INTERIM REPORT OF THE MILITIA COUNCIL FOR THE DOMINION OF CANADA ON THE TRAINING OF THE MILITIA DURING THE SEASON OF 1911.
- To His Royal Highness, Field Marshal. Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, E.G., K.T., K.P., &c., &c., &c., Governor- General and Commander-in-Chief of the Dominion of Canada.
Sir,—I have the honour to lay before Your Royal Highness an Interim Report on the training of the Militia of the Dominion of Canada, during the season of 1911: to be embodied at a later date in the Report of the Militia Council for the year ending March 31, 1912.
- I have the honour to be, sir, Your Royal Highness’s most obedient servant, SAM HUGHES, Minister of Militia and Defence. February 7, 1912.
The accompanying report briefly outlines the general scheme of training carried out by the Canadian Militia during the season of 1911. Appended is the report of the Inspector-General on the results of that training.
- The training of the Canadian Militia for 1911 was carried out in accordance with a Memorandum issued for their training early in the year.
- In the preparation of this Memorandum particular stress was laid on the importance of practical field training and of tactical exercises as against mere drill training.
- There is no doubt that in the past sufficient time has not been devoted to field training, and while valuable time has been expended in arriving at mechanical accuracy in drill movements, the necessity of tactical training has been somewhat lost sight of.
- The work outlined to be carried out this year at Camps of Instruction was intended to bring home to all ranks the fact that their proper work at training camps lies in perfecting themselves as far as time allows in their field duties, such as marching, scouting, transmitting information, the services of protection on the march and when halted, skirmishing, tire-tactics, attack and defence, field-engineering, map-reading, &c.
- It is hoped that the foundation has been laid for a systematic and progressive training along these lines for the future. Great interest was displayed by all ranks in this portion of their work, which it is hoped will be further recognized and developed in the coming training season.
- For the first time general staff officers were present at many of the camps to supervise, direct and assist in the training. Their services in the future, not only at these camps, but throughout the year in the divisions and districts, will, without doubt, be of great benefit to the Militia.
- While it hag already been stated that the scheme of training for 1911 was based on the greater necessity for field training, it was found that the training programme could not at many of the camps be properly carried out owing to the limited ground available. This had already been anticipated, and partially met, by dividing the units into two camps,* (* As at Niagara, and Aldershot, N.S.), so as to provide more training room and to allow more time for musketry. Even with this assistance the training grounds were quite inadequate, with the exception of Petawawa and those in western Canada.
- To carry out proper field training for the Active Militia, sufficient and suitable training grounds are indispensable, and it is hoped may shortly be available.
- It must further be appreciated that one of the great difficulties encountered in making the training each year more progressive is the fact that a very large percentage of the rank and file are first-year men, and, consequently, much time has to be spent in elementary instruction, during which time men with previous training should be carrying out more advanced work. Until some method can be evolved which will ensure a much larger percentage of men carrying out their obligations entered into on enlistment, progressive and more advanced training, and, consequently, efficiency for war, must suffer.
- Arrangements were made for composite batteries from the heavy artillery brigades to carry out 16 days’ continuous training and gun practice at Petawawa. This was attended only with partial success, owing to the difficulties encountered in getting men away from their employment. As in the .case of the field artillery, it is very necessary for these batteries to put in a portion of their training if possible, the whole of it, at Petawawa, where manoeuvre, gun practice and fire tactics can be combined. Twenty-two horses for twelve drills at local headquarters were authorized for each battery, and much benefit derived there from.
- A course for the personnel of ammunition columns was arranged for at Petawawa. The results, as regards attendance, were far from satisfactory, some three officers in all responding.
- For the first time. Telegraph detachments of the Canadian Engineers were trained. The units were concentrated at Petawawa and 16 days’ training carried out.
- It has been recognized that city corps have been much handicapped in not devoting the proper amount of time to field training. To partially overcome this, efforts were made this year for certain units of city corps to carry out three to five days’ training at Camps of Instruction. Some corps were able to make arrangements to do this, and the results obtained were satisfactory, although even this period of field training is altogether too limited for these corps. It is hoped that next year arrangements can be made by which all city corps will be able to carry out a certain number of days of their training under canvas. The necessity for this is obvious.
