April 12, 1915

WAR SUPPLIES-BINOCULARS.


Mr. H. B. MORPHY, acting chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, presented the fourth report of said committee, as follows: Tour committee have had under consideration the purchase of binocular glasses for the" Canadian expeditionary force, and beg to report to the House the evidence and documents in connection therewith. From the evidence it appears a number of binocular glasses were of poor quality, low range and inferior effciency, but passed inspection and were paid for at an excessive price; and this was due to misrepresentation and inadequate inspection. Tour committee therefore recommend to the House that the said evidence and all documents connected therewith be referred to the Department of Justice, with instructions to enforce restitution and to take such further proceedings as the law will permit.


SUPPLY BILL.

THIRD READING.


Hon. W. T. WHITE (Minister of Finance) moved the third reading of Bill No. 123, for granting to His Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of the financial years ending respectively the 31st March, 1915, and the 31st March, 1916.


LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

Since the winding up of the Union Life Insurance Company, I have received several communications asking me to inquire from the minister whether he was satisfied that the Insurance Department had been properly reorganized since the superannuation of Mr. Fitzgerald, and whether it was properly manned and equipped for the performance of the duties it is called upon to discharge. The minister is familiar with the large interests the Canadian people have in life and other

insurance companies, and the fact that this company had to be wound up has directed attention to this peculiar feature of our financial life. I am sure that an assurance from the Government that the interests of the public are being properly safeguarded would be very much appreciated.

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Subtopic:   THIRD READING.
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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. W. T. WHITE:

My hon. friend's question rather surprises me. If the Government had not confidence in the Insurance Department, we should certainly take such steps as would give us confidence. My hon. friend no doubt knows that the troubles of the Union Life go back some seven or eight or more years, the company having got into difficulties in 1909. Just at present I am not prepared to say that the Insurance Department was culpable or negligent in any way. On the contrary, a careful consideration of the whole question goes to show that the troubles of the Union Life were due to negligence or wors'e on the part of its directors and officers, and to the fact that under our insurance laws very wide discretion is given to directors in the investment of moneys of insurance companies. I have it in mind to introduce a Bill, of which I have already given notice, which I think will result in obviating a recurrence of certain of the troubles into which the Union Life Insurance Company got owing to the circumstances I have mentioned. In answer to my hon. friend's question, I may say that we have no reason at all to doubt that the Insurance Department is competent, or that it is giving proper attention to the duties that devolve upon it by statute.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   THIRD READING.
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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the third time and passed.


WAR SUPPLIES-BOOTS.

CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. S. MIDDLEBRO (North Grey) moved:

That Report A of the fourth report of the Special Committee to which was referred the report of the Board of Inquiry respecting boots supplied the Department of Militia and Defence be concurred in.

The said report is as follows:

The Special Committee, to which was referred the report of the Board of Inquiry consisting of Lt.-Colonel W. H. Hallick, E. A. Stephens, Esq., and Theo. Galipeau, Esq., respecting hoots supplied to the Department of Militia and Defence and all matters pertaining

to such boots, beg leave to report as follows:

(1) The order of reference and the authority of this committee is contained in the following resolution:

House of Commons,

Tuesday, February 16, 1915.

Resolved, that the report of the Board of Inquiry consisting of Lt.-Colonel W. H. Hallick, E. A. Stephens, Esq., and Theo. Galipeau, Esq., respecting boots supplied to the Department of Militia and Defence, a copy of which report was laid upon the table of the House on the 15th instant, and all matters pertaining to the boots so supplied to the said department, be referred to a special committee of seven members with instructions to investigate the matters aforesaid and to report thereon to this House.

That the committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, to examine witnesses on oath or affirmation and to report from time to time. That the following members shall constitute the said committee, namely: Sir James Aikins and Messrs. Le-mieux, Macdonald, McCurdy, Middlebro, Nesbitt and Rainville.

Attest.

Thos. B. Flint,

Clerk of the House. Monday, February 22, 1915.

Order.-That the name of Mr. Murphy ue substituted for that of Mr. Lemieux on the said committee.

Attest.

Thos. B. Flint,

Clerk, House of Commons.

Your committee so appointed have held fifty-one sessions and heard the evidence on oath of eighty-seven witnesses.

Board of Inquiry.

Your committee find that the report of the Board of Inquiry particularly referred to it by the foregoing resolution is not complete, satisfactory or to be relied on, as the investigation made by that board and upon which its report is based was of a meagre and superficial character. The only persons called upon to give evidence, which was not given under oath, were four officers of the Department of Militia, three of whom were examined by your committee as were also all the members constituting that board. The board wrongly assumed that the boots to be supplied to the department were to be made according to a certain specification found in the department and judged them to be proper or defective as they complied with or departed from such specification, whereas the fact is that the boots were contracted to be made not according to specification but according to samples furnished or approved by the department.

Compliance with Contracts.

Your committee find that the boots contracted for after the beginning of the war and supplied to the Department of Militia and Defence under such contracts substantially complied with the samples provided or approved by the department according to which the boots were to be made.

Result of Inspection of Condemned Boots.

With a view of arriving at an accurate conclusion, as to the service which the boots in

use by the solders training in Canada had given them, and as to the present condition of the boots, your committee ordered that all available used and discarded boots which had been condemned by various Regimental Boards of Inquiry throughout Canada be forwarded to the committee at Ottawa, your committee unanimously appointed two independent expert persons, one a large customs shoemaker and cobbler, and the other an experienced shoe manufacturer who had no contract with the Government, for the purpose of making a personal inspection, classification, and report of every pair of such condemned shoes so forwarded to the committee, and their full report is printed as appendix hereto. This report shows:

Number of said condemned or discarded boots forwarded and examined by such inspectors, of which there were 384

singles and 1,365 pairs 1,713

Of these there were rendered useless by

the soldiers burning them 112

1,601

Among them there were repairable boots

to the number of, say 1,448

Leaving unrepairable 153

Of these unrepairable ones the condition was due to the following causes:

Cut by toe nail 48

Cut by knife or spur; 22

- 70

While 68 had not originally been equal to sample chiefly by reason of being too light in the backs.

At the conclusion of the above inspection and of our proceedings, the sealed sample number " 12 " which was the standard sample of the department was cut open by those two expert inspectors appointed by this committee, and one of them, Inspector Hoare, in the presence of the other inspectors swore that it was a good boot, the uppers of good calf, the outer sole of No. 1 tan up to gauge, with a leather counter and shank and all fully up to the said departmental specifications, and that in making their inspection and report they had made their findings on the basis of this sample boot as the standard.

According to statistics furnished to us by the department the total number of boots condemned in Canada by the various regimental boards to date is 7,807, of which the above boots examined by our inspectors formed part, and assuming that upon examination we classify the total number upon the same basis and in the same proportion as above, the result would be about as follows:

Repairable boots 6,599

Boots injured by burning 510

Boots mutilated by knife, spurs and toe

nails.. 319

Leaving balance useless due to other

causes 379

7,807

Your committee, therefore, having in view the fact that the above represent the condemned boots, out of the great number, 86,000, issued to and worn by those now in training in

Canada ; and having in view also the fact that in the earlier months of training no regimental cobblers or dubbin had been provided by the department, find that our inspectors' report corroborates the view that the boots supplied by the manufacturers were up to sample.

Sample Militia Boot.

The pattern and sample boot of the department, referred to in the evidence as Exhibit 5, 12, 55 and 57, which are substantially identical and constructed on the same specifications is made of chrome tanned, winter calf in vamp and top, unlined, of " E " and " F " widths, with solid leather counter, leather shanks, out-soile English or Canadian oak, ten gauge thickness, slip sole of the same material six gauge thickness insole of similar material, the heel solid leather lifts compressed, Goodyear welt, the bottom filling " Fillo " composed of ground cork treated with cement, durable and waterproof.

We find from the evidence that in material and construction the boot is a good one.

