan, based on the removal dates of any of the minor buildings, would also be welcome.

Compare this site plan to Wolseley Barracks in the 1950s, 1958, and 2012.

Wolseley Barracks; pre-1992

  • "A" Block – Wolseley Hall, the original Infantry School Building and a National Landmark, now the home of the 1st Hussars, the 4th Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment and The RCR Museum.
  • "O" BlockRoyal School Building
  • "P" Block – Garage, more recently Unit Transport for Reserve units.
  • "S" Block
  • "T" Block – Originally an Ordnance Stores building, currently used by the City as office space for supported agencies (Neighbourhood Watch, etc.)
  • "U" Block – Stores
  • "V" Block
  • "W" Block
  • "Z" Block
  • 39 – Base Transport
  • 50 – McKenzie Block, originally a barracks, now the HQ building for 31 Canadian Brigade Group and 31 Service Battalion (among other building occupants)
  • 51 – Base Transport
  • 52 – New Fort Hall; soldiers' mess hall
  • 53 – Officers' Quarters
  • 55 – Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Quarters
  • 56 – The Royal Canadian Regiment Home Station Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess; now the Wolseley Barracks Officers' Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess
  • 57 – Glacis Building; training classroom, later the HQ for the London Service Battalion
  • 58 – Victoria Building; headquarters for CFB London and 1RCR
  • 59 – Guard Room; Regimental MPs and cells
  • 60 – St. Christopher Chapel
  • 61 – St. Mark's Chapel
  • 62 – Wolseley Club (Junior Ranks' Mess)
  • 63 – Beaver Hall
  • 64 – Battalion and Company Quartermaster Stores Building (this building burned in 1992, shortly before 1RCR departed from Wolseley Barracks)
  • 65 – Wellington Block; barracks
  • 66 – Stanley Block; barracks
  • 67 – Tecumseh Black; barracks
  • 68 – Prince of Wales Hall; originally a kitchen, later used by Combat Support Company, 1RCR
  • 69 – Battalion Maintenance Building; where broken vehicles got sent to be resurrected
  • 70 – Central Heating Plant
  • 91 – The Garrison officers' mess; more recently the Junior Ranks' Mess and the home of the London Military Family Resource Centre (the latter now in the McKenzie Block)
  • 92 – The Royal Canadian Regiment Home Station Officers' Mess; now the Wolseley Barracks Officers' Mess
  • 93 – HQ and Services' (i.e., Base) Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess
  • 96 – Base Construction Engineers
  • 97 – St. Jean Block; barracks, and the rifle company offices for 1RCR
  • 98 – Gloucestershire Hall; the Base Gymnasium; now the Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre, a municipal facility. 100 – McMahen Street Gatehouse
  • 108/109 – 25-yard ranges

For more on the evolution of Wolseley Barracks, see these posts:

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 14 June 2014 1:55 PM EDT
Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Armed Forces Centennial Programme
Topic: Martial Music

Armed Forces Centennial Programme

The News and Eastern Townships Advocate, 25 May 1967

Musically speaking, armed forces musicians will be working to beat the band during centennial year.

The 790 musicians who make up the 17 navy, army and air force bands have a heavy schedule — already under way — which involves performances from coast to coast in Canada and from Washington, D.C., to Whitehorse, Y.T., in the north. In all they will give more than 750 separate performances during the year.

Apart from the more than 400 musical concerts slated for Canadian and American cities, there 151 separate performances of the Canadian Armed Forces Tattoo to be played for in 46 cities and towns across the nation, in which each of the bands will play at least one engagement.

At EXPO 67 the bands will provide musical concerts throughout EXPO's six-month run. The Pan-American Games at Winnipeg will feature the music of the RCAF's Training Command Band Winnipeg, during its two-week engagement in July and August.

Apart from guard mounting duties in Parliament Hill and musical concerts in other cities, the Canadian Guards ceremonial band will play during 100 guards of honor for heads of state and foreign dignitaries visiting Ottawa this summer.

The Tattoo's main musical theme is an original composition by Capt. R.E.J. Milne, director of music for centennial projects, entitled "Marche Vanier." The title was suggested by Mrs. Milne as a tribute to the late Governor General. All royalties from sales of the march music will go from one army to another — the Salvation Army —at Mrs. Vanier's request.

The Tattoo has made two bandsmen 100 centennial dollars richer. Petty Officer Ronald McAnaspie of HMCS Stadacona Band and Pte F.T. Bryant of the 1st Battalion, The Black Watch, (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, each wrote an original march tune. PO McAnaspie's is entitled "A Century of Progress," and Pte Bryant's, written for the pipes and drums, is called "Maid of the Mist."

The entire musical score of the Tattoo, played by a selected group of armed forces musicians from each of the 17 bands, has been recorded through RCA Victor. On the Dominion label, the record will be sold at all Tattoo performances throughout the country as well as in retail record shops.

The Royal Canadian Navy bands participating in centennial ceremonies are The Stadacona Band from CFB Halifax, The Naden Band from CFB Esquimalt, and The Cornwallis Band from CFB Cornwallis, N.S.

Army bands include the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, Royal Canadian Dragoons, Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), Royal Canadian Artillery, Royal Canadian Engineers, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, The Canadian Guards, Royal Canadian Regiment, princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, The Royal 22nd Regiment, The Black Watch, (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, and the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps.

