Royal Roads Class of 1966 – Fall Reunion – 10 to 13 Sep 2015
In September of 1964 one hundred and twenty-four apprehensive young lads spilled off the bus at Royal Roads Military College (RRMC) into a maelstrom of red scarlets, black boots, silver swords and annoyingly loud voices. Four years later, sixty of those same cadets marched off of the square at Royal Military College (RMC) with a college degree and an armed forces Queen’s Commission.
On Thursday September 10, 2015, twenty-nine of these survivors, three five-year grads, two lifelong ex-cadets, and numerous spouses and guests met in the Sticky Wicket Pub in Victoria to renew fellowships and to catch up on a half century of one another’s histories and life experiences. Eight of these intrepid warriors winged in from the Ottawa area. The marathon distance travel award went to Terry Ortt, in from Antigua. Several of these guys had not seen each other since the Graduation Ball at RMC in 1968, so the catch-up conversations were vigorous, intense, and interesting. And noisy!
At 0900 on Friday morning, some twenty-plus couples boarded HMCS Calgary for a Day Sail off Victoria’s waterfront in beautiful, warm, and sunny weather. Her crew was welcoming, proud, and most professional. The frigate put on an outstanding demonstration of Her Majesty’s Navy’s current capabilities, much to the delight of the attendees.
After freshening up, the group reassembled out at the castle at Royal Roads University (RRU) for the President’s Reception and welcome to the University’s Homecoming Weekend. More stories, memories, and tales of adventures were shared with ex-cadets from other graduating years and members of the current RRU staff. It was particularly enjoyable to visit with several members of the classes of ’65 and ’67 – our seniors and juniors.
At 1100 on Saturday morn, 15 intrepid golfers and four spouses attacked the vales and rocks of Highland Pacific golf course with vigour and energy. Some golfed, some worked at golf, and some enjoyed the cart ride. Another gorgeous day, a fun course to play, and more experiences to share with the assembled group that night.
That evening, all members of the group reassembled back at RRU for a fun dinner and dance with the other ex-cadets enjoying the Homecoming weekend. The food was excellent, the camaraderie exceptional, and the beer and the wine flowed copiously along with the “war stories” and tales of adventures of the last half century.
Sunday morning at a civil hour saw an assembly of most participants down at the naval mast by the former Vice Commandant’s house. As Padre Fowler explained, this area is now a sacred place dedicated to all those people who attended and worked at RRMC during its fifty-five years of existence as a military college. After brief addresses by 9318 Dave Bindernagel, the last Commandant of Royal Roads Military College, and Allan Cahoon, RRU Vice Chancellor, came a pause to review many of the names in the current paver-stone project. This brought up yet more memories and humorous stories. Then the assembled group was led through the hefty forest and up to the castle by the Sooke Fyfe and Drum corps. Champagne was dispatched, and a toast to friends of the old and new universities was proposed and accepted.
The windup of this fantastic weekend of perfect weather, superb hospitality, the rekindling of many fond memories and the building of some new ones was a stroll around the infamous circle of Royal Roads at a speed most cadets had never enjoyed in their life at the college! A fitting end to a fabulous and memorable exercise.
7798 Jim Parker
During and subsequent to this wonderful weekend, several classmates heaped well deserved praise on Jim and 7815 Marv Sywyk for their outstanding work in planning, coordinating and executing this memorable event. Thanks also to Cindy Goodman, Senior Associate, Alumni Relations and all of the RRU staff members who helped to make this Homecoming Weekend the great success that it was.