Canada’s “Active Militia” Annual Militia Council Report, Ending March 31st, 1908.

  • 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, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, &c, &c, Governor-General and Commander in-Chief of the Dominion 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 fiscal year ending March 31, 1908.

  • Respectfully submitted, F. W. BORDEN, Minister of Militia and Defence. Department of Militia and Defence, Ottawa, January 10, 1909.


  1. The present report which covers the period of the fiscal year 1907-8, comprises the usual annual resume of the work of the militia, with the exception of the annual training performed during the period under review. The results of that training and the remarks of the Militia Council thereon were published a few months ago in the form of an interim report, which is appended hereto for purposes of reference, (Appendix E.)



                                                                                                   IMPERIAL CONFERENCE.

  1. Matters of great importance affecting the military policy of the Dominion were discussed at the Imperial conference held in London in the spring of 1907″. The minutes of the proceedings have been published, as well as the papers which were laid before the conference.
  2. Four of these papers were proposed by the Army Council for discussion. They were documents of exceptional interest, and dealt with military defence under the following headings:—

(a) The strategical conditions of the Empire from the military point of view;

(b) The possibility of assimilating war organization throughout the Empire;

(c) Patterns and provisions of equipment and stores for colonial forces;

(d) The desirability that the colonial governments should give their orders for ordnance stores, particularly arms and ammunition, through the War Office.

  1. It may here be recorded that the following resolution was passed, unanimously:—

That this conference welcomes and cordially approves the exposition of the general principles embodied in the statement of the Secretary of State for War, and, without wishing to commit any of the governments represented, recognizes and affirms the need of developing for the service of the Empire a general staff, selected from the forces of the Empire as a whole, which shall study military science in all its branches, shall collect and disseminate to the various governments military information and intelligence, shall undertake the preparation of schemes of defence on a common principle, and, without in the least interfering in questions connected with command and administration, shall, at the request of their respective governments, advise as to the training, education, and war organization of the military forces of the Crown in every part of the Empire.’

  1. The Chief of the General Staff was in attendance on the Honourable the Minister, and at informal meetings held at the War office it was found possible to discuss and determine questions which had long been outstanding.


                                                                                                          MILITARY POLICY.

  1. In Canada, during the period under review, no important changes in military policy were inaugurated.
  2. The organization of Military District No. 13 was carried into effect, Lieut.-Colonel and Honorary Colonel S. B. Steele, C.B., M.Y.O., being appointed to the command.
  3. In the several commands and districts the principle of decentralization was extended to the administration of engineer services.
  4. In furtherance of the policy of the interchange of officers between the mother country and the overseas dominions, the command of the 5th Infantry Brigade at Aldershot, England, was offered by the Army Council to Brigadier-General W. D. Otter, C.Y.O., C.B. His services, however, were required in Canada, and the offer, though much appreciated, had to be declined.
  5. Under the agreement entered into with the governments of India and Australia, for an interchange of officers, the following changes occurred:—Lieut.-Colonel O. B. F. S. Shore, D.S.O., Indian army, was permitted to remain in Canada for a second year, his place in India being taken by Lieut. W. H. P. Elkins, Royal Canadian Artillery; and Capt. J. H. Elmsley, Royal Canadian Dragoons, who had been attached to the Indian army for one year, returned to duty with his regiment. Lieut. J. H. MacBrien, Royal Canadian Dragoons, proceeded to Australia to be attached to the Australian permanent forces, Lieut. O. K. Griffiths, Royal Australian Artillery, taking his place in Canada; and Lieut. E. E. Clairmonte, Royal Canadian Artillery, returned from Australia.


                                                                                              MOBILIZATION AND DEEENCE.

  1. Advantage was taken of the visit of the 1st cruiser squadron to Halifax, N.S., to obtain expert naval opinion regarding certain matters connected with the defence of that fortress, and thanks are due to Captain Sir Robert Arbuthnot, Bart., M.V.O., H.M.S. Hampshire, for a very valuable report drawn up under his direction.
  2. Questions connected with the military situation both at home and abroad were carefully studied; the general scheme of defence was, in part, amended; and the allotment of units to field forces and garrisons revised and brought up to date.
  3. Special attention was directed to mobilization, the process by which an armed force passes from a peace to a war footing. The problem to solve is how to prepare for the field, at short notice, a first line of about 100,000 men, and how, concurrently, to raise, train and equip a second line of the same or similar strength. Many difficulties have yet to be surmounted before a satisfactory solution can be reached.
  4. The militia, for example, has just entered upon a period of re-armament, which, because it is a period of weakness, should be traversed with the utmost speed. On the other hand, the cost of re-armament is considerable and it must be distributed over a length of time. These conflicting conditions cannot be avoided.
  5. Again, the first line is defective in composition, in that it does not include a due proportion of combatant units and subsidiary services, and it is weak both in artillery and in engineers. These defects cannot at once be remedied, but the knowledge of their existence is being borne in mind in determining future policy.
  6. But perhaps the most pressing of present requirements is the provision of the additional equipment which would be required by first line troops on receipt of an order to mobilize ; and this ‘ mobilization equipment,’ as it is termed, needs not only to be provided, but, also, to be decentralized.
  7. Steps are being taken in the required direction, but delay is unavoidable. Meanwhile it would be wrong to conceal the fact that the progress of mobilization would be hampered by difficulties connected with the issue of equipment, and, though time might be a consideration of vital importance, a long interval would elapse before even first line troops could turn out fully equipped for service in the field.
  8. Moreover the nation’s military responsibilities are growing; their growth cannot be arrested. Owing to the astonishing developments which have taken place in the four western provinces, something better than a system of isolated organizations is becoming more and more necessary, and with a view to increasing the militia forces in that section, the policy outlined in a memorandum prepared by the military members of the Militia Council, in 1905, and laid before Parliament in the session of that year, has been carefully followed, though for financial and other reasons expansion has been slower than was anticipated.
  9. In short a great deal remains to be done, more than it is possible to do at present. But, though progress has not been so fast as may appear desirable from a purely military point of view, it has nevertheless been steady, consistent and continuous.



