First Year by the First Lieutenant
By Cadet Lieutenant C. Vincent Massey '06
Often described as the #142’s first Cadet Commanding Officer, C. Vincent Massey ’06 was in fact its first Lieutenant. He was still the Corps’ highest ranking Cadet, but the C.O.’s position in those days was actually held by a staff member, Captain Grant Cooper. Born in 1887, Massey would go on to be named Governor General of Canada in 1952, an appointment he held until 1959. He died in 1967. His account of activities around the Corps’ first Inspection was written when he was 18 years old and published in the St. Andrew’s College Review in the summer of 1906.
With the roll of drums, the flash of arms and the swinging of the kilts, the Cadet Company – prophesied from time immemorial – has made its formal bow to the world in general. The idea was long scoffed at. But with military precision, the corps progressed until at the appearance of the uniforms, the last “knocker” ceased to “knock,” and the company was a real thing. It is true they have called our sporrans chatelaines; they have spoken of our plaids as steamer rugs, and, disgraceful to relate, they have even accused us of having on false rotundity under the spats. Yet the Gaelic garb is still serene, and here to stay.
The company has been very fortunate in having a most efficient drill instructor, Sergeant A. R. Hatt of the Gordon Highlanders. Sergeant Hatt is a soldier with a great deal of experience, and has smelt powder in India and South Africa. He has been very painstaking and interested in the drills, and any success the corps may have attained is largely owing to his services.
The first public appearance of the company was in Queen’s Park on April 24th, when the Cadets of Toronto were reviewed by H.R.H. Prince Arthur of Connaught. The manoeuvres consisted of a royal salute, an inspection by His Royal Highness and staff, and a march past. The officers present were greatly pleased with the appearance of the corps.
On the 14th of May the Cadets were inspected by Col. Denison, and a favourable report was sent to the General Officer Commanding. On the evening of Friday, the 18th, the company took part for the first time in one of the regimental drills of the 48th Highlanders, and was very cordially welcomed by Col. Robertson and the officers and men of the regiment. On the following Sunday, the Cadets paraded with the Highlanders to service at St. Andrew’s Church. The sermon was preached by the Rev. T. Crawford Brown, and music was furnished by the regimental band.
On Victoria Day the 48th Highlanders and the St. Andrew’s Cadets were entertained at Government House at the invitation of His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor and Mrs. Clark. The ceremony of ‘trooping the colour’ was performed. It was a splendid affair, and the brilliant uniforms in a setting of green, with the old grey house in the background made a picturesque scene. The ceremony itself was very impressive and full of stately military airs, and was stirring enough to excite a feeling of rampant militarism in the heart of the most peaceful citizen. After the manoeuvres were over His Honour made a speech of welcome to the regiment, which was responded to by the Colonel. Refreshments were then served in marquees placed on the lawn. This occasion closed the season for the Cadet Corps.
As an initial year it could not have been better, and we have had a very fair glimpse into military life. It is to be hoped that next year more time will be given to shooting, and that the Gordon tartan will achieve fame at the ranges as well as on the parade ground.
The officers and non-commissioned officers for 1905-6 were Capt. Cooper, Lieutenants Massey and Driscoll, Colour-Sergeant. Wood and Sergeants Crossen, Gill and Duncanson.