The Royal Canadian Air Force will be represented by the central Band from CFB Rockcliffe, Ont., and the Training Command Band.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 30 June 2014

Watford Armoury (Drill Hall)
Topic: Armouries

Watford Armoury (Drill Hall)

Village of Watford, Lambton County, Ontario

The data tabled below comes from forms maintained by the District Engineers of Military District No. 1 (which covered southwestern Ontario) on the Armouries and facilities in their district. The data on the transcribed forms was recorded in the 1940s and reflects the state and use of the buildings in that era. Some of the Armouries in use at that time continue to be the homes of local Reserve Firce units, some have been repurposed, and others are long gone, the sites now home to other buildings. The area controlled by Militay District No. 1 in the 1940s is now in the area of responsibility of 31 Canadian Brigade Group.


The Watford Armoury is now occuied by the Watford Fire Department.


Cornerstone laid by Colonel Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia and Defence, on 30 July 1913.


This small plaque is inset in the Watford Drill Hall cornerstone.


Watford Drill Hall - The location of the Drill Hall in town.


Watford Drill Hall - Basement.


Watford Drill Hall - Ground Floor.


Watford Drill Hall - First Floor.

NameWatford Armoury
CityVillage of Watford
Military DistrictM.D. No. 1
Electoral DistrictLambton Kent
H.Q. FileL. 13-22-7
Date31 March 1944
1.Building Ownership.Department of National Defence
2.If purchased, date, conditions, cost, etc., and value. 
3.If constructed, date and cost and what Department and value.Built in 1913, at a cost of $13,712. Present value $15,000.
(a)Drainage, sewer and water connection. To be shown on site plan.Sewer and water to street connections.
(c)Walls.White brick.
(d)Roof framing.Wood truss framed.
(e)Roof covering (Type and date).Composition shingles.
(f)Floor, main hall.Maple.
(g)Other floors.Maple.
(h)Partitions.Wood studding, matched lumber and plaster.
(i)Balconies.4' balcony along south end.
5.Miniature rifle range—Description.In basement (two targets) 20 yards.
6.Bowling alleys, badminton courts, indoor baseball or other facilities for games.Nil.
7.Heating system— 
(a)General Description.Hot air furnaces for offices and lecture room. Two stoves in Drill Hall.
(b)Make and size heating apprs.#24 S Good Cheer; 2 x #6 E. Spencer Stoves.
(c)Fuel per annum.16 tons.
(d)Engineer and fireman specially employed.No.
8.Lighting system—General description.Electric open wiring.
9.Fire protection. Show position of standpipes in building, on site or on street plan.No standpipes in building. Hydrant on street.
(a)Military or Civilian.Civilian
(b)Quartered in Armoury.No.
(c)Does he tend heating apprs.Yes.
11.Units in occupation."F" Troop, 26th Light A.A.
12.General condition (Adequate space or not).Adequate
Clothing, Equipment, fixtures (adequate or not).Adequate
13.Any special remarks not included above. 
(a)Ownership.Department of National Defence
(b)How acquired, date, cost and present value.Purchased in 1913 at a cost of $900. Present value $1,000.
(c)Who holds deed.District Enginering Officer, M.D. No. 1, London, Ontario
(d)Size and area.132' x 132'
(e)Name of street and number of lot.Ontario Street lots 88-89.
(f)Fences, walks, and roadways on site.Fence East side and South side. Lane to rear of building, along South side. Walk to main entrance.
(g)Surface—whether grass and whether kept in condition, and by whom.Grass by caretaker.
(h)Is any part of site used for other than military purpose. Give details.No.
(i)Are there any other structures on site. If so give details.No.
(j)State nature of surface of roads, also sidewalks on adjoining street.Paved roads, concrete walks.
(k)Any remarks on site not included above. 

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 29 June 2014

Regimental Lucky Pocket Pieces
Topic: Militaria

Regimental Lucky Pocket Pieces

The Cairn-Craft "Coins"

Today we find regimental coins quite common, whether they are issued by units or regimentals to all members to commemorate significant anniversaries, minted for sale to members, or minted in small numbers to be handed out by commanding officers and regimental sergeants-major in recognition of good work. These types of coins have become sufficiently common that collecting them is growing area of interest for some people. But as common as they might be now, regimental coins are a relatively new phenomenon in the Canadian Army, growing in popularity to such a widespread context and usage over the past few decades.

Canadian regimental coins do, however, have one early forerunner from the Second World War. One small company in Toronto, now defunct, minted a series of coins called the Regimental Lucky Piece.

Twenty-five cents got the purchaser, whether a member of the subject unit or a relative or admirer, a 1 ¼-inch (31.5 mm) coin with badge and unit name on one side and generic good luck symbology on the reverse.

Coins can be found for the Royal Canadian Air Force, the 48th Highlanders of Canada, The Toronto Scottish, and the Irish Regiment of Canada. While the coins may be hard to find, it is even more rare to find one still in its original packaging.

The dearth of information on these coins and their manufacturer was detailed in an article in The CN Journal, published by The Royal Canadian Numismatic Association. The June, 2013, article; World War II Canadian "Regimental Lucky Pocket Piece" by Chris Boyer, F.R.C.N.A. concludes with a request for any further information on these coins or their manufacturer.

The reverse of the Regimental Lucky Pocket Pieces

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 28 June 2014

Multiple Sons in Service, 1917
Topic: CEF

The gravestones of the Chenier bothers, killed 9 April, 1917, on Vimy Ridge.

