The Minute Book
Monday, 9 January 2017

Getting Ready for Camp (US Army, 1917)
Topic: Drill and Training

Getting Ready for Camp (US Army, 1917)

Home-Reading Course for Citizen Soldiers (Lesson No. 4, of 30)

Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 30 August 1917

Your real training for duties as a soldier will begin after you and your comrades are assembled at the training camps. However, there are a few simple things you can do during the next few weeks which will be of decided value in getting you started along the right lines.

The simplest thing, and perhaps the most useful of all, is to begin at once to practice correct habits of standing and walking. For a soldier must always be strongly marked by his snap, his precision, and his vigor. He can not have these unless he carries himself like a soldier.

The Bearing of a Soldier

Few people without military training have a correct idea of what is meant by the position and the bearing of a soldier. They are apt to imagine that it means a strut or an extremely strained attitude. Or, more frequently, they think that the term can properly be applied to any erect position.

It will be well for you to memorize paragraph 51 of the infantry drill regulations, which gives the complete and accurate description of the position of the soldier. This paragraph is slightly paraphrased and simplified in the description following: Keep in mind that there are ten elements which must be properly adjusted to each other, and check yourself up to see that each one of them is properly placed.

1.     Heels—on the same line, and as near each other as possible; most men should be able to stand with heels touching each other.

2.     Feet—turned out equally and forming an angle of about 45 degrees.

3.     Knees—straight without stiffness.

4.     Hips—level and drawn back slightly; body erect and resting equally on hips.

5.     Chest—lifted and arched.

6.     Shoulders—square and falling equally.

7.     Arms—hanging naturally.

8.     Hands—hanging naturally, thumb along the seam of the trousers.

9.     Head—erect and squarely to the front; chin drawn in so that axis of head and neck is vertical (that means a straight line drawn through the centre of head and neck should be vertical), eyes straight to the front.

10.     Entire body—weight of body resting equally upon the heels and balls of the feet.

Note especially that you are not required to stand in a strained attitude. You are to be alert but not tense.

One of the best things you can do today is to spend 15 minutes practicing this position, getting it right. Keep this up every day until you report at camp.

Making Yourself "Fit"

If you can devote part of your time between now and the opening of camp to physical exercise you are fortunate and should by all means take advantage of every opportunity. Climbing, jumping, gymnastic exercises, all kinds of competitive games, swimming, rowing, boxing, wrestling and running are all recommended as excellent methods of developing the skill, strength, endurance, grace, courage and self-reliance that every soldier needs.

There are some simple rules of eating and living which all of us should follow regularly. They will be especially helpful to you if you put them into practice in preparing for camp life.

Perhaps the most important of these rules is to use no alcohol of any kind.

If you have been in the habit of smoking immoderately, cut down; get your wind, your nerves and your digestion into the best possible condition.

Eat and drink moderately. Chew your food well. It is advisable, however, to drink a great deal of cool (not cold) water between meals. Don't eat between meals.

Keep away from soda fountains and soft drink stands. Learn to enjoy simple, nourishing food.

Accustom yourself to regular hours for sleeping eating and the morning functions.

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You will find nothing required of you in the army that is beyond the powers of the every-day American. You will see clearly ahead of you, after you have read this course, the path which you are to follow. Look forward with confidence. Enter the service with firm determination of doing your best at all times, of playing square with your superiors, your associates, and yourself, and of taking care always of your assigned duties whatever may happen.

You will find that everyone else will treat you with courtesy and fairness—for that is the inflexible rule of the army. Out of that rule grows the comradeship and the attractiveness, even in the face of all dangers and hardships, that are characteristic of American army life.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Case of Sir William Mansfield (1866)
Topic: Officers

Sir William Mansfield, arrival at Sukkur, c.1866

The Case of Sir William Mansfield

Morning Chronicle, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 21 November 1866

The case of this gentleman, who was Commander-in-Chief in India, against his Aide-de-Camp, Capt. Jervis, has been decided. It appears from a report of the case contained in a late number of the London Times, that Capt. Jervis had been for some time in charge of Sir William's household expenditure, when two of the menial servants in the establishment accused him privately to their master of embezzlement and peculation in the duties of his office. The Times goes on to say:

"Without the least communication with Captain Jervis, Sir William received the informations of these domestics against an officer and a gentleman whom he had been treating as his friend, and this was the first false step which led, through a succession of mistakes, to the climax of impolicy just now reached. Before hearing what Capt. Jervis himself might have to say, without inviting any conference or personal explanation, he immediately put his Aide-de-Camp on his defence as a man lying under the imputation of dishonest and disgraceful conduct. Such treatment naturally provoked a corresponding attitude on the part of Capt. Jervis, and led to mistakes on his side also. He accepted the hostile position into which he had been driven, and, in his indignation at the stigma, transgressed the limits of discipline easily reached in military service. His behaviour was refractory and even violent, he rejected the proceedings proposed by Sir William, and was at length brought necessarily to trial before a general court martial, not only on the original charges of dishonesty, but on additional charges of insubordination and disobedience."

Then followed a trial prolonged through a space upwards of three months. The details of the proceedings turned not so much upon facts as upon usages and presumptions. According to the report of the case, which we find in the London Times of 27th ult., it was not denied on behalf of the prisoner that he had taken for his own use certain of the stores which the Commander-in-Chief had charge, but it was maintained that though he had no right to appropriate these articles, he had a right, by usage of the service, to borrow them. Touching this point, the Times says:—

