The Minute Book
Friday, 10 February 2017

How Canada Gets Along Minus Army (1925)
Topic: Canadian Militia

How Canada Gets Along Minus Army (1925)

Called Greatest Pacifist Nation Indifferent to Things Military
Militia is Reliance
3,000 Men in Uniform No One Interested in Soldiering

The Border Cities Star, Windsor, Ontario, 10 August 1925

Veterans of the C.E.F. for the most part brand any man who would join the army in times of peace as several kinds of lunatic at large.

Toronto, Aug. 10.—Under the heading "Canada, the Greatest of Pacifist Nations, Seems Indifferent to Things Military," the following article appears in the Toronto Weekly Star.

Until today, the world has never seen a great nation with flourishing seaports on two oceans, with ships carrying her merchant flag on the seven seas, and three thousand miles of frontier, unarmed and unprotected. It simply never happened in history.

Canadians are like no other people in the world. We are an Atlantic power, and a Pacific power. To the east is Europe carrying more bombs and side arms than in 1913, and to the west is the perennial yellow menace. In the Republic to the south last year the Government of the United states put on a "Defence day" and 16,000,000 Americans showed their interest in the affairs of arms by taking part. Even the South American republics have a total of 180,000 men under arms today. In the midst of all this Canadian go about the business of earning their daily bread with a general indifference to things military. It seems to be the accepted principle that it costs too much to have soldiers cluttering up the countryside. Maybe it is healthy.

Queer Lot

The permanent force is always the first to feel the knife of parliamentary economy which slices away methodically every year until infantry officers find they have only a few barrack sweepers to command and cavalrymen find nothing to ride in their riding schools.

We are a queer lot in Canada. Seven years ago we had an army of shock troops the equal of any fighting men in the world. Today, we have about 3,000 men in uniform and no-one is interested in soldiering. If there was any interest in it in Canada, it would have been capitalized by politicians and made a political issue long ago.

Next to tax collecting soldiering is the most thankless job, It takes genuine courage to hold His Majesty's commission in the Dominion in these piping times of peace—perhaps more courage than it did in the big bass drum days of Armageddon.

Veterans of the C.E.F. for the most part brand any man who would join the army in times of peace as several kinds of lunatic at large. The soldier is looked at askance as the most insignificant of civil servants, a sort of economic liability who must be tolerated for sake of old times. The permanent force is always the first to feel the knife of parliamentary economy which slices away methodically every year until infantry officers find they have only a few barrack sweepers to command and cavalrymen find nothing to ride in their riding schools.

Yet working quietly at their jobs every day, are a group of men who are making the most of the money appropriations for national defenses of this country. There are no grand manoeuvres every year in Canada. There are no great, glittering reviews. But the Canadian headquarters staff of the Department of National Defense—men who would be a credit to the Imperial war office—are from day to day working at the defense problems of Canada.

League's Opinion

In the lobbies of the League of Nations building at Geneva last year the younger men of the secretariats used to gather and talk informally. Conversations invariably turned to disarmament and the Canadians always interjected "Well, when you chaps get down to our basis of disarmament we'll begin to talk to you." But there was usually someone present who gently ruined the effect of the statement with a reminder that the British navy and the Monroe Doctrine made an ever-present row of bayonets around Canada, and that the unarmed condition of the Dominion was largely a matter of dollars and cents. It never failed to leave the Canadians without a "come back," and in their hearts they knew that their countrymen were more indifferent to armaments than any political influential people in the world.

By statute the enrolment in the Canadian permanent force is limited to 437 officers and 6,000 men. Actually the present strength is 413 officers and 3,085 men. The maintenance is of course in the hands of parliament. In 1924 when United States demonstrated its was resources on Defense day, Canada reduced her estimates for national defense by $1,000,000.

Horrible Example

South American republics have made such good fiction with the supposedly musical comedy armies made up mostly of generals.

So, with half the authorized strength, Canada's professional soldiers carry on. Pacifists say, "Well done, an example to the world," while militarists say "A horrible example of unpreparedness." Certainly it never happened before. No country claiming equality of nationhood with any nation on earth and about to send an ambassador to a foreign capital, ever stood in the international arena with a few minesweepers and about one battalion of infantry to back its claims.

Denmark not long ago announced that she was about to disarm and the world was amazed. Denmark's disarmament constituted a reduction of an army of 11,000 to a civil police force of about 6,000. Canada has done better (or worse) than that. Canada, with a score of lakes that could absorb Denmark, could parade the army, the navy, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and still go recruiting for enough to equal the 6,000 of "disarmed" Denmark.

South American republics have made such good fiction with the supposedly musical comedy armies made up mostly of generals. But, Chile with an army of 21,000 German-trained troops constantly under arms and the Argentine with a regular army of 18,000, assume the proportions of world powers. Brazil, with compulsory military training, has 42,000 men carrying arms, and Mexico, with a more stable government than she has had for 30 years, keeps 65,000 active soldiers.

Armed Powers

A few other examples of armed power are interesting: Japan, 16,000 officers and 216,000 other ranks; Russia (army and navy) 562,000; United States, army 36,500, navy 100,000; Irish Free State, 1,080 officers, 14,600 men. New Zealand has compulsory cadet training for all men between the ages of 12 and 25. South Africa requires men between 21 and 25 to belong to a rifle association and learn to handle firearms. Australia with compulsory military training of a senior cadet nature maintains nearly 6,000 active troops and a sea-going naval reserve of 8,000.

Analyzed, the condition of the Canadian permanent force is as follows. The figures speak for themselves and offer good arguments for pacifists and militarists. The Royal Canadian Dragoons consists of 17 officers and 272 men; and the net expenditure for the regiment was $64,814 during the fiscal year ended last March (a trifle less in the cost of upkeep than Mister Coolidge's White House policemen). Lord Strathcona's Horse maintains 16 officers and 183 men at a cost of $64,317. The Royal Canadian Artillery kept 56 officers and 617 men at a cost of $203,970. The three infantry regiments were: The Royal Canadian Regiment, 404 all ranks, $104,631; Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, 269 all ranks, $93,391; Royal 22nd Regiment (French-Canadian), 189 of all ranks, $43,396.

Military Costs

The Royal Military College at Kingston cost Canada $338,082 in the last fiscal year. The attendance for the year was 165, and as well as the regular studies for cadets, the college carried on staff courses for officers of the permanent and non-permanent militia.

On cadet service $450,000 was spent in 1923-24, which was the largest amount expended on this work since the war. The estimates for cadet work for 1925 have been reduced to $400,000. The total number of enrolled cadets was 110,000 for the year ending last March.

That is where Canada stands in military matters. The headquarters staff is concentrating its efforts on the maintenance of a training service. Consequently nearly a full quota (under the statute) of officers is maintained. The theory is that the officers will constitute a training staff for the non-permanent militia and a skeleton organization for a fighting force in times of emergency. It is tough work. Officers without men to command must have their hearts in their work to carry on.

Has War Plans

Present strength of the non-permanent militia is, on paper, 140,000. The figure is not to be taken literally. It is extremely optimistic but headquarters continues to carry the names of authorized militia units which are barely breathing, rather than let the slimmest organization be lost.

Canada has war plans. There are two complete combat schemes filed in the National Defense department. One is to meet emergencies of home defense, the other is to place an expeditionary force abroad in the event of Canada responding to an empire call. They don't talk much about them at headquarters but they think a lot about those plans and they don't tell the world their thoughts. Headquarters bets on the militia. In the long run they count on the all-round citizen soldier of Canada to do the big fighting jobs, and they tell you without boasting that there is no finer militia material in the world than in Canada. Present strength of the non-permanent militia is, on paper, 140,000. The figure is not to be taken literally. It is extremely optimistic but headquarters continues to carry the names of authorized militia units which are barely breathing, rather than let the slimmest organization be lost.

So, at Ottawa with sincerity and that devotion to duty which has always characterized their profession, a small group of highly trained officers works thoughtfully on iron rations. To these men the St. Lawrence River development, obscure harbors on the British Columbia coast, and the sand dunes of Sable Island have a significance unknown to civilians.

Meanwhile the world wonders. Is in Canada the pacifist vision coming true, or is she indifferent to the rattling sabres of the world?

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 27 January 2017

The Canadian Militia (1879)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Canadian Militia (1879)

The Montreal Gazette, 4 March 1879

The remarks of Lieutenant-General Sir Selby-Smith, in his annual report, on the necessity of an organized force which could always be depended on in case of such disturbances as those of which the country has recently has experience, are worthy of careful attention. The inconvenience of employing volunteers for the purpose of quelling riots in which their own fellow-citizens are the actors has often been felt; and we have not to go far in either space or time for illustrations of some of the bad results of the system. The formation of a small permanent force such as that which General Smyth suggests would remove that inconvenience and make the repression of disorder practicable without the risk of provoking complications that are the most difficult to deal with. As to the plan on which such a force should be raised, General Smyth has certainly quite sufficient military knowledge and experience, and well as acquaintance with the needs and capabilities of the Dominion, to enable him to frame one in every way suitable. It will have been seen that he proposes that three regiments should be maintained by the Federal Government, composed of two battalions each, to be raised and recruited in Canada, each battalion to serve in the old country and here for alternate terms of three years, thus completing their period of enlistment, which should be fixed at six years. At the close of their six years' service the men composing the battalions should pass into a reserve and receive a grant of land or some other inducement to settle permanently in the country, with a stake in it. By this system of alternation and interchange, complete solidarity would be established between the soldiers of Canada and that of the Empire, and our little Canadian force have full opportunity for thorough training, and be imbued with a British spirit. In case of war the system would be capable of expansion to any limits required. Another scheme proposed was that only three Canadian battalions should be formed, whioch should be interchanged triennially with an equal British force of the line. Hitherto, it appears that nothing has been done towards giving either suggestion a practical form, but it is hoped that the matter will not be lost sight of. Of course, the carrying out of such a plan would not interfere materially with our Canadian militia, as at present organized and composed. It would be from the militia that, in all likelihood, such a force would be, to a great extent, supplied and on it also it would have to mainly depend for the enlargement which extraordinary contingencies might necessitate. The value of such a force may be inferred from what general Selby-Smyth says in another part of his report regarding the probable effect of the muster of volunteers is this city last Queen's Birthday on the Fenian raiders who were at that time rumoured to be about to cross the line into Canada. He thinks, and with good reason, that there were Fenian spies present on that occasion and that the sight of so large a body of well trained and well equipped soldiers, whom they would have to encounter, if they attempted to put their project into execution, had a salutary influence in deterring them from the menaced movement. How much more would such disturbers be cowed into tranquility is a permanent force, always armed and prepared to meet invasion, were maintained in the Dominion! In a short time we should probably be put to no more trouble or expense (and such occasions have cost us our share of both) from such unscrupulous free booters.