The military boot adopted by the Department of Militia and Defence about 15 years ago was similar to the present boot, Exhibit 5, 12, 55 and 57, according to which the latter boots ordered and supplied since the outbreak of the war were in compliance. Many of the boots contracted for, however, were made with wider lasts but otherwise substantially like the said sample. Owing to a claimed shortage of winter calf contractors were permitted to use side leather in the later deliveries of the first orders. There is a dispute among experts which is the better for a military boot. The evidence shows that some improvements were made from time to time in the original sample boot but its general character was maintained. The boot so adopted by the department was used by Canadian soldiers in the South African campaign where, according to the evidence of Sir William D. Otter, it proved satisfactory.

Both before and after the South African war the question of adopting the British army boot had been taken up by the department, who declined to adopt it and adhered to the Canadian boot. In 1905, with the experience of the South African campaign, specifications were drawn and approved, and a sealed sample boot

conforming thereto and similar to the

present sample was again adopted by the department.

In February, 1910, the committee on ankle boots, having discussed several complaints regarding their quality, brought to the notice of the Secretary of the Militia Council by District Officers Commanding, recommended " a few pairs of * boots, ankle, steel billed ' as used in the British service, and a supply of samples or the leather used in the manufacture of Britisn army boots, be obtained from the War Office, and that 100 pairs of boots be made, as nearly as possible up to the style, weight and class of leather, etc., in the British samples."

On March 1, 1910, Brigadier General Macdonald, the Quartermaster General, again favoured the Canadian boot and said: "I do not approve of the proceedings of the board.

I am of opinion that if the boots are delivered up to the pattern as previously approved no complaint should arise as to these articles. The original supply of these boots gave every satisfaction."

From March, 1910, till February of the following year, modifications on the boot and a

revision of the specifications were considered by the officers of the department and C. E. Slater acting with them, samples were submitted with steel bills which were not approved. On the 4th February, 1911, the revised Specifications prepared by the said C. E. Slater, together with samples made according to these specifications were again sealed as the pattern for the Canadian boots, and these remained the approved pattern of the Canadian boot down to the outbreak of the war in Aug-gust, 1914, notwithstanding the fact that in April, 1914, some suggestion was again made of adopting the British army boot, which pattern was then submitted to the department for its information, and on the 24th April the Director General of Clothing and Equipment in his report said : " The British army boot appears much too heavy for wear in Canada,'r and Colonel Brown, the inspector, on the 30th of April, 1914, concurred in this opinion.

See pages 29 and 45 to 55 of appendix and evidence.

As previously pointed out, it was a boot similar to the Canadian military boot, Exhibit 5, 12, 55 and 57, which was used with satisfaction in South Africa by the Canadians, and General Sir William Otter, in his evidence before the committee said:

Q. How long were you in South Africa?- A. Fourteen months.

Q. In active service all the time?-A. All the time.

Q. What boots did your regiment have during that time?-A. It was a boot issued by the department before we left.

Q. How did that boot answer the purpose in South Africa?-A. Well, it answered very well. I have no fault to find with it.

Q. How did it compare with the English boot?:-A. Personally I liked it better for the simple reason that it was a bit lighter. Our men were not accustomed to wearing heavy boots like the English boot, but they had to wear it at times because we got the English boot eventually as our own wore out. My experience, however, is that our own men were better satisfied with the boot they brought out, with the Canadian boot, because it was lighter.

As will be seen later on in this report, all the soldiers who were at Salisbury Plain on active service who appeared before the committee and gave evidence were favourable to the Canadian boot which they wore and compared with the English army boot expressed a preference for the Canadian.

The Canadian sample boot and those made according to it do not appear to have been suited to withstand the severe and exceptional weather conditions and other unusual circumstances to which they were exposed and the rough usage. Only a boot specially constructed for that purpose like a larrigan or bushman's boot might be sufficient. It must not be forgotten as the evidence demonstrates that even with such disadvantageous conditions created by the weather the Canadian boots were not at first given a fair chance owing to the impossibility of getting two pairs for each soldier within the limited time. The one pair was constantly on his feet and almost as constantly >vet. There was no opportunity for drying and the leather then became soft and the soles easily worn away and the stitching of the soles in many cases loosened and caused a separation of the outer sole from the other part

of the boot. Further, at first owing to the haste of mobilization a regimental shoemaker and kit and materials were not at hand to make needed repairs which would have preprevented further rapid destruction of the impaired boots.

But because some of the boots were notsufficient to withstand such conditions and usage, boards of inquiry in different parts or Canada and at Salisbury condemned them. But these extreme tests are not fair tests for an average or suitable boot to be used generally by the soldier. The better test iswhat military boot of reasonable cost is best suited to the general circumstances and conditions in which a soldier of a country on active service will be placed. Your committee

were not asked to recommend a suitable military boot for Canadian soldiers nor were their inquiries directed to that end, but their investigations do show efforts made not only in Canada but in other countries to produce a satisfactory military boot. Those efforts have not yet been fully availing. The conceptions of each country as to the class of suitable military boot, conceptions influenced largely by the customs, conditions and climate of that country, vary and produce a boot considered to be best adapted to such usage, conditions and climate. So the British military boot is of one class, the American of a very different style, the French of another. The evidence given and the samples furnished' to your committee show that the French and American military boots approximate more closely to the Canadian than do the heavy English military boot. Not only do the physical geography and climatic conditions of a country and the usages of its people enter into the determination of the class of boot required by its soldiery out the utility of the boot and the comfort of the soldier wearing it. The evidence before us shows that a heavy, hobnailed and inflexible boot will impede marching, weary the soldier and bruise or blister the feet, particularly of one not accustomed to such a class of boot, that a leather impervious to water by stuffing or greasing is also impervious to ventilation, evaporation of foot moisture and is to many feet injurious.

To indicate some of the many considerations necessarily involved in the selection of a proper military boot, extracts are given from a recognized authority, Edward Lyman Munson, Major Medical Corps, President of the American Army Shoe Board, in a book on " The Soldier's Foot and the Military Shoe," says:

" A good military foot covering should be well joined, strong, substantial and solid, yet at the same time sufficiently flexible to permit of the natural functioning of the joints. It must be supple, so as to avoid the undue loss of necessary energy in overcoming resistance of the leather with each step-likewise to reduce the liability to blister and other injury. To attempt to use a stiff, unyielding shoe will result in the early falling out of a large proportion of its wearers. No better example of this can be found than the tremendous disability which occurred among the Germans as a result of the use of a shoe of this character. The shoe must be comfortable. This is an'absolute essential in military footwear, for uncomfortable shoes will inevitably diminish the ability of troops to march. The main wear of course falls on the soles. They cannot be increased in durability except by the use of double soles, which latter are unnecessarily b heavy, stiff and hard on the feet. The foot ' covering should be as light in weight as is compatible with serviceability."

" The material of which the shoe is made, and the special treatment of the former, must be such as will facilitate evaporation of moisture from within, yet not to a degree by which the absorption of moisture from without is unduly favoured. Leather stuffed or saturated with oil was not used. The material or leather of the shoe upper must not be hard; otherwise it will cause blisters, callouses and corns. The ' brogans ' formerly used in our service and the footwear of various foreign armies, have this defect. The sole should be sufficiently thick to prevent the foot from being injured by inequality in the ground. But if too thick, planter flexion of the foot is ilost and dorsi-flexion is much reduced."

In the House Documents of the 62nd Congress of the United States (1912), in the report of the Quartermaster General the following recommendations appear:

" That no shoe other than the official marching shoe in the form in which they may be adopted be used by officers or enlisted men when in the service uniform. That an order be issued to insure the proper fitting of shoes throughout the service, said order to cover the method of measurement, fitting and breaking in of shoes. That hereafter only vegetable tanned leather without oil stuffing be used in the manufacture of marching shoes, mineral tanned leather not being considered the equal of vegetable tannage for military service. That the specifications hereafter distinctly prescribe the minimum length of time in which shoes shall remain on the last."

Your committee conclude from the evidence given before it that for active service the sample boot would be improved by a second through sole instead of a slip-sole (this change was made before the second orders for the Canadian boots were given, and they were made accordingly) ; that it would be improved by putting more screws or nails in or quilting the outer sole so as to protect it from wear, _ and by making it wider at the toe (the large percentage of the boots supplied to the department since the beginning of the war were made on a last wider at the toe) ; and by protecting the heel by nails or other iron material.

