- From, — The Inspector-General, Canadian Militia.
- To- The Secretary, Militia Council.
- Ottawa, November 30, 1912.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit for the information of the Hon. the Minister in Militia Council, my report for 1912, upon the training and efficiency, suitability and sufficiency of equipment, and the readiness and fitness of the Military Forces of Canada for war, together with the condition of the fortifications and defences of the country.
- The extent of my inspections during the year has been restricted to Eastern Canada, viz., between the Atlantic seaboard and Winnipeg, while the units west of the latter place were seen by the Chief of the General Staff.
- In the area covered by myself all the camps of instruction of City and Rural Corps were seen save one, besides which I inspected the larger armouries and rifle ranges, the Divisional and District Offices, Schools of Instruction, the Army Service Corps and Ordnance Stores, also the barracks and personnel of Permanent Units and the Fortresses of Halifax and Levis, abridged or full reports being made at the time.
- More might have been accomplished but for my early retirement.
- The inspections made by the Chief of the General Staff included the camps of instruction at Sewell, Calgary and Vernon, as well as the Fortress and units of the Permanent Corps at Esquimalt.
- In the administration of the force, there appear weaknesses which are more or less easy of remedy, and not confined to one particular quarter.
- Beginning with Militia Headquarters I observed that:—
- Delay in the regular issue of the Militia List during the early part of the year was the cause of much inconvenience and extra labour through the lack of a reliable record of recent promotions, appointments, and other data, of which it is the only compiled reference.
- The numerous amendments to the various regulations and orders since their last publication, calls for new editions to avoid confusion and loss of time.
- The collection of regular returns, reports, &c., is at times lax, in that compliance with regulations is not always rigidly enforced upon those responsible for their rendering.
- Precautions to ensure secrecy in confidential correspondence might be more carefully observed.
- In Districts and Divisions, the consensus of my interim reports will be found as follows:—
- Delays in forwarding specified reports, &c. just referred to, is a common occurrence, and results in much inconvenience.
- The collection of intelligence in the form of statistics requires development, as no mobilization scheme is complete without such.
- Lack of attention to the full observance of the discipline and regulations for camps of instruction.
- But little fault was found in the Permanent Corps, whose records and returns were, with few exceptions, well attended to.
- Coming to the Active Militia, the most faults in administration are naturally found, and the most difficult of remedy owing to the constitution of that body.
- Although more attention is evidently being given to the records of units, the failing is still very prominent.
- The service rolls of rural units particularly, are much in need of improvement, both in form and care; the present loose leaf is liable to early dissolution and loss, and little importance appears attached to its value as a record.
- The equipment ledgers, while to the adept, of no trouble, are quite the contrary to individuals engaged in civilian pursuits, and generally left for completion by any but those immediately responsible for the charge of the stores, a resource certain to entail additional work and delay in the adjustment of accounts.
- Correspondence, roll books, order books, and other records which the regulations call for, are in many cases neglected.
- Officers’ books are still incomplete.
- It is perhaps that too much is asked for, but if not, then proper administration seems hopeless, unless aid in a permanent form is provided, such as paid Sergeant-Majors or Adjutants.
- In city corps the strain is most felt, as shown by the action of two of them, the officers of which each pay for the services of an Adjutant out of their own pockets, in order that the duties entailed may be properly fulfilled. In both instances the efficiency of the units is so pronounced as to vindicate the employment of this extraneous assistance.
(Royal Schools of Instruction.)
- That the education of the officers and non-commissioned officers of the Active Militia requires further development, is plain to be seen. How this is to be accomplished appears a difficult question, though one that has to be grappled with in an expeditious and determined manner, if the force is ever to become a real factor of defence.
- To the Royal Schools of Instruction has long been deputed this responsibility, a duty met in most cases with a conscientious endeavour to fully perform the task imposed, in so far as the means at their disposal and existing conditions allow.
- That failure has often followed cannot be denied, but a large part of the onus for such, must, I believe, be thrown upon those seeking qualifications owing to either lack of time, enthusiasm, or a misconception of the necessity for military knowledge, and the belief that little or no preparation is requisite for the assumption of the very important duties they propose undertaking. The fact that a military organization must be conducted on business lines is often overlooked.
- To meet the general complaint of lack of time for qualification. Provisional Schools were some years ago established, and this year further facilities were afforded by sending Sergeant Instructors to regimental centres for the purpose of holding night classes of instruction in armouries and rented halls.
- Both these plans are no doubt the means of inculcating the ground work of simple drill and administration, but cannot provide a knowledge of saddling, riding harnessing, driving or care of horses, handling troops, squadrons, batteries or companies at drill or manoeuvre; nor the practical points of administration and discipline, all necessary for the subaltern and captain to be in possession of, to say nothing; of the higher ranks.
- It is only at a school of instruction properly fitted with the facilities for teaching, viz., Runs, horses, men and space, and so forming a military atmosphere devoted to one idea, that the desired end can be reached.
- At the permanent schools a new syllabus of instruction was introduced this year, with a view to shortening the periods of attendance without restricting the requisite qualification.
- I cannot think that the innovation has yet proved a success, inasmuch as the previous preparation which is entailed, and was to be obtained from the sergeant instructors already referred to, has so far seldom been in evidence on the candidates’ appearance, and thus all the ground work had to be acquired during the very short time available at a school, with the frequent result of failure to obtain the qualifying certificate.
- The attendance at the schools has been variable. In Western Canada it has been generally good, but in the Eastern section very meagre, considering the very large number of unqualified.
- From the last named imputation I must except the School of Musketry at Ottawa, the capacity of which was taxed to its utmost.
- It may be that a better record could be obtained by increased efforts on the part of the higher authorities in Divisions, who are in some cases charged with neglect of early dissemination of particulars affecting courses.
