The Minute Book
Sunday, 26 March 2017

Confidential Reports---Officers (1859)
Topic: Officers

Confidential Reports—Officers (1859)

Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Army, Adjutant General's Office, Horse Guards, 1st December 1859

Whether each officer is in possession of the latest edition of "The General Regulations and Orders," and of the "Rules and Regulations for the Field Exercise and Evolutions of the Army."

In these confidential reports the General Officer is to report on the following heads of information, viz.:—

Commanding Officers

  • What officers have been in command since the period of the last inspection not adverting, however, to any occasional command of a few days.
  • Whether the officer usually in command appears to discharge his important duties with zeal and ability.
  • Whether by a firm but temperate exercise of his authority a well-regulated discipline is established in the corps.
  • Whether his mode of carrying on the established system is such as to command the respect and esteem of the officers and the cheerful obedience of the men.
  • Whether attention has been paid by him to the instruction and training of the officers and men in the prescribed exercises and movements.
  • Whether the orders, which have been issued from time to time, are consistent with the general regulations of the service.
  • Whether the officers who may have been placed in temporary command have evinced ability, and a due attention to the maintenance of the system and discipline of the regiment.
  • Whether the system of command and treatment of the non-commissioned officers and soldiers, as enjoined in the regulations, has been strictly pursued, and the use of coarse and offensive language carefully avoided by officers of all ranks.
  • Whether a due gradation of responsibility is established in the regiment, and particularly whether the captains are placed in the charge of their respective companies, and made responsible to the commanding officer for every part of its discipline, interior economy, and arrangement.

Field Officers.

  • Whether the field officers, from their attention and acquirements, appear to be properly qualified for command.
  • Whether they render due support and assistance to the commanding officer, in the various details of regimental duty.


  • Whether the Captains appear to be well acquainted with the interior economy of their troops or companies, and to be competent to command them in the various situations of Service.
  • Whether they are duly qualified, and are habituated to “exercise discipline their troops or companies.” Subalterns.


  • Whether the subalterns are active, intelligent, and have acquired the necessary degree of information on subjects connected with their duty, particularly in the practice of courts-martial.

The Senior Subaltern

Officers of Cavalry.

  • Whether they have been taught to apply the use of the different formations directed to be practised in the field, to situations in which they may be placed before an enemy.
  • Whether they have been in the habit of placing piquets, posting videttes, conducting patrols, &c.


  • Whether from his zeal and acquirements, he is duly qualified for his situation.

Quarter-master and Pay-master.

  • Whether they appear competent to their situations, and discharge their duties in a satisfactory manner.
  • Whether the books consigned to their care are kept with accuracy and regularity.

Officers in General.

  • Whether the officers in general appear to have been properly instructed, and to understand their duties in the field and in quarters, and are intelligent and zealous in the performance of them
  • Whether, according to their several situations, they afford the commanding officer that support he is entitled to require from them.
  • Whether unanimity and good understanding prevail in the corps.
  • Whether each officer is in possession of the latest edition of "The General Regulations and Orders," and of the "Rules and Regulations for the Field Exercise and Evolutions of the Army."
  • Whether any of the officers appear, from age, infirmity, or any other cause, to be unfit for the service.
  • Whether any officer has been absent from the regiment for an unusual length of time.
  • Whether any officer recommended by the commanding officer for purchase of promotion appears not to be properly qualified.
  • Whether all confidential communications regarding the conduct of officers, whether arising from courts-martial or otherwise, have been handed over and preserved.
  • Whether any practical jokes are carried on at the mess table or elsewhere, and what steps have been taken to prevent them.

In the event of any officer not being qualified to perform his duty with advantage to the regiment, a special report of his incapacity is to be made and when any officer has been absent for an unusual period, the circumstances which may have occasioned his absence are to be fully reported.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Command and Rank of Officers (1859)
Topic: Officers

Command and Rank of Officers (1859)

The Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Army, Horse-Guards, 1st December, 1859

1.     All commands belong to the senior officers, whether of cavalry, artillery, engineers, infantry, or marines. In case two commissions of the same date interfere, a retrospect is to be had to former commissions.

2.     When regiments or detachments are united, whether in camp, garrison, or quarters, the senior officer, either by brevet or otherwise, is to command the whole.

3.     Officers serving on the staff in the capacity of Brigadier-Generals are to take rank and precedence from their commissions as Colonels in the army, not from the dates of their appointments as Brigadiers.

4.     Officers who obtained the rank of Colonel prior to the 20th June 1854, are not to be included in the roster of field officers,—a distinct duty will generally be assigned to them as Colonels; but Colonels promoted on, and subsequent to that day, will continue to do duty as field officers until after five years from the dates of their commissions as Colonels.

5.     Captains having the brevet rank of field officers are to do duty as field officers in camp and garrison but they are to perform all regimental duties according to their regimental rank. Officers employed as Brigade Majors, if of the rank of Captain, are to take rank and precedence next after regimental field officers in the brigade or garrison in which they are serving.

6.     Officers employed as Town or Fort Majors, if under the rank of Captains, are to take rank and precedence as the junior Captains in the garrison in which they are serving.

7.     Second Lieutenants take rank of Cornets and Ensigns.

8.     Officers relinquishing their regimental commissions are not to be considered as retaining any rank in the service either from them or from any brevet commission they may have held, except in cases which may be exempted from this regulation by the Sovereign's especial authority.

9.     Field officers who have retired from the service by the sale of their commissions, and are desirous of having their names restored to, and retained in the Army List in italics, are, in their applications to the Military Secretary for this privilege, to state the date of their retirement, and that of their last commission, brevet as well as regimental.

10.     Officers of Her Majesty's Indian Forces, whose commissions are signed by authorities duly deputed to do so by Her Majesty, have rank and precedence with officers of the regular army, according to the dates of their commissions, in all parts of Her Majesty's dominions and elsewhere.

11.     When officers, having permanent rank, serve with those who have only temporary rank, and their commissions are of the same date, the officers having permanent rank take precedence of those having temporary rank.

12.     The following are the rules by which the relative rank of the officers of the regular forces, marines, militia, yeomanry cavalry, and volunteer corps, is to be determined:

1.     Officers of the regular and marine forces command the officers of equal degree belonging to other branches of the military service.

2.     Officers of fencible and militia regiments rank together according to the dates of their respective commissions.

3.     Officers of militia, having also rank in the regular service, are not permitted, whilst serving in the militia, to avail themselves of any other rank than that which they hold by virtue of their militia commissions.

4.     Field officers of the regular, marine, fencible, and militia forces, take rank above all officers of yeomanry and volunteer corps; captains, subalterns, and staff officers of yeomanry and volunteers corps, rank as juniors of their respective ranks, with officers of the regular, fencible, and militia forces.

13.     Corporals of the regiments of Life-Guards, and of the Royal regiment of Horse-Guards, rank with Serjeants of cavalry and infantry.

