Ottawa, January 26, 1909.
- From the Inspector-General, Canadian Militia,
- To the Secretary, Militia Council, Ottawa.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit my report, as Inspector-General of the Militia, for the information of the Honourable the Minister in Militia Council.
- I assumed the duties of Inspector-General on April 1, last, since when, either in person or by officers deputed to act for me, I have held inspections of nearly all units of the Militia Force. While on this subject a word of explanation may not be out of place.
- Owing to the great extent of the Dominion, the large number of units to be inspected, and the comparative shortness of the season available for training, it is quite impossible for any one individual to inspect all the Militia in any one year. This will be at once seen when it is stated that the annual camps in Western Canada take place at the same time of year as the majority of those in the East.
- Both the West and the East cannot, therefore, be inspected in the same year. In 1908 it was decided that the Inspector-General should inspect all troops West of Lake Superior, and as many of those in Eastern Canada as should, in addition, prove feasible.
- Those which he was unable to visit were inspected on his behalf either by the Chief of the General Staff, the Adjutant-General, the Inspectors of Cavalry and Artillery, or by the Officer Commanding the District to which each unit belonged.
- I was personally able to inspect the following troops:—
- Cavalry—15 Regiments and 2 Independent Squadrons.
- Artillery—7 Field Batteries. 3 Regiments, Fortress Artillery. 1 Brigade, Heavy Artillery.
- Engineers—1 Field Company.
- Infantry—39 Regiments and 3 Independent Companies.
- Army Service Corps—1 Companies.
- Army Medical Corps—4 Field Ambulances.
The remainder were inspected by other officers on my behalf.
- I continued the practice, initiated by my predecessors, of submitting to the Militia Council, as soon as possible after the inspection of any corps, an abridged report thereon, in which the capabilities of the senior officers, the general condition of the corps, and any matters requiring early attention were brought to notice.
- Upon those matters, to which it is undesirable to refer in a report which is to be made public, I have, from time to time, submitted separate confidential reports.
- It is a matter of much regret to me that, owing to various circumstances beyond my control, I have not been able to make as thorough an inspection of the Permanent Force as I could have wished.
- The principal duty of the Permanent Force is the instruction of the Active Militia, and, as this is carried on at the schools of instruction mainly in the winter months, and as, in consequence of shortage of funds, it has been found necessary to stop, temporarily, the attendance of Militia officers at schools, I have been unable to test properly the manner in which instruction is imparted there. The instructional work of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery and the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery at Petawawa Camp, however, was decidedly good, while, judging by the results of the practice of the 1st Regiment, Canadian Artillery, which I witnessed at Halifax, N.S., the instruction imparted by the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery at that station must have been excellent.
- It is, of course, obvious that, before the Permanent Force can instruct the Militia, it must itself be efficient, especially at manoeuvre and work in the field. Mere drill, though it has its value, can only occupy a secondary place, but in the regular stations of the Permanent Force there is hardly room for anything else.
- The only way to train the Permanent Force properly, and to gauge its efficiency, is to assemble its units at Petawawa, as was done in the summer of 1907, and let them work together there, where there is ample space for manoeuvre of all kinds.
- Unfortunately, owing to the celebration at Quebec and difficulties in regard to expense, it was not found possible to bring the permanent units together for training this summer.
- From what was seen of them at Quebec and at their own stations, it can be reported that, in barrack duties, interior economy and drill, the Force, as a whole, is very fairly efficient, though the drill has a tendency to be too much of the “barrack square” type—owing, no doubt, to the small amount of training ground available at their permanent stations and the smallness of the cadres. The several units turned out smartly at Quebec. The Cavalry were well mounted and rode well. The Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles did excellent work as instructors at the Western Camps.
- The Royal Canadian Horse Artillery shows great improvement of late years, and the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery companies at Halifax, N.S., and Esquimalt, B.C., and the Heavy Artillery Company at Quebec, are well up in their work.
- The Royal Canadian Engineers have done good work at all stations, but especially at Halifax, N.S., and Petawawa.
- The Royal Canadian Regiment was well turned out and did good work at Quebec during the celebrations. The headquarters at Halifax, N.S., are in a satisfactory condition, and have made progress since last year.
- The Canadian Army Service Corps, the Permanent Army Medical Corps, the Canadian Ordnance Corps and the Army Pay Corps have all made progress, and amply justified the policy of organizing them. Their main value and utility lie in the services they render to the Militia at large, to whose comfort and efficiency they greatly contribute at the annual training camps, and who, without them, would not be able to take or keep the field.