Multiple Sons in Service, 1917

The Canadian Annual Review War Series; 1917, by J. Castell Hopkins, F.S.S., F.R.G.S., published 1918 (pp. 548-549)

Mrs C.S. Wood, Winnipeg

Mrs Charlotte Susan Wood, of Winnipeg, photographed during the 1936 Vimy Pilgrimage for the dedication of the Vimy Memorial. Mrs Wood lost five sons during the Great War and was Canada's first Silver Cross Mother.

See this post on the Great War Forum for an interesting discussion as reasearchers attempt to verify the claims of the service and sacrifice of the Wood boys.

A feature of the military life of Canada in this war was the number of families who contributed all their eligible sons three, four and upwards to the Army, with very often the Father also. Reference has been made in preceding volumes to some of the better-known cases; a few more instances may be given here. The six sons of H.O. Bell-Irving of Vancouver all distinguished themselves in different branches of the Service: Lieut. Henry B. Bell-Irving, D.S.C., Dover Patrol; Major Richard Bell-Irving, R.F.C.; Major Fred. Bell-Irving, M.C., 14th Battalion; Capt. M. Bell-Irving, M.C., D.S.O., Royal Flying Corps; Fl. Comm. Duncan Bell-Irving, M.C., and Bar and Croix de Guerre; Lieut. A. Bell-Irving, R.A. The Lieut.-Governor of Nova Scotia, MacCallum Grant, had 5 sons on active service: Lieut. Eric M. Grant, 13th Batt., Capt. Gerald W. Grant, C.A.M.C., Lieut. J. M. Grant, R.C.N., Lieut. G. Grant, V. Battery, Mid'n H. S. W. Grant, R.C.N. The Stairs family of Halifax grandsons of Hon. W.J. Stair included Gavin and George, who were killed, and Herbert and Denis fighting in Flanders during 1917. Major-Gen. S.C. Mewburn, C.M.G., M.P., Minister of Militia, had a son killed in action, 8 nephews and 14 cousins on active service. The family of the late Thomas Brown, Toronto, had 24 members in the Army, of whom one was the late Lieut. G.A. Ewens and another Major Howard Jeffs. M.C. Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Sullivan of Winnipeg boasted 3 sons and 4 sons-in-law on active service; J. G. Cosgrove of Winnipeg had 3 sons at the Front and with them were 9 cousins all of Manitoba; Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Glenday of Toronto had sons or nephews 12 on service.The following statement compiled from all parts of Canada further illustrates this point:

Parent Residence No. of Sons on Service
Eustace CollinsMontreal8
Thomas O'ShaughnessyMontreal5
Mr. MawhinneyMontreal8
James BarnardMontreal(Father and 3 Sons)
Mrs. M. MorrisonMontreal4
Corp. James MurdockMontreal(Father and 3 Sons)
Charles CushingWestmount5
Donald McDonaldToronto7
J.E. BoswellToronto4
Mrs. Priscilla HayToronto4
Philip W. MooreToronto4
William CooperToronto4
Pte. H. MarshallToronto(Father and 3 Sons)
Pte. John ParmToronto(Father and 3 Sons)
John DalyToronto4
Mrs. David AshdownEast Toronto7
John A. LongOttawa6
Mrs. McCollOttawa4
A. DobbieVictoria4
Sergt. F.J. BarkerVictoria(Father and 3 Sons)
Sergt. J.A. KenningVictoria(Father and 6 Sons)
Mrs. N. PellowVictoria4
S.N. ReidVictoria4
Capt. A.G. SargisonVictoria(Father and 3 Sons)
Mrs. MalcolmVictoria4
J.K. NichollHalifax4
J.W. NicollHalifax4
Mrs. Annie AmbroseHalifax4
John SimpsonWinnipeg5
G.H. HeathWinnipeg5
Arthur J. HebbLunenburg5
Mrs. Letitia MeisterLunenburg5
Mrs. L. Kendall Vancouver4
William Tough Vancouver(Father and 3 Sons)
Thomas Campbell Vancouver5
S.G. Ball Vancouver10
Mr. Watts South Vancouver(Father and 7 Sons)
L.G. DoidgeNorth Vancouver4
Pte. Charles E.G. AdamsKelowna, B.C(Father and 4 Sons)
Pte. M.A. BerardKelowna, B.C(Father and 3 Sons)
Thomas HillColdwater5
John EnnisAyr, Ont4
John McLeanSydney, C.B4
Mrs. Solomon MatthewsSt. John's4
James W. MacintoshNew Glasgow5
Robert MathersClaburn, B.C(Father and 8 Sons)
Miles SimpsonShoal Lake4
Ernest GrattoTruro, N.S6
Hugh RobertsonVerdun, Que5
Lieut. Seymour GreeneDuncan, B.C(Father and 5 Sons)
Mr. SleightTisdale, Sask4
Pte. George P. KennedyPilot Mound(Father and 3 Sons)
J.B. CarruthersKingston4
Mrs. A. ColburneCumberland, N.S6
Thomas BoveyGananoque5
M. ThorsteinsonSturgeon Creek, Man.4
Mrs. J. LeavittVerdun. Que4
Mrs. A.D. TelferEdmonton4
J.W. MacDonaldPortage la Prairie4
Mrs. J.F. RichardsonMaitland, Ont4
H. RathboneGrand Mere, Que5
G.D. CampbellWeymouth, N.S.6

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 28 June 2014 8:31 AM EDT
Friday, 27 June 2014

French Weapon Ordered (1959)
Topic: Cold War

Sgts George Genge, Marc Bouchard and Peter Anderson compare mock-ups of the TOW missile (background) and the SS-11, which TOW replaced. Canadian Armed Forces Sentinel magazine 1977, Vol. 13, Number 2.