  1. During the year an increased interest in musketry was generally observed. The officers and men better realized that an adequate knowledge of the rifle was as essential to efficiency, as any other branch of training, if not more so.
  2. The free issue of sub-target rifle machines to rifle associations and cadet corps was authorized and issues were made. These machines were also extensively used by the militia generally, and appreciation of them was more marked. Recruits, who were unable to hit the target at 100 yards, were, after a short practice with these machines, able to make creditable scores at much longer ranges.
  3. Company armouries, where instructions can be carried on with sub-target rifle machines and gallery ammunition before the men go to camp, are urgently needed.
  4. Regulations requiring a minimum standard of efficiency in musketry, before men could draw efficiency pay, were promulgated in March, 1907, and the result was eminently satisfactory from a training point of view. All possible facilities for acquiring knowledge of the rifle and of aiming were supplied, including, in most cases, a sufficient number of qualified instructors. Where men failed to qualify, the fault was to be largely attributed to the carelessness of their own officers and themselves.
  5. The employment of men from the Permanent Force as markers and register keepers quite justified the expenditure. In many cases these men, while acting as register keepers, were also most useful instructors.
  6. More systematic preliminary musketry instruction in camps of training was carried out than heretofore. This was done without material increase of expenditure and it is believed that greater efficiency has been secured, although it cannot be said that the musketry training is yet entirely satisfactory. A number of units authorized to train at local headquarters practically did no musketry owing to lack of range facilities.


                                                                                                       RIFLE ASSOCIATIONS.

  1. Rifle associations largely increased in membership, the numbers and membership

being as follows:—

Number. Membership.

Military Rifle Associations – Members…130…Membership……..14,870.

Civilian Rifle Associations………”…………..367……….”………………….22,718.

Grand Total……………………………..”………….497………..”…………………37,588.

  1. The above figures show an increase of eighty military associations and twentythree civilian, and in members, of 3,584.
  2. These associations were carefully inspected and on the whole, are doing good work.




  1. The garrison signalling classes were well attended and showed good results. 247 officers, non-commissioned officers and men were granted certificates. This number is far in excess of any previous year.
  2. As a result of the practical instruction given at Petawawa, the Permanent Force signallers showed more confidence and initiative at the annual inspection. Still there is considerable room for improvement, and this can only be brought about by the interest exercised by the officers commanding the units, who are responsible for proficiency in this as in any other military duty.


                                                                                                       SIGNALLING CORPS.

  1. The new Signalling Establishments, authorized by General Order No. 58, 1907, had the effect of giving greater permanency and efficiency to the signalling sections, and are a great improvement upon the old method of drawing from companies. Since their authorization, 20 officers have been appointed Signalling Lieutenants, and by the end of the year 1909, every unit throughout the Dominion should be organized and equipped.
  2. All officers of the Signalling Corps, with one exception, are qualified, and the majority of the non-commissioned officers and men of the district sections hold certificates; this is very satisfactory. The high standard of efficiency attained by this corps and the valuable work done by the members in training the militia at the camps of instruction, clearly show that volunteer troops, imbued with the right spirit, may attain a standard in technical and scientific work that would be a credit to permanent troops.




  1. The marks allowed for signalling in the Ceneral Efficiency Competition proved a great incentive for a keen and healthy competition in signalling among artillery units. No. 3 Battery, 2nd Regiment, Canadian Artillery, Montreal, stood first; 13th Field Battery, Canadian Artillery, Winnipeg, Man., second, and No. 1 Company, 3rd Regiment, Canadian Artillery, St. John, N.B., third.


Signalling Corps.

  1. No. 3 Section, Kingston, Chit., stood first in the district sections, with No. 12, Charlottetown, second, and No. 8 at St. John, N.B., third.


City and Rural Corps.

  1. The 77th Wentworth Regiment (a rural corps) headed the list again, the 8th Regiment “Royal Rifles” being second, and the 66th Regiment “Princess Louise Fusiliers,” third.
  2. The rural corps generally showed considerable improvement over previous years, and, at the several camps, the following corps were first and second, respectively, in the order named:—
  • Niagara, Ont.: 77th Wentworth Regiment; 25th Regiment.
  • Kingston, Ont.: 5th “Princess Louise Dragoon Guards”; 47th Frontenac Regiment.
  • Granby, P.Q.: 7th Hussars ; 13th Scottish Light Dragoons.
  • Three Rivers, P.Q.: 64th Chateauguay and Boauharnois Regiment; 80th Nicolet Regiment.
  • London, Ont.: 30th Regiment “Wellington Rifles” ; 26th Regiment ” Middlesex Light Infantry.”
  • Levis, P.Q. : 92nd Dorchester Regiment; 61st Regiment de Montmagny.
  • Sussex, N.B. : 74th Regiment “The Brunswick Rangers”; 67th Regiment “Carleton Light Infantry.”
  • Brighton, P.E.I. : 82nd ” Abegweit Light Infantry ” Regiment.
  • Aldershot, N.S.: 78th Colchester, Hants and Pictou Regiment “Highlanders”; 69th Annapolis Regiment.
  • Petawawa, Ont.: 56th Grenville Regiment “Lisgar Rifles”; 42nd Lanark and Renfrew Regiment.


