«LONDON PRINTED BY AUTHORITY OF THE MINISTRY, OVERSEAS MILITARY FORCES OF CANADA. REPORT of the MINISTRY Overseas Military Forces of Canada LONDON ...»
A further change in organisation was the re-organisation of the system under which purchases were made in England on behalf of the Canadian Forces. The purchase of supplies was, during the year 1918, placed under the supervision of an Overseas Purchasing Committee, consisting of three officers. By providing that all proposed purchases must be approved by this Committee before final action could be taken, it ensured everything being done to effect the utmost economy in this direction. A full report on the work of this Committee will be found in a later part of this report.
A separate report on Canadians in the Royal Air Force and on the Canadian Air Force will also be found in the pages which follow. Owing to the various channels through which Canadians have entered the Royal Air Force it has been difficult to obtain absolutely accurate information with regard to their numbers. No doubt the numbers will come as a surprise to many, and it should be extremely gratifying to Canadians to learn of the important part played by Canada's sons in this brilliant
The establishment of a Canadian Bureau of Aeronautical Information was also effected in 1918. This Bureau is collecting a vast amount of information which, although at present available to all the Allies, is not likely to be so after the declaration of Peace, and should prove of great value to Canada.
With regard to changes made in the organisation of the Training Camps, an interesting feature was the establishment of Segregation Camps. Previous to the establishment of these camps+ troops arriving from Canada proceeded direct to their Regimental Depots, and if any infectious disease broke out, great inconvenience was caused. By segregating all newly arrived troops in special camps for the necessary period of quarantine before allowing them to proceed to their Reserve Battalions, the cause of this inconvenience was removed. It was also found that the thorough preliminary training given the troops while at such camps was the means of saving much time when the men arrived at their Reserve Battalions.
The experiment of establishing an Officers' Casualty Company at Bexhill proved an unqualified success, as by its creation a long-felt want was supplied, convalescent officers being thus given an opportunity to become fit before returning to ;their Reserve Battalions.
The question of the disposal of Casualties as a whole received the close attention of the Overseas Administration during 1918. In view of the great demand for men, it was felt that every effort should be made to ensure that the best possible use was being made of the numbers available, and for this purpose a Board, known as the " Allocation Board," was established in April, 1918. Its duties consisted in examining all Low Category Men, and in allocating them to the branch of the Service in which they would be most useful, and generally in making sure that the right men were in the right place.
Introduction. xvA further innovation of great interest was the inauguration of a policy which, by providing for a systematic exchange of Officers between England and France, ensured that the training methods in England would be kept up to date and, at the same time, that a change would be provided for those who had served a long term in France.
Our Prisoners of War interned in Holland were not forgotten, and the conditions under which they were living was the subject of special investigation during the past year. After considerable negotiation with the War Office, permission was obtained for a Canadian officer to proceed to Holland, and as a result of his investigation, it was found that, on the whole, their lives were as comfortable as could be expected under the circumstances. As a result of the investigation, however, some improvements were arranged for.
With the signing of the Armistice many new problems had to be faced, and consequently considerable re-organisation was required to be done. In addition to demobilising the troops, the question of the disposal of large quantities of material had to be considered, and this was met by the creation of a Disposal Board for the purpose of disposing to the best advantage of the stores in the hands of the Canadians in England and France, which it was not desired should be taken back to Canada. A full report on this subject will be found in a later section.
Attention is also drawn to the work of the Khaki University, which, since the cessation of hostilities, has assumed very large proportions.
This organisation is a branch of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada and every effort has been made, by the provision of the necessary personnel for its staff and by general encouragement, to bring it up to the highest pitch of efficiency.
It will be observed that some space in this report has been given to certain organisations which are not, strictly speaking, branches of the Overseas Forces, but it was felt that as these organisations had been so closely associated with the Overseas Administration, a brief summary of their magnificent efforts should be included in this report, especially as these bodies are, in practically all cases, maintained by the efforts of the Canadian public.
Control of Canadian Forces. CANADIAN SECTION, G.H.Q.
During the progress of the War many incidents indicated that the method of control exercised by the Ministry over the Canadian Forces was capable of improvement. The desirability of a clear definition of the powers and responsibilities of the Canadian Government on the one hand, and the Imperial Government on the other, became evident. In addition to the Canadian Corps there were about 40,000 other Canadian troops in France, the supervision of whose welfare had been conducted from England. The methods of communication between the Ministry in England, the Canadian Corps, General Headquarters of the British Armies in France, and troops on the Lines of Communication, had been cumbersome and unsatisfactory. Purely Canadian matters were sometimes dealt with by those not intimately interested therein, and it was felt that in matters affecting the organisation and administration of the Canadian Forces, Canadians should manage their own affairs.
Correspondence passed between the Ministry and the War Office relative to this subject, and a conference was held with representatives of the Army Council and later with the FieldMarshal Commanding-inChief, at his Headquarters in France.
The outcome of these negotiations was a complete agreement between the Imperial Government and the Canadian Authorities upon the matter.
Broadly, the statement made by Canada of her position, in which the Imperial Government concurred, was that for matters of military operations the Canadian Forces in the Field had been placed by the Canadian Government under the Commander-inChief, British Armies in France ; in matters of organisation and administration, the Canadian Government still retained full responsibility in respect to its own Forces.