French Weapon Ordered (1959)

Ottawa Citizen, 16 April, 1959
By the Canadian Press

A fourth type of guided missile—this one a French weapon—has been ordered for Canada's armed forces, it was learned today.

The missile is the SS-10, an army anti-tank weapons said to be capable of knocking out the heaviest known tank.

Number Not Known

The purchase contract between the Defence Production Department and Nord Aviation of Paris, is classified so that the number of missiles on order is not known.

However, it is understood that the initial order is of limited quantity because the Canadian army first wants to evaluate the missile before ordering enough to equip all four brigade groups.

The United States Army also has the SS-10 on order from Nord Aviation.

The other three guided missiles on order for the Canadian armed forces are the antiaircraft Bomarc, scheduled to be installed in Canada in late 1961; the surface-to-surface Lacrosse, some of which will be obtained by the army this year, and the air-to-air Sidewinder, now in use with carrier-borne navy fighter aircraft squadrons. All three are American weapons.

The SS-10 is guided by infantrymen or tank men by remote control through wires which unreel as the missile heads for its target.

The missile can be launched from the ground, a ground vehicle, a helicopter or a plane. It can be carried and operated by a single soldier. Its range and speed are secret.

Acquisition of the SS-10 will overcome one of the Canadian army's biggest handicap; its inability to pierce the nine-inch armor plate of Russian tanks, except at extremely short range.

Other missiles wanted by the armed forces include a ground to air anti-aircraft weapon for the army, such as the American Hawk, and a surface to underwater weapon for the navy.

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 26 June 2014

Rumours of Wolseley Barracks Closing
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Militia Minister Planning to Close Wolseley Barracks (1908)

All Permanent Forces in Ontario To Be Concentrated at Long Branch, Is Scheme
Means Transfer of Toronto, Kingston Men
Commons Will Be Asked To Approve This Plan At Next Session

The Hon. Sir Frederick W. Borden, KCMG, PC, MD
Minister of Militia and Defence (13 Jul 1896 – 6 Oct 1911)

The London Evening Free Press, 24 January 1908
Special to London Free Press

Toronto, Jan. 24.—It is stated in usually well-informed circles that at the forthcoming session of Parliament the minister of militia will ask for an appropriation to cover the cost of erecting permanent barracks at Long Branch to accommodate all the permanent forces in Ontario.

This will mean that Camp Borden will be abandoned and the air force moved to the Lake Shore site. Wolseley Barracks, London will be closed and the artillery moved from Kingston. The plans also provide for the moving of Stanley Barracks permanent force and Ordnance Corps at the Toronto armouries.

It is learned that a large quantity of special air fighting equipment now lies at Montreal, billed through for Long Branch when the Commons has approved of the minister's plans.

Pin-back button distributed as part of the campaign to prevent the movement of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment from Wolseley Barracks in 1992. The campaign was unsuccessful and the Battalion was relocated to CFB Petawawa where it remains.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Canadian Troops for the Yukon
Topic: Canadian Army

An array of Yukon Field Force images as displayed by Google image search.

Canadian Troops for the Yukon

In May, 1898, part of [The Royal Canadian] Regiment joined a mixed force, under the command of Major Thomas D.B. Evans, Royal Canadian Dragoons, which was sent as the Yukon field force, to police the new gold fields. Embarking at Vancouver they sailed for Glenora. From there they marched four hundred and thirty miles to Selkirk over mountainous and comparatively unknown country. Much difficulty and hardship was encountered, crossing swamps, lakes, and swift dangerous rivers. The column had to construct boats and scows to cross the latter. This journey from Glenora to Selkirk took about four months in all to complete.

In October, part of this force was sent to Dawson City, to assist the Royal North-West Mounted Police, to supply gold train and other guards. In 1899, Lieutenant-Colonel Hemming, of the Regiment, assumed command of the Yukon field force. Half of this force was withdrawn from the Yukon in 1899, the remainder in 1900. Although this force did not participate in any fighting, yet the police duties in such a district were most arduous, and the climatic and other conditions were quite as severe and as trying as any active campaign. This force was thanked by the Government for its good and arduous services.

Regimental History Pamphlet dated 1917, by "H.T.C."

Dr. Borden Makes a Statement in the House
The Force Will Number 200
The Expeditions Will Cost $300,000 for the First Year—The Route and Equipment.

Special to the Mail and Empire, 5 May 1898

Ottawa, May 4.—Dr. Borden, Minister of Militia; informed the House this afternoon that the detachment of the permanent force of Canada, numbering 200, which was being sent to the Yukon district, were being sent there to support and maintain the civil power. The Government, he said, had decided that the presence of this force was necessary owing to the extent of the territory, and the rich gold discoveries. There were 190 members of the North-West Mounted Police in the Yukon now, and it was at first intended to send more of this force into the country, but finally it was decided to augment it by a detachment of the permanent force. The total number, 200, included officers and non-commissioned officers. They would be accompanied by a few artificers and boatmen, to assist in carrying the expedition through. Dr. Borden said that the United States had four companies, comprising about 300 men, in Alaska at present. Two of these companies were at Skaguay, but he was not aware of the distribution of the other companies.