Although your committee do not attach significance to the evidence of the manufacturer, Alfred Minister, yet as his statement that he refused to undertake to manufacture shoes such as he saw in the department and on specifications furnished because he did not want to make any money out of a man's life has been referred to by many people, and as he considered the prices of $3.85, $3.65 and $3.62J for which others were furnishing boots on the same specifications were very low and as his higher offer for boots on the same specifications was not accepted, the following extracts from his evidence are given :

Q. In other words, you meant that you could and would make boots for the department at $4.85 after the war was on?-A. Yes I would.

Q. And it was on the specifications you had in your possession then that you made that offer?-A. So far as the material was concerned and workmanship.

every opportunity has been given * with a view of placing the facts before the House.

Appended hereto are copies of the evidence taken before the committee comprising the exhibits submitted by the various witnesses.

Appended hereto, also, is a copy of the proceedings of the committee, dated Friday, April 9, 1915.

Appended hereto, also, is the list of the witnesses who gave evidence before the committee.

All of which Is respectfully submitted.

April 9, 1915.

Mr. MIDDLEBORO said: Mr. Speaker,

in moving the adoption of the report of this committee, I desire to say that it has held 51 sittings, possibly of an average of two hours each, and has examined over 87 witnesses. I also desire to testify to the patience and endurance of my colleagues on the committee, on both sides of the House, during the many weary hours we have spent in endeavouring to elucidate all the facts in connection with the supplying of hoots to the Department of Militia and Defence. By reading the authority of the committee, which was by way of a resolution passed on the 16th of February, it will be found to be in the following words:

That the report of the Board of Inquiry consisting of Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Hallick, E. A. Stephens, Esq., and Theo. Galipeau, Esq., respecting boots supplied to the Department of Militia and Defence, a copy of which report was laid upon the table of the House on the 15th instant, and all matters pertaining to the boots so supplied to the said department, be referred to a special committee of seven members with instructions to investigate the matters aforesaid and to report thereon to this House.

That the committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, to examine witnesses on oath or affirmation and to report from time to time.

That the following members shall constitute the said committee, namely, Sir James Alkins, Mr. McCurdy, Mr. Middlebro, Mr. Rainville, Mr. Macdonald, Mr. Demieux and Mr. Nesbitt.

Owing to the illness of the hon. member for Rouville (Mr. Lemieux), the name of the hon. member for Russell (Mr. Murphy) was substituted on the committee. It will be observed from this that the first matter that was referred to the committee was the report of what I might call the Hallick Board, and, I presume, it was our duty in some way to report on that report. The committee were unanimous in coming to the conclusion that we could not rely upon the decision of that board. We came to that conclusion because the witnesses who appeared before that board were not sworn and because the members themselves had neither sufficient nor adequate knowledge of the matters that were referred to them. That the House may be satisfied upon that

point I will read from the evidence of the members of the board themselves which will show what experience they had and whether they were competent to judge of the quality or class of boots which they examined. Mr. Galipeau upon being examined said:

Q. Have you been a manufacturer?-A. No. I have been in the jobbing business.

Q. That is the wholesale trade?-A. The wholesale trade.

Q. In what capacity in the jobbing business have you been?-A. Well, in general goods, all kinds of shoes.

Q. What were your duties?-A. I was a traveller.

Q. Then I understand that your occupation during most of that period has been that of a traveller for a jobbing house?-A Yes, selling goods.

Q. That has been mainly your experience? -A. Yes, sir.

Q. You have never been a manufacturer of boots?-A. No, I have never been a manufacturer.

Q. Or with the tanning of leather?-A. Yes, I had in the heavy leather, not in the leather being used in these shoes.

Q. In respect of the leather that was used in the construction of the shoes, you have had no large experience?-A. No experience as to that t

Mr. Stephens' evidence can be summarized in this answer:

During all those years you acquired, as you have told us, a general knowledge of boot and shoe making, but never actually engaged in the work yourself? A. I never did.

Q. The same remark, I suppose, applies to tanning leather? A. I never was a tanner, and never engaged in it.

The replies of Col. Hallick, president of the board, were as follows:

Q. Have you had any experience in the manufacture of boots?-A. None whatever.

Q. Or as a dealer in boots?-A. None whatever.

Q. Then your experience in boots comes from that which you gained as an officer in the Ordnance Department, and from the wearing of the boots.-A. And as a soldier.

Q. But you are not a boot expert?-A. No,

I do not pretend to be that.

Q. Who was the expert in that inquiry upon whom you depended?-A Well, upon my two assisting members, Mr. Stephens and Mr. Galipeau. They were appointed as members to assist me in the investigation.

So, I think it will be seen that we were right in putting aside altogether the report of Lt.-Col. Hallick and his board. In doing so we are not casting any reflection whatever upon the gentlemen who constituted that board. We believe that they performed their duties faithfully and that they arrived at their conclusions honestly, but they had not had sufficient experience, and in addition to that, they did not have sufficient boots before them to enable them

to come to a fair and accurate conclusion as to the quality of the total number of boots which had been supplied to the department. The members of the committee who put in a minority report said m their report that:

The witnesses before the Board were not sworn and were confined to department officials, all of whom with one exception have, however, been before your committee and given their evidence under oath. This Court of Inquiry in addition to hearing the witnesses, devoted themselves to an examination of the boots referred to in their re

t and their * findings express merely the opinions of the different members of the Court.

Notwithstanding that, the minority proceed in the minority report now submitted to give some of the conclusions that were arrived at by the board. If we are not going to accept the report in toto we have no right to accept any part of it. The part which they accept in the minority report and which they wish to place before the public is this:

The opinion of the Board may be summarized in so far as the character of the boot prescribed and supplied by the department, is concerned, as follows:

That the boot was of unsuitable shape and make and that the leather contained no water-resisting medium ;

That the heels and soles are unprotected and sole-filling is often poor quality;

That the boot was unsuitable for the soldiers and for the particular work for which they were provided; because,

(a) The shape is such that the average foot has not room for the free movement of the toes and is thus not suitable for marching;

(b) The leather is dry, containing no grease, and consequently quickly absorbs the water;

(c) Soles and heels not being re-inforced with metal, soon wear down, especially when wet.

But this is expert opinion, and they are not experts. If they were justified in citing that portion of the report they should have cited also the portion of the same report in which the same board held that:

The boots manufactured for the Canadian overseas division were generally speaking well made and of good quality (surprisingly so considering the very insufficient time given the contractors), but they were not suitable for the particular work for which they were provided. This, the Board considers, can be attributed to want of time, as the (comparatively speaking) enormous demand had to be met within a few weeks. Further, that owing to the same extreme urgency, it appears that there was not enough time in which to consider new specifications for a boot differing with that which though suitable for a dry climate has been found to be unsuitable in the abnormal conditions in England. Consequently the Board recommends the adoption of a heavier, sounder type of boot, similar to that used by the British Army.

I think the fairer way is to disregard the report entirely because we have had all the members of the board before this committee and placed them on oath in addition to all the witnesses whom the board heard, with one single exception, and, instead of coming to our conclusion upon a very small proportion of the boots supplied as they did, we have called for statistics from the department of all the boots rejected throughout Canada and have arrived at our conclusion upon that basis.

The next question that naturally arises is: Where did this standard Canadian military boot come from, what is the history of the standard boot which was in the department at the time of the declaration of war, and who is really responsible for that boot?

In ithe minority report, at page 599 of the Votes and Proceedings, I find this statement:

The boot supplied to the soldiers who went to South Africa was a different boot from the sealed sample boot of 1914, and from the boots supplied to the overseas forces.