The report goes on to make some excellent suggestions as to the proper administration of the militia force. It is to be noted that some of these suggestions merely call for the enforcement of the existing laws on the subject—a telling commentary on the manner in which it has been hitherto neglected. We do not intend just now to take them all into consideration, but we have no dough that they will receive from the proper authorities the attention which is their due. Of […missing line of text…] Corporation of Montreal—that which regards the rebuilding of the drill shed. It is advised that the Government should urge on our Municipal Council the duty of re-construction or, in the case of refusal or neglect, due for the value at stake, $12,000. This is a matter which demands immediate settlement, and it is hoped it will be arrived at with as little delay as possible. Both this and several others of the suggestions to which we direct attention have already been made to no purpose. It is evident from them and from the whole tenor of the report that our militia force has, up to the present, by no means received the attention of which such a force in a country of the extent, population and position of Canada is worthy.

In a paper contributed to the February number of Rose-Belford's Magazine, entitled "A Plea for the Militia," by "Two Militiamen," the whole case is very clearly and patriotically stated. After speaking of our national pride, our great extant and resources, and our growing importance, the writers very opportunely ask how we should maintain our rights, protect our liberties and retain our possessions, if Great Britain's naval and military assistance were withheld or withdrawn. They then very pointedly contrast our position from a military standpoint with some of the smaller European powers, giving a result which is far from flattering to our self-love. The Netherlands, with a population of less than 4,000,000, expend for military purposes £1,541,909, have an army of 61,947 men, a navy of 47 ships, with 705 guns, manned by 9,200 men, and a militia of 100,323 men. Switzerland, with a population of less than 3,000,000, expends £586,237, has an army of 84,369 men, a reserve of 50,069 men, and a militia force of 65,981 men. Sweden, with a population of less than 4,500,000, expends £925,000, has an army of 7,885 men and a reserve force of nearly 140,000 men. Norway, with a population of less than 2,000,000, has an army of 12,750 (peace footing), and of 18,000 (war footing), 20 ships of war, with 156 guns, manned by 2,393 men, and a reserve of 62,000. Denmark, with a population of less than 2,000,000, expends £1,114,000, has an army of 37,000 men, 33 ships, with 291 guns, manned by 1,125 men and a reserve of 32,393. Greece, with a population of less than a million and a half, expends £336,757, has an army of 14,061 men, a navy of 14 ships, manned by 653 men, and a reserve of 24,000. Canada, with nearly 4,000,000 of population, has only a poorly equipped militia force of 43,729, of which she expends only £200,000. These figures speak for themselves, and almost make unnecessary the excellent argument which follows, by which the plea is so well supported. Let any Canadian compare Canada with the Netherlands or with Denmark, and he will appreciate the motive of these two loyal militiamen in presenting their plea. Again, "in Great Britain the people are taxed $6.86 per head per annum; in France $4.50; in Prussia, $2.20; and in the United States (exclusive of the State militia) $1.39 per head, while in Canada we only burden ourselves with 14 cents per head of our population for militia purposes."

Most readers will agree with the writers that no "Canadian would object to that tax being doubled or quadrupled." To the question why a militia should be supported which in peace is not required, and in war would be inadequate as a protection against invasion, "Two militiamen" answer by an appeal to history. They recapitulate the services of the Canadian militia from 1775, when Quebec was held by it against the enemy till the arrival of British reinforcements, until the occurrence of the riots of the last few years. In 1812, 1813, in 1837, in 1862, in 1865, in 1866-70, what would the country have done had there been no militia to repel such attacks? "Two militiamen" then deal with the question as to what principle will render the force most efficient at least cost, and come to the conclusion that the nearest approach to our system, as defined by law, is the Danish system. Having glanced at its working and results and given a brief sketch of the Swiss system, they ask, "What are we to do towards the same end?" To this they reply that "no hurried extension of the present system is necessary or would be prudent." "But," they add, "the framework must be built in time of peace, upon such solid foundation that it will neither shrink nor give war under pressure of war." Sufficient funds must be provided to carry on the work regularly, and the vote should be a standing sum, not subject to legislative caprice. Once the country has decided what it can afford to spend annually, let those persons who are held responsible for the efficiency of the force be held responsible for its proper expenditure. After showing that there is no object for which the people at large are more willing to submit to outlay, and that there is no money so evenly distributed through the country as the money paid to the militia, the article closes with an appeal to the community to conquer the the apathy with which the past struggles for existence of the militia force have been regarded. And this appeal is accompanied by the warning that, if the present force is discouraged to death, the law providing for the establishment of the ballot must be executed and, instead of employees, employers may be pressed into the ranks. All that is asked is that the provisions of the militia law be slightly emended and rigidly enforced, that a little more money be spent in the actual training of the men, and that the Canadian people take a living interest and pride in their citizen soldiery and encourage them by precept and example, stimulating rather than retarding their efforts to fulfill their duty.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 23 January 2017

Permanent Corps; Issue of Clothing, 1892
Topic: Canadian Militia

Militia General Orders
Headquarters, Ottawa, 29th April, 1892

GENERAL ORDERS (8)

No. 1

PERMANENT CORPS

Issue of Clothing

The following changes in the issue of clothing to Permanent Corps will take effect from the 1st May, 1892 .

1.     Two serge jackets will be issued in the second year of the soldier's service instead of a tunic, and an alternate issue of one tunic and one serge jacket, or two serge jackets will be continued during the remainder of his service.

2.     No special clothing or distinctive marks allowed for privates of the Infantry School employed as bandsmen.

3.     Clothing will be issued on fixed dates twice a year as follows:

(a .)     "Summer issue" to be made on the 1st April and taken into wear on the 1st May, consisting of—

  • 1 serge jacket.
  • 1 tunic or second serge jacket
  • 1 pair summer trousers.
  • 1 pair summer boots.
  • 1 forage cap.

(b.)     "Winter issue" to be made on the 1st September and taken into wear on the 1st October, consisting of—

  • 1 pair cloth trousers.
  • 1 winter cap.
  • 1 pair winter boots.

The interval of one month is allowed to admit of the clothing being fitted, to the satisfaction of the officer commanding the Troop, Battery or Company, before being taken into wear.

4.     Men who become entitled to new clothing in the period between the 1st May and 1st October, will receive the summer issue as soon as possible after the first named date . Those who become entitled to the issue between the 1st October, 1892, and the 1st May, 1893, will receive the winter issue for wear on the first named date, and the summer issue similarly on the latter date.

5 .     Recruits joining during the course of a summer period will be given the complete summer issue. Those joining during the winter period w ill be given the summer issue (with the exception of summer trousers) in advance. Tunics will in no case be issued to recruits during the period of probation fixed by paragraph 23, Regulations for Permanent Corps .

6.     Soldiers whose term of service expires within either of the above mentioned periods will not be issued in advance with new clothing in respect of their uncompleted term of service.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum


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

Total Establishment of the Canadian Forces (1897)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Total Establishment of the Canadian Forces (1897)

The Daily Telegraph, Quebec, P.Q., 14 October 1897

The total establishment of the permanent force and active militia of Canada for 1897-98 is 36,188 of all ranks, and 3,551 horses, made up as follows:—

  • Permanent force,
    • Cavalry, all ranks, 145 men and 101 horses,
    • Artillery, 340 men and 78 horses,
    • Infantry, 317 men and 4 horses;

[This is] an increase over last year of two men and one horse. The cavalry is increased from 132 to 145, and the artillery and infantry reduced from 344 to 340 and 324 to 317 respectively.

  • Active militia,
    • Cavalry, all ranks, 2,383, and increase of 268,
    • horses, 2,181 instead of 1,940;
    • Artillery, 4,052 men and and 835 horses;
    • , 212, and increase of 61;
    • , 28,739 men and 352 horses, a reduction of 223 men and 3 horses.

Of the whole force the increase is 353 men and 679 horses.

The following are the changes in the 7th Military District:—

Total strength of "B" Battery is 43 officers and men, and 23 horses. A veterinary lieutenant has been added to the force, and one gunner reduced. No. 1 and 2 companies of the R.C.A. are reduced by four. While a major, a captain and an orderly room clerk have been added, a lieutenant and six gunners have been reduced, leaving the present total strength 167 officers and men, and seven horses.

The Queen's Own Canadian Hussars, which formerly consisted of two troops, is now a squadron with one major, one captain, two lieutenants, two second lieutenants, surgeon-major, veterinary lieutenant, and paymaster, the ranks of adjutant and quartermaster being absorbed, as well as several of the non-commissioned ranks, which now consists of nine instead of eleven, the reduction being in the regimental sergeant-major and troops sergeant-majors, there being but one of the latter at present.

The First Field Battery is now a six-gun battery, with a total strength of 102 men, of all ranks, instead of 79, and 49 horses instead of 29, necessitating an increase of one officer, two sergeants, two corporals, two bombardiers, two trumpeters, thirteen gunners and two drivers.

The Quebec Garrison Artillery company detached from the Levis companies, 100 strong, as follows: One major, one captain, two lieutenants, one second lieutenant, one company sergeant-major, quartermaster sergeant, four sergeants, four corporals, four bombardiers, one trumpeter, and eighty gunners.

The total rank and file of the Royal Rifles remains the same as last year, 278 men instead of 277 (the addition being a paymaster), made up of twenty-six officers, six staff-sergeants (an addition of six), eighteen corporals, six drummers or buglers, twenty-four bandsmen, and 180 privates. There is a reduction of six privates to make up for the increase of sergeants.

The strength of the Ninth Battalion is 368, same as formerly, the only change being twenty-four instead of eighteen sergeants.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


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

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

Canadian Militia to Hong Kong (1898)

Chance for Canadian Militia

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

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

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

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The Most Efficient Cavalry Corps (1897)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Most Efficient Cavalry Corps (1897)

"Military News," The Montreal Gazette, 4 December 1897

The Montreal Hussars are to be heartily congratulated upon being the most efficient cavalry corps, as proved by the recent comparative efficiency returns. The results, in order of merit, are as follows:—

The marks were distributed as follows:—

  • Clothing and accoutrements, arms and saddlery, armories, sword exercise, interior economy and books and records – 10 points each.
  • Horses, squadron drill mounted – 20 points each.
  • Answers to questions by officers – 12 points.
  • Regimental drill by the commanding officer – 30 points.

To this is added the value of individual target practice and from it deducted the points for absentees from troops inspection and target practice. This gives the regimental figure of merit as shown above.

The full and detailed figures are given in the present issue of the Military Gazette. It is noticeable that in the returns of the Montreal Hussars that the total possible points were gained for armories, interior economy and books and records, and answers to questions by officers. For target practice a fair amount of marks were gained and for regimental drill by the C.O. 25 out of a possible 30 points. Lieut.-Col. Markham's corps is evidently the one with crack shots, for their target practice is away ahead of the others.

