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FOOTLOOSE ON THE RMC CAMPUS

It was the sort of morning that showed the RMC campus at its best. The sun shone brilliantly, the lake reflected the clear blue of the sky, and there was just enough breeze to dry the perspiration off one’s skin. I had just finished some business at the RMC Club office, and upon stepping outside decided that anything that needed doing could wait for an hour or two.

The scent of freshly-cut grass drifted from the playing field in front of Yeo Hall, as I watched cadet officers teach this year’s crop of recruits to count – one, two; one two; one, two. They never did go beyond two, at least not while I was watching, but the counting was accompanied by much stamping of feet between white lines painted on the parade square. A dim memory came to mind of doing the same thing some forty-nine years ago – the first lesson in elementary drill.

The cadet recruits were undergoing a “new” schedule of training. The academic year was not preceded by two months of basic training because there were no training resources available anywhere in the “system.” Instead, they would receive their introduction to military life right here at RMC. What a novel concept!

Driving past the clothing stores, I was reminded of my curiosity about the new workaday uniform. Recruits in civilian clothing were being issued with various items but, alas, not what I wanted to see. A corporal riding herd on the recruits informed me that cadets would be measured and issued with tailored uniforms in two or three weeks’ time.

Three recruits, all female, were sitting on a bench waiting their turn. In conversation, I was struck by their understated self-confidence and intelligence, but also by a hint of apprehension and worry about what they were getting into. One of them was observant enough to notice my College ring and asked to see it. I obliged and it was passed around without comment. The corporal and I both commented that graduation, and the right to wear the ring, would arrive all too soon.

RMC is coming to life again after the summer hiatus. There has been activity occurring for the past two months, with the presence of sea and navy cadets at the HMCS Ontario training centre, and the work of the military and academic staff. However, without the presence of the gentlemen and lady cadets, all of the activity seems to be merely a rumble in the background, the noise of an engine ticking over.

Wyn Van der Schee (CMR RMC ’64)