«LONDON PRINTED BY AUTHORITY OF THE MINISTRY, OVERSEAS MILITARY FORCES OF CANADA. REPORT of the MINISTRY Overseas Military Forces of Canada LONDON ...»
It has been a recognised principle in the Canadian Corps that organisation must not be allowed to become stereotyped.
The value of elasticity in the power of creating new organisations to meet new conditions was early recognised and was a decisive factor towards success.
2. Prior to 1918 the majority of Canadian Units with the Canadian Corps were organised on Imperial Establishments. These, to a certain extent, proved unsatisfactory, and early in the year steps were taken to revise the existing establishments. A number of new establishments were submitted and approved, and a large number of the existing establishments were modified to meet the requirements of the Corps.
Prior to reorganisation the Machine Gun organisation of the Corps consisted of one Machine Gun Company per Division and the following Motor Machine Gun Brigades :— 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade.
Yukon Motor Machine Gun Brigade.
Eaton Motor Machine Gun Brigade.
Borden Motor Machine Gun Brigade.
The Machine Gun Companies were disbanded, and in their place were substituted one Machine Gun Battalion per Division. Each Battalion consisted of three Machine Gun Companies. Likewise the Yukon, Eaton and Borden Motor Machine Gun Brigades were merged and known as the 2nd Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade.
The organisation of the Canadian Engineers did away with twelve Field Companies C.E., four Pioneer Battalions; and two Tunnelling Companies.
The present organisation of the Canadian Engineers consists of twelve Battalions C.E. (three to each Division, comprising an Engineer Brigade) and one Bridging Transport Section with each Division.
The reorganisation of the Machine Gun Corps and the Engineers necessitated better arrangements being made for transportation, and to attain this the Machine Gun Mechanical Transport Company and the Engineer Mechanical Transport Company were organised. At the same time the whole of the Mechanical Transport of the Canadian Corps was reorganised, each Division and Corps Troops having one complete Mechanical Transport Company.
The Spiritual and Recreational welfare of the troops also received consideration. The existing organisation of the Y.M.C.A. and Chaplain Services were found to be inadequate, and resulted in the formation of the 9th Canadian Area Employment Company. This Company found the personnel for duty with the Y.M.C.A. and Chaplain Services, and were allowed a certain number of N.C.Os. for the more responsible positions in these two organisations. When personnel were 300 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
not needed by either of these two organisations they were returned to the 9th Area Employment Company to be used on other duties, but they were always available to be returned as occasion required.
During the year the two Labour Battalions were merged into four Canadian Infantry Works Companies and one Group Headquarters, the entire organisation being administered by the Labour Commandant, who had his headquarters at Corps Headquarters.
Practically all establishments in use with the Canadian Corps were amended during the year to meet existing conditions. The establishment of Canadian Corps Headquarters was given careful consideration and various amendments were made. In view of the increasing volume of work handled by the various Departments of Corps Headquarters it was found necessary to increase the establishment for clerical labour, thus enabling clerks to draw a higher rate of pay than would otherwise have been possible.
The establishments of Division and Brigade Headquarters were also amended.
The establishment of Canadian Infantry Battalions was increased to 966 other ranks, and in addition an over-posting of 100 other ranks was approved, making a total strength of 1,066 other ranks..
Personal Services of other ranks, including postings, transfers, promotions, summary reductions, clerks, courses, passes, permits, and leave.
The Corps has always enjoyed a generous allotment of leave for all ranks, a privilege which has contributed in a great measure to physical fitness and morale.
Personnel are eligible for ordinary 14 days' leave to the United Kingdom every three months. The allotment, however, is dependent upon train and boat accommodation, and naturally the military situation.
It is not possible, therefore, to grant leave so frequently.
Leave privileges are also extended to France, Belgium, and Italy.
In special cases where the circumstances warrant it leave to Canada is granted for varying periods, and special leave to the United Kingdom is allowed for a period exceeding the 14 days.
