Canada’s “Active Militia” Annual Militia Council Report, Year Ending Dec. 31st, 1906.

  • 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 year ending December 31, 1906, such report being that of the Department of Militia and Defence of the Dominion of Canada, for the period above stated.

  • Respectfully submitted, F. W. BORDEN, Minister of Militia and Defence, Department of Militia and Defence, Ottawa, January 12, 1907.


                                                                                                         ANNUAL CAMPS.

  1. As in 1905, a special Memorandum for Camps of Instruction was issued for the annual camps in 1906. It comprised regulations for their command and administration, together with a syllabus of the course of instruction in drill and musketry for each arm of the service. This was, with few exceptions, followed intelligently, and the administration of the camps showed a general advance upon that of previous years. The dates fixed for camps appear to have been found generally suitable.


                                                                                                    NUMBERS PRESENT.

  1. There still exists a regrettable deficiency of qualified subaltern officers and competent section commanders.
  2. With this exception, the attendance at annual drill and especially at the camps of instruction, was highly satisfactory during 1906. The regulations issued from headquarters early in the year which, with a view to preventing the filling up of companies by men picked up anywhere at the last moment, required the service rolls of companies to be completed and copies submitted not later than 7 days previous to camp, were generally unpopular with commanding officers, largely through misunderstanding of their purport. Officers alleged that these regulations prevented their bringing many of their best men to camp, and stated that there would, in consequence, be a large deficiency in the numbers attending camp.


                                                                                                          CAMP GROUNDS.

                                                                                          CENTRAL CAMP AT PETAWAWA.

  1. An extended use of the new central camp at Petawawa was made during 1906 in connection with artillery training. The erection of the necessary buildings, water arrangements, &c., were carried out in the early part of the year by the Royal Canadian Engineers with considerable ability, and it is understood that the camp gave general satisfaction to the officers who attended. The railway arrangements, however, left room for improvement. They were not good, and caused in some cases much inconvenience to the troops attending camp. The local agent of the railway (C.P.E.) did his best, but was unable to cope with all the work which had to be done.
  2. It had been intended to assemble at Petawawa, during July and August, all arms of the permanent force, for combined training, but it was found that, owing to recruiting difficulties, the number of men who would be available from the cavalry and infantry would not have been sufficient to justify the expense involved in their transport. It was, therefore, decided to confine the camp for the year to the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery (Heavy Battery), Royal Canadian Engineers, and to the ‘gun practice’ detachments of Militia Field, and Heavy Batteries.


                                                                                                           OTHER CAMPS.

  1. The lack of adequate rifle range accommodation is still a drawback to nearly all the camp grounds. Ottawa alone affords an ample amount. At London the range suffices because the smallness of the camp grounds makes it necessary for the troops to be trained in. two successive camps. At Aldershot the range, though a good one, is not quite sufficient. All others fall considerably short of what is required.
  2. As regards space for training, the area at Niagara, as has been previously reported, is quite inadequate, while London is only a degree better off. The acquisition of a suitable site to replace Niagara has not been carried through.
  3. The troops of Military District No. 3, who had not previously had a chance of carrying out rifle practice since 1901, trained at Cobourg in order to take advantage of the rifle range there, the municipality being good enough to place a camp site at the disposal of the department. The site was good though confined. So soon, however, as the rifle range now being acquired at Kingston has been completed, a proper water supply installed, and the camp site better drained, it will probably be desirable to locate again the camp at Kingston.
  4. The camp site used by the troops of Military District No. 4, at Ottawa, proved unsatisfactory, wet weather converting the camp itself into a swamp. The training area was however, not unsatisfactory.
  5. The camp ground for the 3rd Cavalry Brigade and 7th Brigade Field Artillery was located near Sherbrooke, both as being a neighbourhood more acceptable to the troops and also in order to take advantage of the good rifle range there. The ground selected proved to be somewhat too restricted, but this drawback was more than compensated for by the opportunity afforded for rifle shooting. The troops of this cavalry brigade had had no rifle practice for five years, and about 75 per cent of the men had never fired a rifle before.
  6. The clearing of bush at both Sussex and Aldershot camps is being continued from year to year, as funds are available. The clear space is at present too small for satisfactory training, especially of mounted troops, but this is gradually being remedied. The same remark applies to some extent also to Levis camp. The opening of the new rifle range at Sussex has greatly improved this camp ground.