Cost of the Expedition

As far as he could ascertain, the expedition would cost $200,000 for the first year, in addition to the cost if the men were left at home, which would be $100,000. The cost in succeeding years would be materially less. The pay of the North-West Mounted Police had been doubled while they were in the Yukon country, and the Government proposed to treat the permanent force in the same manner. The force would go to Vancouver, via the C.P.R., thence to the mouth of the Stickeen by the C.P.R. Navigation Company, up the Stickeen to Glenora, thence to Lake Teslin, and on to Fort Selkirk, where it was proposed to construct necessary works and establish a barracks. They would be assisted in the navigation of the Stickeen by the Hudson Bay Co. The force would be under the control of the administrators of the territory. Part of the force would be left at Lake Teslin for a time. The men would be armed with Lee-Enfield rifles, 300 rounds per man. Two maxim guns, and two seven-pound field guns would also be taken.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Anti-Tank Grenade, No. 94 (ENERGA)
Topic: Militaria

Infantry Training Volume 1 – Infantry Platoon Weapons
Pamphlet No. 9, Part 1


elipsis graphic

"It is safe to fire ball ammunition through the projector when the grenade is removed. Stress that the firer will be killed should he be foolish enough to fire ball when the grenade in on the projector."


The Anti-Tank Grenade, No. 94 (ENERGA)

1.     This grenade has been introduced to provide the infantry section with a powerful and effective anti-tank weapon. It is discharged from a projector attached to the No. 4 rifle, and fired by means of a special grenade cartridge.

General Characteristics

2.     The weapon's chief characteristics are its great power and lightness. It is highly efficient against armour, concrete, etc., and can be used against "thin-skinned" targets.

3.     Performance.—The grenade will penetat the sides and rear of the heaviest known tank. The effect of the explosion is to burn a small hole through the armour. Through this hole a high velocity jet of burning gases and molten metal from the grenade is projected into the tank. This, besides causing casualties to the drew, may set fire to the fuel and ammunition.

4.     Accuracy.—The grenade is a first-class and efficient weapon. For an unrotated projectile its accuracy is of a high standard. A trained soldier should, after very little practice, group to approximately 30 inches at 75 yards. The shock of discharge on firing is, not unduly great and the firer, or any observer, can easily follow the flight of the grenade to the target.

5.     Effective range.—Ideal ranges are from 25 to 50 yards. Moving targets can be engaged with reasonable accuracy at any range up to 75 yards.

6.     Carriage.—The projector, when not on the rifle, is carried in a care which is attached to the waist belt. Grenades are carried in containers holding two grenades each.

Tactical Handling

1.     The primary role of the section anti-tank weapon is the destruction of tanks. In its secondary role, it can be used against thin-skinned vehicles and other targets, such as personnel, houses and concrete emplacements.

2.     When the weapon is sited for use in its primary role, the following points must be considered:—

(a)     It needs a field of fire of only just over 100 yards.
(b)     Surprise and concealment are most important.
(c)     Any obstruction in its path is likely to detonate the grenade before it reaches its target.
(d)     It must cover likely tank approaches, such as gaps in minefields.
(e)     It is best to engage the side or rear of a tank.
(f)     It is normal to fire it from a fire trench.
(g)     Few grenades are carried, and fire must be held till a kill is certain with each grenade.
(h)     Some defilade from the front is desirable.

3.     The uses of the weapon in its secondary role are manifold. Some suggestions are:—

(a)     House clearing and street fighting.
(b)     Ambushes.
(c)     Concrete emplacements and fortified houses.
(d)     Assault boats crossing rovers, and beach landings.
(e)     Enemy concealed in trees, hedges, etc.
(f)     Soft-skinned vehicles.

4.     When it is decided to use the weapon in is secondary role it must never be forgotten that the weapon is primarily anti-tank and that sufficient grenades must be kept for this purpose.

5.     In addition to his anti-tank duties, the Energa rifleman is a member of the rifle section; if the tank threat is remote, his section commander will site him as a rifleman rather than as a tank killer.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 23 June 2014

The Mainguy Report - Outstanding Points
Topic: RCN

HMCS Magnificent, c. 1950

The Mainguy Report (1949)

Historic Report

Ottawa Citizen; 2 Nov 1949
By the Canadian Press

The naval report, tabled in the Commons by Defence Minister Claxton, found "evidence of general inexperience of many officers, chiefs and petty officers" aboard the warships involved and criticized the failure to punish the offenders.

The report by Rear Admiral E.R. Mainguy, chief naval officer on the Atlantic Coast, Leonard W. Brockington, Ottawa lawyer, and L.C. Audette, wartime naval officer and a member of the Canadian Maritime Commission, constitutes a landmark in Canada's naval story. It has already gone out to all ships and 5,000 additional copies are being printed for the men.

It bared a broad demand within the ranks for "canadianization" of the force and underlines unfavorable results that sometimes arise when Canadian officers, given British naval training at a formative stage, come to handle the Canadian sailor who "is not the same kind of man" as the British Tar.

The report said of the incidents themselves that there was no justification for them as "mutinous incidents" but "there was justification for some of the complaints on which the dissatisfaction was founded."

