Editor’s Note: Do you have similar memories of your time in the Frigate? Be sure to send them to the ARCH Team as they mark the Frigate’s 200th Anniversary! For more details please see here. / Note de l’éditrice: Avez-vous des souvenirs similaires de votre séjour dans la frégate de pierre? Assurez-vous de les envoyer à l’équipe ARCH alors qu’ils célèbrent le 200e anniversaire de la frégate de pierre! Pour plus de détails, veuillez consulter ici.
With thanks to the Class of 1979 and 12149 Pete Avis
It was a sunny day in early November of 1978 – the Class of 79 was enjoying their first term in power in their graduating year. The headgear for the dress of the day had recently changed to astrakhans – a fashionable alternative which foreshadowed the coming of winter … and snow! The DCdts (LCol John Annand) visited the Frigate just prior to classes that morning. He had an important task for the Frigateers during the winter – and he was starting the planning cycle early!
An age-old RMC tradition held that on the evening of the first snowfall each year was the Stone Frigate snowball fight. As custom had it, on the night that the first snow fell, the Frigateers would surreptitiously pour a dose of Ex-Lax into the Kye containers (or some similar provocation) destined for the other squadrons in the Wing. The obvious retributive action was the gathering of the other seven squadrons on the parade square, wearing sweaters, toques, and mittens, and mounting a full-on snowball attack on the naughty Frigate-dwellers. In the ensuing battle, it was common place for most of the windows in the Frigate to be broken by errant snowballs – a seemingly just punishment!
Well, the DCdts and the Commandant had decided that, while traditions were important, this particular activity was expensive, foolish, and must be curtailed. LCol Annand met with CSL Avis in the Frigate that morning in order to give him the order, “Stop the Frigate snowball fight. How? Use your imagination.”
So the Frigateer fourth years held a war counsel that very evening. The first snow could come anytime now. Tommy Keogh, Knurpy Harrison, Killer Killaby, Chucky Attwood, and Doug Chimo Campbell led the debate and it was decided to create a diversion. The plan would be that one team would do the dirty deed to the Kye and post signs that the whole Frigate squadron would be out in Fort Frederick ready to rumble. Four teams of Frigateers would block the portals to the Fort and then guard the four corners of the large embankment. Snowballs would be fabricated from supper onward and ropes would be deployed for tripping and tying up the opposing force. There was talk of thunder flashes and arty sims … (possibly Sheas Sheasby) … but they never materialized. Rosco the Walrus, Terry Leversledge, Don Allen, Kruncher Kosierb, and Big, Bad, Bobby Hills would coach the younger frigateers. The Frigate would be left completely uninhabited. Great Plan! Reminiscent of the movie “Zulu!”!!!
The big night came and the Kye was corrupted – the messages of provocation sent. The 400-strong Wing came at the Frigateers with unified force! The Frigateers put up a good fight for about 15 minutes – then, the numbers told the tale. Many a washed face and ubiquitous snowballings were seen to occur as the onslaught overwhelmed the defenders of the Fort. Finally, CSL Avis and the other cadet officers were pitched down the snowy sides of the embankments. Cool on the keester.
Well, in the end what looked like failure was actually brilliant mission success! Not one broken window in the Frigate! It probably helped that the DCdts and his wife were walking back and forth in front of the Frigate during the battle — for a pleasant winter promenade!