- The Cavalry of the Active Militia were, on the whole, with one or two exceptions, better mounted this year than usual. But the horses are not yet what they ought to be. The best mounted corps were those of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
- The recent increase, from $125 to *$150, of the maximum amount of compensation payable by the Government for horses killed or injured on the public service has but recently been made public. When generally known, it ought to have a good effect in inducing owners to bring a better class of horse to camp.
- In training and manoeuvre power, generally, the Western Cavalry Corps are ahead of those in the East. There are but few of the latter which could be at all compared with the bulk of the Western Corps in efficiency. The principal reason for this is, no doubt, that the Western men are better riders, and, on the whole, better horsed.
- It is difficult to state with accuracy the positive stage of efficiency reached by the Cavalry of the Dominion, but some of the Western Corps have reached a stage of drill and manoeuvre highly creditable, considering the short period available for training. They have still much to learn in reconnaissance and advanced cavalry duties and in the use of the rifle, although in this latter respect they more than hold their own with most of the Eastern Corps.
- Of the Cavalry of Eastern Canada, while one or two corps show creditable results, the majority of the Cavalry of Ontario and Quebec have not yet reached asatisfactory stage of efficiency. The Cavalry of the Maritime Provinces ranks distinctly higher.
- In the case of Military Districts 3 and 4, it was pleaded that the camps were held at an inconvenient period of the year for the farmers, and that the Cavalry suffered thereby.
- The weak point, with but few exceptions, of the great bulk of the cavalry inspected was inferior troop and squadron drill. If these have been well practised good regimental and brigade drill, or manoeuvre, follow almost as a matter of course. It is noticeable that all the best regiments pay especial attention to this. And the good showing made by individual squadrons in the majority of corps is a proof of what can be done by keen officers who know their work.
- One reason which can, with some justice, be advanced for failure, in so many cases, to attain greater efficiency is the defective nature of our present cavalry equipment. No satisfactory equipment for carrying the rifle mounted has yet been issued to the Cavalry. As a result, the trooper has in practice to devote one hand entirely co managing his rifle. To ride and manage properly an untrained horse with only one hand is a task for even a practised rider, and very few of the men in the ranks can claim to be good horsemen, or are in the habit of riding at other times. The result is that three-quarters of the man’s attention are given to remaining on his horse, instead of to his drill.
- If a satisfactory equipment were issued, much improvement might be looked for. The present long rifle should be replaced for mounted men by a good short rifle. The difference between the shooting powers of such an arm and of the present long rifle would be inappreciable, and the mobility and training of our mounted men would be enormously improved.
- The clothing of the Cavalry is, on the whole, of good material and in very fair condition. But, except in the best regiments, the officers seemed unable to get the men to keep their clothing properly clean in camp—in some corps the men do not keep even themselves tidy, but turn out unshaven and dirty for inspection. The issue of jean suits has, however, greatly conduced towards the cleanliness of uniforms.
- It is for consideration whether it might not be a good thing to abolish the present light coloured stripes on the breeches, and give some colour which does not show the dirt.
- The regulation white helmet is not, in my opinion, a good headdress for militia cavalry. It might, with advantage, be replaced by the “naval pattern” cap.
- The saddlery was generally in fair condition; in some cases it was very well cared for, but they were the exception. All portions of a corps ought to be equipped alike. In many corps some squadrons had “universal pattern” saddlery, while others had “colonial pattern.” The rifle bucket which fits one of these does not fit the other. Different patterns of bit were often in use in the same corps. The “portmouth” pattern appears to be the best. It is for consideration whether the use of a single bridle rein should not be generally adopted, as is now the case with most of the Eastern Cavalry. A second rein is not really often necessary, and is apt to embarrass an untrained rider.
- The armament of all squadrons in a corps is not always identical. This should be remedied as soon as possible.
- The Artillery force of the Dominion, as a whole, has maintained its last year’s standard and, perhaps, made some further progress towards efficiency. In many cases, commendable zeal and keenness have been shown. In the opinion of many good judges, however, the present periods allotted for training and practice are no more than sumcient to bring artillery units up to a certain stage, beyond which any improvement is due to special qualifications on the part of individual officers and non-commissioned officers. In general, the work of the instructors during training is necessarily limited to details of drill; they get no opportunity for giving systematic instruction in the higher duties of artillery, such as reconnaissance and the taking up of positions for fire. Consequently, and owing to the large annual change in the personnel of units, the final stage reached each year as regards efficiency remains about the same.