Well, let us see if it was a different boot. I will concede that it was a different boot in the respect that it was a batter boot, and that the boot of 1914 was a great improvement on the boot of 1899, Which went to South Africa. That there may be no dispute on this question, I shall read from the evidence of the witnesses who appeared before our committee upon this point. At page 928 of the evidence, General Otter testified:

Q. How long were you in South Africa?-A 14 months.

Q. In active service?-A. All the time.

Q. What boots did your regiment have during that time?-A. It was a boot issued by the department before we left.

Q. Similar to Exhibit 12, that boot I showed you?-A. That description of boot, yes.

I may say that Exhibit 12 is the boot from which the manufacturers manufactured the boots in question, with the exception of those manufacturers who forwarded their own sample boot to the department, had it approved by the department and made the boots accordingly. General Otter's evidence continued:

Q. How did that boot answer the purpose in South Africa?-A. Well, it answered very well. I have no fault to find with it.

Q. How did it compare with the English boot? [DOT]-A. Personally I liked it better for the simple reason that it was a bit lighter. Our men were not accustomed to wearing heavy boots like the English boot, but they had to wear it at times because we got the English boot eventually as our own wore out. My experience, however, is that our own men were better satisfied with the boot they brought out, with the Canadian boot, because it was lighter.

have heard some members of the committee describe it as the dancing pump. Well, if they allowed a dancing pump to be the active service army boot of the department for the fifteen years they were in power, they are certainly a great deal to blame; but it was not the dancing pump, it was the only boot provided by the department for the last fifteen years for any service, active or inactive, that the permanent force had. There cannot be any contention that the boot was anything but an active service army boot, and to set up that contention now is merely a weak afterthought Having proved this sample boot, we come now to the question whether or not the sample .boot was the boot delivered to the manufacturers, and I do not think it is necessary to argue this point in view of the evidence I have already submitted. What took place was this; there had been some firms manufacturing boots for the department for a number of years prior to the outbreak of the war. Those firms naturally would have the departmental pattern and last on hand, and therefore could manufacture boots more expeditiously than any other firms could, and they were told to go ahead and manufacture according to Exhibit 12, which was the sample of the department. We required, however, such a great quantity of boots that we could not confine ourselves to those firms, and so other firms came forward and said: We have not the departmental pattern and last, but we have a boot here which is just as good and which we think is better than the departmental standard military boot. Their sample was submitted to and approved by the department, and the firms went ahead and manufactured boots according to that boot approved by the department. The evidence is that, so far as they are concerned, the boots that they manufactured were fully up to the sample. Exhibit No. 5, of which the House will hear a great deal, was the sample approved and sealed in 1905 and called the Slater sample, and it is the sample which the witnesses say is the boot continued down to the present day. The director of clothing and equipment swore that Exhibit No. 5 was supposed to be identical with exhibit No. 12. Colonel Brown, Chief Inspector of Boots, swore that Exhibits 12, 53, 55, 57 and 67, which were boots similar to the departmental standard manufactured by the firms who had departmental lasts, were selected by him out of stock boots and were as close as possible to Exhibit 5. I want, however, to give the

last and most conclusive evidence that we have. After our inquiry was practically through, we employed two competent, practical boot experts to inspect all the ibootB that had been condemned, and on the last day of our inquiry we asked those two experts to cut up Exhibit 12, the boot from which some o.f the contracts were made, and the evidence shows conclusively that the boot Exhibit 12, was made according to specifications prepared by Slater in May, 1905, and that the boots were manufactured according to the approved samples. There was no opposition on this point, and hon. gentlemen opposite have practically admitted that-

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   WAR SUPPLIES-BOOTS.
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT OF COMMITTEE OF INQUIRT.
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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

No.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   WAR SUPPLIES-BOOTS.
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT OF COMMITTEE OF INQUIRT.
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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO:

-that the boots were manufactured according to the sealed sample or according to the manufacturers' own samples submitted to and approved by the department; that therefore in all respects the manufacturers carried out their contracts and that the boots manufactured were equal and in many cases superior to the samples from which they were made. These two inspectors to whom I have referred were accepted unanimously by the committee. After they had cut up Exhibit 12, one of them, Mr. Hoar, in the presence of the other, Mr. Cote, gave the following evidence, as appears on the last pages of the evidence:

Q. What do you find with respect to the sealed sample No. 12. Take first the soles, after cutting it open?-A. The soles are 11 gauge.

And the specifications required only 10 gauge, so that the boots were better than the specifications in that respect.

Q. What sort of an inner sole do you find?

*-A. The insole is a good one.

Q. The insole is oak tanned?-A. Yes.

Q. What is the vamp?-A. Storm winter calf.

Q. What are the uppers?-A. The backs are of the same material.

Q. What are the counters?-A. The counters, pak tanned.

Q. And the heels you have already told us are of solid leather.-A. Solid leather, yes.

Q. What is the filling?-A. The filling is cork.

Q. Is that what they call Besto filling?-A. Yes.

By Mr. McCurdy:

Q. Cork and cement?-A. Cork and cement.

By Mr. Pringle:

Q. Having cut the boot open, what do you say as to the quality of the leather?-A. I say that It is a good boot.

By Sir James Aikins:

Q. What is the size of the outer leather?_

A. 11 gauge.

Q. And the slipsole?-A. It is 7 gauge.

Q. The inner sole?-A. 7 gauge.

By Mr. Macdonald:

Q. Of course this information another manufacturer could not get without cutting the hoot?-A. No, not unless be opened the hoot.

By Mr. Murphy:

Q. What kind of a shank is it?-A. Leather shank.

Q. Solid leather?-A. Solid leather shank. There it is. (Exhibiting shank).

By Mr. Nesbitt:

Q. How near that type of boot did you calculate when you were judging whether a boot was up to the sample or whether it was not? -A. We had this boot. Exhibit 12, under consideration.

Q. You did not cut it open?-A. No. The boots we did cut open were up to sample, except in a few cases, as the report states.

Q. Did you judge them on the basis of what you found them to be?-A. Yes, sir.

By Mr. Macdonald : .

Q. According to specification?-A. Exactly.

So that we have a minute description of the sample, and we have sworn and positive evidence that the sample was made according to specification; and the speci-cation is the specification prepared by-Charles A. Slater and approved by the department in 1905, and continued down to date.

Now, let us get some of the fundamental principles of a serviceable military boot. I take these from the report of the American Army Shoe Board. And I may say that we wired Professor Munson, the president of that board, and endeavoured to secure his services before this committee, but unfortunately he was absent in the Philippines, and thus we were unable to secure the benefit of his counsel.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Who is he?

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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO:

He is president of the American Army Shoe Board who gave the conclusions of the board in 1912, and who was for some four years engaged in the investigations on the basis of which he arrived at his conclusions. Professor Munson says:

The material of which the shoe is made, and the special treatment of the former, must be such as will facilitate evaporation of moisture from within, yet not to a degree by which the absorption of moisture from without is unduly favoured. Leather stuffed or saturated with oil was not used. The material or leather of the shoe upper must not be hard; otherwise it will cause blisters, callouses and corns. The " brogans " formerly used in our service and the footwear of various foreign armies, have this defect. The sole should be sufliciently thick to prevent the foot from being injured by inequality in the ground. But if too thick, planter flexion of the foot is lost and dorsi-flexion is much reduced.

That is to say there is only one standard military boot for the United States army.

It has been suggested throughout our investigation that the United States have a summer issue and a winter issue, and that perhaps the boot produced before this eommittee is the boot which the United States army had in summer. This report of the quartermaster general shows that the boot shown to the committee was the only issue they have for an active service boot, and it is lighter than the Canadian military boot. Professor Munson goes on:

That hereafter only vegetable tanned leather without oil stuffing be used in the manufacture of marching shoes, mineral tanned leather not being considered the equal of vegetable tannage for military purposes.

Our specifications provide for the same chrome tanned leather as recommended by the quartermaster general of the United States.

Then, as to the life of an ordinary military boot. There -seems to be -some misapprehension in this country -as to how long an ordinary boot is expected to wear. After his exhaustive inquiries this is what Professor Munson says:

During the ordinary campaign, under usual conditions of moisture and roughness of roads as found in this country, a pair of shoes may be expected to last about two months and be sufficient, with light repairs, for a journey of 500 to 600 miles over ordinary terrain. But local conditions may very materially modify and reduce this estimate. Rocks and sharp gravel rub away soles rapidly, particularly if wet; while continued wetting for a fortnight or so may cause the stitching to rot and the shoe to fall apart and become unserviceable.