It was clear that matters of organisation and administration would frequently have a direct bearing upon military operations and discipline, and vice versa, and it was agreed that in such cases these matters should be made the subject of conference between the Canadian and Imperial Authorities.
(642) B 2 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
To meet this situation in France in the most effective manner, a Canadian Section of General Headquarters of the British Armies in France was formed in July, 1918, after full discussion and agreement. In forming such a Section it was not intended to interfere in any way with the responsibility of General Headquarters and the Supreme Command, in relation to matters affecting military operations or discipline, but through this Section the full control of the Canadian Government over matters of organisation and administration within its Forces was rendered capable of fruition. Important matters, such as the allotment of reinforcements in emergencies, War Establishments, the appointment of General Officers, and those other matters which from their relation to military operations should properly receive the consideration of General Headquarters, would still be made the subject of conference between the Canadian Authorities and General Headquarters.
The following is a statement of the status, composition, and functions of this Canadian Section.
STATUS, COMPOSITION AND FUNCTIONS.Status.—The Canadian Section at General Headquarters is a Branch of the Ministry, Overseas Military Forces of Canada, and is directly responsible to the Minister for the efficient performance of the functions and duties confided to it.
Composition.—The Canadian Section consists of an Officer in charge, who has under him a staff that performs such functions of the following Branches, Services, and Departments as may be determined by the Minister (a) Adjutant-General.
(c) Military Secretary.
(d) Medical Service.
(e) Chaplain Service.
(f) Pay Corps.
Functions.—The Section is:— (a) A direct channel of communication between the Minister and General Headquarters, and vice versa.
(b) A channel of communication between the heads of Canadian formations in the Field on the one side, and the Minister and General Headquarters on the other side, and Control of Canadian Forces. 3 vice versa in each case, for such matters as may be designated from time to time by the Minister, within the general principles specified above and outlined in the attached chart.
(c) Responsible under the Minister for such supervision as may be charged to it by him, over the various Canadian Administrative Services and Departments in the Field such as. Medical, Dental, Pay, Ordnance, Veterinary, Postal.
(d) Empowered to take such executive or administrative action as may be determined from time to time by the Minister regarding the control of personnel of the Canadian Forces in the Field, in accordance with policies and establishments which are agreed upon by the Minister, the War Office, and General Headquarters.
(e) Responsible under the Minister, that when questions of policy, organisation, and administration, which from their relation to military operations should receive consideration by General Headquarters, together with all questions of establishment, are referred to it, they are submitted for consideration at General Headquarters ; that such matters are accompanied by any necessary explanation regarding the local Canadian conditions, if any, which make it desirable to effect a departure from the existing British regulations and establishments ; and to submit to the Minister all such questions accompanied by the full views expressed thereon by General Headquarters and the heads of Canadian Formations, Services, and Departments concerned.
The following functions of the various Branches are performed by the Canadian Section. These conform with the general principles controlling the formation of the Section, and while they are not exhaustive, they are the working basis of the Section.
(a) Adjutant-General.—Establishments, enlistments, visitors, miscellaneous personal services outside the functions of the Military Secretary.
NOTE.—The Canadian Adjutant-General Section at the Base (3rd Echelon) is a subsidiary office of the Canadian Section at General Headquarters.
(b) Quartermaster-General.—Supervision and administration of the various "Q" administrative services and departments, remounts, equipment supplied at Canadian expense; obligations outside the capitation agreement, war trophies, damage (642) B2 4 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
claims which are not an Imperial obligation, postings, personal services, promotions, reinforcements of " Q " personnel, and generally to attend to matters of a " Q " nature which may result in a charge to Canadian funds.
(c) Military Secretary.—Routine matters regarding appointments, promotions, transfers, secondings, reversions, takings into and absorptions into establishments of officers seconded to Units or otherwise supernumerary therein, grants of commissions, resignations, acting rank, lists for A. C. and R. List, confidential reports.
(d) Medical Services.—General supervision and administration of Canadian Army Medical Corps, including postings, personal services, promotions and reinforcements.
NOTE.—Also Dental Services.
(e) Chaplain Services.—General supervision and administration of Canadian Chaplain Services, including postings, personal services, promotions, reinforcements.
(f) Pay Services.—General supervision and administration of Canadian Army Pay Corps, including postings, personal services, promotions, reinforcements.
The Minister, by special selection from time to time, fills the appointment of head of the Canadian Section, General Headquarters, France.
Development.—The formation of the Section as a means of facilitating the conduct of official business was more or less in the nature of an experiment, and Canada was the only Dominion that made this effort. Every co-operation and assistance was rendered by General Headquarters, by the Canadian Corps, and by Canadian Units on Lines of Communication, with results which have proved highly satisfactory to all concerned.
The Headquarters of the Section under the command of BrigadierGeneral J. F. L. Embury, C.M.G., are on the Rue de la Chaine at Montreuil, where are the General Headquarters Staffs of the British Forces in France.
On the signing of the Armistice, the Section was fixed with greater responsibilities consequent upon the movement of troops from the Lines of Communication to England, quickly Control of Canadian Forces. 5 and in large numbers-a new and unexpected task which, with the limited staff and the novelty of the movement, made it a difficult one.