As Remembrance Week Creeps Up – Looking Back Four Years

RMC INVADES SENATE CHAMBER

November 5, 2004

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This unique photograph was taken in front of the throne in the Senate Chamber at the conclusion of a special Ceremony of Remembrance on Parliament Hill November 5, 2004, kicking off Remembrance Week.

Ten officer cadets (names not available) represented the college. In the front row are: Senator William Romkey, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate; Sgt. Ernest “Smokey” Smith, VC; and the Usher of the Black Rod, LCdr (ret’d) Terry Christopher, OMM, LVO, CD. Behind them are 6549 Hugh J.M. Spence; 5276 J.R. “Digger” MacDougall; H22547 LGen (ret’d) Charles Belzile, CMM, CD, DMsc.; 3886 D.B. “Sam” Perrin; and John Batson.

Spence, MacDougall, Perrin and Batson form the quartet Capital Lettermen, which sang during the ceremony.Ex-cadet harmony greets remembrance Week – 2004

Ex Cadet Harmony Greets Remembrance Week 2004!

In the kick-off to Remembrance Week, on November 5, 2004, the Capital Lettermen barbershop quartet took part in a special Ceremony of Remembrance in the scarlet and gold-trimmed Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill. Ex cadets Digger MacDougall, Hugh Spence, and Sam Perrin, along with John Batson, enjoyed “the gig of a lifetime” as they made their musical contribution to this unique tribute to war veterans.

The moving, 90 – minute ceremony in the grand stone hall dedicated to the World War II Italian campaign, 1943 to 1945.

Principal guests of the Senators for the ceremony were decorated military veterans, including Sgt. Ernest “Smokey” Smith, the last surviving Canadian holder of the Victoria Cross. Coincidentally, the VC was awarded to “Smokey” during the Italian campaign, for his outstanding display of bravery as an infantry private in the battle to cross the Savio River.

For the program in the acoustically marvelous Senate Chamber, the Capital Lettermen sang Let There Be Peace On Earth, The Royal Anthem (God Save The Queen), and the Irish Blessing, (thought of as the Italian Blessing for the day.)
Other music was provided by a brass quintet, a military piper and trumpeter, and an Italian youth choir.

The veterans, senators and their many VIP guests later enjoyed the quartet’s harmony at a reception in the Senate Chamber foyer, taking particular delight in the War Songs Medley.

Of the three Capital Lettermen ex cadets, “Digger” and Sam served as officers in the Canadian Army, and Hugh was an officer in the Royal Canadian Navy. (With another RMC ex cadet, former army officer Walt Conrad, they sang for a number of years as the Fallen Arches.)