The Minute Book
Friday, 1 December 2017

Operation Santa Claus (1955)
Topic: RCAF

Operation Santa Claus (1955)

"Comrades in Arms" column, The News and Eastern Townships Advocate, St John's P.Q., 1 December 1955

Operation "Santa Claus," the RCAF's annual Christmas mail flights to lonely Arctic outposts, is under way once more.

This year "Santa" is using a different type "sled," as huge C-119 Packets have replaced to North Star aircraft used in previous years. The RCAF is using two C-119 squadrons, 435 Edmonton and 436 Lachine, to split the operation, with the western squadron making deliveries to the Central Arctic and the Lachine based aircraft dropping supplies to the Baffin Island region.

More than 11,000 pounds of mail, Christmas parcels, fresh rations, emergency equipment and Christmas trees will be dropped through the dark, Arctic nights to eager hands below.

The Edmonton squadron, operating from Resolute Bay on Cornwallis island is making 10 paradrops, including drops at the five joint U.S.-Canadian weather stations.

The Eastern flyers are using Frobisher Bay, on the southern tip of Baffin Island, as their operating base to visit 12 Canadian weather, radio and RCMP detachments scattered across the Hudson Strait area and Baffin Island.

Although "Santa" is about a month ahead of schedule the flights must take place during the 10-day moon period which begins on November 25 this year. The operation was therefore timed a month ahead of Christmas to make sure deliveries reached their destinations in time.

Since most of the detachments are visited only once each year by ship or aircraft — usually during the summer months — the men operating Canada's most northerly posts aren't too particular about the timing … just as long as the mail arrives.

The mail, packets, rations, etc., are packed in large wicker baskets with bicycle lights tied to the outside to enable the waiting men, standing by blazing oil drums, to follow the bundles to the ground.

This year a new Canadian weather base, opened this summer at Sacks Harbour on Banks Island, will receive its first Christmas air-drop, while the most northerly visit will be made to Alert, situated on the very tip of Ellesmere Island. Alert, Canada's most northerly inhabited spot, is just 400 miles from the North Pole.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 10 November 2017

The First Celebration of the Armistice
Topic: Remembrance

The First Celebration of the Armistice

Proclamations

The Canada Gazette, Ottawa, Saturday, November 23, 1918

Devonshire

Canada

George the Fifth, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emporer of India.

To all to whom these presents shall come, or whom the same may in anywise concern,—Greeting:

A Proclamation

E.L. Newcombe, Deputy Minister of Justice, Canada:— Whereas it seems to Us fitting that a day should be set apart as a day of solemn thanksgiving to Almighty God for the victories that have been won by the Allied Armies and for the Armistice that has been signed by the contending nations,—

Now Know Ye that We by and with the advice of Our Privy Council for Canada have thought fit to appoint and do appoint Sunday, the first day of December in this present year to be observed throughout Our Dominion of Canada as a day of solemn thanksgiving to Almighty God for the victories that have been won by the Allied Armies in the war against the Central Powers of Europe and for the Armistice that has been signed by the contending nations involving a general surrender by the enemy.

And We do invite Our loving subjects throughout Canada to set apart the said day for this purpose.

Of all which Our loving subjects and all others whom these presents may concern, are hereby required to take notice, and govern themselves accordingly.

In Testimony Whereof, We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent, and the Great Seal of Canada to be hereunto affixed. Withers: Our Right Trusty and Right Entirely Beloved Cousin and Counsellor, Victor Charles William, Duke of Devonshire, Marquess of Huntington, Earl of Devonshire, Earl of Burlington, Baron Cavendish of Hardwicke, Baron Cavendish of Keighley, Knight of our Most Noble Order of the Garter; One of Our Most Honourable Privy Council; Knight Grand Cross of Our Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George; Knight Grand Cross of Our Royal Victorian Order; Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Our Dominion of Canada.

At Our Government House, in Our City of Ottawa, this Fifteenth day of November, in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and eighteen, and in the ninth year of Our Reign.

By Command,

Thomas Mulvey,
Under-Secretary of State.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 4 November 2017

Canada’s Fighting Force (1899)
Topic: Paardeberg

Canada’s Fighting Force

Contingent will be Headed by a Band on Landing in South Africa

Patriotic Offer of Q.O.C.H. Instruments Accepted—Yesterday a Busy Day in Militia Circles—Presentations on the Citadel—Other Notes of Interest

The Quebec Saturday Budget, 4 November 1899

Although this article isn't specifically about Paardeberg, it has been tagged as such to keep it with other First Canadian Contingent items.

Yesterday, as on the previous Sunday, was a day of hard work for all departments of the military service, from early morn until late at night, and a vast amount was done in connection with the contingent. Stores continued to arrive all through the day which as soon as received was unpacked and distributed to their proper destination by the staff of the stores department., while on the other hand the men of the force were engaged arranging their equipments so that before nightfall nearly all had stowed away their necessaries, had fitted their Oliver equipment and were ready for to-day's parade previous to embarkation on the steamer. Several companies at the Immigration Buildings were inspected during the afternoon by their commanding officers, and everything found satisfactory. What clothing, if any, is not ready for the men for the time of departure will be put aboard the steamer and fitted there, but in this respect there is little left to be done, the local tailors having done a vast amount of work in this respect in the past week. The last detachment to reach the Immigration Buildings was that of some sixty men from Victoria, Vancouver and new Westminster, B.C. They arrived here early yesterday morning and were met at the C.P.R. Depot by the R.C.A. band. They are a lot of strapping fine fellows, many of them six footers and the majority artillerymen. They received a warm welcome from their comrades-in-arms on reaching their quarters. A large number of the excursionists who arrived in town yesterday occupied themselves visiting their soldier friends on the Citadel, as very few were allowed admission to the Immigration Buildings. Souvenir hunters were out in large numbers and many a lady and some gentlemen, too, have in their possession to-day buttons, shoulder-straps, etc., which the soldier boys hardly ever refused to hand, one or the other, over when so requested by some pretty maiden, and in consequence many of the uniforms are sadly depleted of these articles. At the Citadel all day streams of visitors passed in and out, and although the morning was anything but agreeable, the rain did not deter the people climbing the hill, to whisper a kind word to their friends who would soon be on their wat to South Africa. The Minister of Militia, Hon. Dr. Borden, accompanied by friends made a short visit to the Citadel and Immigration Buildings during the day and was well received. Up to last night the organization of the various companies was still incomplete and any attempt to give a list of the men with any accuracy would be lost time. In fact, there is no likelihood of the force being in thorough working order for several days after it sails, as the men are still being changed from one company to another. The force, it appears, is over strength and what was troubling the authorities yesterday was the question of who among the number would be obliged to remain at home, as one thing was certain, all who had been sworn in could not be taken. Some of the companies were much over strength, and one or two others weak, hence the necessity of changing about up to the last moment, consequently any attempt to give a list of the companies, as already stated, would be labor in vain and misleading.

The officers Major Hethrington and Captain Turner, of the Q.O.C.H., to donate the instruments of their band to the contingent has been accepted by Colonel Otter, and the force will consequently not be without a musical corps on landing at Cape Town, as with a thousand men on a steamer there is no doubt that a first class band will be organized. Too much praise cannot be given the officers of the Hussars for the patriotic move they have made in supplying the corps with a full supply of first class instruments, and no doubt the monotony of the long voyage to the cape will be broken and and they will be led to the front by music, without which they would have cut a sorry figure.

Capt. McDonnell, R.C.R.I., and Capt. Ogilvy, R.C.A., have been named assistant adjutants of the contingent.