"He could draw upon these stores for his own immediate occasions, provided that he charged himself with the cost. It was all matter of account, and very intricate account, in which the defence of the accused was that everything would have been correctly balanced in due time, and every explanation furnished in the interim if he had not been summarily treated as a criminal before the investigation commenced. However, in the end, after a most patient inquiry, the Court, composed of fifteen members, acquitted the prisoner of all the criminal charges, but convicted him of the military charges. In other words, they found that Captain Jervis had not been guilty of embezzling his master's property, but that he had been guilty of breaches of discipline when accused of the crime. Very reasonably, therefore, considering that the only offence proved against him was the immediate result of the provocation which he had received, the Court took this extenuating circumstance into consideration, and recommended the prisoner to mercy. It devolved, however, on Sir William Mansfield himself to give this recommendation effect. He who had been the owner of the missing stores and the master of the household was also the prosecutor in the case, the convener of the Court, and the Judge, as it were, of appeal. Through all his private interests and feelings the matter now came round to him in his high official capacity for decision. On him, as Commander-in-Chief, it devolved at last to say whether the recommendations of the Court should be accepted or not, and whether Captain Jervis should be restored to rank or dismissed the service. Most unhappily, Sir William decided for the latter alternative, rejected the advice of the Court, and confirmed the sentence in all its severity."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 7 January 2017

New Soldiers' Chow (1940)
Topic: Army Rations

New Soldiers' Chow (1940)

British Tommies to Eat Rations Developed in U.S.

Lawrence Journal-World, Lawrence, Kansas, 11 March 1940

Washington, Mar. 11. (AP)—British "Tommies" in the French front line soon will be eating a new emergency ration developed by dietary experts of the United States army—and so will 65,000 American soldiers.

The British government, it was learned today, has placed an initial order with an Indianapolis firm for a consignment of the new canned "chow."

The Unites States army will give "field ration, type C" a two-day tryout during the big maneuvers in Texas next month.

The ration, designed for a possible three-day emergency during fighting, is packed in twin tin cans, each with its key opener.

Each man will carry one 15-ounce can of pre-cooked meat and beans, one of beef stew, on of meat and vegetable hash, and three companion cans, each of which contains six ounces of crackers, one ounce of sugar, and ¾ ounce of pulverised coffee, soluble even in cold water.

The new rations costs 70 cents a day (as against the present daily ration allowance of 40½ cents), but the price is expected to be reduced by quantity production.

The army is also experimenting with a super-emergency ration—a hard bar composed of chocolate, milk, soy bean meal, cocoa butter and other ingredients. Major Paul P. Logan, an instructor at the army industrial college, who holds the patent, made its taste such that men will not be tempted to eat it as candy.

In dire necessity, a man taking three four-ounce bars (each containing 600 calories) a day could be sustained for three or four days.

The new emergency rations are considered a big improvement, both in taste and food value, over the old bully beef and hardtack.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 6 January 2017

Movement and Ground (1855)
Topic: Military Theory

Movement and Ground (1855)

Skill in measuring distances is an important branch in military education.

From: Field Service; The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 11 May 1855
(From the Household Words)

A few hints for the transportation of troops by rail are drawn from the instructions issued by the Minster of War in France. One is to the effect that horses should be embarks in the train before feeding, and fed on the journey, which keeps them quieter. But with regard to the railway, it is found that when infantry travel by rail the expense is double that of a march; that of cavalry, six times; and that of artillery, fifteen times; for which reasons, as well as on account of the importance of keeping up the habit of long marches, the railway is resorted to only on particular emergencies.

Skill in measuring distances is an important branch in military education. The use of instruments, and certain mathematical rules, must, of course, be learnt; but without them, distance can be accurately reckoned by sound. The flash of a gun is seen before the report is heard; multiply every second of that interval by three hundred and eight yards, every beat of the pulse in health by three hundred and four yards, and you get an exact distance of yourself from the gun. There is "the peak of the cap" method; which is said to be good for distances under a hundred yards, on level ground. Suppose you want to measure the distance of an inaccessible point, say on the opposite side of a river, draw your cap over your eyes, till the peak just meets the point; then turn smoothly on your heels, keep your head stiff, and notice when the peak covers some other point which is accessible. You can then measure on the ground between yourself and that accessible point by pacing. The distance will of course be the same as that to the inaccessible point.

But the best, or rather the most useful of all calculators, is the eye itself; which, after repeated trials, will register distances with great accuracy. The value of musketry and artillery in action depends on an officer's judgment in this respect. His sketch of the field for the use of the general is executed with the eye, the pocket compass, and by pacing. An officer on service had better be without his watch than a compass. Yet mother-wit is all in all. When Marlborough was sent on a mission to Charles the Twelfth, he noticed a pair of compasses lying on the map, with the legs pointing toward St. Petersburg, and instantly concluded that the King's thoughts turned that way, which was the case. Major General Arthur Wellesley coming to a river which his guides insisted was impassible, was rather puzzled, his rear being exposed to an overwhelming force of the enemy's cavalry; but seeing a few cottages on its banks, he took what seemed the desperate resolution of making for the river, discovered a ford, and won the battle of Assaye; and all from guessing that men did not build villages on opposite sides of a stream without some means of communication between them.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 5 January 2017

Uncle Sam Claims Man Among Canadian Ranks
Topic: CEF

Uncle Sam Claims Man Among Canadian Ranks

Jackson Says He's American—Joins British—Now Draft Boards Want Him

Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 26 September 1917

Is Daniel Roy Jackson an American or a Canadian?

This what members of the exemption board of local district No. 2 and officers of the British recruiting mission in Spokane would like to have settled.

On August 9 Jackson—ideal soldier material, being 28, single and without dependents—was examined before the board of local district No. 2, at which time, according to Chairman J.C. Argall, he declared he was born at Douglas, Wyoming.

He failed to respond to his draft call, however, and an investigation today revealed that on August 21 Jackson enlisted here with the British recruiting mission for service in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, under the representation that he had been born in Calgary, Alberta.

"This case is a puzzler," today said Mr. Argall. "I presume that if it is found that Jackson is an American, as he told us he was, he is likely to be surrendered by the Canadian army officials to be drafted into the American army, but I am not sure.

"I am sending all my information in the matter to the adjutant general, whose office can unscramble the mix-up."

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A Soldier of the CEF

As it turned out, Daniel Roy Jackson served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. His entry in the Library and Archives Canada database of Soldiers of the First World War includes a link to the surviving pages of his service record.

