The Way It Was: The Cadet Wing in 1949

Above: Orders of Dress for R.M.C., Kingston, 1949

Editor’s Note: The following is taken from the 1949 RMC Review.

The RMC Cadet Wing

By No. 2517 Major E.G. Brooks, DSO, RCA, Staff Adjutant RMC

In the past year numerous ex-cadets have visited the College and all have shown great interest in the organization, chain of command and customs which have been established with the re-opening of the College. It is considered that a short report on the RMC Cadet Wing will be of considerable interest to ex-cadets who are not able to visit us and see the “New One Hundred” at work.

You will first all notice that we call the old Cadet Battalion the Cadet Wing. This Wing is divided into three Squadrons which are equivalent to the companies of the past. In each Squadron there are two Flights with three Sections of six cadets in each.

The Commandant is the Commanding Officer of the Wing with the Staff Adjutant as the Wing Adjutant. Each squadron is commanded by an officer from one of the three Services. For example: No. 1 (FRONTENAC) Squadron is commanded by Lt-Cdr. C.P. Nixon, DSC, RCN, No. 2 (LASALLE) Squadron is commanded by Major J.G. A.D. de Grandpre, RCIC, and Wing Commander A.M. Jardine, AFC, RCAF, commands No. 3 (HUDSON) Squadron. Although the squadrons are commanded by an officer from each Service, the cadets who are destined for the various Services are distributed throughout all three so that there is not a particular Service Squadron.

The chain of command among the cadets is very similar to the pre-war system. To conform with the new terminology, the Cadet Wing Senior has taken the place of the former BSM, the Cadet Squadron Senior the CSM, and Flight Seniors are the equivalent to sergeants.

You will notice that they are called Seniors this year instead of Commanders. The reason for this is that these appointments are only held for a two-week period in order that all cadets may hold a position of responsibility once during their first year. In subsequent years it is intended to increase this period until the last year when it will be a permanent appointment for the year. At that time it is hoped that the appoint of Cadet Wing Commander will hold the same honour and prestige as that of the BSM of the past.

The matter of traditions and customs was one of considerable discussion and thought before the cadets arrived last September. It was finally decided to write a short book called “The Recruits Handbook.” This “Book,” which no doubt brings back memories to past recruits, was prepared to assist first year cadets in learning the customs, history, and traditions of the College.

The customs which we have reintroduced include: Running the Square by all Recruits, The Flat Orderly System together with the Flat Calls (these are now preceded by piping on a Boatswain’s call), Reporting from Duty, looking a person directly in the eye when talking, various privileges which will increase with the added responsibilities each year.

It is felt that with these basic customs in force this year, that new ideas in keeping with the latest developments will gradually come about and that this class, “The New One Hundred”, will have to set the pace as did the “Old Eighteen.”

The scarlet tunic, pill-box and swagger sticks are no longer seen around the College, but the familiar blue undress is worn by cadets for everyday wear and walking out. The red Rec coat and white flannels are replaced by grey flannels and double-breasted blue blazer. Pictures of these uniforms may be found on another page.

No report on the Cadet Wing would be complete without mentioning the excellent services of the Administrative Wing Staff who looked after the quartering and comforts of the cadets.

In the line of sports, the College had a very complete first year. We had a College team in Rugby, Hockey, Soccer, Harriers and Basketball. The latter did exceptionally well in the Intermediate Inter-Collegiate group. The rugby team played exhibition junior matches and succeeding in holding McGill’s intermediate team at Montreal to 14-6. The turn out for soccer was very promising and it appears that we shall field a strong team in the local league next year.

In hockey we entered a team in the Junior OHA “B” Series and played in the Toronto-Hamilton district with a fair success. The game with USMA at West Point was the climax of the hockey season when our team was defeated 5-4 in a very close hard-fought game.

Ex-Cadets will be pleased to hear that such events as the Recruits Obstacle Race, 3 mile Harriers, and Recruits boxing, which did so much to build the class and college spirit in the past, were re-introduced and proved very successful. As the exams took place at an earlier date, the “Cake-Walk” did not take place on the customary St. Patrick’s Day.

In conclusion I feel it can be said that the College has got off to a very good start on its post-war career and we all feel confident that our first class, “The New One Hundred”, will live up to the expectations of all ex-cadets and above all, to the principles of the College Motto – TRUTH – DUTY – VALOUR.