100 Years Ago: Compulsory Drill Advocated

The Intelligencer November 16, 1915 (page 2)

“Dear Sir:—I read with a good deal of satisfaction the letter of Mr. J.F. Wills, K.C., in last night’s issue, urging all males from 18 to 60 years of age who are not in training for Overseas service to attend drill for home service. This is the right thing to do. There is no doubt Germany knows our exact position and has plans all prepared to strike a blow at Canada. …

Last winter we had our experience with the Home Guard. Only a few citizens turned out to drill. The professional men, the business men, the property owners, all of whom would lose most by invasion, took little or no interest in it, and the number on parade dwindled till it seemed useless to continue drilling longer.

In Toronto the citizens and the military authorities took a deep interest in the Home Guard and the council gave grants to it. It was a training school and materially helped recruiting.

It is apparent that the only kind of an organization that can be effective is one the members of which are compelled to attend parade or suffer a penalty. Apparently people will put their pleasures, their business and their personal convenience first. We have easily 5,000 males in the city. Of these at least ten per cent should be willing to drill once a week. Drilling might be arranged for every night and also in the day time, especially Sundays. Men who don’t care to go to Church perhaps might come out to drill. Again I repeat attendance at drill ought to be compulsory to those who join. W.C. MIKEL.”