I was googling and came across an article in e-Veritas from last year that I must have missed when it first came out.
It had to do with re-introducing the words of Precision to the Cadet Wing, many of whom, the article said, were unaware that there were words to the march past. This comes as quite a shock to me, because I still remember the day in my recruit year when we recruits were gathered together one evening, given song sheets with the words, listened to a tape recording of the tune and then practiced singing it for the rest of the evening, supervised by our seniors. We were ordered to memorize the words and on Ex-cadet weekends during my time at RMC we had to sing the words on the Sunday morning parade as the ex-cadets returned to the parade square from the Memorial Arch service.
The other thing that caught my eye was that the words you published in that E-Veritas article were the original 1932 version which contains references to the British Empire. The version I learned in 1963 had been altered slightly in the late 1950s (I believe by Col (Ret’d) Tom Gelley of the RMC staff).
The changes were as follows: In the 3rd verse, “And strive to keep our Empire’s unity” became “And strive to keep our country’s unity”; and in the 4th verse, “For Canada and for our Empire great” became: “For Canada our land both broad and great”.
Did you get much feedback from other ex-cadets about this? And can you tell me if the updated version is now the one being taught to RMC cadets? I cannot imagine cadets singing about an Empire that disappeared years ago. But I hope cadets will continue to be taught to sing the words.
7272 Ralph Coleman, Class of 1967
More from Ralph…
Hi again Bill. Further to the info you requested, that I sent to you yesterday, which contains the original words to Precision as well as the changes made by Col (ret’d) Tom Gelley in the 1950s, to completely update the words for today’s generation of cadets, one further change is necessary. Because RMC admits women now (since 1980), the line “We are the gentlemen cadets of RMC” should be changed to: “We are the officer cadets of RMC”. I truly hope that the College will ensure that cadets learn not only the words, but appropriately updated words. regards……Ralph