UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
JUNE 19th, 1976
CHATEAU de la HAIE
JUNE 20th, 1976
[Page contains a photograph and no text; the photo depicts a bronze plaque above a framed picture of the 67th Bn., CF.A., taken in front of the University of Toronto’s Mining Building, College St. entrance, on June 10, 1916. The inscription on the bronze plaque is provided on page six.]
On June 10, 1966, seventy old gunners were on hand at Hart House to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of the 67th Battery. On June 19, 1976, we gathered once again at the same place for our sixtieth anniversary but, sadly, the passing years had taken their toll and only thirty-eight boys of the old brigade were able to attend.
During the afternoon we had a group picture taken, then climbed the long, steep stairs to the Muniment Room atop the Soldiers’ Tower. Here our old O.C., Bill Wright, made a formal presentation of a bronze plaque and a picture of the battery taken in 1916. These were accepted on behalf of the university by Col. C.M. Harding, Chairman of the Governing Council of the U. of T. Returning to ground level, we were treated to a half-hour recital on the carillon.
Dinner, as before, was served in the gallery dining-room with a total attendance of sixty-five, made up of thirty-eight gunners, fifteen sons of same, six guests with university connections and six others. As at all our dinners the Ritual of Remembrance was observed, the Honour Roll being read by Hugh Ketchum and the closing words intoned by Cameron St. John. After the toast to the Queen, Jack Affleck asked the blessing and all fell to on a fine roast beef dinner.
Reg Brent, the very capable chairman, welcomed those present and introduced Col. Harding, who told us of the great expansion at the university. Whereas the enrolment after the first war was 5,000, it had grown to 15,000 at the end of World War II and to 32,000 on three campuses in 1975. He said, their budget being limited, a 150th anniversary campaign is being undertaken to raise additional funds. A new form of governing council also has been formed with open meetings. The Chairman read a letter from Dr. John Evans, President of the University, regretting his inability to attend, following which he introduced Col. E.B. Pinnington, Director of Alumni Affairs, and Group Captain G.R.F. Gross, Chairman of the Muniment Room Committee. G/C Gross told us something of their plans
[page 3 – six contemporary photographs, unidentified but appearing most likely to have been taken at the anniversary gathering, as do the other unidentified photographs throughout the later pages of the booklet]
[page 4 – text with one unidentified photograph at bottom.]
for the room and in turn introduced the other members of his committee present: Col. C.P. Stacey, Professor of Military Studies, Carman Guild, Assistant Warden of Hart House, and Lt. David Platt. Rae Cowan, former Assistant Warden, also was called on, the Chairman saying that we had not forgotten his many kindnesses in days gone by. He also expressed our thanks to Gordon Slater, the carillonneur, who had played the new 51-bell carillon for us in the afternoon but had been unable to stay for dinner, and to Mr. Guild and his staff for their whole-hearted co-operation.
Bill Wright spoke eloquently on the organization and early days of the battery, when we all were young and gay. Arthur Mason asked each father with one or more sons present to introduce his offspring and they in turn stood and took a bow. Other guests were introduced also. Gordon Shrum told us of his unique experience in the army. Leaving Canada as a sergeant, he was able to return after three years of devoted service with the rank of full corporal. After dinner we were entertained with a showing of slides by Jack Herbert, one of our guests.
So the curtain was rung down on our sixtieth anniversary. We shall continue to get together in November as long as we are able but this reunion was something special and not likely to be repeated.
[page 5 – two unidentified photographs]
BILL WRIGHT’SPRESENTATION SPEECH
Honoured guests and members of the 67th Battery:
We, some of the surviving members of the 67th Battery, are assembled here on our Sixtieth Anniversary to pay tribute to our fallen comrades. The symbol of our tribute is the plaque you see on the wall.
Our ranks have thinned over the 60 years, but respect and affection for our comrades remain firm and undimmed.
It has been suggested that I read the wording on the plaque as some of you may not be able to see it from where you stand.
The inscription is as follows:
IN MARCH, 1916, THE 67TH BATTERY C.F.A.
