CMC Athletic Dep’t – Faces & Voices from the past: Ken Harvey, Roy Kemp, Wally Travis

“My greatest memory was beating Queens at home and at Queens as the new head coach of the basketball team! I really enjoyed the fast pace that the Royal Military College provided.”

Ken Harvey

e-veritas: At which military college did you serve?

Ken Harvey: I served at Royal Military College in Kingston as Athletic Administration Officer from 74-77. As Athletic administration officer, I was responsible for the budgeting and scheduling for the RMC varsity teams.

e-veritas: How did you come to be a Physical Education Recreation Officer?

Ken Harvey: My University (University of New Brunswick in Fredericton New Brunswick) degree was Physical Education and Recreation. My main sport was basktball. I had taught highschool at Sault Collegiate in Sault Saint Marie Ontario for one year before I joined the Military in 1965. I began serving in the Air Force as a pilot in 1965. I started refereeing basketball in 1967.

When I was grounded with an eye injury in 1974, the military offered to retain me in the Admin Branch. I was posted to the Royal Military College in May of 1974. I had an offer to go back to teach at my former High school. I remembered talking with Doug Heargraves when he was coaching football at RMC. He had told me how rewarding it was to work with the cadets. I elected to take the offer to stay in the military and go to RMC!

e-veritas: Do you have a short story that you would like to share with our readers?

Ken Harvey: Upon arriving in Kingston in early May 74, I was informed that I was to be the First Welfare Recreation Officer from my new Branch to serve in Egypt . I was leaving for Egypt on the 24th of the Month.This was quite a shock! My wife, Lynda and I were just about to move into our house in Kingston but our furniture had not yet arrived.Needless to say my wife was not amused to be left alone with a 5 year old and 1 year boys. I arrived back to RMC the first week of Dec 74. I was surplus which was perfect as I was able to work beside Ken MacDonald (Athletic Admin Officer) for 5 months before I took over the position.

e-veritas: Did you coach a varsity team?

Ken Harvey: I had the chance to assistant coach the Basketball team at RMC for 5 months before becoming Head Coach from August 1975 -77. Running the basketball program at RMC was challenging since we competed against teams from much bigger universities such as University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa. The main goal was for the cadets to play to the best of their ability. We always had a good showing and never quit. The cadets played their hearts out. I recall that 10889 Tony Tasker (CMR RMC 1976) was a top rebounder. My players included 13175 Robert Sargeant (RMC 1981), and the twins 12202 John Mackley (RMC 1979) and 12203 Raymond Mackley (RMC 1979).

e-veritas: What was the highlight of your time at RMC?

Ken Harvey: My greatest memory was beating Queens at home and at Queens as the new head coach of the basketball team! I really enjoyed the fast pace that the Royal Military College provided .

e-veritas: Outline your career, after RMC.

e-veritas: I was almost in shock when I was posted to Greenwood Nova Scotia as Base Physical Education Recreation Officer in June 1977 as the pace came to a grinding slowdown. I was promoted to Major and posted to Ottawa as Director of Amenities from 1981-4. With a staff of 6 people, I looked after entertainment shows, movies, legion book depot and newspapers for military. After a year of French training 1985, I went to Europe as Command Recreation Officer in Laars, Germany 1986-1990. While I was in Lahr Germany (1986), I was asked to organize the National All-star team (pre-CISM) for the B-ball tournament in Europe. I recommended the establshment of a National Canadian Forces basketball program in 1988. In 1989, CISM was created. I was on the CISM permanent b-ball staff representing Canada from 1988-1994. I had the opportunity to travel to the CISM international games in Rome (as Director); Greece (as Chief Official) and Korea (as Chef de Mission). In 1990, I was posted back to Canada to head up the amenities program in Director Personnel Recreation Amenities from 1990 until I retired in 1995. At the time, we were responsible for delivering movies, entertainment shows, legion book depot, and newspapers to military personnel in Bosnia, Golan Heights, and other foreign posts. I retired when the Physical Education and Recreation branch was dissolved in 1995 and moved to Victoria.

e-veritas: What are you up to these days?

Ken Harvey: Now I am taking life easy at age 68. My wife Linda and I play a little golf. My activities are restricted due to a bad back and other ailments that come with age and the results of years of competitive sports and refereeing Basketball!

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“I enjoyed teaching the cadets various athletic skills. Learning and mastering certain sports skills gave them confidence in other areas. When I was at RMC they did not actively recruit for varsity teams.”