14.     Bombardiers of the Royal regiment of artillery, and 2nd corporals of the Royal engineers, rank as corporals of cavalry and infantry; corporals of the Royal artillery and Royal engineers take precedence with corporals of cavalry and infantry according to the date of their appointment as bombardiers, or 2nd corporals.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 13 March 2017

Duties of Officers (1897)
Topic: Officers

Militia General Orders

Ottawa, 1st July, 1897


Duties of Officers

It has come to the notice of the General Officer Commanding that in some Corps of Active Militia Officers generally have not always accorded their Commanding Officers that support and assistance to which they are entitled both by Regulation and well established customs of the service, and the General Officer Commanding wishes it to be understood that should he observe a continuance of such a state of affairs in any corps it would be his unpleasant duty to take such steps as will ensure the support of regimental officers being loyally accorded to the fullest extent on all occasions to regimental Commanding Officers.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 9 March 2017

Military Notes: CASC Officers (1906)
Topic: Officers

Military Notes: CASC Officers (1906)

The Quebec Saturday Budget, 6 January 1906

A departmental regulation says that the Canadian Army Service Corps (permanent unit) being a combatant corps, its officers will hold the usual ranks and titles of combatant officers, but their command and authority will not extend outside the Canadian Army Service Corps until such time as they have qualified as follows: To be entitled to exercise as the senior officer present, the command of troops of other corps in the field, an officer must hold the same qualifications in the Canadian Army Service Corps (permanent unit) as are required for officers of corresponding ranks in the then combatant branches as laid down in King's regulations for the Army, 1904.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2017 11:35 AM EST
Monday, 13 February 2017

Brother Officers
Topic: Officers

Brother Officers

The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 1 July 1939

Two men, who had served as officers in the same regiment in the Great War met again on May 6 last in the Greenwich police court. One of them, Mr. Frank Powell, sat on the bench as the presiding magistrate, and the other, George Robertson Lightbound, stood in the dock charged with obtaining £1000 by fraud.

The magistrate did not recognise Lightbound as a brother officer until Detective Sergeant Hare read out his record. The detective said that the prisoner was educated at a public school and military college. His relatives held responsible positions in Canada. He retired from the Canadian army with the rank of major, and became a district magistrate in South Africa. At the outbreak of the Great War he went to England and obtained a commission in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

Mr. Powell interjected, The Yorkshire Light Infantry! I was in that regiment myself. I remember the man now.

The case against Lightbound was that he had obtained £1000 from his employer, a printer, at Catford, by pretending that he was entitled to a share in an estate in Canada.

The magistrate, in sentencing him to 12 months' imprisonment, said with some emotion, I never thought it would be my lot to sentence a brother officer.

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George Robertson Lightbound

A few notes on the early military service of George Lightbound can be gleaned from online files at the Library and Archives Canada, and the Canada Gazette:

A mining broker in Montreal, George Robertson Lightbound was serving in the 3rd Regiment, Victoria Rifles of Canada, when he enlisted on 26 October, 1899, for service in Canada's First Continent in the South African War. As 7795 Pte. G.T. Lightbound, he served overseas as a private soldier in the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion of The Royal Canadian Regiment.

Completing his service with The RCR in South Africa and discharged on 4 November, 1900, Lightbound was awarded the Queen's South Africa medal with three clasps; Paardeberg, Dreifontein, and Cape Colony.

George Lightbound returned to South Africa as an officer in the South African Constabulary. The Canada Gazette of 14 April 1901 notes that Provisional 2nd Lieutenant G.R. Lightbound, having been appointed to the South African Constabulary, his name is removed from the list of Officers of the Active Militia, 21st march, 1901. His service with the SAC would add a fourth clasp, Transvaal, to his medal.

Having returned to Canada, and to the Victoria Rifles of Canada, after serving in South Africa, Lightbound resigned his commission in the Canadian Militia on 25 March 1909.

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A litle more information can be gained from a post on the Great War Forum by member Granite-Yorkie:

I've just been digging around- I'm guessing that officers holding temporary commissions could not resign their commissions per se, so instead they relinquished their commissions.

I've come across the case of Alfred E. Swann, late Natal Police, who served with the Yorkshire Light Infantry- who "relinquished his commission" after receiving an adverse report from his Commanding Officer. A more interesting case, referred to in passing in the memoirs of Basil Liddell-Hart, was that of George Robertson Lightbound—who relinquished his commission in the Yorkshire Light Infantry on 11th September 1916, shortly before being sent to prison for embezzling the battalion mess-funds (Liddell-Hart refers to the 11th's 2i/c—not by name—but it happened to be Lightbound; being a "foul-mouthed bully, later sent to gaol for embezzling embezzling mess funds": Memoirs, p.12). Lightbound was also jailed for fraud in the 1930s, the magistrate who sent him down happened to be Frank Powell, who had served as a 2nd Lieutenant with Lightbound after being gassed at Loos (Powell was in the 9th Battalion).

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Fought Duel With Pistols (1909)
Topic: Officers

Fought Duel With Pistols (1909)

German Infantry Captain and Lieutenant of Reserves Had a Go.

The Montreal Gazette, 2 February 1909 (Special Cable Service.)

Berlin, February 1.—A duel with pistols was fought today near Frankfurt-on-Main by Baron Von Oertzen, an infantry captain, and Lieut. Von Stuckrad, of the reserves. The two were formerly close friends until Lieut. Stuckrad, during Captain Oertzen's absence during the manoeuvres some time ago, eloped with the latter's wife. The woman's parents tracked the couple to New York and traied vainly to persuade their daughter to return. Capt. Von Oertzen subsequently obtained a divorce, but this had hardly been granted when Lieut. Von Stuckrad quarreled with the woman, whom he forsook, leaving her in America, and returned to Krueznach, where his father, a retired Burgomaster, resides. After the duel Von Poertzen surrendered himself to his superiors. Probably the only penalty imposed on him will be a formal reprimand.

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More to the story, as reported in various paper, including the Mill Valley Independent of Mill Valley, Marin County, California (Number 43, 23 April 1909):

Eloper Slain in Duel

Baron von Oertzen Kills Stuckrad, Who Stole His Wife.

A sequel to the romance of the Baroness von Oertzen and Herr von Stuckrad, who eloped to New York last August, has come from the Stadtwald. near Fraukfort-on-the-Main, where the baroness’ husband killed Herr von Stuckrad in a duel, a Berlin correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger says. Baroness von Oertzen is believed to be in New York.

Baroness Rudolph von Oertzen and Herr von Stuckrad were friends when in garrison together at Neu-Ruppin, and their parents and both their families were also bound together in ties of friendship. Baron von Oertzen was married to the beautiful daughter of Herr Malm, the great manufacturer of Rostock. Herr von Stuckard was a frequent guest at the house and while maintaining outward appearances of friendship for the baron, made love to the baroness.