                                                                                              TRAINING—ACTIVE MILITIA.

  1. During the past year special attention has been directed to the subject of training. While the training manuals were the same as last year, steps were taken to eliminate as far as possible all movements which were not of general utility, with a view to giving more attention to essentials, and with good results.
  2. As regards general training, signs are noticed that officers are beginning to grasp the idea of their personal responsibility for the training of their squadrons, batteries and companies, upon which the basis of all true efficiency must rest. Much, however, still remains to be done in this respect, and although, speaking generally, the training of the troops has improved during the year, and it cannot be said that the improvement has been all that had been hoped for.
  3. It is, however, satisfactory to note the increased practice in rifle shooting which has taken place at the annual camps this year, and the increased interest taken by all ranks in the annual course. With few exceptions, commanding officers have recognized the great importance of systematic instruction in musketry and the practice of judging distance. With this more general recognition, it is hoped that the efficiency of the troops in the use of the rifle will steadily increase.
  4. For probably the first time for many years it was possible in 1906, at every one of the annual camps, to put the men through a more or ‘less complete course of musketry. Musketry facilities, as already remarked, were often poor, but on the whole a great advance was made. An elementary course of judging distance was also introduced, but the importance of this practice is not yet fully recognized even by the skilled shots of the active militia.
  5. Sub-target guns an-d miniature ranges were widely used for instruction. Where both were used, the results were excellent, but, as usual, the utilization of the former depended much upon the personal attitude of the officer in command of the camp.



  1. The training of the cavalry of the active militia in camp, generally, showed an advance on that of last year. This advance was most marked at Niagara, the only camp at which the syllabus of instruction laid down for cavalry was fully carried out. At most other cavalry camps it was only followed in a half hearted manner. This was no doubt mainly due to want of military knowledge on the part of camp commandants, who should have seen that cavalry commanding officers observed the instructions laid down, and ought to have helped them in so doing. But it is noticeable that many camp commentates, from want of knowledge, hesitate to supervise the training of arms other than their own.
  2. For probably the first time, the whole of the cavalry had, in 1906, an opportunity of carrying out target practice with the service rifle. In several corps much keenness to perform creditably was shown. Practices at judging distance, though of an elementary nature, were also carried out.
  3. On the whole the class of horses brought to camp showed an improvement on previous years. The best horses were those from the Maritime Provinces.
  4. The class of men in the cavalry is everywhere good on the whole, and compares favourably with the class joining the other arms. Of the cavalry, the country corps are superior to the majority q£ city corps, in most respects.
  5. The field forges introduced last year were generally .used, except by the 3rd Cavalry Brigade, and gave satisfaction to the men, as well as useful practice in horseshoeing in the field.
  6. The condition of the saddlery in use requires attention. It is kept too dry, and unless this matter is attended to, its life will be shortened. The Ordnance Stores Corps authorities have been instructed to take this up.
  7. An extraordinary number of officers were absent with or without leave, both from training and from their regiments on the days on which the latter were seen at work. Camp commandants and commanding officers were altogether too lax to this respect. The good turn out of the non-commissioned officers and men made me shortage of officers the more regrettable.



