This little anecdote from the past is focused to my 1965 intake Royal Roads classmates, but all may appreciate the circumstances.

It was a pleasant enough Saturday morning in September 1965. As new recruits of CSC Royal Roads we spent most of the morning wandering around the parade square in somewhat straight and approximately parallel ranks. Our rambles were cut short by a new diversion ‘needle parade’. (Probably should have read DRO’s). The entire recruit class was lined up down the hall and around the corner into ‘Sick Bay’ on the second floor of the Castle.

Several Naval Corpsmen from Naden administered TABTD vaccinations using syringes apparently donated by a local equine veterinarian – it wasn’t clear to me whether the needles were ‘pre-dulled’ or simply reused until they wouldn’t penetrate skin. The Corpsmen showed little inclination to improve their ability to smoothly deliver pain-free injections. We were told there might be some soreness in the upper arm (turned out more like a bullet wound!)

So, off to lunch- a delicious ‘mystery meatloaf’ and an enlightening session of dining etiquette improvement from our Flight Seniors. Then to the highlight of Saturday afternoon (Circle Parade! – is a pattern emerging?).

All togged out in shiny white shoes & starched gym shorts fervently hoping to run more circles off than were received in the process of attending Circle Parade. The vanguard made it about half way around the Circle (to the Castle Archway). Recruits began dropping to the pavement like large wet sacks of rice. Others simply stepped to the side of the circle, took a knee & puked. Keeners continued to run, puke and report-in to have their ‘circles’ signed off. Don’t know how that worked out. I don’t think I was one of those! Finally, the Cadet Duty Officer (somewhat unaccustomed to command I would think) called off the parade.

I’m really hoping the whole domestic COVID program goes off somewhat better than this, but my expectations have definitely been challenged!

BTW I am a fervent pro-vaxxer, a collector even, of annual flu shots, Shingles, Hepatitis, cholera, yellow fever & whatever else & hopefully very soon COVID19. I hope the ‘immunity reaction’ is not as bad as back in the day!

TDV and good health to all,

8117 Doug Ferris

RMC ‘69


  1. 7762 Garth Jonah on February 9, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    Doug, good memories! Fortunately, I did not have to participate in that particular “Circle Parade” nor take part in the “flu epidemic” that hit the class later on at Roads. It looks like, if you get to have the Pfyzer vaccine, they will be using smaller needles, so no major injection wounds. Also, let’s hope that the vaccinators have lots of injection experience.


  2. Herc on February 9, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    Great memory Doug. I love reading about the good old days. It was not always fun at the time but I now have nothing but good memories of my time at both colleges. I have no memory of this event so either I must have been one of the keeners who kept running or I wasn’t on that particular circle parade (that would be a surprise to me as I ran my fair share). Does anyone remember me from this parade? BTW I am not an anti-vaxxer either but I haven’t had any kind of shot for at least 30 years and do not intend to have any! I urge anyone considering taking the COVID vaccine to do their research and to weigh pros and cons carefully.

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