«LONDON PRINTED BY AUTHORITY OF THE MINISTRY, OVERSEAS MILITARY FORCES OF CANADA. REPORT of the MINISTRY Overseas Military Forces of Canada LONDON ...»
(h) Canadian Army Medical Corps.—In addition to professional attainments a Medical Officer must have a thorough knowledge of military routine to enable him to carry out his duties in the field. This military training of Medical Officers was carried out at the Canadian Army Medical Corps Training Depot at Shorncliffe, where the Other Ranks of the Canadian Army Medical Corps were also trained in drill and discipline, as well as the routine work of handling the wounded and the evacuation of casualties.
The principal Canadian Camps in England were:
BRAMSHOTT, WITLEY, SEAFORD AND BORDON.These Camps were on the Downs of Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire, in close proximity to the great Imperial Training Centre of Aldershot, and housed the great bulk of the Canadian Forces in England.
BRAMSHOTT AND WITLEY were primarily Infantry Camps, while Bordon was latterly assigned to the Artillery, Cavalry and Canadian Army Service Corps. Musketry courses were carried out in the neighbouring Camp of Mytchett, which was equipped with complete target accommodation of the most modern type. SEAFORD, the other large Canadian Training Area, while it provided accommodation for a number of Reserve Battalions, also served as the Headquarters of the Canadian Engineers' Training Centre and the Canadian Machine Gun Depot.
TRAINING OF OFFICERS.From the time the Canadians first went into action at the Second Battle of Ypres the supply of properly trained Officers for Units at the Front was one of the most urgent considerations of the Military Authorities in England.
General Staff. 15 It was decided early in the War that Commissions should be granted to non-commissioned officers and men who showed that they possessed the requisite qualities for leadership ; but while service in the Field was a valuable apprenticeship, special training was of course absolutely necessary.
Infantry Officers.—To ensure this the Canadian Training School for Infantry Officers was established at Bexhill-on-Sea in Sussex. Here candidates for commissions were given instruction in all branches of practical military knowledge, while junior Officers who needed additional instruction were given special courses and advanced training.
The School, which was noted for its precision in drill movements, its esprit-de-corps and general efficiency, was an object of great interest to Imperial Officers, among whom Field-Marshal Lord French, when Commander-inChief of the Home Forces in Great Britain, placed it on record that he was much impressed by the establishment's smartness, keenness and efficiency.
Machine Gun Corps.—Candidates for commissions in the Canadian Machine Gun Corps, after completing the Infantry course at Bexhill, were given further instruction in the use of the Machine Gun and the tactics of that Arm of the Service at the Canadian Machine Gun Depot at Seaford.
Artillery.— Officers and Cadets for the Artillery were given a special five months' course of training at the Canadian School of Gunnery at Witley Camp and later at Bordon Camp.
TRAINING OF INSTRUCTORS.
(a) Canadian Infantry Instructors' Pool.—The maintenance of large drafts of officers necessitated a constant supply of highly trained and competent instructors, both of commissioned and non-commissioned rank. The varying strengths of the Reserve Battalions, however, made it difficult for Commanding Officers to maintain a suitable instructional cadre, and to meet the difficulty in respect to instructors of noncommissioned rank, it was decided to establish an Instructional Pool of non-commissioned officers. Accordingly, in association with the Canadian Training School, an establishment of 300 Sergeant Instructors was provided to meet the needs of Units. These Sergeant Instructors were carefully selected and carefully trained, their instructional ability being developed to the highest possible degree. They were then available for any Unit in which the influx of recruits necessitated a temporary increase in the number of instructors.
16 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
(b) Canadian Trench Warfare School.—The object of the °Canadian Trench Warfare School was not to train reinforcements but to train instructors to deal with recruits. It was situated at Bexhill-on-Sea, and, acting in close association with the Canadian Training School, provided instruction for officers and non-commissioned officers in special branches of Infantry training. Different wings of this school dealt with Bombing, Rifle Bombing, Anti-Gas Measures, Entrenching and the employment of light Trench Mortars (Stokes Gun). Opened early in 1917 and closed immediately after the signing of the Armistice, this School trained upwards of 500 officers and 3,508 other ranks as instructors. It was a strict condition that only Overseas -casualties could be accepted for instruction.
The rapidly changing conditions of warfare and the new devices which were constantly being brought out, rendered it necessary for instructors to receive " refresher " courses at -comparatively short intervals. The school, therefore, not only maintained the instructional power in the Reserve Battalions but consistently kept instruction up to date.
(c) Canadian School of Musketry.—In spite of the complication of warfare by all manner of fresh mechanical devices, the rifle has maintained its position and the marksmanship of the Canadian Infantry has been notably excellent.
The importance of Musketry in the training of all Arms of the Service, indeed, made it desirable that a separate School should be available for the provision of instructors in this branch, and the Canadian School of Musketry was opened at Mytchett in November, 1916.
This Camp, about equi-distant from. Witley and Bramshott,.and in close proximity to up-to-date ranges, provided thorough courses of instruction in the use of the rifle, revolver and Lewis Gun. It was closed on the signing of the Armistice, 2,142 -officers and 4,657 other ranks having up to that date qualified.as instructors on its ranges.
(d) Canadian Army Gymnastic Staff.—The Canadian Army Gymnastic Staff provided a cadre of highly qualified instructors in physical training, bayonet fighting, recreational training and remedial gymnastics. The school at which these instructors were rendered proficient was originally situated at Shorncliffe,.but subsequently moved to Bordon. Up to November, 1918, 1,300 officers and 2,966 other ranks had attended its courses.
General Staff. 17
CANADIANS AT IMPERIAL SCHOOLS.