Last summer the baron was obliged lo leave home to attend the maneuvers with his regiment. Herr von Stuckrad. who had quitted military service for private reasons, remained at Neu-Ruppin. When the baron returned from the maneuvers he discovered that his false friend had persuaded his wife to elope with him to America. The two were trailed to Bremen and thence to New York. The parents of the baroness, who had crossed the Atlantic by the next ship, found her with Stuckrad and did their utmost to persuade her to return home, but without success. The baroness refused to leave Stuckrad or return to her husband. Baron von Oertzen initiated divorce proceedings on the ground of desertion. The case was tried in December and terminated in his favor.

Scarcely had the divorce decree been pronounced when Stuckrad quarreled with the baroness, left her and returned to his home at Kreuznach, where his father, a retired general, is burgomaster. Baron von Oertzen, on hearing of his return, sent his seconds with a challenge to a duel, which Stuckrad immediately accepted, the conditions being pistols at twenty-five paces’ distance and three rounds. A secluded spot in the Stadtwald was selected as the place where the deadly quarrel of the two men could he fought out without interruption.

Baron von Oertzen arrived on the scene with two brother officers, who acted as seconds, and a physician. A few minutes later Herr von Stuckrad drove up from another direction with his two seconds. The seconds measured the distance and the combatants placed themselves in position. Both took careful aim and the shots seemed to be simultaneously. Baron von Oertzen’s bullet lodged in Stuckrad’s body, inflicting terrible injuries to the internal organs, Stuckrad’s shot missed its aim and the baron remained standing uninjured. After witnessing his opponent’s death the baron, accompanied by one witness, drove to Frankfurt-on-the-Maln to report himself to the military authorities, while the other witnesses of the fatal duel removed Stuckrad’s body to the nearest mortuary.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 11 January 2017

System of Examination for Regimental Officers (1855)
Topic: Officers

A System of Examination for Regimental Officers

Hints on Bivouac and Camp Life; For the Guidance of Young Officers in the Halifax Garrison While Under Canvas for the Summer Months at the North West Arm, Point Pleasant, by Captain Wilford Brett, 76th Regiment, 1855

The following queries were in use in the several corps that I have commanded.

Once a month the Captain closely examined his subalterns, and reported thereon to the Major of his Wing. The Major examined the Captains of Companies; and the Adjutant severely examined the Non- Commissioned Officers of the Corps.

Monthly reports were forwarded to the Lieut. Colonel of the Regiment by the Majors of Wings, on the general efficiency of the Officers on the above information.

[His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, at his half-yearly inspections in Dublin, put somewhat similar queries to the Officers.]

Queries of Inspection Required From All Company Officers

1.     Captains.— The conditions of Enlisting money for Recruits, and apportionments thereof?

2.     State the daily Pay of all Ranks?

3.     The Annual and Biennial Clothing Return, with sums allowed for Clothing of each rank, and compensation for broken periods?

4.     The several Acts of Enlistment of the Soldier?

5.     The conditions of the Good Conduct Warrant?

6.     Name and service of the oldest and youngest Soldier in the Company?

7.     The number of Recruits joined since last Inspection?

8.     The numbers in each Company, with the ability to account for every man by name on the strength of it?

9.     The number of married men, and children?

10.     The Religion, Country, and average height of the men?

11.     The number of men drawing extra pay, with the different grades?

12.     The number of forfeitures, and for what periods

13.     Number restored since last Inspection?

14.     Define the powers of Regimental, Garrison, and General Courts Martial?

15.     Number of Courts Martial since last inspection — with the names of men in confinement, their crimes, and periods of punishment, and the date of their release?

16.     Number of desertions, and number of deserters recovered since last Inspection; with nature of punishment?

17.     Names of men in hospital, with date of Admission, and rate of Hospital Stoppages'?

18.     Weight carried in light and heavy marching order and when in the field, and weight in detail of each article?

19.     Price of rations, ditto of messing and washing. The heaviest debtor, and greatest credit the amount in Savings Bank, and the greatest creditor?

20.      What is the state of your Company's abstract with the Pay- Master?

21.     The time necessary for pitching and striking the Tents of a Company, with the number of men for each Tent?

22.     Price of necessaries in detail?

23.     The number of men for every 100 tons of Transport, with the warrant for Officers Messing?

24.     The provisions of the Treasury Warrant, regulating the daily rations and messing for Soldiers on board ship?

25.     Explain to your Company pitching and striking Tents in detail?

26.     Explain, tell off, and fight an "Advance" and "Rear Guard" on meeting an enemy?

27.     Define the powers of punishment of a Commanding Officer irrespective of Courts Martial.

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
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
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
Friday, 9 December 2016

Pleasing the Brigadier (1917)
Topic: Officers

Some of the Things that Please an Infantry Brigadier, By a Brigadier

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

The following points, which have been compiled by the Commandant, with the aid and assistance of Lieut.-Colonel J.F.R. Hope, D.S.O., K.R.R.C., may assist Officers who find themselves promoted to the Command of battalions in France. (N.B.—All these points, if observed by Commanding Officers, bring contentment of mind to the Officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates of their battalions.)

1.     A Commanding Officer who has knowledge, and who knows how to impart his knowledge to those under him.

2.     A Commanding Officer who salutes and turns out well himself, and insists on all his Officers doing the same.

3.     A Commanding Officer who does not get rattled directly the Brigadier or Divisional Commander or any other General hoves into sight.

4.     A Commanding Officer who insists on a good Headquarters mess and good Company messes for every one of his Companies.

5.     A Commanding Officer who trains his Battalion sensibly and in moderation.

6.     A Commanding Officer who does not permit his men to be pulled out of their beds before 7 a.m. either in summer or winter.

7.     A Commanding Officer who does not allow parades of any kind on an empty stomach before breakfast.

8.     A Commanding Officer with a cheerful attitude.

9.     A Commanding Officer who can answer any reasonable question put to him regarding his own Battalion.

10.     A Commanding Officer who insists on keeping up a good corps of drummers, buglers, or pipers.

11.     A Commanding Officer in whose Battalion crime is practically non-existent, and yet in which the Officers and men work hard and fight well.

12.     A Commanding Officer who is always thinking of, and encouraging day and night, esprit de corps in his Battalion.

13.     A Commanding Officer who reads his orders and correspondence with care, and deals with both in a sensible and systematic manner. Also, one who, when called upon to give his opinion on some point, keeps to the matter at hand, and does not break off into some extraneous subject.

14.     A Commanding Officer who insists on his Adjutant getting away from his office and being a fighting soldiers rather than an officer's clerk, which a good many Adjutants prefer and think it is their duty to be.

15.     A Commanding Officer who will not permit his Officers to wear freak garments (e.g., snow-white gloves, collars, ties, and breeches, pudding caps, etc.) or to grow Charlie Chaplin moustaches.

16.     A Commanding Officer who realises the importance of keeping for ever in front of his men the cause for which they are fighting.

17.     A Commanding Officer who is human and a man of the world, and who therefore sympathises with his Officers and men in their desire to enjoy whatever the opportunity permits (e.g., when the Battalion is billeted near towns or other places of interest, one who allows them to enjoy the amenities of life in those towns, provided the necessary leave is forthcoming).

18.     A Commanding Officer who says what he thinks in a tactful, yet determined, manner, and not what he thinks will please the Brigadier.