- The Army Service Corps carried out their training in administering at the various Camps of Instruction. With the advent of the Divisional Organization their role as divisional transport and supply columns and parks requires development, and their training in this direction must be considered at once, and a commencement made during the next training season.
- On the first occasion for four years the four arms of the Permanent Force were concentrated at Petawawa for training. The necessity for such training being carried out annually, and the various arms being given an opportunity of acting in co-operation, was apparent. The training of the Permanent Force at a central camp annually is essential to its efficiency, and if not so trained its duties in relation to the Active Militia as regards instruction cannot be properly carried out.
- The remarks on the training of the artillery are to be found in “Extracts from the Reports of the Royal School of Artillery”, published as a separate pamphlet.
- The Field Works’ store at Petawawa, containing bridging material, and spars taken from the Artillery Range clearing, proved very- satisfactory, and did away with the necessity of these companies carrying much heavy- equipment into camp.
- Ground was allotted for field works, and all types of earth works were constructed. Derricks, shears, grass, were erected, and several types of bridges.
- The Field Troop, being a newly organized unit, was given more preliminary work, but was attached to the field companies, and got the advantage of their experience.
- The mounted work made good progress, and the mounted drill carried out with hired local pattern wagons (with double interval) was quite satisfactory.
- The Telegraph Detachments were taken through the syllabus laid down for these units, and in 16 days did most efficient work.
- The number of detachments (3) enabled the instructor to train them as a Divisional Telegraph Company. Only one detachment (3rd Field Company) had qualified operators. It was found that unless these detachments have their operators trained before coming to camp, it is impossible to teach an operator in 16 days. Other operators had to be borrowed from the Royal Canadian Engineers, otherwise much valuable time would have been lost.
- It was also found that, when any speed was required, six horses were necessary with the cable wagon on ground such as Petawawa.
- A great advantage in having as many of the Engineer Units train at Petawawa as possible is the fact that a great saving in instruction is made, and the bridging spars and training equipment is available without transport.
SPECIAL REPORT CORPS OF GUIDES.
- Camps of Instruction were held at Levis, Petawawa, Aldershot, Kamloops and Calgary.
- There was a further falling off in the attendance of officers at camp, and the numbers were somewhat lower than last year. However, the quality of the work done and the interest displayed by those who did attend, showed marked improvement.
- The time has now arrived when mounted companies may usefully be organized in those Commands where the officers appear best qualified to undertake the necessary instruction.
- The scheme for musketry training for 1911 was practically similar to that of 1909 and 1910—i.e., preliminary instruction by means of tripods, sub-targets, rifle machines, miniature shooting (where possible), and as much target practice as circumstances permit. 29. The necessity for progressive preliminary instruction in musketry to individuals is better appreciated, and less difficulty in carrying it out was experienced during this season than in the past.
- As in previous years, owing to limited range accommodation and the short training period, very little shooting beyond 100 and 200 yards was possible at the Camps of Instruction. At Goderich, gallery-practice at 253-ards was carried out, as no service range was available. The construction of new ranges at Farnham, being only partially completed, it was necessary to limit the practices to ten shots at 100 yards.
- A large percentage of the recruits attending camp this year, as in the past, have practically no knowledge of the rifle on arrival, and, as a consequence, advanced musketry training is impossible, and, if attempted, would be a waste of time.
- It is hoped that the erection of squadron and company armouries, and the provision of at least one rifle range per regiment will be possible in the near future. When this is an accomplished fact, it is believed that it will be comparatively easy and inexpensive to do a great deal toward training recruits before the annual Camps of Instruction.
- In the city regiments, shooting at ranges beyond 800 yards is largely practised, but very little attention is given to shooting at moving and vanishing objects.
- Judging-distance practices have been carried out at Camps of Instruction, but, owing to the short time available, very little instruction can be given however, it is gratifying to note that the Rural Militia as a rule are fairly good judges of distance. In the City units there is very little knowledge of this important subject.
- The musketry returns of the Permanent Force are not yet available, but those to hand indicate a fair degree of efficiency.
- The number of officers and non-commissioned officers capable of imparting musketry instruction is increasing through the efforts of the Canadian School of Musketry, and it is hoped, by the organization of special courses at different centres of population, to afford an opportunity to qualify a still larger number during 1912.
