E3161 Victoria Edwards in conversation with 3251 Jim Tremain

E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003) interviewed #3251 Jim Tremain (RMC 1954), who served as RMC Club President 1980-81.

e-veritas: What extracurricular activities were you involved with at Military College e.g. varsity teams, band, clubs? Did you hold leadership position(s)?

Jim Tremain: I wore #34 on the Football team in 1950 and enjoyed playing at offensive right guard. A back injury during the 1951 basic training at Camp Borden led to being a member of the swimming team. (I never competed, but traveled with the team.) I was Photography Editor of The RMC Review in 1952, and took responsibility for producing the magazine in 1953, with the help of Prof. Peter Fisher in the English Department. I enjoyed being a member of the debating team in my last two years.

#3 Squadron Training Officer  was my appointment on returning for 4th year. I had a corner room in Ft. Haldimand that looked onto the playing field. What a privilege!

e-veritas: How did you get involved with RMC Club business? How did you end up as RMC Club president?

Jim Tremain: My Dad, #1766 – Ken Tremain (RMC 1923), was President of the Parent Club in 1955. As we Tremains were well known, in 1957, only three years after leaving The Square, I became the Secretary/Treasurer of the Ottawa Branch. About 1960, when living in Edmonton, the RETP scholarship program was being initiated and I was the “Western Rep” on the Scholarship Committee on behalf of that Branch. On being transferred back to Ottawa by my company, I became President of the Ottawa Branch in the late 1960s. This led to my first three year tour on the Executive Committee of the Parent Club.

A company merger sent me to Europe for a séjour. On my return, I was asked again to join the Executive Committee, which led to the ladder of Vice President, President and then Past-President – who was also chair of the Club’s Foundation. I later (1986-1990) was on the Minister’s (Minister of National Defence) Advisory Board, which was established in response to 1989 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling that directed external monitoring of gender integration in the Canadian Forces– since disbanded. This all added up to about 25 years of participating in the activities of the Ex-Cadet Club; with great pride.

e-veritas: What were some of the biggest challenges during your tenure as president?

Jim Tremain: Shortly after my election 2354 Col. “Buster” Stethem (RMC 1933), our Club Secretary, fell fatally ill to cancer and confined to the Kingston General. In those days the Club was run by only two people: “Buster,” with his booming voice, and his jack-of-all-trades super secretary. She and I kept the Club functioning through my monthly visits to Kingston. It was also an opportunity to touch base with “Buster” and visit his charming wife at their home just off Highway 15.

2897 MGen (Ret’d) Herb Pitts (RRMC 1952) had just retired from the Army and as my 1st Vice-president. He handled the selection committee process to find a replacement, which led to a very enthusiastic H2840 Col. (Ret’d) Don Strong (RMC 1952), a classmate of Herb’s, taking the job. Both Herb Pitts and Don Strong were members of “The New One Hundred” – 1948-52 Class.

e-veritas: What are you most proud of?

Jim Tremain: When my mother died in 1981, a member of the family identified 15 ex-cadets with whom she was related including her brother, her husband, her two brothers-in-law, two sons, and numerous cousins and a nephew.

Five years later, her grand daughter, our daughter 15583 Daryl Tremain (RMC 1986) first woman Cadet Wing Commander (CWC), graduated. On that final parade, she was awarded the Victor van der Smissen-Ridout Memorial Award, awarded to a graduating ROTP/RETP cadet deemed to stand highest morally, intellectually, and physically at the Royal Military College of Canada as was also her grandfather #1766 – Ken Tremain. She is a 4th generation Tremain at RMC. We are truly an RMC family!

Back to the Club: Firstly, I was also pleased with the smooth transition of succession from “Buster” Stetham to Don Strong. More significant was an important meeting of RMC Ex-cadet Club Executive Committee meeting inSt. Jean. We joined informally with Le Club des Anciens This was the second initiative to bring the our two groups together. It was only a beginning, but it paid off in time.

e-veritas: Please list all of the RMCC ex-cadets to whom your mother Nora Patricia Bermingham was related to and/or had family connections to? I came across several while researching stained glass memorial windows at RMCC.

http://preview.floating-point.com/rmcclegacy/everitas/?p=43166#comments

Jim Tremain:

  • 203Col.C. Wm Bermingham  – Father
  • 255 Maj-Gen. Henri A. Panet, CB, CMG, DSO, Staff Adjutant 1887-91; (1905-09) “Panet House” at RMC was built for and named after him – Uncle
  • 299Col.Harry J. Lamb – DSO, VD – Uncle
  • 424 Major Wm. Harty OBE  – Uncle
  • 605 Major – Prof O.T. Macklem, B. Sc, Staff 1908-14, 1920-38 – Brother-in-law
  • 817 Major James O’Reilly, MC – 1st Cousin
  • 1141 Capt. W.A.(Pat) O’Reilly, OBE – 1st Cousin
  • 1215 Brig. A.E.D. TremainCBE, ED – Brother-in-law
  • 1276 Lt. Col. Stuart M. Connolly – 1st Cousin
  • 1486 Col. C. John (Spike) Bermingham – Brother
  • 1766Col.K.H. Tremain, OBE, ED – Husband
  • 2592 Bill Osler -1st Cousin
  • 2971 C. Wm. (Bill) Bermingham – Nephew
  • 3251 James W. Tremain – Son
  • 3935 Edward W.H. Tremain – Son
  • 15583 Daryl L. Tremain (4th generation) – Granddaughter
  • 1306 Angus C.O. Dunbar – Father-in-law of Edward W.H. Tremain
  • 1456 Lt. Col. Alfred Powis – Brother in law A.E.D. Tremain
  • 2150 Maj. Howard C. BeBlois with Son-in-law A.E.D. Tremain
  • 3672 Carter Powis – Nephew of A.E.D. Tremain
  • 3864 Michael A. Hargraft – Nephew of  #1486 – Col. C. John (Spike) Bermingham

e-veritas: What do you know of the Club business today? What are the Club’s/College(s) biggest challenges?

Jim Tremain: 22 years have passed since my last activity! Correction! In 2000, I was a member of the first ever “chasse-galerie” which raises money for the H25917 Major (Ret’d) Danny McLeod (RMC 1970) Athletic Endowment Fund by paddling a voyageur canoe from Ottawa to Kingston!! What a joy that was, including the only lady on board – my sister-in-law W3935 “Lady Di” Tremain – wife of 3935 Ted Tremain (RMC 1957) (who passed away 12/24/2005). Di makes no secret of the fact that we “slept together” in the hotel in Merrickville because they had no private room for her!

I’m a long way from the scene. From a distance, I feel we, in the Foundation, have put too much emphasis on having alumnae in jobs and we have not given enough priority to employing well qualified fund-raisers.

e-veritas: Would you advise alumni to get involved with the College extracurriculars/RMC Club?

Jim Tremain: My many years of meetings brought me into contact with so many varieties of professions. There were financial experts, entrepreneurs who owned their business, auditors, and so on. This diversity of perspectives was not only useful at our meetings but also led to very stimulating discussions at meal time and around the bar. These were rewarding and satisfying friendships among these knowledgeable people.

e-veritas: What are you up to these days?

Jim Tremain: After retirement, I was a volunteer in many community groups for about 15 years,. The most notable of these was L’Arche Canada, the movement initiated by Jean Vanier which cares for intellectually handicaped adults. (www.larche.ca) Each of these homes is a center of love, foregiveness and living reality one day at a time. It brought a very real tranformation within me. After six years as President of L’Arche Canada, I took on the task of working in a Montreal L’Arche home, once a week. It was a discovery for me.

– “Beers Esses Emma – TDV” Jim Tremain

 102 YEARS OF R.M.C. HISTORY

Bermingham Family at R. M. C. 

203

Col. C. Wm Bermingham 1884-89

255

Maj-Gen. Henri A. Panet, CB, CMG, DSO, Staff Adjutant 1887-91; (1905-09) “Panet House” built for and named after him 1887-91 Brother in Law Wm Bermingham

299

Col. Harry.J. Lamb – DSO, VD                  *** 1889-93 Brother in Law Wm Bermingham

424

Major Wm. Harty OBE 1897-00 Brother in Law Wm Bermingham

605

Major – Prof O.T. Macklem, B. Sc, Staff 1908-14, 1920-38 1902-05 Son in Law Wm Bermingham

817

Major James O’Reilly, MC 1908-11 Nephew Wm Bermingham

1141

Capt. W.A.(Pat) O’Reilly, OBE 1915-16 Nephew Wm Bermingham

1276

Lt. Col. Stuart M. Connolly 1916-17 Nephew Wm Bermingham

1486

Col. C. John (Spike) Bermingham 1918-21 Son

1766

Col. K.H. Tremain, OBE,,ED                   *** 1923-27 Son-in-law Wm Bermingham

2971

C. Wm. (Bill) Bermingham 1948-52 Grandson Wm Bermingham

2592

Bill Osler 1937-41 Cousin

3251

James W. Tremain                                    *** 1950-54 Grandson Wm Bermingham

3864

Michael A. Hargraft 1953-57 Nephew C.J. Bermingham

3935

E.W.H. Tremain 1953-57 Grandson Wm Bermingham

*** – All three were President of the Ex-cadet Club

Tremain Family at R.M.C. 