Corps Administration. 301 A leave warrant to the United Kingdom includes free transportation from the Unit in the Field to the applicant's destination. This arrangement is not applicable to leave on the Continent.
A special train and boat service is operated for leave personnel only.
The leave train in France runs between the Divisional Railhead and the Base Port. It is aimed to have the boat leave with as little delay as possible after the arrival of the train. Boat sailings, however, are dependent upon tides and other factors, and it frequently occurs that leave personnel are delayed at the Port in France. To provide for this, Rest Camps have been established, where sleeping accommodation and food are obtainable. A special leave train meets the boat at the Port in England and conveys the personnel to London, from where the journey is continued by regular trains.
All other ranks receive an advance of pay prior to proceeding on leave.
Pay of Officers and other ranks, including separation allowance and gratuities.
Enlistments and Discharges.
Demobilisation.—Demobilisation implies the depletion of a military force, and the return to civil life of the personnel composing it.
An Army is not ordinarily organised for self-disintegration, and consequently, marvellous as is the existing machinery and infinitely various the functions that it enables it to perform, it must be altered and supplemented in many directions for the business of demobilisation.
Plans must be prepared and special organisations created to deal with the various stages through which the Units must pass.
Arrangements must be made for the collection and disposal of arms, equipment, transport and animals.
Thus an entirely new set of Army Forms have been brought into use in order to carry out the documentation of personnel, etc. Special guards and working parties have been provided to handle the equipment, etc.
Certain officers and other ranks have been specifically told off in each Unit to deal with the necessary preparation of documents and dispersal schemes.
302 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
Le Havre was set aside as a Port of Embarkation for the Canadian Forces in France.
At this Port a Camp, known as the Canadian Embarkation Camp, has been created with a capacity of approximately 6,000 troops, and a staff capable of carrying out the necessary administrative functions.
The Units are moved by rail from their present area to the Embarkation Camp. Ordinarily the movement of troops from the Port of Embarkation to England is at the rate of 1,000 soldiers per day.
A Concentration Camp known as the Canadian Corps Camp has been organised at Bramshott, England, with a capacity of approximately the strength of a Division.
On arrival in England, Units proceed by rail to this Camp, and there they are finally completed with respect to documentation, last pay certificates, etc. All ranks are given eight days'' leave of absence before sailing for Canada.
The Dominion of Canada has been divided into 21 Dispersal Areas, each with a Dispersal Station.
The Port of Halifax has been selected as the Port of Disembarkation, and from there the Units proceed to their respective Dispersal Areas by specially organised rail service. All personnel are conveyed to their homes at public expense.
Applications and Enquiries of all kinds concerning the troops.
Spiritual Welfare of the Troops.—The work of the Chaplain Services covers a considerable area. In addition to the spiritual and moral side of the work much has been done in the interest of the Troops to provide for their social requirements. In this latter direction a great deal has been done for the welfare of the troops in providing canteens, reading rooms, games, etc.
Too much cannot be said also of the services of the Y.M.C.A. in the interests of the troops with respect to the supplying of sporting material, provision of recreation rooms, and entertainments.
Medical Services, including Sanitation.—This subject is too detailed and lengthy for a report of this nature, so it has been dealt with in a separate report by the Deputy Director Medical Services.
Police Measures and A.P.Ms.—The principal functions of the Provost Branch, under the direction of the Assistant Provost Marshal, are as follows:— The prevention and detection of crime.
The maintenance of order under all circumstances.
The enforcing of regulations.
The arrest of offenders.
The regulating of road traffic.
The collection of stragglers.
The custody of prisoners of war.
The control of civilian circulation.
The surveillance of persons suspected of espionage (in consultation with the Intelligence Branch).
The selection of personnel for Provost Service is a matter of great importance, even more so than in the case of policemen in civil life. The Military Police must be tactful, intelligent, and determined.