- A small permanent Musketry Staff has been authorized which, when not engaged at the Canadian School of Musketry, will be available for instructional duty in the different divisions and districts.
- In 1910 authority was obtained for the attendance of qualified Cadet Instructors at the Canadian School of Musketry. Since that date sixty have availed themselves of the privilege, of whom fifty-five qualified. It is believed that these gentlemen will, owing to their close touch with the youth of the country, be in a position to bring about results when will more than justify the expenditure on their training.
- The signalling, with very few exceptions, has been quite satisfactory, and great improvement is looked for next year with the new system of training, especially in the rural corps.
- The corps training at local headquarters have done excellent work, and commanding officers no doubt are taking more interest in signalling, as this year many units have presented signallers for subjection for the first time.
- The standard of efficiency in signalling of most Cavalry and Garrison Artillery regiments is not what it should be, and as signalling is most important in these branches of the service it is necessary that this matter should receive special, attention during the coming year.
- No. 8 Section, Canadian Signalling Corps, St. John, X.B., attained the highest figure of merit in the Dominion this year, and is closely followed by the 38th Dufferin Rifles, of Brantford, Ont. These two units deserve great credit, as they have attained a very high standard of efficiency in signalling.
- The following is a table by Divisions and Districts, showing the classification of Signallers inspected at the Annual Inspection, 1911:—
- Permanent Force:— The efficiency of the Permanent Force is much the same as last year.
- The classification test this year gave the Signallers an idea of what a Signaller is supposed to be able to do, and know, and it is hoped that next year an officer will be placed in charge of the Signallers at each station to assist them and impart instruction in map-reading.
- It was found that many of the Signallers knew very little of the use of the compass, also the setting and reading of a map, which is most important for a Signaller to know.
- More attention must be given to the use of the lamp and heliograph, also station discipline. The latter is essential in order to obtain good results.
- Corps trained at local headquarters.-The units trained at local headquarters this year have greatly improved, both in numbers trained and in efficiency.
- The 38th Dufferin Rifles, Bratford, Ont.. obtained the highest figure of merit of corps trained at local headquarters.
- The only corps that have fallen back this year are those in the 4th Divisional Area, and it is hoped that advantage will be taken of the evening classes that are to be held during 1912.
- Rural Corps:—Corps training at the annual camps show a marked improvement, as many signallers are now able to take tests on the lamp and heliograph in addition to the flag and semaphore.
- A detail from each unit in camp is trained in signalling as fallows:-
- 1st year men:— In semaphore only, up to and including the sending of simple messages.
- 2nd year men:— In semaphore and small flag, including simple messages and station work.
- 3rd year men:— All the above, and, in addition, the lamp.
- With the above system of instruction, in many cases good results have been produced. Where signallers are carried on the regimental staff and kept together during the year they improve rapidly and give great value to the corps. Unfortunately, in many cases they are recruited at haphazard without much regard to the work they are to do, and consequently are of little or no value as signallers.
- Commanding officers of rural units should take steps to see that their signallers are, as far as possible, recruited from the same locality and kept together in camp, and, if possible, trained a little during the year.
- More advantage should be taken of signallers on field days; it is only by this means that signalling efficiency is developed. The signallers of the 77th Wentworth Regiment and Governor-Generals Body Guard obtained the highest figure of merit, respectively, of corps training at camps in the Dominion this year. 56. No. 8 Section of the Canadian Signalling Corps obtained the highest figure of merit this year, being first, of all corps in the Dominion.
- The system has been to hold evening classes in the cities for signallers of the local corps and day classes for signallers of rural corps. This is not satisfactory, as it is impossible for many signallers in the country to leave their business to attend.
- As the staff of assistant-instructors has been increased from two to seven, it is the intention next year to hold an evening signalling-class at the headquarters of any rural or city unit that has its signalling section properly organized, and give a bonus of $15 to all who obtain certificates. Heretofore, signallers received nothing for their time given attending evening classes, and naturally did not take the required interest in the work, with a result that about 50 per cent, drop out before the termination of the classes, which is very discouraging to the assistant instructors.
- Special courses of training. Petawawa.—A special course of training was held at Petawawa during the month of August, and was attended by eight officers and sis non-commissioned officers from all parts of Canada.