- In connection with the regular established schools, I must again refer to the lack of instructional equipment and quarters; among the former may be mentioned lecture rooms, riding schools and miniature rifle ranges, and under the latter more accommodation for officers, many of whom are now obliged, notwithstanding their restricted numbers, to live out of barracks at great inconvenience and often expense, and to these drawbacks may be added the loss of many phases of instruction only to be acquired by actual residence in barracks.
- I cannot name a single station in which these deficiencies are not apparent.
- The further development of the schools for the following services appears a necessity, owing to their expansion, and to meet mobilization requirements:—
- Army Service corps.
- Army Medical Corps.
- The appointment of a General Staff Officer to each Division and to Military District 10, has given officers better opportunities for obtaining a knowledge of tactical education, both in theory and practice, than has hitherto been obtainable. Similar provision should be made for Military District 13, in which prevails a rapidly increasing and very enthusiastic spirit.
- Of the newly formed instructional cadre (sergeant instructors) it may be too early yet to say much. I am, however, convinced that its personnel is not solely up to the mark, many having been detailed to the duty lacking the essential qualities. Another weakness is the want of full employment for these instructors in the localities to which detailed, generally arising from the absence of armouries or halls in the smaller places, a contingency liable to promote careless habits.
- The distribution of sergeant instructors to camps of instruction was in one or two instances unfortunate. As to units entirely French speaking, instructors were detailed without a knowledge of that language, and their services were, therefore, of little use.
- Again in the detailing of officer instructors to Brigades, it is very desirable that those of seniority and experience be sent, othei-wise their usefulness is liable to curtailment.
- Among other forms of education should be noted those of the Militia Staff and Musketry Courses.
- Increased interest was decidedly apparent in the Militia Staff Courses which were conducted in practically every Division and Military District No. 10 by the respective General Staff Officers, with final examinations by the Commandant and Staff of the Royal Military College at Kingston.
- This course, as it becomes better known, is growing in favour with the officers of the Active Militia. The instruction given is good, and the knowledge accruing from it an asset of value when used as intended, but unfortunately many with the qualification have so far been but little employed, and will soon grow rusty.
- Courses of musketry have been given in three forms during the year, viz., evening classes, day classes of three weeks and six weeks respectively. The instructors have proved both competent and hard-working, while the instructed were intelligent and assiduous, consequently the outcome has been most successful.
- Funds were provided for the training of the whole of the Active Militia, also for a large part of the Permanent Corps at Petawawa.
- Again, as last year, I propose dealing with the respective merits of the two classes of our forces, viz.. Permanent Corps and Active Militia, separately, and each by arms and departments of the service.
- The training of the Active Militia during the year has been an improvement on the past one, but not sufficient to warrant the assumption that the standard to be looked for has by any means been achieved.
- The presence of General Staff Officers gave better supervision and more systematic tactical instruction than hitherto possible.
- The great difficulty encountered in the prosecution of this new departure; was the crude knowledge of those under instruction, and the limited number of instructors, imposing upon the latter an impossible task in the short time allowed, although they spared neither time nor labour in the endeavour to fulfil the duty entailed upon them.
- That all ranks were as a rule interested, was obvious, and the future gives promise of gradual advancement, if officers, non-commissionned officers and men enter upon each year’s training better prepared for their responsibilities, by taking advantage of the increased opportunities for instruction now at hand.
- The absence of administrative staff officers from field exercises was often noticeable, and the valuable experience of working with troops, so seldom* afforded, lost.
- In the personnel of units, vacancies in the appointment of Adjutant, Musketry and Signalling Officers, show quite a large percentage; the Cavalry arm is particularly weak in this respect.
- These deficiencies in a regimental staff greatly impede the special training or duties for which the appointments were created, and that of the unit as a whole.
- The number of totally unqualified officers in the force is large, but that of the non-commissioned officers is still greater, and proves an overwhelming handicap to anything like efficiency. True, many may claim qualification through service in the ranks, and by regimental certificates, but the very first practical test nearly always demonstrates humiliating ignorance.
- The question of officers absent from training is one I must remark upon, as this year shows the percentage to be twenty-five; but this is not the worst feature, for of these over half were absent without leave.
- The disproportion of non-commissioned officers to privates so often found, suggests unwarranted promotion with a view to increased pay, a supposition which is further confirmed by a complete absence of ability to perform their duties. In a very large number of instances there is no difference between the non-commissioned officer and private so far as military knowledge is concerned.
- Among the mounted officers of infantry, the lack of knowledge of horsemanship is evident, conveying the impression that qualification in equitation is too easily obtained.
- The selection of officers to command brigades is not always a happy one; fitness to administer and command, energy and tactical knowledge are frequently ignored. Brigade Commanders should of necessity be able to instruct and control their own units.
- Similar qualifications in Brigade Majors are often forgotten in their recommendation for appointment.
- Both these appointments are of such importance as to warrant the necessity for special qualification, and the Militia Staff Course was really inaugurated with that end in view.
- In one or two instances regimental camps were authorized, a mistaken concession I venture to think, as the absence of supervision, competition and example are apt to evolve a tendency to picnic conditions and a waste of public funds. 80. In the matter of dress, officers of rural corps continue to show indifference to regimental uniformity, as in the majority of units there are seen on parade at least two to four different orders of dress; the effect is anything but soldier like.
- The absence of chevrons on the 8ei”vice dress renders the distinction between the non-commissioned officer and private impossible, and the lack of regimental badges or numerals, that between units.
- The large number enrolled each year to meet the peace training establishment, presents a problem in our militia force requiring immediate solution.
- The almost entire change that annually takes place in many units is, in a great measure, responsible for the elementary nature of training subjects which occupy the greater portion of the time and efforts of the instructional staff at camps, and reduces to a minimum the possibilities of further advancement.
- As any movement towards compulsory service does not appear a possible remedy, then the terms of the present three years’ engagement should be more rigidly enforced, either in the original corps or some other, and steps taken to dispel the apparent misunderstanding on the part of the officers and men, that the responsibilities of enrolment terminate with each year’s training, or other means devised to cope with this great weakness in our system.