In the sergeants' mess room at the Citadel last evening a very pleasant incident took place when four popular non-commissioned officers of the mess, Sergt. Lafleur, R.C.A., Sergt. Davis and Sergt. Charleton, R.C.R.I., and Sergt Peppiat, "B" Field Battery, the three former going with the contingent as color sergeants and the latter as a full private, were presented with a bracelet watch each. Master Gunner Lavie made the presentation in a neat speech and the recipients were called upon in turn to respond, which they did in well chosen words, full of thanks and good wishes for the non-coms. Of the Citadel mess, whom they were leaving behind, and promising, if possible, to make a name for themselves in the battlefields of South Africa. Sergt.-Major Butcher, R.C.R.I., added a few words to those spoken by Master Gunner Lavie in making the presentations.

The gift of one hundred dozen bottles of beer donated by the Messrs. Boswell for the use of the men at the smoking and promenade concert at the drill hall on Saturday evening was much appreciated and did full justice to by the soldier boys.

The French songs were received with more warmth, if anything, than the English ones, whioch must be taken as a compliment to our French speaking fellow citizens, who form the vast majority of the population. The boys of the contingent insisted on encores and got several.

It is not expected that the companies of the contingent will be fully organized for several days, but there will be ample time to perform that work after the steamer sails.

Two excursions reached town from Ottawa yesterday morning, another from Sherbrooke and one from Montreal. The strangers occupied themselves yesterday in visiting the Citadel and immigration buildings and in many cases bidding good-by to relatives and friends who are enrolled in the South African force.

The show the desire that some men have, it is related that ex-Sergt. Kruger, of "A" Field Battery, Kingston, who has only lately returned with the force from the Klondike, offered Bomb. McDonald, of "B" Field Battery, the sum of $100 in cash if he would retire in his favor from the force, but Bomb. McDonald declined to accept the offer. Sergt. Kruger was satisfied to go into the ranks as a private.

A large number of the men of the Q.O.C.H. and the 8th and 9th Battalions were out in their uniforms yesterday and paid their respects to many of the contingent.

Among the stores taken on board the Sardinian are about one hundred tents, several hundred blankets and rubber sheets, and a large quantity of Lee-Metford and Morris tube ammunition.

Corporal Jewell, Private Ackerman and private Murray and several other members of the Eighth Royal Rifles have been remembered by their comrades and are leaving with a goodly supply of souvenirs.

Sergeant-Major W. Fellows, of the 2nd Regiment, C.A., Montreal, is among the visitors from the sister city who are here to join us in giving the soldier boys a send off.

Lady Casault, Mrs. R.R. Dobell, Mrs. Chas. Fitzpatrick, Mrs. Frank Ross, Mrs. W.M. Macpherson, Mrs. Turnbull, Mrs. C. Sewell, mrs. Fitch, Mrs. R. Harcourt Smith, Mrs. Holt, Mrs. V. Boswell, Mrs. Geo. Thomson, Mrs. Archie Cook, Misses Irvine, Boswell, McLimont and Butt are interesting themselves to provide comforts for the Quebec detachment of the contingent and subscriptions are being taken up.

The following newspaper men will accompany the contingent as war correspondents" Messrs. Stanly McKeown Brown, "Mail," Toronto; C.F. Hamilton, "Globe," Toronto; and W. Smith, "Star," Montreal.

Lieut. D.A. O'Meara, late of the 8th Royal Rifles, has joined the contingent as a private, making in all some twenty-three recruits from the regiment, which is very good, considering the strength of that corps. Sergt. L. Larue, 9th Battalion, has also joined the ranks.

The white helmets are to be dyed a dark coffee color on board ship.

The following are the names of the nurses selected for the contingent:— Miss Georgina Pope, Prince Edward Island; Miss Sarah Forbes, Halifax; Miss Minnie Affleck, Lennox, Ont.; Miss Elizabeth Russell, Hamilton, Ont.

Lieut.-Col. Sam Hughes, of the 45th Battalion, who has arrived in town, will go to the Transvaal, not as an officer of the Canadian regiment, but as an officer attached to a regiment of the Imperial army, probably the Dublin Fusiliers.

A box addressed "Sergt.-Major Borland, Canadian Transvaal Contingent, Quebec," has been received from Montreal. It contained a donation from Messrs. Malone & Robertson, of Notre-Dame Street, consisting of one hundred oak-framed mirrors for distribution among the non-commissioned officers. On the backs of the mirrors was an inscription surmounted with maple leaves.

Rev. T.F. Fullerton, who has been appointed as chaplain to the Canadian contingent, and will sail with the regiment, arrived in the city yesterday by the Intercolonial and last night preached in St. Andrew's Church. He is the guest of Rev. A.T. Love, at St. Andrew's Manse. Mr. Fullerton's sermon last night was a most eloquent defence of the Transvaal war.

Yesterday morning the church parade was cancelled on account of the rain, but later was again ordered and it took but ten minutes to organize the force on the Citadel and have them ready to attend the service. This is not bad work for an organized force such as the contingent is at yet.

The various companies on coming out of the Cathedral close yesterday morning were received with cheers by the multitudes that lined the streets in the vicinity. The officers and men deserved all the praise they got for their fine appearance.

Allan Stroud, of the Kingston "News," and son of master Gunner Stroud, of "A" Field Battery, R.C.A., Kingston, is in town, looking after contingent matters in the interest of his paper.

It is estimated that there are over 5,000 strangers in the city to see the troops off. All the incoming trains to-day were taxed to their utmost, while the hotels have assumed their usual summer appearance of activity.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 30 December 2016 9:13 PM EST
Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Authorization for Poppy to be Worn
Topic: Remembrance

Authorization for Poppy to be Worn

King's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Militia, 1917

Para. 1364.—The wearing of any unauthorized ornament or emblem, when in uniform, is forbidden, unless express permission has been granted. The wearing of a sprig of shamrock in the headdress by Irishmen of all ranks, on St. Patrick's Day, is authorized.

1922 — General Order 202

Canada Gazette, 16 December 1922

King's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Militia, 1917, are amended as follows:—

Para. 1364—after the word "authorized" in line 5, delete the period and insert ", also the wearing of a poppy in the headdress on the anniversary of Armistice Day. If the poppy cannot for any reason be worn in the headdress, it may be worn on the jacket."

1924 — General Order 49

King's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Militia, 1917—Amendments

Canada Gazette, 10 May 1924

King's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Militia, 1917, are amended as under:—

Para. 1364 as amended by G.O. 202 of 1922, is cancelled and the following is substituted therefor:—

1364.     No unauthorized ornament or emblem is to be worn in uniform, but special emblems may be carried on the headdress on anniversaries, provided authority has been obtained.

English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and French soldiers serving in Units of the Canadian Militia may wear their respective National flowers in their headdress on the days specified below:—

  • St. George's Day – English soldiers.
  • St. Patrick's Day – Irish soldiers.
  • St. Andrew's Day – Scottish soldiers.
  • St. David's Day – Welsh soldiers.
  • St. Jean Baptiste Day – French soldiers.

All ranks, when not on duty, are authorized to wear a poppy on the uniform headdress on the 11th November, being the anniversary of Armistice Day of the Great War.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 24 September 2017

The Militia Camp; 24 Sept 1885
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Militia Camp; 24 Sept 1885

A Windy Night Under Canvas
The Review

The county inspector has had several of the keepers of canteens summoned for selling liquor without a license at the camp ground.

