Deaths | Décès

McManus, RSM John James Thomas CD (Retired)

This obituary for John McManus appeared in the March 23rd edition of the Toronto Star. John (known as JJT “Rock” McManus) was the RSM during my four years at RMC (1961 – 1965). Although I had been in Army Cadets for 5 years and the Armoured Corps Reserves for 3 years prior to RMC, I hadn’t come across anyone quite like him. I did not understand one word he said during my time at RMC because he only communicated through growls and snaps He had a highly polished pacing stick that he would open up and walk beside you twirling it as he went at the correct pace and stride length to show where your mistakes were (growling and snapping as he went). He was a tall slim man but physically tough as witnessed by the blood in the Fort Haldimand pool after waterpolo games between the Drill and PT staffs.

My vision of him is forever changed now that I know he was a husband, father and grandfather just like myself.

May God rest his soul.

Barry Watson, 6578

Tribute: RSM John James Thomas McManus, CD (Retired) in his 89th year, passed peacefully away with his family at his side at home, on March 20, 2010. Beloved husband of Sylvia Joyce (nee Attwood) and survived by his children Tighe (Jean), Ingrid Bernice (Robert), Mark (Odette) Antony (Louise Clouatre) and Wesley DeJeet (Leslie). Jim was also blessed with many grandchildren, including Brendan, Mandi, Devin, Angela, Rachael, Justin, Jordan and Darah Rene. He is also survived by Margaret, Ethna, Sheila, Jack and Paul, his siblings and his Aunt Nora in Pembroke.

Jim joined the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (MG) in 1937 and was a qualified sergeant when the Cameron Highlanders were ordered to War Establishment. After landing on D-Day he advanced through North-West Europe and participated in the Liberation of Holland and became RSM of the 3rd Battalion of the Cameron Highlanders, serving with the Occupation Force in Germany until June 1946, when the Regiment returned to Canada.

Subsequently, Jim was accepted into the Canadian Interim Force, and served with the Royal Canadian Regiment in Brockville, London and Petawawa where he obtained his parachute wings. Serving with the 2nd Battalion RCR he arrived in Korea in April 1951 and upon his return to Canada he was appointed as the Regular Force Sergeant-Major of the Army Contingent to the Coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, in London, in 1953.

In September 1954, the Regiment of Canadian Guards was formed and Jim was appointed the RSM of the Canadian Guards Depot that was responsible for the training of all new entries into the Regiment.

In June 1961, RSM McManus was appointed the College Sergeant-Major of the Royal Military College in Kingston and continued to serve with distinction until August 1971, at which time he took his retirement after serving Canada for over 34 years.

Mr. McManus commenced a civilian career in 1974 with Black and Decker at their plant in Brockville, responsible for Plant Protection and Maintenance, retiring in 1987 after a successful thirteen-year second career.

The funeral will be held at St. John Bosco Parish, 175 Windsor Drive, Brockville at 11:00 am on Wednesday, 24 March 2010. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Barclay Funeral Home, 137 Pearl Street East, Brockville, Ontario. Visitation will be on Tuesday, 23 March 2010 from 2 to 4 pm and from 7 to 9 pm and on Wednesday morning prior to the funeral from 9 to 10 am. Reception to follow the funeral at Barclay Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the RCR Education Fund for Children of Fallen Soldiers, P.O. Box 9999 Station Main, Petawawa, Ontario, K2H 2X3, the St. John Bosco Parish Building Fund, or the Brockville General Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre.