                                                                                                              CADET CORPS.

  1. The signalling section of the Mount St. Louis Cadets, Montreal, deserves special mention. St. Andrews’ Highland Cadets, Kingston, are organizing and two members are in possession of certificates.


                                                              ACTIVE MILITIA (OTHER THAN THE PERMANENT FORCE).


  1. The establishments for the Active Militia, other than the Permanent Force, were authorized early in April, 1907, and during the year the following changes took place:—


  • Three squadrons were organized in Oxford county.
  • One additional squadron was added to the 12th Manitoba Dragoons, with headquarters at Reston, Manitoba.
  • The 18th Mounted Rifles (4 squadrons) was organized, with one squadron already authorized as a nucleus.
  • The Saskatchewan Light Horse (2 squadrons) was organized, with headquarters at Saskatoon, Sask., and Lloydminster, Sask.
  • Three independent squadrons of the Canadian Mounted Rifles were organized, with headquarters at Estevan, Man., Carnduff, Man., and Carlyle, Man.
  • A, B, C and E Squadrons of the Canadian Mounted Rifles were organized as the 19th Alberta Mounted Rifles.


The 25th Battery Canadian Field Artillery was organized at Lethbridge.


The 22nd Regiment at Woodstock, Ontario, was re-organized as a four company regiment (city corps).

Medical Services—

The in, VI and XIII Field Ambulances were organized as Cavalry Ambulances.



  1. The provision of permanent regimental adjutants and sergeants-major to assist in the administration of the larger units of the Active Militia, in consequence of the increased duties falling upon commanding officers, is under consideration.



  1. The following changes in the Headquarters, Command and District Staffs took place during the period covered by this report:—


  • Brigadier-General Lord Aylmer, Inspector-General, was retired on a pension.
  • Colonel B. H. Vidal, Adjutant-General, was appointed in his stead, and it is with great regret that the Militia Council have to record the death of that officer in March, 1908, a few months after he had taken up his new duties. His death is a serious loss to the Militia.
  • Colonel F. L. Lessard, C.B., A.D.C., was appointed Adjutant-General vice Colonel B. H. Vidal.
  • Major G. S. Maunsel, Royal Canadian Engineers, Assistant Director of Engineer Services was appointed Director of Engineer Services to replace Lieutenant- Colonel Paul Weatherbe, appointed to the command of the Royal Canadian Engineers at Halifax; Captain P. H. French, Royal Engineers, being appointed Assistant Director in his stead. Upon the latter officer vacating the position of Assistant Director in March, 1908, on completing his period of service with the Canadian forces, Captain M. St. L. Simon, Royal Canadian Engineers, was appointed to fill the vacancy, for a period of two years.
  • Major H. C. Thacker, Royal Canadian Artillery, was appointed Director of Artillery vice Colonel E. W. Rutherford, Royal Canadian Artillery, upon the latter officer’s appointment to the command of the Royal School of Artillery and as Inspector of Artillery, vice Colonel J. F. Wilson who was retired on a pension.
  • Major D. I. V. Eaton, Royal Canadian Artillery, vacated the appointment of Assistant Director of Operations and Staff Duties, and was appointed to the vacant position of Director of Training; his former position being left vacant.
  • Major C. F. Winter, Governor General’s Foot Guards and of the Civil Staff of the Chief of the General Staff, was appointed Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General.
  • Lieutenant-Colonels J. B. Donaldson, Director of Clothing and Equipment, and V.B. Rivers, specially employed, and Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel R. Cartwright, C.M.G., Assistant Adjutant-General for Musketry, were retired on a pension.
  • Lieutenant-Colonel R. K Scott, D.S.O., A.O.D., on loan from the Imperial Government for a period of two years, was appointed Director of Clothing and Equipment vice Lieutenant-Colonel J. B. Donaldson, and also Principal Ordnance Officer.
  • Honorary Captain W. Hallick, A.O.D., on loan from the Imperial Government, was appointed Commissary of Ordnance for duty at Headquarters.



Western Ontario Command:—

Captain W. B. Lindsay, Royal Canadian Engineers, was detailed to perform the duties of Command Engineer.


Eastern Ontario Command:—

Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel V. A. S. Williams, A.D.C., Royal Canadian Dragoons, vacated the appointment of Chief Staff Officer, Eastern Ontario, and Brevet Lieutenant-

Colonel T. D. R. Hemming, Royal Canadian Regiment, was appointed in his stead.


Quebec Command:—

Major A. d’Orsonnens, Reserve of Officers, resigned the appointment of Acting

District Staff Adjutant, Military District No. 7. Brevet Captain W. L. de M. Carey, Royal Engineers, on loan from the Imperial Government for a period of two years, was appointed to the Royal Canadian Engineers and detailed to perform the duties of Command Engineer.