The London Advertiser, London, Ont., 24 September 1885

Tuesday night proved a stormy one in camp [on Carling's farm, present location of Wolseley Barracks, London, Ontario]. The cold wind whistled through the openings in the canvas tents, and the scant bedding proved but poor protection against it. The only way of warming themselves that proved effectual was to get up and execute a war dance round the tent, and this is neither pleasant nor practicable in a twelve foot space with ten men sleeping in it. During the early part of the evening the brigade headquarters went by the board, the wind having ripped the large marquee all up one side. The wreck was removed from the ground, and the headquarters moved to the Quartermaster's tent, where they are now to be found. The wind also damaged the marquee of the 25th Battalion, and played other pranks around the camp.

The Review

About 12,000 or 15,000 persons assembled at the camp grounds yesterday to witness the review. Every train that came in during the morning brought hundreds of visitors, and Elgin, Perth, Oxford, Essex, Kent and Wellington were all fully represented. General Middleton rode on the parade grounds punctually on time and was accompanied by Lieut.-Col. Clarke, Lieut.-Col. Aylmer, Lieut.-Col. Peters, Lieut.-Col. Dawson; Major Miller and Capt. Wise, acting as aide de camps.

The first portion of the review consisted of a march past, which took place just at the foot of the hill. In this the cavalry came first, followed by the artillery, and next the infantry, with the Oxford Rifles first. The march past was done with precision, the men passing the saluting point as even as a a wall. The double past followed, which was equally well accomplished, and then came the sham battle. The troops were all drawn up on the eastern end of the ground, and the plan of battle was to dislodge an imaginary enemy at the western end. The action commenced by the cavalry scouts advancing to locate the enemy, and after uncovering them and exchanging a few shots they fell back and a battery of artillery were sent forward on the right. In the mean time a flank movement had been executed on the left with another battery of artillery, who gained the crest of the hill and their fire forced the enemy back, and enabled the battery of the left to again advance. After the artillery had done all it could toward dislodging the enemy, the 22nd Oxford Rifles were thrown forward in skirmishing order, and succeeded in driving the enemy still further back. Then the 28th and 30th, who had been held in reserve, came forward and completed the enemy's defeat. The 21st, 24th and 25th fired a few volleys after the flying foes, and the engagement was at an end. General Middleton afterwards proceeded to the brigade headquarters, where he gathered the staff officers around, and complimented them very highly upon the manner in which their various corps had acted. He expressed himself as greatly pleased with the whole of the afternoon's work.

Notes (selected from those published)

A well-known Colonel of one of the infantry regiments wandered into the wrong lines the other night. He was rather surprised when the sentry ran him in the guard room, but upon explanation a release followed.

The total strength of the brigade is now placed at 1,971 non-commissioned officers and men, 170 officers, including the brigade staff, and 252 horses. The brigade is only 39 men short of its full strength.

The county inspector has had several of the keepers of canteens summoned for selling liquor without a license at the camp ground.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 18 September 2017

The New Infantry School (1885)
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

The New Infantry School

The Sarnia Observer, 18 September, 1885

The project for mixing up the proposed new Infantry School in London, with a scheme for establishing permanent camp grounds in conjunction with the agricultural fairs there has happily fallen through. It was boomed with insidious art and much sophistry by the London Free Press for several years and so many outsiders connected with the Militia fell unconsciously into the trap that we fully expected to see the scheme succeed. But the promoters of it overshot their mark, Their greed was too apparent, and the citizens of London, by an overwhelming majority, sat down on them with crushing effect. We refrained from offering any suggestions or opinions in regard to the matter while the subject was before the ratepayers of London for settlement, because we felt that our motives would be misconstrued. The contest was made to assume a political complexion, from the fact that the chief party interested in combining the fair, the camp and the school in one grand combination was the Postmaster-General, Hon. John Carling. The scheme was made large and comprehensive so as to embrace a proposal for the purchase of carling farm as a site for the combined institutions, at a figure that many regarded as exorbitant—$75,000 for some hundred acres of land. Now that the people of London have knocked the combination on the head, a few remarks on the subject may be listened to with attention.

The establishment of an Infantry School in the Western District we regard with approval. It is needed in the interests of the militia force, and London, as headquarters of the militia district, is the proper place for it. The government has selected the city, very properly, as its location. The most suitable site for it is a matter requiring some consideration, but there are many eligible places in the neighbourhood, and no difficulty ought to be experienced in securing one. The barracks should be at some distance from the city, and the grounds surrounding it should be large enough for parade and drill purposes. Adjoining it, or as near as possible, a rifle range ought to be established, a first requirement of which should be absolute safety. Such a range could not be had at carling farm. If a site for the school could be had in the vicinity of Cove Ranges, it would answer the purposes well. The ranges could be leased or purchased by the government for the use of the local militia, as well as of the school.

A camp ground for the militia of the district is not a necessary adjunct of an Infantry School, nor is the proximity of an Infantry School a necessity for a camp ground. They have only a remote connection with each other, and ought not to have been considered as necessary complements. We are opposed to the holding of annual drill camps continuously in one place. One of the chief objects aimed at informing military camps for drill purposes is destroyed. The camps out to be held at different points in the district in each succeeding year, so that officers and men, staff as well as line, could be made acquainted with the leading features of the country, the means of access to any given point, the condition and direction of the roads, and all other information that should be of service to troops called out for a campaign in the district. The military features of salient points on the frontier ought to be especially familiar to the officers of the district who might be called upon in an emergency to guard these points at short notice. Camps in the vicinity of Amherstburg, Windsor, Sarnia, Goderich, Kincardine and Southampton, would tend to make the troops acquainted with the ground in these neighbourhoods, and field days and brigade manoeuvres ought to be planned with an eye to the defence of each place. So with such centres as Chatham, St. Thomas, London, Stratford and Woodstock, strategic points, the surroundings of which ought to be made a subject of study by the militia of the district. We think that the reasons we have given why the permanent camp idea should be abandoned will strike the officers in command of militia corps as sound and incontrovertible. An expression of their views in that direction would no doubt have effect at headquarters, and the result would probably be a return to the system introduced after the Fenian raids aroused the authorities to the necessity for bringing the militia together annually for brigade drill.

There being in our opinion no necessity for a permanent camp ground, the idea of uniting the camp grounds with fair grounds, as a joint institution, it is not necessary to discuss. The action of the citizens of London in voting to keep them separate shows that they fully understand the folly of uniting the two interests. It speaks well for their firmness and level headedness, that they were able to take a common sense, business view of the question in spite of the powerful influences brought to bear upon them to give a verdict in Mr. Carling’s favour.

They have chosen well as to what they require for Fair Grounds, now let the militia authorities display as good judgment in the selection of a site for the Infantry School and neither party will have cause to regret the action of the other.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Medals (1870)
Topic: Medals

Medals (1870)

Regulations and Orders for the Active Militia of the Dominion of Canada, 1870

No medals or decorations are to be worn by officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the Active Militia, when in uniform, without due authority, except such as have been gained by them at any time for service in the defence of their country; and medals granted by the Royal Humane Society for acts of gallantry, and those gained for skill at arms, or at Rifle Matches, may be worn on the right breast.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Canada’s Military Forces Dwindling (1922)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canada’s Military Forces Dwindling (1922)

Reorganization Proceeds With Reduction of 450 Officers and Men

The Montreal Gazette, 11 July 1922

Ottawa, July 11.—A reorganization of the permanent force involving a reduction of 450 officers and men is now proceeding as a result of the action of Parliament at its last session in reducing the military estimates. The strength of the force was put at about 3,800 during the discussion of the militia estimates so that the reduction now underway would bring it down to approximately 3,350. This reorganization affects the permanent force throughout all the military districts and the figures given above include the reductions made in the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery at Quebec and those made at Kingston, which have been reported from those points. As a result of economies of demobilization last year there was a saving available of some $200,000 towards the cut made in the estimates at the last session. This left a deficit of approximately $500,000 during the current year, which has had to be taken care of, and this it is expected to accomplish by the retirement of 450 officers and men. As is indicated by these figures it is calculated that on average, including both officers and men, each member of the permanent force costs the country about $1,200.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 30 June 2017

The Russian Soldier
Topic: Russia

The Russian Soldier

Small Unit Actions During the German Campaign in Russia, Historical Study; Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 20-269, July 1953

The essentially healthy Russian soldier with his high standard of physical fitness was capable of superior physical courage in combat.