Major Whitley and the officers and men of the Montreal Hussars cannot be too highly complimented on this very successful result, the result of their first annual inspection as a separate organization. It will be remembered that last summer at the inspection Major Lessard, inspector of cavalry, gave the very highest credit and encouragement to Major Whitley and his men.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 10 December 2016

Canadian Cavalry (1893)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canadian Cavalry (1893)

Troopers from Quebec—Quartered in the Old Barracks

The Toronto Daily Mail, 23 August 1893

The Province of Ontario now boasts of a Cavalry school. The Royal Canadian Dragoons, as they are called, left Quebec on Monday morning, at eight o'clock. They came by C.P.R. special, and were expected at the Queen's wharf here at ten o'clock yesterday morning, but it was half an hour later before the train pulled in. Lieut.-Col. Otter, D.A.G., and Capt Macdougall, with the band of No. 2 Co., C.R.I. were on hand to welcome the newcomers. Whilst the horses and baggage were being disembarks the band played several quick-steps. Among those present to witness the arrival was |Lieut.-Col. F.C. Denison, M.P. When everything was in readiness the troops started on the march to its new quarters, preceded by the band of No. 2 Co., C.R.I., which played the march commonly known as "Knock 'Em in the Old Kent Road." The infantry men in the barracks formed up and cheered the troopers as they came in. It is altogether likely the troop will be doubled in strength shortly, and the Cavalry school will be in full blast in a few days. The number of applications for admission to the school from officers of cavalry corps in the surrounding country is very large. Five officers are attached to the school, the troop being in command of Lieut.-Col. Turnbull. The troopers are quartered in the old stone barracks on the western side of the quadrangle. The officers will belong to the officers' mess of No. 2 Co. The Government will at once take into consideration the advisability of increasing the barracks accommodation for the officers. The accommodation for the infantry officers attending the school was rather limited, and with the increase in the permanent staff almost all the available room will be taken up. The two married cavalry officers will have to find quarters outside the officers' building. The troopers wear dark blue uniform with yellow facings, and they look very smart. Many of the men have seen active service. Captain F.T. Lessard is adjutant, Mr. W. Forester 1st lieutenant, and Capt. Hall, of "B" Battery, is attached as veterinary surgeon, and rumour has it that he will shortly be transferred to the cavalry. The trip from Montreal was very agreeable.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 2 December 2016

Royal Military College of Canada (1891)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Royal Military College of Canada (1891)

Northern Messenger, Montreal & New York, 17 April 1891
From an obituary/biographical sketch; Captain Huntley Mackey, R.E.

The Royal Military College, of Canada, writes the assistant secretary to the High Commissioner for Canada to a London paper, was founded in Kingston in the year 1875, and was opened in June 1876 with a class of eighteen cadets and a staff consisting of a commandant, a captain of cadets, and three professors.

The only available building at first was the old Naval Barrack at Point Frederick, now used as a dormitory. The present college building was completed in the summer of 1878; new batches of cadets were at first admitted every six months, and by June, 1878, when those who had originally joined completed their course, the number had increased to about ninety. The staff had in the meanwhile been gradually added to, and is now complete with a Commandant (Major-General; D.R. Cameron, R.A., C.M.G.), ten Professors, three Instructors, Staff-Adjutant, Medical Officer, and Paymaster, etc.

The total number of cadets approved for admission to the present date is about 250. Of these 235 actually joined. The number who have graduated is 135. The number of cadets who have, so far, been gazetted to commissions in the Imperial Army, between the Cavalry, Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, and Infantry services, is sixty-nine. In addition to these ex-cadets have been appointed to Commissions in the Mounted Police of Canada, the Schools of Artillery, Schools of Infantry, and to the Staff of the Royal Military College.

Of the cadets who have not obtained military employment, the greater portion have become civil engineers, and the services of these gentlemen have been much sought after, and very highly valued, not only in Canada, but in the United States also. Two of the graduates are employed on the Hydrographical Survey of the Canadian Lakes, three on the Geological Survey, and about seven in other Government Departments. About thirty cadets took part in the suppression of the Rebellion in the Northwest in 1885. The present strength of the cadets is about eight-five, and this may be expected to increase, as some twenty-four may be admitted every year. The age of admission is over fifteen and under eighteen years of the 1st of January preceding the entrance examinations, which takes place annually in the month of June.

The College course, being a four years' one, allows ample time not only for a thorough military training, but also for the study of Civil Engineering, Civil Surveying, Physics, Practical Chemistry, and other subjects which are naturally of great use to cadets in civil life, the course comprising Military Drills, both Infantry, Artillery, and Engineer; Signalling, Fencing, Riding, tactics, Strategy, Military Administration and Law, Fortification and Military Engineering, Mathematics and Mechanism, Astronomy, Geology and Mineralogy, Chemistry and Electricity, etc.

The college possesses a small observatory, and a most valuable assortment of surveying instruments, a most complete chemical laboratory, physical apparatus of almost every description, and a good selection of drawing and other models.

All of this has been gradually built up, and, needless to say, at great expense to the Dominion. But the growth of the college in public estimation warrants the expenditure, and it is an institution of which Canada may well feel proud; in fact, its success has been so noted that it seems likely a similar college will shortly be started in Australia.

Would space admit, much more might be said in justice to the Royal Military College of Canada, tending, as it does, to develop a true and loyal spirit towards the Mother Country.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 2 December 2016 12:25 AM EST
Friday, 25 November 2016

The Militia System of the Dominion (1871)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Militia System of the Dominion (1871)

Many battalions are provided with colours and bands, and during the annual training the officers generally mess together. A very sensible arrangement, ending both to increase a military feeling and to create an impression on the enemy is the supplying of infantry with uniforms similar to that worn by the Imperial army.

The Daily Standard, Victoria, Vancouver Island, 31 July 1871

A short time since we gave a brief summary of the militia law of the Dominion, shadowing forth how it would affect the Province. In a recent article we gave a somewhat imperfect idea of the military stores of the Dominion. We now find, in the London Saturday Review, an article on the military system of Canada, and as it grasps and handles the subject in such a masterly manner, supplying an amount of information difficult to get every day, we have given up our editorial space to lay an extract before our readers this morning. Here is the extract:

While we in England have been employed in noisily discussing the best defensive organization, the Canadian appear to have quietly, with a minimum both of cost to the country and hardship to individuals, solved the question. Indeed, we should say that, with the exception of Prussia and Switzerland, Canada is far in advance, as regards defensive organization, of every country in the world. After calm consideration and successive elaborations, the following results have been attained. The foundation of the system is the axiom that every man owes it to his country to serve in its defence against its enemies. All British subjects between the ages of eighteen and sixty—with a few necessary exceptions—are liable to military service. The exceptions referred to are judges, ministers of religion, professors in Colleges or Universities, the officials in penitentiaries and public lunatic asylums, persons disabled by infirmity, and the only son of a widow, being her sole support. Half-pay and retired officers of the regular army and navy, sailors and pilots when employed in their calling, and masters of public schools are enrolled, but are only liable to actual service in case of war, invasion or insurrection. All others are both enrolled and liable to serve when called upon, and are divided into four classes, constituting the whole—with mere nominal exceptions—of the adult population of the colony, constitute the regular or reserve Militia. The total population of the North American Confederation is estimated at about 4,000,000, and the number liable to service at 675,000 men. For purposes of organization, the whole country is divided into nine military districts, which are further subdivided into twenty two brigade and one hundred and eight-six regimental divisions. The Minister of Militia and Defence is at the head of the whole organization, and is assisted by a chief executive officer styled the Adjutant General, who has under him at headquarters a deputy. The Militia of each district in under command of a Deputy Adjutant General, and in each brigade division there is a brigade major, who seems, however, to be simply a staff officer, and to exercise no actual command. To each regimental division are assigned a lieutenant colonel and two majors, and to each company division a captain and two subalterns. The regimental and company divisions correspond as closely as possible to electoral and municipal divisions. The regimental officers attached to the Reserve Militia reside in their respective districts, and are appointed principally for purposes of enrollment and ballot; consequently, the recruiting and organizing staff would not be, as would be the case with us, dislocated in the event of an invasion, but a continual flow of recruits to the active army could be kept up. The organization we have described, except as regards deputy adjutant generals and, to a certain extent, brigade majors, is essentially of a reserve character, and simply provides for the immediate carrying out of any measures deemed necessary without imposing any actual duty in time of peace. In England, on the contrary, the organization for the ballot is not to be commenced until the emergency arises.

We now come to the actual army of Canada, or, as it is termed, the Active Militia. At present the consists entirely of corps raised by voluntary enlistment, and numbers on paper 44,519 men, or 1 in 15 of all men liable to serve, and 1 in 100 of the population. The different arms of the service are thus represented:

  • Cavalry, 1,666, chiefly organized in isolated squadrons and troops;
  • 10 field batteries with 42 guns, 441 horses, and 750 men;
  • 4 companies of engineers, 232 men;
  • 3 marine companies, 174 men; and
  • 73 battalions of infantry numbering 36,729 men, and
  • 2 battalions for Service in the Red River District, 862 men.

In addition to the above, twenty-five new corps are in process of formation. When organized, they will raise the strength of the Active Militia to 45,040 men.