Jackson served in France with the 31st Canadian Infantry Battalion. he joined the battalion on 2 March 1918 and was attached to the 6th Canadian Light Trench Mortar Battery, to which he was formally transferred on 11 July 1918. Jackson returned to Canada and was discharged from the CEF at Quebec on 28 August 1918. He received the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his service.

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Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The Colonel Who "Came Back"
Topic: Officers

England Now Ringing With the Story of the The Colonel Who "Came Back"

Meridian Morning Record, Meridian, Connecticut, 20 September 1916
(Correspondence Associated Press.)

London, Sept. 8.—All England is ringing with the story of Lieutenant Colonel John Ford Elkington—one of the strangest romances of this strange world war.

It is the ever-appealing, human story of a man who "came back."

Dismissed by Court Martial

Dismissed by court martial from the army he had served for nearly thirty years, just as his regiment was going into action in France in the closing months of 1914, this English officer, disgraced at a time of life when the chances of fate weigh heavily against a man fighting for suddenly lost honor, found refuge in that queerest of all military organizations, the Foreign Legion of France.

Lost in the mazes of the western battlefields—a mere legionnaire in the ranks, Colonel Elkington, late of the Royal Warwickshires, was all but forgotten. None of his old friends, his old fellow officers, none of the men who had seen him win the Queen's medal for valor in South Africa; none of these knew that Elkington was out there "somewhere in France," relentlessly winning his way back.

Receives Coveted Honors

But now Elkington is back in England. Pinned on his breast are two of the coveted honors of France—the military medal and the military cross; but most valued possession of all is a bit of paper which wipes out all the errors of the past—a proclamation from the official London Gazette announcing that the King has "graciously approved the reinstatement of John Ford Elkington in the rank of lieutenant-colonel with his previous seniority in consequence of his gallant conduct while serving in the ranks of the Foreign Legion of the French army."

Receives Reappointment

Not only has Colonel Elkington been restored to the army, but he has been reappointed in his old regiment, the Royal Warwickshires, in which his father served before him.

In the same London Gazette, at the end of October 14, had appeared the crushing announcement that Elkington has been cashiered by sentence of general court martial. What his error was did not appear at the time, and has not been alluded to in his returned hour of honor. It was a court martial at the front at a time when the first rush of war was engulfing Europe and little time could be wasted upon an incident of this sort. The charge, it is now stated, did not reflect in any way upon the officer's personal courage. But with fallen fortunes he passed quietly out of the army and enlisted in the legion—that corps where thousands of brave but broken men have found a shelter and now and then an opportunity to make themselves whole again.

Fighting Days Over

Colonel Elkington did not pass unscathed through fire. His fighting days are ended. His knees are shattered and he walks heavily upon his sticks.

"They are just 'fragments from France'," he said of those wounded knees.

Colonel Elkington made no attempt to cloak his name or his former army service when he entered the ranks of the legion.

"Why shouldn't I be a private?" he said. It is an honor for any man to serve in the ranks of that famous corps. Like many of the other boys, I had a debt to wipe off. Now it is paid."

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Notes on the career of Lieut.-Col John Ford Elkington from the London Gazette:

  • The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Honorary Queen's Cadet John Ford Elkington, from the Royal Military College, to be Lieutenant, vice A. P. A. Elphinstone, seconded. Dated 30th January, 1886. (London Gazette, 29 January 1886)
  • The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Lieutenant John Ford Elkington to be Captain, in succession to Major W. A. Campbell, Adjutant of Volunteers. Dated 25th January, 1893. (London Gazette, 7 February 1893)
  • War Office, 28th October 1916. His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to appoint Lieutenant-Colonel John Ford Elkington, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, to be a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order. (London Gazette, 31 October 1916)
  • R. War. R.–Lt.-Col. J. F. Elkington, D.S.O., on completion of his period of service in command, is placed on the h.p. list. 24th Feb. 1918. (London Gazette, 1 March 1918)
  • Warwick. R.– Lt.-Col. J. F. Elkington, D.S.O., having attained the age limit of liability to recall, ceases to) belong to the Res. of Off., 3rd Feb. 1921. (London Gazette, 22 February 1921)

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John Ford Elkington online:

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Canadian Militia to Hong Kong (1898)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canadian Militia to Hong Kong (1898)

Chance for Canadian Militia

Daily Mail and Empire, Toronto, Ont., 3 January 1898

New York, Jan. 2.—The London Correspondent of the Sun cables:—

"The Sun is enabled to say that in the event of trouble in the far East the Canadian militia have an opportunity of covering themselves with glory. The War Department and the Admiralty have between them drawn up a scheme whereby a battlion of this militia will be hurried to Hong Kong from Vancouver the minute war seems imminent. They would reach China long before any force from England could get there, and it is thought their cooperation would boom the Imperial unity idea. Presumably the views of the Dominion Government had been ascertained beforehand, and some steps have been taken to find out whether the gallant militiamen would be willing to follow glory to the cannon's mouth."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 2 January 2017

Valour---Meaning of the Medals
Topic: Medals

Valour—What the War Has Shown—Meaning of the Medals

The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 8 November 1916

In no war have more gallant deeds be performed than in this one. It might seem unnecessary to state this fact, seeing that there never before has been a war on anything like the present scale—a war in which millions of men are fighting and billions of money being expended. But, on the other hand, there has never been a war with such colossal and deadly engines of destruction. All the devices that science, in collaboration with the military experts, has been capable of producing, including such inhuman inventions as liquid fire and poison gas, have been brought into fiendish play; and in other respects there have never been so many deterrents against exhibitions of bravery. Trench warfare, for instance, in which opposing armies fight within a few yards of each other—fight, for the most part, without actually seeing each other—is one of the greatest of all deterrents. To expose oneself even for a moment is deadly peril.

