A little ‘nice to know’ background on the Stone Frigate

The Stone Frigate

Article researched by 27476 OCdt Danielle Fielding

Danielle Fielding

Informally, a stone frigate is a naval establishment on land. The term has its origin in Britain’s Royal Navy after its use of Diamond Rock, off Martinique, as a ‘sloop of war’ to harass the French.

The command of this first stone frigate was given to Commodore Hood’s first lieutenant, James Wilkes Maurice, who, with cannon taken off the Commodore’s ship, manned it with a crew of 120 until its capture by the French in the Battle of Diamond Rock in 1805.

However, Stone Frigate is also the name of a dormitory and classroom block of the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario.

A former naval storehouse it was converted to its present use in 1876 on the establishment of the College. The former warehouse was converted into a dormitory and classrooms when the Royal Military College of Canada was established in 1876, on the site of the former dockyard.

Old 18: AGG Wurtele, HC Freer, HE Wise,WM Davis,TL Reed, SJA Denison, LH Irving, F Davis, CA DesBrisay, VB Rivers, J Spelman, CO Fairbank,AB Perry, JB Cochrane, FJ Dixon, GE Perley, HW Keefer and D MacPherson

The “Old Eighteen”, the first cadets of RMC, lived in the Stone Frigate when it opened.

In 1941, the Royal Military College of Canada cadets were housed in the Stone Frigate while student officers taking Canadian junior war staff courses, field security courses and radio technician’s courses were quartered in Fort Frederick.

Known within Royal Military College of Canada as “The Boat”, the Stone Frigate houses 1 Squadron, who in turn call themselves the Stone Frigate Military Academy.

Renovations to the Stone Frigate began in the summer of 2003; some interior refinishing had taken place in the mid-1960s, however the overall interior condition of the building was poor. Interior stone walls were restored and cleaned and new structural supports and interior walls were constructed. Windows, doors, and mechanical and electrical services were installed and an annex extension was built.

The Department of National Defence officially re-opened the renovated Stone Frigate building in early April 2004. The Stone Frigate is on the Registry of Historic Places of Canada.

12 Comments

  • Alain Perrier

    June 25, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Thanks for this. I had forgotten it was home for the Old 18. It was my home for 2 years, 1983 and 1984. Class of 84.

  • Rene Lafrance

    June 25, 2018 at 11:45 am

    I’m a SFMA alumnus and spent my last 2 years in the « The Boat ». It was a great dorm with a special sense of belonging. Great article and great research!

    René Lafrance, Class of ‘88

  • Ronald G Capern

    June 25, 2018 at 11:51 am

    The Frigate (“The Frigid”) was my home for four long, cold, winters (´52 to ´56) in Kingston. I can recall many a hazardous march across an icy parade ground for breakfasts in Yoe Hall. Although I remember seeing radiators in the various cabins I occupied, I do not recall much in the way of heat. However, many fond memories of my time there, and of my many Classmate Frigateers.

  • ROBERT KOMPF

    June 25, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    FIRST: The Environment
    Was there for 1960 to ’61 term. Top deck room closest to MacKenzie Building. Two windows. The one facing the Square was the “M” of “Merry” in Merry Christmas created with the cardboard inserts that came with the shirts returned from the laundry. Both windows had storm windows that did little to slow the wind. Studying in turtleneck, great coat. multi socks and Astrakhan hat. Soliciting of newspapers – some to crumple and stuff inside the ‘storm windows’ and the rest to stack on the wide window sills – to serve as a barricade against the penetrating cold. Pinning a blanket over the window next to my bed. A test glass of water froze.

    Fire Inspection! Arrangements declared a violation! Explanation led to action which discovered a valve in the basement which hadn’t been opened for a long, long time.

    Thankful when Spring arrived!

  • ROBERT KOMPF

    June 25, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Second: History Revised
    Term 1960 to ’61 saw a radical shift in the organisation of the Cadet Wing. The Frigate was home to 3 Squadron which consisted of a Squadron Headquarters of six Fourth Years with two living on each Deck and three Flights composed of ALL the First and Second Years with Flight Headquarters drawn from Second Year. This to provide some opportunity for leadership experience equivalent to that of Cadets from Royal Roads and CMR.
    1 Squadron was housed in Ft. Haldimand and 2 Squadron was in Ft. LaSalle.

    Interestingly, 1 Squadron had their picture taken in front of the Stone Frigate and this picture is displayed there (when last I looked) as if to say or demonstrate that ONE SQUADRON HAD ACTUALLY OCCUPIED the Boat.

    It is said that History is written by the Winners, but Who won What?

  • Mitch MacLeod 13139

    June 25, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Spent three years in the Frigate 1977-80 before being banished to Fort LaSalle and 3 Sqn for my final year. Good times, though running across The Square in first year was a pain, epseically in winter.

  • Tony Appels 14914

    June 25, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    What a wave of memories this brings back as a former “frigateer”! The “Stone Boat” was home to me for two years.

  • David Chapman 6077

    June 25, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    The Frigate was my office , study room and experimental lab space from 66 to 69 while on a teaching tour in the Electrical Engineering department at RMC while also completing a MEng degree . A great memory!

  • Vil Auns 6352

    June 26, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Lived in the Frigate 63-65. Good memories, a great time. Still have some of the original SFMA stationary >> a cute spider hanging from the top center of the page a spelled out SFMA Kingston – Ontario in the upper right corner. Never heard it called “Boat”.

  • 10208 Cam Carbert

    June 27, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    I spent three years in the Frigate, where due to our “remote” location, a strong squadron spirit was forged. In my fourth year, Hudson Squadron maintained its position as Right of the Line for the full year. An accomplishment that was notable, because it meant as the 1 Squadron’s right marker, I was the first cadet to step on the Square for my Graduation Parade.

  • Marc Potvin

    June 28, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Was at SFMA Sept 79 to May 81 before going to RRMC.Great memories — especially all the running during recruit term.