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Victoria Edwards: Researching the memorial stained glass windows at the Royal Military College

E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003) has been researching the memorial stained glass windows at the Royal Military College. A stained glass window in the Saint Raphael’s Catholic chapel on the third floor of Yeo Hall at the Royal Military College of Canada was donated by Mrs. Oliver Tiffany Macklem in memory of her husband no. 605 Oliver Tiffany Macklem (RMC 1904), and her father no. 203 William Bermingham (RMC 1884-8). The window depicts a bible and torch with the Greek letters alpha(A) and omega (Ω), the first and last letters in the Inonic Greek alphabet. Jesus describes himself “I am the alpha and the omega” “the beginning and the end” in the Book of Revelation (verses 1:8, 21:6, and 22:13).

605 Professor Oliver Tiffany Macklem (RMC 1904-5) graduated from RMC in 1905 and McGill in 1908. He became an instructor in civil engineering at RMC in 1908. In the first year of the Great War, he was commissioned in the cyclist corps, Second Overseas Contingent, CEF. He became staff captain, 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade and was attached to the APM staff, Canadian Corps, Paris. He became an associate professor of civil engineering at RMC in 1920. He became a professor and head of the department of civil engineering in 1933. He retired in 1938.

William Bermingham (1897 – 1941) joined the engineering firm Hugh Ryan in 1889 after graduating from RMC. His first project as field engineer was on the canal and lock at Sault Ste. Marie. William founded Bermingham Foundation Solutions, a construction firm, in Hamilton, Ontario in 1897 with an initial contract to build the Canadian Pacific Railway track bed through the Crows Neck Pass in the Rocky Mountains of B.C. In the early 1900s William Bermingham built a concrete breakwater at Goderich Harbour with concrete cribs precast in a floating dry dock and then floated to the site and sunk into position – the first time such a technique was used in North America. During the decade between 1917 and 1927 Bermingham played a major role in Ontario’s marine infrastructure.

Colonel Cornelius John (Spike) Bermingham (RMC 1918) (1900-1972) left RMC in 1921 to become a civil engineer and port construction contractor. Spike served as commander with the First Canadian Army Group engineers during the Second World War. Spike directed the building of a WW2 Bailey Bridge across the Maas – Vaal Canal at Hatert. Spike was the second generation owner of Bermingham Construction Limited (1942 – 1966) and named the firm’s steel tug Ubique III [C.171934], which means “Everywhere” and is the slogan of the Canadian Armed Forces Engineers. In the 50s, Bermingham introduced diesel hammers and by the end of the decade began manufacturing its own pile driving equipment to improve efficiency. In 1969, Berminghammer Corp. was founded. Spike’s biography “My guardian angel caught me”, was published by Spiritwood Press, in Burlington, Ont. c2000.

Christopher William (Bill) Bermingham (photo left) was born June 7, 1929, the son of Col. Cornelius (Spike) Bermingham and Dorothy Coate. Bill was schooled at the Royal Military College of Canada and proudly lived its motto of “Truth, Duty, and Valour”. He took the reins as CEO in 1967 and by 1969 the company was manufacturing patented lead systems and custom hammers. Bill Bermingham invented new procedures and equipment in the tunnelling and pile driving construction business. Bill was inducted into the Hamilton Halton Construction Association Construction Hall of Fame in 2004.

Bill’s son Patrick Bermingham has been the firm’s current CEO since 1996. Patrick Bermingham invented the Statnamic Load Testing method in 1988, which led the way to international recognition. In 2004 testing took place on the world’s tallest hotel in Dubai, on the tallest residential building in Melbourne, Australia and on the tallest building in the world – the Taepei 101 in Taiwan. One of the company’s largest projects — the U.S. Army contract — took place in 2004. Bermingham supplied custom designed hammers and offered technical support and safe equipment training. In 2006, Bermingham built one of the largest cofferdams in North America to hold back the Niagara River at Niagara Falls. The Bermingham Energy Control System, capable of controlling the impact velocity of a hammer automatically, was patented in 2006. In 2007, the electronically controlled cantilevered lead made it possible to drive a 45-ton pile at 120-ft. reach enabling bridge builders to reach out over sensitive wetland areas without disturbing the ground. Throughout its 113 year history, Bermingham Foundation Solutions has been supporting and revitalizing public infrastructure and has racked up an impressive list of innovations to meet market demands throughout the world.

Bermingham Foundation Solutions www.berminghamfoundationsolutions.com

Saint Raphael’s Chapel http://www.rmc.ca/mil/cha-aum/srrcc-ccrsm-eng.asp

One Comment

  • 3584 Archie Beare

    September 7, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Well presented but Gunners and Military Engineers alike will tell one and all that “Ubique” is their battle honour and translates to “Everywhere”.