  1. The training of the field artillery of the active militia showed, on the whole, a distinct advance over that of the previous year. The turn out was better and the batteries as a rule were better horsed. There were of course exceptions—the field batteries of Nova Scotia, for example, could not be said to be well horsed.
  2. Delays in supply unfortunately caused many deficiencies in technical and ether equipment, which in some cases proved a severe handicap to the units. Most of these deficiencies are now in process of being rectified.
  3. Militia field batteries depend largely for their training upon the knowledge possessed by officers commanding artillery brigades. Where these are competent the result is generally good. Too many brigade commanders are apt merely to stand by and look on.
  4. The gun practice at Petawawa camp gave better results than last year, but still was not up to the mark. Probably the terrain was still somewhat too difficult. Many officers seemed to have failed to grasp the intricacy of the problem with which the field artillery officer will have to deal in action, and so found themselves wanting when confronted with field service conditions and the difficulty of locating and ranging on service targets. In some cases officers neglected to take advantage of the opportunities afforded them for familiarizing themselves with the conditions, before proceeding to actual gun practice, and so failed to do their batteries justice. In many cases, also, the specialist branches of a battery (gunlayers, rangetakers, &c.) were deficient in training and could not be relied upon by battery commanders for the accurate work which is essential if good results are to be obtained.
  5. It is to be regretted that a large number of officers of field and heavy artillery were absent from these practices, many without leave. The batteries were thus, in many cases, unnecessarily handicapped by the want of keenness in their officers.
  6. The training of the garrison batteries, as distinct from the field batteries, of the active militia, showed a definite improvement during 1906, as did their heavy gun practice, especially at Halifax.
  7. The four days additional training allowed to the artillery gave most valuable results.



  1. The engineer companies are doing their best to improve their knowledge, and have made progress during the year. At one or two camps, however, it was found necessary to employ them on special work, which prevented the proper practice of their military duties. In all cases the engineers worked well, but, unless in the case of an emergency, they should not be withdrawn from their proper course of instruction. There is still a shortage of technical engineer material.


Canada'a Sham Fight Umpires Meeting 18 Oct. 1906, Ottawa, Ont..

Canada’a Sham Fight Umpires Meeting 18 Oct. 1906, Ottawa, Ont..



  1. The general principle of the syllabus of instruction laid down for botli cavalry and infantry was, as in 1905, to eliminate mere parade-movements, and to give enough elementary drill to enable commanders to get their troops into fighting formation, and practice minor tactics and field manoeuvres. More latitude of action was, however, allowed than in the 1905 syllabus, and the drill to be learned was further simplified.
  2. The results were good, especially where the infantry training was supervised by a good brigade commander, who watched and assisted the regimental officers in training their men. In some cases the brigade commanders and brigade majors were not sufficiently acquainted with their work.
  3. It is still difficult to get officers generally, and particularly company officers, to assert their authority and handle their men with decision. Failure to do so, which usually comes from lack of knowledge, or self-reliance, on the part of the officer, produces bad results, even in close order and parade work. With the wide extensions of front necessary, under modem conditions, it is apt to lead to irremediable confusion in action.
  4. All company officers should be themselves at least fair shots, and competent to teach their men how to use their rifles and shoot properly, but this is by no means, universally, or even usually, the case.
  5. Advanced guard, scouting, and outpost duties were too little practised by all arms of the service.


                                                                                                              FIELD DAYS.

  1. Successful field days were held at several camps, especially at Niagara, where a considerable portion of the troops employed bivouacked on the ground the previous night. At some camps, however, e.g., London and Cobourg, want of available ground prevented action in this direction. This is to be regretted. The defects brought to light at these exercises show plainly the necessity for giving senior officers the opportunity for practising the handling of troops.


                                                                                                  DEPARTMENTAL CORPS.

  1. The Army Service Corps worked well and gave general satisfaction. In one case the officer in charge failed to show himself equal to his responsibilities, but even in this case the actual supply of the troops was satisfactorily carried out. The present system of supply might well be extended, by allowing the corps to do the whole of the slaughtering and baking, wherever, as is possible in nearly all camps, satisfactory arrangements can be made.
  2. The Medical Services were generally efficient, the sick few and well cared for.


                                                                                                             CITY CORPS.