I would -ask the House to -bear this in mind when they consider the conditions under which the Canadian boot has been worn in the present campaign. Take Salisbury Plain as an instance. If we are to judge of the use of the Canadian boot there by the fundamental principles laid down by Professor Munson as to the life of the ordinary boot, we must alldw for the fact -that according to testimony before the eommittee, they had fifty-five continued days of rain. Such conditions, of course, meant a very short life for any army boot.

Now we come down to the actual contract for the boots. War was declared on the 4th of August. On the 8th of August a request was sent out by Quartermaster General Macdonald, asking them to provide at once 65,000 pairs of ankle boots. Such an order was, of course, unprecedented in the history of Canadian militarism. The only thing the department could do was to recognize that a certain number of firms had been making boots in the past for the Government, that

they had the Government lasts, and so would be able to turn out the boots more rapidly. So these firms were called upon to furnish the major portion of the first order. The department sent out invitations for tenders to a number of firms including these and asked how many pairs they could make, and stipulating that the boots must be delivered within six weeks. This invitation was sent to the following firms: Ames, Holden, McCready Company; Slater Shoe Company, both of Montreal; and Louis Gauthier & Company, Limited, of Quebec; Tetrault Shoe Manufacturing Company, Limited, George A. Slater Ltd., both of Montreal; the Amherst Boot & Shoe Company, Limited, Amherst, Nova Scotia; Hartt Boot & Shoe Company, Fredericton, New Brunswick; and McPherson & Company, Hamilton.

The first three mentioned firms had previously supplied the department with the Militia boot, and the contract for this requisition of 65,000 was distributed as follows: Ames, Holden & McCready, 20,000; Te-treault Shoe Company, 20,000; Louis Gauthier, 10,000; Slater Shoe Company, 1,000; Amherst Boot & Shoe Company, 2,000; John McPherson &. Company, 6,000; and Hartt Boot & Shoe Company, 6,000. These were all at $3.85, except the Hartt Shoe Company, who had tendered at $3.66. These contracts were all dated the 10th or 11th of August, with one exception. Deliveries were to be made within six weeks. As a matter of fact, deliveries began within 11 days, and 55,000 pairs were delivered within the six weeks and the balance a very short time after.

Further, urgent orders were given in September and October to the following firms: Ames, Holden & McCready; Ballantyne & Martin; Cook & Fitzgerald; Western Shoe Company; Relindo Shoe Company; Wright Shoe Company; Aylmer Shoe Company; Murray Shoe Company; Humphrey Boot & Shoe Company; Perth Boot & Shoe Company; George Ritchie & Company; George A. Slater; Williams Shoe Company; E. T. Wright & Company. The first three firms manufactured from the sample furnished by the department. I am not quite sure, but there may have been one or two other firms that manufactured from the standard department sample. In all the other cases the contractors manufactured from a sample presented by them and approved by the department and manufactured in accordance with the approved sample. In all, nearly 180,000 pairs were supplied to the department. The first order was for 65,000.

At that time it was based upon the assumption that we would send 22,000 men to Salisbury Plain. It was afterwards decided to send 33,000 men, and they were sent. And we know that, since that time, we have organized a second, third and fourth Contingents, until, as I see by the announcement of the Prime Minister last Saturday evening, we have in training here, in France, England and elsewhere, 101,500 men. Every one of these men has had to be supplied with boots. This was a herculean task, and one that had never been contemplated up to that time by the Militia Department. Then, I would point out the conditions under which these boots were worn in Canada. It so happened that they were delivered at a time of the year which necessitated their being worn in the worst part of the year. They were issued in the fall,'where they had to undergo the rain and slush of that season, followed by the rigours of the Canadian winter and then the snow and slush of the spring. They could not be put to a more severe test as regards weather conditions. I venture to say that if the boots had been first issued in the present month and had been worn for the next six months, we should not have had any investigation such as we have had within the last few weeks in this House.

The evidence is to the effect that in the early history of the war there were no regimental cobblers. To begin with, only one pair each was issued to the men, and thus the wearers were not given a chance to dry them. They were marched out day after day, route marching through rain, slush and wet. The men were brought into camp, but had no opportunity 'to change their boots or to dry them; and the evidence is that there were no regimental cobblers in the fore part of the war and no dubbing or grease was provided to render the boots waterproof. These conditions all contributed to a more rapid deterioration of the boots than would otherwise have occurred.

Since the war broke out the department have made a very material alteration and improvement in the standard army boot. In the month of October they came to the conclusion that instead of a slip sole, as it is called, they would provide a through double sole and they stipulated in October that thereafter all boots manufactured for the department should have the through double sole. Under that provision some 40,000 boots have been manufactured with the through double sole. In addition to that they concluded that the soles should

be further reinforced by nails and that has been done. That is technically called quilting the soles. By these two changes a very substantial and beneficial improvement has been made in the character of the Canadian boot.

The committee were anxious to get a bird's-eye view, as it were, of what had taken place in Canada with respect to these boots. You may get an individual complaint here or there, you may get a complaint from a certain board of inquiry in a regiment where they have been using the boots under exceptional conditions, which might lead you at first to suppose that the boots were wrong. In Halifax, for instance, we find that in the earlier part of the training they were using these boots digging trenches in wet clay for seven weeks, and because the stitching gave way they came to the conclusion that all the boots were bad. That is not a fair test. Digging trenches in wet clay for seven weeks, we would expect that a boot would give way, especially when there was no regimental cobbler and no opportunity to dry the boots and no dubbing to grease them and only one pair of boots for each soldier. These are not fair illustrations of the general service that boots have to give. The proper way is to take a bird's-eye view of all worn boots in Canada, bring them together and see how they compare with the total number issued in the whole Dominion of Canada. The committee have done that. We asked the departmental officers to tell us, first of all, the number of boots that had been used by men in Canada who had not gone to England; then the number of boots discarded and not in use throughout Canada; and then we tried to find out how many of these boots could be repaired and, of those that could not be repaired, to find out the reasons for their unrepairable condition. We selected two practical men for this purpose. Of these men I shall have something to say hereafter. But first let me point out the manner in which condemned boots are placed before the Government. There is one way in which a soldier can get a new pair of boots, that is by getting his old ones condemned. At the beginning of the war there was only one way of getting a new pair, and that was through the medium of what are called regimental boards. The regimental boards were not only for regiments but sometimes for companies of a regiment, and in this way some 70 regimental boards have sat throughout Canada since the war began and have condemned boots. But it must

be understood that in condemning boots these boards are simply adopting a process for getting new boots when boots were worn out by reasonable wear and tear, defects, or abuse on the part of the soldier himself. Let me read you upon that point from the evidence. Lieut. Col. Macdonald, the director of clothing and equipment in the department, who has been there a great number of years, in the inquiry swore:

By the Chairman:

Q. X suppose the real object of those hoards of inquiry is to enable the minister to come to a ccnc usion, because he cannot do it himself personally-to come to a conclusion as to the state of toots reported on?-A. Yes.

Q. And those gentlemen get together, and get information from witneses who are not sworn. And when the report of the Board of Inquiry comes I suppose you scarcely ever accept it without sending out your inspectors to see whether it is so or not?-A. Xn practically every*

QS You do not accept the recommendation at

all?

A No. . ...

Q. As a matter of fact you regard them with suspicion?-A. I am afraid we do.

Q. Perhaps I should not say you regard them with suspicion, but you do not accept them as conclusive at all?-A. No.

Q. And for that reason you immediately send out inspectors?-A. We send out inspectors.

Q. You send for the boots and put the inspectors at work on them?-A. Yes.

Q. To see whether their condition justifies these reports?-A Yes. Many of these officers who sit on the boards are men like myself who are not able to tell whether the boots sent up to them are the boots called for.

