Less strenuous than the assault course were the lessons in military courtesy. A very formal code is still seen to be an Army essential: “Especially in combat situations where people are living closely together and orders must be followed without hesitation, it is imperative that the hierarchical culture be maintained. … This form of courtesy … stems from an awareness of people and a respect for others [sic] rights and feelings. It is not one-sided and should be observed by all, and extended to all.” (1)
The history of the 60th Battery, raised in the Prairies and trained at Camp Petawawa in the summer of 1916, includes a story of how courtesy was — or was not — observed between officers and men.
It was here that some of the members of the battery met Major Ringwood for the first time. A fatigue party had gone to Petewawa [sic] in advance of the main body to prepare the Camp, and one of this party was busy driving in tent pegs, when the Major (then Captain) rode up and introduced himself in characteristic fashion.
With a cheery greeting, he dismounted, and started to help the gunner in his task. As officer and man were working together, the former asked: ‘Do you know who I am?”
“No,” was the reply—the “Sir” demanded by Army Regulations was still an unconsidered trifle in the 60th Battery.
There was silence for a moment ; then, as the perspiring Major continued with his work, he said: “They call me that — Ringwood” (the appropriate word must be inserted by the reader); and as he gave a final swing to his mallet, he added: “You may think I’m all right now—but just you wait until I get you on parade a few times!” (2)
(1) Customs and Traditions of the Canadian Military Engineers. 5-2
(2) 60th C.F.A. Battery Book, 1916-1919. 14-15
The photograph of tents at Camp Petawawa in the summer of 1916 comes from Percy’s small album.
Copyright 2016. See “More about this project.”