  1. The foregoing remarks apply in general terms, mutatis mutandis, to the city corps, but it may be added, that the city corps officers are usually better acquainted with the actual drill and are more ready to exercise a real command over their men.
  2. With one or two exceptions, in the west of Ontario and in Quebec, the city corps, generally, did good work during the year. As remarked last year, their efficiency suffers from too constant drill in drill halls and too little work in the open air.
  3. An opportunity to remedy this defect was offered this year by the permission given to city corps to form provisional battalions for four days attendance at the annual camps. The city corps in M.D. No. 2, and the 66th Regt. from Halifax, took full advantage of the permission, with excellent results. It is to be regretted that other corps did not care to do so.
  4. A further opportunity was offered to city corps, in the shape of Field Day manoeuvres, on Thanksgiving Day, at Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. The Quebec SESSIONAL PAPER No. 3′ corps had already turned out for a field day earlier in the year, and the Halifax battalions had taken part in the annual mobilization of that fortress. Practically all city corps within reach of the three centres named attended Thanksgiving Day manoeuvres and did good work, so obtaining most useful experience. It is hoped to extend this system further next year.
  1. There is still much room for improvement in rifle shooting and judging distance’ practice among the city corps, as among the corps training at annual camps.
Canada'a Active Militia 1906-07.

Canada’a Active Militia 1906-07.

Canada's Active Militia Total Trained for 1906-07.

Canada’s Active Militia Total Trained for 1906-07.



  1. On the whole good progress has been made in musketry training during the year. The practice in camps, in particular, showed a great advance, though much more still remains to be done. In the city corps a certain number of the men are sure to be good shots. A considerable number more obtained, fair results. But it is to be feared, that there are in every corps many men who seldom or never go down to the range, and are quite useless with the rifle. No doubt in many cases rifle ranges are not available, at any rate within convenient distance, but, with every allowance made, the proportion of poor shots is far too large.
  2. A musketry badge for the best shot in each regiment of infantry or cavalry of the active militia was authorized this year and gave rise to keen competition. Extra pay for a qualified officer in each regiment, to act as Regimental Musketry Instructor, was also authorized for camps, with good results. In the competition for the Gowan Challenge Cup, No. 4 Company, 23rd Regiment, was successful,
  3. A handsome silver bowl was presented by the Imperial officers in garrison at Halifax, at the time of the transfer of the fortress, for rifle competition among the several units of the permanent force. This will be competed for next year.


                                                                                                        RIFLE ASSOCIATIONS.

  1. The number of rifle associations is still large. The membership to date is as follows:—
  • Military Rifle Associations……….Numbers..122…..Members…13,465.
  • Civilian Rifle Associations…………………..344……………….21,239.
  • Totals…………………………………………466……………….34,704.

The above figures show an increase of 16 military associations, and a decrease of 24 civilian ones.


  1. During the year the following changes have taken place in the establishments of units of the active militia:—

The Army Medical Corps has been reorganized, as previously stated, by combining bearer companies and field hospitals into field ambulances. The 2nd Regiment Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and the 5th Regiment Royal Highlanders of Canada have been formed into two battalions of eight companies each. An independent company of infantry at New Liskeard has been organized. A Royal School of Artillery has been organized with headquarters at Quebec, and including the present schools at Halifax, Quebec, Kingston and Esquimalt. The 2nd Division of the 1st Regiment, Canadian Artillery, has been organized as a separate regiment, and designated The 7th Nova Scotia Regiment Canadian Artillery. An independent squadron to be known as The Alberta Rangers, with headquarters at Macleod, Alberta, has been formed.


                                                                                                      STORE BUILDINGS.

  1. The proposed new store buildings at Toronto and Montreal, and the enlargement of the present building at St. John, will be a great boon in the way of proper housing and care of the steadily increasing equipment of all kinds at the above stations.
  2. Stores housed at St, Helen’s Island, Montreal, are practically cut off from the city and mainland during several weeks of each winter. When this occurs, other stations would, in case of an emergency, have to supply the requirements which should be met from the stores belonging to this district.
  3. A general increase in accommodation for military stores and munitions of war will be necessary, in the near future, both in Ontario and in the West Modern requirements in stores, equipment, ammunition, &c., tend to increases both of value and of bulk, and it is bad policy to leave valuable stores without proper care and accommodation.
Canada's Active Militia Report 1906.