Q. And the fact that you put the inspectors to work cm these boots shows that the report is not conclusive and was not intended to be so, but simply a gathering of what information you can get?-A. Yes. ,

Q. Did you have these boards of, inquiry regularly 5-A. Frequently.

Q. And the object of the inquiry was to see whether the men were justified in getting further boots?-A. Yes, justified.

Q. Or whether the boots being worn out was due to their own fault?-A Yes.

Q. They have been more often rejected than act'd upon?-A. Yes.

Q. Before the war they were more often rejected than accepted?

A. I would say so.

Q. Tney were mere often rejected than accepted even before the war?-A. Yes.

By Hon. Mr. Murphy:

Q. What has been done since the war?-A. Since the war we have kept them there and had th m re-examined.

Q. Kept them where?-A. At the different depots.

Q. Where the inquiry took place?-A. Yes, they are at all these various points; and if the inspector of leather finds that the fault was that of the maker of the boots, and sometimes they do so find, those boots were returned to the makers and they were replaced, or repaired and returned to us.

By Sir James Aikins:

Q. Those would be worn boots?-A Yes, but if the fault lay, as it often happens, with the

w ar r of the boots, that the sole is gone, that the inspector of leather who examines it very closely finds that the man has put it on a hot radiator and burnt it, the boot is returned, and the man has to pay for it.

I simply quote that to show that a condemned boot simply means a boot which the regimental board think they are justified in taking in and re-

12 noon, placing. I shall cite a few instances of these condemned boots at the various regimental district headquarters. At Toronto there had been issued until the 19th of March, 1914, 14,000 pairs of boots, of which 8,357 were issued before the new year and the balance after the new year. Of these only 413 pairs in all have been condemned, and of the 413 pairs 117 were repairable, leaving only 296 unrepairable out of 14,000, or about 2 per cent of the whole issue. No one can reasonably say that 14,000 boots were bad boots, if, out of that number, in the time they have been in use, from December until now, or until the 19th of March even, only 413 pairs have been condemned, and there are only 296 unrepairable altogether, or 2 per cent even of the whole issue.

At Kingston 2,400 pairs have been issued, and the whole of these are now in use, except 5 pairs which have been cut up for inspection purposes, and which, of course, could not be returned; so that 2,395 pairs are still in use out of the 2,400, although we got a report from Kingston that those boots were like moccasins and the soldiers could not wear them. Whether they were like moccasins or not I do not know, but the fact is that they are all in use, the whole 2,400, except 5 pairs; and the evidence is that they are giving good satisfaction to-day.

As regards Quebec, Colonel Landry said that of the 5,500 pairs issued to his men only 55 pairs had been condemned, and that all the 55 pairs had been repaired and reissued; so that the whole 5,500 pairs are in use to-day.

At St .Johns, Quebec, Lt.-Col. Sabourin said that there only 40 gave any dissatisfaction, and that 20 of these were due to misfits. I think he said that over 1,000 pairs had been issued, and that they had been used in all kinds of weather.

Let me give a resume of all the boots that have come back. Excluding all the boots that have been sent to England and all those that are not yet issued, there are in Canada to-day 86,000 pairs of boots worn by the men in Canada. Of that 86,000 pairs, only 7,807 have been condemned; that is, out of the total 86,000 pairs the proportion

of boots that have for any reason been put out of work during that time is 9 per cent. What has become of the 9 per cent? Nearly

4 per cent, or 3,248, have already been reissued, leaving only 4,559 that are not reissued; that is only 5 per cent of the 86,000 have not been reissued. But that is not the whole story. That does not mean that the

5 per cent, or the 4,559, which have not yet been reissued are not repairable or serviceable; because the evidence, as I will show, indicates that the greater paTt of them are repairable.

In order to get a bird's eye view, we said: Bring to this committee all the condemned boots that are at the various regimental headquarters in Canada, and. we will put two independent experts upon them. They sent us 1,713 inspections, of which 384 were singles and the balance pairs. The committee unanimously appointed two independent inspectors to go over those boots; one was J. A. Hoar, a customs shoemaker and cobbler, of Halifax, who had made boots for the military of the British Army and for the Navy, and who had had 30 years' experience as a cobbler and contractor. No one will say that his evidence was given in a biased manner. The other inspector was Mr. Magloire Cote, of the firm of J. A. & M. C6te, of St. Hyacinthe, who had been a manufacturer of shoes for 40 years and had no contract with the Government and had worked in every position . in a shoe factory from the bench up to the position he occupies to-day. He also gave evidence in a very fair and satisfactory manner. These two men went away by themselves and made an examination of those 1,7113 inspections. They reported on every single one, and collaborated in their report, the result, which was this: there were 1,713 inspections, of which 384 were singles. Out of these they found that 112 were burnt by the soldier himself and rendered useless on that account, and that 1,484 were repairable and should have been repaired. That left only 153 out of the 1,713, and they found that the unrepairable condition of 70 of these 153 was due to their being cut by toe nails, knife or spur. That left only 83 unrepairable. They also found that 68 had not originally been up to sample chiefly by reason of being too light in the backs. To summarize these figures, the total number issued to the men now in Canada is 86,000, and of these there have been condemned 4,557, which are now not in use. That leaves still in use 81,441 doing duty after six months' use. I am not saying by any means that the whole of

these have been used for the whole six months, because the department only started to issue to these men on the first of October, and they have been issuing from time to time since. But the whole of that 86,000 are now in use except 4,557; and of these 4,557, there are still repairable 3,351. If we accept the same basis of classification that was given to us by the two inspectors who were brought here to inspect the 1,713, which were part of the 7,807 condemned by the different boards, then the result as to the total number of condemned boots is that out of the 86,000 pairs there are only out of use to-day 1,208 which cannot be repaired, and which have been in use for varying periods from the 1st of October up to to-day. These 1,208 are accounted for as follows: 510 are not in use through being burned, and 319 by being mutilated by knife, spurs or nails, leaving only 379 out of the whole 86,000 that are not in use by reason of fair and reasonable wear and from other causes. Now there is no politics in figures like that. These two men were appointed unanimously, and I think the committee must acknowledge that they gave their evidence fairly. That is the result of the test given by these two practical men who were appointed to examine the boots that were condemned.

In the minority report I notice the following statement:

That out of the said number of boots 265 pairs were not worth repairing.

While that is true, they forget to say that out of the 265, 112 were burnt and 70 were mutilated by knife, spur or nails that is, out of the 265, 182 were mutilated as I have said; that leaves only 83 which could be properly put in as the number of boots that were not worth repairing. So it was not fair to say that 265 pairs were not worth repairing without making this explanation. The minority report also says:

If the proportion of boots in this particular lot, not equal to sample, is a fair percentage of the number of boots furnished that did not come up to samples, out of the one hundred and eighty thousand pairs supplied, the number of boots so furnished that were inferior to sample would be seven thousand, two hundred and ninety-eight boots;

Any one can see how unfair that is because there were 68 inferior boots in the 1,713 condemned boots, which are a part of the 7,807 condemned and therefore the worst part, and probably the only defective boots in the 86,000, and it is argued in the minority report that the same proportion existed in the original boots.

That is his argument. In other words, it is just the same as if he argued this: I

sell to a man ten pairs of boots and after six months he comes back with two; of the two one is defective, one is fifty per cent of two and, therefore, fifty per cent of the whole ten are defective. I do not know which hon. member is responsible for it, but that is the argument and that is put in the minority report for the purpose of trying to show over 7,000 defective boots in the 86,000.

These figures show conclusively that the boot in Canada has stood the test well, especially under the trying circumstances of our winter, fall and spring. There is another consideration that must not be overlooked. The evidence proves conclusively that in the great majority of cases the number of boots supplied by the manufacturers of Canada to the Government was less than one per cent of their whole output. There was no case where the amount of a contract held by a manufacturer was more than five per cent of his output. Is it to be supposed, apart altogether from patriotic reasons, that any manufacturer would be so foolish as to supply the department with an inferior quality of boots when what he was selling the department represented such a small proportion of his annual output? I should think that, in his own interests, he would say: the boots I will supply to the department will be the greatest possible "ad" for me if they are good, and they will be the worst kind of a curse to my business if they are bad. The quantity supplied to the Government was such a small proportion of his annual output that it is only fair to conclude that in his own self interest he would give the department as good a boot as he could turn out. My hon. friends will not say, and do not say, that the boots manufactured were not up to sample, and they entirely exonerate the manufacturers. On the contrary, they will have to say upon the evidence that the boots manufactured were equal to the sample, and in many cases superior to it. That is the case with respect to the boots worn in Canada.

