British officers (from whom most of our Canadian traditions are inherited)
lived in barracks which contained not only their sleeping quarters, but
also lounges, games rooms and dining facilities which together were known
as messes. In the case of overseas postings in far corners of the British
Empire, they were also the centre of an officers social life. It was in
fact, their home and they were expected to treat all guests as if they
were guest in their own home. That tradition continues to this day.
The Officer's Mess was founded over one hundred years ago as a social club for both
serving and retired officers although today it also includes an extensive
military library, and prized museum collection, and has committees dealing
with strategic studies and military history.
is important - you are expected to be at the Armouries promptly at 6:30 pm. If
you are travelling on your own, the Armouries is located at 130 Queen Street
East at Jarvis. Parking is available on site. A pre-dinner reception will take
place in the Warrants and Sgts Mess located on the upper floor. If for some unfathomable reason
you are unavoidably delayed, you should report to the PMC as soon
as you arrive.
are in uniform, don't ever forget that you represent the school and the
cadet corps. While at the Officer's Mess, you are my guests and your deportment
and behaviour reflect on me (not that I'm worried of course or I wouldn't
be doing this!). Company Commanders are responsible for the dress of their
Platoon Commanders, the c/CO of the Company Commanders and RSM, and the
RSM of the P/Maj and D/Maj.
||BEFORE you get
out of the vehicle in which you arrive, you should make sure you are properly
attired - buttons down up, glen on, etc. - because you should never be
in public except in full and complete uniform. Same applies when leaving
- once at the school's bus (or your car) you can loosen your tunic or whatever.
||Like the dining
hall at SAC, wearing headdress (ie. your glengarry) inside the Mess is a big
NO-NO. The penalty however is somewhat more severe - beside being an
embarrassment to me and our cadet corps, you are liable for buying
drinks for all those present! You can leave your glen and any changes of
clothes or whatever, in a small room adjacent to the library by using the
||In order to
avoid the challenge of duels, it was historically considered inappropriate
to discuss ladies, religion and politics in the mess. In modern
terms that means avoiding topics which might risk offence to others present
(After all, you're still issued swords!!!)
||Since Mess tradition
includes not leaving the table before the end of the meal without permission
of the PMC (who traditionally
denies permission!), I WOULD STRONGLY
SUGGEST YOU MAKE USE OF THE WASHROOM FACILITIES BEFORE GOING TO THE MAIN
DINING ROOM!! (They're located behind the sword room on the main floor
and at the bottom of the front stairs.)
||When you go
into the main dining room, find your seat and stand behind it until the
head table is piped in, at which point you should stand to attention.
is designed to protect your sporran from collecting uncooperative pieces
of your dinner - use it!
||It is considered
impolite to start to eat before the head table does however since they
get served first, you won't likely have to wait long.
basics - start with the utensils on the outside and work in - don't talk
with your mouth full - no elbows on the table - make an effort to talk
to all those around you during dinner rather than monopolizing the conversation
with one or two people.
||On several occasions
during the evening, applause is appropriate. For some long forgotten reason,
it is also considered traditionally acceptable to applaud by tapping the
table with the fingers of your hand.
||At a certain
point during dinner, the head table will be introduced. Following that,
the rest of us will be introduced to the head table by the appropriate
person. Please stand completely and remain stading while you are being
||At some point
after dessert, four decanters of port will be placed on the table - one
in front of the PMC, one in front of the VPMC and one at the end of each
of the other tables. The PMC will pour his glass of port and pass the decanter
to the left. This will also be the signal to the VPMC at the other end
of the table to pour his and pass it. DO NOT START THE PORT UNTIL THE PMC
||One only pours
his own port - never anyone else's. And yes, the smallest glass is for
||The port decanter
is always passed to the left. Our "tradition" is to "thump" it gently on
the table beside the person to your left and let go, before they pick it
up. Keep it moving - we can't start the next part of the programme until
everyone has their port!
||Remember - moderation
is the expectation!!!!
||The person making
the toast will rise and propose a toast, at which point the rest of us
will pick up our port glass, stand to attention, raise our glass, respond
to the toast, sip our port, and sit down again.
||In the mess,
you NEVER "clink" your glasses with those around you when making a toast!
are at least FIVE toasts for which your port has to last.
response to the toasts are:
"To the 48th"
"To St Andrew's Highland Cadet
After Standing at attention
for the lament: "To those who died"
||During the "remarks"
portion of the evening's programme, you will of course show the appropriate
interest in the speaker (even when the Commanding Officer has his turn!)
It is not considered polite
to race for the exit as soon as the formalities are over, but rather to
linger over one's coffee for at least a few minutes or speak to our guests
before departing. BEFORE LEAVING ONE SHOULD SAY GOODNIGHT TO THE SENIOR
OFFICER PRESENT AND TO THE PMC.
Don't forget your glen or
anything else you brought!
In spite of
all the rules and traditions,
you have a good time!!!