- To His Excellency the Right Honourable Sir Albert Henry George, Earl Grey, Viscount Howick, Baron Grey of Howick, in the County of Northumberland, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom and a Baronet; Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, &c., &c., Governor General of Canada.
- May it Please Your Excellency:
The undersigned has the honour to present to Your Excellency the Report of the Militia Council for the three months ending March 31, 1907, with statements of expenditure and revenue during the fiscal period of nine months ending the same date.
- Respectfully submitted, F. W. BORDEN, Minister of Militia and Defence. Department of Militia and Defence, Ottawa November 26, 1907.
CHANGE IN THE PERIOD COVERED BY THE REPORT.
- Heretofore the Annual Report of the Militia Council, with the exception of that part which deals with the revenue and expenditure during the fiscal year, has covered the period of the calendar year, and in order that the whole report may in future synchronize with the fiscal year which now ends on March 31, instead of June 30 as formerly, the present report covers only a period of three months, viz:—from January 1 to March 31, 1907. The statements of revenue and expenditure, however, are for the nine months ended March 31, 1907.
- Moreover, as it is considered inadvisable to withhold the report on the training during 1907, until the issue of the Annual Report for 1907-08, an interim report, dealing with the recent training, will be issued before the end of the present Session of Parliament.
- No changes of importance in military policy, affecting the military forces of the Dominion, were inaugurated during the period under review.
- Much attention was, however, given to examining and reporting upon the important military questions, affecting the Dominion as a part of the Empires which it was known were to be laid before the Ministers representing Canada at the forthcoming Imperial Conference.
- As regards the working of the .system of Commands, steady progress was made, and results in the Western Ontario and Maritime Provinces Commands were highly satisfactory. Much of this progress was due to the further organization of the Army Pay Corps and the financial decentralization thereby made possible. Of course a great deal still remains to be done.
- The organization of Military District No. 13, a new district comprising the Province of Alberta and the District of Mackenzie, which formerly formed part of No. 10 Military District, was authorized.
- The annual winter “practice” mobilization of the fortress of Halifax took place in the month of February, with good results, and valuable experience was gained; several defects were brought to light which are being remedied. Also winter courses of instruction for the officers of the Halifax garrison were held and showed useful results,
- The dates for the annual camps, and also the names of the officers selected for duty on the staffs were promulgated early in March, thus affording ample time for all ranks to make the necessary arrangements to attend annual training.
- Correspondence has taken place between the Canadian and Imperial Governments relative to a proposal emanating from the latter, that officers of the Imperial Yeomanry Regiments in Great Britain, when visiting or temporarily residing in the Colonies should be attached to Colonial Mounted Forces for training purposes, and similarly, that members of Colonial Mounted Forces visiting the British Isles should be attached, for a like purpose, to Imperial Yeomanry regiments.
- Special attention was directed to the subject of musketry training at the annual camps. A “Memorandum for Camps of Instruction,” giving in detail a syllabus for the annual training of each arm was drawn up. In it specially detailed instructions for musketry and ‘ judging distance ‘ practice were included.
- As far as accommodation permitted, preliminary instruction by means of sub-target guns, gallery ammunition, etc., was carried out at schools of instruction and in drill halls. There is no doubt that more satisfactory results could be obtained along these lines if there existed proper quarters in which to carry out the work of instruction. This is particularly true of rural corps where the provision of inexpensive company armouries would, in a short time, greatly improve the efficiency in musketry and save thousands of rounds of ammunition now expended by men without proper preliminary instruction.
- The issue of sub-target guns to civilian rifle associations and to cadet corps, on the necessary security being furnished, was authorized, as was also a free issue of ammunition to members of cadet corps 15 years of age and over.
- It was decided to adopt, for marking, in connection with the class-firing of the active militia, the system of target divisions and values used by the Dominion Rifle Association.
- Every effort is being made to increase the efficiency in musketry, and the steps already taken in that direction will, it is hoped, produce a beneficial result in the near future.
- Instruction in signalling was carried out throughout the period under review, and special courses were held at large centres, which were well attended and showed satisfactory results.
- During the three months ending March 31, 1907, 13 officers were appointed to the several branches of the permanent force, as follows:—
- Permanent Army Medical Corps……..1.
- Canadian Army Pay Corps……………9.
The permanent force is still many officers short of the establishment, although the vacancies are being gradually filled.
- During the greater part of the period under review Lieut.-Colonel Gwatkin, Director of Operations and Staff Duties, was employed in England, under special instructions from the Militia Council, with a view to securing recruits for the Artillery and Infantry of the permanent force from among the men serving in those units of the British regular army which were about to be reduced. In all he engaged for the Service 200 artillerymen and 156 infantrymen. These men were of an excellent class, being intelligent, of good physique, conduct and habits, and certainly much above the average recruit usually obtained. Their selection has reflected the highest credit upon Lieut.-Colonel Gwatkin, and the expense occasioned in securing them has been fully justified.
- It has been found that at times much dissatisfaction exists, especially at some of the smaller stations, such as Esquimalt and Fredericton, owing to the large amount of work entailed on all ranks in consequence of the reduction in the numbers of men serving every spring, caused by purchase of discharge, desertion, &c., at that time of the year. To offset this drainage of men it is proposed in future to recruit the permanent force in excess of its authorized establishment, during the autumn months of each year, care being taken, however, that the average establishment for the year, for which money is voted by Parliament, shall not be exceeded. It is also proposed, to authorize officers commanding depots to send recruiting sergeants into their respective vicinities for recruiting purposes. This is at present done at Toronto and Montreal, but not at the other stations of the permanent force.
- It is thus hoped, in future, to ensure practically the maintenance of the full authorized establishment of the permanent force—that is, the establishment for which Parliamentary appropriations are made—by the inauguration of a proper recruiting system during the autumn, and by the re-distribution of the men at the different stations, as required by the exigencies of the service.
- The maintenance of the authorized establishment at Esquimalt, owing to the very high rate of wages offered for civilian labour and the consequent impossibility of finding local recruits, has presented many difficulties. It has, therefore, been necessary to keep the garrison at that station up to its strength by drafts from the stations in Eastern Canada.
- With a view to providing for the maintenance of a higher standard among the men of the Ordnance Stores Corps, it is proposed, for the future, to restrict enlistment in the corps to men who have served in other branches of the permanent force, or in the Imperial army and have been discharged there from with ‘good character,’ also to admit a higher percentage of men on the married establishment than allowed in other branches of the Permanent Force.
- The Officer Commanding Western Ontario has reported that the units of the permanent force stationed within his command were in a creditable state of efficiency during the period under review, the establishment being fairly up to strength, physique of men good, discipline properly maintained, and the administration generally in a satisfactory condition.
- The Officer Commanding Eastern Ontario has reported that the discipline of the various units under his command was well maintained. Their strength was not, however, up to the establishment owing to the difficulty experienced in procuring recruits. Those obtained were, on the whole, of a satisfactory class.
- The Officer Commanding the Maritime Provinces has reported that the discipline of the permanent force within his command was satisfactory.
- The District Officer Commanding Military District No. 10 reports, with regard to the permanent force at Winnipeg, that the Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles were in a most efficient condition in all departments, and that the work of No. 10 Section, O.S.C., was admirably carried out.
- The District Officer Commanding Military District No. 11 has reported, with reference to the permanent force at Esquimalt, that the usual garrison duties were carried out in an excellent manner considering the very weak state of the force.
- The following return shows the state of the permanent force on March 31, 1907:—