Message to the gentlemen graduates of 1942 from – Chief of the General Staff

 

I propose to address this Foreword solely to the class that graduates from the College, June 1942

Gentlemen, you have been at the Royal Military College for two years. During that period an attempt has been made to train you, in part, in the moral, mental, and physical requirements for entry into the commissioned ranks of the Defence Forces.

On the moral side of your education your instructors have attempted to develop your character through the inculcation and practice of the essential moral characteristics of discipline and leadership.

MORE…

On the mental side your instructors have called upon your memory to some extent as a means of providing food for thought. In the main, however, an effort has been made to teach you how to think and how to approach a job of work. You have also been given practice in the expression of your thoughts and decisions, both by word of mouth and in writing. The real value of the subjects you have studied at the College is primarily dependent upon the extent to which each has contributed to one or more of the ends I have indicated.

On the physical side every effort has been made to give you such instructions and exercises as would result in the balanced development of a healthy body in order that it may be capable of meeting the great demands of spirit and mind.

No claim is made that you are being turned out as fully-trained young officers. Your real education as an officer only begins when you actually become an officer and start practising your profession. Your education as an officer must never cease but must carry on throughout your whole service.

Your two years at the College provides an excellent foundation for your future education. Remember that it is only a foundation and that the structure of your education remains to be built. You are the architects. The stability and balance of the structure is now in your own hands. I would ask you, therefore, both in the interest of the College and of your own future advancement, to go to your unit with the full realization of your limitations with respect to your knowledge of the military profession.

I would remind you, Gentlemen, that though your responsibilities are great, your privileges are even greater. To serve your King and Country at a time like this in any capacity is a very great privilege. To serve in the Armed Forces in war is an even greater privilege. You will find out in this war, as I did in the last war, that to command men in the field, especially the grand type of man that Canada produces is one of the finest experiences that life can offer. Your men will give you just what you give to them and a bit more. Once you get their confidence and respect, they will willingly and cheerfully respond to your slightest request or order. To get that confidence and respect you must, as a junior officer, get to know your men and give them your sympathetic understanding. You must place their interests before your own. You must be scrupulously fair and avoid favouritism. You must be firm and insistent upon one degree of work only, namely the best possible in the attendant circumstances. Finally, I would remind you that your future actions muse be given direction. That direction must come from the application of such characteristics as loyalty, confidence, determination, high sense of duty and moral courage. The inculcation of these characteristics was one of the primary objectives of your education at the Royal Military College. These characteristics are epitomized in the words of our College motte, “Truth.” “Duty,” “Valour.” Keep these words ever before you and they will serve to illuminate those dark spots which are bound to confront you on your particular road of life. I ask you as you are leaving the College to remember that the good name of this grand old place is in the hand of each one of you. As you act so the College is judged. I am confident that you will not be found wanting.