According to the Militia law of the Dominion, it is only required that the Active Militia should amount to 40,000 men, furnished in due proportion by the different districts, and to be raised by ballot if necessary. Hitherto there has been no necessity to have recourse to the ballot; there is, however, a growing feeling in the Dominion that voluntary enlistment involves undue hardship on individuals, and it seems probable that the ballot will ere long be brought into operation. At present, volunteers enlist for three years, but according to the law, men obtained by ballot would serve only two years. At the end of their service in the Active Militia the men who compose it re-enter the Reserve, and are not liable to be called out until all other men in the same company division have volunteered or been balloted to serve. The number of men called out for training each year is 40,000, and the number of days' drill is sixteen, during which the men receive pay. A system of assembling the troops in each brigade in camps for the purpose of annual training has also been introduced with the best possible results, and the practice is likely to be extended. During the time that the militia is embodied, it is subject to the Queen's regulations and the Articles of War, and, as a matter of fact, discipline appears to be thoroughly maintained. Rifle practice by companies is sedulously practised, and skill in the use of the rifle is encouraged by the bestowal of prizes at the annual training. The great assimilation to the customs and practices of the regular troops is remarkable even in social and ornamental details. Many battalions are provided with colours and bands, and during the annual training the officers generally mess together. A very sensible arrangement, ending both to increase a military feeling and to create an impression on the enemy is the supplying of infantry with uniforms similar to that worn by the Imperial army. It may be remarked here that the men of the Canadian Active Militia are far taller and larger than the soldiers of our regular regiments. As regards both combatant and non-combatant staff, no efforts have been spared to render the local army efficient, and a still greater improvement is to be looked for shortly. It is proposed that then Adjutant-General of the Militia should be styled in future Major-General Commanding the Militia; that his staff officer—the present Deputy Adjutant-General at Headquarters—should be turned Adjutant-General, and receive the rank of Colonel; that the Deputy Adjutant generals who command districts should receive the title of Colonel on the staff, and that all staff officers should in future before appointment, pass a special examination, and only hold their offices for five years, and not be eligible for reappointment in the same office. With a view to obtaining properly qualified officers for the staff, it is recommended that a Canadian Staff College should be established; and in order to obtain competent instructors for it, the suggestion is made that the Imperial Government be asked to allow a certain number of Canadian officers to join the Staff College at Sandhurst. But the Canadian authorities have already take practical steps to secure a good professional training for their officers, by the institution of schools of instruction, in which measure they were far in advance of Mr. Cardwell. These schools of instruction were first established in 1864, and already nearly 6,000 young men have passed through them. Some of the graduates now hold commissions in the Active Militia, while other will be provided for as vacancies occur. And on an increase to the Active Militia, being required, would furnish an ample supply of well-qualified officers. Moreover the boys in most large schools undergo elementary drill. Thus it will be seen that a large proportion of males of all ages from ten to sixty receive a certain amount—in some cases a very considerable amount—of military training, and that, if the ballot is enforced, there will in course of time be probably about half a million of men more or less trained to arms. We have shown that the combatant and recruiting staff is completely organized, and considerable attention is now being paid to the administrative staff or store department, and arrangements have been made for a due supply of all the arms, camp equipment, and other stores required for field service or camps of instruction.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 15 October 2016

Two Thousand Troops in Line (1900)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Two Thousand Troops in Line (1900)

Toronto Garrison Parades to a Divine Service
Was a Splendid Spectacle
Crowds on the Streets—Sermon at Massey Hall by Rev. Armstrong Black

Daily Mail and Empire, 15 October 1900

Toronto dearly loves a military spectacle, and it is not surprising that a great portion of the populace lined the streets yesterday to witness the autumn church parade of the city garrison. And a very imposing spectacle it was, confirming Toronto's just pride in its citizen soldiery. The splendid brigade of 2,000 men represented every branch of the service, horse, foot, and artillery. It was a body fit to stand with the flower of the British army.

"They are much larger men than the British regulars," said a bystander, who accompanied the first Canadian contingent from Cape Town to Paardeberg. "the Guards are the only Old Country regiment I saw who can compare with them in stature."

Men From the Front

Sprinkled through the ranks were a number of South African heroes, whose presence denoted the new Imperial role of the Canadian militia, as well as its valor and devotion, which are not new. Among these campaigners were Capt. A.E. Ryerson, Pte. C. Millar, and Pte. James S. Taylor, of the Governor-General's Body Guards; Sergt. Kennedy, Sergt. Hewitt, and Pte. Ward, of the Queen's Own Rifles; Pte Vickers and Pte. Cuthbert, of the Grenadiers; and Corp. Smith and Pte. Mitchell, of the Highlanders.

Lieut.-Col. Peters, D.O.C., was the commander-in-chief, his staff being Lieut.-Col. Young, Major Heward (R.C.D.), Major Galloway (14th Regiment, Kingston), Lieut.-Col. Graveley (superintendent district stores), Assistant Surgeon-General Ryerson, Major Heakes, and Lieut. Carling (R.G.). The infantry were brigaded under Lieut.-Col. Delamare, his staff officer being Capt. Wyatt.

Order of the Parade

The garrison left the Armoury about 3 p.m. in the following order:—

The several regiments combined to make a striking pictorial effect owing to the variety and contrast of colour presented by their uniforms and accoutrements. It was a very inspiring sight for the multitudes along the line of march.

The Dragoons, 39 officers and men, were in command of Capt. Johnson, and the Field Battery, 63 strong, was officered by Capt. Grier, Lieut. Hughes, and Lieut. Brown.

The full strength of the Body Guards was 161. Lieut.-Col. Clarense Denison commanded, assisted by Lieut.-Col. Dunn, Surg.-Major Grasert, Capt. Campbell, Capt. Thomson, and Capt. Peters (adjutant). "A" squadron mustered 35, "B" squadron 35, and "C" squadron 42.

The Royal Grenadiers, 526 strong, were officered by Lieut.-Col. Bruce, in command, Major Tassie, Major Stimson, Surg.-Major King, Capt. Montgomery, and Rev. A.H. Baldwin, chaplain. The company strength, rank and file, was as follows:— "A" 32, "B" 49, "C" 38, "D" 31, "E" 44, "F" 35, "G" 48, "H", 41 "I" 34, "K" 47.

The Queen's Own had the strongest showing, 609 all ranks. Major Murray commanded, the other officers being Major Gunther (adjutant), Capt. Thorne, Surg.-Major Palmer, and Paymaster Lee. The rank and file numbered 417, the company strength being:— "A" 43, "B" 47, "C" 42, "D" 41, "E" 34, "F" 47, "G" 45, "H" 43, "I" 36, "K" 36. There were 6 captains, 17 subalterns, and 34 sergeants.

The bonnetted Highlanders were 454, all ranks. The officers were:—Lieut.-Col. Macdonald in command, Major Robertson, Surg.-Major Stewart, Capt. Donald (adjutant), and Major Orchard (quartermaster). The rank and file numbered 312, distributed by companies as follows:— "A" 43, "B" 32, "C" 35, "D" 38, "E" 37, "F" 42, "G" 45, "H" 43. There were 7 captains, 7 subalterns, and 26 sergeants.

The Medical Service Corps made its first appearance in garrison parade, and the neat and soldierly appearance of the young men, who are mostly students, excited very favourable comment. They were handsomely uniformed, and marched in capital style. In fact, the marching of every one of the regiments was so uniformly good that it would be hard to say any particular company excelled. The route was along Beverly, College, and Yonge streets to Massey Hall.

At Massey Hall

Patriotic Sermon by Rev. Armstrong Black

A great audience assembled for the divine service, both galleries being filled by the general public, and the ground floor and platform by the garrison. The band of the Governor-General's Body Guards furnished the instrumental music, which was admirably rendered. The devotional exercises were conducted by Rev. Armstrong Black, assisted by Rev. Arthur Baldwin, and the vast congregation joined heartily in the singing.

The sermon, which was delivered by Rev. Armstrong Black, was of a fervidly patriotic character. He spoke of the time, less than a year ago, when the cloud of adversity lowered upon the British Empire, and there were searchings of heart among the British people. It was true that Great Britain was caught unprepared, but she was unprepared in a noble sense, because she had been too generous to her foe, and too trustful in her confidence when she negotiated for the rights and liberties of citizens in a land which British arms had saved not two generations ago. It was well for England to know how loyal and self-sacrificing were her sons in the colonies. That she had splendidly learned, and that she would never forget.

"She is strong in your strength," said the preacher, "Henceforward your weal or woe will be identified with the Motherland."

The speaker said that Canada had stepped into the arena of the world since her sons had been brigaded with the gallant lads of Britain. The reaction of that service to the Mother Land had more than compensated Canada. She was no longer regarded as a colony, but as a nation. Only the other day Lord Rosebery, speaking at a banquet tendered Lord Hopetoun, the first Governor-General of Federated Australia, referred to Canada as a subsidiary empire. In concluding, the speaker said that in this new world, and in the new century now dawning, the problems of humanity were to be worked out, and it behooved everyone to realize his responsibility, and strive to do his duty to God and to man. He urged the soldiers to cultivate a noble manhood, to be obedient to the voice of conscience, and to be good citizens in times of peace.

The troops returned to the Armouries via Yonge, King, Simcoe, and Queen streets. Dense crowds again lined the route.

The actual number of officers, non-commissioned officers, and men in the parade was 1,924.

elipsis graphic

From the same edition of the Daily Mail and Empire:

Ottawa Garrison Parade

Special to the Mail and Empire.

Ottawa, Oct 14.—The annual church parade of the Ottawa brigade took place this afternoon, and was witnessed by thousands. The corps taking part were the G.G.F.G., 43rd Regiment, P.L. Dragoons, 2nd Field Battery, and No. 2 Bearer Co., the total number on parade being 930. The men were reviewed by General O'Grady Haley and Col. Aylmer, adjutant-general, as they returned from church. The Guards looked well in their usual scarlet, and the 43rd in Khaki.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 10 October 2016

Canada's Militia Masquerade (1938)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canada's Militia Masquerade (1938)

Now Unpopular, Obsolete, it Needs Overhauling for National Service

The militia is ill-equipped. Service uniforms are old, badly fitted. Web equipment is broken. The men have no boots. Generally a lack of imagination has been shown.

The Financial Post, 3 December 1938 By Lt.-Col. Louis Keene

Lieut.-Col. Louis Keene, who rose from the ranks during the war and has served actively in the militia, in the accompanying article, urges the complete reorganization of Canada's defence forces which he brands as not just antiquated but unpopular. On the foundation of Canadian defence he would build a national service corps.

A few Sundays ago Toronto saw four parades all in the trappings of tradition. The Ancient Order of Foresters were there in their picturesque regalia, The Queen's Own in their last century rifle green uniforms, the Grenadiers in their guard's uniforms, the Toronto Scottish in their hodden grey kilts.

People on the street, if they thought at all, probably felt quite secure in the knowledge that the brave men of Canada's militia would meet the foe without flinching.

Equipped for action (as these men will be in ill-fitting uniforms, obsolete equipment and weapons, this whole force, despite their bravery, could be destroyed by one sections of two cars of trained, well-armored fighting vehicles.

Why perpetuate the obsolescent Canadian militia?

Antiquated, Unpopular

If my judgment is correct, it has little or no public support. It is antiquated, ill-equipped, unpopular. It has hew if any links with any other part of Canadian life.

A few weeks ago competent authorities stated that we are unable to protect ourselves on land, sea, or in the air. Some steps are now being taken to remedy this situation.

Following staff reorganization dating back to 1936, efforts have been made to remove some of the glaring weaknesses of our antiquated system. As yet the rank and file have felt little of its impact. And nothing has been done to fit the militia for the larger responsibilities of national and community life.

Yet canada spends from $15 to $20 millions annually on its militia. It boasts many fine traditions, much able, conscientious personnel.

Is it not time we looked closely at some of the criticisms which have been levelled at it; time we took a national stocktaking to see what might be done to link this branch of public service with the larger responsibilities of individual and national well being?