And yet men have risked their lives day after day, facing all dangers, in order to win the coveted honours that are reserved for a brave manhood. Not that the chance of winning the V.C. or other distinction is the only impelling motive to brave deeds. It is more than probably that at the actual moment when great danger faces the soldier, and he is spurred to supreme bravery, the thought of the winning of possible honours is the furthest from his mind. He is thinking only of the work in hand, whether it is a bombing raid on the enemy's trench, a bayonet charge, or possibly the more pressing, but none the less dangerous, work of bringing in a wounded comrade under a murderous fire.

"In such moments," said the Irishman O'Leary, who won the V.C. in the early days of the war, "you seem to forget all about danger—all about yourself—and you simply go on fighting like the devil, fascinated by it." That is so in some cases, no doubt—just as it may be true enough in some cases, as another V.C. put it, that "this thing they call bravery is mostly foolhardiness"—but there can be no doubt also that hundreds, thousands, of men who are honoured for their bravery know full well the danger they are running, and that their lives are hanging by a thread. They know that death may come at any moment—they know that they will certainly be wounded—but they go on with the business in hand.

And many of the bravest of the brave are never seen at all. They go out into the charge, and they perform wonderful deeds of valour, and there an end—they are never heard of more.

During the first year of the war no fewer than 100 V.Cs. were awarded to officers and men fighting with the British forces, including Lance-Corporal Jacka and several other Australians; and in the year that has since passed the list has been added to largely. There were, for instance, twenty awards of this coveted distinction in September last, including four Australians—Privates T. Cooke (who was found dead beside his gun), J. Leak, W. Jackson, and M. O'Meara. To record the names of all those to whom the D.S.O., the M.C., and the D.C.M. have been awarded for their superb courage and devotion would fill a volume. If the peril was never greater, never were Britons braver. While we have men like these the Empire need not fear. "While we have boys like this lad," said Sir John Bethell, M.P., at the Mansion House meeting held on September 13 for the purpose of inaugurating a national memorial to John Travers Cornwall, the boy hero of H.M.S. Chester in the Jutland battle, "England will never come under the foot of a proud conqueror."

What the Medals Stand For

It is not without interest to glance at the different medals that are awarded for bravery and consider the distinction between this one and that one, for to the lay mind a good deal of confusion exists on the subject.

The Victoria Cross was instituted in 1856 as a reward for "some signal act of valour or devotion to country performed in the presence of the enemy." It can be given to every grade and rank, and to those who are not of commissioned rank it carries with it a pension of £10 a year, with an additional £5 per year for each clasp. Lance-Corporal (now Lieutenant) Jacka, for instance, wears two clasps. He won the V.C. at Gallipoli, and in France he again performed "a signal act of valour," which would have won it for him had he not already been the proud possessor of it. Those who have won the Victoria Cross during the war include officers and men of both land and sea forces, as well as of the flying service. The late Flight-Commander Warneford won it. Flight-Commander Hawker won it. In the navy no deed stands out more conspicuously than that of Lieutenant N.D. Holbrook, who, in command of submarine B11, entered the Dardenelles, in spite of very strong currents, and after diving under five rows of mines torpedoed the Turkish battleship Messudieh, retiring safely despite heavy gunfire and torpedo-boat attacks.

The D.S.O. (Distinguished Service Order), instituted in 1886 by the late Queen Victoria, is awarded only to naval and military officers, but not including Indian native officers, for "individual instances of meritorious or distinguished service in war." VC_MC-bar_trio_medal_group_crop_rd700px.pngThe order is in no sense a sort of second-class Victoria Cross, although the services rewarded are generally rendered in action.

The M.C. (Military Cross) was instituted in 1914 for captains and commissioned officers of lower grade and warrant officers of the King's army for distinguished services in the field, only on recommendation by the Secretary of State for War. The cross is worn immediately after all orders and before all decorations, with the one exception of the Victoria Cross, and recipients are now permitted to use "M.C." after their names.

The D.C.M. (Distinguished Conduct Medal), instituted in 1862, is awarded for distinguished conduct on the field by non-commissioned officers and men. It is the equivalent of the M.C. for commissioned officers.

The D.S.C. (Distinguished Service Cross), originally known as the Conspicuous Service Cross, was instituted in 1901. The title was changed in 1914, when all officers below the rank of lieutenant-Commander were made eligible for the award. It is bestowed in those cases where the services rendered are not considered to warrant the award of the D.S.O.

the D.S.M. (Distinguished Service Medal) was instituted in 1914. It is awarded to chief petty officers, petty officers, and men of the navy, and non-commissioned officers and men of the Royal Marines, in cases were the D.S.O. would be inappropriate—"such men as may at any time show themselves to the fore in action, and set an example of bravery and resource under fire."

There is also the India Distinguished Service Medal, which was instituted in 1907 as a reward for both commissioned and non-commissioned officers of the regular and other forces in India, and may be conferred by the Viceroy. The Order of Merit (India) dates from 1837, and it was for long regarded as the Sepoys' V.C. Some of the Indian officers now fighting for the Empire wear both the V.C. and the Order of Merit, as well as the Order of British India, which is awarded to native officers only for long and honourable service.

The M.M. (Military Medal) is a new decoration. It was instituted by Royal Warrant in April last [1916] for "bravery by non-commissioned officers and men on the field."

Medal for Nurses

For the first time the War Office has recently given full recognition of the heroism of women who have rendered signal service by nursing wounded soldiers within range of the enemy's guns. In august last the names of six women were included in the list of awards of the Military Medal "for bravery in the field." Here are the six: Lady Dorothie Mary Evelyn Feilding (Monro Motor Ambulance); Matron Miss Mabel Mary Tunley, R.R.C., Q.A.I.M.N.S.; Sister Miss Beatrice Alice Allsop, Q.A.I.M.N.S. (R.); Sister Miss Norah Easeby, Q.A.I.M.N.S. (R.); Staff Nurse Miss Ethel Hutchinson, Q.A.I.M.N.S. (R.); Staff Nurse Miss Jean Strachan Whyte, T.F.N.S. Miss Tunley, Miss Whyte, Miss Easeby, and Miss Allsop were wounded, but were "still at duty, July 7, 1916," according to the official statement. Lady Dorothie Fielding, second of the seven daughters of the Earl of Denbigh, was one of the first women of the British peerage to offer her services to her country in any capacity at the front. She has been in the field since September, 1914. She belongs to one of England's fighting families, and King Albert of Belgium has conferred on her the Cross of the Order of Leopold "for Red Cross services rendered on the battlefields of the north since the beginnings of the war." She has also been mentioned in Brigade Orders by the Rear-Admiral commanding the French Marine Fusiliers, with whom she has done much work, for "giving to almost daily the finest example of contempt of danger and devotion to duty"