- A closer observance of the regulations excluding extreme youth and age from our ranks also seems necessary. While the spirit and interest shown by both classes in their presence is to be commended, their inability to meet ordinary duties, or withstand the hardships of heavy work or fatigue, reduces their value, and involves undue risk to health, with the consequent charges thrown upon the public.
- The necessity for an extension of the training period for Cavalry from twelve to sixteen days, is conceded and asked for by all units.
- One third of the force was actually given this year the additional period, and it is hoped that all will be included in the coming one.
- Complaint is made of the confined areas in the majority of training sites, which consequently restrict the movements of this area.
- The large areas of Calgary, Petawawa, and Sewell, where one-half of the cavalry trained, were certainly conspicuous in the advantages given, but the cost of the transport to these places renders an increased assemblage almost prohibitive.
- The quality of the horses enrolled was a slight improvement upon 1911, but cannot be classed as more than fair.
- The question of an increase in the pay for horses is constantly advocated, and inmost cases with reason; to some it has been allowed I understand, consequently the concession exaggerates rather than allays the demand.
- In the care of horses, exception can be taken to the knowledge in possession of the officers and men, or else carelessness ruled in many camps, for the percentage of claims for disability was excessive.
- The question might here be asked whether there is full appreciation of their duties by Veterinary Officers; also the farriery service inquired into, appointments in which are filled by many totally unqualified for the work, and but little attention has so far been paid to any system of instruction along this line.
- Neither does sufficient care appear to be taken to save horses; the trot and gallop is often used when the walk would suffice, and units remain mounted when they should dismount. The necessities of active service should be practised in peace training.
- The saddlery can be improved by the issue of a stronger made head collar, both in manufacture and material; the present one is often found at fault.
- Five regiments are still in possession of the “universal” pattern saddles, which in one, at least, are unserviceable; in the others again there is a mixture of “universal” and “colonial,” a condition very undesirable. 106. The issue of a shorter rifle is called for by many, but the prevailing grievance is the present mode of carrying the one in general use.
- Several units were found short of such articles as rifle buckets, waistbelts, spurs, haversacks and clothing, which, it was reported, were not available for issue.
- The spirit throughout the mounted branch is quite good, and the desire exists in nearly every unit on being assembled to become efficient; during intervals however that commendable spirit relaxes, and the opportunity of gaining knowledge given by the presence of instructors has been often times neglected.
- The percentage of cavalry trained during the year was, Officers, 68 per cent; Men, 73 per cent; Horses, 71 per cent; and a fair estimate of the efficiency of the 38 cavalry units may be obtained from the following classification:—
- Being organized……….3.
- In general efficiency the Field Artillery appears to somewhat less advantage than usual.
- A falling off has occurred in gun practice, attributable to considerably more difficult ranges being used than heretofore.
- Of the 31 batteries detailed for training, all with the exception of five were brought to Petawawa for sixteen days, and therefore enabled to carry out the field training and gun practice concurrently. Of the remaining five units, two were assembled at Sewell under similar conditions, and one at Calgary, but without gun practice, while the 6th and 21st Batteries failed to respond at all.
- That the completion of the whole training at the one period is of the greatest possible advantage, there can be no doubt, and the only objection that can be made, is the expense and time entailed in bringing units from the long distances often incurred, such as those from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the east, and Winnipeg and Regina in the west; but with the acquisition of large local areas this obstacle would be avoided.
- The system of instruction employed at Petawawa, appeared to be most comprehensive and practical, introducing upon all occasions tactical situations on service conditions, and the importance of co-operation with other arms.
- The training of the 26 units at Petawawa within a period of six weeks proved a somewhat heavy strain upon the instructional staff, and it would seem necessary that means be taken to relieve such in view of a larger number appearing next year, and if the same standard of instruction is to be maintained.
- The horses were of a fair class, but not up to active service requirements.
- As in cavalry, complaint was made that the pay allowed for them is too small, and in certain localities doubtless difficulties are encountered in procuring good horses for the money.
- In horsemastership, weaknesses are apparent, if the large number of claims for disability are to be taken as a standard.
- The individual reports upon batteries show that in some, the harness and saddlery were not well cared for during training.
- Brigade Commanders have this year been much alive to their responsibilities.
- The personnel of Ammunition Columns were more in evidence; those however of the 4th, 7th and 11th Brigades did not train.
- A “brush up” course arranged for at the Royal School of Artillery, Kingston, was attended by only seven officers, a very regrettable result, as such a course is of great value and constantly asked for.
- The percentage of unqualified section commanders is also large.
- An opportunity was for the first time given to officers of cavalry and infantry to attend the gun practice at Petawawa, and taken advantage of by many to their evident interest and benefit. A continuation of the privilege is very desirable, and the appointment of an officer to specially accompany and explain the work of artillery in the field would further enhance its value.
- The provision of magaphones to each battery is strongly advocated as being a very necessary adjunct.
- Eight batteries arrived in camp without dial sights, and others wanting in aiming posts, fuze indicators, &c., and consequently a system of loaning had tobe established, a condition that in future should be guarded against.
- Instances of shortages in personal equipment not obtainable were noted.
- The percentage of Field Artillery trained was: Officers, 75 per cent; men, 84 per cent; horses, 91 per cent.
- In classifying the efficiency of the various batteries, the results below named may be taken as a fair indication:—
- Being organized…4.
- This year’s training of the heavy batteries of artillery has been an improvement over the last inasmuch as three units trained at Petawawa intact, though only for seven days, while two others did the four days practice, thus accounting for the whole of the arm as at present constituted.
- The gun practice was satisfactory, but the weak spots were many in other particulars; for instance, the knowledge of riding, driving and harness was very defective and a great detriment to efficiency, while the want of ability on the part of the specialists (gunlayers, range-takers and signallers) handicapped the Battery Commanders.