In other countries, soldiers are used to aid the community. A few years ago in Sweden there was a big forest fire and 10,000 Swedish troops were turned out to aid in putting out the flames.

Even the German army is used for helpful community work. This summer they were turned out to help the farmers fight a plague of caterpillars.

National Guards in the United States are called out to restore order and help in times of disaster. In France, service in a fire brigade is counted as service—army service.

Overall Army

Britain now has her "Overall" Army and her Women's Air Guard. She is paving the way for volunteer service which can be used for achievement in peace as well as strength in war. Why should Canada not have her own National Service Corps?

It could be of great peace-time service.

In northern communities it could be trained in fore protection to help preserve our timber wealth. Other communities have equally important public service jobs to be done. Jobs that would appeal to men and women with a sense of good citizenship. Equally important is the job such as National Service Corps could do to train the individual; to build up his physique, his morale, his technical skill. Yet today the Canadian militia is ignored, treated with indifference.

Why is this so?

For one thing our militia is antiquated.

It is an out-of-date carryover from the period of the Crimean War. It was formed at the time when England was so short of men that she had to withdraw all her troops from Canada. At that time our young country was told that it would have to look after its own defence. Immediately and enthusiastically the militia was formed. It was new and up to date, smart, popular and efficient.

As the peaceful years rolled by the threat of foreign foes ceased to worry us. The militia settled down to being a responsible part of Canadian life. No one of importance missed being in some way connected with their local militia unit. There was some remarkably fine shooting done years ago by the old militia. Even rural regiments had their fine shots who went to Bisley.

Pushed Aside in 1914

The great opportunity which came in practically every other military force in the world was, of course, the Great War. But in Canada the political situation, plus jealousy and muddling pushed the miltia to one side. A new setup was arranged.

Thousands of Canadians who fought in the war had nothing to do with the organized militia in any form either before, during or after the war. Great opportunities to build a desirable tradition were lost. When the war was over, few of the returning soldiers were interested in the militia.

The militia never got another chance to get back its rightful position in the community. After the war was over, General Sir Arthur Currie, at a famous reunion dinner, asked returned officers to look after the militia. This meant nothing to many of them. They didn't bother.

At the time of the Coronation, instead of a smart, single unit being sent over to represent the whole of Canada, a miscellaneous, conglomerate group was formed. It was one of the few units which was not youthful and dressed up for this gala occasion. Without the Royal Canadian Mounted Police the Canadian contingent would have made a very poor showing at the Coronation.

The crowning blow of all was at the time of the international crisis when war seemed neat—a matter of hours—and patriotic citizens rushed to military district headquarters and offered to raise battalions. The Canadian Corps offered to furnish a division of troops. The militia was not even considered, was again given a back seat.

The militia is ill-equipped. Service uniforms are old, badly fitted. Web equipment is broken. The men have no boots. Generally a lack of imagination has been shown.

Men do not like getting out of their own civilian clothes and putting on old uniforms.

Recently at Camp Borden we saw rifles tied with handkerchiefs to indicate anti-tank guns. Even the new anti-aircraft guns were on mounts dated 1918. At the last camp at Niagara-on-the-Lake, the airplane operating with us was 16 years old. The small arms ammunition we used at the rifle ranges was dated 1917.

The militia is ignored by most people. It has not the support of the employers of labor. Businessmen do not take it seriously.

Employers must be shown that the discipline and training which men can learn in camp should be of value to them in their business. Today they feel that by letting men go to camp they are doing them a great favor.

As now constituted, the militia has not the support of the workers. It has very little appeal to the imagination of youth who have many other spare-time attractions unknown 30 years ago.

Country Lulled to Sleep

For 20 years we have listened to people condemn the militia, condemn cadet training, so that the whole country has been lulled to sleep.

For years we have been subject to a continual barrage of pacifist literature, the Cry Havocs, the films. We have listened to sob lectures and our prayers have been full of the soothing syrup of peace so that we are now fat, coddled, comfortable, unafraid, unarmed, unprepared.

Napoleon said of London: "What a city to sack!" It might well be said now of Canada, what a country to exploit.

When any civilian job has to be done which would prove of military training value, militia are scarcely considered. For example, in building the Toronto-Hamilton highway, at least one bridge had to be blown up. Here would have been a grand opportunity for our militia engineers to have had the chance to try out their training in demolitions, an important part of their war-time activities.

Our militia is never expected to do anything constructive. There is no affiliation with the youth of the country, service clubs or other groups, and there is very little link with veterans. It stands alone. So, instead of being a tremendously vital thing in the community at large, of which the public is proud, it is struggling along with the aid of a few public-spirited officers, N.C.O.'s and men who must devote a great deal of their time to an expensive, unpopular duty.

Complete Overhaul

I suggest that a complete overhaul is necessary.

One alternative is to develop an organization with wider opportunities for constructive work with individuals, with the community, with the nation as a whole—an organization which will be of use for peace as well as war.

The name "militia" is long out of date. It has been abolished by every other country that ever used the term.

"Militia," like the name "Regiment of Foot," came into effect years ago. Both names have long since disappeared from the vocabulary of Anglo-Saxon countries except as historical terms.

The army in England has had a great capacity for improvisation, It has been slower to recognize the necessity for reorganization, yet during the last hundred years two extensive reorganizations have been carried out. The first was by Cardwell 70 years ago. The second was by Haldane 35 years later, following the Boer War.

When Cardwell came into office as Secretary of State for War at the end of 1868 he found the army in a state of obvious unfitness to meet an emergency, yet our reorganization was prior to this.

Haldane reorganized the militia and the volunteers. He converted the former into a special reserve to feed the regular army with drafts in war, and the latter into a territorial force. This was the end of the militia. We should have followed Britain's example and reorganized when we threw out the pill box.

Starting Points

One specific reform Canada should adopt at once from British experience is the appointments of a paid adjutant for each non-permanent militia unit. This should be the starting point for other improvements.

Another starting point in reorganization is new equipment. This must be forthcoming immediately in exchange for pre-war uniforms.

The militia needs tanks, steel helmets, gas masks, new equipment and up-to-date weapons if it is to be anything more than a defence farce.

Almost 90% of the time of the Canadian militia officers is spent trying to get the men to turn out. They are under no obligation to attend. They say they do not like the uniforms, they don't like the puttees, they don't like to wear ill-fitting jackets.

Machine power, not manpower, is the determining condition of success in modern warfare. We, in Canada, haven't a sprinkling of the essential machines, so we get more pre-war uniforms at not cost to the public because they are not issued or paid for by units themselves.

We must know something of the weapons which are to be used and we must have the men who can use these machines. If we had new weapons, an overwhelming interest would immediately be created and we would have no trouble getting men in the militia. We could pick and choose them, could interest men who are mechanically minded, students and others who are incorporated into all the other armies in the world.

What possible chance have we to train or make use of the skilled worker who must eventually be the soldier if we have nothing to train with?

We cannot possibly expect to enjoy the benefits of civilization, comfort, security, our boasted high standard of living, even our investments and savings, without doing something to protect them. The most dreadful thing now is that preparation for protection takes time. We cannot spring to arms without having something to spring to. Fortunately some steps in this direction are now being taken.

If a highly industrialized nation like Britain decides to re-arm and three years later is far behind because she has had to make all the basic machinery, dies, stamps before production commences, how much more are we in Canada helpless?

It is not time for new purposes?

If a policeman's sole job was to shoot murderers he would be looked upon very differently to the way we look on him now. The policeman of today is being continually called on to do helpful, constructive jobs. He is looked upon with respect and confidence.

Why can't the militia be linked up in a movement that will be popular, constructive and useful besides "forming fours" and being "steady on parade?"

Think what might be done for the individual by a well-rounded-out militia which would take its place in the larger field of community and national service. The physical instruction training programme in itself would be of great help to many of the organizations of youth, Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts, Girl Guides, Service Clubs, Y.M.C.A.'s. This branch of the service could supply physical, swimming and recreational instruction for boy's camps and the leaders in a general fitness campaign. It could and should work more closely with veterans' organizations.

The militia should have a rehabilitation programme to meet, help and guide unemployed youth, the transients who are now drifting across Canada. There must be given the right kind of leadership. Why should it not come from a national service organization of which the nucleus would be the militia.

Training Opportunities

There should be a training programmes so that members could have the opportunity of learning some other trades than their own outside of office hours and become artists, mechanics or professional men. In this way we could build for the future by increasing the usefulness and earning power of thousands of citizens.

We could give technical opportunities to men and women to learn telephone and telegraph work and other specialized trades, all vital in the life of a nation.

Our armouries are public buildings. Why should they not become centres of community and family life, embracing the activities of all members of the family. They could be used by Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, for all clubs and societies willing to commit themselves and their programme to national service.

In this way existing barriers and mistrust on the part of the general public would be overcome. The individual would benefit. So would the country and the community.

We cannot go on forever feeling that the youth and future of the country is going to be allowed by circumstances to drift safely down the middle of the stream. Responsibility must be taken and the right kind of leadership given. If not, we will suffer as others in the past have suffered when they became lazy and it became too much trouble to look after national affairs.

My plea is that there is no better starting point in such a campaign than a Canadian National Service Corps. To create such a body we should first overhaul the Canadian Militia.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 6 October 2016

Regulations for the Annual Drill (1880)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Regulations Issued for the Annual Drill (1880)

The Sarnia Observer, 14 May 1880

In order to bring the expenditure for drill and training of the active militia, for the fiscal year 1880-81, with the appropriation made by Parliament, the strength of the force to be drilled and pid for that year, has been limited by Order-in-Council to 21,250 officers, non-commissioned officers and men, and 1,275 horses. Payments for drill to be made after the commencement of the financial year (1st July.) As the nominal strength of the active militia is in excess of the number which can be paid, and as it is not desirable to reduce the strength of corps below that established for drill and training of 1879-80, viz., forty-two non-commissioned officers and men, including staff sergeants and bandsmen, provision has been made for the selection of the corps which may drill in the different districts, each district being allotted its full quota in proportion to the total strength of all corps therein. The maximum number of officers, non-commissioned officers and men to receive pay for drill in each district will therefore be:—

  • Mil. Dis. No. 1 – 2,500
  • Mil. Dis. No. 2 – 3,600
  • Mil. Dis. No. 3 – 2,000
  • Mil. Dis. No. 4 – 1,300
  • Mil. Dis. No. 5 – 3,300
  • Mil. Dis. No. 6 – 1,500
  • Mil. Dis. No. 7 – 2,200
  • Mil. Dis. No. 8 – 1,500
  • Mil. Dis. No. 9 – 2,200
  • Mil. Dis. No. 10 – 400
  • Mil. Dis. No. 11 – 300
  • Mil. Dis. No. 12 – 450
  • Total – 21,250

In the selections from corps for drill of 1880-81, field batteries of artillery are to be first taken; 2nd, corps in cities; 3rd, corps not drilled last year; 4th, to complete quota authorized, corps to be selected from the different arms in each district, in proportion as their strength bears to each other. When practicable, the selection is also to be by battalion.