- The object was to train officers and non-commissioned officers in the more advanced work in signalling and communication in the field, and also to secure uniformity in the inspection of corps and in the examination of signalling classes.
- This course, it is considered, proved very satisfactory, and those attending received an excellent training in combined work, as the Permanent Force was in camp at the time. It is only this way that signallers can see the importance of signalling and how difficult it is to keep up communication in the field.
SPECIAL REPORT—MEDICAL SERVICES.
- A further endeavour was made this year to train the ambulances on broad lines. Provision was made at each camp for the care of the sick sufficient to meet the demand.
- The ambulances were thus free to carry out the schedule laid down for field training, or such modification of it as the local authorities deemed advisable.
- The most important medical training was at Farnham, where No. VI Cavalry Field Ambulance, and Nos. IT, IV, V and VII Field Ambulances were concentrated.
- Much useful work in medical tactics was done under Lieut.-Colonel Bridges, Permanent Army Medical Corps, who was specially detailed for ‘this duty.
- During the inspection by the Director-General an elaborate scheme of medical tactics, involving much work, was carried out most satisfactorily.
- At Sussex, No. I and No. VIII Field Ambulances were able to do concerted divisional training. It is to be much regretted that circumstances prevented No. IX Field Ambulance from going to Sussex from Charlottetown and taking part in the valuable training.
- At the first Niagara camp full advantage was not taken of the presence of a sufficient number of Field Ambulances to do co-ordinated divisional work.
- With few exceptions, the training of the Regimental Medical Services in 1911 has been a failure. A very large number of regiments went to camp without any stretcher-bearer section, and sometimes when the section was there its training was most perfunctory, and no attempt was made to follow the schedule.
- The importance of the medical service detailed to regiments cannot be over-estimated. Especial attention will be directed towards this service during 1912.
- Little training was done at Petawawa with the Permanent Army Medical Corps. It is hoped, however, to enlarge on this considerably. At present the available personnel is only sufficient to care for the sick and to carry out the heavy sanitary work of the camp.
SCHOOLS OF INSTRUCTION.
- The usual Qualifying Courses were carried out at the Royal Schools of Instruction during the year. Provisional Schools of Instruction were formed at the following places: —
- Edmonton Alta.
- Vernon, B.C.
- Kamloops. B.C.
- Montreal, P.Q.
- St. John, X.B.
- Three Rivers, P.Q.
- Ottawa, Ont.
- Toronto, Ont.
- Kingston, Ont.
- Brantford, Ont.
- St. Catharines, Ont.
- Port Arthur, Ont.
- Kenora, Ont.
- Fort Francis, Ont.
- Winnipeg, Man.
- Calgary, Alta.
- Edmonton, Alta.
- Vancouver, B.C.
Canadian Army Service Corps—
- Montreal, P.Q.
- Ottawa, Ont.
- Toronto, Ont.
- Hamilton, Ont.
- Guelph, Ont.
- Kingston. Ont. (Cookery).
- Winnipeg, Man.
- Calgary, Alta.
- Toronto, Ont.
- Ottawa, Ont.
- Halifax, N.S.
MILITIA STAFF COURSES.
- Classes in the theoretical portion of the Militia Staff Course were held at Montreal, P.Q.; Quebec, P.Q. ; Toronto, Ont.; Ottawa. Ont.; Kingston, Ont.; Hamilton, Ont., and Halifax, N.S. The practical portion of the course was carried out at the Royal Military College, Kingston.
- Fifteen officers attended and all passed the final examination. Fourteen certificates were granted.
- A special Militia Staff Course was held at Winnipeg in the autumn, lasting for a period of five weeks. Eight officers attended and passed the theoretical portion. Seven officers attended and passed the final examination. Twenty-one certificates in all were granted during the year.
- The following city corps carried out a portion of their training at training camps, viz.: —
- 21st Regiment
6 days at Goderich Camp.
- 3rd Regiment
3 days at Farnham Camp.
Composite Regiment from:—
- 79th Regiment
4 days at Sewell Camp.
RETURN SHOWING NUMBER OF OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE ACTIVE MILITIA TRAINED DURING THE YEAR 1911.
- The following return shows the number of officers and men of the Active Militia trained during the year 1911: —