- The necessity for the full course of sixteen days at Petawawa, or a similar camp, is obvious.
- The several batteries are practically complete in establishment, the officers zealous and interested, the non-commissioned officers and men of a good type, save in some cases their youth, and the horses supplied equal to the requirements.
- The harness of both batteries of the 4th Brigade is old and unserviceable.
ARTILLERY: Moveable Armament.
- What formerly constituted the 3rd Heavy Brigade of three batteries, has now become moveable armament, and detachments from it attended the Petawawa Camp for four days’ gun practice with good results, in so far as that part of the training was concerned.
- The Regimental Staff and Company Majors were absent from the practice, two of the companies being under captains, and one in the hands of a subaltern. The recent re-organization of the regiment will likely account for these defects.
ARTILLERY: Coast Defence.
- The efficiency of the Coast Defence branch shows an improvement for
1912 over that of the previous year, and two of its units are in quite fair order.
- Difficulty is being found by the 6th Regiment in maintaining its present establishment, as only 30 per cent, of such came forward for technical training, the remainder being rated as indifferent infantry. A reduction in the strength of this unit seems desirable.
- The officers and men of this corps who attended for gun practice in the Halifax Forts, were quick to acquire and very zealous, but the time available, four days, was much too scant to permit of the attainment of a very high standard.
ARTILLERY: Siege Companies.
- The recent formation of the two Siege Companies at Mahone Bay and Montreal respectively, and the result of their training this year, have shown the difficulties attending their organization.
- The high standard of technical knowledge required from all ranks and the want of accommodation for equipment and stores, have proved somewhat of a handicap to the efficiency of these units.
- The training and gun practice were carried out at Halifax under the immediate supervision of the Royal School of Artillery.
- Since last year the organization of three Field Troops and four Field Companies has been effected, but none of them were in a sufficiently forward state to undergo this year’s training. Should success attend the formation of these new units, the efficiency of this arm will be materially increased.
- The majority of the already established units trained at Petawawa, and the general result proved very satisfactory. The locality undoubtedly furnishes at present the only suitable place available for the purpose.
- The introduction of wireless telegraphy into the syllabus this year was a forward step in training, and the 1st Field Troop furnished a personnel whose zeal and intelligence was quite equal to the demands made upon it. The further development of this branch is important, and the outcome of the experiment gives every hope for the attainment of proficiency in it.
- In the Field Companies a shortage of officers and men was observed, a condition difficult of remedy; otherwise there was every evidence of interest and progress.
- Instruction in mounted duties proved, however, deficient, owing to the scarcity of proper instructors.
- The absence of combined work with other units was very noticeable at Petawawa, and deserves attention.
- Better facilities for the instruction of engineer units in their armouries are required, in the form of models or mechanical apparatus, peculiar to the many technical services called for, efficiency in which can only be gained by frequent voluntary practice as opportunities may occur.
- The obstacles in the way of ensuring the training of No. 5 Field Company (Queen’s University), and the city section of No. 2 Company (Toronto University) at a camp of instruction, are unfortunate, and greatly limits the advantages to be gained from the best possible material.
CORPS OF GUIDES.
- The duties devolving upon the Corps of Guides, are being generally well carried out.
- Adequate accommodation though is wanting for such officers as are specially charged with the care and compilation of maps and records, consequently this service suffers.
- During the year a beginning was made towards the organization of mounted companies by the enrolment of small detachments, which were trained in each of the 1st, 2nd’ and 5th Divisions.
- It is satisfactory to find that a higher proportion of officers attended camps of instruction, or performed special work in lieu, than in any previous year; also that no less than eight of the corps are in possession of Military Staff Course certificates, whilst every officer is qualified for his present rank.
- Such keenness is satisfactory, though it has been noted with regret, the graduates from the Royal Military College, who have joined the corps under the provisions of para: 658,’ King’s Regulations and Orders, appear to evade their obligations as to training, and for this reason a doubt is created as to whether such a desirable source can be counted upon to fill vacancies.
- Great difficulties are incurred in procuring the horses necessary to the training at the current rates, and in nearly every instance an extra fee had to be paid, a cause for complaint.
- The folding blanket issued with the colonial saddle is found to be unworkable, and the provision of a rumnah instead asked for.
- My report on this arm is made under two distinct headings as the training conditions of City and Rural units differ in many respects.
- Following upon the initiation last year of the field training in camp for a few units of the City Corps, the system was this year extended to embrace all, and a unanimous response given, save in the cases of the 8lh,9th, 15th and 84th regiments.
- The time required for this training was fixed at five days, and in most instances that period was utilized, though a few corps gave three only, and as a Sunday was often included, the benefit accruing in such cases was necessarily very limited.
- The average strength of the Corps who actually attended this training was 40 per cent, but so much interest was shown as to warrant the expectation of decided improvement in this respect next year.
- The great point gained was the acknowledgment by all ranks that necessity existed for practice and experience in this particular direction, and as a further evidence of this may be cited the fact, that, notwithstanding attendance at camp, the city units of the 1st and 2nd Divisions took advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday for further tactical exercises.
- For the remaining part of their training carried out at local headquarters. City Corps in nearly all cases were up to, and in some few, over their establishments.
- The percentage of City Corps trained was: Officers, 90 per cent; men, 94 per cent; with a standing in the matter of efficiency as below:—
- Being organized……….2.
- Dealing with the efficiency of this class of units is a more difficult matter than any other, for the reason that so many adverse conditions exist, such as the widespread distribution of its personnel, and consequent difficulty of assembly for preliminary drill or lectures beforehand, the absence of armouries whereby a military spirit can be created, however small; the changing in one year of nearly the whole of the enrolled strength of units, and the short period for training, all tending to curb enthusiasm, interest and progress.
- The attendance of rural infantry units at camp was less than last year, the average being below 65 per cent.
