Flashback: Prince of Wales Visits RMC

Taken from the RMC Review, Vols. 1-2, 1920-21.

The Prince of Wales Visit, by #1934 S.W. Williams

Perhaps the most important event in the whole College history was the visit of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, in October, 1919. It is indeed a great honor to be visited by the heir to the British throne and all that he stands for, and to receive our colours from his own hand. Those colours stand for the part played in the war by the graduates and ex-cadets of the Royal Military College; for all those who died in carrying out the motto, “Truth, Duty, Valour” ; and for the glorious part the College shall play in the future of Canada. The remembrance of her glorious traditions will always be an inspiration to the College in peace time, and will ensure the same gallant behaviours in her sons in any future wars.

At 11:30 His Royal Highness arrived at the College and was received by the Commandant and Staff. The battalion of Gentleman Cadets was drawn up on the square to receive him and give him the Royal Salute. The Prince then inspected the battalion, after which a hollow square was formed and three drums were placed in the centre. The two senior Company Sergeant-Majors, Dunbar and MacDougall, marched out carrying the colours, which were to be presented by the Prince. These were unfurled by the Company Commanders, and laid against the drums. The colours were consecrated by Dean Starr, and after the service of consecration, were handed to His Royal Highness, who presented them to the C.S.M.’s. He then said a few words to the cadets about the part played by the College in the war, and his confidence in their continued strong loyalty to the King. He concluded by proposing three cheers for the King, which was followed by the Commandant calling for three cheers for His Royal Highness.

Line was now reformed, and the colours saluted first by the staff and then by the cadets, after which they were marched into line while the band played the National Anthem. When this was completed the battalion moved to the east end of the square and marched past the Prince, who took the salute from the steps of the north building. He was next shown over the buildings, and at 1:10 had lunch with the Commandant and Staff in the Mess Room. After lunch His Royal Highness expressed a wish to meet the cadets personally, and he was introduced to, and shook hands with, each one individually.

The next event was a gymnastic display given by the cadets. The Prince said he wished to say a few words to the cadets before leaving the College, so those who had not taken part in the display came into the gymnasium. His Royal Highness gave a very engaging address which was received with great applause. He said it was not so very long ago that he had been a cadet himself, and he knew how much they dislike speeches, but he could not leave without thanking them for the reception they had given him, and for the excellent display of infantry drill and gymnastics. In conclusion, he said that he was presenting a cup to the College to be competed for each year, and won by the best all-round cadet.

The whole College lined up outside the gymnasium when the Prince came out and gave him three hearty cheers as a farewell as he drove off.

This visit of the Prince, short as it was, left a great impression on the College. Each individual felt that it was his duty to live up to the high ideals of the Prince to justify, in the future, his confidence in us. We hope that, in his pleasant recollections of Canada, the Prince will always remember his visit to us, and know that, wherever he goes, he will bear with him the sincere good wishes of the Royal Military College of Canada.

Editor’s Point of Interest: The Prince of Wales referred to in the article would become King Edward VIII in 1936. As well, the music referred to as the National Anthem was most likely “O Canada,” but may have been either “God Save the Queen” or “The Maple Leaf Forever.”

Layout by 25366 NCdt Mike Shewfelt

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