Roy Kemp

e-veritas: How did you become a Physical Education Recreation Instructor (PERI)?

Roy Kemp: I was born in London, England in 1936. I studied and played soccer in the British school system until 16 yrs of age. At 18, I was conscripted into the British Army (National Service) for two years. As a Physical Training Instructor, I attended various courses at the Army School Of Physical Training in Aldershot, England. While stationed in Ripon, Yorkshire with the Royal Signal Corps, I took a Boxing Coaching Course and helped coach the regimental boxing team. In 1956, I emigrated to Canada. I enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in July 1957. Following basic training in St Johns PQ, I was a drill instructor for four years then re-mustered into the Recreation Specialist trade in 1958. I attended the RCAF PERI school in Aylmer, Quebec.

While at St Johns, my soccer team won the Tri Service Pearke’s Trophy three years in a row (1958, 59 and 60). I also played a lot of Badminton and Tennis. My career included being stationed at St Johns PQ, Moose Jaw SK, Metz France, Three Wing Zweibrucken Germany, Chatham NB, Chibougamou QC, NDHQ AU Ottawa, RCAF Stn Rockcliffe Ottawa, Val D’or QC, Kingston base and RMC.

e-veritas: At which Military College(s) did you serve?

Roy Kemp: When I was serving as a sergeant at the Kingston base, I requested RMC in Kingston. I served at RMC from 1977-1980. Two of the PERIs were in the Air Force, 1 Navy and the rest were in the Army. While stationed at CFB Kingston and RMC, I managed to squeeze in the completion of a BA degree from Queen’s University. Just prior to retirement from the RCAF, I was selected for Commission From the Ranks, but also having an offer for employment with Correctional Service of Canada, I opted for retirement and retired as a Sergeant from RMC in 1980. I then spent 13 years with Corrections Canada as a Social Development Recreation & Parole Officer, finally retiring in 1993, only to return on a part-time basis for the next few years.

e-veritas: What was your schedule like at RMC?

Roy Kemp: I worked 8am-4pm instructing the cadets. The typical day consisted of 3-4 classes were of physical education, badminton or boxing. The classes lasted one to one and a half hours. In addition, the PERIs were responsible for facilities management. In my case, I was responsible for the soccer pitches. I ensured that the soccer fields were marked out and ready for games. We organized the scheduling of the intramurals, for example volleyball and basketball. Although the cadets officiated the intramurals, the PERIs officiated the playoffs and tournaments. The PERIs also taught officiating clinics.

e-veritas: Did you also coach or be involved with a varsity teams? Explain.

Roy Kemp: I played and coached a variety of sports while in the service. Having the most success as a Soccer, Tennis and Badminton player, I ended up coaching the RMC Badminton team in 1977-8. I coached the soccer team in 1979-80. The practices for the varsity sports were from 4-6pm before the evening meal. We worked pretty long hours. During the weekend, the RMC teams competed in tournaments or games. Since we were in the University league, we competed at Queens, the University of Guelph, University of Waterloo, and several universities in Toronto. My worst sports were probably Track and Field and Swimming.

e-veritas: I understand you organized recreation activities at the Prison for Women.

Roy Kemp: Yes. At the Prison for Women, the inmates were not interested in being taught the sports. Instead, we supplied the inmates with the weight room facilities and sports equipment, and they would get on with playing softball, volleyball, tennis or pool. Although there were organized sports and recreation programs in the prisons, the emphasis was definitely on recreation. Each fall, we asked university volunteers to come into the prison to play volleyball or basketball with the inmates. Since many inmates completed basic adult education or classes at a secondary or post-secondary level, volunteers helped with tutoring and in the library. Arts and crafts, ceramics, leatherwork, beadwork, knitting and sewing were all popular since the inmates could sell their products to the staff. In the evenings, the inmates watched movies, television, or played chess, checkers or cards. Volunteers also gave lectures to the inmates about what to expect when they were paroled and to remind them to stay away from drugs and alcohol. In basic adult education, the inmates learned social skills, such as budgeting.

e-veritas: what are you doing these days?