The Silver Badge

The announcement was recently made that the King had approved the issue of a Silver War Badge for men discharged from the army on account of age or sickness. The badge will go "to officers and men of the British, Indian, and Overseas Forces, who have served at home or abroad since August 4, 1914, and who, on account of age or physical infirmity arising from wounds or sickness caused by military service, have, in the case of officers, retired or relinquished their commissions, or, in the case of men, discharged from the army."

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 1 January 2017

Battalion Duties--General Remarks--Officers (1917)
Topic: Officers

Battalion Duties—General Remarks—Officers

Officers should be courteous at all times to all ranks, and must return salutes in a soldierly manner.

Notes for Commanding Officers, Issued to Students at the Senior Officers' School, Aldershot, 1917 (5th Course)

1.     Every officer must learn the history of his Regiment and endeavour to make history for it. He must inspire his men with the desire to emulate the deeds of their predecessors.

2.     Officers must be careful as to the smartness and correctness of their dress. Spurs are only worn dismounted by Field Officers and Adjutants.

3.     Gambling is prohibited.

4.     Standing drinks in the mess is not allowed.

5.     Practical joking leads to trouble, and is therefore forbidden.

6.     Officers unable to perform their duties through sickness must report at once to their Officer Commanding Company, and the Adjutant must be informed.

7.     Officers must be present when the Commanding Officer or Second-in-Command inspects a unit under their command.

8.     An officer may not change duty with another without permission of the Adjutant.

9.     Officers much consider duty first, amusement after; they must obtain a thorough knowledge of all their duties if they with to command the respect and confidence of their men.

10.     An Officer, by putting his signature to a paper, renders himself responsible for the correctness of facts or figures in that paper.

The Senior Subaltern

11.     Only the Officer ordering a parade can give leave from it.

12.     Officers must be acquainted with all orders; absence on leave or sickness is no excuse for ignorance of orders.

13.     All Officers joining or returning from leave of absence, or from command, must report personally to the Commanding Officer.

14.     Officers must invariably check or take notice of any slackness or improper behaviour on the part of officers or of soldiers, either of their own or other Regiments, whenever met with.

15.     Officers may not leave the battalion area without leave.

16.     All Officers must pull together and support their Commanding Officer at all times and in all places.

17.     An Officer who misses a duty by inadvertence should at once report the fact personally to his superior or the Adjutant, if it is a Battalion duty.

18.     An Officer, except the Second-in-Command, who wishes to speak to the Commanding Officer, should first ask the Adjutant and explain to him the circumstances.

19.     Officers should be courteous at all times to all ranks, and must return salutes in a soldierly manner.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 19 November 2016 2:27 PM EST
Saturday, 31 December 2016

Future Battles Will Be Fought By Rival "Tanks"
Topic: Militaria

Future Battles Will Be Fought By Rival "Tanks"

Great Land Cruisers Being Built By Germans to Match Those of British

Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 21 September 1917

Herculean battles between droves of allied and Teuton "tanks" will be "as common as air fighting" on the western front soon, Colonel E.D. Swinton, commander of the first British "tank" squadron in France, predicts, according to the Washington correspondent of the Chicago Tribune.

Colonel Swinton, who is in the United States with Lord Reading's commission, originated the now famous British fighting monsters, he said in Washington. He believes the Germans are also building land cruisers and the day is not far distant, he thinks, when it will be a question of the survival of the fittest between "Fritz" and "Teddy" tanks.

Have Two Kinds

"There will be both male and female tanks—so called," he said. "We will have 'Mary' and 'Molly' tanks along with their lords and masters, the big 'Teddy' tanks. The males will lumber into battle surrounded by their harems.

"With the destruction of machine guns as his chief objective, the male tank starts across No Man's land. Shell craters, embankments, barbed wire entanglements, trenches, and even small forests are no barriers. With two six-pounders he blasts his way forward. Being bullet-proof, it is seldom that he is checked until he has accomplished his mission—destroying machine gun emplacements.

"However, he is more or less useless and close fighting and often gets into a place where he cannot extricate himself. It is here that his 'better halves' get into the game.

"The female tanks—dubbed thus because of their man-killing propensities—tag along behind, in advance and on all sides, fighting like mad. They beat off the enemy trying to storm the big 'Teddy.'"

Only Deadlock Breakers

Thus far 'tanks' are the only means that have been devised in breaking the deadlock along strongly entranched infantry fronts, Colonel Swinton stated. Great improvements are being made in their construction and defects remedied. The tank of the future will be a "perfect" fighting machine, capable of feats more startling than heretofore dreamed of, he said.

Of the development of the crawling fortresses, which have changed modern warfare, Colonel Swinton said:

"During that awful first year every soldier realized that something had to be devised to stop the carnage. The futility of a 'naked man' attempting to cross No Man's land was apparent to allies and Germans alike. It was an impossibility to sweep that pock-marked patch of hell with men alone.

How Idea Was Developed

"I has seen one of your Yankee inventions—Holt's tractor. I remembered its feats of navigating rough country and simply applied the idea. At about the same time someone else got a similar idea and wrote Winston Churchill, first lord of the admiralty.