- There are many good officers in both the field and heavy artillery branches, but it is well known that the handling of modern field and heavy artillery demands much study and practice on the part of the officers who have to use it. And it can hardly be said that the advance in the knowledge of officers has kept pace with the improvement in materiel.
- The effective use of artillery in the field has become of more and more importance of late years. To make the best use of the efficient weapons provided requires ever-increasing skill.
- The most feasible remedy, under present conditions, would appear to be to improve the general knowledge of officers and non-commissioned officers at the commencement of the annual training by encouraging better attendance at the Artillery Schools. At present, the attendance at the Heavy Artillery School at Quebec of military officers and non-commissioned officers is altogether inadequate.
- In no arm has the beneficial influence of the central training camp at Petawawa been more marked than in the Artillery. The instruction there imparted is eminently practical, but it can hardly be denied that artillery officers, as a whole, have not shown themselves as proficient as they ought to be in observation of fire, in making deductions from their observations, and in rapidly adapting their measures to the conditions which presented themselves.
- Improvement was noticeable in fuse-setting, gun-laying and the actual carrying out of battery duties. And, except in the Nova Scotia batteries, the horsing and harnessing of the guns and wagons showed an improvement upon last year. The class of horses brought into camp by the Nova Scotia brigade is poor and not suitable for artillery work.
- It is unsatisfactory to be obliged to record a decreased attendance of batteries at Petawawa, as compared with last year. The 1st (Quebec), 4th (Hamilton), 14th (Cobourg), 24th (Peterborough) Field Batteries, and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Companies, 7th Regiment Canadian Artillery, all failed to attend at Petawawa for gun practice. In 1907 only the 1st Battery failed.
- The adoption of the Brigade system by the Field Artillery has been amply justified by results. The extra four days’ drill in the year has likewise been of enormous advantage to the Artillery and that arm is still, on the whole, the best arm of the service.
- As regards Fortress Artillery, it is satisfactory to be able to record continued progress on the part of the 1st Regiment, Canadian Artillery, which is entrusted with the working of an important part of the armament of the fortress of Halifax. The practice made by several detachments with both 12-pr. Q.F. and heavy guns was excellent, and officers and men alike displayed commendable knowledge of their guns and how to use them.
- It is hoped that in future reports it will be possible to record similar efficiency on the part of the corps allotted to the defences of Esquimalt.
- The country owes a debt of gratitude to the Canadian Artillery Association for its continued efforts to promote the efficiency of the Artillery force. There has been some little danger in the past of prize winning being looked upon as the end, rather than military efficiency, but this tendency is disappearing.
- The Field Engineer Companies, even more than the rest of the Militia Force, suffer from the short period available for training. It is impossible to make an efficient infantry or cavalry soldier in twelve days. It is still more hopeless to make an efficient field engineer, even when full allowance has been made for the excellence of the material which is often available.
- Under these circumstances, the Engineers suffer from attempting to learn too much, and, though it is difficult to determine what duties to omit, yet the situation should be faced, and only the absolutely essential duties practised.
- Engineer companies are naturally obliged to hold a large amount of special equipment, and much time is taken up in only unpacking and repacking it. It would be better that a large portion should be left at headquarters as mobilization equipment, and not taken into camp at all.
- The efficiency of companies is generally improving, and some are really good at special work. The Field companies generally, if properly trained, should make ideal Pioneer companies.
- The want of Telegraph and Telephone companies is a serious matter, and their organization should not be delayed a day longer than is necessary.
CORPS OF GUIDES.
- The Corps of Guides are rapidly becoming acquainted with their important duties, and some useful reconnaissance’s were carried out at the camps.
- On the whole there is little doubt but that the Infantry of the Militia is steadily advancing in efficiency. Much of this advance has been due to the appointment of Brigadiers. As a rule these officers take great interest in their brigades, and do much to improve their efficiency.
- The training of nearly all infantry corps in the Dominion suffers from the tendency of most commanding officers to forget that good company drill is the foundation for all more advanced training.
- All battalions were inspected at company as well as at battalion drill, and it was invariably the case that the corps which did well in company drill did well, also, in more advanced work.
