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REUNION WEEKEND 2013 – OLD BRIGADE ACTIVITIES – CLASS OF 1963

OLD BRIGADE CLASSES ATTENDING REUNION WEEKEND 2013

Gerry Stowe, OB Adj.


There will be four Old Brigade classes holding reunions this year at RMC Kingston 26 – 29 September 2013:                             

1)      the Class of 1953 celebrating its 60th year of graduation

2)      the Class of 1958 celebrating its 55th year of graduation

3)        the Class of 1963 celebrating its 50th year of graduation

4)        the Class or 1968 celebrating its 45th year of graduation (‘recruit’ class), and 50 years from year of entry

Note that the Class of 1968 has opted for an Early Welcome into the Old Brigade at the time of its 45th Anniversary of Graduation in accordance with Article 14.3 of the Constitution.  This Early Welcome, of course, does not apply to those members of the Class of 68 who entered CMR in 1963 or, having entered either Royal Roads or RMC and liking the cadet life so much opted for an extra year (or didn’t graduate at all), because they will already be members of the Old Brigade based on the criterion of 50 years from date of entry (Article 14.2 of the Constitution).

In addition to private reunions held on Friday evening, 27 September, by each of the classes listed above, there are five additional functions in which members of the Old Brigade take part.  These functions are:

I – PRESENTATION OF CLUB COINS TO FIRST YEAR CADETS AFTER THE OBSTACLE COURSE

This highly successful activity was inaugurated several years ago and has now been incorporated by the College as a regular feature of Reunion Weekend activities.  It takes place immediately following the running of the obstacle course on Friday afternoon and consists of members of the Old Brigade presenting Club coins to the first year cadets (FYCs – we used to call them ‘recruits’!) in recognition of their successful completion of an important 'rite of passage' that the obstacle course represents.

The following description of this event assumes that the scenario will be the same as in past years. All squadrons will complete the course at the same time. When the course is completed, the squadrons run back to the parade square and form up in front of the rest of the Cadet Wing, which is awaiting them in a hollow square.  (I have just described the ideal scenario, which does not usually occur, except possibly by accident; much more likely is a scene of barely controlled chaos which we will attempt to navigate through). This is quite an exciting time and observers have to be careful not to get mowed down by the tired but exhilarated participants.  On the square there will also be cadet officers with the coins and the names of the cadets who will receive them in hand (each coin will have the number of the cadet engraved on it). In 2012, each squadron flew their squadron pennant to make it easier to locate.

To complete the scenario, three Old Brigaders are required to present the coins to each squadron (one per flight/three flights per squadron) for a total of up to 36 presenters.  As soon as the cadets have caught their respective breaths (they will be muddy, grubby and generally cold) the presentations will begin guided by the cadet officers.  Three presenters will suffice for each squadron but, given the informality of the occasion, the more the merrier!  We're to present coins and congratulate the cadets in a relaxed and joyful atmosphere (parents and siblings will be mingling with us).  Head gear for this event may be either the Old Brigade beret, the Old Brigade cap (the latter can be obtained from the Kit Shop), or a suitable Class/RMC ball cap, or bare-headed.

It is requested that about 6 - 8 members of the Class of ’63 volunteer, or be designated, to participate in these presentations (there will also be presenters from the other Old Brigade reunion classes).  I will contact you in mid-September to confirm the exact number of presenters required from your class.

II – FIRST YEAR BADGING PARADE

It has been the custom for many years now for members of the Old Brigade to present the first year cadets with cap badges during the First Year Badging Parade on Saturday morning.  This ceremony marks not only the end of orientation training, but also the integration of the FYCs into the Cadet Wing.  As for the coin presentations described above, one member of the Old Brigade will present cap badges to the FYCs in each of the flights, again for a total of up to 36 presenters (plus one or two more for such miscellaneous groups as ‘light duty’).

The drill for this pleasant and rewarding 'duty' is not complicated and requires no previous training.  A cadet officer will accompany each presenter onto the square and take him to the proper flight.  The FYCs are easy to identify because they are in 'blues' as compared to the 'scarlets' worn by all others on parade.  In any event, the assigned cadet officer stays with the presenter and hands him the badges one at a time The presentations should take about 10 to 12 minutes from beginning to end. Running overtime may cause a delay in a fly past.

As with the presentations of the coins described above, it is requested that the Class of ‘63 provide some of the badge presenters.  At this stage it is estimated that the number will be about 6 (again, there will be presenters from other Old Brigade reunion classes).  Whether you select the same or different presenters for the coin and badging events is entirely up to you.  The uncertainty in the number of required presenters arises because there are usually a few members of the Old Brigade not participating in class reunion activities who, nevertheless, wish to present to a particular cadet (e.g., a grandchild).  This will not be finalized until mid-September, at which time I’ll get back to you.

This is a moving ceremony and one that is of particular importance to the cadets involved as well as their family members, many of whom will be in attendance.  The young recipients do not quickly forget receiving their cap badge from members of the Club's Old Brigade, all of whom have provided leadership in many diverse areas during their long careers.  By taking part in this ceremony, we show our loyalty to the Club and College and set an example that the cadets (and other Ex-Cadets) aim to emulate over the years.  It is all part of the mystique of the Old Brigade and helps to establish the leadership role we have in Club affairs.

Presenters must wear Old Brigade berets and ties, as well as medals.  Ex-Cadet blazers are preferable, but business suits are acceptable.  Berets and medals should also be worn by all members of the Old Brigade who attend the parade whether or not they are presenters.  In general, berets are worn by members of the Old Brigade whenever they are on the College grounds during Reunion Weekend (unless they wish to wear the other headdress at such informal events as the obstacle course).

