Exam Time: “If the King turned up now, I don’t think anyone would give a sweet damn…”

 First Year / Winter Term @ RMC, April 1950 – 3069 W.A. McColl

16 April 1950

The first week of exams has been a tough one: Physics 2, Calculus, History & English. I think I missed Calculus and maybe the Physics. A gang of us have been having a little singsong in the canteen to keep up our morale. We aren’t getting enough exercise and most of us don’t feel too peppy. Sybil Agnew got married to some poor navy type yesterday. It was quite a wedding. I guess the Brig thought he’d never get rid of Les. Anyway the groom is going to sea shortly. Yesterday Archambault, C for Claude & I played some tennis for the first time this year. It was a little windy but not cold. Some naval officer took the salute this morning for Church parade. It was a poor sloppy parade. The jokers in No 2 & 3 Sqns couldn’t keep the step on the eyes right. As Moon Hall said, “I’ve seen the brownies march better.” We write exams in the Old Gym & the draughting rooms; the gym is really the best place. At nights now I can hear the waves splashing on the beach and it is very soothing. The boats are starting to pull out now. Andy, Bob & I went over to see the new dorm (Haldimand) this week and they are working on the pool now. I’d sure like to be back next year to swim in it. The rooms over there are going to be swell, too.

18 April 1950

Yesterday we wrote Chem. & Physics 12 today. The Chem. was tough but I think I did get the subject. As for physics I don’t know. I must be in the wrong course. I spend all my time cramming subjects I don’t especially like so that the ones I’m good in are neglected. All the same it would be nice to be able to get the sciences & maths through my thick skull. This pen is finally starting to wear out. I’ve got thread wrapped around the nib to hold it together. Right after today’s exam, an Australian, Maj. Gen. Norris, inspected us. We must have seemed pretty sloppy and ill-kempt. If the King turned up now I don’t think anyone would give a sweet damn. My room hasn’t been swept in days. For the past two weeks I’ve been getting up at 0500 or 0600 and find that it pays off for me. It means less sleep but I seem to be adjusted to that routine now. Well Algebra & Geometry are the only 2 really toughies left , although I don’t think E.D. (Engineering Drawing) & D.G. (Descriptive Geometry) will be pushovers.

20 April 1950

Yesterday’s geom & alg. paper was a doosy. In fact I don’t think I got it. It was very long and hard. Dewar got a cake the other night and about 15 guys were in there raising hell. Andy & I bugged off just before Farrell charged them all. It seemed like too good a place to pick up a charge. Anyways 12 of them got 4 D.D.’s including Freddy Gilbert who made his debut. Coggins really worked them over yesterday. He had Dewar doubling around the square for cracking a smile. Andy & I played 3 sets of tennis yesterday (2 for Andy & 1 for me). The grounds have got suddenly green, maybe because they have raked all the manure off. At any rate there is quite a gang working on the lawns and generally keeping the place looking trim. Out in the fort yesterday we locked Andy in the tunnel for a while. He is plotting to get Barry & I. We seem to go out to the fort quite a bit these days to let off steam. At this stage I don’t think too many of us are confident about getting all the papers except maybe Coates. My only hope is that my term marks will help. It browns me off to hear about Queen’s students who write about 5 papers and can have 4 supplementals. We write 11 and get 2 sups. Well the cat is in the bag now as far as I’m concerned. Only Eng. Drawing & Mil Stud to go.

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