- In City corps, too much attention is usually paid to purely ceremonial drill, and there is a tendency to perform all movements in a stereotyped manner. There is, perhaps, some excuse for this, as many of these corps have no ground on which to drill outside, and are, therefore, confined to the drill hall. The result is that attack and defence, advanced guards and outpost duty are seldom or never practised and the drill generally becomes cramped and jerky. There were several creditable exceptions, but as a rule company drill was poorly executed. I could not help thinking that some effort on the part of officers to utilize Saturday afternoons, the long evenings of the summer, or moonlight nights, for drill out of doors might produce better results. No satisfactory reason was ever advanced to show that this could not be done.
- Local patriotism, especially in the larger towns, might well take the form of providing drill grounds for the local corps. When not needed for military purposes, they would form recreation grounds for the citizens generally. The difference in efficiency between city corps which had no place outside in which to drill, and those which had ground available, was markedly in favour of the latter.
- The Field days which are annually held on public holidays in Military Districts Nos. 2, 7 and 9, and occasionally in other districts, have done much to give City corps more advanced training than they could otherwise obtain. It is a pity that they cannot be adopted as a regular event in all districts, and it is much to be regretted that Military District No. 2 could not arrange to hold one this year. The experiment of inviting City corps to send contingents for four days’ training in the annual camps has been a decided success, and those corps which have sent contingents have profited much thereby. So far, however, attendance at camp has been almost entirely confined to City corps in Military Districts Nos. 2 and 9. These are probably the most efficient City corps in Canada.
- A careful inspection of the Drill Attendance Registers of the City corps which I have inspected leaves me under the impression that many corps do not perform the number of drills for which they receive pay. I am aware that it is the fashion to claim that more drills are performed than are required by regulation. This is perhaps the case in the larger cities, but, in most other cases, if extra drills are really performed, it is certain that no satisfactory record of such drills is kept. In any case it appears to be almost universally claimed that three hours’ drill is equivalent to a day’s drill, that a Church parade, also, counts as a day’s drill, and that each day spent on the pleasure trips, which some regiments take annually, counts for a clay’s drill. This can hardly be intended.
- It is a matter for some regret that so large a proportion of the City corps crowd the whole of their annual drill into a comparatively small portion of the year. In practice the commencement of the annual drill depends upon the date in the spring when the local drill hall is warm enough to be used for drill with comfort. And, with the exception of Military Districts Nos. 2 and 9, the large majority of City infantry in Eastern Canada do not hold any drills in the fall, and press to have their inspections held by the end of June, from which date they do no more drill until the commencement of next year’s annual drill.
- Speaking generally, the Rural Infantry corps, except in Military Districts Nos. 5 and 7, have made a considerable advance of late years. It is impossible to obtain anything like efficiency in so short a period as 12 days’ training, but the amount learnt by the average corps in that time is distinctly creditable.
- As in the City corps, too little attention, comparatively speaking, is devoted to obtaining efficiency in company drill. There are, however, several exceptions to be made to this general criticism, and in some cases Company officers handle their companies really well.
- The commonest fault found among Company officers in Rural corps (and, also, though to a less degree, in City corps) is a want of self-reliance, as shown by a disinclination to assert themselves and really command their men. This is a bad fault, and one far too prevalent in the Force generally. If officers are to be of any use at all, they must exercise command properly, control their men, and not leave mistakes uncorrected, as they now too often do. The men are willing enough to be commanded and disciplined if the officers know their work and are prepared to assert their authority.
- Advanced guards, scouting and outpost duties appeared to have been but little practised. 61. Another weak point noticeable throughout the Infantry, but more especially in Rural corps, is ignorance of their duties on the part of Section commanders. The whole tendency of modern war and long range weapons is to give increased importance to subordinate leaders, and, if a force is to be efficient, it must find good men for these posts and train them properly.
- Rifle practice in the Infantry, as in the Cavalry, steadily continues to improve. The Ross Rifle, with Mark III sight, was used for practice in the large majority of the camps, and with excellent results. The defects previously disclosed in this arm are evidently being remedied. Quite seventy-five per cent of the men firing easily reached the standard required for efficiency pay, and it appears to be worthy of consideration whether that standard (a very low one) should not now be raised. More practice at judging distance is still required, though it has greatly improved. Praiseworthy attention was given to musketry generally in the annual camps, with very satisfactory results.
- At the inspection of the Infantry corps recently raised in the West, the utility of the Provisional Schools held in British Columbia during the winter of 1907-08 was amply demonstrated. In view of the great distance of British Columbia from the nearest Infantry schools, these Provisional Schools should be repeated yearly for the next year or two, at least.