Now, a word or two as to the boots sent across the ocean. The conditions of Salisbury Plain were no fair test whatever for any army boot. All the witnesses who came before the committee, witnesses who had been on active service at Salisbury Plain, said that the conditions were most abnormal and exceptional. I propose to read

from the statements of witnesses who appeared before the committee and who had served at Salisbury to give us an idea of the conditions of weather there which these boots encountered.

Private Ross said:

(a) Private Ross, of the Queen's Own Rifles, who appeared before us, swore that he enlisted at Toronto, August 25th last, going to Valcartier. He sailed from Quebec on September 25th; that after reaching Salisbury Plains it rained for 35 consecutive days, and the camp grounds were wet and muddy during the whole time he remained there, namely, up to the 18th of February, 1915.

Mr. Bennett said:

(b) W. M. Bennett, of Wallcerville, who was at Salisbury Plains once or twice a week between the 1st of November and the 16 th of December, swore that the sun did not shine once while he was there; that it was constantly raining, and that it was nothing but a quagmire of mud around the tents; that during the whole time he was there it was not possible for a soldier to step out on the ground around his tent without getting his feet covered with mud, and that the roads were in an even worse condition, there being from 1 to 14 or 15 inches of a thick batter mud all over them.

I find on reading that over that I have not done justice to the conditions as described by Private Bennett, and I would like to read from the evidence itself:

Q. What time were you at Salisbury Plain?- A. I was there once or twice a week, each week between about the 1st November and 16th December.

Q. What were the conditions when you were there?-A. As regards what?

Q. As regards the weather..

A. Well, it could not possibly be worse.

Q. lit what respect?-A. I never saw the sun shine once, it was usually raining. The mud was deeper and thicker than any place I ever saw in my life.

By Mr. Chairman:

Q. Give us an idea of the mud conditions, what were they like?-A. Well, X can probably tell you that by saying, I think it was the greatest crime that Canadian troops were allowed to stay there.

Q. That does not answer my question..

A. I will describe it exactly then. At Bustard camp, where were located the 1st and 2nd Battalions, and possibly one or two others, the streets between the tents, the ground all around the tents, was nothing but a quagmire of mud. A man would step out of his tent and go down to about the top of his shoes in mud. It was that way every time I saw it. The roads were in even worse condition. There was anything from an inch to fourteen or fifteen inches of thick batter mud all over the roads. That is the description.

By Mr. Nesbitt:

Q. At Salisbury?-A. Well, not at Salisbury city. The Plain is 70 miles square. That is wherever the camps were.

Q. I saw some pictures in the Illustrated London News, showing water up to the step

of the motors. Did you see anything like that where you were?-A. I have seen the water higher than that, where the motor could not go through.

Then Wm. T. Nussey, sergeant of he Princess Pats, who was located at Salisbury Plains until the 13th of January, swore that he had talked with those living at Ainsbury, Fulford Market, Lavington, and Salisbury, and they informed him it was the worst weather they had ever experienced in sixty years. These are the conditions, and the evidence shows that the English boot would not stand such conditions.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIETJX:

My hon. friend speaks

of Salisbury Plains; will he give the evidence of Gen. Alderson?

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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO:

Gen. Alderson did

not give evidence, but I will deal with his message in a few minutes.

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LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIETJX:

I referred to his letter.

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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO:

The conditions at

Salisbury did not afford a test chance for any boots, but I am going to give you the test which the Canadian boot did stand under these exceptional and abnormal conditions :

Sergeant W. T. Nussey, above named, stated that he and his men were delivered 100 pairs at Valcartier and that up to the time he left Salisbury Plains in January, 1915, he had heard no complaints from his men respecting the boots; had worn his Canadian issue from Valcartier up to the time he appeared before the board, and was still wearing them, and left them with the Committee as an exhibit. They were in fair condition, the uppers intact, and he had worn them continually without repair until the 6th of March, when he had them half soled and the heels repaired; and when giving his evidence described them as,-as good a pair of boots as he ever had on his feet; had worn both the British and Canadian Army boot and preferred the Canadian boot, and that he had seen 12 years' service in the Imperial Army.

Private Ross, above named, swore: He had

been issued his boots at Valcartier on the 30th of August, sailed for Salisbury on the 25th of September, was invalided home on the 18th of February, wore his boots during all this four months' time with the exception of two weeks during which time he wore a pair of British boots and had his own resoled, and the heels fixed with nails; that he discarded his British boots as he preferred the Canadian, and had been wearing his Canadian boots down to the 10th of March, seven months in all, that they were still in good shape with the exception of a few stitches in the back, and that he had never heard any of his companions complain about the Canadian boot, and that the English boot, which he wore for two weeks did not stand the water any better than the Canadian boot.

Corporal Edwards, mentioned above when he appeared before the board was wearing the

Canadian military boot which had been issued to him; he testified that he got them on the 5th day of October, after which he had gone to Salisbury Plains; that he had worn them ever since with the exception of a week which would be nearly six months he had worn them in all, and about two months ago he had had them half-soled; that they were still in good condition and be thought would last another three months; that before he had used the boots he had given them a good dubbin and had taken care of them ever since; that he had been wearing Canadian military boots for the last five years, and that he had not heard any complaints from the men at Salisbury Plains with respect to the boots.

Two pairs of British Army boots were produced before the board by Major General Hughes, and which he testified had been sent to him by Colonel Currie, commanding the 48th Highlanders, together with a letter from Colonel Currie stating that the boots had been in use foi* two weeks only ; and, from an examination of these boots, we find that they have not stood the test as well as the Canadian boots worn by Nussey, Ross and Edwards.

The letter from our friend Col. J. A. Currie, of the 48th Highlanders, was addressed to Major General Hughes, and it reads:

North Larkhill, Salisbury Plain,

February 10, 1915.

Maj. Genl. S. Hughes,

Minister of Militia,

Ottawa.

Dear Gen. Hughes:

I understand there has been a great deal of talk in the paper about the issue of Canadian boots being very bad.

I do not agree with this as the great majority of Canadian boots issued to my men were good boots and of course bad boots are likely to crop up in the best lots.

A great stress has been laid on the fact that the English boot is superior. I am sending you by parcel post two pairs of Imperial 'boots issued two weeks ago to the men of my regiment.

Had the Canadian boots been nailed with small round headed nails such as are used in northern Ontario the boots would have worn much longer. I think there are still about 500 pairs of boots issued to my men at Long Branch still being worn and they are very comfortable on the feet and in dry weather will be much better than the English boot. My orderly room clerk has just been in and tells me he is wearing a pair of the boots issued to him at Long Branch and that he wears them in preference to the English boot, so the row raised over the boots has certainly lost Canada a good deal of business in boots and shoes we could have got and I do not think the cry raised was at all justified. .

Yours very truly,

(Sgd.) J. A. Currie, Lt.-Col.

And I am glad to say that the men from my county are now in the trenches in France serving under Lt.-Col. Currie.

I may say that I am not contending that amongst the 180.000 boots furnished every boot was absolutely good and up to sample. It would be ridiculous to make any such

contention, for there never has been and never will be 180,000 boots made without something being wrong with some of them, a few stitches slipped, a few nails missed or sihoTt, or something of that kind. Nobody would contend that every boot was perfect, but the finding of the committee is that the boots were manufactured substantially up to sample ' and in many cases superior thereto.

The boots for Col. Currie's men must have been issued to them at Long Branch in the months of September or October, and this letter is written in February;, so that these boots had then been subjected to five months' wear at Salisbury Plain, under those abnormal and exceptional conditions, and Colonel Currie says that 500 of them- I understand there are about 1,000 men in his regiment-were still in use, which is certainly a very good test.

Only yesterday I received a letter which was of course not submitted to the committee, but I give it for what it is worth and without comment:

I quote from a letter received from my brother Corporal Wm. M. Waters who it at present serving with the first expeditionary force in France, and in the trenches:

" X can't see why all the papers are talking about our boots. The pair I got in Valcartier lasted till we left for France, and I'd rather have them now than the ones I have. They were lighter than these, but were a lot better."

