Article prepared by 4215 Don Wallace, Class of 1958,
Shortly after graduation in 1958, 3959 Phil Smith personally took on the non-existing job of Class Secretary and, as we now say, was the glue that bound us together. He created a stamp fund, canvassed the class for exciting events and produced a Spring and Fall newsletter and later emails to keep the Class continuously updated and active Ex Cadet Members on College activities.
When stamps were no longer needed, he converted to a flower fund for wives of departed classmates. Before each of the reunions he and his wife Elizabeth encouraged our attendance, booked the hotel, and organized both the Friday Meet and Greet and the Saturday night dinner. On our arrival Phil and Elizabeth would be at the front door of the hotel to greet all. Because of Phil we found that our close friends at the college stayed our close friends for 65 years. We decided to honour Phil by making our 65th year since graduation in 2023 a “THANKS PHIL” event.
The class knew we needed to be secretive if we wanted our plan to work. If Phil knew we would be honouring him for a lifetime of service to our class, he would never have allowed it. So, a small group of us from the Class arranged a Thanks Phil Committee. We had zoom calls, emails and many laughs while planning this special secretive event for our class leader. It was months of planning, but in the end our plan worked.
OUR SECRETIVE PLAN OF ACTION
As a Thank you gift the Class knew Phil drinks Bowmore scotch. We bought a 26-year-old Bowmore for $760 and 2 Glencarin UK engraved crystal scotch glasses for $100 apiece.
Phil has an identical, Ex Cadet twin brother named 3629 Bob Smith RRMC RMC Class of 1956 who was in on our devious plan.
Phil started in January to organize the 2023 reunion. It looked like about 16 of the 38 remaining cadets were attending. They were contacted and told to react to Phil’s emails but ignore the ‘details’. The details would come under the email subject “THANKS PHIL”
It was arranged that Phil would arrive at the hotel at 4pm on Friday 15 September for our Friday Meet and Greet. Upon his arrival, an unsuspecting Phil was arrested for the theft of money from the stamp fund, booked in at the reservation desk and escorted to his cell (room) in the hotel. At 7pm Phil was taken for his mug shot (class photo) on the steps at the hotel. Unknown to him his twin brother Bob was in the photo. The party then moved to the Meet and Greet room where we began our “Trial”.
With any arrest, once the accused is booked, then comes their day in court to answer to their charges.
If any of you know Phil, he is a man of many words, so to say he was shocked is an understatement. He was not allowed to speak during his ‘Trial’.
The prosecutor (4215 Don Wallace) read the indictment charging Phil with stealing funds from the Stamp Fund during the past 65 years. Four witnesses (4106 Peter Meincke, 4282 Bob Dallison, 4259 Skip Sears 4139 Sam Dunbar) were called and asked questions about the theft.
Their answers thanked him for all his work, presented a cheque for a flower arrangement to be given to his wife Elizabeth, and a summary of the THANKS PHIL financials, which included a $6500 donation in Phil’s name to the Alumni Association Military Training Fund.
Finally, the Foreman of the Jury (4163 David Allatt) was called. Phil was found guilty and was presented with the Scotch and glasses.
It was announced that one classmate would have the honour of tasting the scotch with Phil. Raffle tickets were distributed, the draw by Phil and lucky number called out, and called out again, no answer. Finally, from the back of the hall, Twin Bob appears, and, in the video, you can see the complete shock in Phil’s face and the excitement in their embrace. At that moment we saw the highlight of the tribute to our Class Secretary, Bob’s appearance. A truly wonderful event and we know it made Phil’s day to see how his fellow classmates kept everything a secret for all those months of detailed planning.
To mark the conclusion of our class events at the College on Saturday 16 September at the Memorial Arch Parade the former Adjutant of the Old Brigade, Don Bell, granted our request, to include both Phil and Bob on the dais to take the salute at the Saturday morning parade. Likely a first in the history of the College and most certainly a special moment for Phil, Bob and the other Ex-Cadets in attendance.
During the March Past 4106 Peter Meincke, who was the RMC Class of 1958 Wing Commander, but due to mobility problems was not able to march at our 65th Reunion this year. Peter was able to start the parade 20 feet before and left 20 feet after the dais. It was important for our class to have Peter, who led the class off the square in 1958, lead the class off the square in 2023, 65 years after graduation and perhaps our last reunion.
After months of secretive planning and scheming our “Arrest” of our Class Secretary for our 65th Reunion in 2023 everything went off without a hitch. We must say this could quite possibly be one of our favourite reunions in many years.
RMC creates friendships and Class Secretaries are the glue that binds them together for life. The Class of 1958 was lucky. They had the best in Phil Smith.
Your best buds for over 65 years – the Class of 1958
The Class of 1958 would like to that Luke Kroeker for his exceptional videography and video editing skills. If any classes are looking for a professional photographer/ videographer to capture their Reunion Weekend moments, call or email Luke at the coordinates below.
Video Credit: Luke Kroeker
Owner & Photographer/Videographer