Roy Kemp: After my wife passed away in 1995, I spent most winters in either Florida or Texas. In 2001 I met my future wife, Irma, on the tennis courts at Brownsville, Texas. After four years of a back and forth relationship between Brownsville, Texas and Kingston ON, we got married in August 2005 and now make our permanent home in Brownsville. Irma is an avid tennis player and can be found at the courts at least three to four days a week with the tennis club ladies league. My passions are Golf and Tennis. Mostly golf. We live in a golf community, so most evenings I walk over to the par three course across the road and practice my chipping and putting. Irma and I belong to Gold’s Gym and usually can be found there every morning. Irma loves the Yoga and Pilate’s classes while I stick to the machines. We both enjoy traveling and attending the annual PERI/PERO reunions. rfkemp@sbcglobal.net.

e-veritas: you mentioned using tree trunks (logs) as a form of exercise at one time. Could you explain this?

Roy kemp: I was first introduced to this form of exercise while I was undergoing basic training in the British Army and then later as a PTI in the army. Basically you took a log about eight to twelve feet in length and about three to four feet in circumference. Depending upon the actual size and weight of the log , six to eight people would pick it up on command and perform various exercises. It could be quite strenuous at times. One particular exercise had the trainees hold the log over their heads and pass it forward. The last person in line would run forward and keep it going. The object being for teams to cover a certain distance in competition against other teams. As I recall, the British Army had an actual pamphlet describing a number of exercise to be performed with logs. Apart from logs, shell casings filled with sand and medicine balls were also used for individual strength training. No doubt these forms of physical training are still used by the British Army and the Canadian Army.

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e-veritas: Which exercises do you no longer recommend?

Roy Kemp: Some old fashioned exercises like the “duck walk” and others that place
unnecessary strain on the knees and back. With the advent of Pilates and Yoga, exercises are a lot less likely to cause problems later in life. Most of the older PERI’s that I know have back or knee problems which tend to catch up with you later in life.

e-veritas: What do you consider the high-light of instructing cadets?

Roy Kemp: I enjoyed teaching the cadets various athletic skills. Learning and mastering certain sports skills gave them confidence in other areas. When I was at RMC they did not actively recruit for varsity teams. Instead the teams were selected by tryouts of those that wanted to represent RMC. This is not to say that there weren’t any top class athletes going thru RMC. One in particular I remember was 10929 Mr. John Czich who was nationally ranked in Badminton and I believe competed for Canada in various events.

e-veritas: Did you have a role in Cadet discipline?

Roy Kemp: Not really. We kept attendance records and also wrote some small reports
of their activity participation for the years end. As I understand it, most of the discipline was applied by the drill staff and senior cadets. Our classes were conducted in a formal manner and each cadet was expected to attain a certain level of proficiency in the sport or activity he or she was involved in.

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“Dan Macleod, the RMC athletic director recommended Jim Gebhardt and I as trainers for the Toronto Maple Leaf training camp in Peterborough. 69-70. We ran fitness programs, and skating sessions on ice.”

Wally Travis

e-veritas: At which Military College did you serve?

Wally Travis: I served as part of the athletic staff at RMC in Kingston from 1964-70. When Jim Gebhardt and I departed from RMC in 1970, Danny McLeod gave us plaques. While I served at Borden, there were RMC cadets doing summer training.

e-veritas: I understand that you were the first to go all the way from private all the way to CWO in the PERI trade.

Wally Travis: Yes. I joined the Army in 1952 and served with the Black Watch RHR of Canada as a truck driver (private). Since I played hockey and volleyball, swam, and competed in track and field, a teammate suggested that I transfer to the Physical Training trade. In 1954, I transferred to the Physical Training Cadre after completion of the necessary training at the Canadian Forces School of Physical Education and Recreation in Borden. In Borden, I was exposed to gymnastics and became a member of the Physical Training Cadre Display Team at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1955.

I served in Gagetown with the 2Bn Black Watch and with the RHC Depot; in Germany at Hanover, Soest and Iserlohn; Petawawa; RMC 1964-70; Cornwallis 70-73 and 75-78; Cold Lake 72-74; Edmonton 74-75; Halifax 78-81. I retired after serving as the School Chief Warrant Officer at Canadian Forces School of Physical Education and Recreation (CFSPER) 1981-1985. During that period, I had 50 PERIs under me and I was also responsible as Standards Officer for writing course packages. A year after retirement, I became the Recreation Facilities Director for the Nova Scotia Department of Education, Nova Scotia Community College, 1w Akerley Campus, and remained in that position until 2002.

e-veritas: I understand that you hurt your back playing hockey.