"Independently of each other the war and navy branches began perfecting the same idea. Navy officials, unknown to me, worked on a 'land cruiser,' while we struggled with the 'tank.' Then we got together, with the result you have read about.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 30 December 2016

The Approved Ration (1907)
Topic: Army Rations

The Approved Ration (1907)

Instructions to Cooks, Published by Authority, Government Printing Bureau, Ottawa, 1907

The following ration having been approved will be supplied to the troops:

  • 1 lb. Bread or 1 lb. Biscuit (for camps, 1 ¼ lb. Bread).
  • 1 lb. Meat.
  • 1 lb. Potatoes.
  • 3 oz. Bacon.
  • 2 oz. Flour or 2 oz. Beans.
  • 3 oz. Jam or 3 oz. Dried apples.
  • 2 oz. Butter or cheese for permanent corps.
  • 1 oz. Split peas.
  • 2 oz. White sugar.
  • ½ oz. Salt.
  • 1/3 oz. Coffee.
  • ¼ oz. Tea.
  • 1/36 oz. Pepper.
  • ½ oz. Vegetables, evaporated, 1/2 oz. Onions; or 2 oz. Cheese for camps.
  • For permanent corps 4 oz. fresh vegetables in place of evaporated

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 29 December 2016

Nine Soldierly Qualities
Topic: Drill and Training

Nine Soldierly Qualities

Home-Reading Course for Citizen Soldiers (Lesson No. 3, of 30)

Spirit carries a body of soldiers forward. Tenacity is the quality that makes them "stick."

Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 29 August 1917

The three basic qualities, loyalty, obedience and physical fitness, were treated in the preceding lesson. There is another group of three soldierly qualities that are especially needed during the periods of training, marching and waiting between combats. These are:

  • Intelligence,
  • Cleanliness,
  • Cheerfulness.

Although these qualities are associated chiefly with camp life, they are, of course, scarcely less helpful in all other phases of military service.


Intelligence does not necessarily mean education, but rather quick observation and willing ness to learn. There is plenty of need for intelligence in modern warfare. The national army will be forced to absorb within a few months a training which would ordinarily extend over a period of two or three years. Those who intend to fit themselves for promotion should study thoroughly the manuals and the drill regulations which affect their duties. In time they should learn something about ma-making and map-reading, the construction of field entrenchments, training and care of horses, signalling, the handling of complex pieces of machinery, and many other subjects.

Captain Ian Hay beith of the English army, points out that in the first British forces of the present war the previous trade or training of every soldier was sooner or later utilized.


Cleanliness is important everywhere, but most of all in the army where large bodies of men are brought together. In its true sense, it includes not only keeping your body clean, but also your mind and your actions. Fortunately, it is a virtue in which Americans generally rank high. There should be little difficulty in setting a satisfactory standard in the new army.


Cheerfulness is always a prominent trait of good soldiers. Here again Americans may be counted upon to make a splendid showing, even in the face of any unexpected hardships or difficulties that may be ahead of us. There are numerous episodes in American military history to justify this confidence.

Finally there are the three battle qualities of the good soldiers:

  • Spirit,
  • Tenacity,
  • Self-reliance.

Unless a man has these three qualities—even though he possesses all the other six in good measure—he is after all only a campfire soldier.


Spirit—fighting spirit—is far from being mere hatred of the enemy of blind fury, on the one hand; nor is it mere passive obedience to orders, on the other. It means cool, self-controlled courage—the kind of courage which enables a man to shoot as straight on the battlefield as he does in target practice. However, it even goes a step beyond that point. Decisive victories can not be won by merely repulsing the enemy. "Only the offensive wins." (Infantry Drill regulations, paragraph 511.)


Spirit carries a body of soldiers forward. Tenacity is the quality that makes them "stick." The thorough soldier is never ready to stop fighting until his part of the battle is won. Tenacity was never better expressed than in the words of John Paul Jones. Standing among his dead and wounded on the sinking ship which was "leaking like a basket," he replied to his adversary's invitation to surrender, "Sir, I have not yet begun to fight." Two hours later the battle came to a sudden end when the colors of the enemy's vessel were hauled down.


Self-reliance is characteristic of the American, whether he is serving as a soldier or in some civil occupation. It is a quality needed more than ever before in present-day warfare. Major General Leonard Wood, in his introduction to the Field Service Regulations of the United States Army, says:

"Officers and men of all ranks and grades are given a certain independence in the execution of the tasks to which they are assigned and are expected to show initiative in meeting the different situations as they arrive. Every individual, from the highest commander to the lowest private, must always remember that inaction and neglect of opportunities will warrant more severe censure than an error in the choice of the means."

the nine qualities which have just been reviewed are those which every one of us would like to have for himself. They are the essentials of virile and successful manhood, whether in the army or out of it.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Making Good as a Soldier
Topic: Drill and Training

Making Good as a Soldier

Home-Reading Course for Citizen Soldiers (Lesson No. 2, of 30)

Discipline is not only essential in developing the army, but also in developing your own character as a soldier. "The soldier who is by nature brave, will by discipline become braver."

Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 28 August 1917

The national army, in which you are to take your place, truly expresses the American character and ideals. It is a great democratic army. It includes men of all degrees of wealth and education, chosen through fair and open selection by lot. All are brought together on terms of equality. There has been and there will be in this great national army no favoritism and no "pull." The poor man will drill side by side with the man who has been raised in luxury. Each will learn from the other. The place each man makes for himself will be determined by his own work and ability.

The question as to whether it is better to join the colors now or with a later contingent is not worth arguing, since the decision has been made for each man by lot. An ambitious man, however, will be glad to join now. It gives him a better chance for promotion. The commissioned officers of the first contingent are picked men who have voluntarily gone through the hardest king of training.

In order to make good in the national army you must, first of all, fit yourself to carry with credit the simple title of "American Citizen-Soldier"—one of the proudest titles in the world. This means that you must develop in yourself the qualities of the soldier. The more quickly and thoroughly you cultivate them, the greater will be your satisfaction and success.

elipsis graphic

Three Basic Qualities

There are three basic qualities, without which no man can be a real soldier even though he may temporarily wear a uniform. They are:

  • Loyalty,
  • Obedience,
  • Physical Fitness.

A man without these qualities is in the way and is a source of weakness to an army, both in the camp and on the field of battle.