- The clothing of the Infantry was, generally, of good quality and in fair condition. It is, of course, difficult to keep clothing clean in camp, and the addition of a jean suit to the present issue would be a great boon, and probably, in the end, result in a saving to the public.
- The quality of the boots shows some improvement on past years, though many men still wear a very poor article.
- The equipment of the Infantry was, generally, in fair, sometimes very fair, condition. As a rule, only the belt and pouch—and in the Rural corps the kit bag— are in use. The remainder of the equipment issued is kept in store. If the remainder of the Oliver equipment is really only to be used on mobilization, it would be a boon to Company commanders to relieve them of its custody and place it in mobilization stores.
- The arms, generally, are only in moderate condition, except where kept under charge of a government caretaker. Where issued for rifle shooting purposes in City corps, the men do not always seem to take the trouble to clean them after use. Company, officers could do more than they do to remedy this.
- The sooner the Ross Rifle can be supplied with a bayonet, the better. The absence of one causes unfavourable comment, and is a serious disadvantage.
ARMY SERVICE CORPS.
- The work performed by this corps during the annual camps was almost everywhere satisfactory. The food supply was generally good, and there were few complaints. The supply of the troops present at the Quebec Tercentenary Celebration was well carried out, and was favourably commented on by the corps attending the fetes.
- The hired transport was usually of very fair stamp, and the equipment of the corps generally satisfactory. At only a few camps, at present, have the Army Service Corps companies the necessary facilities for doing both their own slaughtering and baking. The results are so good in these cases that the system might well be made universal.
- With few exceptions, the Medical Services at the annual camps and at the Quebec Celebrations were well carried out. 72. Sanitation received greater attention in camp this year than ever before, with results which fully justified the care bestowed on it.
- The only two camps which were unsatisfactory in the two above respects were those at Three Rivers and Levis, P.Q.
- The Field Ambulances as a rule were efficient. In two cases of accident, which occurred when I was present, the ambulance on duty in camp arrived on the scene with commendable promptitude.
- While, no doubt, much remains to be learnt—especially in the handling of ambulances in the field—still the progress made in this branch of late years is decidedly good.
- The Regimental Medical Officers and Medical Services are improving.
- Generally speaking, the Medical Branch of the Militia is one of the most efficient branches of the Force.
- The Signalling Corps is making progress. Signalling, generally, is improving in all the City corps, and is making some advances in the Rural corps. The Signallers of the 77th Regiment (a Rural corps) show great proficiency, and have taken a high place on the general list.
- The importance of the signalling service is very great. Useful as it is to the infantry arm, it is still more important to the artillery and cavalry, the former depending on it for much of their efficiency. More attention should certainly be paid to it by both these branches of the service.
- I, personally, inspected the camps at Quebec, Winnipeg, Brandon, Calgary, Kingston, Ottawa, and Aldershot, N.S. The remainder were seen by other officers on my behalf.
- Speaking generally, all camps suffer from lack of sufficient space for training the troops. For cavalry especially the space is altogether inadequate. They cannot learn to move freely without sufficient room. The camp at Calgary was the best off in this respect, thanks to the public spirit of Colonel Walker, 15th Light Horse, and other gentlemen, who allowed the troops to work over their private ground.
- Rifle range accommodation was good at Winnipeg, Brandon, Calgary, Ottawa and Aldershot, fair at Sussex, Levis and Three Rivers, poor at Goderich and Niagara, altogether wanting at Kingston. New Ranges are now in course of construction at Kingston and at Niagara.
- The administration of the large majority of the camps was satisfactory, and the staff duties were smoothly and correctly carried out, except in one particular, viz., that in many of the camps, Commandants of Camps and their Chief Staff Officers failed to realize properly their responsibility for the efficient training of all troops in camp.
- The proper training of the troops under his command is one of the most important duties of a commander, and his general staff ought to assist him. Yet many of the Commandants and Chief Staff Officers seemed to consider that they had done all that could be expected of them, when they ascertained that the sections of the drill book laid down in the “Syllabus of Training for Camps” had been practised by commanding officers. This is not enough. They should be helping, teaching and correcting the troops the whole time, and their plans for tactical training should be carefully thought out beforehand. Training measures require study and cannot be brought out on the spur of the moment. 85. The subsidiary services of the camps, especially the feeding and supplying of the troops, the sanitation of the camp area and the care of the sick were well carried out.