WAS ORGANIZED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF
TORONTO. MANY STUDENTS QUICKLY
VOLUNTEERED FOR ACTIVE SERVICE AND
BEGAN THEIR TRAINING ON THE UNIVERSITY
CAMPUS. BEFORE THE END OF THE WAR,
856 MEN HAD BEEN SENT OVERSEAS FROM
THIS BATTERY TO SERVE IN VARIOUS
ARTILLERY UNITS OF THE CANADIAN
MANY OF THESE MEN ARE NUMBERED
AMONG THE 60,000 CANADIANS WHO MADE
THE SUPREME SACRIFICE IN THE FIRST
WORLD WAR. TO HONOUR THEIR MEMORY
THIS MEMORIAL HAS BEEN PLACED HERE BY
SURVIVING MEMBERS OF THE BATTERY ON
ITS SIXTIETH ANNIVERSARY, MARCH 29,1976.
[page 7 and 8 – unidentified photograph, most likely the group photograph taken at the anniversary gathering, as described on page two]
It has been our custom over all the years at our annual remembrance ceremony to quote these lines of the poet Laurence Binyon, and it seems appropriate to do so today.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
It is now my very great honour, on your behalf, to present this plaque to the University, and ask Col. Harding to be good enough to accept it on behalf of our Alma Mater.
COL. M. HARDING’SACCEPTANCE SPEECH
I feel very honoured indeed, as Chairman of the Governing Council at the University of Toronto, to receive on behalf of the University from the 67th (Varsity) Battery, this plaque and photograph for our Muniment Room.
The President is away today on important university business in Waterloo. I am almost glad he is not available because it gives me an opportunity to take his place. However he did ask me to extend to you his warmest greetings.
This is a particularly happy occasion for me because I am a fellow gunner, although somewhat more junior than some of you.
I was not well informed about the 67th (Varsity) Battery and its Association until a little while ago when I had the opportunity of reading some of the issues of the Battery Banter and reading an account of your Fiftieth Anniversary reunion. I am looking forward to finding out more about you and the Association later on this afternoon and evening but I can not even at this time help but be very much impressed by the spirit, the great esprit de corps and everything which your Association typifies.
[page 10 – text followed by one unidentified photograph at bottom, most likely of the tour group described on page 11.]
I believe it must be for many reasons unique of its kind and this serves to make this occasion a far more important and happy one for the University.
We are fairly crowded in this room and the weather is not exactly cool so I am not going to say any more now.
I am looking forward to having dinner with you tonight and having an opportunity of talking with you at that time.
I would like to say on behalf of the University and also from myself as a fellow gunner, thank you for having made these two presentations to our Muniment Room. They will add distinction to the room just the same as you men and your group have added distinction to the University by your association with the 67th (Varsity) Battery.
Thank you very much indeed.
THE VISIT TO THECHATEAU
On Sunday the 20th - a warm sunny day - a chartered coach left for the Chateau at 10.30 with thirty on board. On arriving at its destination at 12.30 we were welcomed by the new owners, Mrs. Mona Creagh and her son Roy Smith and his wife. We were joined also by five others who had driven over and by Jack Milne, our long-time friend and neighbour.
The Chateau never looked better. The white trim had been freshly painted as had the gun, the lawn was mowed to the back of the lot, a new door had been installed at the front of the building and the kitchen had been completely rebuilt. A sumptuous buffet lunch awaited us, courtesy of Mrs. Bill Henderson and her ladies from Dunsford. In addition Mrs. Creagh had supplied a lovely cake suitably inscribed “Sixtieth Anniversary - 67th Battery - June 20, 1976.” All this was thoroughly enjoyed and deeply appreciated.
After lunch Gerry L’Aventure gave a talk on the discovery of the building and its early days as Chateau de la Haie. He then dedicated another bronze plaque placed in the old building over the doorway into the kitchen. We then moved outdoors where a maple tree was planted to commemorate the occasion. We were happy to note that a similar one planted in 1966 was thriving.
Time passed all too quickly and at 2.30 we bade our hosts good-bye and climbed on board for the return trip. It had been a grand finale to 45 wonderful years at the Chateau and, although most of us were seeing it for the last time, we were happy that it had been acquired by people who appreciated the historic old cabin which had served its purpose so well as a home for pioneers and as our own Chateau de la Haie.