Personnel supplied to the Provost Branch are as a rule green men drawn from the Units, and require to be thoroughly trained and master the existing regulations before they become efficient in the duties which they undertake.
Prisoners of War, including detention, provision and disposal.
As prisoners of war furnish valuable and first-hand information regarding the enemy, the condition of his forces, and his intentions, the prompt collection of all prisoners of war is of first importance.
The arrangements regarding prisoners of war must necessarily vary according to circumstances, but as a general rule the following is the usual procedure adopted. When an attack is to be carried out Divisions arrange temporary Cages for the reception of prisoners, situated at convenient locations, as close behind the firing line as is practicable. To these Cages the prisoners collected by Brigades are sent. A Corps Advanced Cage is established in rear thereof to collect the evacuations from the Divisional Cages. The Advanced Cage evacuates to the. Rear Corps Cage, which is situated between Corps and Army Headquarters, and where all Corps prisoners are detained until they are turned over to the Army for disposal.
All prisoners of war are subjected to careful search, interrogation, and examination by specially trained Officers under the control and direction of the General Staff, and information thus 304 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
gained is immediately available for use. When prisoners reach the Advanced Corps Cage they are sorted, their Units are identified, and more particular information obtained, and so on till the process is completed.
During this process the prisoners have to be provisioned and their wounded given medical attention. When it is considered that during the first 24 hours of the battle of Amiens between 6,000 and 7,000 prisoners of war passed through the Advanced Corps Cage some idea of the work and administration involved can be had.
Burials and Cemeteries.—The responsibility for the selection of sites for burial ground for British soldiers, and for the control and supervision of cemeteries, rests on the Director of Graves Registration and Enquiries, who works under the Adjutant General, General Headquarters.
A Burial Officer is appointed for Corps Headquarters and one for each Division, whose duties comprise the general supervision of burials and cemeteries in their respective areas.
Whenever an interment is made the Chaplain who conducts the ceremony must ensure :— (a) That the report on the prescribed form is completed in triplicate, and forwarded to (i.) The Director of Graves Registration and Enquiries, War Office ; (ii.) The D.A.D.G.R. and E. of the Army in which the Corps is serving ; (iii.) The D.A.G., G.H.Q., 3rd Echelon. The report referred to contains full particulars of the deceased, i.e., name, initials, regimental number, unit, date of death (wherever possible„ and the map location of the grave.
(b) That the grave is suitably marked in such a way as to ensure identification. For this purpose pegs are kept by a soldier in charge of all authorised cemeteries. Full particulars of the deceased as mentioned in (a) are entered on the labels attached to the peg. At the earliest opportunity a wooden cross bearing the same particulars is erected. In cases where the erection of crosses is difficult, or has to be delayed, a record written with hard black pencil is in addition to be placed in a bottle which is half buried (neck downward) at the foot of the grave.
Plans are in preparation for the erection of a specially designed headstone over the grave of each Canadian soldier.
It has been urged that arrangements be made for the exhumation of all bodies of Canadian soldiers buried in Germany for reinterment in Allied soil, and it is hoped that this request will receive approval in due course.
Corps Administration. 305 The greatest possible care is taken to ensure that the bodies of all Canadian soldiers killed in action or dying on service are buried according to the rites of their religious denominations.
Ceremonials and Bands.—Preparation of orders, reports, despatches, correspondence, and diaries relative to the above.
1. Returns.—Two separate Casualty Returns will be sent in.
"A"—A return of estimated casualties only, to be used during heavy fighting.
"B"—A return of Official casualties accurately compiled.
"A" ESTIMATED CASUALTY RETURNS.(i) Divisions in which any Battalion (or Regiment) has suffered 50 or more casualties will wire the number by Battalions (or Regiments) not later than 8.00 p.m. daily to A.G., G.H.Q.,repeated to A.H.Q. (A) and Canadian Corps " A."
These will be repeated.
For Canadian Troops to A.A.G., Canadian Section, 3rd Echelon.