19.     A Commanding Officer who, in a tactful manner, will bring to the notice of the Brigadier any order issued from the Brigade, which may be unworkable and so unsound.

20.     A Commanding Officer who puts his battalion into action only after a thorough reconnaissance of the ground, and after pointing out to his Company officers on the ground exactly what he wishes done.

21.     A Commanding Officer who in action really commands his Battalion, and keeps the Brigadier accurately informed of the situation.

22.     A Commanding Officer whose men are playing games in the afternoon, or otherwise enjoying themselves and keeping fit.

23.     A Commanding Officer who plays himself and can lead his Battalion in games as well as in action.

24.     A Commanding Officer who knows his Officers and non-commissioned officers intimately, and who can address many of the private soldiers by name.

25.     A Commanding Officer who has the interests of his Officers and men at heart when alive, and when dead humours them by decent burial, and who thinks of their relatives.

26.     A Commanding Officer whose Officers, non-commissioned officers and men know the history of their regiment, and who are bent on making history for it.

27.     A Commanding Officer who knows when a gallant action has been performed, and sees that the right man is rewarded.

28.     A Commanding Officer who is respected and trusted by every member of his Battalion.

29.     A Commanding Officer whose battalion is clean, smart at drill, well fed, and on the march does not struggle. Whose Battalion can move off as a compact unit at very short notice, and for any purpose, cheerfully and in good heart.

30.     A Commanding Officer who has a good canteen, wet and dry, under all circumstances possible, a recreation-room properly equipped, and always a separate room or mess for his Warrant Officers and non-commissioned officers.

31.     A Commanding Officer who, if in the trenches, knows his line from end to end, not only as regards the actual trenches, but is also thoroughly acquainted with the actual ground in and in front of his sector.

32.     A Commanding Officer whose Officers, non-commissioned officers and specialists are the best in the Brigade—thoroughly trained and thoroughly reliable.

33.     A Commanding Officer who never forgets to praise where praise is due, but who allows no slackness or dereliction of duty of any kind whatever.

34.     A Commanding Officer who is not content with telling his non-commissioned officers that they are the backbone of the Army, but who, by taking an active part in their training, assists them to improve their knowledge, and who, by insisting on them living properly and under conditions in keeping with their rank and position, enables them to preserve their status in the eyes of the men.

35.     A Commanding Officer who has knowledge and because of this knowledge can handle his Battalion at all times in action in such a manner as to inspire his men with the utmost confidence.

36.     A Commanding Officer who personally sets every single Officer, non-commissioned officer and private in his Battalion the finest example in everything he calls on them to undertake.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 21 November 2016

The Rifle Brigade in Canada (1865)
Topic: Officers

Photograph | Rifle Brigade group, Montreal, QC, 1865 | I-15545.1

Rifle Brigade group, Montreal, QC, 1865; William Notman (1826-1891); 1865, 19th century; I-15545.1; © McCord Museum.

The Rifle Brigade in Canada (1865)

The Montreal Gazette, 14 May 1927

Sir Leopold V. Swaine, who once commanded the Rifle Brigade, came out to Canada in 1865 with a battalion of his regiment, and camped over at Point Levis for a few months, helping the Royal Engineers to construct field-works. After they had been there for some six weeks or more, men began to desert, as the U.S.A. frontier was within such easy reach. Swaine consulted with his commanding officer and got his sanction to open all letters that came for men from the United States. Most, if not all of these, contained offers of high wages if the men would come and work for the writer. These were, of course, all burnt. But, in three and a half months, they tried between ten and fifteen men by district court-martial for desertion; awarded something like twenty years' imprisonment with hard labor, fined them over £50 for loss of kit, and flogged three men, awarding one hundred and twenty-five lashes. One of the three kept a diary of their wandering, which showed that, for the three days they were away, they had continually walked in a circle and had never been more than three miles from camp.

One day, when the working parties came in for dinner, they reported than an American had been attempting to set fire to some huts. He was stopped from doing so, but claimed that they were his own property and heavily insured. After mess that evening an individual entered their tent and drawled out a request to know who was the boss of the establishment. He was a bit incoherent and had evidently been doing himself well at supper. They were quite sure that he was the man who had been reported in the morning so they surrounded him, and someone mentioned the fact that there was a pond handy. So they carried him triumphantly through the camp, swung him three times, and launched him into space.

Next morning a message came from the Colonel saying that he wished to see all the officers of the regiment in the mess tent at twelve o'clock. When they were all assembled he began: "I have had a visit this morning from an American gentleman, who gave me an account of the disgraceful manner in which he had been treated by the officers of this battalion. Mr. Swaine, you will be good enough to tell me who were the ringleaders in this affair." Swaine replied, "I was one, sir," and all the subalterns present re-echoed his words. On hearing this, the Colonel said, "I confine all officers to camp for the day."

The 1st battalion was quartered at the time at the Citadel at Quebec, and immediately after lunch the culprits were sent over to invite them all to come to tea and to bring anyone else they could think of. Among them were the Colonel and his wife. They had a glorious time, only marred by the fact that they were all invited to dine at the Citadel the same night, and had a hard time inventing previous engagements. Years afterwards the Colonel confided that the American had owned up to being drunk.

In the ensuing winter they had to learn to march on snowshoes, with the result that when the commanding officer gave the words "Fours right," nearly half the men fell on their noses.

In 1866 the Fenians began to give trouble, and they were ordered to St. Armands. Apparently the only casualty was the killing of some old woman who was stone-deaf, and who was seen trying to escape in the darkness and who continued to run in spite of repeated orders to halt. The Royal Fusileers gave her a great funeral, and, thirty years later, when he was a Major-General, the author received the Fenian medal, inscribed to Lieutenant Swaine.

The Senior Subaltern

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

Sam Boast
Topic: Officers

Sam Boast

The Regimental Handbook of The Duke Of Lancaster's Regiment, Preston, 2007

Sam Boast. In the late 1920s the officers of 2nd Battalion The South Lancashire Regiment subscribed towards a piece of silver which would serve as a memorial to those of their brother officers who had died in the Great War. The well-known sculptor Ried Dick was commissioned to make a silver statuette of a subaltern of the 82nd dressed in field service uniform. The honour of being the model fell to 2nd Lieutenant S.W. 'Sam' Boast MC because he seemed to symbolise the tradition of family service, the mutual trust and respect between officers and men, and the unifying and sustaining spirit of the Regiment. The Boasts had a tradition of service with the South Lancashires and at one time four of the family were serving together as Quartermaster, Platoon Commander, Drum Major and Drummer, while three Boast brothers won the Military Cross during the Great War. Sam, having been commissioned in the field, was decorated for gallantry in 1918. The sculpture was completed in 1930 and has had pride of place in the 1st Battalion Officers' Mess ever since. By tradition, Sam is never cleaned because the unpolished silver conveys the rugged feel of the mud of Flanders. His helmet, however, is shiny from the touch of generations of Regimental officers who, by leaning on Sam, can identify with the deeds of their forebears. At first sight, Sam looks rather stern and aggressive, but this is superficial. He represents, above all else, the good-humoured determination of the fighting men of Lancashire to succeed whatever the cost.