[page 12 – photograph of bronze plaque at top, followed by text]
[inscription on plaque:
“CHATEAU de la HAIE
THIS CABIN, BUILT ABOUT 1830, WAS THE
PIONEER HOME OF JABEZ THURSTON AND HIS FAMILY
IN 1930 IT WAS ACQUIRED BY THE 67TH (VARSITY)
BATTERY ASSOCIATION AND GIVEN THE NAME OF A
STATELY OLD CHATEAU IN FRANCE THAT HAD SERVED
AS A CANADIAN CORPS HEADQUARTERS IN THE FIRST
WORLD WAR. A LIVING ROOM WAS LATER ADDED TO
THE ORIGINAL STRUCTURE
AFTER FORTY-FIVE MEMORABLE YEARS AS
A SUMMER HOME FOR BATTERY MEMBERS AND THEIR'
FAMILIES THE PROPERTY WAS RETURNED TO PRIVATE
OWNERSHIP IN JULY, 1975.”]
MEMORIES OF THE CHATEAU
(as told by Gerry L’Aventure)
The request that I should say a few words on this nostalgic occasion was accepted in a moment of absentmindedness. I appreciate the honour and you must suffer the consequences.
In an attempt to make the story of the discovery of our Chateau de la Haie live, let us close our eyes and cast our thoughts back almost a half century. A party of us is out on Sturgeon Lake in a sailing dinghy on a lovely summer afternoon. Smoke arising on the south shore catches our attention. As we sail closer we see an Indian boiling his tea pail and perhaps frying a fresh-caught pickerel.
Hauled up beside him is his canoe. As we look at this interesting sight we notice on the hill behind him the remnants of a log house and a log barn. The log house of 1930, even then one hundred years old, is this log house of 1976. As simply and wonderfully as that, Chateau de la Haie came into the lives of the 67th Battery gunners.
Later that fall a search party set out in Bill Mooney’s Chevy to locate, by land, this old ruin. The personnel were Mooney, Hobson, Gill, MacWhinney and L’Aventure. The building was found by driving along the unfamiliar road to Bobcaygeon and trying side-roads going north to the lake. On the second try the party walked to the brow of a hill and there below them was their objective. We visited it, found it to be without floors, windows and doors and piled high with old hay and a sleigh. It certainly looked like a bargain. Who owned it? We had to find out in order to report back to headquarters. While driving out we caught up with an Indian family on foot, who suggested that we drive to the farm house of one Roy Kennedy, who might know. We did and he did.
In due course the 67th Battery Association and the Kennedys entered into a happy contract, thanks to our legal aid staff, Art Mason, George Johnston and the late Harold Timmins. The derelict log house, at that time merely a roofed - sort of - shelter for farm junk and hay was made habitable by the Kennedys and Thurstons. Only a new roof, new floors, new windows and doors and a new chimney were needed. The renovations were completed that fall. An advance party of the Association took possession on New Year’s eve, Wednesday, December 31,1930. The advance party held the redoubt, against formidable odds, until reinforcements arrived on Saturday, January 3, 1931. But for the life-sustaining warmth of an ancient wood stove (that stove, would you believe it?) they might not have survived. Oh, there might have been a rum issue.
During the 45 years of Battery ownership, incomparable reunions have been enjoyed. You need only gaze on some of the many group photographs to live again those grand times with wonderful, beloved companions. Two of our earliest guest speakers, when we held annual dinners in this room, were distinguished First War veterans, Greg Clark and Dr. G.B. Chisholm, later the first General
[page 14 - two unidentified photographs]
[page 16 – text followed by one unidentified photograph at bottom]
Secretary of the World Health Organization. Travel hazards in those days meant nothing to typical old soldiers, Reg Smith from Barrie, Stan Fisher from Ottawa, Reg Scott and Bill Robertson from below the border and, of course, those loyal youngsters from Hamilton, Ancaster, Niagara Falls, London and so on.
Most of us have nostalgic memories of Chateau reunions through almost half a lifetime. They have afforded us many happy, exciting hours with fellow 67th gunners and well chosen guests. Never has there been the slightest “eruption of violence!” Today we relive for a moment such recollections as these: the spring working parties; the swimming parades “au naturel” from the diving deck; the building of the kitchen by Mooney, Hobson, Fred and Harold Shaw et al; trying to make the well water fit to drink or even to mix after the poor dead skunk was removed; the Hal Shaw incinerator; the “O-Pip”; sleeping (?) in the old barn with hordes of mosquitoes; Ross Andersons fishing punt - and the good fishing then; building and later moving “Brent’s Bunkhouse” out of the poison ivy; laying the individually carved stepping stones to Extra - Coucher; Mason showing off his hardihood by cavorting, nude, in the snow. Each of us will remember these and many other unforgettable incidents.
BATTERY MEMBERS PRESENT
J.C. St. John
James Gill, Jr.