Truth, Duty, Valour Campaign Supports 2017 European Battlefield Tour
Article by: 6475 Mike Houghton, President RMC Foundation
Once again with the generous support of the donors to the RMC Foundation, this year during Reading Week in February the RMCC History Department will conduct another European Battlefield Tour. Planning for the trip has now begun! For 6 days over in February Cadets will visit Canadian battlefields, Commonwealth cemeteries and monuments in the Somme, on Vimy Ridge, at Passchendaele, in Dieppe and on the D-Day beaches of Normandy wrapping up with a cultural day spent in Paris. Then it’s back home to studies and training.
The competition for a seat on the tour bus is stiff. Each year the Department receives up to 60 applications for the 26 to 28 seats funded by the RMC Foundation. Though the Foundation subsidizes cadets’ travel costs (airfare, hotels and tour bus) each cadet will contribute $150 for museum tickets and box lunches during the tour.
This experience will provide the Cadets with the understanding of how Canadians fought on and above those battlefields; appreciating that the ground is a vital element in the study of military history; and, honouring the memory of the brave men and women who did not return.
Fifty percent of the cost of this premier Cadet experience is funded each year through the outstanding generosity of 5586 Ian Mottershead (Class of ‘62) to whom we are eternally grateful. To fund the other fifty percent the RMC Foundation uses funds from the Truth, Duty, Valour Campaign. The funds generated from the Truth, Duty, Valour Campaign are monies that are provided from the alumni and others – donors who understand the merits of an RMC education, who understand just how much they benefitted from their time at the Colleges and now wish to give back, to help those who follow in their footsteps to become not just the best, but the best they can possibly be.
Should you wish to support this Opportunity to Enhance Excellence, please visit our website at: http://www.rmcfoundation.ca/index.php/enhancing-excellence/tdv-fund-2016/
23254 Geoff Tyrell 2005
“. . . it is more than a tour, it is a pilgrimage for aspiring warriors . . I am heartened to see that it has carried on . . . it is a stark reminder of the demands of the profession of arms: leadership, competence, and courage . . . for me it was the highlight of my entire experience at the College, and one which I reflect upon often, even now, years later.”
23241 Craig Scott 2005
“. . . memories of the tour are still fresh in my mind . . it was the culminating point . . . and a highlight of my experiences at RMC and a touchstone for me since I graduated. . . the tour was so meaningful to me that I brought my family to many of the same sites during my leave from Afghanistan.”
23165 Tom Hammond 2005
“ . . . none of my memories of RMC are more vivid and evocative to me than the Battlefield Tour . . it was a rare opportunity to truly understand the responsibilities and consequences of command which I now live from day to day . . .“
23551 Tyler Wentzell 2006
“I kept one of those rocks from the beach at Dieppe, and still have it, as a reminder of this responsibility we have as members of the profession of arms to do the right thing. In Afghanistan what I learned on the tour helped. Because I had seen what generations of Canadians had done before me, I was ready to stand fast, think through the problem and carry on . . . the tour must continue.”
23709 Alan Lockerby 2006
“ The tour was truly the most significant activity of my time at RMC. . . it bridged the gap between the classroom and operations . . . It gave me the means to wrap my head around what I was to do during my operational deployments. Because of the tour, among other things, the right people had mentored me enough for me to take comfort in the knowledge that I was not the first young RMC grad to turn up in the wild, stupid parts of the world, and that none of the challenges I would face were new. This helped me in my own process of steeling myself, if I may, to do what needed to be done. Again, the tour was far and away the highlight of four years at RMC.
24618 François Hachez 2010
“ The most significant event in my time at RMC was, without any doubt – the tour. . . while deployed, the experience and knowledge I gained there drove me every day . . .I realized for the first time the enormity of my personal commitment to the profession of arms . . . it was the beginning of real understanding of “lest we forget’ ”
23703 Guillaume Grenier-Lachance 2006
The Battlefield Tour made a deep and lasting impression on me, much more than I thought it would. It is the closest that I have ever been to understanding where we come from as a country, and serves at shaping who I am now as a soldier. I hope that this great RMC experience continues. I have a rock from the beach at Dieppe, I keep it on my desk and look at it every day. To remind me of my duty.”
24282 André Born 2009
“. . . without hesitations the most beneficial experience of my RMC years. . . thanks to that experience I saw where Truth, Duty, Valor had to become the anchors of my own life . . . thankfully during my time in Afghanistan, I brought with me the lessons I learnt on the tour. ”
24329 John Kees 2009
“. . . by far the most beneficial experience as an officer and a Canadian that I was able to take from RMC . . . of all my souvenirs I value the pebble I picked up at Dieppe the most . . all the ceremony and tradition of all my other RMC experiences did not highlight the simple fact that we are in the dirty business of fighting, killing and dying anywhere near as effectively as standing at the battlegrounds and cemetery of Dieppe. I distinctly remember one of the headstones being engraved with a simple “Truth, Duty, Valour.” You can have cadets repeat that mantra until their throats are hoarse, but I can tell you that until that moment, I did not realize the full meaning of those words.”
24359 Stephen Paish 2009
“. . . the tour shaped my convictions on the demands of officership forever . . . you cannot put a price on this tour”. Overpowered by the story of how Colonel Merrit won the Victoria Cross at Pourville during the Dieppe Raid, I remember muttering “Do men like that even exist anymore?” Colonel Dawe, one of our guides, heard me. He whirled around to face me. “You have to be that man for your troops” he solemnly replied. That was it. It all made sense. No matter what challenges were to come in my career with the Canadian Army I had to be able to overcome it for the good of my troops and for the mission.”
These are but a few of the responses received to these questions.
Fifty percent of the cost of this premier Cadet experience is funded each year through the outstanding generosity of 5586 Ian Mottershead (Class of ‘62) to whom we are eternally grateful. To fund the other fifty percent the Foundation accesses donations from the alumni and others provided to the TDV Fund.
To support this premier Opportunity to Enhance Excellence, please go to our website at: http://www.rmcfoundation.ca/index.php/enhancing-excellence/tdv-fund-2016/ and Donate Now!
More photos – Here