28 March 2015 – All ranks of the serving battalion of The Royal Montreal Regiment gathered Saturday evening for a regimental mess dinner on the parade square.
The dinner began with a dignified ceremony marking the death of one of the Regiment’s beloved members, Colonel (ret’d) Rhett Lawson, CD, KH, KLJ, a former Commanding Officer (1967-70), Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel (1979-84), and Honorary Colonel (1984-90) of The Royal Montreal Regiment (and former Commander of District 1, a precursor to 34 GBC).
Comrade Lawson was also a member of the RMR Association (Br. 14). The CO RMR, LCol Paul Langlais, invited the senior member of the Regimental family present at the dinner, LCol (ret’d) Harry Hall, to join him in front of the entire unit for the ceremonial pinning of a poppy in the bottom right corner of Colonel Lawson’s official portrait, which tradition dictates is how the RMR marks the passing of their CO’s and RSM’s.
The Regiment’s guest of honour was Lieutenant-General The Honourable Romeo A. Dallaire, O.C., C.M.M., G.O.C, M.S.C., C.D., (Retired), who addressed the Regiment at length, reminding them of the covenant between them and Canadian society. His remarks were well received and the Regiment presented him with three gifts (one from each mess), including a framed commemorative envelope from the Regiment’s Centennial as a token of their appreciation.
The toast to the Regiment was proposed by LCol (ret’d) Colin Robinson, the RMR’s Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel, who used the opportunity to remind the Regiment of the origins of the RMR’s regimental drink, dark rum, a heritage that began in the trenches precisely 100 years earlier.
The loyal toast was proposed by Corporal Connor Prince-Pugh. The toast to fallen and missing comrades was proposed by Lieutenant-Colonel (ret’d) Harry Hall, the toast to the guests by Master-Warrant Officer Kevin Langlois, and responded to by the RMR Museum’s curator, Ron Zemanick.
The mood of the evening was exceptional, as everyone was in high spirits. There were a few Immediate Action drills due to faulty chairs, however no one was injured (beyond their pride) and it provided even more fodder for the merriment!
After the dinner was over, General Dallaire toured the RMR Museum and spent a long time chatting with the soldiers of the Regiment, reminiscing about common experiences of soldiering. All ranks mingled with each other in the different messes and the camaraderie was pronounced, as war stories were told, pictures shared, selfies taken, and a few refreshments consumed together.
All in all it was a wonderful evening that will go down in the Regiment’s history as a great success!