INFANTRY TRAINING in 1914

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY, 29 October 1914 – From the 14th BATTALION (RMR) WAR DIARY:

Thursday, October 29, 1914

Camp Salisbury Plain, West Down South

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Rain.  Training under difficulties on account of bad weather.”  [1]

29 Oct 14

Infantry Training: “During his 14 weeks of training the Infantryman was required to become proficient in numerous subjects.  Among them were: Musketry, Hand Grenades, Rifle Grenades, Bayonet Fighting, Anti-Gas Precautions, Entrenching – including Revetting, Draining and construction of dug-outs, construction of barbed wire entanglements, and Lewis Gunnery.  Experience had shown “that a large percentage of Infantrymen should be familiar in the use of the Lewis Gun, and latterly 50 percent of the reinforcements proceeding to France were required to qualify in the use of this weapon.

When the recruit had become efficient in each of the separate branches of training he was advanced to the co-ordination of the various subjects.  To this end, before proceeding to France, the Infantryman was trained in attack practices, comprising all phases of attack in the field, from the formation of the line in which he goes forward with the advance under cover of fire to the assault on the trenches, to the final consolidation of the captured position.

No man was permitted to proceed to France until he had passed adequate tests, and when he was embarked as a reinforcement he carried with him, in his Pay-Book, a complete summary of his training, so that the officer under whom he was destined to serve in the field was able to place him where his abilities could be used to the best advantage.  In addition to fighting troops it was, of course, necessary to furnish such details as cooks, stretcher bearers, transport drivers, clerks and signallers, for all of whom specialty training had to be provided.

Signalling was of particular importance and the Canadian School of Signalling was established at Seaford Camp to provide instructors for Infantry battalions.  It was opened in January 1917, and was closed immediately after the signing of the Armistice.  During the period of its existence 1,550 Officers and 1,930 Other Ranks qualified at its courses.”   [3]

[1]   War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Oct. 25, 1914.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089670.jpg

[2]  Editing with Traces of the Past; http://vimyridgehistory.com/kit-1/cda-rallies/salisbury-plain/images/#gallery/2198/5220
[3]   Report of the Ministry, Overseas Military Forces of Canada 1918, London, Printed by the Authority of the Ministry, Overseas Military Forces of Canada, pp. 11-12.

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