Canada’s Active Militia Report 1906.



  1. The increase in expenditure on the permanent force, $1,014,166, which amount does not include contingent expenses, such as transport, &c., was due to the Canadian Government taking over the fortresses at Halifax and Esquimalt, the two garrisons requiring between them about 1,500 men and entailing the following extra expenditure:—
  2. Additional pay funds for the permanent force consequent upon the increase in the establishment. In 1904-5, the average strength was about 1,200, all ranks. In 1905-6 the average was about 1,000 greater, the total strength June 30, 1906, including about 70 semi-military employees at Halifax, standing at 2,448.
  3. Larger expenditure for clothing consequent upon the augmentation of the force. As, however, the cost of outfitting a soldier is greater the first year of his enlistment than afterwards, his outfit lasting three years or more, the expenditure for clothing, for the additional troops raised during 1905-6, was much greater than it will be for the same troops for the years 1906-7 and 1907-8.
  4. $220,000 paid to re-imburse the Imperial Government for garrisoning Halifax some six months after July 1, 1905, the date from which Canada agreed to assume the cost; $200,000 being taken from the vote for ‘pay,’ and $20,000 from the vote for ‘supplies’ for the permanent force. This was due to the fact that it was not possible to replace all at once the Imperial troops by Canadian ones; the exchange had to be carried out gradually.
  5. In this connection it may be stated that no claim has yet been received from the Imperial Government for the pay and maintenance of Imperial troops at Halifax thus retained there after July 1, 1905; but the Army Paymaster has estimated the cost at $250,000, not including certain expenditure paid by the War Office, amounting probably to $50,000, which would leave $80,000 still due by the Canadian Government.
  6. A payment of $130,639 to the Imperial Government for stores taken over at the time of the transfer of the garrisons, and for steamers, lighters, boats, &c., taken over at Halifax.


Canada's Niagara Camp, 31st Regt. Lines, 23 June 1906, Niagara, Ont..

Canada’s Niagara Camp, 31st Regt. Lines, 23 June 1906, Niagara, Ont..



                                                                                                               APPENDIX A.

Ottawa, December 15, 1906.

  • From the Inspector-General, Canadian Forces.
  • To the Honourable The Minister in Militia Council.


                                                                                                 CAVALRY—ACTIVE MILITIA.

  1. With regard to this arm of the service there is an evident improvement since last year, the recruiting was satisfactory, and there was a marked improvement in the horses; the season selected for training being, apparently, a suitable one.
  2. Great progress, also, has been made in Manitoba and the Territories, the 15th Light Horse making a very important addition to the Canadian Cavalry establishment.
  3. The Canadian Mounted Rifles, composed of four independent squadrons, went into camp in June; three squadrons drilling at Edmonton and the fourth at Medicine Hat.
  4. The camp at Edmonton was under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel A. C. Macdonell, D.S.O., R.O., a superintendent of the Royal North-west Mounted Police, a very efficient and capable officer. Colonel Macdonell was ably assisted by an officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles and a non-commissioned officer of that corps, as adjutant, and sergeant-major, respectively.
  5. It is hoped that, in the future, the command of the Canadian Mounted Rifles will be given to its senior officer, as that would tally more with the announced policy of the department, which, as I understand it, is to secure every corps being independent of outside assistance and as self-sufficient as possible.
  6. It is as evident this year, as it was in former years, that a large percentage of the non-commissioned officers and men of cavalry regiments, throughout Canada, are of good physique and intelligence, comparing most favourably with those of the other arms of the service.
  7. It is to be regretted that the syllabus prescribed for cavalry training, in the older provinces, was not, except in the Cavalry Brigade at Niagara, adhered to—everything appeared to be, as prescribed, in Manitoba and the Territories.
  8. The forges issued by the department have been found most useful, and satisfactory results have been secured there from. In the case of the 3rd Cavalry Brigade, they were not issued, for what reason I have not been able to ascertain.
  9. It is difficult to understand why, in some instances, a certain amount of medicine was issued to veterinary officers, while in others no issue was made. It would appear advisable to make this service uniform, which could be brought about by having veterinary field chests available for issue to all regiments going into camps of instruction, or upon actual service.
  10. A small saddler’s field chest might also be issued, for purposes of repair to saddlery injured in camp.
  11. It has been found, and I am aware of this fact from long experience as a District Staff Officer, that the saddlery of cavalry regiments does not receive proper attention, that it is allowed to become dry and brittle for want of proper dubbing—it is simply a waste of dubbing to apply it cold upon dry leather. Something might be accomplished to overcome the evil were printed instructions issued to those responsible.
  12. Independent of the ‘ wanting to complete list,” it appears that no fewer than thirty-five officers absented themselves from training this year, without leave; no doubt their absence has been made a subject of official inquiry.


