Quotes - Soldiers (page 4)

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In 1848, when I was Brigade-Major at Agra, I made a good many inquiries into the condition of the soldier in barracks, their wants and habits,... One day an intelligent sergeant of the 24th came to me on business, and, amongst other questions, I asked him-"The men, in this hot weather, are confined to barracks from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. How do they employ themselves during these hours?" "Well, sir, they mainly sit upon their cots and look at each other." - Major-General Sir Thomas Seaton, K.C.B., Cadet to Colonel, Vol II, 1866


The mere fact that [Tommy Atkins] saw himself as a hero, and not as the rough he was, enlisted, more probably, through hunger, and disciplined by fear, tended to make him behave like a hero, as he did on the Ridge of Delhi and in the fog at Inkermann. - Esme Wingfield-Stratford, D.SC., MA, THOSE EARNEST VICTORIANS, 1930


Sergeant referring to a Gunner who is standing before the Commandant "I do not know what to make of this man, sir! He goes out when he likes, comes in when he likes, gets drunk when he likes, in fact, he might be an officer, sir!" - Overheard in the Orderly Room of "A" Battery School of Gunnery, Gunner Newsletter, Vol 7, Spring 1976


Canadian Army Journal, Vol 7, No 2, July 1953

A Good Soldier

By Maj.-Gen. Christopher Vokes, General Officer Commanding, Western Command, Edmonton, Alberta

To be known as a good soldier by his comrades, his subordinates and his superiors in rank, should be the goal of every soldier in the Canadian Army. It is the height of military achievement no matter what the rank. Skill-at-arms is not the only requirement for this. There is much more to it. In addition, the soldier must possess in himself:

  1. A strong sense of duty;v
  2. Honesty;
  3. Willing obedience;
  4. A respect for authority - military or civil;
  5. Decent manners, morals and speech; and
  6. Loyalty to his comrades, to his unit and to the Canadian Army in which he has the honour to serve.

A good soldier is a man skilled in the profession of arms who by his personal conduct earns and holds the respect of his fellow Canadians, whether soldiers or civilians.


The soldiers themselves have emotion. The sense of duty, discipline, pride, the example of their officers and above all their coolness, sustain them and prevent their fear from becoming terror. Their emotion never allows them to sight, or to move than approximately adjust their fire. Often they fire into the air. Cromwell knew this very well, dependable as his troops were, when he said, "Put your trust in God, and aim at their shoelaces." - Colonel Ardant du Picq, French Army, Battle Studies; Ancient and Modern Battle, The Military Service Publishing Company edition, 1958


On this march. One of my Royal Artillery party must surely go on record as the best countryman of the campaign. At one of the 10 minute stops after we had just crossed a stream, a stream small enough to step over, he leapt back into it and snatch out a huge five pound brown trout! We could barely believe our eyes. We poached it when we got to Teal. It was quite delicious. The air is very clear in the Falklands and distance always look closer than they really are. Thus our estimation of the Falklands kilometre is about 3,000 yards! We could see Teal Inlet for hours before we arrioved there - which we eventually did in the dark. There was snow on the ground. We spent a blissful night in a filthy, tick ridden, beautiful, sheep pen.- Captain I.R. Gardiner, A Personal Account of Operations on the Falklands Islands, X Company, 45 Commando Royal Marine, April-June 1982, 1982


A sojer's life is on'y gloryous in times iv peace. Thin he can wear his good clothes with th' goold lace on thim, an' sthrut in scarlet an' blue through th' sthreets. - Finley Peter Dunne, "On Past Glories," Mr. Dooley On making a Will, (1919)


Thompson also saw the need for soldiers to be flexible on this idea: "Too much, however, has been claimed for theoretic discipline--not enough for intelligent individual action. No remark was oftener on the lips of officers during the war than this: 'Obey orders! I do your thinking for you.' But that soldier is best whose good sense tells him when to be merely a part of a machine and when not." - Gregory A. Coco, The Civil War Infantryman; In camp, on the march, and in battle., 1996


Esprit de corps and confidence in leaders make a good unit. Self esteem, self confidence, and self control make a good soldier. - Major-General F.M. Richardson, Fighting Spirit; A Study of Psychological Factors in War


TOMMY ATKINS: The popular generic name for the British private soldier. In its origin the name dates from August 1815. (Waterloo year), when the War Office issued the first "Soldier's Account Book", which every soldier was provided with. The specImen form sent out with the book to show how details should be filled in, bore at the place where a man's signature was required the hypothetical name "Thomas Atkins", (or, alternatively, for illiterate men "Thomas Atkins X his mark") "Thomas Atkins" continued to appear in later editions of the Soldier's Account Book until comparatively recent times. It has now disappeared. A more or less current Service slang name from about 1830, the general popularity of the name "Tommy" for a soldier dates from about fifty years ago. Mr. Kipling's verses finally familiarized it allover the English-speaking world. - Edward Fraser and John Gibbons, Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases, 1925


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