    1215 Brig. A.E.D. Tremain,CBE, ED 1916-18

1766

Col. K.H. Tremain,CBE, ED 1923-27 Brother A.E.D. Tremain

1456

Lt. Col. Alfred Powis 1918-21 Brother in law A.E.D. Tremain

2150

Maj. Howard C. BeBlois 1938-41? Son-in-law A.E.D. Tremain

3251

James. W. Tremain 1950-54 Nephew A.E.D. Tremain

3672

Carter Powis 1952-56 Nephew of A.E.D. Tremain

3935

Edward W.H. Tremain 1953-57 Nephew of A.E.D. Tremain

1306

Angus C.O. Dunbar 1917-20 Father-in-law E.W.H. Tremain

15583

Daryl L. Tremain (4th generation) 1982-86 Daughter James Tremain

Previous interviews with Club Presidents:

E3161 Victoria Edwards in conversation with 3010 Peter McLoughlin (RRMC RMC 1952), who served as the RMC Club President from 1987-88.

E3161 Victoria Edwards in Conversation with 5739 André Costin (CMR RMC 1963), who served as president of the RMC Club in 1995-96. Second in a series.

E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003) in conversation with 5244 Tony Downs

E3161 Victoria Edwards in conversation with G0055 Valerie Keyes who served as President of the RMC Club in 1998-99

 

 

4 Comments

  • 8788 Geoff Bennett

    November 26, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    I’m delighted to see “Big Jim” looking so hale and hearty – and to read that he took such joy in the first-ever Chasse-Galerie in 2000. That was the year he joined the Old Brigade. I still feel badly that an accommodation crunch at Sam Jakes Inn forced me to ask “Lady Di” to spend the night with her brother-in-law. But she was a good sport about it and the next day announced that Jim was a “perfect gentleman.”

    Here’s another Tremain story from that canoe trip… As we approached the locks at Kingston Mills, it was Jim’s turn at the helm of the big 36′ canoe. I had rather unwisely issued an extra tot of rum to celebrate our imminent arrival at RMC. As we approached the dock the crew of 15 suddenly became very lively and talkative – and the pace picked up. We heard a call from the shore and saw Ted Tremain (Lady Di’s husband) waving a big Canadian flag.In the ensuing commotion and ship-to-shore banter, Jim lost control and we crashed into the dock. Since then I’ve been more careful about issuing extra tots.

    V’la l’bon vent!
    8788 Geoff Bennett
    Le bourgeois de la chasse-galerie

  • Diana Tremain W3935

    November 28, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    The inaugural Chasse-Galerie was the very best trip ever. Geoff Bennett was issuing tots of rum but he was not immune to tossing back the occasional one himself…….

    My recollection is that “the morning after” having slept with my brother-in-law, it was a revelation to me that he didn’t snore like his younger brother.
    And for the entire week, there was never a line-up at the women’s loo.

    The flag Ted was waving at Kingston Mills was a very large RMC flag which had belonged to Robin Younger (class of ’56 – I’m sorry I don’t know his number).

    A good interview and I’m proud that my father’s name (1306 Maj Angus Dunbar) is included in amongst all the illustrious Tremain and Berminghams at RMC.
    Thank Jim!
    Dinah

  • Mufty Tremain Mathewson

    November 28, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    What a great article! As Jim’s younger sister I was invited to many dances at RMC in the 50s as a gal for some of his friends who didn’t have dates. I always had a good time and as Jim was (and is) a great brother he included me in many of the RMC events as well. It is great to see pictures of my grandfather, Wm Bermingham, my father, Ken Tremain, my brother Ted, my niece Daryl, and my Mum and Aunt Dumpie Bermingham ,and of course Jim.
    I felt I grew up on the parade square when, for a time during the war, Dad was commandant at Pettawawa but in those days, I was only a girl, so not much future at RMC for me. My parents, I am sure, wished I could have married an ex cadet. Instead I married the wonderful Bill Mathewson who doesn’t even know how to salute.
    It gives me great pleasure to see the family represented on these pages so thanks so much for the interview.
    How can I get a copy of the “Real Article” in hard copy?

    Mufty Tremain Mathewson

  • karen and don dunsmore

    November 28, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Dear Jim, We have always been proud to have you and Kiki as our friends. We had no idea though that you had had such an illustrious connection to RMC both as a cadet and as an alumni. You have always spoken so fondly of RMC and generational connections from your grandfather, father, yourself and your daughter. Having 3 girls you had no idea that Daryl would be a graduate of RMC. And not just a graduate but as the outstanding cadet in her class. You all have been truly blessed. We congratulate you on your deep involvement over the decades with RMC. and for a life well lived. Best Wishes to you and Kiki always.

    With love and awe,
    Karen and Don