Men going to camp a distance of five miles of more will be allowed one and one-half cent per mile in lieu of transport. Six days, exclusive of Sundays, are to be spent in camp. Officers to receive the pay of their ranks. Men will be paid 60 cents per day, and for horses $1 per day will be allowed. For rations—i.e., fuel, food, water, and light—25 cents per day for each man will be allowed, and for horses 35 cents. The officers, non-commissioned officers, gunners and drivers will be paid for the days (not exceeding ten) they are actually present in camp as follows: The officers and non-commissioned officers the pay of their ranks; the gunners and drivers at the rate of 60 cents, and for horses 41 per diem. Rations and forage will not be issued in kind, but an allowance will be granted in lieu thereof for rations (food, fuel, water and light) at the rate of 25 cents for each officer, non-commissioned officer, gunner and driver per diem, and forage at the rate of 35 cents for each horse per diem.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 1 October 2016

Over at the Camp (1900)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Over at the Camp (1900)

How the Militia Pass Their Time at Laprairie
Major-General's Visit
Inspected the men and Their Surroundings Yesterday—Was Well Pleased With What He Saw

The Montreal Gazette, 3 July 1900

Laprairie camp is not at its height, and hard work is the order of every day. Yesterday began the second week of training, and the soldiers now wear the look of veterans. Confederation and its memories were not allowed to interfere with the instruction of "Tommy," and yesterday was, if anything, the hardest day yet. Owing to the bad weather at the end of last week, not over much was done, and on Saturday the officers say that commands simply could not be heard even at short range, on account of the violent wind and rain storm.

The number of volunteers in camp is somewhat less than last year. In all three brigades there are 2,276 officers, non-commissioned officers and men. The cavalry brigade, which is quite a large one, occupies the lower ground to the west, next the river. Above this are the D.O.C.'s and staff headquarters. Then, extending in a long line, parallel with the river, and high up on the ridge, are the two main brigades, English and French, the latter being to the west.

Colonel Aylmer, adjutant-general, and acting Major-General Commanding, arrived at camp yesterday morning, and inspected the men and their surroundings. This was not the final inspection, which will only take place on Thursday, probably, but Colonel Aylmer expressed himself as very well pleased with what he saw, and spoke in particularly complimentary terms of the French brigade. Everyone knows that these men labor under considerable disadvantage, when competing against others, and the words of command are all necessarily in English. The adjutant-general will be at camp again today, and will likely remain until the end of the week. After a field day and inspection, the camp will break up on Saturday. Some of the regiments leave early in the morning.

The general health of the men is excellent. The weather has, of course, been quite cool, and consequently there have not been the usual number of sunstrokes, and other troubles. Drill lasts pretty continuously throughout the day, until four o'clock, when the men are free to do what they like; except those who are detailed for duties, as picquet, guard, etc. Discipline also has been well maintained, and good progress is being made in the drill.

The bearer company will go into camp on Thursday, and be inspected along with the rest. Major Birkett had been working hard, and has got them into good shape. Major Birkett himself has been at camp during the whole time. Accidents have been few, though one man shot his finger off at the ranges the other day. There is no artillery present in camp. They will probably go in September.

The men are all in good spirits, and have not had any "complaints." Many of them yesterday afternoon came across to the city to enjoy themselves as well as they might, after their day's routine was through. Among the officers and their friends there was some convivial confederation for the sake of the Dominion.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Militia Organization in New Brunswick (1864)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Militia Organization in New Brunswick

Morning Chronicle, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 27 September 1864

Upon instituting a comparison between the condition of discipline existing in the militia of this [i.e., Nova Scotia] and the adjoining Province of New Brunswick, it would appear that in point of order and efficiency the contrast is strikingly in our favour. From all parts of Nova Scotia we have received most flattering accounts of the success of the movement, and notices commendatory of the earnestness, zeal, and attention which characterized the militiaman in the performance of the duties required of them, have occupied more or less space in all the local papers throughout the Province. With trifling exceptions, the best of order and decorum have been present without recourse to any stringent or severe measures for the enforcement of duty. Speaking generally, the militia have performed the service, by law demanded, with a readiness and cheerfulness worthy of all commendation. Our New Brunswick neighbors, however, have not been so fortunate in this respect. The Freeman, in noticing the annual muster of St. John militia on the barrack square, of that city, on Wednesday last, says:

"The men were almost as frolicsome if not as unruly as last year, and it was hard work to get them into anything like order, or to keep them in it; and they laughed, cheers, applauded, or hooted, as their fancy prompted. An attempt was made to drill them, but little success could be hoped for in so short a time and under such circumstances. Two or three disorderly men, it was said, were put under arrest and sent to gaol in the early part of the day."

The St. John Telegraph, in noticing the same muster, says:

"After the companies were got into position to muster, rolls were called and then the work of drilling commenced; and such drilling was surely never seen since the days of Falstaff and his ragged regiment. It was possible to get the militia into line after a fashion, but very attempt to move them resulted in general "demoralization." The most sage tactician in the service could not have marched companies around the town pump, even with the aid of a military guard to keep them straight, and the real soldiers who looked from the windows of the barracks upon the scene must have been much amused at the mockery of military drill that was displayed yesterday. Lieut. Col. Robertson threatened to keep some of the companies at drill until 6 o'clock, forgetting that to execute such an order would have required a much greater military force than he had at his command if the companies chose to rebel, which they undoubtedly would have done."

The following colloquy occurred between an officer of rank and a straggler:—

Colonel—"What the deuce are you doing here? This ain't your company."

Militiaman—"I'm looking for Capt. Tisdale's company"

Colonel—"Why the d—l don't you find it then?"

Militiaman—"I don't know where to find it."

Colonel—"I'll soon make you find it."

With this the Colonel ran at him with his horse and tried to run him down, but the man made his escape amidst a torrent of abuse.

Col. Robertson pronounced Company No. 3 the worst on the field, although it contained a number of first class merchants. We are sorry to hear such an account of them, but we fear they will never be able fully to appreciate the beauties of our Militia Law.

Some of the officers did not appear to know much more about the drill than their men; others, however, understood their business better and presented a very creditable appearance.

The following speech was made by Captain Rowan to his Company, and may be accepted as a fair example of military eloquence:—

"Now, men if you would become soldiers, stand up straight; hold up your heads, eyes front; draw in your toes; lean well forward on your feet; expand your chest, draw in your belly; and stand ready for the word of command." (Merriment and "hear, hear" from the Company.)

He told them to keep in as straight a line as possible, which general order, we are sorry to say, was not precisely kept to the letter.

Some of the orders given by the officers on horseback to those on foot were quite singular to a professional ear—such as "More to the right, Davidson"—"Take up your dressing, Skinner"—"Do you call that dressing, Hammond."

After the militia had been put through their facings, and marched around the parade ground once—an experiment which they did not repeat—They were again brought to a stand and formed in line. Great insubordination had by this time begun to prevail, and every one wanted to get home. Some had notes to pay, some had bills to collect, and some wanted their dinners. Company 2 had been boiling over with indignation ever since the Colonel told them he would keep them on the field until 6, and swore they would not stay 15 minutes longer for all the Colonels in New Brunswick. At this juncture the Colonel seemed about to make a speech, but the cheering and yelling was so great that not a word could be heard. The only part of it they understood was the order to disband, and this they did with an alacrity which showed their hearts were in the work. In ten minutes not a civilian was to be seen in the field where a thousand stood before. Thus ended the greatest farce of the year."

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 23 September 2016

Reserve Units to be Disbanded or Merged (1954)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Some Reserve Units to be Disbanded or Merged With Others In Shake-Up (1954)

Ottawa Citizen, 21 June 1954

The reserve army is to be shaken up.

Announcement was made in the Commons last night near the end of the day-long scrutiny of the $2,000,000,000 defence appropriations which were approved.

Number of reserve force units will be substantially reduced but there was no immediate indication which units will be disbanded or merged with others.

Maj.-Gen. G.R. Pearkes, VC (Esquimalt-Saanich), progressive Conservative military critic, asked that names of units to be merged, disbanded or otherwise affected by published as soon as possible so that commanders can plan training schedules.

Earlier, Opposition Leader Drew said the 57,000-member reserve force---to be renamed the militia---is less capable of assuming its responsibilities in case of an emergency than at any time in the last 50 years.

For that reason the government should make public the report on the reserve army prepared for the Defence Department and which served as the basis for the sweeping changes in militia reorganization.

Claxton Statement

Mr Claxton said:

"There will be an extensive reorganization of militia units to relate them more closely to possible wartime requirements, effective peacetime training and local support.

"The changes proposed are planned to tap the resources of interested and available personnel so as to provide the best basis for the build-up of forces that may be required in the second or later stages of another world war.

"The over-all number of units will be substantially reduced. It is expected that at the outset these changes may result some reductions in the total number of officers and men on strength. But it is expected that they will result in more effective use of personnel.

"It is hoped to work out all these changes so that there will be as few as possible actual disbandments and no loss of existing support or local interest."

Major Changes

Some of the major changes:

1.     Maj.Gen. H.F.G. Letson of Vancouver, one of three reserve force officers who wrote the report, is to be adviser on militia matters to the chief of the general staff. The other two authors were Maj.-Gen. Howard Kennedy of Ottawa, chairman, and Maj.-Gen. E.J. Renaud of Montreal.

2,     Minimum attendance equivalent to 15 days' training will be necessary before a militia member is entitled to receive pay.

3.     A new bonus will be [paid each member attending annual campo provided he has attended not less than 75 percent of local unit training in the six months preceding camp.

4.     Income tax will be deducted at source for all members unless a member claims that his total next taxable income is below the minimum taxable and requests that no deductions be made.

5.     Present brigade and other formation headquarters will be replaced by a new type to be known as militia group headquarters.

6.     A number of artillery units will be converted to armored units; "excess" anti-aircraft will be converted to other types of artillery or amalgamated with units of other corps; coast defence units will become harbor defence units.

7.     A new directorate combining militia and cadets will be set up at army headquarters.

8.     Additional facilities will be provided for the militia "as funds permit."

Mr. Claxton said the militia itself approves of the reorganization and the changes had been discussed with the Conference of Defence Associations, which represents the 12 corps associations and all reserve force units in Canada.

Main Points

During the long debate on the service appropriations, these were some of the points made:

1.     Mr. Claxton said Canada would be expected to supply a full division in Europe in event of war. Equipment was being stockpiled in Europe for it.

