Class Notes

23555 Nadia Shields (Class of 2006);

(CMR-1956) – George Knill # 5072 / (RMC 1961)


St. Thomas naval lieutenant 23555 Nadia Shields (Class of 2006) a commanding figure on HMCS Toronto

To watch her on the bridge of HMCS Toronto, you would think Royal Canadian Navy Lieut. Nadia Shields had dreamt of commanding a warship since her high school days in St. Thomas.

The Central Elgin Collegiate Institute graduate is now third in command aboard the Halifax-class frigate which has been in service since 1993.

Shields – who previously served as a navigator aboard HMCS Charlottetown – is a Maritime Surface and Subsurface Officer (MAR-SS). In layman terms, these are the watch keepers (responsible for the navigation, safety and ship’s program), the warfare officers (responsible for combat in the air, on the surface and sub-surface) and the officers in Command.

“Being a naval officer was not always one of my dreams,” Shields admitted. “My brother was going through Royal Military College when I was finishing high school, though, and I thought it would be interesting as well, but without all of the camping and forced marching he was doing in the Canadian Army.”  Full article – Here


CMR-1956 – George Knill # 5072 / RMC 1961

George (Bee) Knill lived a few blocks from me in the famous war time houses. He and I and a few others applied for entry into the College Militaire Royal de St. Jean. At CMR we could take grade 13 without high school French. After three years we’d go on to the Royal Military College in Kingston.

In those days, if you didn’t have high school French you couldn’t get into many universities. So CMR was a nice compromise. Only George and I got accepted. The day the telegrams arrived from National Defense George rode his bike over to my house. He was in a dither. “I don’t want to go to this joint!” I told him that he had no choice. He had an official telegram and that was that. He believed me and off to CMR we went in late August or early September of 1956.

We traveled by train from Hamilton to Montreal and by bus from Montreal to St. Jean. We were ushered onto the parade square where a mean old Drill Sergeant had at us – our first exposure to the process by which civilians were conditioned to the military life and ethos. George Knill was given a particularly hard time. He wore a new suit and white buck shoes. I thought he looked pretty spiffy but the Drill Sergeant didn’t agree and ripped into George unmercifully about the shoes.

That night (or perhaps the second night) George snuck into my room after curfew. He was going to literally go over the wall and leave CMR. He wanted me to go with him. I told him that this was desertion and if we were caught we’d be shot. He believed me. I don’t think The Bee believed The Ghoul about anything thereafter.

As for my treatment, I got nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps my ghoulish pallor frightened them off.

Submitted by: 5045 Ralf Awrey

Ed note:

George was a math teacher during his career and author of several books on the subject that became standards for some high schools in Ontario.

He is currently at a care home – Regina Gardens Long Term Care in Hamilton, ON.

According to his classmates – he was also a great friend with a fine sense of humour.



  • Digger

    January 12, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Well done Ghoul. I had forgotten the plight into which some of our classmates got themselves. I lost two successive roommates to ulcers and a breakdown and had a cabin to myself at Roads in first year for a while. When “hazing” was the thing to do, many suffered from the taunting that accompanied us not only on arrival but all through our first years. Many of those who did not want to continue to experience brow beating and hazing simply “exited stage left” and made successes of themselves in other schools and career choices. We lost a lot of good people who became leaders in other fields.
    I have given a lot of thought to those early years and with research later in Social and Leadership Development I am convinced that the aim at the time was to develop “followers”. Creativity, innovation and initiative were frowned on by “the system”.
    You brought back memories of not only George and you but of a lot of the guys who endured a lot of crap for the sake of conformity and obedience at a time when our whole generation was steeped in those values. ’61 was a good yearThanks again and Happy New Year to you and all.