While every effort has been made to render the Canadian Forces selfsupporting it has, on occasion, been considered advisable to take advantage of the facilities offered by some of the schools of instruction provided by the Imperial Authorities in England. In some cases this procedure was adopted in order to effect economy, notably in regard to Camouflage and Wireless Telegraphy, as there was not a sufficient number of Canadians requiring instruction in these subjects to justify the establishment of separate schools. In other cases attendance at Imperial Schools was desirable in order to standardise instruction in special subjects.
One of the most important schools of instruction established by the Imperial Authorities during the War was the Senior Officers' School at Aldershot, which was designed to prepare suitable officers for the position of Battalion Commanders. The course was of three months' duration and the 135 Canadian Officers who passed through this school were all reported on very highly.
During the year prior to the Armistice, 11 Canadian Officers also attended the Senior Staff Course and 27 Officers the Junior Staff Course at Clare College, Cambridge, and in every case these officers were subsequently recommended as competent to fill appropriate staff positions.
It is, indeed, a matter for congratulation that Canadian officers and non-commissioned officers attending Imperial Schools have throughout acquitted themselves with credit. This was particularly notable in the case of the School of Gymnastics at Aldershot, which trains the Gymnastic Staff of the British Army.
Officers.—It was found that in many cases Canadian officers who had become casualties did not progress towards recovery as rapidly as might have been hoped for on account of the lack of facilities for taking recuperative exercise on properly conducted and scientific lines.
The Officers' Casualty Company was therefore established in a comfortable house with spacious grounds at Bexhill-onSea, and here officer casualties were given every opportunity of achieving fitness by means of physical training, athletic sports and special drills carried out under expert and careful (642) C 18 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
direction. In addition the Authorities did everything possible to create an atmosphere of cheerfulness, encouragement and enthusiasm, which did as much to rehabilitate the mind as physical means did to rehabilitate the body, with the result that this institution was an unqualified success.
Other Ranks.—As in the case of the officers the Canadian Authorities took every possible measure to re-establish both the morale and the physical fitness of casualties among Other Ranks.
At the various Convalescent Hospitals members of the Canadian Army Gymnastic Staff who were possessed of a knowledge of anatomy and physiology, were detailed to supervise the physical training in general and remedial gymnastic training in particular. The latter had a most important place in the retraining of the casualties as the removal of physical disabilities by remedial gymnastics not only fitted great numbers of the men to return to the field but also effected the cure of disabilities which would otherwise have formed the basis of claims for pensions.
From the Convalescent Hospital the casualty went to a Command Depot, where his remedial treatment, if any were still needed, was concluded, and where by means of a carefully graduated scale of training he was scientifically "hardened" to a point which enabled him to return to his Reserve Battalion.
As a result of this systematised and carefully graded method of retraining a very high percentage of Canadian Casualties was so completely reconstituted that numbers of men were enabled to return to the Front as entirely fit as when they had first proceeded to France.
An important part of the work of the Intelligence Department consisted of protective intelligence and counter espionage work.
Every body of troops is liable to the incursion of undesirable and even dangerous characters, and the enemy did not scruple to attempt to make use of the Canadian Forces as a means of introducing their agents into England, as the carefully controlled ports of Great Britain left the Overseas Forces practically the only channel for such efforts.
The responsibility for protecting the British War Office in this direction was, therefore, at times considerable; but the General Staff. 19 vigilance with which all doubtful characters in incoming drafts were scrutinised, and prompt and definite action taken as occasion demanded, successfully defeated all such enemy attempts.
Since its formation, the Canadian General Staff has regarded athletics as a most important branch of military training, as it was noticeable that the soldier who entered with vigour into athletic contests invariably displayed courage and resource in battle.
The Canadian Army Gymnastic Staff was, therefore, utilised to promote athletic sports throughout the various training areas in England, special attention being paid to new recruits in the Segregation Camps.
The policy followed was to foster those forms of sport which enabled the largest number of men to participate, rather than to encourage those forms of athletics which appealed to the highly trained and specialised few. It was to further this end that the Canadian Military Athletic Association in the British Isles was established under the direction of the General Staff, and that championship contests were arranged between the different Areas. These championship meetings, which have aroused the greatest interest and enthusiasm throughout the Canadian Forces in England, and done so much to advance the physical fitness of the men, included Association Football, Boxing, Cross Country Running, Wrestling, Tennis, Swimming, Athletics and Baseball.
On September 7, 1918, a British Empire and American Services' Athletic Meet, comprising eight teams, was held at Stamford Bridge, London. The Canadian Forces were represented by 40 athletes, chosen from the winners of their own championship units, and received third place.
CANADIAN PARTIES AND PERSONNEL LOANED TO
THE IMPERIAL AUTHORITIES FOR SPECIAL DUTY.Among the most interesting developments in the Canadian Forces have been the requests which have been received from time to time from the War Office for parties of specially trained and selected officers and non-commissioned officers for duties of an important nature.
Mesopotamian Party.—Early in January, 1918, a request was received from the War Office for the services of a number of officers and non-commissioned officers to proceed to the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, for the purpose of organising, training and leading native troops to be raised from the tribes of Asia Minor and Mesopotamia.
Fifteen officers and 27 non-commissioned officers, all volunteers with excellent records in the field, were selected from the Canadian Forces, and left England during the same month, for Baghdad. At that place they joined the Force known as the " Dunster Force," and were distributed among the natives of the country. As need for organisation has now disappeared, this personnel has been given the opportunity of returning for demobilisation. Only 14 of the party remained to be returned to England at the end of March, 1919.
Northern Russia.—There are Canadian Volunteer Parties including approximately 41 Officers and 563 Other Ranks attached to the Allied Forces, the object of which is to protect the people in the Northern part of Russia against the Bolsheviks and to maintain the prestige of the Allies.