- As before noted, an improvement was visible in this year’s training throughout the whole force, the infantry duly participating, but not to the extent to be wished for, and the reason may I think be traced to the weakness in the qualification of officers and non-commissioned officers.
- In administration also, much is lacking, the company and regimental records being as a rule very loosely looked after.
- Better attention to the care of arms is another matter which impresses one as a necessity.
- The percentage of Rural Corps trained was; Officers, 64 per cent; men, 65 per cent; and the rating may be classed as under:—
- Being organized Nil.
ARMY SERVICE CORPS.
- This branch of the service has somewhat fallen away during the year, and but six of the eighteen units composing it can be rated as good, a small proportion in a corps upon which so much depends.
- Its strength certainly has been increased by the resuscitation of two companies which had last year become disorganized, and the creation of four new companies, one only of which, however, was ready for use this year.
- That urgent action should be taken in bringing the weaker companies up to a better standard is quite plain.
- Shortages in equipment were observable, arising from inability to supply them from the proper quarter.
ARMY MEDICAL CORPS.
- The condition of the Army Medical Corps cannot be reported upon as favourably as in 1911, for while some few of its field units are no doubt in very good order, others have failed to come up to that standard, and in three or four cases must be rated so far below as to need reorganization. 176. All its authorized units are organized, with the personnel of officers as a rule complete, but the attendance of the latter fell short of expectations, indicating a want of their usual enthusiasm, though likely only of temporary duration.
- Additional units are required to complete the organization for mobilization purposes.
- The training of the Corps this year was carried out somewhat differently from the preceding one, in that while the larger number of units were detailed with other troops at the regular camps, some seven were assembled at London, Ont., for sixteen days, and underwent special instruction.
- This latter camp was very successful from an instructional point of view, partaking as it did of both technical and tactical conditions, but a doubt exists as to whether the loss of interest, and experience resulting from the absence of association with larger bodies of troops and consequent professional administration do not outweigh the advantages otherwise gained.
- The two General Hospitals underwent training and were found in good order.
- The sanitary conditions supervised by the corps in all camps were most satisfactory.
ARMY VETERINARY CORPS.
- The organization of the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps has been somewhat tardy, as the change from old to new conditions naturally presents difficulties which require careful consideration. Apparent trouble arises in obtaining officers to complete the establishment, and many units in camp were therefore without veterinary aid.
- The non-permanent branch of this corps recently authorized, was not ready to render assistance this year. Its services will be found of much value when available.
- This useful auxiliary for the formation of which authority was given last year, appeared on duty at the recent camps of instruction for the first time, and proved equal to its functions, in so far as energy and intelligence were concerned.
- Its facilities for proper administration were not always equal to the requirements.
SUPPLY AND TRANSPORT.
- The question of supply was fully gone into at each camp of instruction visited and while the quality and quantity of the rations issued were found to be good and sufficient, in fact almost profuse, I am of the opinion that economy and better service may be secured by a few changes in the quantity and variety of the articles now provided.
- From the large quantities of bread and meat to be seen in the garbage pits, the impression received is that in both items the issue is too great.
- Again it is questionable whether bacon is an article much desired in June or July weather.
- On the other hand no issue of rice, dried fruits, cereals, or condensed milk is made, all articles suitable to a warm season; wholesome, strengthening, and pleasant to the palate,
- The want of small regimental ice chests is much felt, as considerable butter is wasted for lack of proper means of keeping it, even for the few hours necessary.
- Many complaints were made me respecting the railway service provided for men and horses, in moving to and from camps of instruction.
- These complaints covered the following:—
- Unpunctuality and delays en route.
- (b) Provision of cattle cars for conveyance of horses.
- (c) Dirty and dangerous condition of such cars when delivered.
- The unpunctuality in leaving and arriving, with delays en route, apparently were very numerous, although in some cases I am inclined to think that the railway authorities were not always to blame, as the tardiness of officers and men in arriving at stations, with the absence of staff officers at main points to supervise entrainment, and confer with the railway executive, was no doubt a factor contributing to the trouble.
- As a rule however, the facilities for the transport of troops by rail cannot be claimed as equal to the necessity or cost.
- In the transport of horses, the only safe means is by the palace horse car, but as the number of these is very restricted, the freight and cattle car become the usual mode. In neither of these can horses be fed or watered, while in the one little or no ventilation occurs, and in the other there is so much as to become dangerous.
- As to the condition in which cattle cars have been furnished for the conveyance of horses, cases can be cited in which they were fetlock deep in dirt, and again where the prevalence of nails existed.
- This question of transport is a vital one, and calls for early attention.
- Progress continues to be made in this branch, and there is evidence that system and energy are being used to bring the signalling service up to the required standard.
- Good and efficient work by the Canadian Signalling corps for the year can be reported. All the officers and non-commissioned officer instructors have discharged their duties at the various camps of instruction very creditably.
- Touching upon the signalling service of units of the Permanent Force, from reports received so far, the results are disappointing, and little interest appears to be taken.
- With regard to the signalling sections included in the establishments of units of the Active Militia, special facilities were afforded during the year for their education.
- Classes of instruction were held at different centres, and their advantages extended to the Cadet Service with good results, a number of the latter attaining a high standard of qualification.
- Up to the present time the certificate awards have been as follows:—
Active Militia 27 Officers. 245 non-commissioned officers and men.
- with the probability of a considerable increase by the end of the year.
- Classification by Divisions reveals the 4th as still very weak, with the 3rd closely following; in the same direction. Both call for the attention of the Divisional Staff and Signaller officers concerned.
- There is almost a complete absence of interest in signalling in so far as the cavalry regiments are concerned; with very few exceptions the appointment of Signalling Officer remains vacant, likewise signallers of any ability, and the deficiency calls for remedy.
- Neither can the artillery signallers be considered as having made desirable progress; sections are organized, but their work is, save in a few units, indifferent.