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Sam Boast's Medals

In 2015, Sam Boast's medals were acquired at auction by his Regiment.

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Dix Noonan Webb Auction; 25 Feb 2015 catalogue

M.C. London Gazette 3 June 1918:

'For distinguished service in connection with Military Operations in France and Flanders.'

Sidney William Boast arrived in France as a Corporal in the 2nd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment on 14 August 1914, in which capacity he would have first gone into action at Frameries on the 24th. The Battalion suffered heavy casualties during the retreat from Mons, Captain H. Whalley-Kelly recording five officers and 149 other ranks killed, seven officers and 301 other ranks wounded or missing (Ich Dien - The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire) 1914-1934, refers).

Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in his old battalion in October 1916, he was subsequently awarded the M.C. and mentioned in despatches (London Gazette 28 December 1918, refers). Mention of him is to be found in Ich Dien - The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire) 1914-1934:

'On the 23rd [October 1918], it was found that the enemy had destroyed the pontoon bridge by shell fire, but orders were issued for another to be constructed that night, and 'D' Company, under Lieutenant S. W. Boast, M.C., was detailed to establish themselves on the east bank. At 1.50 a.m. on the 24th the bridge was completed, and a platoon, under 2nd Lieutenant P. J. Nolan, crossed without opposition. Once across, Lieutenant Nolan advanced rapidly, no enemy being encountered until a burning house was reached several hundred yards beyond the river bank. At this point the platoon came under point-blank machine-gun fire from a building about 100 yards away, and also from other enemy post in the vicinity. One of these was located and rushed with the bayonet, whereupon two Germans were seen running from the building carrying what appeared to be the machine gun; they were fired upon, but the result is not known. Lieutenant Nolan then continued to work his way forward, but almost at once his platoon again came under heavy machine-gun fire, making further progress impossible, and he withdrew it to a position covering the bridge, where the sections entrenched. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Boast, with two of the other platoons, had crossed and established a position on the east bank. At 4 a.m. both banks were heavily shelled with gas and high explosive, and the pontoon bridge again destroyed, while 'D' Company's hastily organized defences became untenable as soon as daylight disclosed their exact location to the enemy. At 7 a.m. Lieutenant Boast withdrew his company to the west bank via the bridge on the front of the battalion on the right. The bold handling of 'D' Company on this occasion was a fine example of the policy of harassing the retiring Germans without intermission, even though the main advance might be temporarily held up owing to the difficulty of getting supplies forward across the devastated regions in the wake of the pursuers, and the desire to avoid needless casualties. These harassing tactics, in the conditions of open warfare now prevailing gave ample scope for initiative and skill on the part of company and platoon commanders, and the account of the various minor operations carried out in the last few weeks of the war shows that those of the Battalion let no opportunity slip.'

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 18 September 2016

RMC Entrance Exam (1877)
Topic: Officers

RMC Entrance Exam (1877)

Militia General Orders, No. 1, 9 February, 1877

Military College

Subjects and Books for Candidate Examinations.

Adverting to No. 2 of General Orders (2) 19th January, 1877, the subjects and books in which candidates are to be examined for admission as cadets to the Military College, Kingston, at the examination to take place in the several Military Districts, Monday, 12th March next, (the written examination to commence on the following day; Tuesday 13th March), will be as follows:

Obligatory Preliminary Examination

(1)  Mathematics:Marks.
 (a)Arithmetic, including vulgar and decimal fractions, simple and compound proportion, simple and compound interest, partnership, profit and loss.500
 (b)Algebra, including simple equations.500
 (c)Geometry, first book of Euclid.500
(2)(a)Grammar and writing English correctly and in a good legible hand from dictation.500
 (b)Composition as tested by the power of writing an essay, precis or letter.500
(3)  Geography, general and descriptive.500
(4)  History, British and Canadian, general.500
(5)  French; grammar and translation from the language.500
(6)  German; grammar and translation from the language into either English or French as may be preferred by the candidate.500
(7)  Latin; grammar and simple translation from the language into either English or French as may be preferred by the candidate.500
(8)  Elements of freehand drawing, viz: simple copies from the flat.300

French and German to be considered as optional subjects.

No candidate will be considered qualifies for a cadetship or allowed to count marks in the "further examination" unless he obtains a minimum of forty percent of the total number of marks in each of the subjects; 1 (a, b, c, together), 2 (a and b, together), 3, 4, and 8; and a minimum of one third in each of the subjects 5, 6, and 7.

Voluntary Further Examination

(1)  Mathematics:Marks.
 (a)Algebra, up to and including simple and quadratic equations.1000
 (b)Geometry, up to and including third book of Euclid.1000
 (c)Theory and use of common logarithms, plain trigonometry, mensuration.1000
(2)  English literature, limited to specified authors.1000
 (a)The examination to include the first seven chapters of Spalding's English Literature. 
(3)  Geography, Physical, particularly of Dominion of Canada and United States.1000
 (a)Examination in Page's Introductory Book, and Colton's Outline of Physical Geography. 
(4)  History, British and Canadian, limited to certain fixed periods.1000
 (a)Examinations in Collier's History of the British Empire, embracing the Tudor and Stuart periods, and the first ten chapters of Hodgins' History of Canada. 
(5)  French, translation from English into French.1200
(6)  German, translation from either English or French, as may be preferred by the candidate, into German.1200
(7)  Latin, including the fifth book of Caesar's Commentaries, to end of 23rd chap., and second book of Virgil's Aeneid. Translation into English or French, as may be preferred by the candidate. 1500
(8)  Drawing copy from flat, shaded and simple object drawing.1000

No optional subject, except mathematics and drawing, shall gain a cadet any marks, unless he obtain a minimum of one third of the marks assigned to that subject.

The marks gained in the obligatory subjects will be added to those gained in optional subjects to make a second total.

The answers in writing may be prepared in either English or French, as may be preferred by the candidate, except in the cases specifically mentioned.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 28 August 2016

Duties of Officers
Topic: Officers

Duties of Officers
(Section 1. General)

The Canadian Guards, Regimental Standing Orders, 1966

5.01     It is not possible to lay down rules for an officer's conduct in every suituation, but he should always bear in mind the three following principles:

a.     he is never relieved of responsibilities, whether on or off duty;

b.     he must always set the best possible example to his juniors; and

c.     he must never do anything which might bring the Regiment into disrepute, either with the general public or with other components of the Canadian Forces.

5.02     A officer should have a thorough knowledge of history, traditions and customs of the Regiment, and should take a continual interest in all matters affecting the Regiment and the unit in which he is serving.

5.03     He must take the greatest care to make the men he commands have confidence in him and must always be ready to assist them with their own personal problems, even if this may at times interfere with his own activities. He must take a keen interest in his men's sports and participate in as many as possible.