The Germans found, however, that to be acquainted with Russian tactics and organization was useful but by no means decisive in achieving victory in battle. Far more important was the proper understanding of the Russian soldier's psyche, a process involving the analysis of his natural impulses and reactions in different situations. Only thus were the Germans able to anticipate Russian behavior in a given situation and draw the necessary conclusions for their own course of action. Any analysis of the outstanding characteristics of the Russian soldier must begin with his innate qualities.

a.     Character. The Slav psyche—especially where it is under more or less pronounced Asiatic influences—covers a wide range in which fanatic conviction, extreme bravery, and cruelty bordering on bestiality are coupled with childlike kindliness and susceptibility to sudden fear and terror. His fatalistic attitude enables the Russian to bear extreme hardship and privation. He can suffer without succumbing. At times the Russian soldier displayed so much physical and moral fortitude that he had to be considered a first-rate fighter. On the other hand, he was by no means immune to the terrors of a battle of attrition with its combination of massed fire, bombs, and flame throwers. Whenever he was unprepared for their impact, these weapons of destruction had a long-lasting effect. In some instances, when he was dealt a severe, well-timed blow, a mass reaction of fear and terror would throw him and his comrades completely off balance.

b.     Kinship With Nature. The Russian soldier's kinship with nature was particularly pronounced. As a child of nature the Russian instinctively knew how to take advantage of every opportunity nature offered. He was inured to cold, hot, and wet weather. With animal-like instinct he was able to find cover and adapt himself to any terrain. Darkness, fog, and snowdrifts were no handicap to him. Even under enemy fire he skillfully dug a foxhole and disappeared underground without any visible effort. He used his axe with great dexterity, felling trees, building shelters, blockhouses, and bunkers, and constructing bridges across waterways or corduroy roads through swamps and mud. Working in any weather, he accomplished each job with an instinctive urge to find protection against the effect of modern weapons of destruction.

c.     Frugality. The frugality of the Russian soldier was beyond German comprehension. The average rifleman was able to hold out for days without hot food, prepared rations, bread, or tobacco. At such times he subsisted on wild berries or the bark of trees. His personal equipment consisted of a small field bag, an overcoat, and occasionally one blanket which had to suffice even in severe winter weather. Since he traveled so light, he was extremely mobile and did not depend on the arrival of rations and personal equipment during the course of operations.

d.     Physical Fitness. From the outset of the Russian campaign the German tactical superiority was partly compensated for by the greater physical fitness of Russian officers and men. During the first winter, for instance, the German Army High Command noticed to its grave concern that the Russians had no intention of digging in and allowing operations to stagnate along fixed fronts. The lack of shelter failed to deter the Russians from besieging German strong points by day and night, even though the temperature had dropped to -40° F. Officers, commissars, and men were exposed to subzero temperatures for many days without relief.

The essentially healthy Russian soldier with his high standard of physical fitness was capable of superior physical courage in combat. Moreover, in line with the materialistic concepts of communism, the life of a human being meant little to a Russian leader. Man had been converted into a commodity, measured exclusively in terms of quantity and capability.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 29 June 2017

When on the March; Actual Service (1870)
Topic: Marching

When on the March; Actual Service (1870)

The subaltern officers should personally see that the men wash their feet on arriving at a halting place for the night, and should satisfy themselves by personal inspection that the nails are properly cut. A good officer will attend to this injunction; a careless officer will probably turn it into ridicule to cover his own laziness.

Regulations and Orders for the Active Militia of the Dominion of Canada, 1870

The men composing any column of march, to march at attention when passing through town and villages; at other times, although marching at ease, they will strictly keep their ranks. A party on proportion to the strength of the column to be detailed invariably as an advanced and rear guard. An uniform steady pace, about three miles an hour to be kept up; the column to halt for five minutes at the end of the first half hour; and after that at the end of every hour's march.

An officer or non-commissioned officer with a party of one man per company to be sent in advance to choose a convenient spot at which to halt for meals, and to light fires for cooking if necessary. An intelligent officer with party similarly to be sent in advance to select a spot for camp or bivouac if necessary. Under no pretense are the men to be allowed to enter taverns to drink on the line of march. No man is to fall behind during the march but by leave of the captain of his company, and then always to have a non-commissioned officer left with him to bring him on.

If the march is to extend beyond one day, officers shall pay particular attention to the condition of the feet of their men. The subaltern officers should personally see that the men wash their feet on arriving at a halting place for the night, and should satisfy themselves by personal inspection that the nails are properly cut. A good officer will attend to this injunction; a careless officer will probably turn it into ridicule to cover his own laziness. It is impossible for men to march for many days consecutively without following this prescription, and the fate of a battle may very easily depend on the men being in good marching condition. Every man should have in his possession a piece of soap, and should soap the inside of the heel of his stocking before commencing each day's march, and the officers should see that this is done by every man. The men should be cautioned to drink on the march no more than is necessary to satisfy thirst, as over indulgence in this respect increases the craving it is intended to allay.

The men on arriving at the night's halting place should never be kept waiting. The camp or bivouac or the billets should be already prepared for the, and they should be dismissed to their rest with the least possible delay consistent with discipline. If the men are to be in billets, every man must be acquainted with the locality of the alarm post before being dismissed to his billet. The alarm post of each company should be the captain's billet, from whence it should be marches by the captain to the general rendezvous. A guard is to be established on arriving at the halting place for the night. All men required for duty to be warned before they are dismissed to their billets or camp.

The officer in command of a column will, on arriving at any post where a senior officer may be stationed, report to the senior officer for orders---and the billet party sent on to provide billets at such a post will in the first place report to the senior officer, on whom will devolve the responsibility of making requisitions for billets on the chief magistrate, or of superintending the arrangement of billets by agreement with the householders.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 25 June 2017

Militia Uniforms and Arms (1855)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Militia Uniforms and Arms (1855)

Militia General Orders, The Canada Gazette, 16th Auguist 1855

As uniformity in the Color of Clothing of the Volunteer Militia Force is a matter of considerable consequence in a Military point of view, His Excellency is pleased to direct that the Color of then Coats of the Cavalry Troops be Blue.

That for the Field Batteries and Foot Companies of Artillery be Blue.

That for the Rifle Companies be Green.

That the Coats be of the Tunic shape, such as is now prescribed for Her Majesty's Forces.

His Excellency is content to leave the choice of the Color of the facings, of the Trowsers, Head Dress, &c., to be decided by the several Companies in the manner most agreeable to themselves. Lace, if any be worn, shall be silver for all, except Artillery Companies, Field Batteries, and Rifles. The choice of the facings, Trowsers, Head Dress, Lace, &c., shall be reported, with Patterns as soon as made to the Adjutant General, and when approved by the Commander in Chief, must not be altered without due authority.

