1965 Flag Day Memories…

Memories from 15 Feb 1965:

  • RMC
  • RRMC
  • CMR
  • Sarcee Barracks (Calgary)
  • Camp Chambly in Canadian Forces Europe
  • Vientiane, Laos

More

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On 15 Feb 1965, a new Canadian flag was raised at RMC and across the country. I was away from RMC that day, so did not attend the celebration. However, the event meant a lot to me because it signaled a major change. A flag of Canada was replaced by a Canadian flag.

Since then I have lived and worked in more than 110 countries. Not once in all that time have I known or heard of anyone – whether they were for or against Canada or Canadians – who mistook the red and white banner with the maple leaf for anything but the flag of Canada. I have been to places where it is not unknown for flags to be flown upside down; our flag makes that very difficult to get away with. A number of times, at international centres and major hotels with a flag rank in their courtyard, I have had complete strangers who somehow learned I was from Canada come up to me and point out the Canadian flag. On business, even in bad places at times of stress, a Canadian flag sometimes appeared at the security wall or the reception desk.

Last November I was in Almaty, Kazakhstan. On a free half day I joined a tour of the city with a number of senior officials of the World Weightlifting Association. We travelled into the mountains to visit the huge dam that protects the city from earthquake-provoked landslides. At its top, we looked down on what surely must be the world’s largest outdoor ice rink. The Fijian in the group, with whom I had struck up a conversation on rugby, pointed out a Canadian flag. It took me some time to ‘find’ it, but when I did it was a very good feeling to see ‘my’ flag, a very long way from Canada.

6464 David Harries 

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I was a first year cadet at Royal Roads on February 15th, 1965 and a keen naval cadet. So keen, in fact, that I changed duties with a duty flight member so that I could be the very last person to raise the White Ensign at Royal Roads. (Since CSC Royal Roads was also HMCS Royal Roads, a naval base, we flew the White Ensign, although, on that day the flags of the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force were also flown.)

Later in the day I was a tenor drummer in the band as we stood before the mast, at that time in front of the castle’s main door, while the ensigns of the three forces were lowered and our new Canadian flag was raised for the first time.

7809 Eric Ruff

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If memory serves me correctly, the four squadrons of the Cadet Wing at Royal Roads was formed up at the mast, in front of the Castle, to participate in the official raising of the new Canadian Flag on that day. The timings are vague so I am not sure whether it was at noon on the day or at 9:00 AM to match the official raising of the flag in Ottawa. Yours truly was a first year cadet in Mackenzie Flight, 2 Squadron, that year. I know that I have a picture of that event, but it is buried in the archives (somewhere in my basement).

Regards,

7762 Garth Jonah

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We welcome comments from anyone who has a CMR memory.

Nous apprécions recevoir vos commentaires de cette journée au CMR.

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S152 The Rev Canon Alex Wakeling Remembers…

Caption: We are soon to gather on the parade square at RMC to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our Canadian Flag. It is an important event in the history of our country that created this visual symbol of unity and wherever the flag is flown is recognition of a Canadian presence.

The Flag Day reminds us of so many occasions during these past 50 years when the icon speaks to us and for all of us in joy and sadness, of life and death, and that we are proud to serve under – The Maple Leaf.

Many of us have memory of that day 15 February 1965. How it was observed, where we were stationed, on a navy ship or outside of Canada.

I share my memory that as an army chaplain attached to the Lord Strathcona Horse (RC) at 1200.

The Regiment and I were on the parade square at Sarcee Barracks (Calgary) along with 3Field Ambulance, 1Provost Platoon and 215 REME Workshop.It was my privilege and honour to offer the prayer of dedication before our new Canadian Flag was raised.

S152 The Rev Canon Alex Wakeling – Chaplain at RRMC 1971-73 and RMC 1981-88

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xxx

On Flag Day 1965 I was the Camp Orderly Officer in Camp Chambly in Canadian Forces Europe. Hence it was my first duty of the day oversee the raising of the camp flag at sunrise. That morning it was the new flag that was used for the first time. I thought little about it until two months later when I took my family to the Netherlands to visit the Kuckenhof, the world famous garden centre. On arriving I was amazed. The whole front of the Keukenhof was festooned with new Canadian flags. It was a neat tribute to Canada, one that made me realize the value to the future of Canada of having its own “designed and made in Canada” flag. Some Canadian youths reinforced that point in June a couple of years later in Oslo, Norway. I was part of group that had stopped in Oslo overnight on the way to North Norway. We were sitting outside in a sidewalk cafe when a group of Canadian youngsters came by. On their backpacks they had crudely fastened Canadian flags.They were showing the world that they were proud of their country – its new flag and its future.

