Royal Roads Military College (RRMC)  

Royal Roads Military College Initial Tour 1975

Initial Tour of RRMC in 1975

In early July 1975 I was invited out to RRMC to for an introductory visit after being accepted into the University Training Plan for Men (UTPM). It was a whirl wind 5-day tour of the facilities with detailed briefings on what to expect if I were to enter the 4-year program. fo me it was a 'no-brainer'. There was no way I wasn't going to take full advantage of this opportunity. The photo on the right is a group photo of everyone who was invited to consider the program. This was a relatively new program designed to give enlisted men an opportunity to attend university. Up until now enlisted men who were accepted into the UTPM program attended civilian university. There were 13 of us who started in 1975 and 11 of us made it to graduation in 1979.

Royal Roads Military College - Hatley Castle

RRMC Hatley Castle - Front View

Hatley Castle
Royal Roads Military College was established in 1940.  The property that RRMC sits on was owned by industrialist James Dunsmuir, along with his mansion Hatley Castle and was acquired by the Dominion Government in 1940. The initial plan was that the site would be used to house the British royal family during World War II. however, the Queen didn't accept that offer.  So it was turned over to the Navy to support Canada's naval war effort and the facility began operating in December 1940 as an officer training establishment known as HMCS Royal Roads (named after the Royal Roads naval anchorage). Hately Castle, shown at the left, was built in 1908 as James Dunsmuir's private residence. Its a massive building. It's 200 feet long and 86 feet wide; the turret is 82 feet high. The wall surrounding the estate, also built of local stone and the wall itself cost over $75,000 in 1908.

Royal Roads Military College Initial Tour 1975

UTPM Squadron at RRMC in 1976

There were many rumors at the time that the castle was haunted by the ghost of Mrs Dunsmuir. All UTPM Cadets had to stand watches in the Castle once every two weeks. When you were on duty in the castle you had to do rounds of the castle at night as a fire sentry. Then you had to sleep over night on the third floor. As an old wooden building it would make odd sounds as the building cooled off in the evening. It was these sounds that sounded like someone was walking the halls.  When you sleep there for the first time overnight you don't get much sleep because you swear that you're not alone.

Leading the Graduation Parade in 1979

Leading the Graduation Parade in 1979
Military Drill and Parades
As you would expect studying at Military College has a large portion focused on military drill and parades. Military foot drill or to put it simply - marching in formation was integrated as part of the academic curriculum.  So you would be studying physics or math one minute and the next sweating on a hot parade square. Precision drill is not as easy as it looks it takes hours and hours of practice. We would spend about 4 hours per week on the parade square practicing and then every second Saturday there was a formal parade practice and a formal Commandant's every second Sunday.



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