IIA – LUNCH FOLLOWING THE BADGING PARADE

This is not an Old Brigade activity, but is inserted here to keep the chronology correct.  There is not a unique Old Brigade lunch.  Immediately after the parade, some reunion classes, including those of the Old Brigade, have group photographs taken before going to lunch somewhere.  That 'somewhere' may be in Yeo Hall (upstairs) or at a location outside the College grounds organized by the class concerned. The Senior Staff Mess is normally reserved for the Commandant’s post-parade reception and lunch.

Since the Yeo Hall lunch can be a bit of a press, arrangements are made for members of the Old Brigade, who so desire, to eat in the Cadet Mess (downstairs in Yeo Hall).  There is an Annex which is reserved for Old Brigaders, so it is relatively private and quiet, but there is no bar.  There will be a cadet guide at the entrance to Yeo Hall to direct those who wish to take advantage of this option.

Reservations for lunch in Yeo Hall, whether upstairs or downstairs (same ticket), must be made in advance.  There will be inscription forms in the upcoming issue of VERITAS, or members can simply call Panet House any time at 1-888-386-3762 and make reservations verbally, or they can go to the Club web site at www.rmcclub.ca and make them on-line.

III – OLD BRIGADE DINNER

For 26 Sept. 2013, the ballroom at the Four Points Hotel, 285 King Street East, with a seating capacity of 300, is booked. If you are interested in seeing what it looks like, go to www.fourpointskingston.com. The price has yet to be negotiated, but I expect it to be in the neighbourhood of $75 per person for members, $90 for non-members. There will be full service at the tables; attendees are asked to purchase their own wine from the hotel’s excellent cellars. Tickets will bear a tear-off stub entitling each attendee to a glass of wine or soft drink during the pre-dinner reception; additional libations are at the discretion, and expense, of the attendees. There will also be after-dinner dancing (to music suitable to our advanced ages!), which was a great hit last year. 

Reservations must be made in advance through Panet House (details at Section IIA above).  Tickets will not be sold at the door.

Dress for the dinner, in order of preference, is:

l  Dinner jacket with miniatures (or service mess dress);

l  Club blazer with Old Brigade tie and miniatures; or

l  Business suit with Old Brigade tie and miniatures.

In previous years, some ladies have chosen to wear long dresses, others shorter evening wear.  Widows of deceased members of the Old Brigade are most welcome.

Members may wish to reserve rooms in the four Points or one of the other nearby hotels, to avoid the necessity of driving.

IV – EX-CADET PARADE TO THE ARCH

There will be two Old Brigade Squadrons this year for the Sunday morning parade to the Memorial Arch (unless our numbers increase to the point where we need three squadrons).  All Old Brigaders not in the Class of 1968 will form #1 Squadron Old Brigade, while #2 Squadron Old Brigade will be made up of members from the Class of 68.  That is, members of the Class of ‘63 who are on parade will be part of #1 Squadron Old Brigade.

For those Ex-Cadets who wish to attend the Remembrance Service but are unable to march, transportation will be provided to the Arch immediately after the parade leaves the square.  There will be plenty of chairs alongside the reviewing stand from which the march past can be viewed before the transport departs.  This same transport will be available for the return trip following the service.

Some members of your class may wish to take part in the beginning of the parade, including the march past and salute, before falling out and taking the transport the rest of the way.  If so, they are all most welcome to fall in at the same time as other members of the class.  Old Brigaders in wheel chairs are encouraged to join the march (after co-opting one of their mates to push them along).

All members of the Old Brigade must wear the Old Brigade beret.  Medals are also worn.  Order of dress is the RMC Club blazer with Old Brigade tie, or business suits (plus, of course, the aforementioned tie).  If it's cold or rainy, overcoats are most acceptable.

 

V – OLD BRIGADE LUNCH AFTER PARADE TO THE ARCH

There will be an Old Brigade lunch in the Senior Staff Mess following the parade to the Arch.  All members of the Old Brigade and their families (including children and grandchildren) are most welcome (all other Ex-Cadets and their guests eat in Yeo Hall).  The bar will be open!  It will be a buffet lunch, but there are many tables where members can sit after getting their food.  There may be an upper limit set on attendance, so I suggest that you book early. As for the Saturday lunch and Old Brigade dinner, tickets must be purchased in advance from Panet House or on line at the Club web site (details above at Section IIA).

PROCUREMENT OF OLD BRIGADE BERETS AND TIES

If any members of your class do not yet have an Old Brigade beret of tie, they can be ordered from the Kit Shop at Panet House or on-line from the Club web site (details given in Section IIA above).

WEARING OF BERET, TIE AND MEDALS

When on the College grounds during reunion weekends, graduation ceremonies and the like, it is customary for members of the Old Brigade to wear the Old Brigade beret and tie. I will not presume to tell you how to wear the beret (as a retired naval officer, that would be presumptuous on my part).

In addition to the Old Brigade beret and tie, the wearing of medals is de rigueur for the Saturday Badging Parade and the Sunday parade to the Arch.  As noted earlier, miniature medals should be worn to the Old Brigade Dinner.

CLUB MEMBERSHIP

All members of the Old Brigade attending Reunion Weekend are encouraged to become paid up members of the Club, if they are not already so.  The Club expends great effort and much time in organizing Reunion Weekend, for which there is no cover charge.  The payment of Club membership dues helps to defray costs as well as indicating loyalty to the Club and College.

 

Cheers. TDV.

5611 Gerry Stowe

Adjutant, Old Brigade