«LONDON PRINTED BY AUTHORITY OF THE MINISTRY, OVERSEAS MILITARY FORCES OF CANADA. REPORT of the MINISTRY Overseas Military Forces of Canada LONDON ...»
One of the two main bodies of the Allies is operating southwards from the Murmansk Coast and the other south from Archangel. Cable and wireless communication is maintained with Archangel. According to the latest available reports the inhabitants of these parts of Russia are in entire sympathy with the Allies and the general position is encouraging.
On the Archangel Front, though there has been considerable artillery activity on the part of the Bolsheviks, the military situation had remained practically unchanged for some time up to the end of March.
On the Murman Front the morale of the Bolsheviks is reported as bad, and this is accounted for by the growing dissatisfaction with the Bolshevik regime at Petrograd.
The following are details of the general conditions and circumstances attaching to the Canadian Volunteers who, according to reports received at the beginning of March, 1919, were fit and well and in good spirits. Leave is given in rotation as it becomes possible to grant it. Application has been made to the War. Office for the release of all Canadian troops in Northern Russia, and the reply has been received that, owing to the natural winter conditions prevailing in the Russian theatre of operations at that time, and also having regard to the tactical situation, it is not possible to General Staff. 21 state any definite time for release of Canadian personnel. However, it is expected that all Canadian parties at present doing duty in Russia, loaned from the Overseas Military Forces of Canada, will be released for repatriation to Canada at the earliest possible date.
The troops are being supplied with special comforts through the Canadian Red Cross Society.
Archangel Force.—There is a considerable body of Allied Troops, including British, French, Americans and Russians, on the Archangel Front, operating from Archangel, which serves as the Base.
These Forces are serving on a front roughly 120 miles south-west, south and south-east of the Base along the River Dwina. In this zone of operations there are two distinct Canadian Sections:— (a) A small instructional and constructional party at Archangel itself.
(b) The 16th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, serving with the Dwina and Vaga Columns.
It was in May, 1918, that the War Office approached the Canadian Authorities with a view to securing the services of a number of officers and non-commissioned officers to undertake duties similar to those which the Canadians had been asked to carry out in Mesopotamia.
Accordingly a Volunteer Party of five officers and 11 non-commissioned officers proceeded to Archangel in June. This party has since then been co-operating with the Allied Forces in administrative work, in the reconstruction of such Units of the Russian Army as are still loyal to the Allies, and in securing the co-operation of the local inhabitants in the defence of that theatre of war. This party is reported to have done excellent work.
It was shortly after the organisation of the above party that the War Office asked whether the Overseas Military Forces of Canada could furnish two Batteries of Canadian Field Artillery. Volunteers were called for from the Canadian Reserve Artillery and the 16th Brigade Canadian Field Artillery, consisting of the 67th and 68th Batteries, with a strength of 18 officers and 469 Other Ranks was organised at Witley and embarked for Russia on September 17, 1918.
This Force, which consisted almost entirely of personnel with experience on the Western Front, was placed under the command of 22 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
Colonel C. H. L. Sharman, C.B.E., who had commanded the Canadian Reserve Artillery at Witley. The 67th Battery is under the command of Major F. F. Arnoldi, D.S.O., and the 68th Battery is under the command of Major W. C. Hyde, D.S.O. These two Batteries were in much of the recent hard fighting near Shenkursk, and have been specially mentioned by the G.O.C. Archangel as having materially assisted in repulsing the Bolsheviks.
On November 11, 1918, the Brigade fought a notable action, when, though apparently outnumbered, the drivers, cooks and batmen fought with such courage and stubbornness that they saved the Canadian guns.
Up to April 1, 1919, the only casualties suffered by the party were-one Officer died of wounds, five Other Ranks killed, aid several Other Ranks wounded and sick.
Murmansk.—The Allied Forces on the Murmansk Front have been, and are still, engaged in holding the Murman Peninsula and Railway to a point some distance south of Soroka, in order that communication with the Archangel Force may be kept up by land. To assist in this measure the Canadian Overseas Ministry was asked in August, 1918, whether it could furnish a number of Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers to act as instructors for a Special Mobile Force at Soroka. It was particularly requested that only personnel familiar with Arctic conditions such as exist in this district should be selected. Volunteers were again called for, and 18 officers and 74 non-commissioned officers arrived in Northern Russia under the command of Colonel J. E. Leckie, C.M.G., D.S.O., in October, 1918. This party has since been engaged upon administrative work and in the organisation of the defence of the country in conjunction with the Allied Forces. Some of the Instructors have been formed into a Special Super-Mobile Company, which consists entirely of Canadian officers and Other Ranks. It is divided into 15 Sections, each with one officer and five Other Ranks, six sledges, and 18 dogs, and two large and two small tents, together with special rations and equipment.
This Super-Mobile Company is employed on any particular mission which necessitates long journeys across country. A march was recently carried out by British troops from Soroka to Onega, a distance of some 200 miles over a winter track. The entire transport for this journey was supplied and organised by the Canadian Mobile Force, which in no small measure contributed to the success of this arduous march.
General Staff. 23 The remaining Canadian Instructors are regarded as having been invaluable in training the various Companies which make up the Special Mobile Forces, in the use of dogs, sledges, ski and snow-shoe work under Arctic conditions. The personnel of the Companies is drawn from every Battalion, whether British, Serbian, Italian or Russian, on this Front. This party, up to the end of March, had suffered no casualties.
Strengths. Northern Russia:—
Palestine Party.—In the Summer of 1918, General Allenby requested the War Office for a Company of expert Bridge Builders whose services were urgently required in Palestine. Volunteers were called for from among the Canadian Railway Troops in France, and six officers and 250 Other Ranks proceeded to Palestine on September 28,
1918. The whole of this party arrived back in March, 1919, and was returned to the Railway Depot in England.
INSTRUCTORS FOR THE AMERICAN ARMY.