2.     Gordon Churchill (PC, Winnipeg South Centre) said the Canadian Army has too little armor.

3.     Mr. Claxton said the army is trying to develop a new armored personnel carrier.

4.     Mr. Claxton indicated that he favors adoption of the Belgian .300-caliber Fabrique Nationale rifle as the army's standard infantry weapon. The standard rifle now used is the .303 Lee-Enfield.

5.     Douglas Harkness (PC, Calgary North) contended that the army's equipment is inadequate and outdated.

6.     Mr. Claxton said it would be impossible to close down RCAF fields near commercial air lanes as an air safety measure.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Calling Out the Militia (1868)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Calling Out the Militia (1868)

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, compiled by Major T.C. Scobie, 37th Battalion, Haldimand Rifles, C.V.M., Approved by the Adjutant General of Militia, Canada, 1868

An extract from the Militia Act of 1868.

60.     The officer commanding any military district or division, or the officer commanding any corps of active militia, may, upon any sudden emergency of invasion or insurrection, or imminent danger of either, call out the whole or any part of the militia within his command, until the pleasure of Her Majesty is known, and the militia so called out by their commanding officer shall immediately obey all such orders as he may give, and march to such place "within or without the district or division as he may direct."

61.     Her Majesty may call out the militia or any part thereof for actual service, either within or without the Dominion, at any time, whenever it appears advisable so to do by reason of war, invasion or insurrection, or danger of any of them; and the militiamen, when so called out for actual service, shall continue to serve for at least one year from the date of their being called out for actual service, if required so to do, or for any longer period which Her Majesty may appoint:

(2.)     And Her Majesty may, from time to time, direct the furnishing by any regimental division, of such number of militiamen as may be required either for reliefs, or to fill vacancies in corps on actual service; and whenever the militia or any part thereof are called out for actual service by reason of war, invasion, or insurrection; Her Majesty may place them under the orders of the commander of her regular forces in Canada.

62.     In time of war no man shall be required to serve in the field continuously for a longer period than one year; but any man who volunteers to serve for the war or any longer period than one year shall be compelled to fulfil his engagement; but Her Majesty may, in cases of unavoidable necessity (of which necessity Her Majesty shall be the sole judge), call upon any militiaman to continue to serve beyond his period of general service, or voluntary engagement, or beyond his one year's service in the field, for any period not exceeding six months.

63.     Whenever the militia or any part, or corps thereof, shall be called out for actual service, the officers, non-commissioned officers and men so called out shall be paid at such rates of daily pay as are paid to officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the relative and corresponding grade in Her Majesty's service, or such other rates as may for the time being be fixed by the Governor in Council.

64.     The active militia shall be subject to the Queen's Regulations and Orders for the army; and every officer and man of the militia shall, from the time of being called cut for actual service, and also during the period of annual drill or training under the provisions of this Act, and also during any drill or parade of his corps at which be may be present in the ranks or as a spectator, and also while wearing the uniform of his corps, be subject to the rules and articles of war and to the Act for punishing mutiny and desertion, and all other laws then applicable to Her Majesty's troops in Canada, and not inconsistent with this Act; except that no man shall be subject to any corporal punishment except death or imprisonment for any contravention of such laws; and except also that Her Majesty may direct that any of the provisions of the said laws or regulations shall not apply to the militia force; but any officer, non-commissioned officer, or man charged with any offence committed while serving in the militia, shall be held liable to be tried by Court Martial, and if convicted to be punished therefor, within six months after his discharge from the militia or after the corps to which he belongs or belonged is relieved from actual service : notwithstanding that he shall have been so discharged from the active militia, or that the corps to which be belonged shall have been so relieved from actual service: and any officer, non-commissioned officer, or private of the militia may be tried for the crime of desertion at any time, without reference to the length of time which may have elapsed since his desertion.

65.     It shall be the duty of the captain or other officer commanding any company of active militia, with the assistance of the officers and non-commissioned officers of his company, to make and keep at all times a correct roll of the company in such form as Her Majesty may direct; and it shall be the duty of the lieutenant-colonel or other officer commanding any battalion of active militia, and under him especially of the adjutant, to see that the company rolls above referred to are properly made out, and corrected from time to time by the captains or other officers commanding companies in such battalion, and to report such officers as fail to perform their duty in this respect.

66.     Any militiaman who when called out for actual service, shall without leave absent himself from his corps, for a longer period than seven days, shall be deemed a deserter, and may be tried by Militia Court Martial.

67.     Each militiaman called out for actual service shall attend at such time and place as may be required by the officer commanding him, with any arms accoutrements, ammunition, and equipment he has received, and with such provisions as such officer may direct.

68.     When any officer or man is killed in actual service, or dies from wounds or disease contracted on actual service, provision shall be made for his wife and family out of the public funds:

(2)     And all cases of permanent disability, arising from injuries received or illness contracted on actual service, shall be reported on by a medical board, and compensation awarded, under such regulations as may be made from time to time by the Governor in Council; and any medical practitioner who shall sign a false certificate in any such case, shall incur a penalty of four hundred dollars.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 8 August 2016 7:38 PM EDT
Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Daily Routine in Barracks or Billets (1868)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Daily Routine in Barracks or Billets (1868)

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, compiled by Major T.C. Scobie, 37th Battalion, Haldimand Rifles, C.V.M., Approved by the Adjutant General of Militia, Canada, 1868

At reveille every man will rise, wash and dress himself, and answer to the roll call. After roll call the windows are to be opened, the beds neatly rolled up, bedding folded, and berth swept out.

Every man must be washed, dressed, and ready for early parade half an hour after reveille.

Early morning parade under sergeant major.

Breakfast at eight o'clock, a.m.

Men for guard or piquet duty must be ready a quarter before nine o'clock, a.m.

Guard mounting at nine, am.

(The hours for parade will be regulated by the Commanding Officer.)

Half-an-hour before the parade is formed the "dress" will sound; ten minutes after the "dress," the sergeants' call for the inspection of non-commissioned officers, band, and buglers, by the adjutant. Two minutes after the sergeants' call, the call for coverers will sound; and as soon as they are placed by the sergeant-major the "fall-in" will sound. The men will fall in one pace in rear of their coverers. On the command from the sergeant-major "dress-up," the men will step into their places, and the coverers will face to the right and dress them. The coverers will call the roll of their company, and fall in on the left. The "officers call" will then sound; coverers take one pace to the front, face to the right, and give the word "fix bayonets," and open the ranks, Captains will then inspect their companies, close the ranks, and order the men to "stand at ease." The companies will then be equalized by the sergeant-major; told off and proved by the captains. The "coverers' call" will again sound, and the coverers be placed by the adjutant. The "advance" will then sound, and the companies will be marched on their coverers by the captains, halted, and ordered to "stand at ease" —the officers remaining in their places, and the strictest silence being observed.

The parade will then be taken over by the officer appointed.

At all parades the recruits will fall in on the left of their respective companies for inspection, after which they will be marched off for recruit drill.

Dinner at one o'clock, p m.

Afternoon parade.

Retreat will sound at sunset. Guards will be under arms and picquets inspected.

First post at nine o'clock, p.m.

Tattoo, or " last post," at half-past nine, p. m.

At tattoo the sergeant-major parades the orderly sergeants, who hand in their reports. (Form 3.) The picquet is inspected by the orderly officer.

All men not "on pass" must be in barracks by tattoo. Any absent without leave will be confined on their return.

"Lights cut" at ten o'clock, p.m. No smoking or talking must be allowed after lights out. Stove-dampers must be closed. No man allowed out of his room without the permission of the non-commissioned officer in charge.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 11 September 2016

Troops Engaged in Mimic Battle (1929)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Troops Engaged in Mimic Battle (1929)

12th Canadian Infantry Brigade Held Exercises on Mountain Slope

For the purpose of the attack the brigade was formed into a composite battalion, each regular battalion representing a company in the composite unit, in order that there might be sufficient men in this composite battalion to represent a unit of full war strength.

The Montreal Gazette, 15 October 1929

A determined attempt to capture the high ground in the vicinity of the Park Slide clubhouse on Mount Royal, held by a well-informed garrison of 150 men and machine-guns, was made last night by a strong attacking force of local infantry, 600 strong. The slopes of the mountain were quickly transformed into the scene of a brisk encounter, with the cracking of rifles and the whiz of flares echoing out far into the night.

Tactical manoeuvres in the form of a sham battle engaged in by the 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade, composed of the Victoria Rifles of Canada, the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, the 42nd Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, and the Royal Montreal Regiment, were the occasion for this unusual spectacle, which assumed all the seriousness of a grim field skirmish.

For the purpose of the attack the brigade was formed into a composite battalion, each regular battalion representing a company in the composite unit, in order that there might be sufficient men in this composite battalion to represent a unit of full war strength. The defence force comprised the surplus officers of each battalion forms into platoons, as well as a machine gun battalion.

Let by Lt.-Col. J.D. MacPherson, M.C., of the Royal Highlanders of Canada, the composite battalion which formed the attacking force proceeded in formation from Cote de Neiges up Shakespeare Road. On reaching a point close to the riding ring in front of the Park Slide, the force halted and split up into small units, extending out along the riding ring. From here the battalion advanced carefully toward the guarded position near the clubhouse. The attack was greeted with a counter attack and some active skirmishing took place in the vicinity of the slide.

Lieut.-Col. MacPherson has as his second-in-command, Major Stuart Rolland, of the Victoria Rifles of Canada, and as adjutant, Capt. H.W. Woods, of the Royal Montreal Regiment. The Victoria Rifles company was commanded by Major L. Banmore, M.C., the 13th Battalion company by Major A.T. Howell, the 42nd Battalion company by Major J.M. Morris, M.C., and the Royal Montreal Regiment company by Major V. Whitehead, M.C.

The defence force was under the command of Lt.-Col. C.B. Price, D.S.O., of the Royal Montreal Regiment, with Lieut.-Col. Brooks, M.C., in charge of the machine gun battalion.

The Brigade Staff consisted of Col. D.R. McCuaig, D.S.O., commanding, Major H.W. Morgan, M.C., brigade major, and Capt John Heaton, staff captain.

Twenty rounds of blank ammunition were served out to each man taking part in the manoeuvres.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 9 September 2016

Starving the Militia
Topic: Canadian Militia

It is idle to suppose that we can do without a militia. No country, unfortunately, is independent of armed defenders. We do not require a large and menacing force, but a moderate and well-drilled force.