My raising the new flag was just one of many similar ceremonies occurring worldwide East of Cape Spear and West of the International Date Line in embassies and Canadian military missions during the the hours before sunrise came to Canada. An example is the one at Vientiane, Laos by the Canadian Delegation to the International Commission for Supervision and Control (ICSC).

The Senior Military Adviser was 2307 The Late Brigadier-General Ken McKibbon. Photo 1 shows the Contingent on parade awaiting the arrival of General McKibbon and the Canadian Ambassador, Don Munro, for the flag raising ceremony. Photo 2 shows the orderly officer saluting the old flag as it is removed from the halyard for the last time and Photo 3 shows the new flag being raised for the first time.

TDV/VDV

H3550 Murray Johnston

murraycj@rogers.com

P.S. In the early 1990s I interviewed General McKibbon as part of my research for writing the regimental history of The Corps of RCEME. These photos and the notes that go with them are part of the material he provided at the interview. At that time he gave me permission to use all the material as I saw fit. MCJ

4 Comments

  • 6966 J.A.Boudreau

    February 9, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Just a short note re the flag day ceremonies at Royal Roads. After the lowering of the previous flags at the mast in front of the castle, the official flag party: myself ( 6966 J.A.Boudreau Col (ret) ) along with Al Bevington Col (ret) now deceased and Jack Randall Col (ret) now deceased proceeded to the mast. We three were repeaters and hence the privilege extended to us by the CWC. We always remembered his consideration and graciousness on this historic occasion.

    The cadet wing was formed up at the base of the stairs leading to the upper parade square with the CWC in front. The event is captured in a photo which is now mounted in front of the castle on a display board for visitors to view. One does not forget such events. The sun was out which, as roadents know, was not always a certainty.

    6966 J.A.Boudreau Col (ret )

  • Gerry Stowe

    February 10, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    On the day the new flag was raised for the first time, I was onboard HMCS MACKENZIE in Guam, on the way to Yokosuka, Japan. Since we were on the other side of the International Date Line, I think we probably hoisted it on the 16th of February, but that was 50 years ago, so I cannot be certain.
    By the time we arrived in Hong Kong about four weeks later, our flag had faded, to the point where the Chaplain of the Seamens Mission, in whose home we were dining, asked me “What is that pink thing flying at the ensign staff of your ship?” I proudly told him that it was the new flag of Canada, and he congratulated me and my two fellow officers, but said he hoped we would find a better dye lot for the next batch.
    5611 Gerry Stowe, LCdr RCN (Retd)

  • 7108 - John Penney

    February 10, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    I was a 2nd Year cadet at CMR on 15 February, 1965 when our new Canadian flag was raised for the first time. I, like most cadets, was never a big fan of being on Flag Party duty or any other extra duty for that matter, but I would have been honored to have raised the new flag that day. I don’t remember much detail about that day, but I do remember the tremendous pride that I felt as that distinctive new flag was raised.
    What a beautiful symbol for a great country!
    7108 – John Penney

  • 7060 Paul D. (Don) Sharkey

    February 12, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    As a member of the RMC Class of 1966, in February 1965 I was in my third year when the cadet wing paraded for the final lowering of the Canadian red ensign and for the raising of Canada’s new flag. I remember well the formality and the anticipation of the occasion. The day was made more significant to us by the knowledge that the new Canadian flag was conceived by a member of RMC’s academic staff, Dr. George Stanley, and that his new design was based on RMC’s historic flag. The two flags are similar so they are sometimes mistaken for each other by visitors to the college. In February 1965 it was my privilege to be a member of the flag party. As bugler for this momentus ceremony I played for the final lowering of the red Canadian ensign. Then, with all that I could muster, I played again as our new Canadian flag was proudly raised. It was all over too quickly, I recall. Over the fifty years since, I have often recounted the history of our Canadian flag — to cub scouts, to air cadets, to co-workers, to friends and to family. On this chilly February 13th, my wife and I will be back at RMC, part of the gathering around the parade square to celebrate the 50th birthday of our proud Canadian flag.