In January, 1918, a request was received from the War Office for the services of a number of Officer Instructors to proceed to the United States, together with a number of noncommissioned officers, to advise and assist in the training of the American Army for the Field.
A party of Specialist Instructors, consisting of twenty-five officers and twenty-five non-commissioned officers, was accordingly selected and despatched to the United States to work under the direction of the British Military Mission.
24 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
These officers were distributed amongst the various training Camps of the American Army and were attached to American Formations then in process of organization, their services in every case giving the highest satisfaction.
The number of boys under 18 years of age who enlisted in the Canadian Forces during the period of voluntary recruiting constitutes a remarkable tribute to the patriotism of Canada's youth. The presence, Overseas, too, of these enthusiastic young soldiers was in reality of considerable service as, owing to the measures taken to deal with them in the manner and in the spirit they so entirely deserved, they were, when they reached the statutory age, not merely so many raw recruits, but trained soldiers thoroughly fit and qualified for service in the field.
It was to secure not only their training but their best welfare, that the Canadian Young Soldiers' Battalion was established at Bramshott in the summer of 1917. Into this Unit were drafted all boys under 18 years of age who were then Overseas, many of them being withdrawn for this purpose from Units in the field. In this Battalion, under carefully selected officers and non-commissioned officers, the boys were put through a graduated course of training and by means of a most careful system of special exercises, special feeding and close supervision. every effort was made to build up their physique, and health. They were afforded special recreational facilities, while their education was improved under the direction of a competent schoolmaster and in co-operation with the Khaki University.
The Battalion was demobilised on December 7, 1918, and the personnel returned to Canada. Throughout the period of its existence it had maintained a strength of from 600 to 700 and had provided 568 soldiers for service in France as the lads became of a suitable age. Apart, however, from its Military uses as a Reinforcing Unit, the Young Soldiers' Battalion did much good work for numbers of young Canadian citizens.
TAKING ON THE STRENGTH OF OFFICERS
PROMOTION AND APPOINTMENT OF OFFICERS................. 29 STAFF APPOINTMENTS, ENGLAND
EXCHANGE OF OFFICERS
RETURN OF STUDENTS TO CANADA
OFFICERS' RECORD SECTION
MEDALS, HONOURS AND AWARDS
DISCIPLINE AND MILITARY LAW
EMPLOYMENT OF CIVILIANS
RETURN OF PERSONNEL TO CANADA
ENLISTMENTS IN ENGLAND
ALLOCATION AND EMPLOYMENT OFLOW CATEGORY MEN
CARE OF SOLDIERS' GRAVES
The duties which fall to the Adjutant-General's Branch of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada are so multitudinous and complex that it is impossible to do more than include a brief review of its principal functions in the present report, which summarises the work of the Branch for the year ending December 31, 1918.
The principal duties of the Adjutant-General's Branch may be divided as follows:—
1. Organization, Establishments, Mobilisation, and Demobilisation.
2. Supply of Military Personnel for the maintenance of the Forces in the Field.
3. Casualties and Invaliding.
4. Personal Services, Discipline, Personal questions regarding Officers and Other Ranks, Records, Issuing and editing of Adjutant-General's Orders, etc.
In addition, the Medical, Dental, Chaplain and Record Services come under the Adjutant-General's Department for General Administration, though the actual administration is exercised by the Director at the head of each of these Services.
Some idea of the volume of business transacted by the Department may be gathered from the fact that the daily files of correspondence which it handled during the year 1918, average approximately 7,500 a week.
Every Unit and Formation of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada is on an Approved Establishment, i.e., the detail of the numbers and ranks of officers, non-commissioned officers and privates, and the numbers of animals and vehicles which make up the Unit are all laid down in what is known as its Establishment.
All Establishments, whether new or amended, are submitted to the Minister, Overseas Military Forces of Canada, in Council for approval and the approved Establishment is then forwarded to the GovernorGeneral in Council, Canada, for confirmation.
28 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.
It will thus be seen that the whole basis of the organization strength and the various ranks to be held by officers and noncommissioned officers is contained and controlled by the Establishment as authorised or amended from time to time, and that no promotions or increases are permitted without further authority.
During the year 1918, 59 Establishments for Great Britain and 52 Establishments for France were reviewed and approved and 128 amendments to Establishments (44 in Great Britain and 84 in France) were also dealt with.
TAKING OF THE STRENGTH OF OFFICERS.
The supply of officers for the Overseas Military Forces of Canada
was found from the following sources :
1. Officers despatched from Canada as reinforcements in response to specific demands.
2. Non-commissioned officers and men granted commissions in the field or at the conclusion of service in the field.
3. Selected Draft Conducting Officers (officers placed in charge of Drafts from Canada).
With reference to category 1, demands were sent to Ottawa as
required for officers of reinforcements :
(a) Canadian Army Medical Corps.
(b) Canadian Army Veterinary Corps.
(c) Canadian Army Dental Corps.
(d) Canadian Army Chaplain Services.
With reference to category 2, as detailed elsewhere an arrangement existed with the Canadian Corps whereby a regular supply of cadets was despatched from France for training at the Canadian Cadet School, Bexhill.
With reference to category 3, officers who arrived in charge of drafts were in the normal course returned to Canada. These officers, however, could be retained for service with the Overseas Military Forces if required. The majority of conducting officers were keen to serve in the Field, and it was necessary to give preference to those who had already seen service and who had been evacuated to Canada suffering from wounds or sickness, but had afterwards become fit for duty. In all cases it was necessary that they should be under 35 years of age and fit for General Service.
Adjutant-General's Branch. 29
PROMOTION AND APPOINTMENT OF OFFICERS.