- The reports upon signalling sections of rural infantry indicate a decided improvement, in so far as the numbers trained and progress towards fitness for manoeuvre.
- In concluding my remarks under this heading, I would direct attention to the following defects and suggestions.
- Due care is not exercised in the selection of the personnel of sections in camps of instruction, as some sent from units could neither read nor write. This may astonish, but it is a fact, and an example of the indifference of some officers to the importance of the service.
- Provision of a special signalling equipment for use in connection with the instruction of cadets, and thus relieve difficulties now experienced through physical inability of the boys to handle the 2×2 flag with a 3 ft. 6 in. pole.
- The early attachment of Cadet signallers to Militia units.
- The musketry training at camps of instruction during the year was carried out on the following lines:—
- Preliminary instruction by means of tripods.
- Sub-target rifles.
- Miniature targets where available.
- Service ammunition.
- The full course prescribed for the last named was 42 rounds, but in few cases was more than the number required to qualify for efficiency pay (14) fired, owing to the lack of time and target accommodation.
- The entire absence of service targets at Goderich Camp entailed the sole use of the miniature range, at which 25 rounds per man was expended, a condition perhaps better than nothing, but at best unsatisfactory.
- Until lately the absence of regimental instructors has been a great want, but these are now coming forward, thanks to the establishment and extension of the School of Musketry.
- It is however the lack of time and target facilities that still stare us in the face, conditions which materially neutralize the improved means of instruction.
- Fully two-thirds of the force appear in camp without any idea whatever of the first principles of shooting, and are rushed in a few hours from one subject of the syllabus to another, finishing on the service range, upset and confused, to fire fifteen or twenty rounds.
- Preliminary training must be gradual, and the company or battalion armoury the best place to acquire it.
- Reviewing the whole question of the musketry instruction of the force for many years past, it cannot be said that any real efficiency can be looked for unless better means are provided for its prosecution. As at present conducted in camps of instruction, it fails entirely in its object.
- The amount of efficiency pay based on musketry was reduced for this year’s training to 15 cents per day on a qualification of 42 points at 100 and 200 yards, while the regular pay was increased.
- It was not observed that this redistribution of the pay earned had any adverse effect on the interest taken, which after all, in the majority of camps, is perfunctory.
- It is to be regretted that two or three cases of attempted bribery of markers or register keepers were discovered during the training, and a larger number of impersonations.
- The returns giving a summary of the results of the practice for 1912, show a slight improvement over that of 1911, which is satisfactory in so far as it goes.
- In the Permanent Corps the paucity of quarters for officers and men necessitates much absence from their units, and has a strong tendency towards reducing the standard of discipline which should predominate in that body, and prove an example to the Active Militia.
- The laxness referred to in my last report with respect to the Active Militia still continues in evidence and needs attention.
- The discipline of a unit is greatly affected by the capability in that particular of its senior officers, and in many cases it cannot be disguised that the responsibility for much of the existing weaknesses can be traced to such causes.
- Another salient feature in this connection is the appointment of non-commissioned officers without qualification, as noted under “Active Militia (General)” para : 83. The evident deficient appreciation and knowledge of their duties is productive of anything but obedience and respect.
- The absence of officers and men from parades without permission or reason; the large number of officers absent from training without leave as quoted under “Active Militia (General)” page 20, para. 82, with the irregular observance of the dress, and general carelessness in the administration of regulations, are all factors prejudicial to discipline.
BOOKS AND RECORDS.
- In the course of my inspections due attention was given to the books and records of units and departments, with the result that in the permanent service a fair general efficiency was found, and though cases of carelessness or oversight were often brought to light, they were easily and quickly adjusted.
- The records prescribed by the governing regulations of the Canadian Permanent Army Service Corps, and Canadian Ordnance Corps, are so numerous, that the constant supervision of the responsible head in each Division or District is necessary, otherwise omissions occur, as will have been noted in my separate reports.
- In rural units of the Active Militia, there are still to be found those to whom a complete issue of books (office and personal) has not yet been made, the excuse given being that they could not be obtained from the Divisional Office.
- I cannot think that the inspection of books and records is as close as it should be, and accountable in a measure for much of the indifference shown in their proper maintenance.
- To remedy the absence of records generally visible in camps of instruction, an observation calling attention to the fact in the usual “Memorandum of Instruction for Annual Training” might assist.
ARMS, EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING.
- The present provision for the accommodation and proper care of arms and equipment being notably deficient, it is a necessity that issues should not be made until the means of security are available; this applies particularly to artillery stores, whose cost is so great and good care so essential.
- In the care of stores, lack of attention shows itself much too often, and a not uncommon occurrence is to find arms, clothing and equipment of units relieved from training, lying about in tangled and dirty masses weeks afterwards. A little more attention on the part of responsible officers would bring a remedy.
- The care of arms and saddlery in camps of instruction is also open to criticism.
- There is a great variety in description of the rifles in the hands of troops, preventing simplicity of musketry instruction, while the situation of the sight not being uniform in the different marks or patterns, or often in those of the same issue, creates difficulties in the endeavour to set sights alike.
- The absence of a handy method of carrying the rifle in mounted units gives rise to inconvenience and interferes with efficiency.
- The problem of boots is, since the practice of more manoeuvre, assuming increased importance; the foot gear generally found in rural corps is by no means up to the mark, and the wearers are often rendered unfit to carry out the training through disability arising there from.
- In clothing much diversity prevails in the shade of the tartan issues, and objection can often be taken to the fit, also at times the material itself.
- The need of closer attention to the quality and price of the articles classed and issued to permanent units as “necessaries” was forced upon me during some of my inspections, as I had complaints under both these headings made me, and for which verification was obtained.
- An irregularity that appears likely to lead to imposition is that wherein articles of clothing and equipment on charge to units become depleted through their acquisition by individuals upon the understanding that they will be replaced by new articles; thus private possession is obtained at reduced cost.