Wally Travis: Yes. I injured my back in playing hockey in the Army. At the time, a doctor wrote on my military records that he foresaw that I would have back problems later in life. After back surgery in 1998, during which titanium rods were put in my back, I was in a wheelchair for 3.5 years. After rehabilitation, I now walk with braces on my legs and a 4 wheel roller. I was also exposed to Agent Orange on exercise when I served in Gagetown. I recall the battle order `out poncho`, and the smell when the chopper sprayed everything. Fortunately, I wasn’t a smoker or a drinker, and I am still walking around and I have remained reasonably fit.

e-veritas: What was your primary duty at RMC?

Wally Travis: I arrived at RMC as a sergeant and left as a Master Warrant Officer. My primary duty was as an instructor of Physical Training. I instructed classes all day and was active in the intermurals program.

e-veritas: Did you also coach or be involved with a varsity team? Explain.

Wally Travis: I coached the junior hockey team, which travelled to smaller universities such as Trent and Lakehead. I was also involved in intermural hockey on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4-5:30 pm.

e-veritas: What do you consider the high-light of serving at RMC?

Wally Travis: The Royal Military College of Canada was a wonderful place. I earned two promotions while serving there and I was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal there.

e-veritas: Are you still involved with the CF? If yes, what do you do? If no, what are you doing these days?

Wally Travis: My wife Patricia and I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I get up when want to. My wife and I enjoy spending time with our children and grandchildren. We enjoy travelling.

e-veritas: Describe a high bar routine at RMC.

Wally Travis: Jim Gebhardt asked me to give him a hand as a favour teaching a high bar routine to cadets involving swings with various grips, in-bar work, turns, release/regrasp skills, and a dismount. They weren`t as skilled in gymnastics in the Air Force as we were in the Army. The keys to a high bar routine (sequence of 11-15 skills) are a tight body and good timing. After Jim Gebhardt teasingly told me that I looked like a side of beef hanging on the high bar, he taught his own high bar routines.

e-veritas: Do you have any particular memory or short story you would like to share with our readers?

Wally Travis: Dan Macleod, the RMC athletic director recommended Jim Gebhardt and I as trainers for the Toronto Maple Leaf training camp in Peterborough. 69-70. We ran fitness programs, and skating sessions on ice. We had played in the Ontario Hockey Association senior league. We wore hockey equipment and practiced with the team on ice. After I scored 2 goals and had an assist, I was told that I was not the best player, but not the worst either.

e-veritas: Do you recall any skylarks at RMC?

Wally Travis: Several. I recall several skylarks related to the longstanding rivalry between RMC and Queens’ University. During the middle of the night, some Queens` students painted the brass cannons on the RMC parade square like barber poles. In response, some RMC cadets took the wheels off a Queens` students` Volkswagen, painted it yellow, placed the car on a raft and floated it outside Cataraqui Bay. Sometimes the skylarks went too far. The athletic director Dan Macleod’s 1956 Buick was mysteriously `lost` and found on a person’s lawn in Gananoque. Although the athletic director was a good sport, he didn’t think highly of that skylark!

All three interviews were crried out by Victoria Edwards.

4 Comments

  • 8035 Don Gates

    March 30, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Bill –

    Thanks for the story on Wally Travis – nice to hear how he is doing and a great inspiration. Modest as ever – no mention of his playing for the Kingston Aces while so busy with all the RMC and other military duties. JV Hockey team practices and ‘duty away’ weekends provided well-remembered respite to a pubescent rookie in that all-to-common ‘confused’ first year at RMC. The team trips also gave us a chance to see the other (real) side of seniors who played on the team, like Jim Thomson and John Watson. Thanks Wally! Go Brock!

  • 7677 Bob MacLeod

    March 30, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Wally Travis was exemplary in physical fitness, self-discipline and with a sincere interest in our welfare. Several from Wally’s era will always remember his exortations with great fondness – “Gentlemen, show the courage of your convicions” along with his customary retort.

    All the very best Wally!

  • Jack Reid 8069

    March 30, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Wally was an inspiration and mentor to all of us in the class of 69 but especially to the fellows who plied their trade on the ice.
    He always treated us humble recruits with respect and took time to associate with us.
    Wally used to regale us at coffee break in the canteen with accounts of his goals with the Smith Falls Rideaus(always in the top shelf).
    All of us in the Class of 69 and the Junior Varsity Hockey team wish him our best.

  • Ken Benoit

    March 31, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Wally Travis was an excellent role model for OCdts. He had erect posture, an athletic build and a lot of confidence. Wally was one of the many excellent PERIS who helped to mould my character and especially my desire to be fit throughout my career.