Maritime Provinces Command:—

  • Lieutenant-Colonel M. Maclaren, Army Medical Corps, was appointed Principal Medical Officer, Military District No. 8, vice Lieutenant-Colonel J. E. March, Army Medical Corps, deceased.
  • Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel G. H. Ogilvie, Royal Canadian Artillery, was appointed District Staff Adjutant, Military District No. 8, vice Captain S. P. Layborn, transferred.
  • Brevet Colonel J. D. Irving, Chief Staff Officer, Maritime Provinces Command, was retired on a pension, and Captain D. S. Mclnnes, D.S.O., Royal Engineers, who vacated the appointment of Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General Maritime Provinces Command, was appointed in his stead, to complete his period of employment with the Canadian Government.
  •  Major A. H. Macdonell, D.S.O., Royal Canadian Regiment, vacated the appointment of Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General Maritime Provinces Command, and was appointed Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General, vice Captain D. S. Mclnnes, D.S.O., and Captain C. H. Hill, Royal Canadian Regiment, was appointed Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General (temporary) in his stead.
  • Major G. LaF. Foster, Permanent Army Medical Corps, was appointed Acting Principal Medical Officer, Maritime Provinces Command, and Principal Medical Officer, Military District No. 9, vice Lieutenant-Colonel G. C. Jones, Permanent Army Medical Corps, appointed Director General of Medical Services.


Military District No. 13:—

Lieutenant-Colonel S. B. Steele, C.B., M.V.O., was appointed District Officer Commanding, on organization.



Canada's Militia at Niagara Camp, 31st Regt. Group of Officers, 23 June 1906, Niagara, Ont..

Canada’s Militia at Niagara Camp, 31st Regt. Group of Officers, 23 June 1906, Niagara, Ont..



  1. In the month of February the publication of a pamphlet, to be issued monthly with General Orders , detailing alteration of stores and war material, (commonly called “List of Changes”) was commenced. This Canadian List of Changes embodies alterations detailed in the British List which may be approved by Militia Headquarters to be carried out in Canadian equipment, and affords facilities for adopting into the service under one universal nomenclature any new pattern of Canadian stores. They are a ready means of instructing all concerned as to the repair, exchange or disposal of all military stores and ammunition.
  2. Regulations for engineer services were prepared during the year and are now being printed. This will give all engineer officers definite regulations for carrying out engineer services.
  3. A pamphlet, upon the selection of sites for and construction of rifle ranges, has been “published. This pamphlet contains full information for any officer who is detailed to make a report upon a proposed site for a rifle range, and has been found invaluable.
  4. Work on regulations for equipment, &c, was commenced during the year and good progress made.
  5. The revision of the ‘King’s Regulations and Orders for the Militia of Canada’ is still in progress.




  1. Provisional schools of instruction were held as under:—
  • Cavalry.—Barrie, Ont. ; Grenfell, Sask. ; Edmonton, Alta. ; Regina, Sask.
  • Artillery—Cobourg, Ont.; Montreal, Que.; Levis, Que.
  • Infantry.—Belleville, Ont.; Brockville, Ont.; Goderich, Ont.; Montreal, Que.;

Quebec, Que.; St. Catharines, Ont.; St. Thomas, Ont.; Stratford, Ont.; Woodstock,

Ont.; Moncton, N.B.

  • Canadian Army Service Corps.—Quebec, Que. ; Winnipeg, Man.
  • Signalling.—Garrison classes were held at St. John, N.B. ; Halifax, N.S.;

Peterboro, Ont.; Brantford, Ont.; Kingston, Ont.; St. Catharines, Ont.; Montreal, Que.; Winnipeg, Man.; Toronto, Ont.; Quebec, Que.

  1. The Artillery Staff Course, Royal School of Artillery, which commenced on the 1st January, 1908, was attended by 8 officers and 14 non-commissioned officers.
  2. A course for six officers of the Canadian Ordance Corps, commencing in February, 1908, was held at the Royal School of Artillery, Quebec; also an artificer’s course.
  3. A course of instruction, with a view to obtaining non-commissioned officer instructors of the Royal Canadian Regiment, qualified to impart instruction in the French language to the militia units stationed in the Province of Quebec was commenced towards the end of the year, in the hope that at the termination of the course a sufficient number of non-commissioned officers of the regiment would be found available for duty as above, and that, in consequence, there would be no necessity for going outside of Canada to obtain men qualified to instruct in the French language.
  4. During the year 7 officers of the Active Militia were attached to units of the Permanent Force for duty and a ‘ long course ‘ with a view to qualifying for commissions in the Force.
  5. The results of the promotion examinations of the Imperial Army held in May and November, 1907, were as follows:—

At the May examination 16 officers of the Permanent Force presented themselves, 11 passed, and 5 failed (3 in one subject and 2 in more than one subject); 20 officers of the Royal Canadian Artillery wrote on the artillery subject ‘e,’ of whom 19 passed and one failed. At the November examination 20 officers presented themselves, 14 passed and 6 failed. Eleven officers of the Royal Canadian Artillery wrote on subject of whom 7 passed and 4 failed.

  1. One candidate only, presented himself for the literary examination held in May, 1907, by the Board of Civil Service Examiners, which he passed successfully; at the October examination, 5 candidates presented themselves, of whom only 2 passed.
  2. Ten officers attended that portion of the ‘ long course ‘ required to be taken at the Royal Military College in the spring of 1907, of whom 8 passed. There were also present during the course, 5 officers of the Permanent Force preparing for promotion examination. In the autumn of 1907, 4 officers were present at the Royal Military College, 3 of whom passed, and in addition, there were 3 officers of the Permanent Force preparing for promotion examination.


                                                                                       CANADIAN SCHOOL OF MUSKETRY.