- The camp site at Ottawa is unsatisfactory, in that it is badly drained, becoming a quagmire in wet weather, and it is much too restricted in area. The result was shown in the cramped movement of the troops trained there. The one redeeming feature of this camp is its excellent rifle range.
- The camp at Petawawa was inspected during the Artillery practice in August. The camp grounds are being systematically developed and the great natural advantages of the site fully utilized.
- The camp was in good order and well administered, but it is somewhat to be regretted that, in organizing this year’s camp and its staff, it was treated as a purely artillery camp. There has been a tendency in previous years to deal with the different arms of the service too much as if they were entirely independent of each other, and the Force generally has suffered in consequence. It is wrong therefore, to treat artillery practice as a thing unaffected by the tactics of the other arms. A General Staff Officer should be included in the staff of every camp, and should be made responsible to the Commandant that the training and instruction are conducted upon the lines of mutual support and co-operation between the various arms.
- The new artillery ranges opened up this year have been a great success. The old ones were, from constant use, getting to be too well known. They also afforded too little scope for individual leadership and too much inducement to follow the beaten tracks. The new ranges have offered much more opportunity for rapid decision and initiative on the part of artillery leaders. And while the scores are generally inferior to those of last year, commanders have had a useful lesson on the necessity for grasping a situation at once and acting on their own responsibility only.
- There is some room for doubt as to the safety of some of the splinter proof shelters in use for the observing parties at Artillery practice. It is advisable that all which can be permanently located should now be constructed in cement.
- There is great need for the adoption of some consistent policy in regard to armouries.
- To begin with, there is always a certain amount of soreness felt by Rural corps at the large sums of money spent on armouries for City corps, when they themselves can get no accommodation.
- Some inequality is, no doubt, unavoidable, but, even between Rural corps themselves, grave contrasts exist. Sometimes in the same regiment one squadron or company will have a good armoury, with caretaker provided, which it seldom uses, while another will have no accommodation of any sort, and its commander has to pay, out of his own pocket, far more than the Government allowance for care of arms.
- This is especially the case in the West, where suitable buildings are scarce and rents and labour high.
- If arms, saddlery, uniforms and equipment are to be kept in good condition, it is necessary to provide suitable accommodation, which, in the end, conduces to economy.
ARMAMENT AND EQUIPMENT.
- The Inspector-General is, by his instructions, required to report upon the stability and sufficiency of the armament and equipment of the Militia. 97. Upon the question of their sufficiency, I have already, in January, 1908, submitted, confidentially, a full report to the Honourable the Minister. During my past season’s inspections I have seen nothing to require that report to be amended.
- As regards the question of the suitability of its armament and equipment, I feel constrained to report that there is serious doubt whether the Cavalry, having at present for its only weapon the long rifle, or in some cases the carbine, can be considered to be suitably armed and equipped. There is some ground for the widely held belief that the Cavalry ought to have a second weapon.
- As already remarked in the report on the Cavalry, the present long rifle and method of carrying it are not satisfactory. The choice seems to be between a good short rifle with special bayonet, and a carbine with sword or revolver. In view of the special conditions of the country in which the Canadian Cavalry might be called upon to operate and the short period available for training it to use its arms, the first alternative appears preferable. In either case it will be necessary to adopt a better method for carrying either the rifle or carbine, whichever is finally chosen, and to adapt the pattern of saddlery in use thereto.
- The leggings issued to mounted corps are often hot satisfactory either as to pattern or material, and several complaints were received. It does not appear to be properly shaped to fit a man’s leg, and it is highly doubtful whether it would be found to stand the wear and tear of field service.
- The issue of a waist belt to all cavalry, which would be necessary for field service, together with pouches to hold additional ammunition, would also add greatly to the appearance of the uniform.
- Field forges and field saddlery equipments are much needed by all cavalry corps. The present picketing gear is not satisfactory.
- In view of the cold and inclement weather which sometimes prevails during the camps, especially in the Northwest, the issue of a blanket for each horse picketed out would be a great boon and much appreciated.
- The armament and equipment of the Field Artillery appear to be on the whole satisfactory, having in view the approaching issue of the new 18-pr. Q.F. guns. At present, however, there has not been a complete issue to batteries of up-to-date appliances, such as telescopes, directors, dial sights, field telephones, &c, and some units would in the field be seriously embarrassed by their absence.