The provision of this General order shall not affect the uniform of any Company of Volunteer Militia already embodied and uniformed at their own expense, without a special order of the Commander in Chief to that effect.

Arms and Accoutrements for the Service of the Volunteer Force will be delivered to the Captains of the several Companies as soon as practicable; on the receipt of which the Captain will give an acknowledgement for the safe custody of the same, according to a Form which will be issued by the Adjutant General; and every Volunteer will sign a receipt for the safe custody of all Arms, Accoutrements or Ammunition which may be delivered into his charge, and which Receipt will be embodied in the Service Roll furnished by the Adjutant General to the Captain already alluded to.

Arrangements relative to the mode in which Blank and Ball Ammunition for practice will be issued, will be hereafter notified. 30 Rounds of Service Ball Ammunition, and a due proportion of Copper caps, will be delivered to every Volunteer in the Rifle Companies, to be reteined in charge of the men whenever it shall be so ordered; and for the safe custody of which they will then be held responsible.

The annual amount of Ammunition for practice and exercise for the several arms will be as follows, viz:—-

  • Six Pounder Field Batteries
    • 140 Rounds of Blank
    • 150 Rounds Ball Ammunition
  • Rifle Companies
    • 40 Rounds of Blank
    • 60 Rounds Ball Ammunition
  • Copper caps in proportion of 11 caps for every 10 Cartridges for exercise and practice, and 5 Copper caps for every 4 cartridges for service.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 22 June 2017

Canadians' Severe Losses (1900)
Topic: Paardeberg

Canadians' Severe Losses (1900)

Disease and Boer Bullets Have Thinned Their Ranks—Royal Canadians Mustered Only 374 Out of 1035 on May 5

Boston Evening Transcript, 22 June 1900

Quebec, June 22—The Canadian troops in South Africa have suffered severely in action, and from disease, and the stern realities of the war are being gradually brought home to the Canadian people by letters from the front. Though many Canadians have perished on the battlefield, the heaviest losses are those caused by disease, chiefly enteric fever. The Royal Canadian Regiment, the first contingent sent out, has been so reduced in numbers that an officer who wrote from Wynberg on May 5 reports that the roll call that day showed only 374 men out of 1035 who left Canada. Some companies had but one officer left.

These reports are strengthening the hands of the party which condemns the Canadian Government for sharing in a war overseas, in which it is claimed Canada had no interest at stake. None the less Canada will give a great demonstration of welcome to her sons who return from the war. Already Halifax, Montreal and Quebec are clamoring for the honor of being the port of disembarkation.


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 25 January 2017 11:50 PM EST
Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Soldiers (1776)
Topic: Drill and Training

Soldiers (1776)

The Military Guide for Young Officers, Thomas Simes, Esq., 1776

The Officer should instil in the heart of the soldier, that obedience is the foundation of regularity and order; that, by this, discipline is maintained; by this, great designs are executed; and, without it, all is confusion and disorder.

A soldier should be brave, vigorous, careful, and obedient to all his Officers, from the General to the Corporal; and obey the orders of the latter as if coming from the mouth of the former, as in reality they do; the Corporal being the only means by which they are conveyed. He should take care that his uniform, as well as other apparel, be neat and clean; his arms and accoutrements bright and in good order, the use of which he ought diligently to study, and also all his different duties; he should be master of all the beats of the drum and tunes of the fife, and instantly obey them; he should diligently attend his colours on all occasions; the limitation of his furlough should be religiously observed; his time for food and sleep regulated, not by his will, but by his leisure. When sentry, he should be alert, and observe his orders exactly and inviolably; ask no reasons for them, or dare to think them of little importance. The excuse of a soldier, convicted of quitting, or sleeping on his post, frequently is, that he thought no accident or bad consequence could attend it. How absurd! The necessity of his being posted there, is evident by his being ordered there. Suppose it in time of peace, there might (though unknown to him) be a large quantity of gunpowder, the money, arms, or accoutrements of the regiment, and many other things that perhaps his Officer might not think proper to inform him of.—It was in his orders, let them be his guide.

The Officer should instil in the heart of the soldier, that obedience is the foundation of regularity and order; that, by this, discipline is maintained; by this, great designs are executed; and, without it, all is confusion and disorder.

The first thing that soldiers are to be taught is the military step; which can only be acquired by a constant practice of marching quick or slow together. It is of consequence on the march, or in the line, that they keep their ranks well dressed; for men who march in an irregular manner, are in disorder; and, if fallen upon by the enemy, must be defeated.

Nothing is more essential; for a man may be attacked in 4 parts; in the front, in the rear, and on both flanks; but he can defend himself, and annoy the enemy, only when his face is turned towards them.

Marching is reduced to 3 points; front, and both sides; (because it is impossible to do it regular, or at any times, backwards) and by this means you may face the enemy wherever it presents itself. The different steps to be used are 3; slow, fast, and oblique; which may be termed traversing.

The first is proper in advancing upon the enemy, when the ground is unequal, that the line may not be broken; the second is chiefly necessary, when you want to anticipate the enemy in occupying some post, or passing a defile; or, above all, in attacking a retrenchment, to avoid being a long while exposed to the fire of the artillery and small arms; and lastly, when you come near the enemy, you must then advance with a bold fast step, have your bayonets fixed, and charge with vigour and vivacity.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Soldiers Load (Canadian Militia, 1870)
Topic: Soldiers' Load

Soldiers Load (Canadian Militia, 1870)

The prime necessities of a soldier on service, supposing him to be otherwise properly equipped, are food and ammunition.

Regulations and Orders for the Active Militia of the Dominion of Canada, 1870

When a Corps of Active Militia is ordered to be placed on actual service, the officer commanding ... will, at the first muster parade, personally ascertain that each man is in possession of the articles of equipment below enumerated, and will immediately report any deficiences to the district staff officer.

  • 1 rifle with small stores complete.
  • 1 set of accoutrements capable of carrying at least 60 rounds.
  • 1 knapsack and straps complete, with canteen, or great coat straps in knapsacks have not been issued.
  • 1 haversack.
  • Sixty rounds of ball ammunition.
  • 1 water bottle or canteen.

The following should be in every man's knapsack, provided by the men themselves:

  • 1 change shirt, flannel or cotton.
  • 1 change pair socks.
  • 1 change boots or shoes.
  • Needle and thread.
  • Knife.
  • Piece of soap.
  • Towel.

When a corps placed on actual service is ordered away from its permanent headquarters, if the men be furnished with knapsacks, the Commanding Officer will not allow any of him men to take with them any article of baggage beyond their knapsacks. The prime necessities of a soldier on service, supposing him to be otherwise properly equipped, are food and ammunition.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 16 June 2017

The Militia Appropriation (1887)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Militia Appropriation (1887)

Dominion Parliament

The St. Andrew’s Bay Pilot, St. Andrews, New Brunswick, 16 June 1887

The House went into Committee of Supply.

We should endeavor in every was possible to infuse a military spirit into the people.

On the item militia, $1,286,000.

