Canada’s “Cadet Corps” Militia Council Report, Year Ending March 31st, 1908.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The number of cadet corps formed during the year was 23, and the number disbanded, Seven.
- 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.
Canada’s Cadet Corps Militia Council Report, Year Ending March 31st, 1909.
- It is noted with pitnsure that as each year passes an increased general interest is manifested in the cadet movement as evidenced by the additional number of corps which have been gazetted. On March 31, 1909, there were under the control and supervision of the Department, 176 cadet corps, aggregating 288 companies, and with an enrolled membership (at an average of 40 cadets per company) of over 11,000. Notwithstanding the disbandment of 12 corps with 18 companies, there has been a net increase during the year of 31 cadet corps, with 78 companies and 3,000 cadets. These new formations have been fairly widely distributed, though increases in the Province of Quebec and the Northwest Provinces have been very marked. Increasing interest in the efficiency of cadet corps affiliated with the schools is shown by Educational Authorities, and a larger number of school teachers are each year taking the course of instruction, during the vacation months, to qualify themselves as instructors. The granting of the rank of lieutenant in the Militia to all teachers so qualifying and capable of instructing a corps of cadets has proved a benefit from which nothing but good results can accrue.
- The question of a more suitable arm than that at present in use by cadet corps has received careful consideration, and it is expected that it may be possible during the summer of 1909 to substitute one of the early issues of the ‘Ross’ rifle for the converted ‘Snider’ and ‘Martini-Henry’ rifles at present in use. In addition to being much lighter and more easily handled by boys, the new arm will give cadets a rifle capable of using service ammunition, and be in fact an efficient weapon in place of a cumbersome toy.’
- The encouragement to cadets by the action of the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association and the Canadian Rifle League in co-operating with the Department in making it possible for cadet teams from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Dundas, Ontario, to visit Ottawa during the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association Meeting, 1908, has been much appreciated.
- Another item of encouragement for Canadian cadets was the gift of a large Union Flag from the gentlemen of the Imperial Colonial Club of London to the Dundas High School of Dundas, Ontario, in recognition of a scholar from that school (Cadet Captain Knowles) having been captain of the team representing Canada in the competition for Lord Roberts’ trophy, 1908. The Canadian team in this competition, secured only 6th place, but, it is trusted that another year conditions may be more favourable for their obtaining a more advanced position.
- During the year the policy has been followed of closely checking inspection reports submitted upon the annual inspections of cadets, and, in all cases, criticisms made by the Inspecting Officers have been commented on and communicated to the corps concerned. This is a large factor for efficiency, and is one of the most important methods whereby the Department can co-operate in furthering and developing the cadet movement.
PHYSICAL AND MILITARY TRAINING IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
- A system of physical training and instruction in elementary military drill was inaugurated in the Public Schools of the Province of Nova Scotia in September, 1908, and is now in actual operation in a large number of schools throughout that province, and appears to be receiving the cordial support of the Educational Authorities, the enthusiastic co-operation of the teachers, and the sympathy of all interested in the schools.
- This important innovation was the outcome of last year’s negotiations with the Premier of Nova Scotia, the Superintendent of Education and other provincial authorities upon the proposal to introduce such instruction in the Nova Scotia public schools, with the view of improving the health and bearing of pupils generally, the better inculcation of discipline and habits of system and order, as well as providing the growing youth of the country with a knowledge of elementary military movements, and, in addition, for the more advanced boys the handling of fire-arms and teaching of the rudiments of musketry. The value of such a training from the standpoint of national defence cannot fail to be very great, since much of the cost and trouble of instructional work for recruits in the event of a mobilization will be obviated, in view of the previous training of boys in the public schools in those elementary exercises which are the basis of all military evolutions. In addition, the instruction in proper breathing and bearing, as well as the healthful exercise imparted to boys and girls alike, cannot fail to do much to counteract that scourge—tuberculosis—and thus be of inestimable value to the welfare of our race in its effect upon future generations.
- Upon the acceptance of the scheme by the Province of Nova Scotia, the first instructional class for teachers (both male and female) was held at Sackville, N.B., in July, 1908. This was followed by a course at Wellington barracks, Halifax, N.S., of more advanced military training for male teachers desiring to qualify as cadet instructors, and courses have since been held for all teachers at Truro, Sydney, Sydney Mines, North Sydney and Antigonish. In all, about 250 teachers have already qualified as instructors in physical training, and some 20-25 as cadet instructors. With a view to enabling these latter to enjoy under the existing law the allowances contemplated as suitable recognition for their services, a corps of school cadet instructors has been authorized, with an establishment, for a beginning, of 50 lieutenants. School teachers qualifying as cadet instructors, and actually instructing a duly authorized cadet corps?, will, upon the recommendation of the District Officer Commanding, be appointed lieutenants in the Militia and paid an annual allowance in accordance with the following scale:—
- When the cadet corps instructed has less than 20 cadets—No allowance.
- When the cadet corps instructed has from 21 to 50 cadets—$1 per cadet.
- For each additional cadet enrolled up to a maximum of 100—75c. per cadet.
- For each additional cadet enrolled in excess of 100 up to 125—50c. per cadet.
- With no additional allowance for any cadets in excess of 125 enrolled in any one corps under one lieutenant instructor.
- These allowances are to be paid upon the certificate of the inspecting officer making the annual inspection that the corps has given evidence before him of being well instructed and efficient.
- An event of much moment in connection with this scheme of physical training in the schools was the generous donation, in March last, by the Right Honourable Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, G.C.M.G., High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom, of the sum of $300,000 to found a fund for the encouragement of physical and military training among the students of the public schools of Canada. The gift has been received and accepted by the Parliament of the Dominion, and a committee of management has taken charge. Rules in accordance with the conditions laid down in the deed of gift have been drawn up for the management and utilization of the fund, and published for general information. The example set by Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal for wealthy citizens to participate in a national work of great magnitude, as is the physical training scheme, is one that cannot but be of the utmost value in all respects.
- On the whole, the initiation of this important movement and the progress made in the first year of its introduction in Canada has been most encouraging. Reports from Nova Scotia indicate that practical acquaintance with the system has changed indifference and hostility to friendliness and enthusiasm and there is already promise of results, as an outcome of this training, that will prove of immense value, in many ways, to the country in the future.