- The harness and saddlery are generally satisfactory, though well founded complaints have occasionally been made of the leather used in certain portions of the quick release attachment, and mistakes have occasionally been made in the issue of equipment between the Mark I and Mark IV 12-pr. guns.
- Defects have also manifested themselves in some of the newly issued gunwheels, which were in use at the Petawawa Comp.
- Apparently the material was good and the wheels had been duly passed by a trained Inspector, but some ominous looking cracks had developed themselves and it appeared doubtful whether such wheels would stand the strain of active service. This is a very important matter and demands careful consideration.
- What has been said about the Field Artillery, in regard to up-to-date appliances, applies generally, mutatis mutandis, to the Heavy Artillery. Observation of fire and indirect laying are even more important and difficult with these guns than with the lighter ones.
- If the Militia Force were called upon to take the field, it may be regarded as certain that the Field Artillery would require six-horse teams and the Heavy Artillery eight-horse teams throughout, and sufficient reserve harness should be kept in battery mobilization stores to provide for this.
- What has been said about the leggings issued to the Cavalry applies with equal force to the mounted men of the Artillery. 111. The armament and equipment of the Fortress Artillery are fairly complete and up-to-date.
- The armament and personal equipment of the Engineers resembles, in the case of mounted men, that of the mounted men of the Artillery, and, in the case of dismounted men, that of the Infantry, and may be taken as being sufficiently dealt with under the heading of those arms.
- As regards technical equipment, however, while what exists is good so far as it goes, the Field Engineers are sadly deficient. It may almost be said that the most pressing service need of the Militia is an Engineer telegraph and telephone unit, with a good practical field telegraph equipment, both cable and wireless.
- A balloon unit and balloon equipment would be especially valuable in a country so thickly wooded as is Eastern Canada.
- The armament of the Infantry is at present in a transition stage, and it is, therefore, hardly necessary to remark thereon further than to say that the Lee Enfield rifles are beginning to show signs of wear.
- As regards personal equipment, the greatest need of the Infantry in the event of mobilization would be the means of carrying a proper supply of ammunition. The pouches of the present Oliver equipment are quite inadequate for modern needs.
- The whole question of camp equipment for the field, especially in regard to cooking utensils, requires early consideration.
- The supply of signalling equipment is making progress, but has not yet reached a satisfactory stage.
- As regards Medical and Army Service Corps equipment, that in use is satisfactory so far as it goes, but it is by no means adequate to possible requirements.
- Such veterinary equipment as exists is quite inadequate to meet service needs.
- The Inspector-General is required to report upon the condition of all fortresses and fixed defences throughout Canada and their armament. It is assumed that only modern fortresses and works are referred to, viz., Halifax, N.S., Esquimalt, B.C., and the works intended for the defence of the St. Lawrence river.
- The works which comprise the fortresses at Halifax, N.S., and .Esquimalt, B.C., are in both cases in a thoroughly efficient condition, with the exception of one of the auxiliary batteries at the latter place, where the foundations show signs of subsidence. This is being carefully watched and, under present conditions, is of little importance.
- The armament mounted in both fortresses, and the electric light installations, are in good condition and well cared for in every way. The garrison at Esquimalt is, however, too weak for the duties it has to perform.
- The construction of the new works on the St. Lawrence river has made satisfactory progress during the summer.
REPORTS ON OFFICERS.
- Confidential reports upon nearly all District Officers Commanding, Commanding Officers of units and Officers Second in Command, discussing their capabilities for command and fitness for higher rank, have, in accordance with instructions, been from time to time submitted.
- In one respect I have made a departure from the instructions laid down for the guidance of the Inspector-General, viz., I have thought it desirable to inspect the office books kept by units. 127. Regulations (K. R. & O., para. 252) prescribe that, out of the allowances made to Officers Commanding units, squadrons and companies, these officers are to provide themselves with certain books, a list of which is given, which are to be at all times kept up
- Speaking in general terms, these books are Order Books, Record Books and Ledgers of different sorts.
- I found the greatest diversity in pattern of books to prevail and great differences in the care with which they are kept up. While in some few cases a good business-like system was in force and the books were well up-to-date, in the majority of cases the books generally were totally inadequate and afforded little or no protection to either the government or the individual.
- As no especial pattern of book nor manner of keeping it is laid down, officers provide what they please and cannot well be criticised for a poor system of books.