- Some progress is being made in the provision of that much needed adjunct or home for the military unit, the Armoury, thirty-one of such being erected this year; but as an almost equal number of new units have been authorized an alleviation of the situation can hardly be claimed.
- The want of armouries is now almost entirely restricted to units of rural corps and if such are to be maintained at even a semblance of efficiency, the provision is most urgent.
- The presence in a town or village of a respectable looking building, properly fitted and devoted to military purposes, at once draws attention to the fact that the neighbourhood has a duty to perform in the direction of defence, and creates an interest and desire on the part of the younger element to meet the obligation, to say nothing of the protection and care of the stores which the general public is called upon to supply.
- Rented buildings for use as armouries do not prove a success; their construction and accommodation are invariably deficient, while being a makeshift they do not appeal to the enthusiasm of the unit concerned.
- Proper fittings of a convenient and commodious nature form an important factor in an armoury, and many instances occur where arms and equipment remain in cases, and cannot receive the attention due them, because the arrangements are wanting.
- If in the erection of armouries the fittings are so arranged as to give ample room for the full complement of arms and equipment necessary to a unit at war strength much trouble and expense will be saved in the future.
- The selection of sites for these buildings is worthy of attention, bearing as it does on the convenience of the personnel of the unit.
- In the administration of armouries generally, there appears room for improvement.
- The distribution of fire apparatus is in places defective, and in other localities absent.
- The neglect of long standing repairs is not uncommon.
- The regulations prescribe that the keys of all rooms, or duplicates, should be in possession of the senior or chief caretaker, but this rule is not complied with in all cases.
- In the engagement and number of government employees, no definite regulations exist, and consequently some individuals and buildings are overpaid and overstaffed in comparison with others of equal responsibilities and size. This service does not appear to be on a proper basis.
- The distribution of government and private caretakers in the same building does not work well; a friction constantly arises as to division of work, and only in one case have I found satisfactory results attain.
- Under this heading I cannot report any progress during the year towards the acquisition of larger areas for training grounds, and without which it is futile to suppose that any real efficiency can be attained in tactics and manoeuvre over ground only capable of use for drill movements as now the rule.
- The question of artillery ranges is also embraced, and until suitable sites are obtained, time and money will be spent unnecessarily in bringing units from the extreme East and West to the only ground available, viz., Petawawa, or else forego the practice so indispensable to units of that arm.
- Such ranges in the Maritime Provinces and Manitoba or Saskatchewan, would pay their cost in a very few years in the saving of the transport now entailed by units going to Petawawa, putting aside the time gained.
- Petawawa, our only suitable training ground, is proving of increased advantage each year, and though so far only used by units of the cavalry, artillery and engineers, the infantry of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Divisions might, until more extensive areas are available, be sent there with advantage in place of Niagara, Kingston and Three Rivers, all of which are ridiculously contracted for the purpose.
- The sites at Aldershot, N.S., and Levis, P.Q., are well adapted for camping and drill purposes, but very restricted for manoeuvre, while Niagara, Kingston, Three Rivers and Farnham present no training advantages of any description.
- For the troops of the 1st Division, the camp has been alternating between London and Goderich, neither place affording suitable accommodation.
- The cramped and dispiriting influence produced upon troops endeavouring to carry out manoeuvre schemes upon contracted areas, has anything but a good effect, and I cannot too strongly urge the necessity for the provision of proper training grounds in each Division, nor the losses which delay will produce.
- An addition to the number of rifles ranges to the extent of four has been effected this year, and three more are under construction. Yet here again as in the case of new armouries, the increase of units leaves us as far short of this military requirement as ever.
- The existing ranges are as a rule in good order, though in a few I found the natural wear and tear was not being attended to, giving cause for complaint on the part of those most interested in their efficient maintenance.
- In more than one locality, I also found that after the expenditure of quite large sums in the installation, little or no use was made of the range owing to the difficulties in reaching them, notably at Sydney, C.B.; and again at Woodstock, N.B., the building of a railway line through or close by the ranges will soon render them useless. At Brantford, Ont., the range is situated upon the fiats of the Grand River, and becomes unserviceable through flooding, during the early part of the season, while that at Three Rivers is unsafe by the existence of a highway nearby.
- Many large centres are still without any accommodation, and it is needless to remark upon the necessity for urgency in their provision.
- On not even our best ranges do facilities exist for practice at unknown distances and varied targets, conditions which could be obtained with increased training areas.
- The Military and Cadet Rifle Associations are now fairly well distributed throughout the country, and the increased attendance at the Dominion, Provincial and Regimental matches, would indicate a growing interest in rifle shooting.
- Last year I recorded my doubt as to the general benefit arising from the large expenditure entailed through the organization of civilian rifle associations, and I have since had no reason to change my opinion.
- Among the large number of such associations now authorized, but few can be classed as in good order.
- Practices are irregular, attendance small, and the proper expenditure of ammunition I fear questionable.
- Far better results would obtain were these associations excluded from centres in which militia or cadet units exist, and the expense thus saved turned over to the latter for their better supervision and instruction.
BARRACKS AND STOREHOUSES.
- Our requirements in the form of suitable and convenient quarters and stabling for the Permanent Corps have lately been relieved in the latter case by the provision of stables and an infirmary at Kingston. Both at Kingston and Toronto, however, troops still remain in congested and unsanitary barracks.
- At Calgary it is not possible to quarter the much required Royal School of Cavalry, and “B”‘ Squadron of the “Lord Strathcona’s Horse” for want of accommodation.
- Nor have the proposed barracks at Montreal yet been taken in hand.
- The absence of married quarters at all stations militates against good administration, discipline and economy.
- Further facilities for recreation purposes are also needed for the soldier in his spare time.
- An even greater need than barracks, however, prevails, and that is the provision of storehouses in which to properly house and care for the many valuable stores of all descriptions necessary to the upkeep of our military forces.