  1. Owing to various causes the summer course, 1907, was cancelled. A very successful autumn course was, however, held, beginning September 5, at which there were in attendance 18 officers, 27 warrant and non-commissioned officers; of whom 10 obtained Distinguished Certificates, and 33 ordinary Musketry Certificates. The standard of efficiency required for these certificates was fully maintained, and the results were very creditable to the officers and non-commissioned officers who obtained them.
  2. It is difficult, as a rule, for militia officers to attend at the Canadian School of Musketry for six weeks and the advisability of instituting a short course of three weeks in which the subjects necessary to qualify for Regimental Musketry Instructor would be taught, thereby enabling many militia officers to attend who are, at present, debarred through inability to be absent from business for the period of the full course, is under consideration.


                                                                                           SCHOOLS OF INSTRUCTION.

  1. The number of certificates issued during the year was as follows:-
Canada's Active Militia report On Certificates Granted From Apr. 1st 1907 - Mar. 31st 1908.

Canada’s Active Militia report On Certificates Granted From Apr. 1st 1907 – Mar. 31st 1908.


                                                                                                              CADET CORPS.

  1. The increased general interest in the cadet movement and steady growth in the number of gazetted corps was marked during the year. On March 31, 1908, there were under the control and supervision of the department, 145 corps of cadets, aggregating 210 companies, and with an enrolled membership of over 9,000 boys. The majority of these were connected with educational institutions, and varied in efficiency largely as the headmaster, or other teachers, were or were not sympathetic, and according to the local facilities for rifle practice. Many schools have fitted up galleries for miniature rifle practice, and all can, upon application, obtain the free issue of four service rifles for teaching musketry practice, and, in addition, as already referred to in a previous paragraph, a sub-target rifle machine. The success of the Dundas High School Cadets, of Dundas, Ont., in being at the head of the cadets of Canada two years successively in the Canadian Rifle League Cadet Competition, as well as their success in obtaining so large a representation as they did upon the Dominion of Canada team in the Inter-Empire contest for the “Lord Roberts’ Trophy,” 1908, is a practical illustration of the benefits of sub-target rifle machine practice and preliminary musketry instruction.
  2. As feeders for the Militia—both for officers and other ranks—the cadet corps are of much value, to say nothing of the other material benefits to our youth from the inculcation of discipline, system, and order, as well as the physical development induced by drill and exercise.
  3. It is a matter for consideration as to whether the time is not at hand when more substantial assistance should be accorded cadet corps. At present the only assistance given is the issue of a very limited equipment, and 50 rounds of miniature ammunition per head, to corps having facilities for gallery shooting; also, inspection annually.
  4. The selection of a more suitable arm for cadets is engaging attention. Most of the rifles issued to cadets are too heavy for the majority of the boys, and it is not possible to use a side-arm with the converted Sniders. A lighter weapon capable of being used for miniature and gallery practice, and to which a side-arm can be affixed is urgently required.
  5. The number of cadet corps formed during the year was 23, and the number disbanded, 7.
  6. The appointment of inspectors of cadet corps is under consideration; as there is no doubt that to still further encourage and obtain increased efficiency in cadet corps and rifle associations, it will be necessary to appoint in those commands where these corps and associations are most numerous, officers whose primary duties it will be to deal with all questions affecting them, and be responsible for their efficiency and inspection.



                                                                                          PHYSICAL TRAINING IN SCHOOLS.

  1. Negotiations were entered upon during the year with the Department of Education for Nova Scotia, with a view to the institution of a system of physical training in the schools of that Province, and it is confidently expected a basis of agreement for the co-operation of the Department with the provincial authorities upon this question will be satisfactorily reached at an early date. The benefits to be derived generally by our juvenile population from such a system of physical training and instruction are calculated to be very great.


                                                                               ORDNANCE BUILDINGS AND MAGAZINES.

  1. It is proposed, at the various depots where there are detachments of the magazines and ordnance store-houses. It is essential to the efficiency of the defence forces of the country that proper magazines should be provided in each military district, and it is a matter of pure economy that suitable store-houses should be available for the custody of the expensive stock of articles kept by the Ordnance Corps. The depot at Montreal is a strong case in point. It is hoped that it will be possible in the near future to provide these magazines and store-houses.


                                                                                                     BARRACK EQUIPMENT.

  1. It is proposed, at the various depots where there are detachments of the Army Service Corps, to open barrack stores for the more convenient interchange of barrack equipment.


(Quebec Tercentenary) Troops passing Place d'Armes.

(Quebec Tercentenary) Troops passing Place d’Armes.



                                                                                                       FIELD ARTILLERY.

  1. The order for Q. F. 18-pr. equipment, placed with Messrs. Vickers, Sons and Maxim, Ltd., is nearly completed.
  2. The limbers and wagons were, at the end of the period under review, still under manufacture at the Ottawa Car Company, Ltd., but the work was being pushed on rapidly.
  3. It is hoped that it will be possible to place further orders for sufficient quantities of the Q. E. equipment to facilitate a rapid re-armament of the whole of the Field Artillery.


                                                                                                      HEAVY ARTILLERY.

  1. No delivery of the B. L. 60-pr. guns was made during the year, but it was to commence with the opening of navigation to Quebec, 1908. A considerable portion of the ammunition for these guns is already in the country.
  2. The manufacture of the 60-pr. limbers is being proceeded with at the Ottawa Car Company’s works.
  3. A trained and qualified Inspector of Carriages, to conduct the necessary inspection during manufacture, has been appointed.


                                                                                                          FIXED DEFENCES.