Mr. Denison drew attention to several recommendations in the Major-General’s report with which he could not agree. The report recommended that all officers of permanent corps should be senior in rank to other militia officers. He objected strongly to the idea. It was a slavish following of the English system, while the condition of the two forces was entirely dissimilar. In England there were volunteers, the militia and the regular army. Here we had only the militia. In England it was not intended and for two or three hundred years the practice had not been followed, that militia or volunteers should be used in foreign service, although it was not the standing army that laid the foundation of England’s greatness in the battles of Cressy, Poictiers and Agincourt. Yet in all modern wars in which England was engaged the standing army alone was sent to do the fighting. In England, therefore, the officers of the permanent force had the benefit of experience, which was denied to the officers of the militia and volunteers, and that might justify the regulations there, but here it was entirely different. The moment there was any trouble here, calling for military aid, The Canadian militia turned out and served alongside of the permanent corps wherever they might be required. The militia officers of Canada made great sacrifices for the force. They spent their time and their means and did everything they could to further its interests. On the other hand the permanent officers had good pay and were well looked after, and there was no reason why they should have any preference. Again, the Major-General advocated the enlargement of the regular force and a corresponding decrease in the militia as a step necessary to maintain a proper system of defence. He (Mr. Denison) thought that exactly the opposite course should be pursued. The schools should be cut down to the smallest possible limit consistent with supplying the necessary instruction. Of what earthly use would be a standing army of one or two thousand men in the event of trouble with our neighbors to the south? Of no use at all. On the other hand, if we had a militia force of one hundred thousand men, it could, by increasing the service roll of every company from 42 to 125, be enlarged to three hundred thousand, a force which would be of great service to us in an emergency. In Europe the idea was to go in for armed nations, and in his judgement that was the proper course for us to follow. We should endeavor in every was possible to infuse a military spirit into the people. The military force should at once be increased to 50,000, and should be drilled for at least sixteen days in each year. The idea ought to be scouted of going backwards by reducing our strength. He did not think it was to the interests of a young country like Canada to have a large standing army. We could not afford to have any drones in the hive. But by a moderate amount of drilling we could have a large force which would be available and useful at short notice. It was understood at Confederation that one million dollars would be spent annually on the militia, and he did not think it was fair that when reductions anywhere were found necessary this appropriation should suffer. He hoped the Minister would not be guided by the report of the Major-General, and thet he would not permit injustice to be done to the Canadian militia by giving regular officers special rank over them.

Mr. O’Brien said he quite agreed with the last speaker in his criticism of the evident intention on the part of some in authority to place the permanent corps in a position different from that of the militia. He strongly objected to anything being done which would make the permanent force anything more than that which it was intended from the first to be, a school of instruction.

Sir Adolphe Caron said he agreed with Mr. Denison that a standing army would be altogether out of place in this country. The permanent corps was intended merely for instructional purposes, and its usefulness had been shown in the number of trained men who were turned out every year to render valuable services to the country. He did not place the same interpretation on the report of the Major-General as Mr. Denison had done. The General did not wish to replace our militia system by a permanent army, and he was sure that such views would not be entertained by Parliament.

The item passed.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 15 June 2017 11:54 PM EDT
Thursday, 15 June 2017

Execution by Musketry (US Army, 1944)
Topic: Discipline

Execution by Musketry (US Army, 1944)

Not more than four nor less than one will be loaded with blank ammunition.

Procedure for Military Executions, [US] War Department Pamphlet No. 27-4, 18 June 1944

Officer Charged with Execution

The officer charged with the execution will command the escortand make the necessary arrangements for the conduct of the execution. He will—

a.     Instruct the escort and the execution party in their duties.

b.     Arrange for the receipt of the prisoner by the prisoner guard.

c.     Arrange for an execution party of twelve men and one sergeant.

d.     Arrange for a chaplain to accompany the prisoner.

e.     Arrange for the presence of a medical officer at the scene of the execution.

f .     Cause a post with proper rings placed therein for securing the prisoner in an upright position to be erected at the place of execution.

g.     Cause twelve rifles to be loaded in his presence. Not more than four nor less than one will be loaded with blank ammunition. He will place the rifles at random in the rack provided for that purpose.

h.     Provide a black hood to cover the head of the prisoner.

i.     Provide a 4-inch, round, white target.

j.     Cause the prisoner's arms to be secured behind his back, before or immediately after his receipt by the prisoner guard.

k.     Arrange for an ambulance or other conveyance with sufficient personnel to be in attendance upon the execution to receive and care for the body. In the event a contract undertaker is used bv the quartermaster, his services may be substituted. See AR 30-1820.

Assembly of Escort

a.     The band will be formed in accordance with section V, FM 28-5, will proceed to the exterior door of the place of imprisonment at which the prisoner is to be received by the prisoner guard, and halt near the door, facing in the direction of the scene of the execution. The presence of the band is optional at executions where the presence of troops is not required.

b.     The prisoner guard will consist of twelve men armed with rifles, under the command of a sergeant armed with a pistol. The prisoner guard will form in double ranks and at the proper time will proceed to the place of imprisonment to receive the prisoner.

c.     The main guard will consist of one or more platoons and will form in the rear of the band.

d.     The execution party will be formed unarmed and proceed to a previously prepared rack of rifles, secure arms, and move to the scene of the execution, halting 15 paces from and facing the position to be taken by the prisoner. At close interval, and at order arms, the party will await the arrival of the prisoner and escort.

e.     At the designated time the prisoner, with his arms bound securely behind his back, accompanied by the chaplain, will be received by the prisoner guard and placed between the ranks. The escort will then proceed toward the scene of the execution, the band playing the "Dead March."

f.     The escort will approach the scene of the execution on line with the open side of the rectangle formed by the witnessing troops. The band will move past the point at which the prisoner is to be placed, and will take position on the opposite side of the rectangle, facing the scene of the execution. The prisoner guard, prisoner, and chaplain will proceed directly to the prisoner's post, halt, and face the execution party. The main guard will proceed to a point 5 paces behind the execution party and form a line facing the scene of execution.

Execution

a.     The officer charged with the execution will take position in front of the execution party and face the prisoner. He will then read the charge, finding, sentence, and orders aloud to the prisoner. He will then notify the prisoner and the chaplain that a brief time will be allowed the prisoner for any last statement. After a reasonable time, he will order the sergeant of the execution party to secure the prisoner to the post and to place the hood over his head. Then the medical officer will place the target over the prisoner's heart. The prlsoner prepared, the officer charged with the execution will order the prisoner guard to join the main guard; the chaplain and medical officer will retire to the flank taken by the band. The oficer charged with the execution will take position 5 paces to the right of and 5 paces to the front of the execution party.

b.     Commands for the execution may be given by a combination of manual and oral signals as prescribed.

(1)     When the officer charged with the execution raises the right arm vertically overhead, palm forward, fingers extended and joined, the execution party will come to the "Ready" position as prescribed for firing a volley, and will unlock rifles.

(2)     When the officer charged with the execution lowers his arm to a horizontal position in front of his body, the execution party will take the position of "Aim."

(3)     When the officer charged with the execution drops his arm directly to his side and orally commands: FIRE, the execution party will fire simultaneously.

(4) The officer charged with the execution will then bring the execution party to "Order Arms."

c.     When the use of manual signals is not practical, the following oral commands are prescribed:

(1)     At the command READY, the execution party will take that position and unlock rifles.

(2)     At the command AIM, the execution party will take that position with rifles aimed at target on the prisoner's body.