I quote further from the proceedings before the committee the statement by a young soldier writing from Salisbury Plain:

Ninety per cent of the men here cannot wear the English make, and I am now wearing the Canadian boots. I am going to leave the English make behind and wear the ones from home, as they are more comfortable, though they might not possibly stand as much wear and tear.

In view of such evidence as this, I ask hon. gentlemen opposite what becomes of the great flaring headlines we have seen in the newspapers with respect to the fraudulent manufacture of these Canadian boots. I doubt if there ever was a class of citizens who have been so maligned as the Canadian boot manufacturers have been during the last two or three months. The result of this inquiry has been, and I am glad it has been so thorough, that we got before this committee all the permanent officials of the department, the boot inspectors, the Quartermaster General, the chief inspector of boots, the inspector of contracts, the assistant inspector of contracts, and we had also before us to give evidence all the manufacturers against whom any accusat:on in

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   WAR SUPPLIES-BOOTS.
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT OF COMMITTEE OF INQUIRT.
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CON

Albert Sévigny (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

The Chairman:

I am putting a question to

him.

Mr. Macdonald: He was in the course of explaining when you interrupted.

By the Chairman:

Q. You put in a tender after the war was on, didn't you?-A. I would not consider that a tender.

Q. You offered to make the same boots after the war was on?-A. I said we could make so many boots, and they had our price.

Q. And that price was what?-A. $4.85.

Q. In other words, you meant that you could and would make boots for the department at $4.85 after the war was on?-A. Yes, I would-

Q. And it was on the specifications you had in your possession then that you made that offer?-A. So far as the material was concerned and workmanship.

Q. So far as the specifications were concerned?-A. Only that part of the specifications.

Q. So far as material and workmanship were concerned?-A. Yes.

Q. What else is there?-A. There is the shape.

Q. It was only a question of shape, then?- A. Principally, so far as the boot we were going to make.

By Sir James Aikins:

Q. I understand you objected to the form of the last that was adopted in respect to the new boots. I understand your main objection was to the shape of the boot?-A. That was the principal objection, and some other little things in the workmanship.

Q. What were the other little things?-A. I did not think they were reinforced properly.

Q. What do you mean by reinforced properly, do you mean the soles were not reinforced?- A. Yes.

Q. Reinforced with additional nails?-A. Additional nails, and a different kind of nails.

Q. Anything else?-A. I do not know of anything else.

This is the man who was willing to manufacture the same boots with a few additional nails in the heels if he could have obtained $4.85 for what the department were paying $3.65. This is what his partner, Major Myles, said when we brought him before the committee:

By Sir James Aikins: -

Q. Have you ever been on active service?- A. I have not; I was sailed on the occasion of 1885 in the Northwest Rebellion.

Look at Exhibit 12-

Exhibit 12 is admittedly the boot from which all the army boots were made, except those that were submitted by the manufacturers to and approved by the department.

Q. Look at Exhibit 12 ; for the ordinary purposes to which you have been accustomed in Canada, do you think that would be a suitable boot; that is assuming that the size would fit a soldier?-A. For ordinary wear I think it would be.

Q. It is a good boot?-A. So far as I can see, till it is tested; I do not want to give an expression of opinion.

Q. On your own military experience.-A. We never had any boots issued to us by the department in our camps. The soldier had to wear his own boots. So far as I am concerned, the boot question never came up in my experience.

Q. So far as military boots are concerned, of the use of that as a military boot for campaign purposes you know nothing?-A. Nothing.

By Mr. Chairman:

Q. Do you remember your partner saying that before the war broke out at all your firm had in their possession the departmental specifications for a boot?-A. I saw the specification that came to us.

Q. You had them in your possession?-A. We had them in our possession.

Q. You had them in possession before the war broke out, and you put in a tender to build a boot for $4-85?-A. Yes.

Q. And if you had got the contract you would have made a boot before the war broke out for $4.85 on that specification?-A. Our signature is there.

Q. And you stand by your signature?-A. I stand by our signature.

Q. And after the war broke out you got an invitation to tender, and you sent back saying, you have our price?-A. Yes, "you have our price."

Q. And that was for the boot on the specification you had?-A, Yes.

Q. And if they had written back and said " all right, we will give you a contract for 10,000 pairs of boots " would you have stood by your signature and made the boots. Is that right?-A. Yes.

This is the man who was too conscientious to make boots for the Government

for $3.65, but would have made them for $4.85.

I think I can very well summarize the conclusions of this committee as follows, and in coming to these conclusions I am doing so on the evidence that has been adduced:

1. The standard military boot of the department when war was declared was the result of over fifteen years of careful consideration by that department, and after inspection of both the British and the United States military boot.

2. The present Canadian military boot is of the same class, but a much better boot than that issued to and worn by our men in the South African campaign, where it gave good satisfaction and was preferred to the British army boot, both of which were worn by our men there.

3. The boots supplied to the Militia Department. since the war broke out were made according to the samples of said standard boot in the department, or according to samples submitted by the manufacturers to and approved by the department, and that they were in all cases equal and in many cases superior to said standard sample army boot of the department.

4. The United States Army Board after four years' deliberation adopted a standard army service boot which is similar in many respects to ours, but lighter.

5. The standard British army boot i3 not a suitable boot for adoption in Canada.

6. Out of 86,000 boots issued to and worn by the men now in Canada, all are now in use except 4,559, and of these about 3,351 are repairable and can be re-issued, leaving only 1,208 useless, and out of these again about 510 are useless owing to burning and 319 cut by knife, spurs or nails, leaving only 379 useless owing to ordinary wear and tear out of the 86,000,- and this seems to prove that the boots have given good service in Canada through the worst part of the year, that is, the fall, winter and spring.

7. The exceptional and abnormal wet weather to which the boots were subjected at Salisbury Plain was not a fair test of the boots; no boots could resist the water under such conditions, and notwithstanding that the Canadian boots stood the test well, and the communications from General Alder-son and Sir George Perley that the boots would not stand the rough wear and tear of Salisbury Plain must be read in the light of the abnormal and exceptional weather conditions that were encountered there, be-

cause no boot would stand such a test and remain impervious to water under such conditions.

8. Since the war broke out the department has very materially improved the standard boot by the requirement of a through double sole, and by re-inforcing or quilting the sole with nails.

9. A committee of experts and a special boot expert have been employed by the department with a view of ascertaining if any further improvement in the present

' standard army boot can be made, and that matter is still under consideration.

Mr. MARCH,: The hon. member for

Rouville (Mr. Lemieux), before leaving the chamber, asked me to ask the hon. member for North Grey (Mr. Middlebro) not to overlook the question he put in regard to the statement made by General Alderson.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   WAR SUPPLIES-BOOTS.
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT OF COMMITTEE OF INQUIRT.
Permalink
CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO:

I did not overlook

it, but I will say just a few words more. As I said, in the communications from General Alderson and Sir George Perley, the wording of their report, if I remember it rightly, is that the boots w ould not stand the rough wear and the wet weather to which they were subjected at Salisbury Plain, and that if they were unserviceable, it was on that account. What I say is, that in view of the evidence we have disclosed here, and in view of the evidence which we have gathered from outside quarters, such as that to which my hon. friend from North Oxford (Mr. Nesbitt) referred, that is, the illustrations of Salisbury Plain in the Illustrated London News and other papers, and taking the only evidence we have before this committee-and I suppose it is upon that evidence we are bound to form our conclusions-of men who have been at Salisbury Plain, L have no doubt that conditions were most exceptional and abnormal; that like conditions have probably never been encountered before in the last twenty or thirty years there; that all the communications from the other side must be read in the light of those exceptional circumstances; that no boot would stand the conditions which were encountered there, and that therefore the boots supplied would not completely stand the conditions encountered there, nor the British boot either.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL.
Subtopic:   WAR SUPPLIES-BOOTS.
Sub-subtopic:   REPORT OF COMMITTEE OF INQUIRT.
Permalink

April 12, 1915