It said they "came to a head because of the gradual and continuous murmurs of discontent against a series of small annoyances and a few basic injustices … there were many conditions which contributed or which could and should be mitigated, modified or eliminated (but) there was no cause sufficiently strong to justify in any degree the insubordination which took place."

The ones under investigation occurred earlier this year aboard the aircraft carrier Magnificent and the destroyers Athabaska and Crescent and consisted largely of brief sit-down strikes by 200-odd men all told. No punishments were handed out and the men returned to work after seeing the captain or a senior officer.

Outstanding Points in Report

Ottawa Citizen; 2 November 1949
By the Canadian Press

Highlights of the 27,000-word report of the commission investigating the Royal Canadian Navy tabled yesterday in the House of Commons:

Incidents aboard the Crescent, Magnificent and Athabaskan were technically "mutinies."

elipsis graphic

However, apart from the barring of mess doors, no force was used and there was no defience of a higher officer's orders.

elipsis graphic

No evidence of subversive Communist activity was indicated.

elipsis graphic

Commission found "a notable lack of human understanding between officers and men."

elipsis graphic

The report recommended more officer training in essentials of leadership.

elipsis graphic

Steps to "Canadianize" the navy were urged.

elipsis graphic

Lack of recreational facilities at two coastal bases—Cornwallis and Esquimalt—were deplored.

elipsis graphic

The commission made no recommendations regarding serving of liquor on ships but asked naval authorities to study the question and report to the minister.

elipsis graphic

The report found that "generally speaking" the young Canadian naval officer is not as well educated as his British or American contemporary.

elipsis graphic

The commission made a number of recommendations respecting recruiting, training, procedure, living conditions, recreation, ship's routine and other matters.

elipsis graphic

There was a wide opinion that "there is still too great an attempt to make the Canadian navy a pallid imitation and reflection of the British Navy … This is in no sense a criticism of the magnificent Royal Navy

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 22 June 2014

Proposed Reforms Would Be Costly (1913)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Proposed Reforms Would Be Costly (1913)

Sir Samuel Hughes, KCB, PC
(January 8, 1853 – August 23, 1921)

General Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton
(16 January 1853 – 12 October 1947)

The Toronto World, 19 August, 1913

But Minister of Militia Agrees With Views Expressed in Gen. Hamilton's Report

Ottawa. Aug. 18.—(Can. Press)—Col. The Hon. Sam Hughes today expressed his accord with the views contained in Sir Ian Hamilton's report of the Canadian Militia. "I took good care that he saw the bad as well as the good in the force," said the Minister.

Carrying out the suggested reforms would require an enormous expenditure, probably more than double the ten millions now spent annually on Canada's militia, so any effect given the recommendations will probably be gradual.

The following are the chief recommendations of General Hamilton to which the minister of militia referred:

  • Increase in the instructional staff of the active militia.
  • Localization of instruction in divisional areas by means of provisional schools.
  • Abolition of central schools for infantry.
  • Increase in the remuneration of officer instructors.
  • Direct engagement from outside sources of some of the sergeant-instructors.
  • Increase in the peace establishment of the active militia.
  • Amalgamation of weak units.
  • Sixteen days' paid training for rural corps as well as city corps.
  • Training for rural corps at other times than during camping period.
  • Consideration of alternate policies affecting the permanent force.
  • Wider dispersion of permanent force units as the active militia increases; or
  • Concentration of permanent force units and their employment as units.
  • Assimilation of permanent force units if concentrated to the regular model.
  • Interchange of permanent force and regular units.
  • Creation of adequate war reserves of arms, ammunition, clothing, equipment and stores.
  • Scientific treatment of horse registration in peace.
  • Institution of a national reserve.
  • Preparation of classified muster rolls of men liable and fit for service.
  • Organization on paper of a reserve militia.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 21 June 2014

Notes on the Fantasian Army, 1964
Topic: Cold War

Notes on the Fantasian Army

These notes, from the 1960s, provided the organization of the Fantasian Army, the enemy force used in Staff Colleges, Army schools, and for training exercises in the UK and Canada during much of the Cold War.

Notes on the Fantasian Army

Notes on the Fantasian Army, 1964


1.     These notes are intended to provide order of battle information on the ground forces of an exercise enemy known as Fantasia.

2.     The Fantasian Army is organised and equipped on the model of the Soviet Army, and is trained by Soviet advisers. The information on the Soviet Army given in "Tactics of the Soviet Army, Notes for Regimental Officers 1964", (WO Code No. 9939) therefore applies to the Fantasian Army.

Background Information on Fantasia

3.     Fantasia is a leading world power with considerable industrial resources. It has developed strategic nuclear missiles in the inter-continental range, and tactical free flight and guided nuclear weapons with ranges up to 300 miles.

4.     The Fantasian Army is a modern and well equipped force with a high preponderance of tanks. Particular emphasis is placed on nuclear and chemical warfare, night operations, and the crossing of water obstacles. Military commanders are well trained in high speed offensive operations and, provided everything goes according to their plans, they can be expected to acquit themselves well. Morale is high and it is unlikely that desertion or surrender on on a large scale would occur unless the Fantasians sustained a series of reverses. The Army is backed by large trained reserves and a disciplined population.