                                                                                                 ARTILLERY—ACTIVE MILITIA.

  1. The field artillery trained, as heretofore, in district camps, as shown in paragraph 31. Their training, generally, is reported to have shown an improvement on that of previous years. This applies, also, to the garrison artillery. Although the percentage of marks awarded at training shows room for much greater improvement, these low percentages are in many cases due, to a great extent, to the reductions for absentees and loss of marks through having no trained signallers, &c.
  2. The percentage awarded at practices shown in the general efficiency return published in Militia Orders No. 294 (’06), shows the relative standing of the various units in this respect.
  3. All the field batteries, and garrison companies trained as heavy artillery, carried out their practice at Petawawa.
  4. The 1st and 7th Regiments trained at Halifax, and the 5th at Esquimalt.
  5. It is suggested that:
  • An early announcement be made of the dates of training of the various artillery units.
  • As far as possible training and practice be carried out at the same time.
  • As many as possible of the field artillery brigades and batteries go to Petawawa for their training and practice, the remainder train in district camps and send detachments to Petawawa for gun practice.
  • The heavy battery. Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery, carry out its training and practice at Petawawa and, for this purpose, at least two guns and two G. S. wagons, as ammunition wagons, be horsed by means of hired teams.
  • The following garrison artillery, whose role in the defence scheme will bens heavy or position artillery, viz: The 2nd, 3rd and 4th Regiments, and the Cobourg Company, Canadian Garrison Artillery, attend at the Petawawa Camp for, at least, part of their training and for practice.
  • The 6th Regiment train and practice as heavy artillery, for the present.
  • The 1st and 5th Regiments, Canadian Artillery, train and practice, as heretofore, at Halifax and Esquimalt, in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery.
  • As the 7th Regiment is armed with field guns it is a question if they should not train and practice as field artillery.
  • The artillery, of each command in turn, attends Petawawa together, and, it possible, with troops of the other arms, in order that they may take part in combined manoeuvres.



  1. I have little to add to my last year’s remarks in relation to this arm of the service. Some few regiments are improving, the men continuing to serve for a longer period, while, on the other hand, others are losing ground, and, I fear that this state of things cannot be very much improved, in the abstract, so long as we can have but twelve days’ training; but, after all it is not so much the mien, many or few days’ training, as the man at the head, to whom, it seems, we must first look to keep up a high standard of regimental efficiency. If, no matter what the reason, a corps loses a zealous and capable commanding officer, it gets a set-back, for a time at least ; but should the efficient commanding officer be succeeded, under the usual provisions of the regulations governing promotion, by one less capable, perhaps less zealous, the corps retrogrades. 42. Xot many years since, the officers’ ranks were replete with gentlemen who had long passed the age limit, some having had command of their regiments for twenty-five years and upwards, and it was, at last, found necessary to enforce a strict age limit rule and a time limit for the tenure of command. The results were good; many vacancies being created, giving the juniors a chance of promotion, and opening the way for an influx of new blood from outside. The consequence has been that many promotions and appointments have been made, and an incentive offered officers to qualify for higher rank; but, one great difficulty still exists, that of being unable to secure competent officers, in every instance, to succeed those whom the time limit obliges to entire from command. Might it not be well, under these circumstances, to increase the five years’ tenure of command, authorized in General Orders of 1897, to seven ; the incompetent commanding officer being liable to retirement, at any time.


