The Bell and The Colours Have Returned to “Roads”

Bell comes home to Royal Roads

Photo: left to right:  6670 Dallas Mowat, 6633 Jack Harris, 6593 Reg Bird, 6604 Jim Carruthers, and 6640 Bob Jenkinson

ROYAL ROADS BELL PRESENTATION

Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow Roadants

I would like to thank those who made this possible:

• the navy [I believe as recruits we were told the Navy was next to God and we immediately began to make allowances for those of the lesser colleges and services]

• Dave Bindernagel, Jack Harris and Reg Bird who were the driving force behind this project

• the craftsmen at Fleet Maintenance Group who did the work, and

• my fellow classmates who donated to this noble cause

It is not clear when the bell made the transition from land to sea however the first record of one in the inventory of an English royal vessel is in the time of King Henry. Historically it was used to mark the passing of time – watches. In 1675 a RN squadron, in its sailing orders, commanded that in foggy weather the bell was to be rung – which continues today. The Dutch are said to have first used it for gunnery control – something that continued through WWII. Today the USN still uses it to mark the time but the RN and Canadian Navy only use it for colours or baptismal purposes.

But a recruit at Roads would neither be aware of this history or I suspect care because here the bell was an instrument of punishment. A punishment a first year cadet might expect was the duty of shining the bell. The bell itself could be the source of a punishment award should the daily colours ceremony not go off right. Being in the presence of the bell brought on a feeling that you didn’t know what was going to happen but it wasn’t going to be good. So the feeling of we cadets towards this bell of HMCS Royal Roads was somewhat less than positive.

I hope this is but the first step in preserving and memorializing our Naval Colleges and Royal Roads. As a nation and an armed force we have been negligent in this regard. With the closing of RRMC the focus is now entirely on RMC Kingston and RMC St Jean. I have submitted to the RMC Foundation Board of Directors a proposed amendment to the letters patent of the Foundation which would expand the Foundation’s mandate to include memorialisation of our Naval Colleges and Royal Roads in all its incarnations. This will be presented to the membership at the AGM on 2 Oct and I hope, with your support, it will be passed. We then need to consider how we go about this sacred task. I hope tonight’s reception offers an opportunity to start the discussion.

6604 Jim Carruthers

10 Sep 2010

Both the bell and the Colours, presented by Cmdre Truelove, were unveiled in the rear foyer of Grant Block which is the connecting link to the new academic building currently being completed at RRU.

Royal Roads Homecoming 2010 – View from a IV Year Officer Cadet

By 24815 OCdt Evan Shields

The 2010 Royal Roads University (formerly Royal Roads Military College) reunion was held from the 10th-11th of September, and I had the honour of attending the festivities along with the Commandant, Chief of Staff, and college Chief Warrant Officer from RMC. The first event of the weekend was a day sail on the HMCS Calgary where the attendees of the homecoming were welcomed aboard for a morning of touring the ship, observing displays overhead by an Aurora and a Sea King, and a buffet lunch. After the day sail, the people attending the homecoming left Esquimalt and prepared for the evenings meet and greet festivities.

The meet and greet started out with casual conversations between alumni, family and friends and staff at the university over drinks and a variety of finger-foods. Once everyone was seated, the focus was turned to a projector screen showing pictures spanning the college’s history, focused primarily on the activities of the cadets of RRMC. After a few speeches about the college in the main reception area, the crowd proceeded to a smaller area with two large glass cases that were covered with curtains. The first case was unveiled was the bell that hung in front of Hatley Castle at RRMC until the college was closed in 1995. After spending 15 years in a museum, the bell had been returned home to Royal Roads.

The second glass case was unveiled by the four of us who made the trip from Kingston, and it was revealed that this second case was the new home for the Royal Roads colours. The colours had a similar story to the bell, as they had been displaced from the college in 1995, and returned 15 years later. While these unveilings marked the end of the Royal Roads homecoming for me, as I was unable to attend the Saturday night gala, I found the trip to be very rewarding and had a great appreciation for the opportunity to visit the college that my dad (JC Shields, 11961) had attended some (I won’t say how many) years ago.

Roadents – Join the Guard of Honour at the Royal Roads Mast