Order of Battle

5.     Order of battle tables for the First Fantasian Front (Army Group) are at annexes A to F.

6.     In the Fantasian Army, the "unit" in motor rifle and tank troops is the regiment. These regiments are given individual numbers. Their sub-units, such as motor rifle battalions, are designated under a system illustrated at Annex G. Individual numbers are also given to certain battalion and company type units of supporting arms and services in division and higher formations, as shown in Annexes A to E.

Annex A - First Fantasian Front

Annex B - First Fantasian Combined Arms Army

Annex C - Second Fantasian Combined Arms Army

Annex D - Third Fantasian Combined Arms Army

Annex E - Fourth Fantasian Combined Arms Army

Annex G - Designation of Sub-Units within Fantasian Regiments


The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 May 2014 8:35 PM EDT
Friday, 20 June 2014

Canadian Military Aviation, 1916
Topic: RCAF

The State of Canadian Military Aviation, 1916

The Canadian Annual Review War Series; 1916, by J. Castell Hopkins, F.S.S., F.R.G.S., published 1918 (pp. 300-302)

H.R.H. the Governor-General … "endorses the War Office letter to the effect that if you train 5 to 10 candidates per month for the Royal Flying Corps, … they will be accepted for enlistment in the Royal Flying Corps…" It was, however, pointed out … that "this has nothing to do with a future Canadian Flying Service, as His Royal Highness understands that the Canadian Government does not contemplate any such department at present."

Aviation called for a select and limited number of men; it required special aptitudes and training. As a military arm in Canada it had during 1915 no strong official support as the Minister of Militia was understood not to care for this branch of the Service in comparison with others. During that year there had been tentative private efforts at organization and training and the raising of the necessary funds; an active class of young men were anxious to take up aviation and a movement along this line was energetically pressed by Col. W. Hamilton Merritt of Toronto. It was understood that the British War Office wanted aviators and individual Canadians who went over from time to time soon found a place in the British service when its requirements were met. Col. Merritt wrote the War Office as to his efforts to organize a Canadian Fund for the purpose of training aviators, which he had started months before, and a reply of Feb. 18, 1916, stated that his scheme should prove of "material assistance" and that "on completion of their training in Canada, these men would be enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps as 2nd-class air mechanics, draw pay as such at the rates provided in the royal warrant for pay, etc., and be granted free passage." Meanwhile Lieut.-Col. C.J. Burke, D.S.O., had been sent to Canada to make extensive first-hand inquiries regarding the possibility of training young Canadians to become military and naval aviators. He had travelled from coast to coast making inspections, and on his return to London early in 1916 was understood to have reported favourably upon the proposals of Col. Merritt and others in Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver who had been specially anxious in the matter.

Lieutenant-Colonel Charles James Burke, DSO, (1881 or 82 – 9 April 1917) was an officer in the Royal Irish Regiment and the Royal Flying Corps and a military aviation pioneer.

Revived efforts followed with the appointment of a Committee in Toronto (A.G.C. Dinnick, Chairman) to arrange the establishment of a local Training School; the collection of a Fund in Vancouver to help the B.C. Aviation School in the purchase of 5 aeroplanes then under local construction; a statement dated Mar. 16 from H.R.H. the Governor-General that "he endorses the War Office letter to the effect that if you train 5 to 10 candidates per month for the Royal Flying Corps, who are under 30 years of age, medically qualified, of proved British birth and obtain a flying pilot's certificate, they will be accepted for enlistment in the Royal Flying Corps during the War." It was, however, pointed out by Col. E.A. Stanton in the same letter that "this has nothing to do with a future Canadian Flying Service, as His Royal Highness understands that the Canadian Government does not contemplate any such department at present." On May 12 the Naval Services Department announced from Ottawa that the Admiralty was calling for a limited number of trained aviators from Canada for commissions in the Royal Naval Air Service, and that, with a view to providing training, the Curtis Aviation School would be re-opened in Toronto. Canadian aviators wishing to enter the service were requested to apply to the Department and the age limits of candidates were set at 19 to 25 years. Only well-educated, athletic and thoroughly fit men, with excellent eye-sight, could be accepted. A month later nine casualties were announced amongst the 400 or more Canadian Aviators already in the British service.

Meantime the Curtiss Flying School of Aviation had been underway with 5 men a month in training at a payment of $1,000 each and, on July 13, a Deputation headed by Col. Merritt and Mayor Church asked the Ontario Government to either aid in the establishment of an Inter-Provincial School at Deseronto or join the Dominion Government in granting $100 to each student upon completion of his course; the City Council granted $8.00 a week to each student from Toronto preparing for the Royal Flying Corps; the British Government guaranteed $375 of his expenses to each accepted aviator. During the summer the movement extended and from London came a cable on Aug. 23 to the Montreal Gazette stating that "the establishment of a Canadian Flying Corps is urged not only for military utility but for commercial benefits, as it would mean a new industry for Canada, the proposal being to build the aeroplanes in the Dominion." It was added that 8 Canadian Flying officers were on their way to Canada to act as instructors. The Aviators in training at Long Branch, near Toronto, were inspected by H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught on Sept. 7 and a statement of work done and progress made by the Canadian Aviation Fund was read by Col. Hamilton Merritt who, also, urged the presentation by each Canadian Province of a squadron of 10 Battle-planes to the Royal Flying Corps. At the end of this month Capt. Lord Alastair Innes-Ker, D.S.O., arrived in Canada to recruit for officers and men in the Military branch of the Service and he visited Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria.