2733 Mitchell Bourke, Class 1940

MITCHELL BOURKE 1923-2010 George Mitchell Bourke died peacefully March 23 at the age of 87 years. The eldest son of the late George Wesley Bourke and Beatrice Mitchell, Mitch was a graduate of R.M.C. and McGill University. He served his country courageously as Captain of a mobile artillery unit during World War II. President, then Director and Chairman of Bolton Tremblay Inc., his integrity and investmentacumen won the respectof the investment counselling community across Canada. Father of Steven, Michael and Julia, grandfather to Emory, Olivia and Ariella, brother of Douglas Bourke and the late David Bourke, and husband of Barbara Brown, then Camille Dion, he will always be remembered with affection and love. A special thanks to the staff of the Montreal General Hospital Dialysis Unit for their kindness and dedication. A service will be held at 11am Friday March 26 at the Unitarian Church, 5035 boulevard De Maisonneuve Ouest.



  • Mark S. McManus

    August 24, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Two messages on the death of RSM JJT McManus received by the Family may be of particular interest:

    Received by Mail dated 21 March, 2010
    Dear Sylvia, Antony, and all the McManus family,

    The card with this letter cannot adequately express Kit’s and my feelings of profound sympathy. Your loss of a dear husband and father was also our loss of a true friend. I hope my sharing here a brief personal memory of Jim may be of some small comfort to you:

    As a young sergeant I was an instructor at the Canadian Guards Depot in its very early days, and not entirely up to meeting the challenge. As Regimental Sergeant Major JJT McManus was a fearsome figure to me – utterly intolerant of error, and demanding the highest standards, no matter the personal cost. Yet, he was scrupulously fair, and not without humour. He accepted only the best in those he commanded; and he broke those who wouldn’t or couldn’t meet his unforgiving standard.

    In the Canadian Guards his earlier nickname “Rocky” underwent a change to become an awesome title, “The Rock.” And, on him was founded a regiment. His lessons were deservedly harsh but instructive. He brooked no excuse, and he insisted on total acceptance of responsibility of command – over oneself and others.

    He demanded endurance; and he had no patience with weakness of will or morals. In later years and up through the ranks, I’ve often heard inwardly his mantra of command by which I’ve lived: “Sergeant, you’re responsible.”

    As I’ve told him in latter years with complete sincerity, I owe him more than I can ever repay. He made me give a “best” I hadn’t known I had in me. That was the precious gift he gave me.

    When, some years later I’d arrived at a crisis of decision, I visited him when he headed the drill staff at RMC. He proved unfailingly loyal in providing the understanding, compassion, and wise counsel I sought. As his successor in leadership, I have cherished his example, which has served me well over the years as soldier and scholar, entrusted in my turn with the nurture of leaders.

    Of course it’s the human condition to be flawed, and it would be remarkable if you, his family, haven’t seen more facets of Jim than I have. But I knew him only as a soldier; and while I saw his humanity, I never saw his failings. To me he was always a model, an ideal, and a comrade.

    The proof of all I’ve said here is my lasting love and respect and the bond we’ve had for well over half a century. Jim will always remain for me a truly Great Man. Kit and I share your loss.

    With fond regards, Steve
    G. W. Stephen & Kit Brodsky,
    Sidney, British Columbia

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Received by Mail dated March 24, 2010
    Dear Sylvia and Family,

    I was sorry to get the news from Bill Oliver about the death of Jim. I am also sorry that I am unable to attend his service today, but I am certainly thinking of you.

    It was my good fortune to serve with Jim during his entire service at RMC. WOI (RSM) James McManus set such a high water mark that, as yet, none have managed to equal it.

    Jim, with his military background, was exactly what the College needed. Cadets were in awe of his service and responded by achieving high standard results. His extensive qualifications, quiet confidence, and cooperative manner seemed to be the symbol the College needed badly at that time.

    RSM McManus was a rare commodity, always confident and in charge and, more important, achieved the results desired. Good RSMs are hard to come by and fewer still with the qualifications of Jim.

    Jim was every inch a soldier with great leadership skills and above all he was a fine gentleman. Canada has lost one of its finest.

    God Bless,

    Major (Ret’d) W.J. “Danny” McLeod MC, CD, DMSc(Hon)
    Former Director of Athletics, The Royal Military College of Canada