A colour party from 848 Royal Roads Squadron Royal Canadian Air Cadets participates in a past Remembrance Day ceremony at Royal Roads University in Colwood.

REMEMBRANCE DAY: Military, leadership traditions are important at Royal Roads

Nov. 11 ceremony a staple for the past 20 years in Colwood

Royal Roads University’s past and present come together yet again next week, as the school and a group of former military college cadets gather to remember those who fell defending the freedoms of this country and others.

On Remembrance Day, the university and the Vancouver Island Ex-Cadet Association will co-host one of three such ceremonies on the West Shore.

Given the history and traditions continued on the site, this Nov. 11 event in Colwood has an even more tangible connection to wartime.

Chris Pratt, a retired navy captain who was part of Royal Roads’ first naval college intake in 1942, is one of nearly 50 former cadets who have annually attended the memorial ceremony since it began in 1995. He’ll lay a wreath as the honourary president of the Ex-Cadet Association.

“It’s nice to see that serving members of the Armed Forces gather at that ceremony in uniform,” he says.

Pratt notes that the plaque in the Italian Garden beside Hatley Castle contains the names of 12 former cadets who died in wartime; all of their names will be read aloud at next week’s ceremony.

“Since it became a civilian university, (Nov. 11 events have) been supported by the ex-cadet club,” he says. “The ex-cadets thought they would pick up on Remembrance Day and carry on that tradition.”

Wayne Strandlund, chancellor of Royal Roads University and a five-year member of its board of directors, says tradition is one of the most important elements tying the two eras of the school’s existence together.

“The culture of Royal Roads and the tradition of it … that’s all very important to the underpinnings of the establishment we have today.

“I feel strongly that the success that Royal Roads is experiencing now as a public university is very much a part of being able to stand on the shoulders of 55 years of its military college existence,” he says. “Even the physical premises really dates back to the military tradition, and anyone who walks through that campus can hardly avoid seeing its military background.”

Given that fact, he says, “If there weren’t a celebration on Remembrance Day I’d find myself very perplexed.”

Pratt likes that Royal Roads continues to focus on leadership, something that was central to the school’s days as a military college. It reflects the importance of leadership in civilian and business life,” he says. “They’ve kept that motivation alive.”

The ceremony begins at 10:40 a.m. Parking is free at Royal Roads lots.


Just Posted

Number of adults living with parents has doubled since 1995

9 per cent of the adult population living with one or more parent

Victoria Guard Commander leads group of snowmen after ceremony cancelled

Lt.-Cmdr. Michael Irwin wasn’t going to let a bit of snow strip him of his duties

Beauty Day spreads ‘brightness’ at Our Place

Volunteer hairdressers, estheticians, even a tarot card reader took part in the Victoria event

Victoria saw more snowfall this month compared to other major cities

Victoria normally sees about 6 cm of snow in February

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Most Read