Matters moved swiftly after this. Mr. Premier Hearst of Ontario returned from England in October strongly favourable to the establishment of a Canadian Corps and it was announced about the same time that an Aeroplane factory costing $1,000,000 and equipped to turn out 6 machines a month was to be erected in Toronto with advance contracts of purchase from the British Government. The project was to be financed by the Imperial Government, and controlled by a Board of three members one representing the Admiralty, one the War Office, with a business man nominated by the Imperial Munitions Board of Canada. It was understood that this action was taken as the result of a careful inquiry made in which the Board found that very large orders for aeroplanes had been placed in the United States—$12,000,000, for instance, with the Curtiss Company of Buffalo. On Nov. 24 it was stated that Canadian Aeroplanes, Ltd., a creation of the Board, had been organized with a capital stock of $500,000 for the purpose of taking over the Curtiss Aeroplane Co. plant in Toronto. Frank W. Baillie of the Canadian Cartridge Co., Hamilton, who had given to the Government $750,000, representing profits on war orders, was appointed Managing-Director.

J.W. Flavelle, E.R. Wood and Mr. Baillie were the men chiefly associated with the project which would, in time, involve many millions of capital and expenditure. In December the Naval Services Department called for more Canadian aviators for the Royal Naval Air Service and also for Canadian recruits as Naval Signallers and an Aero Club of Canada was formed, in touch with the Royal Flying Corps, with Col. Hamilton Merritt as President, Lieut.-Col. H.C. Cox, Toronto, Vice-President for Ontario; Carl Riordon, Montreal, Vice-President for Quebec; W. R. Allan, Winnipeg, Vice-President for Manitoba. Its objects were as follows: "To encourage various forms of aviation, to develop the science of aeronautics and kindred sciences, to encourage the manufacture of aeronautic devices, to plan conferences, expositions and contests, to issue pilots' licenses to qualified aviators, and to assist those desirous of taking up aviation with a view to serving in the War. The year closed with a complete Squadron of Canadian airmen at Belfort in France and other Canadian aviators in Mesopotamia, on the Somme, at Dunkirk and in East Africa. In Montreal the Canadian Division of the Aerial League of the British Empire continued in 1916 its active work with Sir H.S. Holt as President and G.R. Lighthall Hon.-Secretary.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 19 June 2014

Army Traditions Safe (1951)
Topic: Canadian Army

Army Traditions Safe, Says Ottawa

Change to U.S. Weapons Won't Mean "Americanization" of Service

The Montreal Gazette, 8 May 1951

Lieutenants in the Canadian Army will continue to be known as leftenants.

Ottawa, May 7.—CP—The Army's switch to American weapons won't mean any major changes in organization and it won't touch tradition at all, the Defence Department maintained today.

A white paper on defence, tabled in the Commons, gave that reply to charges that the switch is going to mean "Americanization" of the Army.

(The 27th Brigade Group now being mustered for Europe will use U.S. arms and is expected to come under U.S. command in Europe.)

The white paper said:

"The announcement Canada was going to replace U.K.-type equipment by that of U.S. design was received with general approval. Such replacement entails certain minor organizational changes in the Canadian Army.

"There is no intention of making any changes which will affect traditions of units of corps of the Canadian Army, badges or rank, regimental badges, colors, regimental affiliations with regiments of the British Army or other Commonwealth countries, distinctive items of dress such as those of Canadian Scottish and rifle regiments, or the titles of units. Lieutenants in the Canadian Army will continue to be known as leftenants.

"There will be no need to undertake major changes in unit organization and tactical doctrine. Changes necessary as a result of variations in the characteristics of individual types of weapons will be kept to the minimum consistent with the proper use of weapons.

"Insofar as training is concerned, changes will be related to those necessary to learn the mechanism and handling of weapons, a relatively easy matter for trained soldiers, while it will not involve any greater difficulty for soldiers in training to learn with one weapon rather than another. Training methods in general will continue as heretofore in accordance with the well-established principles and experience of the Canadian Army."

elipsis graphic

As it happened, no wholesale switch to U.S. weapons and equipment was actioned in the early 1950s.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 18 June 2014

No. 12 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre
Topic: Militaria

No. 12 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre, Chatham, ON

During the Second World War, Chatham, Ontario, was home to No. 12 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre. Opened in October 1940, the training centre occupied an area bounded by Lacroix Street, Willomac Avenue, Queen's Street, and the area of Fergie Jenkins Field and the Memorial Arena.

Initially organized for the Non-Permanent Active Militia (i.e., the Reserves, as known today), the training centre was placed on Actice Service on 15 February 1941 in order to support the training of new recruits for Canada's forces overseas. In November, 1943, the training center was redesignated No. 12 Cdn Infantry (Basic) Training Centre 15 Nov 43.

As with many of the training centre locations across Canada that were built in or near communites to support Canada's war efforts, the last remaining vestiges of the Cahatham site hae been built over and swallowed up by progress and fresh construction. What appears to have been the last remaining building, the original training centre drill hall, which saw new life as the Kinsman Auditorium, was torn down in 2012. It can still be seen on the Google maps air photo (but not the street view), until that gets updated and the training centre fades a little further from public memory.

The following images show the locations of buildings at the training centre (in September 1943) overlaid on the Google air photo of the area, and the scanned site plan. Either of these images can be clicked to access a larger scale version.



The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 18 June 2014 8:52 PM EDT
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

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