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Date > 1800

Subject > Armed Forces > Military Life > Education and Training

Officer cadet, Royal Military College of Canada, 1954

Type: Image

Except for a few details, the full dress uniform of officer cadets at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, remained essentially the same since the college was founded in 1874. As shown in this 1954 photo, only the shakos and pith helmets worn on parade by first-class officer-cadets disappeared, replaced by pill-box caps. (Canadian Department of National Defence, ZK-2049)

Site: National Defence

Training Camps

Type: Document

The system of militia training camps did not work well as it perpetuated the problem of paying units that arrived for training without a full complement of men. There was a high turnover of men as they left for better jobs, leaving units in a continuous cycle of training new members to replace those who left.

Site: National Defence

Militia Budgets

Type: Document

The budgets allocated by Parliament often affected the size of the militia and how many men would be trained. Cycles of economic crisis and boom in the 1870's had an impact on militia activity and proficiency.

Site: National Defence

Command of the Militia

Type: Document

From 1867 to 1904, the militia system was commanded by British General Officers who were often in conflict with Canadian Defence Ministers over matters of appointments, budgets, and the role played by Canada’s forces in the Empire. During this period small improvements were made in the staff system and the training of officers.

Site: National Defence

Still a Viable Institution

Type: Document

In Lower Canada during the 1820s, the militia was still respected as an institution by the Francophone majority. Training consisted mostly of shooting contests, but these were taken seriously. Importantly, the institution was not split along social lines as happened in Upper Canada.

Site: National Defence

Entertainment

Type: Document

During the 18th and 19th centuries, alcohol and prostitutes were not the only forms of entertainment available to British soldiers. Cards and dice were popular, as was singing and playing music. The army tried to encourage reading, and it set up schools for the illiterate majority.

Site: National Defence

Royal Military College cadet, 1876

Type: Image

This was the uniform of a Royal Military College cadet at the time of the opening of the college in 1876. The graduates of RMC enlisted in both the Permanent and Volunteer Militia, as well as the North-West Mounted Police. Print after Henri Julien in the 'Canadian Illustrated News' (Montreal), 17 June 1876.

Site: National Defence

Officer's riding school, circa 1840

Type: Image

Not all officers knew how to ride properly and so had to be trained. During the late 1830s and early 1840s, the British army also had facilities for training cavalry units in Chambly.

Site: National Defence

Aspects of a summer training camp for volunteer militia units, 1875

Type: Image

Each summer, a part of the Canadian Militia was gathered to spend 12 days at a training camp. The camps were supposed to supplement regular drills at each unit's home base. Lack of money meant that regiments outside the cities could go for long periods without attending a camp. This 1875 illustration shows scenes taken from one such camp.

Site: National Defence

Volunteer Training

Type: Document

Members of both the Active and Non-Active Militia undertook various types of qualification training including exams and courses, often at personal expense and under poor conditions.

Site: National Defence