  1. No change has taken place in the armament of the Fixed Defences since the last report.


                                                                                                               ROSS RIFLE.

  1. Progress continued to be made in the supply of Ross Bines. An extended issue of them was made for use in the Camps of Instruction. The method of inspection has been further systematized.
  2. The question of a bayonet was considered and a pattern has been submitted which it is believed will prove satisfactory.


                                                                                               SMALL ARM AMMUNITION.

  1. It is gratifying to note that the reserve of small arm ammunition continues to increase materially. The quality of the ammunition turned out at the Dominion Arsenal continues to prove satisfactory. For the report of the Superintendent of the Dominion Arsenal, see Appendix D.


                                                                                           COMMITTEE ON SMALL ARMS.

  1. The first step towards the formation of a Standing Committee on Small Arms was taken, and it is anticipated that the formation of this body will prove of great benefit.


                                                              TECHNICAL INSPECTION OF MATERIEL AND AMMUNITION.

  1. With the increasingly complicated construction of modern ordnance and artillery equipment generally, a thorough annual inspection, by qualified technical officers, of the materiel on charge of defences and units becomes of growing importance. Not only does it become necessary to inspect equipment as regards its technical efficiency, but it is also necessary to carry out alterations, from time to time, to keep it up to date. A tour of an Inspector of Ordnance Machinery, and Armament Artificers must, therefore, come to be regarded as a part of the annual routine, if efficiency of materiel is to be maintained, and a tour of this nature, to visit certain field batteries, has been arranged. As regards the heavy artillery, it is expected that much work will be carried out on the equipment while at Petawawa, especially the fitting of the large sole plates to the carriages.
  2. Arrangements for an annual inspection of gun ammunition are under contemplation. Hitherto it has only been possible to carry this out at Halifax, N.S., but as more inspecting officers become available, other stations will be visited.
  3. An annual inspection, by armourers, of small arms on charge of the various units throughout the country is, in its way, as important as the inspection of artillery materiel, and it is hoped that some progress in this direction may, before long, be possible. This inspection will be based upon the system found to be necessary in the Imperial service, and will not only increase efficiency but also be conducive to economy.


                                                                                                       ENGINEER SERVICES.

  1. An important part was taken in the decentralization of Engineer Services. So soon as the estimate for those services had been approved and voted by Parliament, a schedule was prepared at Militia headquarters showing what works in each command or independent district were to be executed by or under the supervision of the Royal Canadian Engineers, and the money expenditure authorized upon each. An extract from that portion of the schedule which referred to his command was sent to each officer commanding a command or district, and he was authorized to proceed with the several works in such order or at such times as in his discretion might seem best for the public service. He was further authorized to devote such savings as might be made to the execution of any urgent or unforeseen demands for repairs as might arise, reporting his action in each case for covering authority to headquarters, being guided as to the manner of expending the money by the Regulations for Engineer Services.
  2. A new form of Progress Report has been adopted, which furnishes an accurate statement of expenditure at the end of each month. This is found of great value, both at headquarters and in the offices of the Command and District Engineers, who can thus watch expenditure closely.
  3. The supervision of military works is now being carried out to a great extent by military Foremen of Works under Division Officers. The supervision of the construction of rifle ranges is as a rule done by temporary civil Superintendents of Works, employed only until the work is completed.
  4. Work, in the various commands and districts, connected with the construction of rifle ranges, water supply, drainage, fortifications, barrack repairs, &c, was carried out satisfactorily by the Royal Canadian Engineers.



                                                                                                             APPENDIX A.

Ottawa, November 30, 1908.

  • From the Director-General of Medical Services,
  • To the Adjutant-General, Canadian Militia.

Sir,—I have the honour to report on the Medical Services for the year ending March 31, 1908.

In the interim report of the Militia Council, the question of the training of the Active Militia has been considered and commented upon.



  1. The chief feature of the medical work during the year was the continual insistence of the paramount importance of sanitation and preventive measures as regards disease.
  2. The issue of an order making the officers commanding units the responsible persons for sanitation, has had the effect of emphasizing the importance of this feature of military life on all ranks and on all branches of the service. The medical officer is the adviser, but the commanding officer is the responsible head, he never can shift that responsibility on to any one else.
  3. The complete scheme of sanitation was carried out in all its details with most satisfactory results at Aldershot Gamp, N.S.
  4. Courses in military sanitation have been held at all stations, and all officers of the Permanent Force attended the same. An excellent manual on sanitation has been issued, and instructions were also issued that courses of lectures in camp sanitation be voluntarily held at all regimental headquarters before the mobilization for the Quebec Tercentenary.


                                                                                                         MEDICAL STORES.

  1. One of the most important changes during the year has been the establishment of a central Medical Stores at Ottawa, and command and district Stores at the various headquarters. All articles of technical equipment are now handled by the Medical Department instead of by the Ordnance Department with very satisfactory results.


                                                                                                    ARMY MEDICAL CORPS.

  1. All the field ambulances performed their annual training with the exception of No. VI. and No. XIII. Cavalry Field Ambulances, these units undergoing process of re-organization. No. XVI. Field Ambulance at Winnipeg trained for the first time, and has been favourably reported upon.


                                                                                         REGIMENTAL MEDICAL SERVICES.

  1. The chief duty of the regimental medical officer in camp is that of a regimental sanitary officer. This was impressed upon all concerned, with good results All regimental medical officers should attend camps, as those of city units receive no training of any service. The gradual absorption of the regimental medical officers into the Army Medical Corps and the detailing of young medical officers for a short term to units, is a step which I most strongly recommend.