- The Regulation too is, in some respects, unpractical in itself and out-of-date. For example, it lays down that for each individual who joins a corps, a Regimental Defaulter Sheet, a Court-Martial Sheet and a Company Defaulter Sheet are to be provided, in case he should commit an offence.
- Apart from the fact that in the Active Militia punishment is very seldom awarded, the provision of three documents imposes quite unnecessary clerical work upon the officers concerned, for one document only, the Company Defaulter Sheet, would answer all practical purposes.
- I did not inspect a single unit of the Active Militia in which the Regulation was fully carried out.
- It is obvious that in the case of a voluntary force where the officers are usually men employed in business pursuits, clerical labour should be reduced to a minimum. This is not the case at present. Moreover, badly kept books and unbusiness like methods in a corps tend to deter good men from becoming officers.
- It appears to me, therefore, to be well worthy of consideration whether a complete set of simple books should not be issued at the public expense, to all officers concerned, and these officers be required to keep them up properly. Several corps have excellent systems of their own, and it ought not to be difficult to select suitable patterns of books, &c, for adoption.
- I found great diversity of practice to exist in regard to Service Rolls and the manner in which they should be kept. In many cases the men are required to sign them every year, which is not legal. A simple form of Service Roll and clear directions as to how it should be kept are much needed, and the regulations should then be enforced.
- The form of Equipment Ledger generally in use contains a good deal that is not needed. A simple practical form should be devised and supplied, and officers should then be required to keep it up.
- Many of the difficulties which now arise as to responsibility for loss of equipment would then be averted.
- The barracks occupied by the several units of the Permanent Force are not generally in a satisfactory condition.
- There is no one station, with the possible exception of Esquimalt, where the barracks are up to the standard of modern requirements, while the barracks at Kingston, Toronto, St. Jean and Quebec, are distinctly discreditable to the Dominion. They are all old and out of date, often out of repair, the men are unhealthily crowded at the two former places, the drainage is faulty and the medical officers of the Department have frequently brought to notice the serious sanitary risks which are run.
- The troops do their best to keep their quarters clean and sanitary, but the Department cannot avoid grave risks while it allows the present state of affairs to continue.
- The stable accommodation for horses is seriously deficient at Kingston and Toronto.
- I observe, from the Interim Report of the Militia Council, for 1907, that my predecessor in the office of Inspector-General, whose death was so widely regretted throughout the Force, devoted a large portion of his report to the subject of ” Readiness for War “.
- I regret that I cannot follow him in his views, for, while much of what he said was undoubtedly true, the assumptions which the circumstances of the case compelled him to make were so wide as, in my opinion, to rob his conclusions of much of their value.
- All that can safely be said is that, during the past season, the Force in general has made appreciable progress towards efficiency and readiness for the field.
- That it is not at present really efficient or ready for war is a mere truism. It is quite impossible for any force with only 12 days’ training in the year to be either efficient or ready to take the field.
- With two of his remarks, however, I desire cordially to associate myself. The first of these affirms the absolute necessity of having good officers, if imperfectly trained troops are to operate with success in the field. So far, our system has failed to provide us with a sufficient number of good officers, and it is apparently increasingly difficult to get the right men to attend the schools of instruction. The remedy can only lie in (1) Making the position of the officer more attractive by relieving him of expense—his pay and allowances never cover his expenses, those at his first camp do not even pay customs duty on his uniform—and of all avoidable clerical labour and demands upon his time, outside of annual drill; (2) In making the courses at the schools of instruction as attractive as possible, by studying the officer’s convenience and imparting only such instruction as is essential and that in as practical a shape as possible; (3) In bringing instruction to the individuals concerned in those cases where a sufficient number of officers to be instructed can be assembled at any one time and place.
- Secondly. I entirely associate myself with my predecessor’s remarks as to the value of military training in schools. Mentally and physically it is a most valuable aid to education. From a military point of view, it is almost the only means by which a citizen force can hope to surmount the difficulties imposed by the practical impossibility of exacting an adequate period of annual training from adults.
- The boy at school will insensibly absorb ideas of discipline, subordination End combined action. He will be far more alert mentally, and far more capable of making his way in life, than the untrained youth, and, so far as military efficiency is concerned, he will come into camp sensible of the fact that he owes a duty to his country, and familiar with at least the elements of military training. He can, therefore, be passed on -at once to the more advanced portions of his work as a soldier.
- I have the honour to be, sir, Your obedient servant, PERCY H. N. LAKE, Major- General, Inspector-General.