Corruption Or Incompetance: The Legacy Of Sir Sam

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Were the equipment problems experienced by Canadian soldiers during World War I fairly attributed to Sir Sam Hughes or was Hughes unfairly blamed for the faulty equipment? We will see that Hughes was a great supporter of the Ross rifle, which did have its uses, but his support was misguided. We will also see that while the Ross rifle continued to be used as a specialist’s weapon as late as the Korean War. More importantly we will explore why the Ross rifle was completely unsuited as the main arm of the regular infantry soldier. Much like soldiers of today, the Canadian soldier of the First World War carried a large allotment of equipment. We will investigate the main piece of equipment of the Canadian Infantry soldier, the Ross rifle. This Veteran of the Canadian Military, both militia and professional, found it amusing to read of Hughes describing professional soldiers as parasites. As a militia officer Hughes had a definite preference for the militia over the professional soldiers under him but one must question his beliefs. How can a part time militia soldier (one who only practices soldering for a few weeks out of a year) be better at soldiering than a professional full-time soldier? How can a part-time soldier be expected to know what a soldier will need on a modern battlefield? We could even state that it wasn’t the fault of Hughes as he did not have experience with modern European battlefield conditions, but then again no-one did. Sir Sam Hughes, while acting in the capacity of Minister of Militia and Defence (also known as the War Minister) in Prime Minister Borden’s Cabinet, was responsible for equipping the Canadian soldiers for the War in Europe. In his capacity of War Minister, Hughes not only chose the equipment to be issued but handed out the lucrative government contracts for the purchase of those pieces of equipment. While it was

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