                                                                                                  MILITARY BUILDINGS.

  1. I have made a careful examination of all buildings at every station, except

Winnipeg and Esquimalt, and I regret that I cannot report favourably; for with the exception of the Wolsely Barracks, at London, and some new buildings at Halifax, they are all makeshifts. The policy has been to do the best possible with old buildings that have been allowed to run down. The result is what could only be expected, unsuitable buildings for this period, and for this climate. New modern and sanitary barracks are urgently required, especially at Kingston and Toronto.


                                                                                                    HEALTH OF THE TROOPS.

  1. The efforts towards camp sanitation are already bearing fruit in the reduced number of sick admitted to the hospitals.
  2. A few cases of infectious diseases occurred, including one of small-pox at Kingston, but the measures taken were such as to prevent the spreading of any of these diseases.



  1. The rules and regulations published with regard to injuries, have resulted in claims being quickly and fairly dealt with. If, however, commanding officers would see that these regulations were carried out from the beginning, the result would be still more satisfactory.


  • I have the honour to be, sir, Your obedient servant, G.C. JONES, Lieut.-Colonel, Director-General of Medical Services.



                                                                                      DEPARTMENT OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

Ottawa, November 16, 1907.

  • From the Inspector-General, Canadian Militia,
  • To the Secretary of the Militia Council.


  1. I have the honour to report, for the information of the Honourable the Minister in Militia Council, that I relinquished the duties of Adjutant-General upon the 15th April, and assumed those of Inspector-General upon the 1st day of May, of the present year.
  2. I believe it is the custom of the Army Council in England to treat the report of the Inspector-General as a confidential document, one for the information only of the Council.
  3. Since the establishment of the office in Canada, however, the Inspector-General’s reports have formed a portion of the Annual Militia Report.
  4. Assuming that this custom is to be continued, I have adopted the practice, at the close of an inspection, of forwarding a report up on such inspection to Council.
  5. It must be evident that, if an Inspector-General’s Reports are to have any value, they must call attention to defects and shortcomings, both of personnel and materiel, condition of fortifications and of armament, &c. All matters to which, although it is highly important that the attention of the Council should be called, it is equally important should not be published for the information of the general public, and possibly for the edification of other military forces. I shall, therefore, limit this, what I may term, general report, to such matters as may, without detriment to the interest of the service, be made public, having dealt with all others in the reports previously referred to.


                                                                                                     SCHOOL OF MUSKETRY.

  1. I inspected the School of Musketry, and found excellent work being done by the acting commandant, his adjutant, and a staff of very capable ‘non-commissioned officer ‘ instructors.
  2. Excellent instruction was being given, in their own language, to the attached officers and non-commissioned officers speaking French.


                                                                                                     ARMS AND EQUIPMENT.

  1. As regards the cavalry, the arms and equipment cannot, I think, be considered satisfactory. Two of the principal duties of cavalry are scouting and pursuing. To do these duties well, it is often necessary to ride at speed over rough and broken country. As the cavalry are equipped at present, this is simply impossible. In support of my view, I quote the following from the pen of that well-known German writer Major Balck, of the German General Staff: ‘Cavalry will never obtain great success with their rifles, but only when mounted, by utilizing their great speed, &c.’ And again: ‘ If Von Bredow’s cavalry at Mars la Tour had possessed a long-range rifle and had dismounted to fire, they would scarcely have stopped a single infantry regiment, whereas, by their so-called death ride, they stopped the advance of an army, and Von Moltke calls this the greatest cavalry combat of the war.’
  2. Not only for the Permanent Corps, but for all cavalry, sword and carbine, or sword and pistol, would appear to be far more suitable arms than the long rifle with which they are at present equipped.
  3. There is lack of uniformity in saddles, bits, &c, which, it is submitted, should be all of one uniform pattern. The full-dress head-dress is probably, with the exception of the ‘Albert’ hat, the most hideous head-dress that has been issued to soldiers. A smart helmet with plume would appear to be a more suitable head-dress.
  4. In regard to the artillery, *the report of the inspector of that arm attached hereto, deals fully with all matters of its armament and equipment, and that of the other arms calls for no special comment in this report.


                                                                                                      COMBINED TRAINING.

  1. For the first time since their formation, all the different arms of the Permanent Force had the very great advantage of being trained together in the camp of instruction at Petawawa, and of carrying out, for the first time in their history, the combined training of all arms in a series of tactical exercises under the supervision of a carefully selected and able staff. The result of such training is so apparent that it is to be hoped that it will be carried out each year in future.


                                                                                                           ACTIVE MILITIA.