5.04     He must always set a high standard in his personal turnout, whether in uniform or plain clothes. In plain clothes, he is expected to dress in accordance with current practice in the Regiment. He is not to smoke in the streets or around barracks when dressed in uniform.

5.05     He must take great care to acknowledge salutes, whether he is in uniform or in plain clothes.

5.06     An officer is responsible to his immediate superior for the performance of his duties and for the efficiency and well being of the sub-unit he commands.

5.07     An officer will never overlook any irregularity or slackness on the part of a guard or sentry, nor will he fail to notice and correct any slovenly appearance, saluting, or unsoldierly conduct on the part of other ranks.

5.08     When an officer is taken ill and prevented from performing a duty, he will immediately report the fact to the Adjutant and make arrangements to see the Medical Officer. Company officers will also report their illness to their Company Commander.

5.09     Officers joining the unit or returning to the unit from detached duty, leave, etc., will report in person to the Adjutant. At the same time, they will acquaint themselves with all orders and instructions issued during their absence.

5.091     Officers ordered to proceed on duty outside the unit will be given the necessary instructions by the Adjutant.

5.10     Officers on special duties, e.g., institutes, and requiring reliefs while proceeding on course, etc., will make application to the Adjutant at least a week before their departure for an officer to relieve them.

5.11     Whenever an officer hands over an appointment to another officer, either temporarily or permanently, he and his successor will sign the prescribed certificates ... and submit them to the Commanding Officer.

5.12     An officer signing any certificate, correspondence, return, etc., will be responsible for the correctness of the document he has signed, irrespective of the fact that it may have been compiled and made out for signature by some other person.

5.13     An officer will notify the Orderly Room in writing of all personal casualties to be published in Unit Orders part 2.

5.14     It will be normal for all officers to make all requests to the Commanding Officer through the Adjutant.

5.15     Officers extra-regimentally employed will communicate directly with the Regimental Adjutant.

5.16     An officer leaving the unit area during duty hours, for a reason other than training, will notify the Adjutant.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 22 August 2016

Characteristics of Incompetence
Topic: Officers

Characteristics of Incompetence

On the Psychology of Military Incompetence, Norman F. Dixon, 1976

After describing command failures in the Crimea and the Boer War, the author offers these characteristics of incompetence for the reader to keep in mind as they are explored in following chapters.

1.     An underestimation, sometimes bordering on the arrogant, of the enemy.

2.     An equating of war with sport.

3.     An inability to profit from past experience.

4.     A resistance to adopting and exploiting available technology and novel tactics.

5.     An aversion to reconnaissance, coupled with a dislike of intelligence (in both senses of the word).

6.     Great physical bravery but little moral courage.

7.     An apparent imperviousness by commanders to loss of life and human suffering amongst their rank and file, or (its converse) an irrational and incapacitating state of compassion.

8.     Passivity and indecisiveness in senior commanders.

9.     A tendency to lay blame on others.

10.     A love of the frontal assault.

11.     A love of 'bull', smartness, precision and strict preservation of 'the military pecking order.'

12.     A high regard for tradition and other aspects of conservatism.

13.     A lack of creativity, improvisation, inventiveness and openmindedness.

14.     A tendency to eschew moderate risks for tasks so difficult that failure might seem excusable.

15.     Procrastination.

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Book Review: On the Psychology of Military Incompetence by Norman F. Dixon

Available at Amazon

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 13 August 2016

Rating Officers of Army (US Army, 1918)
Topic: Officers

Rules for Rating Officers of Army (US Army, 1918)

Officers Will Be Rated Every Three Months Hereafter, and Promotions Will Be Made Accordingly, Points Considered

The Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, South Carolina, 17 October 1918

Officers here are much interested in the new plan of rating officers, which has just been announced by the war department. The new scheme, which is to go into effect, provides that every officer in the army below the grade of brigadier-general, will hereafter be re-rated every three months. The ratings will be made by immediate superior officers and will be subject to review.

Officers will be judged by five standards, physical qualities, intelligence, leadership, personal qualities and value to the service, the latter counting for 40 per cent of the whole. According to the instructions which have been received here, the rules for making ratings may be based upon the following points.

1.     Physical qualities, including physique, bearing, neatness, voice, energy, endurance. An officer will be rated by the manner in which he impresses his command in these respects. The highest rating in this will be 15 points out of 100.

2.     Intelligence. Accuracy, ease in learning; ability to grasp quickly the point of view of a commanding officer, to issue clear and intelligent orders, to estimate a new situation, and to arrive at a sensible decision in a crisis. Highest rating to be given, 15 points.

3.     Leadership. Initiative, force, self-reliance, decisiveness, tact, ability to inspire men and to command their obedience, loyalty and co-operation. Highest rating, 15 points.

4.     Personal qualities. Industry, dependability, loyalty; readiness to shoulder responsibility for his own acts; freedom from conceit and selfishness; readiness and ability to co-operate. Highest rating, 15 points.

5.     General value to the service. Professional knowledge, skill and experience; success as administrator and instructor; ability to get results. Highest rating, 40 points.

The war department has announced that promotions in the future will be made upon these ratings, and officers are being urged to have the ratings made as accurate as possible.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 23 July 2016

Officers Mess Auction (1855)
Topic: Officers

Officers Mess Auction (1855)

With the rotation of British regiments in and out of garrisons throughout the Empire, or the reorganization of locally raised units, there were occasions which caused the Officers' Messes to dispense with property that could not economically be moved on to their next garrison location. The following newspaper notice, published in "The Public Ledger" of St. John's Newfoundland on 27 February, 1855, announces the auction sale of mess property at Fort Townshend. The funds raised would probably be used by the officers to establish their new mess wherever they were headed. The mess property list offers a glimpse of how well the officers lived once they had established and furnished their mess.

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Major Edward D'Alton

Through the pages of the London Gazette, we can trace the career of Edward D'Alton:

  • Through the pages of the London Gazette, we can trace the career of Edward D'Alton:
  • 83rd Foot, Edward D'Alton, Gent. to be Ensign, without purchase, vice Keating, promoted in the 13th Foot. Dated 13th June 1830. – London Gazette, 11 Jun 1830
  • 83rd Foot, Ensign Edward D'Alton to be Lieutenant, by purchase, vice John James Edward Hamilton, who retires. Dated 2nd August 1833. – London Gazette, 2 Aug 1833
  • 83rd Foot, Ensign Edward D'Alton to be Captain, by purchase, vice Kelly, who retires. Dated 20th September, 1939. – London Gazette, 20 Sep 1839
  • 83rd Foot, Captain Samuel Burgess Lamb, from half-pay, Unattached, to be captain, vice Edward D'Alton, who exchanges. Dated 12th January 1848. – London Gazette, 12 Jan 1949.
  • Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment. Captain Edward D'Alton, from half-pay Unattached, to be Captain, vice Colman, who exchanged. Dated 14th October, 1851 – London Gazette, 14 Oct 1851.
  • To be Majors in the Army:—Edward D'Alton, Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment. – London Gazette, 11 Nov 1851.
  • Royal Newfoundland Companies. Brevet-Major Edward D'Alton, from half-pay Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment, to be Captain, vice Osborne West, who exchanges. Dated 6th July, 1852. – London Gazette, 6 Jul 1852.
  • To be Ensigns, without purchase:—Royal Newfoundland Companies. Captain Malcolm MacGregor, from half pay Unattached, to be Captain, vice Brevet-Major Edward D'Alton, retired on full pay. Dated 14th September, 1856. – London Gazette, 14 Nov 1856.
  • Brevet-Major Edward D'Alton, retired full-pay Royal Newfoundland Companies, to be Lieutenant-Colonel in the Army, the rank being honorary only. Dated 19th September, 1856. – London Gazette, 19 Sep 1856.
  • The New Army List, and Militia List, No. LXV. 1st January, 1855.

