Memories of RMC by Jim Griffin

      I have found the three photos I have from RMC.  Looking at the size of the files, I hope this isn't too much to send.  I am sure that you will be able to get them down to manageable size with some magic.    

    The first one is the day we arrived at the college.  It was taken by someone from RMC and the back says "Royal Military College   Neg A-190F  Date  Sept 4/59. The other two were taken on the day of the track meet and the Recruit Obstacle Course, probably by Marker staff, I got them in my mail box at the frigate a few weeks after the meet and race.  I well remember that day.  I competed in the shot put, high jump (the third photo), and two races, the mile and the three mile, plus the 880 leg of the relay.  I was pretty bagged by the time the Obstacle race began, and we ran around behind Yeo Hall and the residences - across the parade square and down in front of the old gym (near where the photo is taken.  The first obstacle was this duckboard about 6" above the mud and water under which we had to crawl.  I led through this, over the rope climb and then the wall!  I had absolutely no strength left in my arms and was unable to pull myself up and over.  With some boosting I got over and coming down on the other side our drill sergeant yelled to me to go back and help the others.  As soon as I understood what he was saying I realized that this was exactly what I should do and went around the wall and helped many of the others up and over the wall.  I understand that the new Obstacle course involves exactly this type of thing - teams working together to complete the course.  The rest of the course is a bit of a blur.  Supper that night was most welcome but I do remember there was no hot water in the showers!      

    My memories begin getting off the train and seeing cadets resplendent in scarlet giving us orders, lining us up then getting us on the bus.  On the bus we were told to take off any jewellery (i.e. school pins on jackets etc.) - "we don't care where you came from or what you did - you are recruits!" - or something to that effect.  We were probably told many things, but I do remember 'sitting to attention' as the bus drove through the Arch.        

    On the square we were formed up into three ranks and marched in front of Mackenzie down to the old gym for registration (the first photo).  I recognize the faces but I can only put a name to the cadet to my right, Earl Cole.  I think he had been regular Navy out in BC and had been tapped for officer material and sent to RMC and he and I made the senior basketball team as recruits along with Herb Massin.      

    It was the sports that really kept me going at RMC, I got to travel away from RMC for competitions.  One such was competing in the OSLIAA track & field meet where coach Sgt. Upshaw entered me in the 800m in place of 4th year Denny Burningham.  I won the race but was disqualified because I wasn't Burningham - I never forgot that race and felt that we had not been entirely TDV about getting me into the race.  We also had a big trip to Toronto for the first Canadian University outdoor track and field meet.  I came up against Bill Crothers in the 800m (who went on to get a silver medal in the Olympics), and I actually led the first lap but faded badly in the second.      

    The CanServCol tournament held at Royal Roads in early spring was another big trip - this one all the way to Victoria!  The trip out in an unpressurized North Star was an experience all its own!  I was on the basketball team and I think I swam one race.  I do remember getting violently ill with stomach flu as did many others on the team while in Victoria.      

    Many of our professors stand out for me, two of them in particular - Dr. Avis of the English department - and I still have my first essay with all his comments and corrections as well as a copy of his "Canadian" Dictionary.  At the bottom of my essay his comment was "I think I have spent more time correcting this than you did writing it!  Do it over!"  And I am sure there are many of us who underwent the 'cure' for falling asleep in Col. Sawyer's classes!  Sitting in the lecture room in the heavy blue battledress jacket, fresh from morning parade on a cold day, the radiators hissing with lovely heat and gently nodding off in warm sunlight -- only to be startled awake --"Griffin - off you go, around Mackenzie".  I do remember that having completed the lap of the building it was even harder to stay awake for the rest of the hour - but I managed.      

    The photo of the three recruits with the cake bring back memories of that evening.  The class of '63 had some great talent and it was demonstrated in the presentation in Currie Hall.  Johnston's perfect take on CWC Morris had the seniors calling out, "Give us the chin!" and I can still hear Bill Bawden's "My hol gran'mother, she's heighty-one, and she can stand straighter den you!"      

    As I said in my bio - I never regretted my decision to switch to UWO and physical education, but I never, ever, regretted my year at RMC.      

    I too remember the Old Brigade on ex-cadet weekend - never ever thinking I too would ever be old!  It is good to have the RMC eVeritas on line - it scares me to think of myself trying to compete for a place at RMC today with all the fine young people now there.  I don't think there is anything to worry about - the college appears to be in fine hands and still producing exceptional young adults as graduates.  

Jim Griffin