- The large quantity of stores on charge at our Ordnance Depots call for constant attention, especially at Halifax, Montreal and Toronto; yet in practically every instance the buildings available fall far short of the requirements for the methodical and ready classification of articles found in a private establishment, or the exigencies of our service.
- The congestion from lack of room and dangers from deterioration, as well as from fire at the last named place, present themselves most forcibly.
- The premises on Melville Island (Halifax), now used as a military prison, offer facilities for storage which might be used to advantage without interfering with the interests of discipline.
- The Fortresses of Halifax and Quebec were found in good order throughout, and while no fault could be found in the condition of the armament and works at Esquimau, little or no attention was being paid to the regulations respecting the admission of strangers within the works.
- The works at Levis are still incomplete.
- Last year my remarks upon this subject expressed the intention of dealing with it in a separate report, but opportunity has not presented itself, and the duration of my time in office now precludes the possibility of more than a few observations in a general way.
- No doubt the question is receiving due attention by the Staff specially appointed at Militia Headquarters for the purpose, and the scheme so far as the apportionment of units, and composition of Divisions, as well as the allotment of centres for mobilization, prepared.
- Hinging on this scheme we shall be face to face with numerous and serious deficiencies which must be met before practicability is at all possible, and although those I now intend referring to have all more or less been remarked upon under preceding headings of this report, I feel it my duty to here urge in the strongest manner, the consideration and action they deserve, for the sooner the attention, the more rapid and effective strides will be made for the conversion of our force into an organized means of defence.
- In the first place we are far short of the number of units, chiefly technical branches, requisite to complete Divisional organization, and in the formation of which, attention to mobilization requirements should predominate rather than the desire to meet the wishes of localities or individuals, and thereby involve expenditure that will not meet the necessity.
- The provision of accommodation for the arms and equipment of all branches of the service up to war strength at local centres is imperative, to say nothing of a reserve, and one that should never be omitted in connection with construction of new, or enlargement of the older armouries and store houses.
- At present the many examples of inadequate facilities to meet storage requirements of even equipment for the peace establishment enlarges the deficiency.
- In this same connection a uniformity in the establishment of units to war strength is very desirable, both from the views of present education and future simplicity in mobilization.
- Coming to the question of arms and equipment, I found little or no thought yet given mobilization requirements, nor any evidence of an estimate to meet such demands, except as regards certain ammunition.
- Regarding the subject of remounts and transport, much is to be accomplished in this direction.
- An issue of regulations governing the “Provision of Horses and Transport on Mobilization,” has been made, but little yet done to put them into practice, consequently I must again suggest the indispensability of the service, and that the progress of the scheme be brought to a condition of use should circumstances demand.
- The compilation of military intelligence is to be urged, as much prearranged data would at once be called into use in event of any concentration of troops for service.
- Our true condition in event of mobilization is, under existing conditions, certain to result in delay and confusion to say the very least.
MILITARY TRAINING AT UNIVERSITIES.
- I cannot report that the prosecution of military instruction in our universities has made any material advance during the year.
- Schemes have been drawn up and discussed with a view to the organization of “Officers’ Training Corps,” a most desirable and necessary addition to our military system of education, but no definite results have yet accrued, although it may be claimed that both at McGill and Toronto Universities, the question has been seriously thought of, yet for various reasons very little real progress made.
- It does seem a pity that the services of such a valuable asset to the betterment of our militia force, as the students of universities trained in military acquirements would prove, cannot be brought within reach.
- That the right spirit exists among them has already been proved through their presence in two of our Engineer units, drawn from “Queen’s” and “Toronto.”
- The training of Cadet Corps during the year has received a decided impetus through the appointment of special officers in each Division and District, charged with the supervision and development of this organization.
- The “qualification of a large number of teachers as cadet instructors is a further satisfactory evidence of extension in the movement, and commendation is due them for the capability and enthusiasm displayed.
- Increasing interest in musketry is visible, and the high standard of shooting achieved by cadets at the recent meetings of the Dominion and Provincial Rifle Matches, is the strongest possible evidence of what encouragement in this direction can produce.
- Facilities for participation in field days with local militia, and instruction in signalling will both be found of material advantage in stimulating the acquisition of military knowledge by our youth.
- The prosecution of the necessary drill during school hours, in place of afterwards would tend to increase attendance at these exercises.
- The administration of discipline by captains of cadet companies, who are constantly changing, is not as a rule what it should be, and the immediate control of units by cadet instructors offers a better solution.
- The wearing of the same badges by officers of cadets corps as by those of the militia, causes difficulty in recognition, and the substitution of bars on the collar appears a more suitable distinction.
- In concluding my report, I trust that I shall not be thought egotistical by alluding to my long and active connection with the Canadian Militia, during which it has been my privilege, luck or fate, to have served in every military capacity from the lowest to the highest rank, and taken part in every incident of its struggles, both peace and active service.
- My reason for thus placing my services in the limelight, is solely for the purpose of establishing a claim to experience that will more or less vindicate the various criticisms made in the course of my previous remarks, and enables me to form an intelligent idea of the present condition and fitness of the force for the purposes of its organization and maintenance, viz., the defence of this country.
- From the conditions I have recorded there can remain no doubt as to our many weaknesses and utter inability to ensure without [immediate remedy, anything like a properly organized or even tentative scheme of protection.
- The fact that neither the public nor the members of the force itself, takes the militia seriously, is perhaps our greatest handicap; otherwise the provision of money by the former for the necessary arms, equipment and buildings would be easily obtained, and concurrently the want of discipline and qualification of the latter immediately provided.
- That a country with resources the envy of the world, and a people possessed of energy, intelligence and the best of physique, can delay and procrastinate in the establishment of a strong and effective barrier to aggrandizement, must appear a marvel to any one with a knowledge of human nature, who bestows even a casual thought to the situation.
- I have the honour to be, Sir,
- Your obedient servant,
- W. D. OTTER,
- Major-General, Inspector-General.