    "Major D'Alton served in the 83rd during the suppression of the Insurrection in Lower Canada in 1837; also in repelling the attacks of the American Brigade who landed near Prescott, Upper Canada, in 1838."

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Updated: Saturday, 23 July 2016 12:27 AM EDT
    Wednesday, 6 July 2016

    WAACs and Nurses Arrive in Africa (1942)
    Topic: Officers

    WAACs and Nurses Arrive in Africa

    Officers' Mess Undergoes Quick Change

    St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, Florida, 24 December 1942
    By Harold V. Boyle

    Allied Headquarters in North Africa—(AP)—The arrival of 31 American Army nurses and five WAAC officers has created a feminine oasis at Allied headquarters, where until now the art of war has been practices on a strictly masculine basis.

    The appearance at the officers' mess of the young women had immediate repercussions.

    When they first entered the long private dining room, looking as neat and fresh in their military garb as a Monday morning wash, all conversation halted momentarily. Heads of generals and second lieutenants alike turned as if they were on the same pivot to watch the women march a little self consciously to their table.

    Grey haired colonels who usually gnaw their rations in grumpy austerity dusted off their military gallantry and shamelessly sabotaged officers of lesser rank to get seats near the newcomers.

    "You know," said a major, "I never knew before how much it can mean to a man just to sit across the table from a young woman who speaks his own language.

    "After six weeks of Army life in Africa you forget there is another world with women in it as well as men."

    The major's reaction was typical, but one elderly general merely gazed dourly at the feminine contingent and remarked:

    "I don't know what's happening to war anyway. We never had anything like this before. Petticoat soldiers! Pass the potatoes."

    The WAACs have one privilege denied male officers. They can eat with their military caps on, and they do.

    How to introduce them has been something of a problem in Social-military etiquette. Fellow officers the first time usually burble out something like "Miss Smith, this is General Jones, er, er, I mean General Jones, uh, uh, meet Lt. Smith."

    Both the nurses and the WAACs have been besieged with dinner invitations and offers of assistance.

    The alert American press scored an initial scoop when two foreign correspondents took all five WAACs for their first dinner at a French restaurant. Army Air corps officers also were taken along after they begged to join the party and pledged they would pay for the food, buy the wine and get the correspondents a free airplane ride home after the war.

    "Listen, if you fix me up with a date with that pretty little blond—the lieutenant with the dimples—I'll wrap you up a bomber right now," said one flier, "and what's more, I'll give you a private hangar to keep it in."

    The WAACs will be assigned to headquarters duty, thus relieving male officers for combat duty.

    The nurses, like the WAACs, already have sent out advance patrols to scour the city for stockings, which are as scarce as one-legged penguins.

    "I'll never be happy again until we invade Japan," sighed one young nurse. "Then I'm going to buy a big box of silk worms and grow my own stockings."

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Monday, 4 April 2016

    The "Affair" Between a Whaling Captain and a Military Officer
    Topic: Officers

    The "Affair" Between a Whaling Captain and a Military Officer

    'Only eight paces?' cried Lieut. James, a little surprised. 'O, very well'—and he measured it off, and placed his man at his post. Then advancing to Capt. Lovett, he presented him with a pistol.

    The Daily Pittsburgh Gazette, 8 August 1839
    (Boston Merchant Journal)

    Although this story can be found published variously in the 1830s and 1840s, searches for the principals or the brig Cinderella come up empty.

    Perhaps some of our readers may have heard of the story of the duel between old Captain Lovett, of New Bedford, and the English officer in Demerara. It has been variously related—but the only true version is as follows:—

    Captain Zechariah Lovett, after having perfumed several whaling voyages to the Pacific, found himself in command of a small brig belonging to New York, on a voyage to Demerara. He was a worthy man—and a good sailor—his heart was full of the milk of human kindness, but he possessed a noble spirit—which would neither give nor take an insult.

    While his little brig Cinderella lay at anchor in Demerara River, Captain Lovett, one afternoon, entered a Coffee House, where he met with a friend—and they amused themselves by knocking the balls about in the billiard room. Soon after, and before the game was half finished—some English military officers entered, one of whom, Captain Bigbee, stepped up to Capt. Lovett, who was arrayed in a very plain, not to sat ordinary costume, and with a bullying air demanded the table, as himself and brother officers wished to play a match.

    Capt. Lovett gave the red coated gentleman a stern look, but replied with courtesy, that he and his friend had engaged the table, and would play out their game, after which, if the gentlemen wished to play, it was at their service.

    'But we can't wait,' said Capt. Bigbee, in an insolent tone.

    'You must wait,' cooly replied Captain Lovett.

    'But we will do no such thing,' exclaimed the surly Briton—'we came here to play billiards—and have no idea of being disappointed by a couple of fellows who hardly know a mace from a cue, or a ball from a pocket. It will take you all afternoon to finish the game—so clear out!.

    Capt. Lovett and his friend played on.

    'Come,' continued the officer, 'enough of this—-marker, place the balls.' Saying which, with a most impudent air, he seized one of the balls, which Capt. Lovett's opponent had just driven into a pocket, and caught another one which was near him.

    The matter was growing serious. Captain Lovett's eye flashed fire—for although he had mingled a good deal among Quakers, and respected that moral sect for their humanity and quiet demeanor, he was no non-resistant man himself.—He dropped his cue, and doubled up a fist of portentous size. 'Put those balls upon the table, you scoundrel,' exclaimed he, imperatively, 'and leave the room.'

    'Who do you call scoundrel, you Yankee blackguard? Do you know you are talking to one of His majesty's officers? Take that for your impertinence,' at the same time suiting the action to the word, and giving Capt. Lovett a smart rap across the shoulder with his cue. But in an instant he received a blow on the forehead, exactly where Phrenologists locate the organ of Eventuality—which would have felled an ox, and submissively acknowledged the favor by measuring his length upon the floor!

    His brother officer, who were with him, had the good sense to see that Bigbee was to blame—and although they looked rather black at the Yankees, they wisely forbode to molest them further—but assisted the stunned bully to another room, where, by the help of some restoratives, he recovered his senses. His rage and mortification at the result of the rencontre knew no bounds, and with many a bitter oath he declared he would have satisfaction.