                                                                                                        WESTERN CORPS.

  1. I left Ottawa for Manitoba, the Territories and British Columbia, on the 2nd June last, accompanied by Major D. I. V. Eaton, Assistant Director of Operations and Staff duties, who, while acting for the Chief of the General Staff, very materially assisted me at my inspections, &c., as A.D.C. We returned to Ottawa on July 6, having travelled five thousand and eight hundred miles by rail and steamer in thirty-four days, and having made the following inspection of troops, cadet corps, drill halls, armouries, rifle ranges, fortifications, &c.
  2. Accompanied by Colonel Evans, C.B., A.D.C, Commanding No. 10 Military District, I inspected the garrison at Winnipeg, ‘D’ Squadron of the Canadian Mounted Rifles at Medicine Hat, and the cadet corps at Calgary, after which Colonel Evans returned to Winnipeg. Major Eaton and I then proceeded to Vancouver and Victoria, where Colonel Holmes, Commanding No. 11 Military District, joined us. We at once proceeded to thoroughly inspect the garrisons at Victoria and Esquimalt, the 5th British Columbia Regiment, Garrison Artillery, being encamped at the latter station. We then began our return journey, accompanied by Colonel Holmes, and inspected the garrison at Vancouver, and the drill hall and armouries at New Westminster, and, subsequently, the several companies of the Rocky Mountain Rangers at Nelson, Rossland and Eernie, where Colonel Holmes left us, intending to inspect the Rocky Mountain Rangers’ companies at Revelstoke and Kamloops. that, for want of time, I had to pass by.
  3. Our next station to reach was Macleod, through the Crow’s Nest Pass, where we again met Colonel Evans, who assisted in carrying out the inspections of the mounted corps that were performing their training in camps at Macleod, Calgary, Edmonton and Brandon, which latter I had timed myself, before leaving Ottawa, to reach the day before the Manitoba Dragoons completed their training. This I was successful in accomplishing, after which we proceeded to and remained at Winnipeg, for two days, on account of military functions having been prepared at that station, in honour of Dominion Day.
  4. I have great pleasure in stating that the inspection of the western force, above referred to, proved satisfactory. All units appeared to be well provided form in arms, equipment and clothing, and there were no complaints regarding saddlery; the horses could not be better for the class of work they may be, at any time, called upon to undergo. The officers were well turned out, and all ranks showed zeal, enthusiasm, and pride in their corps and work. The musketry, where ranges were provided, was well carried out; more particularly, perhaps, in the case of the cavalry that came into action with service ammunition, the squadrons being in competition for prizes on the days when their regiments, respectively, were inspected. As some of the corps were only recently organized, a few wants were expressed, and noted by the district officers commanding, for reference to headquarters.
  5. One thing noticeable that, possibly, has brought about the organization and efficiency of these regiments west of Winnipeg, is the influx of so many young men, who have had a military training in either the Imperial Service or in our senior regiments or other units, to which one must justly add the impetus given them through the splendid example and record of the Royal North-west Mounted Police.
  6. But while these young men do their part, and there are many more waiting an opportunity to do likewise, in other parts of the ‘ great and last west,’ it is most essential that military educational assistance be provided—either instructors sent among them, or schools established—otherwise further progress cannot be looked for, and possibly indifference may arise from a feeling of neglect.
  7. From what I could see and hear, I concluded that, up to the present, the department had done all that could be reasonably expected to organize, equip, maintain and encourage this important defence force, but it will not be sufficient, nor would it be wise to now lay down the oars. The precautions and provisions for defence should keep pace with the remarkable progress of the west in proportion to its enlarged production in every branch of industry, and its vastly increased and rapidly increasing population. The time seems to have come when the policy of the department might well be extended to this important part of Canada, by including it- in the list of higher commands; Manitoba and the Territories forming one command, and British Columbia the other.
  • I have the honour to be, sir, Your obedient servant, AYLMER, Brigadier-General, Inspector-General.






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