(3)     At the command FIRE, the execution party will fire simultaneously.

d.     The officer charged with the execution will join the medical officer who will examine the prisoner and, if necessary, direct that the "coup de grace" be administered. Should the medical officer so decide, the sergeant of the execution party will administer the "coup de grace," with a hand weapon, holding the muzzle just above the ear and one foot from the skull.

e.     Under exceptional circumstances, the officer charged with the execution, with the permission of the commanding officer, may detail an extra file of six men to administer the "coup de grace." This file will form the rear rank of the execution party, and if it is necessary to administer the "coup de grace," will move in front of the execution party and fire, at the command of the officer charged with the execution.

f .     Upon pronouncement of the death of the prisoner by the medical officer, the execution party will proceed to the racks from which the rifles were originally obtained, and replace the rifles in the racks at random. The execution party will then be dismissed.

g.     The escort, with the band playing a lively air, will return to their parade ground and be dismissed.

h.     The witnessing troops will parade in column in front of the body and proceed to their respective parade grounds where they will be dismissed.

i.     The officer charged with the execution will direct the burial party in the disposal of the body as prescribed by AR 2 10-500 and 30-1820.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 May 2017 5:09 PM EDT
Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Issue of Snider Enfield Rifles (1867)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Issue of Snider Enfield Rifles (1867)

Militia General Orders

Headquarters, Ottawa, 14th June, 1867

General Orders; Volunteer Militia
No. 1

1.     Arrangements have been made for the exchange of the Rifles now in possession of the Volunteers for Snider Enfield breech loading rifles.

2.     The exchange will be made with the least possible delay, and to effect which, depots of these rifles and ammunition for the same will be formed at Quebec, Montreal, Prescott, Kingston, Toronto and London, from whence District Staff Officers may draw to supply the Corps in their several Districts.

3.     Upon receipt of these Rifles by the several Corps, the Arms and Ammunition at present in their possession are to be returned as follows: The muzzle loading rifles and ammunition for same to the Provincial Storekeeper at Quebec, and the Peabody, Spencer, and Westley Richards breech loaders with ammunition for the same to the Provincial Storekeeper at the District Head Quarters of the several Distrists to which Corps in possession of the last names arms belong.

4.     The arms to be returned are to be forwarded to their respective destinations by the most direct public conveyance in the same boxes that contained the Snider Enfield breech loaders as received.

5.     The Commanding Officers of each Corps will be held responsible that the arms returned are clean, carefully packed and properly addressed to their several destinations.

6.     To prevent delay in returning into store the arms to be exchanged, Commanding Officers will see that all the Arms at present in possession of their Corps, are deposited in their several Armories, ready to be packed on receipt of the Snider Enfield.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Somme; Sydney Doctors Story
Topic: The Field of Battle

The Somme

Incidents of the Battle
Sydney Doctors Story

The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Australia, 6 September 1916

In a letter to Mrs. Everard Digby, of Neutral Bay, a captain who is serving as a medical man in France gives a graphic description of the Somme battle. The letter is dated July 7. The captain writes:—

"By now you have read of the British offensive on the Somme. Well, your elder son has been in it from the beginning, and is still all right, in spite of narrow shaves, and hopes to come along through it all right. This is what I've been waiting for for 12 months, and now I can rest contented; though I was through Ypres and the taking of the Bluff, which were exciting enough. I wanted something like this to put the crowning glory on things, and now I have got it. Three cheers.

"To tell you in detail all that led up to things would keep me writing till morning. How we got the order to move at last; the joy of everyone when we knew that at last we were 'for it' for the 'great push.' How we lightened our kit for the advance; the cleaning of revolvers, and, on my part the replenishing of dressings, drugs, splints, etc.; the seven days' march through cold and rain and mud, alternating with sunshine; marching all the time by night; the meeting of fresh troops, everyone cheery, thirsting to be up and at 'em; the bivouacing out in woods, fields, hedges—anywhere.

"I can begin telling you in some detail the course of events from the time my brigade came into action a week before the morning of the attack, July 1. In conjunction with the Tock Emmas, which were wire-cutting, our batteries were shelling Huns, preventing them from repairing their wire at night. We handed out condensed hades to Fritz, with a mixed diet of H.E. and shrapnel, day and night for a week, and I had remarkable luck, having only one man killed. The assault was timed for 7.30 a.m., and so at 7 a.m. you saw me, girt with glasses, smoke-helmet, and 'tin-hat,' lying behind a parapet on the top of a rise in rear of the firing line. The whole front was a mass of drifting blue smoke, stabbed with the red flashed of the bursting shells and the huge 'splash' of earth made by the H.E. of the heavy howitzers. The morning mist hung over everything, making observation difficult. However, with my watch in my hand, and my glasses glued to my eyes, I watched the front line. At 7.30 I saw the boys go 'over the top,' the sunshine flashing on their bayonets. The part of the line I was watching go across 'No-man's land' had very few casualties before they were into the Boche front line. Here things were hard to see, but the Boches rushed over the parados for their second line, followed by our boys, bayonetting and bombing. Parties of Huns here and there flung up their hands, and were taken prisoners. The fight then disappeared into the smoke and I lost sight of it. Farther to the north, where the smoke and shells were thinner, I could see five successive waves chase the Boche out of his four front lines of trenches, and then our lads, having carried this line, dug themselves in like rabbits. It was here I saw a very pretty bit of bayonet work in which the Boche came off second best.

"Having seen everything to be seen here I got back to my aid post among the batteries, and all the morning the wreck and wastage of war, the walking wounded cases, trailed past my aid-post to the collecting station at the end of the valley. I stopped several of them and asked how things were going, and they were all happy and pleased as Punch. I relate several little incidents that I saw and had related to me by the wounded. One man, hit in both legs and the head, came limping along. 'It's great, sir,' he said to me, 'to see half a dozen of these big ——-s chucking up their hands to our little fellows.' He was sorry to be out of it so soon, and he passed on with one of my cigarettes.

"Another man with a bullet wound through his hand grinned all over his face when I asked him how he got hit. 'Well, you see, it was this way. I saw an officer come out of a dugout with a revolver. I had a Mills, and I got it off first. You should have seen that officer. Mills! He was full of Mills. As I thought he would be useful for information, I carried him into the dressing station, and on the way I got hit … A Mills is a hand grenade, named after its inventor, or, as Ordnance calls it, 'Grenades, hand, Mills, one.' Incidentally, I might mention I used up all my available stock of cigarettes on our wounded. Poor devils, you can't do enough for our infantry!

"Then the prisoners started to arrive in batches of 10, 20, 50, 100, and in one case 250, the last bunch guarded by three Jocks. I had a good opportunity of studying them. They belonged to a reserve regiment, and were all men of about 40 or more. One Boche, a regular giant of over seven feet, and hands like a leg-of-mutton, had his elbow shattered by a trench mortar, and was nearly collapsing as he was marched along, so the escort asked me to fix him up. So I tied him up and gave him a nip of brandy and a cigarette, whereupon he assailed me with a volley of Hun language and tried to shake hands, so I suppose he was trying to thank me. As I don't know any Hun, I simply asked 'Goot?' He 'yah-yahed' away like blazes. You can't help pitying them when you see them in that condition.

"In one batch of prisoners was one of the German medical service with a Red Cross brassard on his arm. As he passed me he pointed to my brassard and grinned like a Cheshire cat and said 'Kamerad.' I never felt so insulted in my life, especially as the tommies laughed. Among the first lot of prisoners were a fair number of wounded, but the later lots were all pretty sound.

"The prisoners were all marched into a barbed wire cage before being sent on to the bigger concentration camps, and here they were searched.. One Hun had an Iron Cross in his pocket-book, and this was a subject of great interest. Most of these prisoners had had nothing to eat for three days, as our bombardment prevented them getting food up, and they picked up bits of biscuit and bread and sucked empty beef tins as they went along. One, standing close to me, asked if I could speak French, and, on my saying I could, launched forth in a long yarn. He told me he was an Alsatian, and all about the battle from his point of view. So I yarned to him for about an hour, and gave him my last cigarette. I asked him what he thought of our troops, and he said they were all right, but the Scotch regiments were known among the Germans as the 'Mad Women from hell.' One of the escort on duty at the cage had an automatic pistol, and when asked where he'd got it, replied, 'From a German officer." 'And where's the officer?' asked the officer in charge' 'Oh, I bayoneted him,' was the reply, and, judging from the blood on his bayonet, I have no doubt he did.