The articles of war of the United States set forth the military crimes which are punishable by heavy penalties. Among these crimes are desertion, cowardice, insubordination, drunkenness while on duty, sleeping while on duty as a sentinel, disclosing the watchword, and giving aid or comfort to the enemy. Run over this list and you will see that every one of these military crimes can result only from the absence of one or more of the three basic qualities of a soldier.


A soldier's loyalty governs, first of all, his feelings and actions toward his country. There can be no such thing as half-way loyalty. The slightest compromise opens the door to treason.

But a soldier's loyalty does not stop here. It governs also his feelings and actions towards the army and towards all the officers under whom he serves, it absolutely forbids disobedience among both officers and enlisted men, or disrespect towards those in authority.


The second of the soldier's basic qualities is obedience, based on discipline. Without obedience and discipline an army cannot long continue to exist; it will quickly degenerate into an armed mob. As the infantry drill regulations put it, discipline is "the distinguishing mark of trained troops."

Military discipline is always impersonal. Obedience is required not merely of you, but of every man in the army. It is required of officers by their superiors with fully as much strictness as it is required of you. It will become your duty, whenever you are given authority over other men, to demand from them the same full measure of obedience that other will require of you.

Discipline is not only essential in developing the army, but also in developing your own character as a soldier. "The soldier who is by nature brave, will by discipline become braver."

The third basic quality, physical fitness, is so essential that a large part of the time devoted to your training will be spent in building it up. Physical fitness includes not only muscular development, but good health and endurance as well. It is a quality which every man who passes the physical examinations can develop in himself by reasonable care and by obedience to instructions.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Expedient Medications (1855)
Topic: Military Medical

Expedient Medications (1855)

From: Field Service; The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 11 May 1855
(From the Household Words)

No soldier should be without useful hints in the case of wounded or sick men, when the doctor is not at hand. Fever, ague, and dysentery, are the diseases soldiers are most liable to. For ague there are several common vegetable substitutes, in the absence of quinine, the king of all: such as willow bark, or orange leaf water, the root of the sweet scented flag, oak bark, gentian,—to which add catechu and bitters in general for dysentery or diarrhoea, and holly bark for ague. The last remedy on the list is a truly military one—namely, a charge of powder swallowed in water is a prompt and safe emetic.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 26 December 2016

Going For a V.C.
Topic: Medals

Going For a V.C.

"Military News," The Montreal Gazette, 4 December 1897 (Army and Navy Gazette)

It has recently been suggested that it is the practice nowadays for the British officers on active service to "go for" the Victoria Cross whenever the remotest chance of obtaining it presents itself. Be that as it may the present operations on the northwest frontier of India have already produced quite a respectable little crop of crosses, no less than four officers having already earned the reward, although unfortunately one of them was so severely wounded in the performance of his act that he did not live to actually receive the coveted decoration. The other three were gazetted last week, and we understand that before long some more recipients of the cross will be gazetted.

One medical officer at least has earned the cross by an act of noble gallantry. Of the three officers already decorated, viz., Lieut.-Col. R.B. Adams, Lieut. Viscount Fincastle, and Lieut. E.W. Costello—Lord Fincastle is particularly fortunate in that he was not ordered to the front as a combatant officer, but was permitted to proceed with Sir Bindon Blood's column as war correspondent, and it was even considered doubtful whether, as he was present only in that capacity of a civilian, he would be considered eligible for the V.C., which had alreadt\y ben refused to an ordinary war correspondent.

elipsis graphic

elipsis graphic

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 25 December 2016

His Majesty's Message; 25 Dec 1916
Topic: CEF

His Majesty's Message; 25 Dec 1916

Montreal Daily Mail, 25 Dec 1916

elipsis graphic

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 24 December 2016

Trench Raiding
Topic: CEF

Trench Raiding

Canadians From Alberta and Plains prove Adepts in New Methods of Trench Warfare

The Deseret News, 25 December 1916
(From a Staff Correspondent of the Associated Press.)

With the British armies in France, Dec. 24, via London, Dec. 25.—North of Arras certain Canadian troops have just accomplished what the British officers declare marks a new phase in modern trench warfare. In a raid, which however, was much more than a raid, they succeeded in putting out of action, temporarily at least, an entire battalion of German infantry. They took 59 prisoners, including one commissioned officer and estimated that they killed 150 Germans in dugouts which were blown to atoms after their occupants refused to surrender. The Canadian losses were extremely light. The "raid" took place at 3 o'clock in the afternoon on a front of 100 yards. The German prisoners admit that they were taken completely by surprise. The officer captured said he was convinced that something was about to happen but believed that the attack was coming on Christmas eve. He reported to the higher command but received no support.

The Canadians, mostly stalwart men from the plains of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, had skilfully established themselves well forward so that when the artillery had ceased the preparatory fire they were in the German front line trenches in less than two minutes. The officer in command, who was reporting the raid to Brigade headquarters by telephone, said that he had hardly uttered the words, "they're off" before he had to say "they're in." Consternation reigned among the Germans who scrambled for the saps and dugouts leading to rear trenches while the Canadians pelted them with hand grenades.

Caught unprepared, many Germans in the front line offered no resistance but threw up their hands with cried of "Kamerad!" Others were taken as they fled for the second and third lines for the Canadians pushed on quickly to the second trenches.

About 20 dugouts were destroyed by Canadians, several with bombs captured from the Germans. One of the officers engaged said:

"As we entered the trenches many Germans broke for the dugouts. All who did were subsequently well cared for. Each of our men was given definite instructions for his precise task and a map of the enemy's trenches which proved correct. Each man knew every detail of the proposed operation. They were delighted at this and entered the fight with great cheers. When they came out two hours later they were singing and as happy as school boys on a holiday. The neatness despatch with which the raid was carried out were unique. The artillery co-operation of the British guns was perfection. Beautifully placed curtains of fire prepared our advance and, crossing forward, protected us as they proceeded to absolutely demolish the enemy trenches and dugouts. The program had given the men an hour and a half for their work but the cleanup was accomplished in an hour and ten minutes and the raiders signalled they were ready to return to their own trenches."

