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The Annual Photograph Albums of Royal Roads Military College from 1963 to 1988


Cadet photo albums now online

RRU continues to develop and promote its RRMC heritage.

Shaggy-haired 1970s recruits getting their first military haircuts. Muddy runners completing the obstacle course. Uniformed cadets at the formal dance. These were some of the people photographed each year at the former Royal Roads Military College.

Until now, most of these exceptional images were accessible only in photo albums, preserved in the Royal Roads University Archives. This month the archives completed digitizing over 1200 pages from these albums covering 1963 to 1988. Now the photos are searchable by year and fully accessible online through the library webpage: http://library.royalroads.ca/archives/annual-photograph-albums-royal-roads-military-college-1963-1988

“Royal Roads University is proud of our military college heritage. These digitized photo albums offer us a chance to reflect on the discipline, teamwork and commitment of the Royal Roads cadets, leadership traits we encourage and admire today at RRU as part of a growing educational legacy,” said Paul Corns, associate vice president of Community Relations and Advancement at Royal Roads University.

The majority of the photos in the digitization project were taken by RRMC staff photographer Len Watling, who first spent nine years with the Royal Canadian Navy at HMCS Naden as a darkroom technician before joining the staff of Royal Roads in 1964. Watling was an exacting artist who started his photographic business in 1941 while still a teenager. He routinely ran obstacle courses and hung out of helicopters to get the right shots of cadets.

“These unique albums are the most requested items in the RRU Archives, often displayed during events such as Homecoming,” said RRU Archivist Caroline Posynick. “Now that they are digitized, the albums are much more accessible, and the public can flip through them at home on their computers. This will bring the experiences of cadet life into sharper focus for anyone interested in military heritage.”

The $16,000 project was partially financed by a BC History Digitization Program grant from the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Matching funds came from the Friends of Hatley Park Society and RRU’s Military Heritage Fund, which are partner organizations in Royal Roads University’s heritage initiatives. Approval and support of the project was also provided by the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum as well as the Vancouver Island Ex-Cadet Club.

The photo album digitization is a companion project to the 2012 digitization of the military college yearbook, known as The Log, including editions from 1943 to 1995.


  • Douglas Mann

    December 2, 2013 at 11:41 am

    This is great ! I’ll be book marking the page so I can go back again and again. Brings back a lot of memories flipping through the albums. Thanks for doing this!

  • Mike Hache

    December 3, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Great job, and a bookmark to cherish for sure. This saves me from finding the box my copies (82 – 84) presently reside in.