"Later on I went over the captured ground up to within a few hundred yards of our new firing line. Passing over 'No Man's land,' where several of our lads were still lying awaiting burial, I passed into the Hun front lines. All his wire had been cut to small pieces by the combined fire of 18-pounders and trench mortars, and the heavy howitzers had got on to the trenches themselves. I never saw such a wreck. The trenches were only a succession of crump holes. The German dead lay piled up in heaps, two, three, and four deep, having met their death from bullet, bomb, bayonet, and shell fire. I won't dwell in detail on the ghastly sights I saw at every step, but they were a speaking expression of the horrors of war.

"The dug-outs are marvellous pieces of work—deep down under the parapet—and no shell made can reach anyone down there. I went into several in fear and trembling, because in many cases Huns were found in them two days after the attack still alive and full of fight. The ones I entered were only occupied by dead, as our fellows, as soon as they got the Huns in their dug-outs, bombed them and slaughtered them like rabbits. All along the trenches the same thing had happened—crunped trenches, dead Huns, and dug-outs full of dead. As for souvenirs, for those who wanted them, they were there in any quantity—helmets, rifles, bayonets, cartridges, badges, buttons, etc. I contented myself with a button, a clip of cartridges, and a plying card I found in a dug-out, and which I enclose.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 9 June 2017 12:12 AM EDT
Monday, 12 June 2017

Eligible Ranks; Orders, Decorations, and Medals (1918)
Topic: Medals

Eligible Ranks; Orders, Decorations, and Medals (1918)

Instructions Regarding Recommendations for Honours and Awards, Military Secretary's Branch, General Headquarters, 1918

Honour, Decoration, or Medal

Ranks Eligible

Qualifications or Remarks

K.C.B. General Officers. General Officers with distinguished records. (The nature of the appointment and services rendered must determine whether the K.C.B or K.C.M.G. is the more suitable Order.)
K.C.M.G. General Officers. General Officers as above, but in a lesser degree. (Or to reward distinguished services of General Officers already in possession of a K.C.B.)
C.B. Major-Generals.
Brig.-Generals.
Senior Colonels.
Lieut.-Colonels.*
* Recommendations may be made in special cases in favour of Lieutenant-Colonels who are already in possession of the C.M.G.
C.M.G. Brig.-Generals.
Colonels.
Senior Lt.-Colonels.
Majors.*
* Majors are eligible for this Order, but the award of the C.M.G. to a Major must necessarily be very exceptional.
D.S.O. Usually reserved for Lieut.-Cols. and Majors. The statutes of the Distinguished Service Order impose no limitations as to the rank of Officers eligible. It is only awarded to those below the rank of Major for services of marked gallantry, which should be dealt with as an Immediate Award. For "Services in Action," see para 16 (b). (see below)
The British Empire Order All Officers (for grades see para 17.) personnel of the Nursing Services, Officials of the Q.M.A.A.C., Commandants of the Women's Legion. Those who have rendered important services other than "in action."
N.B.—A member of the Nursing Services should not be recommended if qualified for award of the R.R.C. (see below).
Military Cross See Under "Military Cross" in para 27. (details as follows)

(a) All officers up to an including the rank of Captain.
(b) Officers holding temporary rank of Major whose substantive rank is not higher than that of Captain.
(c) Acting or temporary Chaplains, 3rd Class, and Chaplains, 4th Class.
(d) Warrant Officers (Classes 1 and 2) holding substantive or temporary, not acting, rank.
For "Services in Action," see para 16 (b). (see below)
D.C.M. All below commissioned rank. Ladies Are not eligible. For "Services in Action," see para 16 (b). (see below)
M.S.M. All below commissioned rank. Ladies Are not eligible. For devotion to duty in a theatre of war. When, however, the essence of the services rendered lies in gallantry shown in action, the services, if considered worthy, should be met by the immediate award of the Military Medal. In no case should a soldier be rewarded by the Meritorious Service Medal for services which qualify him for the Distinguished Conduct Medal or the Military Medal.
Medal of the British Empire Order Subordinates of the Q.M.A.A.C. and members of the Women's Legion. Civilians (British). For distinguished service in which elements of the nature of gallantry or self-sacrifice are present.
Royal Red Cross (1st Class) A member of the Nursing Staff who is a fully trained Nurse. For exceptional devotion and competency in the performance of actual military nursing duties, or for some very exceptional act of bravery or devotion at her post of duty.
Associate Royal Red Cross (A.R.R.C.) A fully trained or an Assistant Nurse. Special Military Probationer, V.A.D. Nursing Member. For special competancy in the performance of actual military nursing over a long period (a minimum of 8 year's service is recommended), or for some very exceptional act of bravery or devotion at her post of duty.

elipsis graphic

"Services in Action"

16.     (a)     In future the Distinguished Service Order, the Military Cross and the Distinguished Conduct Medal will be awarded for "Services in Action" only,

(b)     The definition of the term "Services in Action" shall be held to mean:—

(i.)     Services under fire.

(ii.)     Distinguished individual services in connection with air raids, bombardments, or other enemy action which at the time produces conditions equivalent to service in actual combat, and demands the same personal elements of command, initiative or control on the part of individuals and, in a lesser degree only possibly, entails the same risks.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 11 June 2017 10:50 PM EDT
Friday, 9 June 2017

Order of Precedence; Canadian Militia (1910)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Order of Precedence; Canadian Militia (1910)

The King’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Militia, 1910

The following is the order of precedence in the Canadian Militia:—

Order.Regiment, unit, or corps.Order of precedence.
1The Gentlemen Cadets of the Royal Military College. 
2The Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. 
3The Royal Canadian Dragoons. 
4Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians). 
5The Governor-General's Body Guards. 
6Regiments and Squadrons of Cavalry and Mounted Rifles.As laid down in Militia List.
7Canadian Field Artillery.
8The Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery.
9Canadian Garrison Artillery.
10The Royal Canadian Engineers.
11Canadian Engineers.
12The Corps of Guides.
13The Royal Canadian Regiment.
14The Governor-General's Foot Guards.
15Regiments of Infantry and Rifles.
16Provisional regiments and independent companies of Infantry and Rifles.
17Signalling Corps.
18The Canadian Permanent Army Service Corps.
19The Canadian Army Service Corps.
20The Canadian Permanent Army Medical Corps.
21The Canadian Army Medical Corps.
22Canadian Ordnance Corps.
23Canadian Army Pay Corps.
24Other Departmental Corps.
25Corps of Military Staff Clerks.
26Cadet Corps.

Different units of the same arm take precedence in accordance with their numerical succession, except that a unit of the Permanent Force shall always take precedence of a unit of the same arm not forming a part of the Permanent Force.

On parade, other than ceremonial, and for the purpose of manoeuvre, units will be distributed and drawn up in the mode which the officer in command of such parade of manoeuvres may deem most convenient.

Gentlemen Cadets of the Royal Military College, when on parade with other troops, if mounted, take the right of all troops; if dismounted, the right of all dismounted troops.

Heavy batteries, when on parade with their guns, take the left of the field artillery.

In brigade, rifle regiments should be on a flank—usually the left—of the line of infantry.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 1 June 2017 10:59 PM EDT

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