No attempt was made at a counter attack until the following night, when the Germans bombarded and raided their own front line, or what was left of it, thinking that the raiders were still there. As a matter of fact the Canadians who carried out the operations were miles away. They were not part of the fighting line but on rest, and had gone forward for this particular piece of work, which was planned weeks ago.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 23 December 2016

Xmas Invasion of Britain
Topic: CEF

Xmas Invasion of Britain by Soldiers' Wives

Missanabie Took Hundreds of Canadian Women To See Their Husbands

Montreal Daily Mail, 25 Dec 1916
(Canadian Associated Press)

London, Dec. 23.—Animated scenes were witnessed at Liverpool when the Canadian pacific steamer Missanabie arrived. She is the Canadian Christmas boat and brought over hundreds of women and children desirous of spending Xmas with their husbands and brothers in training in Britain or on leave from the front.

Of 340 cabin passengers, only forty-three were men, with practically an all Canadian list, the majority having come from all parts of the Dominion, women from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Prairie Provinces, British Columbia, Yukon. The majority had never seen England before. From Liverpool the train carried them to London and the various Canadian camps and hospitals scattered throughout Britain.

This unique invasion steamer also brought a big mail and a huge consignment of Xmas parcels for boys in training in Britain and at the front. An official stated that the Canadian mail and parcels received this year were of record proportions. In one week the mail despatched from Montreal included over 800,000 parcels. Two Canadian Pacific steamers recently brought between them 20,000 bags of mail and parcels.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 22 December 2016

Reveille to Lights Out (part 4 of 5)
Topic: Drill and Training

Reveille to Lights Out (part 4 of 5)

The Montreal Gazette, 1 July 1942
By Machine-Gunner

(This is the fourth in a series of five articles describing the Canadians' transition from civilian to military life. Written by a soldier who has learned "the hard way," they give an illuminating insight into Army Life.)

The phrase from the Mikado. "Let the punishment fit the crime," might just as well have been taken from the Manual of Military Law as far as the Canadian soldier is concerned.

His interests are protected from the day of his enlistment until he is discharged from the army. Pages have been written in the official documents, and the greatest of pains have been taken to see that his rights are at all times respected.

"To be paraded" is a phrase that means more to the recruit than the civilian ever imagines, and it doesn't mean his being involved in a procession around town. When a soldier is paraded he is taken, in the proper manner, to his immediate senior officer for one of two reasons.

To begin with, he may feel that he has been wronged by a companion, an N.C.O. or an officer. It is his right to be paraded, first to his platoon commander, usually a lieutenant, and if he is not satisfied, from there to his company commander, a captain or major, and still further to the unit commander, a lieut-colonel as a rule.

He is given a chance to tell his side of a story which concerns him, and his right to be paraded guarantees his getting what soldiers have always called a "square deal."

On the other side, there is the case of a soldier who is paraded because he has been guilty of an offence against the Army Act. In this case he is paraded to the company commander by the company sergeant major, and is brought in between two of comrades who are termed "escorts." the accused is marched in with his escorts, to a position in front of the company commander's desk with his head bare.

The name of the accused is read out and he then steps forward one pace. The "crime" is read out, and the witnesses called to testify, and after all the evidence has been presented the accused soldier is asked what he has to say for himself.

If the sentence to be passed involves a forfeiture of pay on the part of the soldier, he is asked, before th punishment is announced "Are you willing to accept my punishment?" by the company commander; if the soldier agrees he is sentenced to the forfeiture of as many days' pay (and the powers of the company commander are limited, in this respect, to three day's pay) and in addition to a number of day (up to seven) C.B., or confinement to barracks. While a soldier is C.B. he may not leave the barracks, and must work after hours of parade on odd jobs around the camp, cutting grass, or washing dishes have taken the place of the old potato peeling punishment of 1914-18 by virtue of the automatic potato peelers in use at present.

The case of a soldier who refuses to accept punishment of the company commander is similar to one whose offence is one for which the punishment is beyond the powers of that officer. The soldier is paraded to the officer commanding (the unit). The procedure is quite the same as before, but the o.c. may award up to 14 days C.B., and 28 days detention.

A soldier in detention is locked up in the camp "jail." called Detention Barracks. While he is so confined he may not smoke, receives no pay and in addition, performs many of the more unpleasant duties around camp. He is made to parade also, but his health and moral welfare are superintended by the medical officer and padre respectively, on their regular rounds of inspection. If the punishment is believed by the officer commanding to be above even his powers he may remand the accused for a district court martial, and the procedure is similar if the soldier refuses to accept the punishment to be awarded by the O.C., but again, the accused must declare his willingness to accept the punishment before it is announced.

The only time there is an automatic forfeiture of pay is when a soldier is absent without official leave. When he has not attended parades, he is not, naturally, paid.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 16 December 2016 11:20 PM EST
Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The Camel Corps
Topic: Drill and Training

The Camel Corps

The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 8 November 1916

Men who have been selected for service with the camel corps are trained in Menangle Camp under Colonel Lenehan. The camels used were brought down from up-country under special drivers, who have been accustomed to them and understand their ways. The men are given instructions in riding, loading, and looking after the animals.

Most of the work consists in teaching the men to learn "camel talk," for the camel has to be addressed in a manner he understands, or else he declines to budge, being one of the most obstinate of animals. The men have to be taught how to persuade a camel to lie down or rise up, as the case may be, and also are instructed in the saddling of these "ships of the desert." When it comes to mounting the camel with full kit there are many amusing incidents, for if the animal rises quickly before the recruit is firm in the saddle, the recruit more often than not takes an impromptu toboggan slide down its back and lands on the ground spread-eagled, with his helmet and rifle on either side of him. Australians who are good horsemen, however, quickly learn the "tricks of the trade," many, in fact, having had more or less to do with camels in the pre-war days, with the result that the men forming the Australian Camel Corps know their job from A to Z before they leave for the front.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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