  1. By arrangement, the Chief of the General Staff inspected the cavalry camp at Granby, and the camps at Petawawa, Three Rivers and Levis. The results of these inspections have been submitted from time to time to the Militia Council.
  2. I inspected the camps at London, Niagara, Kingston, Sussex, Charlottetown and Aldershot, and, with scarcely an exception, I found these camps models of neatness and good order, the sanitary and police arrangements excellent, the canteens conducted in strict accordance with the regulations, and not a single case of drunkenness came to my notice.
  3. The instructions for training laid down by the Council were strictly carried out, so far as the conditions of the weather permitted, and the result was highly satisfactory, considering the very short space of time that can be devoted to actual instruction in a camp which lasts only twelve days. Deduct the day of arrival, the day of departure, and one Sunday, and, making no allowance for bad weather, there remain but nine days for the actual training of the soldier.
  4. With the exception of the troops in the maritime provinces, all corps were greatly under strength, and had a far too great proportion of recruits, or first-year men, in their ranks, the proportion being from fifty to seventy-five per cent in Ontario, and from thirty to forty per cent in other provinces. In many instances, the physique was indifferent, many boys, apparently under the prescribed age, being in the ranks.
  5. The deficiency in numbers and the enormous proportion of recruits was attributed, by commanding officers, to the drift from the older provinces to the Northwest of large numbers of young men, and to the great demand for labour ; but, making every allowance for these two reasons, it seems inconceivable that from fifty to seventy-five per cent of the strength of a corps should disappear between the trainings of 1906 and 1907, and I think that no other conclusion can be arrived at than that much of the shortage is due to the dislike of captains of companies to enforce the law and to compel the attendance of men whose names are on the service rolls.
  6. This condition of affairs does not prevail, to anything like the same extent, in the maritime provinces, where the physique of the men is better and the ranks are better fielded; there are fewer boys in the ranks, and, in some instances, the ranks of the cavalry corps could be filled twice over. It would almost appear that the service is more popular in the eastern than in the western portions of the older provinces of the Dominion.
  7. The great utility of that recent addition to the force, the Army Service Corps, was very apparent at all the camps I inspected, and at one (Aldershot, N.S.) the entire food supply of the camp, as well as all necessary camp transport, was very satisfactorily carried out by this corps.
  8. The camps of training in western Canada were held at Winnipeg and Calgary. The former was inspected by the District Officer Commanding Military District No. 10, and the latter by the District Officer Commanding the newly created District No. 13. The reports of both these officers are highly satisfactory.


                                                                                                     READINESS FOR WAR.

  1. One of the duties laid down for the Inspector-General is to report on the fitness for war of the forces of the Dominion; the object of the training of all troops being to fit them for the real business of war. I have endeavoured, therefore, to ascertain, as far as possible, not only the actual present condition of the troops, but to arrive at the amount of additional training that they would require before they would be in a fit condition to take the field with an average prospect of success against the disciplined forces of a civilized nation. It may be considered that, in so doing, I am trespassing on the duties of another officer. I trust, however, that this is not the case, as I am endeavouring to report, not upon the method of training, but upon the result of training, and I believe the following periods of time will be found to be correct. I presume, of course, that all necessary clothing, arms and equipment are available, and that the ranks of all corps are brought up to their full war strength by voluntary enlistment or by ballot, or by a combination of both, and that the ranks having been so completed, they are carefully trained by competent instructors in camps of instruction for the specified periods:—

(1) Cavalry—

One month to ninety days.

(2) Artillery, field and garrison—

Ten to thirty days.

(3) Infantry corps in large cities—

Seven to thirty days.

(4) All other infantry—

Thirty to ninety days.

  1. History teaches that armies of recruits, led by veterans and officered by experienced soldiers, make excellent fighting material; in proof of which assertion, I quote Napoleon’s campaigns of 1813 and 1814 (it is true that they ended disastrously for the Empire, but that they so ended was due to no defects or shortcoming on the part of the French armies, but to other causes familiar to the students of history); also the Waterloo campaign, in which the British army was composed largely of recruits and drafts from the militia, officered by veterans of the Peninsula war. On the other hand armies composed of inexperienced men led by inexperienced officers are worthless as fighting organizations.
  2. Men, individually brave, massed in undisciplined bodies, under inexperienced commanders, are often weak in courage and become mere frightened animals, seeking safety in flight.
  3. As an instance of this, I would cite General Sherman’s remarks upon the troops engaged in the first invasion of the Southern Confederacy, which terminated in the, for them, disastrous battle of Bull’s Run, all of which troops had had from sixty to ninety days’ training in camps of instruction: ‘We had good organization, good men, but no cohesion, no real discipline, no respect for authority, no real knowledge of war.’
  4. As a matter of history, it took two years before the armies of the North had reached such a condition that they could be classed as disciplined and efficient troops.
  5. The blood and treasure spent in those two years were in payment of the bill of unprepared ness at the breaking out of the war in 1861.
  6. The conditions existing in the two countries, Canada and the United States, are so similar that it will be well to guard in time against such a condition of affairs as Sherman describes. Supposing our forces were actually called out for service tomorrow, would any of Sherman’s remarks be applicable to them?
  7. The proposal to make military training compulsory at the public schools as a means of national defence is, of course, an excellent one, but more than rifle shooting and drill should be taught. It is not enough for a man to be a good rifle shot and to be efficient in drill; to be a good soldier he must be taught discipline and respect for authority. An army whose ranks have not had instilled into them the two latter qualities will certainly collapse in war, and it is the possession of these two qualities, in an eminent degree, by her soldiers that enabled recently a comparatively obscure and unknown nation to spring at one bound into the ranks of first-class military and naval powers.
  8. If our youth have thoroughly instilled into them obedience and respect for authority, as well as the use of the rifle and a knowledge of drill, a long step will be taken towards solving the problem of national defence.
  9. I enclose marked, respectively, A. B and C, the reports of the inspectors of cavalry, artillery and engineers, and a report upon the condition of the Army Service Corps by the officer administering that body.


  • I have the honour to be, sir, Your obedient servant. B. H. VIDAL Brigadier-General, Inspector- General.




Canada's Militia, Number of Officers and Men Of the Active Militia Trained During 1908.

Canada’s Militia, Number of Officers and Men Of the Active Militia Trained During 1908.








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