    Before Capt. Lovett left the coffee house, a billet was handed him by Lieut. James, which proved to be a challenge—a peremptory challenge from Captain Bigbee, in which it was insisted that arrangements should be made for an early meeting, that he might have the opportunity to wash off the affront he had received, in Capt. Lovett's heart's blood.

    Capt. Lovett smiled when he saw such manifestations of Christian spirit. 'Tell Capt. Bigbee,' said he, 'that I will not baulk him. He shall have the opportunity he so earnestly seeks. Although not a fighting man, I am familiar with the duel laws—and if he will be, tomorrow morning, on the bank of the green canal, near the South Quay, rather a secluded spot, he shall have satisfaction to his heart's content.'

    Lieut. James bowed politely and withdrew.—Capt. Lovett went on board the Cinderella soon after—and ordered his mate, Mr. Starbuck, also a veteran whale hunter, to select the two best harpoons, have them nicely ground, and fitted—as an opportunity might offer on the morrow, of striking a porpoise. Mr. Starbuck obeyed his superior officer with alacrity, although he wondered not a little why Capt. Lovett expected to find porpoises in Demerara River.

    The next morning, as soon as all hands were called, Capt. Lovett ordered the boat to be manned, and requested Mr. Starbuck to take the two harpoons, to each some eight or ten fathoms of rattling stuff were attached, and accompany him on shore. In a few minutes the boat reached the South Quay, where Captain Lovett was met by several of his countrymen, who have been attracted to the spot by rumor of the duel, as well as several merchants and other inhabitants of the place. The one and all remonstrated with Capt. Lovett, for consenting to fight with the English military bully, who was represented as a practised duellist—an expert swordsman, and an unrivaled marksman with a pistol, being sure of his man at twelve paces. Captain Lovett did not, however, show the least inclination to back out—but, on the contrary, seemed more eager for the engagement—'I'll give that quarrelsome fellow a lesson' said he, which will be of service to him—and which he will never forget, so long as his name is Bigbee.'

    The challenger, with his forehead ornamented with a large patch to cover the impression left with the Yankee's knuckles, and his swollen eyes dimly twinkling with anger and mortification through two huge, livid circles, accompanied by his second, soon made his appearance. He was followed by a servant with a pistol case, and an assortment of swords. He bowed stiffly to Capt. Lovett—and Lt. James, approaching the Yankee asking him if he was willing to fight with swords—'If so,' said he, 'I believe we can suit you. We have brought with us the small sword, a neat, gentlemanly weapon—the cut and thrust, good in a melee, and which will answer indifferently well in a duel—and the broadsword and cutlass, which is often preferred by those who are deficient in skill in the use of arms. My friend, Capt. Bigbee, is equally expert with either. You have only to choose. As the challenged party, you have an undoubted right to select your arms.'

    'Of that privilege I am well aware,' replied Captain Lovett, 'and mean to avail, myself of it. I shall not fight with swords.'

    'I expected as much,' resumed Lieut. James, 'and have brought with me a beautiful pair of dueling pistols, with long barrels, rifle bores, and hair triggers. What distance shall I measure off?'

    'Eight paces.'

    'Only eight paces?' cried Lieut. James, a little surprised. 'O, very well'—and he measured it off, and placed his man at his post. Then advancing to Capt. Lovett, he presented him with a pistol.

    'I do not fight with pistols!'

    'Not fight with pistols—after having refused to fight with swords? What brought you here, then?'

    'To fight!' shouted Lovett in a thundering voice, which made the British officer start. 'I am the challenged party, and have a right to choose my weapons, according to the laws of the duello, all the world over—and you may rely upon it I shall not select weapons with which I am not familiar, and with which my antagonist has been practising all his life. Such a proceeding on my part is not only not required by the rules of honor, which after all, is a mere chimera, but would be contrary to all the dictates of common sense. No.—I shall fight with the weapons of honorable warfare, with which I have ever been accustomed. Swords and pistols, indeed!'

    'But, my dear sir,' cried the astonished Lieutenant, 'we must proceed according to rule in this business. What weapons have you fixed upon?' And in fancy's eye he beheld before him a huge blunderbuss, loaded with buckshot.

    Captain Lovell said nothing—but beckoned to Mr. Starbuck, who approached him with great alacrity, bearing the two harpoons. He seized one of the formidable weapons, and thrust it into the hands of Bigbee, who seemed absolutely paralized with astonishment.

    'My weapon,' said he, 'is the javelin—such as the Grecian and Roman knights often fought with, in olden times—a weapon which no man who challenges another, can refuse to fight with at the present day, unless he possesses a mean and craven spirit.'

    Thus saying, he took the station which had been assigned him, at eight paces distant from his startled antagonist. He cooly bared his sinewy arm—grasped the harpoon, and placed himself in an attitude. 'I'll bet,' said he, casting a triumphant look upon his friends, 'a smoked herring against a sperm whale, that I'll drive the harpoon through that fellow's midriff the first throw, and will finish him without the aid of the lance.' 'Mr. Starbuck, fiercely continued Captain Lovett, in a loud and rough voice, such as is seldom heard, excepting on board a Nantucket whaling vessel, when a shoal of whales is in sight, "Stand by to haul that fellow in!"

    The mate grasped the end of the line, his eyes beaming with as much expectation and delight. As if he was steering a boat bow on to an eighty barrel whale, while Captain Lovett poised his harpoon with both hands, keenly eyes the the British Captain—shouted in a tremendous voice, 'Now for it,' and drew back his arm as in the act of throwing the fatal iron!

    The Englishman was a brave man—which is not always the case with bullies—and he had often marched, without flinching, up to the mouth of a cannon. And if he had been in single combat, with an adversary armed with a sword or a pistol, or even a dagger or Queen's arm, he would have borne himself manfully. Indeed, he had already acquired an unenviable notoriety as a duelist, and had killed his man. But the harpoon was a weapon with which he was altogether unacquainted—and the loud and exulting tones of the Yankee captain's voice sounded like a summons to his grave. And when he saw the stalwart Yankee raise the polished iron—and pause for an instant, as if concentrating all his strength to give the fatal blow, a panic terror seized him—his limbs trembled—his features were of a ghastly pallor, and the cold sweat stood in large drops on his forehead. He had not the strength to raise his weapon—and when his grim opponent shouted, 'Now for it,' and shook his deadly spear, the British officer, forgetting his vows of chivalry—his reputation as an officer, and his honor as a duelist, threw his harpoon on the ground, fairly turned his back to his enemy—and fled like a frightened courser from the field, amid the jeers and jibes, and the hurrahs of the multitude assembled by this time on the spot.

    Capt. Bigbee's dueling days were over. No man would fight with him after his adventure with the Yankee. He was overwhelmed with insult and ridicule—and soon found it advisable to change into another regiment. But his story got there before him—and his was soon sent to "Coventry" as a disgraced man. He was compelled, although with great reluctance, to quit the service; and it may with great truth be said, that he never forgot the lesson he had received from the veteran whaler, so long as his name was Bigbee.

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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