Infantry Training Continues Despite Reorganizations

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY – 11 September 1914 – The training of the troops at Valcartier was based upon the “Memorandum for Camps of Instruction, 1914” issued by the Department of Militia and Defence early in that year… These instructions were intended for annual Militia camps where units, already organized, had their own officers, n.c.o’s and men, already enrolled, armed, clothed and medically examined. The force assembled at Valcartier on the contrary had, to start with, no comparable unit organization; the composition, location and command of C.E.F. units were repeatedly changed; officers and N.C.O’s being temporary and provisional were on probation; until a few days before departure, one provisional battalion had four Lieutenant-Colonels, another none, and so with the lower ranks; new appointments, promotions, replacements, transfers and reductions were of bewildering frequency in the hectic, alternating process of shaking up and shaking down.”

All ranks, concurrently with training, had to be medically examined, inoculated, and attested; complete clothing and equipment had to be issued to every man, as deliveries were received, and there was a shortage of rifles.  Target practice began on 25th August with seven battalions on the ranges.  The reshuffling of the troops from twelve battalions into sixteen on 2nd September interrupted the programme of firing, but by 19th September all sixteen battalions had spent from six to eleven half-days on the ranges, mostly firing at 100 and 200 yards, with seven battalions also at 300 yards, and practically all infantrymen had fired the prescribed allotment of rounds – 5 rounds aperture deliberate, 15 rounds battle sight deliberate, 15 rounds battle sight rapid, and 15 rounds attack practice.

A large proportion, having had instruction and practice in the British forces or in the Canadian Militia, or familiar with their own sporting rifles, fired this course only; the remainder repeated the course several times.  Few units carried out field practices or combined fire and movement, and none fired at distances beyond 300 yards.”  [i]


[i] Col. A.F. Duguid, “Official History of the Canadian Forces in The Great War 1914-1919, Vol. 1, Part 1, King’s Printer, Ottawa, 1938, pp. 83-85.


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