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4459 Ed Murray: Notes on the 2001 addition of the Commandants’ Memorial Plaque on the Arch

Courtesy of 4459 Ed Murray

On 25 September 1949 two granite plinths, one on each side of the Arch, were unveiled by the Governor General, Viscount Alexander of Tunis, on which are recorded the names of those Ex Cadets who gave their lives between 1926 and 1945.  These names, carved into the plinths, filled all available space so that six additional WW2 names, discovered after the above ceremony, had to be added to a plaque affixed to the western plinth.

In November 2000 MGen John Stewart contacted all living former Commandants asking them to support a 125th Anniversary project – to have the names of those Ex Cadets “killed as a direct result of military service” since 1945 inscribed on a plaque, donated by the Commandants, affixed to the eastern memorial plinth adjacent to the Arch. Support was unanimous from the donors –  RAdm Piers, MGen Spencer, BGen Birchall, Cmdre Hayes, BGen Lye, BGen Turner, Gen DeChastelain, MGen Stewart, MGen Norman, BGen Niemy, Cmdre Murray, Gen Boyle, BGen Emond, BGen Hague, BGen Matte and Col Marsh.

The criteria “killed as a direct result of military service” caused questions to be raised regarding the criteria for names on the Arch.  Dr. Jack Pike undertook “to investigate the intent and practice regarding the selection of those individuals whose names appear on the RMC Memorial Arch”.  His investigation showed that, based on RMC Club records and interviews with older Ex Cadets, “the Arch is a memorial to those who died on active service”.  Given that the only Canadian forces placed on active service since 1945 served in Korea, the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan , most of the Ex Cadets who died on military service since 1945 would be excluded from having their names on the Arch.

After an informal survey of Ex Cadets MGen Stewart then put the question to the Club Executive and General Council – would they consider revising the eligibility wording to “Ex Cadets who died as a direct result of military service”.  The Club  General Council responded with unanimous support for a change to the criteria.  The Commandant was so informed.

The Commandant’s Plaque was installed on the south side of the eastern plinth in time for the 11 November 2001 Remembrance Day service at the Arch.  As a result of wider consultation on the criteria the final wording on the plaque is:

Ex Cadets Who Gave Their Lives In The Service Of Canada

Anciens Eleves–Officiers Tombes Au Service Du Canada

The Club has added 59 Ex Cadet names to the Commandants’ Plaque since its installation.