Starving the Militia

The Toronto Daily Mail, 19 March 1892

The colonel in command of the Guards at Ottawa has resigned because, it is understood, the Government declines to pay certain sums of money due to his regiment. This is not the first time the Guards have been left without a commander; nor is the resignation of the colonel on account of the indisposition of the Administration to do what is right financially at all a novelty. One of the peculiarities of the Militia Department is its failure to recognize at their true value the requirements and the merits of the force under its management. During the past decade the energies of the Bureau, through the influence of Sir Adolphe Caron, have been directed rather to the establishment of the permanent corps than to the encouragement of the volunteer soldiers. As a result there have been large expenditures upon the growing fixed establishment, and relatively small ones upon the outside regiments. The accounts for last year tell, in part, the story of monetary discrimination. No less a sum than $1,279,000 was spent under the head of militia. Of this amount a proportion was devoted to the payment of the staff, and the providing of clothing and equipment. The balance was divided between the permanent corps and the militia regiments. The former, including the Military College, received in all $527,902; whereas the latter was awarded $272,098 for the annual drill and $35,996 for drill instruction, or $308,094 in all. There is reason to believe that the Major-General, after making a thorough inspection of the organization, has reached the conclusion that too much money is spent in frills and not enough upon the main body of the militia. His first deliverance with regard to the force was not at all enthusiastic. On Thursday he took another slap at the system by observing that the artillery at least had not degenerated into a mere body for the purposes of parading or marching past; although it had suffered from faulty administration which had sent it into camp without proper equipment. What report the General will make in the forthcoming blue book on the state of the militia it is not difficult to foretell. He will no doubt complain of the general control, and of the equipment, and will demand an annual drill. Many of the commanders have long been in favour of the resort every year to camps of instruction. Nor is this in the slightest degree remarkable. The force necessarily changes. Men enter for three years and disappear at the end of the term. Should they enlist during the year in which there is no drill they will pass out of the militia with only one experience, and that very brief, of active military life. In some quarters the ordinary instruction is not prosecuted, and the consequence is that the militiaman has no more intimate knowledge of his arms or his duties than is gleaned during the period of encampment. For the militiamen it can be said that no more devoted soldiers can be found anywhere. All they require is encouragement in the performance of their duties; and it is certain that if they receive this they will render to the country an abundant return for the interest lavished upon them. It is idle to suppose that we can do without a militia. No country, unfortunately, is independent of armed defenders. We do not require a large and menacing force, but a moderate and well-drilled force. Let the Government provide this, and be reasonably liberal to the men who devote themselves to the service of their country, and militia duty will become a pleasure and the militia itself a source of pride—even to the General.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 August 2016 3:12 PM EDT
Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Canadian Infantry Organization (1916)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canadian Infantry Organization (1916)

The infantry is the main arm of every Army.

The Organization, Administration and Equipment of His Majesty's Land Forces in Peace and War, First Edition, by Lieut.-Colonel William R. Lang, m.s.c, 1916

Infantry Units in Canada

The infantry is the main arm of every Army. The following are the Infantry units in Canada:—

Permanent Force:—

The Royal Canadian Regiment. The R.C.R. dates its organization as a Regiment from Dec. 21st, 1883, and has its Regimental Headquarters at Halifax, Nova Scotia. It maintains detachments or companies at various stations, namely at London, Toronto, Fredericton, N,B., Halifax, N.S., Quebec, P.Q., Esquimalt, B.C., where in peace time Schools of Instruction are held for Officers and N.C.O.'s of the non-permanent Militia. The establishment of the R.C.R. in officers and men is given in Appendix 1.

Non-permanent:—

  • 11 Contingents Canadian Officers' Training Corps. (footnoted: "Form part of the Infantry of the non-permanent Militia with precedence immediately before the G.G.F.G.")
  • Governor-General's Foot Guards
  • 2 Regiments of 2 battalions.
  • 106 Regiments of 1 battalion.
  • 2 Independent Companies.

Infantry in the British Army

In the British service the infantry comprises the Brigade of Guards—Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards, known as Household Troops, their duties in peace being connected with the security of the Sovereign—and the Infantry of the Line. Each Regiment, of Guards and of the Line, is composed of 2 or more battalions. (footnoted: "The battalions of the Guards are as follows:—Grenadiers, 3, with a 4th Reserve Bn.; Coldstream, 3, with a 4th Reserve Bn.; Scots, 2, with a 3rd Reserve Bn.; Irish and Welsh, 1 each with a 2nd Reserve Bn.")

Previous to 1882, few of the latter had more than one battalion, when the system of linking individual line regiments in pairs under a Territorial designation came into effect and the old numbers ceased to be employed officially, the expressions "1st (or 2nd) Battalion the Blank and Dash Regiment" being adopted. The same re-arrangement was made with respect to the old County Militia regiments (footnoted: "The Militia trained for 28 days annually in camp or barracks and drew pay; recruits assembled 2 weeks previously for preliminary training.") which became the 3rd (and 4th) battalion of the regiment whose Depôt was established in the county. Similarly the Volunteers (footnoted: "Volunteer units received no pay, but a capitation grant for each "efficient" with extra grants drawn for each officer who passed certain of the examinations set for officers of the Regular Army.") abandoned their old numbers and became the "1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) Volunteer Battalion, the Blankshire Regiment," and adopted (in many cases) the uniforms of their respective line battalions, with this difference that silver or white lace and cord took the place of the gold or yellow worn by the Regulars. (footnoted: "Militia officers wore gold and the letter M on the shoulder straps below the badges of rank.")

The Territorial and Reserve Forces Act of 1907 changed the foregoing arrangement. A few Militia battalions were disbanded, and the great majority became the 3rd and 4th "Special Reserve" battalions of those regiments possessing 2 line battalions, or the 4th and 5th of those with 4. The Yeomanry (footnoted: "Cavalry corps originally enlisted from amongst the yeoman or farmer class.") and Volunteers became the Territorial Force, and now appear in the Army List as the 5th (6th, etc.)—Battalion of their line regiment. The use of silver in place of gold on scarlet (or blue) uniforms no longer obtains, the letter T on the shoulder indicating that the wearer belongs to the territorial force. In service-dress, the T is worn below the collar badges.

Canadian Regiments of Infantry and Rifles

The Canadian Regiments of Infantry and Rifles as classified as being either City or Rural.

  • City Corps—Corps of the Active Militia (non-permanent) not rural corps. Rural Corps—A Corps of the Active Militia (non-permanent) which performs its annual training in camp.
  • The seniority of units is that shewn in the Militia List and is according to their numerical sequence, though in some cases numbers formerly held by regiments, since disbanded, have been given to newly organized units.

The Rifle Regiments are 25 in number, namely,—2nd, 3rd, 8th, 11th, 20th, 22nd, 30th, 38th, 39th, 41st, 43rd, 49th, 51st, 56th, 58th, 63rd, 68th, 76th, 90th, 97th, 103rd. These are in most cases designated further with some territorial or personal reference, such as "Queen's Own Rifles," "Soo Rifles," "Earl Grey's Own Rifles," etc. Rifle regiments are differentiated from other regiments of foot in that their uniform is dark green and that they march past at the "trail" without fixed bayonets instead of at the "slope."

The remainder are styled variously:—

  • Grenadier Guards (1st);
  • Chasseurs (4th);
  • Highlanders (5th, 48th, 72nd, 78th, 79th, 91st, 94th);
  • Fusiliers (7th, 11th, 21st, 62nd, 66th, 88th, 101st, 104th, 105th);
  • Voltigeurs (9th);
  • Grenadiers (10th,100th);
  • Rangers (12th, 57th, 74th, 99th, 102nd);
  • Light Infantry (15th, 26th, 29th (Highland), 67th, 82nd, 106th);
  • Pioneers (23rd);
  • Borderers (27th);
  • Franc Tireurs (18th);
  • Foresters (35th);
  • Carabiniers (54th, 65th).

Others have a territorial designation in addition to a number, while some use the number only. A few are authorized to be termed "Royal."

The existing establishments of the infantry and rifle regiments are in a condition of change, some having been authorized to organize on the new 4 (double) company system. On the 8 company system, City corps have 47 privates, and Rural corps 30, except the 29th, 45th, 69th, 73rd, 76th, 82nd, 85th, 89th, 94th, 99th and 108th, which have 47. the 10th and 48th Regiments have 88 privates per company. One is on a 6, and a few on a 4 company basis.

The 2nd and 5th Regiments possess 2 battalions and have a special establishment.

elipsis graphic

Establishment of the R.C.R.

  • Officers – 30
  • Other ranks – 296
  • Total effective strength – 326

(Not including supernumeraries such as Instructional cadres, Physical Training Instructors, and others not doing duty with the unit.)

elipsis graphic

Appendix II—Infantry and Rifles

Peace establishments of regiments of the non-permanent Militia on the 8 company basis. Previous to the adoption by certain units of the 4 (double) company system—under authority from M.H.Q.—two establishments obtained, a higher for City Corps, and for the following Rural Corps, 29th, 45th, 69th, 73rd, 76th, 82nd, 85th, 89th, 94th, 99th and 108th and a lower for the remainder of the Rural Corps. Changes are occurring from time to time but what follows indicates the composition of each as taken from Canadian Establishments and amendments to the same, which book must be consulted for exceptions.

HeadquartersHigher Estb.Lower Estb.Remarks
Lieutenant-Colonel11 
Majors22Only 1 if a 4 C. Regt.
Adjutant11 
Musketry Instructor11 
Signalling Officer11 
Quarter-Master11Honorary rank.
Paymaster11Only City Corps, and only Rural Corps whose Paymasters were appointed prior to G.O. 172 of 1910. 
Medical Officer11Now being attached from the A.M.C.
Chaplain11
Sergeant-Major11May be a Warrant Officer.
Bandmaster or Band Sergeant11May be a Warrant Officer.
Quarter-Master Sergeant11 
Orderly-room Sergeant11 
Pay Sergeant11 
Included in Headquarters11 
Stretcher-bearer Sergeant11 
Privates, stretcher-bearers8  
Sergeant Cook11Not authorized for a regiment of less than 6 companies. 
Sergeant Drummer11 
Signalling Sergeant11 
Signalling Corporal11 
Privates, signallers88 
Pioneer Sergeant11 
Machine gun N.C.O.'s22If corps is in possession of machine guns. 
Privates, M.G. detachment66
Bandsmen2424G.G.F.G. has 32.
Batmen77 
Total all ranks included in H.Q.7676 
Company EstablishmentHigher Estb.Lower Estb.Remarks
Captain11Note:—
  • 4 Company Regts, 24th, 68th, 84th, 98th.
  • 6 Company Regt., 99th.
  • 10 Company Regt., 30th.
  • 16 Company Regts., 2nd, 5th.
1 Independent Company of Rifles is localized at Grand Forks, B.C., and 1 of Infantry at Nanaimo, B.C.
Lieutenants22
Colour Sergeant11
Sergeants33
Corporals44
Bugler11
Private4730
 5942 

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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