Article written by Second Lieutenant Justin Pulliam-Therrien
Westmount, Quebec – 19 November 2018: This year’s RMR officers’ mess dinner has come and gone and with it marks the passing of the centenary of the armistice ending World War I. As we dined together, we were humbled in remembrance of the RMR members who had never returned from their call to arms in Europe during World War 1 and 2. As always, the event allowed for old friends to reconnect, and for new bonds to be formed between generations of RMR members and our guests.
The RMR was honoured to host the Consul General of Belgium, Mr. Hubert Roisin. Additionally three of the units associated cities were in attendance: Her worship Christina Smith, Mayor of Westmount, His Worship John Belvedere, Mayor of Pointe-Claire, and His Worship William Steinberg, Mayor of Hampstead .
Nearing the close of dinner, our commanding officer, LCol John Shone delivered a heartfelt speech reminding us that on the 9th of November 1918, RMR members were in Belgium, away from their families and with the end of hostility a mere stone’s throw away. In addition, he spoke to the honor and devotion of more than 54,000 soldiers who died before the 16th of August 1917. The names of these soldiers who have no grave, are found on the Menin Gate in Ypres. The Commanding officer had the privilege to be able to visit the gate and it was of this experience that he spoke of those of died. Having Mr. Roisin in attendance was fitting to represent Canada’s everlasting bond with Belgium.
Our honoured guest, Mr. Hubert Roisin, delivered a speech which resonated among the guests. Mr. Roisin reminded us of the strong bond which remains between the people of Belgium and Canadians. In a daily demonstration of this bond, Mr. Roisin talk about how every night at 20:00, the last post is played at the Menin Gate in Ypres. Even under German occupation during World War 2, the partisan rebels in Belgium maintained this tradition while evading persecution from their occupiers. It is important to note that Ypres is one of many RMR battle honours. Our regiment fought valiantly to free the town from German control during World War 1.
To close the dinner our Honorary LCol Colin Robinson spoke about our regimental family and the support that the RMR enjoys from the surrounding communities. The RMR is lucky to have several cadet organisations with whom we work hand in hand to serve the community. Furthermore, the RMR is home to the RMR museum which represents our regimental family proudly to the public, all while educating Montreal’s youth. Finally, we have the Royal Montreal Regiment Association Branch 14 Royal Canadian Legion which is housed in the unit. The last remaining legion branch still housed in a military armory.
Following the dinner our guests were invited to stay for a few more drinks and a couple rounds of Liar’s Dice. A game which is often enjoyed in the Officers Mess. Liar’s Dice offers senior leadership of the RMR the opportunity to get a few free drinks from their junior officers. This year was no different, as senior officers made short work of the junior officers at the table. With some more practice, perhaps next year the junior officers may get away with a few rounds of drinks for themselves.
Reminiscing after this year’s successful mess dinner we can’t help but look forward to next year and we can’t wait to host the RMR members, families and friends to the regiment.